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The Trek Nation - 'The Court Martial Of Captain Janeway' Mailbag

'The Court Martial Of Captain Janeway' Mailbag

By Caillan Davenport
Posted at April 13, 2001 - 6:12 PM GMT

The final votes in the Court Martial of Captain Janeway have been tallied, and the voice of Trek Nation readers couldn't be clearer: Captain Kathryn Janeway has been declared "Not Guilty" of all charges brought forward by the prosecution. Certainly it's clear that although Janeway has had to make the tough choices during her captaincy in the Delta Quadrant, there has always been strong support for her actions. Let's hope the series manages to tie things up just as well as our four writers have done over the last month.

Below you'll not only find the final poll results, but also a collection of the best feedback mail received during the Court Martial feature, with responses by some of the participants.



In the Captain Janeway court-martial, should Janeway be found guilty or not guilty?
Not Guilty! 67.1% (855 Votes)
Guilty! 32.8% (419 Votes)

Total Votes: 1274


From: Brenda
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial - First Speaker for the Prosecution
Reply by: Ariel

Your logic is faulty and as such your whole argument falls flat on its face.

The Caretaker had already instituted a self-destruct sequence on the array, Voyagers fight with the Kazon was responsible for it's failure, something you fail to mention at all in your statement. Knowing this alone means that the Prime Directive would require Voyager undo the damage that their interference caused. The Kazon would never have crashed into the array and the self destruct would have done it's job if not for Voyager. As you pointed out the Prime Directive forbids interfering in the development of less developed cultures and allowing the Kazon access to the array because of their interference would have broken the PD.

In reply to the first part of this rebuttal: as you yourself point out, Voyager''s interference changed what would have happened between the Kazon and the Caretaker irrevocably. In addition, there is no way of knowing now if the Kazon would not have found a way to undo the Caretaker''s self-destruct mechanism without Voyager''s interference. It is clear from the logs that the Kazon were determined to have the Array. Voyager''s actions not only interfered in the natural development of the race--no matter what that might have been--but as subsequent logs show, actually was the instrument of introduction of more sophisticated technology than the Kazon had before Voyager and the Maquis interfered.

That aside, Voyager could not have used the array to return home even if they wanted to, something that seems to have been overlooked repeatedly by critics. Tuvok states categorically that it would take several hours to find out how to send them home and at the same time Voyagers bridge crew are informed that Kazon reinforcements are 15 minutes away. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Janeway had two choices, give it to the Kazon or blow it up and get the hell out of there. It took two ships with the sacrifice of one to hold off the Kazon that were already there, only a fool would think they stood a chance against the ones still on the way.

While you have a point that Voyager could not have used the Array in the time that they had before the Kazon reinforcements arrived, they could have left the fight and the Array behind for the moment, taken the time to study the Array's technology, and returned at an opportune moment to return home via the Array. Considering Voyager's level of technological expertise and the cleverness of her crew, there is every reason to believe that they could have easily taken a little time for repairs and planning, then returned, taking the Kazon unawares. This sort of strategy has been used to good effect many time in Starfleet history.

The bottom line is, Voyager's mission was to return home with the captive Maquis. Janeway and her crew could have found a way to do so had Janeway not made the precipitous choice of destroying the Array.

Even if the panel does not accept that Voyager's initial interactions with the Kazon did not constitute a direct violation of the Prime Directive, as the prosecution contends, subsequent actions by Janeway cannot be discounted. Janeway's career in the Delta Quadrant is one long litany of violations of one sort or another.


From: Stella Alpina
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial - First Speaker for the Prosecution
Reply by: Ariel

I must say that I have enjoyed reading the Court Martial of Captain Janeway. The organized and professional manner that it is written in is refreshing and enjoyable. I did notice a mistake however. In the first article, the prosecution states "2 miles below the surface". This should be approximately 3km as the Federation is metric and this is an official document.

The prosecution agrees that the use of miles rather than kilometers is inconsistent with Starfleet's method of measuring distance. However, the captain's logs specifically used the word "miles." As an official document, the prosecution felt it was important to stick to the exact wording of all official logs.


From: Trek Freak
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial

Due to extenuating circumstances beyond her or her crews control, the first being that they were stranded 70,000 light years away from any know Federation supply depot, the second being that they couldn't just stop at the nearest 7/11 and stock up on photon torpedoes and deuterium. Captain Katherine Janeway should be acquitted of all charges, given a promotion and her choice of command and crew. She has shown herself to be an exemplary member of Starfleet, working under some of the most difficult stresses few captains have ever faced. She has also proven her loyalty to the Federation by bringing her crew home safely when she knew there was a chance of her being court martialed. She has also denied herself of a loving relationship because of some unwritten Starfleet rule about Captains not having relationships with members of his/her crew.


