So many Mirandas/So few Constitution-refits?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by SicOne, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think so much as a replacement, but as a general rule of thumb, Starfleet is always developing the next new starship class, incorporating new systems and/or lessons learned from current ones. In TNG's "Booby Trap," Starfleet already had ideas to be implemented into the next design after the Galaxy-class, even though the Galaxy-class was still fairly new at the time.
     
  2. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk's speaking figuratively rather than literally. He's talking about "this ship" in terms of the Enterprise legacy, as he's presumably aware the Enterprise-B is on the drawing board. It doesn't make sense in this context if the A was simply renamed USS Richard M Nixon and carried on trucking.
     
  3. SicOne

    SicOne Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, and I'm thinking that retiring the Enterprise-A and displaying her in a museum with battle scars intact from the Khitomer actions would also demonstrate Federation dedication to keeping the peace. And it lets the ship be decommissioned on a high note, to say nothing of allowing the Enterprise name to be shifted to an Excelsior (presumably, by this time the Excelsior's teething problems are well behind her).
     
  4. blueziggy

    blueziggy Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    i like to think that the Enterprise in its current state, a ship that was widely known to the Klingons as a battlecruiser (see STIII), was decommissioned as a symbolic ending of hostilities between the Federation and the Empire.

    putting the name on a new vessel that wasnt designed as a warship (one could argue) wouldnt be considered an insult to the Klingons either.

    as for why there seem to be so many mirandas, i just think they were cheaper to make.
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That assumes that the Enterprise was the first -- or even ONE of the first -- of the entire class ever built. That seems extremely unlikely to me since we see one ship that appears to be a Constitution class with a registry of 1017. Given that everything else we've seen higher than 1764 is a different class vessel, it's more likely Enterprise and Defiant were some of the LAST ships off the Constitution production line.

    I'll buy that Enterprise was fifteen years old when it arrived at Talos-IV... but the entire class? In the TOS years, we've seen ships constructed five or ten years apart separated by registries of only three or four hundred; the original Constellation is seven hundred ahead of the Enterprise and is at least fifteen years older, while the four-nacelled replacement (NX-1974) was probably already completing its testing when its namesake was destroyed by the Doomsday Machine and Starfleet simply transferred the name to the new ship just like they had with the Enterprise.

    Its semi-retirement only twenty years later belies this claim, considering both the Miranda and the Excelsiors and even the Constellations remained in service for another hundred years. If the Constitution class was really in its prime in the 2260s, then its early retirement might very well be indicative of the problem: severe lack of durability over time leads to a very short-lived spaceframe that has to be replaced or overhauled too often to be economical.

    OTOH, the service life of the Enterprise post-TMP give us some clues that the Constitutions were no longer fit for front line duty by then, and we're simply speculating as to WHY. The fully refitted Enterprise should have been good for at least another twenty years after the TMP upgrade, but only a decade later the ship is a training vessel due to be decommissioned; and even in TMP, Kirk only got command of the ship in the first place by using the V'ger emergency as an excuse and then stayed on for the shakedown cruise. For all we know, the only reason Enterprise got its refit in the first place is so the cadets could get used to the kind of technology they'd be seeing on the Mirandas and Constellations.
     
  6. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed so, and why not? Starfleet hull registries are all over the place in range and aren't always consecutive. It could easily be a case that the Enterprise was the second Constitution-class ship built, with the Constellation either an earlier ship later upgraded to Constitution-class or a later ship just assigned a lower registry number (for all intents and purposes, Starfleet hull registries are just code numbers that have little or nothing to do with a ship's chronological commissioning).
    Not at all, because those designs could be the rare exceptions rather than the rule for starship design lifetimes. The Constitution-class may have only had an initial design life of 30-35 years, with the refit program extending it for another 15-20.
     
  7. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Perhaps the Constellation (NCC-1017) was the one refit from an earlier type of Constitution, serving as a testbed for components that would eventually become the Connies we all know and love in TOS. Following that, based on an earlier discussion here, the Enterprise (NCC-1701) become the one "freshly built" Connie of her area to be the new "refit" for the testbed of next-generation parts that would eventually build production-run batch of Connie's like the replacement Enterprise (NCC-1701-A), until the entire fleet of all Connies, old and new, were deprecated by the Excelsior class.

