Literary Challenge #56 : Academy Teachings
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Join Date: Jul 2012
01-08-2014, 06:04 PM
Admiral Brendan T. Stevens
Captain's Log, Stardate: 87114.15
has done well in the last few months. Being on the frontline against the Voth threat has been very hard on the crew and some shore leave is definitely needed. And fortunately, Starfleet agrees. Commander Miyazaki and I have made plans to revisit our families in Kyoto and the one month layover will give the Corps of Engineers time to refit the Rhea. She's an old ship, but I wouldn't fly anything else.
In addition, Starfleet Academy contacted me as we passed through the Regulus Sector. Apparently they would like me to give a lecture on the Prime Directive to the student body. They feel someone who is dealing with grey moral grounds on a daily basis might be just the person to discuss this with our upcoming officers. Still, it has been nearly a year since I taught anything at the Academy. It's exciting to have the opportunity to come back and shape more young minds.
--- STARDATE: 87121.86 ---
--- EARTH DATE: FEBRUARY 14, 2410, 11:30 AM PST ---
Admiral Stevens: Good morning class.
Class: Good Morning!
Stevens: Nice to see most of you made it on time today. I know its Valentine's Day and those of you with romantic partners want to cut class and spend it with them. Well, don't worry. I'm about to give you a speech that will put you right back into your student coma on the desk.
Class: <Bemused Chuckles>
Stevens: All right, I suppose Professor Mendez mentioned that I would be discussing practical application of the Prime Directive today. That's not quite right. Today we will be discussing ethics of the Prime Directive and the importance of knowing when to violate orders.
A hand rose from the front row of the class: a young, 20 year old human woman, brown hair and green eyes with a look of skepticism on her face.
Stevens: Yes, Cadet...?
Cadet: Cadet Johannson, sir. Sir, the Prime Directive is Starfleet General Order Number One. Are you saying there are times we should violate it?
Stevens: Cadet, the Prime Directive is a guideline, just like every other orders and regulations you will have to work within your career with Starfleet. We're not looking for yes men who follows all orders. We are looking for officers who are here to make well informed decisions. Cadet, do they still run the Huron Simulation?
Johannson: Yes, sir.
Stevens: And based on the color of your uniform I'm assuming you were either in Communications, Helm, Security or Command for that mission.
Johannson: Command, sir.
Stevens: And during that simulation, did you destroy the alien artifact as per Starfleet's orders?
Johannson: No, sir.
Stevens: And why not?
Johannson: Because Starfleet's orders were to destroy an irreplaceable alien artifact. That would have been a loss of irreplaceable history of that race as well as a violation of Starfleet's mandate of research.
Stevens: You still violated orders. By your own argument, you should have destroyed the artifact.
Johannson: I... believed it was the right decision to make. The artifact was returned to its field and no harm befell the planet, preserving the planet down there and the artifact's historical value.
Stevens: So you violated orders to uphold the spirit of the orders?
Johannson: Yes sir.
Stevens: So do you think that there would ever be a situation in which violating the Prime Directive might be the right decision?
Johannson: I... I... I don't think so sir. Non-interference is a major part of Starfleet?s principles.
Stevens: <Chuckles> Perhaps, but there are always better options. How many of you know of Admiral Archer's encounter with the Valakians during his command of the NX-01?
The entire room raises its hands.
Stevens: How many of you agree with Archer's decision?
Roughly 90% of the hands in the room dropped.
Stevens: Ah, now that's where this gets interesting. Under the letter of the law of the Prime Directive, Archer did the right thing, but most people find letting a race die to be uncouth. And yet he is not the only CO in Starfleet to make this order. So let?s go the other way now. A Captain with more PD violations on record than any other Captain. Anyone want to take a guess? Um... You there, Cadet...?
Cadet: Cadet Matthews, sir. Are you speaking of Admiral Janeway?
Stevens: Definitely not. The Admiral invokes the PD for breakfast. Anyone else? You, Cadet.
Cadet: Cadet Stewart. Are you speaking of Captain Kirk?
