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Old 10-14-2019, 10:19 AM
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Star Trek - 'All stop!'


Mrs. L.A. has the weekly Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on, on BBC America. Once again, the order 'All stop!' was given. 'All stop' relative to what?

I suppose they have inertia meters, and 'all stop' means to reduce velocity relative to their inertia; but it's impossible to 'stop' without a reference. And yeah, I know it's a TV show and it doesn't matter. Still bugs me, though.

Also: 'Kelvins' and 'degrees Kelvin' (which they often get wrong, numbers-wise).
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:24 AM
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This has nothing to do specifically with Star Trek; it's just naval terminology. "All stop" is an order to the engine room to stop the engines. If they really wanted to slow down fast, they would order "full astern" or something similar.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:42 AM
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This has nothing to do specifically with Star Trek; it's just naval terminology. "All stop" is an order to the engine room to stop the engines. If they really wanted to slow down fast, they would order "full astern" or something similar.
They use the phrase because it sounds naval. In the context of the show, it means 'come to a stop'.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:14 AM
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It is an interesting point, how do you know how fast the ship is traveling? I don't see an "inertia meter" working as it has been proven that from within a body you cannot distinguish between zero gravity and free-fall. I suppose if they were pulling up alongside a planet or another ship...

In reality it would take days or weeks to stop a starship at significant velocity without the crew flying all over the place. But pseudo science ignores such stuff anyway.

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Old 10-14-2019, 11:23 AM
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In reality it would take days or weeks to stop a starship at significant velocity without the crew flying all over the place. But pseudo science ignores such stuff anyway.
In reality, it would take a year to reach the speed of light at 1 g, and a year to slow down from the speed of light at 1 g. Hence, 'inertial dampers'.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:38 AM
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They have artificial gravity, and if you can manipulate gravity, you can manipulate inertia.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:46 AM
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If the ship is traveling at warp speed, it's embedded within a force field. The force field moves through space, carrying the ship along with it. (Think of a fly trapped in amber.) The effects of inertia are thus negated.

Some sort of field must also operate at sublight speeds, hence we have "inerta dampeners." To suggest the dampeners ever go "off line" is ludicrous, since the effects of inertia would be felt immediately.

Artificial gravity must also be an integral part of such fields. Lose them and nothing would be stationary inside the ship, presuming it retains its structural integrity.

Things normally take a long time to slow down when traveling through space because of inertia. Remove the effects of inertia, and you could theoretically stop on a dime. Or, you could "stop" relative to a planet or other body simply by matching your velocity to theirs.
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Old 10-14-2019, 01:52 PM
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As further proof that they have artificial gravity, "down" on the ship is not at all related to their direction of acceleration. Plus, on TOS you can hear people in the background saying "gravity down to .9" or something similar in the early episodes.

Impulse power involves some sort of space drive which lets the Enterprise bank and swoop at sublight speeds. Doing that would bang the hell out of people without artificial gravity/inertia dampers compensating.
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Old 10-14-2019, 02:35 PM
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As further proof that they have artificial gravity, "down" on the ship is not at all related to their direction of acceleration.
That probably has something to do with Gerodie and a woman being able to walk through walls, but not sink through the floor.
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Old 10-14-2019, 03:51 PM
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That probably has something to do with Gerodie and a woman being able to walk through walls, but not sink through the floor.
My fanwank to that was that something about the gravity plating prevented them from falling through the floor.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:02 PM
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Star Trek is not designed around real science. The operations of the ship are designed around old sea-going naval ships and submarines. The original Star Trek even had a Scottish engineer because of the belief that Scots made the best engineers (keep in mind this is the belief of actors and TV producers, not an actual evaluation of naval engineers). The way that they control the ship is this weird mix of old-fashioned naval ship operations and sci-fi technobabble. Not only does it often not make sense, but often it's not even consistent with itself from episode to episode.

"All stop", as pointed out upthread, is just a command to stop the engines. A real ship will slow to a halt due to friction with the surrounding water. So, if they want the ship to "stop", then the Captain says "all stop." The "all stop" command is based on the old "engine order telegraph" (EOT), which was a way to communicate engine commands from the bridge down to the engine room. The EOT had several positions on the dial, typically something like Full Ahead, Half Ahead, Slow Ahead, Stop, Slow Astern, Half Astern, Full Astern. You would have a separate EOT for each engine, so when the captain ordered "all stop", someone on the bridge would rotate the dials for all engine EOTs to the "stop" position and would ring the bells indicating a change. The guys down in the engine room would hear the bells and would look up to the dials to see how the bridge wanted the engines to be set, and would follow the orders accordingly. On many EOTs, just moving the dial would ring the bells, so you'll often see them move the dial all the way to either end (basically to ring the bells to get the engine room's attention) and then they'll move the EOT's handle to the actual engine speed they want. The engine room will often acknowledge the order by moving their dial to the same position, which moves an indicator on the bridge's EOT.

