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rjbs (4671)

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I'm a Perl coder living in Bethlehem, PA and working Philadelphia. I'm a philosopher and theologan by training, but I was shocked to learn upon my graduation that these skills don't have many associated careers. Now I write code.

Journal of rjbs (4671)

Tuesday December 19, 2006
11:10 AM

yet another trek-bashing entry

[ #31968 ]

In "Doctor's Orders," Enterprise has to cross through a giant Crazy Cloud (actually, they call it Reconfigured Space, which is just about as silly). Humans who are conscious will suffer brain damage, so Phlox puts them all into comas. He and T'Pol take care of the ship while it goes through the cloud.

Early on, it is established that it will take less than an hour to cross the cloud at Warp 4, or at least four days at impulse. Warp 4 is, then, 96 times faster than full impulse, at the slowest. If we pretend that full impulse is within some tiny fraction of c, then Warp 4 is about 96c, meaning that in one year a vessel travelling at Warp 4 (if it could somehow maintain that speed without refuelling or breaking down) could travel 96 light years, or 48 in six months. As I recall, most of the "100 planets likely to have Earth-like planets" are at least 30 ly or so from Earth. I wonder whether their ship is actually faster, or whether they just assume that any star, no matter how huge, tiny, hot, or cold, can support "M-class" planets.

Even though I've been giving them a lot of crap, lately, I sympathize with the Trek writers. I run an interplanetary, interstellar RPG. It's hard to make things both internally consistent, plausible, and useful to the plot. Worse, it's horrible when you realize that you've already violated what you thought were your Rules in a pretty public way, and you now have to revise them to be internally consistent with a mistake. Oh, the nightmares of planets around variable stars, colonies on tidally locked bodies, and corporate finance!

I wonder if modern writers who work on these sort of large, multi-author settings maintain something like a wiki of facts, secrets, and rules of thumb.

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  • I remember a writer involved in a Sci-Fi was show was once asked about the speed that a certain fighter type ship was capable of, to which he replied something along the lines of "at the speed of the plot".

    I know how important it is to provide a consistent universe for RPGs, but in general I agree with the above quote, in this case, rules shouldn't get in the way of the story you're are trying to tell.

    BTW, Which system are you using?
    • I started using d20, but I found that it didn't suit the game. Eventually we switched to the Storyteller System, d10, with some minor changes.
  • If you're wondering how he eats or breathes
    or other science facts (la-la-la)
    Remember it's just a TV show
    You should really just relax
  • I've heard references to a "bible" in the Battlestar Galactica podcasts Ron Moore does, and it sounds like a compendium of background info for the writers and cast to use.

    I'd assume any long-running TV show that has any concern for consistency must have such a thing. The BSG folks are _very_ concerned about internal consistency in the show, so they've gotta have such a thing, but even Trek wasn't totally random.

    A wiki would be a great tool for this. Maybe Socialtext needs to start pitching to TV studios ;)
  • From Enterprise s3e19, Damage, Enterprise must reach a rendezvous 4 ly away. T'Pol claims that they need Warp 3 to make it there in 3 days. Four light years is about 1460 light days. Travelling 1460 light days in 3 days requires travelling at 486c. I guess Warp 3 is faster than Warp 4!