Star Trek: Questions you always wanted answers to

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Caveneau

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About the ship registries and names, I'm just curious, what do you veteran Star Trek fans consider to be the first 12 ships? I've read the Memory Alpha entries and I saw Jein's list from the 'The Case of Jonathan Doe Starship' article where he interprets the original 12 ships.
NCC numberStarship name
1704 - Joseph - '75Yorktown
1711 - Joseph - '75Potemkin
1709Lexington
1631Intrepid
1703Hood
1672Exeter
1664Excalibur
1697Essex
1701Enterprise
1718Endeavor
1685Eagle
1700Constitution

*Noted that the 1631 read more like 1831 - which F. Joseph still had listed in the 1st publication of the Starfleet technical manual as the USS Arided.
 

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Inquisitor Peregrinus

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Hoo, boy. That's what we like to call a can of worms. *sigh*

I like to go by first sources when at all possible. Going back to the early '60s, Gene intended the ship to have some history to it by the time we got there. By the time we got to the series, the Enterprise was, in his estimation, about twenty years old, and Kirk wasn't the first Captain. This got expanded upon over the course of TOS and TAS, where we met both Christopher Pike and Robert April, both prior commanders of that ship.

Then there was Matt Jeffries' involvement. I know many or most in here know the story, but I'll summarize: At the time, the Civil Aviation code for US civilian aircraft was NC. He added another C to it to give it that much of a remove, and also with a mind to how US Naval vessels were called out on their hulls (CC being the designation for Cruisers). Later, he found out that the Civil Aviation code for the Soviet Union at the time was CC, and liked the symbolic fusion of the big 20th-century adversaries in Gene's optimistic future. As for the number, he had to throw out anything that would be unclear on the TV screens of the day and, as he put it, out of what was left, "1701 was as good as anything". But he immediately started thinking about what it might signify. He didn't like the idea of it just being a straight increasing-integer thing. By the time the first season of TOS was underway, he had rationalized it to mean the Federation's 17th Cruiser design, and the 01st production hull built after the prototype (1700). Both Matt and Gene also had "Starship" roughly synonymous with "Cruiser" -- not just a single class, but the broad type.

After that begins a decades-long game of Telephone/Whispers. Whenever you get more than one brain involved on something, there will be communication breakdowns. As far as I know, no one ever asked Matt about starship registries, as people would later do with Rick and Mike on TNG. There were internal memos that can be seen in The Making of Star Trek, but those almost all concern names rather than numbers. I think it was D.C. Fontana who designated the Defiant "1764" prior to its third-season appearance.

So here's the thing. Over the course of three seasons of TOS, which, by Gene's original stardate formula, covers about 4 years, we saw eight Constitution class ships. The Constellation was destroyed by the planet-killer, the Defiant was lost to a spatial interphase, and the Exeter and Excalibur both had their entire crews wiped out. The class, by that point, was close to twenty-five years old. Expand that sort of attrition out, and I can easily see there being only thirteen ships still in service, out of ~65 built. Especially with conflict with the Klingons in the 2250s and the Four Years War. So I don't treat the "dozen like her" as meaning the sequential ships from NCC-1700 to NCC-1712.

By Jeffries' system, the Republic Kirk served on, at the hull number of 1371, would not be Constitution-class. There was nothing in dialogue to indicate whether the Farragut was or wasn't Constitution-class. The Valiant that visited the Eminiar system and was destroyed was "fifty years ago", before the Constitution class existed. When Stone said he was pulling a maintenance team off the Intrepid, he pointed to the "status" line that was at 100%, which was the one for 1831. So, again by Jeffries' system, that would make the Intrepid the same class as the Reliant. Makes sense to give the Vulcans a science vessel, which is what the Miranda-class Light Cruisers were. See also the Lantree at NCC-1833 and the Saratoga at NCC-1887. And I'm mad at the model makers for "The Doomsday Machine", when they used and "distressed" an off-the-shelf AMT Enterprise model kit to serve as the battered Constellation, couldn't be bothered to give the ship a 17xx registry. In my headcanon, I swap the number blocks "10" and "17" to 1710 instead. Keeps all the numbers, and even partial sequences. Minimal tweak. And, at the time Kirk's famous "only a dozen like her" line is delivered to Captain Christopher in "Tomorrow is Yesterday", the Constellation and Defiant hadn't been lost.

