USS Heracles (NCC-80555)
USS Heracles – NCC-80555
The Argonaut-class starship is a combination light cruiser/light carrier developed as a more combat-oriented version of the Intrepid-class. Though initially intended to serve during the Dominion War, these vessels didn’t enter service until the early 2380s due to design challenges. Currently, they serve with distinction in both exploratory and tactical roles, using their considerable armaments and variable small craft complement for both purposes.
Argonaut-class ships are comparable to other light cruisers designed in the 2360s and 2370s for their standards of accommodation. All crewmembers above the rank of Ensign have their own staterooms and all crewmembers below that rank share quarters with one other person. The ship has two large holodecks for parties of 8 or more, as well as a further half-dozen holosuites intended for smaller groups. The vessel also has a mess hall, crew lounge, and officers’ lounge, though given the ship’s more militarized design compared to the Intrepid, these spaces do not have the same sweeping exterior views as her sister class does.
Given the ship’s two distinct mission profiles, tactical and exploratory, crews vary wildly in composition based on the ship’s assignment, carrying more scientists and fewer pilots when sent on exploratory missions and the reverse when it is tasked with defensive ones. Given this, crew changes aboard Argonaut-class ships are common when the ship shifts between mission profiles, leading to a split between the ship’s core crew and the mission specialists, which adroit captains and first officers must work to reconcile through morale-boosting events.
Argonaut-class ships are generally considered a desirable posting by members of Starfleet who favor more adventurous duties than simply scanning planets, and conversely, their scientific members tend to be displeased with her generalist facilities.
Medical facilities on the Argonaut consist of two standard sickbay modules, one located near the center of the ship and the other close to the large hanger on the spine of the ship, which allows the ship greater flexibility to respond to humanitarian missions and improves crew survivability in combat situations. The vessel has holographic projectors in every compartment to allow for the ship’s EMH to treat crew anywhere.
At the beginning of the Dominion War, Intrepid-class ships were still a rare sight in the fleet, prized for their sensor suites, but generally considered too valuable to risk on the front lines. A more combat-oriented variant was ordered that would retain her scanning capabilities, but with more emphasis on offensive potential. As such, the brief called for increasing the projectile armament to include an additional two burst-fire torpedo launchers, phaser and shielding systems derived from the new Sovereign-class explorer, and the capability to launch and recover small craft during combat.
Given that Starfleet already had a number of light cruiser designs in service, this project was never given the resources it would have needed to get off of the ground before the end of the war, but continued steadily into the 2380s, given that the Alpha and Beta Quadrants were still an unstable place following the war. The design suffered from a number of setbacks, especially when it came to power management, but the class prototype was launched in 2382.
Though they had been meant for tactical function, the first ships in this class were immediately tasked with assisting in the Romulan evacuation effort, thanks to their complement of runabouts, though following the destruction of Utopia Planitia in 2385 and the destruction of Romulus in 2387, their priorities were shifted to border security along Romulan space.
Currently, the Argonaut is a relatively rare sight within the fleet, as Starfleet has preferred to order Intrepid and Elysion-class ships over the Argonaut, but there are several dozen in service, and production is expected to continue alongside her cousins for the next decade at least.
- StarBase 11 – Establish a Federation presence by patrolling the space between the Cardassian and Klingon borders. USS Heracles ended up finding out about a deep corruption; between a Federation Captain Munez and a Vice Admiral Bettencourt. Both ended up being brought up on charges of Treason.
- Archanis Operations – USS Heracles is ordered to the Federation-Klingon border in response to a rogue Klingon faction known as “The Hunters of D’Ghor”. USS Heracles responds to a distress beacon on Archanis V, where the local populous was bombarded by a D’Ghor fleet from orbit. While on the surface the USS Heracles is assaulted by a smaller fleet of D’Ghor ships and is forced to flee to DS K-7 while the ship’s Captain, Vausees Vax, and an away team led by her are stranded on the surface. During which they are assaulted by a D’Ghor ground force that has transported to the surface.