The Route of Voyager: A New Solution.

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by MAGolding, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    A number of users of this site will remember that are some major contradictions - thousands of light years - about where the Caretaker Array was in the Delta Quadrant and thus the straight line route from there to Earth in Star Trek: Voyager. Yesterday, 17 January 2019, while in the thread "First in the Delta Quadrant" I thought of a new solution to the problem of Voyager's voyage.

    https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/first-into-delta-quadrant.297783/page-2#post-12762043

    First I explain the problem in detail and then I describe my solution. Those already familiar with the problem can skim or skip the first part.

    Part One: The Problem of Voyager's Voyage.

    As many fans know, in TOS space was divided up into volumes called "sectors" and "quadrants". And as far as I know the sizes of TOS "sectors" and "quadrants" were not defined on screen. There was no statement whether a TOS "quadrant" was defined as being 10 light years wide or 100 light years wide or 1,000 light years wide or 457 light years wide or any other dimension.

    In "The Trouble With Tribbles" a region disputed between the Federation and the Klingons is described as a quadrant:

    And:

    Clearly Korax's definition of the quadrant they are in does not include the location of the main Federation battle fleet or any region patrolled by other starships, since the military capabilities of the Enterprise would not be so important to the defense of the quadrant if that was the case.

    In science fiction space operas it is quite common to use sectors and quadrants for various regions of space, often without any definition of those sectors or quadrants.

    But TNG introduced the use of galactic quadrants which seem very much like actual quarter circles or quadrants of the entire Milky Way galaxy, in the third season episode "The Price".

    And:

    Picard sends Data and LaForge in shuttle 9 to traverse the wormhole, and Ferengi Daimon Goss sends Dr. Arridor and Kol in a pod on the same mission. And after they arrive on the far side of the Wormhole:

    This shows that at the time of "The Price" the border between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants is defined to be somewhere in the less than 200 light years between where the Barzan probe exited the wormhole and where the two manned craft exited the wormhole.

    LaForge tries to warn the Ferengi that this side of the womhole is not stable:

    Leaving the Ferengi stranded in their little pod in the Delta Quadrant 70,000 light years from home.

    The galactic disc of the Milky Way galaxy is a few thousand light years thick and about 100,000 light years, more or less, in diameter, thus having a radius of about 50,000 light years, more or less. The Solar System and Earth are about 26,400 light years, give or take about 1,000 light years, from the galactic center.

    Presumably galactic quadrants would have the central point where all four quadrants meet be at the center point of the galactic disc, and that is what all maps of Star Trek quadrants I have seen show. If the quadrant system was designed by Earth Humans, there would be two logical arrangements of the borders between quadrants.

    The first would be to have the line between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants pass through Earth's solar system and go on to the center of the galaxy, and then continue on past the galactic center as the line between the Gamma and the Delta Quadrants.

    The second would be to have the line from Earth to the center of the galaxy be in the center of the quadrant that Earth was in, and then continue on the other side of the galactic center down the middle of the opposite quadrant, whether that opposite quadrant was called the Gamma or the Delta Quadrant.

    And it is always possible for there to be a different and less Earth centric orientation of the galactic quadrants than those two suggested arrangements, even in a system designed by the Federation and not by aliens.

    In "Emissary", the first episode of DS9, Sisko and Dax search the Denorios Belt in the Bajoran system and enter a wormhole. On the other side:

    In the third season episode "Fascination":

    Regulus is Alpha Leonis A, about 79.3 plus or minus 0.7 light years from Earth. If the Bajoran System, on the border between the Federation and the Cardassian Union, is less than 400 light years from Regulus III it should be less than 480 light years from Earth.

    In "Caretaker" the first episode of Voyager, the starship Voyager stops at Deep Space Nine, which is in the Bajoran System, on the border between the Federation and the Cardassian Union, and thus less than 480 light years from Earth - possibly as much as one or two hundred light years less. The mission of the starship Voyager is to search for a missing Maquis vessel in the Badlands near the Federation-Cardassian border.

