Exploring The Forgotten Ships Of Starfleet: A Deep Dive Into Obscure Star Trek Lore
We take a deep dive to look at some of the more forgotten ships of Starfleet.
Everyone knows about Star Trek’s Enterprise, but what about the rest of Starfleet? As important as heroes like James Kirk (William Shatner) and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) have proven to be, the Federation would be up a fairly well known creek if it didn’t have the rest of the fleet watching its back. Here are some of the lesser known vessels of Starfleet from the films and TV series.
10. USS Pegasus (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Before it was lost, the USS Pegasus was something of Starfleet’s own flying guinea pig, testing out all the crazy tech Star Trek is known for. Captained by Erik Pressman (Terry O’Quinn), the Pegasus was testing out new cloaking and phasing technology — banned by the the Federation’s Treaty of Algernon with the Romulan Empire — when an explosion in engineering killed a large number of the crew. Between the accident and a resulting mutiny, only seven crew survived to abandon the Pegasus, and one of them was Ensign Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes).
The ship was believed lost, but in the Season 7 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Pegasus,” we learn it drifted and phased into an asteroid. Pressman, now an admiral, takes command of the Enterprise to retrieve it before the Romulans can. He orders Riker to not reveal what he knows to Captain Picard, but Riker ultimately disobeys that order.
The Pegasus was never recovered though the Enterprise crew did take possession of its experimental cloaking device.
9. USS Bozeman (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The USS Bozeman has the distinction of destroying the Enterprise not once, but countless times; thankfully, it didn’t stick. In the the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 episode “Cause and Effect,” the Bozeman is caught in a temporal anomaly and upon exiting, clips the Enterprise-D, leading to its destruction. This pulls the Enterprise into its own time loop, giving the crew the opportunity to eventually figure out what’s going on and save the ship.
The Bozeman’s entry into the 24th century gives Kelsey Grammer the opportunity to make his Star Trek debut. The Frasier star makes a cameo as the Bozeman’s Captain Morgan Bateson who, at the end of the episode, is about to be given the heavy news that he and his crew have jumped 90 years into the future.
8. USS Prometheus (Star Trek: Voyager)
The USS Prometheus was a prototype of a new class of Starfleet ship able to split into three separate vessels when necessary. We first see the ship in the Season 4 Star Trek: Voyager episode “Message in a Bottle” when the titular crew sends The Doctor (Robert Picardo) to the ship in hopes of contacting Starfleet. The Doctor arrives on Prometheus to learn all of its personnel has been killed by Romulans, and the only one available to help him is Starfleet’s new Emergency Medical Hologram (Andy Dick).
The Doctor and the new EMH are able to retake the Prometheus. We don’t hear much from the ship after that, though it is part of the fleet that helps destroy the Borg sphere and welcomes the titular ship home in the Star Trek: Voyager series finale.
7. USS Relativity (Star Trek: Voyager):
In the Season 5 Star Trek: Voyager episode “Relativity,” a ship from half a millennia in the future decides the Captain Janeway’s (Kate Mulgrew) ship is too important to lose. The USS Relativity is a Starfleet timeship from the 29th century and in “Relativity” we learn while it’s technically on a mission to save Voyager, a version of its captain from a more distant future is plotting to destroy it. Thankfully, the first officer manages to take command and save the day.
6. USS Equinox (Star Trek: Voyager):
In the two-part Star Trek: Voyager episode “Equinox,” bridging Seasons 5 and 6, the heroes learn they’re not the only Starfleet ship to be lost in the Delta Quadrant. They meet the crew of the USS Equinox who, like them, were pulled into the distant quadrant by the Caretaker. But unlike the Voyager crew, the folks on board the Equinox haven’t been sticking to Federation ideals while they’ve been far from home.
Among other breaches of Starfleet and Federation ideals, the Equinox crew has been murdering aliens for their own benefit. The Equinox is ultimately destroyed by the aliens seeking justice, and only a handful of its crew survive to become part of Voyager.
5. USS Stargazer (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
The first command of Star Trek’s iconic Jean-Luc Picard isn’t the Enterprise, but the Stargazer. He earns his command unconventionally, by being the highest ranked officer alive left on the bridge. Along with seeing action in the Federation’s war with Cardassia, the Stargazer is believed destroyed in a battle with a Ferengi vessel.
The Stargazer is later recovered in the Season 1 TNG episode “The Battle,” and as of Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard, it’s part of the Fleet Museum.
4. USS Dauntless (Star Trek: Voyager)
The Dauntless is one of Star Trek’s anomalies in that the version we’re focusing on proves to actually not be a Starfleet vessel. In the Season 4 Voyager episode “Hope and Fear,” the alien Arturis (Ray Wise) — who blames Voyager for his people’s assimilation by the Borg — tries to fool the crew into believing Starfleet has sent them the ship with its new “slipstream” technology to help them get home. In fact it would have sent them into Borg space to be assimilated, but the crew discovers the trap before using it.
While the Dauntless wasn’t a real ship during the events of Voyager, it would become one later. When she pursues the USS Protostar in Star Trek: Prodigy, Admiral Janeway commands another ship with the name Dauntless.
3. USS Defiant (Various series)
No, this isn’t the Defiant from Deep Space Nine, but rather the very first ship in Trek with that name. In the two-parter “In a Mirror, Darkly” in the final season of Star Trek: Enterprise, we learn the USS Defiant, first mentioned in the Original Series episode “The Tholian Web,” was pulled into the Mirror Universe where it ultimately comes under the command of the Terran version of Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Both this version of the Defiant and its Terran counterpart would later prove integral to the backstory for Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery.
2. USS Valiant (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
In the early days of the Dominion War, the USS Valiant launches, with a crew made up mostly of Starfleet cadets. Members of the elite “Red Squad,” the cadets continue to fight their war against the Dominion even after all the adult members of their crew are killed. The young Tim Watters (Paul Popowich) becomes the new captain, and he’s insistent on continuing the war effort without letting Starfleet know their situation.
After trying and failing to destroy an experimental Dominion battleship, the Valiant is destroyed. Most of its crew, including Watters, is killed.
1. USS Excelsior (Various movies and series)
When we first come across the USS Excelsior it’s in 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, when Scotty (James Doohan) sabotages the experimental new ship so it won’t catch the Enterprise. Scotty does his job well, but that isn’t the ship’s final appearance. It’s briefly in the follow-up, and in 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, we learn it has a new captain: Hikaru Sulu (George Takei).
In the Season 3 Voyager episode “Flashback” we get to see the Excelsior and her crew again when Tuvok (Tim Russ) takes himself and Janeway back to when he served aboard the ship, thanks to a mind meld.