Because I have way too much time on my hands, I designed a new Cruiser for STO. I included all its stats, a badly drawn picture of it, and some fan fiction I wrote for its history. As far as I know it's unique and hasn't been seen in any Star Trek episode or game.
Alcyone Class - Has a wide oval shaped saucer similar to the Galaxy class, a wide secondary hull and oval shaped nacelles. The hulls vaguely resembles the Nebula in aesthetics.
Celaeno Class - Has a long saucer reminiscent of the Intrepid class saucer, but is deeper and more boat-like. Has a shorter, deeper secondary hull and rounder nacelles. has a bit of a bloated look to it.
Taygete Class - Has a perfectly circular saucer similar to the Cheyenne class, and the longest secondary hull of the three variants. Has armored nacelles with a squarish look.
* Each of these ships should be a little bigger than a galaxy in size. They are an exploration cruiser built about 50 years after the first Galaxy's were launched. It is viewed by many to be the successor to the Galaxy.
The Expeditionary Cruiser was developed to perform extended exploration and research missions that could last as much as decades in the field. It's immense hull is designed to withstand incredible abuse without needing to return to spacedock for repairs, and all of its systems were designed with a focus on reliability, and include multiple redundancies. It also boasts a hangar with a veritable fleet of probes and a large sensor pod attached its saucer section. Unlike most other star ships, an Expeditionary Cruiser can maintain high warp velocities continuously for years at a time, allowing it to reach remote sectors of space where no Starfleet vessels have gone before.
The ship also comes with 3 unique items:
Soliton Pulse Drive
Allows Transwarp Speed in Sector Space up to 15.99 (unaffected by Driver Coil skill)
Very Rare Impulse Engine Mk. XI with [Turn]x3.
This engine is unique in that it uses soliton pulse generators instead of warp coils to accelerate to faster than light speeds. It does not benefit from the driver coils skill, but has a higher base speed than other transwarp drives. Because the ship cannot form a subspace field without warp coils, and thus the ship cannot reduce its inertial mass, additional maneuvering thrusters are added to assist impulse travel.
Class 4 Probe
May only be used on Expeditionary Cruiser
Possesses unique behavior compared to other Carrier Pets, as it orbits the players ship when no target is selected. When the player selects a target, the probe moves to and orbits that target.
Has no weapons. Generates very little threat. Very fast and has high shield strength.
When active, grants "Advanced Sensor Analysis" which doubles the speed that Sensor Analysis generates stacks and doubles the maximum stack size. (up to 20 stacks over 60 seconds, maximum damage bonus 66.6%) If the probe is destroyed, you lose the Advanced Sensor Analysis buff and lose all excess stacks over 10.
This sensor probe approaches hostile vessels and runs sensor scans seeking weaknesses in its shields and hull and then transmits these readings back to the ship. It has been modified to include upgraded sensors and a shield array.
Verteron Node Generator
Generates a 5 kilometer wide Verteron Node at an enemy ship's location that drains engine power from enemy vessels inside of it. Drains 25 + (Flow Capacitors * .125) engine power from all enemy ships inside the node. The node lasts 5 + (Auxiliary Power * .2) seconds. Has a 3 minute cooldown.
Verteron particles are capable of overloading the field coils aboard a starship and shutting down its warp drive. When verteron particles reach sufficient saturation in a local area, they form a verteron node - a sphere of verteron particles that poses a significant navigational hazard. Being caught within one of these spheres may bring a starship's engines offline.
Expeditionary Cruiser - Development
The United Federation of Planets has been growing for over 200 years and now spans a region of over 8,000 light years. Yet a desire to pursue further space exploration continues and building vessels capable of reaching regions of space over 10,000 light years distant demonstrates a significant design challenge. The Starfleet Corps of Engineers responded to that challenge with the Expeditionary Cruiser.
The Expeditionary Cruiser development project began at the Utopia Planitia shipyards in 2396. It took 2 years to design and construct the prototype and the first Expeditionary Cruiser, the USS Alcyone was launched in 2398.
With a more massive and heavily armored hull than a Galaxy class, it is one of the largest cruisers ever built (it is however smaller than the Odyssey class). It's Warp Core (matter/antimatter reactor) is capable of producing twice as much power as a Galaxy Class starship. All of its internal systems, from life support, to on-board computers, to EPS power relays, are built for reliability and include redundancies. One of its most appreciated design considerations are standing maintenance conduits, these conduits are 6 feet high unlike the small 2 or 3 foot tall crawlspaces in most other starships.
It's warp core is reinforced far beyond Starfleet design code requirements and is capable of withstanding peak output for years at a time, allowing high warp speeds to be maintained as long as the engines will hold. The nacelles can be configured to accept traditional warp drives, or the new soliton pulse drives.
Large sensor pods are standard one every one of these vessels. The sensor pods include both a comprehensive long range scanner suite and a swath of subspace scanners, some of which are classified and designed to detect Omega molecules. The pod is generally used for independent research carried out by the ships astrometrics lab, and the ship has it's own long range and combat scanners which are used by bridge and engineering personnel.
