Does the Federation "rule" the Galaxy? (ultimately)

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Prax, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I have some of the *most* heated arguments with people that I disagree on maybe .01% of my politics with. Me and someone on the other side of the aisle altogether can "agree to disagree" because we both knew we weren't going to move one another much, anyway - but with someone on my own side of things, the importance of the tiniest details gets magnified.

    There's no real reason that the US shouldn't be able to join with other reasonably free first world nations - except that we all want to do it just a little different, and keep our cultures. ;)

    I envision the Typhon Pact actually ending up the freer of the two unions, as they allow individual worlds to run how they want, but ultimately encourage democracy for their citizens at the local level, and insist on it at the federal level, due to the appeal of that to worlds they attempt to bring into the union. It's actually the Federation that I see becoming increasingly corrupt and insistent on "One True Way" - think about what we saw already on TNG and DS9, with at least two almost successful military coups, Picard's holier-than-thou attitude about the Federation's "enlightened" ways, and colonists being forced to move due to federal agreements. The Federation and the Pact might be headed for a shared union, but I think the Federation is headed for a big fall and recovery period, first.
    I actually have speculated that this what happened to the Federation and First Federation in TOS - sometime between TOS and TNG they merged. I've further speculated that that's where some of the TNG/DS9 species that seem almost like founding worlds - Trill, Betazed, etc - came from: maybe they WERE founding worlds... of the First Federation.
     
  2. Spot261

    Spot261 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Because all we could possibly do is guess, so little has been established about the period. Once you've made that guess there's nothing else you can offer.

    But that's beside my point, which was that it is pretty much impossible to really demonstrate the scale of the galaxy on screen.

    None of the above would be required, for the sorts of numbers we are talking, even having visited each 19% once each would be out of the question. We needn't even stretch to 19%, 1% would be just as unfeasible.
     
  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Force projection is not just about speed of transportation. It is also about mobilizing sufficient assets to project force on the scale you wish to project it.

    Sure, by the 29th Century, apparently the Federation can get anywhere it wants. But if it wants to project force, then first it has to know that a particular planet exists. And then it has to mobilize enough assets to overpower that planet. And then it has to maintain them however long it takes to pacify whatever resistance it encounters.

    And then again, and again, and again, for every planet you are talking about.

    The galaxy is unimaginably vast; the human mind is simply not capable of processing the scale at which the galaxy exists. Even if only a very small percentage of stars have civilizations, you're talking billions of inhabited planets. You're talking about galactic exploration on a scale so vast that it is unreasonable to begin to imagine the Federation has expanded to hold a significant amount of the Milky Way, let alone even explored the whole thing, by the 29th Century.

    And then there's just the inevitable fact: Space is too vast for anyone to ever really control an entire galaxy. It's just not a realistic goal -- never has been, never will be. Hell, Star Wars is a prime example -- huge percentages of the galaxy have been charted and settled and joined in a seemingly galactic government, yet there are so many worlds that 1) the galactic government's leaders are incapable of even knowing that all of them exist (hence why it was possible to erase Kamino from the archives of the Jedi Temple without anyone even noticing), and 2) even charted space offers essentially unlimited opportunities for refuge for asymmetrical forces wishing to challenge any galactic government holding the core worlds (hence why the Rebel Alliance was able to launch strikes seemingly at will on Imperial forces from Yavin 4).
     
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  4. Prax

    Prax Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Why are you describing this as some sort of military conquest? The Federation doesn't expand by such means. They expand through exploration, cooperation, and coalesce into a larger entity. Nor do they use the projection of power to keep their member states in line. Members of the Federation remain so voluntarily. Whoever mentioned the Galactic Republic...it is an apt comparison. The GA was the dominant power of the galaxy, and covered the galaxy. There are outer rim territories, and Hutt Space(which is one of them), but it is still correct to call it the "Galactic Republic."

    side note: Kamino was in a different galaxy, was not part of the republic, and not well known.

