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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old November 5 2012, 05:12 PM   #1
DavidGutierrez
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Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Something has puzzled me: in TNG "Force of Nature," Geordi is engaged in a good-natured competition with one Commander Donald Kaplan, chief engineer of the Intrepid regarding the engine efficiency of their respective ships. Kaplan is out-performing Geordi at the start of the episode, but Geordi quickly gets a leg up on Kaplan towards the end. When asked by Data why Geordi is doing this, he replies, "We're the flagship. We should be better than everyone else."

My question is this: is Geordi competing with the NX-74600? The first of the Intrepid-class and Voyager's immediate predecessor? Or, is he competing with the NX-74600's predecessor?

I'm inclined to think it's the former. At that point, Intrepid would be the newest ship in Starfleet and thus a worthy competitor for Enterprise. It stands to reason that Geordi would want the flagship to be better than the newest and most advanced starship in the fleet. It doesn't make sense for Geordi to try to compete with some older ship (on-screen evidence could indicate that the NX-74600's immediate predecessor is the Excelsior-class starship which was the first responder to Khitomer back in the day).

Yet, most fanon and published sources suggest that the NX-74600 was commissioned in late 2370, specifically on or about 47806, much later in the year after the events of "Force of Nature" which take place on 47310.

So, which is it? What's the explanation?
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Old November 5 2012, 06:25 PM   #2
Sandoval
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

DavidGutierrez wrote: View Post
So, which is it? What's the explanation?
It's a throwaway line about Geordi having a friendly rivalry with another chief engineer - nothing more, nothing less.
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Old November 5 2012, 09:32 PM   #3
Timo
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Might well be the new Intrepid was competing with the E-D on engine efficiency before being commissioned. The time period between launching and commissioning might be several years for a radical new ship type like that, fancy flapping nacelles and all.

That is, if we believe in that noncanon commissioning date. Or even in the idea that the new USS Intrepid had the registry NX/NCC-74600, even though double zeroes in general seem to be a thing of the TOS era (and mainly fan stuff there, too). Okuda and friends seemed to deliberately steer clear of double zeroes for class ships whenever they could, even insisting that USS Oberth way back was NCC-602 rather than, say, NCC-600.

FWIW, the specific event LaForge competed in was Power Conversion Levels in EPS Conduits - something that LaForge admitted was completely irrelevant, but also something that sounds completely generic. The Chief Engineer of an Oberth class vessel might compete evenly with the Chief Engineer of a Galaxy there, despite completely dissimilar hardware.

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Old November 6 2012, 04:39 AM   #4
CoveTom
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Since "Force of Nature" takes place during TNG's seventh season, and therefore only about a year before Voyager, an Intrepid-class starship, launches, I would think it would have to be that Intrepid. There simply likely wouldn't be time for one ship to be retired and another new ship, the first ship of a new class, to be commissioned.
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Old November 6 2012, 11:48 AM   #5
Timo
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Barring coincidences...

...Or unless the older Intrepid met with a sudden and unexpected end (perhaps the Chief Engineer made one adjustment too many?), and the venerable name was assigned to an already finished modern vessel that had originally been slated to be christened the Insignificant.

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Old November 6 2012, 03:11 PM   #6
CoveTom
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Granted, we know that the original (well, refit) Enterprise was destroyed and a new ship named Enterprise was commissioned only a few months later. However, that was a circumstance in which it was destroyed on purpose and no crew members were lost in the destruction. I doubt Starfleet would be so callous as to have a ship suffer a massive loss and then commission not only a new ship, but the first ship of a new class, with the same name only a few months later.
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Old November 6 2012, 03:34 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

On the other hand, the Intrepid was already a jinxed name in Starfleet service. Perhaps jinxes don't count for much in that organization?

One wonders which "old" Intrepid the "Force of Nature" ship might have been if it weren't the class leader for the VOY hero ship type. The ages-old Excelsior class vessel that rescued Worf in 2346 and wasn't heard of since? A successor from, say, the Ambassador or Nebula class? A sister ship to E-D? Even Memory Beta offers no such in-between vessels, despite there being no fanfic or novel continuation for the adventures of the old Excelsior beyond 2346 and thus no contradiction for the introduction of in-betweeners in fanfic or novels.

