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The Star(Fleet) Report
SFNN : Stardate 9812.19 -- Legendary Starfleet Captain James Tiberius Kirk was remanded to a court-martial today by a narrow and partisan vote of the Admiralty Board to face charges of lying to a board of inquiry in the palimony case brought against him by Dr. Carol Marcus. While Kirk was exonerated by the board, he now faces charges that he lied to that board about an inappropriate relationship with Yeoman Janice Rand. Lieutenant Areel Shaw of the Legal Affairs office of Starbase 12 (whose previous prosecution of Kirk for the death of Lt. Commander Benjamin Finney was unsuccessful) submitted charges based on 79 incidents to Commodore L.T. Stone.
While public sentiment consistently runs about 2:1 in Kirk's favor, downloads of the 79 approximately hour-long charges and supporting recordings are very popular and are eclipsing entertainment programming in some areas. The trial date has yet to be set. According to Commodore Stone, "It is a sad, deliberate duty I have to court-martial this officer, but the rule of law must be preserved. We cannot base our decisions in this vital matter on public opinion."
Critics of the prosecution, including Kirk's lawyer Samuel Cogley, claim that Kirk is the victim of a vast conspiracy bent on his destruction. Kirk is the youngest officer given command of a capital ship by Star Fleet but has a reputation both for playing fast and loose with rules and for serial womanizing. Marcus's lawyers called no fewer than 20 former Star Fleet employees who claimed that Kirk either had or attempted to initiate a sexual relationship with them, including Dr. Janet Wallace, Lt. Helen Johanson and Dr. Janice Lester. Marcus' lawyers allege that Kirk also engaged in inappropriate behavior with "countless" non-Federation citizens who could not be brought to Starbase 12 because their worlds were still protected by the Prime Directive.
Prosecutors say that Kirk's actions in crossing the neutral zone into Romulan space will not delay their action on his current case, although at least one flag officer questioned the appropriateness of military action at a time when his command was subject to an impending vote on court-martial. Note Kirk opponent Federation Commissioner Ferris said "James T. Kirk is risking the lives of our brave men and women in red to cover his repeated failures to follow the prime directive and his serial fraternization with women under his command. Rather than dragging Star Fleet through the mud and disgracing it before the entire United Federation of Planets, Captain Kirk should take the only honorable course open to him, he should resign his commission immediately."
The most serious charges is that on or about Stardate 1672.1 in orbit of Alpha 177, Captain Kirk breached Star Fleet Regulations against fraternization with officers under his command by engaging in a consentual sexual relationship with Yeoman Janice Rand. While one line of investigation attempted to prove that Kirk had arranged a good assignment for his former yeoman to buy her silence after he broke off his relationship with her, that effort has not led to any charges. Charges stem from Rand's original statements to Star Fleet Security that the Captain had assaulted her. Rand later recanted the charge, claiming that Kirk told her that he had been split into "good" and "big creep" halves by a transporter malfunction. Prosecutors believe that she was lying to cover up an assault perpetrated while the lovers were quarreling over Kirk's disposition of an underage federation citizen identified only as "Charlie X," whom members of the Enterprise crew claim was romantically interested in Rand.
Rand was called as a witness in the Marcus paternity suit in an attempt to show that James Kirk had a pattern of serial fraternization with subordinate coworkers. Rand claimed, under oath, that she and Kirk had never had sex on the Enterprise. Following the revelation some weeks later that Lt. Nyota Uhura, the communications officer of the Enterprise, had taped many hours of private vidcalls in which the two spoke extensively about Rand's involvement with the Captain. Special Prosecutor Shaw has granted both Uhura and Rand immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. Sources close to the Kirk camp claim that Lt. Uhura was bitter because she was in a dead-end job which consisted mostly of opening hailing frequencies, and that she illegally recorded Rand.
Interplanetary reaction: Diplomats from the warring worlds of Eminiar VII and Vendikar, visited by Kirk days before the charges were presented by Shaw, welcomed his efforts to bring peace to the troubled region, as did the Troyius ambassador Lord Petri. But Klingon representatives said his actions in the Neutral Zone were reckless and could worsen the fragile post-Organian peace between the two major superpowers.
If Kirk is successfully court-martialed on any of these charges, command will devolve to his First Mate, Spock of Vulcan. Spock, the only son of the Vulcan politician Sarek of Vulcan is known as a scrupulously 'clean' Star Fleet officer. Spock is known throughout Star Fleet for his unemotional demeanor, described by some as "stiff." The Shaw investigation looked into charges that Spock was illegally in contact with Talos IV in violation General Order 7, but could find no admissible evidence that he did so.
