Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Albertese, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, the advanced "plug in" cloaking device witnessed in the "The Enterprise Incident" suggests otherwise, but if these are not portholes on top of the BoP, then what are they?

    @ Manticore

    On the contrary, I'd dare to say that your theory is upheld by canon, especially "The Immunity Syndrome" where warp and impulse power were combined to achieve one major forward thrust. :)

    The one thing I cannot get out of my head is the recurring theme of sailing ships in the context of Star Trek. Essentially, the Enterprise has more in common with a submarine in space, so what in space could possibly qualify as an analogy to wind to propel a starship?
    In "By Any Other Name" Spock said that the Enterprise is propelled by matter-antimatter reactors (or the energy these provide).

    Both matter-antimatter annihilation and nuclear fusion yield gamma radiation which is also abundant in space. Could it be that gamma radiation is the "wind" that energizes the warp engines and to have higher performances you just add extra radiation?

    Bob
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The impression I took from that is that what kirk stole was a important component, but not the entire cloaking device mechinism. After Kirk gave whatever it was to Scotty, Scotty then had to attach it to the Enterprise's deflector system to make it do anything.

    It couldn't cloak the Enterprise all by itself.

    :)
     
  3. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Right. Which is why I also wrote:


    :)

    --Alex
     
  4. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Two other thoughts. Re-examining the dialogue from "Balance of Terror" I couldn't help the feeling that the Romulan attack and testing mission was somewhat reminiscent of Dolittle's B-29 Tokyo raid in WWII where they discarded everything expendable to lower their weight.

    In one scene the Romulan Commander inquires whether they still have some old style nuclear warheads on board. Shouldn't he know what they have on board or not?

    As for "The Enterprise Incident" we learn that the mission is to acquire a Romulan cloaking device or maybe more specific the operating device. Theoretically the Enterprise could have been upgraded with the technology to produce a cloaking effect prior to the mission but still lacks one vital component - the cloaking device.
    In essence all Scotty had to do is install the device and throw the switch - which is basically what he did and all his usual lamentations (did Kirk sound bored on the Bridge?!) were just for drama...;)

    Bob
     
  5. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Nothing. The comparisons to sailing ships aren't worth much beyond the poetic. Can you imagine a starship becalmed, or unable to leave a starbase because the "winds" were unfavorable?
     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Do we seriously want to deprive ourselves of this poetry? Of course a starship wouldn't entirely depend on the "wind" of gamma radiation and/or dark energy.

    Since a starship has its own power source the analogy would rather be one of the mid-19th Century steamships that still had sails and thus could save their onboard supplies if the winds were favorable.

    Bob
     
  7. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Isn't that sort of what the collectors on the nacelle tips imply?
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Or perhaps a Flettner-wing sailing ship...

    The thing is, though, the environment never seems to play any role in starship propulsion. Our heroes never discuss "winds" of any sort, or subspace density, or even gravity - unless something catastrophically fails and for a rare once throws the ship at the mercy of the environment.

    Sure, perhaps the basics of starship propulsion are to be found in environmental factors, but of the sort that stay absolutely constant (except when they are weekly anomalies driving the plot) and thus never warrant dialogue mention. But anything known to today's physics fails that test... Gamma rays or dark matter density aren't homogeneous and dependable.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Not exactly. TOS did scan ahead for space and energy density (especially if it is something that they might have to fly through) and their "weather scans" spotted things like ion storms, etc. That might not exist in TNG because of different reasons but in TOS (and thus "Balance of Terror") the environment does seem to play a role in starship propulsion.
     
  10. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    If the "space wind" is omni-directional and effectively constant, then the comparison to sailing is pretty much worthless. The mid-to-late 1800s Royal Navy cruisers had to have sail rigs because the early engines weren't fuel-efficient enough to give them the range to patrol the empire. That doesn't seem comparable to anything in Trek.

    But that's different from being propelled by the "weather." A nuclear aircraft carrier tracks the weather ahead, but not because her propulsion depends on it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  11. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    True that ships are not propelled by the weather. However I was commenting on Timo's "The thing is, though, the environment never seems to play any role in starship propulsion. Our heroes never discuss "winds" of any sort, or subspace density, or even gravity..." which isn't true.

