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 🙂