The Fleet in PIC: "The Star Gazer" and "Farewell"

by Jörg Hillebrand, Bernd Schneider and Ryan Dietz

Fleet in PIC: "The Star Gazer"Fleet in PIC: "Farewell"Summary of the FleetStar Trek Online DesignsOther Designs

 

When a Borg vessel emerges from a spatial anomaly in front of the USS Stargazer and La Sirena in the Picard season 2 premiere "The Star Gazer", Starfleet quickly assembles an armada to respond to the threat. The Borg Queen, however, penetrates the shields of the Stargazer, begins to assimilate the ship (which is augmented with Borg technology) and eventually takes control of the whole fleet. Admiral Picard sees no other option but to order the self destruct... Flash forward to the season finale "Farewell". After a trip to the past, Picard and crew are back on the Stargazer in the 24th century. The sequence of events is about to repeat, but now Picard aborts the self destruct. The Borg ship and the Starfleet armada, under the control of the Borg Queen, form a shield grid to seal a forming anomaly.

After the copy-and-paste fleet at the end of "Et in Arcadia Ego II" in season 1 was not well received by the audience, production designer Dave Blass took care that the new armada to appear in the two season 2 episodes would be much more diverse. Thanks to his social media posts we know the classes, names and registries of all Starfleet ships, their sizes and where they appear on screen in key moments. With a bit of interpolation, it is possible to track how almost every ship moves during an episode and between the two episodes, so this is quite possibly the best documented fleet in the history of Star Trek.

This article summarizes everything we know about Picard's fleet and about the single designs.

 

Fleet in PIC: "The Star Gazer"

In the season opener "The Star Gazer", the fleet can be seen in four shots. The first is a wide-angle shot, in which 18 starships drop out of warp one by one and join the Stargazer and La Sirena, as seen from the Borg vessel. On our screen caps and in the table, the Starfleet ships from "The Star Gazer" are assigned numbers that correspond to the order in which they appear. Shot #1 comprises the IDs from 1 (USS Stargazer) up to 20. Shot #2 appears a bit later, now showing a close view of the central portion of the static fleet, with parts of the Borg vessel in the foreground. We can't tell whether additional ships have arrived in the meantime, as we only see 12 altogether, all which were already present in shot #1.

After the Borg Queen has taken control, many ships are adrift and they slowly move in various directions, but with a clear tendency towards the Borg vessel. This is visible in shot #3, showing the reverse angle of #1 and #2. Here, we can also see that extra ships must have arrived. Not all of the original 20 are still visible, but according to Dave Blass and to Jörg's research, numbers 21 to 25 are really new. This continues up to the point where the Stargazer explodes in shot #4. We finally see Starfleet ships with numbers up to 31.

 

Fleet in PIC: "Farewell"

The explosion of the Stargazer (and possibly of much of the rest of the fleet) abruptly ended the sequence of events near the end of PIC: "The Star Gazer". After Picard's return to the 24th century, the season finale "Farewell" resumes at a time merely seconds before this happens once again. The first shot of the fleet in this episode (#0) appears immediately after Q snaps his fingers. It is identical to #3 in "The Star Gazer" but is running backwards. The starships are now floating away from the Borg vessel, unlike it was in "The Star Gazer". The explosion of the Stargazer, which would have been at the very beginning of this shot, is not included. The reversal may have been meant as a (slight) hint that the timeline was reset.

After Picard has halted the self destruct, we see a new shot, in which the fleet must have been adrift for some more time, which looks accordingly chaotic ("Farewell" shot #1). But as in shot #0, the ships are moving away from the Borg vessel, unlike it would have been in "The Star Gazer", if the Stargazer had not exploded. Perhaps the Borg Queen gave the fleet a push? Anyway, we may be able to identify a few of the visible ships such as notably the Stargazer. But most of them have either moved too far away from their positions, or the shot was created anew for the season finale without tracking where exactly each ship was previously located. The latter is an option, since we know that there are differences in the composition of the fleet between the two episodes. For the shots that follow in "Farewell", Dave Blass once again confirms which exact ships we are looking at.

The next shot #2 shows the armada as it has been neatly rearranged to a grid by the Borg Queen. And it already includes the complete armada. No extra ship will appear in the following shots. The ships in "Farewell" keep their numbers from "The Star Gazer", and we add an index starting with "G" for where in the shield grid they are located. As we can see in shot #2, most vessels are already known from the season premiere. But eight ones are previously unseen. On the other hand, six ships that were still in the fleet in "The Star Gazer" are missing now.

