I re-read this stuff after reading Praetor's sequel thread about the Excelsior size HERE
. A shame we weren't able to see more after this, but I'm happy we got what we did.
You know what though? I think the "history book" of the Excelsior class could be finalized and published as exactly that - a biographical recount of the ship and her sisters, through the major points of her development and active service. It's basically written that way anyway, albeit with a number of "personal" perspectives that don't really fit into a tech manual.
The best part is that re-doing this as a history book would be relatively simple, as most of the work is already done. I would present most of the text as-is, but add the context that it's actually a work of historical research, much like pretty much any history text you've ever read. I've recently read a couple books about stuff like the building of the RMS Titanic, or about the experiences of various WWII fighter pilots. The only real thing separating books like that with what Praetor has written is the illustration of the more factual points with quotes or "interviews" with the people involved.
For example, "excerpts" of interviews with the "author" and various people involved could be used to provide a more personal look at the development of the ship. What did Admiral Morrow think about the justification of the cost of the Excelsior, in his own words? What did Dr. Wazzisname say about the promise of transwarp drive in his speech at the Starfleet Propulsion Labs fall mixer? And just what did the very "vocal" opponent of transwarp, Montgomery Scott, say to the supporters? Heck, you could even include now-declassified excerpts from officers or personal logs of various people involved, thus finally giving a reason for having those things in the first place. :P
Here's what I dreamed up over lunch today:
Since the conclusion of the Romulan War, two polarized elements of Starfleet had long fought over the existence of Starfleet warships. Starfleet had been initially founded under the auspices of peaceful exploration and defense, but proponents of a more militaristic Starfleet argued that the narrow victory of the Romulan war had proven the need for dedicated battleships.
The Opponents countered that such ships would only truly be useful in the event of another full-scale war, and that multi-purpose starships could be well-equipped to maintain the peace. Initially, Starfleet operated battleships that were a part of its leftover Romulan War fleet, but gradually the costs of keeping these in operation outweighed their apparent need, and newer multi-puprose ships easily replaced their tactical roles. Militaristic proponents continued to press the need for more dedicated warships, and opponents continued to dispute them.
"In one hundred years we have developed starships which are larger, faster, and more capable than ever before. We have also developed tools capable of not only scientific, humanitarian, but also limitless military application. And yet, these tools are rarely seen aboard our flagships, and limited only to experimental use and deployment, in the name of a 'peace' that only continues to become more fragile as we continue to explore the galaxy. We have the ships. We have the technology. Why do the two never mix?" - Commander Lance Cartwright, address to the Admiralty, 2251
This argument would rage for decades, with neither side truly gaining any leverage until the 2250s. By that time, the Klingon danger loomed heavily, and many of Starfleet’s most prominent officers began to speak publicly about the need for a new Dreadnought class to meet any potential Threat attacks. Politically motivated budget cuts initially impaired any such major development projects, but eventually the movement gained enough momentum that serious fears began to emerge amongst the general populace about the safety of the Federation.
"Humanity and its allies in the Federation are a gestalt of intellect and physical capacity that together create things that no single species ever could. However, history knows that our ability to create is only exceeded by our ability to destroy, and so the principles of the Federation are our only true rulebook as we build ever better starships to reach out to new worlds in peace." - Dr. Larry Marvick, "The Constitution of our Constitution"
Such were my thoughts in re-reading this very cool thread.
Thanks Praetor for writing what you have. I hope you find the time to do more someday, on this or any other ship.