GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

system or galaxy - what are the facts?

POSTED BY: TIGER
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 11:46
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 14873
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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 7:44 PM

TIGER


The drama of Firefly takes place in one star system. Here are the facts:

1. In all their travels, our BDHs never speak of other star systems. They mention worlds, planets, stations, especially moons, but NEVER other suns.

2. The blue hands guy says, "We didn't come 80 million miles..." This is an interplanetary distance, not an interstellar one.

Speculation:

The only fact that tends to prove otherwise is the beginning monologue by the Capitan - "the earth got used up, so we moved out and terraformed a whole new galaxy of earths..." Given that this is spoken in the character's own vernacular, I tend to think it's slang. Much the same way we might say, "Jewel is the hottest girl in the universe".

Who has other facts that support one side or the other? Go ahead and speculate, but at least mark it as such.

(and after all that, I wouldn't be surprised one bit to discover that Joss never gave this issue as much thought as we have on this board. After all, it's about the characters)

---------------------------------------------
...The beauty of things was born before eyes and sufficient to itself; the heart-breaking beauty
Will remain when there is no heart to break for it.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 8:27 PM

SLOWSMURF


The main reason people suggest it shouldn't be a system is the shear implausibility. I don't know the specifics, but having 70 functioning bodies, even with magical terraforming technology, with only one sun is impossible or at least very very improbable.

Oh, and I remembered at least one more hint. When they refer to being 8 sectors out of their juristiction in the message, it would be hard to have sectors in a solar system.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 8:30 PM

SERGEANTX


There are good arguments to support both points of view. One notion is that they just couldn't make up their minds. I think it's more deliberate than that. Maybe they're just having it both ways, letting viewers supply their own explanation.

In other words, it's whatever makes sense to you. If your hardcore physics knowledge tells you FTL is impossible, then it's one system. If one system seems really unlikely, then it's multiples stars. Doesn't make much difference since Firefly was always more about characters than science.

For what is worth, the original pilot (the unaired one) had an intro that clearly referenced settlers moving to the 'furthest reaches of the galaxy', but I don't guess that settles anything.

SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 9:31 PM

NOOCYTE


At last, I'm going to weigh in on something which has been bothering me about this topic for quite some time (not that I fancy this has been, you know, eagerly awaited or anything. I've just been sitting on it for a while, and it's starting to itch. Okay, the previous sentence is evidence that less is more when sharing my thoughts!).

Much has been said about the whole "It's about the characters and their stories, not the tech" bit. I wholeheartedly agree (both ventricles!) that the marvelous characters are the core (har-har) of FF.

However, hasn't it been said many times that Serenity herself is the 10th character?
If we all feel that this is the case, then it seems to me that NOT knowing if the 'verse is one great huge hulking (terminally unstable...) star system, or a cluster of systems robs us of critical information about that 10th character.

It's like saying that it really doesn't matter if Shadow was attacked by reavers, levelled by the Alliance, waiting placidly for Mal to come home for Thanksgiving...or never had any part to play in his life at all and is only an implanted memory to hide from him that he was really grown in a vat on Persphone.

Is Serenity a star-craft? A planetary hopper? Can she by-pass Einsteinian space and exceed light-speed? Seems to me it is very much in the spirit of strong characterization and organic back-story for us to know this. I truly hope this is addressed in the BDM...not because I'm an inveterate tech geek (which I surely am), but because it speaks to a character arc which has been neglected as sorely as that of Zoe (...).

Hell, I'd even go further (maybe not in BDM-1, but no later than BDM-2), and get a little history on Serenity's previous owner(s) and exploits (taking due care not to tread on the Han Solo/Lando Calrissian/Millenium Falcon saga). How did she come to be sitting, forlorn and bereft of her shuttles, on that hawker's lot where Mal found her (and she found him)?

And, for the record, I'm in the >1 star system camp. More dramatic possibilities (bigger, scarier wastes of Black to lose your mind in, more room to fly beyond the Alliance's reach); better science (true, you have the whole light-speed barrier in Ein-space thing...but that's pretty much blown out by artificial grav without spinning the ships; more consistency with the idea of an interstellar migration in a 500-year time frame, etc., etc...).

Okay, I'll stop now. Thank you for letting me cathart on this. Thoughts?

Keep flyin'!!



Department of Redundancy Department

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 9:49 PM

HEDGEMON


*opens mouth to respond. Pauses. Rereads. Open mouth again. Sighs*

Yeah. Erm... That. Yes. Said much better than I could'a said. Erm... *reads the sig above* Appropriate.

No, this must be what going mad feels like

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 10:05 PM

CREVANREAVER


Quote:

Originally posted by Tiger:
The drama of Firefly takes place in one star system.



Tiger, your are certainly not the first browncoat to bring this subject up!

http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=4&t=3465

http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=5595

http://fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=4&t=2671&m=34843

With a lot of credit to Hans, here is a hypothetical history of the Firefly Universe I made up. It has some theories as to how the series could take place in one solar system.

By the year 2060, global warming had caused severe environmental damage across the earth. Scientists, worried about continued environmental degradation, began to look for solutions to the problem.

A prototype Ion drive managed to accelerate a probe to one tenth the speed of light in the year 2069. Then in 2085, the first prototype Orion drive accelerated a probe to one quarter the speed of light. Finally, in 2099, the Galaxy Explorer Program launched eight unmanned deep space probes, equipped with updated Orion drives, towards nearby stars. A permanent colony was established on Mars ten years later. Research on terra-forming led to the first attempt to transform Mars' atmosphere.

In 2140 Galaxy Explorer Seven arrived in the Gliese 876 Solar System, 15 light years away, and began to transmit information back to earth. Fifteen years later, images from Gliese 876 reached Earth, showing a multiple star system with three G-Class stars with four Earth-like planets around each and a total of 58 Mars-like planets along with several gas giants around each star, each with at least two dozen moons that could be terra-formed and given an earth-like gravity field using Orbital Gravity Control satellites. The Destiny Program sent a manned mission towards Gliese in 2181. Destiny arrived at the Gliese system in 2215 then and set up a colony on one of the Earth-like planets.

