Another of the plaques that came about from my recent deluge in all things Golden Age of Sail. The James Cook is one of these, being possibly the most famous British captain in history, and one famous for exploration and discovery at that. Having recently read Arthur Herman's book 'To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World', and discovering the full extent of Cook's voyages, I read a quote by the man himself and immediately thought, "If there is to be a Starfleet ship named the James Cook, then this is her motto." And so it was. Have you ever seen a more appropriate quote for the motto of a Starfleet vessel? It beats even Enterprise's, in my opinion, and Cook said this in the late 1700s!
This vessel is the first USS James Cook in Federation service. However, as my explanation (or rationalisation, if you prefer) of the original Enterprise as "the first starship" shows, this ship is listed by her Fleet role rather than her actual class. Just so as you know, this ship is a Daedalus class galactic survey cruiser, NCC-177, launched in 2164 and retired in 2197.
This vessel is the second USS James Cook in Federation service, and again this ship is listed by her Fleet role rather than her actual class. Just so as you know, this ship is a Declaration class galactic survey cruiser, NCC-1211, launched in 2203 and retired in 2279.
I decided to make the first Starship Cook a Constellation class, as going into a new era of peace and hopefully prosperity in the post-Praxis galaxy, Starfleet demilitarises a fair bit. Patrols are maintained against quiescent enemies, but Starfleet's outlook once again swings back to the exploratory side of things. I also remembered that one of the Batch 3 Constellations (NCC-3069) is named for the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. So, the perfect time and place for the Starship Cook.
Along with the Endeavour, I didn't want an Excelsior class Cook, preferring the cruelly under-used Ambassador class instead. So, as Cook was an ambassador for his country to the more primitive peoples he encountered, I felt it fitting that the explorer, surveyor and diplomat should also be counted among the ranks of the Ambassadors of the Federation.
With the tragic loss of the Ambassador class James Cook in the first year of the Dominion War, an new Intrepid-class light explorer was commissioned to carry on the legacy of the name into the more hopeful post-war era.