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

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Old November 25 2012, 12:42 AM   #1
Wingsley
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TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

In this similarly titled thread, there is a discussion about how various mentions in TOS' run strongly suggest the show was set in the 22nd century, less than 200 years from today. (Possibly just over 150 years from today.)

That having been said, what are the earliest references in TOS canon that suggest TOS was actually in the 23rd century, and what specific references was focus on the shows being set about 300 after their production dates? (1966 -> 2266?)

Off the top of my head, I can think of the first two movies, THE MOTION PICTURE and THE WRATH OF KHAN, as anchoring TOS in the 23rd century. Are there any other references in TOS or TAS that at least suggested this?
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Old November 25 2012, 12:56 AM   #2
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

While TWOK opens with the words in the 23rd century, how does TMP anchor itself in that century? I mean the movie itself, not the advertising.

Decker does give us that voyager six was launched more than three hundred years ago, and Kirk indicates it was from the late 20th century, which could easily mean that TMP is set in the early 24th century.

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Old November 25 2012, 01:01 AM   #3
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

Wingsley wrote: View Post
In this similarly titled thread, there is a discussion about how various mentions in TOS' run strongly suggest the show was set in the 22nd century, less than 200 years from today. (Possibly just over 150 years from today.)

That having been said, what are the earliest references in TOS canon that suggest TOS was actually in the 23rd century, and what specific references was focus on the shows being set about 300 after their production dates? (1966 -> 2266?)

Off the top of my head, I can think of the first two movies, THE MOTION PICTURE and THE WRATH OF KHAN, as anchoring TOS in the 23rd century. Are there any other references in TOS or TAS that at least suggested this?
TVH also mentions 23rd century. On Tos, TOMORROW IS YESTERDAY makes it seem like 200 years is more likely than 300, whereas SQUIRE makes it seem like the 25th century based on one reference. Khan definitely contradicts itself with Khan's line 'on earth 200 years ago' but even the promos for TMP had it as 23rd century, even if it doesn't say so on screen till beginning of TWOK. They probably should have looped the 2283 line about the ale to 2243 to make it fit better with the after-the-fact continuity.
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Old November 25 2012, 01:11 AM   #4
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Decker does give us that voyager six was launched more than three hundred years ago, and Kirk indicates it was from the late 20th century, which could easily mean that TMP is set in the early 24th century.
Agreed. Only the TMP trailers mention the 23rd century.

We covered the TOS date references in the other thread, so I'm not sure this thread is needed. "The Squire of Gothos" suggests the 28th century (at least 900 years after the death of Alexander Hamilton in the early 1800s). "Tomorrow is Yesterday" suggests the 22nd. "Space Seed" suggests the end of the 22nd, give or take. "Metamorphosis" takes place c. 235 years after Zefram Cochrane was born (he was lost 150 years before at age 85), so it's most likely about 200 years after warp drive was invented, give or take a decade. Now, Marla in "Space Seed" said that sleeper ships were needed until about 2018, so maybe the idea at the time was for that to be when warp drive was invented, putting TOS in the early 23rd century.

The only dating reference I can think of in TAS is in "The Infinite Vulcan," which echoes "Space Seed" in referencing the Eugenics Wars as occurring 200 years before, and says that Keniclius would be over 250 if he were alive. Yet it's contradictory, because Keniclius has supposedly been out of touch for two centuries, yet is aware of "the galactic wars" involving the Romulans, Klingons, and Kzinti. It implies that the Eugenics Wars came much later than "Space Seed" indicated.
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Old November 25 2012, 01:40 AM   #5
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
While TWOK opens with the words in the 23rd century, how does TMP anchor itself in that century? I mean the movie itself, not the advertising.

Decker does give us that voyager six was launched more than three hundred years ago, and Kirk indicates it was from the late 20th century, which could easily mean that TMP is set in the early 24th century.

Since the two Voyager probes launched in 1977 (Voyager I and Voyager II), it would be safe to assume that the fictitious Voyager VI launched in that time frame as well. 1977 + "more than 300 years" would suggest at least 2277+; So it's not too hard to extrapolate late 2270's or 2280s from that.
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Old November 25 2012, 02:00 AM   #6
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

Christopher wrote: View Post
It implies that the Eugenics Wars came much later than "Space Seed" indicated.
There would seem to have been more than a single "Eugenics War" in the Star Trek universe. In the Enterprise episode Hatchery, Jonathon Archer mention that his great-grandfather fought in the Eugenics War in Africa.

