Vesta Class

Created by on Mon Apr 2nd, 2018 @ 3:43pm


So The Story Goes…

The Vesta Class, a vessel with so many goals behind it that what it ultimately became best at was being the testbed for the next generation of Starfleet technologies...

That's not to say that the Vesta Class isn't capable in the roles it was designed for. This was a ship that needed to be comparable to several illustrious predecessors, parents to this new design that promised it would have a lot of expectations from everyone in Starfleet to live up to. It needed the service and command capabilities of a Galaxy Class, the scientific capabilities of the Intrepid Class, and the ability to defend itself and fleet vessels as a Sovereign Class. Big expectations indeed, and many felt the project as proposed would see massive changes and setbacks. These naysayers were right, but not in the way that was expected.

The team at the Vesta Class Project, located at their headquarters on Earth in the very city of Las Vegas, shrugged their shoulders and added another goal to their design. Let's make it highly retrofittable, able to adapt to whatever Operations will sign off on. A joke? No, they replied, they were serious. A boast? No, they replied, they were serious. Let's give this a shot. Starfleet rolled the dice, and took a chance on the project.

Or so, that's what the scuttlebut around McKinley station alludes to whenever asked about the origins of the project that lead to the construction of the USS Palatine here in orbit of Earth, the third of her class about to launch. It's always been had third-hand, or worse, by this engineer or that operations manager, but the story doesn't change much in important details.

There was one thing in mind, when these illustrious beings created the vision that became the Vesta Class - perhaps brought on by neon lights and too much alcohol, and definitely with a lot of gambling. Quantum Slipstream Drive. Each of them had their fingers in the various projects they could reach in the Federation researching this closely-guarded secret. The most treasured ships throughout history, not just in Starfleet, but in everyone's fleets it seemed, were those that had been cutting edge, ready just in time for the latest in the next stage of exploring space. Quantum Slipstream Drive, they felt, was going to beat the long-sought Transwarp Drive, and it was going to beat it soon.

It is easy to see that vision when one looks at the structural design of the vessel itself. Though not the largest of capital ships, the Vesta Class presents an unusual geometry and reinforcement theme that allows much to be packed into a smaller space, and also a more angular target for opponents to lock onto. The two warp cores give the design an incredible amount of power, easily matching and exceeding the expectations, but controllable. Each core could run at reduced capacity for normal ship operations, reducing the wear and tear without reducing effectiveness, and the ship could successfully manage emergency operations even running on a single core.

The design though, that was the whole point. This ship looked Starfleet, but different too, promising the ultimate in propulsion theories. It was a hefty vessel in the end, and it was going to be fast. You’ll see. They were going to show everybody!

That much power would hopefully come into play when the verdict arrived on Quantum Slipstream, as all simulations confirmed that this sleek and trim workhorse was going to fly oh so smooth amid the oscillations… Because after that initial success, things took a downturn.

Part 2

Or That Part When Setbacks Happen

It was inevitable. Every single class ever in the history of Starfleet had setbacks. It was like a right of passage. If yours were awful, so bad they left an impression on the minds and retirements of Starfleet Operations, then you knew you had the right to boast. The Vesta Class Project pulls off the record as the least able to complain about it.

So, with this focus on adaptability added onto the design theme, and with a successful frame in mind - at least in simulations, they got to work. No matter where they had to compromise, they insisted on staying true to the original mandate they had to work with, not letting any single influence or pet project hold sway - and that earned them a lot of ire in certain circles. Delays starting popping up in shipping, material was misplaced along a shipping route or some other nonsense, slowing things down.

Starfleet, for the most part, isn’t petty, but the design team was notoriously non-partisan and a little obsessive about it too, so all in all, it was a mutual thing. But progress was made, slow to be sure, but with stunning success along the way. First thing was putting the Admiralty’s mind straight on what they were offering. The Vesta was going to fill the needs of the aging Galaxy, bring to bear the best of what the Intrepid and the Sovereign offered, but it was in the end its own thing.

Once again things slowed down.

Having expected that, but taking their victory as they saw it, the design team applied the elbow grease, called in favors, and continued to play the odds well. You want science, they asked. We’ll give you science.

The Galaxy boasted all told over one hundred science labs. Excessive. 6 month rotations on over one hundred labs, most of which wouldn’t be mission critical in at any time, leaving scientists with little to do. Here’s ten. Then they convinced everyone how they weren’t crazy.

The problem wasn’t the number of scientists they could carry. Given mission parameters, Vesta could take on hundreds of scientists. The problem was giving them access to resources, the ability to do their jobs. That was why the Galaxy was so big. Pffft, we’ll even fit families on board again. Another joke that pops up often, mostly among the pilots tied to McKinley, is that the reason so many engineers are bald is because scientists make them scratch their heads so much trying to figure out how to put into practise their crazy ideas.

