When Did different species achieve space travel/ warp?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Scottery, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Scottery

    Scottery Cadet Newbie

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    Hi, this is my first post so here goes.
    When (on the earth timeline) did the different species in Star Trek, such as Klingons and Vulcans etc, achieve space travel/warp drive?
    I have watched All of TNG and am just starting DS9 and was wondering this.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We've never really been told "Species X achieved warp in year Y". Instead, we've been shown that humans on Earth first achieved (manned?) warp drive in 2063, and that numerous species had warp drive in the 2150s when the show ENT took place.

    Major or familiar species that had warp in ENT:

    Klingons (no mention how long they had had it)
    Vulcans (again no mention, but a ship of theirs had a "warp engineer" aboard in 1957 already)
    Romulans (again no mention)
    Andorians (again no mention)
    Tellarites (again no mention)
    Ferengi (again no mention)
    Borg (again... you get the picture)

    Now, each of these species seemed "well established" in interstellar affairs, so presumably they had been warping for several decades at the very least. But we know that Vulcans had been interstellar for 3,000 years at that point, or that they at least had a 3,000-year-old temple in another star system at that point. We also know that Romulans reached their home planet at least 2,000 years before ENT, but whether they did so with warp, impulse, or just flapping their ears real hard, was never told. We further know that Klingon history includes references to starflight: Kahless himself said Klingons would meet him again on a distant star, a millennium before ENT. But we don't know the exact timetable of the early Klingon spatial exploits, and we don't know whether they were being poetic or literal with some of their spaceflight accounts.

    The Ferengi spent 10,000 years struggling towards warp drive, as Quark laments in "Little Green Men", but there's no data on when they achieved their goal (that is, managed to buy the secret from an unknown seller). Quark also thought he could become that seller when time-traveling back to 1947, and claimed that the Ferengi would then get warp "centuries before humans or Klingons or even Vulcans". But of course, 1947 would not be centuries before 1957, so Quark was either in error there, or then simply thinking that he should become a time-traveling salesman now that he knew how.

    The Borg used warp in ENT, but we don't know if this was their first warp experience ever (time loops notwithstanding), or perhaps the billionth anniversary of their first flight.

    Despite decades upon decades of Star Trek, then, the writers have managed to keep things delightfully vague. We may postulate that Vulcans had warp several thousand years ago and then lost it in wars, or that they invented it in 1934. We may say that Klingons during Kahless were a starfaring empire already, or that they first learned to warp in 2098.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    The Borg were known to be interstellar when the Vaadwar went into hibernation and that was (IIRC) 900 years prior, so about the 15th century.

    the Tellarites were also operating over interstellar distances in the 1950s, cuz they picked up the Vulcans' distress signal in Carbon Creek and that was a freighter, not an exploration vessel.
     
  4. Crewman47

    Crewman47 Commodore Newbie

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    The one thing about Warp drive for other races is that very few of them have speeds over warp 5 by the 2150's, Vulcans have warp 7 but all the major races seem to have progressed on warp speeds at the same time once the Federation was formed and are now at warp 8 and 9+ by the 2380's.

    This sort of implies that, like Earth, the other races are fairly new to warp drive, maybe within a few hundred years, or that once they developed warp drive whenever they did they just stuck with the first thing they had and kept with it with very little progress.
     
  5. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    If you take trek lit into account:
    The klingons obtained warp drive from the Hurq, invaders who once conquered the klingon world, then a medieval society, not only socially, but also technologically.

    The vulcans/romuland did not have warp drive when the romulans went in their exodus. The romulan journey was made in relativistic, near-light-speed ships.

    The borg had warp drive from the moment they were born in their current state - being 'descendants' of warp-capable species.
     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We may also consider that Zephram Cochrane of Alpha Centauri was considered to have "discovered the space warp", probably sometime in the 21st century but at least before his disappearance in the 2110s, according to TOS "Metamorphosis".

    It might in theory be that no species in the universe known to our TOS heroes had discovered space warp prior to Cochrane, and that everybody we saw warping in ENT had acquired that capability after 2063. At least that was probably the intent of the writer of "Metamorphosis", and so far only a single piece of canonical evidence seems to go directly against this idea: the presence of a "warp engineer" aboard a Vulcan ship in 1957 in "Carbon Creek". Apart from that, all our alien references are to interstellar travel by unknown means, not to warp drive as such.

    In practice, though, no recent writer of Trek has considered Cochrane to have been the inventor of warp drive in the general sense - but merely in the sense of introducing that drive to the human species on Earth. Supposedly, other species had their own Cochranes, or bought or stole warp from yet other species. It's just that the evidence isn't explicit, and a stubborn arguer could still support the claim that humans were the first (out of the usual players at least) to come up with a working warp drive, in 2063.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. barnaclelapse

    barnaclelapse Commodore Commodore

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    I always had a hard time believing that for some reason.
     
  8. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^what exactly are you referring to?
     
  9. Scottery

    Scottery Cadet Newbie

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    Thanks for the great replies!

    So were most of the species at a plateau of warp technology until Humans and the Federation came into the picture? Kinda like when Q talks about how humans are progressing too fast?
     
  10. DS9forever

    DS9forever Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dialogue in "Little Green Men" seemed to suggest the Vulcans didn't have warp drive in 1947.
     
