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How would you treat (beat?!?) the Kobayashi Maru test?


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Before you even think about it, you Can't pull a James Tiberius Kirk on this one. - It's no longer original thinking :P

So as the topic says, how would you treat (beat?!?) the Kobayashi Maru? How would you justify your decision? I'll start.

Sollution: Refuse to break the treaty by crossing the Neutral Zone border. Make a note of the inccident in the ships log and contact Starfleet Command about it.

Justification: As the Vulcan race is so fond of saying, 'The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few or the one.' Crossing into the Neutral Zone for any reason is considered at best a hostile action, and at worst a declaration of war. I can not justify risking the ship and the lives of my crew to save one civilan ship nor can I justify risking all out war with the (Insert time period specific race of your choice here) for the same reason. I would allow members of my crew to object on moral grounds, and their objections to be noted in the log and message to Starfleet Command before resuming the ships previous course and speed.

Now over to you.

Edit to answer Major Parker. My understanding of Federation law and Starfleet regulations is that the treaty must be obeyed, even if it means disobeying a Starfleet directive. I'm not saying I wouldn't get court martialed in a real situation, however I would probably be aquitted at any such trial based on the justification.

As I see it, the treaty over rides any and all Starfleet regulations and directives.

Edited by LtJG Richards
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I think firstly I'd have to consider the scenario in my terms the problems as I see them are:-

1. Entering the neutral zone violates the treaty.

2. If you do decide to rescue the ship you will be effectively guaranteed to be destroyed.

I'm going to assume that they are using the Romulans as the fictional enemies here.

Now, if I remember correctly the the Khitomer Accords have a exception for entry into the neutral zone for missions of mercy. As this is undoubtedly one of these, I would instruct my Comms officer to broadcast a message to this extent on all frequencies including one as a coded subspace message to Starfleet.

I would then move into the system, presumably now the Romulans would un-cloak and lock weapons. I would then order both a message to be sent to them (both through a hail and a wide-band subspace transmission, with a transcript once again sent to Starfleet) informing them of the violation of the Khitomer Accords and my mission. I assume that this would be ignored.

My next orders would be to have all nonessential personnel and civilians head for the escape capsules and attempt to avoid any weapons fire until that operation is complete. I would also ensure that a copy of our records of the encounter and a bridge recording were sent with them. When I get message that the operation is complete my tactic would then change to one of firing all escape capsules and providing weapons fire to draw attention away from them.

This would result in the destruction of both myself and my ship however:

a) It is documented that their actions were in violation. (i.e. The federation cannot be accused of starting a war)

B) It is reasonable to assume a good majority of my crew survive.

c) It left me with reasonable chance of success, if the computer where not "cheating" it is plausible, depending on the ship I am commanding, that I could win the conflict, rescue the Kobayashi Maru (or at least gain information on why it was in distress that may be valuable) and return my crew.

Edited by Lt. JG James
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it would be nice to avoid the confrontation,...however, a distress signal cannot be ignored under any circumstances, so you would have to respond..doing so would get you instantly court- martialed, so you have no choice but to enter the Neutral Zone.

Solution: Respond to the distress signal, laumch a buoy ( while still on your side of the fence) and notify Starfleet Command of your intentions. Go in hot, shields up, weapons charged, locate the distressed vessel, rescue the crew if possible, and have one hell of a fight. Escape if possible.

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Interesting sollution Major, but can you justify your mission as one of mercy if you go in shields up and weapons hot? I know if I were an oposing faction and I saw a ship cross the border on a 'war' footing i would see it as an act of war.

Of course, that does sound like exactly what Parker would do. See my original post for an edit clarifying the point you make.

Edited by LtJG Richards
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Aaaaahhhh..... but....one of the oldest sea faring ( and space faring) absolutes is you do not ignore a ship in distress, unless you can completely justify condemming another crew to certain death. A treaty may not have provisions for such an eventuality, and trying to figure it out while another ship is pleading for assistance is not the time to dwell on it.

