What is the timeline for the acquisition or development of warp drive among the various major species of Star Trek (e.g. Humans, Vulcans, Bajorans, Cardassians, Romulans, Klingons etc.)? If the means of achievement of various warp milestones is known, this should be included to.

  • Hi. I note you haven't accepted any answers for this question yet. If my answer addresses the question, would you please consider answering it for future viewers? If not, please let me know where I can improve it! – Often Right Nov 12 '15 at 5:40

Because this got a little long, I'll cut to the chase and give you a list in chronological order - you can read the rest of the answer if you like for more details. Note that I'm going to use the more conservative dates in this timeline; as you'll see below there are some more 'wild' guesses:

  1. Vissians - 12th Century CE
  2. Borg - 15th Century CE
  3. Cardassians - 1925
  4. Ferengi - after 1947
  5. Vulcans - after 1947
  6. Klingons - after 1947
  7. Humans - 2063
  8. Bajorans - 2328

Okay, so I'll start with the easiest:

Humans

When?

April 5th 2063

How?

A guy called Zefram Cochrane decided he wanted to live the high life so he'd invent a great new space faring propulsion technique, get rich quick and have a cozy life.


Now, for the rest of them I'm relying on this brilliant Memory Alpha article

Vulcans

When?

Sometime after 1947 (DS9: 'Little Green Men'). Note that, out of canon, Memory Beta tells us that the Vulcans and Romulans had warp drive as early as the 3rd century CE, but later lost that technology. This may explain how the Romulans traveled to Romulus from Vulcan which is a reasonable distance.

How?

Not much information on Vulcan warp-development is given; it seems that they slowly developed it under their own steam (ENT: 'First Flight')

Klingons

When?

Sometime after 1947 (DS9: 'Little Green Men')

How?

The Memory Alpha article claims that they invented it. Don't look at me so suspiciously: Quark's comments in 'Little Green Men' would suggest that Quark the Klingons may have been responsible for the development of warp drive by themselves, as it implies it took them a long time to develop it. Furthermore, the Klingon page on Memory Alpha says:

Because the worlds of the Klingon Empire were resource-poor, the Klingons developed an intense belief in the need for expansion and conquest in order to survive.

This would definitely encourage developing warp drive by themselves.

Vissians

When?

Around the 12th Century (ENT: 'Cogenitor')

How?

In the above episode, they claim that they developed it, so we'll have to assume for now that they made it by themselves!

Borg

When?

Unknown, but probably prior to the 15th century when they had begun to establish their interstellar collective (VOY: 'Dragon's Teeth'). Out of canon, it seems they were Warp capable from the 46th Century BCE.

How?

Because they had begun to establish their interstellar by the time they developed warp drive (ignoring non-canon materials for the moment), it's possible they simply assimilated or otherwise acquired the technology from a warp-capable passerby, or developed it themselves. It's not really elaborated on much

Ferengi

When?

Sometime after 1947, as indicated by Quark's remark in DS9: 'Little Green Men'

How?

We don't strictly speaking know, but it's probable that they bought it at some point.

Bajorans

When?

Out of canon, apparently as late as 2328. We know that they'd developed sub-light travel by the 16th century (source), but no mention of warp-capability in canon that I can find.

How?

Well, if we assume the out of canon date of 2328, this happens to coincide with the date of Cardassian occupation, suggesting that they received it from the Cardassians!

Cardassians

When?

1925 from out of canon (no dates given in canon, but this seems reasonable)

How?

No information here, probably developed it by themselves but that's just a wild stab in the dark!

  • 1
    You put an awful lot of stock in Quark's memory of history. – Politank-Z Oct 29 '15 at 6:10
  • @Politank-Z well, beggars can't be choosers! There's extremely little evidence other than Quark's memory of history so we have to accept it unless there is contrary evidence. Otherwise this list would be much shorter! – Often Right Oct 29 '15 at 6:12
  • 3
    Quark's line in "Little Green Men" when he ended up in 1947 was: "Forget this timeline. The one we're going to create will be better. Once we get things in order here, we'll contact the Ferengi homeworld and sell them our ship. The Ferengi will have warp drive technology centuries before humans or Klingons or even the Vulcans. We'll establish an economic empire beyond even Grand Nagus Zek's wildest dreams. And I'll control it all." Since he was talking about changing the timeline by giving the Ferengi warp drive, doesn't this mean in the actual timeline they didn't have it in 1947? – Hypnosifl Oct 29 '15 at 22:47
  • Also, did you mean to cite "Little Green Men" when you said the Vulcans developed warp after 1947, or was this also mentioned in the Enterprise episode "Fallen Hero" that you cited? Here is a transcript, I did a keyword search and didn't see 1947 mentioned. – Hypnosifl Oct 29 '15 at 22:51
  • @Hypnosifl ah; I see what you mean about the Ferengi; consider it fixed. And yes; must have made a typo when referring to 'Fallen Hero' - a lot of episodes flying about in that answer above! – Often Right Oct 29 '15 at 23:18

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