Imagine the TOS Starfleet

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Praetor, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I've been thinking a lot lately about Starfleet as established solely on TOS, and beginning to think that if we consider only what we see on TOS, we'd get an entirely different picture than we get when we take the franchise as a whole.

    Using only evidence established in TOS and related materials that pre-dated TNG and her spinoffs, what can we discern about Starfleet, her ships and their technology, and her officers?

    A few facts:

    • We know that the authority the Enterprise answers to is a "combined service"
    • We know that there are "12 like the Enterprise" in the fleet
    • We know that Star Central and UESPA are somehow related
    • We know that the Enterprise frequently gets referred to as an Earth ship
    • We know there is at least one ship crewed solely by Vulcans (the Intrepid) - do we actually know she's the same type as the Enterprise?
    • We have seen several other members of the class that the Enterprise belongs to, and seen reference to registry numbers (but no names) of other ships
    • We know that there is a firm distinction between spaceships and Starships
    • We hear several references to "Earth ships" and "Earth bases" but rarely to "Starfleet" or "Federation" ships
    • It appears different ships have different insignia on their uniforms but share the same rank structure
    To start, to me most of this suggests that Starfleet is less like the U.S. Navy and more like NATO command... ships from various navies with similar command structures working together on missions for their mother alliance. There's probably some sharing of technology.
     
  2. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    I think a lot of the confusion is that what we would now consider Starfleet in the TOS era really wasn't fleshed out until the second season. Or the UFP, for that matter.

    They might be canon, but I really don't put any stock in "Star Central and UESPA." There's the Federation--the civilian government, and Startfleet, the Federation's exploration/military arm.

    Starfleet has a significant number of ships. The most advanced and powerful are called "Starships," and it's stated in the dialog that there are twelve (or thirteen*) of them.

    Obviously, the Enterprise is one, as are (by visual confirmation during the original production--no re-imaginings allowed!) the Constellation, the Exeter, the Lexington, the Hood, the Excalibur, the Potemkin, and the Defiant. Based on actual spoken dialog, we can also conclude the Farragut ("Obsession") and the Intrepid ("The Immunity Syndrome") are as well.

    There an official production team-blessed starship name list published in "The Making of Star Trek;" interestingly, it contains 14 ship names, not 12, and doesn't include the Defiant (however, it states that the Constellation, having been destroyed, would likely be replaced; it's possible the Defiant was her replacement).

    *Kirk in "Tomorrow is Yesterday": "There are only twelve like it in the fleet." Does that mean a total of 12, including the Enterprise, or 12 others like the Enterprise (implying 13 in total)????
     
  3. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    Well, Mister Rogers used to say, "There's only one like you in the whole world!" I hope that didn't mean every kid had a doppelganger. :p
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think Kirk was referring to Starfleet being a combination of the Air Force, Navy, Army, Marines and Coast Guard.

    I always got the feeling when watching TOS that the Federation itself was much younger than the spin-offs said.
     
  5. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    And was that 12 a static number? Personally, I like the large number of Connies in FJTM & SOTSF, and figure that a small number of them are outfitted for independent duty, as the Enterprise is during TOS. It wasn't, IMO, during the 2 pilots, but was refit to independent duty specs after WNMHGB.
    So when Kirk brings it up, his ship is one of 12 or 13 with those specs and that special status. Before TWOK, it isn't anymore. Those honors have passed to other ships. As more ships get built, more of them can be independent duty.
    Regarding the age of the UFP, I like the idea of the organization going back around a century, so my thinking is: In the 2160's the big 5 (Andor, Alpha Centauri, Vulcan, Tellar, and Terra) form an alliance: UN/NATO writ large. UESPA was the Terran branch of the combined military. Back when it was formed, it was an allied military, but over the last century, it's been molding each world's militaries into a single standardized model, and the Babel conferences have been slowly consolidating each world's sovereignty into the whole. Sometime in the 2260's, the work was complete, and the politics finally came together to turn the UFP from a non-governmental organization akin to the UN into a binding government ala the US federal government. The TMP uniforms are the first new issue of the (finally) consolidated Starfleet. Prior to that, Starfleet was a theoretical term describing the combined military services of all members, but in practical use, UESPA told Terran ships what to do, Vulcan High Command told Vulcan ships what to do, etc.
    By the time Kirk brings his ship back after the 5 year mission, all those agencies have finally been folded into one, and just as he gets promoted, the uniforms change over - the new organization wants it's own uniforms, not one inherited from it's predecessors. Technical architecture has been pushed to develop the whole new aesthetic for the new service, as seen in the revamped appearances of everything in TMP, and perhaps that, as much as any technical capabilities, is why the switch from reactors in nacelles to reactor in the hull.
     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    ^^ Concise summary in a nutshell and a theory that matches the observable facts, I like it very much.