Terra-forming was completed on Mars in 2216. Images of humans on the planet Sihnon in the Gliese system reached the Sol System in 2230. With the earth continuing to decay, enthusiasm for travel to the new system exploded. Three years later, the United Worlds, the successor to the United Nations, was formed.

Earth's moon was finally terra-formed in 2245. Then from 2250 to 2270 "The First Leap Outward" took place, during which several huge colony ships were launched towards Gliese.

In 2253, Jupiter's moon Europa was terra-formed. Finally, in 2275 scientists determined that without a massive effort, Earth would be uninhabitable in less than 150 years. A huge debate erupted between Expansionists who wanted to focus all of Earth's resources on the new system, and Homesteaders who wanted to focus on making Earth viable in the long run.

The first wave of millions of colonists arrived in the Gliese system from 2280 to 2300. These new colonies were set up on three of the Earth-like worlds (Sihnon, Londinium, and Ariel). More than a billion people left the Sol system for Gliese from 2310 to 2320 during "The Second Leap Outward". They settled the other nine Earth-like planets. From 2340 to 2350 "The Third Leap Outward" took place. By this time Earth's population had dropped to less than two billion, with the rest of the population either now living on Mars or on their way to the Gliese system.

An asteroid struck Mars in 2341, killing several million people. Conspiracy theorists said that the expansionists let the asteroid strike the world, to encourage people to abandon the Sol system for Gliese. Whatever the truth, after the asteroid strike the population of the Sol system for the first time dropped below that of the Gliese system.

By the year 2370, with the population of the Gliese system exploding, the colonists who had been on the planets for decades began to resent the newcomers. The Blue Sun mega-corporation won the contract to begin terra-forming the scores of smaller planets and moons in the system. Blue Sun would employ a special greenhouse gas that traps the heat in a planet or moon's atmosphere making the place warm enough to sustain life even at far distances from the sun. That would be combined with the gravity-control satellites, nanomachines released into the atmosphere, soil, and water, plus some industrial sized atmospheric processors along with gigantic orbital mirrors for extra heat and light. The orbital mirrors would be used to focus light on each moon or planet, thus little problem with sunlight and distance.

Many colonists were upset when they arrived in the system, expecting to live on one of the lush central planets, only to be forced to colonize one of the marginal worlds out on the rim. This was mostly because they knew that while terra-forming would make those planets and moons very similar to Earth, they would never be as lush or comfortable as the twelve Core Worlds on account of being so far away from the suns.

In 2374, China and the United States, two leading powers in the Expansionist movement, withdrew from the United Worlds. The new Anglo-Sino Alliance, which controlled many of the worlds and corporations in Gliese, became the de facto main governing body of the system. With the two biggest superpowers out of the United Worlds, attempts to restore the Earth's environment collapsed in 2380 and the planet was officially declared uninhabitable.

The United Worlds was officially dissolved in 2391. While there were still viable colonies on Mars, Europa and Luna, the Sol system suffered under a boycott from the Alliance. Many of the few who remain in the Sol system gave up and headed for Gliese. The last colony ship arrived in the Gliese System from Earth in the year 2429. Radio contact with the handful of people left in the Sol system soon broke off. It is unknown if there are still colonies there.

Terra-forming continued to push the human colonies further out into the system by 2440. Almost all the worlds other than the Core Worlds were officially declared colonies (whatever their populations), which meant they had no voting rights in the Alliance. All those planets and moons terra-formed towards the end of colonization were much more primitive than those that were settled early (the Core Planets) because they hadn't had ample opportunity to establish new levels of high technology the central worlds have.

In 2485, the border moon Calembel experienced extreme weather patters due to poor terra-forming. More than a million people died in floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Official Alliance response was slow, and it was more than three weeks before relief ships arrived. Many border planets were angered by the slow response, and the phrase "Remember Calembel!" became a rallying cry among the anti-Alliance forces. "The Freedom Petition" was issued in 2493. In it 49 border worlds signed the petition demanding increased representation in the Alliance. The Alliance responded by arresting the leaders of the movement and instituting martial law.

From 2493 to 2506, terrorist activity against Alliance targets grew on the border worlds. The Alliance responded, often brutally. In 2506, the Alliance tax offices on Shadow were burned to the ground by an angry mob, and all Alliance officials were kicked off the moon. The Cruiser Munch was dispatched to the colony in order to restore order. When the captain of the Munch refused an order to bombard the moon, another Alliance Cruiser, the Kelp, was sent to Shadow. The Kelp was destroyed by the Munch, in what is considered the first act of the Civil War that would come to be known as the War to Unite the Planets.

One by one, the various moons and planets on the rim declared themselves pro-Independence. Some Alliance military forces joined the rebels, but the majority remained loyal. The war was long and bloody, with the Independents also known as Browncoats generally worse off as the Alliance forces slowly pushed their way out in the system.

In late May of 2511, Alliance and Independent forces met in battle in a place called Serenity Valley. Located on Hera, the valley was considered a key position by both sides, and was bitterly fought over. The Independent Faction, with sixteen brigades and twenty air-tank squads, held the valley against Alliance forces for almost two months, until superior numbers and a brilliant deep-flank strategy by General Richard Wilkins led to an Alliance victory in what would become the most devastating and decisive battle of the war. Nearly half a million people lay dead on that field at day's end, about a third of them Alliance troops. With the strategically important planet of Hera fallen into Alliance hands, the Independents began to accept terms of surrender.

Those who had fought for independence and so bloodily lost had no choice but to live by Alliance law. Some never would, and those few found themselves drifting--flying to the furthest reaches of the system, to the border planets, worlds less civilized, some barely settled, where the Alliance might not control their lives. These are hard worlds, and work is where you find it. Those who get buy lived by a simple creed: Any job, anywhere. The motto of the few remaining disorganized Independents is "We Shall Rise Again".

