They dared to risk it all in a skiff of reeds or leather, on a ship of wood or steel, knowing the only thing between them and certain death was their ship. To explore, to seek out what lay beyond the close and comfortable, every explorer had to embrace danger. And as they did so, what arose was a mystical bond, a passion for the ships that carried them. From the very first time humans dared to warp the fabric of space, escaping from the ashes of the third World War, they also created ships. These vessels have become the icons of mankind's desire to rise above the everyday, to seek out and make the unknown known. And these ships that travel the stellar seas have stirred the same passions as the ones that floated in the oceans.
While every captain has wished that their starship could be outfitted in the same manner as the sailing ship H.M.S. Beagle -- without weapons -- that proved untenable. From the start, Starfleet realized that each vessel, due to the limited range of the early warp engines, must be able to stand alone against any attack. Thus arose the idea, taken from the days of wooden sailing ships, that every Starfleet vessel must stand as a ship of the line. Through the actions of their captains and crews, countless starships have taken on that role. Here we remember some of those ships and their heroic crews.