The episode was set in the year 2154, and Archer would have been about forty years old.

So a second Eugenics War around the 2080's sometime? Thirty years following the third world war.

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Old November 25 2012, 04:09 AM   #7
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

Wingsley wrote: View Post
Since the two Voyager probes launched in 1977 (Voyager I and Voyager II), it would be safe to assume that the fictitious Voyager VI launched in that time frame as well. 1977 + "more than 300 years" would suggest at least 2277+; So it's not too hard to extrapolate late 2270's or 2280s from that.
Except the movie came out in 1979 and there wasn't a third probe in development yet. Presumably at that time, the idea was that these were probes that would be launched in the future, not part of some alternate past. There's also the fact that the original "Grand Tour" plan that the Voyager program was scaled down from posited that the third and fourth probes would be launched in '79 -- and we all know how prone these things are to delays (V1 was originally proposed to be launched in '76 but went up in '77). If you look at the Mariner program that Voyager spun out of, the general pattern was two probes every 2-3 years.

So if we assume that in the Trek universe as posited by TMP, Voyagers 3 & 4 were launched in, say, 1980, that would mean a launch date of 1982-3 for 5 & 6.

Also -- that's only when it was launched. Decker said it fell into a black hole more than 300 years earlier. There aren't any black holes in the known Solar system. V1&2 have been in flight for 35 years and they still haven't crossed the heliopause. Even if we assume some hitherto-unknown rogue black hole passed through the outskirts of the system, it still stands to reason that it was lost decades after it was launched -- sometime in the early 21st century at the earliest. Possibly much later.

So really, Decker's line would seem to place the movie squarely in the 24th century. It's not really reconcilable with our modern understanding of Trek chronology. The simplest explanation is that Decker misremembered his history lessons and got the dates wrong.


T'Girl wrote: View Post
There would seem to have been more than a single "Eugenics War" in the Star Trek universe. In the Enterprise episode Hatchery, Jonathon Archer mention that his great-grandfather fought in the Eugenics War in Africa.

The episode was set in the year 2154, and Archer would have been about forty years old.

So a second Eugenics War around the 2080's sometime? Thirty years following the third world war.
It could work out, if previous generations had children late in life. There are 120 years between the start of the Eugenics Wars and Archer's birthdate. Add another 30 or so for Archer's ancestor's age at the time, and it can work if each of the three intervening generations had their children at around age 50. Not typical, but a lot of people have kids later in life these days. There are cases of people in their 60s or 70s having kids.

Then again, they were called the Eugenics Wars, plural, so that implies more than one conflict. Maybe the reason Spock said in "Space Seed" that they were the last of the world wars is that they kept being waged intermittently and eventually grew into WWIII in mid-century. Kinda like how some historians see WWII in Europe as a continuation of WWI.
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Old November 25 2012, 01:05 PM   #8
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

I think it's a little too much of a stretch to tie the "more than 300 years ago" time frame to Voyager's trip through the black hole. The dialogue for the sequence that reveal's Vger's identity goes as follows:

KIRK (rubbing at the nameplate): V...G...E...R. Vger.
He rubs again at the nameplate.

KIRK: V...O...Y...A...G...E...R. Voyager! Voyager 6!

DECKER: NASA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Jim, this was launched more than 300 years ago.

KIRK: Voyager series. Designed to collect data and transmit it back to Earth.

DECKER: Captain, Voyager 6 disappeared into what they used to call a black hole.

KIRK: It must have emerged on the far side of the galaxy and fell into the machine planet's gravitational field.

From that point Kirk, Spock, and Decker start the discussion of what happened to it after the machine planet discovered it. After Decker's original notation of Voyager's launch, the 300 year figure is never mentioned again.
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Old November 25 2012, 02:36 PM   #9
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

I still like the Spaceflight Chronology's timeline.

Most references in TOS are in the two centuries/200 years range. Later, TOS in the 23rd century was confirmed.

The SFC handled it by placing the five-year mission around 2207, with TMP in 2215.

This way, TOS rough estimates of "two centuries" and "200 years" remain valid, while technically TOS is in the 23rd century.
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Old November 25 2012, 02:57 PM   #10
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

MLJames wrote: View Post
DECKER: NASA. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Jim, this was launched more than 300 years ago.
Oh, you're right. I misremembered. He was referencing the launch, not the disappearance.