    Since the Badlands are near or on the border between the Federation and the Cardassian Union, and because the starship Voyager stopped in the Bajoran System en route to the Badlands, it is logical to assume that the Badlands are probably less than 200 light years from Bajor, possibly much less. Thus the Badlands should be less than 680 light years from Earth, possibly as much as 100 or 200 light years less.

    While in the Badlands, Voyager is caught and pulled to the Caretaker array:

    And:

    And:

    In the third season episode "False Prophets" Voyager finds a wormhole that leads to the Alpha Quadrant but jumps around in the Delta Quadrant too fast for Voyager to catch up with the Delta Quadrant mouth of the wormhole. They also find two Ferengi on a nearby planet:

    As we all know, in the fictional universe of Star Trek habitable planets are very common and easy to find (except when the plot requires otherwise, of course). So Arridor and Kol shouldn't have had to travel far in their small Ferengi pod to find a habitable planet with a native population to exploit. Probably just a few dozen light years. So that planet was probably quite close to the point where they were stranded by the wormhole, which was, if you remember, less than 200 light years from a point in the Gamma Quadrant, and thus less than 200 light years from the line between the Gamma Quadrant and the Delta Quadrant.

    So if Voyager headed straight from the Caretaker array toward Earth and the Federation, and passed probably less than 200 light years from the border between the Gamma Quadrant and the Delta Quadrant a couple of years later, the Caretaker Array should not be much more than 200 light years into the Delta Quadrant from the Gamma Quadrant border.

    So obviously after "False Profits" all Star Trek fans would draw maps of the voyage of Voyager showing the route passing very, very close to the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants. And any official artist would certainly draw maps, especially maps that appeared in episodes, that showed the Caretaker Array and the route of Voyager to be very close to the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants.

    There would be two logical ways to map the voyage of Voyager after "False Profits" was broadcast.

    One way would be to show Earth in the middle of the Alpha Quadrant 45 degrees from the quadrant borders to either side. On the opposite of the galaxy would be the Delta Quadrant. The position of the Caretaker Array would be in the Delta Quadrant, but not opposite to Earth in the center of the Delta Quadrant.

    Instead the Caretaker Array would be near the border between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants, so that Voyager would find the two Ferengi about 200 light years from the border of the Gamma Quadrant after traveling for two years. After more travel the straight line route of Voyager would take it into the Gamma Quadrant which it would cross for decades before entering the alpha Quadrant and travelling for decades in the Alpha Quadrant and finally reaching Federation Space.

    The other logical way to map the voyage of Voyager would be to have the line between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants pass through the central regions of the Federation close to or actually through our solar system, and reach the center of the galaxy. The line would extend beyond the center of our galaxy into the other side of the galaxy where it would be the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants.

    The position of the Caretaker Array would be in the Delta Quadrant, but very close to the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants. The straight line route of Voyager from the Caretaker Array to Earth would be almost exactly parallel to the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants but would slant in toward the line between the two quadrants very, very slowly. And eventually the path of Voyager would continue into the Beta quadrant and would be almost parallel to the line between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants but would slant in toward the line between the two quadrants very, very slowly. The path of Voyager would reach the line between the Alpha and beta quadrants at about the same time that Voyager reached Earth.

    Note that in that type of a map the Caretaker Array would be much closer, tens of thousands of light years closer, to the Gamma Quadrant mouth of the Bajoran Wormhole than it was to the Federation and Earth.

    And the maps of the quadrants in the Star Trek galaxy show that type of arrangement, with the line between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants passing through or very near Earth and through the center of the galaxy and then becoming the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants on the other side of the galaxy.

    But most of the maps that I have seen that give the route of Voyager put the Caretaker Array and Ocampa deep into the Delta Quadrant, tens of thousands of light years from the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants and thus making it impossible for Voyager to ever pass through a region less than 200 light years from the border of the Gamma Quadrant if it's path even remotely resembles a straight line directly toward Earth. Even if Voyager headed straight toward the border of the Gamma Quadrant from the Caretaker array for some reason it wouldn't have enough time to get close enough before "False Profits" anyway, according to the typical maps.

