U.S.S. Hirayama, Doppler class (2276 upgrade) NCC-3874.

Images by Andrew Brown. Used with permission.

Hirayama, which in 2290 still looked like a TOS/Phase II tug with a Tikopai-style replacement TMP-tech bridge module, Phase II nacelles but a TOS Achernar-style hull; A true hybrid

Length, draught, beam:

  • Primary hull length: 128 metres
  • Primary hull draught: 32.5 metres
  • Primary hull beam: 127.1 metres
    (same as Achernar class)

    Blueprints of comparable technology.

  • Nacelle length: 164.3 metres
  • Nacelle draught: 19.6 metres
  • Nacelle beam: 13.5 metres
    (LN-52 SCNN same as Achernar class upgrade)

    Crew: 150 (21 officers and 129 enlisted crew)

  • Computers: “Fasfax” Duotronic II, Ferranti-Mnemonics, Reading, Berkshire.
  • Propulsion: warp: Dennison/Westinghouse, San Francisco.
    Impulse: Scarbak Propulsion Systems, Cairo.
    “Asaks” Chemical reaction control system, Orage Ijek, Aksajak, Andoria.
  • Life support: CT-3/Centris artificial gravity generator.
    “Coraza” radiation shielding, Critobal SM/S, Manila.
    “Ambrix” Waste regeneration systems, Jullundur-Lahore Ltd, Mumbai.

    U.S.S. Hirayama NCC-3874:

    To the young fourth class cadet, the Hirayama resembled something from a different age; the simulators and instructional material at Starfleet Academy depicted the latest Starfleet ships that were in service, typically Constellation or Excelsior class. This was something older.

    From the viewport in the shuttlecraft taxiing him to the ship, the Hirayama looked exactly like what it was: a hybridised upgrade of a very old design. The Doppler class was Starfleet Logistical Command’s first attempt at upgrading the successful Ptolemy class tug design with newer technology that was coming available. The original primary hull was slightly improved from the 2250s original concept with an Achernar sub-class variant; the idea here was to improve only what needed to be improved and to leave the remaining solid design alone. The bridge module had been replaced with one identical to that used on the Tikopai class and the warp nacelles had been upgraded with the “Fleet wing” LN-52 SCNN design that had been pioneered by the Achernar upgraded design.

    The interior confirmed what the exterior of the ship had suggested: this was a ship that had been upgraded as an afterthought, improved with the left-over parts after the prestigious explorers and cruisers had already been improved. The interior closely resembled the appearance of the Constitution class during the classic 2260s period, crudely upgraded with the corridor modifications applied post-2273 to the Constitution class rebuilds. This was window-dressing over the original corridors to give improved safety and structural integrity over the more spacious, but vulnerable corridors of the original Constitution and Ptolemy classes.

    Being a cadet in transit, Hawkins had to share a cabin with one of the enlisted crew, Petty Officer K’chizz of the engineering department. The Caitian male was part of the warp drive specialists, something Hawkins found incredulous given that his father was working with the new warp drives of the Excelsior class that were decades ahead of this pioneering linear warp drive technology. Main Engineering was very much like the bridge that Cadet Hawkins found himself on; the technology on the Bridge was from the same time as his birth and was showing its age compared to the sleek touch-screen technology that was now prevalent on modern Starfleet ships. Buttons were the order of the day, something Hawkins remembered with fondness from visiting his father on the old Constitution class Hood.

    The Tikopai class-variant Bridge module had a certain ‘seventies-charm’ to it. Hawkins couldn’t tell if it was reused from an older Tikopai class converted to Levant class specifications, or whether this module was a new one rolled out onto the Doppler and Dolland class as they were refurbished in the 2280s. The engineering and communications stations had the monopoly on larger stations, with other stations like the security, environmental and science stations given a much smaller place to sit. Hawkins was allocated to the environmental station, one that normally ran on automatic that would offer the young cadet a station to work at and ‘learn the ropes’.

    One aspect that stood out on the Bridge was the lack of a tactical station; on Starfleet tugs the tactical station alcove had been converted for cargo pod control: ensuring the cargo pods were securely fastened to the sled at the base of the primary hull dorsal and that the contents of the pods were secure. This was an essential station, especially when the cargo was life-forms. The Hirayama had defensive phasers only, these were controlled from the helm station like in the old Constitution class.

