As an offshoot of a recent project, I had to determine some chronological details regarding the early first season of Enterprise. A part of that was determining a rough "cruising speed" of the ship. Below, we have a slightly-cleaned up version of one of my message board posts on the matter.
With Enterprise, this sort of thing is easier than some other Trek shows. Not only are real dates given, but there is frequent mention of real distances and the ship's distance from Earth. As a result, with the exception of the great distances and FTL velocities, working out the time and distance details is more like figuring out details from Quinn Martin's "The Fugitive".
A "highlight reel" quick-reference appears at the bottom of the page.
Let's start by dispelling the notion that the speeds given in "Broken Bow"[ENT1] should be used as a guideline. Why? Well, we're given a date for "Civilization"[ENT1] and, of course, for "Broken Bow"[ENT1]. During the tracking of the Suliban in the latter, Archer gives the date of April 16, 2151, and at the end of the former episode Archer gives a date of July 31, 2151. That's 106 days.
The importance of these dates seems limited, until you consider that "Civilization" includes mention of a firm distance from Earth: 78 light-years. Distance divided by time equals speed. Thus, ignoring for the moment all the other events and detours of the series up to that point, that implies a speed of no less than 0.736 light-years per day, or about 268.5c . . . 268.5 times the speed of light.
That's significantly faster than the 100c indicated by "Broken Bow" when Archer, at warp 4.4, suggests that the ship is travelling at 30,000,000km/s. And, it requires that the ship be faster than even 268.5c. Why? Because just four episodes earlier, in "Terra Nova"[ENT1], the ship had been within 20 light-years of Earth, meaning they travelled at least 58 light-years between "Terra Nova" and "Civilization".
And, of course, Enterprise's course was never a straight shot toward the Akaali world of "Civilization", thanks to the various detours and whatnot up to that point.
So, with the ship absolutely requiring greater speeds than "Broken Bow" indicated, I looked to see how fast the ship has gone in other cases.
1. In "Fusion"[ENT1], Archer informs T'Pol that they'll be arriving at the Arachnid Nebula in "a few hours", after pointing out that it is "less than a light-year away". Assuming one-half of a light-year and a transit time of 12 hours, that would imply a speed of 1 light-year per day, or 365c.
(Both of those are very conservative assumptions, however. It is more likely from the phrasing that they were going to travel something more like three-quarters of a light-year in 6-8 hours, which would give us a speed of 821-1095c.)
2. The Triannon homeworld of "Chosen Realm"[ENT3] was 6.3 light-years distant from the site where the Triannons boarded Enterprise. The journey to the homeworld was three days, though no warp speed factor is given. In any case, though, the velocity had to be 2.1 light-years per day, or 766.5c.
3. In "Detained"[ENT1] (which is two episodes before they reach warp five for the first time in "Fallen Hero"), Archer and Mayweather are held at a Tandaran detention facility. Enterprise is able to determine the location of it, 5.2 light-years from their position at the time. They are able to arrive in no more than 18 hours, assuming a 24 hour day on the planet. Even assuming a missing 24 hour day in the episode chronology, however, we're left with no more than 42 hours. That's 2.97ly/day, or 1,084.5c. (It would be over 2500c without that assumption.)
4. In "Cease Fire"[ENT2], with her injectors running at 110% (though, as stated, they are rated to withstand 120%), Enterprise was able to reach Weytahn, "a dozen light-years" from her original position, in "three days". That's four light-years per day, or 1460c.
(Incidentally, at that speed, the four-day trip to Q'onos in "Broken Bow"[ENT1] could be estimated as 1500c for four days from Earth, or 16.44 light-years.)
5. In "Horizon"[ENT2], Enterprise is ordered to travel "almost 30 light-years" to observe a planet whose unstable orbit is carrying it between two gas giants. Starfleet believed that the planet would be covered in erupting volcanoes "by the end of the week". Enterprise sets a course, then makes a detour stated to last ten hours to drop off Travis Mayweather at the ECS Horizon.
Upon arrival at the planet, Archer asks how long it will be until the show begins, and T'Pol responds that it will be approximately 30 hours. The planet is already covered in lava flows, but the actual volcanic eruptions don't begin until much later, confirming the timeline.
Assuming that the mission started the very first moment of the week, Enterprise would've had exactly seven days to arrive for the volcanic eruptions, or 168 hours. Between the ten hour detour and the thirty-hours-early arrival, the ship must've made the trip in 128 hours. If "almost 30 light-years" equalled 25 light years, then the ship's speed would've been 25 light years per 128 hours, or 0.1953125 ly/hr. That is 4.68 light-years per day, or 1,710c.
