Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by MarsWeeps, Feb 17, 2013.
Yeah, but what a great painting otherwise! I'd love a poster sized version of this on my wall.
Ditch the flames and the cover would make a nice poster.
Despite the inaccurate rocket blasts, I still think this Bama promotional work is the greatest art ever based on TOS.
A few minor nit-picks to consider; feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken...
No character in TOS or TAS ever calls the Enterprise or any other ship the "Constitution class". This reference was used on Scotty's monitor in "The Trouble with Tribbles", but never spoken. It was no documented until Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's Technical Manual and starship blueprints were published in the mid-1970's. The only time I remember a character referring to the Enterprise as a Connie was when Picard read a historical computer readout of the TOS Enterprise in "The Naked Now". That would've been 1987.
In teaser/hook of "The Doomsday Machine", Spock makes an interesting reference once the Enterprise detects another space vessel. Consider this exchange:
Note that Spock simply identifies the just-sighted vessel as "by configuration, a starship". No class nomenclature or anything. This seems to reinforce that, at the time of TOS being in production, everyone was still imagining that Earth / the Federation simply deployed a "star ship class" of ships familial with the Enterprise. (That is, after all, what the dedication plaque on the Bridge set read.)
In "The Naked Now", Picard appears to read from the record a reference to "U.S.S. Enterprise, Constitution class", but the data on the display appears to show a TMP refit configuration, not the TOS appearance from "The Naked Time". This seems to suggest that, in the eyes of condensed 24th century history, all refits of the Enterprise, from "The Cage" configuration to the "Where No Man Has Gone Before" update, to the subtle upgrades throughout TOS, to the various refits, upgrades and so forth in the TMP era, are all considered Constitution-class starships. This loosely suggests that the Connie nomenclature is an overall indicator of a basic design, not its constantly evolving particulars.
If one subscribes to Franz Joseph Schnaubelt's Technical Manual and starship blueprints as gospel, it is indeed at least semi-plausible that the saucer hull could be taken from a damaged or otherwise decommissioned starship of a given class and refurbished and installed on a starship of another class. (So, in theory, a Saladin-class destroyer could become a Ptolemy-class tug, or a Hermes-class scout could become a Constitution-class cruiser.) But if FJ's Tech Manual were to be considered canon, one would have to consider the ramifications to the structure of the STAR TREK Universe, namely that the content of the Federation charter and the use of stardates in that book is balanced heavily on references in "Whom Gods Destroy", indicating that the United Federation of Planets was only officially established when James T. Kirk was a young man, possibly after the Battle of Axanar. So all this talk of the Constellation's colorful past would likely be mooted.
If one takes any reference to the Tech Manual with a grain of salt, then the Constellation's origins and history remain a mystery. It is not clear what the ill-fated ship's registry means, if anything all.
This is just me, but over the years my thinking on the evolution of the Federation and starships has been evolving itself. Could the Federation and Starfleet seen in TOS have been the result of a slow and tumultuous diplomatic process that took place over decades, possibly beginning with ENT and not really fully forming until what happened with Kirk and Garth at Axanar? Maybe. If so, that might bridge canon of TOS, ENT and FJ.
Starships could've evolved over decades as well. I'd like to think that the Constitution-class of starships was the final stage in the evolution of the Warp 7 propulsion that Archer and Trip were toasting to in "These Are the Voyages..." Vulcan battlecruisers back then could only sustain Warp 7 for a short period of time. Perhaps a goal of the new Federation was to build and perfect a new class of cruiser that could sustain Warp 7 for at least that long, and each succeeding update of the cruiser design improved the performance of the evolving Warp 7 engine, which became known as true "warp drive" (a term never used in ENT, but suggested as a prototype in TAS "Time Trap"). When Pike ordered the Enterprise to divert to Talos IV at Warp 7, he made a point of announcing it to the whole ship as if it were significant; apparently the ship sustained that speed for some time to reach Talos. If the early Constitution starships were the ultimate evolution of the Warp 7 engine design, this would be a matter of pride.
