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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > The Next Generation

The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old December 30 2012, 06:22 PM   #1
The Overlord
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Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

In the episode "Force of Nature" the idea was introduced that warp travel was damaging the fabric of subspace, with subspace rifts appearing near Hekaras II, so the Federation decided to limit Warp travel to warp 5 unless there is a emergency.

However I wonder if that didn't put a limit on story telling and it seemed like it was just ignored later. During the Dominion War, Dominion ships would have ignored this limitation and Federation ships would have to go as fast as Dominion ships in order to counter them. So it seems like these limits were soon ignored.

So was putting limits on Warp travel a bad idea?
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Old December 30 2012, 06:28 PM   #2
The Mirrorball Man
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

No, as you said it was ignored almost immediately and anyway 5 is just a random insignificant number. In Star Trek, travel time is plot-induced: a starship reaches its destination exactly as soon as the plot requires it.
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Old December 30 2012, 06:56 PM   #3
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

Yes.
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Old December 30 2012, 08:15 PM   #4
Merry Christmas
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

The Overlord wrote: View Post
it seemed like it was just ignored later
It was implied that the problem that resulted in the "speed limit" was in a relatively small area of the galaxy, just one sector.

Once outside that sensitive chunk of space, the limit wasn't in effect.
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Old December 30 2012, 08:19 PM   #5
JirinPanthosa
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

I seem to vaguely recall they had a throwaway line at the start of Voyager saying they had new technology to correct the problem that was harming space.
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Old December 30 2012, 08:42 PM   #6
Finngle Bells
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

Merry Christmas wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
it seemed like it was just ignored later
It was implied that the problem that resulted in the "speed limit" was in a relatively small area of the galaxy, just one sector.

Once outside that sensitive chunk of space, the limit wasn't in effect.

No. Picard got permission to exceed that limit from an Admiral later that season for a mission, and I'm pretty sure they weren't in that area.
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Old December 30 2012, 08:48 PM   #7
The Overlord
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

Merry Christmas wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
it seemed like it was just ignored later
It was implied that the problem that resulted in the "speed limit" was in a relatively small area of the galaxy, just one sector.

Once outside that sensitive chunk of space, the limit wasn't in effect.
But does that mean that Hekaras II was destroyed by subspace rifts because of the use of warp engines during the Dominion war?
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Old December 30 2012, 09:04 PM   #8
shivkala
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
I seem to vaguely recall they had a throwaway line at the start of Voyager saying they had new technology to correct the problem that was harming space.
I remembered it being linked with the movable nacelles. Apparently, Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda detailed them that way in the unpublished Star Trek: Voyager Technical Manual for season 1, according to Memory Alpha.

In the unpublished VOY Season 1 edition of the Star Trek: Voyager Technical Manual, by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, it is suggested that because of the variable geometry pylons, warp fields might no longer have a negative impact on habitable worlds as established in TNG: "Force of Nature".
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Old December 30 2012, 09:13 PM   #9
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

My issue with the speed limit, and Forces of Nature as an episode, is that I really dislike what it says about man's relationship with technology. I have no problem with Trek commenting on environmental issues and suggesting ways for humanity to overcome them, but before Forces of Nature, the solution was largely one of further research, scientific development and increasing technological sophistication. Essentially, it admitted that technology can create problems, but posited that more technology can solve them, or at least kick the can down the road a long way. It's a very positive, optimistic message about our future.

(A prime example of what I mean would be The Voyage Home: "ouch, we wiped out the only species that can save us. No problem, we'll devise a way to travel back in time and bring them back, and have fun at the same time too". It's a very hopeful message and one I like.)

Forces of Nature says, "no, this problem means we have to slow down (literally, as it happens) and minimise the damage rather than find a way to overcome the problem through mankind's ingenuity". I don't believe that's the right attitude to take, but especially so in Star Trek.

Thankfully, it was largely ignored as an issue after the episode, and appropriate technological hand-waving was soon implemented to justify the ignoring...
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Old December 30 2012, 10:20 PM   #10
C.E. Evans
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

I think it was a good "environmental" story that was never resolved onscreen, so ultimately it was a bad idea, IMO. It was really sort of just left there after "Forces of Nature" and then quietly forgotten several episodes later.

IIRC, the Voyager's warp drive also caused damage to subspace in a region within the Delta Quadrant just like in "Forces of Nature," so the problem wasn't likely fixed by the time the Intrepid-class was introduced.
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Old December 30 2012, 10:41 PM   #11
robau
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

Voyager had a much more succinct environmental episode because it dealt with attitudes and livelihoods of people. Like Holdfast is saying, this one falls flat because it just tells us that technology is bad and we should put limits on it end of story.
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Old December 31 2012, 01:50 AM   #12
Roswell
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

In TNG, the Borg ships could always keep up with the enterprise and they were all over the quadrants. No problems there. You cannot have a series as complicated at star trek without the occaisonal error.
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Old December 31 2012, 03:59 AM   #13
Dream
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

I loved how "All Good Things" flipped the middle finger to this Warp limit nonsense by have the Enterprise go to Warp 13!
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Old December 31 2012, 04:22 AM   #14
Kelthaz
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

It wasn't a bad idea in that it hurt the quality of the series, but it was a bad idea in that it was pointless.

Episode 7x?? - With Warp Limit

Captain Picard: Set course for Rigel IV. Warp 8.

Episode 7x?? - Without Warp Limit

Captain Picard: Set course for Rigel IV. Warp 6.

Yup, that sure did do a thing. The ships are going to travel at the speed of plot regardless of what numbers are thrown at us in dialogue, so I just don't get it. Silly analogy for environmental protection is silly.
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Old December 31 2012, 02:40 PM   #15
at Quark's
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Re: Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

Depends upon how I look at it.

Just as a one-episode issue: nice idea for a story. I like the idea that there isn't an immediate tech fix for everything. However you can't tell a story like this without it having repercussions on later eps or series. Indeed, that was ignored very quickly, with a throwaway line here or there at best. I also got the feeling that it had been resolved by the moving nacelles of voyager. Both alternatives are ridiculous -- generally a solution to such a fundamental problem that has been overlooked for centuries won't arrive within a year. So either don't tell the story at all or take the consequences seriously (thereby possibly handicapping your own storytelling potential).

As a metaphor for polution and current environmental issues: meh, cheap.
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