Challenger (NX-03)

From Bravo Fleet

"Ad utilitatem omnium"
   —Ship's Dedication Quote

The Challenger (NX-03) was the third NX-class to be launched by the United Earth’s Starfleet. The ship was launched on February 8th, 2155 from the orbital facilities above Earth. She was named after the ill-fated space shuttle craft Challenger. The ship’s motto was in Latin and when translated to English meant To the benefit of all.

In late 2156, the vessel was upgraded to the Columbia-class specifications due to the ongoing Earth-Romulan War.



The Challenger NX-03 under construction, c.2154.

Construction on Challenger had begun at the start of 2153, one month after the launch of Columbia (NX-02). As Starfleet engineers were well aware of previous technical issues from the construction of the first two NX-class ships, Challenger’s construction took half the time compared to its older sisters. Construction of the ship went without a hitch and she performed exceptionally well in tests and her trial runs. Project Management was given to Captain Rani Karim, the designated commanding officer when the ship launched. Sadly, Karim would not see the christening of Challenger, as she and her chief science officer and second officer (Lieutenant Commander Alec Rossi) were killed in a shuttlepod accident days before the ship was to be launched. Instead, Starfleet gave command of the ship to the only other person who knew it so well, Karim’s presumptive first officer and chief armoury officer: Commander Lloyd Burton. Rear Admiral Samuel Gardner gave Burton a promotion to Captain and at the official launching ceremony handed him command of the third warp-five capable ship.


The crew of Challenger took some time to adjust to the changes in its command crew, as Burton had lost a few other senior staff who felt they were unable to remain on the ship after Karim and Rossi’s death. It was not a reflection on his ability to lead the ship, but many of them had worked closely with Karim on previous assignments and felt they couldn’t stay out of respect or down to the fact they were too traumatised by her loss. Before the ship’s launch, Burton recruited several new officers, including a first officer. He was fortunate enough to be able to pull in a few favours and before he had received the ship’s first set of orders, he had fully staffed his new ship.

Challenger’s first mission was to lead a convoy of allied ships (Vulcan, Andorian and Tellarite) to Denobula to convince its government in joining the Coalition of Planets. On board leading the delegates was Earth’s Foreign Secretary, Madilyn Campbell. The convoy was attacked by the Orions and some of the crew (along with other delegates) were captured by them to be sold on the Orion Slave Market. Burton led the efforts to rescue those kidnapped and showed the Orion Syndicate (who were being paid by the Romulans to undertake such aggression) exactly what the Coalition could achieve when they worked together.
Captain Burton & Ensign Alcott on the bridge of the Challenger during battle with the Orion raiders, c.2155.
When the ship arrived in orbit of Denobula, they worked with the delegates to convince the government and its public to join the Coalition without reservation. In fact the crew became extremely popular with the general population, especially Captain Burton who was returning to the planet after saving a number of their citizens during a previous assignment. The crew’s efforts though were ruined when the Romulan Star Empire attacked Coridan Prime. The Denobulan government’s referendum on joining the Coalition Compact was withdrawn in fear of a similar attack taking place against them, something they wanted to avoid.
Challenger NX-03 leads the Archer IV colony convoy to safety, c.2155.

At the end of February 2155, Challenger led Starfleet’s efforts to defend the new colony on Archer IV when the Romulans attempted to destroy the planet through the use of nuclear warheads. Starfleet was successful and forced the Romulans to retreat from the system. Burton and his crew would save the colonists and help begin their setup of making a new home. At the start of the next month, Challenger returned to Earth to witness the signing of the Coalition Compact between Earth, Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar.

By April 2155, the ship had continued its original mission of exploration. The crew scanned and catalogued more space than Enterprise and Columbia did in their first fifty days. They were later ordered to Andoria on a diplomatic mission to meet with the new Andorian leader. During this meeting, an Andorian colony was attacked by a joint Malurian-Nausicaan invasion force. Under the terms set out by the Coalition Compact, Captain Burton had to respond to the attack by joining the Andorian fleet sent to deal with the invasion. Unfortunately, the Andorian fleet was heavily damaged during their initial rescue attempt and Captain Burton was made an Honouree Commander within the Imperial Guard. He was given command of the remnants of the task force and was temporarily made a Commodore by the President of the United Earth Commonwealth. With this power, he and his crew worked to remove the Malurian–Nausicaan invasion force from the colony. By the end of the mission, they uncovered that the Romulans had funded and supported the attack. Both governments of Maluria and Nausicaa released a statement, each denying any official involvement in the fight and it was recorded that those that attacked the Andorians were mercenaries.

