This is a sneak peak of something from a Star Trek story I’m working on purely for my own enjoyment. It isn’t quite fan fiction, as the story will feature an all new crew of Starfleet officers and familiar characters from the first five Star Trek series will only be shown in occasional cameo roles. The story will be set in the Prime Universe as opposed to J.J. Abrams’ rebooted alternate, and I hope to post it here. The story will take place in 2382, after the film Star Trek Nemesis, and will use elements of the backstory for the MMO Star Trek Online in the setting.
To give you a taste of the kind of storytelling I’m hoping to bring to bear, here’s a small sample: a look at the starship featured in the story, U.S.S. Columbia Rediviva.
Commissioned during the Dominion War, U.S.S. Columbia Rediviva was the final Excelsior-class starship constructed at Starfleet’s historic San Francisco Fleet Yards in Earth orbit. She would serve as one of Starfleet’s principal warships throughout the Dominion War and after, until Starfleet Command ordered her decommissioning in late 2382.
U.S.S. Columbia Rediviva
Type: Advanced Heavy Cruiser
Owner: United Federation of Planets
Shipyard: San Francisco Fleet Yards
Status: Retirement Imminent (2382)
Commanding Officer: Fleet Captain D. Samuel “Dodger” Garrison
“And ne’er shall the sons of Columbia be slaves, while the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.”
~ Robert Treat Paine
Originally named Valentina Tereshkova in honor of the first human female in space, the ship was initially constructed to serve as a development environment for Starfleet engineers to see how newer technologies would work in older starships prior to retrofitting. After the Dominion War began, the ship was retrofitted for combat, renamed Columbia Rediviva – in honor both the 18th century sailing vessel and the original U.S.S. Columbia, the flagship of Vice Admiral Hayes‘ personal fleet that was lost during the Battle of Sector 001 – and pressed into service. After the war, Columbia Rediviva was assigned to patrol the Federation-Klingon border, with Deep Space Station K-7 as its operational headquarters.
After the Dominion War, Starfleet Command hoped to resume its primary purpose “to boldly go where no one has gone before”. On Stardate 58839.03 near the end of 2381, Starfleet took the first step toward returning to peaceful exploration with the construction of U.S.S. Stargazer NCC-2893-A, the first of the new Stargazer-class meant to replace numerous vessels that had been destroyed during the Dominion War. As the year 2382 dawned, Starfleet Command wanted to make another grand gesture that would symbolize the end of Starfleet’s era of militarization that began after the Borg attack at Wolf 359. As the Excelsior-class – the backbone of Starfleet’s exploration fleet since the 2280s – had served as Starfleet’s principal warship during the Dominion War, Starfleet Command felt that retiring the fleet’s existing Excelsior-class ships would be an excellent way to symbolize the “beating of swords into plowshares” at the beginning of what they hoped would be a new era of peace between the United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire. As the last of the original Excelsior-class starships to be commissioned, Columbia Rediviva would be the first Excelsior-class vessel to be retired. A gala retirement ceremony had been planned on Earth, which would follow a lengthy “parade route” patrol from Deep Space Station K-7 to Earth. Columbia Rediviva would make brief celebratory stops at all the Starfleet and Klingon starbases along the Federation-Klingon border before returning to the San Francisco Fleet Yards for final decommissioning, after which she would either be prepared for display at a museum or disassembled and scrapped.
One member of Starfleet Command – Rear Admiral Kathryn Janeway – believed the retirement of the Excelsior-class to be a grave mistake (though her motivation might have been caused by nostalgia, as her first assignment after graduating from Starfleet Academy was U.S.S. Al-Batani, an Excelsior-class exploration vessel). Janeway believed the Excelsior-class still had much to offer, and that retiring the backbone of the fleet without enough vessels to replace all of them immediately was tactically unwise, as the Romulan Star Empire had been thrown into a state of civil war after the recent demise of its leader, Praetor Shinzon of Remus. She fought Starfleet Command’s retirement of the Excelsior-class and managed one small victory.
