TOS's Starfleet Starbase/Starship Deployment

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Henoch, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Kirk said of the Starship Enterprise, "There are only twelve like it in the fleet," in Tomorrow is Yesterday. I also get the impression that there are 12 main Sector Starbases. During the series, Enterprise reported to Starbases 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Exceptions are Starbase 27 (from TSOP, planned to evacuate colonists to Starbase 27) and Starbase 200 (from TAF, planned to go there after routine planet surveys) which sounded as possible smaller starbases and not Sector Starbases. If the Federation territory was vaguely spherical (possible concept at the beginning of the series), then a 3D sector arrangement could be a 12-sided geometric shape (dodecahedron).

    Twelve Sectors. Twelve Sector Starbases. Twelve Starships. Too simple? Thoughts?
     
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  2. C57D

    C57D Commander Red Shirt

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    Like this idea!
    I have often wondered what makes the 12 Starship class vessels so "special" and also why the Enterprise (and presumably the others) carry out such a wide range of activities from defence to policing to exploration to diplomatic to simple science outpost supply runs. Maybe each Starship class vessel is the roaming extention of the sector Starbase it is attached to?
    StarBASE and StarSHIP equals a perfect combination!
     
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  3. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    This makes sense. It also might explain why, in OBS, the Enterprise has to go to the Yorktown, or meet it halfway. (Something that inexplicably, to me at least, seems to bother some.) It also explains why the Enterprise (or someone) has to go looking for the Constellation, the Defiant, and the Exeter. It does NOT explain why five Constitutions were together in TUC.
     
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  4. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It also doesn't explain how the Enterprise randomly stumbles upon the Constellation and the Exeter, ships Kirk didn't even know where missing. If the ships don't have assigned patrol areas (with limits the skippers would actually respect), then associating them with fixed starbases seems a bit futile, too.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  5. C57D

    C57D Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe they were on, or near, the border between their sector and Kirk's when he stumbled across them?
    ;)
     
  6. C57D

    C57D Commander Red Shirt

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    I guess that the field test of TUC was SO important that exceptions were made and five of the top-of-the -line Starships temporarily reassigned?
     
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  7. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    "Doomsday Machine" is especially confusing in this respect. For some unknown reason, Kirk is revisiting a star system he surveyed less than a year earlier, as if there weren't enough systems to keep him tasked for the rest of his life otherwise. It then turns out that Decker's ship is visiting a system basically next door. So is Kirk there only because he, while patrolling his "Kirk Sector", heard Decker's call for help from the "Decker Sector"? If so, why is the "Decker Sector" the former "Kirk Sector"? Are they just rotating ships between sectors? But the stuff in the sector that contained the ah so edible L systems was only charted during the putative "previous rotation" - is Starfleet such a recently established organization?

    In "Omega Glory", Kirk in turn is astounded to find Tracey's ship in a region where she was actually supposed to patrol, albeit half a year previously. Why is Kirk in "Tracey Sector", when Tracey hasn't properly rotated to a new sector yet? Kirk here isn't responding to any distress calls, and he and Starfleet see no cause for alarm even when Tracey has been utterly silent for six months.

    One is reminded of the cool moment in the "Das Boot" series where two Nazi submarines meet in the middle of a stormy Atlantic, and the protagonist skipper curses this astronomically unlikely event because it places two Nazi assets uselessly in the same spot and thus precludes an Allied convoy elsewhere from enjoying the attentions of either. In light of "Omega Glory", it seems possible that starships likewise operate under nearly total cover of silence, having no idea where fellow ships might be - but OTOH are allowed to roam rather freely, rather than being constrained even to a very general theater of operations. Is Starleet in need of assets operating like terrorist cells, afraid that one getting caught (by whatever enemy) would compromise the rest if kept properly informed of the bigger picture?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    BTW, I'm all for the idea that starbases with low numbers are more important than starbases with high ones. Whether this would be because of a Starfleet system established to this effect, or simply because the numbers are meted out chronologically and the bases keep on growing... Well, we have our counterexamples of bases getting their numbers nonchronologically ("Measure of a Man"), but we can then revert to the idea that it's the locations that get the numbers, regardless of whether Starfleet immediately builds something there or not. And, OTOH, while many three-digit bases in the 24th century are imposing, the unseen SB 3 of that era may be even more gigantic at the time! So both interpretations are quite possible.

    As for the starbases with low numbers, SB 6 is the odd one out in essentially being a "damsel in distress" in TNG rather than a mighty power base operating several starships as in TOS. That is, in "The Schitzoid Man", the base drafts the E-D to deal with minor adminstrative issues at a nearby one-horse colony, and then can't spare ships to rescue a large transport vessel in distress. Perhaps a vote for the "natural growth" model where most of the early bases have grown but SB 6 has withered, for perfectly natural reasons unrelated to any Starfleet system.

    OTOH, I wouldn't stop at 12 bases now that we have 2250s data on, say, SB 19 and SB 22 being targets worthy of Klingon attacks right alongside SB 12... SB 200 could still be an irrelevant little listening post nevertheless.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Exactly! But it does seem a little bit risky in hindsight . . . .
     
