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Old January 10 2013, 10:17 PM   #1
tenketsu
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Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

In the closest to canon maps that I've been able to find (including Star Trek Star Charts), both the Romulans and Klingons are on the other side of the Federation from the Cardassians. Lots and lots of Federation territory between them. So how did the Klingons invade the Cardassians in any reasonable manner?

Even if the Federation's borders were so leaky as to let a war fleet through (cloaked or not), that's still one heck of a long supply line for a war. Even worse if they tried to go around the Federation instead of through. And even if the Federation actively supplies them itself, that's still just a heck of a lot of space to move through. In fact, estimating based on the TNG Writer's Technical Guide, it should take at least 2 years at Warp 9 to get from the nearest Klingon border to the nearest Cardassian border. Even at the unsustainable speed of Warp 9.99 it would take months.

A related question is why the Romulans were worried about a surprise attack from the Dominion when, again, even if the Federation didn't oppose them, it would take the Dominion years to get from Dominion occupied space to Romulan space.

Is there some sort of explanation for this that I'm missing? It's by far the biggest hurdle to me adopting any of the galactic maps I've found. Or is there some map I've missed that makes more sense?
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Old January 10 2013, 10:23 PM   #2
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

I'm sure the tech crowd can give you all kinds of detail and explanations about this, but the simple explanation is things like distance, time and speed are plot devices and vary accordingly at the needs of the given episode's plot.
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Old January 10 2013, 10:25 PM   #3
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

I don't think there are any space maps consistent with TV/film Trek. Everything was time/speed of plot distant. The Romulan Neutral Zone is far-out in "Balance of Terror" and "The Neutral Zone" but just a short warp-hop from Earth in Star Trek: First Contact.

Deep Space Nine constantly called the Klingons and Romulans alpha quadrant powers when the various official maps put them squarely in the beta quadrant... with that standard of inconsistancy, I'm not sure it's possible to lay out Trek space authoritatively
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Old January 10 2013, 10:56 PM   #4
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

DS9 was intended to be a deep space outpost on the far fringes of the Federation border (indeed, outside of the Federation). Well, after season 1 that got to be a little limiting as far as seeing familiar faces every now and then.

By all calculations, you're correct. It should have taken months or even years to get from Deep Space 9 to the Klingon or Romulan Empires. It should have taken weeks or months just to get to Earth, for that matter. That got boring, so the writers effectively "shrunk" the universe to allow for some in-fighting.

Voyager probably missed a goldmine opportunity to have the final season take place in Romulan or Klingon territory that we'd never seen before. Voyager should have traveled through at least one of those Empires on its way back to Federation Space. But for whatever reason, the writers refused to get Voyager into the Beta Quadrant, preferring to remain in the Delta Quadrant for the entirety of the show's run.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:20 PM   #5
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

Thanks for the replies guys.

Yeah, I know that things sometimes move at the speed of plot, but since they're usually not blatantly contradictory it digs at me when they are. And I know the MST3k Mantra but we're Star Trek geeks, dangit, and we can do better!

I can ignore some inconsistencies (the NX went from Earth to Qonos in 4 days at old-scale Warp 5? Lalalala, I can't hear you), but the Klingon-Cardassian war and the Romulan entry into the Dominion War are just so pivotal they can't be ignored. I can't even figure out a good way to bend them to make things fit.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:26 PM   #6
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

tenketsu wrote: View Post
In fact, estimating based on the TNG Writer's Technical Guide, it should take at least 2 years at Warp 9 to get from the nearest Klingon border to the nearest Cardassian border.
Except that the warp scales printed in the tech references have never corresponded to what was shown onscreen, and are thus essentially meaningless. Onscreen speeds are consistently much faster than the speeds indicated in the tables. For instance, by the warp tables, DS9 should probably be months away from Earth, but in later seasons we saw the Defiant getting between Earth and the station in a matter of a week or so at most. And Voyager's assumption that the ship could make roughly 1000 light-years per year is also very hard to reconcile with the published charts, given how many stops it made along the way and how often its cruising velocity was given as just warp 6 or thereabouts.

