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Old July 6 2013, 08:55 PM   #20
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Re: Enterprise question

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Another idea...we don't know that all of the Constitutions were doing the exact same type of mission as the Enterprise at the time of TOS. It could be that Kirk's 5-year deep space mission was the first successful attempt at such a mission without needing the other Constitutions and/or their crews to have all bitten the dust in a short time period.
Good call. A lot of people assume that 5-year missions are the standard, but that's unsupported, since we only had canonical evidence for one ship going on one 5-year mission -- and we barely even had that. After all, main-title narration doesn't really count as in-universe content, so the only real proof of the 5-year mission would be Kirk's "my five years out there" line in TMP and Icheb's reference to "Kirk's historic 5-year mission" in VGR: "Q2." Indeed, from those alone, we can't even say for sure whether the mission was meant to be 5 years or if it just happened to end up that way. (If we go by Roddenberry's implied interpretation that TOS was a dramatization after the fact, then the opening narration could be a reference to how long it ended up being rather than how long it was planned to be.)

Star Trek Into Darkness is our first canonical evidence that a "5-year mission" is a specifically defined mission profile in Starfleet... yet at the same time, it's also canonical evidence that it's not the universal norm for Starfleet, that it's a distinct, even exceptional type of mission profile for a capital ship. Granted, it's in an alternate timeline, but it certainly supports the idea that the same could apply in the Prime timeline as well.
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