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Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,838
# 20
09-12-2013, 08:32 AM
Originally Posted by stirling191 View Post
Warp is the generic term for FTL travel using a localized pocket of subspace to change the "rules of the road" as it were that prevent realisitc hyperliminal travel in normal space time. The power used to create the warp field has no bearing on the use of the term. For example, "modern" Romulan ships using singularity cores are described as traveling at warp.
Actually, it does seem influence the terminology to a large degree.
The matter-antimatter collider used on Federation starships is called a "warpcore".
If it is put on a station or a planet, it is probably not going to be called warpcore is it?

It's probably one of those weird things like the term "car battery", which isn't a battery but an accumulator but nobody mentions that in this context either.

Another example is "Elaan of Troiyus", where the Enterprise's warp propulsion is sabotaged.
Later when new crystals are installed, Kirk orders Scotty to transfer power to the shields by saying "Warp-in Scotty, full power to shields!"
Only later does he order helm to increase speed beyond impulse.
So in that sense "warp" was not a form of propulsion to him, but a source of power.

You can also see this in "The Doomsday Machine" where Kirk asks "Am I correct in assuming that a fusion explosion of ninety seven megatons will result if a starship impulse engine is overloaded?"
Realistically speaking, the engine is not overloaded but the fusion reactor(s) powering the engine, but in the terminology used here we're lucky to get the information that impulse engines are fusion-powered at all.

Originally Posted by stirling191 View Post
As for the Phoenix being fission vs. m/am powered, that one I don't think has a definitive answer. Anecdotal and behind the scenes evidence seems to point to it being m/am powered (the explicit description of "plasma injectors", or discussions early on in the design phase of how components from the missile the ship rode in might be used to kickstart the Phoenix' warp drive), but there's nothing airtight that I'm aware of.
Since we can already produce plasma today even though we don't have proper fusion or antimatter generators, I don't think the fact that there are plasma injectors mentioned mean antimatter is involved.
The injectors are only there to put the plasma that is produced into the warpcoils that then phase it into subspace and thus produce the so-called warpfield.
That can be done with plasma from any source, the main difference between plasma from "low-tech" like fission or fusion would be that the whole process would be far less fuel efficient and it's probably a lot more difficult to get plasma that is "hot" enough for really high speeds.

There's also an interesting point to consider: in "Balance of Terror" when the Romulan ship fires on the Enterprise, Kirk orders full reverse at warp speed.
Yet the flaming red ball of doom is faster than the Enterprise at warp.
Without any kind of FTL tech it would have impossible for the the Romulans to have fired their weapon so it can travel at warp speed.