From: Ian Van Audenhaege
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial - Second Speaker for the Prosecution

There are a few occasions where I think that Janeway was negligent or reckless in her duty as a Starfleet officer and Captain.

Charge IX: Attempted Murder Specification I: On or around Stardate 53020, Captain Janeway attempted to murder Crewman Noah Lessing of the Starship Equinox.

She had no right to do this and it seems as if she was acting out a personal vendetta against the crew of the Equinox because she did not agreed with the method they chose to get home.

Specification VI: On or around Stardate 53320, Captain Janeway did nothing to prevent the subspace catapult and its component Starfleet technology from falling into the wrong hands after leaving it behind.

She could have blown it up on a timer. That was just plain negligence. And surprising, since she destroyed the first array??!!

Specification V: On or around Stardate 53270, Captain Janeway negotiated with members of a paranoid and xenophobic race called the Kesat, offering them tactical data on neighbouring races in exchange for information needed to treat Commander Tuvok.

Extremely surprising. One can only hope that she had no intention of following through on the agreement. It makes no sense to do such a thing. Endangering many RACES for one person!!??

Other than that, her performance has been acceptable considering the circumstances. She should be commended on many counts for getting the crew through so many difficulties and life-threatening situations. However, due to the seriousness of the three above charges, she should be locked into the rank of Captain without possibility of promotion. More serious repercussions are only superceded by her exemplary record.


From: Scorpius
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial
Reply by: Lisa

Captain Janeway should definitely be held accountable for most if not all of the charges on the list. I believe you also neglected to mention Janeway's role in smuggling telepaths to safety in the episode "Counterpoint." When questioned by the alien in command I believe her direct response was, "Well since the commanding admirals are so close I just go with my gut instinct and let it be settled at the review board." WHAT! So Janeway can not be held accountable for her actions but her crew can? Witness Tom Paris' punishment in the previous episode "Thirty Days." Janeway has a history of ignoring regulations whenever it suits her. I personally think that if Chakotay wants to relieve her he would be in his rights to do so. Janeway is a hypocritical commander. In her sermon to Captain Ransom, Janeway states she has never violated the Prime Directive or any other regulations. She is not a very good captain and clearly the weakest of all four major captains from the previous series. Thank you for listening to my rants but I've really wanted to vent for awhile and most people around me seem to love the show.

Has it ever occurred to you that they might be on to something?


From: Captain Forrest
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial
Reply by: Lisa

Here is my verdict. INNOCENT Kathryn Janeway did what she had to do to get her crew to safety. Yes, she bent a FEW rules but nothing totally serious. She made command decisions that come about in space and in her circumstances had to be able make decisions. She lived with her decisions and look at her ship. Great condition. Kathryn Janeway had shown leadership and integrity. I applaud her efforts.


From: Moyra Jade Terrell
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial
Reply by: Lisa

I do not believe that she should be found guilty. The extenuating circumstances of all these incidents were not discussed. While the blunt and bald facts lead to incrimination, if the issue is explored further than it will be discovered that in almost all these cases Janeway had perfect right to do what she did in her present circumstances and predicaments. Perhaps the only accusation that is justified is the Equinox incident. Janeway was blinded by her passion and anger at the injustice that Captain Ransom was committing. Further exploration of issues is required. Raises some interesting debates for Voyager fans.

Where were you people when I was compiling my defence teams? ;) I hope I managed to do some kind of justice to your feelings. Thank you!


From: Ann & Dave Margosian
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial

Actually, while Janeway is indeed the most criminally incompetent excuse for a Captain in Starfleet history, I tend to see her as a victim of writers too uptight over "how to write a female Captain" that they never bothered to create an actual character. Janeway is a cardboard cutout labelled "First Female Captain on a Star Trek Series" with nothing else of interest.


From: Christie
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial - Second Speaker for the Prosecution
Reply by: Lisa

Janeway is definitely guilty of violating the Prime Directive among other things. There is no doubt in my mind. The Cynic accurately documented all the revelant cases that prove this point.

He's correct, and I would be a fool to attempt to cast doubt on evidence accurately described in Voyager's logs. However, the interpretation my learned friend casts upon many of the actions he described were incorrect and misleading. Only when one is in full knowledge of the circumstances Voyager faced and the motivations behind Janeway's actions, can true understanding of the events he described be gained. We owe it the Janeway, and the 150 people she brought safely back to earth, to compile a true and accurate picture of the events that took place.


From: Daniel Margrave
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial
Reply by: Lisa

After having read the arguments of all concerned, I believe that Captain Kathryn Janeway's actions were fully justifiable given the situation. Her actions clearly show a balance between getting her crew home safely and maintaining those principals to which she swore an oath. While some of her actions may be questionable, she did her best given the circumstances.

