On the most recent episode of the Unknown Studio, which you can listen to here or download through iTunes, Scott and I interviewed Joel Jackson and Sean Healy. Joel and Sean are software developers here in Edmonton, and like all good geeks, they share our love for all things Star Trek.
At the end of the show, during the Fast Sixteen segment, Sean threw down the gauntlet and asked me among all the characters in Starfleet in the Star Trek Universe, who would I want to staff a bridge crew. Who is my Star Trek dream team? Of course a question so complex as Sean’s requires a great deal of thought. So, as promised, we’re taking the discussion to the website to sort it all out.
Our Prime Directive(s)
As with any such challenge, we need to establish a set of rules for everyone to follow. You can’t just stack the deck without structure. So, Scott and I hammered out a few simple “prime directives” for this little exercise:
- Your crew should be structured like TNG’s bridge crew. So: Captain, First Officer, Ship’s Counselor, Chief Medical Officer, Chief of Engineering, Science Officer, Tactical Officer, Operations Officer and Navigator/Pilot (am I missing anything?).
- All crew members MUST be Starfleet officers. You can’t just decide you want General Martok to be your fearless leader. If they aren’t in Starfleet, they can’t be on your crew
- You will be allowed one civilian crew member – bartender, hairdresser, tailor… whatever key creature comfort you think your crew will need.
- You will be allowed one red shirt – this is your opportunity to kill a character you just don’t like. Though they’ll be wearing a red tunic, you can pick an officer of any rank to occupy this position
So, conceivably you could have Reginald Barclay as the captain of your crew. You could have that science officer with the musical talents Picard fell in love with (Nella Daren was her name, btw). Hell, you could have Captain Jellico steer the mighty Enterprise, if you so desire. Feel free to leave your picks in the comments.
My ideal crew
This wasn’t easy… Not only did I take into consideration the individuals I considered to be the very best, but I also tried to assemble a crew that would work well together. Granted, it’s not always going to be ideal – people are going to have conflicts; that’s just humanoid nature – but I’m confident that this team of seasoned officers would steer the Enterprise to glory.
Captain: I’d be remiss if I didn’t select the First Captain of the Enterprise, as television viewers the world over knew him – those who didn’t watch the TOS pilot episode, anyhow. James T. Kirk is a proven leader, and not only on the bridge. Sometimes pushing the envelope, but always with the best interests of Starfleet and the Federation in mind, Kirk is fiercely loyal to his crew, his friends, and the women in his life – no matter the colour of their skin.
First Officer: A first officer provides the sober second thought when it comes to command decisions. Not only that, but when a captain makes up his or her mind, a first officer is responsible for carrying out those orders. I can think of no one better than Commander Worf to be Kirk’s right-hand Klingon. Now, I know Kirk wasn’t particularly fond of Klingons, but I think he and Worf would come to understand and deeply respect one another, both as colleagues and as friends.
Chief Medical Officer: When the quantum torpedoes start flying and shields are raised, you need someone who’s strong-willed and smart enough to fix the crew’s bruises and broken bones. And although you might expect me to choose Leonard “Bones” McCoy for this task, I’m going to turn this one on its ear and go with Dr. Katherine “Kate” Pulaski. I’ve come around to liking this character. I used to find her irritating and useless, but that’s because I was so focused on her abrasiveness. As Scott will [rightly] point out, she’s essentially the female equivalent of McCoy. And I think she’s just contrarian enough to get Kirk out to his medical appointments. She’ll keep the crew in tip-top shape.
Chief Engineer: Though he’s not technically an officer, I think that’s an oversight on the part of Starfleet, so I’d happily bump Starfleet’s only non-commissioned officer, Chief Petty Officer Miles O’Brien, up the chain of command so he could ensure the warp core isn’t overloading and that my transporters are always functional. O’Brien was able to keep Deep Space Nine from deep-sixing itself, which I would argue is a greater feat that Scotty’s upkeep of the Enterprise and Enterprise A. That station was a complete mess, and Miles’ technical savvy and good, old-fashioned gumption kept it in orbit around the wormhole. I’ll take Ireland over Scotland on this one.