    Why only 12 ships? IIRC the US Navy had 12 aircraft carriers in the 1960's and this was an inspiration. I won't rule out the possibility that there were differences in opinion between Gene Roddenberry (12 are enough) and Bob Justman (12 are not enough).

    Apparently the basic quote from "Tomorrow Is Yesterday (TY)" compelled D.C. Fontana to suggest to establish the names for the "12 ships of the starship class" included in Starfleet. Bob Justman got a copy of the proposal and wrote Gene Roddenberry which names he felt should be established for the "12 ships of the Enterprise Starship Class".

    To me that looks like Bob Justman wanted to interpret Kirk's line in TY as 12 ships of the Enterprise Class (next to "starships" of other classes). However, the summary of the name finding process in The Making of Star Trek reads as if [Gene Roddenberry] felt 12 are enough (could also explain "the only starship in interception range" in TMP and beyond).

    It really depends how many starships Starfleet had in the first place to make an impression at the Altair VI festivities in "Amok Time". Admiral Komack wanted the Enterprise to be one of three (next to Excalibur and Endeavor). I'd speculate that a show of strength would at least require 10% of your available starships (i.e. a total of 30).

    On the other hand it had been possible to draw 5 starships from active duty in the M-5 computer wargames (already tested in simulation!) in "The Ultimate Computer". I'd speculate again that you shouldn't withdraw more than 10% of your starships from active duty (i.e. a total of 50)

    "United Earth Space Probe Agency"? Either Kirk didn't want to tell Captain Christopher more than he could digest or the Enterprise was still operating under the authority of the UESPA.
    Apparently it was during the times of "The Cage" and "WNM" because we can clearly see the United Earth (i.e. United Americas) insignia on overalls.
    Then you have mostly Anglosaxon names for the Enterprise starships.

    However, increasing tensions with the Klingons and the Romulan Star Empire in the first TOS season could have transformed "Earth and its allies" from "NATO" to Starfleet.

    Bob
     
  7. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    That'd be something to work out. My idea was that the transition was a long-planned and intended one, rather than a shotgun wedding for fear of Bubba Klingon invading the party! Or maybe it was planned, but was supposed to be completed around 2300, and the Organian conflict pushed it up?
     
  8. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    My question is...is Star Fleet just Earth's branch of the United Federation of Planets and do other members have their own version of Star Fleet? I know there was a Vulcan ship in Star fleet hence the confusion.
     
  9. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    Just out of curiosity, what is the dialogue you're referring to? I don't recall anything from the episodes themselves that would require either Farragut or Intrepid to be the same class as the Enterprise. (For Intrepid, if you're referring to the 400 Vulcans, I'm not sure that's conclusive.)

    Of course, I can't figure out why so many people want Republic to be the same class as Enterprise either. Variety is good!
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Part of the problem with this is that we don't really know how big the Federation is in the mid 23rd century, nor the size of Starfleet. The more Federation you have, the more Starfleet you get.

    This is what I take from the series, it does explain a lot of things through the multiple series, but doesn't agree with everything.

    I keep coming back to a couple of pieces of dialog. In Spectre Of The Gun, Kirk referred to the United Federations of Planets in the TOS era as "... a vast alliance of fellow creatures ..."

