Starfleet Size

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Mike DiCenso
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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Mike DiCenso » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:10 pm

So far, my general stance on these matters has basically been "it may suck, but that doesn't mean it isn't canon," but I thought I heard something about the show runners themselves making noise about DISCO departing from the "real" timeline? Admittedly I haven't been paying much attention, maybe that was only in reference to the Discovery itself after disappearing into the void, or the future or whatever. Perhaps I got my information garbled.
No, that's a bad mangling of what Alex Kurtzman has stated:

"That’s the same thought process that went into jumping 950 years into the future. We’re now completely free of canon, and we have a whole new universe to explore."

The misunderstanding is on how generally Kurtzman is being here. Most people recognize that he's talking about doing something different for S3 by having the ship thrown 950 years in the future of the Prime Timeline and so they won't be constrained to the canon of the TOS era any more. By S4 they'll probably wind up back in the TOS time frame. I disagree with the reasoning Kurtzman is using here, but I understand why he's doing it.
Also consider TNG S:4E:1 "BoBW" where Starfleet assembled roughly 40 ships to intercept the Borg in about six days time, with Klingon ships on their way, though apparently not arriving in time. Roughly seven years later, another Federation fleet of apparently comparable, though probably greater size engaged another Borg cube in ST:9 "First Contact" within roughly a day, remember this was amid growing tensions with the Dominion as well however.


I have to disagree with this somewhat. That correlation is probably more coincidence or bias confirmation than anything else. In TOS we saw far thinner deployments than any of that, though I think it's safe to say we can largely ignore it given some of the retconning that has occurred over the years since FX budgets and technology now allow for larger fleets and more diverse fleet composition or we can take what we've learned and apply it in that the Enterprise in TOS was on the fringe of deep space exploration as she apparently was during the Klingon-Federation war along with other vessels, only occasionally being brought back into Federation space proper for certain high-profile patrols on Klingon or Romulan territory or for special duties, like shuttling ambassadors to Babel. The Motion Picture unfortunately set up a perplexing problem in that Earth had no major ship deployments to intercept V'Ger, but fifteen years later did for the Whale Probe. At least in the Kelvin Timeline there were 8-9 ships that could be sent to Vulcan's aid. In the TNG-era, we see that the Federation got a bad case of arrogance and complacency which the return of the Romulans and the initial encounters with the Borg soon shocked them out of. That also ties back into 2256 with a similar arrogance and complacency the Federation was suffering from that nearly lead to its defeat at the hands of the Klingons.

This is nothing new from a fandom point of view. The Federation seems to at times become a victim of its own success and becomes too ideological for its own good, even if Section 31 has apparently been there from the earliest days to try to keep that curbed. Not enough ships because ideology over being peaceful explorers in good times takes over and all the ships get dispersed to the four corners of the Alpha and Beta quadrants, then crap goes down and everyone has to be brought back for defense for a period time and Starfleet gets all military as we saw post Borg and Dominion contacts. The calculations on the TNG-era fleet sizes were done based on the 30,000 Dominion/Cardassian ship number calculated from the being outnumbered 20 to 1 statement in Deep Space Nine. But that was at a point of time near the end of the war and after the Federation was nearly 3 years in and had suffered horrendous losses. So after all those years of fighting and the Federation still had a fleet of at least 10 thousand ships of uncertain composition is mighty impressive.
-Mike

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2046
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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by 2046 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:52 am

Mike DiCenso wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:10 pm
Most people recognize that he's talking about doing something different for S3 by having the ship thrown 950 years in the future of the Prime Timeline and so they won't be constrained to the canon of the TOS era any more.


Correct, in context. The damage they can do will be minimized, limited to flashbacks, recollections, et cetera, unless they go to places we know for an 'update'. (I can see them hitting Sigma Iotia Starfleet HQ, for instance.)

This comes from a place (that I've long said is a hallmark of bad writers) wherein canon is considered a straitjacket, as opposed to the DS9 writers for whom canon was a source of stories.

By S4 they'll probably wind up back in the TOS time frame.


