Minor comments, mainly relating to the freighters:
1) That the Arcos
was (invisibly) portrayed by the Husnock ship is not something we'd have to ignore. After all, the Husnock model subsequently became a prominent transport ship design, and although never actually seen in Starfleet or Federation hands, might have been part of the Starfleet arsenal nevertheless. Just like the SS Xhosa
design was also used by the Federation as evidenced by SS Norkova
, many other "international" designs for support ship may have eventually obtained a Starfleet identity... I'd have no problem believing that the Deneva
class in fact looks like Kivas Fajo's ship, say.
2) The Arcos
did not necessarily have a crew of two. The dialogue could easily be interpreted as the ship having a surviving
crew of two instead. There are enough cuts in the action to allow Picard to establish the number of survivors either before the bit of auditory contact we actually get to hear, or immediately after it. The shared basic design of lifepod between the Arcos
and Fajo's ship is something I'd like to embrace here as well.
3) Whether the closely related Bajoran Antares
design from "Ensign Ro" (an even later incarnation of the Husnock vessel) would in turn be what Starfleet considers the Antares
class, I'm undecided on. If I started believing that, and decided that the "Charlie X" Antares
was not a class ship and belonged to, say, the Sherman
class and that the kitbash Antares
likewise was a run-of-the-mill ship of some other early class, long gone before the Hermes
got her Starfleet registry, I'd only have to deal with one bit of conflicting info: that of the "Face of the Enemy" ship not looking like Orta's vessel at all. But I can chalk that off to Deanna Troi flunking Starship Recognition 101.
4) As for the "Antares Class Cruiser" text on the Xhosa
, this actually sort of equates "Antares Class" with "Starship Class". And since the latter has to be accepted as a somewhat generalizing umbrella term encompassing the Constitution
class, the former could also be an umbrella term rather than a class name. That is, the Xhosa
belongs to a ship class that fits within the Antares Class parameters, much like the Nimitz
class carriers today are Panamax Class vessels.
Or then Yates stole that dedication plaque from an Antares
class vessel of that name as a prank. Perhaps Xhosa
is a native Petarian name, while Yates rather preferred to interpret it as the name of the people she descended from (even thought the pronunciation is different), and stealing the plaque created the desired connection...
5) For the Istanbul
to have a passenger capacity in the thousands, I'd suggest a design quite different from the known combat starship ones. But a tug with a pod would also do - and the two DS9 kitbashes with a Ptolemy
-like configuration, the Curry
and the Raging Queen
, are thus good candidates. Not that I'd personally want the Istanbul
to be one of those (what I actually think is that the Curry
is of the Mediterranean
class, as per the registry range!).
6) For the absence of screen evidence on all but the most common starship types, I'd primarily refer to the number of "transport" or "supply" assignments for the conjectural classes. Being of a design dedicated to these tasks would no doubt keep the conjectural types off the big first-wave battlefleets. Conversely, one wouldn't see conjectural combat types in TNG which takes place in peacetime; only hybrid exploration-capable vessels would be met by the E-D in deep space.