So I've been wanting to talk about the morality of Deep Space Nine for a while now. I'm finally launching into it, but before I get started, I wanted to take a few moments to establish some fundamentals of Star Trek morality. This week I'm talking a little bit about Starfleet captains as moral exemplars.
"Where Silence Has Lease" is a Next Generation episode where the Enterperise gets sucked into a whole in space run by a puppy-nosed omnipotent energy being who isn't Q.
He thinks killing a third of Picard's crew is a worthwhile scientific endeavor and Picard responds by activating the ship's self-destruct mechanism. Picard will kill everyone on board Enterprise just to save a third of the crew.
You see, for Picard none of his crew is expendable. Sure, Starfleet officers have to take risks and the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, but for Captain Picard it's not a matter of treating lives like math problems. His attitude comes across as more an "assault on some is an assault on all" perspective.
And his crew backs him up. While Riker in particular is a bit hesitant, he agrees. Nagilum is forced to fabricate imaginary members of Picard's crew in a futile effort to dissuade him.
Remember in one of the good Troi episodes, "Night Terrors," the ship is caught in an anomaly of the week and no one can sleep? Folks start going crazy and plotting mutiny and Guinan is forced to lay down the law. In "Where Silence Has Lease," everyone gets it. No one on board tries to overthrow the captain, deactivate the auto-destruct, and take their sixty-seven percent chance.
Picard doesn't impose his decision to destroy the ship on his crew; he makes it on their behalf. That's a pretty big distinction.