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Ship Speeds
daro2096
I have always wondered why the Liberator used a different speed measurement compared to Federation and other ships?

I understand that standard speed can be definitive speed but why are faster speeds called standard by xx? Doesn't that imply a comparison to what ever standard speed is? Yet we know it isn't. It implies that standard by 2 is double the speed of standard by 1 doesn't it?
 
Joe Dredd
They use standard speed because when they first got control of the Liberator, they didn't know what unit of measure Zen used ('time distort' would be a meaningless phrase) so used 'standard speed' as a way around it, getting the ship going at a reasonable clip. Of course, it also shows us Liberator is unusual & alien as it has different speed measurements than to the Federation ships.

I agree with your second question. I would've thought 'standard' would have meant cruising speed, not the unit of measure. If we hired a car from Liberator Limousines and asked the driver, Fred Zen, to drive at 50mph, I think he'd be very surprised if we suddenly asked him to drive at eight times that speed, or ten, or even three!

Working out what different standard speeds equate to as time distort measurements is another interesting question. I think Std by 12 = TD 20 is given in one episode, so it's some kind of geometric progression.

There is one episode in S4 where standard speeds get mentioned. For some reason Tarrant gives the speed of Scorpio as 'Standard by one' on approach to the asteroid. This seems odd as he'd be reading from Scorpio's instrumentation which would only show time distort, the measurement used by humankind. Later in the episode they do marvel that the stardrive is fast, by referencing Liberator speeds (Liberator is mentioned in the novelisation but not in the episode), so it could have been mentioned at the start of the episode to re-introduce the topic, but it seems unnecessary.
 
JustBrad
I imagine that we have two different 'standards' because we have two different types of drive.

The Feds use Time Distort, which is a rough analogy to warp drive.

There is no real information on Libby's drive, but assume for the sake of argument it is a hyper drive.
There was a young man
From Cork who got Limericks
And Haikus confused.
 
daro2096
In Duel standard by 2 is the same as time distort 6. In Hostage standard by 10 equals time distort 20. As far as I know they are the only two times speed is compared by the 2 standards of measurement. I suppose this could be put down to making up things as you go along in writing of episodes. By series 4 it does seem like standard by and time distort is the same thing. I suppose this could be down to the fact there was a new producer.
 
boroboy
Here are my motes on speed in B7...... compiled many years ago....

So how fast were we whizzing between planets and star systems? I will leave aside the practical issues of the massive distances between stars in real life (although we will get pretty close) and just stick with context from the show. The terminology for the Liberator was "Standard by.." that I will shorten to StdX followed by the appropriate number. The Federation ships used the Time Distort terminology I will refer to as TD followed by the appropriate number.
The first we hear of Liberator speed is in Cygnus Alpha where between Jenna, Blake and Zen we first hear of standard speed. We are not told how fast this is and the issues of time and distance in this episode (we are told in TWB that it takes 8 months to get to Cygnus Alpha but this isn't what happens either for the Liberator or the London) I am inclined to draw no conclusions.
I will start by using the limited info we have to speculate on what Std and TD might be then support my assumptions/estimates by looking at examples from many episodes.
There are two key episodes:
1. In Mission to destiny we know that the journey for the sub-light Ortega would be about 5 months. But the Liberator could do it in four days. waving hands a little - if we think the Ortega could do the trip in 4 months at light speed then the Liberator is about 30 times faster at a quoted StdX6. If StdX6=30 times light speed then StdX1=5 times light speed. Assuming a linear scale then StdX2=10 times lightspeed, StdX3=15 times.. and so on...
2. In Duel Travis and the mutoid tell us their approach speed is TD6. Jenna says that StdX2 would enable Liberator to make a run for it, therefore StdX2>TD6. If TD = lightspeed (which has a nice symmetry to it) then StdX2=10 times light speed which is greater than six times light speed. So far the assumptions hold together.
3. There is more confirmation in Horizon where the Liberator is at StdX2 to follow/track the freighter at TD6.

