We all know of the primary element of long-distance interstellar travel in the Star Trek universe being that of linear warp travel at faster-than-light speed from one point in space to another.

However, are there any canonical (books or series) instances in the Star Trek universe where point to point space folding travel is mentioned/displayed (similar to the BSG Reimagined Series)? An instant “zap” from one spot in space to another?

Does any species possess this technology?

  • Do you specifically mean only "space folding travel", or do you mean "any near-instantaneous point-to-point travel across interstellar distances"? My expectation is that you meant the latter, with "space folding travel" being one example of how that might be accomplished. – Makyen Jul 5 at 20:28
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    Not sure if this qualifies as an answer, but in TNG:"The High Ground", a band of terrorists use a technology called "dimensional shift" to instantaneously teleport between their secret base and targets of their activities. Would "dimensional shift" be the same concept as "space folding"? – Anthony X Jul 5 at 22:10
  • I recall a lot of stretching and folding special effects when the Cytherians pulled the Enterprise 30,000 light years – Blaze Jul 6 at 0:00
  • @Makyen I meant the latter. Hence the BSG reference. – MissouriSpartan Jul 6 at 3:00
  • Why 'linear' warp travel? – Mozibur Ullah Jul 6 at 14:44

The Sikarians (as seen in VOY: Prime Factors) have a device called a 'spatial trajector' which operates on the principle of folding space in order to travel vast distances instantly.

KIM: That platform. It's a transportation device. Extremely sophisticated. It operates on the principle of folding space.

JANEWAY: That's something that's been theorised, but no one's ever been able to develop the technology.

KIM: Well, these people have. I've just been to Alastria and back. Alastria is forty thousand light years away.

GATH: We call it a spatial trajector. We are able to travel to all the planets in this quadrant.

Subsequently we learn (in ST: Picard) that the Borg also have this tech, having assimilated the Sikarian home planet.

The coaxial warp drive seen in VOY: Vis à Vis" also operates on a similar principle, allowing rapid FTL travel.

STETH: Here it is, the coaxial induction drive. It draws in subatomic particles and reconfigures their internal geometries.

PARIS: And this is what makes folding space possible?

STETH: At least in spurts. Unfortunately, particle instabilities keep overloading my engines. But I'm going to make it work. I have to keep in motion. I don't like the thought of settling down. Too many new ships to drive. Too many intriguing women.

According to Doug Drexler, supposedly the Enterprise J (seen in ENT: Azati Prime) has space folding engines, allowing trans-galactic travel.

I guess I’d have to call it a Universe class vessel. The approved J had one deflector, recognizably descended from the NX. I imagine they are beyond Transwarp. I imagine they can fold space, and that they are exploring other Galaxy’s (extremely risky business) besides the Milky Way. – Doug

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Yes, there are various alternate methods of travel depicted in the Star Trek universe which fit the general characteristic of near-instantaneous jumps across interstellar distances. There have been several depicted in the various shows. How many, really depends on how broad your criteria are.

The Spore drive from Star Trek: Discovery

A very close match to the concept of jumping across space is the Spore drive, which is a major part of Star Trek: Discovery. The Spore drive is used across many episodes, both as the focus for the plot and as just a means of transportation. From the point of view of an outside observer, the Spore drive appears very similar to BSG's jumps, even if the technology is explained in a substantially different way. Of the various possible matches for the instantaneous jump technology you're looking for, the Spore drive has gotten the most screen time, by a considerable margin.

Example of a jump using the Spore drive from season 2 episode 2 of Star Trek: Discovery:

Various others

Depending on what qualifies for "any near-instantaneous point-to-point travel across interstellar distances", one would have to consider things like:

  • the Transwarp beaming which was depicted in Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness, notably in Khan beaming himself from Starfleet Headquarters on Earth to Qo'noS in the Klingon Empire.
  • the doorway in the original series episode The City on the Edge of Forever, where jumping through the archway transported you instantaneously not just across light-years of space, but also across time.

However, both of the above examples are on the scale of individuals, rather than ships. If you're interested in only near-instantaneous travel on the scale of space ships, then you'd have to include things like Q instantaneously moving the Enterprise and other ships around in various Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, etc.

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And the Iconians did too with their gateways. In Star Trek Online some of their gateways are in space so can be used by ships similar to wormholes

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    Iconian gateways operate on a 'trans-dimensional' basis and don't use folded space. Although the effect is essentially identical, it's not the same underlying principle. – Valorum Jul 5 at 16:06

I believe the way the enhanced Reginald Barclay brings the Enterprise-D to the planet of the Cytherians in the TNG epispode "The N'th Degree" counts as folding space (though I do not believe they explicitly call it that).

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    Why do you believe it counts as folding space? You've said you think it does but have not elaborated on the why. Could you edit this to clarify? – TheLethalCarrot Jul 6 at 12:52
  • Barclays specifically states that his method of transit uses the warp engines and subspace. It doesn't appear to be folding space in the classical sense – Valorum Jul 6 at 12:59

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