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The First Duty
Stardate 45703.9
Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode 119 (5.19)

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2006 13:30:03

         
Cast:
Patrick Stewart   IMDB   Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes   IMDB   Commander William T. Riker
Levar Burton   IMDB   Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn   IMDB   Lieutenant Worf
Gates McFadden   IMDB   Commander Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis   IMDB   Lt. Commander Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner   IMDB   Lt. Commander Data
Guest Cast:
Wil Wheaton   IMDB   Cadet Wesley Crusher
Jacqueline Brookes   IMDB   Admiral Andrea Brand
Ray Walston   IMDB   Groundskeeper Boothby
Robert Duncan McNeill   IMDB   Cadet Nicholas Locarno
Ed Lauter   IMDB   Lt. Commander Albert
Richard Fancy   IMDB   Captain Satelk
Walker Brandt   IMDB   Cadet Jean Hajar
Shannon Fill   IMDB   Cadet Sito Jaxa
Richard Rothenberg   IMDB   Cadet
Music:
Jay Chattaway   IMDB
Director:
Paul Lynch   IMDB
Author:
Ronald D. Moore   IMDB
Published
Laser Disc   ST:TNG LaserDisc Volume 60
DVD   ST:TNG DVD 5.5
Teaser
The Next Generation Teaser #119: The First Duty

Wesley Crusher, involved in a cover-up of a devastating accident at Starfleet Academy, learns a painful lesson in honesty.
Synopsis
While en-route to Starfleet Academy, where Picard is scheduled to deliver the year's commencement address, the crew learns of a devastating in-flight accident involving Wesley Crusher and his squadron. While all five ships involved were destroyed, Wesley, his squadron leader and two other crew members managed to transport to safety. However, the fifth team member, Wesley's good friend Joshua Albert, was killed instantly.

Picard, Dr. Crusher and the rest of the cadets' parents watch as Admiral Brand, the Academy superintendent, begins an investigation, questioning the four surviving cadets about the fatal flight. When the admiral finds discrepancies between their testimony and the flight plan they had filed, the squadron's leader, Nicholas Locarno, steps in. He reluctantly tells the investigating panel that Albert panicked and lost control during the maneuver and caused the accident. Albert's father, a Starfleet officer, is especially devastated by this news.

Because the U.S.S. Enterprise is Wesley's home, Admiral Brand allows Picard and the crew to begin their own, independent investigation of the accident. Meanwhile, Wesley meets with Locarno and the other squadron members to discuss the earlier inquiry. The three cadets are clearly upset with their leader for placing blame on Albert when the accident was not really his fault. Locarno tries to convince them that they aren't lying by omitting crucial details that will explain what really happened, and that they must go along with his plan in order to save their careers. Stressing the importance of working together as a team, he gets his squadron to agree with him. Later, when the hearing resumes, Wesley is questioned about the surviving data from his flight recorder. He and his comrades are shocked when the panel produces evidence that clearly contradicts Wesley's testimony. However, while he appears to be caught in a lie, Wesley refuses to explain.

Shaken by what is happening, Wesley subtly indicates to Beverly that he is lying. She shares her feelings with Picard, and the two join Geordi and Data to try to reach a conclusion. Together, they use all the data they have recovered to conclude that instead of the formation the squadron claimed to be practicing, Wesley and his comrades were working on an extremely dangerous maneuver.

Picard summons Wesley and tells the young man that he and the crew know what is going on. They know Wesley's squadron was working on a spectacular maneuver so dangerous it has been forbidden - a move they planned to perform at Starfleet Academy's commencement ceremony. Had they succeeded, Locarno would have graduated as a living legend. Unfortunately, their failure cost Albert his life. Picard tells Wesley that if he can't tell the truth, Picard himself will. Wesley immediately meets with the rest of his squadron, but Locarno again convinces them to stick together, reminding that Picard has no concrete proof. At the hearing, however, Wesley tells the truth, unable to allow Albert's father to go on believing his son was a coward. Locarno takes the blame and is expelled, while the rest of the squadron are told they must repeat the school year.
Reviews

By Dark Materia on 14 Dec 2002 08:40:22
Wesley Crusher returns once again in a pretty uninteresting story about loyalty and duty. It's great to finally see Starfleet Academy and Boothby.

Robert Duncan McNeill makes his first Trek appearance as Nicholas Locarno, who resembles his later character (Tom Paris) a great deal.

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