The Borg have a number of distinct and unique
technologies at their disposal from regenerative nanites that can repair entire superstructures
to centuries worth of different species arsenals. But one technology that Starfleet has its
eye on is the Borg Transwarp capabilities. Following Slipstream Drive and Coaxial Warp,
we’re going to look at the potential for Starfleet and the Federation to replicate
this faster-than-light method of travel. Hi, Ric here and first off, let’s look at
what Borg Transwarp is. An important distinction to make is that this is a very different technology
than the great experiment in transwarp performed by Starfleet in the late 23rd century. In
fact, Transwarp as a term is usually applied to any form of propulsion that exceeds warp
speeds while remaining below the theoretical warp barrier of 10. Honestly this terminology
needs to be adopted and officialised by Starfleet in my opinion as the Warp scale is going to
get increasingly crowded after the warp 9 mark as the increase is exponential in nature
with 9.5 being at least twice the speed of 9 and 9.7 being multitudes faster still. So
just call any speeds after a certain point Transwarp and introduce a new scale so people
don’t have to start saying engage at Warp 9.99999975…9.
Wow, okay, barely a minute in and already derailed. Back on topic.
The most experience with the Borg Transwarp comes from the USS Voyager during its extensive
encounters with them in their home territory of the Delta Quadrant where they are able
to get detailed looks at the technology and even manage to steal elements of it for their
own use. Plus Seven of Nine’s extensive knowledge of the apparatus. Unlike Slipstream
Drive or standard Warp, the Transwarp used by the Borg required the inclusion of extra
elements external from the Starship. A Network of artificial subspace corridors have to be
created and maintained in order to utilise a Borg Transwarp Drive. This network of energy
conduits spans throughout much of the Delta Quadrant and even had branches all the way
to the other Quadrants. These roots are immersed in subspace and therefore
undetectable by standard means, being a realm apart from normal spacetime. The corridors
themselves are maintained by interspatial manifolds that direct the corridors and prevent
them from collapsing. Intelligence gathered indicates that the corridors have at least
six focused hubs that act as control centres for the network and as a nexus for Borg ships.
The vessels themselves, alongside standard warp capabilities are connected to this network
via several internal Transwarp coils and the ability to open a subspace rift into which
the ship would traverse. Once inside the network, a ship rode through the energy conduits at
exceptional speeds relative to normal space and then could exit the corridor lightyears
away. The method used to create the corridors in
the first place is a subject of much speculation from Starfleet, with the study of several
subspace phenomena to further their understanding. Attempts to create a corridor apart from the
network have failed and resulted in near a catastrophic warp core breaches showing that
while the understanding of these corridors may be improving, Starfleet tech is still
behind in making it a reality. Further proof of this can be seen when the
USS Voyager manages to obtain a single transwarp coil and integrate It first with the Delta
Flyer and then with Voyager itself. They manage to get it working without incident both times,
hitchhiking the Borg’s Network several times and cutting 15 years of their journey home.
The coil eventually burnt out and this may be due to Starfleet’s inferior knowledge
of how to maintain such a device and I’d suggest the power load was too much for a
single coil to bare, hence the reason for multiple on Borg vessels. Whatever goes on
in a transwarp coil, it seems too complex to simply replicate.
So what about its use from Starfleet? Well, ever since they became aware of the technology,
they have been looking into it, as stated, but it has several limiting factors. The first
is that as of Voyager’s return, Starfleet has yet to replicate multiple elements of
the network but this is only gated behind time as the Federation will eventually solve
most problems it is confronted with. The biggest issue is its reliance on a network of gates,
manifolds and hubs to easily allow access to Transwarp. As mentioned, spontaneously
trying to create a corridor without these assets is a no-go so firstly an extensive
infrastructure needs to be established Quadrant wide.
It’s also a very energy intensive method of travelling as the Delta Flyer has to transfer
life support to maintain the shielding necessary to remain in the transwarp conduits. Again,
not levels beyond Starfleet capabilities, but still a taxing amount. The Transwarp Hubs
themslves seem to orbit a stellar object of some description, perhaps using it as a power
source so there seems to be a great deal of energy needed to maintain the network.
Both of these issues are not insurmountable for the Federation but the technology has
its limits. While Transwarp provides hyper-fast travel across established areas of space,
charting into the unknown will have to be done without its aid as I doubt you could
create the necessary components of a network in an area you haven’t visited yet. So you’d
have to go there conventionally, create Transwarp links, sink them into subspace and then you
may be able to connect the new hyperspace lanes, I mean Transwarp conduits, to the rest
of the network. It’s basically a video game’s fast travel. You’ve already been here once,
would you like to travel again in a fraction of the time?
I’m going to turn to Star Trek Online again to see how Starfleet could adapt this technology
and by 2399, they had begun honest experimentation with replicating Transwarp gates, a sort of
Stand-alone hub with only one entrance. Over the next decade or so, they managed to link
several of these together and by 2409 several major Federation outposts were linked together
with this method allowing for travel times of minutes between certain points. The network
is still fledgling in its design and no-where near the complexity of Borg levels, who have
had centuries to gradually expand their corridors, but it’s a practical start and something
the Federation can incrementally develop with time.
Of course, they could just hijack the Borg’s network again but that comes with its own
series of risks. Most of which are stabby tubules and menacing music.
So that’s how I see Transwarp Corridors being implemented in Star Trek’s future.
It also provides a certain amount of leeway for writers to explain vast travel distances
in minutes that otherwise didn’t add up if used correctly. We need to get to the Vulcan
System from Cardassia? Instead of weeks of travel, let’s just say they went to the
DS9 junction and then Warped from Sol. Need to travel for days for tension sake? We’re
in unexplored space, or there’s no gate’s in the area or the network is offline because
we’re still learning. This is how I hope it gets implemented in
the future as it is a method of travel that Starfleet cannot afford to shelve or it risks
being superseded by other powers. Thanks for watching this video on the Transwarp
corridors of the Borg, Until the next one, I’ve been Ric. Thanks again, and goodbye.