    In Azati Prime, Daniels refers to the multiple species in the Federation as being "... unified in a powerful alliance." Daniels was talking about the Federation of the 26th century.

    To me that just doesn't sound like a federal government.

    Never had a problem with UESPA being the ship's operating authority. While Starfleet is the command structure, the ship is operate by/works for one of the United Earth's agencies, in this case the "space probe agency."

    UESPA is no worse an acronym than USDOD (United States Department of Defense).

    If Kirk wanted to avoid confusing Christopher he could have told him the Enterprise was part of the US Navy. Which it sounds like what Christopher was assuming anyway, and Kirk could have simply followed his cue. Or Kirk just told him the truth.

    Whom The Gods Would Destroy seem to indicate that "something" happen to change the Federation about fifteen years back. So while it was formed a century before, a event happen. Perhaps something cultural?

    :)
     
  11. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    ^I was thinking of bringing that up. In my head canon, the Federation was initially a loose alliance. After Axanar, it became more of a central government, and we were seeing the transition during TOS. The Intrepid would be one of the first steps towards "assimilating" the various individual space agencies into what had been Earth's Starfleet.
     
  12. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    ^ "Journey to Babel" certainly made the TOS Federation look similar to the UN, since they sent Ambassadors to Babel to decide on the Coridan issue. If it was supposed to be a federal government, you think they would have just handled that in the halls of government.

    Also, "Amok Time" mentioned that T'Pau was the first person to refuse a seat on the Federation Council, which makes it sound more like a UN council or committee, rather than an elected government as the later series seem to indicate.
     
  13. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    • As pointed out this means a combination of the various military forces. Tomorrow Is Yesterday is an odd episode as it was originally going to be the second part of the story started in The Naked Time. As such it has artifacts from the first half of Season One.

      I can't imagine Starfleet is limited to 12 ships. That would mean the majority of fleet was at Starbase 11 getting repairs in Court Martial.

      USEPA is probably Earth's Space Exploration arm and works with Starfleet in joint operations that use Starfleet personnel. I don't recall a Star Central in TOS. There is a Vulcan Space Central.

      IIRC, that mostly happens in the first half of Season One. Afterwards it's Federation or UFP. Later terminology trumps earlier ones

      All we know is it was in for repairs at Starbase 11 and was destroyed a few years later TOS-R makes it a Connie.

      IIRC we've seen five in TOS. One in The Doomsday Machine one in The Tholian Web and three in The Ultimate Computer.


      Starship may be a term reserved for military vessels. The Klingons were said to have starships in Errand of Mercy.

      As I mentioned, "Earth ship/base" pretty much disappears in the first season. Starfleet and Federation are probably mention more.

    Not all, as we see non-Enterprise personnel sporting the delta.

    We've never seen any other navies, so I don't see how this could be the case.
     
  14. Josan

    Josan Commodore Commodore

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    I've never read any more into Kirk's "combined service" line than simply not wanting to reveal anything more to Capt. Christopher than he had to at that stage.
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We do hear about Tellarite ships in Journey to Babel, and in TNG Vulcan ships.

    :)
     
  16. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That depends on your point of view concerning changed premises. It's obvious that early TOS went through different writers' interpretations of the Enterprise's governing body before the Federation/Starfleet was settled on. That doesn't mean that these separate agencies actually existed.

    True.

    Again, see above concerning changed premises.

    Again, I tend to chalk that up to a changed premise. Was the Earth thing spoken more in the first season and the Federation spoken more in the 2nd and 3rd?

    All we know is she had a crew of 400 (and since Spock stated this, it's probably accurate even though an exact even number seems odd for a crew count), and her registry number was possibly 1831.