    Part Two: A Suggested Solution.

    And today, or rather yesterday as I write, January 17, 2019, I thought of a solution.

    Maybe the Federation changed the definition of the borders between the galactic quadrants between the time of the TNG epissode "The Price" and the Voyager series a few years later.

    According to the galactic mapping conventions used by the Federation during "The Price", Earth and the Federation would be in the center of the Alpha Quadrant, with the Delta Quadrant on the opposite side of the Galaxy to Earth. The line between the Delta and Gamma Quadrants would slant out from the center of the galaxy at a 45 degree angle. And the Caretaker Array would be just on the Delta Quadrant side of that line between the Delta and Gamma Quadrants.

    The exit point of the Barzan wormhole would wander around a region on the borderline between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants, so that the Barzan probe exited in the Gamma Quadrant and the two shuttles in "The Price" exited about 200 light years away in the Delta Quadrant.

    Then, sometime before the beginning of the Star Trek: Voyager TV series, and possibly before the beginning of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series, The Federation decided to shift the borders of the galactic quadrants in its mapping conventions by 45 degrees.

    The line between the Alpha and Beta quadrants now passed through Earth and now continued as the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants on the other side of the galaxy. The Caretaker Array was now near the central line of the Delta Quadrant, and the straight path of Voyager toward Earth now never got anywhere near the new border between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants.

    At least half of the galaxy would now be in different quadrants than they used to, but since the inhabitants of the vast majority of the galaxy didn't know or care anything about Federation mapping conventions that wouldn't mean anything to them.

    So this solves all the problems with the route of Voyager. Except...

    Except that a number of Star Trek maps show the Caretaker Array and the route of Voyager thousands of light years deep into the Delta Quadrant, but much less than halfway into it. Therefore according to those maps the old border between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants must have been much less than 45 degrees from the new border. Possibly about ten to thirty degrees from the new border.

    I can think of reasons why the Federation might want to shift the quadrant borders by 45 degrees and shift from having Earth in the middle of the Alpha Quadrant to having Earth on the line between the Alpha and the Beta Quadrants, but I can't think of any reason to shift the border by about 10 to 30 degrees.

    So anyone who created a map showing the Caretaker Array about 10 to 30 degrees within the delta Quadrant, instead of either almost on the line between the Gamma and Delta Quadrants or 45 degrees into the Delta Quadrant, will have to think of some reason why the Federation might shift the quadrant borders by about 10 to 30 degrees, or else his maps will seem rather silly and implausible to those who read this post.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  2. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm still struggling to understand how Kirk's Enterprise made it to the rim of the galaxy and back twice ("Where No Man..." and "By Any Other Name"), and to the centre of the galaxy ("Magicks of Megas Tu") during the 5 year mission (and again in the fifth movie). And how they explicitly covered 1,000 light years in 12 hours at warp 8.4 in "That Which Survives"

    Oh, and how Enterprise NX-01 got from Earth to Kronos (established to be around 108 light years distant) at warp 5 in one week in "Broken Bow". Or how the Kelvin Universe Enterprise got from Earth to Kronos and back in 24 hours (although their universe's ships may be much faster)

    So yeah, I have some issues before we get to rewriting galactic quadrants.

    Voyager's "official" route:
    [​IMG]
    And a very rough something I drew up to illustrate some issues:
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Of course, when we accept that there are two different uses of the word Quadrant in the UFP (and concurrently so, as the apparent smaller-than-sector quadrants get regular mention in early TNG still), we may simply decide that the name Gamma is also in use for the smaller unit, and our heroes in "The Price" refers to the Gamma Quadrant within the Delta Quadrant... :devil:

    (I mean, if a small quadrant at the distance of a hundred warp-nine-years were given a name, it sould be all rights be a maximally generic one. The Barzans calling it Gamma somethingorother sounds fine in that respect.)

