The Sovereign class is, of course, one of the most talked-about Starships ever. You'll find just about every shade of opinion there is about this ship - some love it, some hate it! Personally I think she's absolutely gorgeous.
The initial design work was done by John Eaves. The "Star Trek The Next Generation Sketch Book" has the following quote from Mr. Eaves regarding his initial concept : "I wanted a sleek, very fast ship with favourite elements from all the starships that had gone before, especially Bill Georges Excelsior. Everyone knows the basic shape; the saucer section, the body, the two nacelles. They've been arranged so many times in so many beautiful ways, I thought 'well how will I approach *this*?'. I decided to start with a really sleek design. While all of the Enterprises were beautiful, none of them had a really streamlined, 'warp speed' look. We have the 'cadillacs' of starships; I wanted a porsche'.
And he certainly got one - the E-E always loos like she's doing about warp five, even when standing still! Mr. Eaves mentions the Excelsior, and it's clear that the Sovereign is meant to be a descendant of that ship, as well as a larger sister to the Intrepid class. I took that as my own starting point for the Sovereign - first I made her just about as fast as I dared at warp 9.99. Although the timeline of the events during the first twenty minutes or so of 'First Contact' is not very clear, the Enterprise certainly seems to travel from the Romulan border to Earth pretty quickly - a couple of days at most, I'd say. I decided to bump the normal cruise speed up from warp 6 to warp 8, and the maximum cruise up to warp 9.9, because of this. Some have claimed a transwarp for the Sovereign, but I don't think this is at all likely myself.
Probably the biggest arguments centre around the ships armament. Again, you'll find every shade of opinion out there. Here is what we know for sure :
The turret tube under the saucer fires Quantum torpedoes, and can fire at least four per second. As seen in "First Contact".
There is a torpedo tube somewhere on the aft upper surface. This is seen firing two torpedoes at the So'na ships in "Insurrection". It's hard to tell exactly where the torpedoes came from, but the Encyclopedia shows something that looks a *lot* like another torpedo tube above the hangar bay doors at the rear of the engineering hull. My working assumption is that it is this tube which was seen firing on this occasion. It's hard to tell the colour of the torpedoes fired in Insurrection for sure, but they appear to be Photons to me.
In addition to this, both the Star Trek Fact Files and Greg Eaves's production sketches show another four photon torpedo tubes at the base of the engineering hull, two forward and two aft. The forward pair are visible - just - immediately below and aft of the deflector dish in the first picture on the images page, accessible via the button above. Now we don't know canonically that these are actually torpedo tubes, but the sketches by Mr. Eaves very clearly label them as such. The Fact Files also indicates that there are two more quantum torpedo tubes on the saucer section, either side of the secondary navigational deflector.
Altogether then, this makes no less than eight torpedo tubes on the Sovereign - four photon, four quantum. Rick Sternbach has indicated that the secondary tubes can fire up to twelve torpedoes at a time each, compared to the ten at a time for Galaxys two tubes.
I tend to discount the two saucer section quantum tubes, and go with six tubes total. Hence the weapon load you find on the specs page.
Given all this firepower, it seems to me that the Sovereign is part of the current trend towards militarising Starfleet. Given this, I decided to class her as a Battlecruiser - though in line with the politically correct Federations naming of the Defiant as an 'escort vessel', I gave the Sovereign the official tag of 'enhanced deterrence explorer' - i.e. a ship built to scare the hell out of the bad guys! In line with this I have assumed ablative armour and boosted structural integrity fields.
The history I thought up for the ship is basically intended to explain
how she cropped up so quickly. The designer is reported as saying the Sovereign
is built to fight the Borg - that gives us only about seven years from
conception to service, compared to twenty years for the Galaxy class. So
I came up with the idea that there was a kind of emergency plan that the
Federation had been running for decades, designing a warship that could
go into near-immediate production when it was needed. I had to twist it
around a bit to fit the Defiant in, but overall I think it works fairly
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