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Matter/Antimatter powered warp drive
Hull Polarisation System
The NX-class starship was a type of starship that was created and operated under the command and control of United Earth’s Starfleet. In the mid-22nd century, this was Humanity’s most advanced class of ship and has revolutionised space exploration for Humanity, an accomplishment not recorded since Zefram Cochrane’s historical warp-flight in 2063.
Ships of this class are considered the pride of Earth’s Starfleet with the lead ship, Enterprise (NX-01), being launched in 2151. Each ship of the NX-class is named after the space shuttle orbiters from the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
Exploration and Science
Being the first deep explorer, the NX-class was outfitted with the latest technology on offer to Humanity. Every single device and piece of technology had been designed and built by humankind. The ship itself contains a range of laboratories, allowing the crew to conduct a range of experiments. Although these labs are small in comparison to ones that can be found planetside, each and every one of them is designed to serve its function and purpose.
The ship is also outfitted with a range of probes that can be launched from any of its torpedo tubes, allowing for further scans and analysis to take place when the ship’s sensors require further assistance.
Originally the very thought of how much diplomatic interaction the class would be dealing with was limited during the conceptual designs. Very little was put into helping the ship in hosting large events. The ship’s mess hall was often the central location if these events took place, but the ship did have a handful of small guest quarters.
The singular conference room, which could sometimes double up as a space for the crew to lead mission briefings, could be used to host a small delegation.
The famous warp five engine was the key component to the success of the NX-class. The large propulsion device, that sat horizontally in the centre of main engineering, was the main power source of the class.
A singular computer core was housed in almost the middle point of the ship and was three decks high. In 2151, it was deemed the most powerful computer ever created.
The NX-class ship was the first Earth ship to be designed to house a transporter. The teleportation device was designated safe to be used by living matter, including people. However a majority of the team it was used for moving cargo and resources between the ship.
Though many argued for the ship to be well armed before it was built, the original design for the NX-class had it outfitted with pulse plasma cannons, spatial torpedo launchers and slots for three phase cannons (two forward, one aft). However this had changed significantly by 2153, where the design was significantly upgraded for the ship to be able to fire photonic torpedoes and house more phase cannons, including pulse-based. Eventually by 2156, the plasma cannons and spatial torpedo launchers were removed from the design.
Defending the ship was a simple polarized hull plating that could withstand some direct hits from enemy fire. Again, like the ship’s weapons array, this was improved dramatically allowing the design to remain longer in combat.
Though not a piece of the tactical systems, the grapplers would be used for the ship when it needed to tow something; however some NX-class captains were known to use the device during combat to rip apart an enemy’s hull.
In 2155, it became standard for all NX-class ships to have a dedicated area assigned for its MACO detachment unit. This included additional armoury areas, a briefing room, a few training rooms along with a huge area known as the MACO Barracks.
Though designed for long term exploration, the actual comforts of the NX-class are limited somewhat. Crew quarters are small and the majority of the crew, unless they were a senior officer, would share with at least one other person. In most cases up to four crew members could end up sharing a cabin together.
The ship had an area designated for recreational use, this included a gym, a mess hall (with attached galley and captain’s private dining room) and a games room. The games room included snooker and pool tables, an air hockey table, a dart board, tables for card games as well as a small bar area. Individual captains sometimes added further furniture, like sofas and armchairs.
Sickbay, though small in the main area, had one recovery ward nearby allowing the ship to deal with mass trauma if required.
Another feature of this era was the use of the decon chamber. This room was used when an alien pathogen/virus was detected on a crewmember on their return to the ship from an away mission. From here the ship’s doctor can ensure the safety of the rest of the crew while people are treated.
The conception of the NX-class started in the late 2110s as a joint project between United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA) and Starfleet. The NX-Project (also known as the NX-Program) was assigned to research, develop and construct Earth’s first manned deep space exploration missions. This naval experimental project employed a number of Earth’s top scientists, researchers, engineers and other experts to fulfil its aims.
A critical area of development included the ability for Earth ships to pass the warp two speed barrier and achieve speeds of up to warp five. This would be a totally new engine design compared to the warp drives that were being used by Humanity that were used at low speeds. For years many Earth ships were unable to surpass this limitation and they did not receive any assistance from their Vulcan allies. Resolved to do the hard work themselves, the UESPA and Starfleet jointly sponsored Doctor Zefram Cochrane, the Human inventor of warp drive, to begin developing a new warp engine that would go faster than anything seen before. Not only had Cochrane suffered a lack of support from the Vulcans, but due to the loss of a few other survey ships because of technical issues with their warp engines, he was determined to see this new engine succeed. The project began at the compound where he constructed his own warp ship, the Phoenix. The Warp Five Complex in Bozeman, Montana was officially opened in 2119 by Doctor Cochrane, where he was supported by noted scientists such as Doctors Henry Archer and Kotaro Tasaki. The project dealt with some hitches in its early days with the disappearance of Doctor Cochrane only a year into its formation. Doctor Henry Archer would take over as Director and Lead Scientist on the project in Cochrane’s absence. Under Archer’s leadership, they began to make a number of successes which pleased many in the UESPA and Starfleet. Unfortunately, the project was dealt with another setback in its leadership as Archer had to step aside a few years later due to ill health, this was followed by his unexpected death in 2124. The Warp Five Engine had become his ‘baby’, with a majority of its design being of his own. Archer was succeeded by Tasaki, who would go on to complete his work and produced the first prototype of the engine for the UESPA and Starfleet to test.