The culture of 2517 is heavily influenced by the relationship between the West and East embodied in The Alliance. There are many Eastern influences including speech (Cantonese/Mandarin), dress (Chinese styles often worn by women), newspapers, etc. The other culture influencing the Gliese 876 system is the Western Frontiersman. As well as the dialect this is shown again in terms of dress, the lower end of the technology spectrum (coach and horses), etc.

The Central Planets are the home of modern civilization with every imaginable technological achievement on display. Life on the borders of colonized space is very different. Without easy assess to modern conveniences, the sparse populations make due with more antiquated tools. These worlds have come to resemble the old American frontier, in look and attitude. Self-sufficiency and hard work are the rule. However, even on those worlds, the "Earth That Was" is not a place people talk about going to.

http://www.fireflyfans.net/thread.asp?b=2&t=3267

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 10:30 PM

SERGEANTX


That's a great back story. I love the implied mystery of the lost Sol colonies.

Thanks for sharing that.


SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 11:25 PM

CHRONICTHEHEDGEHOG


Book in The Message:

You got your command stripes at the Silverhold colonies. Puts you about eight solar systems away from your jurisdiction...

You can't be more than one solar system away from somewhere if you're in only one solar system.



check out my WIP firefly roleplay system at www.estador.co.uk/firefly

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 11:42 PM

SIKKUKUT


Actually, Book's line is, "Puts you about eight sectors away from your jurisdiction." Sectors could be just about any size or shape.

Wow, thanks for the history ideas! Seems plausible to me.

Personally, I think that the evidence is quite clear for a stable multiple star system. The "86 million miles" line from "The Train Job" is the only really, truly solid fact we have, and as noted, that is simply not an interstellar distance. Hell, it's not even all that far within a solar system. A little less than the distance from the Sun to the Earth, as you probably know, and quite a bit less than the minimum distance between, say, Earth and Jupiter.

It almost certainly has to be a multiple star system, rather than a one-star system, because one star is very unlikely to support that many terraformable worlds. Plus, there always seems to be a sun in the sky on any planet they visit

Sometimes on the show they talk about "systems," but it's pretty clear that this refers to a gas giant and its moons.

Of course, when you look at it too closely, the science of Firefly breaks down a bit. In particular, I can't think of any conceivable method for altering gravity during terraforming. Ultimately, though, we can say two things:

1. Firefly has vastly better science than virtually any other sci-fi TV show ever.
2. As noted, the science is sooooooooo not the point.

_________________________________
"You're mean. Firefly's making me reconsider my lifelong devotion to Star Trek." --My mother

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 11:49 PM

ADIWANROC


Quote:

Originally posted by CrevanReaver:

With a lot of credit to Hans, here is a hypothetical history of the Firefly Universe I made up. It has some theories as to how the series could take place in one solar system.




Thanks for reposting this, it's outstanding work and all very convincing. The notion of a multiple star system fits well and is a good compromise between the two schools of thought. I also love the notion of contact being lost with Earth-That-Was, oh the story possibilities that would open up.

Another snippet of evidence for the "galaxy theory". I was watching "Safe" last night and part of Simon's outburst is "It's fun, being forced to the ass-end of the galaxy". Could be slang (Jewel is indeed the hottest girl in the universe!!!) true, but it seems likely someone as educated as Simon would have been more precise and said "system".

Hopefully Joss will put us all out of our misery and resolve this issue once and for all in the BDM!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2004 11:56 PM

CHRONICTHEHEDGEHOG


Sorry, should have mentioned. I was going by the shooting script version. It was changed for filming. However, as it was written by both Tim and Joss, I don't see them getting it wrong somehow...

Also, the press kit map seems to have hundreds of stars all over the place on it (though we've only seen small pictures), not just the one.



check out my WIP firefly roleplay system at www.estador.co.uk/firefly

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 7:46 AM

RANGER


In The Train Job there is the reference to "the Georga system" when the report of the theft of meds come in to the Alliance cruser. The reference to distance by the Blue Hands only means that is how far these two travelled. This particular pair could be based in the same system as the cruser, and these are the same two that show up on Arial when they get the call on River, so maybe they are just the local agents for the Arial system.

I personally think it was meant to be somewhat vuage so the writers could simply avoid all the tech stuff and focus on the characters.

Traveller, if you go to Sparta, tell them you have seen us lying here as the Law commands.

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 8:44 AM

DANFAN


This is my first post here. The engineer in me can’t resist a technical debate. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

1) As mentioned previously, the one distance mentioned is interplanetary, not interstellar. Not uncontestable, but significant.

2) Apparently (as mentioned previously) there are some mentions of other systems. The large number of habitable planets would support the multiple star system interpretation.

3) The use of words like “galaxy” and “verse” feel like slang to me. Like someone today talking about the friends in his “hood” when in fact he is likely referring to people all over the city he lives in.

4) Lot’s of talk about “Earth that was” that is no longer habitable. So they terraformed 70+ new planets to live on. If they have interstellar FTL drive and they travel between multiple planetary systems spread out all over the galaxy (needing only days or weeks depending on how circuitous the route taken), then a trip back to the Solar system would be like a drive to the grocery store. And if you can terraform a barren rock out on the edge of the “habitable zone” in one star system, you could surely terraform a once (abundantly) life-bearing planet smack in the middle of Sol’s habitable zone. Strip the poisoned atmosphere, reload a new one (just like you’ve done dozens of times before), reseed with plant/animal life from the Alliance worlds and start selling tickets to “Earth that is.” But the feeling of the story is that it isn’t possible to do what’s already been done over and over again… so why?

If I’m spinning an explanation that covers these facts, opinions, and impressions, this is what I think: Yes, the current story takes place in multiple star systems in what astronomers call a “star cluster.” I don’t know the astrophysics of it, but just to support the story, let’s assume several star systems very closely co-located so that interplanetary travel takes days and interstellar travel within the cluster takes weeks or months… all within the Einsteinian speed limits. The trip from Earth to the current home of humanity was an arduous, sub-lightspeed colonization trip… like sailing across the Atlantic in wood ships to the new world or traveling across America in a covered wagon. You can’t go back without an equally enormous expenditure of time and energy. A wealthy, well established system desperate to avoid approaching death could afford to send people out. An immature civilization desperate to build a new life and just getting back on its feet after a bitter civil war can’t afford to reciprocate. And a fascist government that is clearly learning to enjoy it’s sovereignty may not be interested in resuming ties with a distant and silent parent. So “Earth that was” is out of reach. Everything in the storyline is (relatively) local.

