In part two of the Thor’s Ship Closeup special, I meet with the Medical and Science teams to learn more about the specific medical and scientific capabilities of the Vesta class.
Hearing a rumour that the Thor’s medical team are dispensing gummy bears to encourage regular crew medicals, I’ve decided to try my luck and head over to Sickbay on Deck 10 to meet with Lt. Jg Alieth and Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Brodie.
Garcia: No, I don’t know where the gummy bear rumor came from, but I’m thankful for your time nonetheless. The medical provision seems quite substantial aboard the Thor. What medical facilities does the Vesta class come equipped with?
Alieth: The main sick bay of the USS Thor is slightly larger than that of the rest of her Vesta class sisters. We have 15 state-of-the-art biobeds, an ICU with 3 dedicated biobeds and a quarantine unit with the latest technology. We also have two fully equipped surgical suites, which are independent of each other and to the main room of the facility.
In addition to all this, we have an excellent medical department staff, assisted by the latest EMH program, which has a greater capacity of assistance throughout the ship thanks to the holoemiters. This way, medical assistance can be provided even in secluded areas of the ship, or in circumstances that could be dangerous for the medical personnel.
Brodie: We also have a fully equipped counseling suite including not only areas for individual sessions but also a morale and welfare center to cater to the crew’s wider needs – such as family issues and spiritual well-being. We have some families aboard the ship so having these kinds of facilities really makes the difference to caring for everyone aboard.
Thinking of Sickbay specifically, what are the highlights of the Vesta class design?
Alieth: Apart from the aforementioned, the Vesta has a secondary sickbay on deck 18, located in the secondary hull. This facility, although smaller than the main one, has direct access to the main engineering room through the C level, as well as to other important engineering installations. Since engineers have a suspicious tendency to get hurt as a daily routine, this allows us to provide care almost immediately upon notice. Those few seconds can mean the difference between life and death.
Brodie: I think one of the main highlights we have is that a lot of features of the ship are highly integrated. Our primary sickbay is close to not only our more tactical systems but also have direct connections to our high containment science labs and our other social care facilities such as our onboard school and day-care centres. While we may not be a starbase we’re probably the closest thing to one in terms of capability in the fleet.
How adaptable is the Thor, and the Vesta class as a design, for dealing with unanticipated medical emergencies?
Alieth: In general, Vesta class starships are designed as explorers, so many of their departments must be able to operate autonomously without access to Starbase or planetary bases for extended periods of time. This puts them in an exceptional capacity to be both a first response vessel to assist in emergencies in remote areas of space and to manage emergencies within the ship itself.
Brodie: I can only reiterate what Doctor Alieth has already touched on, as a multi-mission explorer we need to be well prepared for any eventuality so we can provide the appropriate care at the right time. Also, specifically to the Thor, we also have a contingent of marines aboard which give us an additional level of flexibility when we have to render aid in hostile environments.
Is there anything about the Vesta class design that could be improved upon from a medical perspective?
Alieth: Can we keep the engineers from getting hurt? ::blank stare:: In such a case, a Vesta class is one of the best ships in which a medical officer can serve, aside from hospital ships or starbases.
Brodie: What she said. ::Laughing:: In all seriousness though, aside from perhaps some additional recreational facilities it is fair to say that from a mental health perspective, the facilities are outstanding for a starship.
For what it’s worth, I’ll pass on your recommendation to Engineering! You’ve both generously shared your time and knowledge with our readers – thank you!
In the afternoon, I stopped by the Science Labs on Deck 3, where the Chief Science Officer, Lt. Lorian Lovar, had arranged a guided tour of the science facilities. Over lunch, I sat down with Lt. Lovar and Ensign Wilkins to talk all things science.
Garcia: The tour was great, thanks. There is so much to take in! What would you say are the headline features of the Thor’s science facilities?
Lovar: Well, the Thor has a number of scientific facilities. We have sixteen different labs for differing specialties. Lab nine, for example, is for analytical chemistry. As Chief, I spend most of my working hours in my office, but I do get around to tending to the hydroponics bays daily.
Wilkins: I like that there is a science lab dedicated to the social sciences. The last Starfleet vessel I was stationed on didn’t have a facility dedicated for the social sciences.
What sort of science takes place on board the Thor mission to mission?
Lovar: A number of projects go through the Thor, we have a largely enlisted group of scientists so personal projects can range anywhere from warp theory to sentient plants. As far as mission specific sciences, it’s largely geology, stellar cartography, biology, botany, the standard exploration sciences.
Wilkins: Yes, any new places or species that we encounter can be studied in any number of our labs from a vast range of scientific fields.
Such research must take great computational power! What computer and sensor specs does the Vesta class come equipped with – and have you made any modifications?
Lovar: The ship has a class fifteen bioneural computer core, which have been relatively reliable but we have had some problems with them recently. The sensors are completely up to date, they can handle long range scans of up to around two parsecs if I remember correctly. As modifications go, I haven’t really made any. Although, I have put in a few requests to get the inertial dampeners working during the transition to warp… A lot of nice pots have been lost…
Chief Lovar, you’re a trained botanist, correct? Is the Vesta class well suited for your specialization and how does this fit into the Vesta class design focus on exploration?
Lovar: Yes! Exploration is the dream assignment for a botanist. While on ship you work mostly on personal projects, like testing hybridizations or finding uses for less studied specimens. The real fun, however, is exploring new worlds. That’s frontline research on plant life, thousands of undiscovered flora just waiting to be studied. I would highly recommend a Vesta class to any aspiring botanists out there.
That inspiring call to action is a great place to bring our interview to an end. Chief Lovar and Ensign Wilkins, thank you for your time this afternoon and the insights into the Thor you’ve shared with us.
My thanks to the Thor’s Crew and Command team for their time in contributing to this Ship Closeup Vesta class special.
Visit the SB118 Wiki to learn more about the Thor and the technical specifications of the Vesta class in general.