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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old March 30 2014, 04:43 AM   #1
ZapBrannigan
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Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

Albertese just noted in his "And the Children" thread that Kirk left two redshirts behind on Triacus. It's funny how you can watch the episode and not catch it.

But it brought to mind the fact that I've thought several times, "If this episode were real, Kirk would get a court-martial."

"The Ultimate Computer"
Starfleet Command would say Kirk took too long to regain control of his ship, or at least disable its weapons. Hundreds died. The civilian news coverage would crucify him to a fare-thee-well, and he'd be so radioactive that Federation politicians would cover their own asses by scapegoating him and seeing to it that he got at least some of the blame. Total career ender.

"The Way to Eden"
He lost control of his ship to a bunch of barefoot whatdiyacallems who should never have had so much freedom of movement. If this were the Navy, once again he'd be finished. Desk job at best.

"The Apple"
They would question how Kirk got four men killed. This without even knowing that immediately upon beaming back to the ship, he was yukking it up with Spock and McCoy like nothing happened.

"The Enemy Within"
He beat up Wilson, Fisher, and his female yeoman. Then he menaced the bridge with a phaser and barely talked himself out of shooting the place up at great risk to human life and the ship. Witnesses report he was beside himself. Try that one in a court of law.

TMP
Why did neither Kirk nor Scotty, both of whom were standing in front of the dismantled engineering panel, warn the Transporter Room against beaming anyone aboard? Two people died. This was a classic screw-up in which Scotty better understood that the Transporter was hobbled. while Kirk knew that two people were about to beam aboard. Still, these things wreck careers in real life.

TWOK
I don't even have to spell this one out. Raise the goram shields.

TSFS
Stealing the Enterprise? For this one, Starfleet finally sat up and took notice. But can you blame Kirk for thinking by this point that he could get away with anything?

Last edited by ZapBrannigan; March 30 2014 at 05:01 AM.
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Old March 30 2014, 05:28 AM   #2
LMFAOschwarz
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
"The Enemy Within"
Witnesses report he was beside himself.
Ha, ha..I get it.

But seriously, you're probably right, realistically speaking. But with these crazy missions into the unknown, there has to be some allowance for things like parallel dimensions, time travelers, androids, superior energy beings and the like. Maybe that's where the disciplinary slack comes from?
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Old March 30 2014, 05:35 AM   #3
CommishSleer
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
Albertese just noted in his "And the Children" thread that Kirk left two redshirts behind on Triacus. It's funny how you can watch the episode and not catch it.

But it brought to mind the fact that I've thought several times, "If this episode were real, Kirk would get a court-martial."

"The Ultimate Computer"
Starfleet Command would say Kirk took too long to regain control of his ship, or at least disable its weapons. Hundreds died. The civilian news coverage would crucify him to a fare-thee-well, and he'd be so radioactive that Federation politicians would cover their own asses by scapegoating him and seeing to it that he got at least some of the blame. Total career ender.

Actually Kirk was totally not at fault in the slightest in this case.
It would be hard to blame him since all records would show he saved the day.

It was the hire-ups in Starfleet that thought it was a good idea for a totally armed ship (one that could wipe out a planet) be controlled in a test by computer. I can't see the US navy doing that for a nuclear armed ship.

The truth would all come out at the trial. The news coverage would be 'They did what?' Better just to blame it on 'computer malfunction'

"The Way to Eden"
He lost control of his ship to a bunch of barefoot whatdiyacallems who should never have had so much freedom of movement. If this were the Navy, once again he'd be finished. Desk job at best.

I can't disagree but again the higher-ups told him to look after Ambassador's so and so's son.
"The Apple"
They would question how Kirk got four men killed. This without even knowing that immediately upon beaming back to the ship, he was yukking it up with Spock and McCoy like nothing happened.

He managed to defeat a machine that controlled an entire planet and had the power to pull his ship out of orbit.
He deserved a medal.
"The Enemy Within"
He beat up Wilson, Fisher, and his female yeoman. Then he menaced the bridge with a phaser and barely talked himself out of shooting the place up at great risk to human life and the ship. Witnesses report he was beside himself. Try that one in a court of law.

Happens all the time and worse in my country's defence force academy. Don't worry - the woman (victim) gets the blame.
Next.
TMP
Why did neither Kirk nor Scotty, both of whom were standing in front of the dismantled engineering panel, warn the Transporter Room against beaming anyone aboard? Two people died. This was a classic screw-up in which Scotty better understood that the Transporter was hobbled. while Kirk knew that two people were about to beam aboard. Still, these things wreck careers in real life.

If Kirk was court-martialled for every time he used some piece of dodgy machine or pushed the transporter or Enterprise to its engineering limits we'd have no show
.

TWOK
I don't even have to spell this one out. Raise the goram shields.

