Starfleet General Orders
A General Order (or General Directive) is a published directive which is considered to always be in effect and have the force of law. It is an offense punishable by court martial for any member of Starfleet to disobey a General Order. These are in contrast to Special Orders which are given in a particular situation and are understood to be temporary in nature.
General Order One
Also known as The Prime Directive prohibits Starfleet personnel and spacecraft from interfering in the normal development of any pre-warp society, and mandates that any Starfleet vessel or crew member is expendable to prevent violation of this rule.
As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.
If contact is made with hitherto undiscovered intelligent lifeforms, under no circumstance shall Starfleet personnel, either by word or deed, inform said lifeforms that worlds other than their own or intelligent life-forms other than their own exist outside the confines of their own space or answer questions by said lifeforms pertaining to the existence of other species outside said space.
General Order Two
To take charge of this post and all Federation property in view. To keep my post in a professional manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
General Order Three
To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by my instructions and to quit my post only when properly relieved.
General Order Four
Prohibits the use of lethal force accept when no other alternative is available to save innocent lives. Further, this General Order prohibits the use of the death penalty for any crimes, except violation of General Order Seven.
General Order Five
In cases of extreme emergency, Federation special representatives are empowered to assume emergency powers to deal with a condition or circumstance that is deemed hazardous to the welfare of Federation citizenry. Within the scope of these emergency powers, duly authorized civilian personnel may assume temporary command of Starfleet vessels, installations, and/or personnel to deal with the emergency. Starfleet personnel must submit to their authority for the duration of the crisis. An order that prohibits Starfleet officers from, for example, transporting out of a dangerous situation if others would be put at risk by doing so.
General Order Six
If all life aboard a Federation starship had perished at the end of twenty-four hours, the ship would self-destruct to protect other beings from the disease on board.
General Order Seven
General Order Seven outlines provisions for travel exclusions to star systems which have been determined to hold threats so serious that no Federation starship is allowed to visit. If a planet is listed singly the exclusion limit is usually 1 A.U. from that world, while a system exclusion forbids approach within one light-year of that star’s heliopause. The punishment for violation of General Order Seven is death, one of very few crimes for which that penalty is still allowed in Starfleet disciplinary code. The list of Star Systems (and planets) changes over time (in general increasing).
- Alpha Centauri System
- Talos System (Talos IV inclusive)
General Order Eight
No Starfleet personnel shall unnecessarily use force, either collectively or individually, against members of the United Federation of Planets, their duly authorized representatives, spokespersons, or designated leaders, or members of any sentient non-member race, for any reason whatsoever. The sovereignty of each Federation member being respected in all things, Starfleet personnel shall observe any and all statutes, laws, ordinances, and rules of governance currently in effect within the jurisdiction of a member planet. Violators of such ordinances will be subject to such punishments or corrections as shall be determined by local governmental bodies.
Except when orders state to the contrary or in accordance with General Order Seventeen, Starfleet personnel will respect the territorial integrity of independent planetary systems and governments within and without the confines of the Federation’s borders, and will not violate territorial space belonging to such worlds.
General Order Nine
Specifically forbids the transport of unknown infectious agents onto a starship without establishing containment and eradication protocols.
General Order Ten
Before engaging alien species in combat, any-and-all attempts to make first contact and achieve nonmilitary resolution must be made. This is to include retreat to a safe zone and use of signal communications where possible. The Starfleet Joint Chiefs may issue standing orders of hostility to allow hostilities upon contact and proper identification; these orders are reviewed at the first opportunity by the Federation Council.
General Order Eleven
Line and Flag officers are forbidden to accompany away teams until such time as the situation has been determined to be secure and their individual presence on the away team would provide ‘irreplaceable utility’ which could not be gained by from any other available personnel. Further, under no circumstances should the captain and first officer be on an away mission at the same time. Paragraph 15 states that even once the area is determined to pose no immediate threat, flag officers shall have an armed escort when deploying to any area outside a Starfleet secure zone.