As for the Constellation, if she was a member of an earlier fleet of vessels during the warp 7 era, and if the registries of Constellation, Republic, Valiant, Eagle and other ships were numerically tied to this (assumed) history, then those numbers may indeed suggest that Matt Decker's "lost" command was indeed a storied one, the result of at least one TMP-style refit (and possibly many) over perhaps several decades.
Another reference from TNG: Relics [http://www.chakoteya.net/NextGen/230.htm]:
As regards "confusing" the Constitution and Constellation classes, the idea of the Constellation, NCC-1017, being a prototype or early model for the Constitution class is perfectly valid in terms of canon. At least if we believe in batch registries, in which case 1017 is likely to have been preceded by something more "round". Perhaps the forefather USS Constitution was NCC-1000, or perhaps 1010?
The thing is, the later fan/backstage identity of USS Constitution as NCC-1700 is fuzzy enough to allow for this. All we ever see is a ship of the TMP configuration with this registry but no name in one early TNG graphic, after all.
In any case, using a vessel from one class as a prototype for another is common practice in Star Trek fanfic - especially the Miranda class (by its various fanfic names) is claimed to descend from prototype vessels modified from very different-looking classes, such as FASA's Anton or the Mastercom/SotSF Detroyat. It just happens extremely seldom in the real world because ships are too big to be "prototyped": if you build it, you make it operational, or you go bankrupt. (The recent "Littoral Combat Ship" USN corvettes are a notable exception, and their half-baked nature has caused a lot of confusion and debate in a government that thought it was funding actual operational warships.)
The "by configuration, a starship" phrase can mean a lot of things. If one were to say "by configuration, a battleship" in the early to mid 20th century context, one would be commenting on easily identifiable things such as turreted large-caliber main guns. "By configuration, a cruiser" would be pretty clear as well. We don't know if Spock's definition would have covered something like the Miranda class, but if he can merely state a "configuration" rather than exact identity, then it's likely that the definition would at the very least cover a wide range of two-hulled two-nacellers in the appropriate size.
USS Reliant (Miranda Class) is referred to as a "starship" in Chekov's log entry on approach to Ceti Alpha V.
Again, the entire "Constitution Class" business is entirely the result of non-canonical but popular fan fiction having successfully brainwashed late Star Trek productions at the expense of the canonical producers' ("Starship Class") and creator's ("Enterprise Class") intentions.
Each time I see the bridge dedication plaque of the USS Defiant in "In A Mirror Darkly" (ENT) I don't know whether I should laugh or cry. It says "Constitution Class" while the same spot on the Enterprise's bridge dedication plaque is crystal clear: "Starship Class".
What's the last known TOS episode which shows the dedication plaque as "Starship Class?" I really can't remember any episode where I could actually read the plaque.
Maybe the original Enterprise and some of the early sister ships were Starship Class and then at some point they were changed to something less generic. Assuming the Defiant was built later, the ship class could have changed to Constitution by then.
Things are always evolving in Star Trek and as shown in "The Starfleet Command Insignia" thread the various production departments weren't always in sync with the producers desires. Just as USPEA "evolved" into the UFP and lasers "evolved" into phasers, Starship class "evolved" into Constitution class. The most recent evolution trumps the previous version.
But at some point, there is going to be a sea change in the meaning of "starship" anyway. We can't be sure whether it's between the TOS movies and TNG that every warp-powered skiff gains this title, or whether it's between TOS and ST2:TWoK...
However, ST:TVH still makes a distinction between "starships" and "lesser vessels", which makes me think the definitions are still the same as in "DDM" and Spock's statement would have covered widely dissimilar types.
That "Enterprise class" business seems quite doubtful - in TMoST, it's probably just a way of saying "ships of the same class as our Enterprise", and not uncommon usage at that, and doesn't actually give any information about the class of the Enterprise in the sense WWII veterans would interpret the concept.