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  10. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Lt. Palmer: "The distress call definitely came from one of the solar systems in this sector."

    Kirk is in that area owing to the Enterprise picking up a distress call and tracking it down. They can't seem to pin down exactly where it's coming from.

    I think the Enterprise and her sister ship don't have a carved in stone area of operations, her activities are somewhat open ended. Kirk might know a month or so ahead of time what his ship is going to be doing, but that might change at any time. Regularly scheduled routine patrolling and exploration for weeks, then there's a emergency. Back to routine, then a special assignment, when ever that assignment releases them, they return to the routine.

    So the Constitutions (and others) would over time seem to be zig-zagging all over the place.

    I don't think the Enterprise would be permanently assigned to a particular starbase, if they need to visit a starbase they go to the the nearest one, or the one in their approximate path, or the one that can handle their requirement.
     
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  11. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    In general, Enterprise visits Starbases with the higher numbers (11, 9, 12, and 10) in Season 1 based on Production Number/Stardate, then Starbases 12, 10 and 6 in Season 2, then Starbases 4 and 2 in Season 3. For the three Seasons, Enterprise seems to be on a rotational path/pattern through the Sectors. Does one rotational cycle = 5YM?
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  12. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Awesome post, no surprise. Did you mine the transcripts for every mention of "starbase"? :beer::techman:
     
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  13. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    Yep. I started this thread after I did the research for another thread. Then I noticed the trend of higher number Starbases to lower ones, and the number 12 keyed some thoughts on the number of starships and D&D dice. There were also the two Space Stations in TTWT (K7) and TUC (unnamed). Starbases seemed to be larger and planet based. I like to think that the Enterprise's 5YM mission consisted of short exploration jaunts in and out of deep space from its patrol sectors. Twelve ships more or less evenly spaced on the Federation's border will slowly and evenly expand the Federation in all directions, that is, until you bump into another space empire that doesn't want to join you.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  14. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    No, first Kirk was responding to a distress signal from the Constellation; he didn't just stumble upon it. :techman:
    PALMER: The distress call definitely came from one of the solar systems in this sector.
    KIRK: Can you pinpoint it any closer, Lieutenant?
    PALMER: Negative. It was so badly garbled all we got was the name Constellation, then we lost it.​

    Second we have the following dialog from the Omega Glory:
    SULU: Approaching planet Omega Four, sir. Object ahead. Another vessel in planet orbit, Captain.
    KIRK: Lieutenant, sound alert.
    UHURA: Aye, sir. All decks report ready, sir.
    KIRK: Long range sensor scan, Mister Sulu.
    SULU: It's the USS Exeter, sir.
    KIRK: Try to contact her, Lieutenant.
    UHURA: Aye, sir.
    KIRK: The Exeter. She was patrolling in this area six months ago. I hadn't heard of any trouble.

    Nothing here indicates that Kirk was not looking for the Exeter. The fact that Kirk says she was patrolling in this area six months ago and hadn't heard of any trouble does not mean Starfleet didn't send Kirk to find the Exeter after she failed to report. At worst case, Enterprise was assigned to pick up the Exeter's patrol area since she went missing.

    TRACEY: I knew someone would come looking for us. I'm just sorry it had to be you, Jim.
    [later]
    SPOCK: A smaller attack on this village a week ago, driven off by Captain Tracey with his phaser. I have found villagers who will corroborate it.​

    So, Tracey thinks that once they were declared missing, then someone would be sent to look for them. Also, Tracey may have been out of contact with Starfleet for as little as one week, and probably not the full 6 months as some may assume in the worst case. Here's how it more likely occurred: Exeter patrolling the area for the last 6 months; Exeter did not report any trouble in the area in routine contacts with Starfleet over these 6 months; Exeter failed to check in with Starfleet one or two weeks ago; Starfleet cannot raise Exeter on subspace radio; Starfleet orders Enterprise (from the adjacent patrol area) to investigate and/or take over her patrol area; Enterprise quickly finds Exeter (it's not like it was hiding). Much more plausible than randomly stumbling over the Exeter. :techman:
     
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  15. MAGolding

    MAGolding Captain Captain

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    Doesn't The Making of Star Trek say that there are 17 starbases? That is four or five more than the Enterprise and the 12 like it.

    If there are several starships for each starbase, and several other starfleet vessels for each starship, than the Federation would have at least tens of starships and at least hundreds of other vessels.

    Note that the twelve like the Enterprise, and starships, and Constitution class ships, are three separate categories that are mentioned separately and are never stated to be the same in canon.

    "The Doomsday Machine" has this dialog:

    So it appears that all Federation starships have the same basic configuration, while other Starfleet ships, and other Federation but non Starfleet ships, and other non Federation ships, might have different basic configurations, as some ships seen in TOS do have.