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Old November 6 2012, 08:16 PM   #8
bullethead
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Timo wrote: View Post
On the other hand, the Intrepid was already a jinxed name in Starfleet service. Perhaps jinxes don't count for much in that organization?

One wonders which "old" Intrepid the "Force of Nature" ship might have been if it weren't the class leader for the VOY hero ship type. The ages-old Excelsior class vessel that rescued Worf in 2346 and wasn't heard of since? A successor from, say, the Ambassador or Nebula class? A sister ship to E-D? Even Memory Beta offers no such in-between vessels, despite there being no fanfic or novel continuation for the adventures of the old Excelsior beyond 2346 and thus no contradiction for the introduction of in-betweeners in fanfic or novels.

Timo Saloniemi
In the novel Crossover, set between TNG S7 and Generations, there was a Galaxy class Intrepid that was commanded by the son/grandson of Riley from TOS.
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Old November 6 2012, 10:14 PM   #9
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

bullethead wrote: View Post
In the novel Crossover, set between TNG S7 and Generations, there was a Galaxy class Intrepid that was commanded by the son/grandson of Riley from TOS.
You know, I have never read any of the Trek novels. But I always see comments like this on the board here. Tell me, does every single Trek novel out there insist on connecting everything together?
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Old November 7 2012, 01:12 AM   #10
bullethead
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

CoveZombie wrote: View Post
bullethead wrote: View Post
In the novel Crossover, set between TNG S7 and Generations, there was a Galaxy class Intrepid that was commanded by the son/grandson of Riley from TOS.
You know, I have never read any of the Trek novels. But I always see comments like this on the board here. Tell me, does every single Trek novel out there insist on connecting everything together?
Sometimes it's an in-joke thing, other times it's a "because it's cool" thing, sometimes it's a plot thing, and there are probably a few other circumstances where it happens. In this case, it's a plot thing, because the connection between Riley and another TOS character (who the captain interacts with) is needed to keep the plot moving.
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Old November 7 2012, 10:26 PM   #11
Mott the barber
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

I try to to keep this episode out of my mind as much as possible. Yes I get the parallels to global warming, conservation, etc., but limiting warp drive was a bad idea from the start IMO.
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Old November 7 2012, 10:41 PM   #12
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

When Trek gets overtly preachy, it gets bad in a hurry.
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Old November 8 2012, 04:34 AM   #13
FKnight
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Subspace damage deniers!
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Old November 8 2012, 09:22 AM   #14
Timo
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

It's actually a pretty nifty allegory.

The damage as described in the episode would be even more obscure and slowly acting than global warming. Sure, it might be easier to measure, as we might assume "subspace weather" not to significantly confuse the observation of "subspace climate". But if it takes centuries or millennia of extreme overuse (such as in Hekaras) to create measurable effects, it's easy to argue that the best response would be to ignore the phenomenon completely. Odds are that warp drive will go away before any real damage is done - a bit like if oil and coal would run out two weeks from now, making their contribution to the greenhouse effect insignificant.

It's an interesting philosophical question and parallel: "What we do now is irrelevant. What our grandchildren do is irrelevant. But do we have the duty to ensure that our great-grandchildren do the right thing?"...

Timo Saloniemi
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Old November 8 2012, 02:25 PM   #15
CoveTom
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Re: Force of Nature and the Intrepid

Timo wrote: View Post
It's actually a pretty nifty allegory.
No, it's really not. At least not in the sense of being a meaningful allegory contained with an a story which is entertaining and compelling on its own.

This episode is nothing but soapbox preaching, thinly veiled in technobabble. It's not about the message, it's about the way in which the message is conveyed. Telling a good story should always come first, the message second. When Trek does it in that order, Trek makes extremely compelling television that also effectively conveys a relevant societal message. When Trek resorts to preaching, the message doesn't have an impact, because people tune out the bad story too soon.
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