Overall, Federation technology has changed a great deal in the past 250 years. The humans adapted Dominion technology during the Occupation, and the Q’tami provided most of the hardware during the opening days of the Rebellion. Today, Federation technology is a blend of many different races. Starship design incorporates Q’tami elements in its structure, and of course, all ships are equipped with the Dominion’s Quantum Slipstream Drive. Some of the old basic technology is still in use, but Starfleet is not dominated by humans and human technology as it was in the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th centuries.
Quantum Slipstream Drive
The Dominion developed a working Quantum Slipstream Drive in the mid 25th century. The galaxy is still a big place, though. It takes over a year to cross the Milky Way through the core.
The USS Voyager first encountered truly practical examples of "Transwarp" propulsion during its trip across the Delta Quadrant in the 2370’s. It brought back a great deal of information concerning advanced propulsion methods. Upon Voyager’s return, Federation scientists immediately began investigating the most promising method, the Quantum Slipstream. The QS drive essentially opened a "tunnel" through subspace. This allowed for much faster travel once in a subspace domain, although it took a great deal of power to open that tunnel and proper calibration of the warp emitters was crucial. In 2436 the Dominion managed to successfully test a ship equipped with a QS drive.
The Quantum Slipstream is sometimes referred to as "Transwarp," referring to the general principles proposed in the late 23rd century referring to propulsion methods which are faster than conventional warp. The QS Drive can be used in a number of separate subspace domains. The higher domains provide faster travel, but also require more power to enter and exit.
It was discovered that traveling in the first slipstream domain was equivalent to approximately Warp 9.98 using the scale of standard warp travel. Scientists determined that the velocity of a starship while traveling in a slipstream domain was equal to
where d = slipstream domain. Scientists have not yet determined the significance of Johnson’s Constant; it has so far only been found through empirical research while inside a slipstream domain.
Therefore, the speeds of a starship while in slipstream equal:
|Slipstream Domain||Equivalent Speed|
|Warp Factor 9||1516 c|
|First Domain||5840 c|
|Second Domain||8325 c|
|Third Domain||13564 c|
|Fourth Domain||24103 c|
|Fifth Domain||45687 c|
On this scale, it takes approximately 5 months to cross the Federation (approximately 20,000 light years) at Slipstream Factor 5, and almost a year and a half to cross the galaxy. Interstellar speeds are now 3000% faster at the current maximum than the fastest starships of the 24th century. Although unproven, Slipstream Theory suggests that there may be an infinite number of slipstream domains, allowing for faster and faster speeds. However, in the 27th century sufficient power is rarely available to jump beyond the fifth domain.
Despite the great advantage of speed that the higher slipstream domains allow, it also requires much more power to cross into and out of the domain. Even on modern ships, it is impossible to come out of the higher slipstream domains (4 and 5) "with disruptors blazing"; the sheer amount of energy required to jump between domains severely drains the ship’s power. While normal ship’s functions are still operable, energy-intensive systems such as weapons and the cloaking device are unavailable for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. This problem is not as serious when using domains 1, 2, and 3. Warships are also specially designed to accommodate such a power drain, but energy production technology is not currently sufficient to allow use of all high-energy systems at once.
Quantum Induction Power
The Federation first experimented with vacuum energy in 2355, during the development of the quantum torpedo. Unfortunately, while it was easy to create a brief burst of energy for use as a weapon, it proved more difficult to maintain the reaction in order to draw energy from it. It was even harder to regulate the reaction - many of the first prototype reactors suffered catastrophic cascade reactions.
The Federation never established a truly feasable quantum induction reaction; the prototypes always required more power to maintain the containment fields than the reaction produced— a problem encountered by almost any new form of power generation.
The project baffled Dominion scientists as well; it was not until the 2470’s that the Dominion developed a truly practical containment field to regulate the reaction.
Static Subspace Shell
In 2366, as part of Starfleet’s technology development program to prepare for the Borg invasion, warp physicists began experimenting with enhanced variations of the static warp bubble. Scientists knew that a static warp bubble could effectively create altered conditions inside such a bubble, and such a technique was used on several occasions, most notably when the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) attempted to save the moon of Bre’el IV from impacting on the planet. However, there was always some level of interaction between the two sides of the bubble.
As part of the development program, Starfleet scientists began working on a method of totally isolating a starship from the surrounding continuum. Theoretically, this would make the vessel generating the shell to be totally impervious to any energy weapon, whether it be phasers, torpedoes, or Borg tractor beams. However, while the concept seemed perfectly logical and maybe even feasible in theory, in practice it was nearly impossible to generate a shell of sufficient size to protect a starship. Moreover, it took a great deal of energy to form such a shell, and even more to maintain it. Scientists were also faced with the problem of degradation of the barrier, which allowed an increasing amount of leakage the longer a shield was in place.
Starfleet never developed anything beyond a miniature model, and the Dominion did not make much progress either for many years. The development of the first practical Quantum Induction Core in 2473 finally allowed sufficient power generation to create a shell large enough to protect a ship.
However, it is still not a totally reliable system. There will always be some level of shield leakage because it is in practice impossible to create a completely impervious shell, and in combat any leakage can pose a grave danger to the ship.
Organic Hull Plating
Protection— based on Breen organic technology and other stuff.