USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) was a 23rd century Federation Constitution-class starship operated by Starfleet. In the course of her career, the Enterprise became the most celebrated starship of her time.
In her forty years of service and discovery, through upgrades and at least two refits, she took part in numerous first contacts, military engagements, and time-travels. She achieved her most lasting fame from the five-year mission (2265-2270) under the command of James T. Kirk.
The Enterprise was destroyed over the Genesis Planet in 2285 when Kirk activated the ship's auto-destruct sequence to prevent the Enterprise from falling into the hands of the Klingons.
Kirk's five-year mission
In 2265, the Enterprise was assigned to a five-year mission of deep-space exploration, and command passed to James T. Kirk. The ship's primary goal during this mission was to seek out and contact alien life. Captain Kirk's standing orders also included the investigation of all quasars and quasar-like phenomena.
Beyond her primary mission, the Enterprise defended Federation territories from aggression, aided member worlds in crisis, and provided scientific expeditions and colonies in her patrol area with annual examinations and support.
From 2265 to 2270, the Enterprise visited over seventy different worlds and encountered representatives of over sixty different species. More than twenty of those were first contacts with beings previously unknown to the Federation, including stellar neighbors like the First Federation and Gorn, voyagers from the Kelvan Empire in distant Andromeda, and powerful non-corporeal entities like the Thasians, Trelane, and the Organians. Two discovered species were the first known examples of silicon-based lifeforms, the Horta and the Excalbians.
The Enterprise was the first Federation vessel to survive an encounter with the galactic barrier. The ship's warp drive and other systems, however, were critically damaged and casualties totaled twelve crewmembers and officers. By Stardate 4657.5, the Enterprise was traveling through space in a region of space hundreds of light years further than any Earth starship has explored.
The reality of time travel, externally influenced, had been known for over a century, but following two accidental temporal displacements, the Enterprise became the Federation's first deliberately-controlled timeship. Observing the death-throes of Psi 2000, the crew suffered from polywater intoxication and the Enterprise nearly lost orbit after an engine shutdown. A previously untested "cold start", via controlled matter-antimatter implosion, saved the ship, but the high-speed escape from the planet's gravity well caused the ship to travel three days into the past.
In 2267, while escaping the gravitational pull of a black star, the Enterprise was hurled through space and time to Earth of 1969. The crew developed and executed a method to return to their own time, by warping around the sun's gravity well in a slingshot maneuver. A year later, the Enterprise was ordered to repeat the recently-proven slingshot effect, and returned to Earth's past on a mission of historical observation.
Some missions of discovery confronted Enterprise with entities and mechanisms that threatened great swaths of Federation and neighboring space.
- An ancient "planet killer", fueled by the consumption of planets it destroyed with its antiproton weapon, approached Federation population centers in 2267. It required the combined efforts of the Enterprise and her sister ship, USS Constellation, to destroy it.
- One year later, a single-cell organism of colossal scale emitted negative energy, toxic to humanoid life, killing the entire Vulcan crew of the USS Intrepid. The Enterprise penetrated the cell interior and destroyed the organism before its imminent cell division threatened to overwhelm the rest of the galaxy.
The nature of her mission of exploration meant that the Enterprise was frequently the only Federation military asset in a little-known, otherwise undefended frontier. When she was called into harm's way, she regularly did so with little chance of immediate support against previously unknown enemies and threats.
Happily, her earliest engagement of the five-year mission, against the deceptively powerful starship Fesarius, ended with an amicable first contact with the First Federation in 2266. Following the destruction of the colony on Cestus III, a surprise attack from a previously unknown species led to the battle and pursuit of an evenly-matched Gorn starship in 2267.
The Enterprise played fox to the hounds of her four sister starships in a war game exercise on stardate 4729.4. Equipped with the new M-5 computer and stripped of most of her crew, the Enterprise became a killing machine crippling the USS Excalibur and killing her entire crew before Kirk could re-assert control.
The warships of the Imperial Klingon Fleet were frequent opponents of the Enterprise. Commander Kor held the Enterprise and Kirk in high professional regard, and relished the prospect of battle. Lower ranks chose to mock the starship; on one such occasion, Korax compared her to a "garbage scow" before he corrected himself, adding, "It should be hauled away as garbage."
While Starfleet rallied its forces at the outbreak of the Federation-Klingon war in 2267, the Enterprise was sent forward to secure a border region anchored by the planet Organia. She destroyed a Klingon attack ship and prepared to engage an approaching Klingon fleet, before the Organian Peace Treaty precluded a full-scale war.
The Enterprise sporadically engaged Klingons throughout her voyage. A warship failed in an attempt to blockade the Enterprise from Capella IV in 2267. Sabotaged during a diplomatic mission to the Tellun system in 2268, the ship successfully fought off the assault of an harassing D-7. In 2269, the Enterprise was forced to destroy Kang's abandoned battle cruiser and the rescued Klingons (influenced by the Beta XII-A entity) subsequently attempted to wrest control of the Enterprise from Kirk.
The Romulan Star Empire reemerged from a century of isolation to antagonize the Federation with the Neutral Zone Incursion of 2266. The Enterprise responded and was victorious against a new Romulan Bird-of-Prey equipped with a cloaking device and plasma torpedo system.
In later encounters, the Romulan fleet used strength of numbers in their efforts to overwhelm the Enterprise. When Commodore Stocker took temporary command and violated the Neutral Zone in 2267, up to ten Birds-of-Prey swarmed and pummeled the starship until Kirk's "corbomite" bluff inspired their withdrawal.
In 2268, the Enterprise again violated the Neutral Zone for the purpose of espionage and was quickly surrounded by three Romulan battle cruisers. She escaped by becoming the first Federation vessel to install and successfully utilize a (stolen) Romulan cloaking device.
Near Tau Ceti in the following year, Kirk employed the Cochrane deceleration maneuver, allowing the Enterprise to defeat Romulan forces.
In the final year of Kirk's original mission, the ship was ambushed by a trio of Romulan battle cruisers while on a routine survey. The Enterprise managed to escape through an energy field that adversely affected the ship's main computer. The malfunctioning systems were corrected by another pass through the field, this time with the Romulan ships in pursuit. The attackers then became incapacitated by the same computer malfunctions, and the Enterprise was able to escape.