Even the published warp scales had notations stating explicitly that actual warp velocity could vary due to local space conditions -- the writers' way of acknowledging the fact that warp velocities would always be as fast or as slow as the script needed them to be. The numbers in the chart were never meant to be precise, just to give a sense of the proportion between various warp factors.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:40 PM   #7
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

Christopher wrote: View Post
tenketsu wrote: View Post
In fact, estimating based on the TNG Writer's Technical Guide, it should take at least 2 years at Warp 9 to get from the nearest Klingon border to the nearest Cardassian border.
Except that the warp scales printed in the tech references have never corresponded to what was shown onscreen, and are thus essentially meaningless. Onscreen speeds are consistently much faster than the speeds indicated in the tables. For instance, by the warp tables, DS9 should probably be months away from Earth, but in later seasons we saw the Defiant getting between Earth and the station in a matter of a week or so at most. And Voyager's assumption that the ship could make roughly 1000 light-years per year is also very hard to reconcile with the published charts, given how many stops it made along the way and how often its cruising velocity was given as just warp 6 or thereabouts.

Even the published warp scales had notations stating explicitly that actual warp velocity could vary due to local space conditions -- the writers' way of acknowledging the fact that warp velocities would always be as fast or as slow as the script needed them to be. The numbers in the chart were never meant to be precise, just to give a sense of the proportion between various warp factors.
I'll grant you that, but the larger point remains--regardless of exactly how long it would take, if the maps are even close to correct, it would still be the second longest (distance-wise) warp powered single trip we know of, after the warp-powered portions of Voyager's. And if they didn't make it even longer, it was also through Federation space. That strains plausibility to me.
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Old January 10 2013, 11:40 PM   #8
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

IMO, some of the Federation's borders are only days away at medium warp, while others can be months away at maximum warp. Any kind of action will always be localized, depending on where you are.

I think one of the things that make the Borg scary is that with their transwarp network, they can strike at the heart of the Federation by appearing deep within its territory without much warning (you can't see 'em coming from a long way out).
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Old January 10 2013, 11:49 PM   #9
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

tenketsu wrote: View Post
In the closest to canon maps that I've been able to find (including Star Trek Star Charts), both the Romulans and Klingons are on the other side of the Federation from the Cardassians.
If you're looking at a two dimensional map, the two Empire might have grown (respectively) over the top of the Federation, or down underneath it. In the area of Bajor/Cardassia the Empires are coming together.

The official/non-official maps to the side. I imagine the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and everyone else basically being "trapped" in the Orion Arm of the galaxy. In between the arms there are mostly red dwarf star (and a smattering of other types), above and below the arm the density of stars falls off rapidly.

So, the various groups only have two directions to grown. In expanding up this interstellar "tube," the Federation stalled when they encountered the Cardassians, allowing the Klingons/Romulans to catch up with the Federation. This put all of their advancing borders in the general area of Bajor.

Star Trek maps

---- http://faqs.ign.com/articles/106/1069744p2.html
---- http://www.maplib.net/map.php?id=7652
---- http://www.civfanatics.net/uploads9/Star_trek_map2.jpg
---- http://www.netmoon.com/startrek/maps/geo.htm
---- http://www.sttff.net/AST_MAP.html

King Daniel wrote: View Post
The Romulan Neutral Zone is far-out in "Balance of Terror" and "The Neutral Zone" but just a short warp-hop from Earth in Star Trek: First Contact.
At the very beginning of FC we don't know exactly where the Enterprise is, other that they are "three hours twenty-five minutes" from the Typhon sector where Admiral Hayes is mobilizing a fleet.

The Enterprise then travels to the RNZ and has time to complete a sensor sweep, at this point the Fleet in (presumably) the Typhon sector engages the Borg.

The Enterprise then sets course for Earth at maximum warp, the Borg cube is still engaged with the fleet. The cube and the fleet seem to arrive at Earth only shortly before the Enterprise does.

The Enterprise might have spent multiple days at maximum warp to reach Earth.

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Old January 11 2013, 01:50 AM   #10
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

T'Girl wrote: View Post
tenketsu wrote: View Post
In the closest to canon maps that I've been able to find (including Star Trek Star Charts), both the Romulans and Klingons are on the other side of the Federation from the Cardassians.
If you're looking at a two dimensional map, the two Empire might have grown (respectively) over the top of the Federation, or down underneath it. In the area of Bajor/Cardassia the Empires are coming together.
It's true they're 2D maps of 3D space, but my understanding is that there simply aren't very many stars that don't fall roughly in line with the galactic plane (in the arms, the core is a different matter), right? That would also lead to much harder borders to defend--the Romulan Neutral Zone would end up adjacent maybe a majority of Federation territory and that doesn't seem to be the case. If that's the intent, the map makers should also indicate that in some way, and their lack of doing so makes the maps largely meaningless. It would, however, provide a decent explanation for the large chunk of Federation space otherwise completely isolated from the rest of Federation space by the Romulans/Klingons.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The official/non-official maps to the side. I imagine the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and everyone else basically being "trapped" in the Orion Arm of the galaxy. In between the arms there are mostly red dwarf star (and a smattering of other types), above and below the arm the density of stars falls off rapidly.

