The only way "WNMHGB"'s scenario would work out is if she had impulse engines capable of eventually getting up to FTL speeds, IMO.
Captain's log, Star date 1312.9. Ship's condition, heading back on impulse power only. Main engines burned out. The ship's space warp ability gone.
I've given the scenario more thought, some of which is probably unorthodox and outrageously heretic
, and would like to present an attempt to provide solutions:
A) The energy barrier has only "negative" properties and one of the physical properties of hypothetical "negative matter" is the repulsive effect it would have on normal matter which has also been suggested by Bob Forward and others as a means of spaceship propulsion.
Apparently, as witnessed in "By Any Other Name", one problem was to break through this energy barrier, so in WNM the barrier's repulsive effect could have provided the Enterprise
with enough kinetic energy of being catapulted away from the barrier (obviously they just needed to maintain helm control to determine which direction the ship was catapulted to).
B) While the warp engines were switched off some time after the encounter, I can't help but wonder how the warp coils actually perform from a strictly TOS in-universe point of view. The big problem of both nuclear fusion and matter-antimatter annihilation is that the major product is gamma radiation. Either the dilithium crystals convert the reaction energy into some form "exotic" energy the warp coils need or the warp coils themselves are actually exotic as they react to any
exposure of gamma radiation.
Frankly, I find all these nautic references in Star Trek to be rather pathetic ("All I ask is a tall ship...", "Let the wind be at our backs"). Essentially the Enterprise
(and any spaceship for that matter) is a space going submarine and I haven't heard of any submarine commander who'd quote sailing ship poetics (most of these would rather pray "All I ask is a steady concentration of salt in the sea water...").
However, if natural gamma radiation would actually qualify as the "wind" for a warp driven spacecraft, we'd be dealing with something completely different (notice that most of the TOS starships are named after sailing vessels...and Vulcan has no oceans to sail on
In theory, a warp driven spacecraft could be constantly on the move as the natural gamma radiation would stimulate the coils. So when a ship has come to a full stop that would only tell us that the warp coils have been shielded from receiving natural gamma radiation.
To reach higher warp speeds the Enterprise
would be merely adding / increasing artificial gamma radiation.
Back to what we saw in WNM, one could argue that it was no longer possible for the ship to supply artificial gamma radiation ("the ship's space warp ability gone") but the ship was still receiving natural gamma radiation to move at a speed like warp factor 1 or the like.
C) The impulse engines provided additional thrust to get to Delta Vega faster. As odd as this may sound, we've seen in "The Immunity Syndrome" that Scotty combined warp and impulse power into one major thrust.
Of course, impulse power itself wouldn't qualify as an FTL drive, but it could play a more significant role to support "natural" warp travel.
Quote from The Making of Star Trek
: Originally the Enterprise
was said to be
powered by something loosely called a ‘space warp’. ..."