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Old November 11 2013, 04:25 AM   #16
F. King Daniel
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Re: How common are five year missions?

Lance wrote: View Post
Really?

The Okudas started the ball rolling that five year missions in TOS might have been the norm. A 'standard' mission statement. They theorized that Captain April did a five year mission, and that Captain Pike did two (with a refit in between).

But I've always been keen on the notion that maybe the Enterprise under Kirk was on a peculiar assignment. Maybe certain ships were given 5y missions into deep space, but others (including maybe a few we actually see in TOS) are on more specialized, short-term missions.

In TMP, when Kirk talks about "five years out there, dealing with unknowns like this" he makes it sound like not every Starfleet captain is as privileged as he.

(Of course, he was justifying his retaking command of the Enterprise to the neophyte Decker, who probably hadn't been too far into deep space before.)

Star Trek Into Darkness certainly seems to imply that a five year mission is a theoretical possibility where no crew has gone before.

(Yeah I know, altered timeline.)

Certainly by TNG, deep space missions were assumed to be truly long term prospects (more than five years, some sources even suggest upwards of 20!). Hence why Enterprise-D was fitted to accomodate families. She was supposed to be away from regular Starfleet for extended periods. Of course, this was seldom paid lip service on screen apart from a few moments in seasons one and two.

Thoughts? Anyone?
The Voyager episode "Q2" opens with...

ICHEB: Though it was a blatant violation of the Prime Directive, Kirk saved the Pelosians from extinction, just as he had the Baezians and the Chenari many years earlier. Finally, in the year 2270, Kirk completed his historic five year mission and one of the greatest chapters in Starfleet history came to a close. A new chapter began when Kirk regained command of the Enterprise.

JANEWAY: How many more chapters are there?

ICHEB: Thirty four.

JANEWAY: This was supposed to be a twenty minute presentation.

http://www.chakoteya.net/voyager/716.htm

Seems to me that whatever the original intent (and THIS alternate into to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" seems to indicate a big change in the Enterprise's mission right before the series began from "space law regulation" to exploring the unknown), the 5-year-mission has become a special Enterprise-only thing.
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Old November 11 2013, 04:41 AM   #17
Christopher
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Re: How common are five year missions?

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
Seems to me that whatever the original intent (and THIS alternate into to "Where No Man Has Gone Before" seems to indicate a big change in the Enterprise's mission right before the series began from "space law regulation" to exploring the unknown), the 5-year-mission has become a special Enterprise-only thing.
I don't see how you can possibly extrapolate that from Icheb's line "his historic five-year mission." If I refer to "Neil Armstrong's historic Moon landing," I'm not saying he's the only person who ever landed on the Moon (although there aren't that many more). Many commentators in 2008 referred to Barack Obama's "historic election," but he certainly wasn't the first person to be elected President of the US -- it's just that that particular election was especially noteworthy because it marked a historic step forward in racial equality. By the same token, Icheb was simply saying that Kirk's 5-year mission was of particular historical significance as 5-year missions went. It was historic for its events, not for its duration.
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Old November 11 2013, 05:03 AM   #18
Sran
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Re: How common are five year missions?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I don't see how you can possibly extrapolate that from Icheb's line "his historic five-year mission." If I refer to "Neil Armstrong's historic Moon landing," I'm not saying he's the only person who ever landed on the Moon (although there aren't that many more). Many commentators in 2008 referred to Barack Obama's "historic election," but he certainly wasn't the first person to be elected President of the US -- it's just that that particular election was especially noteworthy because it marked a historic step forward in racial equality. By the same token, Icheb was simply saying that Kirk's 5-year mission was of particular historical significance as 5-year missions went. It was historic for its events, not for its duration.
I agree. A term like historic doesn't imply unique or even highly unusual. What it means is that Kirk did something noteworthy that's well-remembered by scientists, historians, and others who would have an interest previous deep-space explorers. Saying that Kirk's mission was historic is no different than saying the American Civil War was historic. It's not the only war that's ever been fought, but it has its own place in our history just as Kirk has his place in the history of his universe.

Now, if one were to pour over the reasons why it was historic, there are several from which to choose. Kirk's crew discovered the Guardian of Forever. They made the first face-to-face contact with the Romulans. They traveled through time (as you know perfectly well). They charted several sectors of previously unexplored space. Any of these things could distinguish their mission from that of another ship, but it doesn't preclude the possibility of there being other ships on similar missions.