First of all, your first assumption should be it is a trap, with the Romulans/ Klingons etc. waiting to ambush you. Just because it's a rescue mission does not mean go in unprepared..a ship full of holes will be too busy saving itself than saving who they went in to save. Do all you can to cover your bases before you leave Federation territory ( logs, buoy, subspace transmission) and transmit in the clear so there will be no mistake why you are there. If it is a trap, you have let everyone know on both sides of the border your intentions and when the shooting starts, hopefully help is on the way...however, it may not be enough to help you save your ship or the Kobayashi Maru. You fight as long as you can, as hard as you can, all the way back to the border if possible. If you survive, you are a hero. If you don't....you did your best to save your crew and the ship in distress. Being outgunned is not a death sentence. Superior tactics, weapons usage and damage control ( things Starfleet are known for) are your saving grace in such a conflict. If you are unable to win, at least kick 'em in the groin..hard.....

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Like Mr Richards, Saveron would not violate the treaty and risk inter-stellar war. The safety of billions of Federation citizens outweighs the needs of the crew of one freighter. This would be why Saveron is a career medical officer, not a command trainee.

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I'm going to assume that they are using the Romulans as the fictional enemies here.

Kobayashi Maru involved the Klingons, just an FYI. http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Kobayashi_Maru_scenario

I'd fly in fast, rescue them if I can, then fly out just as fast. Let the Ambassadors figure it out.

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I'm going to assume that they are using the Romulans as the fictional enemies here.

Kobayashi Maru involved the Klingons, just an FYI. http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Kobayashi_Maru_scenario

I'd fly in fast, rescue them if I can, then fly out just as fast. Let the Ambassadors figure it out.

It originally contained Klingons, but was updated to include Romulans (at least according to memory alpha). Still I assume it just contains the enemy of the month, presumably by now it would contain Dominion!
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General Order 12 gives Starfleet vessels authority to enter the Neutral Zone to safeguard Federation and Starfleet personnel, so you have to go in if assistance is required....no getting out of that one....

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General Order 12 gives Starfleet vessels authority to enter the Neutral Zone to safeguard Federation and Starfleet personnel, so you have to go in if assistance is required....no getting out of that one....

General Order 12: On the approach of any vessel, when communications have not been established... (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) *Memory Alpha* - I think I know where you got that from and I don't think it's a canon source, more for their group :P

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Isn't the Kobayashi Maru exercise won, paradoxically, by losing? I thought the point of it was to shock a potential commanding officer into realizing there's just no winning sometimes. Therefore one can "pass", only by getting oneself and one's ship destroyed.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Is the point to shock a potential commanding officer into deviating from "going by the book" and coming up with an original? My memory on the details of it is fuzzy.

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I always thought of it as a combination of the two. Of course the fact remains unless you cheat, if you cross the border into the neutral zone, the ship will be destroyed and they then mark you on how you deal with that situation.

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I always thought it was more of a test of seeing how a captain deals with the final moments of both himself and his crew. If he had some kind of mental breakdown, for example, it is obvious that he should not be put in charge of anything. Of course, if you can test other skills at the same time....

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  • 4 weeks later...

So.. since I've actually thought this through before... ;)

My solution.. (here goes)

The assumption is that this is a trap, however, that whether it is a trap or not lives are at stake.

I would, as others mentioned send a buoy with the situation.

Here's where it get's interesting.

I'd keep the ship on this side of the neutral zone, and deploy shuttles to the Koyabashi Maru. The Shuttles would stay spaced out to near maximum range for transporters. And, as would be broadcast by the shuttles, they would have shield up but weapons down, as they don't want to be damaged by any other active gravitic mines.. (as I recall the reason the Maru is stuck).

Before any shuttle leaves the area, they are configured that at the point shields drop below 40%, the transporter automatically diverts power and transports everyone in the ship, pilot last. To the nearest shuttlecraft or Federation starship.

Meanwhile, the main ship is broadcasting the intent and reasons, as well as logging reactions. Yellow alert is on, and course is laid in to meet with the rearmost shuttle at maximum warp.

Potential responses:

Enemy attacks a shuttle with sufficient force to destroy it utterly. Other shuttles scatter and flee, Main ship sends message and buoy about situation. Depending on timing, crosses minimally to retrieve remaining shuttlecraft. We mourn the dead sacrificed.

Enemy attacks multiple shuttles simultaneously, destroying them. I continue to broadcast our intent, but don't cross the line.. We mourn the dead sacrificed.