    The Valiant got swept out to edge or slightly outside of the galaxy by space weather (ion storm). The Galileo 7 got pulled abruptly to a nearby star system by a magnetic effect from the Murasaki 312. In TOS, space weather can play a role in a ship's flight path and speed. And if their engines aren't strong enough or turned off, they can be swept around by it.
     
  12. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    OK, the way I read the quote he's referring to "space weather" affecting or contributing to the actual propulsion of the vessel, not speed or course.

    Justin
     
  13. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    A valid idea. The matter/anti-matter reactor which provides power for Star Fleet vessels is typically referred to as the 'warp core'. Perhaps Romulan ships of this era did not have such a power source, instead relying on less powerful and efficient substitutes? The fusion reactors that power the impulse drive, perhaps.

    Indeed, if the warp engines can be powered from the fusion systems, this would explain how the damaged Enterprise could travel to Delta Vega in 'Where No Man Has Gone Before'.
     
  14. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It's unclear if the cloaking device was connected in any way to the Romulans shields. Years back though, I did propose that what a cloak was was basically a "inside out" shield, instead of keeping certain energy's out, it keep them inside the shield "bubble."

    That why it was a innovation when the klingon figure how to fire torpedoes without dropping the cloak.

    Also why in Generation when the BoP started to cloak, it's regular shields went down.


    Knowing which direction the wind is coming from does assist in the launching of aircraft.

    :)
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...And even a TV show about a good old-fashioned destroyer that doesn't carry any fragile aircraft might involve dialogue about the wind affecting the ship. And a TV show about airline pilots would definitely include constant commentary on wind - not just dangerous storm fronts, but the constant effect of wind on fuel consumption or course correction.

    But the thing I was commenting on was that no such dialogue is found in Trek. There's no "windage" as such, merely caution expressed on rare encounters with "space tornadoes". There's no benefit from a "tailwind" and no penalty from a "headwind" in dialogue, only the rare panic when a "subspace sandbar" drastically alters the environmental impact on propulsion.

    Of course, who knows what Chekov or Wes Crusher are actually doing when navigating the ship through seemingly featureless space? Perhaps they are constantly correcting for environmental factors, but never bothering to inform their CO about it? It's just that since there is no dialogue on that, it would be unwise to put too much significance on environmental factors in starship propulsion. If the selection of a course truly depended on what the "weather" looks like ahead, we would have to hear about it way more often.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Does anything need to be said when actions occur indicating the effect of environment on a ship, even at warp?

    In TOS, warp too close to a planet or star and it'll slow the effective speed to below sublight.

    Fly into an ion storm (the equivalent of a space typhoon or hurricane given the size) and you'll need strong engines to push through it.

    In the middle of a space battle, duck into a nearby nebula (the equivalent to naval ships taking refuge in a squall with lightning) and there is a definite resistance when entering it.

    You can observe the effects as depicted even without dialogue. No one on the bridge warns anyone about getting stopped by the Mutara Nebula and having to push in. Yet, the effects of space environment, the existence of a "weather report", does show that it does affect the flight of a starship. At least that's how I see it for TOS and the TOS movies. It's different when you look at the other series.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the movie generations, when the magnetic fields in a section space changed suddenly, a starship was compelled to make a slight course change.

    It somehow effected how the ship was getting to where it was going.

    :)
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    They even said "gravitational forces" instead of forcing us to think that "magnetic" is a 24th century word for gravitic pull... (The bit about "ambient magnetic fields" was apparently unrelated to the course corrections, and just the next item in Data's rant about the effects of the Amargosa detonation.)

    That's sort of silly - even a real spacecraft shouldn't need to mind the effects of a star blowing up lightyears away (especially since a star blowing up does not change the gravitational forces at a distance - the mass does not change in the explosion appreciably, so any changes would be limited to short distance ones from the symmetric redistribution of the mass a bit farther away from the centerpoint). But yes, it's there, and it does seem to establish that gravity still is a factor to be considered in starship navigation, even if it is never discussed.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Good find (or memory) T'Girl :)
     
  20. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    Something I have always found . . .perplexing, is how in "Balance of Terror" the "Enterprise" was far superior in engine design and speed yet by the time "The Enterprise Incident" rolls around the Romulan's EASILY catch-up to the "Enterprise" which is traveling at warp 9. How did their engine designs advance so far in two years?
     

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