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A Flagship Battle

In 2293 a group of El Aurian refugees were caught up in the Nexus, an energy field which passed through our galaxy periodically. The inside of the Nexus was a trans-dimensional realm whose physical characteristics were shaped by the thoughts of the inhabitants into a perfect fantasy world. One of the El Aurians, Soran, became fanatically committed to returning to the Nexus. Soran spent decades researching the anomaly. Since every ship which approached was either destroyed or badly damaged, he decided that simply flying into the field in a ship was too risky. He resolved instead to alter the course of the Nexus to bring it near to a planet where he could wait for it.1

Unfortunately, the only way to alter the course of the Nexus was to significantly alter gravitational fields on an interstellar basis. Soran developed a trilithium-based weapon capable of destroying an entire star; by timing the destruction of several stars carefully, he would be able to alter the course of the Nexus at will. Despite interference from the Romulans and the subsequent involvement of the Enterprise-D, Soran successfully used the Amargosa observatory as a launching platform for his probe and destroyed the Amargosa star before escaping on a Klingon Bird of Prey commanded by the renegades Lursa and B'Etor, along with his prisoner Lieutenant Commander LaForge.1

Captain Picard was able to deduce Soran's plan and intercept his vessel at the Veridian system, which was next in line for destruction. Picard agreed a deal with the Duras sisters in which he would be allowed to exchange himself for LaForge on the condition that they allowed him to meet with Soran. Picard attempted to prevent Soran from launching his next probe, but was unable to do so.1

In orbit, meanwhile, the Duras sisters were using a device planted in LaForge's VISOR system to spy on the Enterprise-D. They were able to determine the modulation frequency of the shields and so penetrate them with both torpedoes and disrupters. With the navigational deflector crippled with the first shot and the port nacelle taking a hit soon afterwards, the Enterprise was unable to escape the uneven battle. The ship took dozens of hits, incurring extensive damage.1

Commander Riker was able to exploit a known weakness in the Klingon ship's phase coils - an element of the cloaking device - to force it to drop shields, then destroy it with a photon torpedo. Unfortunately the Enterprise-D had taken too much damage to the warp core, and the engineering hull had to be abandoned. The core breached, destroying the engineering hull completely, and throwing the saucer section into the atmosphere of Veridian III.1

The capability to perform a controlled re-entry and crash landing had been one of the original design goals of the Galaxy class, but the designers had never been certain that this would be possible in practice.2 In the event, Counsellor Troi was able to guide the saucer to a relatively smooth crash landing and the crew suffered virtually no casualties. Unfortunately the saucer section and the entire crew of the Enterprise-D were killed when the Veridian system was destroyed by Soran's probe.1

In the Nexus, Captain Picard was able to force himself to abandon his own personal fantasy universe and return to Veridian III shortly before the probe was launched. With the help of Captain Kirk, who had been in the Nexus since the original encounter with the El Aurians, Picard was this time able to destroy Soran's launcher, killing the scientist and preventing the destruction of the Veridian system.1

Unfortunately, the altered timeline did not prevent the loss of the engineering hull and crash landing of the saucer section of the Enterprise-D - not knowing that the Enterprise had been in battle, Captain Picard had no motivation to try and save the ship by travelling back further and in any case he doubtless wanted to minimise changes to the timeline. The saucer section was judged to be unsalvageable and had to be abandoned on Veridian III when the crew were rescued a short time later.1

With the flagship of the fleet lost, Starfleet decided to continue the tradition established by previous ships and commissioned the Enterprise-E shortly afterwards.3


Yellow text = Canon source Green text = Backstage source Cyan text = Novel White text = DITL speculation

References
# Series Season Source Comment
1 Star Trek : Generations
2 Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual
3 Star Trek : First Contact
Source: Star Trek : Generations
Source: Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual
Source: Star Trek : First Contact


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 5,686 Last updated : 23 Dec 2004