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

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Old July 6 2013, 07:28 PM   #16
Timo
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Re: Enterprise question

If the Enterprise had been the only Constitution class starship to return, then it would be easy for Kirk to boast about having the best crew—because it would have been the only starship crew in the fleet!
The funny thing is, Kirk doesn't really boast about his crew all that often, and he basically never praises his ship. It's really only in the desperate pep talk he gives to a dying crew in a dying ship in "Immunity Syndrome" that he stoops to using the expression "the best crew", along with "a good ship"...

Back in the time of TOS, Kirk, his crew and his ship might not have been anything special. That doesn't mean they wouldn't have become unique by the time of ST:TMP somehow, possibly indeed by the virtue of their we-survived-the-full-five-years t-shirts. And indeed we hear rather explicitly that this five-year mission thing makes Kirk uniquely qualified among all Captains or or flag officers currently on Earth to face the V'Ger threat, so it must be a rare achievement indeed.

That is, if we take Kirk's word for it; for all we know, he bought the permission to command the Enterprise with hard cash.

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Old July 6 2013, 07:52 PM   #17
The Old Building & Loan
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Re: Enterprise question

Another idea...we don't know that all of the Constitutions were doing the exact same type of mission as the Enterprise at the time of TOS. It could be that Kirk's 5-year deep space mission was the first successful attempt at such a mission without needing the other Constitutions and/or their crews to have all bitten the dust in a short time period.
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Old July 6 2013, 08:14 PM   #18
Timo
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Re: Enterprise question

The whole "5-year mission" thing is weird to begin with. We see much of it in TOS, and it does not seem to be a five-year-long stretch of deep space research at all. Rather, the ship returns to port every so often, scrambles to perform military and diplomatic missions, and even visits Earth twice. How is this five-year period different from what the ship did during the rest of her existence, then?

It appears that the five years in deep space were an issue only for Kirk himself and his closest officers, not for the ship as such. In the newest movie, Kirk is excited at the prospect of being selected to command this mission, supposedly because nobody has done it before or because it's very rarely done. But why? What's so special about five years, as opposed to, say, two or ten? Five doesn't seem to stretch the capabilities or endurance of the ship at all, and indeed such concerns should be preempted by the frequent port calls.

It might thus well be that five years is exceptional exactly because that's when even the luckiest skippers run out of luck. Technology doesn't help or hinder things much - space simply is too dangerous to be survivable in the long run, and risking five consecutive years is foolhardy, that is, heroic, and thus so appealing to the young nuKirk.

Having the Prime Kirk, a man only slightly older than his nuCounterpart, be the only one to "survive" a five-year mission might in fact be quite realistic. It might even be that he was the only man who ever agreed to performing such a mission... Others would quit while they were ahead, with no loss to Starfleet or science as yet others would continue from where they left off. A five-year mission would simply be a record-breaking stunt, one destined to propel Kirk to fame in a carefully planned Starfleet propaganda move.

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Old July 6 2013, 08:24 PM   #19
The Old Building & Loan
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Location: Bedford Falls...or is that Pottersville...?
Re: Enterprise question

It could be that ships that weren't on such a mission had more limited/specific duties and/or a more limited/specific area of operations.
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Old July 6 2013, 08:55 PM   #20
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Re: Enterprise question

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Another idea...we don't know that all of the Constitutions were doing the exact same type of mission as the Enterprise at the time of TOS. It could be that Kirk's 5-year deep space mission was the first successful attempt at such a mission without needing the other Constitutions and/or their crews to have all bitten the dust in a short time period.
Good call. A lot of people assume that 5-year missions are the standard, but that's unsupported, since we only had canonical evidence for one ship going on one 5-year mission -- and we barely even had that. After all, main-title narration doesn't really count as in-universe content, so the only real proof of the 5-year mission would be Kirk's "my five years out there" line in TMP and Icheb's reference to "Kirk's historic 5-year mission" in VGR: "Q2." Indeed, from those alone, we can't even say for sure whether the mission was meant to be 5 years or if it just happened to end up that way. (If we go by Roddenberry's implied interpretation that TOS was a dramatization after the fact, then the opening narration could be a reference to how long it ended up being rather than how long it was planned to be.)

