Star Trek Combat... not in space.
September 8, 2012 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Star Trek: Where do I find sources about the military ground forces of Starfleet?

Starfleet obviously still has ground troops during the Dominion War, as seen in "The Siege of AR-588" and it is implied in other episodes, but when it comes to details, Memory Alpha draws a blank.
I'm looking for sources about ranks, structure and specializations in the ground forces; and technology used in their military operations.

I'd prefer wikis, maybe RPG handbooks, but novels are fine if ground combat is the main subject.
posted by MinusCelsius to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried Memory Beta? That's the partner wiki for non-TV/movie sources.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:12 PM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: There's not much written about them (not much of which is considered canonical) but they're called the Starfleet Marine Corps.
posted by inturnaround at 3:19 PM on September 8, 2012

I asked tumblr for you and received this response from askbelannatorres:
memory beta is a great place for non-canon stories. Though I believe that the ranks and structure are all the same as standard Starfleet. From what I've pieced together they are just members of Starfleet who specialise in ground combat. Sort of like the MACOs from the ENT era.
For what purpose are you looking for this info? There are lots of arguments about what's considered canonical or not. Chances are if you're creating something for an audience that doesn't automatically know about Memory Beta then you should feel quite free to wing it.
posted by Mizu at 4:43 PM on September 8, 2012

Response by poster: It's for a roleplay group, so it is irrelevant if it's hard/soft canon, though we'd prefer the info to be somehow canon, if only loosely derived/pieced together. We are in the TNG/DS9/VOY timeline, so ENT is a bit outdated.

We've been searching Memory Alpha and Beta, with little success, so everything is more or less based on the army experience from players. While it may work for structure and translating specializations (i.e. one of the few we found mentioned could be considered a Navy), we are still at a loss what technology would be used or available, if any of it is considered unethical or a "last resort" and so on.
posted by MinusCelsius at 5:08 PM on September 8, 2012

Best answer: From what we saw of Starfleet in this era (First Contact, especially, as well as the fourth season of DS9) it looks like the "rules" are pretty much "something between Picard on a really bad day and what Miles O'Brien would do to a Cardassian just after he moved to DS9." We know, for instance, that Starfleet generally avoids killing people unless bad things are happening, at which point non-humans and combatants can more or less kiss their lives good-bye. They also don't like large-scale weapons or things that make other things explode or disintegrate; the bigger the effect (more people, more buildings, more planets) the weaker the force they want. Even really horrible people in Star Trek hate it when a planet gets blown up. It's probably easiest if you just sit and rewatch all the "things go to heck" episodes from Voyager and DS9 - The Year of Hell, etc. - to get an idea of the extremes to which people are allowed to resort.

But seriously? We saw next to nothing of ground troops and ground combat through close to 1000 hours of TV/film for a reason. Star Trek's problems are the problems of people who mostly stay 100 miles offshore, you know? Their rules fall apart totally when exposed to the conditions of actual ground combat, on every single series and in each of the movies where it happens; Gene Roddenberry was in the Air Force, not the infantry. The people on Star Trek who do well in ground fighting are always the bad-guy aliens we don't understand: the Jem H'dar, the Cardassians, the Klingons. The Starfleet personnel with Army/Air Force/USMC ranks usually end up being scoundrels (Col. West, before his scenes were deleted, for instance.)

There are some cosplay/RPG types you might be able to copy off of, though you can tell (PDF) they've mostly been transplanting info from the US Marine Corps.

(The "Academy" manuals are available here. They are more than a little TOS-focused, which is not surprising.)
posted by SMPA at 6:17 PM on September 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: There is an unpublished codex from Last Unicorn Games called The Dominion war Source Book: The Fires of Armageddon, that has sections on Starfleet ground forces. When LUG was bought by Wizards of the Coast, Paramount switched their licensing deal to another publisher. Afterwards, the original author posted it for free at the link above with the blessing of Wizards of the Coast.
posted by chrisulonic at 7:36 PM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I have to assemble Something That Should Exist in the STU in this manner, I always look to canon clues and make reasonable extrapolations. Miles O'Brien is definitely your go-to guy here. There were at least a dozen episodes strewn across TNG and DS9 where he talks about his ground combat experiences. I read somewhere (it may have been at the indispensable Ex Astris Scientia) a very detailed examination of these various accounts and what they say about O'Brien's position/role in Starfleet at various times.
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:38 AM on September 10, 2012

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