What's in a name?

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

  1. Saginaw

    Saginaw Cadet Newbie

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    Greetings, all!

    First, I'd like to thank the administrators for accepting my registration. Now to my question.

    The ships and craft of the Federation have displayed some memorable names, but the one thing that I've wondered about is what factor determines what a starship or shuttlecraft is christened? For example, in the Original Series, most of the starships seen or verbally referenced to bore names that reflected either what ships were then active in the U.S. Navy (Enterprise, Constellation, Lexington, etc.) or historically noted ships from other navies around the world (Hood, Potemkin, etc.). The names of the two shuttlecraft seen in the series (Galileo and Columbus) would have easily been known by most school students of the 1960s.

    'The Next Generation' greatly expanded this practice by revealing names that were more "inclusive" and reflected the changing view and perception of the world around us. For example, not only were there the "old school" names for starships (Enterprise, Hood) but also ships named after historical personages (Gandhi, Crazy Horse, etc.) or major Earth cities (Berlin, Cairo, etc.). But, just like in the Original Series, the shuttlecraft and shuttlepods continued to be named after explorers, artists, and scientists (Hawking, Voltaire, Fermi, et al). This naming convention continued in 'Deep Space Nine' and 'Voyager'.

    When the Original Series was remastered, the shuttlecraft seemed to have been given particular attention to detail with the revelation of a few more names. As before, the practice of naming them after "academics" continued (i.e., Picasso, Einstein, Da Vinci).

    So, what's in a name?


    --Saginaw
     
  2. Praetor Baldric

    Praetor Baldric Lieutenant Commander

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    That's an interesting observation. Insofar as naming vessels after people is concerned, I guess one's historical stature determined whether a starship or a shuttlecraft was named after you.

    So, Gandhi and Crazyhorse are deemed more important to Earth's history than say, Einstein?

    Of course, I am proceeding from the assumption that it is a greater honor to have a starship named after you than a shuttlecraft.
     
  3. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I seem to recall reading somewhere -- possibly a non-canon source -- that, at least in the TOS era, it was a starship captain's prerogative to choose names for his ship's shuttlecraft. Maybe Kirk had a thing for historic astronomers and explorers.
     
  4. Saginaw

    Saginaw Cadet Newbie

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    As Mr. Spock would say, "fascinating".

    Like many 'Trek' aficionados focused on the technical aspects of the franchise, I've thought of names for both starships and shuttlecraft, particularly in the TOS era. Here are a few of my favorite personal examples:

    "Laika" - the dog that was launched by the Soviets on Sputnik 2 in 1957. To me, this would definitely be a name for a shuttlecraft.

    "Melville" - named after American writer Herman Melville (1819-91), the author of Moby-Dick. This one is tough. In the 'Trek' universe, would his name merit a christening upon a starship or a shuttlecraft?

    "Braille" - named after Louis Braille (1809-52), the blind French educator who invented the Braille alphabet. Another tough one. Starship or shuttlecraft?

    I like to think that, in the TOS universe, a selected name would be used on a shuttlecraft in one era and a starship in another. Of course, the selection and assignment of a name would depend on a myriad of factors, like personal choice, influence reflective of Federation ideals, etc.


    --Saginaw
     
  5. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    In the Einstein example above, I don't have any trouble believing that there could be a ship named Einstein as well. Starfleet presumably manages the names of its ships, and ensures there are no duplicates, but things are probably a little more lax with shuttlecraft names. There are probably so many shuttlecraft that you're going to have repeating names across different motherships. In the Starfleet records, a shuttlecraft is probably just known by its registry, eg - NCC-1701/7 or NCC-1701-D/15, and then perhaps the name is actually assigned by the ship commander, as scotpens mentioned above. (IIRC, one of the Titan novels showed this happening in the TNG era too.)

    As an example, in the 24th century shows, both Cochrane and Goddard appeared as names of both starships and shuttlecraft. I'm sure there are other examples, too.
     
  6. Retu

    Retu Commander Red Shirt

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    Then there are the Danube-class runabouts which are named after Earth's rivers (Danube, Yangtze Kiang, Rubicon etc.) even if they are nothing more than a larger version of a shuttlecraft.
     
