Is it smart to have families on the Enterprise-D?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by HansentheSwede, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, I think the intention of the designers was that the saucer would normally be left behind in a safe place before the battle section went off to a military engagement. Or, as we saw in "The Arsenal of Freedom," if the ship came under attack, they would retreat to a safe place, separate the hulls, and then take the battle section back to engage the enemy. The situation in "Encounter at Farpoint" was presumably meant to be somewhat anomalous because the ship was unable to retreat from the threat and had no choice but to separate the saucer during pursuit and hope it would be left alone.

    I imagine that if the miniature with the separating hulls had been easier to work with and the producers had used it more regularly, you might've seen more episodes opening with something like, "Captain's Log, stardate 42424.2. The Enterprise has been ordered to investigate a possible border incursion by the Meanalien Conglomerate. Thus, we are leaving the saucer section behind at Starbase 23-Skidoo and will proceed to the border in the battle section." Heck, they even could've done an A-plot with the battle section engaging the bad guys and a more character-driven or comic-relief B-plot back aboard the saucer.

    You have a point, though; it would've made more sense if maybe both hulls had had warp capability. I guess they didn't go with that because it would've been too great a departure from the familiar saucer-and-two-nacelles design.
     
  2. JiNX-01

    JiNX-01 Admiral Admiral

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  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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  4. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    But the star-drive section needed the speed and power of the warp engines (not to mention the main armaments of the torpedo launchers) for combat. I believe that the "idea" is that the saucer has "sustainer" engines that allowed it to "coast" at a warp speed for a short-while before dropping to impulse.

    The star-drive section likely would lure the attacking vessels away from the saucer section by being the bigger threat.
     
  5. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    It makes a lot of sense actually, you have budget and time to consider. With longer stories and bigger budgets like The Way Of The Warrior you can do things like that, but you can't with a mere 42 minutes to tell a story.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's right. It's the same principle that allows photon torpedoes to be fired at warp. They sort of pinch off a bit of the warp bubble, carry it along with them, and sustain it for a little while before it collapses.
     
  7. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    AMOF I think that this is pointed out in "Brothers" where the crew try and to devise a way to regain control of the ship -presumably seized by Data on the bridge." One of the suggestions is to detach the saucer where it's said it'll coast out of Warp after a few minutes.
     
  8. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I remember the original press info saying the Enterprise was on a 20 year mission and bringing families along was necessary for the crew's mental health and whatnot. Also, as late in the first season as "Conspiracy," they made a huge deal about the Enterprise returning to Earth. It was clear they weren't expected back for a really long time. Two years later, going to Earth was nothing much.
     
  9. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    One of the gripes I had with season one of TNG was this little exchange, right out of the gate, in Encounter at Farpoint [http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/101.htm]:

    Picard's attitude seemed incongruous to me. You'd think Starfleet would have chosen someone to captain the Enterprise who was not so overtly uncomfortable with children, especially if the ship was really going out into deep space for over a decade.
     
  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe they were more concerned with his qualifications as an explorer and leader than whether or not he likes kids. Besides, maybe he didn't put that in his file.
     
  11. Captain Picard.

    Captain Picard. Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe transporting families to colonies but not living there on a long term basis especially on the flag ship of star fleet it would be a big target.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But see, again you're looking at it from the perspective of later TNG and subsequent series, in which we more often saw Starfleet portrayed in a military role. As I quoted above, the original TNG writers' bible asserted that Starfleet was not a military organization, but a scientific and diplomatic one. Part of the reason Roddenberry made its captain a Frenchman is because he was paying tribute to Jacques Cousteau. He saw the Enterprise-D as being more like a really big Calypso than a battleship or an aircraft carrier. Would you expect the Calypso to have been a big target?

    The problem, as I've been stressing throughout the thread, is that the later showrunners who'd taken over TNG after the first season abandoned most of what the creators had intended, and had the ship engaged in military and political missions more often. So there's a discrepancy between the model that Roddenberry intended -- in which having civilians and families onboard was not only believable, but essential -- and the very different model that subsequent showrunners employed, in which having families onboard made less sense.

    Maybe it would've made more sense if Roddenberry hadn't been so attached to the Starfleet paradigm. I think his later self who was less comfortable with the military was at odds with his '60s self who was comfortable with being a WWII veteran and making his show about a military vessel. What he tried to do was keep the name and trappings of Starfleet but re-envision it as a more peaceful, scientific organization, yet that clashed with viewers' expectations about Starfleet being a military service. So maybe what he should've done instead was to have two distinct space services, one scientific (say, UESPA) and one military (Starfleet). That would've fit right in with my two-ship model.
     
