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Excluding special circumstances like the soliton wave, interference by the traveler or caretaker, Cytherian technology enhancements, etc., what ships are the fastest in the Federation?

Also, what are the fastest small ships (e.g. shuttles/runabouts) in use by the Federation?

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According to Memory Alpha, the fastest production starship in the Federation is the USS Prometheus (Prometheus class) Topping out at a blazing warp 9.99

The fastest one-off Runabout would probably be the Delta Flyer, custom built by the Voyager crew for approx. warp 5+ with enhanced handling and sub-light engines.

The fastest 'production' runabout is the Danube-class runabout with a max speed of warp 5.

8

I don't think you can deny that the shuttle Cochrane from Voyager 2x15 is the fastest. It may be a special circumstance, but that was pure Federation technology and engineering at work to break the warp 10 barrier.

A lot of the comments point out that a) the episode is terrible and/or b) it is non-canon. I decided to look into this, starting with the Memory Alpha page for the episode. There are a lot of choice quotes from people close to the episode, starting with Branon Braga, the writer for the episode:

I wrote the episode, or at least the teleplay [....] And... it had some good intentions behind it. It had a good premise, breaking the warp ten barrier.

It's very much a classic Star Trek story, but in the rewrite process I took out the explanation [...] And all we were left with were some lizard... things crawling around in the mud. So, it was not my shining moment.

It's a terrible episode. People are very unforgiving about that episode. I've written well over a hundred episodes of Star Trek, yet it seems to be the only episode anyone brings up [...] Unfortunately, that was a royal, steaming stinker.

Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) also had a low opinion of the episode:

"When I read the first draft," he said, "I couldn't get it. I thought they took on much more than could be handled in one episode." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #11) He also remarked, "When I first read that script, I couldn't believe they were going to shoot it."

But didn't think it was all bad:

He enthused, "I like a few scenes that I thought were important for Paris. I like the one where I explain to Janeway how I need to prove myself by breaking the warp speed barrier."

Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) also had reservations about the episode:

At the 2009 New Jersey Star Trek convention, Kate Mulgrew remarked to the audience that "Threshold" was the episode of Star Trek: Voyager she was most uncomfortable with, noting that she didn't like the thought of mating with Paris as a lizard.

But only a few quotes even touch on the official-ness of the episode, only then if we consider the Warp-Ten barrier to be an immutable law of the universe.

Gene [Roddenberry] made the determination at the beginning of Next Gen that warp ten would be the limit, and at that point you would occupy all portions of the universe simultaneously, which always seemed like a wonderfully provocative notion. Then the question is 'What happens if you do go warp ten, how does that affect you?'

~ Jeri Taylor. Writer, Producer. Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages

It's fun to invoke paradox when you're talking about something as bizarre and as hypothetical as warp drive. And so, that idea become the basis for a story where Tom Paris thought that he had figured out a way to sort of 'crash' the warp 10 barrier and was eager to try to implement this, and see if he could actually achieve warp 10 flight [...] But all of that is basically the consequence of taking one of Gene's original ideas, from the beginning of Next Generation, and extrapolating and playing with it and finding an interesting way to use that as the springboard for a fun science fiction story that we can tell with our crew.

~ Real Science With Andre Bormanis, VOY Season 2 DVD special features

Neither of those quotes say But clearly, since the Warp Ten barrier can't be broken, the entire episode is speculation and non-canon. Rather, they stick to the assumption that the warp ten barrier was crossed and it did trigger a profound genetic mutation among the participants.

Finally, there is a separate question on this site which specifically asks "Is the Voyager episode “Threshold” considered canon?" The answers there source and dispel the rumor that this episode was non-canon. Since there is not an official source stating the episode is non-canon, it remains part of the official storyground for the Star Trek Voyager.

And on a lighter note, wishing doesn't make it true. Just being disliked by fans, critics and insiders isn't enough to change the official record. If it were, then at the very least, Jar-Jar Binks would be exorcised from the Star Wars saga.

  • Good one. I looked at the Cochrane too. High-speed low-drag for sure but it did seem a bit too 'special circumstance' so didn't cite it. Maybe Lese could clarify. – Morgan Apr 17 '14 at 5:06
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    This is what you potentially get with a two part question. – Morgan Apr 17 '14 at 5:08
  • @Morgan: I'm mainly looking for the fastest production ships based on their normal/safe operating speeds. But I guess I should have specified that in the question. – Lèse majesté Apr 18 '14 at 3:22
  • @Lèsemajesté Thanks for the follow-up. I modified my answer to add the stock production model runabout. – Morgan Apr 18 '14 at 3:40
  • Too bad that episode is non-canon. ;-D – user11521 Aug 15 '14 at 18:36
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Yes, in Voyager, they did try to break the Warp 10 barrier, but it seems like people are forgetting the episode where Picard goes to the future, and sees old Commander Riker piloting Enterprise, where he tells the helmsmen to go "Warp 13", which means that in some point the barrier is broken. I've heard rumors about the UberEnterprise, which goes Warp 1000, but I doubt, and I mean seriously doubt, it's canon. In the Next Generation Episode "All good things..." Admiral Riker tells the helmsmen to go Warp 13. I believe that the episode is canon, so I believe that in the modern timeline, USS Prometheus is the fastest, for now.

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    Actually, the warp factor scale is not fixed and has been re-calibrated at least once, between TOS and TNG. Check the Memory Alpha page memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Warp_factor and the section Alternate timelines. They reference an interview with the science adviser for TNG and he said, the idea for that episode was that in the alternate timeline the warp factor had been re-calibrated and Warp 15 was actually Warp 10 (trans-warp threshold) on the previous scale and Warp 13 about Warp 9.95. – Sebastian_H Nov 25 '15 at 17:42

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