Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Praetor, Mar 23, 2009.
Time for Chapter 10 then.
Excelsior's modularity -> classes' modularity (or class' modularity?)
I think that semicolon should be a colon.
ships remained -> ships still remained
Thanks, k. Edited to fix.
800? wow, that's a lot of ships!
Indeed! It certainly explains why the Excelsiors were always the ones ferrying personnel to the 1701-D in TNG (consider that only six Galaxies were initially built). We should make Praetor list the names of the "nearly 1000" that were in service.
That goes back to the whole problem of the fleet size. TNG consistently suggests there is a small Starfleet, or at least one that is very widely spread. The 40 ships at Wolf 359 are all they can muster in Earth's back yard, and Picard could only scrounge together 20 vessels - some without full crews - on the Romulan boarder.
The Enterprise is often "the only ship in range", but that goes for most of TOS and the movies too. Generations is particularly guilty with the Enterprise-B seemingly the only ship in the vicinity of Earth, which stretches credibility. Damn dramatic licence!
DS9 gives much larger fleets, as you would expect from wartime, with the 600 in Sacrifice of Angels being only about a third of the force they wanted. The Seventh Fleet was supposedly only 112 ships, and the loss of all but 14 is considered a major loss. Even so, earlier in the series it suffers from small fleet-itis, with a mere six ships coming to DS9's aid in The Way of the Warrior. I can't remember how big the Klingon fleet is - "at least 20" or something like that.
Obviously improvements in special effects techniques had an effect on how many ships we could see at one time, and with CGI, they seemed to grow exponentially.
The big difference is time. I can believe that the short notice of the Borg cube only allowed to pull in 40 ships, whereas it took months or years to recall ships from distant exploration and other duties to assemble large fleets for the Dominion War effort.
I don't know how I feel about 800 Excelsior-class ships. We've seen a lot compared to some other classes, but we saw like 25 or something. It's difficult to reconcile Starfleet building small numbers of ships in many different classes and then building 800 heavy cruisers of this particular type. If I were to suppose a class of "only" 50, I would still expect this number to render it one of the most common types in the Starfleet.
I guess my real problem is the idea that *any* class would have hundreds and hundreds of representatives. I don't know if this is a safe assumption. There were 12 Constitution-class ships at that one point in TOS, though the design was not new; people say we saw "so many Mirandas" during TNG era, but I actually think it comes out to around 12, doesn't it? That's with a few variants in the mix, too. So I don't know if I feel like I have any grounds to extrapolate that seeing that many Mirandas could mean there are hundreds. I always thought it was really interesting that Starfleet seems to build so many different kinds of research and exploration ships, always trying new things and staying on the cutting edge, and wondered if it isn't somewhat more interesting from a fictional perspective (and for the fans who love to design starships) if the fleet was made up of many, many classes of only a small number of ships each. It shows that they have a cool kind of "leisurely stargazing" or tinkering attitude instead of a more militant "this works, and let's mass-produce it" view.
I might have believed 800 scouts or something, but Excelsiors are still quite good-sized even by the standards of the late 24th century (bit bigger than Voyager) and if like one in ten ships in the Starfleet is a huge heavy cruiser like that, well, it's a hell of a fleet.
I have looked around the net and other sources for material relating to the number of Excelsior Calss vessels built by Starfleet and the most that I could find in one listing was 30. I found this in Ships of the Star Fleet Vol. 1 Cruisers 2377-2378 by Chris Wallace. While not cannon by any means, it does seem a more reasonable number of vessels.
If anyone is interested here is the link for the .pdf file for reference. http://www.asdb.net/asdb/docs/sotsf/SOTSF1.pdf
I think Jackill had a few designs that numbered near the 100 mark or above, but those were mainly transport/tugs that served as support vessels. I think his Jenghiz class destroyer and a few other designs number between about 50-80, because the Jenghiz was an upgrade of the FJ destroyers. But many of the designs I've seen in various sources only have maybe 20-40 vessels max, and even then it tends more toward the lower end of that spectrum. When you consider how many designs a power like the Federation has if we include most of the regular non-canon sources (Jackill's, Ships of the Star Fleet, FJ's TM etc), then it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to build loads of every design. Only what you need per design.
Your work so far is truly creative and amazing Praetor.
I have throughly enjoyed reading all 10 chapters over the last hour and a half and look forward to what is yet to come.
I have only one stupid little nit...
Once you described how Sulu was elected President of the Federation (for three terms, no less!), should not the rest of the places he is described in the narrative, refer to him as President Sulu in honor of that accomplishment?
As for the number of Starfleet ships...
Should not one also consider the Size of Federation Space, when thinking about how many ships might be built?
While there may only be a few of the larger class of ships for exploration and such, any ship that could be considered a workhorse of the fleet would certainly have to be built in sufficient numbers to cover the extensive area that the Federation seems to have expanded to by the time of TNG.
Another thing to consider is the extraordinary length of time that has passed since the first introduction of the Excelsior Class and their rather unusual reliability, dependability and up-grading factor.
