Jayce’s Interstellar Update: Around the Galaxy is our regular roundup of news, highlighting the latest developments in interstellar politics and military science.
Shipping and construction activity continues to grow in this once-abandoned star system, thanks to the long-lost “Yard 39.” Starfleet’s Admiralty has directed considerable resources to assess the 23rd-century relics trapped here for almost 150 years, and so far the efforts have borne considerable fruit.
While most of the technology in these old ships has been eclipsed in the decades since their service, Starfleet engineers have uncovered some unique examples of 23rd century ingenuity and are already integrating their finds into new construction, such as the future U.S.S. Shran and U.S.S. Gagarin.
Space trials are underway for NX-91413, lead ship in a new class of Starfleet light escort. To be christened the U.S.S. Shran, this new ship’s compact frame belies the flexibility of its platform. Taking input from the Allied Cooperative Starship Development Board, the Shran’s development team has implemented advanced maneuvering and targeting systems often favored in Klingon Raider designs.
The flight control system utilizes a combination of low-level “fly-by-wire” virtual intelligence software which converts input from the helm into precise translation instructions for the ship’s RCS thrusters and impulse engines. The engines themselves have been built with precision vector thrust fields and reinforced inertial dampeners. All together, these systems allow the starship unparalleled maneuverability for its tonnage.
Additionally, the future Shran will have a high-resolution targeting sensor suite can identify structural weaknesses typically found in the aft aspect of most starships. This targeting suite complements a new piece of technology derived from the humble tractor beam. While the specifications are, of course, still classified, observers have seen the ship field testing an array that creates a localized gravimetric distortion at some distance forward of the ship. This field draws threat forces into a compromised position, allowing the Shran to easily line up an alpha strike with its fore weapons array.
Once in service, the U.S.S. Shran will provide a unique tool for Starfleet planners who are still struggling with the wide variety of strategic and immediate needs faced by the Federation in all four quadrants of the Milky Way.
Yet another new starship is preparing for deployment in orbit of Sol III. This ship, also the first of a new starship class, was likewise inspired by the 23rd century ships found at Yard 39. NX-97930, to be named the U.S.S. Gagarin, is a flexible battlecruiser that harkens back to the Shepard class starship of the 2250s. It is meant to bolster Starfleet’s line as a mid-sized battlecruiser, helping to replenish the loss of starships of similar tonnage during the Iconian War.
The Gagarin is being built with a variety of modular systems and special variable output EPS power networks in order to facilitate rapid experimentation and situational adaptation. This flexibility was pioneered by the larger Daystrom, Scott, and Tucker-class cruisers already in service. Starfleet engineers have taken to calling these ships “Miracle Workers” thanks to their survivability, adaptability, and facility to achieve the impossible on a daily basis.
One of its most interesting modular systems is a refracting energy shunt, which is integrated into the phased energy collimator and draws power from an unfiltered EPS tap. While dangerous on paper, engineers surveying abandoned Shepard-class hulls at Yard 39 saw that this was a popular modification. The resulting burst of weapons power could be further adjusted by the tuning antennae on the main deflector array. Through some refinement, modern engineers have been able to adapt this system to use a target ship’s own energy systems to channel and redirect the initial energy burst to other nearby targets.
When the Gagarin launches later this month it will join a proud lineage of Starfleet cruisers meant to explore and defend the final frontier.
While Starfleet engineers and historians sort through the relics of Yard 39, their colleagues in the Klingon Empire have also been busy. Klingon members of the Allied Cooperative Starship Development Board have consulted on the development of the U.S.S. Shran, and advised their contacts in the Klingon Defense Force to reach back into Qo'noS’ own history for similar inspiration.
After Burnham's War ended and the Klingon Empire united under the leadership of Chancellor L’Rell, the 24 great houses began to consolidate their technology and the Klingon Imperial Fleet emerged as the united empire’s military. The technology base and method of each house differed wildly at the time, and to facilitate integration and mobilization under a broad imperial banner, KIF engineers made an effort to standardize and simplify the technology used in Klingon starships. Along the way, some of the craftsmanship and technology unique to each house was lost in favor of starships that could be quickly built by any yard in the Empire.
As Starfleet has rediscovered relics from its past, so too have Klingons begun to look at the accomplishments of the 23rd century great houses. While acknowledging that unification was an important step for the Klingon people, many are able to appreciate their own relics of a bygone era and find renewed pride in the unique identity imbued into the ships of their house.
To that end, the High Council has ordered its generals to set aside several drydocks for the refit or construction of replicas of these old ships, using modern technology to maintain their operational relevance. The first two examples to see a wide production run will be an early Bird of Prey model from the 2250s and the Qugh-class battlecruiser.
Thanks to the Allied Cooperative Starship Development Board, both ships will utilize new technologies to complement existing alliance platforms. The Bird of Prey will likely share the Shran’s gravitational array, and the Qugh is expected to use its powerful reactors to power a refracting energy shunt similar to the system installed on the Gagarin.
As the major powers of the Milky Way continue to work together towards common goals, it is important they remember to celebrate the triumphs of the past - without repeating its mistakes.
Representatives from the Advanced Starship Design Bureau on board the U.S.S. Scott (NCC-98600) took delivery of an unexpected gift from the Klingon Empire last week when they arrived at Drozana Station. Waiting for them was the I.K.S. Amar with a surprise in tow.
After a polite but curt exchange, the Amar turned over the damaged hulk of the U.S.S. Georgiou to the U.S.S. Scott. The U.S.S. Georgiou, NCC-21300, was the lead ship of a very small class of experimental battlecruisers built in the pre-Khitomer I era during a time of escalating tensions between the Klingon Empire and the Federation.
Initially intended to be a fast battlecruiser, the Georgiou contained a variety of pathfinding technologies that also saw use in the U.S.S. Excelsior transwarp experiment, which was developed concurrently. At the time, the Excelsior and Georgiou were realizations of competing philosophies in the Federation Admiralty: a choice between smaller ships with concentrated firepower, or a continuation of Starfleet’s investment in large cruisers designed for a variety of missions.
Ultimately, the Excelsior prevailed, despite the failure of its transwarp drive. For their part, Georgiou and her sister ships were refit after the Khitomer Accords outlined strict limitations for fleet composition between Starfleet and the Klingon Defense Force. That refit removed the guts of her heavy weapons systems, and she was reclassified as a light exploration cruiser. Her experimental engines remained, providing a capable platform for fast response and long-range exploration.
The Georgiou was presumed destroyed in 2293, and all records regarding her final mission remain classified. That she would reappear over 100 years later still intact is quite a mystery - but in a time when Starfleet’s history continues to unlock new secrets, who knows what we may yet learn from the Georgiou once she finally comes home.