The Beta Quadrant. Home to the Klingons and the Romulans, and somewhere Voyager never quite managed to visit, despite a number of encounters with those two races along their journey.


Beta Quadrant

Near Misses With The Beta Quadrant

[Beta Quadrant Map]

Starfleet's mission to explore seems to have largely ignored the Beta Quadrant. That's perhaps not altogether surprising, since access to it from Federation space is mostly along the borders of the two great empires of the Klingons and the Romulans.

Since the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole and the subsequent threat of Dominion incursion into the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, political alliances have fluctuated wildly. However, it's probably still true that Federation access to the Klingon Empire is marginally easier than that to the Romulan Star Empire, due to the eighty years of peace (or at least tolerant neutrality) that existed between the Federation and the Klingons after the signing of the Khitomer Accords in 2293.

Of course, relations with the Klingons aren't quite what they were. Since Way of the Warrior [DS9] they seem to fluctuate every couple of weeks, but when Voyager disappeared there was nothing to indicate that they would not remain as stable as they had been for the best part of a century.

In 2371, when USS Voyager and the Maquis ship disappeared, relations between the Federation and the Romulans were the most amicable they had been for many years; possibly ever. The two powers had recently signed a treaty whereby the Romulans supplied a cloaking device for use by an experimental Federation ship, the USS Defiant, for covert surveillance in the Gamma Quadrant. In return, the Federation agreed to make available their intelligence information gathered on the Dominion's forces. (Voyager's crew would however have been unaware of the souring of this alliance due to the secret pact between the Romulans and the Cardassians to mount an attack on the Dominion, since this did not take place until some months after they were lost.)

As a result of their having briefly re-established contact with the Alpha Quadrant in Message In A Bottle and Hunters, and the ongoing exchange of messages which was possible from Pathfinder until the end of their journey, the crew of Voyager were reasonably conversant with the balance of power in the Alpha Quadrant during the later years of their journey. But if it could change so drastically in just three or four years, how much more might it have shifted again by the time they finally approach the space of their allies and their enemies?

The currency of Voyager's information on the state of relations between the Federation and the Romulans is of particular interest because it is quite likely that their route home in the original Endgame timeline would have taken them through, or close to, Romulan territory. The best route home is not always the shortest; if you're looking for supplies you're more likely to follow the more closely packed stars of a spiral arm in order to keep the travelling between supply stops short. This would have given Voyager a more curved route home... and have left it with the choice of whether to go round Romulan space or take the short cut home through it. On past form, Admiral Janeway undoubtedly opted for the short cut and violating the Romulan Neutral Zone, albeit by entering it from the opposite direction from most Federation vessels!

And Voyager did seem to have a knack for encountering Romulans, even from the distance of the Delta Quadrant. In Eye of the Needle, they managed to communicate with a sympathetic Romulan scientist on a secret scientific mission in the Alpha Quadrant in 2351. In Message In A Bottle they had dealings with some rather less friendly Romulans, via a subspace relay system and the Holographic Doctor. And, since it was heavily implied that the Romulans in question had been sponsored by the Tal Shiar to steal the Starfleet prototype ship USS Prometheus, the theft of which was foiled by the Doctor, it seems likely that the Voyager crew wouldn't exactly have been the most popular people in the Romulan Star Empire if they had attempted to pass through it. Possibly it cost Janeway some of those extra crewmembers who never made it home.