Of course, in space it doesn't work like an old-fashioned ship in water, but then Star Trek has never been known for scientific accuracy. This is the same show that routinely put ships into geosynchronous orbits over one of the planet's poles, and when a ship's engines fail, the ship somehow immediately de-orbits instead of just continuing around the planet for years like a real ship in orbit would do.

You'll enjoy Star Trek a lot more if you just ignore the idiotic technobabble and blatant scientific inaccuracies and just focus on the stories.

Here is an EOT in action (all stop is called out a few times):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K18LDb4XV0

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 10-14-2019 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:09 PM
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Remove the effects of inertia, and you could theoretically stop on a dime. Or, you could "stop" relative to a planet or other body simply by matching your velocity to theirs.
If you 'stop' relative to a planet or star, you are going to be in free-fall directly towards it. Eventually you will fall onto that planet or star at great speed.

Most of the time a ship on Star Trek does not stop when it approaches a planet; instead it goes into something called a 'standard orbit'. The standard orbit concept doesn't seem to have a simple definition, like much else in the show.
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Orbit

'Full Stop' only really has validity if it is defined with respect to an object with relatively low mass; an asteroid perhaps, or another spacecraft, but even then the effects of gravity will pull the two objects together slowly. With amusing results.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:12 PM
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"All stop" means that someone is doing something annoying, and everyone should stop what they're doing until they figure out who's doing it.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Mrs. L.A. has the weekly Star Trek: The Next Generation marathon on, on BBC America. Once again, the order 'All stop!' was given. 'All stop' relative to what?

I assume relative to whatever object they are focused on. Like when they come up on a Klingon bird o' prey, "all stop" doesn't mean come to a dead stop in space (and fall out of orbit). It means to start station keeping with the Klingon ship.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:21 PM
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You're over thinking it.

"All stop" command is usually given when there is something nearby they want to look at. So as they say, it's all relative.

And a "standard orbit" is just powered hovering. Because the transporters can't beam through 8000 miles of solid rock, the ship has to stay over the landing party. It also is necessary for firing phasers when the need arises, such as to stun a city block or attack a god, or a head. That's why failure of engines in a standard orbit brings the ship crashing down.

In reality, Starfleet just uses terms differently, and they have changed over time. Much like us "dialing" a smart phone. And you thought only the Children of Tam spoke in metaphors.

eta Ninja'd on all stop!

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 10-14-2019 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:24 PM
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If you 'stop' relative to a planet or star, you are going to be in free-fall directly towards it. Eventually you will fall onto that planet or star at great speed.
If you're over the planet's equator and you match your velocity to its rate of rotation, you'll be in synchronous orbit. But yes, the orbit will eventually decay.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:42 PM
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I assume relative to whatever object they are focused on. Like when they come up on a Klingon bird o' prey, "all stop" doesn't mean come to a dead stop in space (and fall out of orbit). It means to start station keeping with the Klingon ship.
More than once, they've 'stopped' in open space with no reference point.
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:46 PM
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My fanwank to that was that something about the gravity plating prevented them from falling through the floor.
All Star Fleet uniforms have threads of upsydaisium woven into them.
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Old 10-14-2019, 05:51 PM
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Of course, in space it doesn't work like an old-fashioned ship in water, but then Star Trek has never been known for scientific accuracy. This is the same show that routinely put ships into geosynchronous orbits over one of the planet's poles, and when a ship's engines fail, the ship somehow immediately de-orbits instead of just continuing around the planet for years like a real ship in orbit would do.
They got rid of that nonsense in TNG. In 1966 just knowing that you couldn't go faster than light by stepping on the accelerator harder was a major advance in TV sf. Despite it's deficiencies, TOS was about the first space show that wouldn't have made me want to throw the remote control at the TV if I had one.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:09 PM
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"Sir, lookout reports an M-class planet, three points off the port bow!"
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"Aye-aye, Cap'n! Strike the t'gallants and put another reef in the tops'ls! Prepare to come about to the starboard tack...Sir! Lookout reports a Klingon frigate, hull up off the starboard bow!"
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:25 PM
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Ships in the Star Trek universe have an up/down orientation, and when two ships encounter one another they are always the same way up. It applies to other objects too. It would be much more realistic if, when they encountered a giant disembodied floating head in space, it wasn't always in the same up/down orientation as the ship. In order to be scientifically accurate, giant disembodied floating heads might be discovered in any orientation.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:29 PM
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Ships in the Star Trek universe have an up/down orientation, and when two ships encounter one another they are always the same way up. It applies to other objects too. It would be much more realistic if, when they encountered a giant disembodied floating head in space, it wasn't always in the same up/down orientation as the ship. In order to be scientifically accurate, giant disembodied floating heads might be discovered in any orientation.
Well yes, except for that one time.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:33 PM
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More than once, they've 'stopped' in open space with no reference point.
They have a Galactic coordinate system with reference to fixed stars. It would be impossible to navigate through the Galaxy without one.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:43 PM
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In order to be scientifically accurate, giant disembodied floating heads might be discovered in any orientation.
Might be difficult to communicate with one, unless you're looking it in the face.