Enemy attacks multiple shuttles but don't destroy them. Shuttles withdraw at all possible speed, using the transporters to "hopscotch" across to each other. As described above, transporters ar keyed to the individual shield harmonics allowing them to pass. See first for Ship response.

Shuttles arrive at Koyabashi Maru without incident. Maru crew are transported onto shuttles, most wounded to least. If it takes multiple trips..they continue. Maru itself is left behind or destroyed depending.

At worst, 2 people are lost per shuttle destroyed, and the diplomatic incident is minimized.

And I am assigned to Tactical forever for an excellent solution, but leading from the back.. ;)

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I do not think that your solution is as masterful or as successful as you claim Captain Walker. And here is why.

It doesn't matter if you send a shuttle or a starship into the neutral zone, you are still trespassing and that is all the provocation the Klingons (or other random enemy) needs to justify attacking. So with that in mind the moment the enemy commander realises what you are up to, you can say bye bye to your entire load of shuttles having successfully rescued no hostages. And then lets face it, the only reason the enemy might choose not to then attack your starship is because he/she can't be bothered. Although you have just crossed the neutral zone line so I wouldn't be putting much faith in hoping that the Klingons will hold back. There is no honor is destroying a bunch of shuttles so I think they would come after you anyway. You did mention the idea of using transporters to beam through your shuttles shields to get back to your starship but I do not think that this would be practical in a combat situation even knowing the precise shield calibrations in use. Beaming through shields is a precision task even when not in combat so whats the odds it can successfully be done a dozen times when under fire from dozens of Klingon warships.

Without cheating this test has no successful solution and that is the point. If there was a way to think yourself out of it then I am sure Kirk would have found it.

Personally I tend to think it more of a stress test then a tactics scenario with a side touch of morals and ethics. Communication buoys and all that is great but I think the best course of action would be to run in as discreet and as fast as possible, beam the survivors aboard and warp out phasers firing as needed. I will admit that my chances of surviving is still nil but there is something to be said about the simplistic approach.

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I think the real objective of the test is to look death in the face, and not blink. You are not supposed to win, or survive, but to do your duty in spite of the fact that eventually, you will be vaporized. Fight them as long as possible, as hard as possible. Hannibal would not want to be known as the captain who lost his ship fifteen seconds after crossing the zone...if he did, he would demand to do the test again, until he survived a respectable period of time before being destroyed....

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The fact that crossing the neutral zone will start a war/diplomatic incident is actually largely moot.

You can't ignore the distress beacon, and to do anything about it will break the treaty. And, if as everyone knows by the time they take it, it is in fact a trap. It doesn't matter how stealthy you are, or how obvious. You will be caught.. and you will be destroyed.

I don't think that my solution changes any of the above.

The only thing I'd hope for is that my solution is different enough, and creative enough that I minimize the losses.

And using the shuttles helps minimize the losses and keeps the starship on the right side of the zone. Besides, if I get the view that there are enough Klingon/Romulan/whatever ships to annihilate a shuttle before it can escape, the trap is revealed and I can retreat to get reinforcements.

At that point it's a numbers game...

Which is why, having taken the test this way I'd probably not be given a Captain's chair. My response is far too analytical, minimizing and mitigating a bad situation.

The only solution which I've read that was technically a win was Chekov's who saw the message, said it was obviously a trap..and carried on. Someone else doomed to tactical. *chuckle*

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  • 1 year later...

My solution would be...

  1. Maneuver the USS Enterprise to within 7.5km of the Kobayashi Maru and call for Red Alert with Full shields and Power to all phasers and Torpedoes.
  2. Ask Engineering to extend outer shields to cover the Kobayashi Maru (This can be done using a complex formula)
  3. Create a Power transfer connection from the USS Enterprise to the Kobayashi Maru. (Again this can be done)
  4. After this change all frequencies and call signs from the Kobayashi Maru's to the USS Enterprise's. Both ships are now one.
  5. Send a Medi-Team across to search and help casualties.
  6. After the Klingon War birds are within Firing Range Launch Everything on full power that BOTH the USS Enterprise and Kobayashi Maru have.
  7. IF we succeed transport both ships to the nearest Starbase for repairs and Inform Starfleet that we have rescued the Kobayashi Maru.

Not sure if this is right but it seems watertight.

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