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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old May 14 2012, 01:04 PM   #1
Lance
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The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

This is a theory that I've always had, and I wondered if anybody else on here had come to the same impression.

We only saw this ship in two movies -- ST V and ST VI (okay, and technically the end of ST IV ). And on both occasions, the crew are pulled out of 'shore leave' (or whatever) to go on a critical mission for which Starfleet feels they are the most suitable people.

The thing I've always figured is that NCC 1701-A and her crew were always in a state of semi-retirement, right from the moment they were cleared at the end of the fourth movie. Effectively, the 'new' Enterprise was already mothballed even before ST VI began, just as Admiral Morrow said would happen in ST III, but I reckon the crew remained on the 'active duty' roster only in some kind of backup capacity, where they could be called upon if needed but were otherwise allowed to do whatever they liked. The reason we see the crew bumming around doing whatever at the beginning of ST V, and likewise they all have to be collected together from different assignments at the beginning of ST VI, is because by this stage in their careers they are no longer a regular crew staffing a regular ship. Starfleet can still recall all of them from time to time though, set them up with the Enterprise, and send them out on some adventure or other. Hikaru Sulu is of course an exception to this, having accepted the commission as commander of the Excelsior.

I think this helps to explain why the lifespan of this particular Enterprise is so short -- it isn't really an "active Enterprise". Obviously under this hypothesis some other vessel (the Excelsior?) has taken the mantle of being the actual flagship, and of course NCC 1701-B is probably under construction during the time-frame under question.

What do you reckon? Personally, I think this seems more plausible than it would be to assume that Enterprise and her crew were actively undertaking regular missions during that short period of time, and at that particular stage in their careers.
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Old May 14 2012, 02:13 PM   #2
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

Well, the status of the crew in ST5:TFF is more or less explicitly explained anyway: they were supposed to be part of the crew of the E-A, but that ship suddenly and unexpectedly started misbehaving, giving everybody but Scotty a surprise holiday of a few weeks.

Between ST5 and ST6, though, I'm sure the older officers did semi-retire, while the E-A continued her adventures under other commanders. But Spock, despite finding time to do top-level Klingon diplomacy, apparently remained aboard the E-A in the role of Science Officer and/or perhaps First Officer, a role he wanted Valeris to inherit.

I wonder who was Spock's CO during those years? In theory, it might have been Kirk: he was among those who didn't blather about buying boats or hosting conferences.

As for the E-A having a short career, I think that was solely because of the ending of the long cold Klingon war. Kirk was certain the ship had plenty of life left at the conclusion of ST6 (indicating it was the officers who would get decommissioned, not the ship). He was simply sorely mistaken; Starfleet probably wanted to retire the Infamous Ship of Kirk ASAP to make the Klingons happy.

For all we know, the E-A was originally launched at the same time the E-nil was, and just refitted a bit differently, or perhaps a few extra times. She might have been in much better condition than the E-nil due to the extra refits, but other reasons dictated her decommissioning, and the launching of a new Enterprise untainted by the name of Kirk.

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Old May 14 2012, 02:29 PM   #3
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

I tend to go with Timo on this one: The 1701-A wasn't a new build, just an older ship renamed.

By the time of STII the Enterprise was busted down to a training ship. It's possible that the 1701-A was another ship used for training or heading to the breakers.

I've always thought that the 1701-A was a PR move on the part of Starfleet: a nice quiet, safe command, on a "historic" ship, that he could ride into retirement with--the sooner the better.
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Old May 14 2012, 02:31 PM   #4
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

I like to think that the Enterprise-A was primarily assigned to courier operations where she could also carry out "wave the flag" missions whenever necessary. The ship might have always returned to Earth (or Spacedock One) after each assignment, so she may not always have been on deployment all the time.
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Old May 14 2012, 02:39 PM   #5
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I like to think that the Enterprise-A was primarily assigned to courier operations where she could also carry out "wave the flag" missions whenever necessary. The ship might have always returned to Earth (or Spacedock One) after each assignment, so she may not always have been on deployment all the time.
The odd occasion aside (see STV & STVI), it would certainly work to keep Kirk under some from of control out of interstellar politics for the most part.
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Old May 14 2012, 02:48 PM   #6
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

The ship doesn't seem to enjoy any sort of special status (at least not a positive one) in ST5:TFF. Her role as a diplomatic platform in ST6:TUC might be more an exception than a rule: the first time in decades when it would be to Starfleet's advantage to send Kirk and the Ship of Kirk to a mission of diplomatic delicateness.

Certainly any ideas on a "flagship" status for the E-A (or indeed for any Enterprise other than the first TNG hero ship, and the alternate behemoth from the latest movie) are more speculative than canonical. No Admiral is known to have set foot on the E-A, either...

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Old May 14 2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

Timo wrote: View Post
The ship doesn't seem to enjoy any sort of special status (at least not a positive one) in ST5:TFF. Her role as a diplomatic platform in ST6:TUC might be more an exception than a rule: the first time in decades when it would be to Starfleet's advantage to send Kirk and the Ship of Kirk to a mission of diplomatic delicateness.

Certainly any ideas on a "flagship" status for the E-A (or indeed for any Enterprise other than the first TNG hero ship, and the alternate behemoth from the latest movie) are more speculative than canonical. No Admiral is known to have set foot on the E-A, either...

