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Playing With: Space Friction
Basic Trope: Space exerts a countervailing force upon starships, causing them to slow and eventually stop.
  • Straight: The good starship FNS Comet cuts its engines and drifts to a stop.
  • Exaggerated:
    • FNS Comet comes to a screeching halt whenever it does not have its engines turned on, throwing the crew around inside.
    • Stopping the ship produces skid marks on the fabric of spacetime.
  • Downplayed: Some force causes the FNS Comet to lose speed when the engines are idle, but to such a small degree that it has no practical impact within any plot-significant amount of time.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: FNS Comet speeds up without its engines on, without using a gravity assist technique.
  • Subverted: "Our engines have spontaneously disassembled themselves! We're going to be drifting through space!" "What? No, that's stupid. There's no friction in space."
  • Doubly Subverted: FNS Comet slows through space friction, just not when or at the rate it was expected to.
  • Parodied: "Our engines have spontaneously disassembled themselves! Luckily there's no friction in space, so we have time to fix them." "Actually, we're flying through a large blob of Space Friction In Space, we're going to stop in three seconds."
  • Zig Zagged:
    • FNS Comet slows to a stop as it enters the system of Alpha Beta, but sends an unpowered probe toward a planet to study it from afar, which then brakes to a stop using space friction once in high orbit.
    • The Comet uses an exotic engine that is stated to cause such an effect if shut off, but the engine malfunctions and the ship doesn't slow down as it's supposed to; it drifts helplessly... but wait, now it's slowing down! Hang on - that's because it didn't manage to surpass the escape velocity of the nearest celestial body! The Comet enters into an unstable orbit path and the crew have to fix it before the ship falls into whatever it's orbiting!
  • Averted: FNS Comet is bound by Newtonian physics so the ship continues moving towards its destination even when engines have stopped.
  • Enforced: Determining delta-V budgets and acceleration/deceleration times (among other things) in the mission is too much maths, so friction is adopted as an easier solution.
  • Lampshaded: Crew aboard the FNS Comet discuss how wrong Newton was.
  • Invoked: Snidley Wiplash has sabotaged the engines, making it so they can't be turned off, pointing the ship towards a nearby star, and destroying navigation control. Captain Bob orders Ensign Alice to go and physically yank out the flux capacitor, shutting off the engine so they'll stop short of the star.
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: FNS Comet's chief engineer explains at length Newtonian physics, their mission's delta-V budget and at what point they will need to start decelerating to arrive at a dead stop.
  • Discussed: "You wouldn't believe how often I hear, 'Why is the ship turning around? We're only halfway there!' "
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Space is treated as if it had an atmosphere, or was filled with a liquid.
  • Reconstructed: Space is treated as above, but the interactions of stars, spaceships et all are handwaved away through cosmic phlebotinum.

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