Something occurred to be while I was reading the latest discoveries about our Milky Way galaxy.
Ignoring the fact that the galaxy doesn’t have an “edge”, have I been guilty off “two-dimensions thinking” for the last 50 years? I’ve always assumed that the “edge” of the galaxy that the Valiant and later the Enterprise visited, and the barrier that they went through, was at the edge in the galactic plane. That is, 25000 light years more or less -> that way.
The cinematography of the show leads you to think that. The Enterprise approaches the “barrier” horizontally, like a ship at sea. The barrier can be seen to be a line, not a halo that runs all the way around the galaxy.*
So I always have been annoyed at the episode. Even as a kid, 25K light years was a silly trip. It’s a long way to go for no real gain. They’ve barely scratched the Alpha Quadrant, and they want to go 25K light years without looking at anything along the way? Plus, even at warp 8 it would take oh about 100 years, depending on the Speed of Plot.
But what if they went ^ up instead? It’s only like 1000 lt years more or less to the “edge” of the galaxy going “up”. It makes more sense that way, especially as, assuming the galaxy had an “edge” (or an anti-Borg force field, or whatever it really is), it really should go all the way around, covering the galaxy like a starship’s shields.
So, how many people just assumed the Enterprise went -> thataway? What were your assumptions?
(Maybe the “barrier” is the answer to the “dark matter” question. It actually does enclose the entire galaxy. That not only could explain the barrier’s sensor reading, but be consistent with modern cosmology. “Whatever it is, contact in 12 seconds.”)
*even as a kid, the very first time I saw the episode, I’m like “go over it! you fools!”