Now, using the 4 ly/day figure from "Cease Fire" as a ballpark maximum of the ship's velocity, and granting that the ship did not reach her maximum speeds until "Fallen Hero", we can assume that the early first season maximum normal speed was somewhat lower . . . perhaps 3ly/day.
Now, on with the show:
At fifteen light-years distant, and even at near "Cease Fire" speeds, the ship would've needed no less than four days to reach Rigel (or Ryjull or whatever the place actually was, since the real star is too far). It probably would've taken at least five days, given that the engines weren't pushed to "Cease Fire" levels until later in the series. The episode seems to indicate that Klaang was taken on the second day of the four-day trip to the Klingon homeworld (given the 80 hour scene, followed by the dinner scene, followed by the scene of everyone on the bridge, which was presumably the next day).
It then took them ten hours to reach the gas giant which the Suliban ship warped to, with an additional six hours of Archer's unconsciousness (after which he gives the date as April 16).
Even if their original course to Rigel took them past the Klingon homeworld, with the ten-hour hop taking them back toward Q'onos, then they would've needed at least another day to reach the Klingon capital.
We're thus left with two days after leaving Earth, a five-day trip to Rigel, ten hours plus some time for the action at the gas giant, and another day to get to the Klingons. That's 2 + 5 + 1 + 1, or nine days.
But, consider that Klaang was on his way back to the Klingon homeworld when he crashed on Earth. His last stop prior to Earth was Rigel Ten. This, by necessity, implies that Rigel was not past the Klingon homeworld when Enterprise was headed there from Earth. Or, in other words, Rigel must've been in a completely different direction than the Klingon homeworld, and Earth could be between Rigel and the Klingons.
So, that's 2 + 5 + 1 + X, where X must equal some number of days. Even assuming that Rigel, Earth, and Q'onos form a right angle (in which case Klaang was trying to take a left at Albuquerque, perhaps taking a circuitous route to avoid pursuit), then X would have to equal at least four days. At maximum, X would equal about six days, perhaps a week. Assuming five days for X, then we have an episode spanning 13 days.
Incidentally, this implies a launch date of Friday, April 9, 2151.
This works out pretty nicely. Recall that when Archer was brought to view Klaang, the Vulcan ambassador's assistant said that Earth could face a squadron of Klingon "warbirds" by the end of the week, at which point Archer swore to launch in three days. And, in "Shockwave", Archer was returned to a point four days prior to the launch of Enterprise . . . Klaang was seen the day after the late-night call from Trip. That would've been Monday, April 5, 2151, and the inspection pods were getting their weekly overhaul that night.
Of course, that could've happened on Sunday, giving a launch date of April 8, but could not have happened prior to Friday, April 2 . . . had it been Friday, then the "end of the week" comment would've been made on Saturday, which makes little sense.
In any case, all of this seems to point to the Enterprise being at Q'onos circa Wednesday, April 21, at the earliest.
The ship's been in space for two weeks without a first contact and without seeing anything of interest, implying it's been two weeks since the Klingon homeworld. This suggests a date of May 5. However, we know it wasn't a full two weeks, because May 6 is the date given at the end of the episode at Sluggo's World.
By that point, working backward:
1. The ship had travelled to an
unspecified star system to drop off Sluggo. (We're told when they find the
derelict ship that the closest system was three light-years away, which could be
reached in about 18 hours at "Cease Fire" velocities, or a full day at
75% of that speed.)
2. The ship had spent some time with the Axanar, presumably those aboard the ship which rescued them.
3. It had been two days since the ship first encountered the Axanar ship whose crew was killed by the tri-vamps. However, the two day figure comes from Hoshi's translation of the Axanar captain, and does not necessarily represent two actual Earth days. At least 10 hours passed between the fight and the flight, however, given that after the course reversal it would take five hours to get back to the dead Axanar ship. However, we don't know how long the Enterprise travelled away from the ship at its stated speed of warp three before turning around and, presumably, going faster to get back. As a result, the two-day figure seems useful.
So, assuming about a day was spent with the Axanarians and that Sluggo's new home was the closest system (meaning another day for travel time), then the episode begins on Sunday, May 2.
When Trip makes a comment about having a cabin in the woods of the SNW planet, Archer jokes that they've only been in "deep space" for three weeks and Trip's ready to leave the ship.
Given an April 9 launch this would imply a date of April 30, which of course is far too soon. Archer evidently referred to it being three weeks since their mission began (i.e. since departing Q'onos), which gives us a date of approximately May 12.
