Sunday, May 19, 2019

The First Duty

TNG Season 5 Episode 19
Air Date: March 30th, 1992

The Enterprise heads back to Earth so Captain Picard can give the commencement speech when they hear news that Wesley Crusher was in a piloting accident. He broke his arm and had some minor burns but one of his squadron mates died in the accident.

They hold a hearing to determine what caused the accident and the squadron leader, Cadet Nick Locarno claimed they were performing a Yeager loop when Cadet Joshua Albert panicked and veered into his squadron mates. But during the hearing they were able to find an image from a saturn research station that showed the squadron were not in the proper formation.

Lt. Cmdr. Data and Lt. Cmdr. La Forge were doing their own analysis when they discovered that each of the ships had opened a manifold that would only be done during maintenance and the only reason to do that would be to ignite the drive plasma. Captain Picard realized that this is what they were trying to do and confronted Wesley. In a moment of guilt Wesley turned on his friends and told the hearing what really happened.

Locarno pleaded with the Admiral that he was the only one to blame getting him expelled but saving the rest of the squadron.

This is the second last episode that Wesley Crusher is in, and sadly each one he has been in since his departure has been really good. The actor that played Locarno eventually becomes a regular on Star Trek Voyager as Lt. Tom Paris who has a very similar history to Locarno. In my mind I retcon them as the same character.

The episode also is the first character to have Boothby, the groundskeeper of Starfleet Academy. He is mentioned a few times in other episodes.


"I would never have graduated if you" - Captain Picard
"You made a mistake. There isn't anybody among us who hasn't been young enough to make at least one." - Boothby
"Nevertheless" - Captain Picard
"You did what you had to do, what you thought was best. I just made sure that you listened to yourself. You needed to get your bearings. I knew that. The important thing is what you did with your life afterwards, seems you did okay. That's enough thanks for me." - Boothby

"Can you tell me what manoeuvre this is?" - Captain Picard
"It's a Kolvoord Starburst, sir." - Cadet Crusher
"Five ships crossing within ten meters of each other and igniting their plasma trails. One of the most spectacular and difficult demonstrations of precision flying. It hasn't been performed at the Academy team in over a hundred years. Do you know why?" - Captain Picard
"It was banned by the Academy following a training accident, sir." - Cadet Crusher
"An accident in which all five cadets lost their lives. I think that Nicholas Locarno wanted to end his Academy career in a blaze of glory. That he convinced the four of you to learn the Kolvoord Starburst for the commencement demonstration. If it worked, you would thrill the assembled guests and Locarno would graduate as a living legend. Only it didn't work, and Joshua Albert paid the price. Am I correct? Cadet, I asked you a question. Am I correct?" - Captain Picard
"I choose not to answer, sir." - Cadet Crusher
"You choose not to answer? But you've already given an answer to the inquiry, and that answer was a lie." - Captain Picard
"I said the accident occurred after the loop. It did." - Cadet Crusher
"What you neglected to mention was that following the loop your team attempted a maneuver that was the direct cause of the crash. You told the truth up to a point. But a lie of omission is still a lie. Do you remember the day you first came aboard this ship? Your mother brought you on the Bridge." - Captain Picard
"Yes." - Cadet Crusher
"You even sat in my chair. I was annoyed. Presumptuous child playing on my ship. But I never forgot how you already knew every control, every display. You behaved as though you belonged on the Bridge. And then later when I decided to make you an acting ensign, I was convinced you could be an outstanding officer. I've never questioned that conviction, until now. The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth. Whether it's scientific truth, or historical truth, or personal truth. It is the guiding principle upon which Starfleet is based. If you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened you don't deserve to wear that uniform. I'm going to make this simple for you, Mister Crusher. Either you come forward and tell Admiral Brand what really took place, or I will." - Captain Picard

"Yesterday I testified that the crash occurred following a Yeager Loop. That is not entirely true. We performed the loop as planned. Afterwards, we broke formation and attempted a Kolvoord Starburst. We knew it was prohibited, and we knew it was dangerous, but we wanted to do something spectacular for the commencement demonstration. We pushed Josh into it even though he wasn't ready. We thought we could do it. We thought we could do anything. We were wrong, and Josh died." - Cadet Crusher

"Mister Locarno has been expelled." - Captain Picard
"They should have expelled all of us." - Cadet Crusher
"So Commander Albert believes. And they very nearly did. Mister Locarno made an impassioned plea for the rest of you. He said that, as squadron leader, he'd convinced you to attempt the Kolvoord maneuver, and then to cover up the truth. He asked to take full responsibility." - Cadet Crusher
"So Nick did just what he said he'd do. He looked out for the team, made what he felt was the best decision. That's a lot more than I can say for myself." - Cadet Crusher

No comments:

Post a Comment