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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old July 22 2014, 06:12 AM   #1
Wingsley
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50 years

In the mid 1970s through the early 80s, some fan-generated TREK technical literature diverged from what is now official "canon" in interesting ways.

If you look at Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's 1975 "Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual", the "Articles of Confederation" section, essentially a constitution for the United Federation of Planets, suggested that the founding of the Federation occurred following (or somehow involved with) the Treaty of Axanar (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy"). The Manual also suggested that the foundation of the Federation, happening when James T. Kirk was just a young man, was also the same time frame of the creation of the first twelve Constitution-class Federation starships. This language seemed to indicate that there were no Federation starships before Axanar.

In 1980, "Star Trek Maps" (from Bantam Books) suggested something even more divergent: the Constitution-class starships were supposed to be about 50 years old at the time of TOS. While not directly endorsing Schnaubelt's Manual, "Maps" seemed to be tapping in on that same line of thought, but suggesting that this mysterious Axanar situation and the resulting Federation founding was either a few decades earlier or maybe that it was a longer, more complicated history than just a brief incident as Kirk's recitation to Garth of Izar suggested.

I seem to recall at least one other vague reference to the 50-year-old Constitution-class starship notion, possibly in the "Star Fleet Officer's Manual".

To me, looking at these references suggests that the authors of these fandom works were trying to make the destroyed U.S.S. Valiant, lost at Eminiar VII ("A Taste of Armageddon"), into one of the original Federation starships, certainly a Constitution-class ship. So if we assume that the Valiant were one of the first Constitution-class vessels launched by a newly founded Federation fifty years prior to the Enterprise's arrival at Eminiar VII, and if, for sake of argument, we accept that Ambassador Fox's mission took place in 2267, then this would put the date of the founding of the Federation some time prior to 2217.

I'm curious as to where there may be other references to the notion that the Constitution-class starships were 50 years old at the time of TOS. Was it mentioned in any other literature?

Also, does anyone know of any more detailed citations other than the Schnaubelt Manual, which would give more depth to these notions of 50-year-old Constitution-class ships or 23rd-century founding of the Federation?
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Old July 22 2014, 08:38 AM   #2
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Re: 50 years

I've not read all the 1970s related materials, and I've never seen such a close founding date for the Federation to Kirk's time. But I have seen variations of the years for the commissioning of the Constitution-class starships. The earlier ones were based on the show being set in the early 23rd century, while later versions have it set roughly in the middle to late 23d century.

Some with minor variations and drift by maybe 5 years one ways or another in the span of Kirk getting command of the Enterprise and Star Trek V. Star Trek VI seems fairly well marked due to the Next Generation, but the years for Kirk commanding the ship wobble around a little with the major Refit of USS Enterprise seem in The Motion Picture being as early as 2267 in at least one book. I think this is the "Ships of the Starfleet" version, where USS Constitution was built in 2218 and the rest of the original 12 were built I the 2220s with USS Valiant being lost within two years of being commissioned. USS Enterprise is lost over Genesis at the beginning of 2287 I think, to make it "twenty years old" as an Enterprise-class starship. I don't remember a mention of the founding of the Federation, but they had started working in TNG references to such and event in, so it would be bound to be around the 2160s.

My problem with the "Ships of the Starfleet" is the relatively low losses of ships. They mention FASA's Four Years War happening in the 2250s, but only one ship in the book is lost because of that war. Until the Movie era, the only cruisers lost are those mentioned in Star Trek, and a two frigates lost before the movies....one to the Klingons during the war, and one to a faulty engine design exploding the ship.

Those that had the show as much earlier have the Five Year Mission in the 2200s to 2210s with the Constitutions being built in 2188, a hundred years after the founding of the Federation in 2087. I think this was based on the "Starflight Chronology" and was used by FASA for their roleplaying game. USS Enterprise is lost during 2222 in FASA over Genesis. They lost their license before being able to do Star Trek V, so they are left with the new Enterprise-A and a new USS Excelsior, plus the first season of TNG.

FASA doesn't have any of the original 13 Constitution-class ship lost until around the time of the Five year mission, and then promptly has 11 of them lost, scrapped, or destroyed within 6 years time, though one or two of the lost ships are recovered in stories later on. The survivors are USS Constitution (decommissioned) and USS Enterprise (was to be decommissioned, but instead used as a testbed for a new warp engine and nacelle setup). Its success against V'Ger prompts Starfleet to convert some of the newer Constitutions to the new style and built new cruisers with that configuration.