Star Trek Into Darkness is our first canonical evidence that a "5-year mission" is a specifically defined mission profile in Starfleet... yet at the same time, it's also canonical evidence that it's not the universal norm for Starfleet, that it's a distinct, even exceptional type of mission profile for a capital ship. Granted, it's in an alternate timeline, but it certainly supports the idea that the same could apply in the Prime timeline as well.
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Old July 7 2013, 12:21 AM   #21
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Re: Enterprise question

I would assume that all the Connies got different mission types from deep space research to petrol duty to peaceful diplomatic mission. I assume also that the USS Enterpise was the only ship to seek out new life and complete its mission !!!! E.G. The USS Intrepid was lost with all crew investigating the space creature. I always thought that they must have been captains with the more experience to handle situations and kirk couldn't be the only legendary captain in starfleet???
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Old July 7 2013, 12:50 AM   #22
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Enterprise question

The Old Mixer wrote: View Post
Another idea...we don't know that all of the Constitutions were doing the exact same type of mission as the Enterprise at the time of TOS.

Agreed.

We know from the Star Trek Writer's Guide that the Enterprise is the biggest and most powerful ship that Star Fleet has, one of our capital ships as Christopher points out.

And we know there are only twelve like it in our possession.

So I think there is no way Star Fleet could afford to send them all so far off into distant unexplored space, for extended, isolated, and autonomous missions.

Roddenberry wanted to put Kirk in situations where he had no boss looking over his shoulder, where he would have absolute authority to do big, dramatic things. The specific Horatio Hornblower novel that inspired this idea had to be Beat to Quarters (known as The Happy Return in U.K. editions).
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Old July 7 2013, 01:17 AM   #23
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Re: Enterprise question

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
And we know there are only twelve like it in our possession.
And from this it is generally taken that there are only twelve Constitution class ships overall. But isn't it possible that there are variants within the class? The Enterprise in The Menagerie had a number of physical differences to that in the mainseries, as well as a much smaller crew. Perhaps the ' only twelve like her' description was of a specific configuration, an upgrade that only a few Connies had received?
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Old July 7 2013, 01:58 AM   #24
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Re: Enterprise question

And did "twelve like her" mean twelve more in addition to the E, i.e. thirteen in all, or a total of twelve including it?

Anyway, just because there were 12/13 of them as of the first season doesn't mean there weren't more coming into service in the subsequent years. Although they did lose an awful lot of them in the span of just two years -- Constellation, Intrepid, and Defiant were all lost and Excalibur was crippled. So it's hard to say whether they broke even, gained, or lost.
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Old July 7 2013, 11:32 AM   #25
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Re: Enterprise question

I was thinking what if... The Enterprise was the only ship to be the furthest ship out exploring the edges of federation boundaries. Also I assumed that starfleet gathered most of there Connies together when the Klingons started the war with them. Also we saw how a fleet of Connies could be formidable in combat. I've been thinking that the Connies that were lost were replaced the franz tech manual showed that starfleet had a array of ships from destroyers to scouts and tugs also the dreadnought was been built at the time possible to replace the Connie ??
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Old July 7 2013, 08:14 PM   #26
Timo
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Re: Enterprise question

We witnessed the Defiant get destroyed in deep space far away from other assets - supposedly on a mission similar to Kirk's. The Exeter was found, apparently by accident, by Kirk during one of his missions to space not frequented by UFP travelers; the Constellation, likewise.

If anything, we might deduce that ships of this class perform near-identical missions, and moreover that these missions overlap: one month, a region of space might be explored/patrolled by the Enterprise, while the next month, the same space might be covered by the Constellation (as "Doomsday Machine" would have us believe), and a region previously studied by the Exeter would later be given a second look by the Enterprise (as "Omega Glory" suggests).

