Excelsior Technical Manual - Revived!

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Praetor, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So various talk 'round these parts has made me decide to start working on my Excelsior Technical Manual again after, what, two years? Some of you may remember it, some may not. I couldn't even find the original thread. I was tempted to place this new thread in fan fiction but since it is really more of a technical nature I thought this more appopriate, especially since I want reactions from my esteemed Treknical brothers and sisters.

    It is tentatively titled 'Excelsior: Infinite Velocity.' It basically consists of two main parts:

    1. A history of the class's development and career written from the perspective of 2385 looking backwards that I am using to introduce my own take on various Trek tech and history subjects, some of which may be controversial and others not.
    2. An in-universe 'familiarization manual' written to describe the Excelsior as deployed in 2290, replete with cross-sections and deck plans, as well as appendices describing variants and sister/tangent classes.
    So far, I have about 75% or so written and am going through revising it with various ideas. I have deck plans drawn by hand which I must redo in Illustrator, and of course my good ole Excelsior cross section which I am redoing in MSD/LCARS style. Needless to say, the graphics part of it is the hardest and most time consuming part. I know it will never be published, but I'd ultimately like to make it available in a PDF form.

    Here's that ole cutaway I mentioned. Some things on it may change as I redo it to fit the LCARS style, but probably not the basic configuration/placements.
    [​IMG]

    What I'd like to do is post chapter by chapter and get everyone's reactions to the various ideas in it. Since the history part is essentially done, I'll start posting there, then hang back for a few days to let everyone comment and react to those comments, and then post another chapter for reactions. I'd like everyone to be as forthright in their opinions as possible. I don't really consider anything set too deeply in stone and am very open to other opinions. Hopefully by the time we're through this I'll have part two's draft done, and also some graphics.

    I'm posting this with the caveat that this text is copyright me and I trust you folks not to reproduce my text in any way, at least without asking my permission. (You might be surprised.) If you see an idea you like, run with it, but just don't plagiarize, okay? Good.

    Here we go:
    And let it fly. Don't worry, I've thick skin.
     
  2. kitsune

    kitsune Captain

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    This sounds like a really fun project! I've been lamenting the lack of a tech manual for the Excelsior class.

    Why not Excelsior: The Great Experiment?
    "Infinite velocity" evokes bad memories of a certain absurd Voyager episode that shall remain nameless.

    If your deck plans are of a similar quality, this is going to be awesome.

    Shouldn't that be volume and cubic parsecs? And by the way, parsecs are really awkward units of measure.
     
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I suppose the blueprints and manual will be specific to NX/NCC-2000 and not general ones for the Excelsior class? I'd like to limit the presence of Shuttlebay 1 to this prototype ship, as this is the only vessel that features the characteristic blue glow (in ST6), and also as the generic Excelsiors are sometimes viewed from lower angles that reveal the true contents of that cavity (that is, some sort of a generic greeblie that more or less precludes shuttlecraft ops).

    Also, it seems you are going to treat transwarp drive as an already developed feature to be installed aboard this ship type, rather than treating this ship type as a means for developing transwarp drive. I certainly agree this makes more sense. But if so, we probably have to drop the fandom notion that transwarp was a conceptual failure. It must have been a well-proven success if Starfleet risked installing it aboard this important ship type. Perhaps the installation was something of a disappointment, yes, but the transwarp theory itself must have been valid.

    I'd drop the "infinite velocity" angle altogether. It's not stated in ST3, and it's not a feature of Borg transwarp, so it need not really be a feature of Starfleet transwarp, either. Just because the ship's computer says "all speeds available through transwarp drive" doesn't mean that all speeds in existence (from zero to infinite) would be available. It may merely mean that all the speeds for which this ship has been built are currently greenlighted by the internal diagnostics system.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. JNG

    JNG Chief of Staff, Starfleet Command Rear Admiral

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    I like what Styles called it: "incredible machine."
     