    Solely from information from TOS, we know:

    Constellation NCC-1017 (Constitution class)
    Republic (NCC-) 1371
    NCC-1672
    NCC-1685
    NCC-1700
    Enterprise NCC-1701
    NCC-1703
    NCC-1709
    NCC-1718
    NCC-1831 (possibly the Intrepid)
    NCC-1864
    NCC-1897
    Lexington (Constitution class)
    Hood (Constitution class)
    Potemkin (Constitution class)
    Excalibur (Constitution class)
    Exeter (Constitution class)
    Defiant (Constitution class)
    Farragut
    Carolina

    Older Starfleet vessels:

    Archon
    Horizon
    Valiant

    non-starships:

    Antares
    Astral Queen
    Aurora
    Beagle

    True.
     
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, we do not know from TOS (!) whether some of the starships you listed there actually belonged to the Constitution Class (as this is merely a conjectural assumption and better suits those that begin with an NCC-16XX prefix, IMO and for a number of reasons). ;)

    Where you have my undivided attention are the NCC-registries of "NCC-1864" and NCC-1897" from the starship status chart in "Court-Martial".
    While HD resolution clearly reveals NCC-1631 to be erroneous (as it most definitely shows NCC-1831) I'm still very uncertain regarding 1X64 and 1X97.
    Depending on which moment I freeze frame the Blu-ray image it reads either "16" or "18".
    I thought we'd have to wait for 4K UltraHD resolution before we could finally determine what it actually reads. :confused:

    Why is that important? If it is 1664 for the Excalibur, 1764 for the Defiant and 1864 for the Reliant we could speculate that the last two digits are only a contact code a new ship will "inherit" from a deceased ship. :)

    Bob
     
  18. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Just thought I´d add the Yorktown :)
     
  19. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed, I'm just trying to reconcile rather than ignore - plus, isn't it more fun to try to take these things into account? ;)

    I think you're most likely right on the first count - especially since it's in response to Captain Christopher's "Did the Navy--?" But, the line is open enough it could contain further meaning. Either way, I think we can safely conclude that Starfleet merges at least several military branches, even if only of Earth, and probably a couple pseudo-civilian ones.

    I also tend to agree about the Federation's age - which is another reason why I tend to favor the explanation of a loose alliance developing a stronger central government explanation. The bickering in "Journey to Babel" and the existence of Ambassadors between the world a la UN reinforce this to me.

    More or less agreed. We know that the Enterprise design is at least around 10 years old, so it would certainly allow for variants and upgrades, and certain subclasses to exist. And despite there appearing to be some "only ship in the ___" conveniences here or there, it didn't seem like that big a shock when the Enteprise encountered her sister ships.

    Wow, you threw a lot in there. :rommie:

    Generally agreed though, and this is more or less my line of thought; by TMP, when we see a slew of more aliens on the Enterprise, there almost has to be a greater degree of integration. I think that Starfleet could give orders to ships of the satellite fleets, though; maybe ships were assigned temporary duty to one authority over the other, or maybe they were always working for both.

    A pretty accurate assessment of the real-world reasons, I'd say. I'm certain the carrier thing was intentional, given the famous size comparison diagram. There is also the whole "specialness" of the term Starship to take into account... part of Gene's thinking may've been that having lots of them diminshed this.

    I'd say 30-50 Starship of various subtypes is eminently likely and possible, with the allowance for other types at least including cargo vessels/transport ships/survey ships/space-probe vessels. ("Charlie X.") Since the Antares was all of these things, it's possible at least that the Enterprise may've also been a space-probe or survey ship.

    Ah, great point on both cases. I seem to remember from TMoST, though, that Mr. Justman suggested making up a Vulcan Starship name, so clearly there was at least some thought of this.

    I'm thinking it was partially an "all-along" plan, and partially the situation being the glue that finally stuck them all together.

    That sounds perfect to me. :techman:

    You know, we really should all be saying Star Fleet, since that appears to be the original intent. :rommie:

    But you bring up a great point - what would an Andorian agency of the same type, which surely existed, be called? And yet in TOS, that I recall we never saw an Andorian in a Starfleet uniform.

