In Star Trek First Contact, the Vulcan's visit Earth after picking up the signature of the newly invented warp drive. Did Vulcan's already have warp capabilities? If no, how did they get to Earth so fast? Did other races invent their own warp drives? If no, how did species such as the Borg obtain warp travel? It seems difficult for a non-warp society to overtake and assimilate technology from a warp society.

I always assumed Zefram Cochrane invented the warp drive which latter spread to other races but now I'm starting to think he only had invented it for humans and other races invented theirs independently.

up vote 17 down vote accepted

The Vulcans already had warp drive. Cochrane invented the first drive that is used by humans. This is explained in Star Trek: Enterprise, where they mention that Vulcans have had warp drive for many years before they came across Earth. I will look into a particular episode for more details.

According to Memory Alpha, the Vulcan's achieved warp sometime after 1947. They also reference that it took them hundreds of years to get warp 2, which as I mentioned earlier, is mentioned in Enterprise.

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    The Ferengi bought their warp drive technology (DSN: Little Green Men), and I want to say that the Klingons took theirs from some race that visited their world, but I might be confusing them with something else. – Xantec May 23 '14 at 0:22
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    The Ferengi bought their warp technology from a Breen entrepeneur. Breen space borders Ferengi space. Qonos was invaded by the Hur'q; it is implied that the Klingons took their warp technology when driving them away, but the evidence is contradictory. – James Sheridan May 23 '14 at 1:50
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    @James, I think that sets the scene, nicely, for a pre-academy engineering book 'My First Warp drive' aimed at todlers. – AncientSwordRage May 23 '14 at 6:27
  • The Borg on the other hand are still a mystery... – Zibbobz May 23 '14 at 17:11
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    @theotherone Cochrane was from alpha centauri in TOS was I don't recall it ever being established that he wasn't human. As far as I know alpha centauri has no native inhabitants in Star Trek canon. And according to memory alpha Cochrane traveled to alpha centauri from Earth in 2078. – ApproachingDarknessFish Jan 14 '17 at 0:11

TOS gave us an indication that Cochrane developed Warp technology which was spread later on to other species... but this seemed rather arrogant and presumptuous... so, it was 'modified' in the sense that when First Contact movie was made, it basically showed us when Humanity developed its own Warp drive and made first contact with Vulcan (which already had Warp technology, as did other races).

This effectively made Humanity, yet another species that just initiated first steps into its interstellar age.

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