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Subspace vortex

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Subspace vortex open

Xindi ships emerge from a subspace vortex.

Subspace vortex

Degra's shuttle inside a subspace vortex

A subspace vortex (also called an energy portal) was an extremely fast method of propulsion utilized by the Xindi. Capable of transporting a vessel dozens of light years in a matter of hours, the vortices were opened through the generation of a phase deflector pulse. (ENT: "The Shipment", "Stratagem")

A subspace vortex was used to transport the first Xindi weapon to Earth in April of 2153. (ENT: "The Expanse")

Later that year, a pair of Xindi-Reptilian warships, after attacking Enterprise NX-01, sped away using a subspace vortex. After observing the vortex, Captain Archer ordered T'Pol to find out what she could about it, as he didn't want the Xindi suddenly appearing without him being forewarned. (ENT: "Rajiin")

Unknowingly observed by Enterprise, Degra's ship used a subspace vortex to speed away from a Xindi-Arboreal colony, shortly after visiting that planet. (ENT: "The Shipment")

In 2154 of an alternate timeline, a subspace vortex was used to transport the later Xindi weapon, accompanied by two Xindi-Reptilian warships, to Earth, moments before the weapon destroyed that planet. (ENT: "Twilight")

Originally, Mike Sussman planned for this subspace vortex to additionally be established as taking Enterprise along with the three Xindi craft, pursuing them. "In one version, we would have seen the 'vortex effect' through the window in Archer's quarters in the first scene," Sussman remarked. For various reasons, the concept of using the vortex in this way was dropped. (Information provided by Mike Sussman)

In 2154 of the prime universe, a subspace vortex was used to transport the Xindi weapon to Earth, escorted by Commander Dolim's ship. While Enterprise remained in the Delphic Expanse in an attempt to disable the Sphere network, Captain Archer boarded Degra's ship in pursuit, accompanied by Lieutenant Reed and a team of MACOs. Degra's ship, which was significantly faster, was eventually able to close the gap and arrive at Earth shortly after the weapon, but not in time to stop Dolim from destroying the Yosemite 3 research station. (ENT: "Countdown", "Zero Hour")

In the final draft script of "The Expanse", the first appearance of a subspace vortex was described with the sentence, "A small area of space begins to ripple and distort as an exotic-looking alien probe appears out of subspace." In the final draft script of "Rajiin", the effect was called a "subspace portal" and was further described with a note commenting, "This is the same type of portal the Xindi probe emerged from in 'The Expanse'." Though another subspace vortex appears in "Twilight", it wasn't described in the final draft script of that installment.
The visual effect of the subspace vortex is similar to that of quantum slipstream drive seen in Star Trek: Voyager.

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