    Departing from the logistical concentration and distribution facility, the Hirayama had the maximum of three cargo pods. Cargo pod one was a selection of environmental technology that was to be delivered to the planet Alpha Venturi. That world was dying and the Federation was doing what it could to hold the decline in stasis, if not reverse it. Cargo pod two contained personnel for the new Federation colonies in the ‘gold rush’ mining facilities in the Tabula Rasa systems. These had appeared from nowhere only a few months ago and Starfleet had been tasked to explore these regions before either the Klingons or Romulans could annex them. Cargo pod two was also a mixture of supplies and Starfleet Security personnel also destined for the Tabula Rasa systems. Piracy and attacks by the other two nations had sharpened the focus of the Federation Council and the safety of the personnel in the region had been made a priority. The added mass of the three cargo pods meant that the Hirayama performed sluggishly, Chief Engineer Paul Hudson was heard to say she “handled like a pregnant moose” with two pods.

    Captain Gaxxl, a Tellarite, maintained a tight ship, ordering regular cleaning and inspections. Despite the very best attempts by the crew, this was an overworked, well-worn ship that was showing her age. Newer than the Ptolemy class that were still in service, yes. However the Hirayama, like all tugs, was overworked and less-intensively maintained than the more prestigious explorers. Everywhere there were signs of wear and tear that casual cleaning would not remedy. Turbo lift doors squeaked, carpets were worn and control buttons were smoothed by years of pressing. The washers in the laundry were older models than Hawkins was used to, he lost at least one uniform to the ravages of the overly-hot cleaner before he got used to the temperamental machine.

    The other difference Hawkins noticed was the social one. Starfleet ships had a certain formality to them that came with the seriousness of the role and the training for that role. By comparison, the Hirayama was a more relaxed version of that formality. Banter was the order of the day and there were regular jokers who would wind-up other members of the crew. Humour was the way that these crewmembers dealt with the hard work that the role of logistical transport engendered. As a cadet, Hawkins socialised with the enlisted members of the crew; the officers mixed more with the crew than perhaps a Starfleet ship would have, but they still kept a professional distance.

    This summer assignment to the Potemkin was calculated by Hawkins’ father to give him enough credits for the Academy to carry him through to the second year. Richard Hawkins had heard through connections that his youngest son was not performing as well as he should at the Academy and was in real danger of washing out. The Hirayama was the means the young cadet would get from the Academy to the Potemkin; along the way he would be expected to earn his keep and work as one of the crew. Captain Gaxxl had instructed his Executive Officer to find the cadet something both constructive and educational to do during his journey with them.

    Cadet Hawkins found these instructions manifested themselves as an assignment to observe the operational functioning of the ship, from power-loaders in the cargo bays to the warp drive systems in main engineering. Through the work of his father, the young cadet actually found himself to be quite familiar with the aged technology. The other role that Hawkins had was to man the environmental station on the Bridge; although this was usually an automated station, this would offer the young cadet an opportunity to observe Bridge operations. It would also be the place he would observe the full horror of space travel firsthand.

    The delivery of the first pod at Alpha Venturi has gone relatively smoothly; the pod had been detached and worked by the onboard team of Work Bee pilots to the orbital logistics station to be unloaded. The work had been disrupted slightly by the appearance of protesters on the station decrying the lack of help with restoring the ecosphere of the planet. Thankfully Starfleet had a resident Okinawa class frigate that was able to lend a hand with a compliment of Starfleet Marines to ensure the safety of the dock workers and the cargo.

    With the entry of the Hirayama into the Tabula Rasa region, an escort in the form of U.S.S. Cochise was assigned to protect the tug and its cargo. Recently, the Starfleet ships had been challenged aggressively by Klingon and Romulan ships and this had ended in confrontation. To add to this an indigenous people of the Tabula Rasa region, the Taubat, had been discovered. The region had developed within weeks from a new discovery to the newest gold rush in history. The Hirayama cargo would aid in the defence of the outer colonies of the Federation. The intention was that the transport would not be entering the heart of the fighting and that the Saladin class escort would protect her.

