Federation Engineering Report

Imperial DataNet
Data Requisition Order #17E02D49HG82U37KM7H12354F23S7U

Numerous serious problems have been uncovered with regards to the state of Federation engineering. Several reports have been obtained by monitoring Federation news channels, many of which report widespread degeneration in engineering standards across the board. Some of these articles have been reproduced here.

The first article appears to be a Federation news report. Its contents are shocking in many ways.


Leah Brahms found guilty of violating Federation Engineering Act

San Francisco, Earth (Stardate 55872.6)
Jacob Sisko reporting

Leah BrahmsNoted physicist Leah Brahms, one of the chief designers of the Galaxy Class starship and the lead designer of the warp core system now used in 90% of Federation vessels, was found guilty of violating the Federation Engineering Act on Tuesday. According to prosecuting attorney Scott Jackson, serious flaws in the design of the warp core led to numerous preventable disasters, including the now-infamous Yamato disaster (Stardate 42609.1), in which a Galaxy Class starship exploded after contracting a computer virus. Out of more than one thousand crew members and their civilian families, there were no survivors.

"After more than thirteen years, we have finally achieved some measure of closure, but this is only the tip of the iceberg," said Peter Stein, representing the Yamato victims' families. During the trial, victims' families were stunned to hear that while Ms. Brahms possessed numerous degrees in astrophysics and particle physics, she had no engineering training whatsoever, nor did she possess a valid engineering license. "How does an unlicensed practitioner get assigned to head up a Starfleet engineering team, and why did it take so long for this to come to light?" asked Mr. Stein.

This was but one of many shocking revelations during the trial. It was also learned that despite their claims to the contrary, virtually all of the problems were foreseeable. In fact, it was revealed that Ms. Brahms' engineering team disregarded numerous safety regulations and design policies already in place, many of which date all the way back to the Klingon Cold War era.

This latest bombshell has shaken public confidence in Starfleet, as a number of increasingly vocal critics are now calling for Starfleet to open its records for public scrutiny. "How many other skeletons are hidden in Starfleet's closets?" asked one heckler as two uniformed Starfleet admirals left the proceedings. Even some politicians are now questioning why Starfleet is given a complete exemption from the Federation's freedom of information act. Even now, 3 years after the end of the Dominion War, most records of that war remain strictly classified.

"Officially, Starfleet is subordinate to the civilian government. But unofficially, Starfleet restricts [security] clearance so that no one in the civilian government need be made aware of our actions, not even the President," said one high-ranking member of Starfleet who asked not to be identified. Government critics have long charged that Starfleet is effectively a "shadow government", making policy decisions and even using its own officers in foreign policy negotiations, with or without the input or approval of the civilian government. Some critics even point to (unsubstantiated) reports of an attempted coup just prior to the Dominion War as evidence that Starfleet has effectively marginalized the civilian government and could seize power at any time (the coup leader was rumoured to be Admiral Leyton, who is currently undergoing psychiatric treatment at an undisclosed location for what Starfleet terms a "nervous breakdown").

The second article appears to be some sort of news story, or editorial.


The Strange And Terrible Journey of Leah Brahms

by Raoul Duke II

There was blood in the halls of Starfleet Headquarters this week, and angry murmurings in the streets of Paris. Not since Richard Daystrom took the walk of shame for his part in the infamous M-5 debacle have those golden halls of Enlightenment seen a comparable parade of incompetents, fools, liars and the Depraved...

I was in San Francisco covering the post-trial press conference surrounding "Skinned-Cat" Dougherty's involvement in the nasty affair with a species known as the Ba'ku and their children, whom Starfleet's best minds had somehow thought were an entirely different species. Xenobiologists are almost certainly in great demand this year.

I couldn't take any more of the Dougherty hearing. Dougherty himself was amusing enough to watch as he compulsively rubbed his hands over his surgically restored face -- I'd pay real money to see the man's nightmares on-screen -- but when captain Jean-Luc Picard took a liter-sized gulp of water, harrumphed officiously and got right down into his Statement, it was time to go.

I was lost, confused and disoriented. What kind of times were these? High-ranking military officers were falling like rotten dominoes, and it seemed that no one was safe. The infamous Captain Ben Maxwell, arguably one of the greatest heroes of the Cardassian conflict -- 10 years in New Zealand. The Maquis, many high-ranking Starfleet officers among them, who had threatened to rip that old scar wide open again. And now this -- Dougherty and Picard, both fighting over whose hand was deeper in the cookie jar... Could it get any worse?

I wandered until I got bored. The same architecture, the same bland colors... all a pretty face to cover up some very ugly truths. I wandered back into the conference. It wasn't until I sat down that I realized I was not in the same room I had left, and this was something Entirely Different.

"Mr. Foreman," intoned the Magistrate, "in the matter of the Starfleet Corps of Engineering Safety Board vs. Leah Brahms, how find you?"

Wait a minute, I thought. This is a trial! How the hell did I get past Security without showing my press pass?

"On the charge of Professional Negligence," replied the foreman, "The jury finds the Defendant Guilty. On the matter of willful and premeditated violation of SCESB regulations in Power Generation System Design; we the jury find the Defendant Guilty. In the matter of Willful and Premeditated Misallocation of Project Resources, we the jury find the Defendant Guilty..." the charges rolled on for another five minutes...

The feeding frenzy began shortly after His Honor's sentence. That sentence will bring Hell down upon the legal system; it had even the Vulcans walking fast and looking worried.

Peter Stein, who I later learned is pursuing a class action naming both Brahms and Starfleet itself for the Families of Yamato victims, was less than thrilled with the judge's decision. "The fat bastard needs his head scanned," Stein confided in me.

I myself couldn't help but ask, "How many more skeletons does Starfleet have hiding in its closets?" But the room was already clearing, and the last two flag officers hustling each other out didn't have an answer...

The third article appears to be something of a counterpoint, and hints at far deeper problems in Starfleet than had previously been imagined. It may be that Brahms was merely made into a scapegoat for problems which permeate the entire organization.


Blame Starfleet

Embattled physicist Leah Brahms claims Starfleet is to blame for the Yamato disaster. She may have a case.

By Gia Mechown, Federal Review columnist

Leah Brahms"They didn't even bother asking for my engineering credentials," says Leah Brahms, explaining how a theoretical physicist like herself ended up in charge of designing the warp core for the Galaxy class starship. "It was always about making it faster. 'Not fast enough, not powerful enough', that's what we always heard from San Francisco."

Today, Leah Brahms, once a respected physicist and Starfleet darling, is battling for her professional life and possibly her freedom. The Federal government is considering filing criminal charges in the wake of a Starfleet Engineering hearing which found Brahms guilty of gross negligence and incompetence. She's named as a defendant in a massive class-action lawsuit filed by the families of the victims of the U.S.S. Yamato disaster. If she's found to be even partly responsible for the warp core breech which destroyed that ship with all hands, she may find herself also liable for the failure of every warp core based on the original GCS design.

"I want one thing to be clear to everyone right now," said Brahms. "The press is making me out to be the sole designer of the Galaxy. They're making it sound like I was the one who said it was safe for children, like I was the one who ordered it into combat zones. I didn't do anything of the kind."

She goes on to explain: "Starfleet came to me and a few others almost 20 years ago. At the time, the Excelsior cruisers and the Miranda destroyers were really starting to show their age, compared to what some of our neighbors were building. We'd just lost the Enterprise--1701-C, I mean--a few years ago at Narendra Three, and that showed us what the Ambassadors' limits were against the Romulans. At the same time, we were really starting to open up the galaxy, and nothing we had was fast enough to really explore deep space out deep in the alpha quadrant. We were pushing out the frontiers as fast as we could and we left this huge volume of uncharted space basically in the middle of our territory. So they came to us and said they wanted a warp drive that could push a starship along fast, faster than even the Constellations, which were really built with the same technology we'd used in the Mirandas and even the Constitutions.

"The hard part, though, was going to be that they wanted this ship to be big, bigger than anything we'd launched before, way bigger than what the Klingons had and what we thought the Romulans had. When they first told us the proposed dimensions, the first thing I think I said was, 'it can't be done', and the engineers were saying the same thing. It dwarfed an Ambassador and it was supposed to be much, much faster. Later on, when we all found out what the D'Deridex [largest and most powerful class of Romulan Warbird] looked like, it made more sense that they wanted it that big."

She pauses. "And yet, it doesn't really make sense, because that space isn't being taken up by ship's systems. The saucer is all crew quarters. The structural engineers working on the saucer complained all the time about how some lieutenant commander from fleet personnel was always coming down there complaining the crew quarters were too small, Starfleet wanted them bigger. That's how the whole project went. The engineers' decisions kept getting overridden by people in Starfleet who probably couldn't hammer a tool shed together. I don't think anybody in Starfleet command had any idea what they wanted out of this project."

Though Starfleet has done its best to keep criticisms like these quiet, Dr. Brahms is not the first to complain about the schizophrenic mission profile of the GCS. Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself is known to have complained to Starfleet about the presence of children on board the U.S.S. Enterprise-D.

"What kind of idiot puts children on a starship?" complains Dr. Brahms. "No, correction--what kind of idiot puts children on a starship and then sends it into dangerous missions? Yamato was patrolling the Neutral Zone. The Neutral Zone! That's a pure combat mission, which the Galaxy wasn't supposed to be designed for in the first place. And yet there they are, and then to make matters worse, they actually enter the Neutral Zone, on a pure lark I guess, and download the computer virus that destroyed the ship."

When asked about why the warp core was so unstable, Dr. Brahms gets defensive. "We had to do it that way. There's no way the ship could have gone as fast as it did with a conventional warp drive. None. We tried three nacelle designs, four nacelle, even six nacelle. Nothing. No configuration would work. Our only option was to either shrink the ship, which Starfleet wouldn't let us do, or create a contained overreaction inside the core and use the dilithium matrix to prevent the reaction from running out of control. Basically, every time the ship's drive was online, there'd need to be constant, 100% control over the reaction, or else it would blow. We never in a million years though Starfleet would accept the design, but they did."

