From: Nova Class Starship Technical Manual
APPENDIX E – AUTHOR’S NOTES
Since its debut on Star Trek Voyager, the Nova Class starship has been a fan favorite, both in fan stories and in Star Trek role playing and tactical games. She is a small, tough little ship that can hold her own in a firefight with superior foes — provided of course, “the right man is at the helm.” Her strengths are in her highly-accurate sensors and top-secret Intelligence equipment; weaknesses are of course in her slow speed—max of Warp 8—and a small warp core. If used creatively, her equipment can be lethal in combat.
Some technical changes were made to this manuscript as per information culled from the Star Trek Technical Manual, the Core Rulebook of Last Unicorn Games’ Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game, and other sources, such as Star Trek: The Magazine and the video game Star Trek: Invasion, and logical conjecture, as well as active roleplaying. (For example, burning out the RCS thruster quads to pursue an enemy vessel when both warp drive and impulse were down.) Thus, this manuscript has been completely rewritten.
The Nova Class Deck Plans, originally published by Strategic Designs, had a number of problems. Too much of the habitable volume of the ship was taken up by bulky equipment (what really blew my mind is why the designer chose to waste valuable space by putting a second subspace transmission unit on Deck One, when there was clearly another one directly behind the main sensors on Deck Five!) There were only three science labs, including the astrometrics lab on Deck 7, which is far too few for a science vessel. Vital compartments, such as medical stores, the CMO office, the holodecks, and even the turbolift car repair bay, are missing entirely. Finally, there weren’t nearly enough berths to account for a crew of 80 persons. The original designer explained this as having three bunk beds on top of each other, which I found to be completely illogical; for one thing, there wasn’t nearly enough space between floor and ceiling for this. For another, even the Defiant had only two bunks per cabin, and a Nova class is twice the size of that ship. Thus, I had to almost completely redesign every deck, shrinking bulky equipment down to a manageable size, so that I had more space for needed compartments. I stuffed equipment into the “gray” areas of the ship, especially on the half-height primary hull on Deck 5, that were originally left as empty space, and in-between the decks, where the Jefferies Tubes are located—which makes perfect sense. This is the 24th Century, Picard’s time, not Kirk’s—equipment would of necessity be shrunken down. Only the deflector shield generators and the SIF generator were kept the same size, although I supplemented the primary SIF with smaller auxiliary units all over the ship. I also found that the IDF generators were completely missing, so I included that, lest the crew end up as a molecular-thin paste on the rear bulkhead the first time the ship goes to warp.
I also deliberately added an arboretum laboratory, not just for crew relaxation, but because this is a planetary survey vessel, and logically, they would either beam up or force-grow some tree specimens in some soil on top of the deck. I also added an emergency transporter, a captain’s ready room, and even a small swimming pool (five meters long), and two holodecks (which would be holosuites on the Enterprise.) The reasons for this are obvious—the holodecks have far more uses than simply a recreation system. In a moment, they can be converted into additional labs, sickbays, or anything else required.
The more I rearranged “my” Nova Class ship, I realized I was thinking exactly as my Star Trek character would—and he was a Starfleet physician. With two permanent sickbays, two medical labs, a cargo bay that could be easily converted into a third sickbay for non-humanoid casualties, and even two holosuites to handle any emergency, the Twilight was clearly a medical research vessel. While she could still survey planets, Twilight was equipped to handle a medical crisis anywhere in the Federation—and that was what my character was all about—Harker was a Starfleet Intelligence agent who dealt with disabling biogenic weapons.
This ship has a primary energizer and warp nacelles small enough that it only reaches a maximum of Warp Factor 8, while other ships—even starfighters— can reach Warp 9. As the vessel’s primary missions are to conduct planetary and stellar surveys, speed is not an issue. Once in orbit, she is likely to remain there for six months to a full year, taking samples and conducting various surveys. If the planet is inhabited, this can take quite some time, especially with an indigenous pre-warp society on the planet. Duck-blind facilities are sometimes built, using holotechnology to mask them, while studying these developing, alien cultures. If the captain deems it appropriate, the ship can land on the planet, with the cloaking device in full operation, or, the external holographic projector simulating a hill instead of an alien ship. Specially-trained personnel can be surgically altered, in the event the captain decides social interaction is warranted, to learn more about the culture. In the event a foreign starfaring culture—such as the Romulans, for example—have sent agents to this world for any reason, the captain also has an option to send agents of his own, as Twilight is an Intelligence attached vessel.
This vessel does not use bio-neural gelpacks in its central processing computer system; the Nova Class is slightly older than an Intrepid class, which was the first vessel to carry the new system. However, the isolinear chip technology is nothing to sneeze at, either—it is more than adequate for the missions this type of vessel undertakes.
As it is a smaller vessel, like an Intrepid class, the Nova class is capable of making planetfall—i.e., landing on a planet surface. Two large anti-gravity generators are aboard for just that purpose, and the cut-away view of Equinox in Star Trek The Magazine, clearly shows the landing struts. To keep the vessel hidden from a pre-warp culture, this ship is equipped with a Federation cloaking device—the same one once installed on the U.S.S. Pegasus, in fact—authorized by the Romulan Empress herself, requesting Starfleet’s aid in rooting out certain of her political opponents. Admiral Uhura walked a razor’s edge with that mission, balancing her division and staff against the Prime Directive, but ultimately decided to help, as help had been requested directly by the head of the Romulan Government. The result was that 15 Starfleet vessels, all attached to Starfleet Intelligence, now have a permanent license to carry and operate cloaking devices. The Romulan Empress was also once the Romulan Commander that Ambassador Spock had once fallen in love with in the Original Series—and it was Spock who had suggested it to both the Empress and Starfleet Command. All of this was played out using Star Trek’s Role-playing game published by Last Unicorn Games.