by Adam Esquenazi Douglas
Yeah, you know the rest.
Super Mario, Lucky Charms, and Sir Patrick Stewart all have one thing in common: they’re delicious. Also, they were all staples of my childhood. Especially Pat. Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of my favorite shows growing up, and is more or less responsible for my love of the science fiction genre in general.
As I matured, so did my tastes, and I sampled other flavors of the Federation. I’ve dined in the Delta Quadrant, washed it down with some Romulan Ale at Quark’s, and went to Dr. Phlox’s the next day to cure my hangover. My love for all things Trek goes far beyond Warp 9, and I eagerly await the…well…next generation.
While every series is so vastly different, similarities are ample, and none more so than the division of power on your average Galaxy class starship. Or Intrepid. Okay, or old space station. Whatever. Every Star Trek series has had a sometimes ragtag sometimes top-class team of pilots, pirates, and even a pooch. Each team had its superstars as well as its Harry Kims. Today, I’m going to boldly go where every Trek fan has ever gone and create what I think would be the crew of the Ultimate Enterprise. Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence, and I wouldn’t beam up without this group.
CAPTAIN – JEAN-LUC PICARD
I’m getting this out of the way now because, yes, it’s the clichéd answer, and I don’t want to give false anticipation to the most obvious selection. Look, ensigns, you never forget your first, and Jean-Luc was my introduction to four pips. He’s the father to my Federation family, and you’re always gonna compare everyone else in charge to that figure.
But, hey, he’s earned it. The dude saved all of humanity…twice, bested the Borg, outsmarted Q, and had a firm command of Shakespearean iambic pentameter. He was everything you ever wanted out of a decorated Federation officer, but still had the (partially robotic) heart of an explorer. You respected his sense of duty, believed in his heart, and always wanted to see where his vision was taking you.
The Enterprise is an exquisite, dignified woman who demands and deserves respect. There’s never been a finer gentleman to hold her hand and escort her through the stars than this inexplicably British-accented Frenchman.
FIRST OFFICER- ODO
There, now wasn’t that unexpected?
Deep Space 9 is definitely the most underrated out of any Trek series, and this crafty Changeling was by far the series’ dark horse. Don’t get me wrong, the cast and crew of DS9 made great use of Odo as a character, leading to some of the most compelling and heartbreaking storylines in any television show, but Odo’s abilities were never quite utilized as well as I think they could have been.
Aside from his natural abilities as a Changeling, which are incredibly formidable, Odo has that most precious gift of all: insight. Many Starfleet officers come from, mostly, lives of privilege. Being a Federation citizen is a blessing, what with most Federation planets being peaceful and prosperous. William Riker, Wesley Crusher, and Trip Tucker all come from pretty much paradise, and while they’re all very capable officers, there’s a difference between book and street smarts.
To save everyone from spoilers, Odo had a messed up “childhood”, a fractured adolescence, and a pretty crap adulthood. He was bitter, suspicious, and was farther from idealistic than Quark was from reputable. His life wasn’t easy, and, so, he wasn’t an easy man (so to speak.)
But he was tough. And, like his very nature, Odo was also very malleable and able to easily adapt. A first officer must be a liquid individual able to balance the demands of a captain, the expectations from subordinates, as well as how to deal with the asshole Andorian ambassador.
Odo was professional, wise, could kick nine kinds of ass when needed, but never craved total control. He thrived in creating order. He was the perfect right-hand Changeling. The perfect Number 1.
And, besides, red would look way better than that brown onesie.
CHIEF OF SECURITY – DATA
There’s a reason the Enterprise is a feared vessel. It’s Starfleet’s flagship, and it’s got the photon (and quantum!) torpedoes to back it up. If it fell into the wrong hands it could be devastating. You know…kind of like the multiple times when it was.
I’m reminded of the TNG episode “Brothers” where, in less than ten minutes, Data takes complete control over the entire Enterprise. The whole sequence is on YouTube. Check it out. It’s incredible. And frightening. To think that such loopholes exist in a virtually unstoppable war machine like the Enterprise should make any Federation citizen sleep just a little less comfortably.
But if there’s anyone who would be able to perfect the computer, it would be the perfect computer.
Data is as powerful and intimidating as the Enterprise herself. He is infinitely smart, never gets tired, and can dance better than all of us combined. He would be the ideal candidate to completely revolutionize with precision accuracy a starship’s security system to make it thoroughly impregnable. Add in the fact that he has super strength and speed as well as a repertoire of fighting styles that would make Neo blush, and Data is one awesome ass-kicking albino android.
CHIEF OF ENGINEERING- MONTGOMERY “SCOTTY” SCOTT
Who doesn’t love Scotty?
Scottish charm aside, Scotty is a pretty impressive officer. If ever there were an Enterprise that got itself into some harebrained hijinxs, it was the one that called Scotty chief. Time after time a big bag of silly was thrown right into the warpcore and everyone turned to Scotty to save the day.
And he had nothing! Even a wimpy little Intrepid class like Voyager had tech leagues beyond the Erector Set of an Enterprise that Scotty managed. Improvisation was the name of the game for Mr. Scott, and his improv skills were second only to Colin Mochrie.
But engineering is more than just trifling tinkering. There’s an attitude that has to be there for an engine to hum harmoniously. An engineer has to meet the demands of the two biggest divas on every single starship: the captain and the core. Scotty certainly knew how to tango with technology, but his skill at calming Kirk was just as astonishing. Years later, Scotty would say to a (barely listening) Geordi LaForge, “Starship captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. The secret is to give them what they need, not what they want.”
