How is that in any way different than what I was talking about? Yes, it was a non-Starfleet ship, that was used by Starfleet, as it had a "U.S.S." designation...
But in the episode, it was not
used by Starfleet. It was used by the Hansen family, who were civilian
I did not ever state that it was designed by Starfleet... where did I say that? Show me.
Of course you didn't say that. I'm
saying that. I'm saying that, even though the concept and the scripts of "The Raven" and "Dark Frontier" required it to be a civilian vessel, the production design made it look
like a Starfleet vessel. And I reconcile the discrepancy by conjecturing that it was a Starfleet-built vessel that somehow ended up in civilian hands.
That's a valid point. I guess it's possible. Still, I would've rather seen a civilian ship given a distinct design aesthetic. Sometimes ST gives the impression that Starfleet is
the Federation rather than just one organization within it. There are actually people out there who believe the Federation is a military dictatorship because sometimes ST treats Starfleet and the Federation as interchangeable. (One of the worst examples being movie-Pike's line about the Federation being a humanitarian and peacekeeping armada. Obviously that was supposed to be a reference to Starfleet.) So I'd like to see more differentiation between Starfleet and civilian ships. Heck, that was a large part of my thinking in creating Cleopatra's Needle
and its expedition -- I wanted to see the civilian side of Federation life and Federation science for a change. And what I'd like to see in a design for the Needle
is something that's distinct from the Starfleet look, while still looking like 24th-century Federation technology.
You're proposing the Raven
was a civilian vessel used by Starfleet. I see it as a Starfleet vessel used by civilians. And when you said "used by Starfleet," I took it to mean that you thought the Hansens were members of Starfleet. If that's not what you meant, then I'm confused by the phrase.
EDIT: The Hansens were civilians, but had to be in some way sanctioned by Starfleet, to have gained access to Starfleet records, concerning the Borg (Even though this whole farce of an episode took place before the 1701-D's encounter at System J-25). They may have been doing a private-sector project, but I'm sure Starfleet had a role in it, at some point.
When was it ever said that the Hansens used Starfleet records concerning the Borg? The only line of dialogue in either "The Raven" or "Dark Frontier" that contains the word "Starfleet" in connection with the Hansens is the following from "Dark Frontier":
Field notes, U.S.S. Raven, Stardate 32611.4: It's about time. The Federation Council on Exobiology has given us final approval. Starfleet's still concerned about security issues but they've agreed not to stand in our way. We've said our goodbyes, and we're ready to start chasing our theories about the Borg.
And the only uses of the word "records" are in reference to the Hansens' own expedition records downloaded by Voyager
So there's no indication that the Hansens were making use of any Starfleet records -- and indeed they can't have been, since Starfleet had
no records of the Borg prior to "Q Who." What the Hansens were following must have been legends and anecdotes that hadn't found their way into Starfleet files. Starfleet had no involvement beyond asking some security questions about a mission that was approved by a civilian Federation agency.
Okay, I see your point about the issues I brought up, and again, I wasn't trying to sound argumentative, so let me apologize if I came across that way.
Regarding the Borg records... this is my problem with the episode, because it really was a massive canon violation... the Hansens would have embarked on the voyage before the encounter at System J-25. The ONLY thing I can possibly see in all of "prime" Trek lore, that would in any way support them knowing about the Borg, is that maybe Starfleet knew that there was "something" out there, known as the Borg, by what the El Aurian refugees told them, after being rescued. Other than that, I totally fail to see how these civilians could have gotten access to knowledge of the Borg. It makes no sense that Starfleet would make such information freely available to just anyone.
I mean, if they didn't go to Starfleet, or if Starfleet didn't know about the Borg, it STILL makes no sense, because what would they have done, run into one of their El Aurian neighbors in the store, and the neighbor would go, "Oh, by the way... there's this unstoppable technological juggernaut of a race called the Borg... they blew up my world, and they're coming... we didn't tell Starfleet, but I just though you'd like to know."
However, as you indicated in your response to my points, they said that Starfleet would not stand in their way, which again, indicates that at some point, they DID have to go through Starfleet... perhaps in much the same way as a research vessel might have to clear their plan with the US Navy, to go studying dolphins or something, in Russian waters... just an analogy, but that's what I mean... Starfleet had to clear their expedition, or at the very least, be made aware of it.
Again, this whole episode was just one example of crappy writing, because it totally ignored previously established facts, and it showed... glaringly. But my thinking is that they told Starfleet of their plan, and somehow, ended up standing firm, and going ahead, even though they may have been warned by Starfleet, of the danger.