Tactical Officer: Combat tactics are of paramount importance on any crew worth its salt. You need to be prepared to do battle with… well, anyone. And you need to be ready for any situation where your crew is at risk. That’s why I’d bring in Commander Shelby as my tactical officer. (You’ll remember her from “The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II.”) Shelby wasn’t accepted by the Enterprise D crew right away, but she proved she had her head on a swivel and was able to make the tough tactical decisions to see the crew through the Battle at Wolf 359.
Science Officer: Scientific exploration forms a massive part of any Starfleet mission – unless there’s total war going on. And even if there is, I’d want an officer who can drop mad science in the event of a battle or the discovery of a new life form. So Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax would grace the science station on my bridge. She has a winning personality, and seven lifetimes of knowledge and memories aren’t something you’d want to shake a stick at (or a sonic stick, as I imagine they’re called in the 24th century). You might be thinking her marriage to Worf would complicate things, but I would argue the risk was similar on DS9, and it didn’t cause any major problems in the operation of the station. It won’t be a problem here either.
Operations Officer: When you have an asset made from the finest materials, and with the computational power of 70,000 ship-board computers*, you don’t just leave him in space dock when you first set sail. Lieutenant Commander Data is the ideal operations officer. He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to ship-board and Starfleet protocols, and can work very quickly. I think being able to lock down the Enterprise E‘s computer with a fractal encryption code alone proved Data’s worth in a stick situation. Besides, is that Crystalline Entity ever shows up again, or – god forbid – Lore decides to pull another ridiculous and deadly prank on the crew, Data will be needed. My dream crew would be incomplete without him working his fake-skin-wrapped fingers to the bone.
Pilot/Navigator: I wasn’t a big fan of the Voyager series, but there were a few characters that were definitely strong in their roles. And since this crew would no doubt be launching missions of all types – on planets, on shuttlecrafts and on the Enterprise itself, I’d want to make sure I had Lieutenant Tom Paris piloting the big show. Despite his odd proclivities and obsessions – as well as his sordid past – Paris is one of the best pilots in Starfleet. He had the avionics knowledge to develop the Delta Flyer, which proved to be a vital piece of equipment aboard Voyager, and I think his rogue ways would be something Captain Kirk could really tap into.
Ship’s Counselor: You know, there isn’t a single Starfleet officer I can think of who I’d want in this position. Counselor Troi just wouldn’t fit in with this crew, I don’t think. And Ezri Dax is out of the question, since Jadzia’s still alive – Ezri would lack some of the key ingredients that made her a half-ways decent counselor on DS9 because she wouldn’t be joined to the Dax symbiont. I think I’d leave the counselor position vacant, and maybe create a Starfleet Peer Support group. Failing that, there’s any number of historical psychologists and psychiatrists that can be accessed on the Holodeck. If you can have sexy-time on the Holodeck, surely you can use it to sort out your personal problems as well.
Civilian member: I think the entire cast of the original series proved that time isn’t kind to waistlines. And as these Starfleet missions now tend not to have time limits (five-year mission my eye!), the crew is going to need a good tailor. That’s why I’d want Garak as a civilian member of the crew. His training in the Cardassian Obsidian Order would also be a huge asset. Garak seems to have information on all manner of individuals and alien species that might be useful. And I wouldn’t dare give Kirk some other civilian to accurately measure his inside leg. Properly-fitted slacks are essential aboard a starship.
Red Shirt: I really disliked Chakotay. He was more useless than Riker. He was Janeway’s doormat, and a ham-handed attempt at introducing some Native American diversity into the Voyager universe. I’d have him see a fitting end, on my crew’s very first away-mission. Chakotay, you are phaser fodder.
Now it’s up to you…
That’s right, 60s of readers. We want to know what YOUR ideal Starfleet crew would look like. Leave us a comment with all the key players and your reasons for choosing them.
*Number is approximate