StdX6 appears quite a bit as velocity that allows Liberator to escape:
In Duel StdX4 does not allow escape from Fed ships, but Stdx6 allows escape. This implies Fed ships have a max speed between 20 and 30 times light speed: TD20-30.
In S-L-D interceptors can be evaded at StdX6. Implying the same Fed tech. max. speed of TD30.
In Deliverance it is again implied that StdX6 means the Liberator sill get away.
In Harvest of Kairos StdX6 allows escape.
In Moloch StdX6 again allows escape.

How fast can the Liberator go? Most evidence points to StdX12 or 120 times the speed of light:
In Trial StdX12 is used to "get us out of here"
In Redemption StdX12 is OK but StdX14 pursuit cannot be outrun by the Liberator.
In Breakdown at StdX12 the Liberator can no longer prevent distortion effects - implying this is the maximum speed - i.e., the limit of control.
In Harvest of Kairos Zen sees the sopron enhanced vessel as capable of StdX12.203. In the episode it is said that the sopron reflects something just a little more powerful than what is viewing it back to the viewer. This again supports the maximum Liberator speed of StdX12 that is just a little less than StdX12.203
In Yawn of the Gods StdX10 is the limit for correcting course. If we assume that this is close to the maximum speed, then a maximum speed of StdX12 is reasonable.
In Star One they increase the speed of the Liberator from their Federation evasion maximum of StdX6 to StdX12 when rushing to Star One - implies StdX12 is as fast as they can go - and its maybe safer/easier to do so in intergalactic space where there is less to hit (?).
In The Keeper, when trying to get back on station as fast as possible they do so at StdX12.
In Hostage StdX10 and StdX12 are used to evade plasma bolts. If we think they could evade them easier at higher speeds, but do not do so, then the max speed is StdX12. Also, at the end when in a rush to escape they use StdX12.



Some intermediate speeds:
In Killer StdX10 is used to get away and spread plague warning.

Inconsistencies and other notes:
In Breakdown Blake says at StdX20 they will be out of control. This is contradicted later in the episode when we find that StdX12 is the actual control limit. Did Blake made a mistake or misspeak?
In Stardrive Vila says its not possible to beat StdX12 "In real time". But this could just be his interpretation of having been in the fastest ship anyone knows of and it could only control the time distortion effects up to stdX12 as shown in Breakdown. Also, in HoK the sporon claims a speed greater than StdX12 and no-one says this is "impossible".
In Terminal they travel at StdX8 for almost 97 hours. This implies a distance of 7760 light hours, or nearly one light year. This is the right order of magnitude for interstellar distances. Our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light years away. Though not definitive, this lends more support to the StdX scale. It also implies travel times in days/weeks/months for most interstellar travel - which fits in with much of the rest of the series - where the crew complain about how long they need to be on alert and the boredom of travel.
In Moloch they travel at StdX3 for 27 days - thats more than a light year.... could be realistic for interstellar travel?
In Moloch the time shift discussion implies that if they travel in real time they are subject to relativistic effects and that Zen can only correct for this up to a maximum of 159 years. I like this concept that the key to FTL travel is to correct for timeshift so that at near to or supra-light speeds you don't miss out on tens or hundreds of years of activity for non-travelers. A nice trick.



In summary:
std speed is multiples of 5 times light speed
Time distort is just light speed
The fed ships cant beat StdX6 or 30 times light speed.
Max Liberator speed is SdtX12 or 60 times light speed - but it is possible to go faster (the system ships do it)
Liberator speeds are reasonable for the distances they travel in the time available (with a little hand waving).


Note - just after I finished this I found that there is a summary of when some speeds are mentioned in the show in Neil Faulkner's Sevencyclopedia: http://www.hermit.org/Blakes7/SevenCyc/S.html. This does have added notes for the Scorpio.

*** the London - 8 months to get to a planet from earth. Distance requirements are about 10 LY for this (5 at the minimum). So the london needs to travel at about ten times light speed. This is TD 10 or StdX2. This seems reasonable - about half the speed of a Federation pursuit ship and much much slower than the liberator.
 
