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June 19 2024


An archive of Star Trek News

The Court Martial of Captain Kathryn Janeway Part 4

By Lisa
Posted at March 30, 2001 - 1:33 PM GMT

From: A. H. Tower
To: C. D. Port
Sent: 17:12 Friday
Subject: Court Transcript

Managed to track down a full copy of the defence summantion during the Janeway trial for your book. You were right - they cut the classified info again - it's more doubletalk on 'Omega', whatever the hell that is. I've got a couple of people looking into it now - we could be onto something here.

I'll let you know what I find. In the mean time, the deleted section starts at timestamp 14:17:47.


TIME INDEX: 14:10:32

In the Delta Quadrant, no one can hear you scream.

Melodramatic perhaps, but an interesting point. Captain Janeway and the USS Voyager were pulled 75, 000 light years away from Federation space. Even with subspace communications, it would have taken decades before we were even aware of their distress signal.

I ask you to remember then, my friends, aliens, the undecided and Admirals, that Captain Janeway was completely and utterly alone. The damage caused by the Caretaker's Array left the ship damaged and killed trusted members of her crew. She did not have the luxury that every other Federation Captain takes for granted of being minutes away from a sympathetic Federation Admiral and a wealthy supply outpost. Voyager was one ship alone becalmed in the vastness of space. And despite all the hazards and shortcomings they faced, Captain Janeway fulfilled her primary mission. She got her crew home.

While we cannot debate the facts of the charges against Captain Janeway as presented by The Honourable Commander Iccny, we do have some qualms with his interpretation of the "facts" he chose to present. We of the Defence also suggests he might like to reacquaint himself with some of the intricacies of Federation law.

Captain Janeway is charged with Disobeying Starfleet Orders. This charge claims that Captain Janeway, on no less than two occasions, disobeyed the standing orders of Admiral Nechayev to "seek out opportunities to destroy the Borg collective evasively."

However, this charge ignores a significant clause of the Starfleet General Orders. General Order 17 tells Captains that "Starfleet vessel captains are to consider the lives of their crew members as sacred." On both of these occasions, members of the Voyager crew were also endangered by the unwise tactics of the alien races efforts to undermine the collective.

On stardate 46982, Seven of Nine contracted the Borg equivalent of "Multiple Personality Syndrome." She and Voyager's staff concluded that this was caused by a piece of malfunctioning Borg technology. After concluding that there was no other way to disable it before they were intercepted by the Borg, they beamed this "Vinculum" aboard Voyager in order to sever its link with Seven of Nine.

Upon discovering that the technology had been manipulated by Species 6339 as a means of infecting the collective with a virus, Captain Janeway at once offered to return the artifact. Unfortunately, Species 6339 were rather impatient, and began to fire on Voyager before they had been able to help Seven of Nine. Thanks to the skilled efforts of Voyager's chief engineer and her Captain's orders, the crew succeeded in taking the Vinculum offline long enough to sever its link with Seven of Nine. Captain Janeway ordered that it be beamed into space, and the aliens abandoned their attack to retrieve it. Had Voyager kept the artifact, in order to use it for their own intentions to destroy the Borg, it is certain that Seven of Nine would have perished under its influence. It is also highly probable that Voyager would have been destroyed by Species 6338 in their efforts to retrieve it. Beaming it back into space was the only way that Janeway could ensure the safety of her crew. Please note that she did not intentionally seek to subvert the efforts of species 6339 to destroy the Borg, only to protect her own crew members. Her actions in this instance were commendable.

My learned friend Commander Iccny also alleges that Captain Janeway is also guilty of a gross violation of the Prime Directive. On stardate 51900 he claims that she allowed a pre-sentient life form to sample the DNA of Voyager's crew. Again, he fails to take into account the rather dire extenuating circumstances of Voyager's predicament at this time.

Voyager was forced to land on a planet due to an acute shortage of deuterium. While scans indicated that the planet did indeed have stocks of the urgently needed materials, they also indicated that the planetoid was Demon Class -- that is Class Y; a toxic atmosphere filled with thermionic radiation and surface temperatures in excess of 500 Kelvins. However Voyager's crew could not afford the luxury of waiting until they happened across the next Starfleet outpost to resupply.

After a failed transportation effort, the Captain concluded that deuterium would need to be collected manually. Unfortunately conditions on the planet proved to be too intense even for Starfleet Survival suits, and Lieutenant Tom Paris and Ensign Harry Kim became unconscious during their efforts to collect material. Unknown to them and to Voyager's crew, a hitherto unknown life form sampled their DNA and assumed their forms and identities. When Voyager attempted to leave the planet, the unknown life form began to take aggressive measures to keep them there. Had Janeway not proposed a compromise to their demands to allow the life form to copy Voyager's crew so it could assume their forms and identities, they certainly would have been killed. Instead she ensured the safety of her crew by allowing the life form to copy their DNA. Though in the opinion of this humble individual, it was not much of a choice at all. "Be killed and be copied or let us copy you and go on your way." Certainly, the incident was regrettable, but clearly not preventable by the captain of Voyager. Given these circumstances, she did all she was able to ensure the safety of her crew. Other Captains have been commended for less.

Commander Iccny is rather damning in his assertion that Captain Janeway is guilty of gross dereliction of her duty as a Starfleet Captain. Some of his charges are rather stretched; for example, he claims that on Stardate 53170 Janeway began to revive a species called the Vaadwaur from suspended animation. Further background checks on this species revealed them to be a violent predatory race, and Janeway is responsible for re introducing them to the delta quadrant. However, the testimony of Neelix, the Talaxian "morale officer" aboard Voyager reveals that it was the former Borg Seven of Nine, later known as Annika Hansen, who went ahead and began to revive the species without waiting for authorisation from her captain. Janeway immediately reprimanded her crewman, who accepted responsibility for reviving the Vaadwaur when interviewed later. Neelix also states that Seven of Nine was duly punished for her lapse in judgement, by being made to go on a "cultural" away mission with commander Chakotay. Several former Voyager crew members present at the time of the interview seemed adamant that this was indeed, a fate worse than being made to clean the plasma manifolds with a toothbrush, but the smirk present on Lt Paris' face at the time may lead some to question whether a more severe punishment was necessary. Lt Paris is insistent, however, that anyone who has been in a shuttle with Commander Chakotay will know exactly what he means.

Iccny also claims that on Stardate 53320 Janeway used Starfleet technology and expertise to build a "subspace catapult" which was then used to transport Voyager several thousand light years. Though Iccny claims Janeway should have taken steps to ensure the technology did not fall into alien hands, Voyager's logs indicate that the catapult was constructed in its entirety when Voyager discovered it. The processes that enabled the technology to be controlled were on board Voyager, and could only be controlled remotely by her Chief Engineer. Firstly: the technology did not belong to Voyager or the Federation to destroy after it had been used, and secondly, it could not be of use to anyone but Voyager. The alien who built the device had been unable to work it successfully, so it is reasonable to assume that any other race who discovered it could not operate it either. Voyager's logs do not indicate a detailed analysis of the device, so we are not aware of any steps its creator took to ensure his device was not discovered by others. The key word here is that only Voyager was able to operate the device remotely. Therefore Janeway left nothing useable behind and the claim that she neglected her duty as a Federation Captain is not true.

On stardate 53850 Janeway discovered that the database from the Delta Flyer had been downloaded by a group of clever con artists. The Prosecution claims that Janeway was negligent in her duties, by not making full and proper attempts to discover if sensitive information had been passed on to other outside parties. What Commander Iccny seems to have been forgotten, however, is that all sensitive data on board a starship is encrypted with advanced Starfleet Encryption codes. Unless of course, the prosecution deem that Neelix's recipe for Leola Root Stew is sensitive material? It is highly unlikely that any outside party would have been able to access harmful data. If the thieves did manage to crack the encryption codes, perhaps we should put our Federation data encryptionists on trial for dereliction of duty?