    Unlike SW, we don't have the benefit of an official map, or a consistent portrayal of the size of the Federation during the various series, but it's quite large already. By the end of the 24th century, we're left with the Federation as the preeminent civilization in the "Alpha Quadrant." The Romulans Empire is derelict. The Klingon Empire is at its lowest point and was already declining. The Dominion and it's allies are defeated, and the Federation continues exploring the Gamma Quadrant. The Delta Quadrant has been somewhat charted. The Federation is about to begin testing Transwarp, and slipstream technology. Within 100 years or so, they will have time ships. Within 500-700 years, the Federation exists, and is as prosperous as ever, and has sovereignty over time.
     
  5. Spot261

    Spot261 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Not true, it was described as being outside of the main body of the galaxy, not in another altogether. Unless you are referring to the whole "long time ago in a galaxy far far away" thing :)

    Can't help but disagree with much of your assessment about the 24th century either.

    1) The Federation most certainly does project force, we see it time and again. Perpetually putting starships with overwhelming firepower in or around trouble spots surely qualifies, as does blockading the Romulan Neutral Zone and firing preemptively.

    2) The Dominion is far from defeated, all the federation alliance ever fought was an outpost, not the Dominion proper.

    3) We never see anything established about "sovereignty over time"

    4) We have no idea whether the federation is the pre eminent power in the AQ, all we know is it's the one we see most of. There are many powers in the AQ and arguably most of it still remains uncharted. Pre eminent implies dominant and that's far from certain. There are plenty of species that wouldn't deign to treat them as rivals, much less masters, it's a quadrant full of beings and societies that view them as ants. We know the First Federation is still active in that period for one, as presumably are the Organians. Even equivalent tech species (or slightly better) such as the Tamarians and Tholians are largely undocumented.
     
  6. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Yeah, you're ignoring countless Alpha Quadrant civilizations, and you're including the Klingon Empire and RSE which aren't even AQ civilizations. Among those we know to be in the AQ, besides the Tholians and Tamarians that @Spot261 mentioned, you're also ignoring the Talarians, the Tzenkethi, the Sheliak, the Jarada, and the Breen, just to go off the ones I can think of immediately. Possibly also the First Federation.

    And you still haven't once acknowledged the contrary evidence of "Living Witness".

    Plus, there's the fact that the development of the Temporal Accords once time travel was developed, which are still in existence in Daniels' time, proves that the Federation doesn't have sovereignty over time, or else there wouldn't need to be accords in the first place; there wouldn't be multiple signing powers to it if they had sovereignty over time, just a single organization fighting some rebels. And there are certainly other established major organizations with time travel capability, including the organization Gary Seven belonged to, the organization "Future Guy" belonged to, and the Na'khul.
     
  7. MAGolding

    MAGolding Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    IMHO you are praising the Federation with faint damns, so to speak, by saying they control less than maybe 15 % of the galaxy. I would think that they rule a much smaller part of the galaxy.

    Do the math. E.E. Smith did in the Lensman series where two rival realms each rule most of a large spiral galaxy. Thus each realm rules millions of planets and has space fleets containing millions of space battleships.

    But in Star Trek the United Federation of Planets has 150 full members. In 'Metamorphosis":

    If Earth Humans have 1,000 colony planets and each of 150 Federation Members has as many, that makes 150,000 planets in 150,000 star systems ruled by the Federation. And maybe habitable or otherwise useful planets are very thinly scattered and there are only 1,000,000 habitable or otherwise useful planets in the galaxy, making the 150,000 in the federation 15 percent of all the ones in the entire galaxy.

    But consider how many star systems are within a specific radius of Earth, and how many of them have Earth colonies or Federation member planets. Thus you can calculate the approximate percentage of stars within a volume of space that would have Federation member planets or Earth colony planets. And thus you can calculate how large a volume of space the Federation would have to rule to have 150,000 star systems. And it would pretty much appear like a dimensionless dot on a map of the galaxy.

