*** (3 stars out of 5)
How do I never remember that Trip is short for "Triple"... as in the third Charles Tucker?
This and other astounding secrets are revealed in a flashback story from 2143. Ten years ago, Jon Archer was the second man to break the Warp 2 barrier. The first was his frenemy A.G. Robinson.
(The Reggie to his Archie, where Trip equals Jughead.)
Jon and A.G. and the rest of the NX space program are men. Manly men. Rough and tumble, hard drinking, hard farting men. Men who watch sports in bars and express their feelings with punching and are exclusively pink-skinned and did I mention they all have penises?
Anyway, they do. Commodore Forrest came along to shout "Pyle!!!" whenever his troupe of chortling man-boys screw up and send him more paperwork, speeding tickets, and disapproving Vulcan glowers.
Thief, cowboy, duelist, kung fu master, and pretty baby, A.G. blasted his red-white-and-blue behind across subspace from Earth to Jupiter and then back again (somehow just as quickly?) without the expensive prototype he rode hard until it exploded a lot. That's one amazing warp-speed capable escape pod never seen before or since! Hot diggety daffodil!
But the rocket jockey will not live to miss the Earth so much or miss his wife. It may be lonely out in space but he won't have to worry about that. Someone else will need to take NX-02 out and do some donuts on the Vulcan's lawns or smash Klingon mailboxes and junk. It all goes to show... something. The Right Stuff, I guess.
"First Flight" is linked thematically and by the time of its release with the real-world deaths of the crew of shuttle Columbia, and the death of Matt Jefferies. Mr. Jefferies was production crew on the original Star Trek, which named its maintenance shafts "Jefferies Tubes" for him. Most significantly, he designed the starships and phasers of the 2260's and of particular note: the classic starship Enterprise.