Taking a break from the story for a moment, some readers may wonder what the Patrol Cutter is. It's a ship from the game Star Fleet Battles. After I stopped writing the story, ADB and Mongoose Publishing began a joint-venture project that created a whole new 2500-series of gaming miniatures. I can't find a good on-line photo or clip-art of the original design, but here's a photo of the new mini:
For a better idea of scale, see these images:
The old version is very much the same, except the engine pylons were not swept back and the warp engines were smaller. They are functionally identical within game-terms.
Here's the Ship Systems Display (SSD) card from the game:
Note the way the engines are mounted. This was how the ship looked when I started writing my story.