USS Tamerlane

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:50 pm 
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Lieutenant JG
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fortunately for me, my own condition is fairly mild, but I still have problems recognizing non-verbal cues. It does seem ironic doesn't it, someone like me working in a medium that calls for such detail.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:59 pm 
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Vagabond Elf wrote:

No worries, Madison. Even if I'd thought you were being mean, I'd just chalk it up to your own major disability - you're American. :p



HA! That's awesome! Wait... I'M American... no, it's still awesome! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:10 pm 
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Author: Saladin
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Finally! Someone from the TNG era that doesn't condescend to someone from an earlier era!

Bravo!

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"Alternate starship designs are from the Starfleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph (c) 1975 and are used with permission."
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:42 am 
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Artist: Surya
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Whoops, sorry! I forgot to post! But it's up there now.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:22 pm 
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Artist: Nova Trek
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Vagabond Elf wrote:
Whoops, sorry! I forgot to post! But it's up there now.



Uh-oh. trouble brewing- in the story that is...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:07 pm 
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This really deserves its own thread, but until the SQL issues get hammered out, it doesn't look like that's possible. So for now, I'll post it here:

A thought exercise on Stardates.


It is well agreed-upon, and very workable, that in the TNG era, stardates tick by at the rate of 1, 000 per year. This is actually quite useful, as it means that 1 Stardate Unit (SDU) is a little over 8 hours (8.77) - close enough to a normal "3 watches per day" to be understandable for us, and yet having the coolness of not being a number derived from Earth. Every 3 SDU is a bit more than an Earth day, and having the year hooked to Earth just reflects Earth's dominance in the Star Fleet. A tenth of an SDU is 52.6 minutes long, close enough to an hour to become functionally used as one. The system isn't perfectly used on the show, but as a system it works.

It is generally accepted that Stardates in the TOS era make no sense at all. This is partly because there wasn't any system when the show was first being made, of course. But I've seen some really crazy justifications trying to cram the stardate system into "real years," (none of which (meaning the real years) were determined at the time of making the episodes). The core of the problem seems to come from two statements and a pair of assumptions:

Statement 1) That TMP takes place about 2.5 years after TOS ssn 3.

Statement 2) That TNG takes place about a century after TOS.

Assumption 1) That there is no "reset" or loop for Stardates.

Assumption 2) That one Season of TOS is one year in the show.

And a spin-off assumption, that about as much time passes in-universe between TMP and TUC as passed on the real world.

So all of this does combine to make it pretty much impossible to have any real system of stardates. And with the popular entrenchment of Earth-calendar dates for certain in-story events, the TOS stardate hodgepodge is here to stay. But then again, I've never really worried about how well the nuts and bolts of my setting lines up with the one built by Paramount and the fans.

The big revolutionary thought I had was: what if TOS stardates work exactly the same as TNG ones? Where does that take us? We have to discard some of the assumtions, especially number 2, but can we preserve the statements?

(Note that, for the purposes of this experiment, I am chosing to ignore TAS, especially as weird-ass stardates are hardly the greatest challenge in integrating TAS to a Trek timeline.)

We'll start by looking at just The Original Series. We all ready know that the 1000 per year system works fairly well for day to day stuff, so we really need to see if the 1000 per year fits into the show.

As far as I know, "The Cage" cites no stardates, so the earliest stardate given is "Where no man has gone before," SD
1312.4. Doing a bit of math, this is 2, 738.436 hours or 114.1015 days into the year - aproximately 2.30 AM, April 24th, assuming that SD1000.0 is midnight, January 1. So far, so good.

The last stardate given in TOS is SD5943.7, from "All Our Yesterdays." Well, we have to discard assumption 2 - but if we do, this is very near the end of the 5th year - December 10th, around 16.00 (4.00 PM) in fact. If we're willing to accept that TOS is spread out over 5 years, not just 3, it seems to be working so far.

A more detailed look at the series does produce some problems. 8 episodes - through "Balance of Terror" - occur in our first year, and even in those 8 episodes some of the dates are implausibly close together. "Corbomite Manuever" and "Man Trap" are in fact both taking place on Jul 6 - "Corbomite" on SD 1512.2, around 1 AM, and "Man Trap" on SD 1513.1, around 11 AM. "Naked Time" and "Balance of Terror" are both very close together, too - "Time" on Sep. 14, and "Terror" the next day, Sep. 15. "Charlie X" refers to Thanksgiving Dinner. My system makes it set on July 13 - but I'm okay with that. There's no actual date given, and being Canadian, I know that Thanksgiving's in October anyway, not November. More to the point, Thankskiving by the time of TOS could well refer to something else - perhaps something arising out of the Eugenics Wars? Who knows. Anyway, I can ignore that data point, because it's not a firm date.