A hangar is also incorporated into the saucer section of these vessels and house a large number of specialized probes for gathering scientific data on any anomaly the ship may encounter on its travels. It is also used for shuttling personnel to and from the ship.
The service expectancy for the Expeditionary Cruiser is officially 50 years, however will likely continue far beyond that in reality. These ships are built to last, and are capable of reaching distances far beyond what most other starship classes will ever see. Starfleet wanted a new exploration vessel, and the Expeditionary Cruiser is expected to live up to its name.
Soliton Pulse Drive - Development
In 2368 Doctor Ja'Dar tested a faster than light propulsion system using a soliton wave, that could propel craft without using warp drives. The experiment failed as the soliton wave generated a massive subspace distortion that would have obliterated the destination point, if the USS Enterprise D had not intervened.
Ja'Dar worked for years attempting to correct this technology, but his attempts always proved in vain. He simply could not account for the subspace distortions that occurred every time a soliton wave was formed. He eventually abandoned the project.
However over 20 years later a group of physicists working for the Daystrom Institute discovered a unique relationship between Soliton Particles and Subspace. Their discovery, almost inconceivable at the time, was nevertheless proved true many times by independent experimentation at other laboratories. They found that when soliton particles reach sufficient density in our space-time, they create additional layers of subspace. These newly created layers actually displace existing subspace layers thus creating the distortions seen in Doctor Ja'Dar's experiment decades before. The idea of creating new subspace layers was seen as preposterous, and their findings were initially the seen as something of a scandal, besmirching the Daystrom Institute's good name. However after the results were independently proven, the entire physics community of the UFP was shocked. The potential of soliton particles in many fields of research, and in many technological applications became astronomical.
Soltion particles quickly became a primary subject of study by a plethora of research projects, almost overnight hundreds of planetary governments initiated research projects studying soliton particles and their potential use as propulsion, communications, and weapons technology. Many corporations followed suit, as well as independent scientists and also an official research incentive launched by the UFP.
By 2399 a prototype soliton pulse drive was developed. Once the relationship between soliton particles and subspace was fully understood, designing a FTL drive upon the concept was surprisingly simple. First a soliton generator emits pulses of soliton particles, which are quicky dispersed by a particle scattering field to prevent uncontrolled subspace distortion. In the brief time that these soliton pulses exist, they create additional subspace layers within the vicinity of the starship. This is where the second part of the drive comes in. The starship maintains a metaphasic shield, a type of shield which also extends into subspace, containing the additional subspace layers inside the shield. When enough layers have built up inside the shield, one side of the shield is opened, expelling these excess layers and creating a wake of subspace distortions behind the starship. This wake has the effect of expanding the physical space behind the starship, propelling it to faster than light speeds. Interestingly, it seems Ja"Dar was taking a backwards approach to building a soliton drive. Instead of generating the soliton particles from a stationary location to propel a ship, he should have been generating the soliton particles on a ship to move space itself.
During early soliton particle experiments, a horrible accident occurred. It was found that if enough soliton particles are generated all at once, they can reach a critical mass where they create subspace layers in excess of how many subspace layers can be displaced at any given time. This causes the subpace layers to compress to the point of creating a subspace singularity - manifesting itself in our space as a space-time singularity, such as what you would see in a black hole, except without any significant gravity. It would allow a person to safely enter it and visit virtually any time and place they could imagine and much resembled the Nexus energy ribbon, which Guinan, Kirk, and Picard visited. During this accident, a research outpost along with 153 researchers and civilian personnel was enveloped by the singularity and were never seen again. It was only a nearby Federation vessel that observed the accident that was able to report what happened.
It was because of this accident that the first successful soliton drives utilized soliton pulses. By generating small amounts of soliton particles very rapidly, the drive can create enough subspace layers to achieve FTL speeds without running the risk of uncontrollable subspace distortions that a large number of soliton particles would create.
A comparison of Warp Drive and Soliton Drive:
* Soliton Drive can travel through areas with no subspace such as areas destroyed by Omega molecules, perfectly fine.
* Soliton Drive is much more resistant to subspace fluctuations than warp drive.
* Soliton particle generators generally require less maintenance than warp coils.
* Soliton Drive requires about 50% more energy to reach equivalent FTL speeds as a traditional warp drive. As a result, ships with soliton propulsion need larger matter/antimatter reactors.
* Soliton Drive creates enormous subspace distortions that are easily detected by sensors long before your ship physically reaches a destination. Soliton Drive is not by any means a subtle way of reaching FTL velocities.
* While Soliton Drive is generally more reliable than Warp Drive, when it does fail, it fails both spectacularly and catastrophically. (see above accident)
2350's - First Galaxy Class Starships built
2368 - Failed Soliton Wave experiment by Doctor Ja'Dar.
2392 - Soliton particle relationship with subspace discovered
2396 - Expeditionary Cruiser development project at Utopia Planitia
2398 - First Expeditionary Cruiser launched
2399 - First Soliton Pulse Drive developed
2406 - Date that Star Trek Online takes place