It is claimed that on Stardate 54600 Janeway and crew abandoned ship, leaving only an untested Emergency Command Hologram to safeguard the ship. Actually, Janeway and the crew were forced to abandon ship due to dangerous levels of radiation. Voyager's EMH had been the ship's active doctor since Voyager's arrival in the Delta Quadrant, when the original doctor was killed. There is considerable documented evidence that he proved his worth as a crew member on countless occasions, both on away missions and aboard the ship; once managing to rescue the ship from the Kazon, with the help of Lieutenant Paris and Crewman Suder. He had previously been left in control of Voyager three years prior to this incident, when again, dangerous levels of radiation had forced the crew into stasis chambers while the ship navigated a hazardous area of space. Here Captain Janeway asked him to control the ship until he was able to rendezvous with the crew in a few days. Though an alien plot to capture the Voyager crew prevented her orders being carried out, the ECH demonstrated that he was worthy of the trust placed in him by his captain by keeping Voyager out of alien hands and in a condition where it was able to rescue the crew. Leaving a proven member of the crew in control of the ship while the Captain protected the lives of her crew does not constitute a dereliction of duty.

Concern for all life and the well being of others is reflected throughout the official logs of Voyager. What Commander Iccny alleges was "dereliction of duty" was, in many cases, quite the opposite. On Stardate 53790, he claims that a malfunction in the holodeck programming led several holodeck characters to capture two of Voyager's senior officers. Iccny says that a simple holodeck shutdown would have solved this little problem.

Such an action however, would have been contrary to the "Federation's Principles with Regard to Sentient Life." There are many record of artificial life forms achieving sentience when activated for a prolonged period of time, perhaps most notably in the case of Commander Data of the Enterprise, and Voyager's own holographic doctor. The holodeck program in question was considerately sophisticated, enhanced with technology and expertise Voyager had gained during her long journey through alien space. It had been left running for an extended period of time while Voyager endured a cosmic storm in order to provide a distraction and entertainment for the crew while no alternative was readily available. I am sure, of course, that all those present will be aware of Starfleet's General Order 31, which says: "The conditions and specifications of the Prime Directive shall henceforth apply to all sentient life forms discovered, whether they are of natural or artificial origin."

To willfully destroy the holodeck characters created in this unique situation when alternatives remained unexplored would have displayed the highest disregard for the principles of the Federation. Voyager's logs indicate that the Captain herself intervened in order to rescue her senior staff, competently, and without damage to her ship and crew, her own principles, or those of the Federation.

Another preposterous claim made by the prosecution is that Captain Janeway is guilty of abusing sentient rights. On Stardate 53420 Starfleet technology was used to repair a telepathic beacon. By repairing the malfunctioning technology Captain Janeway ensured that no passing ships would suffer no effects from the beacon that its creators did not intend. The repairs made sure that whilst ships would still be effected by the beacon, they would not suffer long term adverse effects. By ensuring its continued operation, she also made sure that the wishes of the race who constructed it would be kept alive for many years to come. Had she interfered with its operation at all, then this would have been against the principles of the Federation that respect other cultures and their wishes.

Regarding that, ahem, classified charge, we suggest that all present refer to their copies of the full Omega Directive. It states that "All other priorities are rescinded until the threat is neutralised. If violation of the prime directive is even minimally anticipated, it is authorised and advised. If Starfleet Command cannot be contacted for any reason, the primary priority is the destruction of all Omega molecules detected." Captain Janeway ensured that the threat was neutralised. The Directive does not maintain that dissuading the producers of the substance is necessary, on the contrary, it states that they should be kept in the dark as much as possible. Hence Janeway's actions in this circumstance were not only in accordance with Starfleet and Federation guidelines, but both efficient and commendable.

Perhaps the most shocking charge levelled against Captain Janeway is that of attempted murder. The prosecution states that on stardate 53020 Janeway attempted to murder Crewman Noah Lessing of the Starship Equinox. Whilst we do not wish to undermine the seriousness of such allegations, we feel that all those present today are aware that on occasion, a Starfleet Captain is called upon by duty to perform actions that others may deem as morally wrong and improper. Whilst at the time they may view their actions in a harsh light, later and with the benefit of hindsight, they are often able to realise the necessity of those actions.

The Starfleet General Orders state: "If there exists eyewitness testimony by senior officers or similar verifiable evidence that an individual has violated the Prime Directive, said individual may be relieved of duty by a duly sworn representative of the Federation government and placed under immediate arrest. The governmental representative shall then take such action as he deems necessary to minimise the results of the violation."