One aspect of the series dedicated to the twenty fourth century that I like is the incorporation of other ships into the Trek universe, including the idea that other ships can be assigned difficult missions. Seeing officers like Walker Keel or Edward Jelico achieve notoriety in the Federation paints a much more realistic picture of Starfleet actually works. Rather than making it seem as though series regulars are so much more important than everyone else, it's made clear they're merely part of a large fleet in which thousands of officers serve.

--Sran
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Old November 11 2013, 05:39 AM   #19
J.T.B.
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Re: How common are five year missions?

However unique the five year mission may have been, the mission itself seems to be mostly "do whatever Starfleet Command needs you to do." There is exploring and policing, but also diplomatic work, medical relief, transporting VIPs, participating in ceremonies and so on, and much of it apparently within the Federation or known space.
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Old November 11 2013, 11:06 AM   #20
Mutoid
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Re: How common are five year missions?

What does a five year mission mean anyway?

I would have thought that it would mean that a ship would be sent out (from Earth) and then not treturn until 5 years later. And it would go out with a crew signedon for 5 years.

This didn't happen in TOS as she returned to Earth at least once and had crew replacements presumably as the redshirts died off and was involved in patrolling sectors and quite a few one-off missions.

Same with the ENT=D. Although she had an 'ongoing mission'
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Old November 11 2013, 03:00 PM   #21
The Wormhole
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Re: How common are five year missions?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
This didn't happen in TOS as she returned to Earth at least once and had crew replacements presumably as the redshirts died off and was involved in patrolling sectors and quite a few one-off missions.
Indeed, crew transfers had to have been somewhat common on the Enterprise since no one questioned it when Norman arrived on board and claimed to have recently transferred to the ship.
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Old November 11 2013, 04:21 PM   #22
grendelsbayne
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Re: How common are five year missions?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
What does a five year mission mean anyway?

I would have thought that it would mean that a ship would be sent out (from Earth) and then not treturn until 5 years later. And it would go out with a crew signedon for 5 years.

This didn't happen in TOS as she returned to Earth at least once and had crew replacements presumably as the redshirts died off and was involved in patrolling sectors and quite a few one-off missions.

Same with the ENT=D. Although she had an 'ongoing mission'
On the other hand, (except in terms of the description in STID), a five year mission could be nothing more than a reference to the fact that the ship is set to a five year term of duty before returning to spacedock for refits and upgrades, and possibly a major shake-up in the crew...
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Old November 11 2013, 04:51 PM   #23
Christopher
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Re: How common are five year missions?

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
What does a five year mission mean anyway?
According to the original 1964 series pitch:

VI. You will conduct this patrol to accomplish primarily:

(a) Earth security, via exploration of intelligence and social systems capable of a galaxial [sic] threat, and

(b) Scientific investigation to add to the earth's body of knowledge of life forms and social systems, and

(c) Any required assistance to the several earth colonies in this quadrant, and the enforcement of appropriate statues affecting such Federated commerce vessels and traders and you might contact in the course of your mission.
(By the way, I'm surprised to see "Federated" there, since I thought the idea of the Federation hadn't been coined until midway through the first season. Still, it's clear that at this point Roddenberry saw the ship as an Earth vessel rather than one representing a multispecies union.)

So basically it's about patrolling the frontier. There wouldn't have been much established law, order, and government out there yet, so they'd need Starfleet to be on hand to respond to distress calls or defend the borders or support colonies in need, and in between such crises they'd spend their time exploring the still largely uncharted frontier, filling in the body of knowledge. So it's basically about maintaining an ongoing Federation presence in a frontier region that doesn't yet have much formal government or support institutions in place.



I would have thought that it would mean that a ship would be sent out (from Earth) and then not treturn until 5 years later. And it would go out with a crew signedon for 5 years.

This didn't happen in TOS as she returned to Earth at least once and had crew replacements presumably as the redshirts died off and was involved in patrolling sectors and quite a few one-off missions.
I don't think they ever intentionally returned to Earth in their own time. In "Tomorrow is Yesterday" they were "on a general course in [Earth's] direction" when they were flung into the past, but they weren't actually headed there.

As for crew replacements, those would've come aboard when the ship docked at starbases or the like. Starbases were the equivalent of forts in the Old West, footholds in the frontier region and support bases for the forces that patrolled the frontier and protected colonists and settlements.
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Old November 15 2013, 03:03 AM   #24
David.Blue
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Re: How common are five year missions?

All depends on what is meant by the term "five year mission."
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