The Price of Command

When one is trying to understand or analyze a person or circumstance, one investigates that which has come before and compares the two. Thus, in order to fully appreciate Kathryn Janeway as a Starfleet captain, we must compare her to what we have seen before. I have watched (and yes, one might even say studied) all forms of Star Trek (though I admit certain allegiances) and I have charted my observations based on the following criteria (just like Janeway would!) :

This is entirely my opinion!!

Name and Command

James T. Kirk

Enterprise 1701
Enterprise 1701-A

Jean-Luc Picard
Enterprise 1701-D
Enterprise 1701-E

Benjamin Sisko

Deep Space 9

Kathryn Janeway


Hikaru Sulu



"Rules Be Damned"

Kirk was a red-blooded all-federation hero and generally of the opinion that if he and his fine ship and crew couldn't do it, it couldn't be done. The idea of asking first seemed foreign to him and he lived by the idea that rules are meant to be stretched to their last resource and broken not if necessary, but when.

"When in Doubt,
Quote Shakespeare"

Picard believes with his whole heart there is no situation which cannot be solved with words. He's no stranger to action, but negotiation must always be the first tactic. Picard thinks things through more than the others and tends to regret his actions before the fact.

"The Mystic"

Before coming to DS9, Sisko was an angry, lonely man. He found his destiny on Bajor and with The Prophets. Sisko never became less than a Starfleet Captain but he certainly became more. Bajor and DS9 became his home, his place in the universe...and he was willing to sacrifice anything and everything for it. Sisko became a martyr in many ways, but in truth, he was simply the best leader he could be.


Janeway was born and bred Starfleet, and the priciples and philosophies of the Federation are precious to her. However, she leads with her heart in every situation and is perhaps the most impulsive. Janeway is strangely the most comfortable with her authority. Though insecure and lonely in her position, no one so fully lives "Captain" as Janeway.

"The Samurai"

The only of Kirk's crew to gain his own command, Sulu is something of a wild card. He is as loyal to Kirk as the rest of them despite his departure, as evidenced in "The Undiscovered Country" (Star Trek VI).

