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

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Old September 19 2013, 01:11 PM   #16
Forbin
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Re: What's in a name?

Something that occurred to me a few years ago: while we like naming our ships after great battles (Yorktown, Lexington), it's probably a bad idea to use those names on ships of exploration and first contact.

Imagine meeting a civilization for the first time. They ask you casually what the name of your ship means in your language. "Uh. Well, it's named after a great battle in a war of revolution."

"Our people are repulsed by war. Please leave. Never come back."

"But we're peaceful now."

"Then why name your ship after a treasonous battle?"

"But..."

"No really, go. If you're not out of the system in an hour, we'll kill you. that's how we deal with people who make war. We kill them. I know it seems contradictory, but it's cleaned up the neighborhood. Out with you!"
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Old September 19 2013, 01:40 PM   #17
Mario de Monti
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Re: What's in a name?

I think itīs doubtful, that many Starfleet officers would be familiar with (or even care about) the initial origin of a shipīs name. To them these names will most likely just represent the continuation of a proud heritage of previous vessels of the same names. Whether any given name first came from a person, a place or a battle from 500 or more years earlier will not really matter to them anymore, IMO.

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Old September 19 2013, 10:24 PM   #18
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: What's in a name?

Mario de Monti wrote: View Post
But seriously, Starfleet (admiralty, ship personnel, Starfleet Academy) is mostly staffed by humans, with "aliens" being a clear minority. So it is only logical that in-universe Starfleet would name its vessels accordingly, chosing mostly earth-related names. Apparently humans are the main "operator" of Starfleet and possibly also driving force behind it.
Or many of the background characters we've seen are actually human-looking aliens (there are a lot of them out there).

Despite what we've seen on screen, I think that humans are actually a minority in Starfleet, after all there are 150 member worlds, plus many non-Federation citizens who choose to enrol (eg Worf and Nog), and not every human will want to go into Starfleet. On screen we've only seen a very small portion of a single ships crew complement, let alone the fleet as a whole.

That's how I choose to look upon things anyway.
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Old September 20 2013, 01:07 PM   #19
Forbin
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Re: What's in a name?

Mario de Monti wrote: View Post
I think itīs doubtful, that many Starfleet officers would be familiar with (or even care about) the initial origin of a shipīs name. To them these names will most likely just represent the continuation of a proud heritage of previous vessels of the same names. Whether any given name first came from a person, a place or a battle from 500 or more years earlier will not really matter to them anymore, IMO.

Mario
Not even close to my point.
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Old September 20 2013, 03:44 PM   #20
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Re: What's in a name?

I've always subscribed to the "Captain gets to choose" notion, although its more a matter of preference than based on any evidence. At the very least, I'd think the Captain would get to name his executive shuttle/yacht. I could see the Captain naming a few and letting his other senior officers each name one, too.

I don't see why you couldn't have a U.S.S. Galileo and a Shuttlecraft Galileo, although you wouldn't necessarily want the U.S.S. Galileo to have a Shuttlecraft Galileo.

That'd just be confusing.
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Old September 20 2013, 05:32 PM   #21
Mario de Monti
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Re: What's in a name?

Forbin wrote: View Post
Mario de Monti wrote: View Post
I think itīs doubtful, that many Starfleet officers would be familiar with (or even care about) the initial origin of a shipīs name. To them these names will most likely just represent the continuation of a proud heritage of previous vessels of the same names. Whether any given name first came from a person, a place or a battle from 500 or more years earlier will not really matter to them anymore, IMO.

Mario
Not even close to my point.
But it is! You assume that Starfleet personnel will be familiar with the exact origin of a shipīs name. The situation you illustrated ...

Forbin wrote: View Post
Imagine meeting a civilization for the first time. They ask you casually what the name of your ship means in your language.
... may only become a problem, when the answer is ...

Forbin wrote: View Post
"Uh. Well, it's named after a great battle in a war of revolution."
If instead the answer is something like, "itīs a traditional name in our world, and many proud vessels have borne it before. Itīs that heritage that we honor" I donīt think thereīll be a problem.

Mario
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Old September 20 2013, 05:51 PM   #22
Forbin
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Re: What's in a name?

And then the inquisitive alien says, "But what does the name mean, and what is its significance in your culture?"

You're just skirting the point:
We like to name military ships after battles. What if a peaceful, war-hating alien race finds out the origin of the name?
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Old September 20 2013, 07:34 PM   #23
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Re: What's in a name?

...they go all Organian on our asses?
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Old September 20 2013, 10:45 PM   #24
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: What's in a name?

A couple of questions on that:

Firstly, if the peaceful, war-hating species you postulate were speaking with the representatives of the ship, it would be safe to assume that they have evolved to a point where they are morally-minded to judge Starfleeters based on their own actions rather than that of the ship builders or ancient history (which the crew can do nothing about). Also would such a species not forbid armed starships from entering their system/orbit, due to their beliefs?