Kathryn Janeway is a legend amongst such legends as James Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, and Benjamin Sisko. There were times that each of those captains had to make decisions that may have seemed questionable, but were made to benefit the crew or the Federation itself. If we are to court martial Kathryn Janeway for her actions in the Delta Quadrant, then Benjamin Sisko should have been court martialed for beginning a war that killed millions. James Kirk should have been court martialed for interfering with pre-warp civilizations and for interspecies mating.

Alone, isolated, unable to make contact with her superiors, Janeway ran as tight a ship as she could. There were occasions when it might not have seemed like it, but she did. And when necessary, her crew, especially Commander Chakotay, questioned her actions, but not one abandoned her or he principals. The Maquis "criminals" adjusted and adapted to life on Voyager. They even upheld the principals of the Federation, when they might not have agreed with them. This speaks volumes for the kind of respect that Kathryn Janeway inspired in her crew.

Let us end this debate and honour her and Voyager crew for the heroes and legends they are.

I'm glad someone around here has an iota of common sense ;) I couldn't agree more. The same rules that apply to a Captain in the Alpha Quadrant investigating a routine anomaly cannot apply to Janeway's unique situation. The fact of the matter is, she got her crew home. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to the celebration party.


From: Désirée Davis
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial

I believe Janeway is guilty for the one charge she was incomprehensibly not accused of- murder in the first degree. Captain Janeway, wilfully and with full knowledge of her actions planned and committed the murder of a member of her crew, a crewman named Tuvix. Tuvix was clearly a sentient being, with a will of his own and expressed a desire not to die. He was not clinically insane, nor was he under alien influence. Despite this, Janeway made the willful choice to murder him in order to save 2 other crew members who would otherwise have been considered dead. However, Janeway did not have he right to sacrifice 1 man for the benefit of 2 others. If she did, this would create a dangerous precedent where a captain could choose to kill some members of her crew for the benefit of others, thus diminishing the value of all life. Please note, this was not a case of a Captain ordering a crewman to sacrifice himself in order for the crew to survive. The ship and crew were in no immediate danger. This was a case where the Captain decided she preferred having a particular crewman alive rather than another.

Regardless of the reasoning behind her action, and the benefit to Lt. Tuvok and Neelix, the crime of murder does not become justified by such Machiavellian means. Murder does not cease to be a crime because a benefit can be derived from it. The fact is, Capt.Janeway murdered Tuvix. All else is an attempt to justify this action based on the benefit derived. This is not an acceptable defence of murder. If it were, the murder of the elderly who are no longer able to care for themselves would be justified on the basis that their death provides more resources for those who remain. The murder of half the crew would be justified because it would provide more replicator rations to those who remain. This is clearly an unacceptable defence of murder.

The only acceptable defences would be: one of self defence; a situation whereby the victim was harming or attempting to harm a member of the crew; or attempting to steal, vandalize or otherwise disable the ship; or during a state of war in which the victim had declared an allegiance to the opposing side and was killed during battle.

There was no state of war, so that is irrelevant. Tuvix had proven himself to be a valuable crew member and was clearly not trying to cause any damage to the ship itself. Tuvix was presenting no immediate threat to Janeway nor did she have any reason to believe he was a threat to her. That leaves only one defence, that of protecting her crew from harm. Tuvix, through his own willful or accidental actions, was not the cause, be it direct or indirect, of the loss of Lt. Tuvok and Neelix. Tuvix took no action against them nor was his negligence the cause of any harm to them. Tuvix was not guilty of any crime against Tuvok and Neelix. Even if he were, he was not a threat and could easily have been taken into custody and tried for any alleged offences. As it was, he was not even charged with a crime, but was given a death sentence none-the-less.

Captain Janeway chose to commit murder, to carry out an unjustified, illegal execution, in order to obtain benefits for herselfand her crew and for this she deserves to be court-martialed.


From: Opha Clyde
To:
Subject: Janeway Court Martial
Reply by: Caillan Davenport

Either you have the bullets reversed from your poll to your graph, or you are reporting the latest vote incorrectly in regard to the court-martial of Capt. Janeway. You have it reported as being 2 to 1 in favor of NOT GUILTY, and I read your graph as being 2 to 1 in favor of GUILTY. Are your polls being managed by the Florida Election Committee?

When you vote, the poll options are listed in the order Christian put them in. However, when the results are displayed, the most popular option is placed first. Hence, the reason why there appears to be a switch. I can assure you that no recount is needed.


To read the original 'Court Martial' feature, please follow this link.

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Caillan Davenport is moderator of the Trek BBS Science Fiction and Fantasy forum and is editor of the J-Team newsletter. His 'A Briefing With Caillan' column is published regularly here at the Trek Nation.