By Al Spader
Welcome to part four of an ongoing series about the FASA Star Trek The Next Generation Officer’s Manual.
One thing that is clear is that the designers at FASA understood the scope of what The Next Generation was going to do. Pushing to the borders of the known quadrants and even pushing into relatively unexplored quadrants was going to be a focus of this generation of trek. As a result of this vision, FASA understood that it would take infrastructure to be successful. As such, the designers understood that space stations were going to become important diplomatic and research facilities on the edges of Federation space. Knowing that these locations would be targets for enemies of the Federation, FASA created a ship designed for intercepting and hindering enemy vessels who sought to disrupt negotiations or steal intel.
The Wellington class light cruiser was a small ship designed as a scout ship for important space stations around the quadrants. With three Wellington class ships assigned to a base, the small ships created a maneuverable net around the station acting as a tripwire to warn the base and fleet if enemies come near.
In addition to having burst at Warp 9 to get them to the other ships quickly, the Wellington ships also boasted a modified torpedo bay capable of launching the experimental Long Lance plasma torpedoes. These extra long torpedoes were designed to disable a ship’s computers and sensors, allowing for Starfleet backup to arrive to an effectively disabled enemy ship.
Though the answer FASA designed was much more militarily informed than perhaps the showrunners would have preferred, the reasoning behind the design of the Wellington made sense based on the information on hand. The edges of the final frontier were now going to be visited and conceiving that the Federation would need diplomatic hubs throughout the regions made logical sense.
From a gaming perspective, it could be cool to have three GMs each run a different Wellington assigned to the same station. This could allow for interesting multi-table crossovers between groups both in space and on the station itself. This would require a ton of planning but could provide an interesting game for all involved.
In doing my research, I also found a 3D printed Wellington on Shapeways for anyone interested in having physical representations of their ships. While an actual .stl file eluded me, this full-sized model would be fairly easy to paint up for your game. Here is the link:
What’s interesting is that “too militaristic” FASA was nothing compared to how militaristic the Star Trek franchise went on to become shortly thereafter.
Hey who produced that ship model? the Physical one?