Published May 19, 2023
5 Signs You're Like Captain Robau
Are you the leader of your crew?
By Jay Stobie
Portrayed by Faran Tahir, the U.S.S. Kelvin's commander made key decisions on his crew's behalf and helped set an alternate reality into motion. Displaying bravery in the face of unexpected danger, Robau acted in a manner befitting his rank and duties. Would your deeds match up to his heroics?
1. Are You the Center of Attention?
Robau and his crew hold the distinction of being present at the very event that caused the Prime and Kelvin timelines to diverge from one another. The Romulan starship Narada's arrival near the Kelvin's position represented the precise point where Nero's actions changed the galaxy's course. The casualties suffered by the Kelvin, such as Robau and George Kirk, began a process that ultimately affected countless beings.
In the seconds that passed after the Narada appeared, Robau transitioned from "Prime Robau" to "Kelvin Robau." Can one change much in such a brief time period? Well, being impaled by a crazed Romulan undeniably fits as a life-altering experience. Discovering unfamiliar lifeforms, establishing diplomatic ties with other species, and avoiding the admiralty are well-established elements in a captain's daily routine, but ushering in a new reality does not usually come with the territory. In an odd way, the universe revolved around Robau during this impromptu clash.
2. Do You Often Have Bad Luck?
Many captains might argue about luck's very existence, but all would agree that luck evaded Robau during the Narada's temporal incursion. Space's vastness offered no shelter for Robau, whose vessel had the unfortunate (or unlucky?) honor to stumble across the Romulan mining ship during its grand re-entry into the timestream. Commanding that particular starship on its assigned patrol route served as the beginning for Robau's bad day. Outgunned by advanced weaponry, the Kelvin and her captain lacked any tactical options beyond unconditionally surrendering to the behemoth in their path.
With George Kirk temporarily taking the center seat, Robau piloted a shuttlecraft to meet with their belligerent foes. However, the mysterious, unknown entity avoided destroying the Kelvin and invited the captain aboard. Perhaps a reasonable discussion ending with an amicable solution awaited Robau upon his arrival? Nope. Robau's Romulan counterpart recently lost his family, saw his homeworld destroyed, and allowed hatred to fuel his thoughts... not exactly the most stable person to engage with at that instant. Once Nero realized that the Starfleet officer knew nothing about Ambassador Spock, he violently dispatched Robau.
3. Are You Reliable And Well-Prepared?
Robau's sudden death shocked his crew, but the captain made sure to leave his subordinates with the proper tools and a fighting chance in the event a worst-case scenario transpired. Relying on George Kirk to guide the starship in his absence, Robau placed significant responsibility on the young man's shoulders. While the captain also provided orders to evacuate if he did not return, his experience undoubtedly told him that he needed to choose a trustworthy replacement with the capability to adapt to uncertain circumstances.
The lopsided battle between the Kelvin and Narada produced very few positives for Starfleet, but the two facets of Robau's backup plan — selecting George Kirk and ordering him to abandon ship — combined to save numerous crewmembers. As Christopher Pike later described to a rebellious James T. Kirk, George Kirk proved his mettle as a captain by sacrificing his own life to ensure as many shuttlecraft as possible evaded the Narada's weapons. Robau's forward thinking prevented the Kelvin's complement from becoming a total loss, with more than 800 souls evading Nero's clutches.
4. Do You Project Serenity in Stressful Situations?
An enemy appearing from nothingness. A broken vessel filled with dead and injured colleagues. Traveling alone to confront your attacker. Robau's elevated heart rate indicated that these events adversely affected him as he met with Nero. Despite Starfleet's intensive training, any captain's nerves may undergo anxiety from those circumstances. The Kelvin Bridge monitored Robau's vitals, but their leader faced his opponents without showing any weakness.
Other than his obvious anger over the attack, Robau refrained from displaying stress or fear as he addressed Nero. After the Romulans inquired about the stardate, the captain's instincts immediately kicked in and prompted Robau to realize that much more hovered below the encounter's surface. Regrettably, Nero ended the human's life before Robau could learn about the factors motivating the Narada's crew or the starship's anachronistic origin.
5. Are You Terrible at Dealing with Romulans?
In fairness to Robau, the incident with the Romulans acted as a real-life Kobayashi Maru scenario. The Starfleet captain took every opportunity to protect the Kelvin and provide an escape route for as many crew members as possible. Robau wisely selected George Kirk as his replacement and offered advice as to what course Kirk needed to take. Nero's demeanor remained impenetrable to any diplomatic overtures or peace talks.
Nevertheless, Robau's trip to the Narada represented Starfleet's first in-person rendezvous with Romulans in the Kelvin Timeline. The Romulans never initiated visual communications during the Earth-Romulan War, and the Prime Timeline's U.S.S. Enterprise did not witness the first confirmed Romulan citizen until the 2260s in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror." Setting aside the human's heroics and the unfavorable odds, Robau's brief parley accomplished little for Romulan-Federation relations.