In 2783 Starfleet focused on the development of a weapon intended to take advantage of the instability caused by multiple Romulan ships operating close together. Due to their use of micro-singularities Romulan ships negatively impacted subspace, resulting in gravimetric distortions that were detectable. The Gravimetric Instability Pulse was intended to force subspace to stabilize these eddies, which caused the singularity inside the Romulan ships to destabilize and collapse, seriously limiting the combat power of the vessel. First deployments of the weapon occurred at the Battle of Vulcan, where Starfleet vessels equipped with the weapon succeeded in driving back the Vulcan invasion and crippling their front line.
Following the conclusion of the war, the technology was installed on most ships as a defensive tool, and for the most part forgotten about as part of a long list of starship subsystems. It wasn’t until early 2787 that the USS Javelin was forced to deploy it as part of a survey towards the galactic center, “north” of the Typhon Expanse, that it’s potential outside of a weapon was realized.
When the Javelin encountered a particularly dense cluster of stars, subspace became immensely unstable, resulting in them unable to establish a warp bubble. However, using the GIP in tandem with the warp drive allowed them to create a stable portion of subspace to establish a warp field. Not only were they able to escape, the resulting speeds became significantly higher than a warp, and even estimated to be faster than the long abandoned quantum slipstream technology. Upon returning home, the research was turned over to both Starfleet Scientific divisions, as well as the Corp of engineers, leading to the realization that the central area of the Galaxy -thought to be impenetrable by standard means, were now not only accessible, but potentially habitable. All that was needed now was a way to safely and reliably use the technology without the incredible amount of careful guesswork that had gone into the original. It was also learned that without an initial gravity well to catapult the drive, it was effectively useless. While going over old theories, the unused idea of a small star at the core, or a protostar, could create a noticeable enough gravity wave to act as the catalyst of the system. The rest of the system would still rely on the dense gravity of central stellar clusters, but would be much more reliable and safe.
All that was needed was a test bed.
The initial tests were performed using the USS Forerunner, the prototype of the Forerunner-class. While a small scouting ship was no longer needed, and therefore the project shuttered, it made an excellent test bed. After successful implementation of the systems, a fully developed version was built, using the Forerunner’s sister ship – the incomplete USS Harbinger.
Built from from bow to stern for the purposes of making full use of the drive as part of a deep space exploration mission. The GID [giddyap joke here] is connected directly to the ships warp drive. When encountering an area of gravimetric build up, the system automatically engages, and disengages when the gravimetric effects become too weak to maintain it.
The Harbinger was purpose built to be operated away from federation space. It features heavy automation through the use of onboard AI and holograms, and can be effectively operated with a crew of 10, though has accommodations for over 100 total. Deck 3, called the habitation deck, has its central area comprising a large hydroponics facilities, and takes advantage of deck 4 being home to the engineering facilities of the ship.
Due to the smaller size of the ship, it lacked the facilities to carry a large number of shuttles, which for a surveying ship was considered to be a fault. Lower section of the saucer section separates as basically a large shuttle with powerful sensors and its own Gravimetric Instability Drive. This enables it to operate at standard speeds within the dense gravity of the star clusters, but it is limited to Impulse speeds in normal space.
Due to the nature of the drive, standard nacelles weren’t that effective, and so the ship leaned into old Vulcan designs and made use of a ring nacelle system.
Cruising Warp: 8.9
Maximum Warp: 9.93
Emergency Warp: 9.996
*Gravimetric Instability Drive
Auto-modulating shielding (Deflector Based)
Type ?? Phasers: 6
Torpedo Launchers: 3 (2 fore, one aft)
Artemis Shuttle: 4
|1||Bridge, Observation Lounge, Captain’s ready Room, Executive Officer’s Office|
|2||Senior staff Officers Quarters, VIP/Guest Quarters, Diplomatic Facilities, Transporter Room 1, Shuttlebay Observation Deck|
|3||Sickbay, CMO’s Office, CNS’ Office, Science Labs 1-6, CSO’s Office, Arboretum, Shuttlebay (floor), FCO’s Office, Computer Core Entrance/Control|
|4||Lounge, Holodeck/suites, Recreation facilities, NCO Quarters, Cargo Bay 1, Cargo Transporters 1, Computer Core, Docking Ports. Saucer Impulse Engines, Saucer docking latches, Landing Struts.|
|5||Warp Core, Engineering (upper), Crew Quarters, Transporter Room 2, Torpedo Launchers and controls, Cargo Bay 2, Cargo Transporters 2, Computer Core,Saucer docking latches|
|6||Warp Core, Engineering (main), CEO’s Office, Brig/Security, CTO’s office, Phaser Range, Ship’s Armoury, Torpedo/Probe Magazine, Aux. Weapon Controls Secondary Hull – Navigation Deflector Control room, LRS Control room|
|7||Deuterium Storage, Anti-Matter Storage Pods, Life Support Systems Secondary Hull – Navigation Deflector , LRS Array, Waste Processing/Recycling Centre|