After my recent publication of Larson II, it became harder to keep the TMP ball rolling. There was my second attempt at profiling a civilian starship and indeed, I thought that turned out well, but in general, the few remaining designs I intend to round out my take on the TMP era don’t have any substantive background info which I can use as a springboard or inspiration, thus making it harder to come up with plausible descriptions & histories (which don’t involve using the Klingons, Romulans et al. as catalysts) and thus, ensuring that any such publication takes longer to finish.
Still reading my way through the Vanguard series, I began to get a burning itch to get back into the TOS era and explore some of those nooks and crannies in greater detail. The Archer class (typified by the USS Sagitarius) is an interesting design, very much a 23rd Century Runabout of sorts in terms of size and capability, but described in such a way that it seemed much larger.
Unfortunately, I’ll be honest and say this effort of mine doesn’t really expand upon the class’ history like you think it might, or I myself think it should. I painted a general picture which had Archer integrated with Constitution and Hermes as a key part of Starfleet’s exploratory efforts, but didn’t present any new details about scientific expeditions or other such achievements. Nevertheless, I hope you still enjoy this one 🙂
Archer Class Cutter
Forgive me for injecting a little Star Wars here (the post title being one of Han Solo’s famous quotes), but it seems perfectly fitting given the nature of this update.
The second civilian design I’ve done kills a number of birds with one stone so to speak–it’s a perfect Star Trek analogue to the Millenium Falcon, it’s an ideal design to fill the role of the three doomed ships used in Operation: Dixie (described in my previous update concerning the Klingon D-14) and, with the way I described it inside and out, becomes perfect to use as the centerpiece in my own little plot device (concerning 24th Century smuggler Zak Marris and his Solaris Cartel).
Making it larger and heavier than contemporary shuttlecraft (Type 12 – 26m L) and runabouts (Pulsar – 41m L) gives me a bit more creative freedom and makes the inclusion of systems like disruptors & transporters as well as a generous cargo capacity, more plausible.
All in all, I think my second attempt at a civilian starship is a good one.
Thunder class Blockade Runner
After the Larson II, I was at something of a loss as to my next update. There’s still so much TMP material to cover and I wasn’t (and am still not) ready to move on, so I went back through my reference library looking for inspiration. Hitting some of my Richard Mandel material (Federation Spaceflight Chronology, Guide to the Klingon Fleet), I decided to head back towards the Klingons again–either the Lara’atan (involved in the ‘Kargon Incident’) or K’Teremny (the class which the IKS Q’rish belonged to, responsible for the destruction of the USS Hood) classes. While browsing through the Guide to the Klingon Fleet (check it out here) trying to make up my mind, I came across an entirely different design that I had never paid much attention to before–the D-14/D’esta Kar (“Stinger”) class.
After looking at the included visuals and updated blueprints of Brad Torgersen at the STSTCS (link), I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, a couple of 12 hr days at work and other RL obligations kept me from finishing it up and getting it posted last week. The wait will hopefully have been well worth it however.
In doing a bit of background research to flesh out the service history, I stumbled across some old FASA material again–specifically, a FASA based fan-derived timeline (here). That shed some light on the mysterious Operation Dixie, referenced and alluded to in a number of fanon works. Information gleamed from that, led me back to Memory Beta and I was able to ‘connect the dots’ so to speak.
As mentioned in my annotations at the end, Operation Dixie was the codename of a highly classified Starfleet Intelligence operation designed to survey and gather data within Klingon Space. Conceived in 2274 and put into motion in 2276 it involved the use of three civilian vessels—Dixie Queen, Dixie Princess and Dixie Lady—for intelligence gathering purposes. Launched in 2280, the operation was expected to last five years. Initially, all went well—limited information received by Starfleet Intelligence in 2281 shedding much light on Klingon starships and shipbuilding. However, all three ships were eventually destroyed—Dixie Queen in 2282, Dixie Princess in 2284 and Dixie Lady in 2285. The loss of the three ships led to the operation being declared a failure and led to a major shakeup in the admiralty—which among other things, saw Fleet Admiral Heihachiro Nogura step down, replaced as the Starfleet C-in-C by Harold Randolph Morrow.
This really helps to flesh out the TMP era’s history and make it more ‘three dimensional’. I’ve already thought about ways to incorporate this (and the related Operation Armageddon and Project Minuteman) into future publications, though as always, what I do next can be subject to change. Memory Beta and the aforementioned timeline are great resources to check out if you want to explore these topics further 🙂
D-14/D’esta Kar (“Stinger”) class Destroyer