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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old November 30 2012, 12:14 AM   #1
Undead
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Transwarp mechanics

I recently got ahold of some old FASA stuff, and it's been interesting to read some of the early descriptions of transwarp. It was never really explained in canon how it was supposed to function, or why it was superior to standard warp. FASA suggested that the transwarp engines were designed to work in conjunction with the transporter system, and that this combination would allow a ship to project a "beaming envelope" ahead of itself which would operate in tandem with the warp envelope. In effect, the ship would transport itself while simultaneously warping space around it and thus be able to boost its traditional speed faster than normal.

Mr. Scott's Guide has a somewhat different interpretation, with the transwarp project being based in part on the interphasic rift encountered by the Enterprise in "Tholian Web." The engines were designed to replicate this rift on a much smaller and controlled scale, and the ship would travel faster in the rift than in conventional warp while the crew would experience no change in their perception of time. This system is more similar to FTL drives in Star Wars and B5.
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Old November 30 2012, 01:05 AM   #2
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

That's right, I remember the FASA explanation.
Evidently, the "trans" in transwarp refers to transporter technology, hence the "beaming of the warp envelope" idea.

Then there's the explanation in "Mr. Scott's Guide", which is a totally different theory.

I'll add one more to the mix, from the Spaceflight Chronology.

Written at the time of TMP, it postulated an imminent new breakthrough in warp technology (which was seen on-screen two films later in TSFS). The book called this breakthrough "super-warp" rather than the later "trans-warp". It all seems a variation on sonic speeds (supersonic, hypersonic, trans-sonic, etc)

In any case, the idea was that warp speeds would be bumped up exponentially. Instead of the warp factor being cubed times lightspeed, it would advance to the 4th power.

Warp 6 = 6^3 lightspeed (216 times lightspeed)
Transwarp 6 = 6^4 lightspeed (1296 lightspeed)

Any given superwarp/transwarp factor is to the 4th power rather than the 3rd power of warp factors.

Interesting idea, for whatever it's worth.

Last edited by SchwEnt; November 30 2012 at 06:55 PM.
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Old November 30 2012, 01:10 AM   #3
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

The FASA version is interesting, if a little odd mechanically to me. That was rather typical of FASA though. It would seem like trying to get the two envelopes to interact safely would be risky, but there's an equal chance it could work the way the game described.
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Old November 30 2012, 08:37 AM   #4
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

Timo has some interesting information about transwarp in the Excelsior section of his ship files. I believe he's put links to them in one of the other threads. There's some good research in there of what little has been available about transwarp, and even better extrapolation of the material.
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Old November 30 2012, 05:36 PM   #5
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

I'd have liked to take into account both the FASA and SJ backstories somehow, but both ideas appeared a bit too oddball. The "going deeper into subspace" interpretation is closer to SJ in the end.

Then again, transporters and warp speeds mix again in Scotty's "transwarp beaming" in STXI... Perhaps the drive indeed evolves from similar ideas in the 2280s, only Scotty isn't the one behind it in the original timeline, and bumps himself in the head ever after when the Nobel slips from his hands (the bumping in turn explaining why he doesn't quite remember Jim Kirk is dead in "Relics"!).

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Old November 30 2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

I think Federation calls anything beyond their normal warp technology 'transwarp'. Exelsior's engine's were considered transwarp engines at the time (and were not a failure*) but once the technology became widespread and commonplace the 'transwarp' became to mean warp techologies even beyond that, such as the Borg warp drive.

(* The adoption of this new type of warp engine was the reason why the warp scale was changed.)

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Old November 30 2012, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

I remember one fan-created idea of transwarp in which it was just a really more powerful engine, where speeds of up to Warp 20 (8,000c) were possible. But that was before TNG was even thought of.
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Old December 1 2012, 07:46 PM   #8
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

Longinus wrote: View Post
I think Federation calls anything beyond their normal warp technology 'transwarp'. Exelsior's engine's were considered transwarp engines at the time (and were not a failure*) but once the technology became widespread and commonplace the 'transwarp' became to mean warp techologies even beyond that, such as the Borg warp drive. (* The adoption of this new type of warp engine was the reason why the warp scale was changed.)
As good an explanation as any.

