In the prologue to the ST:TNG episode "Conspiracy", Riker gives the order "Increase to warp six", to which LaForge replies "Aye sir, full impulse".

What is going on with these lines of dialog? Was it an attempt to make the Enterprise D seem more advanced in that it could attain significant FTL velocities on impulse engines? Was it a scripting error? Since LaForge's line is delivered off-screen, is it a dubbing error?

Canon (and any attempt to reconcile Star Trek physics with physics as we currently know it) would have impulse drive incapable of attaining light speed, or even a significant fraction of it.

So, was this a deliberate, if misguided, attempt on the part of the show writers to advance Trek canon, or was it a production error?

2 Answers 2


This appears to have been an error that crept into the show's editing.

The screenplay shows that the line was supposed to just be "Aye sir" rather than "Aye sir, full impulse".

GEORDI: Twenty two hours, fourteen minutes.

RIKER: Increase to warp six.

GEORDI: Aye sir.

If I had to guess, I'd imagine that LeVar Burton was probably thinking about this line, later in the same episode.

PICARD: Slow to impulse, Mister La Forge.

GEORDI: Aye sir, slowing to impulse.

  • This almost begs a followup question: how does such an error go uncorrected? Wouldn't it have been someone's job to quality control the edit against the script?
    – Anthony X
    Oct 11, 2016 at 22:45
  • 3
    @AnthonyX - This is a textbook example of Bellisario's Maxim; that what you're looking at is a story being told by a tiny production team with a tiny budget and ridiculously tight deadlines, trying to turn out the best product they can. If this was a feature film this sort of nonsense would be unforgiveable, but in TV the goal is to "get it in the can" and "fix it in post". Sometimes stuff gets missed.
    – Valorum
    Oct 11, 2016 at 23:09

Valorum's answer seems to probably be correct in the real universe. In the fictional universe of star Trek, perhaps warp speed is achieved by multiplying impulse speed by using warp power. thus faster warp speeds and higher warp factors would be achieved by increasing the warp power and/or the impulse power until warp factor six was reached with full impulse and then higher speeds would be achieved by maintaining full impulse and increasing the warp power.

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