This one wasn’t hard, it already existed from the Luna Class. The design team ordered thousands of holoprojectors, causing a temporary shortage crisis in Sector 001. Now literally, they said, watch this.

Sometime later, they turned on the ones that worked, blowing relays in three of McKinley’s service arms, but showing off what the completed ship was going to look like, and be capable of. There was no need to give every science specialty its own room, when you could change the rooms quickly enough to avoid layovers at a spacedock. Then, obviously, extend that to every part of the ship. Customizable quarters and high comfort for the crew, easily configurable quarters for distinguished visitors that could better cater to their desires. Holographic displays instead of just old-style flat LCARS panels, interactive too. Why stop at Emergency Medical Holograms? Why make these programs only for emergencies? The possibilities of ship-wide coverage were proven already, they just offered to take it to the next level.

Eat that, Riker. Lakar has the better goatee too.

Part 3

Pew pew!

Having changed minds on how much science actual science vessels needed at their disposal, they now had to deal with the polls. Every ship in the history of Starfleet had them, though they’re strictly unofficial. Never has anyone in a position of authority admitted that they had any influence on the design input on any ship ever launched.

This author and the entire design team had to look up the Diligent Class, as that came up as number one on the polls among eager Starfleet designers early on in its development. Okay...they said. At least Akira was number two on that list, and that totally rocked! The opinions of the design team are strictly their own, and do not represent the opinion of the ship’s captain or Starfleet in general. Ahem.

You want lots of guns, we’ll fit them in. You wants explosions, we’ll make sure we can do lots of those, big explosions, even some of those illegal subspace weapons like tricobalt devices we seem able to get away with - no, that are expected. Heck, we’ll throw in a bonus. Ya know that left over power from the cores? Let’s do something wild, like throw on a forward-mounted canon.

Can’t be done, Operations insisted, not worth the energy expenditure on a ship this size given historical data.

Your data is flawed, they responded. Things slowed even more, to the point where they were taking weekends off now because they just didn’t have the material they needed.

They decided to go with two forward-mounted cannons instead just to prove a point.

Part 4

We Told You So

At this point, as the scuttlebut runs around those on McKinley will say, Aalux Lakar got involved. Some suspect this was Starfleet throwing him a bone, and a way to fall on his sword if he wanted out. Others say no, Starfleet hoped Lakar was going to whip the cantankerous design team into shape, you’ll see. There’s been a bit of excitement building around the shipyard’s bookies over this one.

The only one anyone managed to get on record commenting on why Aalux Lakar, then a long-time Lieutenant Commander who might have been stuck in his career, was a supposed friend of his. A civilian too, so it wasn’t anything official.

There’s a holorecording of the interview, where an impeccably dressed Vulcan addresses the reporter, “No, that is not the case. Commander Lakar is a most satisfactory officer, and does his duty. He went to meet with the design team, and he listened. That is all. Then he made his recommendation to his superiors. This is how things work in Starfleet. Perhaps, now that I have answered your question, you could answer one of mine. Please explain the meaning of the use of half-truth and innuendo in your line of work. I find it fascinating. You see, on Vulcan, we…”

The recording goes on for some length.

Level 10 security authorization for some reason reveals that yes, Lakar listened and his report was simple and to the point. “Everything sounds good so far.”

Part 5

The Growth Cycle Completes

So, in the end, what did it really become? By making sure this ship was adaptable to all the demands being placed on it, that is what the Vesta Class truly sines at. They managed to keep their vision together for the most part, though half of the project went bankrupt that night when it lost a bet - err - the USS Vesta set sail….without a Quantum Slipstream drive installed.

This is a powerful vessel, ready to test itself and its crew in the depths of space, equipped with the cutting edge in Starfleet technology from stem to stern. With a cruising speed of warp 8, she gets where she’s going pretty quick, and on the wing almost any ship would eat her warp particle trace (that's 6472.68 times the speed of light!!!). She can stand toe to toe with many of her rival’s iconic capital ships and back up sister ships with a ridiculous weapons system, overpowered engines, with devious tricks from all the brains in their fancy convertible labs, patched up by Those in Blue who have all the latest in scalpel technology at their disposal (and brains in jars too!), all the while holographic emitters support the comfort and efficiency of the entire overall organism that is the Vesta Class.

Smashing success, came the general opinion, from disgruntled and supportive voices alike.

If there are any sighs of disappointment over the end result, the Vesta Class doesn’t seem to excel in anything beyond adaptiveness, but as the author would like to point out, that is illogical. It can be what it needs to be. (As have all our favorite ships!)


But Seriously Now

Did they pull it off? The adventures of the USS Aventine so far have some people excited. Time will tell on that, and for the Palatine, third of her class, and all their sister ships.

Starfleet is still on the fence, on both the promises and on just how far to bust the chops of that design team. It was a lot to live up to, and no one truly expects the Vesta to replace any of these other ships. It strives to be what it was meant to be…

Capable, adaptable, and the next generation of ship to go down in history as totally badass.

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