Shot #3 is a close take of a portion of the armada. It provides a good look at the Ross class and the Excelsior but otherwise does not reveal anything new. Shot #4 shows the fleet from "above" and shot #5 from behind. All ships from shot #2 are still present and still in the same order (great continuity thanks to consequential usage of CGI). Shots #6 and #8 are two more close takes, whereas in #7 we can identify only the left part of the armada.

 

Summary of the Fleet

The two scale charts used in the production of Picard season 2 allow a size comparison among the Starfleet ships and with the Borg vessel. The only small class in the Starfleet armada is the Reliant class (251 meters long and hence about the same size as the Miranda class). All other Starfleet ships are considerably bigger, which makes sense, considering the size of the Borg vessel. At more than 10 kilometers diameter, it may belong to the biggest artificial structures of Star Trek.

The following table summarizes all appearances of starships in "The Star Gazer" and "Farewell". As already mentioned, 31 Starfleet ships can be seen in the first episode. Six somehow drop out and eight newly appear in the latter episode, giving us a new total of 33. The grand total of all individual Starfleet ships is 39.

Chronological IDGrid IDClassNameRegistry"The Star Gazer""Farewell"
n/aG18n/aBorg shipxx
n/aG11Kaplan F17La Sirenaxx
1G4SaganUSS StargazerNCC-82893xx
2G16Excelsior IIUSS ExcelsiorNCC-42037xx
3G10SutherlandUSS AlmagestNCC-91870xx
4G13GagarinUSS GagarinNCC-97930xx
5G2RossUSS VanguardNCC-75148xx
6G1InquiryUSS RustazhNCC-86503xx
7SovereignUSS GilgameshNCC-74669x
8SovereignUSS ValkyrieNCC-74877x
9G9LunaUSS EuropaNCC-80104xx
10G17ReliantUSS UhuraNCC-90214xx
11G25AkiraUSS ThunderchildNCC-63549xx
12G32SutherlandUSS HuygensNCC-91814xx
13G26ReliantUSS ClarkNCC-90206xx
14G21SutherlandUSS ibn Al-HaythamNCC-91965xx
15G6SutherlandUSS SutherlandNCC-91800xx
16G12AkiraUSS HeliosNCC-63284xx
17G24InquiryUSS MagellanNCC-86509xx
18G20InquiryUSS ShackletonNCC-86517xx
19G3ReliantUSS ReliantNCC-90200xx
20G7LunaUSS OberonNCC-80103xx
21SovereignUSS VentureNCC-75306x
22SovereignUSS ArsinoeNCC-75307x
23G15RossUSS Yi Sun-SinNCC-76545xx
24G27SovereignUSS HutchinsonNCC-74957xx
25Excelsior IIUSS EurekaNCC-42023x
26G31SovereignUSS HrothgarNCC-74975xx
27G22SovereignUSS OkudaNCC-74107xx
28G14AkiraUSS RabinNCC-63293xx
29SovereignUSS PachacutiNCC-74181x
30G8InquiryUSS Nathan HaleNCC-86501xx
31G5InquiryUSS Zheng HeNCC-86505xx
32G19RossUSS RossNCC-76710x
33G23GagarinUSS ChristopherNCC-97936x
34G28ReliantUSS TiroNCC-90216x
35G29AkiraUSS FireswordNCC-64280x
36G30RossUSS ArcherNCC-76725x
37G33LunaUSS LunaNCC-80101x
38G34AkiraUSS AkiraNCC-62497x
39G35ReliantUSS EnkiduNCC-90205x
All Starfleet3133

As we look at the numbers ordered by classes, it is noticeable that as many as five ships of the Sovereign class disappear between the episodes. Also, the second Excelsior II class is missing now. The number of the Akira-, Gagarin-, Luna-, Reliant- and Ross-class vessels increases slightly. So if we ignore the names and registries, which are never legible (except in close takes of the Stargazer, of course), there is still a a bit of a discontinuity.

ClassProvenanceTotal"The Star Gazer""Farewell"Difference

Akira
Classic canon535+2

Excelsior II
New design PIC S2221-1

Gagarin
ST Online212+1

Inquiry
New design PIC S15550

Luna
Beta canon & LOW323+1

Reliant
ST Online535+2

Ross
ST Online424+2

Sagan
New design PIC S21110

Sovereign
Classic canon883-5

Sutherland
ST Online4440
All Starfleet3931332

The fact that Q restored the timeline slightly differently than it was in "The Star Gazer" (Jurati and Rios are not present on the Stargazer bridge any more whereas Raffi is), creating a discontinuity, may also explain why the fleet composition differs. Then again, Q would have no reason to replace ships in the armada.

