Robert Comsol wrote:
Right from the very start Gene Roddenberry made it abundantly clear and insisted that USS stands for “United Space Ship” and not “United States Ship”. His vision was that of an international crew and to give his words gravity, he approved Matt Jefferies mixing Soviet naval designations into the registry number (“NCC”) and changed the ship’s name from “Yorktown” (definitely an American name) into “Enterprise” (a more suitable name for a multi-ethnic ship).
We do know that Gene used U.S.S. but changed it to "United Space Ship" and later "United Star Ship," and that it was a "united service." Combined with Mr. Jefferies' notions about NCC, it does indeed seem to create a realistic impression of a United Earth spaceship. (UESPA, anyone?)
Robert Comsol wrote:
What we could have concluded (had we seriously wanted it) from the actual onscreen dialogue is that alphabetic letters, much the way the Soviets did that, were used to differentiate what type of starship we are looking at (“The Menagerie”: “J-Class starship” and “F-Class shuttlecraft”, just as the series didn’t feature “Earth Class” or “Vulcan Class” planets).
An interesting notion, to be sure, that happens to fit. I think it might be a stretch to assume this was another intentional effort of internationalism, but it certainly doesn't hurt the cause.
You mean to suggest then that Mr. Coon's allegorical use of UFP as USA, Klingons as Soviets, and Romulans as Chinese was an intentional political agenda contrary to that of Roddenberry?
I don't think it was quite as deep as that. I think it was more likely he and the other writers wanted to do something relevant to the current political situation, and that's why this was done. Moreover, it was something familiar to viewers, and likely to illicit their viewership. Also, I would say that while Constitution
is overtly American, other nations have had constitution documents too.
I'm with you so far....
I don't think this one's that complicated either, nor do I think it's intentional disrespect. I think it's more likely that he knew about the Constitution
class line/diagram, and possibly ever about the registry schema of Mr. Jefferies. He also realized that if flipped upside down, the list from "Court Martial" corresponded to an alphabetic listing which would, conveniently, begin with Constitution
. I think it's a case where a series of coincidences lined up so well that he concluded that was how it was meant to be.
That said, I do agree with you that the registries derived from that list using this method are flat wrong.
Here again, I think the FJ thing is more easily explained. We know, as you said, that Bjo went with Greg's assertions, as did Okuda. We also know that FJ was writing his works with the aid his daughter and her fan friends. It's entirely likely that FJ's daughter red the concordance and concluded that Jein was right, and TMoST was incomplete and in some ways inaccurate. (Consider for example the issue of deck counts in the saucer versus those in Jefferies' diagram.)
That almost makes too much sense to be wrong and is one of the first original thoughts to explain the topic I've heard in a long time. I would argue that the other ships of the class wouldn't say "Enterprise Starship Class" but rather just have "Enterprise" in place of "Starship," both for simplicity and given the size of the plaque.
But yeah, that actually makes a crapton of sense, whether or not it was the intent.
I think this, more than anything else, is probably why the distinction was made. Consider that Pike once referred to it as United Space Ship Enterprise
in "The Cage" but this was later revised.
I can fill you in on this one. According to "The Art of Star Trek" and a few other sources, when Mr. Jefferies was coming up with the registry of the Enterprise
, he used an NC because it traditionally represented a plane registered in the US, and added an extra C to be different. He then realized the USSR was called the CCCP, so he thought it gave it a nice international flair.
Great point there. I suspect the reason why Jein didn't use Constellation
on the chart was the diagram/line from "Space Seed," plus the wacky 1017 registry.
Again, we might have to agree to disagree here. I think, given what I've read about some of the design processes that went into FJ's work, some of his resources weren't ideal or adequate. But although a lot of fans have pointed out that his deck plans in the TM aren't perfectly accurate, some of that was intentional on his part and not out of disrespect for Gene or anyone else working on the show. It was based on his real life experience as a draftsman who worked on actual blueprints, and his attempts to make the deck layouts make a degree of sense even if stuff was never seen on screen, or might have been planned when TMoST was published but ultimately not used.
I've read about that too - and you bring up another good point, I think quite simply he was trying to take a set of models and a collection of sets and try to make them make sense as a "real" starship, regardless of what we think we saw on screen.
I think TMoST is a good read and I'd consider it recommended reading too, but I also think anyone who reads it should keep in mind what it actually is: a book that was published while TOS was still in production and with a lot of details still in flux, not only for TOS as a series but for many of later details that make up the modern franchise. I think it would be a mistake to interpret it as the end-all and be-all for what the production team wanted to do and how they felt the series should be interpreted, because a lot of stuff changed over time.
Agreed, I would again mention the deck count in the description section versus Mr. Jefferies cutaway. One is right, the other is not. There are other instances of this - such as the descriptions of Romulans as honorable and Klingons as (essentially) loathesome, cruel, honorless monsters.
I think there was overall some overarching thought given to all this stuff, but obviously they did not try to overthink
it and purposefully left it in flux so they could do whatever best suited the story. I think the problem is, when it comes to things like "Starship Class" we really don't know how planned that all was. Bob
's idea though certainly makes sense if the Enterprise
is her class ship.
You know... who's to say, as I think someone else mentioned, that she's not the only member of a Starfleet Enterprise
class, not unlike CVN-65 in real life? This explains both the plaque (and the Defiant
one) and the simulator sign in TWOK. All along, from TOS until her destruction in TSFS, she was the sole member of the Enterprise
class. Then, the A was a member of the Constitution
refit class. Further, the Enterprise
class might make use of Constitution
class phaser banks...
I actually think this might be the simplest solution to the whole thing, although I don't for a moment pretend that it's original intent. The sad facts are we really don't know how much of it was original intent, nor do I think we are really able to reliable discern it for certain.