    Cadet Hawkins was assigned to the environmental station, monitoring the atmospheric composition on the ship and in the cargo pods. Specialist conditions for certain alien crewmembers were maintained in their quarters to allow them to be more comfortable. The colonial cargo pod was delivered without incident and the Hirayama was en route to deliver the Starfleet Security package when the sensors lit up at the science station.

    Cochise reports they're detecting a vessel ahead of us, Captain. Sensors identify it as Klingon: a K’T’inga class of an older D-7 generation” Lieutenant Qaisrani reported.

    The display from their escort showed a Klingon K'T'inga class D-7C which the sensors highlighted was patched up, blacked in parts and with faded insignia of the particular House and Klingon Empire Imperial Klingon Defence Force markings. The name Hudat’Suwe was identified on the hull. The olive-grey colour scheme made it dark and menacing on the screen. The K'T'inga variant of battlecruiser had become prominent in the early 2270s when the V'ger cloud annihilated three of them, recorded by the Epsilon Nine comms station, before it too was destroyed.

    “Have they seen us?”

    “Yes Captain, they appear to be moving into attack position.”

    On the Cochise the situation was assessed by Commander Rupert Santiago "They outgun us ten to one, they have ablative armour, disruptors, torpedoes and a crew with dedicated combat training from birth. If they don't want to be negotiated out of this, we're in trouble." Back on the Hirayama, Gaxxl realised there was little he could do except get the Cochise between the Klingons and him and keep them there as a shield. “Red alert. Shields up.”

    Hawkins lost track of time. What felt like hours were merely fractions of a second. He stared at the screen; his stomach tied in knots as the fear hit him. This was not the stories of his father and grandfather, these were Klingons and they wanted to kill them all. All he could do was stare at the screen at that three threatening shape as they turned and closed.

    “They are hailing us and ignoring the Cochise.” Ensign Aldama interrupted.


    From the steaming fog of their bridge atmosphere, bathed in the greenish tinge of their alert lights, appeared the menacing, hulking shape of the Klingon commander. His fierce eyes locked onto the Tellarite captain sitting in the command chair. The Klingon looked as if he would reach out from the screen and tear the captain limb from limb. His voice was as threatening as his appearance.

    “I am Commander Kydris of the Imperial Klingon Warship Hudat’Suwe. We are here to impound the hardware that you are carrying to spy on us. Give it to me, NOW. Or I will destroy you all.”

    A moment of pause descended on the Bridge. As far as was known, there was only security equipment present in the last pod. Protestations from the Captain to this effect were soon shot down.

    “We know that it is not Starfleet Security that sent your cargo, Tellarite. You are carrying Starfleet Intelligence equipment and personnel. I demand you hand them over to me. Now.”

    The Cochise, by this point, had manoeuvred itself in front of the Hirayama. Their captain turned to communications: “Get us extra ships – fast!” Like many brave escorts in history, the crew of the Cochise knew that they were no match for the K'T'inga class, but they weren't going down without a fight. The Klingon warship, whilst unable to cloak, was muscling itself into position for a clean strike on the Hirayama, to cripple the tug and take the cargo. The escort did its best to block the Klingon battlecruiser, which encouraged the first shots onto the Cochise, battering its shields and causing the lights to flicker. This impact on the power-generation systems allowed the Klingons to move in for a shot on the Hirayama. The Hirayama bridge erupted into fire. Hawkins felt his right leg crumple under him in a spear of pain, this drew his thoughts away from the screaming that rang in his ears from around the Bridge. His vision blurred as if through several pieces of glass, before focussing again. As Hawkins looked down, his right leg of his cadet uniform was covered in thick red blood that was pooling down towards his boot. He had to haul himself back into his chair through the strength of his arms, leaning on his one good leg; the pain made this all-too real and not like the stories. That first volley was aimed at the Hirayama to deter her from escaping.

    As the young cadet steadied himself in his chair, focussing against the stabbing pain in his wounded leg, he found himself glancing at the viewer to watch the Cochise put herself ahead like a shield, as the Starfleet ship looked to distract the Klingon attacker from the damaged tug. The Klingon warship punished the escort again for her defiance, scoring her shields with heavy volleys of torpedoes and disruptors.

    “Hawkins? We’re losing atmosphere on deck five – seal it!”

