The 23rd Century - Starfleet at it's peak?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Kahlesh, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Kahlesh

    Kahlesh Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2019
    Location:
    StametsFungi
    I think it's generally accepted amongst fandom that the Federation was in it's peak early to mid 24th century.

    But what about Starfleet itself? I think this would be the 23rd century, a couple of reasons below:

    1) The TOS Enterprise always seemed to easily best the equivalent ships from rival powers (with the exception of Balance of Power), even when encountering multiple enemy vessels they seemed to escape with no real damage.

    2) We don't really see old looking ships (except the Enterprise itself in WoK) in the 23rd century.

    3) Designs from this era are still well in use 100 years later (Oberth, Miranda, Excelsior etc).

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Great topic!

    Agreed, except it was mentioned in DSC that 2250's Starfleet consisted of 7,000 ships. The problem with that, of course, is that registry numbers are only in the 1,000's in that time. So that 7,000 figure probably represents the various shuttles and minor vessels without registry numbers.

    Yes, the TOS Constitution class seemed to be both the primary workhorse of Starfleet and technologically equal to other rival powers' ships. Which is odd, because only 100 years before, Earth was extremely far behind other races such as the Vulcans and the Klingons.

    To be fair, the only ship we know for certain that is new is the Excelsior. We don't know the actual ages of the Miranda class or Oberth class ships seen. My opinion, however, is that they are newer than the Constitution class.

    True, but many of those ships were relegated to cargo, transports, or science vessels with minimal crews, and not the more exciting exploration duties of newer ships like the Galaxy class.
     
    Spockskin and Kahlesh like this.
  3. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    2) The Daedalus class has been around since the 2160s. I’d imagine it would be considered old by the time of TOS. Especially so during the movies.


    3) I just think ships from this era in general (Starfleet, Klingon, Romulan) were just built to last a century.

    You’re forgetting all the ships with NX registries, since Excelsior is NX-2000.

    so, we would have:
    NCC (in the 1000s)
    NX (get to 2000 by the TOS movies)
    Those ships that might have gotten a hyphenated registry if they were considered exemplary i.e Ent-A

    Which mean the rest are shuttles and transports.

    Unless that person misspoke and meant Federation, which would make more sense.

    Probably because there was no Federation 100 years earlier. Pus war always brings about technological advancements.
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    The specific expression used is "active ships". So not shuttles, but we don't know what types of active ships would not get plain NCC numbers. We do see a crewed transport with an apparent Starfleet crew get a F number in the 1900 range, so that already doubles the available numberage. And then we see automated units with similar G numbers, so we're soon left wondering how Starfleet would only have mere 7,000 active ships when the registries amount to tens of thousands... Although the answer there may well be "Starfleet has had lots of ships that no longer are active".

    And then suddenly wasn't, with the NX-01. It probably doesn't take much to catch up qualitatively: South American nations with no engineering or industrial capacity or tradition could easily purchase the mightiest dreadnoughts of the entire planet some 100-150 years ago, outclassing the previous rulers of the oceans in theory. And said rulers saw nothing wrong with selling those very dreadnoughts to those upstarts, because two British-built superships in foreign hands in the Pacific would not diminish the Royal Navy's global supremacy which was fundamentally quantitative. Vulcan might likewise have seen nothing much wrong with helping Earth build a ship that rivaled their lesser vessels (save for tractor beams initially), and then perhaps a dozen further ships that rivaled or surpassed their best.

    In TOS, we basically see Starfleet's frontier forces pitted against those of other "nations". Possibly all these players would believe in "fleets in being", though, only ever risking their most expendable assets on the frontier and keeping all the powerful ships close to home. Although TMP sort of suggests this is not quite the case (perhaps the fleet in being is kept at a border starbase close to the Klingons instead?).

    And combining the horrid loss rate of the Constitutions in TOS with the perceived/intended age of the hero ship, we might deduce that the class is much older than its current ships.

    Old enough to be retired. The one thing we know for certain about the Daedalus class is that it was withdrawn from service in 2196...

    Only temporarily: once she proves herself, she becomes NCC-2000 for her remaining appearances.

    So NX in that era appears to mean the ship is a prototype or introductory unit, similarly to how the USAF adds the letter Y to its aircraft designations until a type is accepted into production and service. Starfleet might have perhaps fifteen ships with NX registries in a force of 7,000, then. But as said, TAS gives the further option of registries where we get a letter that seems related to the role of the ship: F suggestively for a Freighter (although Starfleet wouldn't do freight, that is, commercial hauling, and would have Transports instead), and G for what the 1970s writers would have associated with Guided, that is, remotely controlled things. There's no particular reason to think that these letters would go away with time like the NX would.

