Tor D’Kar began life as two separate ships, the Andorian colony ships Tor and D’Kar. Built in the same shipyards but at opposite ends of the class’ production run, they were large for their time, dwarfing even the Federation’s leading model, the Excelsior Class. Size was their only advantage, though.. A rudimentary sensor package, a basic warp drive, low-grade impulse engines, minimal shielding and no offensive capability whatsoever meant that the Garan Class of colony ships was decades behind the leading technological edge.
This deficit was, thankfully, irrelevant. The Garans were not designed for missions of discovery or exploration, they were not meant to defend the Federation’s borders and their travel times did not require the utmost urgency.. What they needed, and what they had in plentiful supply, was the ability to house colonists, several thousand at a time, and the machinery and resources those colonists would need to survive the first few seasons on a new world while they constructed their new home.
The Garans met this requirement superbly, thanks chiefly to their large size. A considerable amount of an individual ship’s internal volume was given over to living spaces, quite cramped even by contemporary standards, while much of the remaining space was devoted almost wholly to the goods, equipment and large machinery that the new colony would require, from construction engines to prefabricated housing. Unlike many colony vessels of the time, the Garans were not designed to be disassembled and their structures used as resources to build the colonies, hence their great cargo space.
Only eight Garans were ever built. Of those, the Tor was the twin to the lead ship, built on the same day and commissioned in the same ceremony. The D’Kar was the seventh Garan built, some 30 years after the Tor. Both ships fulfilled their primary mission at least once. Where the Tor was reused to establish more than one colony, however, the D’Kar became a victim of the earlier Garans’ success and was deemed surplus to requirements. After seeding just one world with colonists, the D’Kar returned to drydock for military retrofitting.
The Alpha Quadrant of the 24th century’s first decade was a hostile place, and the Federation’s relationship with the Romulan Star Empire had entered a new volatile stage. The Andorian military, short on personnel and resources due to a massive Starfleet recruitment drive in the early part of the decade, found itself needing a more sizable force to protect its space and civilian shipping lanes while the Federation’s primary forces were elsewhere. Recommissioned vessels, refitted derelicts and retrofitted civilian cruisers formed the bulk of this ancillary fleet.
The D’Kar was one such ship. Although resources were limited, the Andorian military was able to retrofit it with disrupters and photon torpedoes as well as a layer of heavy armour. Its sensor suite and shielding were upgraded to standards more befitting military vessels, although time constraints, supply restrictions and, indeed, technology failings meant that the huge ship’s warp drive could not be replaced with a newer one, at least not one capable of propelling a vessel of that mass at a reasonable speed.
The D’Kar was the only Garan retrofitted in this way. Although the eighth ship of the class had been scheduled for a similar overhaul, the Tomed Incident of 2311 rendered the Andorians’ medium to long-term needs for second or even third-tier military vessels redundant. When construction of the eighth ship was completed, the final Garan left dock as a colony ship more advanced than any other in the fleet, but still just a colony ship.
The Garans began to be retired in the 2330s, and the last of the original versions of the class saw its final mission in 2339. As one of the oldest vessels, the Tor was the first to be decommissioned. Unlike several of its sisterships, however, including the Garan herself, it was not dispatched to the nearest civilian Federation mothballed ship depot but was, rather, sold. The D’Kar joined in the Tor’s fate in 2340, although they were destined for different owners and missions.
For its part, the Tor was the perfect ship for a mercantile conglomerate operating in the Kelvos Sector of Federation space. It was large, capable of traversing the relatively short distances covered by their business transactions and well suited to storing and hauling vast quantities of goods. Although some of its systems were antiquated, even by early 2330s standards, they were more than robust enough to handle the workload required of them.
Whereas the Tor was put into service as a medium-range cargo conveyor, the D’Kar continued in the role it had filled for most of its life, that being, military service. Its new owners chose to forgo improving its faster-than-light propulsion systems, but this was hardly an issue. The big ship was to act as a system defense vessel for a new alliance of local civilizations. Unfortunately, the fledgling alliance dissolved violently just ten years later. In the factional fighting that ensued, the D’Kar suffered heavy damage in a series of battles and was forced out of action.
By 2350, the Tor’s owners were seeking a way of upgrading the big cargo ship’s systems without incurring the sizable cost of commissioning engineers to build custom-made parts. The Andorians had stopped manufacturing the components in question some time prior and new variants proved incompatible with the Tor’s systems. Worse still, there were few serviceable second-hand components in existence, as the tech involved in the Garan was proving decidedly short-lived. When word reached the Kelvos merchants that another Garan, the broken D’Kar, was being put up for sale at a low price, they leapt at the chance to acquire a ready supply of spare parts.
