Serving under Captain James Tiberius Kirk will be a markedly different experience. Already there are several points where he diverges from the structured command style of Admiral Christopher Pike. I anticipate that it will be some time before I am able to optimize my performance and carry out my duties at my personal standard of efficiency.
The observations I made concerning Admiral Pike and his First Officer, Number One, do not seem to apply to my situation. Their relationship was marked by implicit trust, candor, and an intimate, intuitive knowledge of the other’s thought process. None of these qualities are present in my current situation with the captain, nor do I foresee such developments in the near future. Furthermore, the effort I made to understand Admiral Pike and the extensive data I gathered on his character are now irrelevant. Captain Kirk and Admiral Pike have few human characteristics in common.
How is it possible that this alien species is able to sustain such extensive psychological diversity? Is there any clear advantage or disadvantage?
I requested of Nyota an evaluation of the captain’s character. She is usually a good judge of her own species, and has demonstrated the ability to limit the use of subjective data in coming to her conclusions. However, in this case, maintaining objectivity was a particularly difficult task. Her final remarks were significantly influenced by her dislike of the captain. She submitted that James Kirk “is crazy. He might have saved the world, but he’s still an arrogant asshole.” Nyota is not in the habit of employing human derogatory language in her speech. “He’s a manipulative, self-serving, unprofessional, immature, insensitive boy that Starfleet made captain because they didn’t have any other option.”
Her intense hostility towards the captain seems to originate from a single incident.
“He deliberately provoked you, forced you to compromise yourself emotionally, just to take command of the Enterprise and do what he ‘felt’ was right.”
When I reminded her that the captain’s decisions proved to be the correct course of action, she replied, voice raised, that “the ends do not justify the means! He could have tried another way, instead of using every dirty trick in the playbook.” She neglected to recall that he had tried to convince me of the necessity of his proposal, though the logic behind his arguments was insufficiently rigorous. I have noted, however, Nyota has a tendency to exhibit highly emotional, and often aggressive, behavior towards those she perceives as somehow harming me. As I have recovered from the series of incidents, it is no longer necessary for her to act in this protective manner. She continues to do so, however, despite my efforts to assure her that no significant damage was inflicted.
Since Nyota’s evaluation was not satisfactory, I directed similar inquiries towards Lieutenant Sulu. His scientific training as a botanist and prolonged interactions with Captain Kirk as helmsman contributed to my conjecture that he might provide a more objective answer. The other candidate would have been Lt. Chekov. I determined that though his grasp of physics is remarkable by human standards, his extreme youth would effect his judgment in this matter.
“Captain Kirk?” Lt. Sulu gave an expression of puzzlement. “I think he’s a good captain. He thinks fast on his feet and isn’t afraid of taking risks. He’s a lot less strict than some of the other captains I’ve served under—things aren’t as tense on the bridge. And he cares about his crew. The captain inspires loyalty. I know a lot of crew members, especially in the security section, who think he’s,” Lt. Sulu searched for the appropriate term, “they’re looking forward to serving with him. He’s been training with them, recently,” he paused again. “Why do you ask, sir?”
A distinctly human tendency. This never ending quest to find the answer to “why.” Among Vulcans, there is no need to question motivations. The logic behind one’s actions is there for all to see. The motivations for human actions, driven by emotion, are much less transparent.
I answered with another inquiry. Lt. Sulu provided a definitively positive response and failed to mention important factors such as the captain’s distinct lack of experience. He chose to phrase what others might call “recklessness” as a willingness to take risks. He emphasized the quality of loyalty, and asserted that many of the crew feel this emotion towards a captain with whom they have only served ten days. “Do you also feel loyalty towards the captain, Lt. Sulu?”
His face resolved into a determined expression. It seems that the lieutenant has also been influenced by one definitive event.
“The captain saved my life.”
An interesting response, since it was in fact Lt. Chekov who managed to transport both the captain and Lt. Sulu back to the ship, saving them both from certain death. The captain was as powerless as the lieutenant in that situation. When I pointed out this flaw in his logic, the helmsman simply shook his head.
“It’s not the outcome that really mattered, Commander. It was the fact that the captain jumped—he never hesitated—to try and do everything and anything to get me. He’d do that for any one of his crew. That’s something you can’t fake. He went with you on the Narada, and covered your back, didn’t he? And he made good on his promise to Admiral Pike.”
Two disparate, emotional opinions concerning the captain, given by two humans whom I would normally consider to be less inclined to give into such impulses. I have duly noted these opinions, but neither can be relied upon in my observations of the captain.
What is clear, however, is that the captain educes strong emotional responses in those who come into close contact with him.
This may explain Dr. McCoy’s behavior. He is certainly an individual prone to explosive, emotional outbursts. However, perhaps the proximity to Captain Kirk induces these reactions to occur at an increased frequency. The chief medical officer’s source and target of anger and frustration is often the captain, though I find that myself to be on the receiving end of Dr. McCoys displays more and more.
I will find a way to limit my interactions with the doctor. His rampant emotionalism interferes with my efficiency and ability to perform my duties on the bridge.
There is a point of commonality between the three human reactions to the captain. It is never explicit—I suspect that Nyota would feel embarrassed should she ever admit this aloud. Dr. McCoy, Lt. Sulu, and Lt. Uhura respect the captain. Their respect is of varying degrees, of course. I venture to say that Nyota almost resents the fact that she respects the captain enough to serve under him. She has sometimes alluded to his surprising intelligence, and has admitted that he is effective in crisis situations and performs more than adequately in the day-to-day dealings aboard this starship. Lt. Sulu, from observation, respects the captain’s qualities from a tactical, military point of view. I am uncertain as to the source of Dr. McCoy’s respect. His conduct is contradictory at best. He regularly disagrees with the captain in word yet follows his orders in deed, without reluctance in either aspect.
I will not form opinions, as humans do. There is no purpose to expressing preference based on arbitrary criteria. Such preferences lead to fallacies in logic. I will fulfill my duties as first officer to Captain Kirk, as a science officer in Starfleet, and as a Vulcan in the Federation.