Star Trek: TNG Nova Squadron’s Forbidden Maneuver Explained

  • The Kolvoord Starburst Maneuver, attempted by Nova Squadron, was an impressive yet dangerous flight maneuver that resulted in the deaths of all five squad members.
  • Nova Squadron's leader, Nick Locarno, convinced his friends to lie about the maneuver after the tragedy, but Wesley Crusher struggled with the guilt and eventually confessed.
  • The ban of the Kolvoord Starburst Maneuver at Starfleet Academy had long-lasting consequences, with Locarno being expelled, Wesley leaving Starfleet, and the tragic deaths of Joshua and Sito Jaxa impacting others' lives.
An elite group of Starfleet Academy cadet pilots called Nova Squadron performed a dangerous maneuver that got one of their squadmates killed on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In TNG season 5, episode 19, "The First Duty," Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) struggles with his conscience after he lies about the circumstances of his squadmate's death. Wesley joined fellow cadets Nicholas Locarno (Robert Duncan McNeill), Sito Jaxa (Shannon Fill), Jean Hajar (Walker Brandt), and Joshua Albert in Nova Squadron. Locarno, the team leader, convinced his friends to attempt the dangerous Kolvoord Starburst Maneuver at commencement to impress the higher-ups at Starfleet.
As described after the fact in Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The First Duty," when Nova Squadron secretly practiced the maneuver, their ships collided. The disaster destroyed all five ships, but four of the squad members were able to eject in time. Joshua Albert wasn't so lucky. After the tragedy, Nick convinces his friends to lie about the maneuver and claim that the crash was Josh's fault. Although everyone initially agrees, Wesley in particular struggles to go along with the lie. After satellite footage reveals the truth, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) confronts Wesley, pressuring him to come clean. After Wesley confesses, Nick Locarno accepts the blame for the tragedy and is expelled.


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