    Well, from the background materials we know it was intended, but you're right that there is no explicit onscreen evidence that they be the same class.In the case of the Intrepid, though, I feel fairly certain that she was... why else would the "400 Vulcans" line be used, other than to establish she was the same kind? To be honest, in some ways, I think the producers of TOS sometimes thought the Enterprise type was the only Starship at the time.

    Great points, and agreed. And I can't help but keep coming back to the Ambassador thing. We know that the UFP was in some ways meant to parallel the USA, but Alabama and New York don't have Ambassadors to one another. :rommie:

    Also agreed. :rommie:

    I wonder if the real crux of it was that Kirk thought Christopher wasn't ready to hear that there was a United Earth? Christopher was a military officer during the height of the Cold War, after all. Kirk didn't want to lie, so he simply omitted certain facts.

    The thought I've had for a while is that someone tried to secede in violent fashion, and somehow it jeopardized the overall stability of the Federation. But yes, it was clearly something that had a powerful effect.

    I think that may've been what made Spock special - not that he was the first (half-)Vulcan to serve on a Starfleet ship, but that he was the first (half-)Vulcan to actually graduate the Academy and gain a position of note on a Starship. The crew of the Intrepid may've well been an experiment of some kind.

    Of course, there's also the possibility that generally in the 2260s Starfleet ship designs were all the same, but ships were generally operated and manned by homogenous crews.

    The "Star Trek: Federation" book suggests that the Constitution class project was an ambitious one in which all founder worlds had a stake - so it would make sense that even if she was fundamentally an "Earth" ship, the design could also be operated by Vulcans, Andorians, and so on. Indeed, looking at the project in this light, it may've been yet another step at getting everyone to play nice. A wartime alliance of disparate cultures does not a peacetime federal government make... ;)

    For that matter, let's discuss the Romulan War a bit... or should I say, the Earth/Romulan War. TOS certainly gives the impression that it was primarily an Earth conflict. Many sources creatively suggest that it started this way, but grew to include other worlds. Still, the original implication fits nicely with what we know of the original production notion that Enterprise was a United Earth ship, and in turns, leaves us to question what actually caused the forming of the Federation?

    Agreed on both counts.

    Ah, good point. That actually makes a lot of sense - especially if Starship is just a fast way of saying "ship of a star fleet."

    Another good point. In-universe, the only explanation I can see is that indeed the consolidation of Fleets had truly been completed by this time.

    Ah yes... "Court Martial" in particular, I think. And what do you want to bet the Defiant uniforms really looked like? ;)

    Why else would Earth be supplanted by Starfleet, outside of the known real-world reasons? It's possible we have to just pretend the Earth references were... something else. Anachronisms maybe. But still.

    Ah yes... forgot in particular the Tellarite one. Thanks!

    Agreed... but again, it doesn't meant that they didn't, either. ;)

    True.

    Excellent summary. A couple of caveats to add, would be that we don't know how the given names would actually match up to those "Court Martial" registries. Also, I presumed (perhaps erroneously) that the Antares was a Starfleet ship, given Ramart's uniform being a Pike era Starfleet one, but the other three were not.

    Ah yes, "Obsession." Good catch.
     
  20. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Er, if you look at what I wrote again, you'll see that I only listed the eight ships as Constitution class that were visually seen as such in the show. And only two of those have known registry numbers. I was not trying to match the ships to registry numbers like Jein did because I don't believe the intent of that chart was to have those ships all be Connies.

    With the HD screencap that I used, they looked very much like 1864 and 1897.

    First, my post was solely about the information from TOS, not anything later on, as per Preator's OP. Therefore, both the Excalibur and the Defiant do not have any known registries, and if that other registry is indeed 1864, it was not yet assigned to the Reliant as of TOS.

    Dang, I knew I'd forget one. Thanks!

    Yes, I was unsure about the Antares because I couldn't remember if it was referred to in dialog as the "S.S." Antares, or if it was just the "Antares." I know for a fact it was never referred to as the "U.S.S." Antares, or as a starship. But yes, there is a possibility that it is Starfleet based on the crew uniforms.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013