Posted by: rebeccajrobare | August 2, 2018

Competing Priorities: “Angel One”

Mission Summary: The Enterprise has found a missing Federation freighter, the Odin. There are no survivors on board the derelict ship, but some escape pods were deployed. The nearest M-class planet, Angel One, is presumed to have been their destination. The Elected One, or leader, of Angel One’s matriarchal society, Beatta, receives the Enterprise coldly. She reluctantly grants an away team comprised of Riker, Troi, Yar, and Data permission to search for the survivors, who are considered a disruptive element to Angel One’s female-dominated society and have been in hiding. By searching for plutonium, which is not naturally found on Angel One, the Enterprise is easily able to find the Odins, and Troi, Yar, and Data beam to their location while Riker is entertained by Beatta. To the surprise of the away team, the Odins do not want to leave Angel One. They have settled down, married, and have had children, and they will not leave the planet they now consider home. Because the Odin survivors are not Starfleet personnel, the Enterprise crew have no authority to compel them survivors to leave. Beatta declares that if they will not leave, they will be executed; one of her ministers is secretly married to the leader of the Odins, and was followed to their hiding place. However, Riker makes an impassioned plea to Beatta that results in a sentence of exile, rather than execution, with the intent to slow the inevitable evolution of Angel One into a society where the sexes have equal rights.

While this has been happening on Angel One, a ski lesson on the holodeck has somehow resulted in a mysterious respiratory virus being loosed on the Enterprise, meaning that the intended executions on Angel One could not have been averted by simply rescuing the rebels against their will. The virus also stymies the Enterprise from carrying out its orders to make a show of force at an outpost on the border of the Romulan Neutral Zone, which is under threat from Romulan ships. However, Dr. Crusher is able to synthesize an inoculant in time, and the Enterprise heads off to the outpost.

Analysis: With the attempt to rescue the Odin survivors from Angel One, the virus keeping the Enterprise crew away from their posts, and the Romulan threat on the border outpost, there is a lot happening during this mission. The desire of the survivors to remain in a society in which they feel integrated is unsurprising, but it seems very strange that, having located them, Elected One Beatta is able to compel their execution, or exile on Angel One, but not to end them with the Enterprise, who are willing to take the survivors and their families. Particularly given that Riker is willing to have them all beamed to the ship rather than executed, it seems like the threat of execution is rather unnecessary on Beatta’s part.

Picard, meanwhile, is one of the early victims of the virus, and thus is forced to follow Crusher’s advice and be confined to bed for much of this mission. As far as the leadership lesson there, it is important that any person, no matter how senior or important, take the time to recover from illness when necessary. Outside of Starfleet, illness so often seems to be considered a moral weakness. Bosses brag about “never having taken a sick day” and time to recover from illness or to tend to ill family members is begrudged.

With Picard ill, the decisions fall to Riker, Dr. Crusher, and Data, who all exercise good judgement and dedication to Starfleet’s mission and directives. I think it shows the importance of having such a mission in an organization. With the same vision to guide everyone, there are fewer opportunities to disagree about priorities, even if there is disagreement about the details of executing that mission (such as Data interpreting Riker’s orders to allow him to remain at Angel One, rather than immediately taking the Enterprise to the Neutral Zone).

The student of leadership does not find a lot of especial interest in this mission, but its successful completion testifies to Picard’s skill as a leader and the mission-driven nature of Starfleet as a whole.


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