Weaponized Warp Drive

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Herkimer Jitty, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Any propulsion system powerful enough to be interesting, is powerful enough to be a weapon, right? I may just be daft, but it seems to me that something caught up in a field crumpling up the fabric of space-time might have a bad day. Is it plausible in any way for warp drive to be weaponized?

    Probably a silly question.
     
  2. kv1at3485

    kv1at3485 Commodore Commodore

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    Seems to me they already have a practical equivalent in subspace weapons.
     
  3. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    What did Kirk use to do in the planet killer? What did Janeway use to destroy a Vidiian ship? Warp-core breach. Paris warned aliens tractoring Voyager's warp core after it had been ejected on two ocassions that carelessness could destroy their ship. So a weapon that is nothing be a warp core with a propulsion system and a detonation charge wrapped in a sleek casing?
     
  4. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, I was thinking more of the warp field than the warp core - we know that antimatter is bad mumbo-jumbo - its the main basis of photon torpedoes after all.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...Actually, Kirk blew the Constellation's impulse drive, that is, the fusion reactors, to kill the DDM. Which makes sense, because the DDM had somehow deactivated the antimatter in the main drive, and no doubt would have done the same to any torpedoes or other antimatter explosives fired at it.

    Apart from this nitpicking, yeah, a subspace field might be a weapon. But one wonders if a field erected by a warp engine would ever be "dense" enough for the application. The most physical damage we have seen generated by a warp field was the sparkling on the tether that Tucker used for moving from the Columbia to the Enterprise...

    We can always speculate that if a warp field is squeezed very, very tight and projected at the enemy, it becomes a phaser beam. Or if phasing and subspace are separate, unrelated phenomena, we can speculate that a shield is a subspace field that is stronger than any warp field, and will stop any warp field weapons with ease. The latter speculation is somewhat in line with backstage materials that describe shields as gravitons suspended in a subspace field.

    If so, then in order to make a "warp gun", one would need a really badass warp drive: the engines of a mere Galaxy couldn't hurt a shielded target no matter how violently they were used.

    Or perhaps one could build a "wave motion gun" into a standard starship, and fire offensive warp fields at the enemy through that. Who knows, perhaps the main deflector is such a gun, since it does need to have the ability to project a FTL field in order to perform its FTL path-sweeping duty.

    In addition to using the warp powerplant as a bomb, or using the warp field as some sort of a mangler or scrambler, there's the third weapon aspect of warp drives: fly into the enemy real fast. But we've never seen a warp ramming, nor heard its effects described as particularly destructive. We only ever hear of the possibility of such a maneuver once: in "BoBW", where Riker attempts a glorious end move in a hopeless battle against the Borg. It's uncertain if Riker hoped to achieve anything beyond a defiant gesture. The lack of evidence on this third way of weaponizing warp suggests that it might not work. Perhaps ships at warp possess minimal kinetic energy and inertia, and are easily and harmlessly stopped by anything physical, such as cardboard armor...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    Love the nod to Star Blazers!
     
  7. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    A federation starship's warp field can warp space-time to an incredible degree - warp 9.9... when warp 10 is infinite speed. I'm sure the shear forces generated by such a large space-time distorsion are fearsome and can be weaponized; for example they could tear a planet to pieces - and I'm sure they could affect starships, too, despite gravitational shields or inertial dampers.
     
  8. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    Deactivated antimatter...

    My take. Somehow the Planet Killer caused the antimatter pods to destablize... either through some weird technobabble or by shear physical damage to the ship. The resulted in the pods being ejected.

    Therefore the antimatter system was deactivated due to lack of fuel/damage.
     
  9. Saquist

    Saquist Commodore

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    The thread title seemed humorous. weaponized as though it's a bio agent...
     
  10. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe the thing about a tricobalt device and its potential effects on subspace isn't exactly what you have in mind, but maybe the two concepts scrape shields a little (or should I say. "warp bubbles"?).

