A Starfleet Academy Lecture-Captain Jonathan Beckett Archer
(HMR) Thank you to all the Students, Faculty, and Alumni for joining us here in San Francisco at the lovely main campus of Starfleet Academy or online wherever your journey is taking you. My name is Dr. Helen Marcia Rogers of Harvard University, head of the Department of History. In this series, we will be joined by a Professor to discuss the “Journey of a Captain in Starfleet”. During each session, we will discuss the early beginnings of each Captain, their educational background, and their career with highlights of major missions and battles. Please Audience, hold all holo-questions till the question and answer session following the lecture. Thank you.
It is my great honor to welcome Dr. Charles Irsai of the University of Betazed.
CI: Thank you for having me, it’s my pleasure to be here in the hallowed halls where so many of Starfleet’s greatest have once tread.
HMR: Your historical focus is on Jonathan Archer, the famous Captain of the NX-01 Enterprise.
CI: The original! Absolutely. Archer was almost a cowboy compared to the statuesque commands of Jean Luc Picard and others.
HMR: A Cowboy?
CI: Yes, he was a pioneer in the early days of Starfleet, working without a net and dealing with a hostile universe that Humans had only just begun to deal with.
HMR: You have dedicated your studies to the early USS Enterprise. Why?
CI: I guess I’m a bit of an old nostalgic, I love this era in human history. It’s akin to the days of the space race in the 20th century and before it, the expansion of the US West. Eras of technological advances and new ways to understand our universe always produce what I like to call, “the Cowboy”.
HMR: Interesting, and how did Cowboy Archer begin his life?
CI: In the State of New York in the United States. His father was renowned warp scientist, Henry Archer, and before him, his Grandfather, Nathan Archer was a Captain in the UNPD in Northern Africa during the Eugenics Wars. Bedtime would include poems such as W.B. Yates’ classic, “The Song of the Wandering Aengus”. He was raised on dreams and science so it is no wonder that he found himself on the frontier of space.
HMR: Archer lost his father when he was 12?
CI: Yes, in 2121 Henry Archer was diagnosed with Clarke’s Disease, a degenerative brain disorder that is marked with hallucinations in the end-stage.
HMR: This loss made him protective of his Father’s legacy?
CI: Yes, the engine’s designs had a flaw that Archer struggled to accept at first, coming into conflict with his friend, A.G. Robinson, and his data. The first prototype failed due to this flaw, but Archer, swallowing his family’s pride, righted it, and despite not being sanctioned, the second prototype was a success.
HMR: What sort of a child was Archer?
CI: Archer showed that he was a born adventurer. He was a Boy Scout, earning 26 merit badges, including one for exploring the New Zealand wilderness and attaining the rank of Eagle Rank. He traveled to Africa and witnessed the birth of a giraffe. He was also an avid polo player, participating in the 2134 North American Water Polo Regionals.
Before his father died, he built starship models with him. (Picture)
HMR: So he wanted to fly what his father built?
CI: Absolutely. He was accepted to Starfleet's Flight School based in San Francisco and then entered into the NX program in 2132.
HMR: What was the NX Program?
CI: Oddly, enough it means, Naval Experiment. Funny, with it being space, but apparently from my Starfleet History records, it was to honor the origin of these programs. It was the program that was started after Zefram Cochran’s first successful warp flight. The program was struggling to break Warp 2.
HMR: The first Tucker, Robinson, Archer prototype was a failure?
CI: Disastrously so. A.G. Robinson was the test pilot who was almost killed. He ejected in a pod, the first to do so while in warp. The failure nearly brought the whole program down...but after realizing the flaw was in Archer’s father’s plans, and the heartbreak of learning a lost parent wasn’t the flawless figure we adore, they were sure they could successfully break the barrier with the new engine design.
HMR: However it was Vulcans standing in the way?
CI: Yes, they felt Humans were not ready and wanted the program canceled. It would have been, had they not broken protocol and launched the second prototype, which was successful in breaking the barrier and hitting Warp 2.5. The team was grounded for three months in an inquiry but the program was allowed to continue.
HMR: After this, the NX-01 Enterprise was built?
CI: Yes it was.
HMR: I’d like to bring in on a subspace transmission, Lt. Reilly Jennings of the Mars Utopia Shipyards, to talk about the NX-01. She’s a remarkable young engineer with a love of history as much as for her engines!
HMR: Lt. Jennings?
LtJ: Loud and clear from Mars, Ma’am.
HMR: Thank you for joining us this morning, can you briefly detail what made the NX-01 special?
