Starfleet Starship Insignia was all supposed to be the same?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Captain Nebula, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, for decades, all of fandom assumed that ships were supposed to have different insignias. There are plenty of in-universe reference books, comic books, and fan films depicting conjectural insignias for other starships, and multiple books putting forth the idea that the arrowhead insignia wasn't standardized until shortly before ST:TMP -- the usual line being that it was adopted fleetwide to honor the Enterprise, which I think is pretty disrespectful to all the other accomplished Starfleet crews that must be out there. Essentially, fandom ignored the "Court-martial" evidence altogether. (Well, mostly. I think there was one fan reference book I knew of that treated the insignia as representing different fleet divisions rather than individual ships, similarly to how I'm treating the 2160s Starfleet insignias in my Rise of the Federation novels.)

    But now we have Voyager's "Friendship One" showing the arrowhead as a UESPA logo in the 2060s, we have Enterprise including a teeny version of the arrowhead on enlisted crew's rating patches, we have the Abramsverse showing the insignia in fleetwide use in the 2230s and '50s, and we have the Justman memo proving it was meant to be that way all along. So the old belief has been pretty thoroughly overwritten/discredited by now.
     
  2. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ CrazyMatt

    interesting anecdote, thanks for sharing!

    Why can't they have a little competition? What's disrespectful about it? Every seven years or so one starship will turn out to have accomplished the most. Disappointed it's not the insignia of your ship? Double your efforts and next time your starship may turn out to be the one honored?

    Besides, different insignias emphasize it's about individual ships out there in the unknown making individual decisions and not asking for approval from Starfleet Command each time a difficult decision has to be made.

    And why not? By the time of "The Doomsday-Machine" and "The Omega Glory" (and "The Ultimate Computer", for me at least) it inevitably looked like a changed premise.

    It boils down to the philosophical question whether we should honor the original intentions or what actually ended up onscreen, which usually is the common base of reference because it doesn't exclude those that are not that familiar with all the behind-the-scenes production anecdotes.

    The old "belief" had been established within the same body of work (i.e. TOS).

    The arrowhead has become a trademark for Star Trek, so it doesn't come as big surprise that productions claiming to be Star Trek make use of it, IMHO.

    Bob
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Because it isn't a sports team.
     
  4. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    "Captain! The U.S.S. Hood is hailing us--an emergency distress call! Their warp engines are about to flare up like an exploding sun with no way to stop it. They have only about an hour left, and we're only a half hour away. Shall I lay in a course for their position to begin rescue operations?"

    "Negative! Next week is the every-seven-years Insignia-Picking Week. If the Hood and its crew are out of the running, our ship will be a shoe-in to win the friendly competition! The hell with 'em. I want the entire fleet to be proud of our ship, our insignia. The Hood (well, the Hood II) will just have to redouble their efforts at avoiding catastrophic warp engine failures seven years from now.
     
  5. USS Excelsior

    USS Excelsior Commodore Commodore

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    Another reason is it's probably cheaper to create different patches, as opposed to different metal broaches.
     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ GSchnitzer

    Actually, any ship not assisting the Hood would be instantly out of the "competition". :p

    Seriously, since when has it become "disrespectful" or whatever you wanna call it not to acknowledge and/or reward accomplishment?

    Do I have to assume that it was disrespectful of Kirk to display his achievements on his chest?

    "Commendations: Palm Leaf Of Axanar Peace Mission, Grankite Order of Tactics, Class of Excellence, Prantares Ribbon of Commendation, Classes first and second.
    Awards of valour: Medal of Honour, Silver Palm with Cluster, Starfleet citation for Conspicuous Gallantry, Karagite Order of Heroism" (etc.)

    Bob
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I liked the idea of different ships having different insignias. :shrug:
     
  8. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    I would be surprised if Starfleet were to make its officers contest with other officers for Commendations and Awards of Valor in the way that you suggest ships might vie for the fleet's septennial insignia award.