"It's just like these other charges," Cogley says, "all bluff, innuendo, and circumstance. Why, I saw just the other day a Kirk Death List, purporting to show that knowing James Kirk was a good way to get dead. It's all hogwash. The ones where there is even any evidence that these people ever existed aren't connected to Kirk or are not in any way suspicious."
Cogley, one of the finest lawyers in Federation Space, cultivates a reputation for eccentricity, but has been instrumental in Kirk's previous legal battles. "James Kirk is a remarkable man and an able Star Fleet officer. His enemies, jealous of his youth, power and ability, will stop at nothing to bring him down. We cannot let the divisive politics of Star Fleet destroy this fine career."
Others disagree. A classmate of Capt. Kirk's from his days at Star Fleet Academy, who asked not to be named, claims that Kirk cheated on his Kobayashi Maru exercise, but that it was hushed up to maintain the integrity of the program. "I was amazed when I heard that he had been assigned to the U.S.S. Farragut. It sure wasn't for his ability. Someone was looking out for Jimmy Kirk."
Federation Undersecretary for Agricultural Affairs Nilz Barris commenting from Space Station K-7 stated that Kirk cut corners and had an undisciplined crew. Barris blames Kirk and the Enterprise for the quadrotriticale disaster on Sherman's Planet and believes that Kirk's culpability was suppressed by high-level intervention. Barris has been calling for Kirk's court-martial or resignation since Stardate 4525.5
The pro-Kirk forces are as strongly opposed to the process as Ferris and Shaw are for it. "This is a court-martial in search of a crime" stated Commodore Robert April. "They've been after Kirk since he first got the Enterprise. First they promised us that they had the goods on him over General Order 7, then it was violations of the Prime Directive, then Kirk supposedly covered up a murder committed by [Enterprise Chief Engineer Lt. Commander Montgomery] Scott on Argelius II. None of it ever panned out, and now they want to hang him for lying about sex in a civilian trial? It just goes to show that if you throw enough mud at someone, some of it will stick to something, if only to itself."
Many Kirk detractors point to the infamous "red shirt count" document (http://www.biap.com/rglover/Redshirtcount.html) as proof that Kirk must have been involved in a serious cover-up of his illegal activities for years. The list, which shows 61 crew deaths during Kirk's five year mission, 14 percent of the crew complement of the Enterprise. Kirk was exonerated in the single court martial trial he faced in this period over a crewman's death.
Kirk's supporters scoff at this list, claiming that it has no merit and that these men were killed because security is a dangerous job. They point to the USS Yorktown, Intrepid, Excalibur, Defiant and Constitution, all of which did not return from their five-year missions. Kirk's casualty rate is actually remarkably low, they say, and is another reason that opponents dislike him.
The exoneration in the Finney case has not satisfied Kirk's enemies. Federation Commissioner Ferris, speaking before a joint session of the Federation Commission late last week said "Serious questions remain unanswered regarding Captain Kirk's involvement in the death of Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell and the so-called suicide of Dr. Elizabeth Denher, Enterprise crew involvement in the mysterious disappearance of Assistant Federation Commissioner Nancy Hedford. It can't all be coincidence. Kirk is the only living person who knows exactly what happened to 4,000 colonists on Tarsus IV who were killed by Kodos the executioner 20 years ago. Kirk was involved in the death of half of the crew of the USS Farragut, over 200 men and officers, in the vicinity of Tycho IV 11 years ago. Kirk's role in the death of Commodore Matthew Decker and later in the death of his son, Captain Willard Decker, have never been adequately explained. Yet, time after time, Kirk and his officers are cleared of all wrongdoing. Who is responsible? How can this happen? These questions need answers."
The Enterprise security forces were amongst the highest casualty areas; security officer Leslie was one of the survivors. "The Enterprise security detail, where many men and women were in a position to know of any improper activity by the captain or the senior officers, was devastated. Twenty-eight of my fellow security officers were killed while on active duty, to one command line officer. The Enterprise wasn't a plum assignment for security forces, it was a death sentence. And that isn't even counting officers who died after leaving the service. What did my late companions know or do to cause so many of them to die? While most serving officers are afraid to say so, the entire security force despises Kirk and would prefer that he were court-martialed."
Captain Kirk has issued two statements on the charges. His original statement, made Stardate 9804.5, was that he and Yeoman Rand had never had sexual relations while either was serving on the Enterprise. Later, following the release of some of the 79 hours of video material that Prosecutor Shaw presented to Star Fleet, Kirk said "Indeed I did have a relationship with Yeoman Rand that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible," he said. "I made deliberately misleading statements out of shame and to protect the honor of the lady in question. My actions do not constitute deliberate lying, however, because technically, Yeoman Rand and I served 'in' the Enterprise rather than 'on' the Enterprise. It all depends on what 'in' is."
This story copyright 9812.19 Star Fleet Network News (Michael Croft)