Saucer Separation

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by xvicente, May 2, 2013.

  1. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    When we talk about the ship's creators, are we talking about the in-show engineers, or the TNG production crew? I ask because the latter is the reason why shuttles at first didn't have warp drive, which was especially ridiculous since they'd be used for long, long trips on impulse to other systems, when warp would get them there in a few minutes. Thankfully that's changed, but narratively speaking, warp-less shuttles was a silly concept that didn't take into account the vast gulfs of space.
     
  2. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2010
    I always thought shuttles would be used as a substitute for transporting to and from planets or adjacent starbases. And that's how they were typically used in TOS. The fragile and low-range nature of shuttles is a good story vehicle, which was played up on The Galileo 7. So I don't see it as "silly" at all. It also helps warp drive feel a little more special to not have it so ubiquitous and miniaturized as in TNG onward. A warp engine in the TOS era is something that requires space and a fair amount of tending by trained engineers. It's not this tiny little thing that sits under the floorboards that you never think about.

    As for the saucer having warp... It's got sub-space radio, right? So either the saucer lands on a nearby planet (as conceived for TOS) or it stays in space and then calls for help when the coast is clear. If that's not good enough for an emergency procedure, then why not say the lifeboats also have warp drive? At some point you're going to have to just rough-it.
     
  3. Shat Happens

    Shat Happens Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    It does? where?
     
  4. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Trump Tower
    There it's commonly assumed the arboretum is.

    Also, it's implied in Brothers that the saucer doesn't have warp:

    If Data did have control of the then separated saucer, what would have stopped him from engaging it's warp?

    (aside from the fact it didn't have any)

    Fandom needs to learn to read between the lines. You don't have to be smacked in the face with something to know it is or isn't there. Rectonning the retconning of the slopping script or understanding of science and distance is one of the things that killed the franchise.
     
  5. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    Warrior, AL
    IIRC in EaF it was mentioned that when the saucer separated it would still be at warp for a while- the ship was traveling at it's maximum redline speed trying to outrun Q so the the saucer could have spent some significant tome in that leftover warp shell and dropped out of warp on the edges of the Farpoint system.
    I do think some sort of Sustainer field generator would be good to have an the saucer- if they could cram that and a passenger into a torpedo casing then embedding one in the hull of the saucer should not be too difficult. Having an actual warp engine in the saucer is also not a bad idea and should not involve having glowing bits showing. If you carried/produced hydrogen you would not need the bussard collectors and you do not have to have exposed coils to produce a field. It may only travel at warp 3 but it is better than being relatively stranded in interstellar space waiting for someone to come get you.
     
  6. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Location:
    Erie, PA, USA
    That's what I figured; it was at least one of those things if not both. Saucer has a hidden nacelle allowing them to make Warp 1 for a limited time and a warp field sustainer for when the ship separates at higher warp speeds.
     
  7. Dick_Valentine

    Dick_Valentine Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2011
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK (Not Alabama)
    I think there's a difference between what we see as a lifeboat today and a Separated self sustaining saucer section where no-one is at risk of drowning or starving to death.

    I'm fully prepared to believed the Federation's intent of the Saucer Sep was for threat scenarios they're aware of in advance and emergency evacuation from warp core breaches like in Generations, not mid-battle improvised separating
    The saucer is expected to find a safe harbour and await rescue, since it's a pretty resplendent cruise ship I guess the crew could mess around on the holodecks for a few months until Starfleet can get to them.

    The later development of the Prometheus class may suggest Starfleet saw this policy wasn't working and decided to to something different with the separation scenario.
    Less having civilians around to save and more turning a big battle ship into several smaller more maneuverable battle ships.
    (anyone who ever saw Robot Wars with their cluster bots will know what they mean :p )

    (Also on the Prometheus thing, when it separates a tiny, previously hidden warp nacelle appears on the saucer section so......there's that ;) )
     
  8. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gene's office
    Except Squiggy won the thread.
     
  9. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    In BOBW, Riker nixes Shelby's idea of separating the saucer because they might need the energy from the saucer's impulse engines. Had the saucer had warp drive, I'm sure it would have come up during the show. I guess Andy Probert would know best.
     
  10. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Kirk's shuttle in "The Menagerie" must have been chasing the Enterprise at warp speed.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    And the saucer must have been flying at warp speed in one episode, and supposed to accelerate to warp speed in another. Which is why we know the warp drive is there - we were smacked in the face with it, twice.

    Yet it's the writers that are retconning here - the saucer did have warp until that point, as evidenced from all the plots involving saucer separation. (Although retconning is a bit of a misnomer, as it would call for continuity in the first place, and continuity in treknology tends to be accidental only. Thankfully, so is discontinuity...)

    However, what the fans did or did not do had no impact on the franchise at any point. Or on the writers or the quality of their work. What we do here at the forum stays at the forum for the most part; whatever tiny leakage there is to the novels doesn't much affect their artistic quality, writing style or other relevant things.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gene's office
    What episode was this?
     