Yes
TSFS
Stealing the Enterprise? For this one, Starfleet finally sat up and took notice. But can you blame Kirk for thinking by this point that he could get away with anything?
I think its plain looking at other captains like Tracey, Decker, Garth, the other captains in the Ultimate Computer incident that Kirk was a cut above the rest. If your going to court-martial your success story who are you going to have left?
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Old March 30 2014, 06:23 AM   #4
Wingsley
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

"The Enemy Within": Which Capt. Kirk would be put in the brig? One? Both? Waste of time.

"The Apple": I believe Kirk and Spock gave us a Starfleet-in-microcosm discussion after Kirk began lamenting the mission (and his ship) being in jeopardy. Spock summed up the Starfleet mentality quite eloquently:
"You are under orders to investigate this planet and this culture." ... and later... "No one has ever stated that Starfleet duty was particularly safe. You've followed the correct and logical course, done everything a commander could do."
The only real risk to Kirk's career was in deciding to destroy Vaal, which he obviously did to save his ship, but in doing so he violated the Prime Directive.


"The Ultimate Computer": If anyone ought to be court-martialed for the M-5 war-games disaster, it would be the flag officer/knucklehead who okayed the installation of one of these unproven machines aboard a fully functioning Federation starship-of-the-line, with all of its weapons operational. As it was, it seemed painfully obvious that both Kirk and Wesley did not realize that the mission should never have been undertaken in the first place. So if "heads should roll", it should be much higher up than the ship commanders.

"The Way to Eden": Kirk's hiney was covered here; he was under orders to play nice with the space hippies because one of them turned out to be the son of the influential Catulan ambassador. It seemed to me like everyone, including Starfleet, under-estimated Dr. Severn from the beginning.


TMP: The transport accident was the bi-product of the rush job to get the Enterprise launched in an emergency situation. At the moment the transporter short-circuit occurred, Kirk had just relieved Decker of command. So, if the situation was determined to caused by criminal negligence, who would Starfleet go after? The ousted Capt. Decker? He's gone to the Great Beyond with Ilia/V'Ger, so he's not available for comment.

TWOK: This one is a toughie. Saavik did remind the Admiral of the regulations, but Kirk did order the ship to alert and he did order the shields up. Starfleet would probably not go after him because they would not want the notion of Project Genesis being raided by a rogue criminal element to be exposed. Again, the Starfleet Command bonehead that okayed a project like this, and assigned a fully functional starship-of-the-line to it without checking out the possible pitfalls and/or risks of the Genesis Torpedo, would probably be the head to roll. I'd guess that Command would give one of their flag officers some slack because they wouldn't want Kirk shooting the Reliant first and asking questions later. (Besides, Kirk was left to command "a boatload of children"; if Genesis is so dangerous, wouldn't Starfleet have a better security contingency in place than sending out a cadet vessel to investigate?)

TSFS: If Kirk & company had not saved Earth from the Whalesong Probe, they would probably be exiled on Vulcan.

It could be said that, independent of the Whalesong incident, Kirk did steal the Enterprise (a ship Starfleet said they were planning to decommission) but in doing so he both stopped a Klingon espionage plot and captured a Klingon scoutship with a cloaking device. Starfleet would probably not want to acknowledge the embarrassment of loosing the U.S.S. Grissom to a Klingon fighter-ship on their own 20-yard line when Kirk at least stopped the Klingons, right?


There would likely be greater controversies and inquiries over Kirk's decisions to violate the Prime Directive.

In "The Return of the Archons", Kirk is ordered to investigate the disappearance of the Starship Archon, presumably an early Federation vessel, at C-111 Beta III. But he made a decision to carry the investigation a step further once he realized Beta III was indeed a starship trap. He could've left well enough alone and pulled Sulu and O'Neill out of there before there was trouble. So Kirk walked a fine line, and was "in for a penny, in for a pound". Starfleet Command may like him for ending the potential security threat (what if the Klingons, Romulans or Gorn raided the planet and gained access to its mind-control technology?) but now the Federation is committed to salvaging the Landru society for their troubles.
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Old March 30 2014, 03:36 PM   #5
Timo
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

Regarding the original issue: it doesn't strike me as if Kirk left the two redshirts stranded on the planet for any length of time. He wanted to go to Starbase 4 to offload the kids - but the kids hijacked the ship to a more distant destination (as per the Gorgon's own words), Marcos XII. The ship actually reached Marcos XII before Kirk regained control of the ship. So naturally Kirk would turn back to Starbase 4, which was en route back to Triacus.

Whether Kirk would sail from there to Triacus to retrieve his men and perhaps further study the now exorcised planet, or simply tell SB 4 to send a ship or craft because that'd be faster, we don't know. But setting sail for Triacus while the kids were still aboard would be a stupid thing to do, as it would mean time wasted.

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Old March 30 2014, 06:16 PM   #6
Armored Saint
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
"The Ultimate Computer"
Starfleet Command would say Kirk took too long to regain control of his ship, or at least disable its weapons.
Too long? He did what he could. If you want a scapegoat, there's of course Richard Daystrom or, as Wingsley said, the Admiral who approved the war-game.

