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USS Belfast
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NCC-85320
Throughout history, several vessels have born the name Belfast, establishing a legacy for themselves as dependable ships that served with valour and heroism in military actions.

Prints of all the artwork displayed below are kept in the Belfast's stores and can be displayed anywhere aboard at the captain's discretion.

HMS Belfast C35

Town Class

Town-class light cruiser

Ordered: 21 September 1936

Builder: Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Belfast, UK

Laid Down: 10 December 1936

Launched: St Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1938

Completed: 3 August 1939

Commissioned: 5 August 1939

Decommissioned: 24 August 1963

Status: Museum ship since 21 October 1971

HMS Belfast Starboard Elevation

HMS Belfast was the first and only ship in Earth maritime history to be named after the city of Belfast in Earth’s Irish Republic, formerly the capital of Northern Ireland and part of the United Kingdom. She was one of the United Kingdom's Town-class light cruisers, weighing 9,000 tons and capable of moving at 32 knots. She carried two amphibious biplanes for reconnaissance purposes, which could be launched by catapult and recovered from the water by onboard cranes.

Belfast had a distinguished history, serving with distinction in Earth’s Second World War. She took part in blockades and convoy escort missions for the first several years of the war and played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, where she assisted in the destruction of the German battleship Scharnhorst. The Belfast was the first ship to spot Scharnhorst and fired flares to make her visible to the rest of the British fleet, and she kept Scharnhorst engaged with shells and torpedoes whilst other ships moved in for the kill. Belfast scored several hits, and fired until she ran out of torpedoes, gradually wearing down the Scharnhorst until she was defenceless and beaten.

Belfast also participated in the D-Day Landings, and had the honour of carrying King George VI during his inspection of the fleet shortly before the invasion. Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill intended to witness the invasion from aboard Belfast, until the king convinced him to remain in England out of concern for his safety. When the D-Day landings finally came, Belfast bombarded German artillery batteries, keeping them suppressed until they were overrun by British and Canadian infantry.

HMS Belfast Skyline

HMS Belfast as she appears today, afloat on the Thames with the London skyline in the background

After D-Day, Belfast was reassigned to the Far East, and saw further action in the Korean War, during which she was praised by the U.S. admiralty as a “straight-shooting ship”. She was finally decommissioned in 1963, and 'reduced to disposal' to await scrapping, but she was saved from the breaker’s yard by a public campaign, led by the ship’s former captain. Since 1971, she has floated in the River Thames as a museum ship, being towed to drydock every few years for maintenance and preservation.

A large scale model of the HMS Belfast dominates the historical cabinet in the observation lounge of the USS Belfast, and there are holographic simulations of the original Belfast programmed into the holodeck, including guided tours and recreations of her most famous battles. USS Belfast has a partnership with the HMS Belfast Trust organisation, and visitors to the HMS Belfast can see several exhibits about the USS Belfast onboard.

Belfast CX-30

San Francisco-class nuclear missile frigate

Commissioned: 2104

Construction Base: Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast Harbour
Belfast CX-30 Port Elevation

Length: 81m

Beam: 45m

Height: 14m

Crew complement: 48

Max. speed: Warp 2.4

Fate: Decommissioned in 2170

Belfast CX-30 was one of the rudimentary spacecraft operated by the United Earth Military Assault Command Organisation during the decades before the foundation of Starfleet, and went on to serve with distinction in the Earth-Romulan War. It was part of the San Francisco-class, developed at the turn of the 22nd century in response to raids by Orion pirates on fledgling Earth colonies. The United Earth Security Council ruled that Earth should build its own fleet of armed warp-ships, rather than relying upon the Vulcans for protection, and contracts were awarded to spacecraft engineering firms in several different cities across Earth, including Bombardier Aerospace, based in the city of Belfast.

