History - TME

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The Movie Era Star Trek Universe

Political Background

The mid-2280s were a very interesting time in the history of Starfleet. There were new discoveries in space, there were new scientific projects such as Genesis and new research projects like the beta-tachyon ray study were under way. There was also a renewed sense of optimism in the Federation Council over a possible warming of relations with the Klingon Empire.

Since the signing of the Treaty of Organia in 2267, Federation-Klingon relations had steadily improved. Together with the Romulan Star Empire, the three powers also established a "colony of galactic peace" on Nimbus III. Dubbed the "planet of galactic peace," the colony quickly became an embarrassing failure for all three governments, although regular meetings between representatives did take place at the colony for at least the next twenty years. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy", Star Trek V: The Final Frontier).

The Klingon Empire was also undergoing rapid changes and there was a movement by some within its borders to attack the Federation and restore the glory of the old Klingon Empire. Many of these rebels ventured into Federation territory and caused a heightened state of friction between the two powers. A number of skirmishes and hostile encounters between the Klingons and the Federation occurred over the next decade, including encounters at Capella IV, Neural, Elas and Beta XII-A. In most of these confrontations, the Klingons tried to gain strategic advantage and secure mining rights for valuable minerals, including as dilithium. (TOS: "Friday's Child", "A Private Little War", "Elaan of Troyius", "Day of the Dove").

President Hiram Roth of Earth, the 26th President of the Federation, made it his policy to try to expand the number of planets within the Federation. Through his hard work and diplomatic efforts, Trill joined the Federation in 2285, thereby expanding the number of voting member systems to 30.

Planetary members that made up the Federation at that time were as follows; Aaamazzarians, Actuarians, Arcadians, Ardanans, Arkenites, Ariolo, Andorians, Atreonids (Efrosians), Betelgeusians, Bzzit Khahtm, Caitians, Deltans, Efosians, Grazerites, Humans, K’normians, Kasheetas, Kazerites, Medusans, Megarites, Orions, Rhaandarans, Rigelians, Saurians, Shamin, Tellarites, Trill, Vulcans, Xelatians, and Zaranites.

While relations with the Klingons were starting to slowly improve, the Romulan Star Empire continued to operate in high secrecy and had a short lived alliance with the Klingons in the late 2260s. By the early 2270s, however, the Klingons and Romulans were at war and the Klingons had gained a crude cloaking device. The war ended in the mid-2270s and both powers descended into a virtual three-way cold war with the Federation. By 2285, the Romulans had lost their virtual monopoly as the region's best stealth technologists when cloaking devices began seeing regular service on Klingon vessels.

Two other extremely hostile races during that time were the Gorn and the Tholian Assembly. Little was known about either species, though the Tholians would make official diplomatic contact in 2271.

Starfleet Ships

By the mid-2280s, many of the older ships that had been in service for fifty years or more were still serving in limited capacities, such as the Kelvin class frigate, the Hermes class scout and the Saladin class destroyer. While many had been lost or decommissioned, a number remained on on active duty.

However, the bulk of the fleet were designs that had been put into service in the 2250s, such as the Ptolemy class transport, the Miranda class explorer/light cruiser, the Soyuz class light cruisers, the Constitution class heavy cruiser and the Federation class heavy cruiser. In 2278, Starfleet updated its science and research capability by introducing the Oberth class science ship. However, almost all of these designs - the exception being the Oberth - were more than twenty-five years old, and there had been many technological advancements in the 2260s and 2270s that needed to be integrated into a new line of starships. As a result, several proposals were put forward to develop a new generation of ships, and two new designs were ultimately adopted by the Admiralty under the leadership of Fleet Admiral Harry Morrow.

The four-nacelle Constellation class was designed to replace the Miranda class as a deep space explorer, and the Excelsior class was designed to replace the Constitution and Federation classes as the mainstay of Starfleet. But Starfleet realized that these new designs still had to be built, tested and placed into service, work that could take several years to complete. So, until that time, Starfleet decided to begin a fleet wide refit program to update, modernize and expand the role that the older ships in Starfleet could play. It was decided to retire the Kelvins totally and refit almost all other classes of starship, with the exception of the troubled Soyuz class, which continued to have structural integrity issues.

By 2280, a modernization program was instituted fleet-wide. Warp drives were upgraded, new nacelles were installed, new deflector dishes and significant upgrades to weaponry were all features of the refit program. In addition, some interior areas of ships were changed and new spaces were added, such as a small Captain's Ready Room adjacent to the bridge. This would later become a standard feature on Federation starships. Also, some of the turbolift controls were changed or updated, though in some starships an individual would still have to turn a lever when getting into the turbolift to make it go to the desired deck.

By 2285, the first few Excelsiors had come online as well as the first few Constellation class starships. The USS Excelsior (NX-2000, subsequently NCC-2000) had many initial failures after her launch, including problems with the new transwarp drive system. However, by the time of the USS Columbia (NCC-2002), the third Excelsior class ship to enter service, almost all of the major issues had been corrected.

Starfleet Structure

Some of the traditional departments and roles on ships were beginning to change by the early 2280s. Starfleet began to introduce the concept of an "Operations" Department aboard ship, combining some of the traditional day-to-day activities with the Helm and Communications Departments to help simplify command and control. However, it would still be almost fifty years before Starfleet began to view the role of Executive Officer as a stand alone position. Until the 2330s, the Executive Officer was the Senior Department Head on the ship. In some cases, this was the Chief Science Officer, but it could also be the Operations Chief or the Chief Tactical/Security Officer.

Also during this period, the Tactical and Security Departments functioned as a single combined department with the senior officer specializing in either tactical or security, and the next senior officer filling the other specialty.

Starfleet Marines were not seen on most ships at this time and the SFMC remained extremely small and professional. There were also no specific fighter-type craft or fighter pilots, although shuttlecraft pilots sometimes thought of themselves as "fighter" pilots when having to evade starship combat.

Medical departments on ships did not carry a Counselor among their ranks. However, Counselors could be found on most major starbases.

Diplomacy was almost exclusively conducted by senior commanding officers or Federation personnel and Starfleet had not yet established a Diplomatic Officer Corps.


While significant technological advancements had been made by 2285, primary communication on ship or from ship to a landing party was conducted with a hand-held communicator, or through dedicated communication stations on the ship. Many starships had a gymnasium, a pool and an arboretum for recreation. Also by the late 23rd century, Starfleet had reached a reasonable level of holographic projection and rec rooms aboard some larger class starships came equipped with holographic projectors, but they were not nearly as sophisticated as the holodecks of the 24th century and could not reproduce complete environments, only simple objects.

Portable data points of the time took the form of data tapes, which were placed in terminals or stations on the ship. The PADD would have to wait another forty years to be invented.

Uniforms and Department Colors

  • White - Command and Operations
  • Red - Tactical and Security, but was also sometimes used as a color to denote instructors
  • Yellow - Engineering and Environmental services
  • Gray - Science (which includes Navigators)
  • Green - Medical