Let's Discuss the Romulan Bird of Prey!

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

  1. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Then he should have said, "Not too soon to stand on the stars of home" :p You know, to take the statement literally ;)

    Although given the long lifespan of the Vulcans wouldn't the Romulans also have a long life? A hundred campaigns doesn't seem too odd.

    Besides, we've seen ships go home on impulse power and it isn't made out to be a hundred-year-beyond-human-lifespan trip. See the Excelsior from "The Undiscovered Country" and Enterprise from "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
     
  2. Crazyewok

    Crazyewok Commander Red Shirt

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    Then that means impulse is capable of going faster than light.
    I can live with that. That impulse can go faster than light but is not as effective as normal warp.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But therein lies the problem: if travel is fast enough to take you to a comet in a random nearby star system, it is fast enough that the comet cannot act as a diversion: it would take just fractions of a second to go through the tail!

    Naah, the Commander was just anxious to see the popular girl band Pleiades and the stand-up comedian who does the superb Sarek impression.

    The Excelsior did not span an interstellar distance at impulse in ST6. The Enterprise in turn spanned a distance explicitly established to be "a few light days" in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", again not interstellar. Indeed, in the latter case, it was also said that impulse drive cannot take the heroes back home at all, since even the nearest bases are "years" away.

    A ship on impulse drive has never spanned an interstellar distance on screen. At most we have seen ships on impulse at the start and/or end of an interstellar journey, but we have massive precedent that this is what warp-capable ships routinely do when going from star to star anyway: they start out slow, they then do high warp, and they again slow down.

    It is a different issue that ships credited with nothing but "impulse power" or "impulse engines" have gone interstellar off screen. What remains to be established is whether this crediting missed the fact that the ships in fact also had warp drive.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I am increasingly of the opinion that the Romulan BoP does in fact have warp engines, but, rather than an anti-matter reactor, they have a fusion reactor, very much like the Federation uses for Impulse engines. So, in this case, Scotty's line refers to their reactor that generates far less electricity than Kirk's does. "Simple Impulse" in this case would be a colloquial expression that everyone would understand meant a powerful fusion reactor, not unlike their own impulse engine reactors, but far inferior to the M/AM reactors the Enterprise enjoys.

    --Alex
     
  5. YJAGG

    YJAGG Commander Red Shirt

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  6. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    That makes sense. It also allows for the possibility that the Romulans would be able to upgrade their warp drive once they learned how to harness the power generated by a quantum singularity as seen in TNG.

    --Sran
     
  7. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Well let's see. In TOS ships at warp have a slower FTL speed near a star.
    - From the time Kirk gives Sulu the go ahead to go get them till the point the Enterprise enters the comet's tail is approx 52s.
    - The BOP enters the comet's tail ~21s after Kirk gives his order.
    - Kirk is fully expecting to see the BOP on the other side of the tail.
    - The Enterprise's time through the tail is approx 28s.
    - The BOP's expected time through the tail would have been less than 60s.

    Drawn into a star system near a comet, the Enterprise is only twice as fast as the BOP going through the tail.

    If the star that gave the comet it's ionized tail was in the same square as the comet and Romulus/Romii orbited it then I think the planetary orbits would cross the neutral zone. But if you think of Romulus and Romii as stars of the Romulan Empire then the star in the square is just a star system outside of the neutral zone.

    When the Enterprise was earlier racing over many squares to Outpost 4 she could cross them something like 54x faster than the BOP could cross just one. But still it's not thousands of times faster if it was FTL vs STL though.

    As far as we are led to believe they would've gone home under full impulse power.
    Sulu: We're heading home under full impulse power.
    Kirk states that on impulse power trips that would take days would now take years. He didn't indicate that the interstellar trip was impossible.
    Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone. Earth bases which were only days away are now years in the distance.
    You've got that mixed up. They were certainly heading to the nearest base that was years away. It was the diversion to Delta Vega that threatened to get them stuck in orbit.

    The Romulan BOP spanned an interstellar distance on simple impulse in "Balance of Terror".

    And again, the Excelsior and Enterprise were undertaking a slow trip home at impulse power in "The Undiscovered Country" and "WNMHGB", respectively. I would also guess that the crippled Enterprise made an impulse run to cover the remainder of her interstellar journey to the Regula station after getting jumped by the Reliant in "The Wrath of Khan".

