Caption: Jonathan Archer
Caption: Archer, en route to the NX-01
Caption: Archer's equivalent in the Mirror Universe
Caption: Archer contemplates
STARFLEET PERSONNEL FILE: Archer, Jonathan
Assignment: Commanding officer, Enterprise NX-01
Full Name: Jonathan Archer
Birthplace: Upstate New York, North America, Earth
Parents: Mr. & Mrs. Henry Archer
Marital status: Single
Office: Enterprise NX-01, A-Deck Ready Room adjoining Bridge
Psychological Profile: Report of Starfleet Medical/Counselor's Office
Charming, bold, a born explorer. Archer is guided by a core of human decency and intuition, even when they contravene direct orders. He is independent, yet has a strong sense of duty. Archer holds a grudge against the Vulcans, whom he blames for keeping humanity stuck on Earth, but must learn to cope with a Vulcan science officer. As captain of a starship his father helped build, Archer is eager to make history and see what's out there.
Jonathan Archer grew up dreaming of the day when he would get to go "where no man has gone before." His father was the renowned Henry Archer, who led the development of the Warp Five engine in the footsteps of warp pioneer Zefram Cochrane. So it is fitting that Jonathan would carry on the family legacy by commanding the first starship powered by that engine, the Enterprise NX-01.
Possessing an insatiable sense of adventure and wonder, Captain Archer is guided by a core of human decency and intuition. He is fiercely independent, while at the same time strongly committed to duty. All these qualities made him Starfleet's choice to lead humanity's first mission into the deeper reaches of space and represent Earth in the wider galactic community.
Like many children of his generation, young Jonny Archer had big dreams and big aspirations which set the stage for his future. He had Dr. Cochrane's famous inspirational speech at the dedication of the Warp Five Complex memorized to the letter. At age eight, his father gave him his first astronomy book, "The Cosmos: A to Z" by Laura Danly. (The boy promptly marked it "From the Library of Admiral Jonny Archer.") He would stare at the pictures in the book for hours, hoping he would someday see those celestial objects in person. By age nine he was actively building models of the low-warp spaceships of the time. Using an anti-grav unit his father provided, Jonny constructed a flying toy ship and got his first taste of what it's like to be in command. It was during times like these that Jonny learned from his father some of the principles that would stay with him throughout his life: Keep things straight and steady ... finish what you start ... embrace trust not fear ...
Alas, Henry Archer would not live long enough to see through the completion of his life's work. Still, Archer has always been at the forefront of the engine's development. He was part of the NX-Test Program circa 2143, trying to break the warp two barrier. Commander Archer vied with several other officers — Gardner, Duvall and A.G. Robinson — for the first flight. Ultimately, Commodore Forrest, who was overseeing the project, chose Robinson. At the time, Robinson noted that Archer was too by-the-book in his methods — he had the makings of a great pilot, but not a great captain. When the first flight did not go as planned, Starfleet's Vulcan advisors nearly shut down the program. It was then that Archer decided to stop playing by the rules — with help from Robinson and Lieutenant Trip Tucker, Archer modified the engine and he and Robinson performed an unauthorized flight with one of the NX vessels, thereby proving that the engine worked and the program should continue. Archer also formed a life-long friendship with Tucker, who continues to be one of his closest confidants.
Even after this success, Archer still blamed the Vulcans for withholding knowledge and technology that could have accelerated progress on the Warp Five engine. He always had something of a grudge against Vulcans, and his father's death only deepened it. Thus his dealings with the green-blooded race have always been characterized by tension and petulance — almost a knee-jerk reaction on Archer's part. In fact, the animosity is mutual; many of the Vulcan delegation on Earth, such as Ambassador Soval, believe Archer is not suitable to be commanding Earth's first Warp-5 starship, preferring the far-less-impulsive Captain Gardner instead. But Starfleet has backed Captain Archer every step of the way. He especially has the full support of Forrest, now an admiral and Archer's direct superior. Forrest and his colleagues trust Archer to apply the best of human values and human judgment in his dealings with other species, however flawed those values and judgments may often be.
Respecting life over political considerations is one of those values which led Archer to launch his ship on its maiden voyage a few weeks ahead of schedule. Upon the famous "Broken Bow" incident which left a injured Klingon named Klaang in human hands, Archer learned the Vulcans intended to take it upon themselves to return the Klingon to his homeworld as a corpse — despite the fact that he was clinging to life — in the name of interstellar diplomacy. Appalled at their position, Archer convinced his superiors to let him launch early and take Klaang to Kronos under human supervision, since he had crashed-landed on their soil. Starfleet agreed, but to appease the Vulcans they also agreed to allow one of their officers to be temporarily posted on Enterprise as an observer, or "chaperone." Thus Archer was forced to contend with Sub-Commander T'Pol as his second-in-command, a particularly cynical and humorless representative of the Vulcan race. But as that mission to Kronos went awry due to interference by the nefarious Suliban Cabal, he came to learn that Vulcan individuals can be more complex and unpredictable than he realized. For when Archer was wounded on Rigel X and rendered unconscious for several hours, T'Pol assumed command and led the ship in pursuit of Klaang's captors, in anticipation of the captain's wishes.