Starfleet might do wisely to build a dedicated ship class for these missions, so that it wouldn't have to take any dedicated warships off the hot spots on the border, or any dedicated geological survey vessels from years-long missions of fully mapping a planet's mineral riches. Essentially, the Constitution would be a jack-of-all-trades ship for frontier purposes, quite possibly inferior to other dedicated designs in every single field but superior in combination. Or then it's actually an ace-of-all-trades, overengineered at great cost to do everything and thus to waste most of its capabilities at any given mission - but so that Starfleet doesn't need to send another ship to the frontier to do the job every time a job is specified.

If the previous incarnations of Trek and the latest two movies are to be taken as representing one and the same universe, we might do well to choose to believe that the Constitution was at most a jack-of-all-trades midget vessel, and perhaps just a deuce-of-all-trades in relative strength. A Constitution skipper would still be the cream of the cream, in major part for performing heroics with such a crappy little ship...

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Old July 8 2013, 06:35 PM   #27
jaygibson77
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Re: Enterprise question

Here's where I saw it. From Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise:

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Old July 8 2013, 08:09 PM   #28
Christopher
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Re: Enterprise question

^Hmm. Sounds like Shane Johnson was thinking of Roddenberry's claim from the TMP novelization but (as is so often the case with human memory) exaggerated it in the retelling. Roddenberry didn't say that all the other Connies were destroyed, just that only the Enterprise came back from a 5-year mission with both ship and crew mostly intact. Meaning that sometimes the ship survived but not most of the crew, or most of the crew survived but lost the ship -- and implying that ships that weren't assigned to 5-year missions aren't included.
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Old July 8 2013, 08:17 PM   #29
Timo
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Re: Enterprise question

...It's a bit odd that SJ accompanies his FASA-style date with a stardate that is explicitly higher than the one mentioned in the first movie!

Another case of exaggerating in retelling is SJ's apparent idea that a five-year mission would be so standard that any ship (here the Enterprise) would be expected to complete multiple such missions, and apparently do nothing much else.

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Old July 8 2013, 09:18 PM   #30
sariel2005
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Re: Enterprise question

I would assume that all the Connies got different mission types from deep space research to petrol duty to peaceful diplomatic mission. I assume also that the USS Enterpise was the only ship to seek out new life and complete its mission !!!! E.G. The USS Intrepid was lost with all crew investigating the space creature. I always thought that they must have been captains with the more experience to handle situations and kirk couldn't be the only legendary captain in starfleet???
Agree with this, actually I wondered whether the diferent badge types denoted the Constitution class ship were assigned to different departments of Starfleet as opposed to being individual to the ship ( making Enterprise the deep space exploration one, assigned to UESPA)
Certainly some ships seem fine when last seen, though they lack a crew ( USS Exeter, for example) and one imagines the ships were pressed back into service with new crews ( presumably they did not have refits, since Enterprise was apparently the test bed for that )

Back in the time of TOS, Kirk, his crew and his ship might not have been anything special. That doesn't mean they wouldn't have become unique by the time of ST:TMP somehow, possibly indeed by the virtue of their we-survived-the-full-five-years t-shirts. And indeed we hear rather explicitly that this five-year mission thing makes Kirk uniquely qualified among all Captains or or flag officers currently on Earth to face the V'Ger threat, so it must be a rare achievement indeed.
This is less telling than we might assume. All it means is that none of the other previous captains are not admirals on Earth at that time ( and certainly there are out of 12/13 starships there were not that many in the first place, of those we know of some are dead, one became a planetary governer and if the Vulcans have a ship to themselves surely the Andorians do too) . TNG indicates that a Starship returning to Earth is rare, so the idea of a training vessel left there aside, Its not unreasonable to assume they are sent far and wide, after all why would general defense vessels need long range ( not that we saw any) Starfleet may well consider Earth very safe and not needing Starship defense.
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