Welcome to Discovery December here at Continuing Mission, helping tide you over for the next two months until the Star Trek Discovery resumes. This week is the Walker-class starship, with the most notable member of the class being the U.S.S. Shenzhou.
Pinning down the size of the Shenzhou has been curiously tricky, with early references giving it an implausible size larger than a Galaxy-class vessel. Given the age, the number of crew and decks, and it’s non-Flagship status, the Walker-class was likely comparable in size to the NX-class and a large Scale 3.
Similarly, the exact age and expected mission of the Walker-class is equally vague. It probably wasn’t boldly going or seeking out new life, given it was dispatched to fix the equivalent of a downed cell tower. That, and the mission we see in the cold open and it’s ability to make planetfall imply a different role (the atmospheric capabilities of the ship are canon, as seen by the pilot The Vulcan Hello and it ability to make landfall was mentioned in interviews). The Walker-class was probably designed for a humanitarian role; after all, landing on a planet allows quicker evacuations and unloading of supplies. While rescuing planets, colonists, and generally troubleshooting unintended consequences is less, well, sexy and cool than exploring uncharted space, there’s still plenty of story potential with conflict and excitement. And stories spinning out of rescue missions are certainly different from most episodes The Original Series, having more in common with The Next Generation.
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