Excelsior and Galaxy

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Hey Missy, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Hey Missy

    Hey Missy Captain Captain

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    Why did fanon automatically declare the Excelsior class's "transwarp" technology to be a failure because of how easily Scotty sabotaged it?
    Furthermore, how was the Galaxy class a "failure"? Fanon circles will tell you it's because most of the ones we saw on screen were destroyed (Enterprise, Yamato, Odyssey) but that was for dramatic effect.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, fans in the 1980s lived in a reality where TOS movies talked about transwarp but TNG episodes had none. So it was down to two options:

    1) Transwarp flopped.
    2) Transwarp was a splendid success, and in TNG they have it - they just call it warp now.

    Fans were divided on that, and still are.

    The Galaxy being a failure is a fun concept, something never indicated in the episodes and movies but certainly not completely precluded by those, either. Wouldn't it be cool and exceptional if it turned out the hero ship had been a lemon all along? I gather it's something of a minority opinion, but some novels have dabbled in it, for whatever weight that carries.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    USS Excelsior, as a model, changed a bit between Star Trek III and Star Trek VI. Sulu was going around at warp speed it seemed. She was likely still quite fast though if he's willing to fly her apart to help the USS Enterprise. It is speculated that the transwarp drive failed and they refit the starship with regular, if large, warp drives as the space frame was quite good. It is also speculated that the ship was just refit for better in fleet service after her prototype period, hence the NCC-2000 hull number under Captain Sulu, but the transwarp drive was working. Perhaps as planned, perhaps not as planned, but it was still better than what Enterprise was using (the previous warp record holder of Starfleet).

    As for the Galaxy-class, the idea it was a failure came up from some episodes with the crew speculating that they might have a faulty ships (when USS Yamato exploded for seemingly no logical reason, at first was thought to be some sort of potential fatal design flaw, but that wasn't the case. And again when they replaced parts of the warp drive systems and have a load of problems made them think they might have a faulty ships again, but it was aliens or something). And than USS Enterprise's final battle gave people a bad impression of the design losing to an older Klingon Bird of Prey (though the failure features are actually the same features that failed on the "Yesterday's Enterprise" alternate version of the USS Enterprise when attacked by Klingons, so it might not be a real flawed design, but a weakness to specific Klingon weaponry that no only causing warp coolant leaks, but also kills the fail safes, and warp ejection systems...which might an intentional design by the Klingon weapons designers that Starfleet hadn't figured out. But Galaxy-class service during the Dominion War proper seems to be one of great power and durability. We don't see any lost in the war proper after the first contact incident with USS Odyssey. USS Galaxy herself gets beaten up a bit, but comes back each time. The one major fleet battle we see in the show that is a total loss, has no Galaxy-class ships in it, but some Nebula-class ships instead.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We should not get stuck with the idea that success would be the opposite of failure here, though!

    In the reality of, say, WWII, several major ship types were considered failures, having been designed or built all wrong for their intended task. Perhaps such a task had grown completely outdated, perhaps the initial specs were wrong, perhaps the workmanship or resources allocation was poor. Some of these ships served the winners, some the losers. Yet the winners did not win thanks to their less failed ships, nor did the losers lose because of their failed ships. It's just that in practice, the many shortcomings of the ships of the losers are enumerated afterwards, while those of the winners are glossed over.

    It just wouldn't do to stop operating a failed ship, is the lesson to be learned here. Having a poor ship is better than having no ship at all, in many situations. And apparently in all of those concerning Starfleet - after all, the fleet scenes feature their share of antiquated types, with nary a comment. Apparently, those don't drag down the fleet, but add to its numbers, which are the only thing that matters. Much as in WWI and before...

    Perhaps the Galaxy fell 78% short of the hopes Starfleet set on her, and nevertheless added greatly to the Fleet. Perhaps the Galaxy was 98% the technological success she had been intended to be, but had no purpose in the Fleet after practical experience had shown the powerful ship weakened the overall war effort by depriving other, more needing parties of resources or skewing tactics or concentrating firepower when distribution was needed. Such things would be independent rather than interdependent in the end, and the history of the Galaxy class could be equally well be written with the words Success or Failure in the title.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Unwrapped

    Unwrapped Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    And even with a successful design, it can takes years and hard experience to know how to fully use it properly. WWII saw the carrier demonstrate its great potential and evolve into the main platform it is now, but it took time for the technology and strategy to evolve with it. When WWII broke out, carriers were initially seen primarily as escorts for other capital warships, particularly battleships. The advantages provided by the aircraft in terms of mobility and group firepower were still being learned by both sides to a degree, and by late in the war the American forces had gotten far better than in the first few years. Modern carriers in turn incorporate a number of those lessons in addition to better technology.
     
  6. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Because that's what fans do. And because there was no evidence to the contrary.

    There was never any canon source that stated that the Galaxy class was ever a failure.
     
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  7. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I like to think transwarp is where we get the new warp scale from. The success of transwarp is why you no longer see the Enterprise traveling at “warp 14,” like it did in TOS.