    Edit: Whoops - looks like C.E. Evans wrote pretty much the same thing at the exact time that I did. :)
     
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I could see the question about the Reliant, but the the Miranda class itself is a bit younger than the Constellation class. They are close enough in registry to be concurrent, but then so are the Constitutions. We know that all three classes were in service together in the 2280s, and we have reason to believe the Mirandas were active in the 70s. Given how little we know about their design history, there is ZERO reason to suspect they weren't already in service together in the 60s as well, especially given Enterprise's previous history.

    Apart from the obvious implication that Columbia was a pre-warp vessel (time warp vs. non-time warp), there's the fact that Tyler never calls Enterprise "new." He says

    "And you won't believe how fast you can get back. Well the time barrier's been broken. Our new ships can-- :drool:GIRL:drool:!"
    Okay, I improvised the last part, but he starts talking about "our new ships" before Vina's hotness breaks his concentration.

    Our new ships can WHAT? Travel faster than light? Travel faster than yours? Or maybe "Our new ships can get you back to Earth in just a couple of days!"
     
  9. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you're gonna go down that road, then Reliant could easily be older than Enterprise and we have literally nothing else to go on other than the most superficial of visual cues. :shrug:

    Besides, the registries have seemed to be pretty consistent in the TOS/TMP era. It's only in TNG+ that they start to get weird.

    They're not.

    The Excelsior, the Miranda, the Constellation, the K'Tinga/D7 and the Klingon bird of prey all remain in service for well over a hundred years (not just ship classes; we have seen individual vessels 80 to 100 years old still in active service). Various upgrades and modifications keep these designs in service, some more heavily upgraded than others. Obviously, an attempt was made to upgrade the Constitution class as well, but for reasons unknown those upgrades did not extend its life into the 24th century. So either the Constitution is the exception to the rule -- one of the very few starship designs with a short useful lifespan -- or the Constitution class has the same lifespan as the Excelsior and Miranda and we just happen to be seeing the very end of it.

    From what we can tell, the Excelsior and Mirandas managed to get by without an extensive stem-to-stern refit program, and we have not seen any other starship class so extensively rebuilt. Again, in this regard, Constitution is the exception rather than the rule.

    I don't believe anymore that the refit was intended to extend the Enterprise's service life. I think the ship was rebuilt BECAUSE its service life was over and they wanted to test some new techologies on a starship that was finished venturing into deep space. This also explains what was wrong with the Enterprise-A; the ship's systems were falling apart because everything on it was experimental (whereas the 1701_ had been fitted out with what had become "standard" equipment to test a new engine design).
     
  10. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, I'll give you that. I guess I was thinking of having at the very least something on paper saying "The NX-2000 will be our prototype to replace the Constitution class." And, of course, the technological hodgepodge you mention. Some pencil pusher somewhere probably had a doc of mission requirements and tech specs that were being added on to for the new class, even if no work was being done.

    Agreed - I think the question really becomes were they ever refit to TMP-era specs, or were they built that way? Lately, I've come to favor built that way. Maybe NCC-1500 was a similar "frigate" class which represented a mid-step between the previous generation and this one, that was simply retired in favor of Mirandas.

    I knew I was opening a can of gagh with this one. (Very accurate improvisation, btw. :rommie:)

    True, Jose never explicitly says "by new ship, I'm talking about the Enterprise." Also true, the writer's intention at the time was probably that the Columbia didn't have "time warp." I think, though, that the implication is clear that Jose means that the Enterprise is one of "our new ships." Also, the way he delivers the line indicates some degree of "our ship belongs to a newer, better type." Of course, it's highly relative. :)

    Regarding the TMP refit, I think a core question remains: was the Enterprise refit performed to extend the life of the class, or was the refit performed because the Enterprise happened to be the choice to testbed new tech?
     
