NCC = Not Constitution Class?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Robert Comsol, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Why, exactly, do you consider TMoST to be the end all source for TOS? I'm asking more from my own curiosity than anything else, and I would agree it's a very interesting reference and insight into the development of the show (I have a copy myself). But I'm also aware that it was published while the show was still in production, meaning some things referenced either didn't come to pass or changed over the course of time. It may be true that no specific reference to the Enterprise being a Constitution class ship had been created at that point, but that doesn't inherently prove later associations to be wrong.

    I think the whole "starship class" thing is perhaps being taken too literally, and within a narrow context. In the context of the production, when it was not very clear what other ship categories would exist besides that of the Enterprise (or indeed if it were possible to even see other ships occasionally, owing to budget issues), then it makes total sense to use "starship class" as a vague descriptor of what makes Enterprise unique for storytelling purposes. It would be like if I were in a naval movie, and I referred to an Arleigh Burke as a destroyer class for a general reference. If the script required it, I could actually say "Arleigh Burke class" or mention that it's a guided missile destroyer, but that doesn't inherently matter unless it fits into the story somehow.
     
  2. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    I don't think a comment about a Constitution-Class starship would have been all that confusing. Certainly, the actors wouldn't care: it's not in dialogue. Only the maker of the screen insert would worry about it.

    I think having Khan reading a screen that says "Important Features to Know That Would Enable Someone to Capture the Enterprise" would be a little too "Chekhov's Gun." I can see the writers assuming that the viewing audience wouldn't be that dumb. The audience would be able to put two and two together.

    I know that the initial story outline for "Space Seed" is dated August 29, 1966 while the initial story outline for "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" is dated October 3, 1966. I wonder which actually came first--the Constitution-Class comment or the "twelve like her in the fleet" comment--not that it really matters.

    Also, remember that the Third Revision to the "Star Trek Writer's Guide" is dated April 17, 1967--after "Space Seed" was already written. It would be interesting to see what, if any, comments there were in the original version and the Second Revision. And I doubt that all scriptwriters got to see the dedication plaque that was on the set (as if the producers couldn't have changed their minds after the set was made.)
     
  3. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Who on the TOS production crew is still alive and can provide additional insights?
     
  4. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    It's probably easy enoughto use the interwebs to find out who's around and who isn't. Deciding who constitutes the "production crew" is probably more difficult. (Are story writers "production?") Lastly, it's probably difficult to determine exactly who actually has "insignt" into this. I just figure what the writers actually wrote is probably insight enough. I suppose it would be like trying to find "the guy" who could speak informatively and offer additional authoritative insight as to what the Bilble actually means.
     
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Having read several teleplays and a feature film draft by Roddenberry, I can say the novel reeks of his writing style.
     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Thank you, I'd consider this as a confirmation in addition to Alan Dean Foster's clear statement that he had "Nothing" to do with the novelization of TMP (realizing I made a mistake in merely assuming, I decided to ask Mr. Foster himself and he was kind enough to clarify the issue). :)

    @ Unicron

    I do consider The Making of Star Trek as an important reference source for TOS, as it had also been the basis for the works of Greg Jein and Franz Joseph.

    Of course, because it was written during the series, some premises might have changed after the book had been published, but by the end of TOS' run there still had been no on-screen evidence whatsoever indicating Enterprise to be a member of the Constitution Class.

    I can't blame Greg Jein for not having had access to the Jefferies' production sketch indicating the Enterprise to be the first of the 17th design series. As far as I know this important sketch hadn't been published in the late 60's or early 70's which would make his research effort incomplete.

    Where I do blame him, is that he was very well aware of the decisive text passage from The Making of Star Trek:

    "The Enterprise-class starships have been in existence for about forty years and are now capable of surveying and exploring the uncharted remainder of the galaxy."

    In his influential article he quotes the age of the "Enterprise-class starships" as a proof that the USS Valiant accepted by the producers as a starship name (my pet theory: USS Valiant is NCC-1831 and a member of the Miranda Class) can't possibly be the same as the USS Valiant mentioned in "A Taste of Armageddon" because it had been destroyed fifty years prior to the events of this TOS episode (excellent conclusion) or ten years before the first "Enterprise-class starship" left a fleet yard.

    However, he completely ignores the "Enterprise-class starship" quote as it is obviously not compatible with his pet theory and provides no reflection. IMHO, this makes his research effort inaccurate, and therefore I see no obligation to "reward" it or the ramnifications that (unfortunately) came out of it.