  13. Captain Picard.

    Captain Picard. Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I am just saying on star ships like the Enterprise kids should not be allowed it is simply to risky. Fine allow kids on star ships that mainly go on routine missions to transport people around different colonies in deep federation space but not go and check up on what's going on near the Romulan border or lead the fleet into a battle with the Borg.
     
  14. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Even with the Enterprise doing more military-like stuff during the series I see no problem with there being civilians and children on the ship. People want to do their job and have their family around, not go on a years-long mission with their family light years away on Earth. What kind of future for humanity is that when you consider the idea that Starfleet was supposed to be so "over staffed" everyone wanted to be an officer because being in Starfleet was the culmination of humanity's goals to explore the galaxy. But to do that you have to give up ever having a life and family? Nuts to that.

    Maybe by the 24c people lost the "Think of the children!" mentality and thought brining them along on a decade-long space mission was worth the risk given the odds they were presented with. Which, again, consider that over the course of seven years there were only a handful of time the ship's occupants were under real mortal danger. Civilians and families today live on military bases, in or near countries not entirely friendly to the U.S. and do work for a greater cause either on their own, through an organization or for the military.

    Is someone wanting to be a botanist on a starship really that much different than someone who up-roots their entire family to live in a hut in Africa to provide good medical care?

    People take risks all of the time with their children either by choice or bu living circumstances. Should people who live in the ghetto not do so with/have children? I mean it's not safe to go out on the streets or to school there.

    The "OMG think of the children!" mentality is gone, hell episodes even suggested that the fear, worry and mourning of death itself was gone. People saw bringing their children on the ship as an acceptable risk and a necessary part of wanting both a career in Starfleet and a family.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    And you keep missing what I'm saying, which is that the creators of the show did not intend the ship to do those kinds of things. It says right there in the passages I've quoted from the original series bible that the ship was intended to be a research and diplomatic vessel, not a military vessel. That's why they conceived it as a ship that would have civilian scientists and their families aboard.

    But those original creators left and were replaced by different people who changed the way they portrayed the ship and its mission -- changed it in ways that conflicted with the original intentions, by taking what had been meant to be a deep-space research platform that was as much civilian as Starfleet and instead using it as a diplomatic and military flagship closer to home with the civilian population all but forgotten. And that's the reason for the contradiction you're seeing.
     
  16. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    I seem to recall episodes with children in "Wagon Train", too?

    "Wagon Train to the Stars..."
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Personally I think the mission originally intended for the E-D -- spending 15 years in uncharted space, making new discoveries, never dealing with the familiar races or politics back home -- could've been more interesting than the series we ended up getting. It's basically the sort of mission undertaken by the Titan in the novels I and others have written about that ship, so naturally I have an affinity for it. But I'm not sure we ever really could've gotten that series. As others have pointed out above, even in the first season we had plenty of episodes about diplomatic or medical relief missions, or dealing with crises involving Federation citizens or border incidents with the Romulans. I guess the writers just couldn't think up enough stories that took place in uncharted space and didn't deal with familiar races and interstellar politics. So the focus of the show shifted, and might inevitably have done so even if the original creative staff hadn't been replaced. In that sense, maybe the "university village in space" idea (as I like to call it) was one that never would've worked out.

    Although come to think of it -- why does nobody ever complain about the fact that they had civilians and family members on Deep Space 9? That station was hardly safe; it was in the most strategically important and contested part of the quadrant. So how come you never hear people raising the same objections to Jake and Keiko and Molly -- not to mention civilians like Quark and his family -- being on the station that they raise to families and civilians aboard a Starfleet vessel? Isn't that a contradiction? If fans can live with it on DS9, why can't they live with it on TNG?
     
  18. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    You just perfectly described what Voyager should have been.
     
  19. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Totally agree. I recall the night a large group of us got together to watch an air-freighted tape of "Code of Honor", hot off a US video recorder, and we suddenly realised the "Let's see what's out there..." aspect had been seemingly dumped for local milk runs in familiar territory.

    However, for me, it meant that the chances of seeing an Andorian or two in TNG might have increased. (Not by very much, as it turned out, but I didn't know that then.)
     
  20. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Families were probably placed onboard the Enterprise and other ships because of some politician who wanted to shift StarFleet's budget away from space exploration to defense. Think about it.

    "1,014 men, women, and children were killed earlier today when the Enterprise-D was destroyed by some strange inverted nebula that caused the crew to turn inside-out. Horrible deaths, but the worst thing is that this never had to happen. First we create an enemy out of the Borg that threatens our very existance and now this. How many more lives will be lost before StarFleet stops poking its nose where it doesn't belong?" -- FOX News, Stardate 47457.1.