LtJ: Well the NX-01 was a ship meant to go on a journey and explore. This wasn’t about how fast, but how far we could now explore the galaxy. Being able to hold a sustained warp field and really travel as well as live and work was the next great adventure that mankind could take. The NX-01 was that special ship. As you can see, the plasma accelerators, which were upgraded in 2154 to be able to maintain above warp 5, moved in 3 phases, starting from mid-ship to the warp coils themselves. This was also the first ship to have a transporter that could move people. It didn’t lose its Navy foundation either. In many ways the decks resembled submarines more than anything else. The bridge was at the top. Crew quarters, mess deck, engineering, and sickbay were all located in similar places to a submarine. She was the first. She broke the mold. She set the standard for all the ships to come.
HMR: Thank you very much for your time Lieutenant.
Doctor Irsai, was Archer the first choice for the Captain’s chair?
CI: *laughs* You get a different answer from different people. If you were to ask Ambassador Soval, he would have said no. His choice was Captain Gardner, an NX test pilot, as he felt Archer was too impulsive.
HMR: The Vulcans of course didn’t get to make that call.
CI: No, much to their chagrin. The selection process actually came down to Robinson and Archer.
HMR: It became a rivalry?
CI: Yes, not so friendly at times too. But ultimately it was Archer who became Captain and dealt with the Broken Bow incident.
HMR: Your dissertation was on this event?
CI: It was.
HMR: Please share with us what happened, the response, and the aftermath.
CI: Klaang, a Klingon courier for their High Council, met with a Suliban named Sarin on Rigel X. This Suliban provided him with the proof that the Cabal, an interstellar terrorist organization, was planning on destabilizing the Klingon government by staging attacks, making it seem as if one Klingon House would be attacking another. To protect the proof, she injected Klaang with the information into his DNA so that he could safely transport it back to the High Council.
However, the Suliban had been following Klaang, pursued him, and in the process forced him to crash land on Earth, in the town of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Klaang killed his pursuers by luring them into a grain silo and then destroyed it with his disruptor. He however, was seriously injured by a farmer by the name of Moore, with his plasma rifle. I don’t really blame him. A Klingon showing up and blowing up your grain elevator doesn’t really ingratiate you to the guy. Klaang was transported to San Francisco and to Starfleet Medical where he was sustained on life support. His Doctor was Doctor Phlox who would serve as Chief Medical officer on the Enterprise NX-01. The Vulcans, Soval in particular, recommended just sending Klaang’s corpse back to the Klingons. Thankfully, Admiral Forrest disagreed and allowed the Enterprise to launch three weeks early and return him alive. While on route, the Enterprise was attacked by Suliban forces lead by the Cabal leader Silik. They kidnapped Klaang and interrogated him. Archer, cowboy’d on to the ship and rescued Klaang, successfully delivering him to the Klingons, delivering the message encoded in his DNA, and prevented a civil war between the Klingon Houses.
HMR: I’m a fan of old 20th and 21st century “movies”, and this seems right out of one! My students should know that Starfleet is a life of service, not action and high adventure, although not always out of the realm, intense situations could of course happen. I can see the whole “Cowboy” aspect much clearer now.
CI: I can as well. Archer was the first to do so many things as a Captain of the NX-01 Enterprise.
HMR: Such as?
CI: Archer made contact with the Andorians and formed a long-lasting friendly relationship with them. Despite warnings from the Vulcans, he made contact with the Akaali, which uncovered these primitive people being used to mine their planet by another race, the Malurians who are a warp-capable people. These early contacts would form the Starfleet protocol and rule, “The Prime Directive”. They also made first contact with the Ferengi, but Starfleet didn’t know anything about the species at the time. They also made first contact with the Romulans and their minefield.
HMR: That, from the reports, was a close one for the crewmember Reed.
CI: Yes, Tucker and Archer barely got a pined Reed free from the mine that had pierced his leg and the hull. The Enterprise stared down two Romulan ships while attempting this rescue.
HMR: And the Vulcan First Officer, T’Pol, she knew of the Romulans but didn’t reveal much.
CI: Well her orders regarding Romulus and its people were clearly classified to the Humans. They are only heard but not seen.
HMR: The NX-01 Enterprise had its mission change in 2153.
CI: Yes, the Xindi probe attack changed not only the mission but the Earth dramatically. The Xindi completed this probe with the assistance of the Sphere-Builders, including parts given to them from the future. It was a one-man probe, with its pilot being a Xindi-Reptilian, selected by Commander Dolim, the representative on the Xindi Council. This probe arrived at Earth via a subspace vortex and then fired its weapon, a particle beam that destroyed on a path from Florida to Venezuela. It killed seven million people and then exploded via self destruct with its debris landing in Central Asia. The wreckage did contain the body of the pilot, recovered by the Vulcans, which was brought to Starfleet Command for analysis. Proof that parts were from the future were obtained, and quantum dated to 420 years into the future.
The Xindi perfected their weapon while Captain Archer made several attempts for peace, even going before the Xindi Council. However, Commander Dolim betrayed his people, killed Xindi councilor Degra, stole the weapon, and sent it to Earth. Captain Archer and a team followed it using Degra’s ship, boarded the weapon, and overloaded its reactor, saving the Earth. The destruction of the weapon threw Captain Archer back in time into an alternate timeline where an alien race called the Na’kuhl was helping the Nazis conquer America.
HMR: Which is just incredible to hear. For my students that may have not taken any 20th Century Earth History courses, the Nazis were a political movement turned government situated in Germany, which is in Europe, that built up a program to not only conquer the world but to destroy, a genocide known among the Jewish as the Shoah, all of the Jewish people of the world. If you haven’t yet, please sign up with Dr. Hannah Grosz, who is a descendant of the Shoah survivor Anna Seelfreund Grosz. She was born in Romania in 1926 and survived a ghetto and the infamous death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her class, is to me, a required part of any education. Sorry for the brief interruption, please continue Professor.
CI: There’s no need to apologize, I agree with everything you said.
HMR: Archer was able to stop these aliens from this alternate timeline?
CI: Yes. He discovered they had a time conduit and destroyed it, sending the Enterprise back to the correct timeline, where the Nazis lost World War II. Also, this ended their involvement with the Temporal Time War. Which is a fascinating class unto itself, I might add, taught by Dr. Gorran.
HMR: True, however, I get a headache when it comes to anything temporal. I like progressive linear history! I guess I’m old-fashioned that way. *laughs*
CI: To each their own.
HMR: One of the final hurdles before the Federation was the Vulcans and V’Las who bombed the Vulcan Earth Embassy and attempted to blame the Syrrannites, a splinter group, for it.
CI: Yes, that and the Tellerite incident. In the attack blamed on the Syrrannites, Archer’s long-time friend and mentor, Admiral Maxwell Forrest was killed in the attack. This death and the need to understand why this happened drove Archer, and his Vulcan crewmate T’Pol into investigating the Syrrannites and following the breadcrumbs of evidence to T’Las and the Vulcan High Command.
HMR: Why did T’Las do this?
CI: He wanted to blame and destroy the Syrannites and start a war with Andor. He was in league with a Romulan named Talok, whose goals were a war with Andor. The plan was that the war would make the Vulcans weak and spread out, making an easier Romulan invasion where they would then subjugate the Vulcan people into becoming one people again, Romulan.
HMR: What stopped the Vulcans?
CI: Archer arrived with T'Pau in the High Command and presented the Kir'Shara, the original records of Surak's true teachings, undermining V'Las's authority and leading Minister Kuvak to relieve V'Las of his position. This led to a fundamental change in Vulcan society and the end of the Vulcan High Command. Vulcans also resolved to stop meddling in Human development and their expansion into space.
HMR: With the Tellarite incident, multiple space-going societies joined together to find a solution, which would lead to the founding of the Federation.
CI: The ship, the Kumari was destroyed and the Enterprise, who was carrying Tellerites for a peace envoy on the planet Babel, saved the Andorian Shran from the wreckage. Shran blamed the Tellerites for the destruction of his ship. However, evidence shows that it wasn’t them. The Romulans were behind the attack. This launched unheard-of cooperation between Earth, Andorians, Vulcans, and Tellerites. That the planets could unite laid the foundation needed for the Federation charter.
HMR: Signing this charter also ended Archer’s command of the Enterprise in 2161?
CI: Yes, in the new Federation Starfleet, he was made Chief of Staff at Starfleet Command, attaining the rank of Admiral. Archer would go on to become an honorary member of the Andorian Imperial Guard in 2164 as well as Federation ambassador to Andoria in 2169. He served as Federation Councilman from 2175 to 2183 and was ultimately elected President of the United Federation of Planets in 2184, a post which he held for eight years until 2192. Jonathan Archer was 130 years old when he passed in 2245.
HMR: Remarkable man and life. (touches a button)
Archer: "Up until about a hundred years ago … there was one question that burned in every Human – that made us study the stars and dream of traveling to them: "Are we alone?" Our generation is privileged to know the answer to that question. We are all explorers, driven to know what's over the horizon, what's beyond our own shores. And yet … the more I've experienced, the more I've learned … that no matter how far we travel, or how fast we get there … the most profound discoveries are not necessarily beyond that next star. They're within us – woven into the threads that bind us – all of us – to each other. The final frontier begins in this hall. Let's explore it together."
HMR: Thank you Admiral Archer for all that you accomplished. The “final frontier” was blessed to have you explore and defend it. Thank you to everyone who logged in.