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In the final episode of TNG (All Good Things) Captain Beverly Picard,and Admiral Riker both travel at Warp 13, but in Voyager the warp limit is warp 10.

In VOY: Threshold Tom Paris breaks warp 10 and there are all sorts of unforeseen side affects that are not observed in All Good Things.

I understand that transwarp uses a different kind of technology, but it does not seem that they are using transwarp in TNG: All Good Things. Is there any in-universe explanation for this or was it just overlooked by the writers?

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    non-cananical, but in the future as starships got faster it got silly. Was that Warp 9.99999 or 9.999999 you just ordered, captain? So, one possibile recalibration was to make Warp 9.9 now be Warp 10, Warp 9.99 be Warp 11, Warp 9.999 be Warp 12, and so forth. – user11521 Mar 6 '14 at 18:23
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    For the record he did not "break" warp 10; he reached it. – Lightness Races in Orbit Sep 16 '14 at 11:46
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    The Time Lords have gifted a new cycle of Warp factors. – b_jonas Sep 16 '14 at 15:17
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On the Memory Alpha page for All Good Things, this is mentioned - bolding mine:

  • It is clear that there is no more warp 5 limit in the future. This limit was set in "Force of Nature". In addition, ships in the future timeline are able to go above Warp 13. This would appear to contradict "Threshold", where it is stated that Warp 10 is the theoretical limit. It is, however, possible that the warp scale was recalibrated in this future.

This is a reference to the different scale used in TOS compared to TNG. During the TOS era, there wasn't a limit. In-universe, at some point between the two settings, the warp scale was recalibrated, giving different speeds for each warp factor.

TOS-era (TOS+ENT), this was the official calculation for warp factor:

TOS Warp equation

In the TNG era (TNG+DS9+VOY), the recalibration had two parts - for warp factors below 9, this was the equation:

TNG Warp equation

With Warps 9-10 scaling up exponentially, asymptote at 10.

The TNG curve was based on supposed in-universe physics, where the thresholds for Warp 1-9 were based on some sort of transition that involved extra power usage. Warp 9-10 spanned the remainder of all warp speeds because there were apparently no further spikes of that sort:

Warp thresholds

Thanks to a related question, this image comes from Michael Okuda, art supervisor for TNG and beyond. He created the new warp scale. The curve from 9-10 has no definite equation because it was based on a hand-drawn curve. (Wikipedia)

So these are the maximum warp speeds available in the TNG era:

  • Enterprise-D (Galaxy-class) - 9.8
  • Voyager (Intrepid-class) - 9.975
  • Defiant (Defiant-class) - 9.982

And since technology was only getting better, these maximum warp speeds would have steadily gotten more absurd, since Warp 10 ("Infinite Speed") isn't actually possible under that scale (Threshold excluded).

Another recalibration was inevitable, with All Good Things hinting that they returned to a TOS-style scale that didn't have an upper limit.


Ex Astris Scientia includes some additional information:

There is no official formula to calculate the speed corresponding to the revised warp factors. In the October 1995 issue of the Omni magazine, science advisor Andre Bormanis states: "I raised that question in a TECH note. Basically, the idea there was that they recalibrated the warp scale. I don't think that ended up in the final draft teleplay, but the idea there was that if you've got ships that can routinely travel at speeds in excess of Warp 9, then maybe it makes sense to recalibrate your speed scale so that Warp 10 is no longer infinite velocity. Maybe Warp 15 will be the ultimate speed limit, and Warp 13 in that scale will be the equivalent of warp 9.95 or something like that."

The page when goes on to basically theorize the in-universe reasons, which are essentially what I posted above.

  • One of the books references a future Federation starship traveling at Warp 33 that allows them to cross half the galaxy and out into the void beyond between galaxies in a relatively short span of time. Been quite a few years since I read it, so I don't recall which now. – BBlake May 13 '13 at 11:46
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    The book you refer to is Federation and it's not Warp 33, but SideWarp Factor 55, and when they go back into normal space they drop 'through' warp speeds on the way down. Presumably, at some point in the far, far future they discover an even faster travel medium. – Shadur May 13 '13 at 14:10
  • I think it's funny they reference C in the warp calculations. Since relativity does not exist it seems that they are just asking for someone to complain about that. – Sponge Bob May 14 '13 at 0:53
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    @KeeganMcCarthy I don't see how. c is just a predefined velocity, 299,792,458 m/s. – Izkata May 14 '13 at 1:13
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    I see you mentioned "Infinite Speed", yet failed to include either "Ridiculous Speed" or "Ludicrous Speed". – Omegacron Oct 16 '14 at 20:13
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Okay I'm answering this off the seat of my pants because I don't have the time to do research, but here's my explanation:

Warp factors have consistently gone through a re-proportioning process throughout the Star Trek universe. In the original series, there were ships known to travel at warp 10 or even faster. In the episode with the Nomad probe, it improved the efficiency of the engines so that the Enterprise could travel at warp 11. And there were a few other instances of high warp factors.

