Starfleet Starship Insignia was all supposed to be the same?

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

  1. Kirk here

    Kirk here Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I love talking about Star Trek as much as the next guy, but it never ceases to amaze me what convolutions ST fans will go through to explain a continuity error.
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    That's really interesting, but this isn't your average continuity error. Whatever this is, error or retcon, it crosses multiple episodes. As discrepancies go, this is one of the whoppers.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    My assumption in the Rise of the Federation novels is that the Federation Starfleet was originally a looser merger of the founder worlds' space services, analogous to the European Space Agency today. Over time, the fleet became more integrated, but the distinct branches endured as administrative subdivisions of the fleet through at least the 2260s, since we did hear Kirk refer to the Enterprise as a UESPA vessel on a couple of occasions. As shown in my uniform design sketch, the various insignias we saw in TOS represent these various organizational divisions. The arrowhead, as we know from "Friendship One" and the ENT enlisted rating patches, is in fact the UESPA insignia from the 2060s onward. In my scheme, UESPA was in charge of the fleet's exploratory efforts. I used the Constellation patch as the logo of the Andorian Guard (since it looks a bit like Andorian script), which was originally primarily responsible for military and defense operations; perhaps the Constellation was assigned to patrol and defense duties rather than exploratory duties, and thus was under that branch of the administration. I used the Exeter insignia for Alpha Centauri's space agency, which was a secondary research/exploration arm; originally it probably provided more just funding and resources than ships, but by the 23rd century it may endure as a distinct subfleet. And I used the Antares insignia, which Justman's memo says was intended to represent the merchant marine, for the Tellarite space service, which I gave responsibility for operational support and supply. (Plus it looks kind of like a hoof.)

    Or it could be that the fleet was reorganized at some point and the old insignias have been reassigned to the new subdivisions -- maybe they just represent the First Fleet, Second Fleet, Third Fleet, something like that.
     
  4. USS Excelsior

    USS Excelsior Commodore Commodore

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    The ENT setup of having one patch for Starfleet, and another for the ship they're on worked out quite well.
     
  5. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    YES! Too bad Bob Justman ruined for me all these years later!
     
  6. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe the Constellation insignia was exempt from Justman's criticism, because - in contrast to the Exeter - it had been commanded by a commodore?

    "Whilst sitting in Dailies today, it was noticed that a Starship Captain [Captain Tracey](from another Starship) was wearing an emblem unfamiliar to yours truly."

    On the other hand he implies that apparently Commodores are not immune to the rule:

    I have checked the occurences out with Mr. Roddenberry, who has reassured me that all Starship personnel wear the Starship emblem that we have established [in "Court Martial"] for our Enterprise Crew Members to wear."


    Anyway, can someone please do a nice photoshop job and illustrate Matt Decker sitting in the command chair of the Enterprise wearing the delta insignia? (I would like to give CrazyMatt's avatar a good reason to look the way it does :D)

    Bob
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Which may imply that Wesley wasn't a current starship commander and was only in command of the Lexington for the purpose of the M-5 trials.
     
  8. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Assuming that according to Bob Justman all the starship captains wore the delta but the commodores did not, then what did the Decker insignia represent?

    A fleet part of Starfleet, a sector command or else? For all we know Wesley's flower is the insignia of the fleet or sector Kirk is usually operating in, thus all commodores (including gold shirt ship commanders where Wesley must not be the only one) and other flag officers in that area of space wear the insignia, while all flag officers in Decker's part of space wear his insignia.

    Thus, what we saw in "The Doomsday Machine" could have simply been two starships from different fleets or sectors operating in the same area of space which usually doesn't happen.

    (of course this is entirely academical, because Tracey wore an individual insignia as a starship captain, which somehow changed whatever it is Bob Justman had in mind).

    Bob
     
  9. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    The fan speculation is fine regarding the reason for the different patches, but I think the real reason is just what I postulated: Bill Theiss wanted to create unique designs that visually confirmed "this guy is not from the Enterprise."

    Two unanswered questions that I don't know if we'll ever know the answers to, given the deceased status of Theiss and the producers:

    1. Why did Justman catch the non-delta patch worn by Morgan Woodward while missing (or at least not objecting to) the one worn by William Windom?

    2. Why did Theiss select the Starfleet Command patch for Barry Russo's uniform in "The Ultimate Computer?" The infamous Justman memo had not yet been written. Why would Theiss create unique patches for the Constellation's and Exeter's captains, and not do likewise for the Lexington's?

    Of course, the script doesn't give any clue as to whether or not Wesley is the permanent captain of the Lexington... but if he's not, shouldn't this somehow be talked to in the episode? The appointment of a special task force commander for this mission would seem to be a semi-important plot point, wouldn't it? And if he is, why is he wearing a Starfleet Command patch????
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I think that's a very likely reason, regardless of whether it was Bill's idea or not.

    Maurice provided a plausible reason for the first half: "The Omega Glory" got special attention, because it was Gene's baby. If you buy that explanation, that just leaves the other half. I sorta suspect that someone just plain didn't like the Exeter patch itself (e.g. thought it looked tacky), and that the issue never would have been raised otherwise.

    Well, at the risk of fanning the flames to the same old debate cycle again, my take was that Wesley was actually attached to the same part of the service as Stone, Mendez, and Miss Piper, IOW that he came down from Starfleet Command just to lead the task force against the M-5.
     
