A member of the Akira-class design lineage, the Atlantia-class heavy cruiser is a vessel more geared to humanitarian missions than her cousin, with extended cargo bays and medical support systems. She employs a bespoke torpedo system that takes advantage of Starfleet’s smart ordnance delivery systems to target multiple vessels from extremely long-range to provide cover fire for other Starfleet ships. Since the 2380s, she has served as a premiere front-line humanitarian vessel, often taking the lead of older and smaller transports in a flotilla.
Science and Exploration
The Atlantia-class is equipped with similar scientific capabilities to other ships of her size, with a fully-equipped science department and configurable lab space for visiting scientists. This vessel is most often deployed on humanitarian assignments, and so more of her lab space has been configured for dealing with secondary missions and long-term research than in direct support of the ship’s primary mission. The discoveries made on a front-line explorer might be studied by an Atlantia-class ship hundreds of light-years away, thanks to Starfleet Science’s distributed approach to research. The vessel’s advanced torpedo delivery systems can also be used to launch a large number of probes simultaneously, which further improves this ship’s scientific capabilities.
As an exploratory platform, the utility of this class is found in its large cargo holds–it could easily serve as a supply vessel for an exploratory flotilla or serve as the command vessel for a small fleet of surveyors relying on her stores to go well past their normal endurance. Alone, however, an Atlantia-class ship is both a poor choice and a waste of resources for long-term exploratory missions.
The Atlantia-class is equipped with substantial diplomatic facilities, given that its missions often take it into contested areas. As a heavy cruiser, her role is often not only to conduct evacuations on her own but to coordinate a large flotilla of hospital ships and transports, a role that requires accommodations for flag staffs which can also be used for diplomatic roles. An Atlantia-class ship is often a sign that dire circumstances are close at hand, but she is also a welcoming reminder of the Federation’s long-standing commitments to humanitarian causes. This vessel can also be deployed in place of a more lightly-armed courier like a Norway when circumstances require a bit more firepower. Her diplomatic facilities are inferior to an explorer-type vessel’s, however.
Atlantia-class ships push the bounds of standard Starfleet design philosophy further even than the Akira-class, with a large crescent-shaped primary hull joined directly to a thinner secondary hull and two catamaran structures which stretch aft towards the nacelle pylons. Her hull geometry is inspired by the Akira, Steamrunner, and Diligent-classes, with a design that favors defensibility. The forward end of the ship has comparatively few windows, while the aft end of the ship has much larger ones, thanks to the protective presence of the wrap-around hull and catamarans, a feature that also provides cover to the ship’s twin shuttle bays. These shuttle bays are capable of housing a veritable fleet of personnel shuttles or runabouts for evacuation missions. In a pinch, she could carry fighters but she does not have the efficiency of a dedicated carrier like an Argonaut or an Akira for that purpose.
The ship’s warp core is located horizontally in the center of the secondary hull, as part of an extremely complex engine system that provides direct power through a plasma deflection assembly similar to those used on vessels deployed during the 23rd and early 24th centuries, which slows down the vessel’s warp plasma enough to feed it directly into an impulse assembly; this system on the stern provides secondary thrust for the ship’s three primary impulse engines which are located further forward, a system which gives the Atlantia considerable sublight speed and maneuverability for its mass, something that often comes in handy during evacuations in dangerous situations.
The ship’s general warp performance is impressive, with a high cruising speed (warp nine) to take it to trouble spots faster, and a high sprint speed (warp nine point nine) which comes at the expense of high maintenance demands. These vessels require a large and well-trained engineering staff to keep them flying, especially when deployed away from larger bases.
The catamarans both contain large cargo bays, with massive doors leading inboard and outboard. These bays are often used to transport humanitarian supplies, but they can also be converted to serve as supplementary medical facilities.
Though she is not strictly speaking a combat vessel, the Atlantia-class has been hardened against most threats like other vessels designed in the latter half of the 24th century. She shares the ablative armor and minimalist hull shape of some of her older cousins like the Akira and the Steamrunner, as well as Type-XII phaser arrays and significant forward torpedo launching capabilities. What sets this class apart, however, is its series of six aft torpedo launchers, which are designed to be used at extreme long range in either a salvo setting or to target multiple vessels at once from afar. Using longer than average launching channels and smart ordnance technology, they can conduct pinpoint strikes before other vessels even get into range. This is designed to allow the Atlantia to provide cover for less combat-capable ships as they retreat during evacuation scenarios or to provide fire support in fleet engagements without the risk of hitting friendly targets.