Once the D’Kar was delivered by warp tug, work began on combining the two spaceframes via a bridge to allow for the easy transport of hardware without needing to rely on the Tor’s limited transporter systems constantly. Only a short time later, however, the mercantile conglomerate endured a disastrous spell of trading ventures and was forced out of business. The company’s liquidators transferred ownership of the two ships, still combined at the hip, as it were, to one of the merchants’ creditors, who in turn sold them on to an engineering firm.
The firm had tendered for and won a contract to provide a Ferengi trading interest with a new hub of operations. The contract had been granted on the basis that the firm could provide said hub for an exceptionally low cost. Hence the firm’s acquisition of the two Garans. Although they were still space-going vessels in every sense of the word – granted, the D’Kar was unlikely to ever move at warp under its own power again, but most of the damage to its hull had been patched to allow the Kelvos merchants’ technicians the freedom they needed to work in a safe environment – a considerable amount of work had gone into combining them. And although the intention had been for that connection to be a temporary one, the engineering firm saw it as something that could be built upon and, immediately after winning the contract, set about doing just that.
In a relatively short time, the Tor and the D’Kar were combined by a more permanent structure and work began on rebuilding their insides to suit their new owners’ needs. Gone were the warp engines, the inertia dampeners, the navigational sensors, the deflectors, the weaponry and the huge cargo vaults, replaced by more modest, yet more numerous cargo bays, additional maneuvering thrusters and spaces for trading areas, recreational amenities and living quarters.
Notable differences remained between the two hulls. Although the Tor section of the new facility was to be heavily geared towards acting as a place in which to do business and enjoy a little respite between deals – the so-called `front of shop’ area – much of what remained of the D’Kar section’s interior was ripped out and used as warehousing – the so-called ‘back of shop area’ – with a small segment devoted to the operations centre from which the entire facility would run. Much of its old armour was left in place, though, as the Andorian engineers who had retrofitted the D’Kar for military purposes had built the heavy shielding right into the ship’s superstructure. The Tor, on the other hand, had additional hull plating added. As part of a tax break scheme, the Ferengi trading interest provided the engineering firm with a sizable supply of high-quality structural materials, which the firm promptly used to refit large segments of the Tor’s hull.
Although both ships were to keep their old impulse engine housings, the mechanisms themselves were replaced with large manoeuvring thrusters. None of the D’Kar’s weaponry remained, but minimal defences were deemed necessary and a handful of old Federation Type VIII phaser banks were installed, chiefly because their power usage levels were relatively low, their maintenance cycles were long and the next best option, the Klingon disrupter, proved too costly. However, much of that saving was instead spent on the facility’s shields. Although far from being top of the range, they provided excellent levels of protection, even for a structure as large as the combined Garans.
In 2360, the new trading outpost Tor D’Kar was handed over to representatives acting on behalf of the Ferengi Alliance. Although the Federation had little knowledge of the Alliance at the time and viewed Tor D’Kar as something of an unknown quantity on its doorstep, especially given its location so far from known Ferengi space, the Alliance’s main intention as to make inroads into the lucrative trading opportunities to be found among the myriad of races located in the area where the Federation, Klingon and Romulan powers met.
As relations between the Alliance and the quadrant’s three main powers normalized over the years, Tor D’Kar’s reputation as a place to do business grew. It grew even more in the tumultuous years of the early and mid-2370s when the Ferengi, seeking to distance themselves physically from escalating regional and galactic hostilities – and, it had to be said, cognizant of the locals’ dislike for Ferengi trading practices – withdrew most of their personnel from Tor D’Kar and employed a management agency to run the operation on their behalf.
Since 2380, Tor D’Kar has been a primarily non-Ferengi run operation. Although the Ferengi Alliance continues to own it, given the lucrative revenues it continues to collect in the form of fees and tariffs placed on those wishing to trade there, its day-to-day operations and short to medium-term corporate planning have been devolved to the local level, with a chief executive officer and his or her staff making decisions on the ground.
|Category||Military Waypoint and Resupply Facility|
|Workpods||Brunel Workpod: 30|
|Phasers||Type VIII Bank: 7|
|Shielding Systems||High Capacity Shielding System|
To be constructed…
Categories: Starbase Specs
Last Modified: October 8, 2017 8:41 pm