Stevens: Yes, I am. Very good, Cadet. Captain James T. Kirk. Probably the single most famous Starfleet Captain in history. Captain Kirk violated the Prime Directive 47 times in his career. In fact, one of them got him promoted to Admiral. Now you're wondering how someone could violate a directive that's said to have Captains take their own lives rather violate it become an Admiral for violating said directive. I will cite an incident that occurred during the third year of Kirk's first five year mission involving the people of the asteroid ship Yonada. Yonada was a ship on a collision course with a nearby inhabited world at an angle that likely would have killed the people of Yonada and decimated the planet they planned to land on.
Commander Spock: "Sir, informing these people they are on a spaceship may violate the Prime Directive."
Captain Kirk: "Perhaps. But anything has got to be better than the entire destruction of these people."
Commander Spock: "Logical, Captain. Flawlessly Logical."
How many of you know why Commander Spock sided with Captain Kirk?
A cadet raises her hand.
Stevens: Yes, Cadet?
Cadet: Cadet T'leris, sir. Commander Spock agreed that their lives were worth saving over letting the PD lead to their deaths. But, sir. That's a risky option. Couldn't allowing them to live lead to-
Stevens: Lead to them having a Hitler or a Khan Noonien Singh? I've heard that argument so many times, I've stop counting. Play the odds, Cadet. What is more likely, these people will create a Hitler or simply live out their lives in peace? Just because we don't know if we'll win the game doesn't mean we choose not to play it. The PD has been used too many times to justify the death of races. And the sad part is the law will back those COs up. It is just as likely you could allow a race to die that may one day join the Federation and revolutionize our theories on Warp Drive or medicine. The PD is never certain about the future of races, only that we need to be careful in how we deal with them. Cadet Matthews, I see your hand raised.
Matthews: Sir, it sounds like you're completely opposed to the Prime Directive.
Stevens: Far from it. The PD has its purpose. It's just overreached a lot of the time, like many laws and regulations. I can cite two instances from the Enterprise-D'?s journeys that were good uses of the PD. The first is their encounter with the Mintakans. Captain Picard did expose himself to prevent the creation of a religion worshipping him. That was based on a lie and frankly the incident has lead to constant review of Starfleet's use of Duckblinds on primitive worlds for study. The second incident was the Klingon Civil War. The Federation had no right to be involved in what was purely an internal matter of the Klingon Empire. However, we did stretch the PD and made sure the Romulans were not getting involved either. And that's just as important.
At the end of the day the Prime Directive is there to prevent us from playing God or conquering civilizations. One of the threats you will face out there when you leave this academy is a race that does just that. And, no, I don?t mean the Klingons. But the part of the Prime Directive that is unwritten is that you must do what you feel is ethically right. The Directive is there to make you stop and think "Is this the right choice." Follow your morals and principles and you will find the correct answer. Starfleet needs flexible officers who will do the right thing, regardless of regulations. If you want to be purely held to the rules, I suggest you transfer to the legal division. Commander Timison could always use more Paralegals.
Starfleet is not an easy career. You have to be use every bit of knowledge, ethics, morality and most importantly compassion to make good decisions. But you also cannot be soft when a threat comes along. Every choice you make will have consequences and it will be you not Starfleet Command who makes them. You will lose officers, you will lose friends, you may even lose your life. But as long as you do what you believe is right and in the best traditions of Starfleet, you will succeed. This the road less travelled and you will have the hardest choices of your life ahead. But, you wear that uniform and are beholden to the truth. And the truth is this: nothing is written in stone and nothing so sacra saint as to not be questioned.
Stevens looked around at the young faces before him. Whereas before they had the look of promising officers who looked forward to their careers, many now had solemn faces of concern on.
Stevens: Now don't give me those faces. Starfleet is an amazing career and nine times out of ten you won?t have to deal with an ethical dilemma like the ones we?re discussing today. You will have to face these choices at some point, but let me tell you: you always know what?s the right decision to make. I think I'm out of time today, class. Have a Happy Valentine's Day and hopefully I'll get to see you all soon. Class dismissed!
Last edited by sirboulevard; 01-08-2014 at