Size of starfleet?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Crazyewok, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    I guess the only thing to add here is that we probably agree the letter part of the registry would be an utter waste of paint unless there were alternatives to NCC. That is, yes, we know that there exist registries such as NAR-something and NSP-something etc., and yes, we have good reason to think that these correspond to the operating organization of the vessel in question, leaving NCC the specific "Starfleet operates me" symbol. But this further carries the connotation that a pairing of letter identifier and string of numbers would be unique, so it's possible that the strings of numbers alone need not be unique.

    See what I mean? There may exist both NCC-12345 and NAR-12345 within the same system, these being separate ships. But OTOH, there might not.

    If, for clarity, a registry already used for a NCC vessel never gets used for a NAR or NSP one, then the number of actual Starfleet ships goes way down. Starfleet might be the leading "consumer of registries", but it might also come a distant second to some other organization, at least at certain periods of UFP history.

    Do we have any canonical cases of the same number being used with two different letter prefices?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. jmampilly

    jmampilly Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In the TNG episode "Redemption Part I," Commander Riker says "Starfleet is spread relatively thin across this sector. There are only 7 ships within a day's travel of here."
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    The question then becomes how big is a sector?

    I think the TNG tchnical manual put it at 20ly across. But I don't think there has been any on-screen definition of the size of a sector
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    The size of a sector is about as ambiguous as the size of the UFP... But 20 ly grids were favored in the DS9 background maps, FWIW. That is, by knowing that the distance between Bajor and Cardassia was supposed to be about five lightyears, we can see the artists used a 20 X 20 ly grid (or sometimes 20 X 40 ly) - but in canon terms, this is a circular argument because nothing in canon has established the exact distance between Bajor and Cardassia, either.

    Back in ST2:TWoK, having two starships in the same sector was already puzzling... Although Sulu's surprise might have been more due to the Reliant not announcing her presence in the sector by long range means, so that Sulu only observed her by sensors or a short range beacon or something. But in such a case, one'd think Sulu would say something... "They appeared out of nowhere, Sir!", for example.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well in the case of the Reliant given the nature of the Genesis Project they might have decided to try and keep the Relaint's presense in that sector hidden.

    Remember it was pure luck that the Enterprise was anywhere near, as Sulu had earlier been told to pick any course you wanted.
     
  6. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You make a very good point as usual - and set up an interesting related question: does the number belong to the vehicle, or is it reassignable? Would NCC-1701 become NAR-1701 or NSP-1701 if she was sold off to another division? How often, if ever, are naval registry numbers or aircraft registry numbers moved from one craft to another in the real world?

    Unless memory fails me, the second DS9 Defiant is the only clear case of a registry number even possibly being transferred/changed that we have. Of course, the Defiant is also made more murky by conflicting evidence as to whether or not she actually retained her original registry number. Sisko's line says Starfleet gave permission to change the name, but doesn't specifically say whether they gave permission to change the registry.

    The Enterprise-A is also a possible case, since popular opinion has it that she was another ship to start with, be it Yorktown or whatever your personal canon might suggest. What happened to that ship's registry? Was it retired, with another planned for construction, or was it transferred to another vessel?

    Starfleet seems to be of the opinion that registries should stick with their original starships more often than not, if only for the sake of administrative clarity. (I certainly would hate culling through records trying to guess which Enterprise was being referenced if they were all NCC-1701.) Barring further evidence as to whether they are as unique as serial/VIN numbers, I think we are safe assuming that registry numbers are not usually transferred between ships nor are they retained when a vessel is renamed/reprovisioned. So different letter prefixes having a unique registry range independent of each other works for me.

    Regarding ships and sectors, it did seem to work out nicely to guess on the size of the Federation and the size of sectors to get 2,500 ships. It would be interesting to compute what a proportionally smaller Federation in the 23rd century would yield in terms of ship count, if it is Starfleet protocol to have at least one patrol ship per sector, that is.

    As an aside, I always assumed sectors were divided into quadrants somehow. This would make the whole "she's the only ship in the quadrant" work out better. Plus, the Federation is probably divided into quadrants, too...
     
  7. Keith1701

    Keith1701 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Great answer.
    and I like your picture on profile with the background.
     
  8. kgartm1185

    kgartm1185 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'd say that it's either:

    1. Small and has 800-1500 ships

    or

    2. Huge and has tens of thousands of ships.
     
  9. kgartm1185

    kgartm1185 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I completely agree with you.:techman:
     

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