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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old September 27 2012, 06:49 PM   #106
Timo
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

I don't see why the Enterprise couldn't be a Starship-Class, Constitiution-Class, and Heavy Cruiser-Class vessel.
This is a simple enough a rationalization.

It even gets amusing support from the other "TOS era" dedication plaque we (fail to) see: that of Kasidy Yates' transport Xhosa. The vessel features a plaque of the same aesthetics and format, only with ANTARES CLASS in place of STARSHIP CLASS. And as we know, "Antares class" has through various mishaps become a more or less generic name for a variety of ship designs, and might thus have to be interpreted as a type description. A bit similar to "Panamax class" for a broad range of today's seagoing transports, perhaps?

Now all we really need is a glimpse at the dedication plaque of a TOS era Saladin class ship, saying DESTROYER CLASS or perhaps STAR DESTROYER CLASS.

the term has been used far too widely since then for far too many types of ship.
But only long after it was used in the dedication plaque of NCC-1701. Back in those days, it got no competition from humbler ship types. So, terminology mutation.

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Old September 27 2012, 07:00 PM   #107
Ronald Held
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Is there any chance that First Ofiicer Kirk took over command for his Captain after something/someone kill his Captain? The ship was damaged and far enough away from a support base for Kirk to command the ship for months. After that he recieved command of the Enterprise?
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Old September 27 2012, 07:03 PM   #108
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Timo wrote: View Post
the term has been used far too widely since then for far too many types of ship.
But only long after it was used in the dedication plaque of NCC-1701. Back in those days, it got no competition from humbler ship types. So, terminology mutation.

Timo Saloniemi
This was my thought as well. Initially "Starship-Class" referred to capitol ships. Over time popular usage was to refer to any Starfleet vessel, and later and FTL craft of a certain size. As the popular usage changes, the official nomenclature changed as well.

Its not the best rationalization, but it is a way to tie the way the term was used in much of TOS to the way it was used later in the franchise.
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Old September 27 2012, 07:32 PM   #109
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Since we are unlikely to ever get a canon answer, I'd say go with what makes you happy. For all we know, he could've been like Sisko, commanding a starbase prior to his promotion.
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Old September 27 2012, 07:44 PM   #110
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

We do have reason to believe he had a long career as an instructor, what with the reference to "Lieutenant Kirk" teaching Mitchell, and Kirk not leaving the Academy until under the command of Garrovick Sr. on the Farragut. Aboard that ship, he did encounter a high-casualty situation he himself survived just fine - the massacre described in "Obsession". Perhaps this was a crucial step in elevating him in rank and prestige, as well as associating him with the ability to navigate a heavy cruiser through a serious crisis - leading to Starfleet giving him command of the sister ship of the Farragut directly thereafter.

I mean, it's far from impossible that Kirk would have gotten the Enterprise straight from Pike back in 2257 already. Pike might have taken Spock with him for the rest of their quoted joint eleven years, thus explaining why Spock and Kirk aren't the closest of pals in "Where No Man" yet - Spock returned to the ship and joined Kirk's crew only shortly before the episode. And Mitchell would be with Pike as well, explaining why he and Spock are close colleagues in Dehner's opinion.

Or then Kirk got the ship from Pike, but only after serving under him on the Enterprise for some time, again leaving no in-between ship for him to command but a direct progression up the ladder in the close-knit Constitution class community.

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Old September 27 2012, 08:02 PM   #111
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Timo wrote: View Post
the term has been used far too widely since then for far too many types of ship.
But only long after it was used in the dedication plaque of NCC-1701. Back in those days, it got no competition from humbler ship types. So, terminology mutation.
No; in-universe, the term was used generically in the 22nd century according to Enterprise and in the mid-23rd according to the 2009 film; and in real life, the term was in use in science fiction as early as 1926, and was pretty common in SF titles such as "Sargasso of Lost Starships" (Poul Anderson, 1952), Starship (Brian Aldiss, 1959), Starship Troopers (Robert Heinlein, 1959), The Wizard of Starship Poseidon (Kenneth Bulmer, 1963), and so on. In reality, it was a generic term for ships capable of interstellar flight long before there was a Star Trek, and it stands to reason that those works of fiction would've existed in the Trek universe's 20th century as well. So the use of "Starship Class" as some sort of unique designator was always awkward. It's well-forgotten. (Although, for what it's worth, I can't find any movie or TV titles using the word prior to the 1970s, at least on IMDb. So Trek may have popularized a term that was previously only common in prose SF.)