    Please bear in mind that this "heretic" thread of mine has been a test balloon for a blueprint project I'm conducting with a friend of mine where our aim is to reproduce accurate deck plans of Kirk's television Enterprise as seen in the series and in the original spirit of the 1960's with only little retcon input.

    Obviously, we need to label the blueprints properly and the only accurate, palatable approach, as it seems to me, would be:

    Classification: Starship (bridge dedication plaque)
    Type: (United) Space Cruiser (monitor display from "The Enterprise Incident")
    Serial N°: 1701 (Jefferies' production sketch)

    I think it's best to leave it up to everybody's individual imagination / preference, whether it should be Constellation, Constitution or Enterprise Class. ;)

    Bob
     
  7. alchemist

    alchemist Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe that "Enterprise-class" is used in this sentence as a compound adjective, not as a proper noun.
     
  8. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Yes: "Enterprise-class" being used grammatically as a compound adjective to simply describe a kind of starship--rather than being used grammatically as a proper noun and actual title of a particular starship classification is probably the correct interpretation. With that understanding, it's easy enough to not feel beholden to that TMOST comment. And I think a script direction in an actual TOS script shouldn't be so easily discounted.
     
  9. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    It may also be that Jein simply read it that way (that is, as describing a ship like the Enterprise without it being an "Enterprise class" ship) and simply didn't think it was that important. I have a copy of Bjo's Star Trek Concordance which consistently describes the Enterprise as being Constellation class, which seems to have been an error that slipped in and wasn't corrected in some editions. I'd have to look at my copy of TMoST again to have a clearer context.

    Edit: ninja'ed. :lol:
     
  10. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    It looks like in Bjo's original Concordance, she indicated that the Enterprise was a "Constitution-class" ship, but she forgot to cite "Space Seed" as its source. For the Ballantine Books version of the Concordance, it looks as if, after being unable to find her source for the "Constitution-class" comment, she just assumed she had simply made a mistake and must have meant a "Constellation-class" from the well-remembered "Doomsday Machine" episode and so she "corrected" the Concordance. By the time the Citadel Press version of the Concordance came out, she had rectified the omission:

    "Constitution NCC-1700 The class designation for twelve starships, including the original Enterprise. This is seen on Scotty's technical manual computer screen (SS)."

    (Of course, even that citation was a little messed up in its facts. The information was actually displayed on Scotty's technical manual computer screen in "The Trouble with Tribbles" using a graphic that was originally designed and intended for but went unused in "Space Seed"--based upon "Space Seed"'s Scene 44 "Constitution-Class Star Ship" script direction.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  11. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    That seems reasonable.

    An alternate thought to this is that "Starship Class" is a Federation bureaucratic classification like how the AHTS Aiviq is classified as being "Polar Ice A3 Class" although she's a tug and she's the first ship of her class. The Enterprise in TOS could've been classified as being a "Starship Class" (vs "Spaceship Class") and still belong to the Constitution class ships and of a star cruiser type.

    This has some merit since in TOS a fellow Federation captain did distinguish the two classifications.

    "Breads and Circuses"
    MERIK: He commands not just a spaceship, Proconsul, but a starship. A very special vessel and crew. I tried for such a command.
    Although, since you are strictly using only TOS and not including the movies or other series that followed, then I'd agree that the Enterprise could have belonged to any ship class, even her own, due to the lack of direct evidence (especially after the director's omission of evidence in "Space Seed".)
     
  12. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, just to clarify: it doesn't seem to be an omission by director Marc Daniels. It would seem that "Constitution-Class" was scripted, graphics were made, and then the scene was indeed shot by Jerry Finnerman under Marc Daniel's direction. Any later decision to not use the "Constitution-class" graphic (if, indeed the used "exploded wing" graphic is someday found to not say "Constitution-class" on it) would appear to be an editorial choice made by Film Editor James D. Ballas. It was probably just due to a real glarey screen--as opposed to some kind of outrage that the Constitution was being identifed as the class ship.
     
  13. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I stand corrected: "I'd agree that the Enterprise could have belonged to any ship class, even her own, due to the lack of direct evidence (especially after the film editor's omission of evidence in "Space Seed".)"

    The omission (for whatever reason) unfortunately took away any direct evidence of the Enterprise belonging to the Constitution class in TOS. Obviously, the later series confirms it but that is outside the OP's original post...
     
  14. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, it didn't take away any direct evidence; the script directions are pretty, well, direct. And fortunately those weren't taken away.
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Sorry, I have to weigh in again. I probably have to blame myself for either not being precise or for having chosen the wrong approach to present my case.