  11. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why do you think the Enterprise was "due to be decommissioned" in TWOK? There's no evidence of that. Until she gets battered by the Reliant, there's apparently nothing much wrong with her. It's true she's been used as a training ship in this instance, but this needn't be permanent.

    There's something odd about the whole set-up in TWOK. We have Lieutenant Saavik, who is also referred to as a cadet, which seems odd. There are other officers in red collars running around too. I think this is something different, and Saavik and these kids are being groomed to take over the ship.

    One parallel that comes to mind is the USS Valiant in DS9, which was effectively run by an elite group of cadets, the Red Squad, with a few senior officers to supervise. Notice the red collars? Maybe this is an earlier form of that group. Sisko didn't seem to know about them in DS9, and the impression was that they were a new group, but they could be revived from an earlier idea.

    There's also McCoy's line "wouldn't it be easier to just put an experienced crew back on the ship?", and Kirk's reply "galloping around the cosmos is a game for the young". You could argue the implication is that these cadets are going to be the new crew of the Enterprise, which is going to be sent on another mission of exploration.

    It's only after some severe damage that the decision is taken that the Enterprise isn't worth repairing. This should also be seen in the context of the Excelsior, which threatened to make all existing starships obsolete virtually overnight. If Starfleet had supreme confidence in the Excelsior, it makes sense not to bother patching up the old, slow Enterprise when they needed to pour resources into their new fleet of transwarp ships. It was political more than anything.

    That doesn't tally with TMP though. The refitted Enterprise is supposed to be the most advanced and daring spacecraft ever launched by the Federation, which is suggested in the film, and implicitly stated by all the publicity and behind-the-scenes information from the time. It's stuffed with new technology, and is clearly the very peak of starship design. The gloss is rather taken off if there's a load of Mirandas and Constellations ready to roll off the production line.

    I can buy it as a test-bed for new technologies which would be spun off to the Miranda and Constellation (which Picard speaks of in less than glowing terms), but that doesn't mean it's just a training ship from the outset.

    However I could go with the idea that the same refits weren't necessarily widespread, and therefore there weren't a great many of Enterprise-refit type ships out there to begin with. What we really need is a missing link to bridge the gap between the phasing out of the Constitution, and the introduction of the Excelsior. That's not the Miranda or Constellation.
     
  12. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Frankly I'm still sort of inclined to divorce TOS from TNG+ (in which case the age problem disappears) and the "time warp" might simply be shorthand for one of the four known forms of propulsion used by starships to travel faster than light (the others being space warp, transwarp, ion power and impulse power). Columbia might have been equipped with space warp, but Enterprise had the newer time warp which works somewhat differently. Breakthroughs in later years would have made the more conventional spacewarp system superior, which explains why warp drive works so differently in the movie era than it does in TOS (space warp is faster, but it's a lot harder to use).

    In that context, transwarp might actually be a combination of the two: a time warp engine that ALSO warps space.

    We know it was a testbed for new technologies. What we don't know is whether or not the Enterprise HERSELF got to use any of those technologies in a genuine exploration mission or if it simply tested those technologies for later installation on other ships. We do know that ten years later the newly-upgraded starship was being used as a training vessel, which means they were using the ship to teach a new generation of officers how to use those new technologies. We don't know what Enterprise-A's mission would have been, but her condition in TFF suggests she was ALSO being used to test new technologies.

    Here's something to consider: despite some of the chronological weirdness with the given stardates, all four movies -- from Wrath of Khan to Final Frontier -- happen within about a year of each other and not a great deal more. Kirk and Spock have both spent the last several years running Starfleet Academy; it's unclear what their new assignment is AFTER the Genesis incident and the whale probe, but it's unclear whether or not the President actually transferred him out of the training program. Enterprise-A could be yet another training vessel with Kirk finally having an excuse to just stay aboard as a teacher (which Spock already does, apparently), only this one is fitted out with technologies found on the Excelsior class.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's pretty much how it goes. We base things on the most superficial of visual cues and then find ways to explain any inconsistencies that crop up.
    Actually, they weren't really any more consistent in the TOS/TMP era because they were all over the place back then too. We had Constitution-class ships ranging from 1017 to 1701 alongside ships with NCC-621 and NCC-595 registries. In TNG, DS9, and VOY, there was just an even wider range of numbers that would be consistent if the fleet was correspondingly bigger than it was during TOS.
    Or it could just be a case for every design that lasts 100 years, there are several that don't. We can invent any reason for why this is the case.
    The Excelsior-class had an upgraded version only a decade or so after it was introduced.
    See above.

