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Every n episodes of ST:VOY, we get to watch as the titular ship gets "years" taken off its journey through some benevolent being, or one-time-use technology. In the beginning it was stated that they were something like 75 years away from the Alpha Quadrant, did the cumulative time they receive in "freebies" exceed this value?

Question brought about watching S05E15, Dark Frontiers (pt 1), when Torres states that

If I could equip our engines with even one [Borg trans-warp] coil, we could shave about 20 years off this trip.

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As you've noted, there is indeed a slight discrepancy here. The total distance 'shaved' actually exceeds the straight-line distance, however we know that they also spent several years in normal space traveling at warp speeds.

  • Voy: The Gift - "9500 light years" (courtesy of Kes)
  • Voy: Night - "2 years" (e.g. 2000+ light years - via the The Malon vortex)
  • Voy: Dark Frontier - "20,300 light years" (using a transwarp coil)
  • Voy: Hope and Fear + Voy: Timeless - "300 lights years + 10000 light years" respectively (using a quantum slipstream).
  • Voy: The Voyager Conspiracy - "1000 light years" (using a quantum catapult)
  • Voy: Counterpoint - Unspecified, but substantial (via a wormhole)
  • Voy: Dragon's Teeth - "200 light years" (via a Vauudwar subspace corridor)
  • Voy: Q2 "A few years" (e.g. 2000+ light years - courtesy of Q)
  • Voy: Endgame: Part 2 - "30000 light years" (via a transwarp corridor)

Of their total journey distance at the start (e.g. 75,000 light years) around 75,300 light years was explicitly stated to have been 'shaved'.


So how do we account for this?

  • Rounding. The crew may have rounded up to the nearest few hundred light years when jumping really big distances. 20,000 could easily mean 19,751

  • Meandering. As evidenced by the crew continually encountering the Kazon in the early seasons, it would appear that their early episodes involved traveling in circles collecting supplies

  • Not actually a straight line. It would be remarkable if the various wormholes and corridors headed in an arrow-straight line toward the Alpha Quadrant. The time taken to head back onto their original course could easily add up to a few years travel.

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    I recall another question in which an answer showed they actually entered the Beta Quadrant before returning to the Alpha. This would substantiate that they didn't travel in such a straight line. – user33616 Sep 23 '17 at 13:14
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    @MarkEdward - i.pinimg.com/originals/f3/65/7f/… I think your map-reading skills need a little work :-) – Valorum Sep 23 '17 at 13:20
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    Well dang. I must've completely fabricated that memory... But thanks for the graphic! – user33616 Sep 23 '17 at 13:27
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    Excellent answer. I also found this last night while doing research of my own, and then slept and forgot about it. But, it's interesting if anyone wants a good breakdown (though it ends at season 4, which is too bad): stdimension.org/int/Cartography/Voyager.htm – n_b Sep 24 '17 at 4:14
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    @n_b - The discrepancy in distance is probably because Paris took a straight-line distance without taking into account any galactic phenomena. Like taking a distance calcuiation from London to Paris but then realising that you need to detour to Dover – Valorum Sep 24 '17 at 6:07

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