Pathfinder Class Science Vessel
Long Range Science Vessel
751,910 metric tonnes
4 Type-8 Shuttlecraft
1 VAR-8/B Aeroshuttle
Regenerative Shields, Ablative Armour
13 Type-XII Phaser Arrays
4 Variable-Payload Torpedo Launchers
1 D'Shalla Ind. Class 12/5 M/ARC Warp Core 2 HeliosCorp 32-b Hyper Impulse Engines 4 PolyDyn EM-Wave RCS Thrusters 1 Rigel Labs X06 Quantum Slipstream Field Projector [inactive]
Warp 9.985 (48 hours)
20 DYN-90 Multi-Band Linear Sensor Suites 14 Omniwave Passive Sensor Matrices 2 EvianTech Mk. III Lateral Sensor Arrays
1 Heimdall Ind. PF04/A Resonating Deflector Array
The U.S.S. Attar is a Pathfinder Class ship, serving in the role of Long-Range Science Vessel.
Initially commissioned as part of the first tranche of Pathfinder units in 2410, construction of the Attar was subsequently halted by the war with the Iconians, which prompted Starfleet to focus on more tactical-oriented classes, including the recently-designed Avenger and Arbiter classes. With the end of the war, however, works resumed, as part of the on-going effort by Starfleet of replacing its older ships with newer, more advanced, vessels, while strongly renewing its mandate for exploration at the same time. In this sense, the Pathfinder class was one of the most suitable projects and, as such, the Attar was rapidly completed at the beginning of 2416. Still, the ship remained in drydock for few other months, for a complete upgrade of its systems to the most advanced Starfleet standards.
At first, the ship was going to be assigned to Captain T. Endermann, of the U.S.S. Na'el. However, his recent promotion to the rank of Commodore, and subsequent transfer to Starfleet Command, left the Attar without a captain, and a crew. When the first contact between units of the 38th Fleet and Species 2492 resulted in the complete destruction of the former, Starfleet, under suggestion of Commodore Endermann, decided to assign the Attar to the 38th, in an attempt to replace its losses and to give it a more advanced tool for pursuing a resolution of the conflict with the new species and for exploring a dangerous environment. The choice fell on replacing the U.S.S. Ananke, an aged Excelsior Class, commanded by Endermann's former XO, Andrej A. Timoreev. The Ananke was recalled to Earth, where the transfer was subsequently announced to Captain Timoreev.
The Attar arrived (after his new captain) at Deep Space 13 at the beginning of Octorber 2416, ready to take her place in the fleet roster, and as flagship of the Libra Squadron. In the next months, the ship took part in a number of armed confrontations, particularly against the organization known as Sacred Band and that led by the mysterious Branded Lady, reporting some damage. In one occasion, in particular, the Attar was rammed by an hostile vessel, resulting in the loss of thirteen crewmembers and extrensive damages to part of her secondary hull.
After the necessary repairs, the ship kept its role among those spearheading the search & rescue efforts for the survivors of the U.S.S. Gainsborough, previously destroyed by Species 2492. With the reorganization of the 38th Fleet undertaken by Vice Admiral Krhvn, Libra Squadron was disbanded, and the Attar transferred to Gemini Squadron, however keeping the role of squadron flagship.
Name and Motto:
The name of th U.S.S. Attar derives from Farid Ud-Din Attar, a mystical poet who lived in medieval Persia during the twelth century. The motto of the ship is, indeed, a verse from his celebrated poem The Conference of the Birds: it is taken from the parable of Sheikh Bayazid who, one night, walking alone in the desert outside a city, looking at the sky is suddenly overwhelmed by the immensity of "God's palace", i.e. the creation, and its apparent emptiness.
