Star Trek: Questions you always wanted answers to

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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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.
Not buyin' it. :p Everything else was pretty well nailed. Arturis did his research well. And anyone who'd been to the Academy, let alone made it to the command ranks, would know enough Starfleet history to know the name of the first Starfleet ship. Between Chakotay, Janeway, Tuvok,The Doctor, Harry, and/or Seven, at least one of them would go, "Hang on -- wasn't NX-01 named Enterprise?" It's continuity fail, no matter how much one tries to rationalize it (along with so many other aspects of the series of same name).
 

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Inquisitor Peregrinus

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Okay. Following onto things now that I've had a chance to revisit my reconstructed files (still recovering from a hard drive crash in '10 that took all my writing with it), some self-corrections, plus a further comment on a recent post...
As for the Epsilon IX comm chatter, we have the [...] Heavy Cruiser Merrimac (NCC-1715) -- 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.
I went back to the reference stacks again. D.C. Fontana came up with the Defiant's name, but there was no registry given. The NCC-1764 was pulled out of nowhere by Greg Jein in his T-Negative article -- deliberately high under his assumption it hadn't been built as of "Court Martial". An assumption, remember, that he himself said in the article he could tear apart as easily as make. He also was the one to give the Yorktown the registry of NCC-1717, also apropos of nothing. That one I have no problem with, but the Defiant's is arbitrarily high. Prior to all the retconning of Enterprise and TOS Remastered, there was no hull number visible, and the crew had "Enterprise" insginia. That last implies, by dint of the previous agglomeration of visual evidence in TOS, that the Defiant was part of the First Fleet, along with the Enterprise. In a time period when we were only a couple years out from the Enterprise being refitted into its TMP appearance, if the Defiant was newly-launched, it would probably look more movie-like than TOS-like. So I had tentatively assigned the Defiant to one of the empty 17xx registries from Stone's chart. So where I actually currently stand with the "dozen like her" line is (to dredge up and revise my prior post on the subject):

• 1700 [presumed Constitution, class lead ship]
• 1701 [Enterprise]
• 1703
• 1709 [one of these two being the Defiant]
• 1710 [my "fixed" Constellation]
• 1715 [Merrimac]
• 1717 [Yorktown]
• 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 the Exeter as belonging to one of the other fleets; same for the Excalibur, Hood, Lexington, and Potemkin, as they're all operating out of a different base(s), under a different Commodore(s). But no registries given in TOS original canon for any of those five, and leaving one blank registry on Stone's chart to find a name for.

Now, then...
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.
Accurate, but incomplete. The hull number exists for purposes of fleet matériel inventorying. Assigning a duplicate hull number -- suffix or no -- to another hull is administratively, bureaucratically stupid and inefficient. My friend Timo did a lovely write-up on the subject some twenty years ago. Paraphrasing, the first known instance was when the Federation Council instructed Starfleet to restore the busted-back-to-Captain Rear Admiral Kirk to a starship command. Starfleet brass respected Kirk, despite him having a loose relationship with such concepts as "subordinacy"... But he'd also not been in command of a starship, by that point, for over a decade, had retired from Starfleet only to come back a few years later as an Academy instructor... They weren't going to give him a top-of-the-line vessel when he already had one foot out the door.

So they took the Yorktown, which had made it back to base after being disabled by the probe, and whose slated retirement had been accelerated by that ordeal, retired the name to give to an under-construction Excelsior-class ship (the one Tuvok's father would be serving on several years later), fixed it up with a spit-shine and a new coat of paint, and renamed it Enterprise. As a grace note on replacing the ship Kirk had destroyed, they replicated the hull number, too -- but with the suffix to distinguish it from the first 1701. That spaceframe, however, was still listed in fleet inventory as 1717, with a note about its changed displayed nomenclature.

The now-reinvigorated Captain Kirk never went back to active exploration duty, but because of the notoriety of the ship's new name and of its command staff, it started to be used for high-profile missions. Especially since Kirk, at his new rank, couldn't really say no to his now-much-higher-ranking peers. After his involvement in resolving the situation at the joint Federation/Klingon/Romulan colony on Nimbus III, exposing the plot to assassinate the Klingon Chancellor(s), and catalyzing the Khitomer Accords, the ship was retired, but Kirk's second wind saw him helping repurpose the Excelsior class, designed and built for war with the Klingons, to a new peacetime rôle. It was a task he was well suited for, having already been involved with the Great Experiment from his time as head of Starfleet Operations. With augmented sensor capability, expanded small-craft facilities, and refinements to the engines, he helped create a new type of vessel in the Starfleet inventory -- the Explorer. And Starfleet decided to bank on his involvement by naming the first ship thus configured Enterprise and carrying forward the replica registry, now with a "-B" (while the hull, in Starfleet inventory, would still have its original order number -- NCC-2039 or whatever).

And, as he put it, after that, like all stupid military traditions, it wasn't allowed to die the death it so richly deserved. "You'd have to be a Vulcan numerology freak to find glory in a random four-digit number."
 

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