Phoenix

Perhaps the most famous Starships of all time, the Phoenix was the first Warp capable vessel launched by Humanity. History records that Zephram Cochrane created the ship in order to fulfil his vision of a united humanity reborn from the ashes of World War III and reaching out towards the stars. His intellect, idealism and heroism where widely regarded as being one of the great focal points of the latter half of the twentieth century. Although it is not possible to be certain of the accuracy of historical records regarding Doctor Cochrane himself, it seems that his flight had a profound psychological impact on him. The man who returned to Earth certainly remained something of a hell raiser, but even ignoring the historical hype his subsequent actions do appear to reveal a person who had realized just what kind of a future Humanity could create for itself. Certainly he never amassed any fortune from his fame, although he certainly had the opportunity to do so. Instead he poured all the profits from his invention back into the Earth itself, rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by the war and promoting peaceful coexistence among all Humanity.

The Phoenix herself was, ironically, launched on the nose of a nuclear missile. The crew for her first flight consisted of Doctor Cochrane, Commander William Riker and Lieutenant Geordi LaForge - although only now can the true identity of the two Starfleet crew members be revealed! The ship used a fusion power plant to power a pair of single coil warp nacelles which could push it to slightly above the speed of light. Her historic mission comprised two warp flights, each of some thirty seconds duration, taking the ship out into (relatively) deep space and back. She returned to a landing near the original launch site later in the day; the Phoenix never flew again, and is now one of the most popular exhibits in the Smithsonian Institute. Several of Doctor Cochranes subsequent test ships had a very high component commonality with the Phoenix, but the rapid development of warp technology rendered her obsolete within weeks of the flight. Nevertheless, her place in history is secure alongside the likes of the Wright Flyer and the Saturn V.