So. Between the "Court Martial" wall chart, my "fixed" Constellation, and the Defiant -- and assuming none of the Constitutions on that chart were destroyed over the seven episodes between -- we have these known registries:

• 1700 [presumed Constitution, class lead ship]
• 1701 [Enterprise]
• 1703
• 1709
• 1710 [my "fixed" Constellation]
• 1718 [I give this one to the Excelsior, based on stuff from production and fandom -- lost after TOS and the name given to NX-2000]

That leaves seven. Because of the chest insignia issue, I treat the Constellation and Exeter as belonging to two of the other fleets within Starfleet (the familiar insignia we know being for the First Fleet, later adopted Starfleet-wide), and hence why they're not part of the Starbase 11 list -- being the command base for the First Fleet. So I don't ascribe the Exeter to either of those empty registries up there. Same for the Excalibur, Hood, Lexington, or Potemkin, as they're all operating out of a different base, under a different Commodore. So that's four more, leaving two. Looking at the memos going back and forth between D.C. Fontana and Bob Justman prior to the start of season two, I include a lot of the names off their lists, with some help from fandom sources. Endeavour around 1750 is one I include, leaving one. Since I gave the Constellation 1710, I give the Kongo (from those memos, and given that number by FJ) 1709, bumping it down one. I like the Bonhomme Richard for 1703, even though that will piss off a lot of people who swear by FJ/Ships of the Star Fleet. And there are already so many "E" names, I don't want to use Essex or El Dorado for the last one. My favorite out of the remaining names is the Yorktown at 1717 -- later refitted, and later still re-christened Enterprise to give to Kirk as a present for saving the Earth.

I've used a lot of the other names from those memos, fandom, FASA, and canon to pad out destroyed or lost ships from 2245 to 2275, but that's my pick for the baker's dozen of Constitution-class ships in service as of first-season TOS. I like to think the Defiant was launched right about the time we were getting from season one to two, giving it a bit of a life before being lost. Probably one of several launched around the same time, depending on how many graving docks were building the things after the class had been around for a couple decades.
 
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Caveneau

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Thank you for that insight. So it really is a can of worms. It makes sense that they would not have been to concerned at the time about that sort of continuity. And here I've been all these years thinking there was some definitive chart I just wasn't aware of.
 
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Inquisitor Peregrinus

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It gets better. The current official list in the Encyclopedias and such. So FJ wasn't a Trekkie. He was an aerospace engineer and draftsman, like Matt Jeffries. His daughter and her friends were Trekkies, though. So it was on at his house, and he started thinking about how this ship would be laid out and how it would function. I won't go into his spotty research methods and all the errors he made here, but the result was the masterfully-rendered booklet of general plans that he sold at conventions. While working on that, though, he thought further about what sort of government and organization had to exist to support a ship or ships like that. When Gene found out about the plans, FJ talked with him about the larger picture, and Gene approved both the plans and what would become the Star Fleet Technical Manual, both published through Ballantine.

The plans have a short list (derived from the production memo he read in The Making of Star Trek) of class ships in the plans, and a much more worked-out list of the Cosntitutions and subclasses in the Technical Manual, as well as the Destroyers, Scouts, Transports, and Dreadnoughts. It was such an ingrained part of the fandom (and most of the subsequent works in the '80s used those lists as their starting point) that the people doing set dressing for TMP made photostat inserts for the bridge displays of several pages of the Technical Manual and general plans. Later re-used in TWOK and TSFS. Okay, that takes us through 1983...

Jumping back to the '70s, Gene also hired FJ to work with him on a new series he was trying to get off the ground. See previous: Breakdown in communication. Gene was used to working in Hollywood, where it was taken as read that when someone asked for something, they meant they wanted it yesterday. FJ was used to working for aerospace, where what people wanted and by when they wanted it were all clearly communicated in the order. Gene asked for designs. FJ did his due-diligence in working them out, ironing out bugs, etc. Gene got mad that FJ was taking too long, FJ got mad at Gene for getting mad at him, their respective egos and stubborns cranked it to 11, and Gene not only fired FJ from the project, he blacklisted him from Trek. Couldn't do anything about Ballantine publishing the books, but whenever asked about it, he'd miss no opportunity to smear the guy as some fan hack and his works as "unofficial". Despite having his own name on them. Literally.

