Wesley Crusher's team has an accident at Starfleet Academy. Picard offers to help a Starfleet investigation as to what happened, and begins to suspect they are hiding something.



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Captain Picard is delighted to be the commencement speaker at Starfleet Academy on earth, but even before the Enterprise arrives for graduation, he must deliver the news to Dr. Crusher that her son cadet Wesley's Nova squadron has had an accident during Saturn maneuvers, in which his teammate Josh Albert was killed. While Picard remembers with grounds keeper Boothby a potentially career-breaking incident during his own training, the official investigation he is part of soon discovers Nicholas Locarno's team is trying to cover up what really happened, for one thing deviating from the original flight plan and blaming the deceased panicking. Picard has Data and Geordi partake in the flight recorder analysis. A random Saturn satellite sensor sweep shows they lied by omission, and Picard realizes their cocky intent. They can get off with a formal reprimand for lack of proof... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

28 March 1992 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ronald D. Moore also wrote the Deep Space Nine episode "Valiant" that focused on another group of Starfleet cadets, Red Squad. See more »


In the explanation of the maneuvers, the term "low apogee" is used to describe a trajectory around Titan, a moon of Saturn. In the strict sense, an apogee is the highest point in the orbit of a satellite around earth. Even when accepting that the term may also be used for other planets, the fact remains that the term is used here to refer to the orbit of a ship around a moon, not a planet, hence it is not correct. A correct term would have been "low apoapsis". See more »


Boothby: [on seeing Picard for the first time since his Academy years] What happened to your hair?
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References Star Trek (1966) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

An unhappy reunion
31 March 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's been years since I'd originally seen 'First Duty', and I guess the reason I'd always written this off (to some extent) is because I didn't like Nova Squadron; especially Nick Locarno (Robert Duncan McNeill), although they do go to some lengths to soften him in the end.

But the rest of the team are just background players. This is all about Wesley; his guilt, self-doubt and ultimately his reconciliation with the truth during a hearing over a flight accident. I do like that this has him painted in an unsavory light and there's an effort here to show him struggling against expectation and peer pressure. His implied father/son relationship with the Captain is truly put to the test here (resulting in one of the great - and wrathful - Picard speeches).

There's a ray of hope in the end, but with serious restrictions.

Yeah, I'd say this episode has grown on me.


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