Truth OR Myth? BETA – The Crossfield Class, Early Design History

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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 imagination to fill in the gaps.  In today’s episode, we are looking at the Crossfield Class of Starfleet Starships, to better understand its place in the Star Trek Beta Universe.

Because this IS a Beta Canon video, all information re-laid should pretty much be taken with a grain of stardust, and only considered a little bit of Star Trek Fun!  Also, this article is not an excuse for anyone to come on to this channel “Guns-a-Blazing” in hate.  We do not tolerate this type of behaviour on our website or associated channels… So be polite and be respectful of others with your opinions and you will not have a problem.  After all, respect for others is one of the considerable fundamentals of the show we ALL cherish so much… 

Anyhow, with all that out of the way, let us begin.

U.S.S. Discovery
(CBS) U.S.S. Discovery

With the success of the Constitution Class, Starfleet Command began turning its attention to the future of starship designs.  And one design, in particular, the Crossfield Class, would be such a departure from traditional designs, that many in Starfleet’s Command council would dismiss this starship class right out of hand, but after being repurposed, and with war breaking out with the Klingon Empire, the Crossfield Class itself would end up holding all the hopes of Starfleet Command and the United Federation of Planets for both organizations’ survival, and the class, would NOT disappoint…

By the early 2250s, the Constitution Class had proven itself time and time again out in Deep Space. Everyone, throughout the Federation, was toting this class as the Jewel in Starfleet’s Crown.  Never had a class been so elegant, so functional, so beautiful, that it was capturing the Hearts and Minds of ALL the Member Worlds. Starfleet’s Corps of Design Engineers were too immensely proud of what they had accomplished, having created a design so forward in thinking, that they believed no other design ever would match the Constitution Class.

Starfleet Command, however, was looking to the future of their Star Fleet. For all its proven accomplishments, there was one problem that Starfleet wanted to solve, that of the Constitution Class Scientific Systems. You see, in the interest of keeping an elegant aesthetic, many scientific systems had to be left out of the Constitution Class design.  Equally, as Important as the classes scientific systems, were that of its defensive systems, as Deep Space was full of unknowns, and dangerous situations.

So, although the Constitution Class was fairly stacked as a scientific vessel, it was not perfect.  Meaning that any real discoveries of scientific note, required a dedicated science vessel to head after the Constitution Class starship had completed its surveys in the area, and thus, the problem with this arrangement had become clear to Starfleet, as most of their current dedicated science vessels, were light on defensive systems, or had the technology, that was completely out of date with what Starfleet was currently using.

U.S.S. Enterprise - "Star Trek: Discovery - Such Sweet Sorrow"
(CBS) U.S.S. Enterprise – “Star Trek: Discovery – Such Sweet Sorrow”

So, Starfleet Command assembled a team to create a new class to overtake that of the Constitution Class as a dedicated science vessel, having every possible scientific facility at its disposal, but also a design which would have teeth is a powerful hybrid of sorts. With the Constitution Class as a starting point, Team Crossfield began discussing the options to make Starfleet’s Request a reality.

This starship design would require far more internal space to achieve its goal.  And so, the team began playing with different dimension for the design.  Doing things like increasing the saucer section would have been an easy way to gain the space they needed, however, after increasing its size including its height, the design was found to look quite bulky and unattractive, completely sidestepping another directive by Command about the design, that it should appear elegant but also imposing.  The larger saucer design simply looked ugly and sluggish.

So back to the drawing board, Team Crossfield began experimenting with the Secondary Hull, creating different versions to attach to the regular saucer currently employed by the Constitution Class. Again though, the increased cylindrical shape of the secondary hull looked horrible and could simply never be big enough to achieve the team’s goals anyhow.

So exceedingly early in the planning stage, Team Crossfield realized that they had to create an entirely new design for Starfleet. Wanting to keep the Saucer Section/ Secondary Hull configuration that had served the Constitution Class so well, Team Crossfield would design an entirely new, angular yet boxy shaped secondary Hull to attach to the saucer.

The Crossfield Class Had A Triangular Shaped Secondary Hull
(CBS) The Crossfield Class Had A Triangular Shaped Secondary Hull

The increased internal volume from this design alone allowed not only for all the most advanced Scientific and Defensive Systems to be incorporated in the design but also for many advanced Recreational facilities to keep their crews at optimal efficiency.

Though the design was a radical departure from Starfleet current aesthetic, Starfleet Command was amenable to the idea of the Crossfield Class but decided to temporarily put the design on hold, much to the dismay of the design team. Unbeknownst to Team Crossfield, a pair of young Starfleet Scientists named Paul Stamets and Straal, had presented a project that they had been working on since 2244, the Displacement Activated Spore Drive Hub.

Known as the Spore drive for short, the 2 young geniuses believed they may have discovered an entirely new way to travel the stars using what was known as the Mycelial Network. Based on the insight that at a quantum level, there was no difference between biology or physics, the Spore Drive would use building blocks of energy across the universe to almost jump to any point instantaneously within the Galaxy. Starfleet was so impressed by the young men and their research, that they quickly agreed to commission a project to see how viable the Spore Drive would be.  Asking what the men would need to make their dream a reality, the 2 Scientists gave Starfleet Command their list of requirements which boiled down to a starship that would have to modify in extremely specific ways to allow for Spore Travel.

