Hello again and welcome to the weekend!
It’s been a bit busier on my end – projects are piling up at work, occupying a lot of my mind & time. I did however get the description of the Tal Taan Offensive/’Kargon Incident’ done and have moved on to the Genesis Incident – basically providing an extremely high level overview of the events in TWoK. That though, has brought up two separate issues, foremost among them being the dating of events.
Now, I’m not sure how the stardates are officially calculated (how the powers that be tie a stardate to a given year), but I’ve basically disregarded most of the ‘official’ dates in favor of those computed with this stardate calculator (link here – this is what I’ll be using to figure out most/all dates from here on out).
Stardate given: 8130.3 (Memory Alpha)
Calendar Date (as figured using Stardate Calculator referenced above): November 15, 2284
Stardate given: 8210.3 (Memory Alpha)
Calendar Date (as figured using Stardate Calculator referenced above): April 30, 2285
Now with that said, there’s a roughly 5-month gap between movies which is where the issue of Distance comes in. When it comes to figuring out locations and calculating (rough) distances, I always bring up this site right here – a great interactive resource (though it doesn’t quite correlate with location info given in certain books/reference works etc). Using the measurement function on that map, I plotted this out in 5 ‘legs’ and got a rough distance of 468.64 LY from Ceti Alpha to Earth. Now if you refrain from using any calculators or trying to work this out yourself, then yeah, the Enterprise taking 5 months or so to get back to Earth makes sense and is plausible.
However, a new problem would seem to arise when one follows this path and takes TVH (The Voyage Home) into consideration. Near the beginning of the movie, Kirk clearly says he and his crew “……are in the third month of their Vulcan exile” Plugging the stardate given (8390.0 – link here) puts this at May 10, 2286. Give or take, that’s roughly 375 days (1 yr 10 days) later.
Now to straighten this out, one first has to establish when Kirk & co. arrived on Vulcan. This is easy, just dial back the clock three months and you’d get stardate 8347.3 – February 10, 2286. That gives us a gap between the date of TSFS and the arrival on Vulcan of 280 days (9 months, 10 days).
Using the aforementioned map, I next made a rough measurement of the distance between Ceti Alpha (now ‘Genesis’) and Vulcan and came up with approximately 394.74 LY. Heading to the Daystrom Institute Technical Library and making use of the ‘Warp Factor to Time Taken’ calculator (link here), traversing that distance in the given time would require a cruising speed of Warp 8 (well, Warp 8.01……based on the old/Cochrane scale), something that doesn’t seem at all unobtainable for the old Bird of Prey. For me, explaining this out does two things I guess……1) it keeps me from getting confused and 2) it helps you, the reader, to keep from getting confused while understanding where I’m coming from.
TVH ends with the commissioning of the Enterprise-A. Again, there is a bit of a gap between the events of the movie and the date Kirk receives his new command (stardate 8442.5 – August 27, 2286), but this time it’s much smaller and much easier to explain away (Kirk & Co. being interrogated/debriefed regarding the events of the past two movies, plus their actions to save Earth from the alien probe, Starfleet/Federation Council deliberations over their fate and finally what to do about the Enterprise). Where the Enterprise herself is concerned, there are a number of theories over just how her second incarnation came to be. All follow the assumption that an existing ship was re-named, however they differ in that most say the ship was a new build that had just been or was about to be completed, whereas others say it was one that had been in service for some time.
Here are the theories I’ve come cross……
Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise
Enterprise-A was renamed from Ti-Ho (CH 1798), a new-build designed as a transwarp testbed alongside USS Excelsior
Ships of the Star Fleet
Enterprise-A was not renamed in this case, instead being ordered as a new-build of the Enterprise II (ex Levant/CH 1843) class.
FASA (Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update)
Enterprise-A was renamed from Atlantis (CH 1786), a new-build that had just been completed.
Enterprise-A was renamed from Yorktown (CH 1704), an existing starship that was disabled during the ‘Whalesong Crisis’
One of Scotty’s opening lines in TFF (The Final Frontier) mentions how “….this new ship must have been put together by monkeys.” That line itself bring up a good question–why would Starfleet commit the time and resources to building and commissioning an entirely new ship and then decommission it in less than 10 years? There’s no straightforward way to answer this as the word ‘new’ implies on the surface that the Enterprise-A was an actual new-build. The only recourse would be to resort to semantics and suggest that Scotty’s mention of ‘new’ refers to the ship’s refit/uprating (which would also explain the new bridge configuration). Given all this, that’s the path I’m going to go down………
The last ‘major event’ I have planned for Part III here is the destruction of the Hood. First alluded to in Ships of the Star Fleet and later expanded upon by Richard Mandel in his Federation Spaceflight Chronology, I’m intending this to be the last ‘great’ battle of this era. Sure, in Part IV, there might be a few battles or a skirmish to write in, but I don’t think they’ll be on the same scale…….we’re drawing too close to the Praxis explosion and after that, things become murkier and more asymmetrical (not to mention the fact I’ve become a bit disconcerted with the lack of major ‘peacetime achievements’). With that said, I’ll probably pattern this heavily on WWII’s Battle of the Denmark Strait (link here – involving the actual HMS Hood).