Back to the mid-'80s. Gene's starting to work on what will become Next Generation, so he's in with Paramount again. They've been hearing for the last two films how he doesn't want FJ's work on the Enterprise bridge. FASA approaches Paramount, wanting to do a Star Trek RPG. They ask, at one point, about using FJ's ship lists and the new classes he created for the game, and are told FJ's work is unofficial, find some other reference. *sigh* The only other reference out there that didn't derive its list of names and numbers from FJ's works was this article (which you referenced, but didn't link to), published in the fan-produced magazine "T-Negative". About as unofficial as it gets. And the article's author readily acknowledges he can tear apart his case as easily as he can make it. My personal take is that the registries are arranged in order of dock assignment. That's it.

Anyway, FASA used that list in their game (with one or two mistakes) and it became "official". Not too long after, an enthusiastic Star Trek fan and Roddenberry idolizer (as a lot of Trekkies were and are) named Mike Okuda managed to snag himself a gig on Star Trek IV, and stayed on to help get TNG going. When he asked about ship lists for stuff to put on a display graphic, Gene again steered him away from FJ and to the only other ship list, the "official" FASA one. Which is what's in the Encyclopedia to this day. Erroneous "1631" for the Intrepid and everything. On top of that, Gene took that opportinity to lay on Mike, as well as Andy Probert, then designing the Enterprise-D, "Roddenberry's Rules of Starship Design":

1. Warp nacelles must be in pairs.
2. Warp nacelles must have at least 50% line-of-sight on each other across the hull.
3. Both warp nacelled must be fully visible from the front.
4. The bridge must be located at the top center of the primary hull.

The first three of those specifically negate all of the designs FJ specifically came up with. The fourth was directed at Andy originally protecting the bridge of the Enterprise-D by embedding it well inside the saucer. Gene's main alterations to Andy's design were to add a little length back onto the aft ends of the warp engines, and sketch the bridge on top of the ship, partially for tradition, partially to help establish scale.

All this is why I realized, not too long after I started digging, that I had to throw out all the established lists, as their research methodology was atrocious. Same with the dating (I'll stick it behind a spoiler tag, since it's a departure from the question at hand).
TWOK is in 2285. Kirk is turning 50. That places his birth year in 2235. TWOK is set shortly before graduation, so late Spring to early Summer (supplemented by the sunny weather visible outside), and semiofficial sources have pegged his birthday to March 31st for some time now, so I'll stick with that. The writer's bible for TOS season two says Kirk is "about thirty-four". Therefore, that season at least starts circa 2269, rather than the official 2267 -- arrived at by the blindingly scientific method of... simply adding 300 to the original airdates. :cautious:

Using the original premise of the stardate being a ship-specific thing tracking their progress into the voyage, a la 18th-century sailing ships, where in this case the first two digits are months into the five-year mission, and the latter two are percentage... With Kirk's birthday at the end of March and "Charlie X" set over Thanksgiving, as well as going by production order rather than airing order, I can nail down when each TOS and TAS episode took place to what day of the week. But then it all breaks down. TMP reinforces stardates as being ship-specific, as they seem to have not budged in the time the Enterprise has been in dock. Dating-wise, we know it's now two-and-a-half years since the five-year mission ended and Kirk got promoted, which, when all is revised and accounted for, sets that film in 2274, rather than the official 2271 (which doesn't make sense anyway, if TOS ended in late 2269, with us only seeing three years of the five-year mission).
 
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Caveneau

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Interesting information. I'm enjoying it thoroughly. It's funny, I'm 39 and loved Star Trek since I was a kid and I find I'm more obsessed with it now than ever before.
 

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Caveneau

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I see Ballantine published the first FJ manual approx 7 months after that GJ article.

Besides the Making of Star Trek, any books you'd recommend for my reference collection?