So, the various groups only have two directions to grown. In expanding up this interstellar "tube," the Federation stalled when they encountered the Cardassians, allowing the Klingons/Romulans to catch up with the Federation. This put all of their advancing borders in the general area of Bajor.
I like that theory, the limitations of the arms could make for an interesting political situation, but not only does Star Trek Star Charts (the most official detailed map I know of) look like some of Federation space is in the Carina Arm, but Voyager definitely skipped from arm to arm multiple times, not including the Borg transwarp at the end.

If I was throwing out the maps, it's not hard to come up with a basic arrangement that works, I think--this one I whipped up just now, for example.


But I don't want to have my own private map, different from everybody else.
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Old January 11 2013, 01:54 AM   #11
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

tenketsu wrote: View Post
I'll grant you that, but the larger point remains--regardless of exactly how long it would take, if the maps are even close to correct, it would still be the second longest (distance-wise) warp powered single trip we know of, after the warp-powered portions of Voyager's. And if they didn't make it even longer, it was also through Federation space. That strains plausibility to me.
Hardly. Check Star Charts again, specifically the third foldout map. There's a point where the separation between the Klingon and Cardassian borders is no more than 50 light-years. The intervening space is occupied by a narrow neck of Federation territory, but if it's anywhere near as narrow in the Z axis as in the XY plane, it wouldn't take long at all to go around.

Also, despite how it's depicted on the map, it's unrealistic to think of an interstellar territory as being "solid" in any way. Most of space is vast emptiness. The amount of ships necessary to patrol it all, the amount of sensor posts necessary to monitor it all, would be prohibitive when most of it is just vast amounts of nothing. Realistically, the territory controlled by an interstellar civilization would be concentrated around its populated worlds and the travel routes between them, and the majority of the volume they nominally claimed would be essentially wilderness.

Heck, it's not that different in real life. We all have this image of the shape of the United States as this big, solid unit, but if you look at a map of the population distribution, like the one here, it's startling how much of it is largely empty. Basically only the eastern half of the country is heavily populated, and the western half is surprisingly vacant except for the West Coast and a few isolated clusters. And that's just in one largish country. If you took those big blobs of color in Star Charts and redid them based on population density, you'd just see a few bright specks with a whole lot of emptiness between them.

So in practice, it would be hard to monitor or regulate travel through deep interstellar space, even in territory that you supposedly claimed and controlled. Any interstellar nation's territory would be pretty permeable. Granted, it's easier to monitor your borders when you have FTL ships and sensors, and Trek has historically assumed that it is possible to control access across a border in space, but in realistic, practical terms, it would probably be a lot harder than it's been shown to be.


T'Girl wrote: View Post
The official/non-official maps to the side. I imagine the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and everyone else basically being "trapped" in the Orion Arm of the galaxy. In between the arms there are mostly red dwarf star (and a smattering of other types), above and below the arm the density of stars falls off rapidly.
Actually those "other types" include most types of star that are habitable, including red dwarfs. The galactic arms are basically concentrations of star formation regions and nebulae; it's the increased compression of interstellar gas and dust in those regions that triggers star formation to begin with. So they're brighter than the rest of the galactic disk due to all those young, hot supergiants and pretty glowing nebulae, but aside from that, the arms aren't much different from the interarm voids in terms of the likelihood of finding habitable star types, i.e. main-sequence F, G, K, and M stars.

If anything, given that the kind of stars that go supernova and spread dangerous radiation around tend to be concentrated in the arms, the interarm voids might actually be safer places to live.


At the very beginning of FC we don't know exactly where the Enterprise is, other that they are "three hours twenty-five minutes" from the Typhon sector where Admiral Hayes is mobilizing a fleet.

The Enterprise then travels to the RNZ and has time to complete a sensor sweep, at this point the Fleet in (presumably) the Typhon sector engages the Borg.

The Enterprise then sets course for Earth at maximum warp, the Borg cube is still engaged with the fleet. The cube and the fleet seem to arrive at Earth only shortly before the Enterprise does.