General Order Twelve
On the approach of any vessel, when communications have not been established, the vessel will take up full defensive posture until such time as the approaching vessel is determined to be harmless.
General Order Thirteen
This is the evacuation order for Starfleet vessels.
General Order Fourteen
The chief medical officer has the power to relieve an officer or crewman of his or her duties (including one of superior rank) if, in the CMO’s professional judgment, the individual is medically unfit, compromised by an alien intelligence, or otherwise exhibits behavior that indicates seriously impaired judgment. In the absence of a starship’s assigned captain, a flag officer had the authority to assume command of the starship should they have deemed it necessary.
Should it be proven with admissible evidence that the flag officer who had assumed command was medically or psychologically unfit for command, the starship’s ranking officer could relieve them on that basis. However, such an action was required to be supported by an appropriate certification of unfitness by the ship’s chief medical officer (requiring the CMO to also produce test results to that effect) or other clear evidence, such as an act of attempted suicide.
General Order Fifteen
Federation order that dictated the formal relief of a commanding officer by their successor. No officer of command rank shall be removed from command status unless such action has the complete and unqualified agreement of at least three senior officers present per Starfleet Procedural Order 104, sections B and C. Whenever possible, such officers shall include the ship’s First Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Counselor, and one junior officer of command station.
General Order Sixteen
The commanding officer was required to relieve themselves of command if their current mission left them emotionally compromised and unable to make rational decisions.
General Order Seventeen
The request for emergency assistance from Federation citizenry or non-aligned persons demands unconditional priority from Starfleet personnel. Such personnel shall immediately respond to said request, postponing all other activities. This responsibility extends to current governments at odds, actively or passively, with the Federation. Issuing a false distress order is a crime punishable by no less than 20 years rehabilitation, up to a life sentence if it can be shown that lives were lost due to the diversion of Starfleet assets involved in response to the false distress call.
General Order Eighteen
A commander of a Starfleet vessel or installation, military or auxiliary, may grant political asylum to any individual without first being given express permission to do so by a representative of the Federation government. However, that decision can be overturned by a superior officer or ranking agent of the Federation government pending a review of circumstances.
General Order Nineteen
A regulation allowing an officer to take command of a starship. It was active only under at least one of three conditions:
- When an imminent threat was detected;
- When the lives of Federation citizens were in danger;
- When no other officers of equal or higher rank were present to mitigate the threat.
General Order Twenty
Officers and personnel of Starfleet Command may employ whatever means necessary to prevent the possession, transportation, sale, or commercial exchange of sentient beings held against their wishes within the boundaries of Federation space, so long as those efforts do not violate other General Orders. General Order Eight does not apply in these cases as the Articles of Federation to which all UFP members are signatories expressly prohibits slavery of sentient beings.
General Order Twenty-one
Starfleet officers with command-level rank or higher are granted full authority to negotiate conditions of agreement and/or treaties with legal representatives of non-Federation planets. In such circumstances, the acting officer carries de facto powers of a Federation Special Ambassador. Any and all agreements arranged in this manner are subject to approval by the Chief of Starfleet Operations, the Secretary of Starfleet, and the Federation Council.
General Order Twenty-two
No Starfleet personnel, either officer or enlisted, may offer his services to an independent foreign government without the express authorization of the Federation Council.
General Order Twenty-three
As the rights of individual expression and free discourse are considered sacred, Starfleet personnel may debate the policies, decisions, and actions of their governmental representatives privately at any time, to the extent that such discussions do not violate their command oath or specific duties to the Federation per these General Orders or Starfleet regulations.
General Order Twenty-four
This order provides special provisions for destroying all life on an entire planet and provides safeguards that this is done only to protect life in the greater galaxy.
General Order Twenty-five
Regulation that prohibited the transfer of weapons by Starfleet officers to other races without the approval of the Federation Council.
