“The USS Moscow and the other ships of this class were the one of the last major classes without dilithium. The immediate predecessor to the Constitution class, the Baton Rouge class exhibited the distinct separated living disc and engine modules so familiar now. Up-rated in the 2250s, these ships have only recently completed their commissioned usefulness as interstellar carriers.”
The uprating was due to delays in the Constitution program, and introduced new warp engines, impulse engines, weapons and shields. In this configuration the ships gave valuable service in the four years war.
The Mark 1 Baton Rouge class entered UFP service in 2225 and were the last major cruiser class built with non dilithium energised engines, in total an impressive 86 Mk1 ships was built over 18 years. A modification program in the 2240’s saw 40 of these ships re-equipped with new M- 1 computers, enhanced weaponry and unary shield generators to become Mk2s, a further 14 ships were built as new to compensate for delays in the Constitution programme. This modification meant that the ships remained a useful element of the fleet despite their low top speed compared to newer design.
In 2254 the damaged Mk2 USS Britannia was refitted to Mk4* standards at Utopia Planitia. The secondary hull of the Britannia was damaged beyond repair, and it was decided to use a secondary hull from a written off Heston Class Cruiser. The refit was based on the standard Mk4 for spares support reasons, except the heavy FAC-4 replaced the FAC-3, one pair of these were mounted in the traditional location on the saucer below the bridge, and a second pair atop the secondary hull. The resulting ship was designated a special type and entered service providing heavy support to the 35th Cruiser Squadron (which consisted of Mk3/4 Baton Rouges). Further production of the Mk4* was not authorised as the type’s range was reduced compared to that of the standard Baton Rouge, and the cost of the refit in time and resources was deemed prohibitive compared to the Mark3/4 refits.
In 2256 the Britannia was ambushed while protecting a convoy of troopships in supposedly safe territory. She single handledly managed to hold off three D-10 cruisers while the convoy escaped to safety escorted by another pair of ships from the 35th CS. In total the convoy was carrying over 100,000 troops and Captain Kelsey of the Britannia felt that it was more important for the two other cruisers to safeguard the convoy then to help hold off the D-10s. Miraculously 150 of the Britannia’s crew, including Captain Kelsey, managed to survive the battle, and all three D-10s were crippled or rendered ineffective.
Britannia’s battle was not yet over though, a trio of Orion Pirate vessels attracted by the potential for booty and salvage moved into attack. The crew aboard the damaged Britannia managed to get their accelerator cannons online, and when the lead Orion vessel, a captured D7, moved into the arc of fire they hit it with all four cannons destroying the Orion Vessel, the resultant explosion damaged the second Orion cruiser, but also mortally damaged the unshielded Britannia. The third Orion vessel was destroyed when the command pod of one of the D-10s separated and rammed it’s warp nacelle. The crew of Britannia were forced to abandon their ship as the damage sustained in this final battle caused a catastrophic impulse reactor explosion. The surviving crew members being rescued by the Klingons who they had been fighting just an hour earlier. Aboard the Klingon vessels the survivors were welcomed as warriors with honour, it was not lost on the Klingon commander, Gorkon, that the Britannia could have evaded combat and left the Klingons at the mercy of the Orions.
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