    Perhaps it bugs you also that other non-Warp Drive identified ships also went FTL in TOS?

    Howabout the "Ion Engined" FTL shuttle that chased the Enterprise in "The Menagerie"? Or the "Ion Propulsion" starship from "Spock's Brain"? Or the "Total Converson Drive" of the Doomsday Machine? Or the "Hyperdrive" of the early Enterprise from "The Cage/The Menagerie"?

    Would it ease your sensibilities if you thought of an impulse engine as a primitive and inefficient space warp drive? Or just inefficiently powering an FTL drive like Albertese suggests below? :)

    That's pretty reasonable. TOS could've been more specific in identifying FTL drive types whereas TNG everything FTL is lumped into "warp drive" and everything no longer meant to be FTL was called "impulse". IMHO, of course.
     
  8. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I would further add, that, given that lack of any other sign of enginery elsewhere, the warp nacelles pull double duty as the STL drive. I have long supported the contention that an Impulse Engine is a subspace field device and not a rocket. So, keeping the nacelles powered at a low throttle setting makes the ship putter around a bit compared to other ships, or even it's own performance at other times. But it serves a twofold purpose; allowing the required energy for the cloaking device to operate as well as keeping the field signature low enough to be be more readily suppressed.

    --Alex
     
  9. zDarby

    zDarby Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    My biggest difficulty with fusion as a power source for warp is that less than 1% of a fusion fuel's mass is turned into energy when burned. And in the case of single, uncatylized deuteium fusion, it's less than 0.1%. That translates into 100 - 1000 times the mass in fuel for the same range at any given warp factor compared to M/AM. And I'm not sure there's room for that much tankage even if we assume the nacelles of the BOP are the same size as those of Enterprise.

    At the same time, the shape of the neutral zone --roughly linear-- makes no sense if you're encircling a single system, for which you'd want a sphere. And as has been stated earlier on this thread, an STL society poses no threar to an FTL Federation. Thus Romulan FTL is implied and the impulse power statement becomes one of fusion warp power.
     
  10. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Perhaps with our limited 21st Century understanding of the physics involved. The Romulans may have had thousands of years to get it to work well enough to be a good choice for their needs. No doubt, their fusion reactors have the same historical roots as the Vulcans which no doubt are at least conceptually represented in the fusion reactors in modern Federation impulse drives.

    For my money, "Real Science" has only a back-seat informative role when massaging the numbers for the magic we see in shows like Star Trek.

    --Alex
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So, the two ships are explicitly traveling at very low sublight speeds (as the dimensions of a comet are known well enough). Which is impossible if the ships were capable of reasonable FTL speeds, because no skipper would dare the "shallows" of a star system if it imposed such a crippling penalty.

    ...Kirk should be screaming at the top of his voice "It's a trap!". Since he doesn't, he's either a complete idiot, or the pseudo-physics and pseudo-tactics of the situation don't add up to your model.

    Which proves it wasn't FTL vs. STL to my satisfaction, but high FTL vs. low FTL. (Bob's clever "The Enterprise entered the map at an acute angle" excuse notwithstanding...)

    However, the point is that this only applies to this single scene. As a whole, the episode is a hopeless mess, offering equal evidence for half a dozen scenarios, each sillier than the previous one. Which is why I feel it's best to hand-pick the evidence that points to high FTL vs. low FTL because that's consistent with the rest of Star Trek as a whole, and to invent absurd rationalizations for solid contrary evidence such as the comet debacle.

    It just follows that one of the things that can be safely thrown away is the idea that the Romulans would be limited to impulse speeds. Indeed, it's the safest such ejection, as it contradicts nothing but the educated guess of a fallible character.

    Such dialogue never indicated the journey would involve one speed only. Kirk headed to his next adventure at warp one often enough, but this is no proof that he would have reached the destination after a warp one journey.

    No, just wholly impractical. Romulans certainly couldn't fight interstellar wars with drives like that. So whether it's sublight travel or low FTL travel, it solves none of our problems, and we could simply leave it at sublight for simplicity and consistency.

    Highly debatable that it moved "on simple impulse". Wholly incorrect that it went from star to star!

    Quite possible. But the length of that run was never established - and the encounter already took place at impulse, without any reference to the Enterprise dropping out of warp, so odds are that both ships were on the doorstep of the Regula system already.

