Below are a few details about the "Valkyrie universe". This is far from being an encyclopedia, but some of the background details may prove interesting nonetheless, or at least explain a few things about my take on Star Trek that are only hinted at in the stories.
The entries so far cover: Fleet organization, maps, money, the quarters of Ben and Tarin, uniforms, ranks and insignia, ship classifications, the size of Starfleet, the Tultrak-class courier
Acknowledgment: The following article is based on sourcebooks for the Star Trek roleplaying games produced by Last Unicorn Games and Decipher Inc. Information taken from said books is paraphrased in what I believe constitutes fair use, and only presented her to explain some of the thoughts and ideas that went into the creation of the "Valkyrie universe".
Each fleet of Starfleet can be classified as a "standing" fleet, a "mobile" fleet, or a support fleet.
Standing fleets usually serve in a limited theater of operations - for the most part they patrol and defend certain planets or sectors. Examples are the 3rd Fleet (assigned to defend sector 001) and the 5th Fleet (defending Vulcan and patrolling adjacent sectors).
Mobile fleets are tasked with far more wide-reaching (at least in an astrographic sense) assignments. They explore uncharted frontiers, patrol regions not covered by standing fleets, and so on. While Starfleet tries to keep ships of mobile fleets in the same region of space - for faster concentration in times of crisis - the many different tasks of the fleet don't always allow for it.
Support fleets have specialized tasks or are held back for contingencies other fleets are ill-equipped to deal with. Two examples are the small fleet of tugs, tenders and transports at the disposal of Starfleet's Corps of Engineers (used for starbase construction) and the Colonization Fleet used to support major Federation colonization efforts.
Over time the role of a fleet may change. As the Federation expands, a mobile fleet, previously assigned to explore a region that has now become part of the Federation, may see its duties shift from exploring new worlds to guarding systems it has become intimately familiar with over the years. A shift from a standing to a mobile assignment is less likely, but not unheard of. For example, a few years before the Chaos War (i.e. in the mid 2360s) the 11th Fleet - previously assigned to patrol the coreward border of the UFP - saw more and more of its ships assigned to exploration duties.
Each Fleet is under the command of a "Fleet Admiral" - who can hold any rank from Rear Admiral to Fleet Admiral - i.e. it is more a job description than any sign of actual rank. Fleet Admirals can organize their fleets any way they see fit (provided the Chief of Fleet Operations agrees), but most stick to the following organizational pattern used by Starfleet for decades.
Flagships - Each fleet has a ship designated as its flagship. Most often the flagship is well-equipped to handle command and control functions - usually an Explorer or Heavy Cruiser. Some Fleet Admirals like to command their fleets from their flagships, but many are happy to run things from a starbase or planetary command center and rarely set foot on their designated flagship.
Tactical Wings - Fleets are divided into three to five "tactical wings", with an average of 20 ships in each one. Some fleets add another, smaller, tactical wing composed of support ships and auxiliary craft. Outside some standing fleets - where a whole tactical wing may be assigned to defend a single system - the tactical wing is usually viewed as just an organizational tool. During times of war this may change, but that depends far more one the fleet in question and its task than any Starfleet doctrine.
Every tactical wing is assigned a numerical designation (e.g. 327th tactical wing). As these numbers are not reused when tactical wings are disbanded or destroyed, the designations reach far higher numbers than the actual number of tactical wings fielded by Starfleet.
Wings - Tactical wings are further divided into wings of four to eight ships. There are three types of wings:
Class wings: A wing composed of ships of the same class, like an Excelsior wing or a Galaxy wing. Every captain in a class wing knows exactly what the other ships in the same wing are capable of (their ships are just like his) and the ships can help each other out with spare parts or well-trained personnel without a hitch.
Type wing: A wing composed of ships of the same type, if not the same class: examples include Cruiser wings, Transport wings, or Escort wings. The lack of uniformity in a type wing (compared to a class wing) is often made up for by the wider range of tactical options.