The Enterprise might have spent multiple days at maximum warp to reach Earth.
That's the interpretation I prefer. Either it was a long running battle, or the battle we hear about at the Typhon Sector is separate from the one we see near Earth.


tenketsu wrote: View Post
It's true they're 2D maps of 3D space, but my understanding is that there simply aren't very many stars that don't fall roughly in line with the galactic plane (in the arms, the core is a different matter), right?
Not really. The galactic disk is something like 1000 light-years thick in this region, while the Federation and its neighbors have territories only a few hundred light-years across in the Star Charts version. So on the scale of humanoid astropolitical territories, it would definitely not be correct to treat the disk as "flat."


I like that theory, the limitations of the arms could make for an interesting political situation, but not only does Star Trek Star Charts (the most official detailed map I know of) look like some of Federation space is in the Carina Arm, but Voyager definitely skipped from arm to arm multiple times, not including the Borg transwarp at the end.
Federation territory isn't large enough to reach another arm. Here's a graphic I made superimposing Mandel's Known Space map onto a map of the central Orion Arm from Henbest & Couper's The Guide to the Galaxy:



The UFP and its neighbors combined are just a tiny speck in the middle of the arm. To use an analogy I've made a couple of times before, if the Orion Arm were Florida, then the UFP and its neighbors would correspond roughly to Orlando and its suburbs.

Maybe you're thinking of the galaxy map on pp. 12-13 of Star Charts, with the jagged blue outline centered on UFP territory. That outline represents the approximate limits of explored space, not UFP-controlled space. On that map, the UFP is just the tiny black dot in the center of the white circle.
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Old January 11 2013, 02:48 AM   #12
tenketsu
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

Christopher wrote: View Post
tenketsu wrote: View Post
I'll grant you that, but the larger point remains--regardless of exactly how long it would take, if the maps are even close to correct, it would still be the second longest (distance-wise) warp powered single trip we know of, after the warp-powered portions of Voyager's. And if they didn't make it even longer, it was also through Federation space. That strains plausibility to me.
Hardly. Check Star Charts again, specifically the third foldout map. There's a point where the separation between the Klingon and Cardassian borders is no more than 50 light-years. The intervening space is occupied by a narrow neck of Federation territory, but if it's anywhere near as narrow in the Z axis as in the XY plane, it wouldn't take long at all to go around.

Also, despite how it's depicted on the map, it's unrealistic to think of an interstellar territory as being "solid" in any way. Most of space is vast emptiness. The amount of ships necessary to patrol it all, the amount of sensor posts necessary to monitor it all, would be prohibitive when most of it is just vast amounts of nothing. Realistically, the territory controlled by an interstellar civilization would be concentrated around its populated worlds and the travel routes between them, and the majority of the volume they nominally claimed would be essentially wilderness.

Heck, it's not that different in real life. We all have this image of the shape of the United States as this big, solid unit, but if you look at a map of the population distribution, like the one here, it's startling how much of it is largely empty. Basically only the eastern half of the country is heavily populated, and the western half is surprisingly vacant except for the West Coast and a few isolated clusters. And that's just in one largish country. If you took those big blobs of color in Star Charts and redid them based on population density, you'd just see a few bright specks with a whole lot of emptiness between them.

So in practice, it would be hard to monitor or regulate travel through deep interstellar space, even in territory that you supposedly claimed and controlled. Any interstellar nation's territory would be pretty permeable. Granted, it's easier to monitor your borders when you have FTL ships and sensors, and Trek has historically assumed that it is possible to control access across a border in space, but in realistic, practical terms, it would probably be a lot harder than it's been shown to be.


T'Girl wrote: View Post
The official/non-official maps to the side. I imagine the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and everyone else basically being "trapped" in the Orion Arm of the galaxy. In between the arms there are mostly red dwarf star (and a smattering of other types), above and below the arm the density of stars falls off rapidly.
Actually those "other types" include most types of star that are habitable, including red dwarfs. The galactic arms are basically concentrations of star formation regions and nebulae; it's the increased compression of interstellar gas and dust in those regions that triggers star formation to begin with. So they're brighter than the rest of the galactic disk due to all those young, hot supergiants and pretty glowing nebulae, but aside from that, the arms aren't much different from the interarm voids in terms of the likelihood of finding habitable star types, i.e. main-sequence F, G, K, and M stars.

