TMP Refit - Why?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by austen_pierce, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    :wtf: I believe that with this attitide, your answer could be given to a large percentage of the questions here at the TrekBBS!! I´m sure most of us (including the OP) is aware of the fact, that "it is SciFi" (see his post #1). The intent of this thread was (correct me if I´m wrong anyone) to find an in-universe explanation, as to why Starfleet would go to such trouble to completely rework the Enterprise instead of just building a new one.

    Mario
     
  2. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Okay, an in universe explanation. Here's a possible one, I remembered reading and got the novel. It's from "The Great Starship Race" by Diane Carey. At the very end of the novel the Enterprise had taken very heavy damage and was due for repairs. This quote is Kirk talking to Spock about the repairs:

    "And I don't want anything replaced that isn't in pieces. The Enterprise just showed us how tough she is. Her spine, frame assemble and exostructure turned out to be a lot stronger than we thought. Even stronger than her designers thought. I don't want any of that strength repaired out of her."

    Maybe Kirk, and I assume Scotty would agree, wanted to keep as much of the original Enterprise as possible and simply upgrade instead of replace the entire ship with a new one.
     
  3. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    Except, Decker tells Kirk that the refit is an almost totally new ship. So different in fact that Kirk has trouble finding he way around it, doesn't know how the new engines and weapons work, and there's hardly anyone rated on the design according to Decker.
     
  4. Leto_II

    Leto_II Captain Captain

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    It's pretty clear from the TMP film, novelization, and The Lost Years that Kirk was rather powerless to do much of anything about such a drastic redesign of the Enterprise following its return from the five-year mission -- Starfleet was hell-bent upon the refit program, and Kirk suddenly became far too valuable a commodity as a returning hero and as a recently-promoted Admiral (the new public "face" of Starfleet) to have any real impact against the decision.

    He certainly hoped to regain a say in the proceedings -- he only accepted the promotion to the Admiralty on a provisional basis after nearly tendering his resignation, but soon found himself too embroiled in other duties as Chief of Starfleet Operations (and roving diplomatic troubleshooter) to involve himself in the refit process.

    Plus, Decker had already been promoted and was overseeing the entire program by this point, and it basically took the intervention of Admiral Nogura himself years later to finally get Kirk his old command back (albeit much too late to prevent the refit).
     
  5. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    It's not entirely clear when Decker's promotion happened. What we know is that he was placed in charge of the refit after a four-year tour on USS Boston (per TMP and Phase II character notes) as executive officer. Christopher's novel A Forgotten History suggests that Decker's promotion happened during the refit rather than before it because Kirk thought he would be the best choice as the new Enterprise captain due to the enormous effort he was putting into the refit.

    Other sources have suggested he was promoted to captain first and assigned to Enterprise at Kirk's urging because the latter wanted to give his career a boost. The exact nature of the relationship between Decker and Kirk isn't clear. Based on their interactions in TMP, we can reasonably conclude that they were fairly close (I'm basing this on each using the other's first name, something previously done only by Spock and McCoy) prior to Kirk booting Decker from the captain's chair.

    --Sran
     
  6. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    I knew all that, but I meant maybe he pushed for a refit and not a totally new ship. Like hang on to all the basic skeleton that was possible to mount the new stuff on.

    I'm sure he made other suggestions, that he assumed were followed but were not, like the phasers being powered by the warp engines.
     
  7. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure what this means. Are you saying that the idea for increasing phaser intensity by routing them through the warp drive was Kirk's idea? If so, why wouldn't he have thought about that while the Enterprise was flying through the wormhole? Decker had to explain to him that the phasers wouldn't work in the event of engine imbalance.

    --Sran
     
  8. Leto_II

    Leto_II Captain Captain

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    Christopher's novel probably comes the closest to synchronicity with other sources; it's mentioned in The Lost Years (during the post-docking festivities) that Decker's promotion to the captaincy was more or less imminent (Kirk having sponsored him), which would suggest that it formally went through around the time the refit was underway, if not immediately beforehand.
     
  9. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Building a starship constitutes a significant investment. It makes sense that you;d want to use that investment for as long as possible, adding in more advanced technology as it becomes available. The military today does the same thing with the Abrams tank. It's had more powerful engines, better computer targeting facilities etc put in to make it better. Doesn't it make sense that they'd do the same with a starship?
     
  10. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    No, the exact opposite actually.

    In the novel by GR, once Decker explained why he countermanded Kirk's phaser order. Kirk was shocked since when he had seen that upgrade as an Admiral he had explained the many times a starship would need phasers when the warp drive might be down. And recommended they scrap the idea. He had assumed they would follow his recommendation.

    He couldn't believe that the designers had ignored his opinion and installed it anyway.
     
  11. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Interesting. I've never read the novel, so I didn't know that Kirk had made that recommendation. I only know what's on screen- that Kirk didn't know about the change but Decker's knowledge of the ship saved it from crashing into the asteroid.

    As an aside, I hope Timo sees this. I enjoy his rants about Kirk's leadership by arrogance approach from TMP.

    --Sran
     
  12. Leto_II

    Leto_II Captain Captain

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    Haha...I've enjoyed reading those, too.
     
