WTH is the NCC1701-D "the Flagship"?

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by xvicente, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. xvicente

    xvicente Captain Captain

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    When did the E-D begin to be called the flagship?

    Thinking of it, it does not make sense. The Enterprise often goes to missons absolutely far away from Earth, to small pre-warp planets (those always seem to invite a Prime Directive breech, btw), or trivial assignmests like ferrying cargo (as important as scientific experiments and medicine relief, but still, hauling cargo). Missions any other of the hundreds or thousands of smaller vessels could carry.

    A flagship should be carrying diplomatic missions and signing military treaties, and most importantly, be always between SF Command and main planets (Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, The pigfaces I forget the name....). And have one or more Admirals on board. Flagship = Flag officer, no?
    The Captain only is there to take him from one place to another.

    Nothing of that happens on Picard's vessel.
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Flagship

    And because Jean-Luc Picard is just that awesome.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Right. The term "flagship," strictly speaking, should mean either the ship from which an admiral commands or the lead ship in a task force or armada. But because most ST writers are laypeople rather than naval veterans, they tend to use "flagship" more in its vernacular sense of the most prominent or special member of a group, like how Voyager was the flagship show of the UPN network, say. So the idea is that the Enterprise is the jewel of the fleet, the most advanced and prestigious ship with the best and brightest crew.

    Which I happen to think is a lousy idea, a sort of elitism that doesn't seem worthy of the Federation. Also, doesn't it make more sense to distribute your best personnel throughout the fleet instead of letting one ship hog them all? But the problem is that the attitudes of fandom have been transposed onto the characters in-universe. We care about the Enterprise the most because it's the ship the series focuses on, so that's led to it being portrayed as the most important ship in-universe too. Gene Roddenberry probably started this with his TMP novelization, in which he claimed the E was special because it was the only ship to return home from a 5-year mission with both ship and crew essentially intact.
     
  4. Nebusj

    Nebusj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's also dramatically troublesome, since when the ship staffed by the best and the brightest personnel Star Fleet has to offer has a problem where they lose to Pakleds, it inspires the viewer to wonder how the Federation manages to go four days with being accidentally conquered by guinea pigs.

    (I wonder if this was a contributing influence to Futurama's running gag where Earth got conquered by everybody, including Zoidberg for crying out loud.)
     
  5. Levi

    Levi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I wish I could remember where, but I remember reading that Starfleet uses the term Flagship for, as described, its most prestigious ship, often commanded by one of Starfleets top Captains, with a crew often hand picked by the captain, that is all top of their class, so to speak.
    In terms of what we call a Flagship today, I do not believe Starfleet had/has any specific ships for this use. When needed, an Admiral could take command of any specific ship that was best suited for the needs at hand, making that ship a flagship, as we refer to it today.

    I could be wrong.
     
  6. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    As noted, in the ST universe it seems "Flagship" seems to mostly mean the ship that is the most advanced in the fleet and most exemplar of Starfleet, although probably not even that strictly since the Enterprise is usually the flagship of the fleet and considering the length of missions they're on they can't always be up to date technologically speaking but maybe when it comes to crew.

    This does create some problems of sort, as noted, one being that it creates an air of elitism in Starfleet something we're supposedly beyond by the 24c.

    But another problem I see it causing is that creates an artifical ceiling to one's career. When you've made it onto the Enterprise the most advanced ship in the fleet with the best and brightest and doing the greatest things in the galaxy what incentive does one have to step down to another ship?

    One of the examples of this is Riker. What incentive does he have to leave the Enterprise-D a beautiful, luxurious, Galaxy-Class starship to command, say, and Excelsior-Class ship which is cramped, comparatively smaller, and an 80-year-old design. As Riker says when he's being offered, and turning down, another command. "She's a good ship, but she's not the Enterprise."
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The problem is, dramatically it makes sense to focus a series on the best people around, since if there's someone better and more effective out there, why aren't we watching them instead? Plus having the main characters be the best problem-solvers around helps explain why they get assigned to so many major crises and unusual situations (since in real life, most people don't face two dozen world-shaking adventures per year). So it's one of those things that are done for the sake of the story even at the expense of plausibility.
     
  8. Shat Happens

    Shat Happens Captain Captain

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    Was it referred to as that in the series? I only remember Picard saying "flagship" right before the epic battle with the Bird of Prey in Generations...
     
  9. jimbotron

    jimbotron Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Enterprise is referred to as the flagship throughout the show. I just watched Remember Me, and Beverly refers to the ship as such.
     
  10. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Yes. And since the Enterprise-D was the "flagship" during the blockade action against the Romulans in "Redemption" I feel Ron Moore had a point insisting that Picard should have at least received a temporarily promotion to fleet captain, commodore or else. ;)

    Bob
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    TNG is the only show to have used the term "flagship" for Starfleet vessels, and has used it in two distinct ways:

    - Picard's E-D is the "Federation Flagship", the showpiece that gets sent to impress newly encountered species.
    - Picard's E-D is among the ships that operate as Flagships in commanding starship fleets, although she does so without actually having a flag officer aboard; other ships such as the Gorkon in "Descent" do so with an Admiral aboard.

