The Subspace River is a generic term given to a subspace event in which tachyon particles move in one direction at high warp, and carry anything in their ‘current’ along with them. It’s estimated speed is warp 9.99997. It is, apparently, a galaxy-wide event in which a web of these events extends from system to system.
It was first discovered by the scientists at the Cochrane Research Facility, before their transfer to the Meredith Class vessel USS Cochrane.
The Subspace River terminates at every system with a yellow sun and super-gas giant. The reason for this is unknown, and it is also unknown how far this phenomenon extends. Current subspace theories claim that it is a galaxy-wide event; no evidence has thus far been presented that proves otherwise. Its existence has been proven throughout the known Federation, Klingon Empire and into every corner of Federation-Explored space.
Additionally, it was recently discovered that a section of the river known as the Tau Sigma Flow terminates in the Beltanis Stellar Nursery. This is the only known terminus to exit inside an area of space that is not already clearly formed, leading many to believe that the Subspace River is exceptionally ancient and that perhaps, there was once a yellow sun system at the Terminus of the Tau Sigma Flow.
Due to the property of carrying along anything in its flow at high warp, the Subspace River is being used by the Federation as a ‘highway’ device, mostly for exploration vessels to quickly arrive and depart from far-distant locations that would take months or years under traditional methods of transportation. The greatest advantages of this method are speed and energy conservation, a target ship does not require the use of any engines to travel. The disadvantage is that the river is static, a web of inter-connecting flows from system-to-system. If the River doesn’t pass by a planned location, then the target-ship must exit the river mid-transit and continue by conventional methods.
It is easiest to enter and exit the Subspace River from a terminus. A ship need only fly into the ‘mouth’ of the river to enter. And the reverse is true for leaving; any ship in the river which reaches a terminus point coasts out and begins to decelerate upon leaving the mouth. Entering or exiting the river mid-transit is much more difficult; the Subspace River’s event horizon is small and must be entered into at precisely the correct angle lest the target vessel be destroyed. To exit the river outside of a terminus, the target vessel must alter their shield geometry to ‘skip’ out of the river. When done properly, the target ship only feels a mild bump and rapidly decelerates, or coasts’ from warp 9.99997. If done improperly, the target ship could be torn apart or shook to pieces.
Every part of the 52nd fleet has been moved even further out by way of the Subspace river, to an area of space first defined and noticed by Starfleet Explorers because of a Subspace River Terminus that forms there, a mystery alone that calls for explanation. The area of space itself is rugged, unknown and inviting. There is evidence of several peoples previously un-encountered, of resources in plenty and mysteries in the deep of space just crying out to be explored.
Addendum: The USS Spectre recently investigated reports of Borg transmissions, apparently emanating from the Antarchus system, or more specifically, the Zeta Gellis Cluster located at the outermost terminus of the river itself. After encountering an unknown variant type vessel engaged in interface experimentation, the Spectre succesfully engaged the Borg and retrieved valuable data they had recovered. This allowed the Federation a more detailed look at this remarkable, and most misunderstood phenomena.
USS Spectre - Mission Status Update... The river itself has now been ascertained to be of Founder origin and appears to be a small remnant branch of something that was once far larger than it is now. Doctor Samantha Gunnell's experimentation on samples of the river's material have shown the presence of an organic element to it's makeup and it has a defined DNA matrix at it's core level. It has been discovered that Borg meddling has isolated and activated a small portion of the original baseline code, this appears to be a 'seeding' routine of some kind and it's activation has catalyzed a change of events that is seeing the river awaken and pulse with a varying blue discharge.
It does not appear to be currently harmful per se but the Spectre has withdrawn to a safe distance and is currently monitoring the situation.
Mission Status Update: Subspace river. Events begun at a core level within the rivers matrix have initiated a chain of events, culminating in the creation of a temporal wave spreading outwards from source, and accellerating exponentially to encompass a large portion of the ships of the 52nd fleet. History has duly recorded that these ships simply disappeared at specific times, which have since been corrollated to correspond with contact of the temporal wave itself, the first of which began on stardate 2408.06.09 at the Zeta Gellis Cluster with the loss of the USS Spectre itself. At stardate 2413.09.23, five years after the temporal waves initiation, all missing ships inexplicably reappeared at their previous reported positions, their crews having no knowledge of their own disappearances and having endured only a few hours of lost time. All ships were quarantined as a matter of urgency and ordered under escort to Khitomer for debrief and evaluation.
All ships have now been cleared for active assignment. Dr Gunnell's report to follow...