A Speech to the Graduating Class of Starfleet Academy
by Robb JacksonLadies and gentlemen of this years Graduating Class of Starfleet Academy:Wear phasers.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, phasers would be it. The long term benefits of phasers have been probed by federation scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering voyages. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your ship. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your ship until it’s vaporized above the genesis planet. But me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of your ship and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you looked in the big chair.
You are not as infallible as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the transporter. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to penetrate the galactic barrier by sipping saurian brandy.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind–the kind that blindside you at stardate 4524.76 in some idle quadrant.
Do one thing every day that scares your crew.
Seek out strange new civilizations.
Don’t be reckless with your security officers. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with theirs.
Boldly go where no man has gone before.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with the Klingons.
Remember the prime directive. Forget the regulations. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old starcharts. Throw away your M5.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what to do with your career. The most interesting officers I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do in Starfleet. Some of the most interesting captains I know still don’t know.
Get plenty of Dilythium. Be kind to your warp engines. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll be admiral by 40; maybe you’ll dance with Orion slavegirls on your ship’s 75th anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half logic. So are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what sexstarved alien women think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance naked, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your ready room.
Read the regs, even if you don’t follow them.
Do not read tech manuals. They will only make you feel stupid.
Get to know your crew. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your ship’s computer. It’s your best link to your past and will help you automate the ship when the crew’s reduced to salt crystals.
Understand that officers come and go, but a precious few you should hold on to. Work hard to bridge the gaps in stellar geography and alien lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the officers who knew you when you were young.
Live in the Klingon Empire once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live on Bajor once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Cross the neutral zone.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Starfleet will quote policy. Captains will philander. You, too, will get old. And then you too will fantasize that when you were young, Starfleet was reasonable, Captains were noble, and officers respected the prime directive.
Respect the prime directive.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a fully charged phaser bank. Maybe you have a commodore on board. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look like you’re 85.
Be careful whose refit you buy, but be patient with those who Captain it.
A shakedown cruise is a form of nostalgia. Refitting your ship is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more that it’s worth.
But trust me on the phasers.