So the first trailer for Star Trek Beyond was released and nerds everywhere have gotten their collective Spock undies in a bunch over every aspect of it, mainly because the movie doesn’t look painfully boring and has the audacity to include some action scenes.
But what I’m wondering is how in the world Kirk is even still allowed to captain a ship, given that he’s been involved in the destruction of about 43 of these things.
Starfleet vessels serve different purposes, but most (like the Enterprise) are supposed to be diplomatic deep-space exploratory ships, designed to seek out lifeforms and help those in need around the universe. While confrontation is sometimes unavoidable, and despite reluctantly embracing its military capabilities by the time Kirk became a captain, Starfleet is truly supposed to be a peacekeeping armada above all else, carrying out missions related to exploration, defense, diplomacy and research. But Captain Kirk is out there constantly finding himself in trouble, costing Starfleet billions, maybe trillions, of dollars by getting into these situations that put hundreds of lives in danger.
That being said, the Enterprise in its many iterations has been destroyed quite often (Even the Next Generation crew gets in on the fun). But annihilating the Enterprise really seems to be the main goal of every movie in the modern run of the franchise. I’m starting to think the writers just put “Blow up the Enterprise“on a single note card, stick it to a giant blank board, and then write their way to and from that point.
Sure, Kirk has saved countless lives in his tenure as captain, but at what point do Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets sit him down and go, “Look, these things aren’t cheap. You don’t see anyone else out there blowing up their ships every chance they get. You remember how this whole federation is built on diplomatic and scientific peace missions? You don’t see Captain Abbott asking for a new Bradbury every six months, do you? Knock that shit off!”
Maybe I’m just being hard on Kirk, though. After all, plenty of other Starfleet ships have met pretty rough fates, as so many have been:
- Destroyed in battles
- Invaded and controlled by countless enemies
- Damaged in test malfunctions
- Disabled by alien probes and computers
- Sacrificed to save crews
- Annihilated by warp core breaches and catastrophic engine failures
- Just generally lost in space and never heard from again
Kirk’s probably still the best PR machine Starfleet has going for it too, so he’ll never truly have to change his methods. He’s the star player on the team with “character issues.” You pretty much get out of his way because you know he’ll win you some big games.
I’m sure that’s the comforting thought Starfleet’s accountants have when they see the order invoice for yet another NCC-1701 vessel.