Destroyer wings: While Starfleet fields no ships classified as destroyers, it still has destroyer wings. Not every Starfleet officer is happy with the name, but so far the name - a holdover from the 23rd century - has stuck. "Destroyer Wing" is a catch-all name for wings composed of smaller and often widely differing types of ships that get grouped together because their diversity is viewed as a tactical advantage.
Wings are numbered in sequential order within a fleet, according to wing type. For example: The 589th Tactical Wing (part of the 22nd Fleet headquartered at Starbase 173) consists of four wings: Cruiser Wing 5, Cruiser Wing 6, Miranda Wing 1, and Destroyer Wing 3.
Here is a map of the "Valkyrie universe's" Federation and neighboring powers.
A few explanations/annotations:
The use of money (or absence thereof) in the world of Star Trek (especially in the 24th century) has long been the topic of debate. While there are arguments pointing both ways, money is very real and in use throughout the Federation of the 24th century, as far as the Valkyrie stories are concerned. Even with the (almost) unlimited resources of the Federation and replicator technology, not everyone can get everything; there needs to be a measure to gauge who can have something and who can't. If you want to call that money or not is up to you, but I do. On the other hand I will not go into any details here or in the stories - either someone can afford something or not, depending more on the needs of the story than anything else, as this isn't much of an important topic as far as I am concerned.
Many scenes take place in the quarters of Captain Veal or Commander Tucker. Here is a little plan of those two rooms. Ben Tucker's quarters are on the left, while Tarin Veal's are on the right. (The empty room in the middle is part of Tarin's quarters, but so far unused.)
The Starfleet uniforms in use at the time of the Valkyrie stories are:
This uniform is mandatory for personnel
assigned to Starfleet Headquarters, the Starfleet diplomatic corps, and JAG
The standard uniform on most starships and
Starfleet has finally abandoned the
mish-mash of earlier Admiral's uniforms used in the mid to late 2360s.
|Ranks and insignia|
Enlisted personnel don't wear any rank insignia on their uniforms, except for those rated Chief Petty Officer and higher (SCPO, MCPO) who wear a single "hollow" pip.
Officers below flag-rank follow the same pattern of rank insignia established on TNG and later shows.
There are only four ranks of flag-officers. Instead of splitting the rank of rear-admiral in two (lower-half and upper-half), there are only
The following article draws heavily on Spacedock by Steven S. Long, a sourcebook for the Star Trek roleplaying game produced by Last Unicorn Games. It can be downloaded here.
Starfleet classifies its ships first and foremost by their mission profiles, not their size, weapons, or other systems of a vessel. Of course certain mission profiles require certain kinds of ships and ship systems, but for Starfleet classification of any ship follows function, not form.
most categories exist sub-classifications, to further denote the task a ship is
designed to perform. The most common are:
Heavy vessels are more heavily armed and protected than the standard vessel of the category. They usually trade some speed or maneuverability for their heavier armaments.
Light vessels, on the other hand, trade some weapons and protection for better peripheral systems, like sensors or science systems. More often than not they are designed for a narrower mission profile than standard vessels of the class.
Fast is a relatively new sub-classification that denotes ships designed with speed and maneuverability (and sometimes long-range mission) in mind. Fast vessels are usually better armed than light vessels and represent more a technical advance above standard ships of the class, than a trade-off for better speed.
The Starfleet ship classification system:
Explorers are the largest ships fielded by Starfleet, designed for long-range long-duration missions of exploration. As they are expected to perform many of their duties well out off range of support and reinforcements they are among the most heavily armed and defended ships in Starfleet and contain a wide variety of systems, including above average sensors and many systems designed to keep the crew comfortable on their long voyages.
Currently Starfleet fields only two classes of Explorers – Andoria and Galaxy. Andoria-class ships (commissioned in 2358, the USS Andoria launched in 2366) are designed for multi-year deep-space exploration. So far only four ships of this class have been built, all currently on missions well beyond the Federation borders.
