You can’t even explain to Wes why what he’s saying is problematic without things getting even more awkward. Off-screen: Bev’s head actually, literally exploding.
But hey, so, you know what totally didn’t exist until Deep Space Nine? The noble runabout! It showed up in the pilot of DS9, obviously, and then a runabout did make a brief appearance later that same year in season 6 of Next Generation.
And so this is my official headcanon: Geordi made it up.
He was bored at some point in let’s say season two, he was doodling on a PADD, and this thing is what he came up with. He pulled out the old sketches when setting up this game for the crew and polished things up a bit. (But how could Geordi make it up for DS9 if it showed up in season 6 of TNG? Remember the golden rule of Larp Trek handwaving: if it hasn’t happened yet by most of the way through season three, it hasn’t happened. Anything that contradicts this is a coincidence or something Q did. Carry on.)
And, really, if on Voyager they let Tom Paris not just design but build a Yellowstone class ship while stranded alone tens of thousands of lightyears from home in the Delta quadrant, I think Geordi is pretty justified in throwing the whole of imaginary Starfleet’s shipyard workflow at this problem.
Also, I see little thumbnails of the strips when I’m writing up these posts, and let me tell you, with the “color for in-character content, grey for out-of-character bullshitting” scheme I’ve been using lately, it’s pretty clear at a glance that these guys aren’t doing a great job of staying in the game at the moment.