Wisdom of the Scots, ladies and gents.
CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER- THE EMERGENCY MEDICAL HOLOGRAM
I’m (pardon the pun) crushing the heart of my ten year-old self by putting the EMH here instead of my first TV crush (and the MILFiest MILF in all of known space) Dr. Beverly Crusher, but if I’m going under, I’d much rather have this balding hologram be the last thing I see.
Like Data, the EMH has an encyclopedic knowledge of medical practice, and when you’ve got multiple species of all shapes, sizes, and colors coughing in your cellular peptide cake (with mint frosting), you want someone with more information than hair follicles.
Most Starfleet officers prefer a corporeal physician since holograms are limited in their ability to learn, and certainly lacking in bedside manner, but this is where the EMH is unique. Through his journeys on Voyager, the EMH picked up untold amounts of information about nearly every species known, and arguably more about the many wild and weird newcomers scattered across the Delta Quadrant.
But, arguably more importantly, as their voyage grew, so did the EMH’s capabilities. He became a music aficionado, an amateur holonovelist, and even had the ones and zeroes that make up his heart rearrange themselves into electronic love. He didn’t need to learn, but he did anyway.
He became better to help us become better, which is what the best doctors should always do.
FLIGHT CONTROLLER (CONN) – 7 OF 9
There’s no room for human error when you’re navigating a self-replicating minefield. As spooky as the outer space zombies we call the Borg are, their piloting skills are unmatched. They make a cube look graceful. That takes skill.
Unfortunately, the Borg ain’t quite chummy so options are limited between who we can utilize. And while Hugh may have had more experience with the Collective, I think most of us would prefer to see 7 of 9 behind the wheel.
She never accepted failure, never shirked a task, and never showed fear. Piloting takes the steadiest of hands, and 7 was always the coolest cucumber on board. Sure, she never showed any real piloting acumen, but if push comes to shove she can just mildly assimilate Tom Paris and steal all his tricks. He seemed to like aggressive women, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.
Either way, this Enterprise is gonna have one sexy cucumber steering her straight.
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER – HOSHI SATO
The original Enterprise crew never really get their due and proper. I blame the theme song. Either way, they were a crew who had everything to prove and even more to lose, and still they prospered.
But if anyone had any real pressure, it was linguist Hoshi Sato. Going into unknown space is anxiety-inducing enough, but knowing you were the one responsible for knowing whether or not the Gorn on the other end of the viewscreen wanted to do breakfast or battle with the captain is even more intimidating.
Despite the odds (and a few translation snafus here and there), Sato still managed to maintain calm communications throughout the (done before its time) run of Enterprise. And, later, she went on to invent the translation matrix, a now-standard piece of language translation technology in all of the entire Star Trek universe.
Yes, the position of communications officer had more or less vanished come TNG, but you never know. I’ll betcha “Darmok” would’ve ended in less than two minutes had Hoshi been on board.
HEAD OF TEN-FORWARD- Q
Technically he was a member of Starfleet…for a few hours at least. Look, the man can make anything faster and tastier than any replicator, and you know he’s got a million billion stories. You’re telling me you wouldn’t want a god to be your bartender? Actually, why don’t you tell him.
Don’t be scared…he’s just infinitely powerful. And sensitive.
HEAD OF STARFLEET- BENJAMIN SISKO
And, finally, the head muckety-muck.
The universe of Star Trek is a complex beast composed of a hundred different heads, and most of them are constantly pissed off. Deep Space 9 was a volatile little space station, awash with schemes and seductions, treachery and trepidation, and it was all Ben’s responsibility. Did he succeed in keeping it under control? No.
He did them one better: he fixed the entire damn thing.
Where to begin and where to end with the trials and tribble-lations DS9 underwent. If you haven’t watched it, it’s all on Netflix. Engage. Done? Holy crap, right? Anyone who could manage that madhouse deserves some distinction beyond captaining a second-rate baseball team.
Benjamin Sisko knew when to speak softly, and when to start punching. He had passion, compassion, and, let’s be honest, pulled off the bald look way better than any other commanding officer. He was one of the finest human beings to ever graduate from the Starfleet Academy, and an even more outstanding officer.
Don’t believe me? Ask the dishes! And by dishes I mean beings of omnipotent power. The Prophets of Bajor chose Sisko to be their Emissary. When the cosmos say you’re hot stuff, you’re hot stuff, hot stuff.
But to me Sisko’s most admirable trait was his dedication to his son, Jake. Throughout the entire series, Ben Sisko was an ideal father. Whereas many men falter in fatherhood following the loss of their spouse, Benjamin Sisko embraced his responsibility all the more, and raised to Jake to be as upstanding and laudable a man as he was. We rarely got to see family dynamics on Star Trek. Benjamin Sisko set the bar and then surpassed it again and again.
A great officer, an even better man. Yup, he’s in charge of everything.
And now we switch to impulse power. Let me know what you think of this crew, Unrealtors, and share your own! I can’t wait to hear how unforgiving it was that I completely left out Worf.
Adam Esquenazi Douglas is a playwright who was born in Texas, grew up in Arkansas, was raised by a Jewish man and a Cuban woman, and, somehow, he doesn’t have an accent.
He is co-host of two podcasts, The JimmyJew Podcast Extravaganza and Schmame Over, which can be found at http://jimmyjew.libsyn.com/ and http://schmameover.libsyn.com/ respectively, as well as on iTunes. He is a contributing writer to www.GamersSchmamers.com
He currently lives in Brooklyn where he drinks far too much coffee.