You know, I think if Crazy Eddie
were locked in a room long enough, you guys might find a cure for the common cold. Or go all Thunderdome and try to kill each other.
In all seriousness, I've really been enjoying the thoughts coming out of your discourse, and like I assume others following this thread, haven't had a ton to add because you've both had very well thought out, well expanded arguments.
That said, I'll reiterate my belief that there was something significantly special about the 1701 refit, which may or may not have included other ships that shared that tech look, which set it apart.
For whatever reason, this refit was more extensive than what was required to allow the Miranda
to remain in service another hundred years, even assuming the 1701 level tech was only around 25 years old or so at the time of her big refit.
It could be that the leaps made in the 23rd century were faster and more exponential than those made in the movie period, or it could simply be that the 1701 refit was an experiment in refitting that ultimately proved inefficient or overly expensive. Thus, older tech performing at a lesser rate was deemed acceptable for Excelsior
. (Indeed, this casts the Lakota
refit in a whole new light.) Or it could be that the members of the Miranda
class (or at least some members of the class) were built in the form we saw her, and somehow bypassed problems related to Constitution
And what about Oberth
? Most of the registries we see on them in the 24th century are higher, as is the case with many Miranda
s and Excelsior
s. Unless Starfleet is in the habit of issuing refit ships higher registry numbers (which I suppose is
possible) I think this supports the notion of later ship batches built with newer tech already incorporated, possibly negating the need for refits.
I think, also, there is certainly some element of economy and treaty requirements that played into the Constitution
class's apparenty wholesale retirement. Coupled with any or all of the other factors that have been identified, I think it makes a great degree of sense. It's not just one thing; it's a combination of them.
Personally, I'll go with this:
- 2240 - Constitution (Class I Starship) designed; Gen 2 tech
- 2265 - Wholesale fleetwide refit planned for previous generation (2240) era ships to Gen 2.5 specs
- 2265 - Miranda class designed to incorporate new advances for potential application to Consitution and Surya refits; new members of Miranda class are the first ships launched with Gen 2.5 tech
- 2270 - Starfleet begins an experiment to refit the Enterprise with Gen 2.5 tech
- 2275 - Starfleet develops faster refit methods for Constitution and Surya classes to Gen 2.5 specs
- 2280 - Excelsior construction underway with Gen 3 tech, to replace Constitution
- 2290 - Gen 3 tech considered proven, adaptations to Gen 2.5 ships prove vestigial and mixed
- 2293 - Khitomer treaty limits personnel and vessels, prompting Starfleet to invest in Excelsiors and phase out Constitutions; the versatility and sheer numbers of Miranda, and a desire to commit new resources to replacing the Constitutions with Excelsiors, ensure the Mirandas' continued service
- 2325 - Gen 4 tech (Ambassador family) begins construction
- 2350 - Gen 5 tech (Galaxy family) begins construction
Something like that.
In addition, I think part of the picture should also include the notion that the Ambassador
probably didn't start as a heavy cruiser, even if it was referred to as such in "Conspiracy." I've always had the feeling that Excelsior
was more of a diagonal jump than a directly upward one, but Ambassador
was a more direct successional transition. Sort of like how some old-style aircraft carriers (Excelsior
) became a different type of carrier alongside their replacements (Ambassador.)