What ship class is the "consolation prize" assignment in the TNG era?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Mark_Nguyen, Dec 9, 2021.

  1. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    We heard time and again in the TNG era shows that the Galaxy-class is the biggest, bestest fleet assignment, and that people routinely waited years to serve on ships like the Enterprise. I was just wondering then - if you aim for a plum assignment on a Galaxy-class starship and miss the mark, what's the #2 choice?

    From what we see on screen, the next logical choice would be assignment to a Nebula-class ship, as a larger, arguably very capable ship. Assignment to the USS Lexington on DS9 was viewed as quite the catch, and the class of '69 had cadets competing for a spot. But what of the Ambassador? It can be argued that this class is the one that the Galaxy replaced, but even so it would have been the previous large, multi-role Explorer in the fleet, sent out on the important, glorious missions. Which would make more sense based on what we see?

    Of course, this is very subjective and there would certainly be fresh Academy grads who can't wait for a berth on an Intrepid class ship assigned to quick-and-smart missions, or on an Akira because it looks so damn cool. But in terms of what newbies to Starfleet probably look for in the best, most elevating assignment, what do they get if they have to settle for "second best"?

    Thoughts?

    Mark

    PS - I’m leaving the Sovreign-class out of the argument mostly because no one ever directly references it as being a top-tier assignment despite the E-E being the most advanced ship in the fleet as of 2373 or so, but YMMV, so feel free to speculate!
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2021
    Mike McDevitt likes this.
  2. Mike McDevitt

    Mike McDevitt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2020
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Ambassador-class and/or Yamaguchi-class do seem to be “the best of the rest”, although often outside the TV canon. Ambassador-class Excalibur was a fitting command for a Captain Calhoun or the Captain Riker of a parallel world.

    I’m rather partial to the Parliament-class and Obena-class these days but all I know of them is they are more in-lore coveted than a California-class.
     
    Mark_Nguyen likes this.
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, Missouri, USA
    I actually think it would be an Intrepid-class ship, which is kinda like a Galaxy-class in mission capability and onboard amenities except about half as big.

    CADET HARRY KIM: I was hoping for a posting on a Galaxy-class ship when I graduate, sir.
    ACADEMY INSTRUCTOR: Good luck, kid. There's a sector-long waiting list for any of those ships. It might be easier for you to get on one of those new Intrepid-class vessels--I hear they've got pivoting warp nacelles...
    :eek:
     
    Ar-Pharazon and Mike McDevitt like this.
  4. Redshirt214

    Redshirt214 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    I think it depends on when in the TNG era you are talking about:

    The Nebula weren't around in numbers early in the TNG period (the Phoenix is the first we see, and it doesn't appear till Season 4) and would have just been launched (around about the 1st season of TNG) so I think they'd be equals of the Galaxy class in terms of desirability.

    In the early period of TNG, I'd think that Ambassador and Excelsior class ships would be the likely consolation prize. If you were lucky, you might also get a New Orleans class ship, it's essentially a Mini-Galaxy and would be significantly more modern than most of the rest of the ships in the fleet.

    Round about Wolf 359, I'd think there'd be more Nebulas available as a good second choice of assignment. I imagine there'd also still be a possibility of getting a New Orleans class.

    During the Dominion War, I think most Captains would be quite happy with Intrepid or Akira class starships both of which seem handier in a fight than the Nebula and yet still big enough to handle most missions well and still have all the modern utilities.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2021
  5. comsol

    comsol That Guy Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    Location:
    Over There
    and your chances for promotion on one of those vessels...
     
    XCV330, Sgt_G and Mark_Nguyen like this.
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Former Democrat Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Covington, Ky. USA
    Nebula, Ambassador, Excelsior.
     
    saddestmoon likes this.
  7. Leathco

    Leathco Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    I'd also lean towards Nebula class, as it had many of the same bells and whistles the Galaxy class had.
     
    Blip likes this.
  8. at Quark's

    at Quark's Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    I don't know the answer to that, but if the conversation between Julian and Elizabeth (that got the #1 and #2 pick from their class), is any indication, the #2 (Julian) was actually better off than the #1 (Elizabeth). So perhaps not all is as it seems from the perspective of an starfleet student.
     
  9. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Ambassador class or Akira class because they are both beautiful and wish we had seen more of them
     
    Blip and DEWLine like this.
  10. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    publiusr
    Ambassador…looks very sturdy.
     
  11. The Knappos

    The Knappos Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2021
    Location:
    South coast, UK
    Pre-ST:FC, it’s the Nebula. After ST:FC, Galaxy would be my second, as I’d want to be on a Sovereign as my top pick.
     