Are any of those FASA books worth collecting?
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
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The FASA stuff is worth collecting for story content. Mostly the Four Years War. I also deemed four classes they came up with as worth keeping around -- Chandley, Loknar, Larson, and Wilkerson. But with some cleanup. Nearly everything else I feel should be ignored. They use an inaccurate dating referent. Their stardate system is idiotic. They have the TOS Klingons being Klingon-Human hybrids for operations along the border. A lot of their ship designs are crap. *shrug*

As far as recommendations, I have many... Ships of the Star Fleet, Volumes 1 and 2; Starfleet Prototype; Starship Design; the Spaceflight Chronology; Star Trek Maps, and its revised successor Star Trek Star Charts; The Starfleet Medical Reference Manual; Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise; Worlds of the Federation; the TNG and DS9 Technical Manuals; the first edition of the Chronology and all editions of the Encyclopedia... More that I can't think of this minute. Those are all in-universe reference works. Much that is excellent and worth preserving, much that is ill-informed crap and should never again see the light of day. *chuckle* I'm even-handed with my praise and criticism, though, mind you. There's a lot of content I created over the years that I am going to do my darnedest to never let anyone see ever again. At least two to one for all the things I'm actually proud of.

Real-world reference... There're a lot of interviews spread out through a lot of magazines over the years. I can do my best to track one or another down, if you're specifically curious about some tidbit or other. Books, now... Old and new printings of Bjo Trimble's Star Trek Concordance; the Star Trek writers' bible; the World of Star Trek; the Star Trek Sketchbook (though it has a couple citation errors); the Star Trek: TNG Sketchbook; Star Trek: Phase II -- The Lost Series; the Star Trek Compendium; the Star Trek: TNG Companion; The Making of Star Trek: DS9; The Art of Star Trek; The Continuing Mission: 10th Anniversary of TNG. More I know I'm forgetting, there, too.

And I know what you mean about being more avid than ever. I feel like it might be some sort of reaction to the mediocrity currently calling itself Star Trek, and for the last twenty years. I've been tackling a revised chronology and starship registry to batter some consistency out of the old content, to try to make that speak louder than decades of people not doing their homework. Frustrating and satisfying, both.
 

Caveneau

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I've always been the type of fan who just enjoys the 'concept' of Star Trek and the idealized tone of the future, more than focusing on specific points of trivia. I remember going out of my way as a kid not to get overwhelmed by the world of Star Trek related content available to be consumed. As a result I never read any of the novels. I acknowledged only TOS/movie-era and TNG. I bought all the tech manuals and chronologies I could find. When I was younger I just accepted all the stuff in the books as canon. I figured 'what the heck'. I had no sense of politics or behind the scenes wheeling and dealings; my interest in that stuff came later.

I never got into the FASA stuff. I'm sure lots of good stories have been told...that I'll probably never read. Also I was never into role playing games with rulesets. The whole idea of building a story on paper was 'mind-bogging' to me a kid. I appreciated the time and devotion but knew I could never play those games. I had friends in high school who played D&D and I remember they spent weeks creating characters. I respected it, but never played. My ADHD as a younger probably had something to do with it. After reading your last post, I think I'll pass on getting into the FASA stuff. I've managed without them all these years and last thing I need now is more stuff to collect. I'm trying to do the opposite.

I'm pleased that I seem to have most of the material you mentioned. Those were always the kind of Star Trek information sources I was drawn to. Those specialty, larger sized books, with the illustrations, charts, lists, oh man I still love it. I believe it is true that a reinvigorated, inner passion for Star Trek has definitely reemerged in a lot of older fans post-2009 and I'm quite positive it is a direct result of what we deem to be terribly written stories with the most shallow characters ever cast in traditional Star Trek lead roles. I never thought I'd be comparing simple witty character banter from even the most brief scenes of any TOS episode, to the entirety of STD and STP's trashy, nonsensible, crude, vulgar, and downright ridiculous writing.

Here's a laugh for you, the other day I was going through my lapel pin collection...yes...my lapel pin collection, and I found a bunch of old insignia pins I forgot I had...I got lost in thought, shook my head, and I think I actually shed a tear, I mean my left eye watered a bit. But yeah...I feel all the 'likability' has been sucked out of the new stuff. I'm scrambling for stuff pre-1980 like never before.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

