The refitted U.S.S. Gauntlet (1st of Gauntlet class) has been virtually gutted and rebuilt. The ship no longer resembles the old explorer it once was, hence the change in designation. Starfleet Corp. of Engineers, in reaction to a mandate from Starfleet Command who were very worried about a possible near-future invasion of Earth, set up a cloaked research base in the Badlands. This base retained most of the construction crew on either the R&D teams or as vessel construction workers, thereby further ensuring the security of the facility. Many of the researchers sent to the base, designated Deep Space 101, were considered to be the foremost Federation minds in their fields. A large number of genetically enhanced humans were also drafted to aid the project. DS 101’s mandate was to create technologies and weapons to aid the flagging Federation war effort. To bolster the hand of Starfleet, and help turn back the tide of Dominion victory by any means necessary, many crazy ideas that would normally be dismissed out of hand were accepted as the norm at the new facility, and as news from the front line worsened, corners were inevitably cut and sacrifices of conscience made. The NX-908764 was pieced together in the enormous main hangar of the facility and transported into high orbit, where the gutted hulk of the starship awaited its re-birth.
Many systems incorporated into the ship were more or less untested in anything but computer simulation or the barest of live trials.
The plasma stream weapon is but one example of the desperation of the construction of this vessel. Channeling ‘live’ warp plasma directly from the secondary MARA, the weapon ‘fires’ a thick stream of superheated gas, constricted by forcefields. The turret is capable of traversing the barrel of what is essentially a giant plasma cutter to fire fore, aft, port, starboard, and even directly upwards. The weapon is as yet untested and unfired in the real world. Many holo-simulations have been run, but time constraints had forced the weapon to be installed somewhat hurriedly. The dual MARA’s are mostly in support of this weapon, but also represent a built-in redundancy.
The engineering section has a MARA at either end of main engineering, and is accessed from the side. This being a break from the norm for Federation ships, which is accessing main engineering from an entrance opposite the single MARA.
The ablative armor, quantum torpedos and pulse phasers are all tried and tested technology, having been incorporated into several ship designs and many re-fits already.
The slipstream drive is based on work that has been progressing in other hidden facilities throughout the Federation, and is dangerous at best. Another untested technology, even the engineers who installed it are unsure whether using it will tear the ship apart and spread the collective molecules of the Gauntlet and her crew over a distance of hundreds of light-years.
The phase cloak has been in development by Starfleet Intelligence for many more years than they care to freely admit. It is a little ahead of similar cloaking systems recovered from Romulan ships, partially because of the input from such captured equipment during the development process.
The rest of the ship has, as previously stated, been rebuilt from the ground up. The entire hull has been significantly strengthened to stand up to sustained battle situations. The main and emergency bridges are two of the most heavily armored places on the entire ship. Coupled with the significant addition of shipwide ablative armour and the latest in shield systems, the Gauntlet should present a formidable target to enemy vessels.
The high number of officers aboard is mainly due to the dorsal weapons pod being used as a through deck carrier. It is an old adage that fighter pilots have to be given some rank as without it they can’t order ground crew about.
The Gauntlet however, does follow the practice of having the emergency bridge fully staffed at all times, requiring a higher than normal compliment of skilled officers aboard.
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