I've called the senior staff together in my conference room to discuss the latest directive that I've had from Starfleet.
"I'll read this out to you all." I tell them, "It says: All Starfleet Staff must use stardates when referring to times. It is not the policy of the Federation to use Earth-type dates."
"How can we do that, Captain?" protests Geordi, "It is far too complicated to learn."
"I agree." says Deanna, "I much prefer to say something like 'next Tuesday' rather than quote a lot a numbers that I struggle to understand."
"What about you, Data?" I ask.
"Naturally, I am programmed with a full understanding of how it works." he tells us, "But it may be confusing for people like yourself to understand it."
Was I just insulted then?
"How about you, Captain?" Riker says to me, "I would have thought as Captain, you might know that."
"Sadly, Number One" I reply, "I came bottom in the Stardates test at the Academy, and with little knowledge of it, I just managed to make it as Captain."
Everybody starts talking at once, and it seems that with the exception of Data, none of us are very good at interpreting stardates.
"What about Captain Kirk?" Beverly asks me, "He always used to know the stardates from what I've heard about his missions."
"That is not quite true, Doctor." Data tells her, "His estimantions were always wrong, and it appears he just picked a few numbers to say at random, and his crew assumed he knew all about stardates."
"Stardates are irrelevant!" snaps Seven, "When you are all assimilated, you will have no need to concern yourselves whether to think in Earth or stardate time. You will act as drones."
Trust Seven Of Nine to put a damper on everything. Worf looks ready to say something.
"Why should we go by these times." he tells us, "Klingons neither accept stardates nor earthtimes. We go by the times on the Klingon homeworld."
This meeting seems to be falling apart.
"Please remember everybody," I try to say to them, "We are here to see if we can learn stardates. We can always use earthtime on the ship, but use stardates when dignitaries are around."
Everybody seems happy at this, and I ask Data to explain it to us.
After a while, we each have a huge headache, as Data tries for the fifth time to explain:
On April 6, 2377, Stardate 54868.6 would be 0.8686 of the way to the end of Stardate year 54000. If Stardates represent thousandths of a year, and an average Earth year comprises about 365.2422 mean solar days, then April 6, 2377, is 317.249375 days into Stardate year 54000. (0.8686 x 365.2422 days = 317.249375 days)
Therefore, Stardate 55000.0 takes place 47.992825 days after April 6, 2377. (55000.0 - 54868.6 = 00131.4 Stardates = 0.1314 year = 47.992825 days)
So, with some simple arithmetic, one can see that Stardate 55000.0 falls on May 24, 2377, making May 24 or May 25 the Stardate New Year on Earth (depending on leap years on the Earth calendar).
"So, for example, today is Stardate 46751.19" Data continues to tell us.
Gradually, one by one, people shake their heads, and I ask Data to stop.
"It is really easy, Captain." he tells me, "If you just let...."
"No, Data." I tell him, then inform the staff, "I think we'll adopt the Captain Kirk method. Making up random numbers is a far simpler way."
Everybody agrees; earth time is much better!