U.S.S. Surak, NCC-24737
Operator: UFP Starfleet
Length: approximately 365 meters
Capacity: 700 humanoids
Max. Speed: warp 9.2
Max. Cruising speed: warp 8.86
Armament: phasers (x6 phaser arrays); photon torpedoes (x2 torpedo launchers)
Defenses: deflector shields
||||| Service History |||||
The U.S.S. Surak was one of the first Ambassador-class vessels commissioned, and is famous for being the first Starfleet vessel to go on a 7-year mission of exploration beyond the furthest reaches of Federation space.
The Surak would go on to helm four more (shorter) exploration missions, and would eventually find itself all-but permanently-assigned to the Federation's border with Cardassia as the colonization initiatives in that sector inevitably sparked numerous small-scale conflict that would eventually erupt into open war.
The Surak saw heavy combat during the Cardassian Border Wars. In 2362 the Cardassians attacked a Federation colony on Setlik III: the Surak responded to the colony's distress signal alongside the U.S.S. Rutledge and U.S.S. Forsythe. During the battle the Surak suffered a critical antimatter containment breach which forced the crew to abandon ship. The Surak tore itself apart in orbit, and its fragmented hull disintegrated in Setlik III's atmosphere. After the Forsythe was destroyed, the Rutledge was forced to flee the system, and the Surak's surviving crew were either killed or taken captive by the Cardassian Union.
||||| Starship Background |||||
The Ambassador-class was meant to symbolize the core ideologies of the United Federation of Planets: an enormous starship filled with the most advanced technology in the quadrant. Only lightly-armed, the Ambassador was designed to be Starfleet's new primary explorer-type starship: a hand extended in friendship to all the unknown peoples of the galaxy.
Although the Ambassador-class was one of the first Federation starships equipped with phaser-array batteries, they were also very lightly-armed for their size. Due to the cessation of hostilities with the Klingon Empire following the Khitomer Accord and the abrupt self-imposed isolation of the Romulan Empire after the Tomed Incident, the Federation found itself (for the first time in its history) at peace, with no hostile powers threatening its borders.
Unfortunately the peace did not last. A number of small-scale conflicts, like the Cardassian Border Wars, and the later Borg and Dominion threats, forced Starfleet to reevaluate the role of the Ambassador-class. Rather than exploring the outer fringes of known space, most Ambassador-class served as support vessels in wartime, and diplomatic envoys in peacetime.
||||| Model Background |||||
The Ambassador-class starship design has a lot of problems. Specifically, we don't know anything about it. Not really. The proportions and arrangement of the different components are all over the place depending on which source you look at, as are the dimensions, number of decks, etc. Even some of the orthographic art out there manages to contradict itself—showing the saucer to have one thickness from one angle, and another thickness from a different angle.
It's a mess.
So, as I did with my version of the Constitution-class, the Persephone, I build the Surak more as my own vision of what I think the class should look like than a faithful imitation of the model we see in TNG.
Unlike the Persephone, though, most of my changes and additions (and omissions) are—I think—subtler.
For example, I lowered the height of the warp nacelles, increased the size of the escape pods (I dislike tiny pods), adjusted the angles of the warp pylons, extended the secondary hull a little bit underneath the pylons' "wraparound," etc., etc. I also didn't know where to place the photon torpedo launchers, so I hid them. I also ended up spending a lot of time on the fore section of the secondary hull (and its deflector) and I am super happy with how it turned out.
Scale-wise the Surak is smaller than the Ambassador is meant to be. The rime of the saucer section is supposed to be only one deck thick, but the size of the vessel overall is supposed to be similar to that of a Galaxy-class, dwarfing the older Constitution and Excelsior-classes. The Surak, however, is closer in size to the Constitution: the proportions of my model do not allow it to be much larger. I even "cheated" a little bit, by making the rim of the saucer as thick as it could possibly be without being deep enough to accommodate two decks.
I'd also like to point out that I did not "cheat" with any design elements! Many TNG+ era ship designs incorporate a lot visual trickery to make the designs seem larger (like the Enterprise-D) or smaller (like the Voyager) than they are. So, rest assured, each single row of windows corresponds exactly to a single deck.
(Starship information is derived partially from Memory Alpha and/or Memory Beta, and from my own imagination.)
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