Birds of a Feather……Part I (klingon)

This update concerns the iconic Klingon Bird-of-Prey, perhaps the most recognizable Klingon vessel in all of Trek.

For the longest time throughout the fandom community, there were two generally accepted sizes/classes of the prolific Bird-of-Prey.  The B’Rel class represented the smaller of the two types, first seen in ST: III, then throughout the various movies and two subsequent TV series (TNG and DS9).  The K’vort class was the larger of the two, first seen in the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” and then throughout various TNG episodes (one could make a distinction by suggesting that BOP’s that traveled with their wings down were of the former class and those that traveled with their wings raised/horizontal were of the latter).

However, extensive screencap analysis by reknowned Trek sites Ex Astris Scientia and the Daystrom Institute Technical Library later came to break that long held assumption. DITL in particular seperates the Bird of Prey into 4 distinct size classes:

-A 35m long version, seen in misc. DS9 episodes starting with “The Way of the Warrior”.  This version is scaled rediculously small compared to larger ships such as the Vor’Cha and Negh’Var. *(can be seen on DITL as the K’Pak class)

-A 109m long version.  This is the version presented in the movies (III, IV, V, VI, Generations) and the majority of DS9 episodes

-A 327m long version.  We’re led to believe that the BOP which made appearances early on through TNG (beginning with “A Matter of Honor”) and later through a few misc. DS9 episodes are supposed to be of the smaller 109m class, however screencap analysis by EAS and DITL easily dispel that  assumption.

-A 654m version.  Seen in TNG episodes “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, “The Defector” and “Rascals”.  Dialogue in “Yesterday’s Enterprise” establishes this as “……a K’Vort class Battlecruiser”. The scaling certainly supports such a designation, but the issue of nomenclature is thrown up in the air–footage from “Yesterday’s Enterprise” where the ships are identified as K’Vorts is reused for “Rascals” where they are identified as B’Rels.

So what’s my take on all this?  Well for my purposes here, I’m choosing to include all but the 327m version (which could be lumped in with the larger class and explained away as VFX mistakes).  Mine are as follows……….

35m version–K’Pak class Corvette (seen in “Way of the Warrior”; class name taken from DITL)

109m version–D-11/D-12 (B’Rel) class Scout

654m version–K’Vort class Battlecruiser

Nomenclature, in my opinion, is a matter of personal preference.  D-11 in this case refers to the B’rel itself, with the D-12 being a sort of improved variant (sort of like the Galaxy/Galaxy II-Venture), that didn’t really pan out (according to Worf in Generations).  My use of K’Vort comes from the fact that I completely disreguard “Rascals” in its entirity (sloppy/lazy VFX, poor scripting and general unbelievability–Ferengi using Klingon warships?!)

Here are the ships themselves……



Now here are the articles by DITL & EAS for your reference……

DITL: Klingon Bird of Prey

EAS: The Bird of Prey Size Paradox

Also, the Bird of Prey article at Memory Alpha (all things canon), might be worth reading as it explains why in the world, a 35m version appeared in the “Way of the Warrior” (To pump up the episode’s battle sequences without destroying/damaging filming models, DS9’s effects department used Bird of Prey Christmas Ornaments from Hallmark)

Oh and one thing I haven’t spoken about yet is a point in my B’rel class article/publication.  The whole point about the ship design being Romulan in origin?  That comes from the Klingon supplement to the Federation Spaceflight Chronology by Richard Mandel (check it out here), which itself, is derived from either FASA or SFB (Star Fleet Battles) role playing material.


Timeline + other musings…..

Given that the title of my blog reflects a setting in the far future, it stands to reason that I should have a timeline up explaining events from ‘there to here’.  I actually did whip up a timeline about 6 1/2 months ago when I really got serious about this work again, but it’s only a partial timeline–extending from the end of the Dominion War in 2376, right up to the point Spock Prime disappears in 2387.

The bulk of it is based heavily on the ‘TrekLit’ universe, with detail/dating changes made by me in certain areas.  The fact that universe (comprised of events depicted in many Trek novels) hasn’t yet caught up to the time of the new movie caused me to turn to the Path to 2409, part of the MMO Star Trek: Online.  It follows much the same timeline as TrekLit does, only with more radical changes in certain areas.  Again, I’ve incorporated some details of that into my own timeline, but have made alterations as I see fit (thanks to the generous amount of information at Memory Beta).

Again, this is only a partial work and with what I have set up already, I’m not quite sure where to go from here.  I’ve thought about incorporate an original alien race from way back in my RPG/’simming’ days, but that’s just a rough idea at this point.  You’ll also notice that I mention several ship classes in there–Federation and Alien–that aren’t posted yet.  Those, especially the alien ones are a priority of mine once I finish up stuff I’ve already got going.

**WARNING** – Spoilers abound for a few of Trek novels……if you haven’t read “A Time To Be Born” or anything newer (up to “Loosing the Peace”), you’re advised to skip this.  Otherwise, proceed on and happy reading 🙂

Partial Timeline

That also brings me to my next point, the fact that I’ve spent more time dwelling in the TOS and TMP eras than anything else.  The reason I think I spend so much time there as opposed to TNG/DS9/VOY or anything further along is because the history is so well established (thanks to the Federation Spaceflight Chronology and other reference works) and events in that history make it easy to write backstories for those kind of ships……constant conflict with the Klingons, tension with the Kzinti, flareups with the Romulans & Gorn……so on and so forth.

The further along you go, the harder it gradually becomes.  There is “The Lost Era” series of novels, the overabundant wealth of information provided by TNG/DS9/VOY (the Dominion clearly stands out) and then all the novels from “A Time To Be Born” up to “Losing the Peace” (novels dealing with the formation of the Typhon Pact in depth are forthcoming).  This doesn’t change the fundamental fact though, that the Federation in this era is an entirely different one than the Federation of Pike & Kirk’s era.  There is no longer an omnipresent threat, nor a state of ‘Cold War’ – despite how ambiguous I’ve made 2387.  Thus, the burden of ‘setting the scene’ and fleshing out details rests solely on you–the writer.

I think the further I get with this timeline, the easier things will be.