Columbia Rediviva would be given one final assignment, a secret peacekeeping mission at an area of space known as the “Briar Patch” (or Klach D’Kel Brakt to the Klingons) in Sector 441 near the Federation-Klingon border. If Columbia Rediviva’s mission was successful, the Excelsior-class would be saved from the scrapheap. Of course, if Columbia Rediviva failed, the class’ planned retirement would be the least of Starfleet’s worries…
- Stardate 47987.5 (2370) – U.S.S. Odyssey is destroyed by Jem’Hadar warships while attempting to asses the threat posed by recent Dominion activity in the Gamma Quadrant [DS9: “The Jem’Hadar”].
- Stardate 48003.6 (2371) – Construction of U.S.S. Valentina Tereshkova completed at San Francisco Fleet Yards in Earth orbit. Instead of assigning the starship to standard exploratory or patrol duties, Vice Admiral Leyton of Starfleet Command – eager to develop new offensive and defensive technologies to combat the threats posed by the Borg and the Dominion – orders the vessel permanently docked at the Fleet Yards to use as a development environment for testing the compatibility of prototype hardware and software with the systems of older Starfleet vessels. The techniques used aboard Valentina Tereshkova would later be employed aboard starships such as U.S.S. Lakota.
- Stardate 50493.5 (2373) – The Battle of Sector 001: a Borg cube invades Federation space and destroys the colony at Ivor Prime. Vice Admiral Hayes assembles a small defensive fleet at the Typhon sector – including U.S.S. Bozeman, U.S.S. Defiant and U.S.S. Columbia, Hayes’ flagship – to intercept the cube. Admiral Hayes’ fleet battles the cube from there to Sector 001 (the Sol system), taking heavy losses throughout the three hour engagement. In violation of her orders to stay out of the fight, U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E arrives to assist. By then, a large portion of the fleet – including Columbia – had been destroyed. Enterprise takes command of the fleet and the Borg cube is successfully destroyed.
[Stardate is conjecture, based on references to the film Star Trek: First Contact made in the Deep Space Nine episode “In Purgatory’s Shadow”, which occurs immediately before the episode “By Inferno’s Light” dated “Stardate 50564.2”. First Contact was given the date of “Stardate 50893.5”, which contradicts “In Purgatory’s Shadow”, “By Inferno’s Light” and all episodes of Deep Space Nine and Voyager immediately proceeding them. The last episode of Deep Space Nine prior to First Contact held the stardate 50416.2, The stardate for First Contactshould logically be redacted to “Stardate 50493.5” instead of the stardate given in the film.]
- Stardate 50564.2 – The Dominion invades the Alpha Quadrant. The Cardassion Union soon joins the Dominion, granting them an early foothold in the quadrant. Eager for a fight, Klingon Chancellor Gowron reinstates the Khitomer Accords [DS9: “By Inferno’s Light”].
- Stardate 50678.9 – In preparation for future conflict against the Dominion, Valentina Tereshkova is refitted for advanced combat and her spaceframe is made space-worthy. The ship is renamed Columbia Rediviva in honor of U.S.S. Columbia and the various ships who bore the name before her. The majority of the original Columbia‘s former senior staff transfer to or accept assignment aboard Columbia Rediviva, including Captain Samuel Garrison. Columbia Rediviva is assigned to one of the Second Fleet‘s cruiser wings as a carrier and is given a squadron of Peregrine-class attack fighters.
- Stardate 50975.2 – The Dominion War begins with the Dominion takeover of Bajor sector and the Federation space station Deep Space 9 immediately after the Second Battle of Deep Space 9. Prior to their evacuation, Deep Space 9′s senior staff lays self-replicating mines along the space in between Deep Space 9 and the Bajoran Wormhole, blocking the Dominion forces in the Alpha Quadrant from their only access to their near-limitless resources in the Gamma Quadrant. Meanwhile, a small joint Starfleet-Klingon task force comprised of several ships from the Second Fleet, including Columbia Rediviva, destroy the Cardassian-Dominion shipyards at Torros III [DS9: “Call to Arms”].