That and other selfless acts by the Vulcan which were crucial to the mission's success led Archer to realize that many of his preconceptions about her race were not entirely justified. So for the benefit of his ship and its ongoing journey, he decided to leave behind his grudges and ask T'Pol to stay aboard as Science Officer. It is an arrangement that Archer has never regretted, but has always found challenging.
The question of whether to interfere or not in the dealings of others is always a precarious balancing act. At what point do you extend your own morality upon others, and when is it immoral NOT to? A number of times Archer has made choices which at the moment were consistent with his sense of right and wrong, only to endure consequences for them later. When he discovered that the Vulcans were lying about hiding a surveillance station underneath their monastery at P'Jem, he turned over the evidence to their militaristic rivals the Andorians. That led to an Andorian attack upon the ancient temple and the laying waste of its ancient relics; Archer got the blame and tensions were heightened between Vulcan and Earth. The incident did have a positive impact on human/Andorian relations, however. When the Vulcans and Andorians entered into another conflict, this time over a small planet, Andorian Commander Shran requested that Archer be brought in to mediate. With Archer's help, the two sides were able to negotiate and come to a peaceful resolution.
Indeed, this trust on the part of the Andorians shows that Archer is becoming more open-minded when it comes to encountering new species. His relationship with T'Pol has grown into one of mutual respect and trust. Archer provided key support to his science officer when she was sent on an emotionally troubling mission for the Vulcans; she, in turn, was there for him when his good friend and former rival A.G. Robinson died. Archer has also attempted to foster good relationships with all of his senior officers, often inviting them to breakfast in the Captain's Mess. He and Trip remain the best of friends, and enjoy watching water polo matches together. He also has a constant companion in his pet beagle Porthos, who he acquired from an ex-girlfriend's mother.
Archer continues to encounter problems from two of the first hostile forces he encountered in space — the Klingons and the Suliban. Despite the fact that Archer has come to the aid of the Klingon Empire before, he was once arrested for conspiring to dishonor former captain Duras. Though the charges were false, Archer was sentenced to life in the dilithium mines on the penal colony of Rura Penthe. Luckily, his crewmates came to his rescue, although he remains a fugitive of the Klingons. They even put a sizeable bounty on his head — Archer was kidnapped by a Tellarite looking to collect. He eventually managed to sway the Tellarite to his cause, and once again escaped. Duras, however, refused to give up, and pursued Archer once more, just as the captain was taking Enterprise into the Delphic Expanse. Through some clever maneuvering, Archer managed to avoid the Klingon's ship and eventually destroyed it.
As for the Suliban Cabal, they disrupted Enterprise's first mission by kidnapping Klaang, which led to a strangely personal face-off between the captain and Silik, a genetically enhanced Suliban warrior who knows Archer a little too well and considers him a personal nemesis. Silik is involved in something called the "Temporal Cold War," which came home to Enterprise when Archer learned that one of his own crewmen, a steward named Daniels, is actually an operative from the future fighting against the Cabal and the people they're taking orders from. Everything came to a head when the Suliban made it appear as though Enterprise had destroyed a Paraagan colony, an event that nearly put an end to the ship's mission. Archer was then somehow transported to the 31st century, altering the timeline. With Daniels' help, Archer managed to return to his own time and present evidence that the Suliban were behind the Paraagan tragedy. Although the Vulcans wanted to recall Enterprise (considering the crew's somewhat shaky first year), T'Pol made a convincing argument to allow them to continue, once again demonstrating her allegiance to Archer.
Perhaps Archer's greatest challenge is his newest mission, which is set to take Enterprise into the vast unknown. After a mysterious race known as the Xindi attacked Earth, cutting a devastating swath from Florida to Venezuela, Archer and his crew were ordered home. Along the way, the captain was kidnapped by Silik, who brought him before the mysterious humanoid figure that controls the Suliban Cabal. The figure gave Archer information about the attack, telling him that the Xindi had received information that Earth would one day destroy their homeworld. According to the mysterious figure, they are currently at work on a much larger weapon. Armed with this information, Archer asks Starfleet for a new mission: Enterprise must venture to the perilous Delphic Expanse, where the Xindi are located.
As Archer prepares to face this dangerous new foe, he can at least take comfort in his crew, which has proved to be one of the most loyal in the galaxy. Archer is clearly becoming the prototype for every Starfleet captain to come, perhaps for centuries. As he goes boldly into the unknown, making history with every light-year, Jonathan will never forget what his father used to tell him while they were flying model spaceships on the beach: "You can't be afraid of the wind. Learn to trust it."