  13. Kobayshi Maru

    Kobayshi Maru Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2014
    Location:
    France
    Apparently, they separated in the borg-Picard-turned-into-a-drone episode (number two), although for the life of me I couldn't say why. Seems they wanted to fool Picard aka Locutus into thinking that they were implementing an old plan while they were in fact... not. On the other hand, there are a few things that are seen in the first episode that are never spoken of in the subsequent episodes ever again, e.g. men in skirts...
     
  14. Alrik

    Alrik Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Location:
    Alrik is on A deck chair, somewhere....
    Good question. In EaF they were at Warp when they separated. In Arsenal of Freedom, Geordi ordered the intact Enterprise to Warp from the system, separate, then returned with only the Star Drive section. In BoBW, both section were at impulse. I don't recall any discussion about going to Warp. Finally, in Generations, the saucer was just being used as a lifeboat. That was it for separations.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    It's a case of a one-two punch.

    1) "Farpoint" establishes that the saucer can travel at warp for a long time and across a long distance when separated at warp. If the saucer dropped to impulse soon after separation, it could not reach Farpoint in the time allocated, but would limp there when "All Good Things..." end credits were rolling, if then - remember, it was backtracking several minutes of extreme-warp flight by the combined ship, plus whatever distance remained between the location of the first Q encounter and Farpoint.

    2) In "Arsenal", the saucer is not separated at warp when it's facing an interstellar journey crucial to the safety of the crew, not to mention the urgent need to put distance between the saucer and a deadly enemy. This would be an offense calling for a firing squad or worse unless the saucer could attain warp on its own.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Mr. Laser Beam is in the visitor's bullpen
    I think it's safe to assume the saucer has some kind of warp engine, I just don't see how it couldn't. As many people have pointed out, the very people who would benefit from such things (families, civilians) would be put in terrible risk if it didn't have warp.

    Or, to put it another way...*sings*

    There will be no more isolation
    In our saucer separation
    You engaged warp so briefly, you rescued me....now free me
     
  17. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Trump Tower
    Bzzt. Wrong.

    TMP showed us full impulse could reach speeds of 1/3c.

    You could be outside a star system and get to it in hardly any time at this speed of impulse. We also don't really know how much time passed to get back to the saucer section. Could've been days for all we know.

    I'm guessing the next 100 years of engine designs upped that maximum impulse speed, but in TNG you could go only 1,000,000 km in 3 minutes at 3/4 impulse (33,333,333 km per minute/.75= 44,444,444km/hr or .04c at full impulse).

    Let's just assume that TNG reference is wrong because it doesn't fit what I'm trying to say...which seems to be perfectly ok. Why would 100 years of engine design make an engine go 1/10 as fast? Why would a ship of any size have three speeds? Barely moving, sorta barely moving, and then faster than light)

    Even warp factors are all over the place. Sometimes you can warp in a system, unless you can't. Sometimes you can turn at warp, unless you can't. What does this mean?

    The only speed that matters is the speed of the plot.

    The speed of this plot.

    There was no episode of TNG where a sub-light traveling saucer section accelerated to warp. Nor was there any indication of distance traveled by said saucer section.

    Nor has there been any reference to a warp system in the Galaxy Class saucer section - either on screen in dialogue, on the MSD, or in any of the official and countless off screen technical schematics.

    There seems to be an assumption that there were vast distances needed to travel, but it could just as easily be assumed that the saucer section dropped out of warp and then by some sort of wizardry became invisible to sensors thanks to the hyperbolaric plasmotic enducer reduction assembly located on deck 8 (just aft of where the whale lounge was).
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Which doesn't affect the fact that with warp, you could get there much faster. So if LaForge didn't give the saucer a warp boost, he was still making their trip a hundred times longer, or perhaps ten thousand times longer, for no defensible reason whatsoever.

    Unless the saucer can accelerate to warp on its own, that is.

    In "Farpoint"? Nobody went back to the saucer; it crossed significant interstellar distances all on its own.

    In "Arsenal"? Nobody was supposed to - the saucer was to reach a starbase. While this probably did not happen, it's the original plan that matters.

    Because you are pushing a ship ten times more massive? Actually, 1/10 performance would be perfectly consistent because "Relics" mentions that there hasn't been much development there (apparently, you can't improve on perfection until the next supergenius is born or the next alien species with radical new ideas is encountered) and because Picard's ship indeed is ten (or more like thirty) times more voluminous and thus probably more massive than Kirk's.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. Squiggy

    Squiggy FrozenToad Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2006
    Location:
    Trump Tower
    So you'd justify that by saying the Federation...a collection of untold billions of scientists, scholars, and explorers...stuck the engine of the Wright Flyer on a 777?
     
  20. Alrik

    Alrik Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Location:
    Alrik is on A deck chair, somewhere....
    As Squiggy stated, there is absolutely nothing that would point to the saucer having warp drive. And why would it need to? By all accounts, it was designed to be a safe haven, and even a life boat for the 100's of civilian and non-relevant personnel on board. It had impulse drive to get them on their way, but it also had subspace communications capabilities for reaching out to the closest Federation ship or Starbase to ask for a tow. There was never anything that suggested otherwise.