Training Helmsman     Science Officer Helmsman
Reason Though far from deductive, Kirk has his own brand of logic and is clever if somewhat cavalier. Picard is extremely thoughtful, almost to a fault, sometimes he misses the solution because he's deducing too much. Sisko is the most resonable of the Captains as he solves every problem by looking at the big picture. Janeway is completely unreasonable. Tuvok said it best when he said calling her "reckless" would be an understatement. Sulu follos his former Captain's lead - think about it, weigh the consequences, and then do it anyway.
Knowledge Kirk was more well-read than he sometimes gets credit for, but he's nowhere near the intellectual Picard is. Picard has them all beat here, he seems to know everything and he still wants to know more - and he encourages his crew to continue learning too. Sisko doesn't seem ti like books the way the others do. But he nonetheless comes across as being quite knowledgable and particularly well equipped with semmingly meaningless trivia (which is always the answer to the greatest problems). Janeway eats knowledge up. She is a scientist to the last, leaving no stone unturned and no mystery unexplained. Janeway admires Leonardo DaVinci and she shares his quest for more, never satisfied, never content. Sulu, like Sisko, always seemed to know really odd things, making him well-rounded and well-informed if nothing else.
Intuition Kirk is the intuitive Captain, always playing hunches, always going forth on a feeling or an inclination that this is the proper course. And, of course, it always was. Picard is somewhat distrustful of his intuition. He's not very good at trusting his feelings to make decisions (case in point : Beverly Crusher) and he usually second guesses himself when he does. Sisko is moved more by faith than by intuition (though in his case it may be the same thing) but he certainly trusts his inner voices to lead him in the right direction - and when they don't he is lost. Janeway is almost as intuitive as Kirk but in a very different way. Kirk is more secure in his understanding of himself and more confident in his grasp of the situation. Janeway is not so much confident as tenacious. If she doesn't have the answer right away, she won;t stop until she does. Sulu didn't strike me as particularly intuitive. Though ruled by emotion is was more a sense of duty and loyalty and morality than an inner knowledge.
Willpower Though strong, Kirk sometimes seemed erratic. Certainly he is committed, but it's more emotional attachment (as with Spock) than strength of will. Picard has a very strong will as evidenced in his torture by the cardassians, his recovery after his conversion by the Borg and his everyday outlook on life. Sisko does not have the will the others do. His loyalties and loves are scattered, he can be easily distracted, easily turned from his path. However, he always finds it again. Janeway has the strongest will ever witnessed. She is desperately committed to her crew and as committed to seeing Voyager home. She takes everything on her shoulders and it is only by her amazing will that she carries it - and she does! Sulu had the strength of will to break away from the Enterprise pack. He is the only one of Kirk's crew to have his own command, the only one to have a child. It was only his will that brought him that.
Leadership Kirk's crew would do anything, anything, for him. They would, and some say have, followed him to Hell and back. He exudes leadership. Picard is a quiet leader, but a strong one. His leadership skills are not as apparent as those of Kirk or Janeway, but he is nonetheless a true leader. Sisko arguably led his entire space station, his entire planet, his entire Federation to war and back again. And well. But he still doesn't strike me as the born leader the others are. Captains are the best and brightest and that's what Janeway is. She simply is Captain and people are inexplicably drawn to her. Sulu does not have the sheen the other Captain's have; he is a competant leader but he's missing the spark.
Crew Loyalty If Captain Kirk "jumped off the bridge" would his crew follow? Yes. Picard does not have the crew loyalty Kirk or Janeway do, but his ship and crew are much bigger, and his interaction much less personal. Sisko was in a unique position on DS9 as he was a religious figure to the Bajoran population, but his actual Fleet crew was small and loyal, though not overly. Also in a unique position, Janeway's crew by rights could hate her, but they don't. They follow her almost blindly - because she lives for each of them every day. They followed him willingly and without question even as he followedvhis former Captain's lead.
Personal Loyalty Kirk is incomplete without Spock and McCoy. His senior officers willingly threw their futures away to follow him on a fool crusade to save his best friends. Any one of them would willingly die if that was what he required. Picard keeps everyone at arm's length and his persoal relationships suffer. He engenders loyalty, but not sacrifice. Beverly, Worf (being Kilingon and all) and maybe Data, would likely die for him. Sisko's senior crew became his family and he their hero. He changed because of his experiences with The Prophets and Bajor, but Kira, Odo, even Dax, changed because of him. Janeway's officers are not just loyal, they love her. They respond to her love for and dedication to each and every one of them...and to her own conviction that she is worthy of the crew's loyalty but not of any personal loyalty. Chakotay, B'Elanna, Tom, Seven...people who have no reason to be loyal and every reason not to, follow her round the moon and back. Insufficient data.
The Prime Directive Kirk seems to see the Prime Directive as a suggestion rather than a steadfast regulation. Picard takes the Prime Directive very seriously...but breaks it constantly anyway. Sisko has been the most successful at avoiding such quandries, but then he has all sorts of other problems. Arguably the Prime Directive is somewhat elastic in Janeway's situation, but she is nonetheless very strict about it. Insufficient data.
Extreme Measues Kirk blossoms under pressure and he's never been afraid of doing the unthinkable. Again, Picard is the Negotiator, however when oush comes to shove, Picard is quite capable of making his shove stick. Sisko never gives up, and no matter what it takes he puts it up. Sometimes it seems like the first thought that goes through Janeway's head in any given situation is "could blowing up the ship make this better?" but then she's had a lot of extreme situations... Unafraid to make hard decisions, Sulu can be extreme when called on.

A great leader and a legendary Captain (but can you honestly and in good conscience respect him as a man?)

A brilliant leader and a legend in his own right, despite living halfway in Kirk's shadow (think about poor Riker) A good leader and a competant Captain, Sisko's destiny lay elsewhere. A strong leader and an extroirdinary Captain in extroirdinary circumstances (but somewhat less than stable wouldn't you say?) Who really knows (but you must agree he is the most suave and debonair Captain ever)


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