    When they get a good look at the starship, it seems to look pretty much identical to the Enterprise and thus be a member of the same class. The same for all other Starfleet starships seen in TOS. But did all those starships "actually" look that much like the Enterprise, or was that an artifact of the show's creators saving money by using the filming models - and also model kits - of the Enterprise to represent those other starships. Those other starships could have "actually" looked a lot less like the Enterprise than they were depicted in the episodes. And even a starship that looked almost completely identical to the Enterprise externally might have been sufficiently different internally to be a different class of starship.

    So it is certainly possible that in TOS there were several different classes of starships, and that the total number of starships was several times as great as the total number of ships that Kirk considered to be like the Enterprise.
     
  16. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Well, exactly. And the fact that Starfleet didn't seem to have any other ships besides Connies always bothered me. FASA was cool with that but might have taken it too far with the dreadnoughts. I never liked the idea of Starfleet ships that could outgun the Enterprise. TNG got that right as well, as did DS9 once the Defiant showed up. It didn't bother me that Voyager was a smaller ship for whatever reason.
     
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  17. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The Making of Star Trek makes it sound like starships do report to star base commanders:

    The Enterprise operates at the outer end of a chain-of-command. Immediate higher headquarters is Star Base Command. There are seventeen star bases scattered across the small known portion of the galaxy. Star bases, commanded by an officer with the rank of commodore, provide repair and resupply facilities, replacement of personnel, and so forth. Next higher authority is Star Fleet Command, operating from a central point in the explored portion of the galaxy. Under normal conditions, the Enterprise operates far away and virtually out of touch with higher authority.​

    This fits with the late 1800s "overseas empire" model which is frequently reflected in TOS. Naval vessels were deployed all over the world, reporting to regional station commanders, a flag officer usually based in some port. It was only with the emergence of the serious German naval threat in the early 1900s that Britain decided to concentrate the navy in strong battle fleets nearer to home, and not without major controversy.

    What we actually see of the Enterprise's five year mission is that her time is often spent on fairly routine duties, and she is rarely out of contact with higher command. This seems consistent with a regionally-assigned vessel, though it also sounds like she might hand off from one starbase jurisdiction to another (what the US Navy calls INCHOP or OUTCHOP, CHange of OPerational command).

    The four-ship force in The Ultimate Computer may be practicing a standard war deployment, though it does raise the question of how quickly it could be assembled if the starships are normally scattered all over space.

    TMoST also makes it sound like there are "only twelve" starships, period. Everything else Starfleet has is smaller. That does sound a little too small-scale to me. We do know there is a dreadnought by TMP, though!
     
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  18. Henoch

    Henoch Commodore Premium Member

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    On-screen TOS evidence is thin, so, you make what you can with it. Does Starfleet seem small? I think it is. Maintaining a fleet of space assets is "expensive", so, we can assume "limited" especially in peace time. This makes a Starship (i.e. TOS/Enterprise) very important and special; one of twelve-ish; not one of a hundred/thousand. How many Starbases and Starships does the Federation really need. Kirk said, "We're on a thousand planets and spreading out." So, for sizing purposes, the Federation encompasses around a thousand planets. Even with 17 Starbases or sectors, that's about 60 planets per Starbase/Sector. Most of the planets would be considered internal and only the systems on the outskirts would need routine Starship protection. I see about the last outer 20% diameter of the Federation shell needing protection, or about 1/2 the volume of star systems, or ~500 system. This equates to about 50 star systems per Starship if 12-ish on duty. I think that is a reasonable number. During TOS, Enterprise only visits several Federation planets per year, mostly due to trouble. Some planets only get visits once every year to several years based on several episodes. Add in space exploration and diplomatic missions near the boundary of the outer shell and we have the Starship mission.
     
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  19. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Great post. What's the dreadnought reference in TMP? My knowledge of it is severely limited (and unfairly so BTW - I never enjoyed it much as a kid but I need to watch it again).
     
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  20. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That certainly fits with what we've seen. It still seems to me like insufficient protection in case of war. We know that there are two serious opponents during TOS, one of which the Federation actually went to war with and the other very nearly so. It would seem that there would have to be contingencies to meet simultaneous Klingon and Romulan conflicts, and twelve of the biggest and baddest seems like they would be stretched very thin and there would be serious risk of a concentrated enemy attack hitting them where they ain't.

    If we look at the Royal Navy of 1897, which I like to do because it's around the high point of the colonial empire and there's a convenient fleet list online, we see they had 21 battleships in the Channel and Mediterranean fleets. One battleship and a few armored cruisers were on overseas stations, but colonial patrol was mostly the beat of the smaller cruisers, which in wartime would turn to raiding and/or protecting shipping, leaving fleet battles to the big boys. Not concentrating the heaviest fighting power in at least a couple of strategic points seems risky. Twelve seems like too low a number for a credible fleet concentration while also doing all the other heavy cruiser duties. That's just my feel of it.

    "Dreadnought Entente" is heard in radio chatter in the establishing shots of Epsilon 9. It is hard to hear and may be missing in some sound mixes for all I know.
    https://www.trekbbs.com/threads/tmp-epsilon-9-radio-chatter.182222/
     
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