If you're stopped in space, you don't want to present your beam (or spine, or belly, or stern) to another (potentially hostile) vessel unnecessarily. It makes perfect sense to position yourself bow-to-bow.

There was at least one episode of TNG (I don't remember which) where Riker ordered the helm to maintain a synchronous orbit over a planet's north pole. He made a lot of mistakes like this, e.g., giving temperatures in "degrees Kelvin."
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:44 PM
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They have a Galactic coordinate system with reference to fixed stars. It would be impossible to navigate through the Galaxy without one.
Yes, and I suspect that with their level of technology, it's easy to determine your motion relative to them with speed and precision.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:45 PM
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All Star Fleet uniforms have threads of upsydaisium woven into them.
Upsidaisium.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:56 PM
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Yes, and I suspect that with their level of technology, it's easy to determine your motion relative to them with speed and precision.
Hell, the Apollo astronauts were doing this back in the 1960s. It proved especially critical during the Apollo 13 mission.
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Old 10-14-2019, 10:07 PM
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More than once, they've 'stopped' in open space with no reference point.
Maybe it just means "drop out of warp and drift" if there's no point of reference? Like "stop the engines", not "come to a complete stop"?
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:16 AM
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Maybe it just means "drop out of warp and drift" if there's no point of reference? Like "stop the engines", not "come to a complete stop"?
At the end of the Doomsday Machine, Kirk orders minimum headway while they make repairs to the warp engines. I can see this on the water where it might maintain stability, but it makes no sense at all in space.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:22 AM
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At the end of the Doomsday Machine, Kirk orders minimum headway while they make repairs to the warp engines. I can see this on the water where it might maintain stability, but it makes no sense at all in space.
Not even if the engines are damaged?
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:40 AM
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Most of the time a ship on Star Trek does not stop when it approaches a planet; instead it goes into something called a 'standard orbit'. The standard orbit concept doesn't seem to have a simple definition, like much else in the show.
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Orbit
The definition given for a polar orbit is misleading. If you examine the diagram for the Nimbus satellite carefully, you'll see that the 22,300 mile altitude was needed to provide a full-hemisphere view of the Earth. In reality, a polar orbit can be at almost any altitude above the atmosphere, depending on the spacecraft's mission.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:04 AM
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Not even if the engines are damaged?
You would turn the engines off if they are damaged. But then you'd just keep going at the same velocity. The idea that you would make "minimum headway" is the issue that the OP raised - relative to what? Unlike a ship in the ocean, there's no friction to slow you down when you turn the engines off, and there's no ocean to be not making headway relative to.

Although, back to the OP, it's worth noting that the Cosmic Microwave Background does define a particular reference frame, and one that's detectable by observation. I don't know if that's something you can fanwank into it.

Last edited by Riemann; 10-15-2019 at 04:06 AM.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:07 AM
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This has nothing to do specifically with Star Trek; it's just naval terminology. "All stop" is an order to the engine room to stop the engines. If they really wanted to slow down fast, they would order "full astern" or something similar.
To further amplify, the "All" part is because, unlike merchant ships, naval ships commonly have two, four, or even six screws. The ship can be turned faster with an order such as, "Port ahead full, starboard back full." This is why there is a telegraph for each screw.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:17 AM
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Speaking of all stop, in The Enemy Below Balance of Terror, why does everyone on the Enterprise have to be vewy vewy qwiet while waiting out the Romulans? They could have the largest rave in the Alpha quadrant and the Romulans couldn't hear it if they were five feet away.