    But I think in the case of the Excelsior-class, its upgraded version served as a mission-specific variant, perhaps one specifically tailored for deep-space exploration.
    Well, no one has said that you can't believe any of that, it's just that I don't. Like the origins of the Enterprise-A, more than one theory can work, even if they're very different ones.
    :)
     
  14. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In Search for Spock Scotty mentions to morrow that he is "looking forward to supervising the refit of Enterprise" and morrow tells him "There will be no refit."

    It's unlikely Scotty is simply referring to repair and relaunch. Enterprise, as a training vessel, is not equipped for prolonged space voyages or exploration missions. OTOH, Kirk wants to take Enterprise back to Genesis, which would necessitate it being fitted out for an exploration mission. Morrow overrules him, partially because Genesis has become highly controversial (and the Council is being very careful about who they let go there) but mostly because "we feel her day is over."

    They're being groomed to take over A ship. I'm not so sure it's the Enterprise.

    Also, in other threads we've had discussions about what it means for Starfleet to be a "combined service" as mentioned in "Return to Tomorrow." It's possible that Saavik is already an officer in some Federation uniformed service OTHER than Starfleet and her academy training is part of her certification for transferring to the new program (like how an experienced Air Force pilot still has to go through two years of astronaut training in order to fly a space shuttle).

    I wouldn't, because at this point Uhura is only a little bit older than Kirk was when he commanded the Enterprise and Sulu still has a long career ahead of him. If it was just a matter of finding "new blood" for the Enterprise, Sulu would be promoted to Captain and Saavik would be tapped to become the new helmsman under his highly experienced command.

    For that matter: what would Chekov transfer to Reliant when he could just as easily be the first officer on the Enterprise with a ship and a crew he is already familiar with? In such a case, you already have a fully intact command crew: Captain Sulu, First Officer Chekov, Second Officer Uhura, Helmsman Saavik. The only one who's really "too old" is Kirk, and even then we have McCoy telling him "get back your command before you REALLY grow old."

    It isn't implied in the movie except that the new design is VERY different from its original configuration, and the reason for the redesign is never actually given. The "most advanced" line only comes from the novelization, most of which is contradicted by Wrath of Khan anyway.

    And rightly so, since we found out there WERE a bunch of Mirandas and Constellations rolling off the production line during this time (or maybe just Mirandas, if we separate TOS from TNG).

    Right. It's the Enterprise-A.
     
  15. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting take. FWIW, the "Star Trek: Federation" book postulated that warp scientists believed a Time Barrier existed at Warp 7, wherein if you went faster you would travel backwards in time. In other words, the "our new ships can..." would have been followed by "...go faster than warp seven." (And more drooling.)

    Right - I guess I was unclear. My meaning was that she was either:

    1. Meant to test new tech to extend the life of her own (and possibly other) classes
    2. Meant to test new tech for a new generation of vessels
    That... makes entirely more sense than I would like it to. :rommie:
     
  16. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's supposition that isn't supported by the films. Is this decision to decomission long-standing, or a consequence of the TWOK battle damage? It certainly comes as a big shock to Kirk and Scotty, who fully expected to be able to take her out again after a couple of weeks repairing the ship. It doesn't suggest to me that the Enterprise was intended to be decommissioned so soon before she got the crap beaten out of her by Khan. It doesn't sound like Scotty felt a serious refitting was even necessary to have them back out again, so there can't be this distinction between "training ship" and "exploration ship" you suggest.

    And as I said above, the context of Morrow's decision to decommission her is the emergence of the Excelsior, which Starfleet bullishly is certain will work, and usher in a new era of Starship design, which would instantly render the old ships obsolete.

