Thanks again, tenmei
I like most of this. Its really a great story idea.
Here are my issues...
1. The combat fleet, it sends the wrong message. Its okay to be armed, just not armed to the teeth on a peaceful exploration mission.
What tenmei said. We're not talking about just "The only ship in the quadrant" here. At times it will be the only ship in the galaxy, and you'll notice I never said anything about Verthandi
's own armament. Frankly, I was thinking that the fighters and Defiants would function as the ship's principal weapons, and given the point of the exercise is for the ship to operate literally millions of light-years away from Federation space, back-up is not coming swiftly. You need a noteworthy striking force with built in redundancy to protect the people aboard.
Plus, in times when Verthandi
isn't facing some dire military threat, the Defiants can be deployed as explorers in their own right, extending the range of the exploration mission by that much within the target galaxies. The same could be said-in a limited fashion-of the fighters. Just because you have a powerful force available doesn't mean conquest is your intention.
2. The destination, would a more logical destination be the next closes galaxy?
More logical, yes. As ambitious? Hardly. Frankly, I went into this thinking it was time for Trek to Go Big or Go Home.
Oftentimes on this board, it's like pulling teeth just getting people to acknowledge that the notion of the Great Galactic Barrier is stupid and to even try to go to another galaxy at all. Others have proposed it here and still others have poo-poohed it using various rationalizations. In this case, I decided I didn't want to just say "go to another galaxy". My thinking was, if you can reach one other galaxy, why stop
at one? Of course, you need a compelling reason to go to more than one, right?
Center of the Universe, something that can only be viewed through about twenty million years of time from where we are now, but what if we could get closer?
I would like to see the ship maybe be more of a mobile space dock, makes more sense for a one way mission. It could be equipped with a trans warp conduit which cannot be setup until the station reaches its destination. Until then they could use it for communication.
No mobile dock will ever be as mobile as a ship, and it doesn't make more sense if the point of the mission is to actually get somewhere (or, if necessary, get away from something). Whether it's one-way or not isn't the issue. And I came up with the slingshot/aerobrake scheme so the phrase "transwarp" wouldn't be necessary.
Also if this is going to be a decades or centuries long mission, it would be cool if every season jumped a decade so we can see the crew aging and handling the loneliness of transverse the void.
Actually, my thoughts were:
Season One: Transit to the central black hole, exploring all the way. Season finale has the first slingshot.
Season Two: begins with the ship braking in the next galaxy and the crew being revived from coldsleep.
The crew will age, but it will be during those times when they're exploring clusters of stars. They'll be asleep during transit in intergalactic space, so there won't be much to watch.