    As for warp speeds, this doesn't appear too complicated. Warp is fast, and 1000 ly/8hrs is pretty average going for "maximum warp" - but Federation warp engines are too fragile to keep that up for more than those couple of hours. Which we see in VOY, where the hero ship is at impulse basically every time we meet her, and has to give up a chase at her supposed "stable cruising speed" after a couple of minutes already. Only the Kelvans know how to keep the engines from blowing up for 300 years straight.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  4. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have to say that I've given up even trying to fathom Warp Speed, I have not a clue what supposed to be going on.
    Is Warp 1 the speed of light ?
    Is Warp 2 twice the speed of light, or is it Warp Squared, subsequently Warp 3 would be to the power of three, or three times the speed of light perhaps ?
    Totally confusing, especially when ships in different eras of Trek take different times doing the same journey, or when ships cover near impossible distances in, say 12 hours.
    Only thing that's certain about Voyager is that they didn't travel straight and true enough considering their predicament.
    Too much exploration for the sake of it, "Ooh, nice nebula, lets take a look"
    "Singularity you say ? Well we can't pass on that"
    "Ok Tom, let's get that Delta Flyer up and running for an interplanetary race, it'll be banging"
    "People in need of a hand, oh well it would be uncivil to ignore it"
    As I've said before, the crew below decks must have despaired at the amount of detours that Janeway took.
    The bottom line should have been "Just stop fucking around and get home Captain, erm respectfully"
     
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  5. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The time and distance system Voyager used (1,000 LY covered per year) doesn't even match up with TNG. Data said in an early episode (Where No One Has Gone Before?) that they'd be able to return to our Galaxy from another one in 300 years (IIRC) and going by what he said if Voyager could go the same speed (if anything, it should be faster than the Ent-D) then their trip across the Galaxy would've been more like 20 years.
     
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  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Such statements always begin with the caveat "even at maximum speed", though - as if maximum speed were always utterly out of the question. Indeed, even Janeway's seven-decade estimate for their journey home in "Caretaker" began with that caveat. Maximum speed isn't for voyages; it is for dashes.

    In the end, nobody traveled between galaxies in 300 years, or performed any of those other long trips that our characters talk about. Not in the time suggested "even at", not in some even longer time that might have been more realistic from the heroes' viewpoint. They always somehow sidestepped the issue, so an episode or a show wouldn't take centuries or even decades to play out.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. Gavin70

    Gavin70 Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't think there's any real point in trying to reason it out logically. I know there are "official" comments on the various speeds - which as far as I can fathom is a logarithmic scale. So each level is a significant change in speed. Warp 1 is officially light speed. Warp 2 is 10x light speed. Warp 3 is 39x. etc.

    But those speeds have never been consistently applied in any of the series. And even impulse drive (supposedly slower than light speed) is often shown taking them distances far faster than light speed (through the solar system in a couple of minutes in TMP for example - actually 8 minutes at the speed of light).

    At Warp 9.975 it would take just over 46 years to cross from one side of the Milky Way to the other in a straight line (according to the "official" speeds). At the end of the day it's probably best not to thing too hard about it. Warp drive travels at the speed of plot.
     
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  8. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for that
    You're right, it's best not to think about it too much
     
  9. c0rnedfr0g

    c0rnedfr0g Commodore Commodore

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    Voyager should've stayed on the 37's planet and worked towards building another Starfleet. I imagine just about every crew member would've been a department head on a new ship.
     
  10. Gavin70

    Gavin70 Commander Red Shirt

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    I was always disappointed that they didn't take the opportunity while travelling through the Delta quadrant and meeting new people, to develop an extension of the Federation. I know Janeway probably didn't have the authority to admit new planets to the Federation. But they could have set up a provisional network of allies along their route back home.
     
  11. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If only the Celestial Temple was closer. They could have just gone there.
     
