Cleopatra's Needle - Design Proposals

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by DEWLine, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Inspired by the work of Christopher L. Bennett in the "Lost Era" novel, The Buried Age, I've started fiddling with a design and deck plans for the private deep-range research vessel Cleopatra's Needle, appearing therein:

    [​IMG]

    More to come as I work it out. Opinions, advice and competing designs welcome.

    Fair warning: if Pocket Books or its parent company wants to shut'er down, we'll have to respect that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, my first reaction is that it's not very needle-like. Try something less boxy, more long and narrow.

    It would help to have some labeling or explanation of what the compartments are. As we discussed in the TrekLit thread, I'm thinking there'd be one deck with the bridge/cockpit, the lab area, a medical bay, a transporter stage (not in its own room), and an engineering area, and one deck containing probably six small two-person staterooms and a lounge/mess area, perhaps with cargo space as well. Plus there'd need to be room in front for the nav deflector and in the rear for the engine equipment.

    Clawhammer has also expressed an interest in doing a Cleopatra's Needle design, and he has some ideas that I'm fairly impressed with. But it'll be a while before he can get around to it. I'd be fine with seeing two or more design proposals, but maybe the two of you could exchange notes. Maybe Clawhammer could tackle the exterior and DEWLine the interior. Though if you'd rather do your own separate things, that's okay too.

    Anyway, I'm very flattered by the interest in this little ship I dreamed up.
     
  3. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    As to the lack of needle-ness, I guess I'm feeling more than a little influenced by Rick Sternbach's Raven design here, Christopher.

    Fore to aft, we've got the following set in place:

    - cockpit
    - fwd. head/fwd. DC locker
    - quarters(P/S)
    - galley/medbay - corridor is wider at this point to allow for a gangway-type staircase; the rooms on either side of this point are being narrowed to allow for that raw materials stowage/supply feed infrastructure stuff we talked about back in the "favourite lit-ships" thread.
    - quarters x 3(P/S)
    - aft head/aft DC locker
    - engine roomlet/life support - may yet be split into two roomlets.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Keep in mind that it's named Cleopatra's Needle specifically because of its long, narrow shape.

    The Raven analogy is interesting, though I've never been quite clear on whether that was a Starfleet design or not. It had a civilian crew, but Starfleet equipment and stylings and a "USS" designation. I think the original writer intended it to be a civilian craft, but the production crew couldn't break free of Starfleet thinking.


    What's a DC locker?
     
  5. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    "DC locker" = damage control locker. Which reminds me of something else I forgot to throw in: escape pods.

    The more I think of to include, the more likely it is that whatever ends up my final design will end up resembling that literal needle. Maybe a switching of mental gears is in order here, so as to borrow more from passenger train car design?
     
  6. BolianAuthor

    BolianAuthor Writer, Battlestar Urantia Rear Admiral

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    I have to agree with Christopher, regarding the Raven... I seriously doubt it was a genuine Starfleet design. I prefer to think along the lines that it was a small "research" type ship, that Starfleet was loaned by some academic institution, like the Daystrom Institute, or the Vulcan Science Academy. Personally, I think that makes more sense.
     
  7. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    The Raven design is almost certainly an "off the shelf" multipurpose civilian model. It seemed like a good place to mentally start from, although based on Christopher's comments, that "passenger train" approach to ship design would be just as useful, inspirationally speaking.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's getting it backward, though. The Raven wasn't used by Starfleet. It was manned by two civilian scientists, Magnus and Erin Hansen, who had their daugher Annika along with them. And yet its consoles and display graphics were standard Starfleet-issue stuff. If anything, it looked like the opposite of what you're saying -- a Starfleet-built vessel that somehow ended up in civilian hands, after being decommissioned, perhaps.

    And if you look at its MSD, the thing is five decks high and clearly designed to accommodate a crew of maybe a couple of dozen, so what was it doing with only three people aboard? That just reinforces the idea that it was some kind of Starfleet hand-me-down that somehow ended up in the Hansens' private possession or use.

