All portholes aside, my friends I require your advice. I have been revisiting the deck alignments vis a vis the available screencaps and drawings that I have been presenting, and have derived three distinct possibilities that may be equally valid. I have at this point concluded the 622 meter size to be correct, so all of these versions are scaled thusly. I have also made adjustments to the height of the saucer section that better bring it in line with the available reference resources.
I have left these drawings large enough that you should be fairly well able to inspect their differences closely. Please note that the saucer deck alignments do not vary from version to version, as I consider their arrangement to be locked. Please also note that I have chosen to letter the decks in the saucer (and append a 0 to the numerical references to those decks) to distinguish them from the straight numbered hulls of the secondary hull. I believe this to be a great compromise to several issues seen in TOS and the films. Apparently by TNG this practice has ended.
First, Option One
This one is based largely on my study of screencaps of the original Excelsior
in "The Search for Spock," "The Voyage Home," and "The Undiscovered Country." Here, I found the secondary hull to contain either 16 or 17 decks. Using the previously established saucer deck height of 9.5 feet, I was able to add decks to the secondary hull that yielded 17 decks (plus a little wiggle room) and seemed to match the window rows on the secondary hull fairly well. The top deck is somewhat below the "flattop" of the secondary hull, since it has been noted that this area cambers outward on top. (Having a deck too close to the top would result in a weird slanted deck with decreasing height towards the outside... a problem possibly unavoidable on any 467 meter version.) This also allows for the 12 ft ceiling of engineering to exist here, as it can stretch upward into the space between the topmost deck and the bottom deck of the interhull.
Here we end up with 32 decks, with enough space for possible one more at the very bottom of the secondary hull, although the chasm arrangement really prevents it. I found in doing this one that the shorter decks in the neck and humpback better fit the location of the warp pylons and the insets on the grilled neck. The decks fit snugly but not too tightly in all areas, and there is extra space above and below the topmost three decks of the secondary hull where they meet horizontal surface areas.
With this option for all standard Excelsior
class ships, we must conclude that the internal structure of the decks of the secondary hull of the Enterprise-B
variant is simply different.
This one is very similar to the previous version that I had based on the Enterprise-B
model study drawings that I concluded to also be accurate to the original Excelsior
alignments before learning different. This version retains 12 foot secondary hull decks (14.5 of them, having a sub deck under the flattop deck.) The main difference here from before is that I have carried over the 9.5 foot decks in the neck and humpback. (This is a deviation from the previous version, which retained 12 foot decks here to match the secondary hull. As noted above, I believe the shorter decks to be a better fit.)
Here we end up with 29 total decks, but have to choose to ignore the fact that the windows aren't exactly the same as they were before the ship was converted for duty in "Generations." However, we may wish to ignore that and choose to believe that the Excelsior
actually had the same deck structure. (Here, the "pontoons" on the B would have shorter decks, accessed by ramp, independent of the deck heights of the main secondary hull body.
Finally, Option Three:
This version is quite similar to the previous version, in that it assumes that the Enterprise-B
deck alignments are actually correct, but that the pontoon decks actually extend the entire way through the secondary hull. So we end up with 9.5 foot decks in the saucer and neck, six 12 foot decks at the top of the secondary hull, and 8 more 9.5 foot decks in the "bilge" of the chasm.
It's worth noting that for all of these, most of the lower decks that don't extend all the way to the aft of the secondary hull are in the "bilge" and would actually be in the pod, so the bottom half of the secondary hull really is basically hollow. And a minor but related note - I've decided that the smaller landing bay is used exclusively for the STV type shuttlecraft and possibly travel pods, whereas the lower chasm landing bay houses one of the large executive shuttles from STVI, meant to dock at what I'd previously called the "grabbers." This area also houses workbees and can act as a sort of mobile drydock for smaller vessels, as per suggestions earlier in the thread.
So what do you think? Which deck alignment do you feel is more correct? (And thanks in advance for the input.)
I kind of feel like I'm about to enter the home stretch on this part of the project, and am excited about other things starting to fall into place behind it.