The Constellation's registry number

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by MarsWeeps, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Surely what's spoken carries more weight than illegible background screen graphics and the like? I'm not entirely sure about TOS, but during TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT the art department and the writers didn't have the best communication - hence bizarro nonsense like Voyager having two warp cores and two computer cores on it's MSD, which were explictly contradicted in dialogue.

    And besides, new canon overwrites old canon, and new canon is decided by whoever rules the franchise. That's how it works - so Picard's "Constitution-class" in TNG's "Naked Now" and "Relics" overwrites anything contrary in TOS, just as "James T. Kirk" overwrote "James R. Kirk" 45 years ago.
     
  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Guess what, guys? It's worse than that.

    Canon can and does contradict itself.
     
  3. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    In the "Starship Class" plaque case, it's present and readable in all three seasons. And it is not contradicted within it's own series. Only later series attempt to alter that.

    And Kirk is still alive in "Relics" but dead in "Generations". Which "Constitution Class" is Picard talking about in "Relics" then? :)

    James R Kirk doesn't become a contradiction until we catch it being used again by another character or graphic. All we have with James R Kirk is that a fallible, wanna-be mutant super being liked ribbing Kirk.

    The idea that new canon overwrites old canon no longer works. Star Trek with all it's different productions is in comic book land with the different series not agreeing with each other. It's saving grace is the ever present alternate / multi-universes that is part of all the series. Even the Abrams Star Trek movie taps into that.

    Going back to "The Naked Now" - there isn't anything that specifically contradicts the past "Starship Class" designation. Unless you also want to say Kirk was never an Admiral as well?
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But that isn't what the argument is about. You have someone saying that those that use Constitution-class are somehow spitting on the graves of those who worked on the show and those that are the holy defenders of canon. Even though some of those folks were around and approved of it also being known by that class name as well.

    No one made Constitution class up out of thin air to piss off the die-hards.
     
  5. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    For sake of argument, I could accept "Star Ship Class" as the official starship class nomenclature of the Enterprise and her sister-ships in TOS, but there are a few major hurdles to clear:

    1: Kirk said "there are only twelve like it in the fleet" obviously implying starships like the Enterprise.

    2: Judging from the list of starship names I compiled upthread, it seems very strange indeed that a Federation of multiple worlds and species would have only a very limited pool of starships, all with Earth-derived names.

    3: This TOS-only-cannon approach put TOS in complete isolation. The original Enterprise and her sister-ships would truly be "in the freezer". No Reliant, no Mirandas or other ships loosely related to the Enterprise at all. Just a very small number of "Star Ship Class" vessels and that's it.

    4: The only way I can see adhering to this strict orthodoxy of TOS-in-isolation continuity is if you also agree to the strong implication in "Whom Gods Destroy" that the Federation only came into being after the Axanar Peace Mission, in other words, when James T. Kirk was a young man. For a multi-world Federation to have only a dozen or two dozen "Star Ship Class" vessels in her armada, the Federation would still have to be pretty young anyway.

    This is a very interesting exercise in fandom imagination, and could occasionally be useful, but purely academic at best. One could very logically argue that from TAS or TMP forward the entire STAR TREK franchise has become an exercise in concept erosion ultimately resulting in the 2009 movie. I'm not a fan of the 2009 remake, and I regard it as more of a light-hearted spin-off of the franchise (for lack of a better term). But I don't think it's necessary to isolate TOS entirely in order to insulate it from the straying effect of Hollyweird. (TOS had plenty of follies and built-in contradictions anyway.)

    Any sci fi dramatic franchise is going to have an experimental nature to its content, it's going to stumble from time to time; especially one that pioneered the concept of an hour-long scifi dramatic series on primetime network TV. That's the nature of the beast.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see any reason why the Defiant has to be one of the twelve like the Enterprise, referred to in Tomorrow Is Yesterday. Defiant could have been finished after the events of that episode, and at another shipyard.
     
  7. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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  8. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    When you frame it that way, then yes their argument is on the extreme end and I do not agree with that.
     
  9. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Well, let's explore that a little.

    Kirk's statement is just that, "there are only twelve like it in the fleet". That doesn't mean only twelve starships in the fleet, just twelve like it.

    Now what about the other ships?

    We know from the diagrams visible in "The Enterprise Incident" (and perhaps one other episode) of a version where the saucer lower edge is beveled, secondary hull is rounder and the nacelles offset differently and thus not like the Enterprise. I like to call this the pre-Captain Pike ship, or what the Enterprise looked like when she first rolled off the assembly line.