Over a month later and Challenger was ordered to make official first contact with the Deltan Union. With the possibility of more conflict with the Romulans on the horizon, the Coalition of Planets was keen to make more allies and expand its influence in the region. Challenger was once again pulled into a local conflict, one between the Deltans and the Carreons (the Deltans’ aggressive neighbours). Attempting to escape from the fight, Challenger was repeatedly attacked by the Carreons. Eventually, Captain Burton ordered a majority of the crew to abandon the ship. Those who escaped took refuge on a planet inhabited by a pre-warp civilisation. The humanoid civilisation called themselves the Ardanans and they had impressive technology that allowed the rich and powerful members of their society to live on “cloud cities”. After they were rescued by Commander Anthi and the Andorian crew of the Avenkerev, the crew returned to the ship and made their way home. Sadly though the conflict between the Deltans and Carreons ended with both sides inflicting heavy damage on one another. Again Challenger discovered that the Romulans were involved in destabilising relations between the two races. Challenger returned to Earth for extensive repairs and upgrades, on its way home the crew were informed that war with the Romulans had been declared.

Challenger and Discovery engaging Romulan ships near to the Bassen Rift.

Once repairs were completed to the ship, Challenger was sent to determine what happened at Deneva colony. The Starfleet relief task force sent to support it reported that the Discovery (NX-04) and Armstrong (NCC-100) had both gone missing. The crew soon find the debris belonging to the Armstrong along with some survivors. Bringing the Armstrong's crew on board, the crew searched for the Discovery, with the help of the Armstrong's survivors. They shared that both the Discovery and Armstrong had engaged a small task group of Romulan drone ships but the Discovery had led a number of them away from the original battle, allowing the Armstrong the time it needed to send a message to Starfleet about the attack. Following the trail left by their sister ship, Challenger tracked their sister ship down into the Barrens. The unique properties of the unique region prevented the Romulans from controlling their drone ships, leaving them to attack their enemies using their limited automated systems and programming. Saving the Discovery from its attackers, Challenger removed the threat of the final drone ships but soon found out why the drones were attacking Discovery. Captain Frank Müller and his crew had captured one of the drone ships. Discovery was fixed and investigations on the captured ship gave access to its database. Both crews reviewed the data and found one particular target that interested them. Plans were prepared to use the drone ship to deal the Romulans a crippling blow by attacking the outpost they were using to control the drone ship fleet. Deep in the Bassen Rift the Romulans had concealed their command base and were using a micro-singularity to boost their telemetry. A mixed team compromised of crews from both the Challenger and Discovery made their way onboard the captured drone ship (designated the Prowler) to attack the Romulan base. The attack was a success but resulted in the loss of several Challenger crewmembers and the destruction of the captured ship. With the outpost now destroyed, the Romulans' ability to control their drone ships over significant distances was removed, this gave Earth the breathing space needed to repair its fleet and defences.

Fleet Captain Burton, grieving after the loss of members of his crew.

Sadly at the end of the mission, the crew had to deal with the loss of three members of their senior staff. The deaths of Lieutenant Conrad, Major Yu and Commander Stanton affected everyone greatly, especially Burton who was determined to ensure their sacrifice was not in vain. Fortunately for the ship, Stanton’s husband had requested to join Challenger as its new first officer and chief pilot. Lieutenant Masuko was promoted to chief engineer and General Casey, the head of the MACOs, provided Yu’s replacement before Challenger was sent back to the frontlines.

Thanks to some efforts in decrypting the Romulan database found on the captured Romulan drone ship, Burton was able to come up with a plan to attack a vital enemy installation. After proposing the action with Starfleet Command, Burton rallied a fleet that would launch a massive offensive against the Romulans. One of the first attempts by Earth to hit the Romulans back and hard after months of their attacks and raids. Their target was the Rator system, which had a Romulan supply base along with several shipyards. A base was also located on the fourth planet. Burton's plan was simple, his task force would wipe out the orbital installation while using Earth's nuclear arsenal to take out the planetary base. The primary objective of the mission was to remove the Romulan's presence in the system and cut them off from having the ability to support their forces. En route, the Starfleet fleet was surpassed by a larger Tholian armada. They too were on a direct route to Rator as they passed the Earth ships they ended up temporarily disabling them. Unable to do anything besides make repairs, Burton was left frustrated at the situation. Eventually, his fleet was able to restore their systems and was back on its way towards Rator. When they eventually arrived they encountered the Romulan and Tholian forces fighting one another. Without being able to do a thing, the Starfleet forces witnessed both sides assuring one another of mutual destruction. The Tholians had done Burton's work for him and obliterated the Romulans from the system. One Tholian vessel survived the final moments and transmitted a datastream to Challenger before it rammed into the final Romulan shipyard. Once the fleet had left Romulan space, they had rendezvoused with other coalition allies. Decrypting the datastream took some time but from it, they were able to determine that the Tholians had done more than just attack the Tholians. They discovered that the Tholians had shared with them star charts and planetary surveys based inside the Romulan territory and they had also gained access to other tactical information, including schematics of Romulan ships. Finally, the mystery as to why the Tholians were attacking the Romulans was found. It was discovered that the Romulans had attempted to use their telepresence ship-capturing device on their vessels. The Romulans had failed and the Tholians had retaliated to give the Romulans a clear message of how they felt about such an act of aggression.