    In "Balance of Terror" McCoy said:

    So if there are three million Earth-type planets in the galaxy, and all 150,000 federation planets are Earth-type planets, the Federation should rule about 0.05, or five percent, of the volume of the galaxy.

    Cochrane asked what it is like in the galaxy and Kirk said they estimate there are millions of planets with intelligent life. If there are between 1,000,000 and 10,000,000 planets with intelligent life in the galaxy and there are 150 separate intelligent species in the Federation, the Federation rules about 0.000015 to 0.00015 of the intelligent species in the galaxy, and thus about 0.000015 to 0.00015 of the volume of the galaxy.

    And what does science say about the number of habitable planets or intelligent species in our galaxy? Back in 1964, Stephen Dole of the RAND Corporation tried to calculate the number of planets in our galaxy habitable for Humans in Habitable Planets for Man. He estimated the number of habitable planets in our galaxy to be be much higher than McCoy's three million Earth-type planets - about a hundred million if I remember correctly.

    Here is a 2013 claim that there may be 2,000,000,000 planets in our galaxy suitable for life.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/nov/04/planets-galaxy-life-kepler

    Here is a 2014 claim that our galaxy could have 100,000,000,000 planets that could sustain complex lifeforms.

    http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2014/06/milky-way-may-bear-100-million-life-giving-planets

    If one out of every thousand to one out of every million planets suitable for life has intelligent life, then for each billion stars with suitable planets in our Galaxy there should be between 1,000 to 1,000,000 planets with intelligent life. Thus if there might be 2,000,000,000 to 100,000,000,000 suitable planets in our galaxy, and if the estimate that between one a million and one in thousand of them currently had intelligent life is correct, there are presently between 2,000 and 100,000,000 planets with intelligent life in our galaxy.

    So with 150 intelligent species, the Federation would rule between 0.075 and 0.0000015 of the volume of the Galaxy.

    Of course that is just a wild guess based on rough scientific estimates, but it shows that 150 intelligent species might possibly inhabit only a very, very, very tiny part of our galaxy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  8. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Even if we consider volume, Picard called the Federation to be 8,000 light years across at one point. At maximum "suggested" warp speeds it would take a year for a starship to cross that, and most can't maintain those speeds for more than a few hours. So it take years for a starship to get from one side of the Federation to the other at this assumed widest point. This fits in slightly about what the Starfleet was still able to gather up ships of many older types throughout the Dominion War is because the reinforcements were ships that had been on their way for the last few years since being recalled the year before the war started. It just took years to redeploy to the Cardassian border region.
     
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  9. Idran

    Idran Commodore Premium Member

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    Which, by the way, if you take the absolute most generous possible interpretation of that line (which given the shape of the galaxy wouldn't be a sphere, but rather a cylinder with a diameter of 8,000 light years and a height of 1,000 light years, the approximate width of the galactic disc near Sol), you would get a volume in the 24th century of about 5x10^10 cubic light years, which is around 0.6% of the galaxy (whose volume is about 8x10^12 cubic light years). That's the absolute best possible size the Federation could have. And thus since it's about on equal terms with other major powers in its area, they likely have an upper bound on size of about the same value.

    Though since that would be a region with approximately 200 million stars (based on estimates of a stellar density of about 0.004 stars per cubic light year in the Milky Way), that absolute best case is likely impossible for the reasons given so far in the thread.
     
  10. at Quark's

    at Quark's Captain Captain

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    Here is an illustration of how far our radio waves have reached into the galaxy over the last 100 years- a 100 ly sphere around the sun. It's the area covered by the tiny blue dot.

    http://www.rainydaymagazine.com/RDM2011/RainyDayScience/RadioSignal/TheGalaxyBig.jpg

    And even this illustration is still somewhat misleading, as it is in 2-D only. Yet, that "tiny" sphere would contain approximately 20.000 stars. Modern estimates say that most stars probably have planets, and supposedly most of these systems, if not inhabitable, could at least serve for some resource extraction purpose (perhaps barring those systems that are really too extreme).

