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The Star Trek universe is set inside our own Milky Way, however has there been any instances of contact with life outside our own Milky Way? I understand the distance between our galaxy and the next is much bigger than distances typically traveled by warp capable ships but there could have been other means of communication or travel.

Edit: Bonus question, how was such a vast distance traveled?

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Well, according to Star Trek V there's a big wall around the center (or was it the edge?) of the Galaxy, and even God can't go through it without the Enterprise. –  Jeff Nov 16 '11 at 15:02
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@Jeff That was the center of the galaxy, but there's also a second one around the edges of the galaxy. –  Izkata Nov 16 '11 at 16:04
    
Oh yeah - Does the Mirror Universe count as outside our galaxy? Or the proto-universe from DS9 2x17 (granted, they didn't actually contact anyone inside it..)? –  Izkata Nov 16 '11 at 21:57
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Note to future answer-givers: We are looking for one single correct answer. In this case, the answer is yes. If you want to chime in with another example either create an answer better than all the others with all the examples, or comment on the accepted/best answer. –  DampeS8N Nov 16 '11 at 22:37
    
What about the Q Continuum? Does that count as "outside the Milky Way", since it transcends time and space? –  Tullo Nov 17 '11 at 7:09
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8 Answers

up vote 41 down vote accepted

In the classic series, the episode "By Any Other Name" features aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy. In Next Gen, they end up in galaxy M33 in "Where No One Has Gone Before".

Bonus answers:

By Any Other Name: It was a 300-year journey, so one presumes "the hard way", at a high warp speed.

Where No Has Gone Before - enabled by the Traveler (and Wesley, I guess?), and his "magic" powers.

UPDATE: The androids from I, Mudd were created by beings from the Andromeda galaxy.

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Thanks, "Where No One Has Gone Before" was the TNG episode I was trying to remember. –  jfrankcarr Nov 16 '11 at 16:56
    
The Traveler's power is the ability to manipulate spacetime using his mind, supposedly because of his understanding that matter/energy/thought were the same. –  Lèse majesté Nov 20 '11 at 0:59
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Along with the other answers, Voyager introduced the Caretaker and his mate Suspiria, which are beings from another galaxy.

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I was trying to use this answer, but I didn't have the required rep till now... –  biobot Mar 2 at 19:44
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Memory Alpha has a list of Extra-galactic species, although not all have been "encountered".

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The way you surround the word 'encountered' with quotes makes me think of Kirk...and feel dirty. –  Jeff Nov 16 '11 at 17:45
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What happens in space stays in space. –  MPelletier Nov 16 '11 at 18:28
    
That being said, some of them were not encountered by the crews but are referenced. I think only the "Old Ones" apply. –  MPelletier Nov 16 '11 at 18:32
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@MPelletier Episode 1x25, "Conspiracy". They were originally meant to be the first wave of Borg, but that was later changed. The books revealed that the parasites were a mutated species of Trill symbiote. For more information: en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Neural_parasite_(24th_century) –  Izkata Nov 16 '11 at 18:58
    
@Izkata Thanks. Nowhere do they say that these were extra-galactic, so I'm crossing that out. –  MPelletier Nov 16 '11 at 22:05
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Of course, The Enterprise was TRYING to leave the galaxy in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", but the Galactic Barrier made things go all kablooie.

In "By Any Other Name" the beings from the Andromeda Galaxy makes reference to this barrier and Kirk rather snidely waves him off: "Yes, I know, we've been there!"

It's one of my favorite Kirk moments.

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In season 3 episode 26 of Star Trek Voyager, Species 8472 is referred to as being from "outside of our galaxy" (they're probably also outside of our universe, since they're from fluidic space).

The Borg used a modified deflector array to open a rift in space to invade fluidic space from the Delta quadrant, and since they were unable to assimilate the Undine, the creatures counterattacked into our galaxy.

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I believe there are plenty more things from outside normal space - Voyager was fond of subspace. And there were the photonic beings in Bride of Chaotica, and so on. Not sure if all those count. –  Jefromi Nov 17 '11 at 3:27
    
As an aside, wouldn't you think that "photonic beings" (i.e., being made of light) would have a sense something akin to being buried alive if they were in a room filled with light like the holodeck? –  Adam Robinson Nov 17 '11 at 15:54
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@AdamRobinson: Hm, I think the implication was that where they were from, everything was made of light, not matter. But it's all so hand-wavy. Details aren't important - more power to the death ray! –  Jefromi Nov 17 '11 at 18:32
    
I always thought of subspace as just an extra parallel dimension to our normal space, so the subspace that VOY traveled in was still in the Milky Way. That's why the farther away two points are from one another, the longer it takes for a subspace message to travel between them. –  Lèse majesté Nov 20 '11 at 7:51
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In the original series episode, "By Any Other Name", visitors from the Andromeda Galaxy attempt to steal the Enterprise to return home.

It seems like there was a TNG or later episode that might have had visitors from another galaxy. I thought it might have been "The Nth Degree" but the aliens in that episode were from the center of the Milky Way.

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TOS Season 2 "Catspaw":

Sylvia takes an interest in Kirk and decides to learn more about human feelings and experiences. Kirk feigns romantic interest, promising to fulfill her desires and be her loyal servant. She responds by changing into three different but attractive forms to test his emotions. Kirk tries to subtly extract information from her while he has her charmed, and learns that Sylvia and her partner Korob are explorers, but not from this galaxy.

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Tin Man, AKA Gomtuu may have been "born" outside of our galaxy:

Gomtuu was a living spaceship who seemed to have been "born" far from Federation space, possibly in another galaxy. Like a traditional starship, Gomtuu possessed a warp drive, transporter capability, and was fully equipped to defend itself. However, much of its technology was beyond that known to Federation science. Upon its discovery it was dubbed "Tin Man" by Starfleet and the "Star Creature" by the Romulans.

From Memory Alpha

As far as the "bonus", Tin Man transversed the distance over the course of millennia.

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protected by DampeS8N Nov 16 '11 at 22:37

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