Wolfe Talks More 'Andromeda'

By Christian
April 19, 2000 - 9:13 PM

Jeff Bond at the Mothership has put up part two of his report on the Gallifrey One convention, where former DS9 writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe spoke about his new series, 'Andromeda'. After last week already providing details on the various races and characters we'll encounter in the series, this week's report contains info on the 'Andromeda Ascendant' (Dylan Hunt's ship), and the method of faster-than-light travel in the Andromeda universe.

As was previously reported, the Andromeda Ascendant will be a fully sentient ship, who has actually been granted rights as a person by the Commonwealth, like basically anything that has achieved a certain level of sentience. As a result, the ship actually has a self-image of "a fairly attractive woman", who at the time of the con hadn't been cast yet. Here's how Wolfe described Andromeda:

"She is essentially in control of both the ship itself and all the little robots aboard her, everything from little nanobots that you can't see to mosquito-size robots that fly around the ship and keep an eye on things, to two huge battle droids that are kept in the cargo hold with little signs that say 'In Case of Planetary War Break Glass' - affectionately known as Tweedledee and Tweedledum."

"She also controls a number of drones, fighters, all of which are semi-sentient and can operate on their own, and after a little while she'll have a body that looks completely human, which is indistinguishable from a human as long as you don't look too close or cut it. But it's a fully sentient robot, which is much more advanced in many ways than Data - it can use contractions, for example. It's skin is the appropriate color and she has full emotional range, which means that sometimes she acts like a very confused graduate student, especially in the situation in which our crew will eventually find themselves, which is a very emotionally confusing situation in that everything that they've come to depend on is changed after some really bad things happen in the first couple of episodes which I'm not going to talk about."

Following this description of the Andromeda, Wolfe talked about some of the more technical aspects of the series. This included an explanation of how weapons work in the Andromeda universe (no lasers are used or similar weapons are used, instead ships launch small attack drones at each other), and of course the interesting Slipstream technology that allows ships to travel faster than light:

"There's a speed limit in normal space, which is 186,000 miles per second. In order to go FTL you have to get away from a gravity well where space is as flat as possible. Then we take our antigravity projector and create an enormous gravity well, which opens up a rift in space, and we go into a place called slipstream, which is like string theory where everything is connected to everything else, and the bigger objects are the more strings they have connecting each other. We go into a place where these strings are somewhat visible, and we connect to these strings and go on a big roller coaster ride."

"The trick is that the strings are constantly changing and you have to decide constantly where you are going. It's like interstellar surfing in that it's much more like an art than a science, and the more in touch with your instincts you are the better you are at it."

For a more detailed look at the technology on the series, as well as more on the good ship Andromeda, please read the full article.

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