    If the standard star trek powers would really be as large as depicted on most star trek maps, the numbers we usually see on screen (or hear references to) would be far too low. For example, even that 2800 ship fleet from the Dominion would amount to practically nothing in terms of occupying and patrolling a sizable chunk of the alpha quadrant.

    Borg space? According to Janeway in Scorpion, they have 'thousands of solar systems, all Borg'. With only that part of the description, even borg space could be easily fitted in that blue dot -- except that she adds 'there's no going around it', so it must be far larger in actuality. The question remains while janeway only mentions 'thousands of solar systems', when probably she should have mentioned not even millions, but billions of star systems if there's really no going around them.

    Well, perhaps Janeway only referred to inhabited systems and perhaps even in borg space, only one in tens of thousands of solar systems would actually be inhabited. -- or some such rationalization. Perhaps, yes. But to me, these and other examples give me the distinct impression that even some of the writers of ST have no idea of the number of star (systems) and sheer volume we're dealing with.

    I think nothing much would have been lost, had the Federation and other standard Star trek 'alpha quadrant' powers been portrayed as being approximately that tiny blue area in size in the vast unexplored sea that is our galaxy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  11. Tracy Trek

    Tracy Trek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I haven't read this whole thread, so someone else may have said it. The Federation gives worlds a choice whether they want to join. The Borg don't.
     
  12. Ethros

    Ethros Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ The Federation are more insidious. They assimilate people, and they don't even know it.

    ;)
     
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  13. MAGolding

    MAGolding Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ithekro said:

    I agree that the Federation probably had a lot more time to prepare for the Dominion war than for the first Borg invasion, so it could call in ships from the outer regions and reactivate mothballed ships with minimal crews to have much bigger fleets in the Dominion War. Many of the ships that fought in the Dominion War may have actually been on the way since been recalled from the frontier after "Q who" and not reached the central Federation until the Dominion War years later.

    I believe that in Ex Astris Scientia website there is a theory that the Federation's most distant star systems are separated by 8,000 light years from each other, but the Federation rules only a tiny percentage of the star systems within that vast volume of space, and thus a many times tinier fraction of all the galaxy.

    http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/cartography-other.htm

    So if there is a future government ruling the galaxy in the future of Star Trek the United Federation of Planets as a whole may be a founding member of the _____ Empire that may later be a founding member of the ______ Union that will later be a founding member of the Empire of _____ that will later be a founding member of.... and so on and so on until eventually the Federation will be a tiny part of some vast realm that will unite with other vast realms to form a galactic government.

    The idea that: "Well, perhaps Janeway only referred to inhabited systems and perhaps even in borg space, only one in tens of thousands of solar systems would actually be inhabited. -- or some such rationalization. Perhaps, yes." has a fatal flaw. I pointed it out in my post # 47 in this thread.

    In "Balance of Terror" McCoy said there were an estimated 3 million Earth type planets in the galaxy. In "Metamorphosis" Kirk told Cochrane it was estimated that there are millions of planets with intelligent life in the galaxy.

    Thus maybe one in ten thousand or one in a hundred thousand star systems has a planet with native intelligent life. But that still leaves many habitable planets with no native intelligent life ready to be colonized, and the vast majority of star systems should be fit to be colonized with space habitats.

    And the science of the 1960s and the present says that there are probably many more than a few million habitable planets in the galaxy, though the number of intelligent aliens is far harder to calculate.

    And if you count all the known star systems within ten or 20 light years of Earth and then calculate what percentage of them have habitable planets, or known Star Trek aliens, or Federation members, in Star Trek episodes and movies, you will see that if the sample volume of space is any guide, habitable planets, or intelligent species, or Federation members, are very common per unit volume of space in the fictional Universe of Star Trek..

    Thus my theory of the Federation is that it rules a relatively tiny volume of space and also a number of even tinier volumes of space scattered across a much vaster volume of space 8,000 light years across.