  12. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    What, the one place assuredly besieged by an enemy Starfleet couldn't handle, and its scuttling therefore assuredly #1 on Ben Sisko's to-do list? Or, more exactly, on the list of things Ben Sisko had already done (even if in his sleep)? You know, the guy Janeway last met before departing for parts unknown, the one with the most up-to-date information and ideas about the enemy?

    I guess it was a good thing it wasn't closer. Odds are that it won't be there any longer in the 2440s when Janeway would have reached it. Perhaps the heroes will then hold a party in celebration of their decision not to choose that route?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    You're wrong on every point there. It's 8 light minutes from the Sun to the Earth, not across the solar system, and in TMP right after the ship whooshes by Jupiter Kirk;s log states "1.8 hours from launch", so it wasn't "a couple of minutes"

    In fact, someone clearly did the math to figure out how long it would take the Enterprise to get to Jupiter, because at its farthest from Earth, Jupiter is about 3,220 light seconds away, or about 54 light minutes distance. At half light speed (aka warp .5), it's 108 minutes away. 108 minutes = 1.8 hours. Ergo, if Jupiter were its maximum distance from Earth when the Enterprise launched, at half light speed the ship would get there in exactly the 1.8 hours Kirk cites, which is too on-the-nose to be an accident.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...The one instance in which sublight travel appears to be faster than lightspeed comes from TNG "Best of Both Worlds II" where both the Borg villains and the Starfleet heroes for some unknown reason drop to sublight on the outskirts of the Sol system, despite being in a hurry to get to Earth.

    In that episode, when our heroes first get news from Sol, they learn the Borg have dropped out of warp and have been engaging defenses at Jupiter; these defenses are said to be "responding", present tense. Wes says they will reach Earth in 27 minutes at their "current speed". Now, the closest Jupiter/Earth distance is 588 million kilometers, or about 1,960 lightseconds. This would thus be slightly more than half an hour, not less, even at full lightspeed, and never mind that Earth and Jupiter would not be at their closest on that day if we assume the celestial dance of the Trek universe is in sync with that of our universe.

    It's still close enough to tango if not to lambada. And we can argue the fight at Jupiter is a thing of the past because Wesley can assess a "speed" for the Borg - an ongoing fight against fortifications would not involve one. And indeed we later see the Borg slow down to much less than lightspeed when they woosh past Mars, so even their "drive-by shootings" defy Earth ETA assessment and Wesley must be observing actual travel between planets instead when making his estimate.

    Our other caveat here is that at close to full lightspeed, time dilation effects would be very significant, cutting the subjective time by more than half for both the Borg and for our heroes who chase them at, hopefully, equal speed. Objective time would matter little to Riker in the context.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. thribs

    thribs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well you avoid them obviously. :)
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's the thing, though. If you fly from Ocampa directly to Earth, you can take infinitely many routes and dodge the Borg or whatever. If you fly from Ocampa to the wormhole, you must fly to the enemy, no two (let alone infinite) ways about it.

    The only way the Bajoran or Barzan wormhole might have affected Janeway's decision making would have been to prove that the Milky Way is full of wormholes, including semi-stable and stable ones. Selecting one where the gatekeepers weren't homicidal maniacs would be preferable.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Gavin70

    Gavin70 Commander Red Shirt

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    That's what I get for posting when I should be sleeping. You're right of course. My maths isn't even vaguely close. Good thing I got that accounting degree eh? And its been a while since I've actually seen TMP so I obviously confused screen time with in-story time. I'd completely forgotten that log entry. So my comment on impulse speeds makes me look a bit silly.c:shrug:

    But the inconsistent warp speeds is still a thing right?
     
  18. Delta Vega

    Delta Vega Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If there's anything that is consistent in Trek it's inconsistent warp speeds
     
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  19. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    I think that there is another instance when sublight or at least impulse travel appears to be faster than lightspeed, in "Where No Man Has Gone Before".