    That would also be the tactically smart position for Khan to intercept: he would still be jamming Regula (in case those folks he knew escaped from him were sending signals), and he'd know with 100% certainty that Kirk would be coming to that very spot.

    Plus it makes dramatic sense: Khan has full choice of intercept distances, and has to abort his torturing and hunting of Genesis scientists for the intercept. Surely he'd delay to the very last second.

    But none did! All the examples you already quoted were faulty already.

    And what makes these "non-warp"? At most, they are "not identified as warp", which is very different from being "identified as non-warp".

    Neither of the options solves any of the "BoT" problems where the Romulan drive is neither primitive nor inefficient (in a number of scenes) or where the Enterprise drive must be primitive and inefficient as well (in other scenes).

    But if "everything" such as ion power, hyperdrive and whatnot gets called "warp", then surely your version of TOS impulse would get called "warp" as well, as it meets the very same criteria (i.e. it's FTL by another name).

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Also,

    Umm, far from linear. The map we see has the acutely curved Zone cradling the dots Romulus and Romii in a manner that would place a putative "central star of the system" only about three Romulus-Zone distances to the lower right of the map area in the minimum estimate. Even a maximum estimate would keep the scale reasonable, and would perhaps make it likelier for Romulus and Romii to be co-orbiting planets.

    If Earth dictated the segregation of the galaxy to "ours" and "theirs", why bother placing the RNZ any farther out from the orbit of the Romulan homeworld and its twin than absolutely necessary? It would make good sense for the Romulus-Zone distance to be something like 1/3 AU, the scaling then leaving the Outposts orbiting reasonably close to each other.

    As for why the Zone isn't a perfect stretch of a circle/sphere, well, the Outposts aren't in a neat circle in this map. They might be in a map drawn two weeks later, though - after all, they are moving... The definition of the Zone might not be "X kilometers from the local star", but more like "Y kilometers from the nearest guard tower", a definition the victor and dictator of the treaty would favor, as it would keep the Romulans humiliatingly on their toes while making astro-engineering of the fortress chain simpler for the Earth side. :devil:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, comets tail range up to 3.5 AU. The length of the comet's tail as seen in the original FX is 8 times the width at the point of entry for the Enterprise and presumably the Romulan ship.

    If the ion tail is only 1 AU in length, it would take roughly 62s for a ship to cross the width of the tail at the speed of light. At 1.5 AU in length, 93s at the speed of light. Its quite possible for the Romulan BOP to be at FTL.

    Those are two separate issues.

    Tactics: Both the Romulan and Kirk considered that comet as a trap for each other for different reasons. One to obscure their doubling back and the other to make them visible to attack.

    TOS physics: The Enterprise is considerably faster earlier in the episode as she races across the map to Outpost 4. However she's slower at the comet and since comets form tails when they're pretty close to a star (like within 4 AU) then it is consistent with slower FTL speeds at warp.

    Interestingly if you look at the star map, you'll see a single star in that square that would contain the comet.

    But with the fight ending at the neutral zone, we don't know if the comet's star is just it's own star system or the main star for Romulus/Romii. Since it is on the Federation side of the zone I would argue that it is it's own star otherwise Romulus/Romii orbits would go into Federation space :)


    I don't think it was FTL vs STL and I wasn't arguing for it. FTL vs FTL yes.

    Well that is because you're trying to rationalize and make it work with in the TNG and later framework. Within TOS it is pretty consistent.

    And that isn't the argument is it? It's the idea that impulse speeds can include low-FTL speeds in TOS that troubles you.

    The time when Kirk orders Warp 1 upon leaving a star system does he give a destination vs the Sulu and Kirk giving a clear destination at impulse?

    Romulans have a long life span whereas Earthlings do not. Interstellar wars with low FTL engines doesn't sound impractical from the Romulans POV. They are disadvantaged against the faster warp driven ships of the Federation though.

    It's not debatable that it moved on "simple impulse".
    It's highly debatable how fast "simple impulse" can be. :)

    Well since there is no reference to the Enterprise dropping out of warp prior to her "12 hours away at present speed" dialogue it is more likely they were still at warp five.

    Coincidentally, warp five is the speed where the Romulans fought the Enterprise in "The Deadly Years" and kept up with her. An impulse-powered Reliant intercepting the Enterprise while she's at Warp 5. :)

    Because they aren't called as "warp drive" ships and yet went FTL. Pretty simple, huh? :)

    You have yet to provide any evidence to support that. The episode clearly shows that the Romulan drive is slower than the Enterprise.

