Self-Assurance and Trust

In “Descent, Part II” (season 7, episode 1) Beverly is left in command of the ship while everyone except she and a skeleton crew go down to the planet’s surface to form an unnecessarily large search party to look for a rogue Data. Not only is Beverly left to command the ship against a Borg vessel, but her tactical officer, Ensign Taitt, was posted to the ship only 6 weeks ago.

It’s obvious that Taitt is nervous and anxious about making a mistake that could result in the destruction of the ship and everyone on board (and all while still in her 3-month probationary period–talk about an inauspicious beginning). But Beverly (who may not be used to command but is used to holding lives in her hands) displays immediate self-assurance and no hint of a doubt about Taitt’s abilities. They manage to hold their own and bring back enough members of the search party that Lieutenant Barnaby is able to relieve Taitt at tactical. Beverly then shows Taitt how much she believes in her by asking her to stay on the bridge as science officer.

Beverly next demonstrates how important it is to trust in not only your abilities, but those of your staff as well. She first shows confidence in Barnaby by approving his risky plan of waiting until the last second to drop out of warp in order to hide for as long as possible the fact that they have entered orbit around the planet (while Taitt helpfully points out that they’ll hit the atmosphere if Barnaby’s calculations are inaccurate).

Beverly then shows confidence in herself by making the bold decision to hide from the Borg ship in the corona of the sun (with Taitt pointing out, um, you know stars are hot, right?). With no way of knowing if the shields will hold (and with Taitt looking at her like she is a few dilithium crystals short of a warp drive), she has Barnaby implement the experimental metaphasic shielding to keep the ship from burning to a cinder.

And finally our Doubting Taitt’s turn comes when she has the idea of creating a solar fusion eruption to destroy the Borg ship. Taitt may be new to real-world scenarios, but she studied solar dynamics at the Academy and knows she can successfully do this, even if Barnaby is now the one looking at her like she’s taken leave of her senses (see–kind of annoying, isn’t it, Taitt?). Beverly trusts in the ensign’s specialized knowledge, just as the ensign believes in herself.

The result is an incinerated Borg ship, an impressed Lieutenant, and a very gratified ensign who will move forward in her career with the important lesson that listening to her instincts and trusting in her own skill can enable her to accomplish extraordinary things.

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