  12. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    Akira.
     
    Tim Thomason likes this.
  13. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    I'd say the chances of promotion under regular circumstances are there... problem is VOY was in a fairly unique situation.
    Also, Janeway kinda saw Kim as her protege... so she 'kinda' protected him... and I guess having a relationship with Tal in Season 5 (which clearly went against the rules) didn't sit with her that well... so she may have also ended up biased a bit on his promotion.

    Tuvok wasn't promoted until Season 3... and he was already a Liutenant for who knows how many years. Some people do remain in certain ranks for extended periods.

    Also, Kim DID touch up on this subject in season 7 with Janeway in episode 'Nightingale' and said he understood that on VOY, circumstances are different... plus, he seemed 'comfortable' being an Ensign for the most part.

    I'd say, it was partly both Janeway's and Kim's fault for him not getting promoted.
     
  14. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    The problems with Voyager's command structure are a whole other thread - and have been several times over the years. I'm especially not fond of "Basics" where they almost arbitrarily divide up into teams... And both Kim and Neelix were in charge of a team, where we had several higher-ranked people around, while the concentrated people with more survival skills (Chakotay, Tuvok) into one team. Then there's the simple fact that rank changes mean little to the people affected; Tuvok and Paris changed rank, and they still showed up to work doing the exact same thing on their next shift, already being the senior members of their areas of responsibility.

    That said, I like the idea of an Intrepid being a top-notch assignment for new grads, but as there are so few of them seen in canon (two total!), it's almost tough to justify when sightings of the Galaxy, Nebula and Akira in the background are so relatively frequent.

    Mark
     
    Mike McDevitt likes this.
  15. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    My main issue is that given how many departments are supposed to be on a StarShip, there needs to be experienced officers who run a entire department.

    Not fresh Cadets out of StarFleet Academy taking over an entire department like Harry Kim.

    A more realistic portrayal would have every Department Head be of Commander level and of similar age range.

    Harry Kim would be the smart ass graduate ensign and be on the Lower Decks, minus the shenanigans.
     
  16. Ottens

    Ottens Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2005
    I imagine Nebula and Galaxy were developed simultaneously, given their similarities. So Nebula would be the obvious second choice. I wish we had seen more of those on the show. It makes sense to me that Nebula would be something like the 'workhorse' version of the Galaxy.

    We didn't see many Ambassadors either. We can speculate there's an in-universe explanation for that.

    Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual argues Galaxy was designed to replace both Ambassador and Oberth as Starfleet's primary exploration vessel. Given that Galaxy was built only a few decades after the Ambassador, maybe it became redundant? Especially when the Galaxy project also spawned the Nebula. Between updated Excelsiors on the one hand and new Galaxys and Nebulas on the other, who needs the Ambassador anymore?
     
  17. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    As deep-space explorers, I’d always thought that we never saw many Ambassadors around because they were off doing exactly what they were designed for, Trekking off beyond known space for years at a time. The occasional one we’d see was being deployed closer to home in between long-distance missions, or on their way out or back.

    In the meantime, the Galaxies were being warmed up for those same missions and would be rotated out as the Ambassadors came home. We didn’t see the USS Galaxy herself until 2374 or so, and she’d be over 15 years old by that point, assuming a launch date of 2357 per the TNG TM; enough room for three classic five-year missions with refit time in between, before being pressed into Dominion War service. Meanwhile, the Enterprise-D ended up becoming a flagship and stayed closer to home for most of its lifetime, troubleshooting stuff within shouting range of the core worlds and generally being the visible symbol of Starfleet awesomeness.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2021
    saddestmoon and Mike McDevitt like this.
  18. Ottens

    Ottens Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2005
    Good point! I hadn't thought of that, but that works as an in-universe explanation too.
     
    publiusr likes this.
  19. Tim Walker

    Tim Walker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2014
    The Ambassadors were clearly designed as long range exploration ships. Check out "The Sound of Her Voice" (DS9).

    The Galaxies were designed with exploration in mind, but weren't designed as purely exploratory vessels. The Galaxies were just as much intended as show case ships. Ships to show the awesomeness of the Federation to others.

    Of course, if you want a show case, a short production run should be sufficient for that class. I would think that the Nebulas-using much the same tech/components-would have a longer production run as a work horse class.

    So during the TNG era you would have the shiny new show case ships, but the Ambassadors would have some prestige due to their mission.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2021
  20. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    publiusr
    Ambassador saucers double as station hills. Maybe the ship made in the largest numbers.