Today marks forty years since the eruption of Mount St. Helens. On May 18, 1980, the ground shook and thick ash rained across the Pacific Northwest. Hundreds of square miles of forest were wiped out in minutes. But we're here to briefly talk about the mountain's namesake, the TCS Mount St. Helens featured in Wing Commander 4.
While the eruption has slightly faded from the public consciousness in recent years, the event was still fresh in developers' minds as WC4 was made just fifteen years after the volcano blew. The St. Helens in WC4 was the sister ship of the TCS Vesuvius that plays a commanding role as Tolwyn's massive flagship. Fortunately, when all hope is lost, Captain William Eisen emerges from a jump point with the second heavy carrier to the rescue. She was repaired and served for nearly a decade before being lost during the second Nephilim invasion. Sadly, underlying code revealed in 1998 that the Vesuvius class ship destroyed in Secret Ops was the St. Helens.
The TCS Mount St. Helens was a massive heavy carrier and the sister ship of the TCS Vesuvius. Like her sister ship, it was designed as a highly-advanced, self-sufficient carrier that could hold its ground without the need for escorts on the front lines. She was one of the largest vessels in the Confederation Navy at the time of her construction. She was constructed at the shipyards of Orion Station at Earth's L5 Lagrange point, where Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn oversaw her progress alongside the construction of Vesuvius.
By 2673, the Mount St. Helens was approaching her final stages of construction. Her sister ship the Vesuvius was the first to be commissioned and was immediately pressed into active service. The Mount St. Helens remained in drydock as it finished construction.The WC4 novelization is where the "Mount" in the name comes from, and it also confirms the CV-70 and CV-71 designations for the craft. In the engine, they have an 01 and 02 hull number, which gets mixed up a bit in the cutscenes. The St. Helens appears frequently in fan projects where multiple Vesuvius class carriers are needed or the creator just wants more variety. Here's the ship in the Secret Ops Model Upgrade Pack, Homeworld Mod, Invasion mod, Operation Serpent, Empire at War mod, Sins of a Solar Empire mod, Freelancer and WC Saga - just to name a few... It really gets around!
During the final days of the Border Worlds Conflict, Captain William Eisen, who had defected to the Union of Border Worlds, received word that Colonel Christopher Blair on the BWS Intrepid was pursuing Tolwyn and the Vesuvius in order to stop him from securing a war declaration from the Confederation government on Earth. Eisen and his allies within the Confederation commandeered the Mount St. Helens during trials at [[Sirius[[ in order to assist the Intrepid. Many of the weapons and shield systems on the Mount St. Helens were not yet fully operational, making her vastly inferior to the completed Vesuvius. Captain Eisen was aware of the situation, but chose to continue with the interception.
The TCS Mount St. Helens jumped into the Talos System and attacked Vesuvius as she was engaged with Intrepid, allowing the Border Worlds vessel to escape to the jump point. Eisen and Blair pursued the Vesuvius to Sol, and by this point had badly damaged Tolwyn's flagship. The Mount St. Helens was then forced to retreat after sustaining critical damage, leaving the Intrepid to pursue Tolwyn alone. Despite this setback, the actions of the Mount St. Helens proved instrumental in the eventual destruction of the Vesuvius and the aversion of a Confederation war declaration against the Border Worlds.
The TCS Mount St. Helens was eventually returned to the Terran Confederation after the Border Worlds Conflict was resolved, where she was repaired, completed, and finally commissioned. The Mount St. Helens would not see any major fleet actions until 2681, when the Nephilim War broke out along the Kilrathi frontier. She served Humanity proudly through to her destruction by the Nephilim shortly after the second Nephilim wormhole in Proxima was discovered.