Hello again – hope everyone is staying dry and/or warm (or cool, depending on your location).
It’s been a busy month on my end. Some personal stuff has popped up and sapped some of my creative drive, freelance stuff has sucked up some time and then I’ve kind of gotten bogged down with the ‘main act’ of Part III (2273-86). Sure, I’ve touched on the three points in my last post (Orion activity, Excelsior, the new Starbase 47), but in describing one central event that would set the tone for all others, I reached back to FASA again and got more into it that I thought I would.
This time, it’s the supplement The Dixie Gambit (1986). Written by J. Andrew Keith, it unravels the mystery behind the failed Operation: ‘Dixie’ alluded to in the Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update and other supplements. In the operation’s aftermath, the Starfleet Intelligence officer in charge is demoted and booted off to a backwater posting. Here though, he happens across a landing craft from one of the Dixie ships. This leads him to recall a team of intelligence operatives who discover that the ship (the Dixie Lady) wasn’t destroyed like the others (Dixie Queen, Dixie Princess). They recover it and journey to another backwater world where they discover that the crew did indeed survive.
Ultimately, it’s revealed that the operation was foiled due to a mole planted by Klingon Imperial Intelligence. As the Starfleet operation relied on specially trained Klingon ‘hybrids’ or ‘fusions’, it was relatively simple for I.I. to insert one of their own. The primary goal was not so much to keep them from gathering political or military intelligence, but to keep them from discovering the Kinshaya (with whom the Klingons had a highly volatile relationship with – similar to the Terrans/Kzinti). It was feared that such a discovery would fundamentally alter the astro-political order and put the empire in a disadvantageous position.
With that done, it was then hoped that the Starfleet Intelligence would find their way to this second planet, rescue the survivors–including the mole–and return them to Earth, thus establishing an extremely lucrative avenue of intelligence.
There are a few more wrinkles here and there, along with some backstory, but you get the idea. To make this fit (and avoid any appearance of plagiarizing), I’ve obviously changed the character names, changed certain plot elements and expanded upon others. That the Klingons would seem so desperate to keep Starfleet from discovering the Kinshaya is vaguely familiar to Tholian efforts to keep Starfleet from discovering the Shedai (and also Starfleet efforts to keep the Klingons out of the loop) in Vanguard.
In any event, I’ve gotten up to the point where the Dixie Lady has been recovered – about halfway. After that, there’s the option of creating a whole espionage-related sub-plot (rooting out other ‘hybrid/fusion’ moles from Starfleet etc), but how I would tie that into the subject at hand (Constitution) is still up for debate not to mention the fact that after about 2286-87, there’s a gradual thaw in Federation-Klingon relations……..
That said, there are still a few of smaller, related plot points to get to…….
-The ‘Kargon’ Incident/Tal Taan Offensive
-Destruction of the Hood
-Genesis Incident/Enterprise Destruction
–Excelsior introduction into service
This, plus whatever else I come up with, will lead up to Part IV (the final part, 2286-2335). For that, aside from the Cetacean Probe crisis and Khitomer Conspiracy, I really haven’t come across anything that would make a good sub-plot. Describing the technical changes between the Enterprise and Enterprise II sub-classes will be a bit challenging (luckily I still have Mr. Scott’s Guide to the Enterprise around here somewhere). After the Khitomer Conspiracy though, things level off and get easier. No longer is it about sub-plots or astro-political intrigue, but instead, the generational shift that is leading Starfleet into the ‘Lost Era’–where starships gradually acquire more and more multi-mission capabilities.
I’ve described this a bit in my individual writeups on classes like Carolina and Exeter, but am not sure how much further I’ll push it. Overarching ideas I’ve had for this period include terrorism (the novel “Cast No Shadow” makes mention of a Kriosian terrorist group known as ‘the Thorn’) and crime/piracy/smuggling (another novel, “Well of Souls” mentions a powerful criminal organization–rivals to the Orion Syndicate–known as ‘Asfar Qatala’) but that’s about it.
As far as Constitution goes, I’ve envisioned closing out the ‘Linear Warp’ era by consolidating the number of subclasses. Up to 2294, three were in operation – the multi-mission Constitution II, exploratory-focused Tikopai and the high-end multi-mission Enterprise II. By the time of TUC (which take place in 2292 according to this stardate calculator right here….), I’m going to say that Excelsior is well on its way to supplanting those variants in service. So to make the transition as smooth as possible, all existing examples of the above three classes are going to be uprated to Potempkin class specifications (check it out).
2335 is an arbitrary retirement date I picked and pretty much represents the end of the line as it were. They’ll continue to serve in the Reserves for a period beyond that I think, but not too long. In addition to the Miranda class’ more austere cousin Knox serving in the general-purpose role, full scale production of Excelsior is continuing and classes such as Renaissance (here), Rigel (here) and Korolev (here) gradually enter service in the coming decades, each bringing engineering and technological advancements with it.
I’m gradually getting there folks. Thanks for sticking it out!
Oh, I almost forgot – if you haven’t checked out Starstation Computer Art lately, more renders of ‘Star Station India’ (inspiration for the next Starbase 47) have recently been posted. Check them out here!