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In the Voyager episode Scorpion Part 1 (season 3 finale) our heroes are headed to a destination that is 5.2 light years away. Captain Janeway orders Paris to set a course and move at warp 2. According to it's Memory Alpha page, warp 2 is barely 10 times the speed of light, at least in the TNG universe. The values in the Voyager universe appear to be similar to that.

Thus, we would expect to take about 6 months to reach something 5.2 light years away going 10 times the speed of light. Yet it's obvious they get there in a very short period of time.

How is this reconciled in universe?

If you're looking for a reference, try watching at 30:45 remaining on Netflix.

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In-universe, this can be reconciled by pointing out that Warp 2 doesn't necessarily mean 8 times the speed of light. Per the TNG Technical Manual

The actual values are dependent upon interstellar conditions, e.g., gas density, electric and magnetic fields within the different regions of the Milky Way galaxy, and fluctuations in the subspace domain.

Theoretically, favourable conditions could mean that Warp 2 is much faster than normal.

The alternative is, of course, that they simply sped up once they were sure that the signatures hadn't returned and had had an opportunity to perform some slightly more detailed scans.

  • 1
    Your last point is probably the best go-to explanation for most of these speed inconsistencies throughout Trek. – rnoodle Mar 5 '17 at 17:12
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    @rnoodle - Because when I drive/fly/sail/ somewhere, I always travel at a constant speed the entire way there :-) – Valorum Mar 5 '17 at 17:17
  • Or the script writer made a mistake. – JeremyP Mar 10 '17 at 10:33
  • Or the script writers play a game to see who can introduce the inconsistency that causes the most debate on the Internet. – JeremyP Mar 10 '17 at 10:34
  • @JeremyP - Always a possibility. It's more likely there was a scene that got deleted before the script was finalised though, one in which they used their sensors to determine whether the Borg fleet was still immobile, then increased their speed. – Valorum Mar 10 '17 at 10:35

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