...And the novel backstory and class identity is a fairly nice fit overall. Sure, the sphere-and-can ship typically depicted is on the small side. But the spherical hull has a lot of volume to offer, and might well accommodate 220 people, if we compare to things like an Oberth
canonically accommodating 80.
It's fun how the completely unrelated Daedalus
stories from Dave Stern, MJ Friedman and the writers of the Romulan War series actually mesh together fairly well. An old rust bucket serving in the pre-Archer, pre-exploration Starfleet, hauling MACOs around as in the early ENT novels, is a fairly rational idea for a cheap mass-produced warship in the Romulan War, in the ENT novels of that era, and would indeed warrant major brainstorming as depicted by Friedman in order to become a credible postwar explorer. A humble beginning as an engine testbed that failed in competition with Henry Archer (and rather disastrously so) is as good as any.
What sort of asshole calls itself United Earth to the point of excluding the ununited parts of Earth from it's collection of Nation States?
I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised if something like this happened for real...
What "uniform/arm-patch" was Archer wearing in First Flight?
Looks like standard UESF fare. Here's the armpatch plus the mission patch for the test flights:
Like Memory Alpha sez, it seems likely that UESF as shown in ENT was founded after Archer's birth ("Horizon" mention of young Archer being unable to join SF because it didn't exist yet) but before 2136 ("Twilight" mention of Starfleet widows when Archer was 24). Other sorts of "Starfleet" might have existed prior to the UE one, of course, but perhaps by different name, because both of those references are to a generic Starfleet. Had there existed a United States Starfleet in the early 22nd century, young Archer should have been able to join that one and get what he wanted...