A Galaxy-class starship riding a soliton wave.

A soliton wave is a nondispersing wavefront of subspace distortion, a phenomenon which travels at faster than light speeds.

The use of soliton waves for starship propulsion had been proposed as early as 2268. (TOS - Section 31 novel: Cloak)

When William T. Riker served on the USS Potemkin, the starship encountered an abandoned personal craft which had been caught in a natural soliton wave. (DS9 novel: Avatar, Book One)

In 2368 Dr. Ja'Dar of Bilana III conducted an experiment to use soliton waves as a means of efficient faster-than-light transportation, which the USS Enterprise-D observed. The technique employed stations on two planets, one which generated the wave and one which would generate a scattering field to dissipate the wave at the destination, and in the process decelerate the vehicle traveling in it. At first the test appeared to be a success, however the unmanned test vehicle was then destroyed and the wave began to accelerate towards the destination planet, Lemma II. The wave's increased energy risked destroying Lemma, fortunately the Enterprise was able to stop it with a spread of photon torpedoes. (TNG episode: "New Ground")

Starfleet later looked the possibility of using soliton waves to speed communications. (DS9 reference: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual)

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