|Status||Lost (2156), Destroyed (2168)|
Launched in November 2154, the NX class Starship Columbia was commanded by Captain Erika Hernandez. Initially, Captain A.G. Robinson was anticipated to command the Columbia, but he died unexpectedly in March 2153.
Columbia's launch was pushed back from June to November 2154 when problems arose with the engines, leaving the ship unable to assist the Enterprise NX-01 during an incident with a Romulan drone ship. Not long thereafter, Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III transferred as chief engineer from the Enterprise to Columbia, quickly solving many of the problems plaguing the ship's engines. Shortly after being launched, the Columbia was called upon to assist the Enterprise, which had been sabotaged by Klingons. After solving the problems with the Enterprise, the Columbia then assisted her sister ship in recovering Dr. Phlox from the Klingon colony on Qu'Vat, and engaged several Klingon warships in combat.
In late 2154, a site was finally chosen for the location of Starbase 1 on Berengaria VII. Within a month, Tellarite and Andorian ships joined the Columbia in bringing the first construction team to the planet; this group of technicians and engineers informally dubbed themselves the "Starfleet Corps of Engineers."
In 2155, the Columbia was assigned to protect shipping lanes used by members of the fledgling Coalition of Planets, following several attacks on Coalition shipping lines. The Columbia later responded to an attack on Draylax by Romulan-controlled Klingon ships. While investigating that attack, the Columbia was then forced to attempt to defend a number of freighters in the Alpha Centauri system from Romulan-controlled Vulcan ships.
In November 2155, a fleet of five Romulan warbirds under the command of Admiral Mindar approached the Berengaria system. The Columbia, the Discovery, under the command of Captain Curtis, and the Excalibur, under the command of Captain Bran Stiles, immediately saw that they were hopelessly outmatched. The Romulans were jamming all communications out of the system, so Hernandez ordered Stiles to retreat and warn Starfleet Command. Two Romulan ships broke off to pursue the Excalibur, while Columbia and Discovery fought the remaining three. Columbia barely escaped the engagement, having bought time for as many of the base personnel to escape as possible, but Discovery was destroyed. 
In 2156, while escorting a mining convoy from the Onias sector, the Columbia was attacked by a group of Romulan starships. The Romulans used their telecapture system to take control of the Columbia, using her to destroy the convoy. The crew of the Columbia then faked a self-destruct by detonating a photonic torpedo simultaneously with a brief warp jump. The Columbia was severely damaged in the attack; warp drive and communications systems were irreparably damaged. More than half the crew and most of the MACO contingent were dead, with only forty-two surviving. Rather than wait for rescue, Captain Hernandez ordered the ship to set course for a planet that long-range scans indicated might possess intelligent life at near-light speeds. In order to get to the planet without warp drive, the Columbia used her impulse engines to achieve the highest possible sub-light speeds, resulting in relative time dilation; Columbia arrived at the planet in 2168, though only 63 days had passed aboard ship.
Upon arriving at the planet, Erigol, its inhabitants, the Caeliar, informed the landing party that they would never be allowed to return home in order to protect the Caeliar's privacy from the outside galaxy. Several Columbia crewmembers and MACO officers ignored Captain Hernandez's orders to cooperate with the Caeliar, destroying a Caeliar city and disrupting their ongoing inter-galactic communications program known as the Great Work. This set in motion a sequence of events leading to Erigol's star going supernova and the destruction of Erigol, and to the creation of several unstable subspace vortices. Columbia, attempting to flee the supernova, entered a subspace tunnel that led to the distant Gamma Quadrant; the entire crew that was still aboard was incinerated by the hyperphasic radition present in the subspace tunnel, forty seconds after entering it. The only survivors were the Columbia crewmembers in the Caeliar city-ships of Mantilis and Axion, which entered subspace tunnels that deposited them in Delta Quadrant in 4527 BCE and the Beta Quadrant in AD 1519, respectively. The Humans and Caeliar deposited in the Delta Quadrant would inadvertently merge, creating the Borg.