Then in Star Trek TNG and beyond, it's mentioned as a plot point several times that warp 10 is the absolute "speed limit" of the universe, like the speed of light is to us now. If warp 10 were ever reached, funky things would happen. I remember reading a TNG book about Guinan's sister who had a relationship with Picard and hated the Borg because of what they did to her species, and to get to them faster she propelled this ship up to warp 10 and then disappeared from our universe, because at warp 10 you exist simultaneously, everywhere. (supposedly)

So what happened is a reproportioning of warp factors so that the ultimate speed is now designated as warp 10. That means in the original series, all their 10+ warp speed figures would now be revised to warp factors somewhere under 10.

The 24th century warp factor scale with warp 10 being equal to "infinite speed" and ultimately unachievable pretty much held steady throughout TNG, DS9 and Voyager. Of course there were all sorts of other technologies, like transwarp and slipstream and whatnot, but for regular warp factors, the barrier of warp 10 remained. (and if people tried to break it, well you saw what happened to Tom).

Now for All Good Things being inconsistent, for an out-of-universe explanation, I think the writers wanted to give a "futuristic" sense and try to show that technology progressed in the intervening years. For an in-universe explanation, we can say that Starfleet for some reason once more re-scaled the warp factor measurements so that warp 10 was no longer the infinite speed.

Here, I pulled this quote from Memory Alpha, which confirms this:

In the October 1995 issue of OMNI, science advisor Andre Bormanis stated the idea of warp factors beyond 10 in the alternative future was in a recalibration of the warp scale, as ships had gotten faster. Maybe warp 15 was set to be the transwarp threshold instead, according to Bormanis, and warp 13 in that scale would have been the equivalent of warp 9.95 of the previous scale.

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    Of course, Threshold is frequently voted the worst episode of Voyager and sometimes even worse. Source (5th point in list currently, with some specific examples given in the following few points) – a CVn May 13 '13 at 8:39
  • @MichaelKjörling Treshold is voted the worst episode of entire ST franchise even by its very own creator (from an interview with Brannon Braga, available as extras on Star Trek Voyager Episode 2 DVD). See this answer. – trejder Jan 16 '15 at 10:58
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    @trejder, so we accept this opinion as the Word of God, or the Word of Devil in this particular case? :) – Edmund Dantes Nov 18 '17 at 9:06
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In another question I point to transwarp having a similar relationship to warp speed as Mach to MPH, or Warp to Mach, or any given system where it's simpler to convert units to express yourself.

There's literally nothing to back this up in that episode or any proceeding it (and I don't believe any in DS9/VOY which follow it) - however, it is conceivable that the terminology "transwarp" is simply shortened to "warp" in this alternate timeline; after all, if you're accustomed to simply traveling at "transwarp" to get to all the places, you may end up simply dropping the prefix altogether.

We do this already with a lot of different aspects of language. We don't typically say, "I need to borrow your cellular phone", we just say "I need to borrow your phone." The context of the request is enough to understand that the speaker was asking for the phone in your pocket, and not a ride back to the house to borrow your landline (if you even still have one).

It's only when we need to make the distinction that we haul out the modifier 'cell-' or 'smart-', like when filling out an employment application and the distinction needs to be made.

So again, there's nothing that I know of which suggests that within the TNG continuum that transwarp eventually replaces warp altogether, but if we were to assume it has, then it's also within the realm of possibility to assume that whenever Captain Beverly Picard asks for "Warp N", she is actually asking for "Transwarp N", because that's just how they roll in the alt-future.

  • Yes. After all, warp is a shortened form of time warp factor. – user16696 May 30 '15 at 17:56
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It is entirely possible that they were traveling via transwarp, but were still using the old warp speed scale. Perhaps the speed at which they were traveling would have been equivalent to warp 13 if the equation for warp 1-9 were to continue past warp 9. This would also explain why the warp 5 speed limit established in "Force of Nature" was apparently disregarded; traveling at transwarp could possibly have no effect on the rifts.

This explanation could also apply to any instance in Star Trek where they appear to break the warp-10 barrier, such as in the Original Series episode "The Changeling". The ship's computer could simply be interpreting the speed at which they are traveling according to the equation for warp 1-9, while they are in fact traveling via transwarp or some entirely other form of faster-than-light travel.

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Part of the problem is that there is a misunderstanding of how warp works in Star Trek. There are 2 types that often get mixed with each other. The first is that Space in front of the ship is compressed and in back stretched. If this were possible it would effectively have no limit to the speed other than the speed with which you can do this squash and stretch. This is not used in Star Trek, but most people think it is.