If anything, given that the kind of stars that go supernova and spread dangerous radiation around tend to be concentrated in the arms, the interarm voids might actually be safer places to live.




That's the interpretation I prefer. Either it was a long running battle, or the battle we hear about at the Typhon Sector is separate from the one we see near Earth.


tenketsu wrote: View Post
It's true they're 2D maps of 3D space, but my understanding is that there simply aren't very many stars that don't fall roughly in line with the galactic plane (in the arms, the core is a different matter), right?
Not really. The galactic disk is something like 1000 light-years thick in this region, while the Federation and its neighbors have territories only a few hundred light-years across in the Star Charts version. So on the scale of humanoid astropolitical territories, it would definitely not be correct to treat the disk as "flat."


I like that theory, the limitations of the arms could make for an interesting political situation, but not only does Star Trek Star Charts (the most official detailed map I know of) look like some of Federation space is in the Carina Arm, but Voyager definitely skipped from arm to arm multiple times, not including the Borg transwarp at the end.
Federation territory isn't large enough to reach another arm. Here's a graphic I made superimposing Mandel's Known Space map onto a map of the central Orion Arm from Henbest & Couper's The Guide to the Galaxy:



The UFP and its neighbors combined are just a tiny speck in the middle of the arm. To use an analogy I've made a couple of times before, if the Orion Arm were Florida, then the UFP and its neighbors would correspond roughly to Orlando and its suburbs.

Maybe you're thinking of the galaxy map on pp. 12-13 of Star Charts, with the jagged blue outline centered on UFP territory. That outline represents the approximate limits of explored space, not UFP-controlled space. On that map, the UFP is just the tiny black dot in the center of the white circle.
I'm ok with leaky borders to some extent, for the exact reason you say--it's mostly empty space, and difficult to guard. It was the distances involved that bothered me. But you're absolutely right--I was looking closer, and on one of the zoomed in maps it's clear that the distance is only about 3 sectors (60 LY). According to the Warp chart, that would only take 15 days at Warp 9. Even assuming that there's nothing useful above/below Federation space, that's a short enough time to go up/down long enough to be out of sensor range, cross, then come back down, without having supply issues. Combined with the cloak, that explains things pretty nicely.

So all this time, I was missing something. Thank you for correcting me. Seriously, this has literally bugged me for years. Thank you.
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Old January 11 2013, 08:47 AM   #13
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

Regarding the concept of invasion across a vast interstellar gulf, we should remember that the hero starships always demonstrate considerable logistical independence. Why should an invasion fleet be a different matter?

It would be quite reasonable for a thousand starships to be capable of fighting for a full year without resupply if a single one can do that. Ordnance can be manufactured in the field, as long as there's power. And fuel doesn't run out in mere years, not for 23rd or 24th century starships. Add a few tankers and tenders and you are all set for a war that requires no supply routes, no reinforcements and no homefront.

Logistics overall would be much less an issue than in the sort of warfare that Earth has seen so far. I'd think the resource the Klingons would first run out of would be the patience and supply of the ground troops, as these would have to live aboard the starships for extended periods of time, and could not be "manufactured in the field". Klingon psychology and state of medicine would exaggerate the problems. Indeed, it appears that Klingons give up strategic surprise and decloak at DS9 chiefly because of the above issues: the troops get stir-crazy if they don't get shore leave at a location where they can brag at strangers and maim a few of those.

It's a sortie of just a few weeks at any rate. Once the Klingons conquer their first home-away-from-home, they can set up shop and garrison their troops in comfort, much as they appeared to do on Organia. A planet of "strategic significance" seems to be defined simply as a planet where troops can breathe freely before being shipped on to the next battle, situated so that the shipments don't take too long... No other resources seem relevant.

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Old January 11 2013, 09:08 AM   #14
KamenRiderBlade
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

Given that space is 3D.

Shouldn't there be lots of star systems above and below the central galactic plane?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jym...0CC9DD&index=1
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Old January 11 2013, 03:30 PM   #15
The Librarian
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Re: Mapping/logistics question, spoilers for DS9

Keep in mind that one of the few times we actually see a map on screen, in "The Chase" (although this map also shows up in TNG's "The Emissary"), the Enterprise-D is explicitly covering tens of thousands of light-years in a week or so. Add to this that most of even Federation territory is going to be empty space and lifeless systems, and having the Klingons and Romulans going above/below to reach the Cardassians isn't that unreasonable.
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