Seem reasonable?


danfan

"The sun is riz, the sun is set...
And here I is in Texas yet."

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 9:26 AM

FORRESTWOLF


As an electric propulsion scientist (not an astrophysicist, I should note!), I find the Gliese 'history' very, very compelling. The fact that at only 12 LY distance from Sol, you would be able to reach some 60+ stars (many likely with at least SOME Jovian-class planets, even if in too-close orbits) makes me think a one-time migration is what Joss envisioned. The Gliese 'history' uses the multi-star compromise to the solar system debate, and brings some realistic (1/4 lightspeed) technologies into play.

I might change one thing to that 'history' - other than gravity control (which I find an unfortunate choice on the part of Joss), fusion power is the big (quite realistic) breakthrough needed for this. An ion thruster (something already used on real spacecraft) or other electric thruster needs POWER to get you to high speeds in a reasonable time. You also might need even faster propellant velocities than ion thrusters if you want to get to speeds like 1/4 C. But the key here is power - with enough nuclear (or antimatter, but Firefly uses fusion) power, advanced electric thrusters will be able to accelerate vehicles to extremely high velocities in reasonable (months to years) timeframes.

On the other hand, I hope that we'll have FTL someday - maybe in our lifetimes! - but I think the 'feel' of Firefly is strongly suggestive of a fusion-powered electric propulsion approach - weeks between planets in a system, not travel via space warping or hyperspace, and Joss seems to want science in Firefly to be rather realistic where possible.

- Forrestwolf
Nightfire: Neverwinter Nights Firefly

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 9:33 AM

GUNRUNNER


Quote:

Originally posted by danfan:
1) As mentioned previously, the one distance mentioned is interplanetary, not interstellar. Not uncontestable, but significant.



Nope two distances have been mentioned. An Alliance officer said the Cry Baby distress call was 13 Klicks (kilometeres) away, and their Gunships couldn't intercept Serenity and make it back to their carrier thats only 13 klicks from its prevous position.

Unless slang has changed in 500 years 13 Klicks isn't that far (as far as sensors are concernd). Modern Radar can detect objects a hundred kliometers away. So unless they didn't scan the whole area when they "Sweeped" Serenity they should have been able to detect another ship in the area.

So I think this is another point for A single system/star cluster, since Alliance Gunships dosn't have sufficent fuel to intercept Sereinty and return- unless they are very short range spacecraft.




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Thursday, July 8, 2004 9:37 AM

ZEKE023


I bring this up each time this comes up:

I actually asked one of the script writers over on FOX's site. He said that the script writers had no idea... it was left deliberately ambiguous.

So the answer is: whatever you want it to be.

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 10:06 AM

RUTHIE


CREVANREAVER, I LOVE that backstory.
You're not Joss Whedeon in disguise are you, running ideas past the fans to see if they hold water?

Personally, I'm holding an open mind about the one or many star system debate - I've looked at both sides of the arguments, and just feel that we haven't been given enough evidence to decide either way.
However, I think Joss HAD though about it, and would have introduced ideas slowly over the series that never was
So I have great hopes about having the answer from the BDM.

However, a though occured recently - in Serenity, everyone easily accepts the idea of River in cryo - there is never any suprise shown that this technology is possible.
One of the arguments against travelling interstellar distances to get to a single system with many planets is the transit time being too long to allow for all the travelling AND terraforming to happen in just 500 years since the colonists left Earth.

However, if the intersteller transit was done in STL ships, but automated with the colonists in cryo, they may not count this time, but just start counting the 500 since the founding of the colonies.
As River points out on Simon's birthday, times and dates are meaningless in space without the reference points of planetary and solar movement - time would 'stand still' until they were using planets again.

*******************
Ruthie
*******************
By the data to date, there is only one animal in the Galaxy dangerous to man - man himself. So he must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him. (R.A.Heinlein)

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 10:12 AM

DANFAN


The story feels more compelling to me if they are completely isolated from home ("Earth that was") and interplanetary travel is still somewhat risky (e.g., "Out of Gas"). So in my heart, I prefer the "one-system," or "small, tight star cluster" answers. That gives the story more of a "wild west, living on the edge of survival" taste for me.

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 10:19 AM

BARNSTORMER


I think it has to be a Star Cluster. Meaning an area of space that has several stars in relatively close proximity to each other. There are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of these star clusters known to exist.

The ONE main fact that I know of, that points to Joss and Tim and the other writers showing us this in a loose fashion is the following:

In the episode Safe, The first two scenes are of Serenity landing on a planet, and then they show the three "really nice kidnappers" skinning the rabbit. In these two scenes, the lighting used for these two outdoor daytime scenes is an intense blue/white color. Meaning the sun in that particular solar system comes from a blue/white dwarf star. This could even be THE "Blue Sun" that evil corporations are named after.

After these two scenes, the outdoor lighting color becomes a much less annoying yellow color that we earth dwellers are used to. I think they did this on purpose, to show this light was from a totally different type of star than any of the other planets they had landed on, but then they shifted the color spectrum so as not to annoy the viewers for the rest of the episode.

Joss seems to really want to steer clear of the Star Trekian technobabble. Like detailed descriptions of Warp Bubbles and saving the day time and time again with Inverse Tachyon beams. I don't fault him on this in the least. The interpersonal relationships and the story arc he is telling are of much more importance to me.

But he does put in the occasional hint.

What do you think of this observation everyone?

Am I a Lion?... No, I think I'ma tellin' the truth.

BarnStormer

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 10:43 AM

DUKE


Quote:

Originally posted by SergeantX:

For what is worth, the original pilot (the unaired one) had an intro that clearly referenced settlers moving to the 'furthest reaches of the galaxy', but I don't guess that settles anything.




HUH? I never heard of any 2nd unaired pilot? More info please....!



