Starfleet

From Taskforce Equinox

Starfleet was the deep space exploratory and defense service maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Its principal functions included the advancement of Federation knowledge about the galaxy and its inhabitants, the advancement of Federation science and technology, the defense of the Federation, and the facilitation of Federation diplomacy.

As per its mandate of deep space exploration, its personnel were frequently brought into contact with cultures and sentient species whose existences were unknown to the Federation. Starfleet officers therefore acted as official representatives of the Federation in these cases. Starfleet vessels were also frequently used to ferry ambassadors on diplomatic missions.

History of Starfleet

United Earth Starfleet

Prior to 2161, Starfleet was the primary space exploration organization of United Earth in the early-to-mid 22nd Century. The primary authority of Starfleet was referred to as either Starfleet Command or the United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA), and was located at Starfleet Headquarters in the city of San Francisco, Earth. The primary purpose of Starfleet from its infancy was to "...seek out new life and new civilizations," and "...go boldly where no man has gone before." (This quote is attributed to Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive on Earth.) Some Starfleet personnel worked in conjunction with the United Earth Diplomatic Corps. For a time, beginning in 2153, some Starfleet vessels began carrying detachments of MACOs, an Earth military service. This practice was a reaction to the devastating Xindi attack on Earth, and subsequent mission into the Delphic Expanse in response. The decision to carry these units was left up to individual starship captains, and was not a formal policy of Starfleet Command at the time. While Enterprise NX had MACO units assigned to its mission as late as 2161, it is unknown whether its sister ship, Columbia, ever had a contingent attached to it. One of the primary projects of Starfleet was to develop a viable and fast interstellar engine that would allow Earth to practically cross vast distances in reasonably short time. Despite some allegations of interference – or at least, a refusal of assistance – from the Vulcans, Earth had made notable progress in developing the warp five engine by the 2150s.

Key officials overseeing the United Earth Starfleet included:

The Latin phrase on the pre-Federation Starfleet seal is "Ad Astra Per Aspera" (which translates roughly as "to the stars through hardships").

United Federation of Planets Starfleet

With the formation of the Federation in 2161, as per the Federation Charter, United Earth Starfleet, MACO and the deep space and defensive services of the other member worlds were folded into the authority of the Federation. Until as late as the 2290s, some Starfleet operations continued to fall at least partly under the jurisdiction of UESPA. By the mid-24th Century, however, Starfleet operations were regulated solely by Starfleet Command, answering to the Federation President and the Federation Council.

Organization

Direct commanding authority over Starfleet was a power of the Federation President. In addition, the Federation Council, the Federation's legislature, often directly influenced the service's operations and even issued orders on occasion. The day-to-day operations of the service were managed by Starfleet Command, under a commander in chief.

Commander in chief

The commander in chief oversaw the operations of the entire service, and reported directly to the Federation president. In the late 2370s, the position of commander in chief was actually held by Federation President Jaresh-Inyo.

Starfleet Command

This was the service's operational authority. Senior positions included the Commander, Starfleet. the chief of staff and the chief of Starfleet Operations.

Sector commands

These oversaw operations of the service within sectors of Federation space. There were at least 23 sector commands. Sector commanders reported to Starfleet Command, and commanding officers of service vessels operating within these sectors reported to them.

Starfleet Academy

Starfleet Academy was a facility maintained by the service for the training of its officers. Prospective officers received extensive training at this facility, for a period of four years. Undergraduates attending the facility were called midshipmen in the 23rd Century and cadets in the 24th Century. Successful graduates were commissioned as Federation Starfleet officers.

Personnel

Starfleet personnel were organized, using a naval-derived rank structure, into a chain of command. Personnel were in either of two groups: enlisted personnel and officers. Some personnel formally committed to the service by taking the Starfleet oath.

Officers

In the 22nd Century, Starfleet was a civilian organization acting as a successor to various Earth based space agencies such as NASA, the International Space Agency, and others. Its primary function was scientific development and exploration of space.

