|Service period:||2380-25th century|
|Mass:||3,321,630 metric tons|
|Speed:|| warp 9.99;|
quantum slipstream velocities;
|Armaments:|| mark XII phaser cannons;|
|Auxiliary craft:|| Federation shuttlecraft;|
The Vesta-class was type of Federation Starfleet starship in service from the year 2380. The class was designated as a multi-mission explorer and was a test-bed for a number of experimental technologies, including quantum slipstream drive. As of February 2381 there were seven vessels of the class in service.
The Vesta-class starship USS Aventine served as a test-bed for a number of new Starfleet technologies, including quantum slipstream drive. Systems installed as part of the slipstream drive included a quantum field focus controller at the front of the ship's main deflector, and a chroniton integrator; the latter of which could be used to take sensor readings several seconds into the future when the ship was using its slipstream drive. Other experimental systems aboard the Aventine included a multidimensional wave-function analysis module, and a sympathetic fermion transceiver. Some of the systems being tested were deemed top secret.
In addition to the experimental systems the class was otherwise top of the line, able to achieve maximum warp factor of nine-point-nine-nine. The class had the same top-of-the-line sensors as the Luna-class. The Vesta-class held a crew of seven-hundred-and-fifty, with an emergency capacity of three-and-a-half-thousand. The class could also hold up to twenty-four-thousand metric tons of cargo. The class' weapons systems included at least two experimental mark XII phaser cannons and a complement of quantum torpedoes. The class was also able to fire transphasic torpedoes. Ships of the class had twenty available transporter sites, including four cargo transporters and six emergency evacuation transporters. The main shuttlebay was located on deck twelve. Behind the shuttlebay was a large flight deck, allowing small craft too large for the shuttle bay to land; this area included a large deck lift which lowered into a runabout bay.
Ships of the class were equipped with a fleet of both shuttlecraft and runabouts. The Vesta-class design also included landing gear for planetary landings.
With the exception of the class' namesake, Vesta-class ships were each named for one of the seven hills of Rome, located east of the river Tiber, and which form the geographical heart of Rome, within the walls of the ancient city. (Five of the hills have had their names assigned to starships; only Caelian and Palatine have yet to be used.) The USS Vesta itself is named after the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion.
In the 25th century, the design of the Vesta-class multi-mission reconnaissance explorer allowed its commanding officer to choose from different designs of livery, which could be modified further at starbases. These options were designated Type 1-5, Vesta, Upgrade and Veteran.
Furthermore, the installation of deflector shields from specific factions modified the hull appearance, including shields from the Reman Resistance, the Breen Confederacy and the Dominion.
With the launch of a Borg invasion in January 2381 the Vesta-class, with its state of the art weaponry, was found to be one of the few Starfleet classes able to mount an effective defense against the massive Borg assault. Ships of the class were assigned to defend the Federation's core systems, including Sol, Vulcan, Andor and Tellar.
Despite the class' resilience, it still took a beating against the Borg. During an attack by the Borg on Acamar, more than two-hundred-and-fifty of the USS Aventine's crew were killed. The Aventine, under its new commander, Captain Dax, went on to play a major role in stopping the Borg invasion after the ship's crew discovered a subspace tunnel leading across the galaxy. This eventually resulted in the discovery of a network of such tunnels, which the Borg had been using to infiltrate Federation space. Unfortunately exploration of the tunnels was not completed in time to prevent the full force of the Borg Collective, when an armada of more than seven-thousand Borg ships entered the Beta Quadrant.
Against immeasurable odds Captain Dax of the Aventine initially planned to bring the ship's experimental slipstream drive online ahead of the test schedule to allow the ship to get to Earth ahead of the Borg and mount a desperate last defense. Dax was eventually dissuaded from this plan by Captain Picard of the USS Enterprise-E.
Dax later did use the Aventine's slipstream drive in an ambitious plan to ambush a Borg vessel and plant a fake Borg Queen to take control of the Borg armada. The slipstream drive allowed the ambush to go ahead successfully, and the plan prevented the annihilation of several Federation worlds.
The Aventine, along with the Enterprise and USS Titan were later present in the Azure Nebula to witness the end of the Borg invasion, and the entire Borg Collective at the hands of the Caeliar.
Following the invasion, the Aventine made occasional use of their slipstream drive to expedite journey times between destinations in their efforts to assist in the rebuilding of the Federation and its infrastructure. Meanwhile the USS Esquiline had her drive fitted, and during a test run of the drive, Admiral Akaar took the opportunity to visit Jean-Luc Picard on the Enterprise, which was at the time in orbit of Ingraham B.
In May of that year the Esquiline and USS Quirinal were assigned to Project Full Circle, as part of a fleet of nine starships led by the USS Voyager to return to Delta Quadrant to investigate the state of the affairs in the region in the fallout of the dissolution of the Borg Collective. The Esquiline was among the first three ships in that fleet to be fitted with the slipstream drive required to make the journey.
During a hostile encounter with the Children of the Storm, the Quirinal attempted to escape the battle through slipstream and crash landed on a planet.
In September, the Quirinal, along with the USS Esquiline, USS Curie and USS Hawking, became partially embedded in a fragment of the Omega Continuum. The crew on the normal-space side of the fracture were beamed to safety aboard the Achilles and returned to the Alpha Quadrant. Those crew on the Omega Continuum side of the vessel, under the command of Ensign Sadie Johns, destroyed the ship and themselves in the hopes of restoring space to its normal state.
In April of 2382 agents of the Typhon Pact stole plans for the Federation's slipstream drive from the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards. The Breen were tasked with building a prototype slipstream vessel for the Pact, with the project led by Thot Geer. Geer found he had to radically modify the Breen ship he used as the basis for the design as he discovered the wide angular Breen design did not meet the hull-geometry requires for slipstream; the much more streamlined design he built as a result was not dissimilar to the Vesta-class.
In August of that year Julian Bashir and Sarina Douglas were dispatched on an under-cover mission into Breen space to track down the prototype and destroy it. The Aventine provided support for the mission; ready to make a slipstream jump into Breen space and extract them once the prototype was destroyed. Ultimately the Aventine was called in slightly before the destruction of the prototype, and had to help finish the mission by using her shields to force the Breen ship back into the shipyard, where it was destroyed by a reactor core breach in the base.
In 2383, Starfleet sent the Aventine to the Venetan Outpost V-4 to investigate Tzenkethi activity there.
In 2409, cadets from Starfleet Academy watched the Vesta emerging from the interior docking bays of Earth Spacedock. Cadet Elisa Flores admired the Vesta for its state-of-the-art equipment.
Due to the success of the Vesta-class, which was now categorized as a multi-mission surveillance explorer, Starfleet developed two subclasses: the Aventine-class multi-mission reconnaissance explorer and the Rademaker-class multi-mission strategic explorer.