Hello and welcome to another episode of Truth OR Myth Beta Canon, a Star Trek web series that dives into the history of any given topic using Beta Canon sources and my own imagination to fill in the gaps. In today’s episode, we’re taking a look at the Ambassador Class of Starfleet Starships, where Ill endeavour to create a cogent narrative to explain how this Class of Starship came to exist.
Because this IS a Beta Canon video, all information relaid should pretty much be taken with a grain of stardust, and only considered a little bit of Star Trek Fun! And so, with all that out of the way, let us begin…
In an attempt to keep the faith of the Federations Member Worlds, Starfleet Command would create an entirely new Class of Starship, the Ambassador Class, which would end up leading to one of the biggest failures and darkest chapters in Starfleet’s history…
The citizens of the United Federation of Planets were devastated. The Enterprise C, the flagship of the Federation was lost with all hands while attempting to defend the Klingon Colony at Narendra 3, by the Romulan Star Empire, in the aftermath of the battle, the Federation would decide to set up an inquiry into the whole matter in an attempt to satisfy the outrage felt through out the Federation. Though really intending the Inquiry as a merely political move, the Federation Council would be shocked to discover many flaws within the Ambassador Class itself, which could have lead directly to Enterprise’s destruction.
When launched in 2335, the U.S.S. Ambassador was hailed as a triumph in both form and function. And the Federation Council would use the Ambassador Class as Public Relations gold, to reaffirm member worlds faith in the exploratory and peacekeeping nature of Starfleet Command.
The Federation News Service would give updated reports daily on the shakedown and performance of the ship, and the Federation Public was enthralled by the Class. The glowing performance of the Ambassador leads many to theorize that the Ambassador Class would quickly render the bulk of Starfleet’s Star Fleet Obsolete, and lead the way in a brand new series of exploratory and expansion missions. But unfortunately, the entire shakedown narrative that was being seen throughout the Federation, was a lie.
Over its long history, Starfleet and the Federation seemed to constantly be at odds with each other. And one of the big points of contention was that of starship designs. Starfleet loved to continually divert resources to new starship designs and experiments, which is all well and good, except that many of these designs would end up as a failure for Starfleet, and for it’s part the Federation Council would chastise Starfleet, oftentimes withholding needed resources from Starfleet until it got it’s Starship Design house back in order.
When presented with Project Ambassador back in 2331, the Federation Council was impressed. As presented the Ambassador Class would-be leaders of an entirely new fleet of Starfleet Starships to replace the ageing Excelsior Class, and the Federation Council was quite pleased, according to the information provided by Starfleet, the Ambassador Class would be at least twice as powerful overall, over the Excelsior Class.
She would boast an entirely new weapons array which included Phaser Emitter Strips, which themselves were believed to have a 75% increase in Phaser Power over Starfleet’s current Phaser Emitter System, an entirely new Shield Emitter System had also been designed which would allow shields to last twice as long as those of the Excelsior Class in any potential fire fight. In terms of Speed, the Ambassador Class would utilize the latest breakthrough in warp technology to reach speeds of Warp 9 and above on the new Warp Scale instituted by Starfleet after the failed Transwarp Experiment.
Due to the size of the Ambassador Class, she would also include all the latest in scientific equipment and laboratories. Effectively allowing the Ambassador Class to function as a Pseudo Starbase out in deep space, and due to Starfleet venturing further and further out into Deep Space, this point alone, truly resonated with the Federation Council, and they approved the project.
What the Federation Council was not told, however, was that several problems for the class had not been worked out, the main one being, the computer systems for the class. Up to this point in Starfleet History, all starship utilized an upgraded version of the Duotronic Computer Systems. The Duotronic Computer Core had been a revolution in Computer Engineering created by Dr Richard Daystrom back in 2243, but it did have its limits… And these limits were wreaking havoc for the Ambassador Class.
