The Quantum Slipstream Drive
The Quantum Slipstream Drive represents the fastest development in Federation Faster than Light technology, and of the current Alpha Quadrant dominant powers. First discovered by the Federation Starship Voyager in 2374 during their run in with the USS Dauntless, an alien vessel that used a form of force field technology to replicate the appearance of a Federation vessel. Experiments to integrate the drive system into the Intrepid-Class’s Warp Drive resulted in failure, although they were able to successfully shave a few years off their expected journey. From then on the technology was considered a potential for research.
After Voyager‘s return to the Delta Quadrant and the subsequent disassembly of the vessel to study the technology available and attempt to replicate it. While the Beam-On-Ablative Armour was unable to be replicated, and the transphasic torpedos were deemed too unstable to replicate with current technology, the QSD was a high priority. The already under development Vesta-Class was selected as a testbed, the drive underwent several trials to be made ready for use.
It operates on the principles of Quantum Mechanics. The deflector dish creates a Quantum Field around the ship which allows it to penetrate the quantum barrier. A Chroniton Regulator abates the effect of the Heisenberg Principle which would otherwise throw the ship and crew out of whack with regular space-time, and keeps the ship from building up too many chroniton particles and allows for subspace communications to work as normal while in slipstream.
Designed as its own core to allow for the Drive to be retro-fitted into older ships, the Quantum Slipstream Drive works on a fairly simple engineering principle. The Drive is designed to be compact and fits into an area near the main deflector of any ship which it is added to after a several week refit in Spacedock. The drive itself connects directly into the main deflector with several hard cut-offs in case of overload at the deflector. To power the drive, an additional EPS Conduit is run from the warp core to where the drive is installed.
At this time, several classes other than the purpose-designed Vesta and Merian Class starships can be retrofitted to have Slipstream Drives installed. All of these ships are newer in design, with narrower saucer sections and a more streamlined design to lessen the impact on the structural integrity field. These classes are as follows:
- Sovereign Class
- Intrepid Class
- Luna Class
- Prometheus Class – Note: The Prometheus can only use the drive when not in MVAM mode. This is due to the need for the combined power consumption from all 3 warp cores being needed.
- Odyssey Class
While the Slipstream Drive allows for unprecedented new levels of speed and the ability to cross vast sections of space in short amounts of time, the drive does have several downsides. The Slipstream drive puts off an immense amount of heat, and to combat this, purpose-built ships have large heatsinks to route the heat into for extended operations of the Slipstream Drive. The longer you run the drive, the hotter it gets until eventually a failsafe will kill the drive to prevent it from failing. However as the drive has been retro-fitted into older ships not purpose built, those ships will not be able to run the drive for as long.
Once the Slipstream Drive hits this point, it could take several hours to several days to cool down depending on the amount of built-up heat and the ship it is installed in. It is thus highly suggested to Captains of ships with Quantum Slipstream Drives that they use the drive sparingly and strategically so as to not cause damage.
Quantum Slipstream Velocities
There are several different levels of Slipstream Velocity that a ship can reach. At this time, they are designated as Quantum Slipstream Velocity or QSV for short. While purpose-built ships such as the Merian can reach speeds of QSV 2, the Vesta is able to push QSV 3 due to its size, power, design, and size of its heat sinks.
Retrofitted ships, however, are only able to hit the basic level of QSV 1, with some of more sleeker designs being able to push the envelope towards QSV 2 if needed.
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