    As Greg Jein excellently concluded from the precise text of The Making of Star Trek + the starship status display from "Court-Martial" + the "Primary Phaser" schematic (http://startrekhistory.com/article4.html) there is sufficient proof for the existence of "starships" that belong to a "Constitution Class". :techman::techman::techman:

    The fact, that "Constitution" was an official name for one of the 12 starships selected by the producers, could be a hint that some of these starships (e.g. those with a prefix beginning with "16") actually did belong to a "Constitution Class" but it is not hard evidence (compare the USS Constellation from TOS with the "Constellation Class" of TNG)!

    Let's examine the "Primary Phaser" schematic in detail. A friend of mine from Australia who's very knowledgable about navy vessels in real life told me that the "Mark / MK" designation is exclusively used for devices (like the photon torpedos in ST) but never for naval vessels. Thus, I'm confident that the "MK IX/01" refers exclusively to the kind of primary phaser illustrated here as Scotty would apparently be interested what kind of phaser he's looking at...:rolleyes:

    Where Greg Jein apparently failed, was the moment he insisted that the "MK IX/01" refers to the type of starship and felt that "MK IX/01" refers to the USS Enterprise. :wtf:

    I think it's fair to say that everybody without a personal agenda would have immediately pointed out that the registry of the Enterprise is "1701" which would have read "XVII/01" and not "IX/01" or "901" (!!!).

    Apparently, according to Jein's reasoning, the USS Eagle (NCC-956) would be the only starship (next to a USS Constitution) we could be certain of belonging to this "Constitution Class", if we were to follow Jein's theory. :devil:

    TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT:

    The "Space Seed" script refers to Khan studying specifications of a "Constitution Class Starship".

    This could be a historic design in the middle of the evolution path towards the Enterprise. To understand how the Enterprise does work, it is inevitable for an individual from the 20th Century to examine and grasp the technological (r)evolution.

    Alternately the starships of the Enterprise Class may simply continue to use a basic, well proven technical design of an earlier Constitution Class.

    There is no hint, mind hard evidence, whatsoever, that indicates that the Enterprise has to be a member of the Constitution Class!

    To draw that conclusion remains entirely conjectural, but is neither compatible with the explicit "Enterprise Class Starship" statement from The Making of Star Trek nor the in-universe explanation for "N° 1701" provided by Matt Jefferies.

    Equally inconclusive is the quote from the novelization of TMP. In the proper context it merely does establish that the starships of the "Constitution Class" present the top-of-the-line in terms of firepower and armanent.

    It has never been established that the starships of the 17th design like Enterprise and her sister ships were supposed to have more firepower than the previous starships (of the 16th design).
    Apparently, the Donatu V battle with the Klingons 25 years prior to events in TOS indicate a period of armed conflict requiring "battlecruiser" starships while - fortunately - by the more peaceful times of TOS "cruiser" starships are sufficient.

    I'd like to think that for the war games in "The Ultimate Computer" the choice for an (inferior) starship of the 17th design was rather deliberate to show that the M-5 computer could easily beat two Enterprise Class sister ships + two heavier Constitution Class starships. ;)

    Bob
     
  16. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    We'll have to disagree on the meaning of "direct evidence". Since it got cut, to me it no longer is "direct evidence" regardless of the reasoning behind it. At best, it falls under a "what if they had tried this?" or "they thought about doing this but at the last minute changed their mind" backstage scenario.

    We can of course argue that in later years they revisited this idea and made it "evidence" by inserting it into "The Naked Now" episode and later movies (with the exception of "Wrath of Khan") and series (and I'd agree).
     
  17. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    A brief Google search would seem to indicate that your Australian friend is either wrong or out of date. There would appear to be lots of ships with "Mark" or "Mk" designations. For example:

    "The Mark V SOC (Special Operations Craft) is a small marine security/patrol/transport boat manufactured by Halter Marine Inc. (Gulfport, Mississippi). The Mark V is one of the newest additions to the United States Naval Special Warfare Command."
     
  18. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe he works for the Australian navy and they do it differently?

    --Alex
     
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ Albertese

    No, Bob Brown (author of the defunct "Ship of Riddles" / Millennium Falcon website) does not work for the Australian Navy but (real life) vessels are of interest to him.

    @ GSchnitzer

    Thanks for this piece of information, and, of course, they might be doing things differently in the 23rd or 24th Century. :)

    But still, this is no evidence whatsoever that "MK IX/01" refers to the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 and made her a member of the Constitution Class.

    Bob
     
  20. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    Ah, that was a cool website! Figuring out the Falcon's guts is about as fun as figuring out the Enterprise's.

    --Alex
     

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