The version that is used is a type of twisting of space time so that it creates a kink. If you were to imagine a horizontal line, Warp selects a point on that line and twists so that there is a section that is above and a section that is below. The ship then "falls". This is why ships that go too fast get stressed. The ship is essentially scraping space which causes stress. So long as you can survive the stress and make space bend like this you can go that speed. Warp 10 is what happens when the bend is perpendicular to the space time. You have infinite speed because you're free falling through space time.

So what is Warp 13? There is no legit answer, but it's really rather obvious, especially with the note from developers. It's simply a recalibration. But why in-universe? Voyager had Nacelles designed to overcome the damage to space so there was no reason to have a speed limit anymore plus Warp speeds were getting higher and higher and as time passed you'd start having standard warp speed be "9.99999434" or something silly like that which noone is going to want to sit there and say, especially not in conflict situations and so you'd end up with captains having various ways of giving the number which just wouldn't fly in a military organization. This would result in someone sitting down and decideing that x speed equals warp # and Warp 10 would then likely be classed as Warp infinity or something like that.

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You have to keep in mind that the Warp Scale is similar to the Richter Scale. Each calibration is 10 times the previous calibration. Thus Warp 6 is 10 times faster than Warp 5. As you get closer to "infinite velocity", the calibration inevitably condenses, thus Warp 6.85 might be 10 times faster than Warp 6 and Warp 7.5 might be 10 times Warp 7 until, as you approach infinite velocity, Warp 9.9 is 10 times faster than Warp 9.8. Therefore, Warp 10 can NEVER be achieved as each step in velocity further condenses the scale.

  • I do not believe this is actually correct, but I'm not physicist enough to counter it. – James Sheridan Jan 26 '15 at 4:14
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    @JamesSheridan It's exponential, not geometric, based on the equations in my answer (where if Warp 6 is speed N, Warp 7 is somewhere around N^3 depending on the scale, not 10*N). And between Warp 9 and 10, it doesn't follow the pattern/equations from below Warp 9 anyway – Izkata Jan 26 '15 at 4:25
  • The Richter magnitude scale (also Richter scale) assigns a magnitude number to quantify the energy released by an earthquake. The Richter scale is a base-10 logarithmic scale, which defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude. As measured with a seismometer, an earthquake that registers 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times that of an earthquake that registered 4.0, and thus corresponds to a release of energy 31.6 times that released by the lesser earthquake.[1 Wikipedia – Timothy Dill Jan 26 '15 at 4:46
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No canonical reason was given for this... but the easiest answer might be that SF in that particular timeline decided to refine the Warp scale again, and classify higher warp speeds under different factors, and put the 'Infinite velocity' at say Warp 20.

Only 1 decimal would have been kept to keep simplicity in check I would imagine... so something like Warp 12.9 or 13.9 might still be used... but once you are past that 1 decimal, you'd switch to a higher tier number.

We were not given an explanation of how fast Warp 13 was in that timeline... but I would imagine it was a lot faster than 9.9 (21 473 times C) - since no vessel apart from the USS Prometheus as introduced in Voyager was seen to achieve and sustain Warp 9.9 for a protracted period of time. Enterprise-D managed Warp 9.8 at an 'extreme risk'. Voyager was stated it can go 9.975, but never seen to use this as they tended to cruise all the time at Warp 6.

At any rate, I imagine SF used higher numbers past 10 for Warp factors to make it easier for captains to pick faster speeds.

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Spock said in the TOS that warp 10 could not be achieved in normal space. So it’s safe to assume that they had entered an alternate realm of the universe.

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    Is that speculation? Or do you have a source for this? – amflare Nov 18 '17 at 2:56
  • This would be a lot better answer if it explained why the most logical conclusion would be an alternate reality rather than a different technology, or even an oversight by the writers. – Bellatrix Nov 18 '17 at 2:56
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Well, they say there are limits in the TNG, Voyager, DS9 series of warp factor 10. as with all things technology imporves and someone manages to go beyond what was the maximum. Transwarp was one of the things they did in the original series movies. I.E. the Excelsior, she had an experimental transwarp drive. In Voyager they developed tested and then dismantled quantum slipstream drive.

There is no reason to believe in All Good Things that they used transwarp drive. they may have used a sub transwarp drive. In Star Trek Online the assimilated borg engine allows the ships to travel above warp 9 it is a sub transwarp drive.

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    This answer seems very "opinion based". Can you back it up with a quote or reference? – Valorum May 19 '14 at 18:43
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    During the TNG/DS9/VOY era, the Warp 10 limit wasn't a technological limit, it was by definition infinite speed. Warp, transwarp, wormhole, Q-teleportation, nothing travels faster than infinite speed. – Izkata May 19 '14 at 23:24

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