This would tend to also indicate that a much larger number of them have endured the test of time and survived to be added to the count.
Therefore to me anyway, hundreds of these type of ships being in service in various states of readiness, does not seem unreasonable.
While in most cases you certainly refer to somebody by the most prestigious title that person has earned, such as "president," there are some exceptions in everyday life. For instance, we're probably more inclined to refer to Eisenhower or Grant as "General Eisenhower" or "General Grant" than president because it was under that title that they became renowned. The same could apply to Captain Sulu. While the proper way to refer to him might be as "President Sulu", in everyday parlance, he might still be "Captain Sulu".
You of course noticed I hid for a day, right?
Indeed, good sir. A certain Plecostomus suggested I had too few ships and suggested I multiply my original numbers by a factor of ten. It felt a bit high to me, but I thought I'd go ahead and see what everyone's reactions were. I purposefully left it rather vague - but there are supposed to have been 1200 Excelsiors built, with 800 in service in the War.
My original numbers were roughly 160 built and all reactivated during the war (since the numbers are much lower), with 80 surviving the war.
I'd be curious to see if we could reach a general concensus over which numbers seem more feasible.
[Darth Vader] NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! [/Darth Vader]
That's generally my take on it too - I tend to favor a larger fleet than most people. I'm just not exactly sure how much larger...
Yeah, you've effectively summed up my original reasons for keeping it around 150. I tried to safely account for the ships we had named, plus the nameless ships we saw.
Yeah, more good reasons for leaning back towards the 150 ship figure...
Thanks very much.
Well, my thinking was actually basically this:
As to the numbers...
It's good to hear a dissenting opinion. And you've effectively summed up my reasoning for bumping the numbers up as I did.
So I'm still lost in indecisiveness. I could split the difference and say there are about 300 - essentially double my original numbers.
Thoughts and opinions are most highly solicited, please. Pursuade me.
I'd probably go for that compromise number. 1200 just seems too high, though 150-odd over nearly a century might be too low given the number we see in the Dominion War. I'd accept a thousand Mirandas, and even more Oberths though.
Also on the "President Sulu" front, when you are writing history, you generally use the form of address they would have held at the time, to prevent confusion. Hence General Montgomery at El Alamein, and Field Marshall Montgomery in Normandy, not Viscount Montgomery at either. Sulu wasn't President when he was captain of the Excelsior, so it would be pretty perverse to address him as such.
See, I would think there would only be a few more Mirandas than Excelsiors. And somehow, I'd imagined even fewer Oberths than either of them - a few built in large isolated groups.
Well, with the size of the federation, how many shipyards could they have capable of building a heavy cruiser? even if it is only 10 yards, building 1 per year, that is nearly 1000 ships total.
The real problem here is scale. We like to think of each of these ships as lovingly crafted and unique. When the numbers start to get into 3 digits it looks more like they were mass produced carbon copies. Our world bound mindset can't really reconcile the numbers needed compared with what "feels right".
In an organization the size of the Federation, 12 ships is not a production run. It's a design study. if they had said in TNG that there were 300 Galaxy class cruisers, how unique would Enterprise feel?
This also leads back to the question of scope. In TOS the Enterprise was a heavy cruiser. Not the flagship. We were given the impression that this was just one captain's adventures and that the galaxy was a large place with other captains and crews having adventures that we just hadn't seen. By the movie era things had become myopically focused on "one ship, one crew" above them all. This greatly skews how large starfleet is portrayed in order to have our hero ship be "the only one available".
It seems to me that the larger the ship, the fewer are built. I can imagine thousands of the smaller Mirandas and Oberths being built, as they do a lot of the basic scouting and scientific missions that form the bulk of Starfleet missions. I imagine that in a lot of stories, once the Enterprise does it's thing and moves on, the smaller ships come in and clean up after them.
You probably aren't going to have the Enterprise-E mapping an L-class planet in the back-end of nowhere, or cataloguing one of the thousands of nubulae or pulsars that must be knocking about in space - that's what everyone else does whilst the Enterprise is off having adventures on television. I suppose most of what Starfleet does is actually pretty boring, but we are lucky to see the biggest and best ships with the most exciting missions.
You know, I was just reading about the B-52 bomber. In some ways, I've seen it as an inspiration for my interpretation of the Excelsior. They built 744 B-52s. Maybe 700 is a nice round compromise number?
I'd forgotten to also mention that for many classes, Jackill lists a number of vessels that are merely proposed additions to that class. So for a design that has maybe a hundred ships listed total, the actual number in service might only be half of that. Whereas with the Jenghiz design, the high number makes some sense because it's implied to represent all of the FJ era destroyers (the Saladin class and its three variants). This seems pretty fair and logical to me, and I've seen similar notations in other works regarding vessels that are under construction or proposed but not actually commissioned into service.
That is my point exactly.
Once the narrative talks about his three terms as Federation President, would it not be proper to do so from that point on?
(as I stated in my post)
Okay, okay, I'll call him President Sulu!
Any more thoughts on the numbers before I do a revision?
Separate names with a comma.