A Prince's Summer Job
In the 2280s, the Wedge Defense Force shipyard at Dahak Base experimented with creating a warp-powered starfighter using the conventional technology of the day. The result was the Defiant class of prototype gunboat, much larger than any fighter (requiring a minimum six-man skeleton crew each) with too many weapons and too much engine for its underpowered fusion reactor to supply. When GENOM's strike force rolled through the Balthezzar star system and destroyed Dahak, four of the six prototypes survived, and three of them ended up as protective units in the Confederate Freespacer Alliance Home Fleet. The last Defiant-class guncruiser was decommissioned in 2358, but the concept lived on.
When International Police Space Force founder Benjamin D. "Gryphon" Hutchins put out a preliminary specification for a class of patrol vessel much like the Defiant class, the Freespacers jumped feet-first into the project. First and foremost, they had a working and successful example of such a craft in the Plymouth-V-class (unofficially nicknamed the Tsunami class) guncruiser. Second, they had stationed at Babylon 5 a group of officers with unequaled practical experience with the latest expression of the idea, the Liberator-class guncruiser. Third and most importantly, they had almost the entire history of the WDF's failed Defiant experiment, including their own adaptations to the model and its performance in live combat, on record.
When the time came to award design and fabrication contracts, the Freespacer contingent didn't win the bid for what the IPO was now calling the DDNG (Next Generation Destroyer) project. Despite their experience in fast, hard-hitting light assault ships, the CFMF's tech base was significantly behind the WDF's and IPO's bleeding edge. Furthermore, many mechanical geniuses either had been recruited or had volunteered for the project; it seemed no single person or organization would dominate the final design. Finally, Gryphon shared most of the rest of the galaxy's opinion of RebelTech-built ships: that they were incredibly ugly.
In the end, there would be two different classes of small fast-attack starship produced under the aegis of the DDNG project, in order to test and evaluate two different technological bases available to the International Police Organization at the time. The DDNG-2 was developed independently by Kanzaki Heavy Industries of Ishiyama, and incorporated many of the unique and idiosyncratic technologies of the planet of its birth. Owing to the most significant of these, its Ishiyaman hypersteam powerplant, this class came to be known as the Steamrunner class.
The primary design consortium at the International Police Yards, Zeta Cygni II (the former, pre-Sphere Utopia Planitia shipyard complex), produced a more conventional design based on the advanced starship-building technologies and techniques pioneered by the Sovereign class. The Freespacers would contribute greatly to the strategic and tactical doctrine of the DDNG project as a whole, up to contributing nearly half the new crewmen for the ships... but on the actual design side, the single great contribution made by the CFMF was Admiral Aya Nakajima's stubborn insistence that the DDNG-1 class developed at the IPO Yards be named for its direct ancestor and her first CFMF command, the Liberator-class CFMF Defiant. Any complaints about repeating the name of a starship class were referred to her; before long, those complaints evaporated, and the little ship taking shape in Ring Complex Section 11 Bay 16, hull number NX-06040, was IPS Defiant to all who spoke of her.
In mid-2405, the IPSF Central Command approved the two designs and ordered two prototypes of each to be ready for space by the end of summer 2406. The Defiant class, which had a bit of a head start in design, was ready for launching first; the first prototype was launched in late April, the second two weeks later. The second ship, NX-06041, was named IPS Valiant.
From the outset, Defiant and Valiant have been employed as proofs of various concepts currently under development in the IPSF's hierarchy to accompany the DDNG hardware into the field. Defiant is crewed entirely by professional spacers, newly seconded into the Space Force from various allied organizations, under the command of Bajoran Armed Forces Colonel Kira Nerys, formerly chief of security at Babylon Station. They were given little transition training, the idea being to see how quickly an experienced but unfamiliar crew could adapt to the DDNG's streamlined new controls and systems.
The program for Valiant was even more ambitious. Under the auspices of the IPSF Irregular Projects Division, the second Defiant prototype was crewed almost entirely by people without extensive space experience, most of them Space Force reservists. Excepting the shipyard personnel placed aboard to evaluate the performance of the new systems and the three positions that had to be held by experienced, highly trained personnel (chief medical officer, science officer and chief of security), the median age of Valiant's shakedown crew was fifteen Standard years. Most of them were students of the Deedlit Satori Mandeville Memorial Institute on Jeraddo. The ship's commanding officer, Captain Utena Tenjou, IPSFR, was only sixteen when she took the conn on May 31, 2406.
The ship's shakedown assignment did not seem, on paper, particularly dangerous: convey a popular musical group, the DSM-based rock band The Art of Noise, on a thirty-world galactic tour to end in late August. Still, many in the galactic community reacted with shock, dismay, outrage, or outright derision at the idea of a gang of children crewing one of the galaxy's most advanced warships on a galactic patrol. IPO chief Gryphon just smiled at these objections, remarking that there was more to Valiant's captain and crew than met the untrained eye.
The Chief's predictions seem to have been borne out; by spearheading the defense of the Sol VI Territory from Earthforce during the Earth Alliance Civil War, Valiant and her crew proved their worth with the whole galaxy watching, bloodying the nose of EAS Agamemnon's battleship task force and earning the respect of Earthforce Captain John Sheridan.
Valiant in flight
(Defiant-class model by Rick "pneumonic81" Knox, redressed by Kelly St. Clair and Benjamin D. Hutchins)
Valiant ship's crest
Designed by Benjamin D. Hutchins, featuring Hemi Head 426 by Ray Larabie
and the unit arms of the American Volunteer Group, China, 1941
NAME/MODEL#: Defiant class DESIGNER/MANUFACTURER: International Police Yards, Zeta Cygni II COMBAT DESIGNATION: Next Generation Destroyer (DDNG-1) CREW: 15 POWER SYSTEM: IPY Mark IV matter-antimatter annihilation reactor Two Corellian Engineering Corporation Type 78 fusion reactors PROPULSION SYSTEM: CEC Magnadyne tandem impulse drive system SPEED RATING: 110 MGLT FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM: IPY Mark Ia integrated reaction control system MANEUVERABILITY RATING: 45 DPF NAVIGATION: British-AnimeTech Model 2195 superluminal isolinear computer core FTL: IPY Mark III Cochrane space distortion drive (warp drive) CEC 7601.401c motivator drive unit (hyperdrive) British-AnimeTech 1337 metaspace transition point generator WARP SPEED RATING (CRUISE): Warp Factor 12 WARP SPEED RATING (MAX): Warp Factor 17 HYPERDRIVE FACTOR: .33 WEAPONS: Four WDF Armory Mark II pulse phaser cannons Two WDF Armory G-950 strip-collimated phaser arrays Two WDF Armory Mark VII photon torpedo launchers SHIELDS/ARMOR: IPY Mark II projective deflector shield system (rated at 1250 SDB) Composite reinforced tritanium alloy hull (rated at 1000 RU)