Last edited by Ithekro; July 22 2014 at 08:48 AM.
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Old July 22 2014, 04:06 PM   #3
F. King Daniel
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Re: 50 years

I recall Star Trek Log 7, the expanded adaptation of "The Counter Clock Incident" opening with flashbacks to the Enterprise's design (referencing FJ's blueprints and 60's infodump!) and her launch (complete with the Generations opening bottle scene!) when April was in his 30's - making it 40 years prior to TAS.
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Old July 22 2014, 04:50 PM   #4
Wingsley
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Re: 50 years

^ Thanks for reminding everyone of that. Maybe they based it on TAS.
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Last edited by Wingsley; July 22 2014 at 07:21 PM. Reason: typo correction
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Old July 25 2014, 08:26 PM   #5
publiusr
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Re: 50 years

Titan's Star Trek Magazine has some nice pictures of the Enterprise model out on stands.
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Old July 25 2014, 10:09 PM   #6
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Re: 50 years

Was paging through the Franz Josef Starfleet Technical Manual and think I've spotted a timeline divergence between our 1970's and Trek's 1970s.

The memorandum in the front of the TM is headed with the title "United Staes Military Forces" rather than "Department of Defense" or one of the specific service branches that exist in our timeline. Also there is reference to "Omaha MFB" rather than "Omaha AFB" (or more likely Offut AFB) as it would be in our history.

So: my supposition is that somewhere between Kirk's visist to that 1960's in Tomorrow Is Yesterday where Capt. Christopher's jet is still marked "USAF" and the receipt of the TM documents from the future, there was a move to introduce an organizational reform to the US military structure, placing all the service branches (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines) under one unified command structure (Canada did much the same thing in the 1970's). This does a couple of things for us:

1) Explains the terminology in the two Forewards of the FJ TM.

2) Gives us a possible inception point for the way Starfleet is organized when it comes into existence (i.e. Kirk's comment about it being a "combined service"). This nugget in the past makes the sometimes odd mix of terminology used in Starfleet across the various incarnations of Star Trek (mostly naval, but sometimes not) a little more reasonable or just, simply, traditional.

Does not explain though the reference to "Omaha AFB" as oppossed to the real-world Offut AFB.
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Old July 27 2014, 05:48 AM   #7
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Re: 50 years

If it might help to be able to compare the stardates listed with the ship authorizations with the range of stardates mentioned on the show, I created this handy infographic some time ago. My motivation was to demonstrates that in spite of the huge numbers of ships listed, it does not actually contradict Kirk's "Only twelve like her" line. But, If you look at the top part of the graphic, you can see that by the FJ numbers, the ships are actually quite new. Now, this does contradict other on-screen stuff, like the Valiant being lost fifty years earlier (assuming it's the same ship mentioned in "A Taste of Armageddon") and also makes it seem unlikely that Pike commanded Enterprise with Spock at his side for eleven years (unless they were together on another ship and then "The Cage" is during one of their first voyages on the newly commissioned Enterprise...maybe.)




Anyhow, Just figured I'd contribute.

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Old July 27 2014, 06:07 AM   #8
aridas sofia
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Re: 50 years

The fifty-year old Enterprise class comes from a comment in "The Making of Star Trek" that says something very close to "the Enterprise class of starships have been in service for fifty years by the time Kirk takes command".
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Old July 31 2014, 05:41 AM   #9
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Re: 50 years

Mysterion wrote: View Post
Does not explain though the reference to "Omaha AFB" as oppossed to the real-world Offut AFB.
Omaha installation, not Air Force Base. "Omaha" could have been a code term for the minuteman missile silos south west of Omaha.

Offutt AFB is actual located in Bellevue, Nebraska, not Omaha.

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Old July 31 2014, 07:02 AM   #10
Ithekro
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Re: 50 years

This would be the writer knowing about "Omaha" being in the episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and assuming it was an Air Force Base since the Air Force sent a plane out from near there to intercept USS Enterprise.

The facts were not checked because it sounds reasonable and believable. Most people would never know it isn't a real thing...even the writer.
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Old August 6 2014, 05:35 AM   #11
Wingsley
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Re: 50 years

aridas sofia wrote: View Post
The fifty-year old Enterprise class comes from a comment in "The Making of Star Trek" that says something very close to "the Enterprise class of starships have been in service for fifty years by the time Kirk takes command".
Interesting. Can anyone track down what page number that quote is on?
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Old August 7 2014, 04:52 PM   #12
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Re: 50 years

^^^
A "ditto" to Wingsley, here. I've been pouring through my copy of TMoST and just can't find that quote.
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Old August 8 2014, 04:00 PM   #13
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: 50 years

Page 203, 2nd to last paragraph, and it's 40 years.
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Old August 8 2014, 04:58 PM   #14
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Re: 50 years

^^^
Thank you, sir!
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Old August 8 2014, 06:43 PM   #15
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: 50 years

You are quite welcome, sir.
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