Whether there ever was any "intention" behind what was written in the dedication plaque is unclear as well.
And the registry would support that assumption, unless we allow some interpretation of the significance of NCC-1017 to undermine it.
Disagreed. UESPA never disappeared from Trek lore; lasers may have been replaced by phasers but didn't really go away and were again doing un-lasery things in "Loud as a Whisper"; and the class identity of Kirk's ship still remains in considerable flux.
I've always loved that poster, too. But you take one look at it and think, Bad day on the hangar deck!
What's odd about it: at high resolution, the woman looks just like Karen Steele (Eve in "Mudd's Women"), and the man with a communicator looks like Professor Starnes ("And the Children Shall Lead"). But they can't be!
I believe that would be "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" and you can clearly read "Starship" here.
In case there's doubt that the next word is "Class" I recommend this screencap.
It never ceases to amaze me, how the fanbase leaves no stone unturned to find ways to erase a canonical fact in favor of a myth (just because Scotty read a technical journal illustrating the primary phaser of a starship of a "Constitution Class").
Does it really matter? People have been puzzling together Trek contradictions since the mid-70's, at least.
It's not like this is life or death, it's entertainment. If someone likes to refer to the TOS ship as a Constitution-class, why do you care? Honestly, I can go either way and someone calling it one or the other doesn't impact my enjoyment of the series one little bit.
As far as the dedication plaque goes, I take it with a grain of salt. I don't believe the Enterprise was built in San Francisco, California either.
I'm glad the Defiant had "Constitution class" on its plaque. Far as I'm concerned, TOS-R should have done that to the 1701 bridge as well.
I mean, the term "Starship class" would require a USS Starship, and that obviously makes no sense. It seems clear that the designers of the 1701 plaque meant "starship TYPE", not class.
So that's one retcon I can live with!
When I watched TOS, I always thought the Enterprise was built on the ground and was flown up. When I saw those cranes in the background of Starbase 11, I imagined that those were working docks for starships that needed major work. I guess it went hand in hand with watching Starblazers/Space Battleship Yamato
And Abrams Trek later on just added to it with ships built on the planet and even at a much larger size.
As Shatner once said "It's just a TV show!"
Seriously, you don't have to get your panties in a wad over it. The whole idea is that most of us love TOS Star Trek and after 45+ years, it's sort of fun to try to explain inconsistencies. Nobody is trying to erase a "canonical fact" as you put it, but technically, if the Defiant's plaque in the Enterprise episode "In A Mirror, Darkly" shows Constitution class, well that's canon also!
I hope you can somehow find it within yourself to try and live with that. You may have to take it day by day, but YOU CAN DO IT!!
Please forgive, but I fail to see why "Starship Class" would have to require a "USS Starship". "Obviously" is very relative, I don't see what's obvious about that here. There's one quote from Dick Arnold I wholeheartedly agree with: Maybe they do things a little differently in the 23rd Century.
According to the Making of Star Trek there will also be a "Deytroyer Class" and then we have the "Scout Class" mentioned in and outside the movies for certain vessels.
And then there's what I remember to be probably a type designation: "Space Cruiser"
The only thing that's "obvious" to me is that some fans disagree with the original creators / producers choices and intentions.
Intentions don't mean a thing. As we've seen over and over, they change over time.
Who said it was built in San Francisco, California?
However, that's where Starfleet Headquarters are located so I think it's fair to assume that you have the bulk of the orbital stations and dockyards located in a geostationary orbit over San Francisco, CA, and not on the other side of the planet.
And the addition "California" merely states that these dockyards are not in orbit over the San Francisco of Argentina, Columbia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, the Philippines or Spain.
P.S. I'm aware of the concept of changed premises and intentions. Is there evidence that the TOS producers changed the "Starship Class" concept during the original series?
Separate names with a comma.