San Francisco Class

Belfast CX-30 in 2115

Each ship was named after the city where it had been built. CX-30 was assembled entirely in Belfast Harbour and carried into orbit by conventional rocket boosters. It then activated its matter/antimatter reactor and set course for the Tau Ceti colony to begin counter-piracy operations. After weeks of uneventful patrolling, CX-30 successfully engaged a squadron of Orion raiders above Tau Ceti III, and followed the fleeing Orions back to their base in the next system. Belfast wasn’t carrying any MACO assault teams, and even if it had been it would have lacked the ability to deploy them to the planet’s surface, so her mission commander gave the order to bombard the base from orbit, collapsing the cave system where the Orions had landed their ships. After this display of force, Belfast and the Tau Ceti colony didn’t have to worry about pirates for quite some time.

Belfast above Tau Ceti

An artist's impression of Belfast CX-30 above Tau Ceti.

Like its sister ships, CX-30 was only capable of travelling at warp factor 2.4. It had few creature comforts for its crew, with no artificial gravity or entertainment facilities. The interior was cramped and utilitarian, reminiscent of a nuclear submarine or naval destroyer. The only weapons it possessed were pulse laser cannons and diamond-cobalt nuclear missiles, as well as a basic deflector beam to repel asteroids. This armament was sufficient to deter pirates, and ships like the Belfast protected Earth’s fledgling colonies for fifty years, but it was not enough to intimidate the Klingon and Romulan scout ships that started to nose around the home sectors in the 2140s and 50s.

Larger, newer starships were developed to meet the new threat, but when the Earth-Romulan War flared up in the 2160s, the Earth Starfleet chose to modernise several of the old San Francisco-class, turning them into support frigates. Their low warp capability left them incapable of keeping up with newer starships on fleet manoeuvres, but they were perfect for their original role of planetary defence. Belfast and two of her sister ships were sent to Andor with Endeavour NX-06 as a gesture of good faith, and they helped to defend the planet from a large Romulan invasion fleet during the Battle of Andor. Belfast and her sister ship Jakarta are credited with destroying a Romulan bird-of-prey which made the mistake of underestimating them, turning its back on them and diverting power from its aft shields to its plasma cannon while it faced off with an Andorian cruiser. Belfast and Jakarta fired a double barrage of missiles, which passed through the bird-of-prey’s weakened shields and hit their engines, knocking out the cooling systems on their impulse reactor. The Romulan ship's engines overheated and exploded.

By the time the war ended, the San Francisco-class had been rendered obsolete, and they were retired from service. They were converted to automated drone ships and maintained as part of the Sol System defence network, until the network was overhauled in the 2230s and the older ships were broken down for scrap.

A model of the Belfast CX-30 is kept in the ship's stores aboard the USS Belfast, and can be displayed in the observation lounge, the captain's ready room, or anywhere else at the captain's discretion. A large fragment of the CX-30’s hull is mounted on the starboard bulkhead of Belfast’s primary mess hall, bearing the designation CX-30 and a scorch-mark from a Romulan disruptor impact sustained at the Battle of Andor.

USS Belfast NCC-85320 (formerly NCC-1809)

Miranda-class frigate

Ordered: 2265

Construction Base: San Francisco Fleet Yards, with nacelle components built at Astrodyne Fabrication Works, Belfast Harbour

Belfast in orbit-0

Laid Down: 2266

Commissioned: St. Patrick’s Day, 2269

Refitted: 2272

Decommissioned: 2355

Recommissioned: 2366

Assigned to Fleet Reserve: 2375

Returned to Active Service: 2393

Status: Active service

The first, and so far the only, Federation starship to bear the name USS Belfast was commissioned in the year 2269, with an expected service life of seventy years. 124 years later, she is still in active service, after several major refit operations, having been decommissioned twice and brought back into the fleet on both occasions. Very few components of her original spaceframe remain, apart from the primary structural support transoms which form the basic skeleton of the ship, and several non-essential systems such as the waste reclamation facilities. Almost every other system has been replaced, and Belfast’s internal arrangement differs substantially from its original configuration, but she is spiritually still the same ship.

Belfast 2269

Belfast in orbit of Babel in 2269, before her refit. In this image she is fitted with a discontinued deflector/transceiver module.

Belfast has had a long and storied history. She was commissioned as part of the second group of Miranda-class ships to be constructed, all named after Earth cities. She originally had the registration number of NCC-1809. Belfast was built before the fleetwide ‘Phase II’ modernisation programme in the 2270s, meaning that she originally conformed to mid-23rd century design specifications, with cylindrical warp nacelles, an external deflector dish, and a light grey thermocoat hull. She spent the first six years of her career going in-and-out of drydock, undergoing extensive design changes. By 2275, she had gained the linear nacelles and ‘Aztec’ pattern hull which she maintains to this day.

