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The historic flight of the Phoenix took place on April 5th, 2063. On that day, the Vulcan survey ship T'Plana-Hath was passing through the Sol System when it discovered a Terran warp signature. Following procedure, its captain Solkar had the T'Plana-Hath proceed to Earth to investigate the warp signature, and landed at the settlement in Bozeman, Montana from where the Phoenix had launched. Solkar was the first to exit the T'Plana-Hath and met creator Cochrane.
After Solkar gave the traditional Vulcan salute, Cochrane pulled out a shotgun and killed him. He then rallied the rest of the townspeople to board the vessel, appropriate any item of value and kill the rest of the crew. This action resulted in the early expansion of the Terran Empire, allowing Terrans to drastically increase their technological capability and begin a campaign of warfare and conquest. (ENT episode: "In a Mirror, Darkly")