- Stardate 51034.7 (2374) – By this time, three months of non-stop fighting have reduced the Second Fleet to a third of its size. Much of the fleet is assigned to defend key areas of the Federation, specifically the Sol system. As Dominion attacks increase near the borders of the Vulcan system, Columbia Rediviva is transferred to the Fifth Fleet. In recognition of his tactical skill, Captain Garrison is made one of the fleet commander’s tactical advisors.
[Stardate is conjecture. The Deep Space Nine episode "Rocks and Shoals" occurs on “Stardate 51096.2”; by then, the Fifth Fleet was only a third of its previous size, and Starfleet Command was reluctant to use it in "Favor the Bold"because, as the episode indicated, it was being used as one of Earth's primary defensive fleets.]
- Stardate 51247.3 – The Fifth Fleet is ordered to pull back from fighting along the Vulcan border and rendezvous at Starbase 375 to participate in Operation Return, a military operation using a combined fleet of Klingon and Starfleet vessels from the Second, Fifth and Ninth fleets to retake Deep Space 9. Columbia Rediviva is assigned to lead one of the cruiser wings under the command of Captain Benjamin Sisko. During the roughest portion of the fighting, ship-to-ship combat degenerated into near-chaos and inter-ship coordination was nigh impossible. Though the operation was launched before the fleet was fully prepared, Deep Space 9 was successfully retaken thanks to the timely intervention of Klingon forces and the assistance of the Bajoran Prophets. Thanks to the skill of her officers and the tactical prowess of Captain Garrison, Columbia Rediviva was one of the few Excelsior-class vessels to survive the intense combat and continue attacking Dominion forces with dogged persistence while successfully coordinating tactics between the other vessels in her cruiser wing after Dominion forces had jammed all inter-ship communication channels. For his use of superior tactics during the battle, Captain Garrison was awarded the Starfleet Medal of Honor.
[Stardate is conjecture. No stardates are given during the Deep Space Nine episodes featuring Operation Return, namely "Favor the Bold" and "Sacrifice of Angels". The episode proceeding them both - "You Are Cordially Invited"- bears the stardate 51247.5 and occurs exactly one week after Operation Return. The stardate for Operation Return was extrapolated from that date.]
- Stardate 51247.5 – After one week of shore leave for her crew, Columbia Rediviva is ordered back to the border of the Vulcan system.
- Stardate 51702.4 – Dominion forces invade and occupy Betazed. This puts them in a strategic position to attack several other Federation member worlds, including Alpha Centauri, Andor and Vulcan. The Fifth Fleet is put on high alert and round-the-clock combat drills are conducted to increase combat readiness.
[Stardate is conjecture. The Deep Space Nine episode "In the Pale Moonlight" occurs one week later on Stardate 51721.3.]
- Stardate 51721.3 – The Romulan Star Empire declares war on the Dominion and joins forces with the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire [DS9: “In the Pale Moonlight”].
- Stardate 51784.1 – The Dominion attempt to establish a supply line from Betazed to the Argolis Cluster in preparation for a future attack on Vulcan. The Fifth Fleet, based at the 40 Eridani A Starfleet Construction Yards in the Vulcan system, mobilized to prevent the Dominion from completing their supply line.
[Stardate is conjecture. No stardate is given during the episode these events are mentioned in - "The Reckoning" - so a stardate was extrapolated from the next episode, "Valiant", Stardate 51825.4.]