  7. EnsignHarper

    EnsignHarper Captain Captain

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    The shuttle in "The Most Toys" that got destroyed was named Pike! I am ASSUMING it was for Christopher, and not Zebulon...
     
  8. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Yes, it was mentioned in the Titan novels. Captain Riker named the Titan shuttles after Jazz artists that he enjoyed.

    And a hearty Welcome Aboard to Saginaw.
     
  9. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    ^So...if I were a Starfleet captain following that example, my first four shuttles would be the Lennon, the McCartney, the Harrison, and the Starr....
     
  10. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One TNG episode had a shuttle named Onizuka, in honor of Ellison Onizuka, who was lost in the Challenger disaster. And of course there was the USS Grissom in The Search for Spock.
     
  11. davidant32

    davidant32 Commodore Commodore

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    Why is it that all of the ship names are so Earth-centric? Where are the ships named after landmarks / famous individuals from the worlds of the other founding members of the Federation (Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar Prime)? And all the hulls are painted with Earth letters and numbers, as well.

    Homo sapiens only club! :borg:
     
  12. danellis

    danellis Commander Red Shirt

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    I understand that Mike Okuda's Andorian geography leaves a little to be desired

    dJE
     
  13. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    It's almost as if its a TV show intended for an audience of English speaking humans!

    On occasion they did use non-human names for ships.
     
  14. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Those bastards :lol:

    But seriously, Starfleet (admiralty, ship personnel, Starfleet Academy) is mostly staffed by humans, with "aliens" being a clear minority. So it is only logical that in-universe Starfleet would name its vessels accordingly, chosing mostly earth-related names. Apparently humans are the main "operator" of Starfleet and possibly also driving force behind it.

    Mario
     
  15. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well we have seen ships called the Sarek (no doubt named for Ambassador Sarek), The Gorkon (Klingon Chancellor), The Sitak (sounds Vulcan but can't be confirmed).

    So we have examples of ships that are not Earth centric named.

    But yes it does seem as if many of the ships named/seen in ST are taken from the navies on Earth, esp the RN and USN.
     
  16. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Something that occurred to me a few years ago: while we like naming our ships after great battles (Yorktown, Lexington), it's probably a bad idea to use those names on ships of exploration and first contact.

    Imagine meeting a civilization for the first time. They ask you casually what the name of your ship means in your language. "Uh. Well, it's named after a great battle in a war of revolution."

    "Our people are repulsed by war. Please leave. Never come back."

    "But we're peaceful now."

    "Then why name your ship after a treasonous battle?"

    "But..."

    "No really, go. If you're not out of the system in an hour, we'll kill you. that's how we deal with people who make war. We kill them. I know it seems contradictory, but it's cleaned up the neighborhood. Out with you!"
     
  17. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    I think it´s doubtful, that many Starfleet officers would be familiar with (or even care about) the initial origin of a ship´s name. To them these names will most likely just represent the continuation of a proud heritage of previous vessels of the same names. Whether any given name first came from a person, a place or a battle from 500 or more years earlier will not really matter to them anymore, IMO.

    Mario
     
  18. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Or many of the background characters we've seen are actually human-looking aliens (there are a lot of them out there).

    Despite what we've seen on screen, I think that humans are actually a minority in Starfleet, after all there are 150 member worlds, plus many non-Federation citizens who choose to enrol (eg Worf and Nog), and not every human will want to go into Starfleet. On screen we've only seen a very small portion of a single ships crew complement, let alone the fleet as a whole.

    That's how I choose to look upon things anyway.
     
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Not even close to my point.
     
  20. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
    I've always subscribed to the "Captain gets to choose" notion, although its more a matter of preference than based on any evidence. At the very least, I'd think the Captain would get to name his executive shuttle/yacht. I could see the Captain naming a few and letting his other senior officers each name one, too.

    I don't see why you couldn't have a U.S.S. Galileo and a Shuttlecraft Galileo, although you wouldn't necessarily want the U.S.S. Galileo to have a Shuttlecraft Galileo.

    That'd just be confusing. :rommie: