Worst command decisions by Captain James T. Kirk

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Gary7, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Overall, I'd say that Captain Kirk was a very effective, successful captain. He and most of his crew survived, with the exceptions of the Enterprise B, where he was sucked into the Nexus.

    But he did make some mistakes along the way. Some more grave than others.

    In TOS:
    From what I've seen, I'd say that one of his worst was in the Immunity Syndrome, where he took the Enterprise into the "zone of darkness." A probe was launched to investigate and they lost it. Vanished. No trace. They could have even programmed a probe to penetrate and then immediately reverse course to return... and they'd have found nothing coming back. So... taking the Enterprise into it was an enormous risk. For all they knew, it could have been "space quicksand," with no means of getting out. Or it could have been some manifestation surrounding a black hole, where entry would mean being drawn into it, never to escape.

    Given what was at hand, what was known about the phenomenon, I think Kirk made a huge mistake going into the zone. It would have been far safer to have one or more additional ships in the area attempting to deal with this phenomenon. Perhaps they could have come up with a specially prepared probe with greater power and attempt a partial penetration to see if they could at least test the limits of the barrier.

    Had the Enterprise not entered the zone and waited for a couple more ships to assist, it is possible that the space organism might have divided and become two. But the method of destruction devised in the episode showed that they could have applied it to both organisms.

    Kirk and his crew got lucky... very lucky, with Spock's major risk to explore the organism (discovering that it's ready to reproduce and suggesting they destroy it) and McCoy's idea about anti-bodies. And Scotty's engineering fortitude keeping the Enterprise intact.

    In Bread and Circuses, I was also quite amazed that Kirk took his risk of heading into the city in search of Captain Merik without much more cautious surveillance. They got caught pretty easily, when they had tricorders capable of detecting life forms from miles away. They could have also communicated with the Enterprise to scan the surface and give them a better path to at least investigate possible ways to assess the city perimeter. Given when took place after being captured, they could have all ended up dead by that grave mistake.

    Another mistake I'd say Kirk made was with Lazarus, in The Alternative Factor. Far too trusting of the guy. Had he been under closer surveillance, they'd have figured out his agenda much sooner.

    In the Movies:
    He was far too trusting of the Reliant's silent approach in The Wrath of Khan. What an absolutely dreadful error. And it not only cost many lives, but also caused the death of Mr. Spock. You'd have thought at that point, Kirk would've been smarter... and even Spock, who would've been less punitive with Saavik and have suggested shields be raised.

    Any other critical mistakes you think Kirk made during his command?
     
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  2. BillJ

    BillJ History’s Greatest Monster Premium Member

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    Allowing Khan access to the Enterprise technical library in "Space Seed". Stranding Khan and his followers.

    General lack of security on the Enterprise.
     
  3. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    Even though it's meant to heighten the drama, I dislike Kirk's hesitation in OBSESSION just before reducing speed to warp six. Scotty plainly told him they would blow up at any moment unless they cut it down. So......Kirk......waits.....

    Perhaps some things ARE more important than his ship. (Like the people ON it.)
     
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  4. The Warlord

    The Warlord Commander Red Shirt

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    A Taste Of Armageddon they were warned to stay away. Granted he had his orders, but they didn't need to get involved.
     
  5. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My problem with this episode is how long it took for Kirk & co to make the realization that the war being fought was a theoretical one. Firstly, it was quite stupid for Anan7 not to mention it much earlier on... as certainly their theoretical war was highly unusual and would be unknown to outsiders.

    ANAN: Welcome to Eminiar Seven. Well, Captain, what can we do for you?
    KIRK: My mission is to establish diplomatic relations between your people and mine.
    ANAN: That is impossible.
    KIRK: Would you mind telling me why?
    ANAN: Because of the war.
    KIRK: You're still at war?
    ANAN: We have been at war for five hundred years.
    KIRK: You conceal it very well. Mister Spock?
    SPOCK: Sir, we have completely scanned your planet. We find it highly advanced, prosperous in a material sense, comfortable for your people, and peaceful in the extreme. Yet you say you are at war. There is no evidence of this.
    ANAN: Casualties among our civilian population total from one to three million dead each year from direct enemy attack. That is one reason, Captain, why we told you to stay away. As long as your ship is orbiting our planet, it is in severe danger.