Crewman Lessing and the crew of the Equinox were guilty of the grossest violation of the Prime Directive. They were capturing sentient beings and murdering them in order to power their ship's adapted warp drive in order to get closer to Federation space. After five years in the Delta Quadrant, where they had resolutely refused to investigate any possible ways home that may have compromised the Prime Directive, finding a fellow Starfleet ship that abandoned these principles obviously shocked the Voyager Crew. As the sole representatives of the Federation in the Delta Quadrant, it became the responsibility of Voyager to put a stop to the Equinox's unacceptable actions; as stated by the above Starfleet Directive. Captain Janeway was thus authorised by the Federation to use "any action she deems necessary" in order to stop the Equinox crew. The charges presented against Janeway in this case are more than adequately covered by this directive. Thus Janeway's actions were in accordance with Starfleet law.

The defence calls into question the assertion of the prosecution that Janeway truly intended to murder Crewman Lessing. It may have been necessary however, to make Crewman Lessing believe that Janeway intended to murder him. He held information that was vital to stopping the crew of the Equinox murdering any more life forms in their attempts to reach the Alpha Quadrant. It was vitally important that Janeway obtain this information. Disobeying the direct orders of his superior officer. Commander Chakotay interfered to secure the safety of Lessing. We do not believe that this was the Captain's intention. Nor, seemingly, did the crew of Voyager. Despite shipboard publicity surrounding the event, the Voyager crew continued to have the utmost confidence in their captain. No moves were made by any crew member -- including Commander Chakotay -- to remove her from command. Our case thus far has shown her to be an exemplary Captain to whom respect for all life is sacred. The action of murdering in cold blood a fellow Starfleet officer would be completely out of character for an individual who is held in the highest regard in Federation society.

To many, the charges relating to Starfleet technology appear clear cut and indefensible. The trading of Starfleet technology, it is claimed, was standard policy on board Voyager for some time.

While we in Defence can have few qualms with the claim that Janeway DID trade technology with other races, we do wonder how thoroughly her detractors read Voyager's logs when assembling the charges against her.

Rather than one blanket policy concerning the trading of technology, Captain Janeway emphasised the fact that Starfleet rules and regulations must always remain a priority for her ship on its journey through the delta quadrant. The case of the Starship Equinox highlights the dangerous effects of a Federation Starship abandoning the principles of the Federation. Captain Janeway emphasised on several occasions that it was their principles that had allowed Voyager to survive in the Delta Quadrant.

The specific example given by Commander Iccny concerns a race called the Hirogen on Stardate 5170. Here Captain Janeway gave a holographic generator to the Hirogen Commander in order to end a conflict between Voyager and the Hirogen. Just prior to this, the leader of the Hirogen in the area had requested that Captain Janeway help his people to end their warlike way of life. He claimed that his people were on a self destructive path to extinction by refusing to explore new ways of life and preserving their own traditions. Despite the after-effects of being manipulated by a neural transceiver, a primitive gunshot wound to the thigh caused by an eager Hirogen warrior, and several large weapons threatening her as they "negotiated," Captain Janeway was able to convince the Hirogen Leader (or "Alpha") to negotiate. They agreed that the Hirogen would leave Voyager and her crew, in return for Janeway's help in adapting the Hirogen's own technology to create simulations similar to those in Voyager's holodecks. Unfortunately, The Hirogen Alpha was killed by a renegade whilst attempting to bring an end to his people's manipulation of the Voyager crew. Captain Janeway went on to disable the Hirogen control over her ship and crew, and continued the work of the Hirogen Alpha by presenting his people with holodeck technology.

So in this case, Janeway traded technology in order to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Voyager and the Hirogen. She was requested to help Hirogen society to see that the self destructive way of life they had adopted was not the only way of existing with the old traditions. Starfleet general Order 14 states that "Starfleet personnel may intervene in local planetary affairs to restore general order and to secure the lives and property of Federation citizens only upon receiving a direct order to do so from a civilian official with the title of governor or higher." While the Hirogen were not Federation citizens, in responding to their Alpha's request for aid, Janeway was applying the principles of the Federation to this situation. In short, she behaved in exactly the way Starfleet trains its captains to respond.

