Monday, May 2, 2011

An implication of the FTL system

Using the limits I have drafted, there is nothing to stop one from jumping from system to system as fast as you want without entering deeper into the system.  There will have to be some kind of cost, but I do not want it to overwhelm the remass cost for entering deeply into the system.

But I have not thought of a reasonable limitation that I can justify against something real like conservation laws or uncertainty theory.  I do not want anything too arbitrary.  Not only does it smack of artifice, like the Traveller "100 diameter" limit, but it is too tempting to overturn it with a convenient deus ex machina.

It does not need be too severe, either.  Just enough to slow things down.  I like the idea, in fact, that there is a benefit for having facilities in habs in an outer gas giant.  Transports might, for example, refuel at the gas giant on system arrival and departure.  Warships certainly would.  Bulk traders might never go in-system, instead shipping goods launched between other points in the system and a transit station on a Hohmann trajectory.

I am up for suggestions.  Extra points if the answer some how invokes either Boltzmann or Heisenberg.  In fact a process involving establishing location and velocity based on pulsars (or the local navigation beacon, which gets turned off in a war unless needed) might do the job if there was some way to justify the time involved on external criteria rather than processing power.


  1. What about drive system fatigue or routine maitenance between Jumps? The last thing you want to do is jump out system without going over the an emergency, you might be able to get away with skipping through a system or two like a rock over a pond, but the probability of catastrophic failure increases every time.

    This is also a good reason to have organic crew; people (whatever species you like) have the elusive virtue of paranoia, which means they can identify potential problems before they show up in analysis. An engineer that lives with their drive can just "feel" when something's amiss, and a smart Flight will listen.

  2. I think we all agree manned systems are far more interesting. And while you might toss refined metals around a single system without people involved anything worth lifting out of a gravity well let alone sending between stars is going to be worth coddling.

    Remember Horace Bury in "Mote in God's Eye" complaining about the cost of shipping fine wines under thrust so the sediments would not be disturbed?