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

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Old January 9 2013, 10:45 PM   #1
Dale Sams
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ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Memory Alpha and common lore seems to hold that "It just didn't work" or "The dilithium broke down"

That doesn't make a lick of sense. You would never get to the production stage where Excelsior was if the damn thing didn't even work.

My personal fanwank was that what they are calling transwarp drive is simply TNGs warp capability and not what the Borg had. Makes sense to me.
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Old January 9 2013, 10:56 PM   #2
Robert Comsol
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
"Memory Alpha and common lore seems to hold that "It just didn't work" or "The dilithium broke down"

That doesn't make a lick of sense. You would never get to the production stage where Excelsior was if the damn thing didn't even work.

My personal fanwank was that what they are calling transwarp drive is simply TNGs warp capability and not what the Borg had. Makes sense to me."
Your intuition serves you well. When I met Andrew Probert in 1988 at the Star Trek Art Department he confirmed what you just feel. By the time of TNG they have simply dropped the "trans" prefix.

Another canon hint comes straight from the bridge monitor displays of the NCC-1701-A: All the engine displays read lout and clear "Transwarp", so indeed, the evolution of warp technology did happen...

Bob
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Old January 9 2013, 11:34 PM   #3
Unicron
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

I've always preferred something along those lines myself, since there's never been any canonical evidence to back up the claim among some fans that the project failed or didn't work. There * are * suggestions in sources like the TNG TM that the system didn't meet its intended expectations, but that's not the same as saying it was a complete failure.
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Old January 9 2013, 11:39 PM   #4
Albertese
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
...

Another canon hint comes straight from the bridge monitor displays of the NCC-1701-A: All the engine displays read lout and clear "Transwarp", so indeed, the evolution of warp technology did happen...

Bob
I'm not so sure...

I understand the graphics in Mister Scott's guide to the Enterprise do indeed say "transwarp", but the actual graphics as used on the show did not. I recall reading somewhere that there was some hullabaloo over Shane Johnson having modified the graphics, based on conversations with someone official on the subject, but that as photographed, it wasn't that way...

I could be wrong. I'd love to see a screencap...

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Old January 10 2013, 06:12 AM   #5
Maurice
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Another canon hint comes straight from the bridge monitor displays of the NCC-1701-A: All the engine displays read lout and clear "Transwarp", so indeed, the evolution of warp technology did happen...

Bob

Which bridge? ST IV, V or IV? Because the book Mr. Scott's Guide added transwarp labeling to the graphics for the ST IV set, which did not actually contain them when filmed.
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Old January 10 2013, 12:54 PM   #6
Timo
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

We can identify at least one of the Mr Scott's Okudagrams in ST4, and verify that it doesn't have the long word "TRANSWARP" where SJ puts it.

More specifically, the side view of the ship here (the upper individual monitor to the left of Spock's head) is otherwise identical to the one where SJ "reproduces" the bottom line label as TRANSWARP SUBSYS 7 4516, but the bottom line label in the movie is actually shorter than that - that is, it terminates more to the left, in comparison with the random column of numbers above it.

http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/a.../tvhhd2277.jpg

This particular Okudagram no longer appears in the Trekcore HD screencaps of ST5 or ST6; similarly, the side view with warp field curves (labeled TRANSWARP GEOMETRY 4 1190 by SJ) is absent.

In the end, none of the HD images reveal the word "TRANSWARP", and indeed most of the Okudagrams in the latter two movies seem to be labeled only with random numbers, not with descriptive words.

This of course does not debunk the idea that the technology called "transwarp" became known as "warp" as soon as it was proved to be practical.

Nor does it debunk the possibility that the theory underlying the Excelsior experiment was proven completely erroneous by the first attempt by the Excelsior to actually explore its supposed transwarp envelope. Captain Styles seems particularly moved by the computer's declaration "all speeds available through transwarp drive", as if he had never heard the boast before. He also feels he will only be breaking the earlier speed records of the Enterprise "tomorrow"; clearly, neither he nor anybody else has yet flown the Excelsior or any preceding testbed at speeds exceeding those of Kirk's ship.

Why Starfleet would put so much faith in a faulty theory that they base the design of a huge starship on it, we never learn. But perhaps we misunderstood? Perhaps the Excelsior was a previous investment, and the transwarp experiment was only brought aboard later on, at relatively low cost?

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Old January 10 2013, 01:41 PM   #7
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Blurry background graphics are hardly indisputable in-universe fact. Even if it was the intent at the time for the 1701-A to be transwarp-capable, that the "trans-" prefix vanished and several statements from the producers since have dubbed transwarp a failure pretty much spells it out.

I guess Scotty's "'Let's see that she's got' said the captain... then we found out, didn't we?" in STV could even be taken as in-universe proof of TW's failing. (and before you all say "but it would explain the quick trip to the galactic centre", I remind you it was well within the way warp speeds were depicted in the TOS Trek - edge of the galaxy in WNMHGB and "By Any Other Name", centre in "Megas Tu" ...)
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Old January 10 2013, 03:45 PM   #8
Robert Comsol
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

King Daniel wrote: View Post
"Blurry background graphics are hardly indisputable in-universe fact. Even if it was the intent at the time for the 1701-A to be transwarp-capable, that the "trans-" prefix vanished and several statements from the producers since have dubbed transwarp a failure pretty much spells it out."
Well, I'm not aware of such statements and believe Andrew Probert, who impressed me as an advocate for continuity accuracy, had done his homework. Though I'd agree that the Enterprise-A should have had warp nacelles Excelsior style to convey the transwarp notion.

