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Star Trek Mag #40 Excerpt: The Burden Of Command

Star Trek Mag #40 Excerpt: The Burden Of Command

The command of a Federation starship carries with it a heavy burden of responsibility. The new issue of the official Star Trek Magazine explores the tough choices and personal sacrifices made by the best of the best.

As the U.S.S. Enterprise warps away from the newly formed planet Genesis, a tragic scene unfolds in the ship’s engineering section. Captain Spock, on the verge of death after receiving a lethal dose of radiation, says goodbye to his old friend and superior officer, James T Kirk.

Spock chose to sacrifice himself to repair the ship’s warp drive so that it could escape destruction during the formation of Genesis. As he dies, the two friends repeat an earlier exchange that has now taken on a new and tragic meaning: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.” It is this seemingly simple maxim that has led Spock to make the ultimate sacrifice.

He is a Vulcan and, as such, has employed logic rather than emotions to dictate the path that his life has taken. However, placing the interests of others over oneself or an individual is the responsibility faced by all Starfleet captains. Although Kirk desperately regrets the loss of his friend’s life, he completely understands Spock’s decision and would undoubtedly have made the same one himself had their roles been reversed.

The qualities required to become a Starfleet captain include a unique combination of confidence and humility. The commanding officer of a starship or space station is frequently called upon to resolve disputes, initiate first contact with new species, and defend the oppressed – all without infringing upon the rights, customs, and beliefs of other cultures. The pressure on a commanding officer can be immense and the lure of the position’s power can be seductive.

Inevitably, there are those that have cracked under the strain, or succumbed to temptation, compromising Starfleet’s strict ethical code and blackening the reputation of the United Federation of Planets. But these are the few exceptions.

Many captains are exemplary leaders with a few making significant contributions to the exploration of the galaxy, establishing good relations with other races, and keeping the peace. These are the best of the best.

Discover the tough choices made by Starfleet’s finest, and the personal sacrifices they each made to reach the prestigious rank of Captain, in issue #40 of the official Star Trek Magazine, on sale tomorrow.

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