    And as for what Janeway said about thousands of star systems being too vast to go around during a 70,000 light year journey, the real world explanation is that "Sci-Fi writers have no sense of scale" - and in that case also Voyager writers. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ScifiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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  14. Tenacity

    Tenacity Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Federation and Cardassians fought for years over a chunk of the galaxy they both wanted, in the end they divided it.

    If there were indigenous "primitive" peoples in that space, the prime directive would nicely get the Federation out of informing them that their planet had just been encapsulated by the Federation's newest borders.
    That presupposes that the Star Wars galaxy is approximately the size of ours. Galaxies come in different sizes and their galaxy being quite small and dense would be one way of accounting for the fast travel times. In TESB, the Millennium Falcon was able to travel between two star systems at sublight speed in only weeks/months.
     
  15. at Quark's

    at Quark's Captain Captain

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    That would make for a creepier version of 'first contact' (the episode, not the movie).

    Chancellor Durken: And if I were to tell you to leave and never return to my world... ?
    Picard: We would leave and never return. However ... should you embark on interstellar travel, no matter which direction you'd go, you'd always run into us... that's because your solar system is surrounded by Federation space.

    (smiles slowly)

    Picard: Now, we're both reasonable and civilized men, so I wouldn't need to explain that your negotiation position for access through our space would be greatly strengthened if there were to be cordial relations between our species.... for example by allowing us to open an embassy on your planet, and perhaps install a division or two on the surface.. to protect you from the warmongering Cardassians of course, whose border isn't too far from here! We are only here to help guide you into a new era.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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  16. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Captain Captain

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    I understand in both Canon and Legends the GFFA(SW Galaxy) is 120,000 Light years across.
     
  17. MAGolding

    MAGolding Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I wouldn't count on reaching Bespin in TESB as proof of close stars in the Star Wars galaxy. Possibly they fixed the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon off screen. They reached the Bespin system in a few days or hours and were celebrating that Cloud City was just ahead of them, and then the hyperdrive failed again - off screen. They spent weeks or months reaching Cloud City while trying vainly to repair the hyperdrive - off screen.

    And I have heard that supposedly the Millennium Falcon has a lesss advanced emergency backup hyperdrive they used to reach Bespin.
     
  18. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bespin was pretty far, but reachable for the crippled Falcon. Most materials I've see that aren't actually on screen say that most ships (not Starfighters) have a backup hyperdrive that is relatively slow (like 10 to 20 times slower in some cases), and might either have a limited range, or limited use, like one of those emergency spare tires you sometimes see that seem ridiculously thin compared to regular tire.

    The main reason one doesn't use that to escape from someone like the Empire (at least not in front of them) is that you can likely be easily tracked. It might not even take you into hyperspace, but be more akin to traveling in subspace like a Federation starship, where one can be tracked in realspace. Hence why Boba Fett following them for a bit means that Vader could be told at whatever location his ship originally jumped to when the fleet split up, and then jump to Bespin personally long before the Falcon even arrives.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    To make a point about the extreme difficulty and logistics of force projection on an interstellar scale, since so many posters seemed to think force projection on such a scale is extremely easy.

    Okay, Mister Eddington. ;)

    I don't think the canon has ever addressed this, but I know that the novel Prime Directive by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens establishes that the Federation sets aside a certain number of star systems for future use by planets that will eventually develop warp drive, which the UFP government and its citizens may not by law visit or touch. In essence, the UFP tries to be a good neighbor to future interstellar civilizations by making sure they don't totally crowd them out before they become warp-capable.
     
  20. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I guess that would fit the practices of the Vulcans and I suppose the Andorians around the Sol System prior to Cochrane's warp flight. Sol is not that terribly far away from either power, and yet there were still several habitable worlds within two dozen light years of Earth. Vulcan itself is within that sphere, yet Earth was able to establish I guess a half dozen colonies outside Sol prior to the launch of the NX-01, and had launched many colony ships deeper into space prior to the formation of the Federation. Several of those were lost, only to be found by one USS Enterprise or another over the next two and a half centuries.
     
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