Due to the complex nature of all the New Ambassador Class systems, Starfleet’s current computer cores were just simply not up to the task of keeping the Classes systems up and running, that meant that Starfleet required an entirely new Computer Core and Operating Systems to be included in the class, but redesigning the core was proving far more difficult then Starfleet has intended. Put simply, the Duotronic Computer Core had finally reached it’s an absolute limit in operating power, though Starfleet didn’t really know this at the time.
The new Computer Core designed and installed in the class was believed to have solved all the issues, but once the Shakedown had begun, almost immediately it was clear that core was a complete failure as only half the systems onboard the starship could be functioning at full capacity at once before the core began to be bogged down and overloaded. This was something intolerable to Starfleet, and they knew that the Federation Council would be extremely upset by this turn of events. And so the Admiralty made the conscious decision to send the Federation Council false reports on the success of the class, while Starfleet itself attempted to correct the problem.
In order to keep up the facade, Starfleet also put the Class in to full production after the Ambassadors Shakedown Cruise, beginning Hull Construction on 11 other starships of the Class.
Scrambling in every attempt to solve the Computer Core Problem, Starfleet turned to the Daystrom Institute for a solution and were surprised to find that the Institute had been working on an entirely new Computer Core based on what they called Isoliner Technology. Like the Duotronic Systems before, Isolinear technology would be an extreme increase in processing power over it’s aged Duotronic counterpart, which in theory, could solve all the Ambassador Classes problems. But given only a small mock-up of the new core had been made at the time, it would still be a big gamble for Starfleet Command, however, with their back against the wall, needing a solution to the Ambassador Class Problem, Starfleet would commission a prototype of the Isolinear Core and it’s systems to be constructed, but once again, there was a problem.
In order to function as intended, the Isolinear Core would require most of the Duotronic Computer Systems and Interfaces to be replaced. But all the new components onboard the Class were based on Duotronic Computer Systems, and so it was not simply a case of swapping one core for another, but replacing or modifying every single system onboard the class, which itself would be a major undertaking. But with construction continuing on the 11 other starships of the class, Starfleet quickly realized that if they didn’t begin launching vessels soon, the Federation Council would start to get suspicious.
Luckily for Starfleet, fate would once again intervene for them.
In 2336, the U.S.S. Enterprise B, under the command of Captain John Harriman, was finishing it’s final deep space exploration assignment, expanding the frontiers of the Federation in the Alpha Quadrant. And the Enterprise B would make a disastrous first contact with a Galactic Power known as the Cardassian Union.
Though already known to exist by the Federation, up to this point in history, very few Starfleet Vessels had actually encountered any Cardassian Vessels in Space. Original First Contact with the Union had gone fairly well, even leading to the exchange of basic cultural ideas and media. Though shortly after the first contact, the Cardassian Union would close its borders and cease all interaction with the Federation, cause unknown.
Through a series of unexpected events, the Enterprise B would encounter a small task force of Cardassian Starships in Federation space and would be forced to battle that starships, being extremely damaged in the process, but ultimately successful in preventing an incursion by the Union and the occupation of Several federation colonies along the perceived border this new player on the galactic stage. And thanks to this event, the Federation Council would put Starfleet on the alert, ordering them to divert all it’s construction resources to the construction of Border Patrol Vessels in case diplomacy failed and the Federation found itself at war with the Union.
Although originally thought to be a major threat to the Federation, after a series of Border Skirmishes, Starfleet and the Federation would come to see the Union as more of an annoyance than an actual threat, similar to how they have perceived the Romulan and Klingon Empires baked in the 2260s. But for now, this diverted attention to the Union would allow Starfleet the time it required to secretly update the Ambassador and it’s technology to conform to the specifications and requirements of the new Isolinear Technology, and by 2338, the U.S.S. Ambassador was once again ready for a shakedown cruise.
But would the Ambassador Class finally live up to expectations of Starfleet Command and the United Federation of Planets?
Well tune in Next week, Same Trek Time, Same Trek Channel to find out…
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