I think they need to do something new with the existing post-TNG/DS9/VOY warp speeds. Warp 9 is fast. Warp 9.5 is bloody fast. Warp 9.9 is hellafast. But now we're in Warp 9.975 and such territory. And recently in Trek literature we're into quantum slipstream drive. All of the Warp 9-plus numbers are getting blurry. I think even the slowest Trek ship can go, like, Warp 6. Time to redo the scale again?
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Old December 1 2012, 09:36 PM   #9
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

SicOne wrote: View Post
I think they need to do something new with the existing post-TNG/DS9/VOY warp speeds. Warp 9 is fast. Warp 9.5 is bloody fast. Warp 9.9 is hellafast. But now we're in Warp 9.975 and such territory. And recently in Trek literature we're into quantum slipstream drive. All of the Warp 9-plus numbers are getting blurry. I think even the slowest Trek ship can go, like, Warp 6. Time to redo the scale again?
I concur with this. I think a linear scale as well, based on some metric of velocity, whether it be light years per hour, parsecs per hour, or whatever -- regardless of the underlying technology involved.

So whether a starship is using warp, ultrawarp, transwarp, slipstream, or whatever, the Captain just decides how fast he wants to go and says "Hyperspeed Factor 14" or whatever, and that's like 140 light years per hour.
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Old December 2 2012, 12:20 AM   #10
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

Perhaps they should do something like what Star Wars does, where the speed of traveling through hyperspace is determined by what class of hyperdrive you have. The lower the number, the faster you go. It's still only a very relative gauge, but it solves the problem of warp factors getting perpetually higher.
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Old December 2 2012, 05:24 AM   #11
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

The thing with any kind of warp scale is having writers and producers agree to stick with it. If you establish that a ship can only go so fast, it really has to be enforced and not tossed out the window when someone later gets the itch to break it. Otherwise, warp scales and various FTL systems are really kind of irrelevant, more meaningless technobabble than anything else.
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Old December 2 2012, 10:49 AM   #12
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

Unwrapped wrote: View Post
Mr. Scott's Guide has a somewhat different interpretation, with the transwarp project being based in part on the interphasic rift encountered by the Enterprise in "Tholian Web." The engines were designed to replicate this rift on a much smaller and controlled scale, and the ship would travel faster in the rift than in conventional warp while the crew would experience no change in their perception of time. This system is more similar to FTL drives in Star Wars and B5.
But that was contradicted by "In a Mirror Darkly".
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Old December 2 2012, 02:05 PM   #13
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

Tiberius wrote: View Post
Unwrapped wrote: View Post
Mr. Scott's Guide has a somewhat different interpretation, with the transwarp project being based in part on the interphasic rift encountered by the Enterprise in "Tholian Web." The engines were designed to replicate this rift on a much smaller and controlled scale, and the ship would travel faster in the rift than in conventional warp while the crew would experience no change in their perception of time. This system is more similar to FTL drives in Star Wars and B5.
But that was contradicted by "In a Mirror Darkly".
Which by that definition contradicts "The Tholian Web." So it might be best to say that the interphasic rift is also a space-time distortion that could end a vessel anywhere or anytime during an uncontrolled flight.
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Old December 3 2012, 08:31 PM   #14
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

I never liked the transporter tech link--but since it was introduced by JJ with transwarp beaming--a handy thing--here is one way it might work:

You don't beam the ships warp ahead of itself--we will call that a reporter getting ahead of himself as with the Curiosity findings. Instead, like subspace radio that is faster than the ship, the tech acts as a cutwater to allow the ship behind to have an easier time establishing the warp bubble--even as some SLBMs use a spike ahead of the nosecone as here: http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/slbm/c-4.htm

Slipstream drive just does this only more so. Even as the smoke ring self sustaining Romulan plasma torpedo may latch on to a retreating ships bubble and be drawn towards it--perhaps a ship with a massive star directly ahead might allow a slipstream to feel such a distortion in space (gravitational foci instead of solar foci) and allow faster than normal transit but in straight lines only. Work this a bit more, and you get Star Wars hyperspace lanes?
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Old December 4 2012, 02:46 AM   #15
Tiberius
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Re: Transwarp mechanics

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
Tiberius wrote: View Post
Unwrapped wrote: View Post
Mr. Scott's Guide has a somewhat different interpretation, with the transwarp project being based in part on the interphasic rift encountered by the Enterprise in "Tholian Web." The engines were designed to replicate this rift on a much smaller and controlled scale, and the ship would travel faster in the rift than in conventional warp while the crew would experience no change in their perception of time. This system is more similar to FTL drives in Star Wars and B5.
But that was contradicted by "In a Mirror Darkly".
Which by that definition contradicts "The Tholian Web."
In what way does In a Mirror Darkly contradict The Tholian Web?
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