    So now you have 12 ships, like the Enterprise and a number of ships not like the Enterprise, yet still sporting a similar configuration.

    And if we got nit-picky, a third version exists, the USS Constellation from "The Doomsday Machine" since the model kit from AMT is not built or shaped exactly like the Enterprise or the pre-Captain Pike ships.

    That's only just using exclusively TOS info :)
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    While "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" is the second time in TOS the United Earth Space Probe Agency is mentioned, Kirk may have been cautious and referred only to the 12 starships of the 17th design to which the Enterprise belongs.
    And he didn't say "there are only twelve starships".

    The list may not be complete as we are only aware of the 16th and 17th design (and one 18th design) starships that were on the starship status list (only candidates requiring upgrades?) in "Court-Martial".

    I believe the biggest TOS argument against "12 starships only" comes from "The Doomsday-Machine". Commodore Decker comments that the maw of the planet killer could swallow a dozen (= 12) starships. Why didn't he just say it could swallow all the starships of Starfleet, if that were the case? ;)

    Not necessarily for the aforementioned reasons.

    Hmm...the "Vulcan expedition" remark in "Court-Martial" implies the same, but back in the 1970's the "USS" prefix for some older ships had been accepted to indicate a UFP at least 100 years old by the time of Kirk and company.

    :bolian: :techman::bolian: A beautiful and concise summary, IMHO.

    Rewatching TOS I was rather amazed of the internal consistency and how many episodes referred to events in previous episodes (e.g. Kirk explicitly asked Spock in "By Any Other Name" to perform the same mind meld through the wall he did in "A Taste of Armageddon").

    Some of the "contradictions", the way I see it and will continue to promote, are the result of retcon revisionism because later productions (e.g. movies) didn't do proper research (e.g. the Klingon-Romulan attribute chaos in the simulator room in ST II). Sorry, I can't reward bad research at the expense of the original producers ("They didn't know what they were doing") by accepting it as "canon".


    I think another "in-universe" clue to allow distinction between the "Enterprise Class" (17th design) and the "Constitution Class" (16th design) might have been hinted earlier in this discussion.

    The USS Defiant (NCC-1764) in "The Tholian Web" had the identical kind of dedication plaque as the Enterprise (I will argue that there was no need to cover it up, as the plaque did contain the essential "Enterprise Starship Class" information ;)).

    In contrast the USS Exeter (NCC-1672) did not have this kind of dedication plaque in "The Omega Glory". One could take this as a clue, that dedication plaques were only granted to starships of the 17th design and beyond.

    Bob
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    This is exactly why both Starship-class and Constitution-class both work in regards to the Enterprise.

    They started with the twelve Starship-class vessels in the late-2230's/early-2240's. But as they built more and new technology was integrated, they began using sub-class names to describe the differences between vessels.

    The Enterprise starts her life as a Starship-class vessel and at some point is upgraded to Constitution-class specifications. Either Pike or Kirk kept the original dedication plaque as a reminder of where the ship came from.

    EDIT: We have to gloss over the fact that the Enterprise didn't have a visible dedication plaque in "The Cage".
     
  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    I can buy into that although my alternative thinking was that the Enterprise started off as a Constitution Class and another starship, the USS Starship, got upgraded into it's own subclass and brought the Enterprise and ten other ships over. When the Enterprise got upgraded in TMP, it spawned the Enterprise Class. Starfleet got tired of tracking them by subclasses and brought them all back under the Constitution Class near the end of their service. All future references thus only refer to the Enterprise as Constitution Class. It parallels the USS Boston in real life :)
     
  13. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    I think FASA originally came up with that terminology for their RPG, in which the Enterprise was the only one of the original Constitutions to survive its missions intact and Scotty's ideas for refitting and improving the ship after five years required more extensive modifications than originally thought. Hence why the ship wound up looking so different in TMP. The actual FASA rosters are a little hazier, as more than a few names were copied directly from the Constitution list to the Enterprise list without a "II" designation (USS Eagle II, for example; only the Enterprise would have been allowed letters) to suggest they were newer builds carrying the older names.
     
  14. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    I remember first hearing Chekov dictate the "Starship Reliant log" when I first saw TWOK and thinking, "Starship? That's not a starship!"
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But the ancient Archon was also a starship...