Work on a design to replace the aging Intrepid class began in the first years of the XXV century. Starfleet Corps of Engineers were assigned the task of designing a ship with a similar mission profile as the Intrepid, but implementing cutting-edge technology. With tensions with the Klingon Empire quickly mounting toward full escalation, the design process was dominated by concerns about survivability, firepower, and versatility. The intrinsic value of the Intrepid class as a multi-purpose vessel had been already abudantly demonstrated by the service history of the U.S.S. Voyager in the Delta Quadrant, and the ships of the same class serving during the Dominion War, thus people at the Advanced Starship Design Bureau (to which the project was subsequently assigned) focused on improving those elements they believed could better serve Starfleet in the new, dangerous, political environment of the 2400s. When war finally broke out, however, the new design was still in the first stages of development, and needs for more combat-oriented vessels soon led to it falling in the ASDB priority list.
After the end of the war, the discovery of the Jenolan Dyson Sphere aroused new interests in the exploration of the Delta Quadrant. The occasion couldn't have been better for resuming the project. With the official designation of Pathfinder, the design was widely reviewed, and the ASDB began implementing the technologies and tools developed for it on the U.S.S. Voyager, under supervision of Admiral Tuvok.
After testing proved successful, the admiral authorized the ASDB and Starfleet Corps of Engineers to proceed with the production of the first prototype of the new Pathfinder Class. Hull was laid down in 2410 and completed after a few months, with the U.S.S. Pathfinder departing on her maiden cruise immediately after, and assigned to the exploration and charting of the outskirts of the Jenolan Sphere.
The new ship proved to be extremely reliable and versatile, being able to serve in both the roles of medium-range explorer and diplomatic envoy, a fundamental advantage in the peculiar environment of the Delta Quadrant.
However, war against the Iconians soon brought the project to a new, drastic, alt in favour of new designs for cruisers and battlecruisers, better able to withstand the defence of the Alpha Quadrant against the new attackers in what was soon to become a desperate struggle for survival. At least four of the six ships of the class initially built were destroyed during the war.
When the ashes fell to the ground, and the war was suddenly over, Starfleet once again re-oriented its focus toward exploration, reconstruction, and consolidation. The Pathfinder Class was deemed to be a valid tool for these goals, and thus construction resumed with a second and third batches being built between 2416 and 2418.
Being developed as a successor to the Intrepid Class, it was to be expected that the new design would borrow most of its elements from its predecessor. However, subsequent reviews and changes to the project soon led to a more radical departure from the original scheme. As a result, for example, the Pathfinder Class shares with the Intrepid a variant of the variable geometry warp nacelles, but with a different structure. The internal layout was kept almost intact, but the ship systems were completely redesigned.
The most pressing concern of Starfleet engineers and designers was that the Pathfinder, despite the similar mission profile, was to be more medium and long-range exploration oriented than the Intrepid, while also being able to enhance its predecessor's capability in supporting Federation diplomatic activities. The first of these issues was handled with a thourough approach: the main deflector dish and related systems were radically re-designed, greatly improving its capabilities; at the same time, the secondary deflector (already present on the Intrepid) was enlarged and enhanced as well, now extending through a third of the saucer section, and with a number of directly-related systems and laboratories located immediately behind, in the space left between it and the bridge, this way increasing both the overall output and energy efficiency issues. All laboratories on board are directly linked with the ship sensors, and completely redesigned. The sensors themselves were meant to be the most advanced in Starfleet at the time of launch: an impressive mix of omniwave passive matrices implemented all along the hull, two main sensor arrays located in the small aft 'wings' of the saucer section, and at least twenty multi-band linear sensor suites, ensured that the Pathfinder had astounding exploration capabilities.
The multi-purpose role of the design was handled differently, on a less radical, but equally efficient, way: improved VIP quarters and diplomatic facilities, and a slightly enlarged shuttle hangar were the pillars of such a focus. Also, two spaces were carved in the aft section of the secondary hull: here, small modules could be added to the ship, depending on the assignment, enhancing critical capabilities when needed. Examples include equipment storage for a MACO detachment, or extra-storage and rooms for medical emergencies.
In order to ensure that long-range assignments would not take too much of a toll on the crew, recreational facilities and living quarters were equally improved, and the Pathfinder spots some of the best holodecks (both on deck 15, as in the previous Intrepid design) in the fleet and a larger aft lounge between the two warp nacelles, also serving as observation deck and with the interesting addendum of a lounge bar.