On its way home Challenger picked up a distress call from the Kriosian flagship, the Kamala. Intercepting the call, they found a damaged vessel and a crew that were close to dying. After helping the injured Kriosians and towing them home, Challenger soon discovered that once again the Romulans were interfering in local politics. The Romulans had ignited a conflict between the Sovereign Dynasty of Krios Prime and the Klingon Empire. They had so far been successful but after showing the evidence of what the Romulans were doing the Kriosians were happy for Challenger to act as a mediator between them and the Klingons to bring their fighting to an end. After having to show the Klingons they were honourable, the crew of Challenger was able to present the same findings to a highly prominent Klingon general. Agreeing to present the Romulans' involvement to the High Council, General Merik took the data back to the homeworld. While en route his fleet attacked and destroyed the remaining Romulan forces in the sector, thanks to Challenger being able to show them how to detect them. It appeared the appeal to the Klingon Empire was going to work. Unfortunately, Merik died on the floor of the High Council. Believing he had been infected by the Kriosians, the Empire chose to ignore the data from the humans and instead continued their invasion of Krios. Challenger was forced to leave after the Klingon armada arrived. From a long distance, Challenger witnessed the collapse of Krios Prime, however, the Kriosian leadership had requested that they take some refugees with them back to Earth. Among the refugees were the Kriosian's brightest minds, who in return for receiving care and shelter would help Earth in its war against the Romulans. Upon arrival at Earth, the ship and the rest of its task force were sent for immediate repairs. Challenger had sustained the most and required a lot longer in the yard.

At the end of 2155, Starfleet Command had decided to proceed with Challenger’s refit earlier than planned. It was felt that it was the right time for it to take place. However, the Romulans did not give Starfleet the time they expected they had. Instead, the Romulans took a risky move and launched an attack against Earth on 29th December 2155. During this fateful engagement, Challenger was initially designated the flagship of the fleet. Though the battle was a victory for Earth, it came with a tremendous cost. Many ships and lives were lost and the planned refit for Challenger was postponed.

Design & Layout

Similar to other NX-class ships, the Challenger followed in a similar arrangements and this included the internal colour scheme of different shades of blue and turquoise being used across the ship. Unlike Enterprise and Columbia, Challenger had carpet installed in the centre aisle of each corridor and within each quarter. A small taste of luxury.

A majority of the systems that were installed on the Challenger had become tried and tested systems as a result it was rare for the ship to come across any technical issues during its missions.

One thing that Starfleet insisted before the ship was launched was that it was heavily armed with the best weaponry and defence technology. Her hull armour was thicker and her phase cannons could throw a heavier punch. This allowed the ship to last longer in battles, something that came into use during the Earth-Romulan War.

When the ship was upgraded to the Columbia-class specifications, it allowed for the ship to carry more personnel and made it a powerful force for the war effort.


Command Staff

  • Commanding Officer:
    • Captain Rani Karim (Human Female) (2154-2155)
    • Captain/Fleet Captain Lloyd Burton (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Executive Officer:
    • Commander Lloyd Burton (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Commander Nicolette Levesque (Human Female) (2155)
    • Commander Michael Stanton (Human Male) (2155)
    • Commander Alex Rodham (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Second Officer:
    • Lieutenant Commander Alec Rossi (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Commander Michael Stanton (Human Male) (2155)
    • Lieutenant Commander/Commander Cooper Walker (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Third Officer:
    • Lieutenant Commander Caspar Slater (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Lieutenant Commander John Callahan (Human Male) (2155)
    • Sub Commander T'Plau (Vulcan Female) (2155)
    • Lieutenant Commander Kefira Ben-Ami M.D (Human Female) (2155+)

