The Fallacy Of Kirk vs. Picard

Really, I thought the senseless Kirk vs. Picard debate was put to rest about 13 years ago. Apparently not. CBS is now sponsoring a Kirk vs. Picard fan fiction contest over at FanLib.com.

I do not consider fan fiction, even officially commissioned fan fiction, to be news, so I have not covered any of this over on the Frontier News blog. It’s the same reason I do not cover New Voyages, Of Gods And Men, and various other fan films. Yes, I know that some claim these are not fan films, but let’s not delude ourselves.

Anyway, last week, those participating in Kirk vs. Picard voted on the overall premise from four contenders: The Return of Khan, History Lesson, Prisoner of Time, and The Guardian of Forever.

Though crafted by actual Star Trek writer André Bormanis, none of the concepts were very inspired. Perhaps I should qualify “actual Star Trek writer” a bit. He has written Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise. He also co-produced Enterprise and was a science/technical consultant on various other TNG-era productions.

Had I been forced to vote, I probably would have chosen Prisoner of Time, simply because it seemed to offer the most opportunities for realistic conflict between the two captains. However, I just don’t buy the overall Kirk vs. Picard concept. It’s about as pointless to me as Superman vs. Batman.

Star Trek Generations established, and the Shatner/Reeves-Stevens novels expanded upon, a great working relationship and friendship between the two heroes. Perhaps they have different methodologies (Picard is often more like Spock than Kirk) but their overall values and goals are more or less the same. Generations even went so far as to show that both captains essentially had the same regret in life: no time for an Earth-based home and a family.

Predictably, The Guardian of Forever concept won out. If you put the Guardian in any Star Trek vote, it is going to win. Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever” was, after all, one of the ultimate episodes of Star Trek.

Unfortunately, the Bormanis use of the Guardian is just garbage:

“The Guardian of Forever is malfunctioning […]. Time-quakes are erupting from it, throwing an entire sector of space into chaos. Kirk is ordered to investigate, but the Enterprise becomes trapped in a temporal eddy. A tractor beam from another Federation ship pulls Enterprise to safety. Kirk is shocked to discover that the other ship is Enterprise-D! […] The time-quakes are becoming more violent, and could eventually spread throughout the galaxy. Kirk wants to destroy the Guardian immediately, but Picard argues that would be immoral – the Guardian is a unique, sentient being. […]”

And right off the bat, Kirk vs. Picard is off to a false start. Bormanis apparently is not familiar with James T. Kirk so he has bought into the whole “shoot first, ask questions later” myth. While he was at it, I am surprised he did not throw in something about Kirk taking time off from the mission to sleep with Ensign Lefler or any/all of the other Enterprise-D beauties.

If we give this pseudo-Kirk the benefit of the doubt, though, and assume that the Guardian really will spread chaos throughout the galaxy and that there really is no other option but to destroy it, then Bormanis is making Picard look like an idiot for saving one sentient being at the expense of how many quadrillions of other sentient beings? Unless this fan fiction is supposed to take place in TNG’s first season, I do not remember Jean-Luc Picard being that foolish.

Also involved in this fiasco are George Takei and Wil Wheaton, who act as “hosts.” The funniest part of all is the intro on the site:

Star Trek royalty (George Takei, Wil Wheaton and writer Andre Bormanis) and FanLib.com are teaming up with CBS Interactive and the Star Trek franchise for a fan-driven storytelling event that uses scenes written by you and other Star Trek fans to create a new online story.

Star Trek royalty? Takei? Wheaton? Bormanis? Who are we kidding here? Wheaton seems like a nice guy, and I’m one of the few who actually liked Wesley Crusher (though not overuse of the character by lazy writers), and I’m sure Bormanis is, too. But Star Trek royalty? Come on. Did Takei write this?

Oh, and intrepid writers, be sure to come up with a clever explanation for why Kirk does not remember Picard when he meets him in Star Trek Generations. Otherwise, you are leaving a huge continuity error, and you wouldn’t want to do that. This isn’t an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, after all.

Think I’m being too hard on Kirk vs. Picard, since it’s only fan fiction? Why, thank you for proving my point.