So what happens if a cadet passes up the Kobayashi Maru?

I don’t know about that. If I was an Admiral I would take careful note of the guy. If he is otherwise qualified, no reason not to make him a captain. Some missions require a cowboy, some require a boy scout. It’s kind of a rorschach test, If you took a decisive action you passed the test to be a captain.

On the other hand nobody would want to watch a show about the Boy Scout captains. Policy and procedure carried out to the letter may impress the Stick-Up-The-Ass Aliens on Bureaucracia Prime, but would be boring as hell.

The thing is, though, great officers don’t blindly follow the rules, and they don’t ignore the rules. Truly great officers understand the reason for the rules, and act appropriately. Sure, sometimes this means breaking the rules, but you have to at least stop and consider the consequences first.

Recently Dakota Meyer, a marine, was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions he took in direct contradiction to orders he had received from a superior officer. Members of his platoon came under fire in a Taliban ambush and Meyer repeatedly asked permission from his superiors to assist. He was refused each time and finally he just went ahead and went. Generally speaking you don’t get praised for disobeying your superior officers.

I think I should point out that actual military officer training does not generally involve elaborately staged life-or-death thought experiments.

Sure, they go on military exercises, but these are tests of skill and training, not character.
And third-year cadets generally don’t get promoted directly to Captain.

But, but, Starfleet is NOT military! [whimper]


Seems to be now.

It’s an old Phil Farrand’s Nitpicker’s Guild joke. Picard actually said Starfleet was not a military org in an early TNG ep while flying around the galaxy in the biggest weapons platform Starfleet had.

I take David Marcus’s word for it when he described Starfleet as “the military”. It doesn’t matter what the people in Starfleet tell themselves and others so they can sleep at night - what matters is how others perceive them and what is expected of them.

Similarly, it doesn’t matter what Gene Roddenberry told himself and what denials the screenwriters insisted on including in their scripts - it’s quite obviously a Military/Navy premise.

It’s not military. It’s a “People’s Militia.”

I was thinking the thread was asking what would happen if a student passed up the test, not the vessel. I’d pass up the test; it seems pretty worthless as a test of character if the character to be tested knows what’s coming.

Hell, even Kirk describes himself as a soldier in one of the original episodes.

As for the Kobayashi Maru, it’s a war game, and most war games have victory conditions. I suspect that cadets are told at the outset that, in order to win the scenario, they need to A) keep their own ship intact, B) save the Kobayashi Maru, and C) not start a war. The scenario, however, is designed such that no more than two of the three win conditions can be attained at the same time. It probably comes at the tail end of a long series of increasingly more difficult scenarios that are winnable, giving the impression that the Kobayashi also has a “solution.”

I don’t think the cadets are told the scenario is unwinnable until after they fail to win it. They’re probably told it’s never been beaten, but that’s not the same thing as “impossible to beat.”

[and several other posters]

Which is why I posted the joke in the first place. The Great Bird of the Galaxy had some goofy ideas. Whether primarily military or not, Starfleet is used as a military. The multiple series self referencing within itself for both POVs is part of why it’s fun to nitpick Star Trek.

I think they would be slotted in staff, but not First Officer. First Officer is for all intents a command slot. If Picard’s ticker gives out Ricker is in Command.

AIUI no matter what command choices are made the Kobayashi Maru and the cadet’s starship are both lost with all hands, and the Klingons go to DEFCON 1 if not full out war.

The only point of the test is to see whether the cadet can handle the stress of a situation where no command results in a positive outcome. If every choice you make results in more deaths, do you continue to make choices or do you crack?

Novel attempts at solutions are probably what gets cadets the more interesting, and dangerous, assignments. Kirk’s solution ensured his five-year mission was to boldly go where no man has gone before . . . and not patrol the Neutral Zone border!

CMC fnord!

See, that’s what makes the sixth movie really interesting - okay, so you’ve got the original series where they do use weapons but really seem to be out there as much for exploration as for the whole “escort a diplomat” sort of mission. But by the end of the Klingon war it seems the military industrial complex has taken over to the point where it seems obvious that if the war is over there’s no need for Starfleet. It’s something I wish were addressed at more length in the film, because it’s very interesting.

Only when they win. Getting everyone killed and restarting an interstellar war does not count as winning.

Not only that, but he asks the Kobayashi Maru what they were doing in the Neutral Zone in the first place. IIRC, their response had a bad smell and it made the scenario look fishy. Just the sort of thing that the Klingons or Romulans might whip up to start a war. IMO, Sulu’s apology and refusal to assist would have been an appropriate response. Call command, tell them you’ve got civilians stuck in enemy territory, and have Starfleet commence negotiations for their return.

It’s almost certainly what Picard would have done; well, Captain Picard, anyway. Cadet Picard would have probably done what Saavik did, maybe taking down one or two of the Klingon ships before being blown up.

Sulu does eventually make captain. Can’t remember the name of his ship, but I remember an episode of Voyager where Tuvok was serving under him in a flashback. Though I’m sure whoever wrote that episode probably didn’t read The Kobayashi Maru.

Sulu’s first command was the Excelsior.

“Weapons officer, this is obviously a trap. Since cloaked Klingons have no shields, program maximum weapons coverage and blast all likely positions of cloaked vessels.”