The Federation that never was

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The Federation that never was

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:35 am

Those looking the art and design forum may have noticed that I've been cruising through Franz Joseph's work lately. I'm thinking of turning some of my thoughts into an article on the subject for DITL, and as is often the case I thought I'd start that article by bouncing ideas around here first.

After TOS was cancelled, Gene was very keen to keep the idea of the show alive in the mind of the fans. Possibly, he hoped for a revival of some sort - a massive fan letter writing and protest campaign had saved the show from cancellation at the end of season 2, and Gene probably hoped for something like that restarting trek. Which indeed did happen, eventually.

Part of those efforts was lending his support to Franz Joseph's work, the Star Fleet Technical Manual.

Image

The book was the first of the Technical Manuals, and covered various aspects of Starfleet. As such, it was really one of the first efforts to flesh out the Trek universe in a well thought out way. What's notable is that it gives us a rather different take on the Federation and Starfleet than subsequent Trek has given us. Here's some of the things that occurred to me as I looked through it.

1) Joseph imagined the Federation as a recent thing.

Stardates are notoriously disorganised and inconsistent in TOS, of course. So this is a guideline only. But the show gives us dates ranging from 1300 to 5900, which covers three years. The FJ manual lists the "Articles of Federation" as having been signed on Stardate 0965. Arguably that would make the Federation's founding only a few months before TOS! Not realistic, IMO. But like I say, stardates back then were notorious for being one step away from being whatever number the writer made up that week.

However, check out the pages describing the ship unit runs. The Constitution page lists the original 12 ships of that class under the heading "The following ships of the Mark IX class were authorised by the original articles of Federation of Stardate 0965."

Clearly, then, the intent here is that the Enterprise and her sisters were built at the founding of the Federation. We don't know from TOS how old the ship is, only that it was more than nine years old since Spock served with Pike nine years prior to season 1 of TOS. But it's unlikely that the ship, and so the Federation, was intended to be more than say 15 years old at most. Which means the Federation was founded whilst Kirk was a teenager, more or less.

2) The Federation was founded because of the Axanar battle and treaty.

From Whom Gods Destroy :

KIRK : I agree there was a time when war was necessary, and you were our greatest warrior. I studied your victory at Axanar when I was a cadet. In fact it's still required reading at the Academy.
GARTH : As well it should be.
KIRK : Very well. But my first visit to Axanar was as a new fledged cadet on a peace mission.
GARTH : Peace mission! Politicians and weaklings!
KIRK : They were humanitarians and statesmen, and they had a dream. A dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars, a dream that made Mister Spock and me brothers.
GARTH : Mister Spock, do you consider Captain Kirk and yourself brothers?
SPOCK : Captain Kirk speaks somewhat figuratively and with undue emotion. However, what he says is logical and I do, in fact, agree with it.

The implication here is that Garth wins a battle at Axanar; Kirk goes there some time later as a Cadet, on a peace mission. And it was from that mission that he and Mister Spock became "brothers". This certainly seems to imply that Kirk is talking about the founding of the Federation, though he doesn't outright say so. If so, it puts the founding of the Federation when Kirk was a cadet, i.e. when he was 18-22 years old. Which is right in line with the range of 10 or 15 years prior to TOS.

3) This is why Starfleet was so small.

The above also explains, somewhat, why the TOS Starfleet was apparently so small. The original Federation articles provided for a small fleet to be built, including 12 Connies. But the listing goes on to say :

"The following ships of the Mark IXA class were authorised by the Starfleet appropriation of Stardate 3220"

...and then lists another sixteen ships. This would be late in the TOS series, after Kirk made his "only a dozen like her" comment. It represents a more than doubling of Starfleet's capital ship power.

Then we get :

"The following replacements for the Constitution class were authorised by the Starfleet appropriation of Stardate 4444"

And get four ships listed - Constellation II, Intrepid II, Farragut II, and Valiant II. Presumably this was intended to replace those lost during TOS. (Constellation to the Doomsday Device, Intrepid to the space organism. Farragut might be a reference to the crew killed by the cloud vampire thing, though that presumably wouldn't destroy the ship. Valiant may be a reference to the ship lost at the edge of the galaxy, though of course that was a century earlier. It may be that they were replacements for the ships lost/damaged by M5, though not on a name for name basis. All this would have happened a year or so after TOS.

But then we get :

"The following ships of the Mark IXB class were authorised by the Starfleet appropriation of Stardate 5930"

...and then no less than one hundred and eleven ships.

Yep, that's right. In Joseph's time, the Starfleet of Kirk's era was a newborn thing, barely a decade or so old, and compared to the size and production capability of the Federation it was TINY. It would grow by more then tenfold in the following few years. This to me implies that the Federation's founding was probably at the lower end of that "no more than 15 years" timespan. The Federation could have been less than a decade old in TOS.

Incidentally, as well as building those 120+ Constitutions, during the same period Starfleet was building 35+ destroyers, 25 Scouts, 125 tugs, and 20 Dreadnoughts. Oh, and back at Earth, during Kirk's time, there was a starbase/spacedock about a mile and a half wide.

