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» Flare Sci-Fi Forums » Sci-Fi » Designs, Artwork, & Creativity » Conjectural History of the Nova class

Author Topic: Conjectural History of the Nova class
Zen Riot Activist
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Well, here it is; most of the first bit is pretty well known, in Starship Spotter and a few web sites. I've just elaborated on it.

Conjectural History of the Nova Class

By 2365 the Oberth class science vessel had been in service for over a century. The design had been one of the most prolific in the history of spaceflight; thousands were used by both Starfleet and civilian organisations in the UFP. However, the design was beginning to show its age; it was becoming increasingly difficult to fit new technology into the design and it was also apparent, from numerous occurrences, that the ship was under armed for many of the situations it had to face in Starfleet service. As a consequence Starfleet began design work on a successor; the design team initially had a hard time trying to design a vessel that matched Starfleet’s requirements for a sturdy, more heavily armed and yet scientifically capable design. But in 2366, and the first Borg incursion into the UFP it was decided to radically alter the design of the Defiant class escort, intended for anti-Borg actions. This left Starfleet with the original pathfinder spaceframe for this project (NXP-2365WP/T). The spaceframe had performed well in simulations, with good warp performance and a hardy spaceframe, as well as having provision for a large weapons load. The Nova class development team set to work modifying and refining this design so that it was more suited to its new task; the number of torpedo tubes was reduced, a secondary deflector dish was added on the primary hull and provision was made for science labs and sensors. The first vessel, USS Nova (NX-72378) was launched in 2368 and was commissioned later that year, after highly successful trials. There was a brief crisis for the project when the USS Equinox (NCC-72381) was lost on her maiden voyage in the badlands. No serious design faults could be found however, and production soon moved into full swing. Then, in late 2372, war broke out with the Dominion and Starfleet’s scientific program took back seat to the increased production of more combat capable vessels and the reactivation of mothballed ships. Until the end of the war, in 2375, Nova class production was halted in favour of other classes. The Novas played little part in the war, with several being temporarily deactivated and their crews assigned to reactivated ships that had been in mothballs but were more heavily armed and armoured than the Novas. Those Novas that were involved in combat were relatively successful; out of 14 combat encounters involving the class only 6 resulted in the loss of the ship. The production of the Nova class was restarted in 2376, as part of a massive effort to rebuild the fleet. The Nova class was soon being produced at a rate of 10 vessels per year. Starfleet, however, had a problem. The Dominion War had revealed the relative weakness of Starfleet in terms of military strength, losses had been horrific. It was therefore decided that the fleet needed more combat capable vessels; mass production of the Defiant class was briefly considered but both the Klingons and Romulans made it clear that they would not be happy if Starfleet came into possession of a couple of hundred vessels designed for offence. The idea was then put forward of modifying the Nova class design to make it more combat oriented; after all, the spaceframe was originally designed as a warship and its performance during the war had been satisfactory. Also the experiences of the USS Equinox in the Delta Quadrant (relayed by the USS Voyager) confirmed that the spaceframe was tough. This plan was given the go ahead (along with a small standing force of Defiant class ships) and the ASDB began design work for the necessary modifications; this was completed by mid 2377 and the USS Rhode Island (NCC-72701) was assigned as a testbed ship. The modifications were completed by the end of the year and included:
The bridge module being raised by one deck to make way for an emergency power system
The filling in of the front notch, containing the secondary deflector. This extra space contained enhanced shield generators and targeting sensors. The secondary deflector was smaller than in the original Nova both due to advances in technology and to make it a smaller target.
A more advanced warp nacelle was installed, permitting the Nova (II) to go at speeds of up to warp 9.7.
Newer escape pods were fitted, to enhance crew survivability.
The modular scientific installation ports on top of the secondary hull were removed and smoothed over. In their place were installed new sensor palettes and spare parts storage.

Despite these significant modifications the Nova (II) is still capable of performing many of the scientific missions that the Nova (I) is. Trials of the Rhode Island against Defiant class vessels and even the USS Prometheus were highly impressive; production of the variant began in mid 2378. A third, demilitarised, version of the Nova was made available to replace the Oberths in civilian service. It is hoped that all the Oberths currently in service with Starfleet will be replaced by 2390.

Opinions/ comments/ corrections would be appreciated.

"I am an almost extinct breed, an old-fashioned gentleman, which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-bitch when it suits me." --Jubal Harshaw

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I wouldn't call a 42.85% loss rate in combat "relatively successful."

There's another way to explain the Rhode Island variant. I never thought that ALL the Oberths were dedicated science vessels. Some of them may have been medical ships (until the introduction of larger purpose-built hospital ships, which in my universe happened around 2299), some of them may have been small cargo ships (ref. USS Biko--that pod could hold a LOT of stuff)....& some may have been intel pickets. I mean, if I filled that podhull with 70% strategic & tactical sensors & 30% standard science outfit, then I'd have one hull of a little spy ship. Maybe that's what the Nova Mark II is all about.

[ June 13, 2002, 11:27: Message edited by: Shik ]

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possibly under the assumption that the entire fleet suffered a more than 50% loss rate, and Nov came in ahead of the curve?

I agree about the Oberths.. while in none of their roles were they combatant, i think that a science ship spaceframe would be uniquely suited to intel runs and picket duty.

ive always imagined the Rhode Island variant was a more conventional starship, on par with a Miranda or Intrepid, just smaller than the larger Sovereign and Excelsior ships of the line

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If we're going to be using "Endgame," you also want to take Captain Harry's [[shudder]] four-year mission into consideration. (There was some line about him being away for that long.) So obviously the refitted Novae are capable of a much longer deployment. Just something you might want to add.

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Mark Nguyen
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Well, there's no evidence to say that Harry's ship was *always* the Rhode Island. It's altogether possible that he may have been captaining another ship for four years, had just gotten back, and had just been assigned to the RI... I know, not bloody likely.

But on the flipside, Janeway went to great lengths in "Equinox" to tell the audience just how crappy the Nova-class was compared to Voyager. Short range, limited speed, etc.. For all we know, the RI variant addresses only those issues and didn't stress additional combat performance - it's just a long-range version of the same ship, but still a science vessel.

Poor Harry... Now, if only he'd have shown up in a revamped version of the Prometheus!!


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Zen Riot Activist
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Shik: Well, compared to what we've seen of the Oberths performance in combat 42.85% isn't too bad... [Big Grin] . I like the idea of the intel ship, I may work that in to a revised version of the history. I was trying to explain the frankly rather good combat performance of the Rhode Island (weren't those Klingon ships the one that were introduced as some kind of super cruiser?).

"I am an almost extinct breed, an old-fashioned gentleman, which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-bitch when it suits me." --Jubal Harshaw

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Sol System
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Well, yes and no. The same model, perhaps modified, perhaps not, I don't recall. But in turn, the Negh'var's first appearence was a much smaller and far less super ship in "All Good Things...," so isn't a leap, or at least not a leap exclusive to "Endgame" to suggest they may not totally overpower your average Starfleet vessel.

And what is it with Klingons and the end of eras on Star Trek? Even when they're our allies they get no respect.

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