    I think we all understand and appreciate pride in individual achievement. But I'm not wild about the idea of awarding the fleet insignia like it's a zero sum game.

     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Awarding individual achievements is fine. Having the entire fleet adopt just one ship's individual insignia is implicitly saying that one ship and crew are the only ones that matter.

    Besides, it's fannish. It undermines the reality of the fictional world by superimposing our perception of the Enterprise as the center of all things. It's shortsighted when fans assume that the characters within Star Trek's universe would perceive and feel about things in the same way that Star Trek fans do.

    And of course, as we now know, it was based on a misconception. That's the crux of it: The belief that the arrowhead was unique to the Enterprise prior to TMP was simply wrong, as "Court-martial" proves. It was always meant to be fleetwide, and there's now plenty of canonical evidence affirming that it was in fleetwide use long before TOS. So there's no sense debating the legitimacy of an idea that we know is conclusively wrong.
     
  10. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And then, at some point, the competition stopped and the familiar Enterprise delta became a standard logo for Starfleet for over 100 years.
     
  11. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Fascinating thread. You learn something new all the time.

    Not to derail the thread, but I'm just wondering if there are any similar letters or memos indicating the time period in which the series is set. Something like, "I noticed a mistake in 'Space Seed' setting STAR TREK in the 22nd Century when we recently decided the show was set in the 23rd Century; no need to change anything, just be aware for future episodes." :)
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The time frame of the series was kept intentionally vague, since they didn't want to make any firm assumptions about the rate of technological progress. That's why they invented the deliberate gibberish of stardates. But mostly the estimates did tend to hover around 2-300 years in the future, with "The Squire of Gothos" being the one outlier (placing the series in at least the early 28th century, since Trelane was 900 light-years from Earth and aware of things from the early 19th century).

    However, the second-season writers' guide (the only one I have a copy of) does mention that the time frame is "actually about two hundred years from now." I wouldn't be surprised if that was added to the revised guide based on what "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and "Space Seed" had established.

    I believe the earliest reference to ST being in the 23rd century was probably in The Making of Star Trek.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    As has been pointed out on the board several times, this "misconception" regarding the use of the arrowhead in TMP (that Starfleet honored the achievements of Kirk's Enterprise) was propagated in widely circulated publicity material that was disseminated from Paramount itself. Therin of Andor has some references in his collection, IIRC.
     
  14. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Because it would pick one "winner" and imply the rest were "losers," would bad for the morale of all but one unit, and create needless divisiveness in an organization that should be unified.

    There would never be an objective way to judge who had "accomplished the most." It is simplistic to think that complex organizations performing demanding and widely varied tasks should be reduced to the level of a popularity contest.


    You're talking about two completely different things. Established awards that are available to anyone whose accomplishments meet the criteria are not the same as eliminating an insignia in which its wearers could take pride because it is suddenly judged not worthy.

    Besides the practical question: If, say, Enterprise "won the contest" and every ship wore its insignia for seven years, the achievements judged for the next "award period" would have been accomplished by personnel wearing that insignia, so if a different ship "won," what would the next badge be?
     
  15. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Thanks, Christopher. Does the book mention any source for that date?
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I think co-authored by Gene Roddenberry basically covers that. Of course, if it's not in all caps, Roddenberry could have claimed he never said it, so....
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    TMoST was based on a lot of behind-the-scenes memos, notes, and discussions with the production staff. However, some of it may have been "Whitfield's" (Poe's) interpretation or distillation of the ideas. In any case, TMoST was the Trek reference book in the early years of the show, so it's quite possible that it influenced the later decision in the movies to lock the time frame down as the 23rd century. Which would mean it was itself the original source.
     
  18. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Of course, not the entire fleet as demonstrated by the still individual insignias of Constellation and Exeter, but possibly Starfleet personnel ranging from base to destroyer personnel (e.g. "Court Martial" officers in Starbase club).

