# Federation Law of restricting cloaking device

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Brainsucker, Sep 7, 2012.

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Oct 24, 2012
http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Warp_factor

Background information

Although formulas to calculate speeds from warp factors existed in the writer's guides, these were not always used consistently in the episodes and films. To explain the apparent discontinuity of the canonical warp factor speeds, background sources have given several explanations. Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual states the actual speed values of a warp factor are dependent upon interstellar conditions, for example gas density, electric and magnetic fields in different regions of the galaxy, and fluctuations of the subspace domain. Also quantum drag forces and motive power oscillation cause energy penalties to a ship using warp drive. (pg.55) Star Trek Maps introduced a similar concept as the Cochrane's factor, that influences the actual speed by multiplying it. It can be as high as a multiplication of 1500 to the relative speed within the curvature of space caused by the interstellar dust and gas of a galaxy, and as little as 1 in the empty intergalactic void. In the vicinity of massive objects it is so high that disproportionately high speeds are created, and they tend to result in the slingshot effect. Between the galaxies there is only the empty void, so the speed follows only the basic cubic formula. (see below) Within the interstellar medium of Federation space the average value for the Cochrane's factor has been calculated to be 1292.7238. (pg.6)

So you were right, the writers did try to explain some of the variations in calculations.

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The WRITERS, generally, did not. Like most things produced for television, Star Trek's emphasis was a dramatic treatment, not a technical one. The background information that determined these sorts of things are far more interesting -- and far more relevant -- to people like us than they ever were to the actual showrunners.

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Oct 24, 2012
I agree, the writers are not the best people for technical accuracy. All they do is drama. But the technical writers should've been on the ball. You remember those guys who write the technobable that has a real scientist "Andre Bormanis" supervise. They need to be on the ball.

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Aug 26, 2003
There isn't much they can do if the story requires both that a chase from planet A to nearby planet B take an exciting three hours, and a Klingon ship arrive from the Empire to meet our heroes at the destination within no more than six hours lest things become boring. Sometimes warp simply has to be both X and a thousand times X: consistency is ruled out as an option from the get-go.

Doesn't mean there couldn't be excuses, of course. Quite possibly warp gets faster if you spend more time at it - or alternately you can risk much higher speeds if you know you will only be doing them for three hours rather than three months. But the idea that warp factor X would give a significantly higher speed along a specific "space lane" is to be treated with utmost caution, because if the speed advantage offered by an "express lane" truly is significant, then this should be reflected in dialogue big time. No more dabbling in "warp factors" - the valiant skipper should be solely concerned with the question "Where is the nearest express lane?".

Timo Saloniemi

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Oct 24, 2012
Yeah I agree with avoiding the "express lane" factor. That just complicates things.

As far as long Starship chase scenes, good editing / cutting can make it interesting.

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And that goes to the heart of my point.

So you've written yourself into a corner by inserting two plot elements that seem to contradict each other. That should be the point where you stop yourself and think "We need to do something about the timing here. Either the chase needs to be a lot longer, or the ship from the empire needs to be coming from some place closer."

Not necessarily. It would be a bit like watching Bad Boys II where you notice they take the car chase onto the freeway, yet nobody bothers to mention that cars tend to move considerably faster on the freeway than they would elsewhere.

That might be implied in the question "How fast can we get to Rigel Ten?" That would be a bit like asking "How fast can we get from Chicago to Houston?" Nowhere in either question is there any mention of an expressway, although your navigator -- either computerized or human -- will give you a definite ETA that is calculated to include a certain amount of time on a freeway.

7. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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The "lack of consistency" for Warp Factors to actual speeds doesn't make any sense because none of the series has ever put forth a "formula". Without knowing how Warp Factors correspond to speeds in Star Trek there isn't anything we can reference against to call the speeds "inconsistent".

All we really have are occasional distance-time and location data and putting together a picture from that data for the different productions.

8. ### BrainsuckerCommanderRed Shirt

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Well, they are writer, not scientist.

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Good point. If you exclude the back stage materials, the tech manuals and the semi-official resources in the fan community, Star Trek itself is actually fairly vague on this matter.

