yet another trek-bashing entry
In “Doctor’s Orders,” Enterprise has to cross through a giant Crazy Cloud (actually, they call it Reconfigured Space, which is just about as silly). Humans who are conscious will suffer brain damage, so Phlox puts them all into comas. He and T’Pol take care of the ship while it goes through the cloud.
Early on, it is established that it will take less than an hour to cross the cloud at Warp 4, or at least four days at impulse. Warp 4 is, then, 96 times faster than full impulse, at the slowest. If we pretend that full impulse is within some tiny fraction of c, then Warp 4 is about 96c, meaning that in one year a vessel travelling at Warp 4 (if it could somehow maintain that speed without refuelling or breaking down) could travel 96 light years, or 48 in six months. As I recall, most of the “100 planets likely to have Earth-like planets” are at least 30 ly or so from Earth. I wonder whether their ship is actually faster, or whether they just assume that any star, no matter how huge, tiny, hot, or cold, can support “M-class” planets.
Even though I’ve been giving them a lot of crap, lately, I sympathize with the Trek writers. I run an interplanetary, interstellar RPG. It’s hard to make things both internally consistent, plausible, and useful to the plot. Worse, it’s horrible when you realize that you’ve already violated what you thought were your Rules in a pretty public way, and you now have to revise them to be internally consistent with a mistake. Oh, the nightmares of planets around variable stars, colonies on tidally locked bodies, and corporate finance!
I wonder if modern writers who work on these sort of large, multi-author settings maintain something like a wiki of facts, secrets, and rules of thumb.