In First Contact the Enterprise is sent to patrol the Neutral Zone "in case the Romulans attempt to take advantage of the situation..."

However upon hearing the start of the battle with the Borg they return to Earth at maximum warp.

I've always assumed that the Neutral Zone is a fair distance from Earth... did the battle go on for a long time before the Enterprise arrived (unlikely given the Borg's ability to reduce ships to scrap) or is it actually quite close (relatively)?

How long did it take for the Enterprise to return to Earth?

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    They made it in less than twelve parsecs, of course. – eidylon Jun 5 '14 at 20:26
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    @eidylon Obi-wan gives you a skeptical look at that claim. – Zibbobz Jun 5 '14 at 20:33
  • I don't know how accurate this is but on stdimension.org/int/Cartography/DistanceList.htm They say that it's about 132.111 ly I'm guessing the . is supposed to be a , so 132,111 lightyears – DoctorWho22 Jun 5 '14 at 20:39
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    @DoctorWho22 132 kly doesn't make sense. The Milky Way is about 70 kly across, and the entire series of Voyager was of that (pretty well-equipped, not to mention lucky) ship traversing that distance, taking Lord knows how many shortcuts and still needing almost a decade to do so. At the outset of VOY, they didn't even have communications technology to bridge such distances, let alone twice the distance. 132 ly seems a lot more reasonable. – a CVn Jun 5 '14 at 21:25
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    As with all Star Trek speeds and distances, it took as long as the plot required. – BBlake Jun 6 '14 at 14:27

Ok so according to the site I posted it states that Gamma Hydrae II / IV is approximately 132 light years away from Earth.


Now it says :

Earth Gamma Hydrae II, IV (Neutral Zone) 132.111 ly TOS [040] The Deadly Years, ST:TWOK (real star)

This neutral zone is actually not specifically the romulan one but a portion of space near the romulan and klingon one, we can most likely round off a few lightyears more and say it's about 135 lightyears... Another person on a different site said something similar :


No specific distance is ever (thankfully) given in all of Trek over how far it is from Earth the Romulan Neutral Zone (RNZ). However in ST:ENT's second season episodes "Minefield" and "Dead Stop", we learn that the NX-01 is some 130 light years from Earth when it first encounters Romulans. We might assume for the sake of being conservative, that the Romulus-Remus star system is only a few light years further beyond this point. Round up to 135 ly.

Now given that we are using "estimations" this is by far not a canon answer since I haven't found any legit distance between Earth and the Neutral Zone.

The ship in First Contact was USS-Enterprise-E and as such is capable of going almost warp 10.


Warp 8 is the highest speed a Sovereign-class ship was known to have traveled on-screen. According to Star Trek: Starship Spotter, the maximum warp of the Sovereign-class ship was warp factor 9.7. However, Star Trek Evolutions gives the Sovereign a maximum warp of 9.985.

If we use this information from Warp Factor it states that at Warp 9.975 40 light years can be done in 5 days :


9.975 2,922 40 light years 5 days VOY: "Relativity"

Now we can divide the total light years 135 divided by 40 and then multiplied by the amount of days. It should take approximately 16.875 days to get from the Romulan Neutral Zone to Earth if we assume that it is 135 light years away.

  • 3
    That was one really long battle. – BBlake Jun 6 '14 at 14:27
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    I watched it, they got there in about 10 minutes. – Morgan Jun 7 '14 at 7:00
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    Just because on screen it's 10 minutes doesn't mean that it only took 10 minutes... There is no ship that can go more than a couple hundred light years within 10 mins as far as I know. – DoctorWho22 Jun 7 '14 at 8:40
  • There was also a Voyager technical manual which was written up as a guide for writers, on p. 13 it includes a chart of different warp factors which says warp 9.975 is 3053 times light speed (meaning 40 light years, or 14600 light-days, should take about 14600/3053 = 4.7 days, matching what was depicted in "Relativity"), and it says warp 9.99 is 7912 times light speed. So, the time to travel 135 light years = 49275 light-days should be between 16.1 days and 6.2 days. – Hypnosifl Jul 19 '16 at 19:57
  • I've seen different numbers though, for example on the warp factor page from Memory Alpha the average speed is slightly less than what appears in the technical manual. It states it as being 2,922 times light speed. And the travel time is about 5 days. – DoctorWho22 Jul 20 '16 at 3:37

Well the Federation fleet originally engaged the Borg near the Typhon Expanse and then pursued the Cube when it broke through the lines. According to Star Trek: Star Charts, the Typhon Expanse is near Romulan neutral zone. It would have made more sense and been quicker for the Enterprise to head to the initial site of the battle then it was to travel to Earth. It conceivable that the battle lasted a few days. Starfleet was better prepared and better equipped with new ships and technology specifically designed to deal with eventual confrontations with the Borg and the Dominion. It's implied that the fleet engaging the Borg was quite large to begin with as Sisko later states in 'In purgatory's shadow' that Starfleet is ill-equipped to deal with a dominion invasion in light of the losses suffered during the Borg attack.

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    So how long did it take to get to Earth? You've not really answered the core question here. – Edlothiad Sep 15 '17 at 6:48

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