When talking to the Klingons near the end of the episode, T'Pol points out that it had been less than a month since Archer stood before the High Council. With Trip spending three days on the Xyrillian ship and with eight days being spent looking for it afterward, that means that it couldn't have been before May 23, if the May 12 date was right. However, that doesn't work.
So, assuming a date of May 20 for the conversation with the Klingons (less than a month, but barely), then the Xyrillian events would've started circa Sunday, May 9. Thus, Archer's "three weeks" would've referred to two weeks and four or five days.
The Xyrillian ship must've started trailing Enteprise almost as soon as they left Alrai.
(Incidentally, at 100c a four week journey would "only" cover 7.67 light-years. Alpha Centauri is four light-years distant, and most stars in this neighborhood seem to have a similar spread from one another. Again, the "Broken Bow" speed value simply doesn't work.)
No dates are given in the episode, but with May 20 as a bookend from the last episode we can look to the next episode to get another.
One interesting bit from this ep, as mentioned previously, is that Terra Nova is within 20 light-years of Earth. Assuming a relative distance of Alrai and Terra Nova of 30 light-years, then ten days would be required to get there at a comfortable pace of 3ly/day. This doesn't count the travels of "Unexpected", though.
During her incarceration by the Andorians, T'Pol notes to one of the other Vulcans that she's been aboard Enterprise for nine weeks and four days. Going by the April 9 launch date, her comment would've been made on Tuesday, June 15.
It isn't clear when the episode begins (i.e. the scene in which they decide to go to P'Jem). Archer mentions that P'Jem is a few light-years off their pre-existing course, and there's reference to a protostar they "ran across" the week prior. Enterprise has enough speed to make a detour that might constitute "a few light-years" within a couple of days, so the decision scene could've occurred on Sunday the 13th, and the protostar thus would've been found at some point between June 6 and June 12. We can roughly estimate an actual date of June 9, as a mid-point between the two.
Thus, the travel to and from "Terra Nova", along with the events that occurred in the episode, should've all happened between May 20 and, roughly, June 9. That is a period of twenty days.
In any case, the events of "Andorian Incident" do not apparently take too much longer. Another day or so.
There is very little information with which to date this episode. However, Archer does refer to the ship being watched by the Vulcans, including a survey ship that they detected lurking nearby three weeks prior in a planetary nebula.
Though it's possible that this event could've occurred prior to some other episode, it makes more sense for the Vulcan observations to have begun after P'Jem. We can thus say that this episode probably begins at some point after Tuesday, July 6, 2151, which is exactly three weeks after T'Pol's detention comment. Of course, more time should've passed to allow time for the ship to leave the P'Jem region where Vulcan ships would be expected. I would think that no less than a few extra days would be required.
In any case, the events of the episode appear to take no more than a couple of days.
The episode begins with a morning briefing, during which they discuss being about 4.5 light-years from an M-Class planet of ~500,000,000 persons, with evidence of an entire civilization being present. (Impressive sensors, incidentally.)
The landing party lands at night . . . it's not clear how long it had been since they arrived. They skulk about that night, and Archer takes Riann home. Dawn was coming soon, they said. It is dim daylight when Riann awakes, indicating that it was then dawn. The light coming in the windows is coming in from the general direction of the door to the outside, or what we'll call "left". Before he leaves, Archer requests permission to talk to her "tomorrow". The next scene is a talk in the shuttlepod, apparently sometime after dawn. They visit the Malurian shopkeeper that day, and then Archer and T'Pol go to visit Riann.
The light at this point is coming from the "right", indicating afternoon. Despite Archer's request to visit "tomorrow", I would say that he actually came back that same afternoon after leaving her at dawn. Archer and Riann share tea.
The next planetside scene is at night as Archer and Riann track the crates. Things start moving quickly at this point, and Archer and T'Pol both defeat the Malurians apparently that next morning.
So, the planetside events seem to take perhaps 36 hours, assuming a 24-hour Akaali day.
Archer's log entry dated July 31 comes after the Malurian equipment has been removed, and after medicine has been prepared for the people sickened by the Malurian mining equipment. Given the rather large mining operation and extensive equipment seen in the episode, there's no easy way to say how long that took. I would say no less than one day, certainly, and the only upper limit is however long might've been available.
I would conjecture that the morning briefing occurred on or about Monday, July 19, as a sort of "planning the week ahead" sort of thing. They could've covered the 4.5 light-years in about two days, arriving July 21. Though I'm tempted to give them a couple of days to study the Akaali before landing, we know that they rushed it due to the discovery of the Malurian reactor signatures.
