and A/B models by Stardate
The D-31 class of medium cruiser
was originally intended as the great hope for the empire. But even the
many design changes and stringent construction specifications would propel
the D-31 from grand design to unexpected workhorse. The D-31 was originally
envisioned by the Restrak line as a replacement for the D-7. The Drell
corporation had rigidly held onto the use of the bulky KWE drive system
on the popular battlecruiser. Many had complained that the larger reactant
chamber and bulky warp coils did not give the D-7 a spacious enough interior
for heavier weapons and expansion. But Drell would not be swayed, despite
pressure from several houses and High Council Members. So engineers from
the Restrak line contracted to begin production on a new design created
from a desire to improve the fleet.
The Death Boot was named after an insult
given by a Federation commander to a Klingon commander during a tense
boarder standoff. The Federation commander, exasperated by his inability
to act, finally hurled the insult “you mother wears army boots,”
from old earth legend. Totally missing the insult, the Klingon commander
bespoke of the incident upon his return to his home. Several of his line
brothers, better versed in human insults, explained the innuendo. Rather
than be offended, the Captain immediately said that the name would be
perfect for their new design, and the Death Boot was born.
The A went through several changes before
actual production was begun. The original design was for a class X heavy
cruiser that was cost efficient enough to be mass produced. But by mid
2275, yard officials at the production center announced that the desired
vessel was not viable. With time quickly running out, engineers finally
reduced the size still further and moved the wing structures into an open
upward position to provide space for loading bays and engineering systems.
Although much less powerful than originally envisioned, the Death Boot
was still a powerful and capable ship. Within weeks of a test launch,
it was discovered that the D-31’s hull was stronger and roomier
than the D-7. Nearly as combat capable as the D-7, the D-31 significantly
out-classed the older Drell design by using the new and powerful Vitrien
KSL trinary shielding system. With more power for weapons and maneuvering,
the D-31 would have a profound effect on other designs within the Empire.
But the A was not with out its flaws. The
roomy interior of some decks starkly contrasted with above average cramped
living spaces. Dozens of safety redundancy features ran right through
the middle of the ship, reducing internal spaces. The decision to embark
over 240 ground troops and their support systems pushed design limits
beyond recommended levels. Although successfully approved for nearly 240
space frames, production was canceled after only 84 were completed.
The B, launched the next year, helped to
some degree, replacing the dual KP-5’s with a single KP-6, but had
little difference with the A. B production was also halted early, after
only 54 ships were launched. Surprising, it would be the Drell Corporation
who would re-ignite the D-31 program twelve years later by launching a
C version, early in 2288. The C removed the entire marine compliment and
their support systems in favor of lab spaces and roomier quarters. The
C would immediately rocket to front of design considerations, and by mid-2288,
Drell had purchased the construction contract from Restrac and was in
full swing production of the D-31. The C increased disruptor power, doubled
the number of torpedo tubes and increased the impulse drive output, as
well as adding 9 new science labs. This gave the cruiser the ability to
operate as an exploration vessel as well as a combat cruiser. D-31C’s
were immediately sent to the frontier, expanding the boarders by leaps
and bounds. With only a few clashed with Federation forces, the D-31’s
were able to hold their own and in one instance, destroyed a Federation
The D-31 new found status was tenuous to
say the least. By 2290, nearly a dozen had gone missing, and twice as
many had been destroyed or scrapped after combats with Romulan forces
or unknown vessels along the boarders. Soon after, the program would almost
be canceled with the destruction of Praxis. Like most starship construction
programs, the destruction of Praxis severely cut the D-31 program. Over
two dozen construction programs were canceled to free up funds and materials
now desperately needed for the home world. Construction of the D-21 was
cut from nearly 15 ships per year to just 2, and by 2294, the program
was put in mothballs all together. It was not until the following year,
as the High Command began to expand the fleet once again that the D-31
was re-examined. Armed with a new shield system and a more powerful torpedo
system, the D-31D was easy enough to produce, yet hardy enough to remain
viable as a combat platform.
The D-31 was produced at the Iosha construction
yard at varying rates. The steadiest rate was 14 per year but is currently
extimated at 2 per year. Of the 328 built to date, 152 D's remain in active
service. 29 A's were converted to B's, 48 B's were converted to C's and
a total of 106 C's were eventually converted to D's. 2 A's, 11 C's and
2 D's are listed as missing, although 6 C's are believed to have defected
to the IKS over the years. 9 A's, 7 B's 14 C's and 13 D's have been destroyed.
6 A's 3 B's 9 C's and 10 D's have been scrapped, mostly due to combat.
10 A's, 1 C and 1 D are used by the Training Command. 2 A and 1 C have
been captured by Star Fleet. 1 C has been captured by the Sona while 1
B and 1 C have been captured by the Klingons. 20 A's and 10 C's were sold,
15 of which were unwhittingly sold to the Romulans thorough Orion traders.
20 B's are in reserve fleets. 6 A's 4 B's and 12 C's are serving with
Ranking Families in the Empire.
The D-31 is
named from the phrase Heg'bIng..