Was putting limits on Warp Travel a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by The Overlord, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 26, 2010
    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?
  2. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 18, 1999
    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.
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001
    Great Britain
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    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.
  5. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    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.
  6. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 30, 2006

    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.
  7. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 26, 2010
    But does that mean that Hekaras II was destroyed by subspace rifts because of the use of warp engines during the Dominion war?
  8. shivkala

    shivkala Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 26, 2004
    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 Apparently, Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda detailed them that way in the unpublished Star Trek: Voyager Technical Manual for season 1, according to Memory Alpha.

  9. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 19, 2000
    17 Cherry Tree Lane
    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... :)
  10. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Nov 22, 2001
    Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
    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.
  11. robau

    robau Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 19, 2012
    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.
  12. Roswell

    Roswell Cadet Newbie

    Dec 30, 2012
    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.
  13. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

    Dec 2, 2001
    Hotel Transylvania
    I loved how "All Good Things" flipped the middle finger to this Warp limit nonsense by have the Enterprise go to Warp 13! :lol:
  14. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 28, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    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.
  15. at Quark's

    at Quark's Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 15, 2012
    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.
  16. StalwartUK

    StalwartUK Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 24, 2008
    England, UK
    If they actually decided to do something with it it could've been interesting but they pretty much ignored it afterwards so today it just sticks out like a sore thumb.
  17. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Commander Red Shirt

    Apr 29, 2012
    Good analysis.
    Indeed, it's uncharacteristic for Trek to take a post-modernist stance; and I agree that it's not the answer to environmental issues (be they real or Trek's): the solution is better tech, progression not regression.

    As an episode, Forces of Nature just ends up being filler: neither very good nor very bad.
  18. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 28, 2004
    What I would have liked to see would be an episode dealing with how the Federation is seeking to find a solution for the problem.

    The episode with that warp "wave" could have been a trial of a new technology meant to resolve this issue. From what I remember, that episode did not have a specific reason other that "traveling at warp via an external energy wave is cool" idea.
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    Seemed like it was ignored pretty much right away and Force of Nature was a terrible episode anyway.
  20. qbie

    qbie Ensign Newbie

    Aug 14, 2012
    I had a problem with the episode which I couldn't put my finger on, until I read the Nitpickers guides..

    The whole episode is about stopping warp drive through the area so a rift won't form and cause damage to the planet. So at the conclusion of the episode Serova creates a rift, therefore endangering her planet? That's a bit like saying 'If we put all this dangerous nuclear material here people will die' and then to prove your point, putting it there and killing everyone.