Eager to get the project underway, Starfleet Command would set up a meeting between Stamets, Straal and several of its design teams for the men to choose the best starship design for their project.  And eventually, the Crossfield Class would win out. The basic design for the Crossfield Class was virtually perfect for what Stamets and Straal had in mind, and after discussions with Team Crossfield about the project it was clear that after minor changes to the Class, it would be a perfect fit.

Crossfield Class Ventral Aft View
(CBS) Crossfield Class Ventral Aft View

So, 2 months later, construction began on the modified Crossfield Class and 3 Starships began simultaneous construction. The first, the U.S.S. Crossfield, was based on the original Crossfield design for testing and shakedown should the Spore Drive project prove a failure. The other 2 ships, the U.S.S. Discovery and the U.S.S. Glenn would each be constructed as the modified version of the class.

Paul Stamets would be posted to the Discovery, while Strall would be posted to the Glenn.  This was done for several reasons, but the main reason was Starfleet’s belief that separating the 2 geniuses limiting their conversation on the project, might result in a faster breakthrough for the project as although they had had this Spore Drive theory for almost a decade, they had YET together, to make the ultimate breakthrough on the project.  So, Starfleet felt a little competition, might produce faster results. Also, the project itself, highly classified, was of major importance to Starfleet.

Starfleet Command was aware of how a successful Spore Drive would change the nature of exploration and defence for the federation practically overnight.  So, to have both scientists on 1 ship was a liability, as no one in Starfleet understood the project as these 2 men did. Both starships were launched in mid-2256, and with the outbreak of war between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire, Starfleet Command increased the pressure on the 2 scientists to make the Drive work, along with co-opting the research for military applications, much to the dismay of both Stamets and Straal.

Nevertheless, both scientists were committed to the project, as overall, the Spore Drive could save many lives, not only an open exploration of the Galaxy to new heights. If a colony, Starbase or Starship came under attack, a fleet of other starships could rendezvous with the said facility in a matter of seconds, and this advantage could not be underestimated.

(CBS) The Key To Making The Spore Drive Working Was Tardigrade DNA

Of the 2 scientists, it seemed that Straal was making the most advances, getting the U.S.S. Glenn, jumping, the term for the use of the Spore Drive, 90 light-years and back, however, soon after, the crew of the Glenn hit a Hawking radiation firewall while exiting the Mycelial Plane, causing the death of its entire crew. Coming to the aid of her sister ship, the team sent over to the U.S.S. Glenn by the U.S.S. Discovery was able to retrieve many modified Spare Drive components, along with a creature that resembled an Earth Tardigrade.  And then Gabrielle Lorca, Captain of the Discover, ordered the Glenn destroyed, as he said, to prevent it from falling into Klingon hands.

Eventually, Paul Stamets was able to recreate the technology that allowed the Glenn to Jump, and the crew of Discovery realized that the Tardigrade was the key to making the whole drive work, as it was somehow connected to the Mycelial Network, so it could function as the starships Navigational System. The ethnicity of using another species, possibly an intelligent one, at that time was the furthest from Starfleet’s mind as they had all Outposts, Starbase and Facilities actively searching for more Tardigrades to use in a new fleet of Spore drive equipped Starships they intended to construct.

After several successful long-range jumps, it became clear that the Tardigrade simply could not handle the process, and that being forced in to being the starships Navigational System was killing the life form, and so, against Starfleet and Federation Regulations, Stamets would undergo Genetic Manipulation to allow himself to be the navigational officer, freeing the Tardigrade to head back out into the universe to whatever Space Tardigrades do. Because of the War, Starfleet overlooked Stamets infraction of the Genetic Manipulation law, and after the war, immediately ceased all production of the Spore Drive until a non-human interface could be created to operate the drive safely, a project they left in Stamets’s hands.

(CBS) Stamets In The Spore Cube

Unfortunately, in 2257, the U.S.S. Discovery was reported destroyed in a battle with an armada of hostile Starfleet Starships.  And with the Destruction of the Ship, and the death of Stamets, so too did the Spore Drive Project die as no one else in Starfleet could make heads or tails of the Drive itself, prompting Starfleet to bury the entire matter, to avoid possible scandal over the Genetic manipulation Stamets had undertaken to get the drive working in the first place.

Unfortunately, in 2257, the U.S.S. Discovery was reported destroyed in a battle with an armada of hostile Starfleet Starships.  And with the Destruction of the Ship, and the death of Stamets, so too did the Spore Drive Project die as no one else in Starfleet could make heads or tails of the Drive itself, prompting Starfleet to bury the entire matter, to avoid possible scandal over the Genetic manipulation Stamets had undertaken to get the drive working in the first place.

Though Starfleet Command did construct another Modified Crossfield Class starship, trying one last time to get the project to work, by 2260, they would pull the starship back to space dock, and refit it more standard technology. And 10 other Crossfield Class starships, in the original design would be constructed as well.  And although a solid design, the Original Crossfield class would end up going nowhere, being a generally forgotten design, especially after the Constitution Class Refit made its debut.

Nevertheless, the importance of the Crossfield Class, cannot be ignored, as single-handedly, the U.S.S. Discovery, using its Displacement Activated Spore Hub Drive, was able to stop the war with the Klingon Empire and save the United Federation of Planets from certain defeat.  Earning this Class, its place, In Starfleet History…

Thank you for watching today’s episode of Truth or Myth Beta Canon, what do you think of the Crossfield Class?  Do you like the story for it that I have laid out here?  Well leave your comments in the section below and do not forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel.

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Thanks again for watching, Live long and prosper…

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