    The order from the captain shook the young cadet to acknowledging the order and turning to face the archaic controls. The display showed in crimson where the atmosphere was compromised. Taking his bloodied right hand off his knee where he had been unconsciously stemming the flow of blood, he used the accordion keyboards to close the compartmental bulkheads around the afflicted areas. He knew there were members of the crew there, but he had orders and the safety of the ship was paramount.

    “Sealed Captain!” he shouted back confirmation of his actions over the clamour of the damaged Bridge and moans of the wounded.

    As he faced for interior of the Bridge for a moment, Hawkins could see scattered crumpled bodies that had been thrown against the bulkhead or, like him, had been caught by the shrapnel of exploding consoles.

    The messages for help finally yielded results in the form of the Potemkin (which had been en route for the transfer of crew). Captain Gaxxl took this as an opportunity to withdraw from the threat. The Klingons took this as their sign to attack.

    As the battle progressed, the Hirayama was hit a couple of times more, but for the most part the duo of Starfleet protectors shielded them from the worst of the Klingon assault. When the science station reported the approach of a squadron of Starfleet reinforcements, a cheer spontaneously erupted on the Bridge, followed by silence. The valiant tug had survived the battle, but the cost had been high.

    After what felt like an eternity, medical personnel appeared on the Bridge. Many of the medics were members of crew from other departments, seconded by the circumstances to offer first aid as the triage disaster plan went into effect. Whilst not technically ‘walking’, Cadet Hawkins’ wounds were considered superficial and not life-threatening. A blonde crewman from the special services department gently held his leg and cut open the trouser to look at the knee. The kneecap was covered in gore but appeared to be whole and functional. She checked the cadet could bend his knee after she applied a crude bandage; the Sickbay could deal with the tissue regeneration later.

    It was only after the battle that Hawkins found his senses coming into focus again; the moans of the wounded and the smell of the smoke of burning consoles suddenly appeared, although it must have been there all of the time. The cadet found his heart-rate was still high from the shock, although it was coming down. This was not like the stories. He had survived, but not unharmed.

    * * * * *

    The truth that Hawkins was not the star pupil the first time through the Academy. A Starfleet Brat, he had the stories from his grandfather, parents and older siblings, but this did not entitle him to automatically doing well. His grades at San Francisco were not the greatest, perhaps a little too diverted by the J-class sailing sloop Inspiration.

    His father, Richard, pulls in a favour from his old friend Ariapov to get his son the experience and advantage he needs on a starship. Hawkins is shipped off to the Potemkin via the Hirayama. Hawkins is not given a free ride and serves on the environmental station before he learns the real lessons of life on a starship.

    The Potemkin experience will be one of a starship still on the frontline that has suffered damage from the Klingons, only to have to side with them to face the Metar; this is a handy starting off point for Romulans, Klingons and Metar stories – many of which could be used in The Great Game.

    Cadet (4th Class) Hawkins took this to the Potemkin in 2290/1 and the ships were attacked by the Klingons. This is where Hawkins’ interest in Klingons came from.

    U.S.S. Hirayama NCC-3874, authorised on SD 4990 as Doppler class variant of Ptolemy class.

    Hirayama was commanded by Captain Gaxxl, a Tellarite male, with Lieutenant Commander Lai Remer, a Rigelian woman, as First Officer. Hawkins had spoken little to either officer since his presence onboard was merely one as a cadet who could help out whilst he was en route to the Potemkin.

    The mission started off with a delivery of aid supplies to the Alpha Venturi system, before setting course for the Tabula Rasa systems to rendezvous for a crew change. Many of the Hirayama quarters were filled with crew who would swap onto one of the ships currently assigned to the controversial ‘new’ systems in neutral space.

    This was the first deep space assignment for Hawkins’, arranged by his father to serve aboard the Potemkin, now commanded by one of his father’s former shipmates from the Old Hood. Prior to this Hawkins’ only starship experiences were transports between colonies growing up, starship visits to see family or the training vessel Mars.

    Hawkins served on the Environmental station (normally on automatic) and learned on this mission about the crew of a tug looking after both their ship and their cargo. This would serve him well in the fateful encounter with the Klingons. As a cadet, he was given duties to perform by both officers and enlisted crew. Unlike a normal starship where he would be sharing quarters, there were enough free accommodation in the Hirayama for Hawkins to have a small cabin of his own.