Crew Patches
List Full Configurations-0

Some of the configurations made possible by the Belfast's adaptable hull

Once she was finally ready for active service, Belfast began the sort of work that she had been built to perform: gruntwork. Miranda-class ships had been designed for maximum versatility, with adaptable hulls that could be fitted with a wide variety of external payload modules for various mission profiles (see right). Spare components were stored at starbase facilities and could be swapped in and out very quickly, famously allowing the crews of Miranda-class ships to “spend Alpha Shift on a survey cruiser and Beta Shift on a warship.” This adaptability put them under a lot of demand. Sector admirals often expected them to be everywhere at once, and to do the impossible with very few resources at their disposal. Belfast and her sister ships were underpowered and overworked, stuck with border patrols, geodesic surveys, and colony support missions whilst Constitution and Excelsior-class ships got all of the glamorous diplomatic missions and five-year tours of exploration.

This wasn’t to say that life aboard the Belfast was completely uneventful. Mission logs show that Belfast had just as many strange encounters with hostile starships and anomalous lifeforms as other 23rd century starships. In 2282, a trainee midshipman at the navigation console miscalculated their course, and the ship accidentally strayed into the Romulan Neutral Zone, where Belfast was captured and escorted to a Romulan starbase, creating an interstellar diplomatic incident. Belfast would have been returned to Romulus as a trophy if the crew had not escaped captivity, retaken their ship, and returned to Federation space. The cadet responsible was severely reprimanded, and the crew of the Belfast didn’t live the incident down for several years.

Apart from episodes like the above, Belfast soldiered on with its long career of unrewarded hard work. This continued into the 24th century, with new ships being developed and Belfast moving even lower on Starfleet’s list of priorities for refits and repairs, especially once Miranda-class ships were officially downgraded from cruisers to frigates. The crew of the Belfast had to learn to keep the ship operational through unconventional means, jury-rigging new cooling systems and bartering with station dockmasters, always ready to trade a case of Romulan ale for a new manifold injector.

The Miranda-class was due for retirement in the 2340s, but tensions were increasing between the Federation and the Cardassian Union, and Starfleet decided not to retire any ships until after the new generation of Galaxy, Nebula, Cheyenne and New Orleans-class ships became operational. This proved a wise precaution. The Federation-Cardassian War began long before construction had been completed on the new generation of ships. Belfast was drafted to serve with the 4th Fleet, where her versatility became an important asset. She could be quickly refitted with new multispectral sensor pallets for scanning deep inside Cardassian territory, and powerful transceivers for scrambling or listening in on enemy communications. During large fleet operations, she could be fitted with phaser bolt cannons and torpedo modules, allowing her to join in the fray. Miranda-class ships tended to be used in support roles, providing quick repairs to other ships and beaming up survivors from stricken vessels.

Belfast Defends Ambassador

"Moment of Valor - Belfast defends Ambassador while the tug ship Euryale makes repairs”, by the Bolian artist Eel Mot, commissioned by the Starfleet Historical Archives

Belfast participated in the Battle of Minos Korva and the Fourth Battle of Olmerak, but her crowning moment of glory was the Battle of the Badlands, where she was sent to rescue the flagship - USS Ambassador - which had fled into the Badlands after being heavily damaged by a Cardassian cruiser squadron. Belfast arrived with no escorts apart from a pair of automated tugs, and beamed repair teams and components over to Ambassador, sending engineers on an EVA mission to repair one of the flagship’s warp nacelles. Two Cardassian cruisers located Ambassador and attacked before repairs were complete. Belfast kept them engaged while her crew completed their repairs, performing complicated extravehicular work in the middle of a raging battle. Belfast took considerable damage herself, and only survived by ordering both of the automated tugs to ram headlong into the enemy shields. Once the flagship’s warp drive was repaired, both ships were able to retreat to safety.