    Apart from that, the nuTrek movies refer to NCC-1701 as the "newest flagship", not establishing whether this means the one and only one in service from 2258 on (hence probably a flagship in the first sense) or the newest in the great number of flagship-configured starships in service as of 2258 (in the second sense). Granted, there is no flag officer aboard - but the launch in STXI is implied to be premature, and it's only a short time afterward that we see Pike sporting the braid of Vice Admiral, so perhaps he was supposed to be the one to break his flag aboard the ship?

    No other Enterprise has been indicated to be a flagship of any sort, or witnessed leading formations of ships other than in the most impromptu fashion (the DS9 and VOY hero ships did some of that, too), although several have carried a flag officer aboard. Commodore Mendez even seems to have actually brought his flag physically aboard...

    I don't think the shows are actually guilty of narrowing down their options by establishing the E-D as the "UFP Flagship". Sure, the ship is a talent magnet, but DS9 is shown to be one as well - suggesting that anything and everything between those two extremities can also motivate people to do their utmost. And people can use lower positions on exalted assignments as stepping stones for higher positions on less exalted ones, so it doesn't matter that the top officers do get stuck aboard the E-D for decades at an end. They aren't a loss to Starfleet; in addition to being decent officers, they are trusted custodians and educators a bit akin to Boothby.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder if it was Starfleet requirements to have a bridge crew composed of as many diverse and unusual beings as possible? We have the only Klingon in the fleet, the only android in the fleet, the (apparently) only blind guy in the fleet, the only teenage acting ensign pilot in the fleet, an empath who's only half an empath...

    Are there enough oddball characters in the fleet for all the other ships? Did the Yamato have the only Gorn in the fleet, the only teenage Vulcan female dwarf in the fleet, the only armless pilot in the fleet, the only half-Horta-half-Excalbian security officer in the fleet...

    ;)
     
  13. Shat Happens

    Shat Happens Captain Captain

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    I want to see a picture of that. :lol:
     
  14. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    On the other hand, it's perfectly possible for a franchise to not subscribe to the concept of "the best people around," since there are always going to be people better-suited for some tasks than others and there is never going to be a single group of people better-suited for every possible task than every other group you could possibly assemble. Which is a lot more like actual life and a far better way to go*; but by the time TNG came around, the sentimentalization of Kirk and the TOS crew was in advanced stages and the new crew had to be sold in much the same way. Hence repeatedly telling us that she was "Starfleet's flagship."

    * To be fair, though, there really are gestures toward this in TNG; despite the "flagship" nonsense, the series is actually quite good at conveying that there are lots of other competent and even heroic people in Starfleet out there pursuing successful careers all their own without much caring that they're not on the "flagship." (And I quite agree with most of what Timo says.)
     
  15. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is one reason why DS9 appealed to me from the start. Unlike TOS and TNG with their best-of-the-best legendary heroic crews, DS9 showed us "regular" people in ST. Professional and capable to be sure, but no living legends with reputations throughout the fleet.

    Of course, by the end of DS9 a WHOLE lot changed. But at the beginning, DS9 was about a not-particularly special group of folks. Nice change from earlier series.
     
  16. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    My theory is the E-D originally was supposed to be a deep-range explorer, pushing the boundaries of the Federation and making first contact with more advanced civilizations, but after the Yamato's destruction, Starfleet reevaluated the whole Galaxy-class concept and decided ships full of civilians shouldn't be boldly going. That explains the change of tone from the early seasons, when the Enterprise seemed to be on the edge of known space, to later years when they were ferrying supplies around, investigating missing ships, and making contact with less advanced civilizations.
     
  17. Shat Happens

    Shat Happens Captain Captain

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    ^^ that makes sense but it's also a terrible thing to see TNG as. Specially when some people are like me who likes to compare TOS with the lesser series.
     
  18. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Um... that's the same as much of the TOS ship's mission. :vulcan: TOS is replete with stories about investigating missing ships, ferrying supplies and personnel, and making contact with less advanced civilizations.
     
  19. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    But could the reason why the Enterprise has been seen to be the flagship in fleets such as in "Redemption" is because it is the Federation Flagship. So whenever the Enterprise is part of fleet if no Flag officer is present command of the fleet automatically falls to the Enterprise Captain.
     
  20. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Chain of Command too is based on the fact that the Enterprise-D is the flagship. I see the "flagship" function essentially as a representative one. It's mean having a Captain able to deal with all types of assignments: exploration, science, diplomacy and battle. There's a prestige to serve on the E-D, but that doesn't mean you are one of the best. There's too much personnel transfer for that and it doesn't make sense to put all the best officers on the same ship.

    What I find stupid it's NCC-1701 seems to be the only registry number to have been reused in the time. Christopher Pike and James T. Kirk were not the only valuable Captains of Starfleet history. I mean, the Sisko's Saratoga could have been for example the NCC-1887-C.