- For other uses, see Cortez.
In 2254 the Cortez, under command of Captain John Stone, was surveying the system containing the planetoid Darien 224 when it came across a lost Vulcan colony, founded before the logic of Vulcan philosopher Surak had gained widespread acceptance on his planet. On this planet, the Last-of-all-Cities colony had fractured into two rival factions, both of which vied for absolute control.
Stone took one of the Cortez's shuttles, the Apollo down to the planetoid to make contact with the Vulcan colony. One of the factions attacked the shuttle and the Cortez fell victim to the internal politics of the colony and was boarded and taken in battle by the faction led by the Vulcan, Tagok. The crew was butchered and the ship retrofitted with a powerful pre-Reformation Vulcan psionic weapons, the tol par-doj.
Eight weeks later, the Constitution-class starship USS Enterprise, under Captain Christopher Pike, was sent to investigate the disappearance of the Cortez, whilst a landing party found the Cortez's shuttle on the planetoid. Meanwhile, the Cortez, under the command of Tagok, attacked the Enterprise. Tagok used the toj par-doj to inflict massive damage on the Enterprise and then had his people board the ship. The Enterprise crew were successful in repelling the boarding parties and the Vulcans eventually retreated to the Cortez which the Enterprise temporarily disabled with a well fired photon torpedo volley.
On Darien 224, the opposing faction hatched a plan and had Captain Pike take his shuttlecraft back to the Enterprise to act as bait luring the Cortez into the sights of a planetary psionic weapon, the vorl-tak. As the Cortez was drawn into another battle with the Enterprise, the vorl-tak was fired obliterating the Cortez in a single shot. (EV comic: "Cloak and Dagger")
- Likely named after Hernán Cortés, conquistador who conquered Mexico for Spain.