    I assume Starfleet to have some kind of starship flagship, too.
    For whatever reasons the Starfleet board of admirality convenes to select a starship as flagship and adopt that starship's insignia for its (non-starship) uniforms for the next years is up to our imagination.

    We could assume that Starfleet really liked how Captain Christopher Pike handled critical situations and conducted first contacts. Starfleet would like to see other starship captains to take his example as an inspiration because it reflects the policy Starfleet has in mind for the upcoming years.
    Adopting an individual ship's insignia as a visual sign for this policy doesn't seem to be a weird concept, IMHO.
    Further, it could be completely out of control of a starship's captain (which would take some steam out of the "disrespectful competition" debate). ;)

    Let's say Starfleet would like to see a more straightforward approach for the next years as displayed by Captain ... of he Starship... - that's the insignia chosen. Starfleet would like to see a more cautious approach as displayed by Captain ... of the Starship ... - then that's the insignia chosen.

    That's not true. From what we can rationalize it could look like this:

    • delta insignia of Enterprise under Captain Pike prior to events in TOS (being phased out by the time of "Court-Martial" and "The Menagerie" and being replaced by)
    • flower insignia of Lexington under Captain Wesley (promoted to Commodore by the time of "The Ultimate Computer")
    • delta insignia of (Kirk) Enterprise combined with circle insignia of unknown starship by the time of TMP
    • delta insignia of (Spock?) Enterprise combined with rectangular insignia of unknown starship by the time of TWOK.
    So there'd be an equal balance between Enterprise and other starship's "accomplishments"

    There is no evidence in "Court-Martial" that Kirk's former classmates were serving on starships. For all we know they are still serving on the same destroyer Kirk once had been assigned to during the "Vulcanian expedition" and are jealous and envious that Kirk moved on and now even commands his own starship (and they have to wear that starship's insignia but are not part of its crew). Admittedly frustrating for them. ;)

    Let's talk about the essential issue we have here: Bob Justman was approaching the uniform's insignia from a budget-saving (and "in-universe"?) point of view and there's nothing wrong with it (actually I sympathize with his approach). However, when it came to shooting "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Omega Glory" the other producers apparently decided it would be better to go for individual starship insignias.

    I can see a practical motivation for this move: TV viewers which might have gotten late into a particular episode, would have instantly noticed that the guy Spock was arguing with in "The Doomsday Machine" was not a member of the Enterprise crew, neither was the guy in "The Ultimate Computer" or the guy in "The Omega Glory".
    Of course, this limited a director's shooting option when placing the extras' bodies in "The Omega Glory" and "The Tholian Web" (and possible something Bob Justman was concerned about, too).

    (When it comes to the delta insignia Bob Justman is the saint of TOS continuity and canon, but when he explicitly says that the other starships belong to the "Enterprise Starship Class" he is not? :wtf: Interesting, who wants cake and eat it, too? :vulcan:)

    Besides, the "fleetwide" basic symbol of Starfleet is not the delta, but the arrowhead, featured in many facilities of Starfleet onscreen and on the hull of the Enterprise and the TAS ships.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, sort of. Here is the actual Roddenberry quote:

    "In the beginning, I invented the term "star date" simply to keep from typing ourselves down to 2265 A.D., or should it be 2312 A.D.?"

    Yet, several TOS dates clearly indicated 200 years from "now" (production time of TOS) which TMP somehow overwrote with Decker's "300 years ago" remark concerning the launch date of Voyager 6 in TMP (of course, Decker's memory could have been flawed).

    Bob
     
  20. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Perhaps it is not the Enterprise that is 'special'. It has the same insignia as most Starships.
    Perhaps the reason that Wesley's, Decker's and Tracey's ships have different insignia indicates that they are the special ships.
    Wesley and Decker were Commodores and maybe their ships were more important than those commanded by lowly Captains.
    As for Tracey's ship - I'm thinking maybe it was the flagship at the time. Not the Enterprise