It's not healthy to be too fixated on the details of a work of fiction, especially its earliest installments. Not every idea is a good one, and the creators of an ongoing series are the first to be willing to renounce and correct past mistakes. Clinging to old ideas that the creators themselves have renounced is not something that most creators would want their fans to do.
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Old September 27 2012, 08:55 PM   #112
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

You make some excellent points, Christopher. Given what you say above, the mental gymnastics to make it all fit together may not be worth it.
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Old September 27 2012, 09:22 PM   #113
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

I have always worked on the assumption that Kirk must have commanded another ship before Enterprise (I love the 09 movie but always found the idea of a cadet being promoted to captain of the flagship of the fleet somewhat hard to swallow).

But given how much we know about the previous command histories of other captains, I think it's an interesting little oddity of the original series (and movies) that we never got a definitive and unambiguous answer one way or the other onscreen.
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Old September 27 2012, 10:09 PM   #114
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Christopher wrote: View Post
No; in-universe, the term was used generically in the 22nd century according to Enterprise and in the mid-23rd according to the 2009 film...So the use of "Starship Class" as some sort of unique designator was always awkward. It's well-forgotten.
We also know, thanks to ENT, that by the time the NCC-1764 Defiant was built, the plaque now says "Constitution Class" and not "Starship Class." So at some point between the construction of the Enterprise and the loss of the Defiant in "The Tholian Web," the nomenclature was changed (at least for the Defiant).

Also, the Xhosa's plaque reads "Antares Class Cruiser." Most likely then, it was built after the TOS Enterprise, since its plaque might have just read "Cruiser Class" to match with the Enterprise's 'Starship Class," instead of describing the actual class name of the ship as would be done later.
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Old September 27 2012, 10:42 PM   #115
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
But given how much we know about the previous command histories of other captains, I think it's an interesting little oddity of the original series (and movies) that we never got a definitive and unambiguous answer one way or the other onscreen.
Well, '60s shows were more concerned with the here and now for the characters, unless it was convenient for the story to bring in an old friend or lost love or family member we'd never heard of before. We did learn a fair amount about his career as a cadet and junior officer, but nobody ever came up with a story focusing on his first command, just by luck of the draw.


Dukhat wrote: View Post
We also know, thanks to ENT, that by the time the NCC-1764 Defiant was built, the plaque now says "Constitution Class" and not "Starship Class." So at some point between the construction of the Enterprise and the loss of the Defiant in "The Tholian Web," the nomenclature was changed (at least for the Defiant).
Or maybe it "really" said "Constitution Class" all along and the set decorators got that detail wrong. Sometimes it's best to treat what we see onscreen as an approximation of the conjectural reality rather than an exactly literal depiction of it. In Gene Roddenberry's preface to his own novelization of ST:TMP, he took on the role of a 23rd-century producer who'd dramatized the "real" experiences of Kirk and his crew, and apologized for having portrayed them in a way that was "inaccurately 'larger than life.'" No doubt there were parts of TOS that he was unhappy with and wanted to renounce, and he was suggesting that the fans should take them as inaccuracies in the depiction of the "real" missions of the Enterprise. When TMP came out and revealed a new design for the Klingons, Roddenberry asked fans to assume they'd always looked that way and the show just hadn't depicted them accurately. So he wouldn't have wanted his fans to take every detail literally, because frankly a number of the details just didn't work.
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Old September 27 2012, 11:15 PM   #116
The Wormhole
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Doesn't the dedication plaque in Trek XI go back to saying "Starship class"?
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Old September 27 2012, 11:32 PM   #117
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Yes.

I have always assumed from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" where Dr. Dehner said that James Kirk had asked for Gary Mitchell on his first aboard, that Kirk had a previous command.

For me, one of the issues with the later Trek, is that some of the production people begin bringing ideas in from fandom and that these bits of data became canon. It didn't matter if they contradicted what had come before.
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Old September 28 2012, 01:30 AM   #118
A beaker full of death
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Captaindemotion wrote: View Post
captain of the flagship of the fleet.
The what now?
There were no flag officers on Enterprise.
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Old September 28 2012, 02:42 AM   #119
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Or maybe it "really" said "Constitution Class" all along and the set decorators got that detail wrong. Sometimes it's best to treat what we see onscreen as an approximation of the conjectural reality rather than an exactly literal depiction of it.
I suppose I could ignore that the Enterprise's plaque said "Starship Class"...but...why? There's no reason why Starfleet couldn't have just made a change to the information a plaque lists.
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Old September 28 2012, 04:08 AM   #120
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

^No, but as I said, "Starship Class" is just such an awkwardly generic term for it. It's like having a truck whose model name is Truck. Can something even be called a class when it's so unspecific?
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