The Commodore Perry was a starship built by the United States, the first in a line of starships to use faster than light propulsion that also included the Tom Edison. The Commodore Perry was launched in 2031 and made the ten-light-year journey to Home in five and a half weeks. It was greeted with much alarm by the Race, whose physicists had been convinced that faster-than-light travel was impossible. The ship was captained by Lieutenant General Chesneau. Major Nicole Nichols served as liaisons with the members of the Race on Home.

The Commodore Perry was named for Commodore Matthew Perry. Perry's mission to Japan was closely paralleled by the Commodore Perry's own mission to Home. Members of the Race who knew enough of human history to understand this parallel felt both indignation and a great deal of unease.

The ship had two propulsion systems, one for FTL travel and one for sublight speeds. The former seemed to manipulate superstrings so that two points in space that were normally very far apart would momentarily touch, allowing for instantaneous travel between them. In some individuals, both humans and members of the Race, the jump produced a momentary feeling of disorientation that was described as being "like vertigo having vertigo."

However, such points had to be outside the gravity wells of stars and other large celestial objects For the Perry's initial journey from Sol to Tau Ceti, it was necessary to move to the outermost edges of the solar system, then jump to an analogous point in the Tau Ceti system before approaching Home. This accounted for the several weeks' travel time the journey required.

The Perry's sub-light propulsion used fusion-powered constant acceleration rockets similar to, but possibly better than, those that the Race used. The ship was capable of one tenth g acceleration for an unknown period of time.

Some of the ship's non-essential systems had an unfinished appearance, as construction had been rushed in the hope of the Commodore Perry reaching Home before the Admiral Peary arrived. This hope was not realized, and the Perry found the older starship already operating in Home orbit.