    As soon as Kirk said "You conceal it very well," Anan should have certainly informed him about how the war is all managed by computer and attacks are launched theoretically. Next, he should have said "Your ship and crew are valid targets while in our space." And at that point Kirk could ask "What would be the safe distance for my ship to no longer be a target?"

    But then... things just go on and then there's an attack a few minutes later. The Enterprise is "theoretically" destroyed.

    Of course, the whole thing is just outright stupid. The Enterprise has nothing to do with Eminiar Seven. No registry of the crew with either side of the war. It's presence is completely irrelevant. So, in essence, the ship should have been disqualified from being a target or an attacker. Anan claiming otherwise... well, made a very stupid mistake. An enormous diplomatic blunder.

    Getting back to the main point, I think Kirk failed to push on getting a clear understanding of what was going on and the risk to his ship and crew. If he'd done that, he would have had the Enterprise move to a safe distance. And he'd have a minimal landing party on the planet as well.
     
  6. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To be fair and accurate Kirk was not the Captain of that ship, he saved the crew from a Captain who froze on the spot, Captain Harriman.
     
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  7. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    WOK :vulcan:
     
  8. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was only pointing out that Kirk was adept at survival and getting out of scrapes with minimal loss of life, including his own... up until that point (presumed dead). He wasn't the captain, but he was the senior officer aboard as Admiral Kirk. :) And of course, this was the right decision -- he saved all their lives.
     
  9. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't get your point. :confused:
     
  10. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    I'm sorry. I agreed with you regarding WOK as your quote stated in your quote I posted.
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Krik was only a Captain in GEN. And wasn't it Scotty's plan to use the Deflector dish to simulate a torpedeo detination to save the ship? Kirk just used the tools and people and his disposal to save the ship.
     
  12. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're right... he was admiral only once (WOK). Yes, it was Scotty's idea, but Kirk volunteered to go instead of Harriman. He didn't have to. But, he probably knew the equipment better than Harriman and would get the job done faster.
     
  13. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And TMP.
    Fox had command authority, it wasn't Kirk's call.
    Kirk: "There must be another starship in that sector. "
    Starfleet: "Negative."
    Which means they couldn't use that method from outside the zone of darkness.
    The ship (once inside) was unable to reverse course, or even come to a stop.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017
  14. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Galileo 7: He should have gone and taken care of the crisis that Commissioner Pain-In-The-Ass wanted him to take care of rather than launch the Galileo to study the Whatever Phenomenon. The Whatever Phenomenon would still be there when they got back. "Oh, we have a spare three days." Yeah, because nothing EVER goes wrong that could require more than three days to rectify. He almost lost the Galileo and all hands because of having to leave to take care of the crisis.
     
  15. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    In Mudd's Women, Kirk allows himself to be blackmailed by Mudd. Harry says that the Enterprise has only 3 days of power left before it starts spiraling down, and that Kirk will have to give in to Mudd's demands. All Kirk has to say is "Harry, you're stuck here on the Enterprise with us. If you don't give me those Dilithium Crystals then you die, too."
     
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  16. φ of π

    φ of π Captain Captain

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    Any time they went down on to a pre-warp planet.

    What's the point of a prime directive if you constantly ignore it?
     
  17. retroenzo

    retroenzo Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    And in Search for Spock and Voyage Home. He wasn't busted back down to Captain until the end of Voyage Home.
     
  18. Gary7

    Gary7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks - you're right. My Trek memory has become a bit stale... have to admit it. Time to freshen up! ;)
     
  19. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    The Agony Booth for you. Full duration.
    :eek:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Greysun

    Greysun Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Allowing Lt. Bailey to be a bridge officer in The Corbomite Maneuver, he never should have been assigned there in the first place. I don't know how he ever got to be a Lieutenant, given how hard it's supposed to be to get through Starfleet training. The man was obviously unhinged and McCoy was right when he pointed out that Bailey shouldn't be in that position. It puts the whole ship in danger if a command isn't carried out because a bridge officer is having a psychotic episode, screaming at everyone.