Columbia recovery (SotL)
The disappearance of the Columbia became one of the most enduring mysteries in Starfleet history for more than two centuries, known only to have been last reported near Tau Ceti. In 2373, the mystery took a new twist when the Columbia was discovered at its final crash site on a planet in the Gamma Quadrant by the crew of the U.S.S. Defiant NX-74205. The Defiant crew were forced to abandon their investigations when Jem'Hadar ships were detected approaching the planet, and two months later the Dominion War began, making the recovery of Columbia a low priority. The discovery led some to speculate the Dominion had visited the Alpha Quadrant far earlier than previously believed.
In 2380, the mystery of how the Columbia reached the Gamma Quadrant was re-visited when the U.S.S. Aventine NCC-82602 returned to the planet, searching for a link between its arrival in the Gamma Quadrant and the unknown mechanism being used to send Borg vessels into the Alpha Quadrant during the Borg Invasion of 2380. Research of Columbia's wreckage led the Aventine crew to discover the subspace tunnel that had transported Columbia to the Gamma Quadrant, and ultimately the source of the Borg's entry.
Ships Named Columbia
NX class vessels
Notes and References
- "Home." Star Trek: Enterprise, Episode 79. Television. 22 October 2004.
- Berman, Rick & Braga, Brannon (Executive Producers) & Black, Chris & Shiban, John(Co-Executive Producers). "First Flight." Enterprise, Season 2, Episode 24. Directed by LeVar Burton. Written by John Shiban & Chris Black. Paramount Pictures Corporation, 14 May 2003.
- "United." Star Trek: Enterprise, Episode 89. Television. 4 February 2005.
- "Affliction." Star Trek: Enterprise, Episode 91. Television. 18 February 2005.
- "Divergence." Star Trek: Enterprise, Episode 92. Television. 25 February 2005.
- Martin, Michael A. The Romulan War: Beneath the Raptor's Wing. Star Trek: Enterprise. Pocket Books, October 2009.
- Goodman, David A. Federation: The First 150 Years. Titan Books, October 2013.
- "Kobayashi Maru." Star Trek: Enterprise. Novel. September 2008. Pocket Books.
- "The Romulan War" novels and "Federation: The First 150 Years" provide conflicting details of Starbase 1's location and the battle to defend it against the Romulans, with "The Romulan War" placing the Starbase on Berengaria VII and the battle in November 2155, and "Federation" placing it on Algeron and the battle in May 2156. While Discovery defended Starbase 1 on its own in the novel, and Columbia and Excalibur defended the Starbase together in "Federation," the details have been merged to have all three ships present at Berengaria VII in November 2155. While "Federation" showed that Columbia was destroyed in the battle, this conflicts with the "Destiny" novels and has been disregarded. Instead, Discovery is destroyed (as in "The Romulan War"), while Excalibur and Columbia both escape.
- Mack, David. "Gods of Night." Star Trek: Destiny, Book 1. Pocket Books, 2008.
- Mack, David. "Mere Mortals." Star Trek: Destiny, Book 2. Pocket Books, 2008.
- Mack, David. "Lost Souls." Star Trek: Destiny, Book 3. Pocket Books, 2008.
- Drexler, Doug and Clark, Margaret (Editors). Ships of the Line, 1st ed. Text by Michael Okuda. Art by Jay Barton, Petri Blomquist, Robert Bonchune, Andrew Bradbury, Steve Burg, Eric Chauvin, Corbis, Dochterman, Daren, Aurore deBlois, Doug Drexler, Pierre Drolet, John Eaves, Foundation Imaging, Robert Holmes, Gary Hutzel, ILM, Gabriel Koerner, Koji Kuramura, Meni, Mojo, Dave Morton, Michael Okuda, Fred Pienkos, José Perez, Andrew Probert, Alain Rivard, Sean Scott, Michael Stetson, Lee Stringer, John M. Teska, Kyle Toucher, Bob Witkowski. Pocket Books, 2006.