The Delta Flyer in Slipstream

 

The Slipstream Drive

  

Slip stream drive is comparable to transwarp technology. It has the ability to travel 60,000 light-years in 3 months. It was developed by an alien race of unknown origin recently assimilated by the Borg. Instead of using a standard warp core, it is powered by a spherical device serving as its engine. Federation vessels, after certain adjustments, are able to harness slip stream speeds for a very limited amount of time. After a full integration into a Federation vessel's warp core, the spherical device is unneeded. The drive is much less limited with the new core, but much more unstable.

The quantum slipstream is actually a narrowly focused, directed warp field that is initiated by manipulating the fabric of the space-time continuum at the quantum level. It works by focusing a quantum field through a deflector dish to generate massive changes in local space curvature; this creates a subspace tunnel, which is projected in front of the vessel. Once a ship has entered this tunnel, the forces inside propel it at incredible speed.



Efficient system

The slipstream is large enough to accommodate more than one vessel, so a ship without a quantum drive can enter the slipstream and accompany the vehicle that is generating it. In order to initiate a controlled shutdown of a quantum drive, the field strength has to be reduced to 50 percent. This can be done by reversing the drive's polarity.

Although Voyager managed to generate a slipstream and use it for approximately two hours, the technology proved impractical for a number of reason. Most significantly, the quantum stresses places considerable strain on the ship's hull and structural integrity systems; it was clear that using the slipstream for any length of time would destroy the ship.

The crew lost access to the technology when Arturis took his ship into the heart of Borg space in a failed attempt to condemn Janeway and Seven of Nine (who were on board) to assimilation. However, using the data the crew had gathered, they managed construct a quantum drive using benamite crystals. They also managed to overcome the structural integrity problems. However, because the benamite crystals decayed quickly, they were forced into testing the drive prematurely.

The greatest difficulties involved lie not ingenerating the slipstream but in maintaining and navigating it. Even a slight phase variance can cause the slipstream to collapse, with disastrous consequences for any ship inside it.