But they really should turn off the flashing lights.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:25 AM
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Speaking of all stop, in The Enemy Below Balance of Terror, why does everyone on the Enterprise have to be vewy vewy qwiet while waiting out the Romulans? They could have the largest rave in the Alpha quadrant and the Romulans couldn't hear it if they were five feet away.
Because, clearly, everyone in Balance of Terror realized that they were actually in a WWII submarine combat story.
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Old 10-15-2019, 09:40 AM
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Because, clearly, everyone in Balance of Terror realized that they were actually in a WWII submarine combat story.
I fan wank that by saying that the other guy's sensors can pick up the minute vibration of the ship's surface due to internal noise.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:36 PM
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Not even if the engines are damaged?
Why run the engines at all? And the impulse engines were fine, not that they were going to get them anywhere interesting in a day.
The remaster shows the rubble of the destroyed planet around the Enterprise, so that could be a reason to get out of there, but he didn't say that.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:40 PM
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You would turn the engines off if they are damaged. But then you'd just keep going at the same velocity. The idea that you would make "minimum headway" is the issue that the OP raised - relative to what? Unlike a ship in the ocean, there's no friction to slow you down when you turn the engines off, and there's no ocean to be not making headway relative to.

Although, back to the OP, it's worth noting that the Cosmic Microwave Background does define a particular reference frame, and one that's detectable by observation. I don't know if that's something you can fanwank into it.
That too. If I needed a reference point, I'd use the black hole in the center of the galaxy which maybe could serve as a reference point, its mass being so big. But I don't think we knew about that in 1966. We didn't know about it when Niven wrote "At the Core."
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:41 PM
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Because, clearly, everyone in Balance of Terror realized that they were actually in a WWII submarine combat story.
And BTW, the submarine combat story it is based on is a great movie. Check it out.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:48 PM
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And BTW, the submarine combat story it is based on is a great movie. Check it out.
I didn't realize that it was based on a particular sub story.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:08 PM
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If you're over the planet's equator and you match your velocity to its rate of rotation, you'll be in synchronous orbit. But yes, the orbit will eventually decay.
This only happens at one particular height. At a lower height you will fall down; at a higher altitude, you will fall away from the planet.

I thought at one time that maybe this synchronous orbit was what the Star Trek writers meant by a 'standard orbit'. But apparently not.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:47 PM
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I didn't realize that it was based on a particular sub story.
As Just Asking Questions implied, The Enemy Below, with Robert Mitchum as Kirk. The plot item about the Romulan holding a course for home comes straight from the movie. The ending is different.
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Old 10-15-2019, 05:58 PM
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They have said “all stop” and “full stop” at times. Both are directions to stop the engines, the latter meaning, do it fast, or we’ll fucking hit a de-cloaking Romulan warbird!
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:25 PM
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The Enemy Below, with Robert Mitchum as Kirk.
Kurt Jurgens was the U-boat commander.
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Old Yesterday, 02:53 AM
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If the captain orders, "Simon says all stop," does everyone on the bridge freeze in place?
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Old Yesterday, 03:56 AM
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They have said “all stop” and “full stop” at times. Both are directions to stop the engines, the latter meaning, do it fast, or we’ll fucking hit a de-cloaking Romulan warbird!
If that were the objective, they would need to reverse the engines to decelerate to a relative velocity of zero.
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Old Yesterday, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Riemann View Post
If that were the objective, they would need to reverse the engines to decelerate to a relative velocity of zero.
When you drop out of warp, you are at zero velocity. It's nothing like accelerating and decelerating in normal space.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
When you drop out of warp, you are at zero velocity. It's nothing like accelerating and decelerating in normal space.
As with all things Star Trek, this isn't always true. Depends who was writing that day. At least one episode for sure, they run up through warp .5... .7... .8 etc.

Just as, for every 10 episodes where the Enterprise is obviously hovering over the landing party, ready to blast something into oblivion with its phasers, there is a Mirror, Mirror where the Enterprise is seen orbiting out of phaser range as a plot point.
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