Secondly, if that peaceful, war-hating species was in Starfleet, they've already violated their belief system by entering the Academy. As peaceful as Starfleet's intention, it is still the armed service of the Federation so all those who wear the uniform must be willing to take up arms and defend themselves, their ship(mates), or the UFP, even laying down their own lives to in the process. No officer or crewman would get out of that, otherwise they are a liability and would put others at risk.
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Old September 21 2013, 01:15 AM   #25
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Re: What's in a name?

Not to belabor the point, I like to think we name ships for battles to honor the cause and the men who fought them rather than the fact that there was a war or to glorify battle.

Maybe that would be sufficient for the aliens?
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Old September 21 2013, 02:01 AM   #26
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Re: What's in a name?

Praetor wrote: View Post
Not to belabor the point, I like to think we name ships for battles to honor the cause and the men who fought them rather than the fact that there was a war or to glorify battle.

Maybe that would be sufficient for the aliens?
Do we only honor certain battles, though? I mean, history is written by the victors. We generally don't name ships after defeats.

Some of the battles are named after their location. Yorktown could just as easily be defined as being named after a location on Earth. Or a historic location on Earth.

The US lost a battle to the British at Charleston during the Revolutionary War. If there is a USS Charleston, is it named after that defeat or is it named after the city? After all, there are many historic connections to Charleston besides the Revolutionary defeat.

And who says its a defeat? We're talking 500 or 600 years after the Battle of Yorktown or Battle of Charleston. The Earth is united. Whose history do we honor when commemorating victories? An American victory is a British defeat and vice versa.

If we're honoring the lives of those sacrificed, then would it be acceptable or repugnant to have a USS Dachau, USS Auschwitz, etc...?

We had a topic a while ago where the OP was berating the idea of naming a ship the USS Cortez (or was is USS Coronado?). History paints these explorers as just that, explorers. However, history also reveals these people were murderers, rapists and conquerors bent on pillaging and subduing indigenous peoples.

One person's hero is another person's savage. "Why is your ship named the USS Crazy Horse?"
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Old September 21 2013, 04:25 PM   #27
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Re: What's in a name?

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Do we only honor certain battles, though? I mean, history is written by the victors. We generally don't name ships after defeats.
Well, of course. No one wants to remember when they lose a fight.

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Some of the battles are named after their location. Yorktown could just as easily be defined as being named after a location on Earth. Or a historic location on Earth.
Ah, but the problem there, for example with the Yorktown, is that we know the fictional vessel was named after the real one, which we know was named after the Revolutionary War battle.

Shawnster wrote: View Post
The US lost a battle to the British at Charleston during the Revolutionary War. If there is a USS Charleston, is it named after that defeat or is it named after the city? After all, there are many historic connections to Charleston besides the Revolutionary defeat.
In the case of the original Charleston from 1798, she was named after the city in which she was built. I would conclude that later vessels were both named to honor previous ships and the city, rather than the battle.

So that's yet another important point, and may make it all make sense; perhaps ships that appear to be named after battles are actually named to honor previous ships.

Shawnster wrote: View Post
If we're honoring the lives of those sacrificed, then would it be acceptable or repugnant to have a USS Dachau, USS Auschwitz, etc...?
I don't think that's quite the same thing - those poor people didn't meet honorable deaths, but were rather mass murdered.

Shawnster wrote: View Post
We had a topic a while ago where the OP was berating the idea of naming a ship the USS Cortez (or was is USS Coronado?). History paints these explorers as just that, explorers. However, history also reveals these people were murderers, rapists and conquerors bent on pillaging and subduing indigenous peoples.

One person's hero is another person's savage. "Why is your ship named the USS Crazy Horse?"
Agreed there.
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Old September 22 2013, 06:33 PM   #28
T'Girl
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Re: What's in a name?

Shawnster wrote: View Post
"Why is your ship named the USS Crazy Horse?"
Instead of being named the USS Thasunke Witko, which is in the original Sioux language.

Forbin wrote: View Post
We like to name military ships after battles. What if a peaceful, war-hating alien race finds out the origin of the name?
We would quietly sit them down and explain that Humans through warfare have brought about positive things like freedom, liberty, equality and the end of negative things like tyranny and slavery. We would also admit that it doesn't alway work.

This is who we were and who we are, and if with this knowledge the "peaceful, war-hating alien race" wishes to have nothing to do with us, we go about our way.

In other words Forbin, we'd be completely honest with them.

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Old September 23 2013, 01:55 PM   #29
Forbin
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Re: What's in a name?

^Best answer yet, T'Girl. Thanks for directly answering the actual situation I postulated.

Now, what if said alien race's first reaction is to "eliminate the infection" that has visited their planet and instantly destroy the ship and crew? And what if there isn't time to send a warning back to Starfleet, and they send another ship to see what happened?

(Yes, I guess that's kind of similar to A Taste of Armageddon and/or Return of the Archons)
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Old September 23 2013, 06:24 PM   #30
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Re: What's in a name?

Beam down a "peace offering" of two metric tonnes of antimatter, materialized in the middle of ther planetary congress while their president in there giving a flowery speech on how peaceful they all are.

At least we won't be the hypocritics.

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