A Speculative History of the Miranda Class

Preliminary musings

The first problem is that the very name Miranda for the class is a contradiction of SotSF. This book calls the U.S.S. Reliant an Avenger class, the U.S.S. Saratoga a Cyane class (with the wrong registry) and gives the registry of the U.S.S. Bozeman (NCC-1941) to the U.S.S. Bir Hakeim, a Knox class frigate.

Miranda was apparently the name given to the U.S.S. Reliant design by its creators but this didn't come to light until long after the Avenger designation had wormed its way into the consciousness of the fans.

Considering that the term Constitution class is now used to cover all variations on this design (Bonhomme Richard, Enterprise, etc.) it seems logical to assume that the term Miranda class also refers to the oldest existing variation on that design. So should we rename the U.S.S. Surya (NCC-1850) from SotSF U.S.S. Miranda? No. Why not? Because in "Unnatural Selection" (TNG) we were presented with the U.S.S. Lantree (NCC-1837) clearly a part of the Miranda family. The U.S.S. Rutherford (NCC-1835) and U.S.S. Alexandria (NCC-1842) from the Starfleet Academy computer game also fall into this category.

In fact I prefer to preserve the term Miranda for post-refit ships only (i.e. those with linear warp drives, etc.)

However, one Surya class was an upgrade from an earlier class of vessels. The U.S.S. Resolution NCC-1877 had begun life as a Detroyat class heavy destroyer with the registry NCC-1101. As it is only mentioned in passing in SotSF I feel no guilt whatsoever about tweaking things a bit.

Class origins

The U.S.S. Anton NCC-1225 was a light cruiser - first launched in the 2230s and intended to supplement the Constitution class heavy cruisers. (NB this just about works regardless of whether the Constitutions had already been in service for ten years, or were planned for launching in ten years time.) However they were found to be lacking in certain key respects, most notably they were incapable of operating away from base for extended periods of time. This rendered them nearly useless in an exploration role. (This back story of the Anton class cruiser is taken from FASA. The Anton is the class that was refitted to create the Reliant class. The design given by FASA sucks, but the story has potential.) As a consequence only six Antons were built, NCC-1225 to NCC-1229.

At this time increased Klingon military activity was causing Starfleet to re-evaluate ship building priorities. The Loknar class frigate was deemed to be too light to fill a main combat role and so plans were drawn up for a larger frigate. (The Loknar is another FASA design, this one is a great looking ship but is rather too small when compared to SotSF frigates. My invented story allows the two to co-exist happily, once the excessive numbers of Loknars listed by FASA are pruned.)

 [Side view of Surya class]

Two designs were worked on simultaneously, one was created by modifying one of the existing Anton class hulls (the U.S.S. Resolution, NCC-1226), the other was built from a started but never completed hull and finished along similar lines. These became the Surya and Coventry classes. (Here we rejoin the SotSF story with the U.S.S. Surya being launched in 2244 and the U.S.S. Coventry, NCC-1230 in 2248. As before the U.S.S. Resolution is given a fresh registry number upon relaunch.)

 [Side view of Coventry class]

The main difference being that I swap the designs for the Surya and the Coventry classes. Why? Because it's rather stupid for the Avenger to be a refit of the small Surya rather than the larger Coventry class. Look at the pictures in SotSF and you'll soon see what I mean. The illustrations on this page have been modified to meet my modified designs.

Refits and variants

We can skip over the Four Years War and the time surrounding Kirk's original five year mission as matters follow SotSF without deviation. (Though I would question the low numbers of frigates lost to Klingon action during this period in the SotSF lists.) In the late 2260s and early 2270s Starfleet began to refit many of her starships with linear warp drives and other improved systems. And the Anton/Surya/Coventry family was not left out.

 [Side view of the Endurance class]

SotSF already details how the Surya class was upgraded to the Avenger specification (and in some cases later to the Endurance specification).

Whilst the Suryas were becoming the Avengers, the old Anton class light cruisers were serving as the inspiration for a much more successful family of new starships. Assigned the registry codes of cancelled Tikopai class vessels (NCC-1833 to NCC-1842), the first of these new build vessels was the U.S.S. Miranda. These ships include the Lantree, Rutherford and Alexandria.

 [Side view of the Soyuz class]

In addition, a number of vessels were constructed, intended to patrol the borders of UFP space and monitor Klingon and Romulan (and Gorn and Tholian, etc., etc.) ship movements and communications activity, these vessels had highly specialised sensor systems. They were, of course, the Soyuz class.

 [Side view of the Knox class]

The Daran class fast frigates and Knox class frigates were based off the Conventry - i.e. the SotSF Surya - design in a similar fashion. I would also alter the registry numbers of the Knox class in order to make room for the Soyuz class around the official NCC-1941 of the U.S.S. Bozeman.

Hence we have three related families of starships:

Possibly also related are the Durrett class light cruisers from FASA. These seem to have a Daran/Knox hull with a single nacelle mounted beneath on a long pylon in contrast to the two nacelles mounted on short pylons. I would suggest that the Durretts are a cheap, low warp capability cruiser designed for patrol duties in the Federation interior.

Towards the 24th Century

The Cyane class is little more than a batch of new build Avengers and so fits in quiet nicely. The Kresta class can be dropped entirely or kept as a third batch of Avengers, with at least the last ship cancelled, thus freeing up that registry for the U.S.S. Constellation, NX-1974.

 [Side view of Pharris class]

The Pharris (NCC-3537) class strategic frigate is one of the more reasonable designs from the Starfleet Prototypes volume. Though the word strategic is probably best dropped. I like the idea presented at Starship Tactical Combat Simulator Design Consortium that this is an Andorian modification of the Knox class. It certainly has similarities with the other Andorian designs from FASA.

The Soyuz class was retired from service in 2287, possibly because of the superior sensor suites on the Enterprise (II), Constellation and Excelsior class vessels or possibly because of treaty limitations, or even simply because of budget cuts.

Into the 24th century the Miranda class continued in service with older ships being relegated to lesser duties and new vessels exploring even more variations on the basic design (for example the second U.S.S. Saratoga with two outboard pods and no rollbar).

As the Miranda light cruisers were much more common in this era than the Avenger heavy frigates, the term Miranda became shorthand for the entire family of designs.

Many Avengers from later in the build sequence were placed in mothballs and reactivated decades later to face the Borg and Dominion threats, now reclassified as destroyers. (This explains the sudden re-appearance of large numbers of roll bar equipped, combat capable Mirandas in First Contact and DS9 combat scenes).

Last updated July 13th 2000. © Stephen Pugh <steve@pugh.net>
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