Federation Trade Commission
The Federation Trade Commission was a civilian organization intended to monitor and license trade both within the Federation and between the Federation and foreign powers.
The Federation Trade Commission, or FTC, was very closely associated with the Federation Merchant Marine, or FMM, and for a time the two were treated as a single organization, often called the FMM/FTC.
The FTC in some respects was similar to a coast guard. It was both an administrative body and a quasi-military force.
The FTC had several responsibilities: to prevent illegal trade between the Federation and other empires, to prevent the trading or transportation of illegal items within the Federation, to license civilian corporations to trade with other Empires, to provide materials and equipment, including data carts and manufacturing, mining and farming equipment for new businesses, and to oversee the Federation Merchant Marine. Essentially, it was the civilian wing of the Federation Government taskedwith overseeing all aspects of the economy.
The FTC was overseen by a Commissioner. Some of the more prominent FTC Commissioners included Shadow, Gavelin Brody, Denna Kalouri, Lonestar, Jameson, and Jacien, although this is not a complete list. The Commissioners were also generally looked at as the leaders of the Federation Merchant Marine.
The FTC was given some assets and personnel to carry out its many tasks. In particular, the outpost of Port Alamo was constructed in 1997 to serve as the FTC's administrative hub and as a trading post for foreign traders coming to the Federation. At this time the FTC commissioners moved their operations away from Starbase One, where StarFleet had never really made them feel welcome.
The FTC did have a number of officers, complete with military ranks, serving aboard Port Alamo and her patrol ship, the FSS Sebring. The Sebring was destroyed when a Romulan incursion occurred near Port Alamo. A StarFleet vessel was already on the scene and had engaged the Romulans in combat, when the Sebring crew decided they wanted a piece of the action. They forgot, however, that they were not a true military force and had no combat training (and not much common sense) and soon got themselves in trouble. It seems the officer in command of the Sebring, Lieutenant Sorkon, who was not ordinarily assigned to command the Sebring, was unaware that his weapons console was linked to that of Port Alamo via prefix control. This arrangement had been made by Commissioner Jameson of the FTC so that the outpost's shields could be raised and lowered as the ship approached or departed if no one was onboard the Outpost. However, Sorkon was not aware of this situation or the fact that it made the console control only the outpost's weapons and shield systems, and not the ship's. As a result, he believed he had raised his shields when in fact he had raised Port Alamo's, but left the Sebring 's down. The Sebring took two hits from the Romulan cruiser and was destroyed. StarFleet then proceeded to damage the Romulan ships and chase them back to Romulan space.
After the Sebring, the FSS Redeemer was constructed to replace it, named in an attempt to "Redeem" the FTC for the incompetence of the Sebring crew. After the Federation Trade Commission slipped into idleness and inactivity, the ship was given to Starfleet and later recommissioned as the USS Endeavor, after undergoing a refit to the standards of military use under the instruction of Captain Robert Tagrith.
The demise of the FTC was largely because of changing economic conditions. The Federation Merchant Marine, with which the FTC had been so closely associated, had suffered a considerable period of bad management and unintelligent Starfleet rejects for officers. Several small companies rose up to take the business which the FMM had once had a lock on, and the new economic environment rendered the FTC unneeded. As a result, the Federation Trade Commission was dissolved. The most visible remnant of their existence, the outpose Port Alamo, was destroyed by the USS Excalibur during the Mirror Universe crisis.
Obviously, others will dispute these facts as they are being presented (the word 'fact' is used loosely, since a great deal of time has gone by). There are some alternate points to consider, provided by others involved in this incident:
1. The USS Excalibur was under attack by the Romulans. The ship was allegedly commanded by Admiral Brody who, by some accounts, was attempting to free the Starfleet hostages during the Tholian incident with the Romulans. Whether that is true or not remains somewhat unclear, as reliable sources have stated that Admiral Brody never made such an attempt with the Excalibur. No military mission to recover those hostages was ever authorized by or reported to Admiral Falkenberg, and the incident in question was probably associated with some other aspect of the general atmosphere of conflict between the Romulans (or the Klingons) and the Federation at this time. In addition, Admiral Brody at this time was head of SFNC and did not directly command any starship, and while he could have assumed command of the Excalibur for a purpose such as this that was not generally his style. In the years that have passed, the details have become muddied.
2. Some of those aboard the FTC vessel later claimed that they did attempt to contact the StarFleet Vessel, although no attempt was reported by its crew or recorded by a nearby subspace recorder monitoring 1Ghz. It is reasonable to suppose, based on this conflicting information, that if an attempt to make contact was made, it either used a different subspace channel or was unsuccessful, perhaps due to power settings or range issues. Too much time has passed to be sure of the details, but it is clear that the Sebring had some of its systems set in unusual configurations at the time of this incident.
3. Romulan forces comprised one Destroyer, one Cruiser. Excalibur was outgunned. FTC believed itself to be the closest aid on hand, and decided to go out to assist the Excalibur. Unfortunately No one knew at the time that Commisioner Jameson, previously slaved Sebring's Shield control to Port Alamo. Nor did Sorkon have the Prefix code to reset the system. The inexperience in combat of the FTC crew and its commander showed through in this situation, however, since the prefix control affected the ship's weapons console only. While it is standard procedure on most ships to raise shields via the weapons console, shields can be raised via the engineering console by powering the respective shield systems. This can be accomplished even when the weapons console is slaved to another ship or base via prefix control. The problem confronting the Sebring in this incident, however, was likely that with the weapons console inexplicably slaved, Sorkon and his crew were unaware of the fact that their shields were not up until it was too late to act. The Weapons Console was controlling Port Alamo's shields, and when the order to raise shields was given, the console would have reported that the operation was successful and shields were up. The Sebring crew was unaware of the fact that their shields were not, in fact, up until far too late.
4. It was the opinion of many at the time that the incident was the result of the inexperience (some would say incompetence) of the FTC crew and its commander. In fairness, combat was not their responsibility, and was not what they trained for. It was the assertion of the Excalibur crew at the time that Sebring had no place at the battle, and certainly the description of the FTC's areas of responsibility seem to bear that out. It should be noted that, however "outgunned" Excalibur may have been, it went on to survive the battle without having received any effective aid from the Sebring or its doomed crew.
(For further discussion, see the Talk:Federation_Trade_Commission page. )