Starfleet officers functioned as commanders and directors of the service's operations at all levels. The most senior officers ranks were known as flag officer ranks. Officers holding these ranks functioned at the highest levels of command in the service. Flag officer ranks, in descending order of the chain of command, are as follows:

Sector commanders, the Superintendent of Starfleet Academy, the Commander, Starfleet, the Starfleet Chief of Staff and Chief of Starfleet Operations, and the Commander in Chief, were all flag officers. Below flag officer ranks were other officer ranks. Officers holding these ranks usually served in field command positions, such as commanding officers and senior staff on the service's vessels. These ranks, in descending order of the chain of command, were as follows:

Graduates of Starfleet Academy were commissioned to the rank of ensign, the most junior officer's rank, and were promoted to higher ranks over the courses of their time in the service. Physicians who graduated from Starfleet Medical Academy in the 24th Century were commissioned to the rank of lieutenant junior grade.

Enlisted personnel

These personnel functioned under the command of the officers, usually serving aboard Starfleet vessels or other facilities. Instead of officers' training, enlisted personnel received basic training for whatever position they served in. The most junior enlisted rank was that of crewman. The service's enlisted rank structure, in descending order of the chain of command, was as follows:

The enlisted ranks above that of crewman were not commissioned officer ranks. To distinguish them from commissioned officer ranks, the term 'non-commissioned officer' was used. All enlisted personnel were subordinate to commissioned officers in the chain of command.

Uniforms

In the 22nd Century, the same basic uniform was worn by all Starfleet officers, with differences in insignia and color-coded elements designed to distinguish rank and departmental function. Starfleet departments included Starfleet Operations and Starfleet Security.

Starfleet personnel wore distinctive uniforms while on duty. These uniforms generally displayed the department color of the department/division the enlisted person or officer served in, and also the rank insignia.

Wearing a Starfleet uniform when not actually a member of Starfleet would put one at risk of being charged with impersonating a Starfleet officer.

Bases and installations

Aside from its headquarters, located on Earth, the Federation's capital world, Starfleet also maintained installations throughout Federation territory.

Starbases

Starbases, facilities for resupply of the service's vessels and the relaxation of vessel crews, were maintained in all sectors of Federation space. In addition, the service also maintained facilities beyond Federation territory. The most well-known of these is Deep Space 9, in the Alpha Quadrant.

Shipyards

The service also maintained a number of shipyards at which it constructed its vessels and designed and tested new vessels and vessel types. Among the most famous of these shipyards were:

Training facilities

Apart from Starfleet Academy, the service also maintained several training facilities for both officers and enlisted personnel. These included a number of Academy annexes, located in different systems. Known annexes were Starfleet Academy (Beta Aquilae II), Starfleet Academy (Beta Ursae Minor II) and Starfleet Academy (Psi Upsilon III). The service also maintained at least one testing facility to evaluate prospective Starfleet Academy undergraduates for admission into the academy. This facility was located on the planet Relva VII. Starfleet Academy also had a training program for enlisted personnel. In addition at least one other such facility was located on Mars, known as the Starfleet Technical Services Academy.

Vessels

The single most important asset that Starfleet possessed, apart from its personnel, was its vast number of vessels.

Starships

The backbone of Starfleet's operations were its starships. These vessels, all warp-capable, were capable of supporting and providing the ability and resources to carry out all of the service's mandates: exploration, the defense of the Federation, the transport of supplies and resources, and providing emergency medical care. A large range of starship classes existed. Some were multi-purpose and other were designed for a specific use. By the 24th Century, Starfleet's mandates stated that no warships, or ships designed purely for defensive purposes, would be built, but an exception was made when the threat of the Dominion became evident.

The most famous ship of pre-Federation Starfleet was the NX Class NX01. That ship was the first to be equipped with the Warp 5 engine, and made first contact with over thirty species. Under the command of Captain Jonathan Archer, Enterprise established Earth as an interstellar power after negotiating treaties between the Vulcans and Andorians in 2152, saving the galaxy from the Sphere-Builders and the Xindi in 2154, uncovering the lost teachings of Surak on Vulcan and preventing a Vulcan invasion of Andoria later in 2154, helping to instigate a cultural and political coup d'état against the dictatorial Vulcan head of state Administrator V'Las, and facilitating peace talks between the Andorians and Tellarites following a series of attacks on both races in late 2154. The United Earth Starfleet also built the NX-class Columbia, launching that ship in late 2154, with at least two more NX-class ships planned. The United Earth Starfleet did not have any jurisdiction over what happens aboard vessels operating in the Earth Cargo Service. That responsibility remained in the hands of the Earth Cargo Authority.