    The Galaxy is a huge triumph. Some fans don’t ever like to see weakness of any kind. Picard had to surrender a couple times in the first season for story reasons and he was called weak or “French.” Kira cried a few times in early DS9 and she was called weak or “womanly.” The same people saw two Galaxy Class starships fire on one Galor Class and (obviously!) called them very successful during the Dominion War, serving with distinction.

    The Yamato was lost to a civilization that Picard put the Federation as cave-people next to: how the Hell would any ship fare any different? The “coolant leak” problem is what you call background technobabble to suggest drama. It could have been anything, on any class of starship, from any race. The Odyssey survived 10 full minutes against multiple highly sophisticated new aggressors from a 2000 year old imperial organization who knew all about its weaknesses, and it accomplished its mission and leaving when it was rammed in a suicide attack by a ship a third its size (in the episode). Even then it didn’t immediately erupt into a fireball, as you’d think it should have, yet took a moment to as it drifted.
     
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  8. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commander Red Shirt

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    Most Vessels or Buildings will never be designed to take a Kamikaze attack.
     
  9. Hey Missy

    Hey Missy Captain Captain

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    I think a lot of the Galaxy class "failures" come from Ronald D. Moore and Ira Steven Behr who claimed that it was a "failed experiment to bring children and families on board a starship", and then fans added "because of design flaws and easily exploited weaknesses".
     
  10. Unwrapped

    Unwrapped Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I haven't heard of those specific claims by either Moore or Behr. The original design intent when TNG was first getting off the ground was that the Galaxy would spend most of its time on the borders of explored space and only contact bases somewhat rarely, so the idea of having civilian families on board made sense in that context. If you were otherwise going to spend months away from your family, it was certainly better if they could be in the same place. But they quickly realized that such a feature didn't work as well for the episodic nature of the series, and it was never entirely resolved. The Enterprise wasn't that remote but still kept the civilian contingent on board.
     
  11. Hey Missy

    Hey Missy Captain Captain

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  12. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, you know, that is what the Galaxy Class’s easy saucer separation was meant for. They just couldn’t afford it. Are you really going to tell people on 20-year tours that they can’t have families?

    Also, this is the same problem many or all Trek series have, including DS9. Realistically, the ship shouldn’t be in nearly as much mortal danger as it is week after week. Any one season of a show is enough to send the crew into years or therapy or early retirement. But it’s a TV show, so they brush it off and get back to it by the following week.

    Additionally, Moore was referring to the idea that Star Trek, not the Galaxy Class had a problem with families. The Saratoga also carried Sisko’s entire family, and it was a much smaller ship.
     
  13. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Families aboard a long range starship that is expected to be out beyond Federation space for years at a time is reasonable and perhaps realistic. Especially a ship that is more or less a mobile starbase in scope (there is way too much space inside a Galaxy-class starship for its crew of around a thousand). But its no good for a serialized drama TV show, when the ship is expected to get into a crisis every week.
     
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  14. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, that's a real-world response by Moore. It wasn't held up by what we saw in the show. There were families and children on the ship throughout the entire seven years of TNG. Hardly a failed experiment in-universe.
     
  15. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    That was written in 1997, so he's talking about the status quo circa DS9 season 5 and Voyager season 3. I can easily believe that having two Galaxies destroyed within a few months might cause a reconsideration of the policy. Even if the Enterprise and Odyssey didn't have a massive loss of life thanks to the saucer-sep and Keogh's foresight to evacuate most of his crew to DS9, respectively, it would've almost certainly brought back memories of the Yamato, which wasn't so lucky.
     
  16. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Or not? Who are who talking about? There’s no one actually there, remember? Both crews did exactly what they should have and the ship did exactly what it should have and everyone was saved who might have.

    It’s really more about what type of show you’re looking to write. If you’re telling the story of a battleship in constant combat, families don’t make sense. If you’re telling something more hopeful or more realistic, I think they do.

    And TNG was massively popular and no one really said anything about the civilians on board. Those who are most vocal about it are the ones who seem to like the combat angle.
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Also, in-universe, families aren't a Galaxy thing; Sisko's old Saratoga had those, too. Saucer separation obviously has nothing to do with the family concept, then...

    Massive loss of life is generally accepted in the operation of starships. Apparently, future heroes just don't think it worth making a distinction between the potentially various types of life lost. Starfleet, civilian... What's the difference? Both signed the waiver anyway.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Toby Meyer

    Toby Meyer Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I think too people are forgetting that the Galaxy Classes are massive. And take a lot to build. That combined with the fact that the Federation was moving into an era where more Defiant and Intrepid Class sized vessels were a better fit for Starfleet's immediate needs. It make sense that Galaxy Classes would still be a rarity.
     
  19. Norsehound

    Norsehound Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That does make sense. Also tracks with what Garrett said about the sickbay being more akin to a starbase facility than anything she's seen on a starship. It's not just advancements in the forty years between them, it's the fact that the Galaxy is big enough to support an enlarged facility meant for starbases.

    I think the concept would have been neater if the Galaxy was even bigger so it could dock smaller starships (more runabouts?) but... that's not where they went.
     
  20. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the huge Shuttle Bay One, they could probably fit a bunch of runabouts. USS Enterprise delivered three runabouts to Deep Space Nine when its administration was taken over by Starfleet.