Therin of Andor wrote:
Remember all the shouting when the Klingon Empire was shown to be only a few days travel from Earth?
It was actually scripted as a four-week journey, but it was changed during production.
I feel that the ENT writers had an intention with the "Vulcan star charts", mentioned several times in "Broken Bow", that they showed known-only-to-Vulcans shortcuts to places like the Klingon Homeworld (and later to P'jem and Andor). Thus the Klingons could be mere days from a ship leaving Earth and following Vulcan star charts, but Earth was still weeks/months away for the Klingons coming in the opposite direction.
I very much doubt that was their intention, since their knowledge of basic astronomy was painfully inept (they didn't even know Rigel was a real star). But it's a good rationalization. After all, we can see
just about everything in space just by looking up with a good enough telescope, so in normal-space terms there's no reason why Vulcans should have much astronavigational information we wouldn't have been able to discover ourselves. Unless it's something to do with subspace, something not visible to telescopes.
How would that even work? Space is space, no? Point A and Point B, fastest route is a straight line.
It's been posited for decades, in works like Star Trek Maps
and the TNG Technical Manual
, that the actual speed of a ship at a given warp factor varies depending on the conditions of the space it travels through -- the distribution of mass and energy, the subspace geometry, etc. There's a longstanding concept, actually alluded to in Star Charts
, that there are "high-speed lanes" where the subspace conditions make warp drive unusually fast. And as I said, this is a handy way to reconcile the otherwise implausible Trek conceit that there's a need for navigators and charts in outer space, where there are no horizons and you can just see
where you're going no matter how far away it is.