Cochrane, Zefram

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Zefram Cochrane in 2063

Gender: Male
Species: Human
Occupation: Scientist, inventor
Status: Unknown
Born: 2032

Doctor Zefram Cochrane was a Human scientist in the 21st century. An eccentric genius, he was the inventor of warp drive on Earth, and was the first recorded Human to travel faster than light.


Cochrane was born in 2032. During the 2060s, he lived in Bozeman, Montana in North America, where he and his team of engineers began developing warp drive and finally built Earth's first warp ship, the Phoenix.

On April 4th, he encountered the crew of the Federation starship USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-E who came from the future to stop a Borg sphere from preventing first contact. Doctor Cochrane was treated like an historical figure by the crew, as he was to them. On April 5th, the next day, at 11:00 AM, the Phoenix was launched with Commander William Riker and Geordi La Forge accompanying him. He broke the warp barrier just after 11:00 AM, enough to draw the attention of the Vulcan ship. The Vulcan ship landed in Montana that evening, thereby making first contact with humans, and opening a new era for the whole of mankind.

In 2064, Cochrane mentioned details about that first contact in Bozeman, in a commencement address at Princeton University, and that it involved "a group of cybernetic creatures from the future]]." However, Cochrane's remarks were largely shrugged off by his audience as a result of his tendency toward intoxication, and Cochrane later discounted his own statements.

In the early 22nd Century, Cochrane worked closely with Henry Archer on the warp five engine. In 2119, he officially opened the Warp Five Complex on Earth. During this speech, Cochrane coined many phrases that would be used by Star Fleet for generations to come, including "where no man has gone before." Later that year, he left his new home on the Alpha Centauri colony for an unknown destination, and was later presumed dead.

When the Enterprise NX-01 discovered a mysterious small craft adrift in space with one dead occupant, Captain Jonathan Archer wondered if it could be the long-lost Cochrane.

In 2267, Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, and Dr. Leonard McCoy of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701 were ferrying the terminally-ill Federation commissioner Nancy Hedford aboard the shuttlecraft Galileo when they were mysteriously brought down on an asteroid in the Gamma Canaris region. There, they discovered Cochrane alive and living with a cloud-like entity called the Companion (External Link), which had kept him young and alive over the past 150 years. The Companion later entered the body of Hedford, and she and Cochrane began a new life on the asteroid, now with a typical Human life span. Cochrane had Kirk promise never to reveal the events surrounding their encounter.

Personal life and legacy

One of Cochrane's good friends was Lily Sloane, whom he knew since the Third World War. She nicknamed him "Z". Among Cochrane's favorite songs included "Ooby Dooby" by Roy Orbison, and "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf. His favorite food was cheese pierogi.

At the time of First Contact, Zefram Cochrane did not have a grand vision of ushering in a new era for mankind or of endowing Earth with the gift of warp technology. These qualities came to be commonly ascribed to him by later generations, but, as with many of history's icons, the man himself was more complex.

In fact, Cochrane had a cynical streak. He had an alcohol abuse problem, and his primary motivation for developing warp technology was financial gain in the devastated, poverty-stricken America that existed in the wake of the Third World War. When confronted with worshipful Enterprise crew members, Cochrane claimed that he was interested in nothing more than a simple life filled with money, rock and roll, and naked women. He actually had an intense dislike for air and space travel and preferred taking trains.

When the crew of the Enterprise-E confronted him in 2063 with his future image as herald of a better world, Cochrane refused to accept this new role. After Geordi La Forge told him about the statue of Cochrane which would be built in Bozeman, Cochrane initially attempted to literally flee from his destiny. In time, Cochrane came to understand the magnitude of his accomplishment and the necessity that he become a better leader – and of the hope for a better future that First Contact with the Vulcans provided. In 2073, he is recorded as proclaiming, "Don't try to be a great man; just be a man, and let history make its own judgments."

In 2152 Cochrane still had surviving family.

The "cochrane," a unit of measure of subspace distortion, was named after Zefram Cochrane. Planets, great universities, cities, and the USS Cochrane were also named in his honor, as was the shuttlecraft Cochrane on the USS Voyager.