Mothball-0

Belfast in mothballs

Belfast herself was awarded the Starfleet Medal of Honor – only given to ships on rare occasions - as were several members of her crew. The ship’s medal is on display in the historical cabinet in Belfast’s observation lounge. Despite this accolade, Belfast was retired at the end of hostilities, being decommissioned and consigned to the Daystrom Proving Grounds at Starbase 11, Starfleet’s ‘starship graveyard’.

Belfast remained in mothballs for ten years, slowly deteriorating, until the Borg threat forced Starfleet to begin a rearmament program. Belfast and many other Miranda-class ships were brought out of retirement and underwent considerable refits. They were stripped of most of their internal components, receiving updated tactical systems and modern instrumentation. Belfast was recommissioned in 2366, ninety-seven years after she was first launched, with the new registration number of NCC-85320.

Belfast was supposed to take part in the Battle of Wolf 359, but a faulty compressor in her starboard nacelle prevented her from leaving the Proving Grounds. Ironically, this malfunction probably saved her from being destroyed with the rest of the fleet. Belfast was placed on reserve status until 2373, when she got a second shot at the Borg during the Battle for Sector 001. She took damage, but evaded Borg cutting beams long enough to contribute to the final assault, firing torpedoes on coordinates provided by the USS Enterprise. After the Borg were destroyed, Belfast was briefly returned to reserve status, but given a new crew and brought back to active service several months later when the Dominion invaded the Alpha Quadrant.

Cannon Fodder

Belfast's sister ships, the Sitak and the Majestic, are destroyed during Operation Return

Throughout the Dominion War, Miranda-class ships were used as light escort frigates, protecting Federation shipping and helping to hold open gaps in the Dominion line during large fleet battles such as Operation Return. With weak shielding and no armour, they were extremely vulnerable to attack, and large Dominion battleships could destroy them in a single shot. Disproportionate numbers of Miranda-class ships were destroyed, and others – including the Belfast - had low morale, with the crew believing that Starfleet was using them as ‘cannon fodder’.

Belfast participated in the Battle of Torros III, Operation Return, and the First Battle of Chin’toka. At Chin’toka, she was part of a squadron of twelve Miranda-class ships, nine of which were destroyed. Belfast’s crew persevered, showing considerable bravery, but casualties were high, and many officers who served aboard Miranda-class ships required psychological counselling in the years after the war.

Sensing the mood of her crew, Belfast's captain lobbied the admiralty and succeeded in getting Belfast reassigned to the home front, where the ship carried out vital supply and escort work for the rest of the war. She distinguished herself during a relief mission to bring urgent supplies to the Caldos colony, during which she engaged and destroyed a Cardassian Hideki-class attack ship that had been operating behind enemy lines and disrupting Federation merchant shipping.

After the war, Belfast's crew were reassigned and the ship was once again placed in the fleet reserve, on standby to be reactivated if the need arose. She remained in reserve until 2390, when Starfleet Operations ordered a thorough review of the fleet reserve, scrapping ships that were no longer serviceable and modernising those which were still deemed spaceworthy. Belfast was lucky enough to be in the latter category. She was fully retrofitted, receiving new shield emitters, phaser banks, sensor arrays and command systems, and being fitted with an entirely new matter/antimatter reactor assembly.

Previously all Miranda-class ships had been powered by a horizontal warp core that ran from port to starboard, in an arrangement which was widely disliked by engineers, having a low power output and having to 'run hot' to provide adequate power for all major systems during battle scenarios. The new arrangement stacked two vertical intermix chambers beside each other, providing a much higher power output (2000 Cochranes - the same output as an Akira-class light cruiser). Belfast went from being sluggish and underpowered to spritely and manoeuvrable, with enough excess power to give her a significant boost in shield strength. With these improvements, Belfast actually outperformed modern Saber-class light frigates, which had been designed to replace the Miranda-class. Given her new capabilities, Starfleet Operations made the decision to restore Belfast to active service. She is currently attached to Outpost Eden as the sector support ship, under the command of Captain Udas.

The ship's holodeck is programmed with simulations of Belfast from earlier points in her career, including training scenarios modelled on the Battle of the Badlands and the battles in which she participated during the Dominion War.

Curated by Mr. Xon