Assigning the name Enterprise to a Starfleet
vessel never has boded well for the craft's safety and well-being. While
every Enterprise in Starfleet's history has served with honor and
distinction, saving worlds and species (humanity included) countless
times, the ships themselves have taken a disproportionate amount of the total
beatings the universe has to offer up.
NCC-1701 (the original
Constitution Class starship named Enterprise)
This ship's (mis)adventures are chronicled by Star Trek: The Original Series
and by the first three Star Trek movies (Star Trek: The Motion Picture,
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock).
In a nutshell, she is shot at repeatedly, placed into dangerous orbits
without a functioning warp drive when her crew goes nuts, and is perilously
close to destruction on many occasions. After her original five year
mission, she is refitted by Starfleet before being sent to confront V'ger
in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The ship's true demise begins in Star Trek II: The Wrath of
Khan, where she is mercilessly pounded almost back to the stone age by Khan's
Miranda Class starship, the USS Reliant, when Admiral James T.
Kirk's lack of quick thinking leaves her with shields down as Khan opens fire
with every weapon at his disposal. While the crew of the Enterprise
ultimately emerge from the massive battle victorious, the Enterprise
herself is left a shell of her former self. Barely able to limp back to
Starbase under her own power, she's condemned for decommission by
Starfleet Command on her return, only to be stolen again by her command crew
to make a desperate attempt to resurrect Captain Spock. She is shot into
swiss cheese by a Klingon Bird of Prey in orbit around the Genesis Planet,
then set on self-destruct to deal one last blow to Commander Kruge. Her
charred and broken frame was last seen on screen soaring as a massive fireball
into the planet's atmosphere as her skeleton crew watched helplessly from the
Also a Constitution Class starship, she had very little screen time and was
given nearly no chance to serve before her decommissioning. First introduced
at the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as a "happy ending" of sorts,
we are instead shown a shoddily-built, barely working Enterprise in
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
"'Let's see what she's got,' says the
Captain. Well we sure found out, didn't we?" — Captain Montgomery Scott,
as he frantically works to bring the ship online in space
The ship is launched before there's even time for a
shakedown, and clearly isn't ready for operation, but still gets the job
done in its first movie appearance. Fired upon only twice and struck only once
by a single disruptor blast from a Klingon Bird of Prey, the only other
"stress" endured by the ship in Star Trek V is its journey through the Great
The ship fared far worse in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered
Country, where she is nearly blown apart in the final climactic battle
between the Enterprise and a prototype Bird of Prey that can fire
while cloaked. Only the intervention of Captain Hikaru Sulu aboard the
USS Excelsior and some quick thinking and work on a custom photon
torpedo saves the ship from destruction. Starfleet orders her back to
Starbase for decommission after the battle at Khitomer.
While little is known
about this ship's service record and ultimate fate, we do know that her
maiden voyage too was mired in conflict. Again launched before she was
completed (no tractor beams or photon torpedos), This Excelsior Class
starship encountered the Nexus energy ribbon during the events chronicled
in Star Trek Generations, and was nearly destroyed by its violent energy
bolts as she made her escape from its gravitational and time distortion waves.
She limped home with a gaping hole across several decks immediately adjacent
to her main deflector dish.
This ship's service
record is unknown apart from her last mission (and her destruction) at the
Klingon outpost Narendra III. During an epic battle in which she engaged
three Romulan Warbirds (and was hopelessly outmatched), she accidentally
drifted into a space-time continuum distortion that catapulted her into the
future to meet an alternate timeline version of her successor, the
Enterprise (NCC-1701-D). She was sent back through the distortion to
restore the timeline, and was destroyed (in her own original timeframe)
shortly after returning from the future.
Enterprise formally referred to as the Federation's flagship,
this ship has also received the most documented poundings and has been
destroyed more often than any other Enterprise before or since.
She has been destroyed numerous times (and restored back to
normal by her crew's fiddling with the space-time continuum), severely
damaged on many occasions (by attack, sabotage, aliens, new
lifeforms, natural phenomenon, and accident), and played host to many bouts
of crew insanity or incapacitation.
She was finally destroyed (for good) in orbit around
Viridian III by a Klingon Bird of Prey (which destroyed the ship by damaging
the warp core enough to cause a breach). While only the drive section was
actually destroyed, the saucer section was hit by the shockwave and forced
to crash-land on the planet's surface. Because the ship's saucer section
wasn't actually capable of landing safely on a planet (the Intrepid
Class starships, such as the USS Voyager, are the only known
Starfleet starships capable of safe atmospheric maneuvers and planetfall),
this totalled the saucer section; she could not be salvaged.
In the alternate timeline before Jean-Luc Picard and
James T. Kirk worked together from the Nexus to defeat Doctor Soren's
plan to destroy a star (and the entire star system orbiting it) for his own
selfish needs, the saucer section (with all hands aboard) was destroyed by the
shockwave that resulted from the destruction of the Viridian star.
The Sovereign Class
starship built to replace the NCC-1701-D, she was one of probably only three
Enterprise-christened ships to be given a proper shakedown mission
(the original NCC-1701 and the NCC-1701-D were the other two), of nearly a
year in duration. She was introduced in Star Trek: First Contact.
Still, she has seen many battles and has stood on the
threshold of destruction on several occasions. She sustained minor damage
during her decisive battle with the Borg cube trying to invade and
assimilate Earth, then suffered additional damage as her deflector dish was
detached and destroyed to prevent it being converted into a beacon to attact
more Borg, and one of her two primary coolant tanks in Engineering was
breached to melt the organic components of the Borg drones that had taken
control of Engineering.
On her next mission, during Star Trek: Insurrection, she
is nearly destroyed by a pair of Son'a ships trying to stop her from
escaping the Briar patch to dispatch an emergency distress call and warning
to Starfleet command. Her warp core is jetissoned and detonated to prevent
an "illegal" subspace weapon from destroying the ship entirely and
decimating the sector. The ship is seen being towed back to spacedock at the
end of this film, so we know she sustained critical damage.
On her most recently documented mission, in Star Trek:
Nemesis, she faces an almost indestructible foe -- the Scimitar,
equipped with a perfect cloak, nearly impenetrable shields, and loads of
disruptors. With both ships staring each other down (having exhausted their
energy and photon/quantum torpedo supplies), Captain Picard literally rams the
Enterprise's saucer section straight into the Scimitar's
hull, causing critical damage to both ships. Much of the Enterprise's
forward decks are destroyed during the maneuver.
While the NCC-1701-E is presumed to still be in service,
she is clearly no longer the bright and shiny craft she was when the
champagne bottle first broke across her bow at her christening. She seems
to be travelling the long, hard path her predecessors NCC-1701 and NCC-1701-D
Truly, the Enterprise is the single-most abused
ship in the Federation, no matter what generation of ship or crew is
Call for aid: I grossly overlooked NX-01, also a ship named Enterprise, and while not officially a Starfleet ship, is quite definitely part of the Star Trek canon. I haven't watched/seen much of the new series; could someone clue me in a bit?