Timo Saloniemi
Yeah, but by "waving the flag" they could keep Kirk running around within the confines of the federation ferrying low level diplomats and ambassadors too and fro. Stuff that he can't cause a interstellar incident with.

Then again I tend to think that on average to many people in Starfleet see Kirk as anything but a problem-child. And want to keep him where they can smack his hands before he gets out of hand.
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Old May 15 2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

I've always assumed that by the time od ST:VI, the Constitution Class was was in the process of being removed rom service and replaced by the modified Excelsior Class. Given all of the problems that Scotty encountered in ST:V we could also assume that the Constitution Class was so old that starfleet was having problems upgrading its systems to the current generation. Thus the Enterprise A was plagued with technical problems right out of the gate. We could also assume that Starfleet never built any new Constitution class refits. All of them in service were just refits of older ships. Its a good bet that all of the test information earned from the refit were formally incorporated into the NX-2000.
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Old May 15 2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

I always surmised that the period between V and VI was essentially a "peaceful" period for the Federation and Starfleet. Perhaps due to the crew of the Enterprise and Captain Klaa's Bird-of-Prey. Oh of course there could have been other "skirmishes", but not major ones.
Starfleet perhaps was able to spend more time on exploring and scientific studies. Which explains the reason that both the Excelsior AND the Enterprise were carrying probes for such things as "gaseous anomolies"..(insert your own joke here... )
Hence I believe that Kirk was still in command of the Enterprise with mostly the same bridge crew, except when Sulu was promoted and given the Excelsior. Perhaps with all these boring exploration missions is when everyone decided to retire.
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Old May 15 2012, 04:28 PM   #10
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

A very short service life is not without precedent.
In WWII, the Alaska class battlecruisers were in service barely three years between commissioning and decommissioning.

The Washington Treaty of 1922 had many major powers scrapping their capital ships because of arms limitation terms.

Perhaps because of Khitomer terms or fleet necessity, the Enterprise-A could have been taken out of service after only a few years--regardless of whether she was a new build or older vessel.
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Old May 15 2012, 11:58 PM   #11
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

Captain Mike wrote: View Post
Perhaps with all these boring exploration missions is when everyone decided to retire.
Boring exploration missions?

Excuse me, but that's Starfleet's reason for being, as stated at the beginning of every TOS and TNG episode.

I strongly resist the idea of Starfleet primarily being a Federation Dept. of War, as so many fans seem to desire.
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Old May 16 2012, 12:45 AM   #12
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

jayrath wrote: View Post
Captain Mike wrote: View Post
Perhaps with all these boring exploration missions is when everyone decided to retire.
Boring exploration missions?

Excuse me, but that's Starfleet's reason for being, as stated at the beginning of every TOS and TNG episode.

I strongly resist the idea of Starfleet primarily being a Federation Dept. of War, as so many fans seem to desire.
Except that Starfleet has been from the very beginning, the Federation's primary military force. Starfleet is essentially like the Royal Navy of the 18th and 19th century. It was the primary means of force projection and waging war for the British Empire. However it also explored the globe and made contact with foreign nations/civilizations.

The original narration for TOS, with was shortened for broadcast, mentions defending colonies and space law.
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Old May 17 2012, 08:20 PM   #13
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

It has been stated in a number offical trek publications that the Enterprise-A was the recently decommisioned Yorktown.

When the original Enterprise was to be decomissioned a new Excelsior class ship was to take it place. We all know what Scotty had done to the engine on that ship and Starfleet figured out that transwarp drive was not going to work.

So all ships that were in under construction and including the Excelsior had their engine plants replaced with exsisting warp engines. Which took time and computer simulations to design a warp core to fit the ship design specifications.

As a result Kirk was assigned the Yorktown and it was re-commsioned as the Enterprise A. A thank you for saving Earth from the Federation Councle.

That is why in Generations you get to see the Enterprise B and after the evetns of Star Trek 6 the Enterprise A was a mess and Starfleet decided to not rebuild it but to replace it with Modifide Excelsior class.

By that time the Enterprise A was the only remaining Constitution class ship still in service was close to fourty years old. As a result Starfleet felt it was better to scrap it then repair it.

That is why the bulk of Starfleet between the kirk years and Picard are made up of Excelsior class ships.

Also I think Kirk continued to service as the Captian of the Ent. A along with his crew between STV and ST6 and it is possible that while they were on shore leave (thirty days leave) Spoke was with this father working on a peace treaty with the Klingons.

Now we have no menthion in the movie what the crew was doing before events of STVI to assume they were on stand down status or not except when Kirk says to spock that and most of his command staff was planning to retire before they were picked for the mission to excort the Klingon Chancaler to earth.
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Old May 17 2012, 08:24 PM   #14
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

There is no evidence to support that the Constitution Class was out of service by the time the Ent-B launched. We see debris that appears to be from a Constitution Class at Wolf 359. Which could mean that either one or more were brought out of mothballs or that one or more are still in service, all be it relegated to milk runs.
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Old May 17 2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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Re: The operational status of NCC 1701-A...?

Nighthawk wrote: View Post
It has been stated in a number offical trek publications that the Enterprise-A was the recently decommisioned Yorktown.
We've also seen in an official publication that the Enterprise-A was previously the transwarp testbed vessel U.S.S. Ti-Ho (Mister Scott's Guide to the Enterprise).

The origins of the Enterprise-A are up to personal interpretation as we're unlikely to ever see it's story in a canon setting.
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