To be made a captain in Starfleet is to be recognized with trust, respect and appreciation. Despite a variety of episodes in which our heroes encounter less scrupulous colleagues, for the most part, Captains Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway and Archer performed their duties with honor, dedication and courage.
Emphasis on the “for the most part.”
Even the best of us slip up or do something we regret from time to time. The pressures of commanding a starship and protecting ones crew can lead to a variety of ethically grey areas. No captain has been immune to this. Captain Kirk’s (somewhat understandable, if not commendable) bigotry toward Klingons was well documented. Captain Picard’s strict and uncompromising adherence to the Prime Directive lead to deep, lasting consequences on several occasions, and on one occasion, his refusal to order his tactical officer to donate blood to a Romulan doomed that Romulan to a slow and painful death. Captain Sisko was the first to engage in conspiratorially illegal actions, which included becoming an accessory to murder and a blatant violation of the Prime Directive. He was also responsible for utilizing a weapon of mass destruction on a civilian Maquis population. Captain Janeway’s decision to destroy the Caretaker’s array left the entire crew of Voyager stranded in an unfamiliar quadrant, and her obsession with exploration brought incalculable danger into their midst. Captain Archer’s often entitled attitude underlied actions with potentially disturbing implications, such as his refusal to give an entire civilization the cure to a mortal disease, and a desperate attack on an innocent alien vessel when diplomacy failed.
This week’s question is: Which captain do you believe was the most morally dubious?