But that would still put TMP sometime after 2283, most likely, which conflicts with later chronological assumptions. These days it's usually placed in 2273.
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Old November 25 2012, 05:48 PM   #11
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

trevanian wrote: View Post
They probably should have looped the 2283 line about the ale to 2243 to make it fit better with the after-the-fact continuity.
I always took that to be a stardate, so it wouldn't sync up to Earth dates, anyway.
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Old November 25 2012, 06:37 PM   #12
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Wingsley wrote: View Post
Since the two Voyager probes launched in 1977 (Voyager I and Voyager II), it would be safe to assume that the fictitious Voyager VI launched in that time frame as well. 1977 + "more than 300 years" would suggest at least 2277+; So it's not too hard to extrapolate late 2270's or 2280s from that.
Except the movie came out in 1979 and there wasn't a third probe in development yet. Presumably at that time, the idea was that these were probes that would be launched in the future, not part of some alternate past. There's also the fact that the original "Grand Tour" plan that the Voyager program was scaled down from posited that the third and fourth probes would be launched in '79 -- and we all know how prone these things are to delays (V1 was originally proposed to be launched in '76 but went up in '77). If you look at the Mariner program that Voyager spun out of, the general pattern was two probes every 2-3 years.

So if we assume that in the Trek universe as posited by TMP, Voyagers 3 & 4 were launched in, say, 1980, that would mean a launch date of 1982-3 for 5 & 6.

Also -- that's only when it was launched. Decker said it fell into a black hole more than 300 years earlier. There aren't any black holes in the known Solar system. V1&2 have been in flight for 35 years and they still haven't crossed the heliopause. Even if we assume some hitherto-unknown rogue black hole passed through the outskirts of the system, it still stands to reason that it was lost decades after it was launched -- sometime in the early 21st century at the earliest. Possibly much later.

So really, Decker's line would seem to place the movie squarely in the 24th century. It's not really reconcilable with our modern understanding of Trek chronology. The simplest explanation is that Decker misremembered his history lessons and got the dates wrong.

Except Trek's universe is not ours. We never had orbital nuclear platforms and we certainly didn't have one go off while falling from a failed launch.

While they were a great read thais is the one problem I had with Greg Cox's Eugenics Wars series. Our world cannot lead to the future that Trek has shown us. There's already too many differences. That's not a bad thing. What happens when 2018 rolls around and we don't have a replacement for the sleeper ships we haven't invented yet? What happens when we don't have WWIII (hopefully)? What do we do when the Vulcans don't show up in Montana?

Let Trek be Trek. Don't try to shoehorn it into a timeline that it doesn't fit in.
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Old November 25 2012, 08:20 PM   #13
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Let Trek be Trek. Don't try to shoehorn it into a timeline that it doesn't fit in.
This is spot-on how I feel.
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Old November 26 2012, 01:33 AM   #14
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

True confession: one of the reasons I finally got around to writing The Rings of Time was that I realized that the window was closing if I was going to squeeze Shaun Christopher's Saturn mission into "our" history like I did with the EW books.

Since I set the mission in 2020, that gives the book seven good years before it's an alternate history!
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Old November 26 2012, 02:26 PM   #15
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Re: TOS/TMP set during the **23rd** century?

It could work out, if previous generations had children late in life.
Or if "great-grandfather" is accepted as shorthand for all values of n in n-times-great-father. Which in practice would hold at least for n>3: people get tired of saying "great-great-great..." or at least risk sounding awfully comical if they do so.

If anything, soldiers might be suspected of having children early in their lives. Would others in the Archer family have been military men?

There aren't any black holes in the known Solar system.
And no known means of establishing that Voyager 6 would have fallen into one if one was here but was atypically invisible. That is, unless the probe fell into an insystem black hole (or, rather, a classic Star Trek wormhole mistaken for a black hole by 20th century science) well within sight of Earth instruments or fellow probes.

We actually had an insystem black hole in DS9 "Past Tense", plus other insystem spacecraft-sucking anomalies in "One Little Step" and (by implication) in the "backstory" of ST5:TFF.

Then again, they were called the Eugenics Wars, plural
...By Spock. He would probably readily include WWII in there, as from the 23rd century alien viewpoint eugenics would be the one outstanding theme in that particular disaster!

I'm not really a fan of Greg Cox' "belittling" of Khan's history, but the idea of counting many real-world conflicts from the late 20th century as "Eugenics Wars" is perfectly acceptable as such. We can dream up additional, wholly fictional yet wholly realistic conflicts of that nature, too, to give the plural full justification.

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