Plans for the Intrepid, a new class of Light Explorers (EXL), have been put on hold after the Chaos War, pending reevaluation of Starfleet’s future needs.
Cruisers are the workhorse of Starfleet. Designed with a number of different missions in mind, from exploration to defense to patrol/interdiction, cruisers are first and foremost distinguished by their versatility. The typical cruiser is a mid-size multifunction vessel, able to perform many missions well. Easier and less expansive to produce than Explorers, they form the backbone of Starfleet.
The most well know “standard Cruiser” (CA) designs are the Centaur, Miranda, and Nebula.
The functions of Light Cruisers (CL) include diplomatic and courier duties, patrol of outlying (but quieter) sectors, and support for larger Explorers and Cruisers in conflict situations. Examples are the Apollo-class and the Challenger-class of Starships.
There are a surprising number of Heavy Cruisers (CH) fielded by Starfleet, considering their martial nature, i.e. the Akira, Ambassador, Sequoia and Wambundu classes. They are so prolific for two reasons: (1) The Akira-class was commissioned near the end of the Cardassian wars as a frontline combatant and (2) the venerable Ambassador-class, while initially designated an Explorer has since been re-classified as a Heavy Cruiser, which has considerably swelled the ranks of Heavy Cruisers fielded by Starfleet.
Exploratory Cruisers (CEX) are the “little brothers” of the larger Explorers, similar in many ways to Light Explorers. However their smaller size may restrict the amount of equipment they can carry, restricting them to shorter or more specialized mission than Explorers. The two most well known designs currently used by Starfleet are the Constellation-class (nearing the end of its useful design live) and the Excelsior-class (reclassified from EX to CEX in 2334).
The only Fast Cruiser design currently fielded by Starfleet is the Norway class, designed and put into rapid production after the first Borg attack on Earth. While so far not produced in large numbers, the performance of the Norway-class during the Chaos War has prompted Starfleet to seriously consider putting priority on this class, as soon as Starfleet shipbuilding capacities reach pre-war levels again, even if the Norway is not as well suited to science and exploration missions than many other Cruisers.
Frigates are designed for a narrower set of missions than Cruisers and are generally smaller, but a few Heavy Frigate classes are actually larger than some (especially Light-) Cruisers. While many Frigates are designed for more military missions (like patrol, interdiction, or system defense), any mid-size vessel designed for a narrow range of mission profiles that does not fall into any other classification is usually designated a Frigate by Starfleet.
The basic Frigates (FR) used by Starfleet are the Freedom and New Orleans classes; the former optimized for colonization support and evacuation (with large cargo bays and a large number of shuttles), the latter optimized for interdiction and patrol.
Heavy Frigates (FH) pack a serious punch, being at least as combat worthy as many Cruisers. The two Heavy Frigate classes in use are the El Dorado and Steamrunner. Like the Norway-class the Steamrunner-class is a new design, conceived in light of the Borg threat of the late 2360s and is only fielded in small numbers so far. Ships of the more prolific El Dorado class, while designed to support system defenses, have seen more and more action along the Cardassian and Romulan fronts in recent months, often anchoring wings of smaller ships like Light Cruisers and Escorts.
Springfield-class Light Frigates (FL) are designed for patrol duties in sectors with low to medium levels of activity. In many ways they resemble Light Cruisers, but place less emphasis on science systems. The second type of Light Frigate in common use by Starfleet, the Santa Fe-class, is designed for short-term missions of interdiction and patrol and forms the backbone of many system-defense forces in sectors with low to medium levels of activity. Unlike the Springfield-class, Santa Fe-class ships are not designed to operate independent from starbases or planetary bases for longer than a few weeks at a time.
Escorts are intended to provide protection for transports, cargo convoys, and in some cases larger Starfleet vessels. Smaller than Cruisers or Frigates, they trade some speed (as their charges are usually not very fast anyway) for relatively heavy armaments and maneuverability.
