Star Trek: An Introduction/The Star Trek future

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01 The future
02 Starfleet
03 Viewer Guide
04 Learn more

"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
— Captain Kirk's opening monologue from Star Trek

Star Trek is a science fiction television series that first debuted in 1966. Created by Gene Roddenberry, the series featured the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his crew aboard the Federation starship USS Enterprise in the 23rd century. While the series lasted only three seasons in its original run, Star Trek drew a massive following through syndication that eventually led to the production of a movie series starring the original cast and the creation of various spinoff series that followed new crews and new time periods in the Star Trek universe, beginning with a series of shows set in the 24th century (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager), which were then followed by a prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise set in the 22nd century before the Federation was founded. In 2017, a new era of Star Trek shows began, starting with Star Trek: Discovery, followed by Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

The Star Trek franchise is distinct from many science fiction stories set in the future with its optimistic view of humanity, which by the 23rd and 24th century has rid itself of old vices such as racism, sexism, poverty, and war to reach the stars. Yet these and other contemporary issues and philosophical questions are often examined in the stories told by Star Trek and its spinoffs through the lens of science fiction and metaphor, and it is these stories that have enthralled its legion of fans, known as Trekkies and Trekkers, for half a century.

What's life like in the future?

Star Trek's future is defined by technological advances far beyond our own, and diversity of intelligent species which interact on a daily basis.

One of the most important pieces of technology, which makes the story of Star Trek possible, is the "warp" engine – a starship engine that allows the ship to move many times faster than the speed of light.

Second only to the warp engine is the replicator, which allow raw matter to be converted into a nearly endless array of inanimate objects, especially food and water. But advanced computers also allow the use of replicator technology for holodecks, which are rooms in which matter and light are manipulated to re-create nearly any location or story. Want to become Sherlock Holmes? A holodeck can load the story and all the characters, and allow you to interact with them!

Technological advances have eliminated many hardships from 24th century life.

Humans, in the future, helped found the "United Federation of Planets," a sort of United Nations like we have here on Earth, but for many worlds. This Federation of planets is an interstellar federal republic, composed of planetary governments that agree to exist semi-autonomously under a single central government based on the principles of universal liberty, rights, and equality, and to share their knowledge and resources in peaceful cooperation, scientific development, space exploration and defensive purposes.

The warp engine allows travel to many new worlds.

Perhaps most jarring to 21st Century participants in the Star Trek universe is the fact that Humans – indeed, most members of the Federation – don't use money at all. With replicator technology, the ability to move about the galaxy in starships and harvest raw materials, the endless abundance of resources, and advanced artificial intelligence means that a new type of economy is required, in which most people have their basic needs met, and can pursue their interests.

A Typical Day in the 24th Century

By Nicholas (Ceciri Hakashri)

To demonstrate, we will take a standard day in the life of Angelica, a skilled writer of fantasy dramas. She gets up at 5 in the morning and replicates her breakfast of ham and eggs. This materialization is immediate, and she can recycle the dish just by putting it in the replicator. That said, she normally opts to get food at a nearby café - the replicator just doesn’t have that fresh feeling.

Today, though, she has an important client to meet off the planet Axanar, and the regular shuttle between it and Earth departs from the Spacedock in 2 hours. She hurriedly puts her PADD tablet with all her writings in her case along with the cube containing her latest drama. She heads to the transport station and beams up to the commercial spacedock orbiting Earth. Standing in the transporter, she can't even feel it as her body and possessions are converted to energy and, in a twinkle of light, sent up to the orbital station.

As people enter the station, Angelica follows the crowd to the main boarding area. There’s no security gate or long lines of people waiting for their chance to be scanned - the sensors within the station scan all that enter, eliminating the need for overt security. She boards the starship, which heads off to Axanar at speeds faster than the speed of light. As she boards, she looks at the arrival board and makes a quick call to her editor on Axanar, notifying them that she will be running a little late.

An Intrepid class starship

As the shuttle leaves the spacedock she spots the USS Dauntless, a starship assigned to patrol the area. There have been reports of a pirate gang attempting to prey on commercial starships in this area, but with the aid of the Dauntless's patrol, the shuttle safely arrives on Axanar. The small orange sun has just reached the horizon, brilliantly lighting up the red oceans of Axanar as the shuttle lands in the main field of it’s capital city.

Taking the magnetic transit train over to the headquarters of the publishing company she works with, Angelica begins her presentation in a large meeting room by popping her cube into a console, transforming it into a old and decaying forest in a moment. This room is a hologrid - a room made up of light and forcefields that with a single command can take on the appearance of nearly anything. This allows her to create one of the major settings of the drama, with the heroine as an interactive guide, demonstrating the project.

A few of the producers are enchanted by the heroine, and the rest approve of the drama, intending to release it for wide consumption across hundreds of star systems. She doesn’t receive any compensation besides the acclaim of those who will enjoy the drama, for the economy in the Federation doesn’t work on money anymore. However, it doesn’t cost her anything to produce, either.

The trip home to Earth is as uneventful as the passage to Axanar. To celebrate the new contract, she goes to a well-known Cajun restaurant in New Orleans with a friend from Nagoya, who programs self-sufficient mining machines for use in asteroid belts. Angelica and Keiko often meet for a meal if both are on Earth, since the transporter stations span the globe, making travel almost anywhere on the planet easy and nearly instant.

She beams back at the end of a nice meal, and turns in early, after starting some research into the myths of a long dead planet some 100 light years distant. She needs to start work on her next drama, after all.

Imagine, though, that you are an officer on the Dauntless, the starship patrolling the lanes. Or maybe you’re the officer who built or designed the Dauntless, or the engineer who built the transporter network that connects Earth. Or maybe you’re a member of Starfleet’s Engineering Corps, who maintain and construct the network that allows for near instantaneous conversations over hundreds of light years. Those officers are Starfleet Officers.

01: The future 02: Starfleet 03: Viewer Guide 04: Learn more

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