Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1, Episode 11 – “Asylum”Admiral Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) has a new starship in Star Trek: Prodigy that seems to outclass her old ship, the USS Voyager, and possibly the USS Protostar as well. Janeway has arrived in the Delta Quadrant in command of the USS Dauntless (NCC-80816), a powerful new class of starship. The Admiral is looking for the USS Protostar, which she believes is still commanded by Janeway’s closest friend, Captain Chakotay (Robert Beltran). Janeway doesn’t yet know that the Protostar’s new crew are six teenage alien rebels who want to join Starfleet.
Janeway’s USS Dauntless is the first of its kind; a Dauntless-class starship equipped with a quantum slipstream drive. The Dauntless is modeled after a different ship called the USS Dauntless that Captain Janeway encountered in Star Trek: Voyager. The original Dauntless (NX-01-A) was an alien starship disguised as Federation vessel. Arturis (Ray Wise), a member of Species 116, used the Dauntless as a trap to capture Janeway and the USS Voyager’s crew in order to deliver them into Borg space. While Voyager’s heroes foiled Arturis, they were understandably intrigued by the quantum slipstream drive, which would theoretically vastly shorten Voyager’s journey back home to Earth. Janeway’s crew built their own quantum slipstream drive but were unable to get it to function reliably. In the years since Voyager returned from the Delta Quadrant, Starfleet has perfected a functioning quantum slipstream drive and installed it in the new USS Dauntless.
When the USS Voyager launched in 2371, the Intrepid-class starship was top of the line. By Star Trek: Prodigy‘s era circa 2383, the USS Voyager has since been decommissioned after Captain Janeway returned it to Earth. Voyager wasn’t the same ship it was when it launched, however. The seven years Janeway and her crew spent in the Delta Quadrant necessitated Voyager being upgraded and retrofitted multiple times, including with Borg technology, and with their attempt to replicate the Dauntless’ quantum slipstream drive.
However, Admiral Janeway’s USS Dauntless appears to be a superior ship to Voyager in nearly every way. Faster and more powerful than Voyager, the Dauntless is brand new and equipped with a functioning quantum slipstream drive, which potentially makes it the fastest ship in 2383’s Starfleet. The specs and crew complement of the Dauntless haven’t been revealed yet, but given her years of experience, Admiral Janeway would not mount a dangerous rescue mission in the Delta Quadrant on a starship that isn’t the best Starfleet has to offer.
The USS Protostar is an experimental starship equipped with two warp cores and a Proto-Drive that lets the starship far exceed maximum warp. It isn’t clear yet if the Proto-Drive makes the Protostar faster than the Dauntless’ quantum slipstream drive, although Star Trek: Prodigy’s midseason trailer shows that both starships will race to see which is faster when Admiral Janeway finally encounters the Protostar. The Dauntless is also a far larger ship than the Protostar, which is unusually small by Starfleet’s 24th-century standards. The Protostar may not have been designed for long-term deep space exploration, but the Dauntless is obviously built for multi-year voyages.
Because the Dauntless has a full crew, and Admiral Janeway itself, it doesn’t seem to need a training hologram like the Protostar’s Hologram Janeway. The Protostar and its young, inexperienced crew seem like they would be completely outmatched by the USS Dauntless, but Admiral Janeway catching Star Trek: Prodigy‘s signature ship may not be as easy as she thinks it should be. And little does Janeway know that the Diviner (John Noble) hid a weapon on the Protostar that will cause Federation technology to turn on itself. The Dauntless may end up self-destructing if Admiral Janeway is able to successfully intercept the Protostar.
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Star Trek: Prodigy streams Thursdays on Paramount+.