I won't bother quoting the whole post, but I gotta side with Avro Arrow
on this one. I really don't think an argument can be drawn from the M-5 experiment.
However, you may have a point regarding superior firepower in a series 16 ship over a series 17. At least in principle.
And, while I grant that you do indeed have a valid point, I'm still not sure it's a point that needs to be made. See my last paragraph in post #212 for an equally valid series of assumptions where the name Constitution
still ends up on the series 17 ships. It also allows us to have our "Enterprise
-class" cake and eat it too.
I must admit, you're about to inspire me to break out TMoST and try to suss out exactly when in the production timeline the Enterprise
-class business happened and if it remained persistent after
the "Space Seed" pre-production.
At any rate, I respect your right to hold your own opinion and I thank you for sharing it. It's been some interesting food for thought.