Of Starships and Warp Drives

Star Trek again? Yep. I hadn’t planned it, but I didn’t want to miss a trending topic by delaying this post by a couple weeks or more. Besides, this is a three-fer….

So, have you all seen Star Trek Beyond, yet? I haven’t, and I’m not sure when I will, tbh. But, except for certain soundtrack choices, I’m hearing/reading mostly good things from casual fans and die-hard Trekkies alike. “Good action!” “Brings back some of the old Star Trek feel!” “Nice homages to the original series.” Etc. Sofia Boutella’s “Jaylah” character seems to be gaining a following, too. If you have seen it, you might want to check out this post by my friend, J.W. Wartick: ““Star Trek: Beyond”- A Christian perspective-Humanism, Unity, and Fear of the Unknown”

From what I’ve heard, the scene that reveals Sulu’s being in a same-sex relationship (“marriage”?) was different than the one I reported on a few weeks ago. It is also relatively innocuous. (Apparently, there was a kiss shared between Sulu and his partner, but that part of the scene ended up on the cutting room floor.)

USS Discovery

USS Discovery

As you are probably aware, there was a bit of news about the upcoming Star Trek TV series at the recent Comic-Con 2016. Specifically, a brief promo video revealed that the show will be called “Star Trek: Discovery” and provided a look at the eponymous starship. This produced at least a couple areas of controversy. First, when given the typical 3-character abbreviation, the new show becomes “STD”. Since this is a common abbreviation for “sexually transmitted disease”, you can imagine the sort of humor — often mocking and/or crude — that resulted. Personally, I think I’ll use “STDisc”.

USS Enterprise (Phase II)

USS Enterprise (Phase II)

The second thing people are talking about is the design of the USS Discovery (NCC-1031). As can be seen in the above pic, it has the familiar saucer section and the Federation’s usual warp nacelles. But, whereas larger Federation ships usually have a quasi-tubular secondary hull, the Discovery’s is triangular. Some have noted the similarity to Ralph McQuarrie’s Enterprise designs for the never-realized “Star Trek: Phase II” back in the 1970s, and io9 reports producer Bryan Fuller admitting there is some truth to that being an influence. Others have pointed out that Klingon ships often have an overarching triangular design. I even read somewhere — can’t remember where, nor if it was official or rumor or something in between — that the setting/plot involves Klingons and the Federation working closely together, including collaborating on the design (and crew?) of the USS Discovery.

Many people online have expressed their dislike of the design, ranging from mild disappointment to outright disgust. On the other hand, many others have said either they like it or they don’t care, as long as Star Trek comes back to TV. I haven’t decided for myself, yet, and am willing to let it grow on me. (That sounds uncomfortable!) Besides, the secondary hull reminds me of the iconic Star Trek delta. The fact that the ship isn’t named “Enterprise” doesn’t seem to be a big deal, either. But, given when in the (prime) Star Trek timeline the show will be set, the ship really had to be called something else.

On a related note,… have you ever wondered how the Federation’s warp drives worked? I mean, many true-blue Trekkies have checked this stuff out in the old Star Trek engineering manuals, maybe even memorizing a good bit of it. I never got into it that much, but I have occasionally wondered how the nacelles, plasma, warp core, dilithium crystals, etc., all worked together to move ships through space at such unfathomable speeds. Well, Kevin Anderton just published a short piece at Forbes (which you should definitely read) with the following infographic. Not too detailed, but it explains the basics. Nicely done!

Moon Landings

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5 comments on “Of Starships and Warp Drives

  1. If the ship is a Klingon/Starfleet coop then maybe Captain Worf is still possible. That’d be amazing! I think the ship looks older though. It’s not as sleek as Klingon or Starfleet ships have gotten by Voyager or even TNG. So I’m guessing it’s before TOS.

    Also the STD is unfortunate and I wonder how they didn’t think of that at all. I mean fans have done the three letter abbreviations for years.

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