- "It's easy to cling to your principles when you're standing on a vessel with its bulkheads intact, manned by a crew that's not starving."
- — Rudolph Ransom, 2375
|Launched:||stardate 47007.1 (2370)|
The USS Equinox (NCC-72381) was a Federation starship, a Nova-class heavy scout in service to Starfleet in the 24th century. The Equinox was launched in the year 2370 under the command of Captain Rudolph Ransom.
A few weeks later while performing a scientific survey near the Badlands, the Equinox was pulled into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker.
In 2376, the Equinox was destroyed when it battled the USS Voyager over the killing of aliens to get home faster. The surviving crewmembers were absorbed into Voyager's crew.
The "Spirits of Good Fortune"Edit
At some point, the Equinox limped to an M-class planet. The vessel was severely damaged and the crew had not eaten in days. They were fortunate to find that the natives were friendly, and after providing the crew with some food and medical assistance, the Ankari had their "Spirits of Good Fortune" bless their journey. The Equinox crew was intrigued with these "spirits," who turned out to be nucleogenic lifeforms. After acquiring one of the summoning devices, the crew accidentally killed one of them. An analysis revealed that the aliens' remains could be used to enhance the Equinox's warp drive.
The results were dramatic for the Equinox crew; the aliens' remains had allowed the vessel to travel over 10,000 light years in only two weeks. The crew believed they had found their salvation, and they decided to continue killing the aliens to shorten their journey towards the Alpha Quadrant.
Unfortunately for the Equinox crew, the aliens were not willing to stand by and allow themselves to be murdered. They began viciously attacking the Equinox crew in retaliation, killing or injuring several crew members during their brief assaults. The aliens also managed to inflict a substantial amount of damage to the Equinox herself, the constant attacks making repairs nearly impossible.
A call for helpEdit
After an alien attack in early 2375, Captain Ransom managed to send a distress call. The message was picked up by none other than the USS Voyager, another Federation starship stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
Voyager managed to extend its shields around the heavily-damaged Equinox and send damage control and medical teams to the vessel to assess the situation and secure the crippled starship.
Captain Ransom immediately began lying to Captain Kathryn Janeway about the Equinox's predicament, claiming he had no idea as to the aliens' identity nor their reasons for attacking both his ship and crew, and that he was unable to communicate with them. Additionally, the crew had flooded their science lab with radiation to prevent any Voyager personnel from learning of the experiments. It was this sabotage that attracted the attention of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Voyager's security chief. Not wanting to expose her suspicions, Janeway sent her doctor, a hologram immune to radiation poisoning, over to investigate.
The Doctor's findings exposed the truth behind the alien attacks. All Equinox personnel were confined to quarters on Voyager while Janeway began looking for a way to communicate with the aliens and find a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Unfortunately, the Equinox EMH, operating without its ethics subroutines and posing as The Doctor, managed to free his crew and help them escape to their own vessel. Ransom stole one of Voyager's field generators and left his fellow captain and her crew under attack from the aliens.
The hunt for RansomEdit
Janeway became infuriated with Ransom's betrayal of Starfleet's ethics, and although she was officially pursuing the Equinox to rescue Seven of Nine, who had been kidnapped during the Equinox crew's escape, her real interest was bringing Ransom to justice, by any means necessary. Commander Chakotay understood Janeway's true motivations and this lead to a build up of tensions between the captain and first officer, with Chakotay eventually being relieved of duty, and subsequently considering mutiny against the captain.
The Equinox continued to flee from Voyager, eventually finding a planet where the crew could resupply the ship. The vessel's damage had limited her top speed to only warp 6, allowing Voyager to easily catch up and capture two crew members. An interrogation of Crewman Noah Lessing allowed the Voyager crew to locate a group of Ankari, who agreed to communicate with their "Spirits of Good Fortune" and arrange a cease fire, in exchange for Janeway's deliverance of the Equinox and her crew to them.
By the time Voyager again located the Equinox, Ransom was already considering surrendering to Janeway. Disgruntled with this course of action, first officer Maxwell Burke mutinied against his captain and fired on Voyager. The Equinox was outgunned and quickly disabled, however. Ensign Marla Gilmore, who had been ordered to escort Ransom to the brig, instead brought him to engineering and pledged her support to him. Ransom and Gilmore managed to gain control of the Equinox and beam three crew members to Voyager (including Gilmore herself), along with Seven of Nine. The Doctor was also transferred back to Voyager, after which he deleted the Equinox EMH that had taken his place. Burke and the remaining bridge crew tried to make their way to the shuttlebay to escape, but were killed en route.
During the final battle with Voyager, Ransom and Gilmore allowed the aliens access to the Equinox's vital systems, including the ship's warp core. With a breach only seconds away, Ransom piloted the doomed Equinox to a safe distance away from Voyager. After receiving Janeway's word that she would get the two crews home, the Equinox exploded, ending her disastrous five-year stay in the Delta Quadrant. Satisfied with the Equinox's destruction, the aliens ceased their attacks on Voyager. The five surviving Equinox crew members, Marla Gilmore, Noah Lessing, James Morrow, Angelo Tassoni, and Brian Sofin, were stripped of rank and ordered to serve as crewmen on Voyager, with extensive supervision and limited privileges.