Star Trek Magazine #30 is on newsstands now and the latest issue will be of interest to those who enjoy the “bad boys” of the Star Trek Universe. When it comes to Starfleet “bad boys,” “do the means justify the ends?”
“The successful operation of Starfleet depends on a strict adherence to rules and regulations, an understanding of and compliance to command structure and the obedience of orders from superior officers. Except, of course, when it doesn’t.” A preview of this lead article compares two successful and popular Star Trek captains, James T. Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard.
“Several of Starfleet’s finest, even legendary, figures have been known to disregard rules from time to time. James Kirk certainly falls into this category, with a longtime reputation for flouting authority and taking bold, even aggressive action at the slightest provocation, regardless of the consequences. However, a careful examination of his career shows that even when Kirk disregards Starfleet’s highest law, the Prime Directive, it’s never for aggrandizement. Be it rescuing a stagnant civilization caught in the grips of oppressive rule (The Return of the Archons, A Taste of Armageddon, A Piece of the Action, Bread and Circuses, or The Apple), or acting to thwart an enemy’s attempts to undermine a budding society (Friday’s Child or A Private Little War), Kirk always acts for what he believes to be a greater good. In the eyes of some, this makes him an amoral rebel, whereas others see him simply as ‘unconventional.’
“In contrast, Jean-Luc Picard often is regarded as one who always follows the rules, or at the very least is more thoughtful and restrained with respect to stepping outside the parameters of protocol and duty. Of course, as a younger man, Picard was more carefree, most notably by eschewing tradition and leaving the family home and vineyard for a career in Starfleet. It wasn’t until the Academy’s venerable groundskeeper, Boothby, took the young cadet into his stewardship that Picard truly started down the path to maturity. Even then, overconfidence and even recklessness came to the fore on occasion, such as him being unafraid to charge outnumbered into a fight with Nausicaans (Tapestry), an action which ended with him stabbed through the heart and requiring an artificial replacement. That event is viewed by many – including Picard himself – as a turning point in his life, after which he developed a more introspective nature.
“Picard’s later reputation for deliberate judgment and action often serve him well, especially during occasions where he finds himself forced to set aside the rules to accomplish his mission and protect his ship and crew. Showing the primitive Edo that the aliens they worship aren’t gods (Justice), helping someone in distress in defiance of non-interference directives (Pen Pals, Homeward), or defying Starfleet and even the Federation itself in defense of the seemingly helpless Ba’ku (Star Trek: Insurrection) Picard demonstrates a willingness to defy the letter of the law in order to uphold its spirit. While certainly not as impulsive or cocky as Jim Kirk might’ve been in similar situations, Picard still comes across – on occasion – as a bit of a rogue when required by circumstances.”
To read more of this article as well as other features in Star Trek Magazine #30, pick up the latest issue on the newsstand, or subscribe to either the print version or a digital version of the magazine which can be found by heading to the following links: To subscribe to Star Trek Magazine, go here. Star Trek Magazine is available digitally for the PC, Mac or IPad.