"I'll be in my bunk..."

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 10:55 AM

SERGEANTX


It was the not-quite-finished version of the pilot that Fox decided was too slow. Someone leaked it out over the internet before the series started. Not much was different really. The soundtrack was just stand-in tracks borrowed from other movies, a couple of scenes had minor differences. The video quality was pretty bad though. It seemed like someone had copied it to .avi from a vhs tape, a worn out videotape at that.

The intro went like this:

Quote:

The War to Unite the Planets was six years done and the victorious Alliance was spreading its control further and further throughout the galaxy.

Those who had fought for independence and so bloodily lost had no choice but to live by Alliance law.

Some never would and those few found themselves drifting, flying to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, to the worlds less civilized - some barely settled - where the Alliance might not control their lives.

These were hard worlds, and work was where you found it. Those who got by lived by a simple creed.

Any job, anywhere.



SergeantX

"Dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it, cause dreamers always chase but never get it." Aesop Rock

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 12:25 PM

FORRESTWOLF


Well, it looks like we'll put the Gliese version of events, with some Independent-tailored language, into the Nightfire Player's Guide. Seems to be a hit with the others working on it :)

I'll be sure to give credit to appropriate people...

Forrestwolf
Nightfire: Neverwinter Nights Firefly


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Thursday, July 8, 2004 1:37 PM

CREVANREAVER


Forrestwolf, where is the Nightfire Player's Guide, what's the web address?

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 7:29 PM

ROCKETJOCK


Just a few observations:

1. The opening narrations aren't preserved on the box set, so I assume Joss doesn't consider them cannonical. Just as well, as they're contradictory anyway.

2. The blue hands guy's line about traveling 86 million miles has no real context -- If I'm investigating something in Sacramento and I have to drop everything to fly to San Jose on a dubious lead, I might gripe about "having to fly a hundred and fifty miles", but it doesn't mean I can't hop a jet to Shanghai the next morning. Annoyance is relative.

3. Barring a definative statement from Joss on the subject, or new data from the BDM or its (hopefully multiple) sequels, we're all making an awful lot of soup from one mouse...

For the record, I'm a "multiple systems" man myself, but I'm not dogmatic on the subject. As with Jubal Harshaw's feelings on religions, "Each choice, wholly paradoxical, avoids the paradoxes of the other."

"You can't enslave a free man. The most you can do is kill him." -- Robert A. Heinlein

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 8:45 PM

RANGRBOB


This may have been brought up but if you read the description of the movie on serenitymovie.com it refers multiple times to galaxy.
1. Browncoats are forced to live as galactic outcasts.
2. Captain Malcolm Reynolds is a hardened veteran on the losing side of a galactic civil war,
3. A small band of them skim the outskirts of the galaxy
I don't know how offical they are but there they are.

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Thursday, July 8, 2004 9:46 PM

LJSQUARED


I've always liked the idea of a compromise between both. A cluster of stars perhaps 5-10 light years in diameter. We could then have a situation where ships travel close to the speed of light but not beyond it, this is theoreticaly possible (the problem is stopping).
So when the crew refer to the "galaxy" it really means known galaxy.
My main reason for not liking the system idea is there simply wouldn't be enough planets or moons. My main reason for not liking the whole galaxy idea is that FTL just doesn't seem to fit in Firefly. This is a good way for ex-trekkies (who simply must know these things) to deal with the ambiguity in Firefly.

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Friday, July 9, 2004 3:36 AM

FORRESTWOLF


Crevanreaver -

The address for the whole module, which includes the Player's Guide, is (not referred to as Nightfire there, by the way - that's new):

http://nwvault.ign.com/Files/modules/data/1080769905000.shtml

It's about 1.6 MB, zipped, because it includes the NWN module as well as the player's guide pdf.

The current version doesn't include your history - we're working on that now - it's got 'Browncoat' language added, as if an old Independent were telling the story on his back porch to a young 'un. We'll be uploading that soon.

If you really just want the player's guide, it's on my Yahoo group web site:

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/fireflynwn/

(but thanks to Yahoo, you've got to request to join the group :(

Rangrbob - I noticed that first thing on the official site - really got me down - but I think it's more of Joss not deciding (the review of the movie I've read indicated 'solar system' language was still in when the author read their unofficial copy of the script).
- Forrestwolf
Nightfire: Neverwinter Nights Firefly

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Friday, July 9, 2004 3:48 AM

BARNSTORMER


Quote:

Originally posted by BarnStormer:
I think it has to be a Star Cluster. Meaning an area of space that has several stars in relatively close proximity to each other. There are thousands (hundreds of thousands) of these star clusters known to exist.

The ONE main fact that I know of, that points to Joss and Tim and the other writers showing us this in a loose fashion is the following:

In the episode Safe, The first two scenes are of Serenity landing on a planet, and then they show the three "really nice kidnappers" skinning the rabbit. In these two scenes, the lighting used for these two outdoor daytime scenes is an intense blue/white color. Meaning the sun in that particular solar system comes from a blue/white dwarf star. This could even be THE "Blue Sun" that evil corporations are named after.

After these two scenes, the outdoor lighting color becomes a much less annoying yellow color that we earth dwellers are used to. I think they did this on purpose, to show this light was from a totally different type of star than any of the other planets they had landed on, but then they shifted the color spectrum so as not to annoy the viewers for the rest of the episode.

Joss seems to really want to steer clear of the Star Trekian technobabble. Like detailed descriptions of Warp Bubbles and saving the day time and time again with Inverse Tachyon beams. I don't fault him on this in the least. The interpersonal relationships and the story arc he is telling are of much more importance to me.

But he does put in the occasional hint.

What do you think of this observation everyone?

Am I a Lion?... No, I think I'ma tellin' the truth.

BarnStormer





OK, no responses on this observation/theory?

Helllloooooooooooo
Is anyone out there?

If I'm way off base, then tell me.

I'm a large, semi muscular man.....I can take it.







Am I a Lion?... No, I think I'ma tellin' the truth.