    Since all the dialogue in question takes place in TOS times then why would they use TNG definitions? I was offering a rationalization that in TNG-continuity they simplified their classification. Think of it as Pluto being re-classified as no longer a planet ;)
     
  14. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Now nacelles alone do not a warp drive make--take the small el Baz shuttle. It has nacelles, but is clearly sublight.

    Now I have heard it discussed over at Phil Plait's old Bad Astronomy site (Cosmoquest now) about a slower than light use for warp drive.

    Here is my stair step analogy. Impulse nacelles come first--they are shrunk down enough to be put in arrays in the back of the saucer/ROM Bop. Then the main nacelles are hollowed out, and the nacalles filled with newer coils to be true warp-drive nacelles

    Repeat.

    In time, El Baz will be a warp shuttle.

    Early on, in the Trek Chronology, we saw the tube shaped ROM bop. Those were El Baz type sublight-only nacelles too.

    So the ROM BOP is towed by a cabbage class, and the nacelles are sublight only.

    Later, we see the Rom Bop in the blueprints with the standard impulse deck, the missile tubes in the wings, the landing gear, and true warp nacelles.

    This is the Production Bop we see later in the series, after taking delivery of D-7 to bridge the warp gap.

    That's the story I'm sticking with.

    Cabbage class ships from Masao are clearly vulcan derived in that they remind one of their ringships.

    That stayed in the background and monitored the battle. It was what the Bop was signaling, and what got the young soldier in trouble with Lenard's commander.

    Had the attack been successful, a Romulan pretends to be another Vulcan crewman, and the Rom Bop designed to look like a saucer that separated from the stardrive has another target.

    I'm going to say that right when Enterprise looked disabled the Cabbage might have been close to uncloaking to help finish it off when--surprise--Kirk wins the day.

    Back to the drawing boards. Test complete
     
  15. Nero's Shadow

    Nero's Shadow Captain Captain

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    Just been looking at the blueprints and I love the two three man shuttle pods [​IMG]
     
  16. Nero's Shadow

    Nero's Shadow Captain Captain

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    And it looks like the Romulan BOP has a warp drive capabilities see section 6 [​IMG]
     
  17. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Yep! Of course, these prints were mentioned a few times upthread. My intent was to examine the BoP as it appeared on screen, not so much to review these prints at all.

    That said, there are really some cool ideas on these prints.

    Thanks!

    --Alex
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    [​IMG]

    The asteroids that the outposts are constructed inside of are part of a asteroid belt ouside to Rom/Rem's own orbit. There would be an entire circle of about eighty outposts completely around the Romulan star. The neutral zone itself is inside the orbits of the asteroids.

    As Rom/Rem orbit during the course of the local year, they continuiously move past the line of outposts, in their larger, slower moving orbits.

    The particular outposts attacked just happen to be in conjuction with the two planets at the time of the attack.

    :)
     
  19. zDarby

    zDarby Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I've been trying to let this notion roll around in me gob before replying so as I don't spit out a knee-jerk reaction.

    But my first thought remains foremost in my head:

    While this may be a valid argument for many other parts of Star Trek.... Nuclear fusion energy comes from the difference in mass between the fuel and the exhaust. If the energy is coming from somewhere else, it's not nuclear fusion. In order to get a mass to energy conversion of 1% or more from a nuclear fusion reaction, the mass of the particles would have to be radically different than what we know them to be and, therefore, the laws of physics would have to be radically different. In which case, we're arguing angles on the head of a needle.

    Now, we could speculate that "fusion" does not mean "nuclear fusion" in which case we've got a completely different discussion on our hands. But as long as we stipulate "nuclear fusion" we are stuck with less than a 1% mass to energy conversion. And, thus, stuck with tankages 100 to 1000 times less than M/AM fuel.

    Unless, as I speculated earlier, we stipulate ram scoops.
     
  20. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    zDarby, you seem better read on the subject of nuclear fusion than I. Is this 1% figure discovered from actual laboratory experiments in nuclear fusion? If so, how does this compare to stellar fusion? I wonder if the technology to generate artificial gravity could allow gravitationally controlled fusion which might yield more efficient power? What do you say?

    --Alex