The Starfleet engineering board, responsible for overseeing new ship designs, has vehemently denied they knew how unstable and dangerous the Brahms core design would turn out to be. Brahms laughs at this. "What the hell good is an engineering board that doesn't see flaws in the system before it blows up? I'll give you an example here. During my hearing, they confronted me with data that suggested if you tapped--I mean, had a low speed collision or took an asteroid hit or something--one of the nacelles just right, you'd cause a plasma backflash which could destroy the ship. I wonder why they didn't catch that when we were still in blueprints."

Brahms seems frustrated. "I'm a physicist. They gave me an "engineer" title and asked me to design a warp core that could move a lot of mass very quickly. I worked out how it could be done, expecting the engineers to come in and refine my ideas, not make a few changes so it would fit into the hull and actually fly it. And now they're blaming me for all the people that died on the Yamato, Enterprise, and Odyssey.

From: Winston Smith, Analysis: Media
To: Marius Danton, Bureau: Destabilisation
Subject: Intercepted News Broadcast from United Federation of Planets

Confirmed: SEND; TRAN59/64; RECV
Context: 7E25; AADV; DSYS; ROPT
Phase Cycle: PSEG14451356739O29O; ICON; 00. 12BMUT; O0.3ORMUT

Marius,

Per your request, Media Branch has been monitoring civilian news channels in the United Federation of Planets, with special attention given to political and social irregularities. Recently, we have been provided with an intercept of a media scandoc, written by one Jacob Sisko, dealing with a criminal suit against one Leah Brahms, for gross negligence, depraved indifference, and a number of other charges.

We are assembling a more thorough file on the subject now; more information will be sent to your office as soon as it is made available. The full text of the article is appended to this scandoc; I have highlighted a few passages with some comments.

Noted physicist Leah Brahms, one of the chief designers of the Galaxy Class starship and the lead designer of the warp core system now used in 90% of Federation vessels, was found guilty of violating the Federation Engineering Act on Tuesday. According to prosecuting attorney Scott Jackson, serious flaws in the design of the warp core led to numerous preventable disasters, including the now-infamous Yamato disaster (Stardate 42609.1), in which a Galaxy Class starship exploded after contracting a computer virus. Out of more than one thousand crew members and their civilian families, there were no survivors.

I don't know how your office might view this excerpt, but I simply find it amazing that such a poorly designed propulsion plant ever made it into mass production! This warp core is clearly deeply flawed, yet it was aboard a starship in full commission, with civilians aboard, despite the fact that it violates the provisions of a Federal law.

Frankly, I'm stunned. Was there no testbed? Did the designers not test the propulsion plant before they put it into production? I can only imagine what our colleagues in His Imperial Majesty's Navy would do if someone tried to sell them such a badly-designed propulsion plant. Fortunately for us, stupidity is a capital offense.

Note to Tech Branch: a computer virus is capable of causing disastrous core failure in the main propulsion plants of 90% of Federation starships; consider developing a programme to exploit this vulnerability. Details regarding the "Yamato disaster" are on record.

"After more than thirteen years, we have finally achieved some measure of closure, but this is only the tip of the iceberg," said Peter Stein, representing the Yamato victims' families. During the trial, victims' families were stunned to hear that while Ms. Brahms possessed numerous degrees in astrophysics and particle physics, she had no engineering training whatsoever, nor did she possess a valid engineering license. "How does an unlicensed practitioner get assigned to head up a Starfleet engineering team, and why did it take so long for this to come to light?" asked Mr. Stein.

What kind of idiots do the Federation have in charge over there? Whose idea was it to allow a theoretical physicist design a warship? Do they even realise that there is a difference between pure science and applied science?

Note to Infiltration Branch: infiltration of vital operations should not be excessively difficult; the Federation's administrators apparently don't even bother with examining credentials.

This was but one of many shocking revelations during the trial. It was also learned that despite their claims to the contrary, virtually all of the problems were foreseeable. In fact, it was revealed that Ms. Brahms' engineering team disregarded numerous safety regulations and design policies already in place, many of which date all the way back to the Klingon Cold War era.

At this point, I'm forced to wonder if the Federation even examined Brahms' design at all before putting it into production. If it violated their own well-established safety regulations, how did it ever get approved?

Of course, I'm sure you can see these things for yourself, Marius. Really, the surprising thing is that the Federation didn't see them. Examine our records on one of their starships, the U.S.S. Enterprise (Registry number NCC-1701-D). How many times did that single ship narrowly avoid being blown to very small non-working parts? And how many of those times was it the result of criminally stupid flaws in the basic design?

You can read the rest of the article, and form your own conclusions. I'll have my office forward all new information on this subject to your office; let me know if there's anything else you want.


Acknowledgements



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