10. ### TheRoyalFamilyCommodoreCommodore

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To be somewhat pedantic, "warp factor" would seem to be some sort of function of the engines' warping of space around the ship, not necessarily correlating to speed. We can probably assume the warping is more or less constant, but we can't say what speed that would give us. Just like the RPM's of the engine of a car don't tell us how fast we're going, it's the RPM's of the tires (assuming correct size and no slipping, of course); different conditions - gear ratio of the transmission, resistance against the tire turning, weight, etc. - will correlate to different speeds.

An aside - if we're only going to stick with what we see on-screen, Trek Tech would be pretty slow

11. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Feb 26, 2010
On-screen, it's respectable depending on where you're at.
TOS speed data appears to be dependent on location.

• TOS interstellar speed go up to the 770,000c range.
• TOS near star speed drop well below 10c range.
• TOS intergalactic speed is in the 900c range.

TNG's speed data doesn't appear to be dependent on location.

• TNG Warp 9 speeds is in the 830c range.
• Voyager Warp 9.9 speed is up to 21,000c.

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Voyager never got anywhere near that fast. They keep trotting out this "maximum sustainable cruising velocity, warp 9.975" and yet every time they bring it up, they mention it'll take seventy years to make it home at maximum warp. When you actually work it out, from 70,000km away it should take them only about 46 years to make the trip at just warp 9.0; at even the slightly higher warp 9.3, they could cut that almost in half.

So maybe TNG depends on location too, but they move around so much that it's harder to tell?

13. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Voyager is actually inline with TNG speeds. At Warp 9 traveling 70,000 LY it would take 84 years to get home assuming a non-stop flight. Since they said 70 years ETA then Voyager would be cruising at an average speed above Warp 9 (TNG).

As to Warp 9.9, they tried it in "Threshold" but the structure couldn't take it. As the series continued, it appeared that the top speed of the ship worsened (either due to damage or power issues or both) and she was never able to hit the advertised 9.975 speed. Perhaps a brand-new, pristine and maintained Voyager could do Warp 9.975 but the Voyager probably was too damaged to do this again, IMHO.

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That's the TOS scale. By the putative TNG scale, Warp 9 would be a bit over 1500 times the speed of light (46 year transit time).

Then that wouldn't really be a "sustainable cruising speed" would it? That would just be "Maximum warp" with the caveat that the ship can maintain maximum warp for an unusually long period of time.

Meaningless technobabble from day one: Voyager got off to a dismal start.

15. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Feb 26, 2010
No, that is by the TNG scale. TNG Warp 9 = 833c.

From "Bloodlines"
DATA: I am tracing the transporter beam Bok used to send the probe. The ship is holding position approximately three hundred billion kilometres from here.
PICARD: Plot a course. Maximum warp.
RIKER: Even at warp nine we wouldn't get there for another twenty minutes.
If it was TOS Warp speeds, they'd be home in a few months

It would be more accurate to say: "Sustainable Cruising Speed in Perfect Condition". I'd argue that Voyager had already sustained enough damage that she would no longer be able to come close to her maximum speed which would automatically push down her top sustainable cruising speed as well.

Although looking a second time, it seems that this "9.975" speed is quoted from an alien species (2371) and Neelix but haven't found one from an actual crew member...

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Oct 24, 2012
TNG Warp 9 = 1,516.38110700484c
Go a page back and look what I posted.

The formula from Memory Alpha is from the official writers guide for TNG.

Whether or not the writers or whoever needs to proof read the treknobabble got it right is a whole different story.

17. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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TNG Warp 9 = 833c, as spoken in dialogue in an actual episode, "Bloodlines".

Since none of these "formulas" were ever mentioned on-screen, they don't count for much IMHO.

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Oct 24, 2012
That's fine if you don't trust it.

I trust the writers guide more than on screen evidence since the evidence is too inconsistant.

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Warp_factor

We all know that the writers didn't have good technobabble proof readers.

So any number they spout, unless it's backed up by the writers guide source info or actual facts for things like established formula, is to be taken with a grain of salt.

19. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Ah, good luck with that then...

20. ### blssdwlfCommodoreCommodore

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Feb 26, 2010
We have different interpretations. Riker asked for a "defense" and Data gave him what appeared to Riker as a "lethal" counter-attack. Data clarified it as a means to use the tractor beam to stop the ship.