Light Escorts (EL) are built with slightly different tasks in mind, which include support for planetary landing craft during times of conflict, escort for troop transports (which are usually more maneuverable than the transports and cargo ships standard Escorts guard). They trade some of their armaments for speed and better sensors. The most common Light Escort in Starfleet is the Merced-class.
The Defiant is so far the only ship produced by Starfleet to be classified as a Heavy Escort (EH), the only reason for the classification being that Starfleet was (and still is) reluctant to call her a Fast Battleship.
There are proposals to upgrade the Merced-class with the latest advances in warp drive technology and reclassify her as a Fast Escort (EF). While the Merced is nearing the end of its design life, such a ship could serve well as a transport for Starfleet’s Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) - fast and maneuverable enough to get an RRT team in and out of a trouble spot without using the resources of a Cruiser or Frigate. So far the issue has not been decided and debate continues.
Scouts were originally designed to go into an unexplored sector, take a quick survey, and get out before they could get into trouble. As Starfleet technology advanced, many of the traditional scouting missions have been taken over by larger vessels. Still a place remains in Starfleet for Scouts. They remain well suited for light exploration and reconnaissance. In addition many scouts have been reassigned to system surveys and planetary exploration in sectors with light activity.
The Rigel-class of Heavy Scouts (SH) remains a common sight along the frontier of the Federation, serving both in its traditional role as scouts and as reconnaissance craft for larger formations of Cruisers and Frigates. In the case of the Rigel “Heavy” denotes more an ability to stay longer in the field than other Scouts, than heavier armaments.
The standard Scout (SS) of Starfleet is the Hokule’a, a ship commissioned in the 2340s, shortly before the Cardassian wars. Designed for short-term scouting missions out of Starbases and other frontier installations, it is slowly being replaced by the Nova-class, which takes advantage of the latest developments in sensor technology and features better shields and weapons than the Hokule’a. Barring any unforeseen developments Starfleet expects to phase the Hokule’a out off active service within the next ten years, either selling them to science institutes or to allied powers as system patrol craft.
Many of the other ships of Starfleet fall into narrow categories that are too numerous to discuss in any detail. Among them are the Olympic and Geneva class Medical ships (MD), Deneva-class Cargo Carriers (TC), Sydney-class Transports (TT), and Aeneas-class Armored Transports (TTA). Other specialized designs are Surveyors like the Korolev-class Deep Space Surveyor (SVD), Oberth-class Planetary Surveyors (SVP), and the Aeries-class Surveyor (SV).
Together with Couriers (SC), Tankers (TA), Tenders (TN), Tugs (TG), and Runabouts (RU), these specialized vessels account for nearly twenty percent of the ships currently in active Starfleet service.
|The size of Starfleet|
As you can see from my map of the Federation and surrounding space, I am assuming that the Federation is far smaller than some canonical sources suggest. If the Federation includes about 300 sectors (each 20x20x20 light years) a Starfleet of tens of thousands of ships makes little sense, at least not to me. The battle of Wolf 359 against the Borg would have been fought by at least a hundred Starfleet ships, the "hero ship" (be it the Enterprise, Defiant or Valkyrie) would never be the only ship in the sector, and so on.
So the Starfleet of the "Valkyrie universe" is far smaller than many others you will find in fan fiction. Now here are the actual numbers:
PRE CHAOS WAR
Before the Chaos War there were about 2,000 ships in Starfleet organized in 23 fleets - an average of 87 ships per fleet, with the actual number of ships in a fleet reaching from 50 to 110. (There are more ships than that available to Starfleet, but they have narrow mission profiles, e.g. colonization support or starbase construction. Here we will just talk about the ships that "get the work done" each and every day.)
Of those 2,000 ships 20% were specialized designs, like tugs, tankers or hospital ships (to name just a few). That left 1,600 ship to do Starfleet's major jobs of defense, patrol and exploration.
Of those ships 400 were assigned to static positions either for planetary defense or starbase support (most of them frigates or older cruiser classes like the Miranda and Constellation). Another 150 ships patrolled the borders of the Federation, many of them assigned to the Romulan neutral zone or the Cardassian border.
