Monday, December 08, 2008

Star Trek: Kobayashi Maru

From the Star Trek website Memory Alpha

The Kobayashi Maru scenario was an infamous no-win scenario that was part of the curriculum for command-track cadets at Starfleet Academy in the 23rd century. It was primarily used to assess a cadet's discipline, character, and command capabilities when facing an impossible situation as there is no one answer to the problem.

In the scenario, a cadet was placed in command of a starship on patrol near the Klingon Neutral Zone. The starship would receive a distress signal from the SS Kobayashi Maru, a civilian freighter that had been disabled in the zone after having struck a gravitic mine. If the cadet chose to enter the neutral zone in violation of treaties, the starship would be confronted by three Klingon K't'inga-class battlecruisers. The test was considered a no-win scenario because it was impossible for the cadet to simultaneously save the Kobayashi Maru, avoid a fight with the Klingons, and escape from the neutral zone with the starship intact. Electing not to enter the neutral zone to rescue the ship is considered a failure. A cadet's choice of how to handle the rescue operation gave great insight into his or her command decision making.

In this novel, Micheal Martin and Andy Mangels wrote an interesting novel about how the actual scenario came about. Located at the time after the end of the season finale of the fourth season of Enterprise, it documents how the starship Enterprise actually was involved in the no-win scenerio of a damaged freighter named Kobayashi Maru in the Neutral Zone and face off with three Klingon warships. Captain Jonathan Archer's action earned him a place in Starfleet training in the dilemma of the Kobayashi Maru. I have enjoyed this book.


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Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I remember that it was first mentioned in the second Trek movie when Savik was in training.. loved that movie!


4:37 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi Bob,

I love the starting of the movie The Wrath of Khan where the Kobayashi Maru scenario was run and then Kirk appeared with the light behind him. really cool. Makes me want to watch it again.

I have often tried to solve the scenario but so have have not been able to find a win-win outcome.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Just do what Kirk did Alex - cheat :)

10:37 PM  

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