  13. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not to nitpick, but the real world reason was the fact that a 15 year old, fourteen foot long filming miniature was a bit out of date by the late seventies. Otherwise, why not just save the money and use the same one? An HD version of the original design might have actually looked awesome on the big screen.

    Treknologically speaking, to our minds, the changes to the ship are almost impossible to render the ship quantitatively "the same ship" - and indeed Decker and co. seemed to regard her as almost "a new ship entirely." However, it could be that Starfleet finds it easy to do. But that's not all to consider.

    And yet, no Excelsior or Miranda class starship ever changed so dramatically as the Enterprise did. In turn, this may shed some light on the refit itself; we never have seen another one like it.

    So, referencing above, I'd say there are four possible iterations.

    1. Refits like this are easy and commonplace, we just happen to only see the Enterprise
    2. Refits like this are easy but not commonplace, with Starfleet preferring to build new ships, and for some reasonthe Enterprise is a special exception
    3. Refits like this are difficult yet commonplace, we just happen to only see the Enterprise
    4. Refits like this are difficult but not commonplace, with Starfleet preferring to build new ships, and for some reason the Enterprise is a special exception.
    For my money, evidence points to either 1 or 4. The cynic in me thinks 4. If Starfleet is a real organization, it's not going to be wasteful in how it spends its time and other resources. And again, odds are this all goes out the window by TNG no matter which is the truth, since as I mentioned the Excelsiors and Mirandas do not change so drastically in appearance.

    Scope creep is a bitch.

    I actually haven't heard this exact version put forth before, but this is IMO the best explanation if we assume that refitting a ship is a large degree of effort. This excuse could even make 3 above make sense.

    Intriguing. I've not heard that. Sounds exactly like Kirk, though. :rommie:
     
  14. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    An interesting point. We see the Excelsior-class for the first time in TSFS, again in TUC and GEN, and several times thereafter in TNG. Each of the vessels looks virtually identical to the class prototype on the outside but has an interior consistent with TNG design specifications.

    The Miranda-class appeared in TWOK, TVH, and again in TNG. Each of the ships looks like the Reliant, though some are missing the torpedo launcher that runs above the primary hull. But what of the Miranda-class before TWOK? The novels mention that USS Boston was a Miranda-class ship and that Decker served aboard her for four years as executive officer. Was her design like that of Reliant but with nacelles similar to the Enterprise during the five-year mission?

    --Sran
     
  15. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the registry of the Reliant and TVH's Saratoga are in the 1800s. All things being equal, if registries are sequential as one might think, this would mean they were built after the Enterprise, although we do not concretely know this to be the case.

    There's a fan design for a Surya class "frigate" that is essentially a TOS version of the Miranda, but nothing in canon to support it. It's entirely possible there was a TOS version, and we just never saw it; indeed, according to the "Court Martial" status chart there was at least one ship in the 1800s in service at the time of TOS, so it stands to reason the Reliant might be.

    Then again, who's to say the Miranda class wasn't built as we saw the Reliant, and wasn't the testbed for movie-era tech, before the Enterprise refit was attempted?

    I think the only conclusion we can concretely draw is that something about the Miranda and Excelsior class (and Oberth for that matter) ensured they were in service for around 75 years.

    This would tend to make make one think there could have been refit Consitutions in service too, even though we didn't see one outside Wolf 359 and DS9's "The Sound of Her Voice," both of which reused the TSFS wreckage. If the Excelsior was meant to replace the Constitution, then maybe something along the lines of Timo's treaty stipulations made it advtangous to have an Excelsior rather than a Constitution: one big, more capable ship instead of one smaller, less capable ship. Further, the variants of the Miranda seem to imply a modularity or versatility that we haven't seen in other classes to the same extent.
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    When I was goofing around with an informational Trek website over a decade ago I assumed the Miranda class went through an up grade too

    [​IMG]

    as did the Constellation

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Heh, those are cool. I'm skeptical about the Constellation, but it's certainly possible, and I still dig it.

    Something worth noting about the refit... when the process began for Phase II, the aborted TOS sequel series, in the 70s, Matt Jefferies intended the new Enterprise changes to amount to "power pods and struts only." That is, only the neck, nacelle pylons, and nacelles were fundamentally changed.

    Obviously, there were other minor changed, but 75% she was the same ship. When the series turned into TMP, heavier redesigns took place on the part of Mike Minor and Andrew Probert that further distinguished the ship from her original form, indeed making her a truly complete refit.

    I'll also throw in there that during the Phase II era, the "struts and nacelles only" version of the ship was to have an engine room with an intermix chamber very similar to what we saw in TMP.
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I envisioned the prefit Constellation as the last gasp of the old Connie style nacelles (with a hint of the refit style to come). It got it's refit in early 24th Century.
     
  19. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    It's possible that Enterprise is the only ship to get such a radical refit. Either the "Refit" style of ships were already in service by the time the Enterprise comes home, or she's a new technology testbed and everything after that was built new.

    As for the Excelsiors and Mirandas not being refitted: Maybe Starfleet engine tech was relatively unchanged for a few decades. When the Ambassadors entered service it was such a hug leap forward, that the older ships couldn't be upgraded to the new engines.
     
  20. YJAGG

    YJAGG Commander Red Shirt

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    Well the ship was already a legend, from a PR stand point do you want to mothball a legend? or use it for target practice?