  5. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks! That's what motivated me to do it.

    Heh, then you may not like a certain upcoming chapter, and I was somewhat expecting that. The name was meant to reference the fact that the transwarp drive failed, but that the class itself thrived. I'm not opposed to changing it, it just seemed cute at the time.

    Thankya. :) I can't decide whether I want to do them all in LCARS style on black, or good old black and white like this. Both have their advantages.

    I think I lifted that figure from the 'Starship Spotter' book. What do you suggest instead?

    Yes, the manual and blueprints will be the U.S.S. Excelsior circa 2290 which I call it's official 'launch' in a finalized flight configuration.

    As to the shuttlebay, I'm glad you went ahead and brought this up. I'm of two minds about this. Based on what we've seen of the Ent-B/Lakota version of the original model, I am uncertain whether changes were made to the model in that area. What I am relatively certain of is that the second Excelsior model built by Greg Jein for 'Flashback' (which I believe is the model you mention that is seen from those angles on DS9?) did have quite different details in that area - and even fired a beam of some kind from that area.

    My personal inclination is to believe that all of the ships looked like the 'original' and ignore the inconsistency in the second model, unless there's evidence to the contrary that the original model precludes doing so. I think the views of the ship from that angle in TVH and TUC seem the most definitive in suggesting the 'gondola' is a shuttlebay and the hollow volume (which I rationalize as being a concession to reducing the mass of the ship) can act as a forcefield-based staging area for ready-to-launch shuttles.

    I'm also open to suggestions as to what this space could be on the other ships if not a shuttlebay.

    Well, believe it or not I am trying to rectify 'Threshold' with the transwarp depicted as part of the Excelsior. (I know, I know, I'm really asking for it here. :p) It's my take that the transwarp drive is basically a 'jump drive' once you hit magic Warp 10, and that the engineers were unable to do do this in their tests but through various political pressures pressed on anyway, and the drive ended up being a revolution anyway.

    Rather than address all of your points directly maybe I should go ahead and post the next chapter a little sooner than I originally planned and see if that answers any of your questions/issues. It may well spark more.

     
  6. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There existed quite a few variants of the model - with different bridge domes, different "impulse crystals", and then eventually the E-B variant. This for me sounds like a sufficient reason to go for multiple variants of the ship, too: at least those represented by the models, and perhaps several more, including but not being limited to some mix-and-match-canon-features ships. That's echoing the real world, both in the sense of echoing the modeling reality and in the sense of imitating real-world diversity of ship design.

    I'd also think something called the Great Experiment would be in a state of design flux for quite some time, resulting in alterations of mission profile and onboard gear. Decades upon decades of service would work towards that same result of design evolution.

    On the other hand, for a ship whose drive didn't perform as intended, the Excelsior remarkably retains her warp engines essentially externally unchanged. That to me suggests that the failure wasn't particularly serious... Or that the failed components weren't in the nacelles. What if the ventral cavity, unseen in ST3, was originally to house an all-important transwarp coil? The ship was built around this piece of equipment, and would have required major design changes were the cavity to be removed (the ventral guns were mounted on this structure already, etc.) - so Starfleet left it there, and also built it into the newer ships, even though the transwarp coil was gone by ST4 already.

    Thus, the cavity in later ships is doing make-work: it houses a telescoping self-repair crane (which is what the greeblie most looks like) or perhaps a relay buoy dispenser, or then remains free for carrying all sorts of outsize cargo. Usually it's merely exposed to vacuum, though.

