Welcome to the fourth 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. Space takes its toll on the best of us, so today we’re looking at people who lift crew morale, whether through professional counselling or just a friendly ear.
Candidate 1: Deanna Troi
If a ship’s counsellor has a seat on the bridge, it means two things. Firstly, that the ship in question is going to encounter a lot of trouble. Secondly, that said counsellor is good at her job. Being half-Betazoid is of great benefit to a therapist, as it grants enhanced empathy. Troi repeatedly demonstrates common-sense logic and the ability to separate personal and professional relationships. However, her empathic abilities also leave her vulnerable to psychic attacks, which are alarming common in deep space.
Candidate 2: Quark, son of Whatever
Like all good Ferengi, Quark is in it for the money. But like all bad Ferengi, money is his only loyalty. While there are signs that Quark genuinely bonds with those he calls friends, he is unlikely to help others unless there is some tangible benefit to himself. While Quark’s establishment may be a good place to relax after a long day’s work, the man himself is not someone in whom you should place your trust.
Candidate 3: Ezri Dax
The latest host of the Dax symbiont will be the first to tell you she’s unqualified for the role. But while Ezri has difficulty adapting to her new life, she is a remarkable counsellor. Her openness with her own struggles lends her a credibility that other candidates lack. Furthermore, Dax has multiple lifetimes of experience to draw from, useful not only for counselling and morale, but for many other situations besides.
Candidate 4: Neelix
Neelix has a lot in common with Quark, and his background as a smuggler and conman are plain to see. However, Neelix rises above these flaws to become a steady and reliable member of his crew. A competent chef and widely travelled, he is an affable fellow who’s only real vice is a tendency to exaggerate his own importance. Make no mistake, Neelix has seen darkness in his life, but his response is to bring more light into the lives of others.
Candidate 5: Doctor Gabers Migleemo
Counselling a crew as dysfunctional as that of the Cerritos is not an easy task, and it’s a wonder that Migleemo has retained his own sanity. A kind and compassionate man, Migleemo’s problem is that he is clearly in over his head. On a quieter ship, he would likely have an easier time of things, but the stresses of a Starfleet career are clearly taking their toll.
Honorable Mention: Guinan
When a crew turns to you rather than a professional counsellor, you know your advice is good. And that’s what Guinan does. serving life lessons in equal supply to the drinks, this El-Aurian bartender has a saying for every experience. Much of her advice comes from a centuries-long life, and Guinan has a unique way of making things make sense. However, she is also a deeply secretive woman, with ties that go to often unusual and dangerous places.
This was a tough one, and in the end I’m unable to choose between Neelix and Ezri Dax. Neelix’s general likeability and willingness to go the extra mile for his crew will put him in good stead, and his joint role as cook and morale officer are easy to manage simultaneously. At the same time, Dax’s experiences and professional training will be greatly useful when something more than a few friendly words are required. I think both the skillsets and personalities of these two picks will compliment one another neatly.