I'm on season 6 of a Voyager re-watch. In S6E20 "Good Shepherd," the Delta Flyer is sent off to investigate a "class-T cluster" that's worth a look but not worth altering Voyager's course. This is just one example--the DF and other shuttles are often deviating from Voyager's course to carry out some other mission.

Voyager usually doesn't just stop and wait for the shuttles to catch up.** Also, Voyager is travelling in a fairly straight line, so the shuttles can't take a shortcut (if there was a shortcut, Voyager itself would just go that way). And the regular shuttles can't match Voyager's speed.

So how are the Delta Flyer and other shuttles able to go on side missions and then rendezvous later with Voyager?

*It does happen occasionally. In "Tsunkatse" (S6E15), Seven and Tuvok have plans to take a shuttle for an astronomical survey while Voyager orbits a planet for shore leave.

  • Why can't Voyager stop and wait for the shuttle? They've got 80-odd years of travelling to go - barring the discovery of a miraculously convenient wormhole or some other supertech that would speed up their journey. Spending a few hours every now and then to explore more things along the way can't really hurt, and it might just find them that miracle they're hoping for.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 4:42
  • And who is to say that Voyager is traveling at top speed anyway while the shuttles are on missions? Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 4:47
  • An excellent question, but one that relies on a factual error :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 9:25
  • @Valorum What's the error? Even though I've been here a while, I'm still working on getting my questions up to snuff.
    – miltonaut
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 13:51
  • 2
    @miltonaut - It's a perfectly forgiveable error. As I've said in my answer, your assumption seems to be that Voyager is constantly ploughing along at high Warp when it's (usually) moving much slower.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


It's not made explicit, but although Voyager's 'cruising speed' is supposedly over warp nine, with a limited fuel supply and no pressing need to tax the engines, it actually tends to meander along at a slower speed.

PARIS: Wait a minute. Wait. Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. We were cruising along at warp seven, then we pick up a distress call and moved in to investigate. But now you're saying that the other ship is actually just a reflection of us and that the distress call is actually just the Captain's opening hail.

Voy: Parallax


PARIS: We were cruising at warp six then, wham, this thing pulled at our warp field like a magnet.

VOY: Dragon's Teeth

Given that that's the case, the Delta Flyer could happily be dropped off, fly to its destination, spend some time doing science and then spend a few days at its maximum speed (warp 7 and a bit?) playing catch-up, with Voyager never needing to change speed or direction.

  • I think that's supposed to be Tom Paris, during his prison days, at that link (wearing the hat). Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 23:13

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