The Constitution Class was historically one of the service's most important starship classes. Starships of this class were the service's frontline vessels in the 23rd Century, designed for long-term exploratory missions lasting five Earth years. The most storied of these vessels was the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 under the command of Captain James Tiberius Kirk. During his historic tour of duty as captain, countless new civilizations, planets, and anomalies were studied. In the late 2260s to early 2270s, the Constitution-class starships underwent a major refit program. The actual refitting took eighteen months of work and essentially a new vessel was built onto the bones of the old, replacing virtually every major system. These upgraded refit Constitutions provided a bridge in capability until the next class of modern Starfleet cruiser could take their place at the forefront of galactic exploration, diplomacy, and conflict. Thus, the Constitution-class continued in service for a further twenty years.

The Excelsior Class was initially constructed during the early 2280s at Starfleet's San Francisco Fleet Yards orbiting Earth. dedication plaque) Starfleet had high hopes for the first ship of this class, the prototype USS Excelsior which was equipped with transwarp drive, and was regarded as that Century's "Great Experiment." Despite the failure of the "Great Experiment," Starfleet forged ahead with employing the Excelsior design. After remaining in Earth Spacedock until at least 2287, the prototype Excelsior was subsequently recommissioned for active service by 2290. In 2293, the Excelsior design was given greater notoriety when Starfleet passed on the name of a legacy. The launch of the USS Enterprise-B opened the door for the Excelsior class to become one of the most widely used designs in all of Starfleet, a design lasting well into the late 24th Century. In the 24th Century, the Excelsior design was gradually replaced as the service's front-line vessel class by the Galaxy Class. Primarily designed at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, this class was the most technologically sophisticated in the history of the service. Vessels of this class were the largest in size of any ever produced in Federation history, and became well-known, both within and outside of the Federation, for their capabilities in both scientific enquiry and exploration. The most recognized vessel of this class was the USS Enterprise-D, commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Due to continual advancements in design, the Galaxy-class was eventually replaced by the Sovereign Class. This class featured innovations in weapons, warp propulsion and computer processing power. The most noteworthy vessel in this class was the USS Enterprise-E, again commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Another very well known class was the Intrepid Class. This class was older than the Sovereign-class, but more advanced than the Galaxy-class. The Intrepid-class proved itself many times beyond what was expected of it when a ship of this class, the USS Voyager, commanded by Captain Kathryn Janeway, was cast nearly 70,000 light years away from Federation space, deep into the unexplored Delta Quadrant, in 2371. The ship supported Captain Janeway and her crew through dangers never before encountered by a Starfleet crew, and successfully returned to Federation space in 2378. For those seven years, the ship had no access to any kind of Starfleet supplies or maintenance whatsoever. Other noteworthy starship classes were the Akira-Class, the Nova-Class, the Olympic-Class, the Defiant Class and the experimental Prometheus Class. The Defiant- and Prometheus-classes were primarily designed for tactical operations. The Olympic-class was designed as mobile emergency medical centers. Starfleet starships had navigational lights, red on the port (left) and green on the starboard (right), fitted to the hull. Such has been seen on vessels from the late 2100s through to the late 2300s.

Other vessels

Aside from its starships, the service also operated other vessels. Among these were several types of shuttlecraft, which were typically used to transport personnel over relatively short distances, such as from a starship orbiting a planet down to the planet's surface.

Starfleet shuttlecraft of the 23rd and 24th Centuries also were equipped with limited warp capability, allowing transport of personnel within a range of several light years from the starship.

Time vessels

Interventions by Starfleet of the 29th Century into the 24th Century revealed vessels that the service used in that time. In this Century, Starfleet had yet another mandate: to safeguard the timeline. Thus it operated vessels that were able to routinely traverse through time. These vessels were called timeships.

General Orders and Regulations

The service maintained a set of regulations, known as Starfleet General Orders and Regulations. These governed all aspects of service operations and covered all possible situations it was thought that personnel might encounter, from protocol to situations of First Contact with unknown species.

The most important of these was termed General Order Number One, but was more commonly referred to as the Prime Directive.

Not all of the general orders and regulations were intended for general personnel knowledge. At least one, known as the Omega Directive, was a top secret of the highest order, and was known only to officers ranking captain or any flag officer rank. This was due to the extreme sensitivity and danger posed by the subject the directive dealt with.