Still. That's not so promising. On the other hand, I don't think there's many elements of TOS that unequivocally work when one attempts to place an overarching system on the show. And I do really like the notion of using the 1000 SDU = 1 year. So I'm going to ignore the awkwardness of the individual episodes, and carry on for a bit.

The next thing to check it against is the movies. The Motion Picture is supposed to be at least two and a half years after the end of TOS, because that's how long since Kirk has been in space. We can fudge a litte, but 2.3 is probably as low as that should go. Alas, from SD 5943.7 to SD7411.4 is only ONE and a half years. Hmm. That's not so useful.

TWOK is SD 8130.4. TSFS is SD 8210.3. At a rate of 1000 per year, this is 65 days. Kirk says that they've been on Vulcan for 3 months, but he may have been referring to Vulcan months, about which we have no data. If vulcan months are short enough, that could work.

The Undiscovered Country is SD 9521.6. By my system, this is only about a year after Final Frontier (Which is about 3 weeks after Voyage Home). There's no really firm date, but a year doesn't seem like enough time for all that to happen. On the other hand, it's possible for Sulu to have been promoted and the bridge rebuilt inside a year, and I think we all have to pretend that the characters are a lot younger than the actors by TUC anyway, or there's no sense at all in them being on the ship. It's not good, but it's workable.

Two other problems arise. TNG starts on SD41000. If the dates have just been counting up, this is 32 years after TUC. That is clearly not enough time. Also (and this does come up for everything), if stardates go up at a thousand per year, what happens two years before "Where no man has gone before?" ? Either there is a 100, 000 digit no is bothering to recite (possible, given how readily we drop the first to digits of the year) or the system resets. (Or it's brand spanking new.)

If there is a 100,000 digit, then TOS is starting just into the first century of stardates. This is actually quite reasonable to me, that Star Fleet might be about 100 years old. However, since we are now assuming that TOS is 101, 312, TNG must therefore be 241,000 to avoid being too soon - and that makes it 132 years later. This seems to be too far away.

So I like the notion that they reset better. For some reason, until the TNG era, there was a need to reset the count on Stardates every 50 years. Perhaps it was a verion of the Y2K issue? I like to think that the first one was, and the next one or two (depending on whether TOS is the second series or the third) happened mostly out of habit, and by the time TNG/DS9 roll around someone has gone "Uh, guys? This is silly." Reseting every 50 years lets the stardate system be either 51 or 101 years old in TOS. (I like to think that the original SD system was backdated to the beginig of the Federation.) It also means that TNG is 82 years after TUC, and about 86 years after TOS - which is a very reasonable number.

So this has led us to a system where 1000 Stardates is a year, that gets reset every 50,000. As a system, it works well for the relationship between TOS and TNG, can be made to stretch over TOS itself (if we ignore a few inconvenient details) and doesn't really work for the TOS movies. All in all, it isn't really viable to explain the stardates in the actual show. But as a system to use for creating stories, whether written, drawn, or role-played, and to give some consistency to stardates? It works. It's close enough to TOS stardates that the gap won't show, and it lets me have some logic to my writing that I think it needs.

I'm never going to make a point of it "on-camera," but from now on, I think my stardates are all going to use the 1000 per year ratio.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 7:21 pm 
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Artist: Nova Trek
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VE: "It also means that TNG is 82 years after TUC, and about 86 years after TOS - which is a very reasonable number."

I remember when NG was just getting started, the favorite time frame always quoted was 78 years after TOS. So you're only off by 8 years.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:33 am 
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Author: Saladin
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One of the other theories on stardates in TOS was that they also incorporated position of the star system they were visiting. Sort of a coordinate vector system. There's no real way to 'fix' a randome number they pretty much pulled out of thin air, but looking at it, I would say that the system of recording stardates must have changed with TNG and a reset is as good an explanation as any.

Back to your comic, there seems to be a wierd grey object hanging from the officer's head in the final panel of your latest page. I assume it is hair, but it looks really odd to me and not like hair. Otherwise, I'm really liking your solution in the making. :)

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Ray Martin is the Captain of the U.S.S. Saladin, in the latter half of the 23rd Century.
"Alternate starship designs are from the Starfleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph (c) 1975 and are used with permission."
The Starship Saladin is now on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/StarshipSaladin


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:53 am 
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Saladin_CO wrote:
Back to your comic, there seems to be a wierd grey object hanging from the officer's head in the final panel of your latest page. I assume it is hair, but it looks really odd to me and not like hair. Otherwise, I'm really liking your solution in the making. :)


Heh. Yes, that's Ensign Cho, the Chinese woman with a Yorkshire accent we last saw in the transporter room (p4, on p. 1 of the thread.)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:00 pm 
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Just read the current pages and i've got a question. Why is the Commander handling this call? Shouldn't the Captain be dealing with this? If this were a NG episode, Picard would be dealing with this guy.


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