Endgame ( *Spoilers* )

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at shekel.mcl.cs.columbia.edu
Fri Oct 17 06:24:42 EDT 1997

From: throopw at sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
Date: 15 Oct 1997 21:07:18 -0400
Lines: 104

Spoilers for Endgame

:: throopw at sheol.org (Wayne Throop)
:: I'd have bought it much better if he's said
:: (more complicated but less giggle/barf factor)
::      "Give me an intercept course [with X],
::       maximum acceleration all the way to impact."
:: On the ocean, the notion of "ramming speed" independent of a target
:: (meaning, tell the engineer/oarsmaster to throttle up to 120% of rated
:: maximum) makes sense.  In space, it does not.
:: The "give me ramming speed" line will doubtless be a *little* less
:: giggle/barf inducing in the episode, since it will doubtless, in
:: context, be obvious what target he has in mind.
::        <boom -- boom -- boom -->
::        "Give me Ramming Speed!"
::        <boom-boom-boom> <wishhhhhh-thwak, wishhhhh-thwak>
::           ("Row!  Row, you Denebian slime-devils!  Row for your lives!")
::        "Cap'n we cannae keep it oop for loong, she'll shake hersel apaert!"

: Leigh Randall <randall_leigh at bah.com>
: I have to admit, when I saw that scene in the preview that I
: immediately muttered to my housemate "dum...dum...dum...dum" (as in
: the sound of the sailing drummer picking up speed.) I'll be darned if
: I can remember the stupid movie that was from, but I remember it as
: part of a slave galley bit... 
: The only explanation I can think of is the same as the one for why
: people in B5-times would refer to being shot by a gun...historical
: colloquilisms.  Not to mention that most people of OUR time would
: immediately understand "ramming speed" much more easily than "plot an
: intercept and accellerate to maximum speed". 

Well, you see, that's the problem.  "Maximum speed" isn't a concept
applicable to their situation at all.  There just isn't any
maximum speed they could accelerate to, in any reasonable sense.

Same with "ramming speed".  There simply isn't one speed that's better
for ramming than other speeds.  The concept just wouldn't occur to
him.  He would never utter such a command, because it's totally
meaningless.  He might as well ask for "ramming ambiance" or
"ramming color" or "ramming viscosity".

        "Give me ramming viscosity!"   "Aye, aye, sir!"

See?   It just doesn't work.

Now, one can retcon ANY of these.  By "ramming ambiance", he might
mean the crew should prepare to die.  By "ramming color", he may be
refering to some standard colorcoded signal-of-intent, without which
it isn't fair to ram.  By "ramming viscosity", he might mean there is
some adjustment to be made to the hull's properties to prepare it for 
impact.  Or that the cook should thicken the soup so it stays in the pot.

And by "ramming speed", he may mean something also.

But just asking for "ramming speed" is Just Plain Silly.
It can be retconned, it can be foregiven, but it's Just Plain Silly.

Now, he did mention something about the engines also.  But in space,
thrust doesn't balance a drag and give you a "speed".  It acts via
F=ma and gives you an *acceleration*.

Ramming speed, maximum speed, cruising speed, all these are
ludicrocities (to a greater or lesser extent) when they occur 
in a B5-like setting.

So, if you don't like my suggested "plot an intercept course",
we can still use the concept of "ramming" simply enough.  He could
have said "Ram it!"  Even more terse, to the point, and
emphatic than "give me ramming speed", and far less silly.

     "Give me RAmming 5, 6315."   
     "Aye aye; and what is the party to whom you will be speaking sir?"

Wayne Throop   throopw at sheol.org   http://sheol.org/throopw

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 16 Oct 1997 14:15:25 -0400
Lines: 21

>Same with "ramming speed".  There simply isn't one speed that's better
>for ramming than other speeds.  
>But just asking for "ramming speed" is Just Plain Silly.
>It can be retconned, it can be foregiven, but it's Just Plain Silly.

(he taps his foot as yet another expert lurches into the field)

You are in a space ship, in a vacuum, heading toward target X.  You understand
 that it takes time to transfer energy and movement toward another plane, so
 you go at X-speed toward that object if you want the option of applying
 thrusters and angling away from the object before you slam into it.

If, on the other hand, you *want* to hit the object, and you have no interest 
 in holding back your thrusters to allow you to diverge from the target in the
 amount of space remaining between you and it, you proceed at Y speed, with
 your thrusters putting out their maximum amount of fuel.  

Y = ramming speed.  

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