Starfleet soon went on to become the lead agency for Earth’s interstellar matters, the UESPA would go on to support Starfleet primarily with its exploration mission. As a result of this, by the 2140s, the two organisations began test flights for the warp five engine. The first trials attempted to exceed the warp two barrier with the new engine design. With a few complications and mishaps at first, these early flights would ultimately break the barrier. The engine was proven to work and went on to produce excellent results at higher warp speeds.
While work was being developed on the engine, designs for the new deep ship were finished. Starfleet had been experimenting with a range of ideas and eventually picked one they felt would meet the mission parameters. Unlike other classes of ship, this one was never named but carried the legacy of the NX Project by being designated the NX-class ship. That said, Cochrane, before his disappearance, had made one request that the first ship to be built with the new engine was to be named Enterprise. The reasons behind this request were never discovered, however some people close to the scientist stated that he wanted it to be named after a ship whose crew had helped him with his first warp flight. This reason was shrugged off by many as being fictitious, especially as he had claimed during a commencement speech at Princeton University, that “history has a funny habit of recording only what it wants to remember, and sometimes forgets what really happened” when he launched the Phoenix. He had shared that a group of Humans had defeated cybernetic creatures from the future who tried to stop his first warp flight when he was living in Montana. Cochrane was renowned for his imaginative stories. He was also known to be frequently intoxicated. As a result, the official reason for his request to name the first ship Enterprise was down to the idea that the first NX-class ships should take their names after shuttle crafts from Earth’s history. The prototype for the first ever shuttle conceived was Enterprise, Starfleet liked the idea (and name) and went ahead with it.
Before any of the ships had been built, Starfleet had requested for a brand-new set of dry-docks and facilities to be built in Earth orbit to support the new additions to the fleet. The United Earth Government agreed, subsequently the San Francisco Yards and Earth Station McKinley were picked with the former being chosen to create the first space-dock. This dock had been dubbed the Warp Five Complex by some as it had additional facilities to support the research centre in Bozeman and would be the location of where the Enterprise would be built. Eventually, Starfleet assembled additional orbital yards – including a repair one named the Obama Facility (named in honour of early 21st century US President Barack Obama). Starfleet later extended the building contract for the NX-class to the Proxima Shipyards in the Alpha Centauri system. It was hoped that having other facilities beyond the Sol system would expedite construction of the newest explorers.
On April 12th, 2151, Enterprise (NX-01) was launched from drydock and served Starfleet with pride. Over time the class would receive numerous upgrades and refits based on what the Enterprise crew had learnt out in deep-space. Even though the ship was originally designed for exploration, one thing the crew learnt was how aggressive some races were. Consequently, Fleet Admiral Moira Hathaway (the Starfleet Commander-in-Chief) ordered Starfleet Research and Development to work with Starfleet Tactical to increase Starfleet’s technological achievements with defence and weapon-based systems. Initially, these orders were criticised however after the Xindi attack on Earth in 2153 Hathaway’s plans to increase the size of their fleet and her “toughen up” approach for it were praised by many in the media.
The Starfleet Command Council had originally issued for six NX-class starships to be built. The plan had been for these ships to lead with exploring new areas of space and then other survey and scout like ships would follow on afterwards. As a result, a bulk of the ships for this arm of Starfleet’s exploration division shared similar designs with the NX-class, this included the NV-class and NY-class.
Construction on the second ship (Columbia) had started before 2152 ended, the next three ships (Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis) quickly followed at the start of the next year. The last one (Endeavour) began later in 2153. Due to the amount of resources needed to build the NX-class ships, construction on the last four ships was not completed until mid to late 2155. However when the war with the Romulan Star Empire was declared, Starfleet ordered for an additional four more ships to be built. This included the Buran (NX-07), Phoenix (NX-08), the Pathfinder (NX-09) and the Ptichka (NX-10).
While the first six ships were being built, the engineers and designers continued to learn lessons to improve on the class of ship. As a result, Starfleet designers had started on further work on the proven design to ensure its longevity through a major refit that would be planned for the class before 2157.
- The NX-class is seen as one of the most reliable ships as Earth ventured out into deep space. There are only a few of these ships around and by 2157, most of them (besides the Enterprise and the last four to be built) were upgraded to Columbia-class specifications.
- NX-class crews are highly trained and are seen as the best of the best from Starfleet. Their captains are experienced officers in their own fields of expertises, be it pilots, scientists, tacticians or engineers. At some point or another, those leading on these ships may have served as part of the NX project earlier on in their career. In very rare circumstances did Starfleet Command appoint someone from outside of the project into the centre chair.
- This class often served as flagships during fleet actions.