The problem is that Data said "a vessel in the Picard Maneuver might seem to disappear". He does not state the Stargazer will disappear from the sensors but it is only a possibility. Even using normal tracking techniques that could still be explained by saying the Stargazer's sudden jump to Warp 9 temporarily confusing the FTL sensors.

I stand corrected. I just looked at it and no warp burst.

Those Kazon ships sure looked like they were hitting Voyager at point-blank while both were at warp in "Basics".

I think of it as within a few starship lengths of each other. Most of TOS was not at "point blank range". And "The Wounded" had one exchange not at "point blank range". Defiant fired at a runabout from long distance also in "By Inferno's Light".

Sure, there are missing details. However, you're going well outside of what his description was trying to fit in STL sensors against an FTL ship scenario which it was not. Also, "literally", the Ferengi "fired" on the Stargazer. Your example of "ramming", again, is outside of the description of the battle as retold by Picard.

You wrote that the maneuver implicitly rules out firing at the closer image which means you did not think there was a choice for the Ferengi in selecting targets.

It does matter. If it took Data a few seconds to come up with a defense then it's pretty obvious that the maneuver hadn't been used alot or they'd have a counter on the books.

Again, IF Riker asked for a "counter" then Data would have offered this up as an option. However, Riker asked for a "defense".

If Riker asks "What is the defense against the Picard Maneuver", Data will answer, "There is no known DEFENSE. But I have some counter-offense options."

As to why BOTH targets? Why not, "just to be sure". We saw how easy it is to confuse the sensors in "Peak Performance".

First, the question really is, can standard sensors

Since the Picard Maneuver's components include a Warp 9 jump to work then we cannot rule out FTL sensors since Warp 2 would work equally well against LS/STL sensors. We can stipulate that the standard FTL sensors do have a problem with high warp targets.

BTW, in Picard's story, the Ferengi attacked the Stargazer while she was flying through the star system at Warp 2. That would mean that the STL Ferengi, tracked Stargazer and either fired at her while she was passing by at FTL or the Ferengi jumped out of hiding and went FTL to attack the Stargazer. FTL sensors.

As to the non-standard detection of compressed gases, it was animated in real-time on the main viewer so if they could not track the gas disturbance in real-time certainly the Stargazer would disappear, NO warp streaks animated, then appear in a different spot on the viewer. That did not happen.

The second question is, does Stargazer really have the initiative to shoot first? And the answer is NO. Simply because the Ferengi chose the wrong target to fire at and did fire its weapons.

Riker assumed Data got the wrong message and tried to clarify with a question. Data, OTOH, did correctly interpret it as a "defense".

RIKER: And use it as an aiming point and blow our Captain to bits?
DATA: This class starship has enough power to use our tractor beam on it. Seize it, limit it's field of fire.

That doesn't make sense. A ship at FTL heading towards a STL ship with LS sensors would be invisible to the STL ship the entire time it is in FTL. Heading away at FTL, OTOH, isn't part of the maneuver and doesn't come into play.

Did you forget that it was the first voyage as a captain for the only son of Daimon Bok?

According to the dialogue, the target would see both ships and they'd have a choice to fire on either one or both. It is part of the description of the maneuver.
RIKER: And blowing into maximum warp speed, you appeared for an instant to be in two places at once.
PICARD: And our attacker fired on the wrong one.
Or it was the inexperience of the young Ferengi captain that targeted the wrong image which allowed the Stargazer to blast his ship to bits.

If the Ferengi had time to fire after they were hit, they would have targeted the ship that was actually shooting at them. The Stargazer would have been destroyed.

Seriously?

The "you will injure yourself" happens in the middle of the episode, just as Bok is ramping up his device. His parting words, are to "Die Well."

His second diabolical revenge plan is to make Picard weep for the death of his fake son.

As to the first plan, what would happen if Picard successfully destroyed the E-D? What was Bok's endgame there? The Ferengi mind control devices were still there. Picard would be proven innocent. Unless Bok kept Picard on the attack until Federation ships caught up to him and destroyed the Stargazer? I think Bok never meant for the Stargazer to open fire on it's attack on the E-D and let it be destroyed. Picard had time to order weapons fire when he was held by tractor beam but his "playback loop" wasn't in sync with the actual battle. It would've been closure as if his son had picked the correct target years ago. IMHO.

Last edited: Nov 7, 2012