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Old September 21 2013, 01:38 AM   #295
Praetor
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Location: The fine line between continuity and fanwank.
Re: Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Ok, time to start revising this beauty. The original version of this chapter can be found in the first post.

I've chosen to omit the mention of Federation battleships because in the interim I've become less convinced that they "really" existed and felt no need to render a verdict either way for the purposes of this writeup. I've also tried to make it sound less like Starfleet was caught with its pants down designing a replacement for the Constitution class, while trying to maintain the notion that the 23rd century was a time of great change.

Please let me know what you think.

Chapter One - Background

On the morning of 17 April, 2270, at 1105 hours Earth time, the Sol System was alive with activity. Every ship in the sector had gathered for a very special event. Starfleet scouts flew honor formation as the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701, returned home from her latest and most historic five-year mission, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk. Brass and civilians alike applauded as Enterprise came in under shutug power to dock in Berth Two of the old, now-decommissioned Spacedock. “Lucky Little Enterprise” (as the Federation press had dubbed her because of her penchant for beating the odds) had become the most famous member of the Constitution class and she and her crew had risen to the status of living legend. After her arrival, a special commemorative ceremony was held in Enterprise’s main recreation room. The senior staff was decorated, and numerous promotions were handed out.

Behind the celebration, tucked neatly somewhere between the antimatter fireworks and the Vulcan children’s choir, Starfleet was desperately at work to adapt with the changing times. Starfleet had relied on the Constitution class family as its backbone and workhorse since the ships were first commissioned in 2245, before the latest generation of officer to serve on them had even been born. The twenty-third century was a time of unprecedented change in the Alpha Quadrant and growth and evolution for the United Federation of Planets and its Starfleet. Even as the Federation celebrated its Centennial in 2261, it would experience increased threats from its neighbors, ranging from the increasingly antagonistic Tholians to an uneasy but nonetheless threatening alliance between the Klingons and re-emerged Romulans, all of whom, by all intelligence indications, were developing technologically at an astounding rate.

Missions such as that of the Enterprise, while monumental successes, also highlighted the flaws in Starlfeet’s aging designs. The design made historic innovations such as the doctrinal shift toward the split primary/secondary hull configuration first introduced in the late twenty-second century and the introduction of standardized components including bridge modules and warp nacelles. These had rendered the Constitution class an efficient, well-balanced design but were beginning to show their limits. Further, the class’s once-impressive defenses seemed inadequate to meet the increasingly powerful fleets maintained by the Klingons and Romulans. Even after the introduction of state-of-the-art ship-mounted phaser weapons and photon torpedoes to the Constitution class, it was obvious that the ships’ defenses were somewhat below par compared to the warships being produced by the Federation's enemies.

For numerous reasons, the Starfleet General Staff did not abandon the Constitution class. The Constitution was a proven design, as all but two of the original 2240s production line were still in service, and during their careers had increased the volume of known space by millions of cubic light years, adding detailed maps of hundreds of sectors to Federation star charts. At the ceremony held aboard the Enterprise at her return, Fleet Admiral Heihachiro Nogura, Starfleet’s Chief in Command, announced the implementation of a massive fleet-wide modernization program, beginning with the two and a half year upgrade of Enterprise herself. However, Nogura and his colleagues at the General Staff knew that this would only extend the design life of the Constitutions by three to four decades at most. Starfleet had already begun designing a replacement for the Constitution that could satisfactorily explore and defend the ever-growing Federation. While the very concept of a true multi-mission explorer-type starship, such as the Ambassador and Galaxy classes, was still nearly eighty years away, the seeds that would ultimately lead to its genesis were about to be sown.

In 2266, the Federation had granted permission for the ASDB to begin preliminary work on a Constitution replacement, even as the first members of the Federation class and the final group of Constitutions left the docks. The general design brief issued (labeled SV-20) called for a ship capable of fulfilling the duties of the Constitution class:
  • Provide a mobile platform for Starfleet exploration projects, border patrol, and defense
  • Perform starbase resupply and defense of regional interests,
  • Supervise and fully execute Federation policy in outlying frontier territories.
The design team was convened under the supervision of Doctor Josef Thorndyke of the ASDB, an accomplished engineer and assistant on both the original Constitution class project and the new modernization project. The team convened by Thorndyke included an impressive range of the best of the old and young that the ASDB had to offer, fully confident of their ability to meet Starfleet’s challenge. In 2271, another design requirement would be added: incorporate advances of the new prototypical propulsion form called transwarp drive.
Second chapter on transwarp to come soon.
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Last edited by Praetor; September 21 2013 at 04:45 PM.
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