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 NX Freedom Class, to better understand its place in Star Trek History.
Please note, though this class is featured in the Kelvin Timeline movies, this video is about its Prime Universe Counterpart. Also, I will be referring to this class as the NX Freedom Class, even though it truly is just known as the Freedom Class. I’ve done this to differentiate it from the 24th Century Freedom class. And as always, 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.
A small, but sturdy vessel class, the NX Freedom Class would be an important stepping stone to achieve Starfleet’s goal of a warp 5 capable starship. But what’s the story behind this amazing little starship class? Well today, we find out…
Starfleet wanted desperately to explore interstellar space and become a part of the greater galactic community just beyond Earths doorstep. To achieve these goals, Starfleet had begun to make plans for a completely exploratory vessel class. But before construction could begin on that class, Starfleet had decided that that vessel class must be equipped with a warp 5 engine.
The NX Intrepid Class had served Starfleet well, being the first vessel class to contain a warp 3 engine, and so now it was time to turn Starfleet’s best and brightest to task of breaking the warp 4 barrier. Heading back to the NX Intrepid Class plans, it was decided to simply upgrade the class to contain the components needed for a warp 4 engine system, but these plans were quickly changed when the design of the NX Intrepid Class proved unsuitable for a warp 4 Engine.
What Starfleet’s warp theorists had discovered was that as a starship increased in warp velocity, so to did the required power input to the warp coils. Something which of course made absolute sense. But what they didn’t realize until recently was that amount of power required was not a constant curve, meaning a Starship travelling at warp 4 would not require double the amount of power as a vessel travelling at warp 2. In fact, the power required to reach warp for would be almost 6 times as much power as to achieve warp 2. Also, the warp field required for a vessel to travel at warp 4, would have to be far more focused than that of a slower vessel.
This had the unintended side effect of the Nacelles producing a large amount of Delta Radiation. And due to the position of the Nacelles on the NX Intrepid Class, close to the hull itself, meant that any ship of that class travelling over warp 3 would immediately begin to be irradiated with Delta Radiation. And by the time that class hit warp 4, lethal levels of the radiation would have killed the entire crew of the ship.
This meant that Starfleet Command needed a new starship design to house the warp 4 engine, and thus the NX Freedom Class was born. Sitting at a length of approximately 138 meters and 3 decks tall, the NX Freedom Class was designed to be operated by a crew of 42 officers and crew members. Many new systems would be included in this class for testing for the future NX Class starship design. Several pulsed phase canons along with 2 spatial torpedo launchers would be included in the class. Also being testing was an upgraded version of the polarized hull plating system.
Starfleet would also use this class to test a new starship theory that Earth Psychologists had put forward to the organization. To maximize internal space usage and to allow the starship to feel less claustrophobic, the ship would employ an almost open concept design. With most of the starships various rooms combined into larger workspaces. Sickbay and scientific laboratories would be combined, while crew quarters would also be a bunk style facility combined with dining and entertainment areas. A brand new and quite large cargo transporter system would also be included in the design for testing, and by 2146 the USS Freedom was ready for its shakedown cruise.
Testing of its Thrusters, Impulse Drive, Defensive and Offensive systems had all gone well, with each of the systems outperforming their expected specifications. Heading beyond the Sol System, it was then that the NX Freedom Class would have its first issue. The Acceleration Curve to warp factor 3 had gone smoothly, but as soon as the Freedom hit warp 3.1, the starship began to shake violently. Believing it was simply an adjustment issue, the Warp 4 Engineering team began to change various settings hoping to solve the issue, but to no avail. For some, at the time, for an unknown reason, the Plasma Conduits for the Warp Core were running far hotter than intended, causing one of them to rupture killing 2 of the team junior members. And as a result, Starfleet was forced to call off the shakedown cruise, and the USS Freedom return to spacedock at low warp. It didn’t take long for Starfleet’s Warp Scientists to come up with a solution to the problem, which was to redesign the Plasma Conduits to compensate for the increased temperature of the Plasma.
And in 2147 the USS Freedom would once again make its way to the edge of the Sol System, ready to test its Warp 4 Engine once again. This time the Freedom was able to reach warp 3.5 before slight shaking began. And although the shaking increased as the starship made its way to Warp Factor 4, the Freedom did in fact manage to hit and maintain Warp factor 4, proving this new engine system a success. And so, after returning to Spacedock for a few more adjustments and component upgrades, the USS Freedom would officially be launched in mid-2147, to begin its exploration of nearby star systems, while Starfleet Command ordered 12 more starships of the class to be constructed.
The knowledge gained from the Freedom Classes Warp tests quickly accelerated the development of the Warp 5 Engine System which would be constructed and installed in Starfleet’s first true Exploration Starship Class the NX Class beginning in 2150. Starfleet would continue to build and upgrade the Freedom Class for almost 4 decades. One thing that would change with the class, however, was its internal configuration. Earth psychologists had been quite wrong about the open concept idea. While it did prove to make the vessel less claustrophobic, many of the crews assigned to the early open concept designed starship would complain of the lack of privacy. And this lack of privacy would lead directly to constant fighting among crew members aboard the ships. And so Starfleet would re-institute the separate quarter style designs and the onboard crew tensions would be greatly reduced.
During the Earth/ Romulan War, the NX Freedom Class would play a vital role in defending Earth’s assets as well as supplying Earths colonies and starships with the vital resources each required to maintain the war effort. The USS Franklin and Its Captain Balthazar Edison would even become heroes to the people of Earth, after winning several battles against enemy Romulan Ships. However, in 2164, the USS Franklin and her crew would vanish while on a mission to explore the Gagarin Radiation Belt. Speculation abounded about the ship’s disappearance, with theories ranging from it surrendering to the Romulans to being captured by a giant green hand.
It wasn’t until 2307 that the truth was finally discovered, when the USS Enterprise B, under the Command of Captain John Harriman discovered the wrecked starship on the surface of the planet Altamid. Investigating the wreck, and recovering its records, they discovered that while investigating the Gagarin Radiation belt, the Franklin had fallen into an unstable wormhole which in turn had led the starship to the Altamid System where the ship crashed on the planet’s surface. Only 3 crew members who survived the crash, including Edison, would attempt to send out a distress call to Starfleet, but due to Altamid’s distance never received a reply.
Exploring the planet, Edison would discover that the long since dead natives of the planet had created a superweapon that eventually destroyed them. And to keep this weapon from falling into the wrong hands, Edison decided to destroy it. Unfortunately, less than a month later, Edison and his team would be killed in a flash flood while exploring a lake region of the planet. Harriman was able to locate their bodies, and the entire Franklin crew was brought back to Earth for a heroes burial.
By 2185, the NX Freedom Class was beginning to show its age. And with much larger and technologically more advanced starships available to Starfleet, the organization begin to decommission the class and donate them to various colony defence forces through out the Federation. Though this starship class is not represented in the fleet museum, it is crystal clear to Federation Historians the direct impact this class had on Earth’s advancement to the stars. Earning the NX Freedom Class its rightful place in Starfleet History…
Thank you for watching today’s episode of Truth or Myth Beta Canon, what do you think of the NX Freedom Class, and the historical narrative I’ve created here. Would you like to see more videos like this one? Well leave your comments in the section below and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel.
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