4) The Federation was more like the UN

Article 2 of the Articles of Federation states that "Nothing within these Articles of Federation shall authorize the Federation to intervene in matters which are essentially the domestic jurisdiction of any planetary social system, or shall require the members to submit such matters to settlement under these Articles of Federation; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII."

Notably, this was given canon support in The Cloud Minders.

KIRK : I am here to get that zenite. If these will help me get them, I'll use them.
PLASUS : And I forbid it. Your Federation orders do not entitle you to defy local governments.

And

PLASUS: We will get it for you, and in our own way. Remove the prisoner to confinement quarters. You will return to your ship at once or I shall contact your Starfleet command myself and report your interference with this planet's government.

The novels set in the TOS era also hint around this a little. I recall a couple of times where we hear of Federation planets that are astoundingly corrupt - citizens treated as little more than slaves, that kind of thing. There's a book in which Janice Rand is said to have come from Saweoure, which was such a planet ("Escaped from" would be a better term). Apparently the Federation had a lot of planets with extremely different social systems and government types, some of which were really not very nice.

This isn't really a contradiction as such, because we can just assume that the Federation changed over the years. We've seen how the EU has morphed from a trading block into a group of nations with some degree of shared sovereignty. It's certainly possible that twenty or thirty years down the line it could merge into a US-style central government. I can see this happening to the Federation between TOS and TNG.


That's as far as I've got for now. If I do write it up, I'll probably summarise the whole "Starship design rules" thing, and how they were apparently created with the intent of disavowing Joseph's work in favour of Gene's ideas for TMP.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Mikey » Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:45 am

I for one would be very interested to see your take on a more Joseph-esque UFP along these lines, although the distinction would seem to be fine in a lot of places... as evidenced (for example) by the fact that you used dialogue from an extant TOS episode to support your hypothoses. And, of course, as you well know Roddenberry later recanted and condemned Joseph's work because Roddenberry wasn't in complete control of it (and because someone else was profiting slightly from Star Trek.)
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:14 am

I for one would be very interested to see your take on a more Joseph-esque UFP along these lines, although the distinction would seem to be fine in a lot of places... as evidenced (for example) by the fact that you used dialogue from an extant TOS episode to support your hypothoses.

Yes. Joseph clearly based some of his extrapolations on TOS; some stuff he just made up, like the giant space station for Starfleet Headquarters. But he's obviously taken those quotes from TOS and used them to extrapolate things like how old the Federation is, how big Starfleet is, etc. I'm busy hunting through the book for anything else like that, though there's actually very little in the way of explanatory text in there. You get a whole lot of diagrams for various equipment and such, but not a whole lot to explain it all.

And, of course, as you well know Roddenberry later recanted and condemned Joseph's work because Roddenberry wasn't in complete control of it (and because someone else was profiting slightly from Star Trek.)

Said it before; when you get down to it, Roddenberry was kind of a dick in many ways. As soon as Paramount told him they wanted a new series he screwed Joseph over royally. Which is a real shame, because I would have just loved to see a Saladin or Ptolemy off in the background somewhere during one of the movies. Or during the remastered TOS.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Teaos » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:01 pm

It's strange, the Federation seems to rule earth, but I wondered their role in the other core worlds.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:36 pm

In TOS we have no idea what's happening on future Earth - they never go there, not sure they even really mention it except as a place they come from, or historical references to music and such. I don't know that they even refer to a world government on Earth. On the Franz Joseph model, one would assume that Earth is self governed as all Federation planets are.

TNG is odd in that the Federation President seems to be in charge of Earth's government. It really doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Teaos » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:54 pm

Like Belgium being run by the EU. Or New York by the UN.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Mikey » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:16 am

Ironically, New York is actually run by extraterrestrial aliens.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby IanKennedy » Fri Jul 08, 2016 8:29 am

Graham Kennedy wrote:I would have just loved to see a Saladin or Ptolemy off in the background somewhere during one of the movies. Or during the remastered TOS.

The special effects guys sort of did. If you look at the monitors on the bridge of the Enterprise in TMP they keep showing diagrams from the FJ book. Especially in the scene were v'ger us scanning the database at high speed. I remember spotting this when I first saw the film.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:55 pm

I know. There's mention in teh Epsilon IX comm chatter of the USS Columbia and the USS Revere, both Hermes class scouts, too. And the USS Entente, a Dreadnought. But I wanted to see proper ships!
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby IanKennedy » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:51 pm

I kinda like that they snuck it past gene though. :)
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Mikey » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:05 pm

IanKennedy wrote:I kinda like that they snuck it past gene though. :)


Hear, hear. I wonder if that was Bennet's idea?
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Varthikes » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:53 pm

Graham Kennedy wrote:The novels set in the TOS era also hint around this a little. I recall a couple of times where we hear of Federation planets that are astoundingly corrupt - citizens treated as little more than slaves, that kind of thing. There's a book in which Janice Rand is said to have come from Saweoure, which was such a planet ("Escaped from" would be a better term). Apparently the Federation had a lot of planets with extremely different social systems and government types, some of which were really not very nice.


We have an example of this in TNG as well with Tasha Yar's home colony.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Mikey » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:28 pm

I do not believe that Yar's home colony was a Federation world.
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Re: The Federation that never was

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:42 pm

I had the impression it was one, but quit the Federation when the government fell apart.
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