  11. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    This has been covered recently in another thread. Enterprise made it clear that Vulcans were warp capable and had a fleet of ships engaged in active exploration of space in the 1950s.

    This leaves us with two theories:

    -The Vulcans accomplished a lot in 10 years.
    -Quark was wrong.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To be sure, there's no explicit mention of the Vulcans having warp-driven ships in 1957. We see two ships that lack identifiable warp nacelles or warp rings in 1957, and neither of them is seen at warp, or said to have moved at warp speeds. Quite possibly both ships might have reached Earth at sublight speeds, given the longevity of their crews.

    All we learn is that one of the ships that didn't demonstrate warp propulsion had a "warp field engineer" aboard. Might be somebody who operated the ship's unseen warp engines. Might be somebody who operated the ship's ansible instead, though, because that's what the dialogue of the episode indicated: T'Mir asked this guy whether he could build a subspace transceiver for the castaways. Perhaps Vulcans knew that the space warp might be used for propulsion one day, but hadn't mastered that aspect of the technology yet?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    some times i think you over-think things. Occam's Razor. the simplest explanation is that they had warp drive and Quark was wrong.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It should be remembered, though, that Occam's razor doesn't work on entertainment. It's based on false moustaches, after all. The simplest answer is usually the most boring, and thus to be avoided.

    Although I'm convinced that giving Vulcans a few thousand years of warp history will be more interesting than claiming that they only have a few decades of it in ENT.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. ProtoAvatar

    ProtoAvatar Fleet Captain

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    The answer that is most consistent with what's shown on-screen - and may even have the most potential, story-wise - is that vulcans developed warp drive in the centuries following the romulan diaspora and, by the time of enterprise, had it for some time.
    But they failed to improve it much in all these centuries (much like most species in this part of the galaxy). Humanity entering the scene provided a technological boost, mostly by bringing the resources and creativity of many species together, but, why not, also through its own mythical 'humanity is special'.
     
  16. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    FWIW, Star Trek Star Charts gives some warp capable dates:

    Deltans - 2223
    Denebians - 2259
    Betazoids - 'Antiquity'
    Trill - likewise
    Bajorans - 2328, interstallar flight, 1571
    Talosians - ~500,000 years ago
    Cardassians - 1925
    Tamarians - 2050
    Vulcans - 320AD
    Andorians - 1154
    Ardanans - 2259
    Coridan - 2093
    Menk - 2236
    Klingons - 930AD
    Son'a - 'Antiquity'

    The Ferengi are also erroneously listed as 'Antiquity', whilst we might also assume the Deltans date is wrong since Travis mentioned meeting Deltans when he was younger in ENT S4's Bound.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Deltans might have been visited even if they didn't have warp drive themselves. And we really don't know when the Ferengi got their warp drive - 8,572 BC is as good a guess as any. But Quark's rant in "Little Green Men" would not only be in error in that case, it would be completely off base; it only makes sense if the Ferengi warp came slightly after at least one of those cases Quark mentions - human, Klingon or Vulcan warp. And it would only be literally true if it came after all three, but we can excuse Quark for fumbling on one or two.

    As for Bajoran warp, we really have no idea, but 2328 sounds really late for such a "mature" society. Even the dating of their fancy lightsails is unknown, because Sisko merely replicates a specific model that comes from 800 years before the episode; lightsails in general might have existed long before, and Bajorans could in theory even have had warp long before they developed lightsails. In contrast, the Talosians were old but not particularly mature, and one wonders if they ever developed any sort of interstellar travel. Doesn't really look like it IMHO.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So did Dante Alighieri and Joseph Smith. ;)

    Concur. If they did, we'd all be Talosian slaves. Of course, maybe we are. Their mind control machines are pretty good.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Machines? So all their talk about not being particularly good with machines was just a smokescreen?

    There have been many interpretations of Klingon history, and many are possible with the scant canon evidence, but it would be a bit odd of the Klingons to attribute the mythical forging of the first sword to some guy who had a space shuttle in his garage (even if it was owned by a Hur'Q and Kahless was just his chauffeur - until the day he took out the tire iron and rearranged the working relationship, of course). Many of the myths about Kahless are medieval in their technological context, with swords and walls as centerpieces. Even if this is just an alien way of living and the swords and walls coexisted with disruptor rifles and anti-spacecraft batteries, it's remarkable that in turn none of the myths have an explicit space age technological context...

    One would thus think it likely that Kahless lived either before Klingons were spacefaring or starfaring, or then in an era when Klingons had been forced down from the stars and subjugated so completely that they had to resort to using swords and walls again.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Myasishchev

    Myasishchev Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Basing that solely on the line where the Talosians insist that humans could be taught. Humans can't be taught to grow giant gross 50s sci-fi brains. Well, maybe they could via genetic tampering, but I think machines make as much or more sense.*

    I always interpreted the Talosians as having built a large illusion-casting industrial complex that was largely automated, but over the decades, centuries, and so forth they became too endumbened and lazified by their Total Sense Internet to ever build anything else more complicated than an elevator or pane of glass.

    It's actually little surprising that The Cage was never broadcast back in the day, given its message, and it's even more surprising that it remains one of the more relevant Trek episodes even ~fifty years later.

    *On the other hand, a fair amount of early Trek is under the goofy impression that humans have latent telepathic abilities that need only a crazy radiation bolt or the love of a good plasma-cloud man to be jumpstarted. This was pretty much retconned out, of course.