In Star Trek Into Darkness, Khan claims that after the destruction of Vulcan, Starfleet began to aggressively search distant quadrants of space. What was the reason for this?

(Also, considering that there are only four quadrants, what becomes a distant quadrant?)

2 Answers 2


It was to find the SS Botany Bay, which had been sent into deep space centuries earlier.

That small line resolved what would have otherwise been a continuity conflict, as in the original timeline, the Botany Bay was not found until the time of the original series, by Kirk and his crew. Because the ship left Earth before the timeline split, it would have meant that it was still floating out there, and Khan would not yet have been a threat. However, because Starfleet when looking for it, Khan was woken up earlier in this timeline and brought to Earth, starting the events of this movie.

For the aside, "Quadrant" means 2 different things in Star Trek:

  • There's the primary 4 quadrants that the galaxy is split into, the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Gamma quadrants.
  • During TOS (and some of TNG), "quadrant" also referred to much smaller sections of the galaxy. For example, Quadrant 904 was mentioned in TOS, and Morgana Quadrant was mentioned in TNG.

Mentioned in the link above, it wasn't until TNG 3x08, The Price, that splitting the galaxy into the 4 primary quadrants was standardized. It was then also used in the Enterprise prequel series and later TOS movies.

  • 2
    Thank you. The Botany Bay wiki states that they only found the ship by chance. "Section 31 performed secret investigations in unexplored space for means of better defending the Federation after the destruction of Vulcan." This sounds rather flimsy (esp. considering that Vulcan was destroyed by a time traveller from the future). Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 17:17
  • I suppose you could use "Quadrant" to refer to an area of space divided up into a quadtree (That is, the whole galaxy is four quadrants, which each contain four quadrants, which each contain- ad infinitum), though realistically you'd want an octree for that
    – Phoshi
    Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 22:13

They found Kahn and his crew while searching for a new planet suitable to be the new Vulcan. That is why they were aggressively searching.

  • 2
    That seems plausible. Can you back it up with any actual evidence though?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 13:56

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