It can sustain that speed for long periods of time. That's the Intrepid class sustainable cruise velocity.
The reason it doesn't go at that speed constantly is because it uses up the dilithium crystals faster than travelling at slower speeds. They have to plot their travel time to take into account the possibility of running out of dilithium and so use the most effective speed between systems which may have dilithium.
I also think there's something about it overheating or something.
So here's my last point:
They could have easily gotten home by replicating new dilithium crystals and also refitting the cooling system to be more efficient at maximum warp to prevent over heating.
So, like, yeah.
Someone might say that the complexities of the crystalline structure of dilithium makes it impossible to replicate a usable copy. Then I respond with, "What part of arranging it, molecule by molecule, as compared to the template, do you not understand? In other words, it's a retarded REACH to assume that they couldn't just use the replicator to make some dilithium.
Which is complete rubbish. It his simply a plot device only. There's no reason that something that can turn energy into matter and do it perfectly, molecule by molecule, that we end up with a sub-par replication. If replication wasn't perfect, then transporting wouldn't be, either, and we'd end up with absurd deformities...but that was worked out 2 centuries before Star Trek TNG.
But this is exactly what I wanted to be brought up. I knew all of the information in this thread, already, EXCEPT the time and math around 9.975.
I submit to you that the idea that dilithium cannot be replicated is rubbish and they could have done the entire trip without problems, at 9.975. In other words, the writers have written themselves into a plot hole with the idea of replication and transporting whilst saying that some things cannot be replicated.
They've previously shown that replicators have flaws when constructing things that are complex on a molecular level (like food), so I see no reason that they would be able to create a highly specific form of a certain made up element.
Besides you can't override canon based on it being a plot device. ST is soft science-fiction, every word of it is a plot device.
Graffiti outside Latin class.
Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
A juvenal prank.
You mean O'Brian saying that it doesn't taste as good as real food? Hardly a confirmation of what you're saying.
Fact is, replicators are repurposed transporter technology.
The point of this thread is to pick apart the whole reason Voyager or any ship cannot travel at max for long distances. It's just stupid that they can't. The writers came up with a plot device that doesn't bode well with me. Transportor technology can resequence a living organism, perfectly, yet it can't resquence the crystalline structure of a dilithium crystal, which would have a very easily predicted structure that could be much more easily replicated (not the sci-fi meaning of that) with a mathematical formula. Doing something like crystal would be much much easier for a replicator's computer to do than replicating complex organic colloids and solutions. Pretending that there's something special about a crystal is rubbish when we have living organisms being safely transported millions to billions of times without incident.
In fact, there's no reason that a replicator should not be able to make a more efficient dilithium crystal that lasts much longer due to the inefficient natural crystalization that ocurs during the formation process. Minor temperature, magnetic, etc. differences cause deformaties in crystals that could be easily worked out using the absurdly powerful supercomputers of the future. Something simple like a crystal could be easily improved.
I sure hope that, one day, I get to write for Star Trek. I'll correct little plot holes like this.
Of course it's a plot device! Superdupertechnology is like having an open powerset: yeah, it's great when you want the characters to do something really cool, but then you've either got to technobabble why they can't do other things they should be able to, or just don't say anything and hope no one else notices. You, lad, have noticed. Here's another: if transporter tech is so perfect, what the hell do they need doctors for? Just do System Restore.
Shinier than a speeding bullet.
Or replicate body parts and graft them back on, etc.
Even as a child, I wondered why in the world Dr. Beverly Crusher had to grow and replace Worf's spine when they could just replicate a new one and beam it in him perfectly integrated.
Each person DOES have a profile in the replicator when they leave the ship so that, when they return, they only come back as themselves without contagions...so their clothes should be perfectly restored with no battle damage or dust.
Even though it's the future and it's Sci-Fi, I can still demand that they not be illogical for the sake of plot.