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The S'harien-class escort was another offshoot of the paradigm shift from the 2370s in Starfleet's designs towards more combat-oriented vessels. Although they were incepted at about the same time as the Defiant-class, the S'harien achieved fruition much later and incorporated many of the lessons learnt from the former. Furthermore, new technologies were continually reviewed and included into newer S'harien-class ships as they came off the construction line. The Invictus (from the Latin for "invincible") belongs to the S'harien Mk.IV subclass, built at the Royal Dionan Shipbuilding Yards on Diona Prime and incorporating Dionan sensor, shield and weapons technology. She was launched on stardate 58808.3, or in the Final Declension of the 7th Cycle in the Syzygy of Tranquillity by Dionan reckoning.
Currently, the Invictus has been assigned as adjunct escort to USS Independence with a regular operating complement of 36 crew. However, she has no permanent crew assigned but rather, draws from the standing crew of her parent vessel. As is common practice with smaller vessels, lieutenant commanders and commanders are routinely assigned as commanding officers for this ship, and is thus an excellent proving ground for senior officers aspiring to full starship commands of their own one day.
The spaceframe of the Invictus is both astrodynamic and aerodynamic, with planetfall landing ability. The slim spearhead silhouette is suitably appropriate for an escort class vessel, and the combat record of the S'harien has proven that they are as fast and as vicious as they appear.
As befitting an armed escort, the tactical systems of these ships present a wide selection of offensive and defensive components combined to maximize the escort's effectiveness. Notably, the ship's firepower is concentrated entirely within the forward arc, with its evasive maneuverability and minimal aft target area negating the need for aft weaponry. The Invictus mounts Type VIII phaser banks augmented with pulse emitters, which reacts faster against moving targets and impacts instantly.
For precision force projection and variable beam intensity, a Type XI phaser concentrator is mounted in a turret above the midsection, capable of firing within a 300-degree arc of fire from diagonally to the sides to directly ahead. Finally, a series of pulse-compression cannons are located just above the ventral dome; thee powerful phasers excel at rapid short-range bombardment, as when attempting to overpower enemy shields. Such weapons are the modern versions of "megaphasers", the supplementary shield-cracking armament of many old battle cruisers, including the original tri-nacelled USS S'harien for which this class of ship has been named.
Although too big for standard hangar platforms, the Invictus can fit within a suitably modified hangar deck, like the one found on Independence. When landed, it rests upon its ventral dome, which is aligned with the ship's center of mass and capable of supporting the ship, even at full load. Four retractable stalks, extended during final approach, provide the remainder of balance. The ventral dome's structural strength also makes it an ideal spot for mounting tractor beam emitters, found at the fore and aft positions.
The Invictus's single nacelle has been proven to be more energy-efficient than similar dual-nacelle setups of the same size (such as the Defiant-class vessels.) It is strongly secured behind the hull by upper and lower pylons which provides outstanding high-speed stability. The most practical advantage of this engine's placement is that it is physically well-protected and cannot suffer a direct hit from the front, which is a very rare quality among Starfleet ships. Its impulse drives and thruster ports grant the Invictus superb sublight performance. Its extremely tight turning radius and ease of acceleration allows for rapid and tenacious engagements against enemy vessels in both outer space and within atmosphere, with the capability to land on a supportive surface if required.
Invictus does not have much in the way of amenities, such as gymnasiums, holodecks and gardens. There is only one vertical turbolift shaft, which means that some decks can only be accessed by ramps and stairs.
This level contains the observation dome, a small sickbay, has a surgical unit, and an EMH if a medical officer is not aboard during a mission. The science area contains all current/relevant equipment, including a small lab which doubles for stellar cartography.
The CO's and XO's quarters are located here, and are considered small by Starfleet's standards. There is one transporter pad on this deck. The remaining seventy-five percent of this deck is devoted to the latest classified intelligence gathering systems.
Special effort went into the design of one facility where the crew must necessarily meet: the ship's mess hall. Is large enough to seat 48 people at once, since it also doubles as the ship's briefing room. Seats at the tables can fully swivel to face a briefing officer, who typically will stand between two wall-sized display screens. Once briefings are concluded, the screens will continue to display mission-pertinent info for the crew.
Unlike many other starships, her builders have gone to the trouble of installing fine simwood on almost every surface in order to create a welcome oasis from the cool blues and grays of the ship's corridors. Walls, ceiling braces, lighting fixtures, tables, railings - even the planks of the floor are all crafted from simwood. There is no serving counter in this mess, so crewmembers can order food and drink directly from each table's built-in replicator and disposal terminal.
The bridge is also located on deck three, well protected inside the vessel. The center seat is placed behind a tactical control console, from where the ship's shields, weapons, and tactical maneuvering are directly controlled. The only other bridge stations are Conn and Ops, each also endowed with larger consoles and spaced well apart. The Ops position is primarily responsible for internal status and communications with other ships. A number of observer's seats line the circular aft wall; within view of all bridge posts is the forward main viewscreen, supplemented by smaller viewscreens above, to the left, ad to the right of it.
Crew's quarters, but also with additional compact wall-beds for extra crew, like Starfleet Marines, assigned aboard.
The ship's compressed warp core and other engineering facilities are found on this level.
The transporter room, an auxiliary cargo bay which doubles as a brig, an industrial replicator and a Type 10 shuttlecraft are located here.
- "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
- — Captain John Paul Jones (1747-1792)
As the Invictus as no permanent crew assigned, she is staffed from the regular crew complement of the Independence on a per-mission basis. A current list of the Independence crew can be found here.