What a Card: Admiral Kirk

Being a look back at cards from the Star Trek CCG, and what I thought of them back when they were fresh and new... in EPISODE order. Turning now to the last moments of Star Trek II, including the funeral and the epilogue, our first alphabetical card is the good capt--I mean admiral...

EXPANSION: The Motion Pictures

PICTURE: Pulled from one of many pivotal moments for Kirk in the movies, this is in his "ready room" just after Spock's funeral, an event that weighs on Kirk (note the anchor-like object in the background) and defines the movies to come. Aside from that, the colors are well balanced and the background holds some interest without distracting the eye too much. A competent and well-placed 3.7.

LORE: Low on events, high on personality, I don't really mind the focus, but you'd think there'd be something about Khan in there somewhere, or about losing his ship, his son. Anyway, they do a good job with mentioning the root version of the persona and his matching commander status in a way that doesn't read like a telegram. A well done 3.8.

TREK SENSE: In later years, Kirk accepted promotion and became an admiral, but that didn't stop him from commanding the CF version of the Starship Enterprise on occasion. In The Motion Picture, he bumped Decker (though there, he was everything BUT matching commander, since he didn't know the ship at all); in ST II, Spock gave him the center seat; and in ST III, Kirk stole the Enterprise and ended up destroying it. So it's only 3 missions we know of (the novels speak of a second 5-year mission from that ST:TMP on), but by the end, I think he knew the ship well enough (and anyway, the bridge crew always looked up to him enough to warrant Captain's Log bonuses, etc.). One anomaly, while I don't dispute the fact that Kirk would remember what the old ship was like, is that naming the Admiral as matching commander on that golden oldie is a bit off-theme, but that's the fault of the ship persona. As an Admiral who's supposed to be a desk jockey (and hating it), he's relegated to VIP status, though I think Officer could have been squeezed in there somewhere given the nature of the movies' stories. They kind of make up for it by giving him a whopping Leadership x3 (complete with Command icon, of course). Leadership x3!?! The man IS a legend, after all, and his crew is ready to commit crimes and throw their careers away if he gives the word. Inspiring such loyalty may well be worth the multiplied skill. Where Captain Kirk seemed to have nothing but Leadership, Admiral Kirk also has Diplomacy (actually opposite to Captain Kirk's attack ability). He made contact with V'ger and convinced Gillian to give him the whales, but his diplomatic gambits in ST II and III were really hiding nasty tricks to use against Khan and Krudge. Remember that the events of ST VI were experienced by a later card, James T. Kirk. Diplomacy's okay, but is a slight stretch. The special download makes more sense than most however, since Kirk commandeered a surprising number of ships during his Admiralty. He took Enterprise away from Decker, later stole that same ship from drydock, and then commandeered the HMS Bounty. The special skill is perhaps a bit conceptual, but nonetheless inspired. Lore-mentioned ingenuity apart, I believe it's based on McCoy saying Kirk always "turns death into a fighting chance to live". The quote is from The Search for Spock where Kirk discarded the Enterprise to draw Spock, if you will. Of course, there are so many possible cards, you can't all relate them to Kirk, and the Enterprise wasn't in hand to be discarded or anything, but that's why I call it conceptual. In a broader sense, Kirk always had a card up his sleeve, could easily improvise solutions, and was ready to scrap a plan that wasn't working in favor of one that would. One icon of note bears discussing: the Nemesis icon. His is opposed to Khan's, and that's a nemesis relationship if I ever saw one. Khan was definitely trying to kill Kirk, but ended up dead himself (by his own actions, but this wouldn't have happened without Kirk's involvement). They chose black for the icon, partly because there aren't a lot of appropriate choices left, but it does relate to Khan's black heart too. Attributes are pretty close to those of the younger Captain Kirk save for one less point of Strength. He's older, sure, but he was able to fight a Klingon hand-to-hand, so I don't know about a drop there. The high Cunning speaks to his ingenuity, and Kirk's Integrity could always be called into question by his cavalier attitude toward timeline disruption and poor behavior toward Willard Decker, the true captain of that Enterprise. I think Decipher did an decent job of fitting at least 4 films into one personnel card, but it's not without its hiccups: a strong 4.1.

STOCKABILITY: Captain Kirk was great - he could "stop" and stun personnel, could initiate battle against all but Federation personnel and had a useful download, ship and icon (OS). Admiral Kirk is different enough to warrant inclusion of both versions in the same deck if you want to go back and forth between them, but is also quite good on his own. As an Admiral, he can report for free to the Office of the President or download through Going to the Top. VIP may be less important to a game than OFFICER, but Leadership x3 will get you through even Alien Abduction without help. Of course, there's no other reason Leadership x3 would be superior to Leadership x2 since it's the only card that requires more than 2 Leadership. Diplomacy is a good added bonus, a useful skill that is nevertheless pretty common. The special download is a common one too, almost every affiliation having its own downloader. Kirk doesn't have Computer Skill unfortunately, but if he boards another ship with a few friends (and VIP allows him to do so using Open Diplomatic Relations), he could get himself into the right position. An already empty ship would be best, but he's capable of switching to Captain Kirk mode and attack the crew if not, then back to Admiral mode for the download. The special skill is really where he's at though, since it's usable once per turn. So every turn, you can manage your cards by discarding a useless card in hand for a potentially more useful one from your draw deck, like a mini-Mutation usable every turn. Obviously, a good recycling strategy is paramount in getting some of those discards back into your hand later. Even if you download Captain Kirk to the OS Starship Enterprise (and then Captain's Log), you'll keep your matching commander if you switch to Admiral Kirk. And even if you switch the Starship to the CF version of ITS persona, he can keep on upkeeping the bonuses. He'd make the OS Enterprise 8-8-9 and the CF one 8-9-9 with Plaque and Log, but there are plenty of personnel that boost those ships' stats even higher. Of course, Admiral Kirk better staffs the CF Enterprise. He's matching commander of another ship too: The HMS Bounty. It's a cloakable bird-of-prey with higher attributes than either of his Enterprises (though with fewer additional boosts). With Plaque and Log it becomes 9-9-9 if he's aboard. If your opponent is running a Khan strategy, you'll have to watch out for the Nemesis icon, though you have the chance to switch to a Nemesis-less version of the persona. Khan has no such option and could well be discarded in this fashion, but you'd have to be on your guard what with Wajahut's ability to drop in unexpectedly with the Reliant at your Kirk's location. Having Kirk around not only would give you the chance to kill Khan, but also protects your Feds from Khan's mission-blocking skill, and makes Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Cold only worth 15 points if completed. Lots of meat to this personnel gets him a high score of 4.3.

TOTAL: 15.9 (79.5%) And we'll see how his future self fares later.