BarnStormer

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Friday, July 9, 2004 4:02 AM

PURPLEBELLY


I think Firefly, as a SciFi-Western, is about science fiction like Wagon Train was about pioneering and Rawhide was about cattle. Please don't stop discussing everything that can be based on the show, but I guess all the writers were Arts majors, so don't lean too heavily on them

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Friday, July 9, 2004 10:39 PM

CREVANREAVER


Quote:

we'll put the Gliese version of events, with some Independent-tailored language, into the Nightfire Player's Guide


I found some information on Gliese 876, which is actually a real solar system.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980626.html

Since, it is real and does not actually have three stars, I was thinking perhaps you guys should make it a different solar system for the Nightfire Player's Guide. Maybe Gliese 877?

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Friday, July 9, 2004 10:42 PM

SPACEMANSPIFF


Thisd has to be one of my favorite discussions when it comes to Firefly. I've posted my opinions a few times before, but what's one more?

I should mention first that I am an astronomer, for what it's worth.

I'm a fan of the "one system" theory. I think it's a relatively new idea in sci-fi, after the "we run around the galaxy" stuff has been done. A lot of people don't grasp the enormity of space, and it's difficult to wrap one's mind around the sizes in our own solar system.

Here's some thoughts...

1. A large star could hold a large solar system. This covers a lot of the arguments made. A large star would be blue...hence, the Blue Sun corp. A large star has a much larger habitable zone (the volume around the star that roughly recreates Earth-like conditions) that could easily hold 70+ habitable or terraformable planets/moons. Example: An G-type star (Sol) has a habitable zone from about 0.85-2.0 AU, encompasing Venus, Earth and Mars. An A-type star (Sirius, ~7 lyrs. away) would have a habitable zone from about 1.5-3.6 AU, a >3x increase in area. Add to this the fact that very large gas giants emit a great deal of heat due to gravitational collapse, which can warm up a moon (and does around Jupiter), and your habitable zone can increase further. Each of the large gas giants could hold many livable moons, and that could be what the term "system" in-show describes. A large star would be easy to find, measure, and aim for (large gravity well) from Earth.

2. Serenity is never shown in non-Einsteinian space. This is very arguable...who knows what FTL travel looks like? The "hard burn" was done in atmosphere, and I don't think something designed to boost a ship to >c could be done in atmo. Fusion is the best explanation of the drives, given what we've seen of the ship in action.

3. The sector argument: Dividing a disk from the orbit of Venus to the orbit of Saturn into 50 sectors makes each sector about 1.27x10^17 km, or roughly the entire area inside the Earth's orbit. While most of that is empty space, the Alliance could easily have hundreds of sectors in a large solar system, and still have Reavers, smugglers and criminals all over the place running free.

Aside from mentions of the galaxy and the universe in dialog (which I mark up to slang use), I've never seen or heard any good reasons or evidence for a galaxy-wide civilization in Firefly.

I really like the history given above, and I think the star cluster theory is a very interesting one. The biggest problem there is that star clusters such as binary and quad systems greatly decrease the chances of a solar system forming.

Spiff

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Friday, July 9, 2004 11:26 PM

SLOWSMURF


The only reason the sector arguement is given is that planets constantly move, thus having stationary sectors would be impossible. Having crazy moving sectors would also be quite odd, unless they were based off a single planet or something. However, having someone "8 sectors away from his jourisdiction" based purely on a planetary system seems a bit iffy.

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Friday, July 9, 2004 11:29 PM

CAM


I haven't read most of this discussion, but in the pilot doesn't the first guy who tries to sell book passage say something like "we're going all across the spiral"?

Nevermind, he says "outer rings"...not really conclusive in either case.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004 8:47 AM

CREVANREAVER


Another good reason for the One System Theory is the politics of it.

Think about it, why would the Alliance be willing to go to war over a bunch of colonies spread throughout the galaxy, or at least a few lightyears away. However, if they were in the same solar system as the central planets then it makes much more sense. Then they're closer to home and the action of those colonies definitely have greater affects on the entire Alliance, therefore they needed to control them.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004 11:55 AM

DEWSHINE


there are very good arguments on both sides. Politics should play into the answer as well.
Is the allience more like the British empire at her height or more like China? The main difference being of course that Britian looked out at the ocean and said "that is mine, all mine" and China even at the height of power said "leave me alone, and don't touch my vassals either". Colonies in close by solar systems would be attractive to the former mindset and colonies in the same system would be attractive to the latter. Anyone have clues to the political mindset here? I almost think its more of a "British" flavor myself but the fact that China is a central partner and has centuries old emperial history (like thousands of years here)that even the current political climate cannot blow off also gives the views much weight.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004 12:35 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


I have always supported the one system theory. For one thing they describe the “hard burn” in one of the commentaries as a “fusion explosion behind the ship” Now I understand the idea of an external combustion engine such as this, though I’m not sure if it would work in space, and it doesn’t surpass lightspeed.

A external combustion engine just lets you ride a shockwave, I don’t know what kind of shockwave can exist in space, but the idea seems pretty simple.

Also we can see the ship move away when it shoots off. If it moved faster than light wouldn’t it disappear? I don’t know the way it works, but if in one second it is two light seconds away seems like there should be a gap there. Would seem that it should at least appear distorted.

Then there’s the fact that we see the reaver ship move by slowly, I assume this is because their relative speeds are slow even though compared to their points of origin they are moving quite fast. But last I checked something moving at the speed of light always seems to be moving at the speed of light. That wouldn’t allow for a slow passing.

Further we all know that 70 habitable bodies is possible in one system, but doesn’t it seem small for a “whole galaxy”?

-

I don’t remember most of what I knew about this. But all evidence I have seen seems to point to one system.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004 1:32 PM

SLOWSMURF


They passed slowly because of a glaring and obvious technical error(that they admit even). That is not proof/evidence either way.

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Saturday, July 10, 2004 2:29 PM

SPACEMANSPIFF


If a sector was defined as, say, "100,000 km radius around a planet it might work. But I see your point...there is no good way to make a planet-centered sector cover the entire solar system all the time. But maybe they don't need to? Maybe the only areas the Alliance are concerned with are around planets. I mean, almost everyone would have to come to one eventually, and it's the unguarded empty space in between that allows Reavers and smugglers to exist.

