Welcome to the third in a series of articles wherein I attempt to build the ideal crew for a ship, using characters from the many variations of Star Trek. To be a candidate, all you need is to be a series regular on one of Star Trek‘s TV incarnations, from The Original Series onwards. Every good ship needs someone to steer it, so this time we’re looking at characters who can take the helm.
Candidate 1: Hikaru Sulu
Barring the odd hallucination involving knives, Sulu is a fantastic helmsman. He also has a fair bit of command experience, making him a safe pair of hands, and rightly deserving of a ship of his own. Outside of his professional interests, he also has a background in fencing, giving him more than adequate self-defence abilities. Perfect for dealing with those all-too frequent boarding parties.
Candidate 2: Pavel Chekov
Originally standing in for Sulu during an unexpected absence, Chekov soon finds himself working side by side with the other helmsman. You could be forgiven for expecting tension there, but Chekov proves himself an amiable and capable coworker. However, he’s also young for an officer, and that leaves him prone to panic, especially when faced with the Klingons. A few years’ experience and this is sure to clear up.
Candidate 3: Tom Paris
Look, there is no doubting that Tom Paris is an excellent pilot. The man can handle everything from a starship to a shuttle, even building his own. It’s not just human technology either, he’s also proficient with any number of alien vessels. However, he is also reckless, to the point that he may endanger the lives of others. He actively rebels against authority figures, leading to his incarceration on more than one occasion. I’m certain you can rely on him in an emergency, but he’s likely to prove a handful for any commanding officer.
Candidate 4: Travis Mayweather
On the face of it, Mayweather turns up and does his job with no unnecessary fuss. there’s no needless drama with this man. He gets the job done, follows orders, and doesn’t rock the boat. But there’s more to Mayweather than that. Having grown up on and around spaceships, Mayweather knows them inside out. Though his experience ends at warp five, he also has a good history with both military and civilian vessels.
Candidate 5: Keyla Detmer
Detmer also has wide-ranging experience, serving on the Shenzhou and the Discovery, serving in both peacetime and war. She also has experience with the advanced technology of the 32nd century. However, all of this experience comes at a cost, and Detmer struggles openly with post-traumatic stress disorder. To her credit, she is working on this issue and shows signs of improvement, but an insistence on remaining at the helm throughout her ordeal is perhaps less than ideal.
Candidate 6: Cristobal Rios
Rios is something of a black sheep in this list, as he has been officially discharged from Starfleet. His skills as a pilot are not in question, but he cuts an antisocial and troubled figure. Surrounding himself with holograms, he is more self-serving than an ideal pilot. That said, he’s the man you’d want in a tough situation, as his morals are not as flexible as they first appear.
Choosing from a tight field of skilled candidates in no easy task, but after a lot of thought I’ve settled on Travis Mayweather as my pick for helmsman. It could have gone a lot of different ways, but I think a lifetime of spacefaring experience counts for a lot. After all, if we’re going to be spending a lot of time on the ship, we want someone who feels comfortable there. This being Star Trek, there’s always the chance that the crew will have to rapidly adapt to a new ship, and that is something Mayweather has under control.