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Appropriate discipline onboard a starship

Hello again. Had a scenario happen in game where 2 PC’s went off solo to a public bar to investigate a name of a contact there. When the idividual who was on a non federation planet did not want to talk to them got up to walk away the 1st officer and security officer grabbed him and called for a immediate transport (essentially abducting the individual) and not alerting the captain or any other individuals to their descision. Turns out this drunk individual they abducted was armed and drew his weapon on them and fired but do to a critical fail on the GM’s roll grazed himself in the head. Upon recieving a message that there is weapons fire in the transporter room my captain takes a security detail and procedes to go to the transporter room. When arriving he sees that the other 2 PC’s have disarmed the individual and 1 of them is holding him off the ground up against a wall. My captain asks them what is going on and the security officer throughs the abductee on the ground saying he drew on them while the transporter operator (another PC) says that they brought him in without alerting anyone of a potential threat. In the heat of the moment my captain orders that all 3 be disarmed since they are onboard the ship. And that the 2 officers be escorted to their quarters to cool off (not under arrest) just seperated from the NPC. And the NPC be taken to the brig. The PC security officer in game protests and sits on the floor and refuses to move or go with the security officers. The 1st officer goes reluctantly. With the security officers refusal i ordered the security detail to stun him but still take him to his quarters…My question is this. Was this too rash given the insubordination involved? And according what the tech manual says and the tv shows tell what should be done?

So first of all the transporter operator should actually detect a weapon in the matter stream and disable it, thus eliminating a potential threat. This happens several times in the show (mostly TNG I guess). With that in mind, the situation should not have been as critical.

But in any case, let’s say for the sake of argument that the weapon was somehow not detected. I think the first officer made a judgement call to “abduct” the individual. You can always apologize later. This should probably be handled with a talk between the captain and the XO.

To the transporter room: From my feeling, the transporter operator should not openly contradict a superior officer in front of the captain. That said, even though the security officer is rough, the behavior is still OK for a TV show. I think the captain is a little overreacting when they disarm the XO and security officer and sending them to quarters.

But sitting (!) on the floor not handing over the weapon is not only insubordination but also a behavior very unbecoming of a Starfleet officer. Protests should be made verbally if it relates to ship’s security, but if the captain asks you to relinquish your weapon, it should be clear how serious the situation is. Also the XO should probably have tried to reason with the security officer.

I honestly don’t know what I would do as a captain. It depends on how experienced the security officer is (i.e. how long they served in Starfleet).


When someone does something off-character like sitting on floor as a protest, it may be worth to pause game for a minute and make sure that everything is ok.
Player may try to tell you something about theirs game expectations, maybe they do not know how to properly make a protest as a Starfleet personel or else?

I think this kind of issues should be resolved off-game and off-character – it is fun to have some conflict in your game, but if someone is not happy with it, things may go ugly and not startrekish at all.

I agree that a pause in the action is warranted. The players should be told that their behavior is out of line, and give them a chance to rethink their actions, in a more mature and professional manner. If they persist, then the Captain has no choice but to deal with them as harshly as the situation warrants.
Personally, I would have sent them all to the brig to think about what they’re doing and brought them before a Captain’s Mast for punishment. For those that do not know, a Captain’s Mast is a less severe method of molding behavior and handing out correction.


There are examples of this kind of punishment, like Tuvok ordering crewman Chell to degauss one of the ship’s transporter pads with a micro-resonator (not technically a Captain’s Mast but still). I agree that this is the right way to deal with that kind of insubordination (ignoring the sitting on the floor part).

As I read it, the “sitting on the floor”-thing was in-game and not out-of-character.

That being said, my first reaction, too, was “Why didn’t the transporter disable the firearm?”. Maybe this will help the PCs in their defense.

In-universe, there should be at least some negative feedback (be it a Captain’s Mast, disciplinary action or a full-grown military tribunal). This also is a text-book-example for negative influences on reputation checks.

Out of game, I really recommend to check for player expectations. It doesn’t sound like all the players at the table are playing the same game. Maybe, the player of the security officer is not into playing a starfleet officer at all or at least has difficulties in adapting their play-style from a standard D&D chaotic-something rogue.

Or maybe, everyone actually does play the same game, but fails to communicate they do. Meaning: Maybe the player playing the security officer wants to display in-character struggles with authority and their own discipline. This has happend before, just look at Tom Paris in early Voyager, needing time and personal development to fit in. It would be detrimental to their expectations to just ignore it.

Please have a talk as a whole group, maybe advanced and/or followed by one-on-one talks where everyone clearly communicates their expectations. Playing should be fun for everyone.
For such a talk, maybe take into consideration the points that were raised in the Session 0 in STA thread right in this forum.

The “sitting on the floor”-thing may have been in-game but it was still conduct not becoming of an officer.
Certainly not a Starfleet officer; nor was kidnapping someone, for any reason. They better have a damn good excuse for it.
Tell them that, like the Prime Directive, Starfleet has certain protocols that are expected to be followed by any and every officer wearing the uniform. (in and out of that uniform)

Did Tom Paris ever get tossed in the brig?

If the PCs had firearms then the transporter might not have delineated a new one when they beamed up.

Tom Paris spent a Month in the brig. they actually did an episode about it

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The two officers who abducted a person without their consent should be put in the brig before being handed over to he planetary authorities to face a charge of kidnapping.
If proven, they would no longer be Starfleet officers.
Starfleet has high ethical standards, the GM should have advised them that this action was out of character for a member of Starfleet and asked them did they really want to face a career-ending charge of abduction?