So, I would estimate that the Malurian defeat occurred on or about July 23 (or possibly 24), with the removal of the Malurian mining equipment taking about a week. (This also gives them repair time after the battle with the Malurian ship.)
The alternative view using "Broken Bow" speeds doesn't work. At 100c, the trip to Akaali after the morning briefing would've taken 16 days. Using the same assumption above (i.e. that Enterprise was at the Akaali world for about ten days), then the morning briefing would've had to have occurred on July 5. That's too early.
So, here's a "Highlight Reel" using the statements above. Some dates are approximate, and the more approximate ones are marked as conjectural.
09: Enterprise launch
11: Suliban attack, Klaang taken.
16: Enterprise arrives at Rigel X, then departs after a brief visit.
17: Enterprise encounters a Suliban Cabal Helix, rescues Klaang.
21: Enterprise arrives at Klingon homeworld.
02: After uneventful couple of weeks, Enterprise encounters a derelict
04: First contact with (living) Axanar
05: Enterprise leaves company of Axanar
06: Enterprise drops off Sluggo at an uninhabited world.
08: Enterprise landing party on Class M world in orbit of Alrai.
09: Systems failures plague the ship at warp. Xyrllians are the cause. Tucker goes aboard to assist.
12: The Xyrillians depart. Tucker is later discovered to be pregnant with a Xyrillian.
20: Archer locates the Xyrillians trailing a Klingon ship, and Archer is able to make everyone leave happy.
01: Enterprise arrives at Terra Nova. (conjecture)
07: Enterprise departs Terra Nova. (conjecture)
09: Enterprise runs across a protostar that wasn't on the Vulcan star charts.
13: Archer decides to take Enterprise to P'Jem monastery.
15: Enterprise command crew incarcerated on P'Jem.
16. Enterprise departs P'Jem.
19: Enterprise studies a planetary nebula, and discovers a Vulcan ship there. The ship goes to warp upon approach.
09: Enterprise discovers the largest comet ever seen. A Vulcan
11: Enterprise and the Vulcan ship leave the comet.
19: Archer decides to go to Akaali world.
21: Enterprise arrives at Akaal.
23: The Malurians are defeated.
31: Enterprise has removed Malurian equipment, and leaves orbit.
These values work pretty well given canon speeds (besides "Broken Bow") of about 3ly/day (around 1000c).
Note that with the date estimates above, the ship
took 44 days to go from Terra Nova, somewhere within 20 light-years of Earth, to
Akaal . . . 78 light-years away. That's 58 light-years in 44
days, or 1.32 ly/day (481c).
Appendix A: A quicky-chronology of the highlights from "Detained"[ENT1]
1. Archer and Grat meet. The transport to take them to meet with the magistrate is to arrive in three days. He orders Archer and Mayweather given a proper meal.
2. Grat contacts Enterprise, states that the magistrate meeting is in three days on Tandar Prime. Enterprise sets course.
3. That evening after eating a "they call this a proper meal" of gruel, Archer meets the Suliban Danik, a meeting which results in Danik spending the night in isolation.
4. The next morning, Archer apologizes to Danik. They then have lunch at Danik's residence, and they speak further about the Tandarans and their internment camps.
5. At midday inspection, Archer is taken to Grat. Grat notes that Archer had been out past curfew "last night" with Danik. He grills Archer about his knowledge of the Suliban, noting that Silik had infiltrated the ship (ref. "Cold Front"[ENT1]) approximately three months prior. When Archer proves uncooperative, Grat refers to Archer missing the transport "tomorrow morning". (This is a contradiction, since Grat said the transport that would take them to Tandar would arrive in three days (which would be Day Four). However, given that the meeting was to be in three days, presumably the transport was to arrive one day prior.)
6. Grat informs Enterprise that the magistrate is busy, and thus the meeting is delayed. Reed and Hoshi are able to determine the location of the detention facility, 5.2 light-years distant. They set a course.
7. Archer and Danik talk. This is presumably the same day, and this presumption is supported by the fact that, as they converse, Danik is made aware by Archer that their hearing with the magistrate is probably not going to occur on schedule. Had this been the next day, Danik might've wondered why they were still there, instead of discussing their departure and the hearing as future-dated events. The two then discuss escape.
8. At some point in the night, Enterprise beams a communicator to Archer. He starts giving them the plan.
9. Archer and Danik work on the escape plan.
10. Grat brings Archer to his office, discusses the unusual energy readings from the night prior, reveals that Mayweather has been beaten and that the communicator has been found. Archer is placed in isolation. Grat threatens the ship via the communicator.
11. That night, the escape is made. Archer is rescued from isolation, and the Suliban are freed.
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