The USS Atlantia in a training exercise was able to deploy torpedoes with such range and precision that she was able to successfully evacuate a convoy of two dozen smaller transports before enemy forces could develop an effective maneuver to get close enough to engage. In practice, this has served more as a deterrent than was expected, though it is largely thanks to the results of the exercise being leaked widely to Federation and foreign media sources, which leads the average raider to stay well away from any convoy with an Atlantia at its head.
Atlantia-class ships are utilitarian in nature and rarely spend much time in dock; they’re at every trouble spot in the Federation and near its borders, either negotiating aid or leading rescue operations themselves. To be part of an Atlantia crew means being firmly on the side of the Federation’s humanitarian endeavors, and as such her Starfleet crews tend to be largely medical, security, and engineering in nature. These crews often see horrors that other crews don’t, being that they are the first on the scene of any major disaster, so there is a natural esprit de corps that must develop on these vessels if their crews stand any chance of dealing with the heartbreak that comes with helping entire populations evacuate.
A number of these vessels are employed by the Starfleet Corps of Engineers because of their large cargo holds and are used to handle major engineering projects in dangerous areas. The USS Tehran was responsible for a comprehensive geostabilization program of several planets along the Klingon border that had once been the subject of the same mining protocols that led to the Praxis disaster, for instance.
In terms of their crew support facilities, besides an explorer or a hospital ship, there is no better place to be besides an Atlantia-class ship if one’s health is in question. Four standard sickbay modules (rather than the one expected for a ship of her size) in addition to numerous aid stations and guest quarters configurable for medical duties make this vessel a very adequate medical vessel for emergencies. For recreation, a full suite of four holodecks and eight holosuites (which can also be configured for medical purposes) alongside a gym, arboretum, and many lounges and mess halls make an Atlantia a comfortable assignment. Given what these crews go through, however, these accommodations are scant recompense, and so they also embark overly large counseling departments.
Following the Dominion War, the Federation was faced with a growing humanitarian crisis along the Cardassian border, given the devastation left behind in the wake of the Dominion withdrawal alongside the increasing risk of independent pirates and raiders taking advantage of the chaos left by the weakening of the Cardassian central government. Though the war was over, the need for combat-hardened vessels had not diminished, hence the order for both a small and mid size general purpose starship for use on front-line duties with humanitarian capabilities superior to wartime designs, but with the same nods towards survivability and deterrence that ships like the Akira and Defiant-classes had.
The initial fruits of this program weren’t to be seen until the 2380s, however, with the Diligent-class launching as a substantially more capable counterpart to both the Defiant and Saber-classes. The Atlantia-class followed close behind with an expedited order for vessels to support the Romulan evacuation, though this project was put far behind by the attack on Mars in 2385. A small number of these vessels were able to participate in the evacuation attempts before 2387, but the majority of the units produced were built after the star exploded.
The Atlantia herself led a column of Wallenberg-class transports on several runs, however, and earned distinction for being an excellent command hub for these sorts of missions. Since then, the class has seen steady service and reliable use in frontline humanitarian situations.
- The Atlantia is what happens when you give an Akira a full hospital and extensive cargo bays. It’s a combat-capable first-response ship meant to be sent to disaster areas. Wouldn’t you want to be well-protected in chaotic situations, where people are scared and confused? When the Enterprise has stabilized a crisis, an Atlantia is sent in to do the real work of helping a civilization rebuild, often leading a flotilla of smaller support ships.
- Atlantia captains are expected to have humanitarian and tactical experience, as they will be sent on missions to the frontier where support might be far off from help, while needing to manage massive crises on their own. An explorer is a very prestigious command, but a ship like this would be as well in its own way: it’s evidence of subject matter expertise in an engineering, logistical, medical, or tactical field, and a sign of trust from Starfleet Command.
- These ships are not incredibly common, given that they are very specialized, but they’re more likely to be encountered in risky situations than true hospital ships, or engineering support ships which tend to be older, less-capable designs. It could be the perfect back-up vessel as an NPC ship.
- Atlantia-class ships serve in a support role in combat operations, and their long range torpedo systems make them capable of engaging from afar, which keeps refugee convoys safe. It would be a waste to deploy this ship for a purely tactical mission, but she’s nearly as capable as her older cousin, the Akira.