    Well, "active ships".

    But the topic there is the Control AI and its desire to oppose or subvert Starfleet specifically.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Location:
    The clinic located by the Q Continuum
    Early TNG reused TOS movie props to save on cost big-time, which also lended a flair of nostalgia and the notion of "we can do big movie thingies on the small screen too!"

    It's that simple, though in-universe new ships could still be based on older hull designs in the event they needed to construct more ships in a hurry. Excelsior and Miranda class hulls augmented with phaser arrays, seem to have separated areas for stronger torpedos - if not more hull protection - compared to the original Enterprise so they didn't need to design anything new.

    Since 1701 was refitted, it's also possible that the ships we saw in TNG were manufactured at the tail end of their lifespan - within 50 years; one gets the impression the hull materials would last a long while in space, with occasional re-plating or engineering technology/mechanisms replaced or upgraded if not maintained. While the Fleet Admiral in TSFS looked at the wrong calendar, Enterprise was closer to 40 years old - not 20. ("Cage" or not, "Menagerie" still validates the original timeframe. Add in Robert April from TAS and one could even conjure up something close to 50.)

    One doesn't need a new design every week, after establishing the universe with newer designs.

    After all, we still see 20 year old vehicles on the road - but they're not quite as easy to refit with more efficient engines.
     
  6. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2012
    About "old" ship classes/ships: those ships aren't necessarily old. Maybe everything but the looks is recent.
    Maybe the Excelsiors (and so on) we see on TNG are like the Eagle Speedster: replicas of a popular previous model using modern tech.
     
  7. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2016
    Which could be a case of the hulls being a century old, but the engines, reactors and other systems never being more the a decade or so away from being state of the art..
    Humans are just better than any of them.
     
  8. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    fireproof78
    Or, humans were willing to work with other races, while Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites struggles with the idea of cooperation at first, thus benefiting from shared knowledge rather than each trying to invent the wheel. You know, that whole cooperation thing and celebration of differences? O_o
     
  9. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    But eventually there will come a time when producing those older ships becomes prohibitive when newer, more advanced ships were being designed and built at the same time.
     
  10. Spockskin

    Spockskin Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2018
    Location:
    Henoch in Charge
    Mid-22nd Century (post-ENT): Federation is a treaty between Four foundering Planets (Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar) plus many other planets to join over the century. Each Planet is responsible for its own defense. Starfleet operates the United Earth's space operations under the United Earth Space Probe Agency. Each member is to agree to "spend" a percentage of its planet's wealth on maintaining a home fleet. All members agree to a mutual defense pack to support the others if attacked by superior forces. This model works up until Mid-23rd Century with the outbreak of war with the Klingons (DSC). The Federation and its members barely survive the war.

    Mid-23rd Century (start-TOS):
    A central operating organization is needed to better coordinate space exploration (and defense) for the Federation. Each member planet donates a large percentage of its space assets as a joint space force for the Federation. Earth's Starfleet takes over the administration of this joint space force under the Federation Council. Starfleet also takes over administration of all member planets' Colonies, Starbases and Space Stations under Federation Law. Since Earth is the largest contributor of assets to the Federation, the Federation is heavily influenced by humans.

    Mid-24th Century (start-TNG):
    Not much has changed except for the growth and control of the bureaucracy in the Federation and Starfleet.

    Since the Mid-24th Century is an evolution on the Mid-23rd Century, then I say the Mid-24th Century Starfleet is it at its peak. Shortly after this peak, then we see Starfleet start its decline from external forces like the Borg, the Romulans and the Dominion. Eventually, we end up in the late 24th Century (PIC) with Starfleet no where near the shining example of peace and exploration it had in the Mid-24th Century.
     
  11. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    fireproof78
    As much as I love the 23rd century I absolutely agree with this assessment.
     
  12. Spockskin

    Spockskin Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2018
    Location:
    Henoch in Charge
    I hate to disagree with myself, but I was thinking whether an earlier Starfleet would have been more prepared for both war and exploration. TNG Starfleet was shining (as long as there was no external threats), but maybe they let their guard down for the last 20-30 years which made them unprepared for war. Did Starfleet slow its weapon technical advances instead pushing for giant space hotels with your family on board. Wasn't that the main lesson from Q about the Borg? They are coming and you are not prepared. Comparably, post-DSC/pre-TOS seemed to deploying military-style run exploration ships with the best weapon and propulsion systems they could devise. Organizationally, this is a better balance for Starfleet. Mid-23rd Century Starfleet accelerated space exploration and they were the bad ass in the neighborhood. With this balance, Starfleet grew for the half century at least. Now I'm torn as to "best balance" Starfleet versus "shining example" Starfleet. The thread is about its "peak" which sounds like "shining example", so, I guess I'm back to my original thinking that is was Mid-24th Century. Eventually, Camelot falls.
     