    I think that there's a major hurdle in terms of, well, mental aesthetics for any attempt to pin a "Starship class" identity exclusively on ships identical to Kirk's. Sure, there may be hundreds of classes of starship of which only one is named Starship class, but it's somewhat unlikely and unsatisfactory. Except of course if there once was a ship named Starship that gave rise to an entire category of spacecraft, much like there once was a ship named Dreadnought that transformed naval terminology. But clearly that ship would not have been the first of the design that Kirk currently flies, but rather a far more ancient vessel.

    Much more fruitful IMHO to insist, even in the exclusive TOS context, that "Starship class" is a supercategory that covers a great number of designs from a long period of history, just like in the dialogue of TOS (c.f. the Archon). Beyond that, it's a free-for-all: perhaps Kirk's specific ship was of Bonhomme Richard class during TOS, Enterprise class during TMP, then Constitution class again during ST2/3, the ship staying the same but the class leader changing with each refit as different ships would have spearheaded different refits. Back in TOS, such fleeting things would not have been mentioned in the dedication plaque... But later on, new plaques would be bolted on at the conclusion of major refits, specifying the nature of that refit by spelling out the new class name.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    But it does still work like that - just ask Christopher, he writes the tie-in novels which, while non-canon themselves, are very much required by CBS to conform to the current version of the Trekverse.

    You can look at TOS in isolation and argue nomenclature and different interpretations of it all day long, but I guarentee you there won't be an official Trek product now that calls the Original Series Enterprise anything but "Constitution class." Just like the first Starship Enterprise is now Jonathan Archer's ship from the Enterprise TV series, and James T. Kirk's father was first officer of the USS Kelvin as established in Star Trek.

    "Starship class" is obsolete in the greater Trek universe, just like Spock being "Vulcanian" or Troi experiencing every emotion she sensed in "Encounter at Farpoint". These things happen, it's not a crime.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Where does it say that?

    All we ever hear is that Archer flew a starship Enterprise. Nothing indicates a dozen skippers before him didn't do the same. Some sort of a more or less arbitrary division has always existed between the early starships Enterprise and the currently six that "count" whenever our Federation heroes do the counting.

    Once we thought it might be because the earlier starfaring Enterprises (assumed, now confirmed) weren't called "starships". Now we can't think that. But nothing has changed in practice.

    That's not much of a case of "overwriting" anything, just like George Kirk (now there's a name that has survived well enough despite complete lack of canon status) being the XO of the Kelvin in 2233 doesn't really contradict anything written about him previously and dictates nothing about what he would have been doing in 2232, or 2234 in those universes where he survived 2233.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    You're nitpicking and reconciling so hard you completely missed the point.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But there is no point. Star Trek keeps being written, which is different from being rewritten - because there's infinite space to write it into. It is actually extremely seldom that new writing in any way overlaps with old writing, and even on those rare occasions there's enough elbow room to put the two pieces of pseudo-information side by side rather than one atop another.

    Which is why it's so easy to "nitpick" any claims of overlap: not only are the claims based on very little evidence, but the very genre allows for an infinite range of apologies, as there is no inherent need for them to "be realistic" here.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Just like whatever production happens to be going on will generally conform to the current interpretation, spawning it's own continuity/universe. And when the next series production group/artists come along, their own new interpretation. Just like comic books. Which no longer overwrites itself because like comic books it is too sprawling to do so anymore.

    There's a ton of "official" Trek products that gets all sorts of details wrong. So what? That's why we have a Tech Trek subforum :)

    Now back to "Constitution Class" - it technically isn't wrong to call the TOS Enterprise that from a 24th century stand-point, even in isolation of TOS as there is some evidence to suggest that it at one time belonged to it.

    I think Timo gave a better argument, but where does it say that?

    Was he ever not the first officer of a ship in other series?

    You are mixing "obsolete" as in "no longer in use" with "over-writing" or "re-writing" as in "a new story alters the previous story's details". "Starship class" is obsolete in the Trek story simply because the TMP Enterprise, aka "Enterprise Class", was upgraded from it after TOS. The TUC Enterprise is a different ship from the destroyed TWOK Enterprise and it's a "Constitution Class". The 24th century stories refer to the Enterprise as "Constitution Class" based likely on it's final form. Just like most 24th century stories refer to Captain Kirk and omit his time as Admiral Kirk. There is no "over-writing" involved here.

    Are there times when there is a contradiction in other details? Of course. And in the greater Trek universe, it is big enough to hold multiple universes and continuities and all it's infinite variations. Just check out "Parallels" :)

    Why do you think it's a crime? We have a difference in interpretation.