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Dauntless Class

Size Comp
Universe : Prime Timeline
Affiliation :
Class Name : Dauntless Class
Type : General purpose starship
Unit Run : Only one vessel known to exist 1 built in total. 1 have been lost in all.
Commissioned : Unknown, but no later than early 2374. Possibly Stardate 51427.
Dimensions : Length : 180 m [1]
Beam : 40 m
Height : 22.85 m
Decks : 7 [2]
Mass : Unknown
Crew : Capable of supporting at least 150 people for an extended period [2]
Defence Systems : Standard shield system, total capacity 1,350,000 TeraJoules
Standard Duranium / Tritanium Double hull.
Standard level Structural Integrity Field
Warp Speeds
(TNG scale) :
Sustained speed of at least 240,000 x c for several months. Much higher speeds are possible for short periods. [2]
Strength Indices :
(Galaxy class = 1,000)
Beam Firepower : -
Torpedo Firepower : -
Weapon Range and Accuracy : -
Shield Strength : 500
Hull Armour : 100
Speed : -
Combat Manoeuvrability : 1,000
Overall Strength Index : 119


Encountered by USS Voyager in 2374, the Dauntless at first appeared to be an advanced Starfleet test bed for a new type of propulsion system - the Quantum Slipstream Drive. A message from Starfleet decoded by the alien Arturis led Voyager to the ship, claiming that it had been sent out in order to allow Voyager's crew to return home in a matter of months rather than decades.

The crew were naturally suspicious, and investigated the ship carefully. It was a relatively small vessel, with no shuttlecraft, no holodecks, no replicators, and only a single transporter. The slipstream technology completely replaced the traditional matter/antimatter reactor assembly, both powering and propelling the ship. The vessels unique hull geometry allowed it to resist the quantum stresses inherent in travelling through the slipstream, a process which Seven of Nine said was similar to Borg transwarp technology.

Unfortunately, the vessel turned out to be part of an elaborate trap created by Arturis. His people had been assimilated by the Borg after Voyager helped them to defeat Species 8472, and Arturis blamed Captain Janeway for the tragedy. He had escaped the destruction of his people with the ship, trailing Voyager for months afterwards. He used a technology described as 'particle synthesis' to disguise the ship as a Starfleet vessel, hoping to lure the crew aboard and then send the ship into Borg space on autopilot.

Although the plot was uncovered, Arturis managed to abduct Seven of Nine and Captain Janeway and destroy the ships navigational controls, leaving it locked on course for Borg space. Voyager followed the Dauntless into the slipstream and managed to recover the pair, leaving Arturis to be assimilated upon his arrival. [2]

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 Speculative Calculated from the diagram of the ship on the back of the bridge, assuming a 3.5 metre deck height.
2 VOY 4 Hope and Fear
Source : Speculative
Comment : Calculated from the diagram of the ship on the back of the bridge, assuming a 3.5 metre deck height.
Series : VOY Season 4
Episode : Hope and Fear


I'm in two minds about the stats on this one. On the one hand, Voyager's crew got to go over Dauntless in considerable detail, so we should have a good idea of her capabilities. On the other hand, most of what they were scanning was an illusion so we may have no idea of the real capabilities of the ship. So there are two choices - first, put the stats one would expect from the faked version of the ship up. These would include detailed descriptions of the weapons, defensive systems, etc., all of which would have to be speculative. The second option is to put what we know about the real Dauntless. Unfortunately, this is very little - basically, all we know about it is that it's darned fast and has reddish decor. Not much to go on.

What I've gone with is a bit of a fudge. I've mostly stuck to the information we discover about the faked up version of the ship, but I haven't gone beyond what is stated directly in the episode. So although Torres says that the ship's tactical systems are comparable to Voyager's, I haven't created weaponry and defensive systems for her. I have had to completely guess the dimensions for the ship, so any help on that front would be appreciated.

The two things which interest me most about the Dauntless are the slipstream drive and the registry number. There's an entry on the former under the sci-tech section, but it's worth mentioning here that the speed of this drive is pretty damned impressive! The faked message claimed that Starfleet had sent the ship across 60,000 light years in three months to meet Voyager. That's an average speed of about 240,000 x c, which is a good forty times the top speed of Voyager! Yet even this is put into the shade by the kinds of speeds we see during the episode.

The first trip the ship takes is a fifteen light year hop with Chakotay, Paris and Tuvok on board. We aren't sure how long this takes exactly, but it looks like no more than a few minutes. It takes Voyager "two days at high warp" to reach the ship afterwards; if the 40:1 speed ratio held, that would make the Dauntless's trip last for 72 minutes, which is clearly way too long. So in fact, it must have averaged considerably more than 240,000 x c on this trip. Probably at least ten or twenty times more.

More solid evidence for the speed comes later. Arturis sets a course back towards his home world, with Seven and Janeway in tow. Voyager pursues, and on entering the slipstream Paris says they will have at most an hour before they have to disengage the drive. Within that hour they catch up to Arturis, recover their people, turn around, and end up 300 light years closer to home. It's impossible to know the whole distance covered, although Voyager has been travelling away from the edge of Borg space for a year now and so they should be at least 1,000 light years clear of it. But even if we only consider the trip to have been 300 - 600 light years, this gives the ship an average speed of 2,629,900 - 5,259,600 times the speed of light, which is about ten or twenty times the cruise speed claimed in the fake Starfleet message and which matches perfectly with the 15 light year hop lasting just a few minutes.

The discrepancy between cruise and top speed can be explained in two ways. Firstly, it might be that Arturis lied about how fast the ship was when he faked up the message. I don't find this all that likely - I can't think of any motivation to pretend the ship is slower than it is, and why tell a lie that will just raise suspicions if it's found out? Indeed, the fact that the faster than expected performance of the Dauntless didn't raise any suspicions implies strongly that there was some expected reason for this to be so.

The most likely explanation is that the ship can simply do much higher than normal speeds for a brief period. This is a long established fact of normal warp drives - the Enterprise-D had a top speed five times greater than its cruise speed for example - which might easily apply to Slipstream as well. So all we need do is claim that the ship has a cruise speed of 240,000 x c, and a top speed of around 5,000,000 x c which it can only sustain for an hour or two.

Moving on to the registry, the faked Dauntless has the registry number NX 01-A! Now, here it's not totally canonical that an NX ship always becomes an NCC ship of the same number when it enters service, but certainly the Excelsior went from NX 2000 to NCC 2000, so this seems to be the rule. Hence the Dauntless would be expected to become NCC 01-A when it entered service. And the only solid example we have of ships with a letter suffix on their registry numbers are the Enterprises, which have this unusual quirk because successive ships of the same name also have the same registry number.

Conclusion : there used to be a USS Dauntless with the registry NCC 01. And the most sensible reason for that is that this was the very first ship ever built for Starfleet!

Note that the existence of the NX-01 USS Enterprise in the series "Enterprise" does not necessarily affect this conclusion. The Enterprise series is set prior to the founding of the Federation, and for all we know the Earth Starfleet of this time used a totally different numbering system to that adopted by the Federation Starfleet of a few years later.

Now yes, Arturis faked the whole thing. But again, why lie unnecessarily? Especially as the lie would be such a blatantly obvious one, certain to be found out within seconds of Voyager's crew seeing the ship! Arturis must have found out somehow that the first ship in Starfleet was called the Dauntless, and that a select few ships had received the letter suffix on their registry.

Less certain is that there has been no Starfleet ship since the Dauntless with this name. After all, there was an NCC 1764 Defiant and an NX 74205 Defiant, and when it went to a letter suffix it became NCC 74205-A rather than NCC 1764-A. We could argue that since the letter suffix is intended to recognize the importance of a particular ship, it goes onto whatever registry belongs to the vessel which is being recognized. But still, I find it hard to believe that Starfleet would have several Dauntless's with different numbers, then go back to the first one for a letter.
© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 61,199 Last updated : 12 Apr 2020