  13. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Meaning there are a lot more registries than we’ve seen onscreen.
     
  14. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Aug 10, 1999
    I don't even need to type anything. This is my take and those are the reasons.

    Where's the applause emoticon?

    It also explains how the Federation can have 7,000 ships in DSC but none of the Starfleet registries we see breaks 2000. That's an explanation I can live with. They're not all actually from Starfleet. Just from Federation worlds.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
    lawman likes this.
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    fireproof78
    [​IMG]
     
    JonnyQuest037 and Lord Garth like this.
  16. Tim Zombieson

    Tim Zombieson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Location:
    Daniels' Illinois
    Despite the UESPA designation, Starfleet isn't a human organization. It is a combined service of Human, Vulcan, Andorian, Tellarite, Rigelian, and Ithenites, et cetera. By definition, in the 23rd century, it needs to be 100 years more advanced than the most advanced of all those races were in the 22nd century, not the least advanced (which may have been United Earth).
     
  17. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Aug 10, 1999
    I'd split the difference. I'd say after the Federation was founded, Earth had access to all the technology Vulcan, Andor, and Taler had. So, from 2161 on, they still have different fleets but they all have the same level of technology. EUSPA is probably another name for Starfleet or at least a division of Starfleet.

    Starfleet started off as Human, but gradually more and more aliens joined. By 2257, after the Klingon War, it looks like Starfleet is the defensive/exploration program to go with and then the Federation Council might've have decided that over a 10-year period, they'd fold everything into one program. So, in 2267, what we normally think of as Starfleet was fully formed. Which would explain why EUSPA is mentioned in the first season of TOS but not the second or third.

    2267 is also the same year the Organian Peace Treaty went into effect, after "Errand of Mercy", and Cordian was admitted into the the Federation in "Journey to Babel". So I think it's safe to say 2267 was a watershed year for the Federation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
    Phoenix219 and Spockskin like this.
  18. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 7, 2011
    Location:
    Aug 10, 1999
    Yeah. Judging from the Enterprise-C in "Yesterday's Enterprise", I'd say Starfleet in 2344 still acted like the Starfleet from TOS and the first six movies. I associate the change in uniforms with the change in mentality. So the Starfleet we see at the beginning of TNG was still pretty recent. And Picard in "Encounter at Farpoint" was old enough to remember, and clearly preferred, the old way of doing things. Like he said in "Relics", "There are times I'd give almost anything to command the Stargazer again." He related to Scotty a lot more easily than the rest of his crew did.

    EDIT: I'd describe the different eras of Starfleet as:

    2131-2161: Pre-Federation Starfleet
    2161-2256: Early Starfleet
    2256-2267: Transition from Early Starfleet to Classic Starfleet
    2267-2350: Classic Starfleet
    2350-2373: New Starfleet (kind of like when it was going through its "New Coke" or "New Hollywood" phase)
    2373-????: Modern Starfleet

    Or to break it down into series:

    ENT = Pre-Federation Starfleet
    DSC S1-S2 = Early Starfleet
    TOS = Classic Starfleet
    TNG, VOY, DS9 S1-S5 = New Starfleet
    DS9 S6-S7, PIC = Modern Starfleet

    So, despite TNG's version of Starfleet lasting the shortest, it's the one we've seen the most, so I think it gives fans a distorted view of what Starfleet has usually been like.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  19. Annorax849

    Annorax849 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I like to think there were two big “Peace and Prosperity” eras for the Federation. The first was right when it was formed up until around 2220, when they started having “unofficial” encounters either the Klingons.

    The other would be the 30 years after the Tomed Incident in 2311. While it’s true they didn’t really have any “existential” threats until the Borg and later the Dominion, they still had wars with multiple regional powers (including Cardassians) in the 15 years or so before TNG
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Would peace and prosperity really go hand in hand, though? We have precious little data to judge the latter by, and TNG puts the lie to our ability to judge the former, too, what with Starfleet being at war without any of us noticing for the first few seasons...

    Federation history as currently known allows the writers to insert a Golden Age or three basically anywhere, possibly including the Dominion War where we never heard much about civilian casualties and there was supposed to be shock and awe when we did.

    Conversely, there might be horrid slumps, plagues, unrest and crime at any era the writers want, with Kirk, Pike or Picard oblivious to it because they are in outer space.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
    lawman likes this.