The depiction of the Neutral Zone during the Kobayashi Maru test in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan has never seemed quite right to me.

While taking the Kobayashi Maru test, initially Lt. Saavik orders Sulu to plot a parabolic course around the Neutral Zone, implying that the Neutral Zone is the ellipsoid shaped blob shown on the view screen.

Furthermore, the disabled vessel Kobayashi Maru is located in the Gamma Hydra system inside the Neutral Zone ellipsoid.

Shouldn't the Neutral Zone be represented as a flat surface dividing Federation and Klingon space? Or is this meant to be only an abstract picture of the Neutral Zone? The other possibility is that Gamma Hydra lies within an isolated pocket of the Neutral Zone surrounded by Federation space. But that would mean the simulated Klingon vessels would have had to cross Federation space to reach Gamma Hydra, in violation of Treaty, which doesn't make sense.


  • 1
    Why flat? Space is still 3 dimensional Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 2:01
  • 6
    @psubsee2003 Right, but since Saavik's simulated ship is patrolling not far from Gamma Hydra, the Neutral Zone border ought to be a flat surface (or a gently curving surface) extending hundreds of light years in all directions in space. As it is, it looks like all of the Klingon Empire is contained in that red bubble.
    – RobertF
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 2:06

1 Answer 1


It's important to keep in mind that

  1. The screen above shows some navigation data not shown anywhere else in any Star Trek film or episode I'm aware of. The three circles represent the attitude of the ship with the course represented. I would expect this data can be shown at any time on any ship, but typically isn't shown on the main screen of the bridge. It's clearly there for the benefit of the cadet who is in "command"
  2. This is a simulation. The details are likely less important than the event itself. My assumption is that, like a real flight simulator, there's limits to what they can or can't simulate. You're not shown anything a real screen would tell you, until the Klingons fire at you (recycled footage from Trek I). The important part is the orange oval is a place you shouldn't go and you have to choose to let people die or go there and try to save them.

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