 

Star Trek Online Designs

Following the controversy about Riker's monolithic fleet at the end of "Et in Arcadia Ego II", Picard production designer Dave Blass reached out to Thomas Marrone - then Lead Starship Artist, now Associate Art Director, for Cryptic Studios' Star Trek Online - for help in creating a varied armada for the opening episode of Picard's second season.

This led to a quartet of new ship classes joining Starfleet - the Ross class, the Sutherland class, the Reliant class, and the Gagarin class.

The following descriptions include in-game information on these four classes that does not necessarily describe the capabilities and roles of the ships in canon.

Ross class

The Ross class, formally the Legendary Ross Command Exploration Cruiser, was designed and modelled by Thomas Marrone in collaboration with the players of StreamPunks' Star Trek Adventures tabletop role-playing game, Clear Skies.

Named for the first Native American female engineer, Mary G. Ross, the Ross is a variant of the venerable Galaxy class with a focus on command specialization powers, a set of three powers that boost teammates' hull regeneration and damage resistance, a boost to weapon damage and a decrease in power usage when firing energy-based weapons, or reduces ability recharge times.

The Ross's design is intended to be an intermediate design between the Galaxy class and the Sovereign class, field-testing technologies that would be later utilized in full on the Sovereign class.

In-game, it is pre-equipped with saucer separation capabilities to add to combat capabilities, the ability to deploy an antimatter spread to temporarily blind enemies, and a molecular cohesion nullifier, inflicting damage on all enemies within two kilometers.

As a cruiser, it also comes with capabilities to reduce weapons power drain when firing, a reduction in damage taken to shields and a boost to shield regeneration, a boost to flight speed and turn rate, or a boost to threat generation and a subsequent reduction in allies threat generation.

The two Ross-class starships present in the "The Star Gazer" are the USS Vanguard (NCC-75148) and the USS Yi Sun-Sin (NCC-76545). The class ship, USS Ross (NCC-76710), and the USS Archer (NCC-76725) additionally show up in "Farewell". Note that the Vanguard has a lower registry than the class ship.

Length: 663.2m

Sutherland class

The Sutherland class, formally the Sutherland Advanced Research Vessel, is a ca. 2409 update to the Nebula class, based on the Andromeda class hull in the same way the Nebula was based upon the Galaxy's. It was also designed and modelled by Thomas Marrone. Like the Nebula, it is equippable with a round or triangular mission pod.

It is named for the Nebula-class vessel commanded by Data that served as part of Picard's blockade on the Klingon-Romulan Border during the Klingon Civil War (TNG: "Redemption II").

The Sutherland class is an unspecialized science ship, but comes with subsystem targeting - allowing for targeting and draining of enemy weapons, shields, engines, or science power reserves - the ability to run a sensor analysis on an enemy or an ally - increasing damage against an enemy or improving heal powers towards an ally. Though unspecialized as a ship, it does have the capability to utilize temporal operative powers - a powerset that inflicts damage-over-time and other "debuffs".

It comes equipped with the capability to emit a tachyon particle field that heals teammate's shields and damages enemy shields.

The four Sutherland-class starships present in the fleet in both episodes are the USS Almagest (NCC-91870), the USS Huygens (NCC-91814), the USS ibn al-Haytham (NCC-91965), and the class ship USS Sutherland (NCC-91800).

Length: 652.4m

Reliant class

Named for the ill-fated Miranda-class vessel hijacked by Khan Noonien Singh ("Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan"), the Reliant class, formally the Reliant Advanced Light Cruiser, is a ca. 2409 update to the long-serving Miranda class. The class was designed by Cryptic Studios' Senior Concept Artist Hector Ortiz and modelled by Thomas Marrone.

Another unspecialized ship, it comes with the same four team-boosting cruiser abilities as the Ross class, but also has slotting for pilot powers - a powerset allowing for advanced maneuvering capabilities.

It also comes equipped with a potential energy entangler, which drains enemy weapons power and routes it to your engines, increasing maneuverability.

The three Reliant-class starships present in the fleet in "The Star Gazer" are the USS Uhura (NCC-90214), the USS Clark (NCC-90206), and the class ship USS Reliant (NCC-90200). In "Farewell", we also see the USS Tiro (NCC-90216) and USS Enkidu (NCC-90205).

Length: 251.0m

Gagarin class

The Gagarin class, formally the Gagarin Miracle Worker Battlecruiser, was designed by Hector Ortiz and modelled by former Cryptic Studios' 3D artist Donny Versiga. It is a ca. 2409 update to the Shepard class from Star Trek: Discovery, named for the USS Gagarin (DIS: "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum").

A miracle worker specialized ship, after using a randomized order of the three basic ability classes - tactical, engineering, and science - it activates a random self-boosting ability, discharges a plasma wave, or creates a holographic copy of your ship that rams an enemy ship.