Senior Staff/Department Heads

  • Chief Science Officer:
    • Lieutenant Commander Alec Rossi (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Commander Nicolette Levesque (Human Female) (2155)
    • Ensign/Lieutenant junior grade Martha Habiba (Human Female) (2155) (Acting Chief Science Officer)
    • Lieutenant Commander/Commander Cooper Walker (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Chief Engineer:
    • Lieutenant Commander Caspar Slater (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Commander Michael Stanton (Human Male) (2155)
    • Lieutenant Sakura Masuko (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Chief Armoury Officer:
    • Commander Lloyd Burton (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Lieutenant Commander John Callahan (Human Male) (2155)
    • Sub Commander T'Plau (Vulcan Female) (2155)
    • Lieutenant junior grade Rachele Cortez (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Chief Medical Officer:
    • Lieutenant Calista Moralez M.D (Human Female) (2154-2155)
    • Lieutenant/Lieutenant Commander Kefira Ben-Ami M.D (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Chief Helm Officer:
    • Ensign Ezrah Alcott (Human Male) (2155)
    • Ensign/Lieutenant junior grade Jack Conrad (Human Male) (2155)
    • Commander Alex Rodham (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Chief Communications Officer / Protocol Officer:
    • Ensign Mattias Hansson (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Ensign/Lieutenant junior grade Ned Hennessey (Human Male) (2155)
    • Ensign/Lieutenant junior grade Tanisha Avery (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Gamma Shift Officer of the Watch:
    • Lieutenant Commander Rosa Sandoval (Human Female) (2155+)
  • MACO Detachment Unit Commander:
    • Major Viktoria Yu (Human Female) (2155)
    • First Lieutenant Khawla al-Fayaad (Human Female) (2155) (Acting Unit Commander)
    • Captain Luis Trommler (Human Male) (2155+)

Other Crew

Command Department

  • Chief of the Boat / Quartermaster:
    • Senior Chief Petty Officer Ghislaine Dubois (Human Female) (2154+)
  • Yeoman:
    • Crewmember First Class/Petty Officer Third Class Jamie Harris (Human Male) (2155+)

Helm Department

  • Second Helm Officer:
    • Ensign/Lieutenant junior grade Angela Hathaway (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Third Helm Officer:
    • Ensign Cristiano Gonçalves (Human Male) (2154+)
  • Fourth Helm Officer:
    • Petty Officer First Class/Chief Petty Officer Adrian Kowalski (Human Male) (2154+)

Engineering Department

  • Second Engineer:
    • Lieutenant junior grade/Lieutenant Sakura Masuko (Human Female) (2154-2155)
    • Lieutenant junior grade Colleen Malone (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Third Engineer:
    • Ensign Theodoros Metaxas (Human Male) (2154+)
  • Fourth Engineer:
    • Ensign Elijah Peterson (Human Male) (2154+)
  • Chief Culinary Specialist / Chef & Morale Officer:
    • Petty Officer First Class/Chief Petty Officer Montana Lawson (Human Female) (2155+)

Armoury Department

  • Second Armoury Officer:
    • Ensign Rachele Cortez (Human Female) (2154-2155)
    • Ensign Adrian Reddick (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Third Armoury Officer:
    • Ensign Kimberly Brewster (Human Female) (2155+)

Science Department

  • Second Science Officer/Chief Biologist:
    • Ensign/Lieutenant junior grade Martha Habiba (Human Female) (2154+)
  • Third Science Officer/ Chief Physicist:
    • Ensign Sebastian Dalton (Human Male) (2154+)
  • Fourth Science Officer/Chief Chemist:
    • Ensign Ramya Dey (Human Female) (2154+)

Medical Department

  • Second Medical Officer:
    • Lieutenant junior grade Hillary Payne M.D (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Senior Nursing Officer:
    • Ensign/Lieutenant junior Niall Stewart (Human Male) (2155+)

Communications Department

  • Second Communications Officer:
    • Ensign Erik Larsen (Human Male) (2154-2155)
    • Ensign Tanisha Avery (Human Female) (2155)
  • Xenolinguistics Specialist / Protocol Aide:
    • Petty Officer First Class Craig Johnson (Human Male) (2154+)
  • Communications Systems Specialist:
    • Petty Officer Third Class Lily Howard (Human Female) (2154+)

MACO Detachment Unit

  • Detachment Deputy Commander:
    • First Lieutenant Khawla al-Fayaad (Human Female) (2155)
    • First Lieutenant Sheridian Alder (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Detachment Assistant Commander:
    • Second Lieutenant Luis Trommler (Human Male) (2155)
    • Second Lieutenant Alizeh Javini (Human Female) (2155+)
  • Detachment First Sergeant:
    • Staff Sergeant/Gunnery Sergeant Rupesh Iyer (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Support Specialist/Leader & Field Medic:
    • Lance Corporal/Corporal/Sergeant Liam Jenkins (Human Male) (2155+)
  • Assault Operator:
    • Private/Lance Corporal Harvey Rafferty (Human Male) (2155+)