Joe Dredd
daro2096 wrote:
By series 4 it does seem like standard by and time distort is the same thing. I suppose this could be down to the fact there was a new producer.


Perhaps the Federation went metric between series?
 
Joe Dredd
boroboy wrote:

Here are my motes on speed in B7...... compiled many years ago....


Nice article!

Just thinking about the London problem, we know it's an old ship. Transporting prisoners to penal colonies is not a glamorous job and its very far down the list when it comes to resources (including crew). The penal service doesn’t get new ships but rather the out-of-date freighters and cruisers that are passed on from other services as they get more modern replacements. This means the London and any other penal transport ships at the time would have the oldest and most slowest drive systems[*]. This would equally be true of any prison ships used in earlier days. It would also mean that although the ships are slow, the penal service would still get improvements in transit times as ye ancient ship is replaced with a slightly-younger-but-still-creakingly-obsolete ship. If the Cygnus Alpha run had recently got an upgrade in that way, it would explain why the trip took less than the eight months stated in The Way Back: general knowledge of the journey time is out of date.

* From memory, London is the only ship we know of that uses hyperdrive/hyperspace in the series (apart from Liberator possibly transversing 'negative hyperspace across the antimatter interface'). This suggests hyperdrive is an outdated propulsion method.

(I'd love to see the script one day because I still think that in this exchange…

RAIKER What sort of range?
ARTIX We're about five subsecs on the high-dee grid.

…the reference to a 'high-dee grid' is actually 'hy-d' as in hyper drive).
 
daro2096
boroboy wrote:

Here are my motes on speed in B7...... compiled many years ago....



Thanks for that but since TD and STBX speeds are never explained in comparison to light speed it is all just an assumption though good it is.

I think TD4 equals STB1. This would explain why the London got to CA first and was able to off load its cargo and take off before the Liberator arrived. This is in line with TD20 equalling STB10 which would make STB6 the same as TD12. STB12 would equal TD24. STBX14 would be TD28.

Pursuit ships max speed is TD10 or STB4.

Liberator is able to travel at STB10 for 90 hours without recharging. STB12 would exhaust the banks in 2 hours. 20,000 light years per hour at STBX12 is an reasonable assumption on my part.
 
winnie-l
In 1994 a B7 fanfic writer had this opinion/view/whatever:

"My approach to how fast the Liberator can go is that it basically has two speeds:

A) Fast enough to get to wherever in time
or
B) Not fast enough to get to wherever in time

And strictly depending on which suits my plot. :-)
"
.... which, going by lots of B7 fanfic, is about what other writers do as well....

Sorry, that's a bit tangential to the actual topic!
 
JustBrad
winnie-l wrote:

In 1994 a B7 fanfic writer had this opinion/view/whatever:

"My approach to how fast the Liberator can go is that it basically has two speeds:

A) Fast enough to get to wherever in time
or
Cool Not fast enough to get to wherever in time

And strictly depending on which suits my plot. :-)
"
.... which, going by lots of B7 fanfic, is about what other writers do as well....

Sorry, that's a bit tangential to the actual topic!


Which was essentially how fast the USS Enterprise could go. It could get from the Klingon Neutral Zone to the Romulan Neutral Zone on the other side of Federation space in a week.... and still be several days from the nearest Federation base. Buying and reading the Star Fleet Technical Manual was the worst thing I ever did as a kid.


These two points are 500 light years apart.... Maximum speed is Warp Factor 8, or 512 times the speed of light, so it should take Enterprise.... a year to make the journey...
There was a young man
From Cork who got Limericks
And Haikus confused.
 
JustBrad
daro2096 wrote:


Thanks for that but since TD and STBX speeds are never explained in comparison to light speed it is all just an assumption though good it is.



And I think that was intentional. As the speeds were never explained or consistently compared, a potential continuity issue was avoided.
As Winnie says, a ship, be it Liberator, Scorpio, a Pursuit Ship, or a Wanderer class freighter, got there when the plot required it to.
There was a young man
From Cork who got Limericks
And Haikus confused.
 
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