Science vessels allow for a bit of an experimental approach, although the so called "cookie cutter" designs usually work.
I've been running a "shield stripping torpedo bomber" boat for a while and decided to go for an experiment when I realized that in the FAW-infested PvP, scoring a Tricobalt hit was more rare than a black polar pear with six legs.
So I loaded up:
Hazard Emitters II
Hazard Emitters III
Feedback Pulse III
Tractor Beam I
Science Team II
Transfer Shields Strength III
Jam Sensors I
Tactical Team I
High Yield Torpedo II
Emergency Power to Shields I
Emergency Power to Shields II
This build has proven to be unexpectedly effective. I thought it's be more of a support / healing build, but it turns out that with the right equipment it can lay a bit of hurt too, certainly better than the torpedo bomber did (problem with torpedoes is that one little sliver of shielding can make them cause little or no damage).
Depending on how you train your captain and what consoles and equipment you install on your ship, you can run this at 114 weapons power while keeping AUX in the 80-90 range; It's enough to power 4 or 5 beam weapons (I use 4 as I prefer having torpedoes on both sides, more to this later) and keep your heals very efficient.
Power switching however is a must - my recommendation, have a setting with 125 aux: if you are under fire from more than 1 enemy, switch to max AUX, pop some shield resist and activate FBP3.
This also works wonders with "butt-hugging" escorts: they'll have their Alpha reflected on them, sometimes making an opening through their shields. HYT2 and a nice salvo of Quantums in their teeth can usually send them running for their money (hence, the rear facing torpedo launcher).
- Shields resists is the bread and butter of Science Vessels; The hull is cardboard and shields capacity accounts for nothing in this game - any escort can vaporize 17k of shielding in a second and a half. A Science ship that runs out of shields resist is a burning wreck floating in space;
- This build will make you annoying, incredibly annoying: in the eyes of the less experienced player, you'll be invulnerable and possibly a "cheater"; In the eyes of experienced players/teams, you'll be the target of choice because if are generous with the heals and pay attention to the battlefield, you'll essentially be able to keep your team in good shape while still dealing a bit of damage yourself. Be warned
Tactical (Ensign): Beam Overload I , 9 pnts spent
Engineering (Ensign): Emergency Power to Weapons I , 9 pnt spent
Science (Ensign): Transfer Shield Strength I , 9 pnt spent
Science (Lt): Science Team II , 9pnt spent & Tachyon Beam I, 9 pnt spent.
Engineering (Ensign): Engineering Team I
Science (Ensign): Tractor Beam I
Its rather simple to fight in. Lock target out of range, load up target engine subsystem, load up beam overload I, load up Emergency power to weapons I.
All phasers set to autofire.
When target in range start combat with the tachyon and breen energy attack and watch your phasers go crazy as the first phaser targets subsystem and 2nd forward phaser does beam overload. By placing my dual beams in the second slot and the beam overload second in the sequence it allows me to have the beam overload fire from the heavier damage dual beams.
Playing on Elite difficulty this setup lets me strip the shield of a klingon warship in the first attack run.
The engine subsystem is targetted first and not shield for a reason: The damage from the phasers and the tachyon alone are enough to do the job. At this point in time I need the enemy ship moving the least amount possible.
Thats because when the shields drop on the first attack run; the enemy ship always starts rotating or circling you and that makes it hard to do a tight turn so as to stay on the same shield you just destroyed... at this point you either stop your ship or you do evasive maneuvers and do a very quick 360 while staying on the same exposed side and you give yourself 3.0 distance or so for the 2nd attack run.
2nd attack run (hull dmg run) you start off with shield subsystem attack and let the phasers autofire as you focus on maneuevring to keep your fire on hitting the exposed side.
Its not difficult at all to do/maintain and its very effective.