Additionally, it comes equipped with a refracting energy shunt, which discharges a high-powered beam of protonic energy at an enemy.

The lone Gagarin-class starship in "The Star Gazer", the USS Gagarin (NCC-97930), is joined by the USS Christopher (NCC-97936) in "Farewell".

Length: 492.0m

 

Other Designs

The fleet also includes all-new designs, the already introduced Inquiry class and known fan favorites from classic canon.

Sagan class

The USS Stargazer is a member of the Sagan class, a new design for PIC season 2 by Dave Blass, Doug Drexler and John Eaves. The ship, like Picard's old USS Stargazer NCC-2893 of the Constellation class (TNG: "The Battle"), has four nacelles. The registry NCC-82893 of the new Stargazer is another tip of the hat to Jean-Luc Picard's former command.

The Stargazer is the only starship of her class in the fleet (and the only four-nacelled ship), obviously to allow a better visual distinction.

Length: 540.7m

Excelsior II class

The Excelsior II class was newly created for PIC season 2 by John Eaves and Doug Drexler. The class name includes the Roman numeral "II" to distinguish it from the older Excelsior class. The class ship, on the other hand, is named USS Excelsior, without the "II".

The hull design is clearly inspired by the old Excelsior class. However, unlike the Obena class as it appeared in LOW: "First First Contact", the Excelsior II class does not use any scaled up Excelsior-class components.

Two ships of the class are part of the fleet, but the Eureka is gone in the season finale. The registries NCC-42037 (USS Excelsior) and NCC-42023 (USS Eureka) are unexpectedly low and insinuate that the Excelsior II may have been around for decades already. It almost seems the registries were chosen on purpose in the same range as some of the Excelsior-class ships of TNG and DS9. Also, it is an oddity that the hull number of the Eureka is lower than that of the class ship.

Length: 588.0m

Inquiry class

The infamous copy-and-paste fleet in PIC: "Et in Arcadia Ego II" entirely consisted of Inquiry-class ships (design by John Eaves). As it is the "toughest, fastest, most powerful ship Starfleet has ever put into service", it makes sense that the design is part of the Picard season 2 armada. Tobias Richter created the CG model.

What the promo images don't show is that the model was reportedly modified, replacing the "grille" with a new deflector and reshaping the bottom of the engineering hull not to be so flat any more.

We can see five members of the class in the armada. The Zheng He already appeared as Riker's ship in PIC: "Et in Arcadia Ego II".

Length: 640.1m

Luna class

The Luna class was designed by Sean Tourangeau for the novel series Star Trek: Titan. The ship was first pictured in The Sword of Damocles, released in 2007. As such, although often otherwise stated, the Titan was non-canon until its appearance on Star Trek: Lower Decks. The ship has its first live-action appearance in Star Trek: Picard.

Whereas the animated Luna class has a blunt saucer edge without windows and further details, the CG version used for PIC season 2 includes these missing features. The model was created by Tobias Richter.

Two Luna-class ships appear in "The Star Gazer". One more, the USS Luna herself, can be seen in "Farewell". The Luna class is a rare case of consistent naming of the ships, as all of them (Luna, Titan, Europa, Oberon) are named for moons in the Sol system.

Length: 453.3m

Akira class

The Akira class was designed by Alex Jaeger and first appeared in "Star Trek: First Contact". The design is a known fan favorite, and so it does not surprise that this class is part of the armada. The CG model was created by Thomas Marrone.

Five Akira-class ships appear in the armada. Additionally, we can see the USS Avalon as it is hit by the anomaly earlier in PIC: "The Star Gazer". The USS Thunderchild (confirmed on screen) and USS Rabin (production artwork) are veterans from the Borg attack in "Star Trek: First Contact".

Length: 464.4m

Sovereign class

The Sovereign class is another legacy ship type. Designed by John Eaves and Herman Zimmerman with support from Rick Sternbach, it only appeared as the Enterprise-E in the TNG movies so far. For PIC season 2, a CG model by Ian Richards and Donny Versiga was used.

We see as many as eight ships of the class altogether. However, as already mentioned, only three of the are left in "Farewell".

Length: 685.8m

Kaplan F17 type

For the sake of completeness, La Sirena, the well-known non-Starfleet Kaplan F17 speed freighter, is also part of the armada. The design is by Mark Yang, the CG model by Tobias Richter.

Length: 85.6m

 

See Also

Time Travel in Star Trek: Picard (PIC) - exhaustive analysis of what happens in PIC season 2

 

Credits

Thanks to Dave Blass for his kind support! The promotional ship charts with CG views and other information were compiled by Geoffrey Mandel. Star Trek Online ship side views by Thomas Marrone.

 


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