    The "passenger train" idea is an interesting one, but I think the ship would be a little wider than that. What I'm imagining is that it's wide enough for a narrow corridor with compact, maybe Defiant-sized staterooms on either side, but that areas like the lounge and lab would be pretty much full-width. So in the deck-1 plan I'm imagining, you'd have the bridge/cockpit in front, then maybe a short corridor with storage space and a stairway down, then a door leading into the lab area, and then behind the lab would be the medical bay on one side and the transporter stage on the other with an open passage between them, leading to an open area in back with engineering consoles and maintenance access as well as storage. Maybe a second stairway coming up next to the medical bay. And then below you'd have the nav deflector and sensors taking up the forward space, then the bottom of the stairway, then a corridor with quarters on either side, and behind that the lounge/mess area and the head, then cargo storage behind that.

    On the lifeboat question: could the staterooms themselves double as lifeboats? I think that would save space.
     
  9. EmperorKalan

    EmperorKalan Commander Red Shirt

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    As someone who's lived in a walkup apartment, I would suggest adding some sort of lift or service elevator. Something they can use to move equipment and other heavy things between decks, without having to use the transporter or trying to negotiate the stairways with heavy loads.

    As for quarters doubling as pods, they'd need redundant and effective safeguards against accidental (or otherwise premature) launch. There might arguably also be drawbacks to keeping pod power and fuel sources structurally linked to quarters in everyday use, but that would probably depend on the actual design.
     
  10. BolianAuthor

    BolianAuthor Writer, Battlestar Urantia Rear Admiral

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    How is that in any way different than what I was talking about? Yes, it was a non-Starfleet ship, that was used by Starfleet, as it had a "U.S.S." designation... I did not ever state that it was designed by Starfleet... where did I say that? Show me.

    What I said, was that it was probably loaned to Starfleet to use, by some academic institution, or was the equivalent of a small "Coast Guard" type of ship. The LCARS and MSD can be accepted, as many ships in today's maritime world use the same or similar navigation and control software, so it's not outlandish, to think that LCARS would be on the Raven.

    You are also correct, in that it may well be a Starfleet "hand-me-down"... maybe something that was pulled from a surplus depot, or something.

    I just don't see what issue you're taking with my point?

    EDIT: The Hansens were civilians, but had to be in some way sanctioned by Starfleet, to have gained access to Starfleet records, concerning the Borg (Even though this whole farce of an episode took place before the 1701-D's encounter at System J-25). They may have been doing a private-sector project, but I'm sure Starfleet had a role in it, at some point.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But in the episode, it was not used by Starfleet. It was used by the Hansen family, who were civilian scientists.

    Of course you didn't say that. I'm saying that. I'm saying that, even though the concept and the scripts of "The Raven" and "Dark Frontier" required it to be a civilian vessel, the production design made it look like a Starfleet vessel. And I reconcile the discrepancy by conjecturing that it was a Starfleet-built vessel that somehow ended up in civilian hands.


    That's a valid point. I guess it's possible. Still, I would've rather seen a civilian ship given a distinct design aesthetic. Sometimes ST gives the impression that Starfleet is the Federation rather than just one organization within it. There are actually people out there who believe the Federation is a military dictatorship because sometimes ST treats Starfleet and the Federation as interchangeable. (One of the worst examples being movie-Pike's line about the Federation being a humanitarian and peacekeeping armada. Obviously that was supposed to be a reference to Starfleet.) So I'd like to see more differentiation between Starfleet and civilian ships. Heck, that was a large part of my thinking in creating Cleopatra's Needle and its expedition -- I wanted to see the civilian side of Federation life and Federation science for a change. And what I'd like to see in a design for the Needle is something that's distinct from the Starfleet look, while still looking like 24th-century Federation technology.


    You're proposing the Raven was a civilian vessel used by Starfleet. I see it as a Starfleet vessel used by civilians. And when you said "used by Starfleet," I took it to mean that you thought the Hansens were members of Starfleet. If that's not what you meant, then I'm confused by the phrase.

    When was it ever said that the Hansens used Starfleet records concerning the Borg? The only line of dialogue in either "The Raven" or "Dark Frontier" that contains the word "Starfleet" in connection with the Hansens is the following from "Dark Frontier":
    http://www.chakoteya.net/Voyager/517.htm

    And the only uses of the word "records" are in reference to the Hansens' own expedition records downloaded by Voyager.

