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

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Old October 3 2014, 03:24 AM   #1
NTRPRZ
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"NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

My wife and I were discussing TOS, when she said she thought it unusual that in all 79 episodes, no one ever referred to the Enterprise by its registry number. Does anyone recall if any character in TOS ever did so?
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Old October 3 2014, 03:33 AM   #2
ZapBrannigan
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

I never thought of that, but I don't think they ever did. Good trivia item.
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Old October 3 2014, 03:47 AM   #3
EnsignTOS
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

I also was thinking about how strange that is. Maybe the writers didn't think it was that important? The characters never said "beam me up, Scotty" (word for word) either. Maybe it's just one of those TOS mistakes.

Bit o' trivia: Recently I Googled "1701" to see if anything interesting or historical happened during that year--and a bunch of cool-looking pictures of the Enterprise popped up. I was both surprised and amused.
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Old October 3 2014, 03:56 AM   #4
Creepy Critter
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

I've got nothing.

I don't believe that "NCC-1701" was ever spoken in dialog on screen during TOS. Not even as just "number 1701" in "Court Martial" (cf, "United Starship Republic, number 1371").

For that matter, I don't believe that "NCC" itself was ever spoken in dialog on screen during TOS.

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
Good trivia item.
Yep.
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Old October 3 2014, 04:03 AM   #5
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

Television being what it is, especially back then, it should not be surprising that the Enterprise's registry went unspoken and the Republic quote from "Court Martial" was as close as the show ever got to acknowledging the registry issue. It is best if, in a series with such a rich and complex in-universe culture, rules and history as TREK obviously has, that there always be an economy of words, and statements of technical data be vague or otherwise non-committal; this prevents any dwelling on tech or other distractions from the story and the relationships of the characters.
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Old October 3 2014, 04:05 AM   #6
ZapBrannigan
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

Creepy Critter wrote: View Post
I've got nothing.

I don't believe that "NCC-1701" was ever spoken in dialog on screen during TOS. Not even as just "number 1701" in "Court Martial" (cf, "United Starship Republic, number 1371").

For that matter, I don't believe that "NCC" itself was ever spoken in dialog on screen during TOS.

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
Good trivia item.
Yep.
Hearing NCC spoken at the beginning of ST:TMP was a little jarring for me. I think that this, and the Franz Joseph Technical Manual that came shortly before it, began the unfortunate convention of designating every ship that Starfleet ever built with NCC. In real life, letter designations tell you what kind of design and purpose a ship has.
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Old October 3 2014, 05:37 AM   #7
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

The constellation also had ncc ( er... If my memory is correct ) as part of its designation.

But I don't think it's that unusual for current naval crew not to say the ship registry number either. From those I've met (full disclosure: I was a military brat but never served myself) they usually have a nickname for their ship.
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Old October 3 2014, 05:51 AM   #8
EnterpriseGeek
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

While I don't recall NCC 1701 being spoken in dialog in TOS, I do recall NCC 1701 Alpha was spoken in The Undiscovered Country as Kirk and the Senior Officers were being shuttled to Spacedock after the briefing at Starfleet Command.
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Old October 3 2014, 06:04 AM   #9
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

I've never heard Navy personnel refer to the ship they're serving on as anything but its name or nickname (Enterprise or Big E, for instance). How would that even come up in most of the circumstances where a character would refer to her ship?
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Old October 3 2014, 06:07 AM   #10
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

Named ships are rarely called by registration or identification numbers, anyway. Pennant Number 51 has been destroyed just doesn't happen.

Maurice wrote: View Post
I've never heard Navy personnel refer to the ship they're serving on as anything but its name or nickname (Enterprise or Big E, for instance). How would that even come up in most of the circumstances where a character would refer to her ship?
Yeah, folks personalize their place of service. Names get used, not numbers.
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Old October 3 2014, 01:02 PM   #11
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

"Users" might conceivably speak of serving on a "deedeegee" or "ceeveeen"; some might say they serve on a "668" or a "23", the former being a registry for the class boat (technically, Los Angeles class), the latter being a general class designator (technically, Type 23 or Duke class). But it would indeed take very special circumstances for a registry number to be used when referring to a specific ship...

...Unless there were numerous ships of that name, and the context left it ambiguous which one was being spoken of. "I remember serving on CV-6" might be relevant when a veteral talks to a whippersnapper about to embark on a tour of duty aboard CVN-80, lest the youngster mistake the old ship for CVN-65; in Starfleet, there are more Enterprises and longer lifespans and service careers, making such things more relevant.

In real life, letter designations tell you what kind of design and purpose a ship has.
Unless we're talking about aircraft registries, in which case the letters specify the operating organization or country of origin. NCC might thus be necessary for specifying "UFP Starfleet" and separating it from NSP, NDT etc. - we have numerous examples of such alternate registry letters, even if these virtually never are painted on the hull of a ship shown in VFX.

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Old October 3 2014, 02:29 PM   #12
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

This is why I don't like the later custom of naming new Enterprises NCC-1701-A or -B or -C, as if the registry number were another part of the name. It's not. Names and numbers serve different purposes. The numbers are for the sake of catalogs and identity verification and formal, technical matters like that. Assigning the same registry number to another ship named Enterprise would be like giving Joe Chang Jr. the same Social Security number as Joe Chang Sr. but with an "A" at the end. It's a nonsensical, pointless practice. The fans have fetishized the number NCC-1701 because we saw it on our screens so often, but it was wrong of the films' and shows' makers to have the characters in-universe follow suit. It was never supposed to be that important, except perhaps as a handy visual cue to distinguish different ships of the same class.
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Old October 3 2014, 02:58 PM   #13
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

Is there an official definition of what "NCC" stands for?

Or even "USS"?

I've seen answers for both, including Rodenberry himself saying "United Space Ship" for the second, but is there an offical definition for either?
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Old October 3 2014, 03:21 PM   #14
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

Nothing in Continuity or Canon. Why does it have to stand for something?
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Old October 3 2014, 03:33 PM   #15
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Re: "NCC-1701" never said onscreen?

Spocktoberfest wrote: View Post
Is there an official definition of what "NCC" stands for?
Officially, no. The leading fan theory is "Naval Construction Contract," although I've also heard "Navigational Contact Code." Though neither really fits the kind of ship registry conventions the numbers were based on.


Or even "USS"?
That was established in the first pilot when Pike referred to his ship as "the United Space Ship Enterprise." Kirk referred to it this way in several episodes ("Space Seed," "The Gamesters of Triskelion," "Patterns of Force," "Assignment: Earth," "Elaan of Troyius"), but also used "the United Star Ship Enterprise" in "The Squire of Gothos" -- plus "the United Star Ship Republic" was mentioned in "Court-martial." Kirk even said "the United Earth Ship Enterprise" in "The Corbomite Maneuver," but that was clearly an aberration.
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