Indications thus far point to no S4. They mean to roll into S31. Indeed, I rather suspect that if S31 had been ready they'd've executed the roll already, but YMMV.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Darth Spock » Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:06 am

Mike DiCenso wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:10 pm
Alex Kurtzman has stated:

"That’s the same thought process that went into jumping 950 years into the future. We’re now completely free of canon, and we have a whole new universe to explore."

The misunderstanding is on how generally Kurtzman is being here. Most people recognize that he's talking about doing something different for S3 by having the ship thrown 950 years in the future of the Prime Timeline and so they won't be constrained to the canon of the TOS era any more. By S4 they'll probably wind up back in the TOS time frame. I disagree with the reasoning Kurtzman is using here, but I understand why he's doing it.
OK, that makes sense. It was probably some article or video I saw in passing and I read too much into it.

Mike DiCenso wrote:
Also consider TNG S:4E:1 "BoBW" where Starfleet assembled roughly 40 ships to intercept the Borg in about six days time, with Klingon ships on their way, though apparently not arriving in time. Roughly seven years later, another Federation fleet of apparently comparable, though probably greater size engaged another Borg cube in ST:9 "First Contact" within roughly a day, remember this was amid growing tensions with the Dominion as well however.


I have to disagree with this somewhat. That correlation is probably more coincidence or bias confirmation than anything else.
Sure, I didn't mean that those few incidents by themselves gave more valuable information on fleet size, only that the relative availability of ships on short notice, and not during a massive military operation wasn't all that high even in the twenty-fourth century. Ultimately the message I wanted to convey was that I suspected the growth rate of Starfleet in the two hundred years from its inception was probably a lot flatter than commonly thought in the past, and to offer possible explanations for apparent discrepancies in registry numbers and estimated fleet sizes in the twenty-third and twenty-fourth centuries, without assuming that the DISCO number is impossible and should be ignored.

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Sothis » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:38 am

The notion of 7,000 ships as per the TOS makes me wonder if Starfleet has a habit of moth-balling ships in times of peace - then refreshing some of them as needed (it would help explain why Miranda and Excelsior classes, despite being several decades old by the Dominion War, could still be useful - substantial upgrades owing to easily adjusted designs could give Starfleet an advantage).

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Re: Starfleet Size

Post by Mike DiCenso » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:58 pm

Darth Spock wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:06 am
Sure, I didn't mean that those few incidents by themselves gave more valuable information on fleet size, only that the relative availability of ships on short notice, and not during a massive military operation wasn't all that high even in the twenty-fourth century. Ultimately the message I wanted to convey was that I suspected the growth rate of Starfleet in the two hundred years from its inception was probably a lot flatter than commonly thought in the past, and to offer possible explanations for apparent discrepancies in registry numbers and estimated fleet sizes in the twenty-third and twenty-fourth centuries, without assuming that the DISCO number is impossible and should be ignored.
Well, without any data, but just common sense, the expansion of Federation territory would be huge over time. Even just a factor of two in size would mean that the 7,000-10,000 ships of the TOS/Discovery-era would be far too stretched out to be meaningful. A sudden growth spurt of gigantic proportions along with another time of relative peace and prosperity might explain why by TMP in 2273 Enterprise was the only viable ship that could intercept V'Ger. After that incident and probably others we don't know about between TMP and TWOK, we see the shift towards more a militaristic Starfleet, but still only a couple of starships in one small sector (Enterprise and Reliant). But a few months later (in universe) by the time of TVH there are suddenly more ships, both in Spacedock and in the immediate vicinity of Earth to attempt the intercept of the whale probe, possibly a change made due to the huge international controversy caused by the Genesis detonation, and subsequently the failed attempt to steal it made by the Klingon Kruge. Then there's a gap of time and by TNG we seem to be back again, possibly as the one Romulan commander in "The Neutral Zone" put it "Federation expansion everywhere" occurred and even if the fleet had double or triple the ship counts, things would seem to be the same. But the 40 ship fleet hastily gathered in a few days time by Starfleet to intercept the Borg is still bigger than any previous number until the Dominion War with ships being built, others brought out of mothballs, others pulled from the fleets of member worlds, and the recall of deep space missions.
-Mike

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