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Badass ships of Star Trek

Are you the pride of your species? The savior of suns? The destroyer of worlds? Good. Then you're the kind of VIP Star Trek spacecraft we're here to celebrate.

For this ranking, our criteria are speed, size, crew capacity, ability to inflict mass destruction, and general significance in the TV-and-film Trek canon.

Until we know more about the brand-new craft of the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, we'll leave it out of the ranking and just show you this cool photo. But for the rest of this list, craft are ordered from the merely significant to the truly awesome.

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26. SS Botany Bay

See that little white blob floating next to the original series' Enterprise? It doesn't look like much (it's just a sleeper ship) but the SS Botany Bay is where Kirk and company first found a certain genetically modified villain named Khan. Cut to 2016, and we're still regretting that discovery.

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25. Deep Space Nine

On one hand, Deep Space Nine, the setting for the eponymously titled TV series, is just an old Cardassian mining station. On the other hand, it's an old Cardassian mining station that by Season 4 is retrofitted with 5,000 photon torpedoes. Klingons beware.

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24. USS Defiant (NX-74205)

This little Federation flying pancake of fight is tricked out with a Romulan cloaking device and is built for Borg battles. It's adept at taking out Jem'Hadar warships, and, from a storyline perspective, opening up "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine."

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23. USS Excelsior (NX-2000)

The vessel that ably serves Capt. Hikaru Sulu in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" is undeniably an "incredible machine," the first Starfleet craft to feature transwarp drive. It would rank higher save for the apparent ease in which Scotty disables its bells and whistles in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock."

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22. Sh'Raan

The Vulcans may be better known for logic than combat ships, but the pre-Federation is a salty time, and Spock's forerunners are ready to throw down in this "Star Trek: Enterprise"-era craft with warp 7 power.

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21. Jem'Hadar warship

You can't tell the story of "Deep Space Nine" without the Dominion, and you can't tell the story of the Dominion without its military branch, the Jem'Hadar, whose battleships can defy tractor beams and compromise an opponent's shields.

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20. Enterprise (NX-01)

In the 24th century, warp 5 power and a primitive, cargo-only transporter bay won't get you far. But in the 22nd century-setting of "Star Trek: Enterprise," this Starfleet ship, capable of carrying a crew of nearly 100, is a triumph of Zefram Cochrane's theories of space travel.

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19. USS Prometheus (NCC-71201)

As seen in "Deep Space Nine," this Nebula-class Starfleet ship is a floating science experiment. Its goal: reignite a dead sun. It gets the awesome job done.

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18. Scimitar

This Reman-made ship from "Star Trek: Nemesis" is stocked with enough disruptor banks (52) and photon-torpedo bays (27) to impress, but its real power lies in its ability to convert itself into a thalaron weapon, similar to a nuclear weapon but far more devastating.

Published:Caption:Photo:Paramount Pictures
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17. USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), original timeline

So, sure, the Enterprise would lose a drag race with Voyager, but the most iconic Trek craft is the Cadillac of Starfleet: part warship, part science lab, all kinds of durable. In the Trek timeline, it explored new worlds with its warp 8 speed for 40 years, until its self-destruct sequence rocked the Klingons.

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16. USS Enterprise (NCC-1701), alternate timeline

The ship in J.J. Abrams' films reflects the director's vision for a "hot-rod type of vehicle." It's bulked up to more than twice the size of the original Enterprise. Storyline-wise, however, the craft is still the product of the 23rd century, so it can't really kick it at more than warp 8.

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15. Romulan warbird

In "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Capt. Jean-Luc Picard's crew members, no strangers to swank and size, are in awe of this baby and for good reason. Per StarTrek.com, it's "the largest and most powerful of Romulan spacecraft."

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14. Negh'Var cruiser

Less ubiquitous than the Bird-of-Prey, this Klingon class is nonetheless the flagship of the fleet. It has the size advantage on Starfleet's main ships of the original timeline, measuring as much as 2,355 feet in length, according to stats from the Trek-technology-focused fan site Ex Astris Scientia.