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I've always been the type of fan who just enjoys the 'concept' of Star Trek and the idealized tone of the future, more than focusing on specific points of trivia.
For me, it was never something I set out to do. I've just got a head for random trivia. The more interested I am in something, the more random stuff I absorb. I notice connections, I delve into context. I want to know why things are the way they are to be able to feel like I can rely on it. I feel it's the rôle of people whose minds work like mine to create the structure of fictional worlds so people with minds that work like yours can just dip in and out and enjoy it with some reasonable assurance of consistency and sense.
After reading your last post, I think I'll pass on getting into the FASA stuff. I've managed without them all these years and last thing I need now is more stuff to collect. I'm trying to do the opposite.
Fair. I have a short list, and I used to play. I have the ship recognition manuals, for my fleet-history stuff and model-building. But for content, I have the Four Years War supplement, the TSFS and TVH sourcebooks, and the Starfleet Intelligence books. I have a couple of the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek RPG books for the same reason.
Here's a laugh for you, the other day I was going through my lapel pin collection...yes...my lapel pin collection, and I found a bunch of old insignia pins I forgot I had...I got lost in thought, shook my head, and I think I actually shed a tear, I mean my left eye watered a bit. But yeah...I feel all the 'likability' has been sucked out of the new stuff. I'm scrambling for stuff pre-1980 like never before.
You seem to have forgotten where you are. I'll dig around and see if I can find any decent pictures of my pin jacket. Star Trek, Star Wars, Disney, anime, Warhammer 40K, Hard Rock Café, and some other randomness.
 
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The Terminator

Master Member
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Might be time for the people in charge to go back and "fix" for example Voyager:

Why drag out a show for 7 seasons, when you can just do like they did with Picard and STD.
The end credits are pretty spot on.
 

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AJK001

Sr Member
This isn't really a question I always wanted the answer to since I just saw the DS9 episode of Trials and Tribulations for the first time yesterday, which I loved by the way. I was wondering if the TOS actors were compensated for their likeness being used in a new production. I'm not sure but I don't think the Screen Actors Guild would approve of a studio taking an old show and cutting it up to make a new production without paying the original actors again.

On another note it was really noticeable that the Comms were a bit oversized. I have a Steve Horch and a couple of Rodd Comms, which were made by the same people who made them for the show, but when compared against the JLong, DStines or Wand Company Comms it is easy to see they are a bit bigger in all dimensions.
 

Treadwell

Master Member
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You sure? They were made by HMS, one normally wouldn't think they'd get something like that wrong.
 

AJK001

Sr Member
Yes, I'm sure. I have 4 Rodd Comms, made by HMS, and one made by Steve Horch, all of which are slightly bigger than Comms modeled from known real Comms like Alpha. This is most likely because no one had access to ones like Alpha or the one John used until about 10 or 15 years ago which was after HMS made them for DS9 and Roddenberry. That is also why there was talk a number of years ago that Roddenberry was going to come out with a more accurate Comm based on the pencil box but it never happened and now never will.
 

somerset fox

Well-Known Member
If Data and a self aware hologram, such as the EMH on Voyager are basically computer generated lifeforms, why does the Doctor program appear to have emotions, while Data (until the chip) did not?
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

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If Data and a self aware hologram, such as the EMH on Voyager are basically computer generated lifeforms, why does the Doctor program appear to have emotions, while Data (until the chip) did not?
Because Soong designed in an inhibitor to prevent them developing on their own (beyond the most subtle underlying things like curiosity and caution) after Lore came out of the gate with full emotional capacity and no experience to temper them. Imagine an infant/toddler, all raw and bewildered, but full-grown, superintelligent, and with the strength of ten.

Reading between the lines, Soong seems to have felt he overreacted after his bad scare by Lore, and his revised design suppressed Data's emotional development too much. Data's emotion chip was more of an inhibitor workaround -- combination amplifier/capacitor, but for emotions. If he had found a happy medium out of the gate -- a sort of developmental surge protector -- Data might have developed the way The Doctor did. Bearing in mind The Doctor wasn't meant to be left active for as long as he was.
 

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somerset fox

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Me again. (I’ve too much time in my hands self isolating). But, are there any ships, other than Enterprise that have the letter suffixes? Where are the Reliant C‘s or the Grissom D’s or the Yorktown E’s? Are there any examples of reused ship names that should have, but haven’t?
 

patrickivan

Sr Member
Me again. (I’ve too much time in my hands self isolating). But, are there any ships, other than Enterprise that have the letter suffixes? Where are the Reliant C‘s or the Grissom D’s or the Yorktown E’s? Are there any examples of reused ship names that should have, but haven’t?
I would think the Defiant is a great example of where lettered suffixes weren't used. And just off the top of my head, from the shows and movies anyway, I can't recall any other ship other than the Enterprises to carry that line. Though I do have a very vague and possibly incorrect recollection of dialogue in TMP communications saying one during the opening scenes with the Epsilon station. I'm going to look that up soon.