King Daniel wrote: View Post
"I remind you it was well within the way warp speeds were depicted in the TOS Trek - edge of the galaxy in WNMHGB and "By Any Other Name", centre in "Megas Tu" ..."
I apparently didn't pay that much attention to the fifth ST movie, but if I recall correctly they were going to the center of our galaxy, while in the two TOS episodes you mentioned they were going to the edge?

I never object learning something new, but that Shane Johnson deliberately manipulated the original bridge displays would be quite a blow. I remember our correspondence and he accused me for "trying to find fault with his work" (well, if it's not accurate it's inaccurate, right?). Looks like that would have been something I would have found very faulty.

Bob
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Old January 10 2013, 04:02 PM   #9
Timo
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

I apparently didn't pay that much attention to the fifth ST movie, but if I recall correctly they were going to the center of our galaxy, while in the two TOS episodes you mentioned they were going to the edge?
1) They were still going to the center in "Magicks".
2) The distances involved might be different or equal; the edge might be close to Earth in some interpretations, but the core cannot be argued to be that.
3) Yet they were not going to the center as much as they were going to the center, italics on the fact that they did not necessarily travel all the way in that direction. The heading is more important to the respective plots than the distance traveled!



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Old January 10 2013, 08:09 PM   #10
The Librarian
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

I always thought the idea that transwarp failed a bit silly myself, because there's no way they wouldn't have tested it somehow before scaling all the way up to the Excelsior. I could easily see it being the first manned starship with a transwarp drive, but surely they did some kind of computer, lab, and drone tests before that. I'd rather believe it wasn't as good as expected, but still a major improvement that resulted in the new warp scale.
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Old January 10 2013, 08:26 PM   #11
Timo
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Well, various jet and rocket engines were tested in WWII aboard very large and complex bombers, and proved to be complete duds.

It's just that the bombers existed before the engines were added. This may also be the case with the Excelsior and her transwarp drive.

Perhaps testing the drive aboard smaller ships or cheaply built rigs was out of the question, just like scramjets today cannot be tested in wind tunnels or on cheapo platforms, but must ride on state-of-the-art rockets launched from huge carrier aircraft as part of hugely expensive and complex test arrangements - and almost invariably fail, disproving the very concept that was supposed to make that particular design workable.

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Old January 10 2013, 08:46 PM   #12
C.E. Evans
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

My own idea is that there was a very brief period in which Starfleet did have a number of transwarp ships capable of reaching speeds in excess of warp 15 (3,375c) on the TOS scale, but later advances in conventional warp engine efficiency led to both a redefinition of transwarp as well as a redrawn warp scale. Under the new scale, those earlier designated transwarp speeds now were in the warp 9.9+ range...
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Old January 10 2013, 09:28 PM   #13
Timo
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Perhaps only the higher speeds provided by the transwarp engines allowed warp scientists to fully understand the sawtooth power curve that Sternbach and Okuda postulate for warp drive?

That is, the curve has nine "teeth" for optimal power use - the nine integral warp factors. But at low warp factors, the first of those might appear to fit a certain formula (warp factor cubed times lightspeed), and all the rattling and whining at higher factors in primitive TOS engines hides the fact that this formula does not explain the higher "teeth". With better engines, one realizes that the previously assumed warp factors 7 and 8 were not matching the optimal speeds very well, and that factors like 12 or 14 were completely fictional and did not match optima at all.

So, new engines reveal the new formula, and ships from then on sail at the real nine integer warp factors. Until even better engines come along, and new optimal teeth to the curve are discovered between the former warp 9 and warp 10... As seen in "All Good Things...". And perhaps given a few decades, a further set of optima is found. And yet further.

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Old January 10 2013, 10:24 PM   #14
Robert Comsol
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

I'd like to believe that these terrible bumpers of the Enterprise-B had been added to test new transwarp components / improve the previous transwarp mechanism.

Once transwarp technology had been refined and reduced in size, those bumpers came off and thus explain the appearance of the "B" on the TNG's conference room sculpture wall.

Bob
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Old January 10 2013, 11:44 PM   #15
SchwEnt
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Re: ST III's "Transwarp drive"

Perhaps transwarp eventually became workable and the terminology changed. I'm thinking about a time when there were airplanes and then people also spoke of jet planes, to differentiate. But today people commonly speak of planes, no longer specifying "jet" plane.

Maybe transwarp speed became the norm and people just ended up calling it warp speed, similar to airplane rather than jet airplane.

While I'm here...

Is there anything we know about transwarp that required substantial new engine technology?

The Excelsior is cited as being a new transwarp starship, as if the ship was purpose-built around a new engine.

But how do we know that the Excelsior isn't just the next great starship class and is incidentally a testbed for transwarp?

Could the new transwarp be a breakthrough but mechanically maybe just an add-on to the dilithium chamber and a new intermix formula? Or is it a total re-work of previous engine designs?

If the transwarp trials didn't work, maybe it would be a simple matter of using conventional warp intermix formula and removing the some isolated component from the engine room. The Excelsior would still be an impressive starship, not a complete lemon due to transwarp failure.
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