    There are parallels in the real world: WWI battleships converted to all-new powerplants for WWII, but retaining some superstructures merely for reasons of correctly directing the smoke from the stacks even though the original innards are gone and have been replaced by completely unrelated machines that would better have fit in a completely different structure...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  7. BolianAuthor

    BolianAuthor Writer, Battlestar Urantia Rear Admiral

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    Will there be a chapter on possible future directions... the road to the 2000-E? :)
     
  8. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, as far as I know, there were three versions of the original model:

    1. TSFS-TVH version of the original model with rounder bridge dome, single deflection crystal, and blue glowing 'thing' at the rear shuttlebay that also made appearances on TNG before being refit for TUC
    2. The TUC version with the more Connie style bridge module, two deflection crystals, revised rear shuttlebay section
    3. The 'Generations' version that was the Ent-B and later DS9's Lakota
    And then there was the Jein physical model that appeared in 'Flashback' and a couple of times on DS9, and then the CGI model created for DS9 that later appeared on VGR.

    So I agree that there could be a lot of minor variants, but it just seems like a shuttlebay would be something hard to replace.

    My thought is that the engine design itself wasn't a failure per se, but it just didn't achieve the 'transwarp' goals as perspective.

    That sounds interestingly plausible. I'd still rather avoid doing something like that if possible. I wish I knew Bill George's email address. :p

    Sort of. :p
     
  9. Bill Morris

    Bill Morris Commodore Commodore

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    Is that 718 meters or so in overall length?
     
  10. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    Nice back story. Good luck with the rest of the project.
     
  11. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, sir. It's meant to be 467 meters as the good Bill George intended. :p

    I'll sit back as you find a computational error in my decks now, no doubt. ;)

    Thanks!
     
  12. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    If I may make a small suggestion, the FASA Trek RPG (specifically, the TNG Officer's Manual) suggested that there was a minor controversy when the 1701-B was proposed, because the Excelsior counted as a battleship in the game and I think that detail could be easily worked in with its more canonical description as a cruiser. One group wanted the new USS Enterprise to be a Constellation class cruiser in keeping with its traditional role of exploration, while the other favored the Excelsior class as a new flagship role. Due to increased tensions with the Klingons and Romulans, the latter group won out and the B was launched as an Excelsior.

    Anyway, I've always liked this little bit of trivia. I could check my original manual if you want more details on the footnote. :)
     
  13. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, I have something similar planned for a later chapter. (I think it was at your suggestion the first time through, in fact.) Stay tuned. :)
     
  14. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    Probably. I don't know where the original thread is either. :lol:
     
  15. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, what the hell. Next chapter. :)

     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  16. kitsune

    kitsune Captain

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    I think it would be good if you mentioned the Japanese design aesthetic that Bill George said he used when designing the Excelsior class.

    Wouldn't it be more meaningful to say that the matter and anti-matter injectors were arranged vertically? (I consider the intermix chamber to be the actual reaction chamber, whose orientation is more or less irrelevant.)
     
  17. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, that was actually my intent by having the head designer actually be Japanese. I'll revise to make it a little more clear.

    Well, I was actually referring the intermix chamber itself, particularly because the prior prototypes (which I am actually referencing the study models commissioned for STIII) would have had to have a horizontal intermix chamber. But the technical portion will make clear that they are arranged the way you describe. I'll rephrase here too to make it a bit more clear.

    There, try that. :)
     
  18. kitsune

    kitsune Captain

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    Yay :)
     
  19. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    I'm an idiot when it comes to designs. What exactly is Japanese about the Excelsior? Is it the neck?
     
  20. kitsune

    kitsune Captain

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    Excerpt from the Bill George interview on disc 2 of the Star Trek III Special Collector's Edition:

    ...At the time I was really into Japanese art, especially industrial design...and so the concept I came up with was: what if the Japanese had designed the Enterprise? And so I took the basic layout of the Enterprise and tried to apply a Japanese aesthetic, and it was industrial design from the 80's where everything was getting abbreviated and simplified. And if you look at the dish especially it's much sleeker and more angular...and the neck is thicker and broader, and is more like a fin, like a heat sink, and there's this repetitive detail in it. It's hard to say, like, "Oh, it was based on this exact design." It was more an overall aesthetic. We presented them all to Leonard and ultimately he went, "That one." and it was the Japanese version.