"The Way to Eden"
He lost control of his ship to a bunch of barefoot whatdiyacallems who should never have had so much freedom of movement. If this were the Navy, once again he'd be finished. Desk job at best.
Kirk didn't make the security protocols for Constitution-class starships. It's not him who let some sensitive areas so vulnerable. What should he have done? Putting Adam, Irina and co. in a cabin keept by armed guards despite they didn't seem hostile? In fact, they weren't hostile at all, they were pretty concerned when Sevrin decided to use violence.

"The Enemy Within"
He beat up Wilson, Fisher, and his female yeoman. Then he menaced the bridge with a phaser and barely talked himself out of shooting the place up at great risk to human life and the ship. Witnesses report he was beside himself. Try that one in a court of law.
Have you ever see a court dealing with a case of physical duplication with altered personnalities?
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Old March 30 2014, 07:23 PM   #7
Shawnster
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

Kirk DID face charges for the events of Star Trek III. That was the main point of Star Trek IV.
FEDERATION PRESIDENT: The Council is now in session. If you will all take your seats. Bring in the accused. ...Captain Spock, you do not stand accused.
SPOCK: Mister President, I stand with my shipmates.
FEDERATION PRESIDENT: As you wish. ...The charges and specifications are. Conspiracy. Assault on Federation Officers. Theft of Federation Property, namely the Starship Enterprise. Sabotage of the U.S.S. Excelsior, Wilful destruction of Federation Property, specifically the aforementioned U.S.S. Enterprise. And finally, disobeying direct orders of the Starfleet Commander. ...Admiral Kirk, how do you plead?
KIRK: On behalf of all of us, Mister President, I am authorised to plead guilty.
FEDERATION PRESIDENT: So entered. Because of certain mitigating circumstances, all charges but one are summarily dismissed. ...The remaining charge, disobeying orders of a superior officer is directed solely at Admiral Kirk. I'm sure the Admiral will recognise the necessity of keeping discipline in any chain of command.
KIRK: I do, sir.
FEDERATION PRESIDENT: James T. Kirk. ...It is the judgment of this Council that you be reduced in rank to Captain, ...and that as a consequence of your new rank, you be given the duties for which you have repeatedly demonstrated unswerving ability. The command of a starship. ...Silence! Captain Kirk, You and your crew have saved this planet from its own short-sightedness ...and we are forever in your debt.
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Old March 30 2014, 11:39 PM   #8
Robert Comsol
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

Wingsley wrote: View Post
The only real risk to Kirk's career was in deciding to destroy Vaal, which he obviously did to save his ship, but in doing so he violated the Prime Directive.

...

There would likely be greater controversies and inquiries over Kirk's decisions to violate the Prime Directive.

In "The Return of the Archons", ... Kirk walked a fine line, and was "in for a penny, in for a pound". Starfleet Command may like him for ending the potential security threat (what if the Klingons, Romulans or Gorn raided the planet and gained access to its mind-control technology?) but now the Federation is committed to salvaging the Landru society for their troubles.
I had always felt that "Errand of Mercy" gave us some insight into TOS Prime Directive concerns and provided the "excuse" where and when it was not applicable:

SPOCK: Captain, our information on these people and their culture was not correct. This is not a primitive society making progress toward mechanisation. They are totally stagnant. There is no evidence of any progress as far back as my tricorder can register.
KIRK: That doesn't seem likely.
SPOCK: Nevertheless, it is true. For tens of thousands of years, there has been absolutely no advancement, no significant change in their physical environment. This is a laboratory specimen of an arrested culture.
KIRK: Thank you, Mister Spock. That might be useful.


Admittedly, the Native Americans in "The Paradise Syndrome" could have been equally exempt from the Prime Directive protection, but Kirk expressed envy and admiration, so - indeed - who is to tell others how they should live.

In the other two aforementioned cases, however, living beings had been enslaved by an artificial intelligence, and the Prime Directive is probably designed to protect organic, sentient life and not machines.

Bob
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Old March 31 2014, 04:44 AM   #9
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Kirk Should Be Court-Martialed

LMFAOschwarz wrote: View Post
But seriously, you're probably right, realistically speaking. But with these crazy missions into the unknown, there has to be some allowance for things like parallel dimensions, time travelers, androids, superior energy beings and the like. Maybe that's where the disciplinary slack comes from?

That's right. For Kirk to escape legal trouble after events like "The Enemy Within," Starfleet Command would have to believe incredible accounts of things that seemingly can't happen. In the case of "What are Little Girls Made Of," the show ends with no surviving evidence that it was an android of Kirk who stole the captain's command packet and gave it to Korby. (By the same token, real-Kirk could have beamed back up with it and never mentioned that it had been taken.)

It would be funny, maybe a good premise for sketch comedy, if a starship was run by a bunch of con men who routinely reported back the wildest explanations for events, and SF Command believed them.
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