USS Yamato in TNG... 1305-E
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

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The Enterprise was the first and, for a long time, only. Matt Jeffries conjectures in his sketches for Phase II that the refit Enterprise would bear, for its "first moder[n]ize/refit", NCC-1701A. Note the lack of hyphen. They didn't go with that, obviously. But various people involved with the creation of TVH remembered it and, when they gave Kirk his replica Enterprise for saving the planet, they used that idea, with the slight tweak of the hyphen. Andy Probert and Gene carried that forward with TNG and the Enterprise NCC-1701-D. Andy did a drawing where he filled in the gap of the other two ships between A and D. That was the first place the Enterprise-B being Excelsior class was put down, and also where Andy designed a ship that was halfway between that ship and the -D in both size and detailing to be the Enterprise-C.

But they and Rick and Mike discussed it and decided it would be a special thing for the Enterprise lineage, thanks to Kirk making the ship famous and how the successive Enterprisees became the Federation's flagships. For the second-season episode "Where Silence Has Lease", Mike saw the writer gave Riker a line where he read the Yamato's registry of "1305-E", drafted a memo saying no other ships had suffixes, but then didn't send it because a revised draft of the script dropped the line. He didn't realize an even later draft restored it until he was watching the finished episode on TV at home. It's generally regarded as an error, because he fixed it for the Yamato's next appearance later that season, where the correct registry (71832) was visible on the ship's hull.

Since then there have been two others. Sisko got special dispensation from Starfleet Command to re-designate the U.S.S. Sao Paolo as the Defiant, with a suffixed registry. And the fake Dauntless in Voyager bore "NX-01-A" and none of the Starfleet people on the Voyager batted an eye at that.

My takeaway is that it does happen, but exceptionally rarely. I have NCC-1305 in my ship lists as the Yamato, and have four others between that one and its Galaxy-class successor, all in honor of that goof. I also use the Voyager's command staff's reaction to justify NX-01 being the Dauntless and not the Enterprise, further cementing Enterprise as an alternate timeline. So, errors and alien masquerades aside, for two hundred and fifty years of canon content... we have six ships out of over eighty thousand that are known to have suffixed registries; many more namesakes that don't, such as the Saratoga, Grissom, Constellation, Lexington, Hood, Bellerophon, and others; and reactions from characters indicating that, while it may not be common, they are not baffled by it upon seeing it, even if they hadn't gotten the memo.
 

Inquisitor Peregrinus

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I do have a very vague and possibly incorrect recollection of dialogue in TMP communications saying one during the opening scenes with the Epsilon station. I'm going to look that up soon.
As I laid out above, the replacement Defiant in DS9 was given a suffixed copy of its predecessor's registry, for reasons given in dialogue. And the Yamato's 1305-E was an error. But as for the Epsilon IX comm chatter, we have the Scouts Revere (NCC-595) and Columbia (NCC-621), the Heavy Cruiser Merrimac (NCC-1715)*, the Dreadnought Entente (NCC-2120), and the long-range shuttle Laika (no registry given). All but the shuttle from FJ's Technical Manual. Andy Probert wrote all of the comm chatter -- several versions, actually -- and, being a Trekkie already at the time, had his copy of the TM handy to pull names and registries from.

*Which reminds me, this one I have on my list is there because of this canon reference. I need to include it in my "dozen like her" breakdown, further above. Pleh. I knew I was missing something.
 

robn1

Master Member
The suffix was only used when a new ship carried not only the name but also the registry of a previous ship, supposedly starting with Kirk's Enterprise A. Many ships had the same name as older ones but with different registries so no suffix.

As for the Dauntless NX-01-A, that ship being an alien ruse wasn't carrying an official Federation registry so it isn't canon breaking. I see it as the alien behind it just wasn't knowledgeable enough to get it right, and the Voyager crew had too much on their minds at the time to notice a funky registry.
 

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