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13. USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)

Rather than a cloned version of Kirk's ship, a la the NCC-1701-A from Star Trek IV-VI, this Enterprise from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" is literally in a different class: namely, Galaxy. Compared to the Constitution line, this one's bigger (carrying 1,000-plus crew), faster (topping out, usually, at warp 9) and equipped to battle the Borg with 250 photon-torpedo bays.

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12. USS Voyager (NCC-74656)

Capt. Kathryn Janeway's ride from "Star Trek: Voyager" gets the edge here over the Enterprise iterations we've covered so far, because it's smarter and faster. (It's also, yes, smaller than either the NCC-1701 or NCC-1701-D.) Powered in part by Borg technology, Voyager can cruise at warp 9.975.

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11. USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E)

This Sovereign-class craft, seen in the "Next Generation"-led movies from "First Contact" to "Nemesis," was voted the best-engineered main Starfleet ship (original timeline) in a StarTrek.com fan poll. With quantum torpedoes and the ability to quickly dispatch a Borg cube, it's easy to see why.

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10. USS Vengeance

This is a scary-powerful vessel from Abrams' alternate Trek timeline, as seen in "Star Trek: Into Darkness." Developed off the Federation grid and with the help of Khan, the Vengeance is the one-and-only member of Starfleet's Dreadnought battleship class.

It has, we're told, "twice the size...[and] three times the speed" of other Starfleet ships, including the hot-rod Enterprise.

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9. Xindi probe

This killer from "Star Trek: Enterprise" and sent by the Xindi (hence, the name) isn't fancy -- it's just a pure beam of destructive force -- but it is a killer, wiping out more than 7 million people from Florida to Venezuela in a 22nd-century attack on Earth.

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8. Nomad

This Earth probe, launched in 2002 according to original Trek episode "The Changeling," melds with an alien probe (name of Tan Ru). Then it turns into a judgmental little bugger that wipes out at least 4 billion people across four planets, because said people don't meet its standards of perfection.

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7. "The Doomsday Machine"

In the original Trek TV episode from which this nameless, nebulous and insatiable alien ship/lifeform sprang, we learn that "that thing" literally eats planets (and everything else it finds) for breakfast, and fuels itself with the resulting rubble.

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6. The whale probe

There is no defeating this massive, cylindrical, power-sucking, starship-disabling, ocean-vaporizing threat from "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." There is only placating it with what it wants to hear: whales.

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5. The Narada

In the 2009 "Star Trek" movie, this time-traveling Romulan mining ship wipes out the USS Kelvin, killing Captain Kirk's father, and spurring the alternate Trek timeline...in which the entire planet of Vulcan is destroyed by a certain time-traveling Romulan mining ship.

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4. Krenim temporal weapon ship

The promise (or threat) of this "Star Trek: Voyager" craft is awesome: With its timeline-changing power, we're told in the episode "Year of Hell" that the ship can "erase [an] entire species from time." Not even the Narada could erase the Vulcans.

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3. Species 8472 bioship

These craft are organic, but they're heavily armed and fortified organic, so take that, Whole Foods. In "Star Trek: Voyager," these vessels and their mission to pretty much destroy everything can only be stopped by a Federation-Borg team-up.

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2. The Borg cube

Such is the dark legend of the Borg's inscrutable spacecraft that it is routinely pitted against the vaunted Star Wars Death Star in fan debates.

In some ways, it's not a fair fight. The Death Star just wants to blow you up. The Borg cube, like the Borg itself, can blow you up, but it may just slice you up in bits instead, the better to steal your technological soul.

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1. V'Ger

The souped-up version of Nomad ("Star Trek: The Motion Picture" is often thought of as a reworking of "The Changeling") is a force-field cloud of destruction driven by an old Earth probe, Voyager 6.

That it wipes out Klingon Bird-of-Prey ships and a Federation space station without seemingly any effort is one impressive thing. That it spans 82 astronomical units (or 7.6 billion miles) in diameter is another. Craft like this are not defeated; they are managed. Hopefully.

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