    So there's no indication that the Hansens were making use of any Starfleet records -- and indeed they can't have been, since Starfleet had no records of the Borg prior to "Q Who." What the Hansens were following must have been legends and anecdotes that hadn't found their way into Starfleet files. Starfleet had no involvement beyond asking some security questions about a mission that was approved by a civilian Federation agency.
     
  12. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    [​IMG]

    Managed to incorporate some of the suggestions and afterthoughts we've been discussing, and I see I'd better do some further rethinking on a couple of additional points that have come up over the last few hours.
     
  13. BolianAuthor

    BolianAuthor Writer, Battlestar Urantia Rear Admiral

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    Okay, I see your point about the issues I brought up, and again, I wasn't trying to sound argumentative, so let me apologize if I came across that way.

    Regarding the Borg records... this is my problem with the episode, because it really was a massive canon violation... the Hansens would have embarked on the voyage before the encounter at System J-25. The ONLY thing I can possibly see in all of "prime" Trek lore, that would in any way support them knowing about the Borg, is that maybe Starfleet knew that there was "something" out there, known as the Borg, by what the El Aurian refugees told them, after being rescued. Other than that, I totally fail to see how these civilians could have gotten access to knowledge of the Borg. It makes no sense that Starfleet would make such information freely available to just anyone.

    I mean, if they didn't go to Starfleet, or if Starfleet didn't know about the Borg, it STILL makes no sense, because what would they have done, run into one of their El Aurian neighbors in the store, and the neighbor would go, "Oh, by the way... there's this unstoppable technological juggernaut of a race called the Borg... they blew up my world, and they're coming... we didn't tell Starfleet, but I just though you'd like to know."

    However, as you indicated in your response to my points, they said that Starfleet would not stand in their way, which again, indicates that at some point, they DID have to go through Starfleet... perhaps in much the same way as a research vessel might have to clear their plan with the US Navy, to go studying dolphins or something, in Russian waters... just an analogy, but that's what I mean... Starfleet had to clear their expedition, or at the very least, be made aware of it.

    Again, this whole episode was just one example of crappy writing, because it totally ignored previously established facts, and it showed... glaringly. But my thinking is that they told Starfleet of their plan, and somehow, ended up standing firm, and going ahead, even though they may have been warned by Starfleet, of the danger.
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    For the record, when the Raven first appeared in "The Raven," the clearly-visible dedication plate gave its name as S.S. Raven.

    Only in "Dark Frontier" was the Raven referred to as the "U.S.S. Raven," in dialogue, by Magnus Hansen in the ship's log.

    Personally, I'm inclined to ignore the dialogue and accept that it's just the S.S. Raven, because it's obviously being crewed by civilians.

    The notion that it was a decommissioned Starfleet ship that was sold to civilians makes sense. TNG established a precedent for that when the Oberth-class S.S. Vico from "Hero Worship" was depicted as a civilian ship.
     
  15. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I always got the impression that these ships were part of some NOAA-esque division of the Federation government and not privately owned vessels.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Okay, you're on the right track, but I think you made it a little too strung-out now. There's a lot of unnecessary excess space in the front and back. I think it would be fine at maybe 70% of its current length and the same width.

    (And why do you have "Clark" listed on the design team? If you mean Margaret Clark, she had no involvement with The Buried Age.)


    Why assume that Starfleet would have that kind of power over the information that's available to the general public? You don't need the approval of the US Navy to read about Somali pirates -- it's publicly available information. The Federation isn't a military dictatorship, so Starfleet isn't in control of the people's access to information.

    At the time of the Hansens' expedition, the El-Aurians would've been living in the Federation for 60 years. They wouldn't have been in Starfleet prison camps or something, they would've been interacting with the general population. They could've told anyone their stories about the Borg. And since the Borg would've been such a distant, remote threat, something that destroyed a faraway world decades in the past, I don't see Starfleet classifying it as a high-level security threat. In fact, clearly Starfleet didn't learn much at all about the Borg from the El-Aurians, or the E-D would've had some information about the Borg in its databanks in "Q Who." Maybe the El-Aurians didn't tell Starfleet anything about the Borg. It had happened a long time ago, they probably wanted to forget, and as we know, they're more a race of listeners than talkers. So any information that eventually trickled out from them over decades might've been vague at best -- vague enough that Starfleet and most of the Federation didn't take it seriously, and only the crackpot Magnus Hansen paid attention and linked it with some other deep-space legends he'd come across.