    Memory Alpha: Tricobalt Device
     
  11. BlastHardcheese

    BlastHardcheese Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In BOBW II Riker nearly did order Wesley to step on the gas and hit the Borg cube at warp 9. Maybe he believed it would do the trick. Or it could have been a last ditch-effort act of defiance.

    I have doubts about it being an effective tactic because we've seen no canon evidence of starfleet developing missiles that hit targets while travelling at warp speed. We have canon evidence that photon and quantum torpedoes can travel at warp speed but we don't know if they hit their target while at warp or drop out of warp to deliver the payload.

    I have a hunch that the effect of a subspace field somehow prevents an object at warp from damaging anything in real space. It could be something to do with the mass of the warping object being lowered to achieve warp speed.

    Now that I think about it, Wesley crusher developed a practical warp weapon. A static warp shell could encompass an entire ship like a borg cube instead of just one distressed Enterprise doctor. As I recall it took an outside beacon and the traveler's help to give Crusher a way home. As for the Borg or any other enemy, I think they'd hardly know what to do about what looks like the real universe ceasing to exist all around them.
     
  12. Saquist

    Saquist Commodore

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    The tricobalt warhead has been in use alot but the device Voyager used wasn't just a warhead.
     
  13. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    What is a photon torpdeo, other than a miniaturized, automated warp engine, built to self destruct upon impacting its target?
     
  14. JuanBolio

    JuanBolio Admiral Admiral

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    I think you're confusing warp drive's power source - a matter/antimatter reaction - with the warp field and drive itself. We already know an antimatter bomb is destructive, but what about the distortion field created by the engine nacelles? Anything that can bend and stretch the fabric of space-time has some pretty terrifying implications.

    For my money, yes, warp drive could be a terrible weapon. Ramming probably wouldn't do much good, but the forces imparted by the field itself could probably do serious damage to ships and even planets. I think this is what subspace weapons are - warp field bombs capable of ripping apart damn near anything.
     
  15. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This was implemented in Vendetta actually. The Borg broke out of the bubble, though it substantially drained their power.

    Also, the reality inside the bubble is formed based on what the person who ends up trapped inside it is thinking about at the time; I have no idea how that would work for the Borg, but they probably wouldn't experience the Crusher 'disappearing people' universe.
     
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not exactly, since warp drive is a field-propulsion system and its effects are relatively limited.

    But technically speaking, any working warp engine should also be able to double as one hell of a deflector shield. Since the warp bubble is programmed to provide motion to a particular region in a particular direction at a particular speed, it wouldn't take much to reconfigure the engine to produce that motion at a boundary layer OUTSIDE the ship. In other words, a warp engine that can propel your ship at warp nine can also propel enemy torpedoes away from you at the same velocity.

    As for a weapon... theoretically, a warp field should allow a starship to ram just about anything--even at warp speed--and obliterate it on contact without suffering any damage. Obviously, some of the energy from the warp field will be transferred to the object so you'll loose power pretty quickly, establishing an upper limit to what you can ram. But it would work out something like the "meteor" weapons used by the Arilou in the Star Control games: the ship suddenly turns into a fast-moving fireball screaming through space that pulverizes anything it runs into.

    If this is all too esoteric for you, I invite you to contenmplate the effects of engaging warp drive in an atmosphere. Imagine a mass of air several hundred meters accross being suddenly accelerated to the speed of light; now imagine the shockwave produced by that acceleration being propelled in the general direction of New York City.:klingon:
     
  17. Plecostomus

    Plecostomus Commodore

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    Androsynth, not Arilou. :techman:

    Arilou are the ones with the inertia-less skiff/flying saucers.
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry. Been a while.
     
  19. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Despite the (scant) evidence to the contrary, I like to envision a ship's warp field capable of tearing a continental plate off the mantle.

    As for ship-to-ship weapons, I think the burden would be on the person who would assert that preferentially warping one part of a spaceship and not the other would not be effective.
     
  20. JuanBolio

    JuanBolio Admiral Admiral

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    I tend to agree.

    ...which makes me wonder how in the hell any civilization could survive allowing any potentially unstable Joe Cargo Hauler access to one.