I think the big problem with using the visual effects as hard science evidence for any of the theories is that the visuals are never going to be completely correct. If they were, they would suck as visual effects.

A fusion drive wouldn't create a rideable shock wave, per se, but it does create so much radiative energy that that energy can be used for propulsion, the way we use chemical rockets now.

I think Joss would have had to make at least a general decision on this point. He may obscure it for the fans, but he has an idea of how large a volume Firefly takes place in.

Spiff

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 2:51 AM

CREVANREAVER


Quote:

I think Joss would have had to make at least a general decision on this point. He may obscure it for the fans, but he has an idea of how large a volume Firefly takes place in.


I'm sure there will be hints as to whether or not Fireflyverse takes place in a single system or the entire galaxy in "Serenity." I've just got my fingers crossed the hollywood execs didn't pressure Joss into going the typical and overused route of the whole galaxy.

Unfortunately some of the promos I've read on the web lead me to believe my worst fear might be true.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 9:08 AM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by SlowSmurf:
They passed slowly because of a glaring and obvious technical error(that they admit even). That is not proof/evidence either way.


You have a choice to make, do you trust the show or not? If you trust the show than you have to take everything, even admitted errors, as canon.

The exceptions are mics in camera and floating rocks.

That was a fairly significant scene, it would screw up a lot if we take it as an error. So instead we have to make up an explanation for it. The only one I can come up is that the relative speeds were slow.

There is a lot like that in both tv and in movies. Now they actually have to digitally add in some of the shadows of lightsabers in Star Wars. It was a glaring technical error to have a glowing thing leave not a glow, but a shadow. It was a glaring technical error. Now it’s a part of the movies and figures prominently in every theory of what a lightsaber really is.

In some cases this can’t be done, like all of the things with sound in space, but in this case there is a perfectly sensible explanation, so why ruin it by dismissing it as a piece of crap-science?

Quote:

Originally posted by SpacemanSpiff:
I think the big problem with using the visual effects as hard science evidence for any of the theories is that the visuals are never going to be completely correct. If they were, they would suck as visual effects.


Of course, but if we don't use what we see what do we use?

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 9:46 AM

HOBBES


Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
For one thing they describe the “hard burn” in one of the commentaries as a “fusion explosion behind the ship"



Does that remind anyone else of Project Orion?

If not then it was a 60's (I think) project to bypass the whole chemical engine inefficency thing by basically creating a spaceship with a big dumbbell for a back end. Then you drop a series of nuclear bombs in the dumbbell and viola you get moving pretty fast.

Of course there was the whole multiple nuclear detonations in the atmosphere bit so it never got off the ground.

-------------------------------------------------
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May you be in heaven an hour before
The Devil knows you’re dead.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 10:20 AM

ANONYMOUSPOSTERCHILD


Quote:

Originally posted by Hobbes:
Quote:

Originally posted by christhecynic:
For one thing they describe the “hard burn” in one of the commentaries as a “fusion explosion behind the ship"



Does that remind anyone else of Project Orion?

If not then it was a 60's (I think) project to bypass the whole chemical engine inefficency thing by basically creating a spaceship with a big dumbbell for a back end. Then you drop a series of nuclear bombs in the dumbbell and viola you get moving pretty fast.

Of course there was the whole multiple nuclear detonations in the atmosphere bit so it never got off the ground.

-------------------------------------------------
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May you be in heaven an hour before
The Devil knows you’re dead.



ACtually, there are experiments involving fusion propulsion right now, and they are significantly different from project Orion. They do off a very high-propulsion speed, but to construct one would leave us with a hugh, bulky, highly-radioactive engine.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 10:22 AM

GUNRUNNER


Yep Orion Drives have been compaired to the Firefly Engine several times. Ofcourse on Firefly ships can have both Jet Engines and Orion/Fusion Engines so a spaceship dosn't leave a trail of radation when taking off.

The Firefly CCG Yahoo Group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/FFCCG
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http://s8.invisionfree.com/FFCCG/
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Sunday, July 11, 2004 11:09 AM

AMNESIAC


Have a couple friendly disputes with the whole single system theory. If they don't have interstellar travel, how did they get to this new single star system? Also a single star system would be much easier to observe by the alliance than a huge portion of interstellar space. With current technology, we can observe objects as big as alliance cruisers (asteroids) from hundreds of millions of miles away. Also a single star with all of humanity orbiting around it is huge, but it is a much smaller frontier than the entire galaxy. I think the one system plan just makes it more difficult to tell the Serenity/Firefly story. It also, in my mind, makes the suspension of disbelief a little less suspensiony. We know one star system relatively well, and we know that in the middle of it is a pretty average star. We look up and see billions of stars just like this one. This star system has maybe two out of eight and ½ planets capable of supporting life, and the second one is Mars, and quite frankly it’s a big mostly if not entirely dead desert. So I think that Einstein is taking a little nap, and that Serenity is traveling faster than the speed of light via technology that is as mundane to the crew as the internal combustion engine is to us. I mean they’re already beating the laws of physics with a baseball bat with the whole artificial gravity thing. It takes a rock the size of a planet to generate a gravity field of 1g in this universe, and the shuttles on serenity have no problem with it. There really are stars up there, with vast distances between them, and little balls of dirt like earth circling around them. To keep the show/BDM grounded why not use what’s already there, and in Buffy/Angel writer speak; the flabotanum (I hope that’s how it’s spelled) is faster than light travel. We haven’t heard the characters talk about it, because the writers don’t know how it could conceivably work without getting all ‘reverse tachyon beam’ on us. The science of course isn’t what’s important, but it is the back drop the characters play in front of. The more detailed and down to earth out the back ground, the easier it is to believe the story. I find it easier to ignore the Einstein’s relativity loophole than the restructuring of what we know about solar systems and space loophole. Plus it’s bigger, more mysterious, and more exiting to have the frontier be something as big and open as a galaxy.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 1:26 PM

DIEGO


>1. A large star could hold a large solar system. This covers a >lot of the arguments made. A large star would be blue...hence, >the Blue Sun corp. A large star has a much larger habitable >zone (the volume around the star that roughly recreates Earth->like conditions) that could easily hold 70+ habitable or >terraformable planets/moons.

