I have to bring up a question: What is the external structure of the neck
Compared to the other starship designs it's rather unusual. The Excelsior
design apparently has not only "space-energy/matter sinks" around the warp nacelles (like Enterprise
) but also covering the entire neck.
I could believe that the objects we see in the neck are the "space-energy field attraction sensors" (usually around the navigational deflector of the TMP
Enterprise) and the entire outer neck actually consists of these sinks.
The neck could just mostly be the storage space for deuterium to either fuel the impulse engines above or the M/AM reaction further to the stern.
If you look at the Sternbach option we might be looking at the reaction point between the matter reactants in the neck and the antimatter pods in the humpback.
Of course we'd still have a horizontal intermix shaft.
Then what's that vertical segment we saw in ST III? Possibly a shaft leading to the bottom, powering the transwarp components of the Excelsior
in ST III and in the chasm (and Scotty is just leaving this section with the vital transwarp circuits concealed in his pockets).