USS Franklin Timeline Justified

Star Trek: Beyond introduced the first Warp 4 capable ship operated by Earth, the USS Franklin.  This ship and it’s known canon timeline appear to pose some challenges.  Why is its registry number so high compared to later NX ships?  Where was she during the Xindi crisis?  Why, for a ship that predated the last holdouts joining United Earth, does she bear a United Federation of Planets dedication plaque?

I think those issues can be fairly easily resolved.  Not relying on word of god statements, just on filmed evidence and knowledge of relevant real world science and engineering and history.

Her launch was some time prior to the construction of NX-01 Enterprise.  This is where I think I can solve the registry number issue. Perhaps Franklin was commissioned under a different prefix?  Maybe that XCV that shows up in a couple places in canon.  She’s built, doing her thing, and with construction of Enterprise ready to start… Starfleet wants to test the Warp 5 engine in a real ship prior to the NX class proper, just to be sure.  So Franklin is transferred to the NX program, being reregistered from XCV-326 to NX-326.  There is precedent in the US Navy, sometimes ships are reclassified and the hull number prefix changes.  The WWII era USS Essex was CV-9, CVA-9, and CVS-9 after various refits and role changes.  This is trivial.

Now, why was she not as fast as Enterprise in this scenario?  Well, it’s more than the engine.  For a real world example, the Pontiac Aztek and the fifth generation Grand Am GT share an engine.  The Aztek tops out at 108mph, the Grand Am can hit 130.  Now, granted, this is where the governor kicks in and doesn’t let you go faster, but the governors are set up that way because that’s what the cars can safely handle.  With the same engine.  Franklin could easily be slower than Enterprise.  Or it could have been a slightly earlier version of the engine and then there’s not even the appearance of an issue.

And now we come to where the hell was she during the Xindi crisis?  Well, Enterprise is in the Delphic expanse.  Columbia is expected to be deployed there immediately if she’s completed in time(If you recall, there was brief speculation that the time displaced Enterprise was Columbia).  *Someone* has to be checking in on various Earth colonies and outposts, and barring Enterprise and possibly other conversions, Franklin was probably the fastest ship in the fleet.  She’d be all over the goddamned place dealing with all the random crap that happens in episodes of most Trek series.  Not a problem at all here.

And then- Why was she serving past the retirement of NX-01 Enterprise, a supposedly more advanced ship, which was mission capable at time of retirement?  Well, the B-52 is still the backbone of the United States Air Force bomber forces, with much reduced roles for the B-1 and B-2, and other “more modern” bombers such as the B-58 have been retired entirely.  Franklin may have been more reliable/cheaper to operate while providing “good enough” capability, relative to the NX class.

Lastly, the transfer from the United Earth Starfleet to the United Federation of Planets Starfleet is likely the event which warranted a new dedication plaque. Perhaps it was just done.  Perhaps UESF remained(the UESPA certainly did over a century later) in existence, so a Federation Starfleet ship retaining a UESF plaque would be inappropriate.

Now, a lot of this is speculation, but I think it’s reasonably grounded in known canon and real world precedents of the sort Star Trek is already known to follow since 1966.

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Star Trek: Beyond Enterprise Destruction

Thinking back on it, destroying the Enterprise early in Star Trek: Beyond was a brilliant move that really helped sell the themes. All that stuff about standing by each other, and valuing your crew above all else- it really supported the “stronger together” theme brilliantly. I don’t think that would have worked nearly as well had Enterprise survived in salvageable condition. And they eventually beat the Swarm through low tech(even by our standards) radio broadcasts(and then Krall through low tech fists). It’s not the technology, it’s the people using it.
Seriously, if those trailers were meant to really give you an idea what the movie was like… the trailer guy needs to be fired. If they were meant to avoid spoilers at all costs… the trailer guy should probably get an award.
I’m hoping they find a way to bring the Borg in soon. They’d be a great followup to the strong themes of unity that Beyond had. Show that while unity is great, it can be taken too far.
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George Kirk returning in Star Trek 4?

There are rumors that George Kirk will return in some form in Star Trek 4.
Flashbacks seem to be the expected way, but…
Narada was originally a mining ship, but she was refit by the Tal Shiar with Borg technology. Unclear if it was reverse engineered designs or actual salvaged equipment, if the latter… Well, there’s some potential.
So the Tal’shiar installs salvaged Borg equipment on Narada. Not fully understanding how everything works, they don’t realize they are installing assimilation equipment along with the weapons or shield generators, or do and can’t figure out how to disentangle it from what they want to install. But they figure it’s not going to assimilate anyone without a command to do so, so what does it matter if it’s sitting there?  Narada is a huge ship, they have the space.
Flash forward(backward?) to the battle with USS Kelvin. George Kirk crashes Kelvin into Narada. Now, this is assumed to kill him straight away, but perhaps he survives… albeit critically injured. The Borg equipment misinterprets the injured Kirk as a severely damaged drone, and emergency protocols activate to repair the drone.
George Kirk as the Kelvin timeline Locutus. Perhaps a few other drones from other critically wounded Kelvin crew and maybe a few Narada crew near the damaged sections.
It’s a path to bringing in the Borg to this timeline.
This could seem iffy right after another hive mind type of enemy- the Swarm from Beyond- but they could present that Swarm as a precursor to the Borg. I’ve had the thought that it could have been an early version of the Collective tech, and Altamid the homeworld of the original Borg. If they make this canon, and follow it up with a Borgified George Kirk, that could be pretty cool IMO and maybe even make Beyond the second best movie of the reboot.  The experience against the Swarm might also open up ways the relatively less advanced Kelvin timeline Federation might stand a chance against a Borg invasion.
They’d need a clever way to get these drones off Narada rather than using it to assimilate the galaxy, but that shouldn’t be too hard.  Perhaps the assimilation equipment isn’t complete, and their full array of defensive equipment isn’t available, so the Naradas crew would beat them silly?  So they steal a shuttlecraft and go somewhere to contact the main Collective and gear up for an invasion.