I like the idea of connecting the Blue Sun Corp with a large, blue star- it's pretty clever. But I don't see any reason inherent to the Single System Hyptohesis that we have to reconcile all 70+ worlds with a single system. The characters visit only a few worlds and some of them they return to multiple times. Maybe some of the planets are in other systems but were colonized independently during the diaspora/exodus period 500 years before and are inaccessible to our BDH. They would know about these sister civilizations by radio and might even keep up a very slow correspondence across the light-years. But there's nor reason that humanity would put all its eggs in one basket- especially after the apprent demise of earth.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 1:55 PM

SLOWSMURF


Uh....because the ship was moving slower than they would walk almost?

Yeah, thats good for interplanety travel. I think they would've siply turned the reaver ship around(or serenity, same thing) had they thought this through ahead of time, but they did not. There is no way to justify it, it was a technical error plain and simple.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 1:57 PM

CHRISTHECYNIC


Quote:

Originally posted by Amnesiac:
Have a couple friendly disputes with the whole single system theory. If they don't have interstellar travel, how did they get to this new single star system?


This is not meant to be hostile, I am merely frustrated.

Sometimes I just want to hit people over the head wit a rock. This is one of those times. I mean no offense but this is the truth.

Haven't you listened to anything that was said? No one said they interstellar travel. They said they were incapable of FTL travel. The question becomes the time span involved.

This has been discussed many times and there are many possible explanations. Let's just name two:
1 They (the population of earth) were cryogenically frozen and moved there on a sleepership. As far as they are concerned when they wake up no time has passed. It would be odd, to say the least, for them to suddenly decide that centuries have passed, especially considering that time is relative.

2 While we’re talking about relativity, what if they had really fast ships? Moving near the speed of light. Well in this case not much time would pass for them now would it? No. Not much time at all. So even though they may travel hundreds of lightyears slower than light hundreds of years wouldn’t pass for them.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 4:14 PM

HONEY


This discussion has brought up an issue that's bothered me since I first saw the pilot, and since it involves Reavers, I'm hoping it will be addressed in the BDM.

In introducing reavers to us, two 'facts' were given, 1) that reavers are men who've gone mad 'on the edge of space,' and 2) that every year, reavers are pushing out more and more. After Zoe makes this last statement, Mal says, "It's getting crowded in my sky."

Which is it? Are the reavers on "the edge of space" (an image of the outer rim of the system comes to mind), or are they in between the core and the outer colonies? Maybe "the edge of space" refers to the edge of civilized space, i.e., the core of the system? This second interpretation fits the facts better, especially if you consider space to be a very large place, and well, they gotta eat. It would make more sense for them to operate in space where there are more victims to encounter.

What's everyone else's take on this?

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 5:01 PM

THEREALME


As far as the relative velocity between Serenity and the Reaver ship in the pilot, we are talking RELATIVE velocity. These two ships could quite possibly be zooming very quickly across space relative to some planets in orbit, but RELATIVE TO EACH OTHER they could be rather slow. This works especially well if we assume that they are heading more or less in the same direction.

But they were clearly travelling at right angles to each other, right? We saw it!

Not necessarily. True, they were moving at perhaps a handful of miles per HOUR with respect to each other, but what if they were both moving at ten miles per SECOND with respect to Patience's home? That would make their courses nearly identical in speed and direction.

That's my bogus explanation, anyway. Frankly, I think the writers/directors/producers did something lame in order to build dramatic suspense.



As far as the System vs Galaxy debate, I'm quite convinced that Joss doesn't care, and perhaps doesn't even understand the difference between one system, several systems, a galaxy, and a universe.

But let's work with what we have.

The most telling episode for me regarding this debate is Out Of Gas. In a single solar system, it is unlikely that you can be "out of range" of a radio signal. Oh, you could wonder if anyone will be looking your way. But I don't think a reasonable radio would be out of range. If you are caught in between systems, however, then the radio signal could take years to get to anyone.

Also, the earlier Mal talks to Zoe about no matter how far the arm of the Alliance reaches, they can always go a little bit farther.

This doesn't work. Even if you assume that the sun is blue and therefore hotter and with a bigger life zone, you will run into a finite border beyond which you cannot reasonably go. The outer planets, even of a blue sun, will be covered with nitrogen snow or something. Uninhabitable.

For me, FTL travel and psychic powers are no more amazing than artificial gravity, and I see no reason to swallow the one and balk at the others as "unrealistic".

I think that we are dealing with, perhaps not a galaxy, but perhaps a few tens of star systems. That makes the most sense to me.



The Real Me

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Sunday, July 11, 2004 6:29 PM

HELL'S KITTEN


I have two things to add. Kinda minor, but here they are:

1) This isn't directly related to the topic, but I've always wondered this: What is considered "canon"? Is it the episode transcripts? The DVD episodes with the deleted scenes? Shooting scripts? Any number of the various writer's draft iterations? Outlines? Beat sheets? How far is appropriate for "canon"? Cuz I have an awful lot of those things and have seen some of what could be called more 'definitive' answers. But if these aren't considered "canon," there's not much point in bringing it up.

2) If it were a multi-system kinda 'verse, wouldn't it have been a bit risky for Tracey to mail himself to Mal & Zoe? I mean, how would Tracey have known to which Post Office in all the 'verse to mail himself? Aside from the fact that Mal avoids the Core Planets, of course. (Personally, I think that was just a story telling device and not too much shoulda been read into it.)

Okay, well fine, three things.

3) While I tried to read most of these posts, I may have missed this, sorry; feel free to slap me around if it's already been discussed. Has anyone taken into account in their opinion the fact that it took 6 months to get from Persephone ("Shindig") to Jiangyin ("Safe")? I'm really not sure what that means to either side of the argument. Just curious what ya think, is all.

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