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Interstellar Law and Treaties: Starfleet General Orders

Written by Chris Gray, modified by Chris St. John

General Order 1 ("Prime Directive")

As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel, Federation citizen and/or representative 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/installation, 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.

General Order 1A (“Omega Directive”) TOP SECRET — CAPTAIN'S RANK AND ABOVE ONLY

Due to its destructive nature upon subspace & its inherent dangers towards all starfaring civilizations, the omega particle has been determined to be the greatest natural threat to the Federation and the entire galaxy. For that reason, any and all omega particles found to be in existence are to be destroyed at any cost. During the duration of said mission, the Prime Directive is suspended. Notification of the crew of a vessel or installation as to the true nature of this directive is an offense punishable by general court-martial, dishonorable discharge from Starfleet, and a prison term no less than 30 years and no greater than the offender's natural life.

General Order 2

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.

General Order 3

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.

General Order 4

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 5

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.

General Order 6

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.

General Order 7

No Starfleet vessel shall visit the planet Talos IV under any circumstances, emergency or otherwise. This order supersedes General Order 6. Any transgression of this general order shall be punishable by death.

General Order 8

Upon sighting a warship within Federation space and identifying it as belonging to a foreign power, the commander of the Starfleet vessel/installation shall determine the reason(s) for that craft's presence in the vicinity. If there is conclusive evidence that the vessel has hostile intentions, the Federation vessel may take appropriate action to safeguard the lives and property of Federation members or other non-aligned persons under current Federation protection. In such cases, the commander may use their discretion in deciding whether to use force to disable the hostile vessel. However, care should be taken to avoid unnecessary loss of sentient life.

General Order 9

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, said decision may and can be overturned by a superior officer or representative of the Federation government pending a reviewal of circumstances.

General Order 10

If there exists eyewitness testimony by senior officers or similar verifiable evidence that an individual, military or civilian, has violated the Prime Directive, said individual may be relieved of duty by a duly sworn representative of the Federation government and placed under immediate arrest. The governmental representative shall then take such action as he deems necessary to minimize the results of the violation.

General Order 11

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 12

When approaching a vessel with which communication has not been established, all Starfleet vessels are to maintain maximum safety precautions, regardless of the origin of said vessel, be it a foreign power, an hitherto unknown ship, or a Starfleet vessel.

General Order 13

Except when orders state to the contrary or in accordance with General Order 6, 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 14

Starfleet personnel may intervene in local planetary affairs to restore general order and to secure the lives and property of Federation citizens only upon receiving a direct order to do so from a civilian official with the effective title of governor or higher.

General Order 15

No officer of command or flag rank shall travel into a potentially hazardous area without suitable armed escort.

General Order 16

Starfleet personnel may extend technological, medical, or other scientific assistance to members of foreign powers or previously unrecognized sentient species only if such assistance in no way compromises the Prime Directive or the security of the Federation or Starfleet.

General Order 17

The commanding officers of Starfleet vessel and installations are to consider the lives of their crew members and/or civilian population as sacred. In any potentially hostile situation, the captain will place the lives of his crew above the fate of his ship.

General Order 18

Upon being accused of treason against the Federation, Starfleet personnel may demand a trial conducted by the Federation judiciary or representative Judge Advocate General for that sector. If the individual is acquitted, Starfleet Command shall have no further legal recourse against the accused in said matter.

General Order 19

Except in times of declared emergency, Starfleet personnel may under no circumstances convey personnel or material between planets or planetary systems when there is reason to believe that said personnel or material may be used to conduct aggression, whether against Federation members or other non-aligned worlds. This order applies to independent worlds within the Federation as well as to Federation members.

General Order 20

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. This includes temporary violations of General Order 13, but not of the Prime Directive.

General Order 21

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 22

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 23

When verifiable proof is presented to the senior commanding officer of a Starfleet vessel or post that a Federation representative may currently be acting or have acted in the past to violate the Prime Directive, the officer may relieve said representative of office, then assume the full powers of that office pending a full investigation by governmental officials.

General Order 24

If a commanding officer deems that a planet has been culturally contaminated to a point where correction is no longer viable and said culture now poses a direct threat to Starfleet personnel or Federation civilians, he may order the destruction of a planet's surface to occur within a time limit set upon invocation.

General Order 25

Civilian and military personnelϷhether a citizen of the Federation, a non-aligned world, or a foreign powerϴaken into custody by Starfleet personnel during times of extreme emergency shall be accorded proper treatment consistent with their rank or station, insofar as such treatment does not compromise the security of the Federation or Starfleet.

General Order 26

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 order and as such is punishable by general court-martial.

General Order 27

No member of Starfleet shall be required by the assignment of standard duties and responsibilities to undergo extended separation from his family if family members can be reasonably provided for aboard ship or as a part of an existing Starfleet installation.

General Order 28

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 29

The primary responsibility of the commander of any Starfleet vessel or installation is the welfare and safety of his crew, including any civilian members. No action may be taken that creates an unwarranted threat to the safety of those individuals under the officer's charge, except in the line of duty and when otherwise unavoidable. This is a concurrent order with General Order 17.

General Order 30

Starfleet Command recognizes the right of each ship commander to interpret the specifications of the Prime Directive as he sees fit, consistent with the conditions of other existing general orders in effect, and based upon circumstances that may arise in dealing with newly discovered sentient races. However, said decision may and can be overturned by a superior officer or representative of the Federation government pending a reviewal of circumstances.

General Order 31

The conditions and specifications of the Prime Directive shall henceforth apply to all sentient lifeforms discovered, whether they are of natural or artificial origin.

General Order 32

Federation officers may violate Neutral Zone areas as designated by treaty only if such action is required to save the lives of Federation citizens under conditions of extreme emergency as required by General Order 6.

General Order 33

If a commanding officer deems that an individual or group of individuals pose a direct threat to the safety of Starfleet personnel, Federation citizens, or those under current Federation protection, they may take any actions necessary to safeguard the lives of those threatened. In such cases, the commander may use their discretion in deciding whether to use force. However, care should be taken to avoid unnecessary loss of sentient life.

General Order 34

All Starfleet personnel and/or Federation civilian contractors shall follow a superior's order to the best of their ability, unless said orders should conflict with the regulation laid out in these orders. Special dispensations are granted in emergency situations as per specific orders, with the exceptions of General Orders 1, 2, 3, or 7.

General Order 35

Should the entire personnel of a Starfleet vessel or installation become severely incapacitated or deceased due to an environmental or medical contaminant, said vessel is to be destroyed within a 24-hour period from initial discovery of cause to prevent spread of the epidemic agent.

General Order 36

No Federation vessel, whether civilian or Starfleet, is allowed to visit a planet or star system placed under quarantine by Starfleet or the Federation Council unless the visitation falls under the jurisdictional actions accredited by General Orders 1, 5, and 6.

General Order 37

Starfleet personnel shall respect binding contracts, agreements, and bondings made by the Federation government and/or Starfleet itself and shall operate within the boundaries & governances of said treaties, especially in matters dealing with the co-signatories of said treatise.

General Order 38

In the event of the death, absence, or incapacitation of the commanding officer of record, command of a ship or installation falls to the next highest-ranking crewmember, regardless of position in the command structure. When two officers in the line of succession are of comparable rank, command first falls upon the officer with command experience; barring that requirement, command will fall upon the officer with seniority.

General Order 39

An officer or crewmember may be removed from active duty status if they are judged to be incapable of fulfilling their obligations as a member of Starfleet, whether for medical or psychological reasons, by either the Chief Medical Officer or by the two ranking command staff officers.

This page was last modified on Wednesday, July 04, 2012.