The remaining ships (1,050) would be the ones roaming the galaxy on missions ranging from exploration and anti-piracy patrols to first-contact missions and planetary surveys. Assuming they are spread across 250 sectors that's an average of 4.2 ships per sector - which means that the nearest ship could be a day or a week away, depending on flight speeds. I think that fits many situations we have seen on-screen pretty well, and still allows Starfleet to rapidly assemble a fleet of 40 or 50 ships as seen at Wolf 359 or during the second Borg attack on Earth (as seen in "First Contact").
(The number of 250 sectors is based on a Federation with 300 sectors, 100 of them well covered by ships assigned to border patrol or static positions. That leaves 200 sectors, but Starfleet is constantly exploring new worlds and boldly going where no one has gone before, which adds another 50 sectors.)
POST CHAOS WAR
During the Chaos War 700 Starfleet ships were either destroyed or damaged beyond repair, i.e. Starfleet has 1,300 ships left. Assuming that the numbers above still apply (20% specialized ships, static assignments, number of ships on border patrol) the average number of ships per sector drops from 4.2 to 1.96, i.e. 490 ships spread across 250 sectors.
Even if Starfleet stopped all exploration efforts those 490 ships would still have to cover some 200 sectors (an average of 2.45 ships per sector). And since at least some ships taken off exploration duty would be added to the border-patrol forces, an average of 2 ships in many sectors would still be true.
Actually the Chaos War would have taken a heavier toll on the frontline ships (cruisers, frigates, escorts), so the actual number would be even lower (there would be a higher percentage of specialized ships left), but the picture is pretty clear: Starfleet is spread pretty thin.
|Tultrak-class light courier|
A class of light courier about the size of a Runabout, first commissioned in 2360. The Tultrak-class (named for an otter-like aquatic mammal native to Bolarus IX) is the smallest class of couriers in use by Starfleet.
While primarily intended for use on smaller colonies and starbases, Tultrak-class ships have become a common sight in all parts of the Federation as many ships of this class are in use with Federation government departments or assigned to Federation diplomats as personal transports.
As this ship-class is only lightly armed with a few Type II phaser arrays it needs to rely on shields and speed to escape from dangerous situations.
A Tultrak can achieve a maximum sustainable speed of warp 9.2 and is equipped with an enhanced FSQ-2 shield grid that can withstand even a close-range attack by a Klingon B'rel-class Bird of Prey for some time.
team of the Valkyrie used a Tultrak-class courier (assigned to the Akadon outpost)
during their mission to L-351. A few weeks later another Tultrak, the USS
Hawk, was assigned to the Valkyrie as an auxiliary craft. (Get a look at the
dedication plaque of the USS Hawk here.)
A deckplan of the Tultrak-class is now available.
SPECIFICATIONS (BASIC CONFIGURATION)
Overall Length: 22.1 meters
Overall Beam: 13.1 meters
Overall Draft: 4.7 meters
Displacement: 152.6 metric tons
Crew Complement: 1 person (pilot) plus additional complement as
Cruising: Warp Factor 6
Maximum: Warp Factor 9.8
Reset-Onset Critical Momentum: 7.03 sec
Onset Critical Momentum-Warp Engage: 0.67 sec
Warp 1-Warp 4: 1.14 sec
Warp 4-Warp 6: 0.98 sec
Warp 6-Warp 9.8: 4.48 sec
Standard Mission: 3 weeks
Recommended Yard Overhaul: 16 months
Warp: (2) LF-35 Advanced Linear Warp Drive Units
Impulse: (2) FIE-3 Subatomic Unified Energy Impulse Units
5 Type II Collimated Phaser Arrays
Primary Computer System: M-15 Isolinear III Processor
Primary Navigation System: RAV/ISHAK Mod 3 Warp Celestial
Deflctor Systems: Uprated FSQ-2 Primary Force Field and Deflector
Control System with enhanced shield emitters