  11. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    I actually did a number of years ago.... I conversed with the master of Windom's fan web site in the late 90's. I recalled a quote of Windom's that said (paraphrasing), "it would have been nice if they let my character live and killed off his stupid son instead." (of course, Will Decker did die in ST:TMP; don't know if Windom realized that at the time).

    I took some liberty and reworded Windom's comment in my mind to something like, 'it would have been great if they let Decker live and Kirk died instead, so the Decker could have gone on as the Enterprise's captain." I then took a screen cap of Decker in the captain's chair on the Enterprise bridge, with his beard "softened" to look much less prominent, and with a Enterprise patch on his chest.

    I sent this picture back to Windom via his webmaster. I didn't get any acknowledgement for a couple months, so I finally asked the webmaster if Windom got it, and if so, what he thought. It was obvious from the gratuitous reply that he probably never showed it to Windom, and even if he had, neither Windom or the webmaster grasped the meaning of my 'alterations.'

    Sigh.....:rolleyes: Well, the crusty Windom claimed to never care for 'Trekkies or other geeks'....
     
  12. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    The (now late) Mr. Windom was nice enough to drive down from his Northern California home to Burbank to shoot some "what really happened to Matt Decker" footage for our "In Harm's Way" episode of Star Trek New Voyages.

    His gruffness seems to have mellowed with age.

     
  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I personally think, with no canon to back me up, that Wesley was from Starfleet Command and that M-5 was his "baby". I think its failure and the loss of life because of it was what drove him from the service and why we see him as the governor of the Mantilles colony in TAS.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Why would that be an important plot point? It has no relevance to the story's core conflict or its characters. The plot isn't about Wesley and his career, it's about Kirk, Daystrom, and the M5. Wesley only matters to the plot as the guy who orders and supervises the war games. Since we only see the Lexington during this episode, it's completely irrelevant to the plot whether he was its permanent captain or not.

    Besides, not everything has to be spelled out in dialogue. Sometimes a visual detail is meant to create an implication that we can flesh out for ourselves. Wesley's Starfleet Command insignia implies that he's a flag officer temporarily commanding the ship for the purposes of the war games, and that implication is enough. It doesn't matter whether it's confiremed, because "The Ultimate Computer" wasn't about creating a catalog of Starfleet personnel and their assignments, it was about telling an adventure-drama story about Kirk's command being challenged by a machine. The rest is just background texture, so it's enough to create an impression, just to give us the feeling that there's more going on in the background. (Of course, that leaves it ambiguous enough that some tie-in novels have portrayed Wesley as the Lexington's permanent commander. But those novels tend to clash with TAS: "One of Our Planets is Missing," in which we learned he'd retired to become a planetary governor.)
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    That's still speculation. Considering how "disrespectful" you considered a process where an indiviual ship's insignia would be adopted for Starfleet for a limited amount of time, I can't help but wonder that no one finds the scenario of Wesley being temporarily in command of the Lexington disrespectful for the conjectural captain of this starship (after all, the M-5 performance had been tested in simulation before, so it was expected to be an uneventful practical test any starship captain should have been capable to handle).

    Bob
     
  16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Why would that be disrespectful? I would think a war game designed to be a live test a new technology would be over seen by an officer of flag rank.
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    You do what the military tells you to do, they don't much care if you feel disrespected or not.

    The captain of the Lexington was probably given a special assignment or the ship itself could've been between commanding officers during the M-5 trials.

    We saw during Star Trek: The Motion Picture and "The Doomsday Machine" that a flag rank officer can push out a sitting commander of a ship.
     
  18. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Absolutely, but why does the flag officer need to take the center seat and push the captain out of it?

    Those officials with higher authority than Kirk usually stood by while he was in command, except "The Deady Years" because Kirk had been incapacitated.

    Yes, but in both cases we had a serious, life-threatening situation of interstellar proportions justifying a flag rank officer to assume command and responsibility.

    That was not the case in "The Ultimate Computer"!

    WESLEY: You've been chosen to test the M-5, Jim. There'll be a series of routine research and contact problems for the M-5 to solve, plus navigational manoeuvres and the war games problem. If the M-5 works under actual conditions as well as it has under simulated tests, it will mean a revolution in space technology as great as warp drive. When your crew has been removed, the ship's engineering section will be modified to contain the computer.

    Wesley had been in the command chair from the very beginning what looked to be like a boring practical confirmation of what had been performed before in simulation.
    Even somebody like Captain Harriman could have handled this. :rolleyes:

    Then something went awfully wrong. Had Commodore Wesley taken over command the moment things started going south, it would have been understandable.

    In addition, Wesley and Kirk address each other on a first-name basis ("Bob", "Jim").
    Kirk never addressed superior officers on a first-name basis except other starship commanders (Commodore Decker and Captain Tracey), so it stands to reason that it was actually "implied" that Wesley was a permanent starship commander, too.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I think the "starburst" insignia on Wesley's chest implies that he isn't a starship commander and is part of an administrative branch of Starfleet. The only other people we see wear the insignia are certain starbase personnel and Admiral Komack.
     
  20. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    So in order to prove that the M-5 can withstand the combined force of four starships, they'd choose the task force commander to be a member of the administrative branch?!?

    I'd think to prove how well the M-5 were able to handle an overwhelming attack force, Starfleet would have chosen a starship commander with sufficient experience, hence Wesley.

    For all we know Lexington might be the flagship of Starfleet (implied by the unique, taller command chair) and therefore its personnel and commanding officer (Wesley) wears the starburst / flower insignia of Starfleet.

    Bob