    The episode begins with:

    After striking the galactic barrier:

    If "days" must be less than weeks and "years" must be less than decades, 1.0 to 7.0 days equal 1.0 to 10.0 years. Thus space warp speed seems to be about 52.178 to 3,652.5 times as fast as impulse power speed. If impulse power speed is arbitrarily assumed to be about 0.01 to 1.00 times light speed, warp speed would be about 0.52178 to 3,652.5 times the speed of light.

    Some time later, in the briefing room scene:
    And:

    Some time later:

    And then they transport down with Mitchell and put him in a cell on Delta Vega.

    Later:

    And the next line is:

    If at least two hours pass between stardates 1313.1 and 1313.3 a stardate unit should be at least 10 hours long.

    Mitchell escapes minutes later. Some time later, Kirk says:

    Later, Mitchell creates a tombstone for Kirk with the inscription: "James R. Kirk C 1277.1 to 1313.7". It is uncertain what the numbers stand for but if the second one is a stardate 1313.7 it might stand for a time at least 4 hours after 1313.3 and also less than 12 hours after 1313.3. Thus a stardate unit would seem to be be about 10 to 30 hours long.

    Later Kirk calls the Enterprise and in the last scene is on the bridge with his hand bandaged and making a log entry.

    So it seems like this is just a few minutes after Kirk returned to the ship, indicating that 0.5 of a stardate unit is less than 12 hours, and thus that their are probably less than 24 hours in a stardate unit.

    So in the 0.2 stardate units between 1312.9 and 1313.1 the Enterprise reached Delta Vega, implying that the voyage to Delta Vega took no more than about 2 to 4.8 hours, or 0.0833 to 0.2 days. If Spock's "a few light days" was less than a light week, the Enterprise would seem to travel about 1.0 to 7.0 light days in 0.08333 to 0.2 days, and thus seems to have traveled about 5.0 to 84.0003 as fast as light using impulse power. This would seem to imply that warp drive must be somewhere between 260.89 and 306,811.22 times the speed of light.

    There seem to be only three obvious ways to deal with this calculation:

    1) Suppose that stardates count elapsed time aboard the starship. Thus the Enterprise might have traveled at relativistic speeds for weeks or months to reach Delta Vega, but only 2.0 to 4.8 hours passed aboard the ship due to time dilation. But if a space ship has the power to accelerate to relativistic speeds and then decelerate again it should have plenty of power to break out of orbit around a planet and its star, so it would be odd for Kirk to claim the Enterprise couldn't blast out of orbit if they couldn't get more power from the station there.

    2) Suppose that stardates count elapsed time aboard the starship. Thus the Enterprise might have traveled at a small fraction of the speed of light for weeks or months to reach Delta Vega, but only 2.0 to 4.8 hours passed aboard the ship due to using the time warp capability mentioned in "The Menagerie"to adjust and slow the rate that time passed aboard the the Enterprise, thus keeping Gary Mitchell from gaining more power for weeks or months of shipboard time.

    3) Suppose that stardates count elapsed time in the galaxy as a whole, and time passes at the same rate aboard the Enterprise as in the outside Universe. Thus the Enterprise traveled to Delta Vega at about 5.0 to 84.0003 as fast as light using impulse power.

    So it seems quite possible that the Enterprise did travel faster than light using impulse power in another episode as well as in "The Best of Both Worlds Part 2".

    The more roundabout the route, selected from infinitely many choices, from Ocampa to Earth to avoid the dreaded Borg, the longer the trip should take, and a straight trip would already take far too long. The more roundabout the route, selected from infinititely many choices, from Ocampa to the Gamma Quadrant mouth of the Bajoran wormhole near Idran to avoid the dreaded Dominion, the longer the trip should take, and a straight trip would already take far too long.

    So what does Janeway already known in "The Caretaker" about the sizes and locations of the Dominion and the Borg Collective? How did Janeway decide that going around the Borg (which they eventually failed to do) would be a short enough detour, compared to going around the Dominion, to make the Delta Quadrant route shorter than the Gamma Quadrant route?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  20. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And arrived during one of it's many closures:lol: