The 15 Most Devastating Space Vessels in the Star Trek Universe

By Jason Helton in Daily Lists, Movies, TV
Monday, January 9, 2012 at 8:05 am
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In the Star Trek universe created by Gene Roddenberry, there are a myriad of iconic images many people remember: Green Orion slave girls, the Borg, phasers, heroes, villains, and that big-headed alien that Clint Howard pretends to be that shows up at the end of the credits of the original series, and more. But take anyone off the street, and odds are they can identify at least one incarnation of the USS Enterprise. Starships have long been one of the easily recognizable parts of Star Trek lore; while Roddenbery's vision of the future was for the most part peaceful, with brains far exceeding brawn, not all conflict could be resolved by hugging it out.

Sometimes your typical starship just wasn't enough. In the Star Trek arms race, there always seemed like the need for bigger, better, and with more guns. In countless episodes, the Enterprise (or some other ship) was horribly outmatched by some larger or unknown enemy combatant. Below are the top 15 most devastating (or potentially devastating) ships in the Star Trek universe. Two notes: While firepower is obviously the major consideration when examining the "devastating" capabilities of starships, "context" also matters -- you'll see what I mean. The other note is that this list is of space vessels, and not just starships -- if it travels in space, it counts for the purposes of this list. With those two caveats, enjoy.


15) Whale Probe, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home truly changed how people viewed science fiction. No longer was sci-fi strictly for nerds; it became accessible to larger audiences and the film itself was immensely popular. It also changed what we viewed as a typical sci-fi villain, with the Whale Probe.

Not inherently evil, the Whale Probe was a very unique and strange opponent. Apparently modeled after a fine Cuban cigar, the While Probe is enormous, dwarfing even Spacedock. While it is not obvious if she has any offensive weaponry, her powerful transmissions are enough to disable any starship that dares come near her, crippling eight vessels en route to Earth, as well as Spacedock and everything in it. In her search for humpback whales in Earth's oceans, her transmissions become devastating on a global scale, by vaporizing earth's oceans, which in turn erects an impenetrable cloud covering across the globe, and significantly lowers temperatures around the planet.

The Probe's destructive rampage is only stopped when Admiral Kirk and crew give the Probe exactly what it wants, -- a chat with a pair of humpback whales, brought from the 20th century. The Probe shut off its communications device and left for bluer seas, and that was the last the Probe was seen. However, the Probe did return in the aptly named sequel novel Probe, where the Probe visited Romulan space, where it's revealed that the Probe was built by a race of whale-like aliens who had apparently at one time did battle with and defeated the Borg, who in turn blew up the Probe Aliens' star, because the Borg are assholes.

14) Crystalline Entity, Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Datalore")

What do you call a gigantic, warp speed-flying, heavily armed, hungry-ass, pissed off snowflake? The frakking Crystalline Entity, that's what. This oversized, living electromagnetic collector has the power to consume all life on any surface it touches, whether it be starship or planet. More importantly, it renders said area effectively sterile, with nothing being able to grow there ever again. We first encounter the Entity when we also meet Lore, Data's douchebag, overly emotional twin brother; apparently Lore was working with the Entity, lining up its next meals. Once Lore was defeated, however, the Entity turned tail and ran.

Some time later, the Entity was up to its old people-munching ways, and decides to turn Melona IV into its latest snack. This time, Entity expert Dr. Marr, pissed off because the Entity killed a good portion of her family, decides to communicate with it. Well, at least that's what she said she was going to do; instead she plotted to and succeeded in killing the Entity, much to the dismay of the Enterprise crew.

The story doesn't end there, however, as apparently the Entity is just one member of an entire race of space-faring star crystals. While never seen again in any of the series, the USS Titan under the command of Captain Will Riker encountered one in the book Orion's Hounds, and a very large and dangerous version of the species is encounter in a difficult Fleet Action mission in Star Trek Online, where it is able to decimate starships like it's swatting flies.

13) Nomad, Star Trek ("The Changeling")

While investigating a distress call from the Malurian system, the Enterprise discovers that the planet Malur has been devastated, rendering the planet and its population of 4 billion lifeless. Suddenly the Enterprise falls under attack by an energy beam with the force of 90 photon torpedoes. But it's not the Death Star attacking, it's a one-meter long cylindrical probe with a bad attitude doing the shooting. When the Enterprise fires back, it has no effect, and the Captain has to resort to boring old diplomacy. Hailing frequencies are opened, and NOMAD the space probe beams aboard.

Apparently Nomad has daddy issues, as it instantly latched on to Captain Kirk, mistaking him for his creator Dr. Roykirk. Although not much can be said for Dr. Roykirk, because if Nomad is to be believed, he was programmed to "find and sterilize imperfection," essentially turning this space probe into the universe's most powerful space Nazi. So, Kirk spends the rest of the episode trying to teach Nomad how not to be an asshole, while Nomad essentially tells everyone to bite his shiny metal ass. Upon further investigation, it is discovered that Nomad only became an asshole when he collided with another probe programmed to sterilize soil samples, got confused, and began to think of every living in the universe as dirty. Only after convincing Nomad that he is fucked up does Kirk get Nomad to self-destruct, saving the day.

12) Cloud Creature, Star Trek: The Animated Series ("One of Our Planets is Missing")

The Enterprise sure has a knack for running into planet-devouring space entities, but the Pallas 14 cloud creature is a different sort of planet killer. More biological than mechanical, the Cloud Creature is first seen engulfing the planet Alondra. Once it covers the planet, it proceeds to break it down, similar to a digestive process. Of course, the cloud doesn't just stick to uninhabited planets, and makes a quick course correction for Mantilles with a severe case of the munchies.

It's determined that the only way to destroy the creature is to fly through its digestive tract to the center, and self-destruct the ship. Thankfully at the last minute, Spock is able to get metaphysical with the Creature, shows it a futuristic PITA recruiting video, and the creature vows to go vegan and heads off into the unexplored universe in search of planets with less meat.

11) U.S.S. Prometheus, Star Trek: Voyager ("Message in a Bottle")

What's better than a Federation starship? How about three Federation starships? That is apparently what Starfleet engineers were thinking when they designed the USS Prometheus, because it's three, three, three ships in one!

Hijacked by the Romulans in 2374, the USS Prometheus looks like a pretty typical Federation ship, similar in design to other Sovereign-class ships. It's when she enters combat that she truly begins to shine. While already packing standard Federation weapons, the Prometheus also is equipped with ablative armor and regenerative shields, but the real secret to her success is the multi-vector assault mode. Like the Enterprise-D's saucer separation, the Prometheus is able to split into three heavily armed starships, giving it a major tactical advantage. It is so much of an advantage that the Prometheus is able to single-handedly take on a D'deridex-class Klingon Warbird.

However, the Prometheus is not without its disadvantages, the most glaring of which is its Emergency Medical Hologram, which takes the form of Andy Dick. And to make matters worse, holo-emmiters are on every inch of the ship, so there is absolutely no escape from Dick. I'm talking morning, day, night, afternoon: Dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick.

10) Xindi Probe Weapon, Enterprise ("The Expanse")

Thanks to a massive misunderstanding caused by interference from the Temporal Cold War, the Xindi, a collection of alien species, determined that Earth was evil and would destroy them in the future. Their solution: the Xindi Superweapon.

This bowling ball of doom was short on aesthetics, but large on power. Its highly powerful particle beam weapon was specifically designed to destroy planets, which it demonstrated pretty well while tagging Florida graffiti-style, just with particle beams. The result was a scar going down the eastern seaboard, making a new deep ocean trench, and finally making a stop in Venezuela before self-destructing. At the end of the day, 7 million people were deep fat fried, including Chief Engineer Trip Tucker's sister. Thankfully, Starfleet was able to work it all out with the Xindi, as this was merely the prototype weapon -- a version in an alternate universe was much larger and was able to barbeque the Earth in seconds, Death Star-style.

9) U.S.S. Defiant NCC-1764, Enterprise ("In a Mirror, Darkly")

At the end of the episode "The Tolian Web," the USS Defiant was lost, pulled through a hole in the space-time continuum to the unknown. The Enterprise believed that the ship was lost and went on her way, but the story didn't end for the Defiant.

Apparently, the other side of the rabbit hole ended up being the mirror "Goateed Spock" universe, where humans are pretty much assholes. Captured by the Tholians and set to be salvaged, somehow word gets to Enterprise first officer Commander Jonathan Archer, who is ordered by Admiral Black to investigate. Archer is able to retrieve the ship built over one hundred years in the future, and uses that future technology to wreak havoc, single-handedly destroying a strike force consisting of five separate starships. Archers plans are put to an end due to the intervention of the new Empress Hoshi Sato, who at the end of the episode seems to hold Earth hostage with the intent of taking full control of the Empire. While it is not known what happens next (at least not in Star Trek canon), with weaponry one hundred years from the future at her grasp, it looks like Empress Sato has a stilettoed boot on the throat of humanity.

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