    Yes, this is possible

    Well the background is that Sulu was already lined up for the Excelsior, and who knows what he's been doing in the years before TWOK? He doesn't seem to be a regular any more, as he's "delighted" to get back on the Enterprise once more. I'd guess he's been XO of some other ship, and has happily agreed to come back at Kirk's request whilst between posts.

    We don't know how long Chekov was on Reliant for. He might have transferred over soon after TMP, when offered the chance to be XO at a relatively young age. His career progression on the Enterprise might have been blocked by Spock, Sulu, Scotty...

    Come on, it's full of the latest technologies, which have been a steep learning curve for much of the crew. It's clearly the intention of the film that the Enterprise is the latest and greatest toy Starfleet has produced, though it's also faced with considerable teething problems. Decker talks about the new shields giving them the edge against V'Ger, the phasers are more powerful with a new design, and she's the fastest ship in the fleet (per TSFS's "speed records").

    And TWOK doesn't contradict anything. It's set at least a decade after TMP for starters.

    Well that's a whole other thread!
     
  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This has always been my line of thinking, too.
     
  18. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not necessarily, but it was definitely coming up. Likewise: even Morrow must have known it wouldn't take much to put Enterprise back into tip-top shape, and the battle damage alone would be a flimsy excuse to pull her from service. It's more likely that the ship was due to be decommissioned anyway and the only other mission Enterprise could have conceivably carried out -- the exploration of Genesis -- was already a nonstarter.

    That's kinda what I meant. It only take two weeks to swap out the training gear for the hardcore science package they would need to explore a planet like Genesis. It wouldn't be hard to do, but there's no point in actually doing it if the ship isn't GOING to Genesis.

    OTOH, if Enterprise has been relegated to the rear lines as the Acadeny's main training vessel, her decommissioning might simply mean that another ship has been selected to serve in that capacity (Yorktown?) and has been fitted out with more modern equipment so they can start training cadets on the Excelsior-class systems.

    That's likely. Which suggests to me that "put an experienced crew back on the ship" is likewise a non-starter; they already have an experienced crew, but they won't be serving on Enterprise. Probably, neither will any of the cadets.

    Those two statements do not follow from one another. Consider, for example, that if USS Constellation had entered service before the refit, then Constellation would be the latest and greatest toy.

    More importantly, there's the simple logic of technological progression. It took almost three years for Enterprise to be upgraded with all of that new equipment; how long did it take them to DEVELOP it? The new computers, new engines, new weapons, new corridors, new shuttlecraft... was all of that just invented completely out of the thin air -- all in the space of two and a half years -- just to be installed on Enterprise?

    The "new equipment" the crew had to transition to was obviously new to them and new to the Enterprise. But while three years is enough time to rebuild a starship, it's not enough time to REINVENT one and everything else in it. It makes more sense that Enterprise was being retrofitted with systems that were already becoming standard on the latest generation of vessels like the Mirandas and Constellations; it's even possible that the real difficulty with the engines is that the warp drive system used on NX-1974 is difficult to keep in balance with only two nacelles.

    1) That's Sulu, not Decker
    2) The phasers are potentially more powerful than the OLD design, but it's doubtful that Enterprise is the first ship to use this setup.
    3) Actually, I think the TOS Enterprise set the record for its warp-9 sprint out of Romulan space in "Enterprise Incident" and later for covering over a thousand light years in a couple of hours in "That Which Survives." Also, Stiles is a dick.

    Off the top of my head, there's the neural implants Kirk and Sulu supposedly possess that allow them to telepathically interface with Starfleet computers (instead, Kirk has to do a retina scan to prove his identity to his own computer). The novelization also describes photon torpedoes as "huge balls of light energy" while Wrath of Khan depicts them as missiles. That, plus the fact that half the stuff in the novelization is trumped by the actual movie anyway.

    Just saying.
     
  19. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    The E-A carried almost 100 torpedoes in "The Undiscovered Country" and in "A Taste of Armageddon", Scotty was about to fire a "few dozen photon torpedoes" at Eminiar. Torpedo ammunition doesn't appear to be a problem.

