Hello and welcome to another episode of Truth OR Myth Beta Canon, a Star Trek web series that dives into the history of any given topic using Beta Canon sources using my own imagination to fill in the gaps, and create a cogent narrative. In today’s episode, we’re taking a look at the life and times of Hikaru Sulu.
Though this video is based mostly on Alpha Canon, the truth is it is in fact a Beta Canon video as I’ve extrapolated Sulu’s feelings surrounding the various events that will be discussed.
And so, because this IS a Beta Canon video, all information relaid should pretty much be taken with a grain of stardust, and only considered a little bit of Star Trek Fun! And so, with all that out of the way, let us begin.
In the history of Starfleet and the United Federation Of Planets, there were many heroes who would step forward and lead these Organizations to the future and to the stars. And one of those heroes was Hikaru Sulu, a helmsman aboard James T Kirk’s Enterprise, who would eventually command one of the starships that would come to symbolize the hope for the future in the late 23rd Century…
The 23rd Century was jam-packed with heroes of the Federation…
Born in 2237 in San Francisco, California, Earth, Hikaru Sulu would have a long and fruitful career in Starfleet, making his mark on the Galaxy as one of the most famous Helmsman to come out of the 23rd century.
Exert from Hikaru Sulu’s Biographical File, Audio Interview, Recorded Stardate: 9442.6, Federation News Service;
“Yes, I was born in San Francisco on Earth, and I’ve always loved that city. I’m sure almost everyone loves their home city, but for me San Francisco was the center of the world. It’s a bustling city, and of course it’s location of Starfleet Command. Even today, when I visit San Francisco, I’m still filled with the same excitement and joy I felt as a child. there’s something so magical and inspiring about it that I believe just growing up there helped steer me towards Starfleet to explore strange new worlds and civilizations. Everywhere you turn in the city there’s a new race, a new species of plant or animal, and the city is always a buzz with possibilities… As well as the latest gossip on whatever Starfleet has just discovered”
Hikaru Sulu would end up channelling this excitement of exploration into a career in Starfleet.
Entering the academy at the age of 16 in 2254, Sulu would take advantage of the dual major enrollment program which was offered to academy cadets with a High IQ rating which allowed them to pursue 2 different career paths simultaneously.
“I had 2 options when I enrolled at Starfleet Academy, and I didn’t hesitate in choosing either major. The first one, at the time was called Astrosciences. Basically a program that, when boiled down, was a deep study of the Universe, the cosmos and how everything worked with in those realms.”
“Of course today, Astrosciences has been widdled down to several, more specific, career fields. But Astrosciences suited me just fine, because I had this innate curiosity about Space, and the wonders that could be found there.”
“The other major I took would of course be Starship flight and maneuvers, which if followed would lead to the starship position of helms person. And this again tied in to my curiosity about the universe.”
“after all, what better way to learn of such things, then by actually being on the bridge of a starship and in charge of flying through the whole mess? Of course though, this dual major system is no longer available today, and that’s because it lead to a lot of problems where officers would be forced to take one of the 2 career paths they really didn’t want to follow simply because Starfleet needed them in that other position… It wasn’t exactly like that for me though…”
Graduating at the top of his class for both fields in early 2258, Hikaru Sulu would accept a position as junior Astrophysicist at Science Station Eradani 2, where events would conspire and lead the young ensign to make a choice that would change his life forever.
“As a cadet, I wasn’t really interested in the daily goings on for Starfleet. for me, I was in it for the long haul, and had resigned myself to deep analysis of discovered phenomena and writing papers about them.”
“Then of course in May of 2256 was the battle of the binary stars, and the first Klingon War, and like most cadet, I became transfixed with it.”
“At the time, Starfleet had enacted several war time initiatives, which included fast tracking cadets through the academy. And I remember imagining what it would be like to serve on the bridge of a starship in the heat of battle, Captain Phillipa Georgiou after all had been a hero of mine before I even entered the academy, and her heroic sacrifice at the Binary Battle had touched me in a way I had never expected.”
“And so when the head of Starfleet Academy approached the best and the brightest of the cadets with an opportunity to intern on Federation Ships during the war, again I didn’t hesitate. I merely signed up, and waited for my posting.”
“Expecting some sort of position at the front lines, you can imagine my surprise when Starfleet posted me to Space Station Eradani 2 near Vulcan.”
“It became a depressing assignment for me as a result, even though we were assured the research we were doing was vital to war effort, the truth was, that being stationary, analyzing data in that way, seemed meaningless to me, I wanted to be out there, I wanted to make a difference.”
“And then a year later, give or take, the entire war was over, and an anticlimactic end I might add, even though I was happy that Federation wouldn’t lose anymore lives in the conflict. But the realization, that not a single project I had been working on during the war effort had even made it past the drawing board began to sway my opinion as to where I wanted my life to head in the grand scheme of things…”
Transferred back to complete his studies at the academy, Hikaru Sulu would continue to excel in both fields, but his experience at Science Station Eradani 2 during the war, would continue to have a profound effect on the young officer.
“After returning to the academy I couldn’t shake the depressive feelings that seemed to reside just at the edge of my subconscious. And in fact, the only time those feelings seemed to not be there, was when I was at the helm of ship. It felt right, it felt good, it felt like I had a purpose.”
“But I had interned as an Astroscientist, and because of that, I think Starfleet expected me to become just that. But when I performed a Kolvoord Starburst with my flight team for graduation in the summer of 2259, something happened to me.”
“I was right in the middle of the maneuver when a little voice in my head said to me, this is who you are, you’re a helmsman. And when I came out of that maneuver my entire head space had changed. I now knew exactly who I wanted to be.”
And with his mind made up to become the helmsman of a starship, Hikaru Sulu began to search for opportunities to do just that, only to be met with disappointment after disappointment.
“There were no opportunities to become a helmsman on a starship. The war with the Klingon Empire had decimated the fleet, and although Starfleet had begun to double it’s efforts to build it back up, the timing of my career change vs available positions in the fleet were way off.”
“So here I was again left with a choice, either hold out for an unknown amount of time, while Starfleet Command offered me position after position, most likely getting angered by my refusal to accept any of them, which in turn would seriously effect my career, Or accept a position as an Astroscientist and hope that at some point in the future, I would have the opportunity to change fields.”
“Eventually, I decided on the later option, and for 4 and half years, I traveled from unimportant assignment to unimportant assignment, waiting and hoping for the opportunity that never came. But in 2264 that would all change when I got offered a position on board the USS Enterprise as head of Astrosciences, under a new captain, James T. Kirk.”
“I was actually quite surprised and touched by the offer. James T Kirk was an unconventional man to the say least. At the time, he was the youngest Officer to ever make the rank of Captain in the fleet, and I think because of this fact, he was willing to put aside preconceived notions of rank and experience in favor of innate talent. And that’s exactly what he did with me.”
“Years later, he would tell me how impressed he was with my academy record and accomplishments, and that he could see my potential as the Astrosciences head, even though normally I would have been far to young to hold that position. And so he gave me the chance, and I graciously accepted.”
Serving aboard the USS Enterprise would end up being one of the most thrilling and exciting times for Hikaru Sulu, leading him to remain on the ship for almost 25 years, before making the bold decision to leave the Enterprise, in favour of commanding his own ship, the USS Excelsior.
And when we next return to the Life of Hikaru Sulu, we’ll take a look at some of the major events during his first 5-year mission aboard the Enterprise, and get a deeper perspective from the man himself on those events. Hope to see you then…
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