    Good opportunity to describe a tug boat of Starfleet, the less glamorous side of the Service. Close-knit crew, not as neat-and-tidy as the big prestigious explorers. More like the Nostromo in Alien. Hawkins would have been on for weeks and gotten to know a few mentors for his role. Chances are one or more of these will be killed or injured in the attack; this will bring home the danger of the job.

    His performance on this day (courage under fire, following orders to close off sections and sacrificing some crew to save the ship) earned him the right to re-apply to the Academy as a ‘Second Chancer’. Hawkins’ right knee was injured in the attack from an exploding console. Despite immediate medical intervention, he would walk with a limp for weeks and for far longer when exposed to cold and damp conditions. He was fortunate in that early psychological intervention prevented the manifestation of post-traumatic stress (PTSD).

    Hawkins transferred to the Potemkin to continue his field experience. The captain is Ariapov and this is during the later stages of the Tabula Rasa campaign. Initially the Potemkin is still repairing the damage she received in the Hirayama incident. It doesn’t take long for Hawkins to be working alongside the Klingons as they worked together against their common enemy: the Metar.

    Author notes:

    This is a strong emotional story to deal with a teenager who has lived off his grandfather ‘Big Joe’ Hawkins’ stories and those of his CEO father’s stories from the Old Hood. Counterpoint with the reality of being under fire and having to follow the captain’s orders and sacrifice people to save the Hirayama. A lot to deal with. No wonder he took a year out. This will no doubt shape the style and career of Hawkins. The Potemkin then dealing with the Klingons as allies will be, if anything, even more of a trial; a teenager having to swallow his anger at his former enemies to work with them. Hawkins understands the motives of why the Klingons attacked them (they were retrieving a container that had been used for intelligence-gathering on the Klingons) and uses this to rationalise their actions. The Hirayama had been caught by the Klingons removing something provocative.

    It is during this co-operation that Hawkins saw the other side of this warrior race. Hawkins has to deal with the feelings he has about the Klingons after having to press the buttons that sealed the fate of Starfleet personnel in damaged areas of the Hirayama to save the ship. His professionalism keeps those emotions under control to perform his job properly in an unaffected manner.

    This is Hawkins’ coming-of-age. He will be a very different cadet when he returns back to re-sit his first year again 2290 - 2291. This will give him focus on his career path and specialisation. His exposure to danger is as a result of his father’s intervention – normally a cadet would not get so close to known danger.

    NCC Registry Name Notes
    3831 Doppler Sub-class TMP refit. Authorised stardate
    3832 Gaillot
    3833 Halley
    3834 Holden
    3835 Jeffrey
    3836 Kuiper
    3837 Oort
    3838 Pritchett
    3839 Savary
    3840 Struve
    3841 Vogel
    3842 Airy
    3843 Bondi
    3844 Chauvenet
    3845 Eddington
    3846 Gautier
    3847 Hencke
    3848 Hubble
    3849 Leavitt
    3850 Peale
    3851 Rittenhouse
    3852 Secchi
    3853 Tombaugh
    3854 Wolaston
    3855 Baade
    3856 Campbell
    3857 Columbo
    3858 Encke
    3859 Goldricke
    3860 Herschell
    3861 Humanson
    3862 Klepstra
    3863 Mitchell
    3864 Pickering
    3865 Ross
    3866 Shklovsky
    3867 Toscanelli
    3868 Wright
    3869 Bayer
    3870 Carrington
    3871 Kruger
    3872 Fracastor
    3873 Hale
    3874 Hirayama 'Hawkins' Forge'.
    3875 Jansky
    3876 Laplace
    3877 Newcomb
    3878 Popper
    3879 Sabine
    3880 Schmidt
    3881 Van Der Kamp
    3882 Von Zach
    3883 Chamberlain
    3884 Biela
    3885 Dollfus
    3886 Galle
    3887 Hayashi
    3888 Hubbard
    3889 Kaula
    3890 Lockyer
    3891 Palitzsch
    3892 Reber
    3893 Scheiner
    3894 Swift
    3895 Walker
    3896 Apian
    3897 Brovwer
    3898 Clark
    3899 Dreyer

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