Increased warp speed and a better energy management were deemed to be instrumental for a vessel designed to be as self-sufficient as possible while assigned to exploring uncharted regions of space or performing diplomatic and mediation duties, when speed could be of the essence to quickly reach an hotspot or a conflict zone. The ASDB began experimenting with a variant of the 47B M/ARC warp core, producted by Yoyodine Industries (the same core that would be later used extensively on the second batch of Odyssey class cruisers): however, the tests soon showed that adaptation to the Pathfinder systems was unfeasible, with the possibility of a catastrophic failure. After a thourough reconsideration, then, the ASDB acquired from the D'Shalla Industries the newest of their warp drive designs, labelled as No. 12, adapting it for the Pathfinder requirements. A whole month of tests allowed the engineers to re-design the nacelles in order to better receive and manage the output of the new warp core. At the end, the Pathfinder class could sustain a maximum warp factor of 9, with the possibility to push it to 9.985 continuously for 48 hours before serious system failures and dilithium depletion would show up. This result was obtained also through a careful analysis of the hull behavior at warp speed: thus, the peculiar shape of the saucer section, and the presence of two small 'wings' in its aft area, were both designed to decrease the subspace resistance offered by the hull at the highest speeds, and consequently the overall stress it has to sustain.
The scientific and exploratory capabilities of the Pathfinder were also kept in mind when the engineers approached the design of the impulse drive: though a first series of tests for a new hyper drive proved unsuccessful, the ASDB Propulsion Laboratory, in collaboration with HeliosCorp, finally developed a new, more powerful, and energy efficient, engine, labelled 32-b. Their main goal was to give the Pathfinder an edge when maneuvering at sublight speeds to better position itself for taking full advantage of its sensor arrays, while also avoiding dangerous anomalies or other hazards which may present themselves. Thus, the focus was more on overall power output, efficiency, and resilience, than speed.
Defensive systems and weapons were designed keeping in mind the main roles of the Pathfinder: implementing a total of thirteen Type-XII phaser arrays and four variable-payload launchers, the design showed a good level of firepower, though obviously lacking the impressive ability to punch as showed by its most combat-oriented colleagues.
Regenerative shielding, and ablative hull armor also ensured high survivability in dangerous situations, where reinforcements could either be not available or too distant to intervene immediately.
The Attar obviously shares almost everything with her sister ships of the same class. Like them, the ship deploys a powerful secondary deflector up in the saucer section, together with two modular mission bays, variable geometry pylons and a deployable aeroshuttle.
The ship also hosts a number of dedicated science labs, all equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, while both the main computer and the auxiliary are optimized for storing and processing a massive quantity of scientific data of all kinds.
However, the Attar also spots few interesting differences from the other vessels of her class, thanks to her being launched years later.
First of all, the warp core has been replaced with an updated version of the Class 12, with improved power output and efficiency and enhanced resistance to power drains. The new version, still produced by D'Shalla Industries, is labelled 12/5.
The internal layout of the ship has also been partially reorganized, with the aim of hosting more labs dedicated to exobiology, xenoanthropology, archaeology, and xenolinguistics, without sacrificing much of the other fields of research; the main conference room has also been updated, while two spaces near cargo bays have been carved out as special accomodations, to be adapted on ad hoc basis for those alien species with living requirements radically different from humanoids.
These choices were adopted particularly after Starfleet received the first reports from Deep Space 13 concerning the most recent discoveries made by units of the 38th Fleet in the unexplored regions of space around the station: from them, it looked imperative to send a vessel more capable in accomplishing first contact assignments and xenological analysis of all kinds.
Those analysis, however, would be far more difficult without the true pride of the Attar: the ship's sensor suite has been, indeed, updated to the utmost level. In particular, lateral sensors saw an extensive overhaul, resulting in enhanced detection capability; the same process was lately applied also to the passive sensor matrices, which are now capable of detecting the most minimal subspace variations.