    Worf's orders were "target their weapons." (Lakota was targeting Defiant's engines.) They probably were firing at full power in the beginning to bring the shields down though.

    We know weapons were set at low power by observing the control settings in the movie. However, I'm not sure how much more powerful the photon torpedoes are suppose to be in TNG as there isn't a straight apples to apples comparison AFAIK between TOS and TNG torpedoes.

    Even then, there is the difference between TOS antimatter and TNG antimatter. The latter is portrayed as significantly less potent (as in the antimatter fireworks from "Best of Both Worlds").

    The Enterprise is behind Reliant when she fires. When Reliant fires her aft torpedo the Enterprise is already turning away.

    If you're firing first, you're not on defense. :rommie:


    That doesn't make sense. The ship just got practically all it's power systems blown up by Khan. Of course the ship needs repair to go back into service.

    We do not know that. She was quite capable of going on active duty with Kirk's only concern being the inexperience of cadets.

    The TOS Enterprise "redesign and refit" is unique as far as the series goes as there aren't any other examples of a ship being completely changed aka redesigned like that. When a ship undergoes a "refit" that usually suggests resupply and repair. A "overhaul" (as done in TOS) suggests systems being repaired or possibly updated. So what's surprising is the lack of ships being redesigned in the later series. (The only one I can think of are the add-ons of the E-B and the relocation of parts of the E-E.)

    IMHO, the Excelsior apparently was meant as a direct replacement for the Constitutions as there doesn't appear to be an Excelsior-style version of the Reliant or Constellation which continued unchanged into TNG+. The Ambassadors and Galaxies then are also not a direct replacement for the Excelsior but built for a different role.
     
  20. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Enterprise had "turned" before Reliant even fired, but "veered away" doesn't fit, considering Kirk had been trying to CHASE Reliant at the time; he tells Sulu "hold your course" at that point, believing that they are closing on Reliant from behind.

    They don't "veer away" until Khan pulls a crazy ivan, and in that case not nearly fast enough.

    Counter-attack is not neccesarily a defensive action, especially if you follow through by killing your enemy. That, actually, is the use of "defensive fire" in military engagements: you can shoot down the enemy's missiles, you can suppress his advances, but you stop short of actually engaging the enemy himself.

    Kirk mentions in his log entry "most of our battle damage repaired, we're almost home." More to the point, Enterprise WAS able to fly back to Genesis again without any repairs whatsoever, so what the hell was Scotty planning to do with those two weeks?

    It wasn't the repairs that Enterprise needed. It was a set of equipment sufficient to explore the Genesis planet -- or ANY planet -- that Enterprise lacked.

    In an emergency, yes. But fitted out for a training cruise, the ship has no experienced scientists, no probes, no specialized lab equipment, none of the specialized sensor packages needed for the kinds of intense detailed examination of a weird planet like Genesis. She's fitted out with all kinds of gear that would be useful in helping cadets learn how to operate starships, but at this point in her history Enterprise doesn't have its "five year mission" loadout we always took for granted in TOS.

    If they just wanted to GO there, they could have headed out immediately. But Kirk wasn't interested in a visit to Genesis, he wanted to help explore the planet that he had been instrumental in creating.

    I still think the direct replacement for the Constitution would actually have been the Constellation class; it's more likely the Excelsiors were built for a different role than the Constitutions, the first generation of indefinite-duration explorers (as opposed to "five-year tour/nearspace patrol"). In this scheme, the Excelsiors wouldn't be REPLACED as such; as Starfleet's exploration range increased, newer classes of ships would be built that would probe out into those ranges with the Excelsiors continuing to fill whatever missions remained in "second tier" deep space.

    So "third tier" deep space would have necessitated the development of the Ambassador class and later (probably) the Sovereign class. "Fourth tier" gives us the galaxy and Nebula class ships, which travel deeper into space than any other starship.

    Far off in the future, we have the Enterprise-J, whose "sixth tier" deep space mission probably includes the Andromeda Galaxy.:alienblush:
     

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