Voyager's logs and records indicate that Hirogen society was significantly advanced; more so than perhaps the Federation. (Voyager first contacted Earth on around 51471 by making use of a Hirogen communications relay.) They almost certainly possessed the technology to create their own holodecks. What the Hirogen Alpha required from Captain Janeway was the impetus to show his people how the technology could be used to save their society. So by providing holodeck technology, Janeway was able to give the Hirogen a chance to save themselves. When Voyager and the Hirogen parted company, there was no guarantee that they would choose to implement it.

When Voyager again encountered the Hirogen three years later, they discovered that misuse of the holodeck technology had lead the Hirogen to create a race of dangerously autonomous holograms. Tired of being hunted by their creators, the holographic life forms turned on the Hirogen. Upon discovering this, Captain Janeway took every effort to ensure the damage caused by these holograms was minimised. Taking full responsibility for her actions -- amid hostility from the Hirogen -- Captain Janeway neutralised the threat the holograms posed.

When a Starfleet Captain makes an error in judgement, they are brought before a board of Admirals and disciplined according to Federation law. Captain Janeway and Voyager did not even have that luxury. She had to live with the consequences of her actions as captain every day of Voyager's long journey.

Whilst Captain Janeway's priority was protecting her crew and her principles, we must also remember that she also had to somehow get her ship and crew through 75 000 light years of space back to the alpha quadrant. Somehow, she had to maintain a balance between helping the ship get closer to Federation Space, and protecting those Federation laws. I'm sure those of you assembled today will remember the waves of publicity that surrounded Voyager's return to Earth. One obscure political analyst, Dr Hom, published an article at the time in which he claimed that in order to prevent any conflicts between Federation law and the situations that arose in the Delta Quadrant, Captain Janeway should have activated the self destruct sequence on board Voyager, and destroyed her ship and crew along with the Caretaker's array. Such a course of action, he claimed, was the only way to ensure that the Federation's policy of non-interference in alien cultures and the Prime Directive remained intact; and thus it was the wisest course of action open to a Starfleet Captain. His theory is interesting, and his would have provided a simple solution to many of Janeway's dilemmas over seven years of space travel. Starfleet Captains are not, however, known for taking the simple way out of a predicament. And it is thanks to Captain Janeway's ingenuity that we have over 130 people alive and here today to testify on her behalf. For Janeway, getting her crew home had to be as much a priority as the most cardinal of Federation laws.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen, we cannot apply the same rules that apply to a captain on border duty in Federation territory to the situation that Captain Janeway found herself in when Voyager was thrown 75,000 light years beyond Federation space. Captain Janeway was not minutes away from aid or consultation, and she had to somehow facilitate an epic journey across two quadrants of space in order to get her crew home. The biggest tragedy of the entire story, however, is that upon returning her crew to the Alpha Quadrant, against all odds, Captain Kathryn Janeway found herself accused of dereliction of duty and the subject of a Starfleet Court Martial. Is this how the Federation treats its heroes? Commander Iccny, when your grandchildren ask you why you tried to have one of Starfleet's finest captains stripped of her rank and thrown in prison, what will you tell them? Commander Rose, will the highlight of your career be destroying the career of a legend? What would you have done in her position? I doubt you'd have the heart to tell Harry Kim's parents that the Captain who brought him back home is a criminal. The story of the USS Voyager is the story of its crew. Not of rules and regulations. Captain Janeway applied rules and regulations as far as possible during those long years in the wilderness. She attempted to find a balance between the unique needs of her crew and the principles of the Federation. The fact that Voyager made it home today is proof that she succeeded.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I appeal to you to throw out these charges and restore Captain Kathryn Janeway to her rightful place in history, as the heroic Captain who brought Voyager home. Anything less would be a travesty of justice.

TIME INDEX: 15:15:15

**The Defence would like to thank and acknowledge the contributions of The Oracle ReviewBoy, Sir Jim Wright (Delta Blues), for his fine reviews of Voyager Episodes; The Daystrom Institute of Technology for reference works on Federation law and The Omega Directive, and The Wombat for moral support, editing, and making sure that our spelling did not cause an international incident.**

This marks the beginning of the end of our special feature on the Court Martial of Captain Janeway. You've seen the debate, read the arguments and the counter-arguments, now it's time to decide - guilty or not guilty? While you wait to cast your vote, why not got back to the main page to re-read the debate, or send in your reactions - they might be published in a special edition of the Trek Nation mailbag!

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