Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'd be a better starship commander than James T. Kirk.

It's true. I would be better at the job. And I can prove it.

I was recently watching the episode "The Galileo Seven" for the umpteenth time. It's a really strong episode. Spock and six others are investigating an ion storm in a shuttlecraft. The effects of the storm sucks them in and forces them to crash land on a desolate planet. They are surrounded by these huge, ape-like aboriginals with a tendency to impale strangers with really big spears. Spock must figure out a way to keep them all alive while Scotty tries to get the shuttle flying again.

As I said, it's a great episode--basically a character study pitting Spock's logic and lack of emotion against his human and more emotional crewmates, producing a real sense of tension and danger.

But my point here is to demonstrate that I'd be a better captain of the Enterprise than Kirk.

Kirk is desperately searching the planet for his friends, but the ion storm has disrupted sensors and communications. He only as a limited amount of time to search, because he's carrying medical supplies that have to be delivered by a specific deadline.

He sends out another shuttlecraft to assist in the search. But time runs out and he must recall all search parties and leave Spock and the others to their apparent doom.

Or did he have another option? It occurred to me that he didn't have to give up completely. Why not stuff the other shuttle full of volunteers, along with materials for building a shelter and a lot of supplies. They could have stayed behind, continuing the search while the Enterprise delivered the medical supplies.

Is there anything wrong with that plan? I don't think so. I think it works. And I think I thought of it and Kirk didn't. I am, therefore, a better starship commander than he is.

Of course, if I had to take the Enterprise into battle against a Klingon battle cruiser, I'd probably be in trouble. I have no idea how to yell out commands like "Mr. Sulu, take  us to course 143, mark 3--warp factor five!" and actually have it make sense.

But in this specific case, at least, I outdo Captain James T. Kirk.

Here's a link to watch the episode


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