- Stardate 51843.4 – Operation Foe Hammer, a secret joint Federation-Klingon-Romulan mission to destroy a Jem Ha’dar breeding facility that Starfleet codenamed “Facility T4″, which was constructed on an asteroid near the Huxley Nebula in Cardassian space. While the facility was destroyed, the mission was considered a dramatic failure. The Romulan Senate nearly opted to end their alliance with the Federation and the Klingons unless a joint Federation-Klingon-Romulan force could be victorious in battle against the Dominion. Thus, leaders from all three sides met to make plans for what would eventually become the First Battle of Chin’toka.
- Stardate 51895.3 – The Fifth Fleet is assigned to assist the successful joint Federation-Klingon-Romulan offensive against the Chin’toka system.
[Stardate is conjecture. No stardate was given for the invasion of the Chin'toka system during the episode "Tears of the Prophets", so the stardate was extrapolated from the episode "Shadows and Symbols", which occurs three months later.]
- Stardate 52698.1 (2375) – The Breen announce their alliance with the Dominion by attacking Starfleet Headquarters in San Fransisco on Earth.
[Stardate is conjecture. The Battle of Cardassia, the penultimate battle of the Dominion War, took place a short time after "The Dogs of War" on Stardate 52861.3. The Second Battle of Chin'tokaoccurred two months prior to the Battle of Cardassia, and the attack on San Fransisco occurred prior to that.]
- Stardate 52684.3 – Dominion forces retake the Chin’toka system with the aid of the Breen during the Second Battle of Chin’toka. All Allied vessels are lost save one Klingon Bird-of-Prey: the IKS Ki’tang, whose engineer had made a chance modification that made it impervious to Breen energy dampening weapons. All Klingon vessels in the Allied forces made the same modifications. Unfortunately, the Starfleet and Romulan vessels were unable to modify their vessels in the same manner. The Klingon Defense Force was put on the frontlines of the war while all Romulan and Starfleet ships were assigned to support or defensive roles. In response, the Fifth Fleet was reassigned to border defence in the Vulcan system.
[Stardate is conjecture.]
- Stardate 52895.1 – With the aid of Cardassian rebels groundside, Federation, Klingon and Romulan forces successfully invade Cardassia, capture the Female Changeling and liberate the planet. Nine days later, the Treaty of Bajor brings the Dominion War to an end. The senior officers of Columbia Rediviva, who displayed “exceptional tactics and skill” during the invasion (according to Vice Admiral William J. Ross), were each awarded the Starfleet Decoration for Gallantry for their actions during the Battle of Cardassia.
[Stardate is conjecture. The episode featuring the Battle of Cardassia, "What You Leave Behind", does not list a stardate for these events. The episode preceeding "What You Leave Behind" – "The Dogs of War" – is dated Stardate 52861.3. The stardate for the Battle of Cardassia was extrapolated from that data.]
- Stardate 52943.2 – Columbia Rediviva is retained as a patrol vessel for the 40 Eridani A Starfleet Construction Yards, as as the entire Vulcan system.
- Stardate 56867.4 (2379) – After the death of Praetor Shinzon during the Battle in the Bassen Rift, Captain William Riker of the U.S.S. Titan is given command of monitoring all activity along the Romulan Neutral Zone. One of the vessels assigned to his task force of available patrol ships is U.S.S. Columbia Rediviva.
[Stardate is conjecture, based on the date given in Star Trek Nemesis, Stardate 56844.9.]
- Stardate 58954.7 (2381) – Some time after the USS Stargazer-A is commissioned, Starfleet Command considers decommissioning the Excelsior-class, using the decommissioning to symbolize the end of the era of warfare and the beginning of a new era of exploration and discovery. Columbia Rediviva, the final Excelsior-class starship constructed at San Fransisco Fleet Yards, is ordered to standby for decommissioning.
- Stardate 59132.4 (2382) - Prior to official decommissioning, Columbia Rediviva is ordered undertake one final mission by Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway: track down ███████████ before ████████████████████████████████████ [INFORMATION REDACTED BY STARFLEET INTELLIGENCE].
More To Come…