    But the retcon comes from Generations, because that film had already established that Starfleet had encountered and rescued the El-Aurian refugees over 70 years before "Q Who." So "Dark Frontier" is no more guilty of retconning than Generations is.

    Besides, there's no such thing as a perfectly consistent canon. Look at any long-running work of fiction and you'll see its creators reinterpreting or ignoring details from early stories in order to make later stories possible. It's the prerogative of the storyteller to reshape a fictional reality along the way. If you're writing a novel, you're bound to rethink some of the earlier stuff as you go, and you can go back and fix it before anyone reads the novel, so that it works as a coherent whole. But in series fiction like a television show, you don't have the luxury to go back and undo earlier choices that cause you problems later on. So you just have to tweak the continuity and move on.

    And I don't really have a problem with Starfleet not knowing everything there is to know. The Federation is huge. It's far bigger than any civilization in human history. There's just so much information in such a vast civilization that no single institution could know all of it. So I have no problem with the idea that there could be a scientist within the Federation that came upon knowledge Starfleet remained oblivious to. Starfleet is not ubiquitous, omniscient, or infallible. It's one institution within a far, far vaster civilization.
     
  17. Csalem

    Csalem Commodore Commodore

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    I've always explained the Hansen's knowledge through time travel. J-25 first contact with the Borg, but then in ST:FC they travel back in time, and then the Borg resuscitated in 2152, in the Enterprise episode. Therefore by the 2350s the Hansen's could have across the ENT reports in some forgotten archive and connected them to the El-Aurian reports.

    I think it was Mike Sussman who suggested something similar on the commentary for the Ent episode.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Right. It's possible that Starfleet did have scattered bits of rumor and information about some remote cybernetic race, but didn't have the name "Borg" to associate with them, so the E-D crew was unable to track down that information in "Q Who." After all, the name "Borg" was never used in the ENT episode.

    Personally, I prefer to think that the name "Borg" was Magnus Hansen's own coinage -- because what are the odds that an alien race of cyborgs would give themselves a name based on the faux-Greek portmanteau word "cyborg"? (Although the Destiny novel trilogy offers an alternative answer for that.) In my theory, the El-Aurians didn't know the name of the race that destroyed their world, but sometime between GEN and "Q Who," Guinan came across Magnus Hansen's research papers where he coined the word "Borg," and so that's why she told Picard "They're called the Borg."
     
  19. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    The more I think about it, the more I think "carry as much as you can with you" works as a design rule. The extra "nose" length could be devoted to nav/science sensor hardware and in the aft, there's still fuel tankage to allow for. Deck two will likely need a fair chunk of space for consumables used by the crew itself.
     
  20. BolianAuthor

    BolianAuthor Writer, Battlestar Urantia Rear Admiral

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    ^

    Okay, well I can certainly understand all of your points, Christopher, and I do admit, they are all valid. I just personally don't see it along those lines. Yes, you are absolutely right, in that in retrospect, it was also a huge error on the part of GEN, to have kind of featured the whole El Aurian aftermath thing. But again... personally, I don't see the public having knowledge of the Borg as simple as us knowing about Somali pirates. I mean, consider that Starfleet/the UFP already know that the Borg are indeed hostile, are absolutely unstoppable, and can have destroyed an entire world. The Borg do not communicate as casually as we do, so we have no way of knowing their intent. That is a huge potential risk to Earth and the UFP, and I don't see the UFP releasing information like that, until they at least have a better idea of the Borg's intent.

    I'm not saying you're wrong, and I'm not saying I'm wrong. I'm saying that we both have different ways of looking at it, and that's fine. Creative differences, between two writers. Again, I hope I did not come across as combative, as that was in no way my intent. If anything, this issue gives us stuff to think about, lol.

    Peace.