General Order Twenty-six
No member of a ship’s complement or other ground-based installation can be held directly accountable for the actions of their superiors. Similarly, no member of a ship’s company or other Starfleet personnel will share in disciplinary measures taken against the Commanding Officer(s) if said individuals were not directly involved in the actions leading to disciplinary measures. This order extends to conditions involving proven violations of the Prime Directive, where proof of such violations exist. However, failure to attempt to halt the actions of said superiors is a violation of the General Order and as such is punishable by general court-martial.
General Order Twenty-seven
This General Order provides guidelines for courts martial and non-judicial punishment. Section 10 states the “immediate steps” should be taken to bring the accused to trial, limiting the maximum of 120 days for “speedy trial.” Section 13 states that punishment other than arrest or confinement is prohibited before trial, and that confinement should be no more rigorous than is required to ensure the accused’s presence at the trial. The accused may continue to perform duties at the discretion of the commander. Section 101 affords the right of silence to all Starfleet servicemembers subject to GO-21 proceedings. A JAG officer can be requested to represent the accused in cases of non-judicial Punishment, but is required in all courts martial.
These are disciplinary actions which are relatively minor and can be adjudicated by a service member’s commanding officer. The punishments are usually minor and may include:
- Admonition or Reprimand;
- Extra Duty for up to 45 days;
- Restriction of Privileges up to 60 days;
- Forfeiture of pay and allowances for up to one months;
- Reduction in Rank: For service members grade E4 and below [Starfleet Ranks] can be reduced up to two grades. Enlisted personnel grades E5 and E6 can only be reduced one rank, higher ranking individuals can not be reduced in rank by NJP.
A record of the NJP will be placed in the service member’s personnel file. The service member reserves the right to waive NJP and instead have their case heard by a Summary Court-martial.
Summary Courts Martial
The least serious of the three types of courts martial, these proceedings only handle minor incidents. Summary courts martial are headed by a commissioned office who does not need to be a lawyer, although a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer is preferred when available. In naval tradition this is called a Captain’s Mast if conducted by the captain of a vessel or an Admiral’s Mast if conducted by a flag officer. Punishments available for Summary Courts Martial include:
- Reduction in Rank: For service members grade E4 and below [Starfleet Ranks] can be reduced any amount down to E1. Enlisted personnel above grade E4 can only be reduced one rank by Summary Court Martial. Warrant Officers and Commission Officers can not be reduced in rank through Summary Courts Martial;
- Confinement of up to 30 days;
- Restriction of Privileges up to 60 days;
- Forfeiture of pay and allowances for up to two months.
Special Courts Martial
These courts martial are similar to civilian misdemeanor courts and can impose significantly greater penalties upon the service member if convicted. The Special Court Martial includes at least three officers and a military trial judge. Enlisted members may request at least one of the panel officers be replaced by an enlisted member. Punishments available for Special Courts Martial include:
- Reduction in Rank: For service members pay grade E4 and below [Starfleet Ranks] can be reduced any amount down to E1. Other enlisted personnel can be reduced up to two grades, while officers can be reduced one grade by Special Court Martial;
- Confinement and Rehabilitative Custody of up to one year;
- Restriction of Privileges up to 120 days;
- Forfeiture of pay and allowances for up to six months.
General Courts Martial
The most serious tier of military courts, these proceedings can only be convened by a Starfleet flag officer [Starfleet Ranks]. These courts serve as trials for crimes which in civilian terms would be felonies or capital crimes. The General Court Martial includes at least three officers and a military trial judge. Before any case goes to General Court Martial, a pretrial investigation must be conducted, unless waived by the accused. Punishments available for General Courts Martial include:
- Reduction in rank for any service member, by any degree, including down to lowest enlisted grade;
- Forfeiture of all pay and allowances;
- Dishonorable Discharge;
- Rehabilitative Custody for any period up to life.