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Benjamin Maxwell

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"...if he could not find a role for himself in peace, we can pity him, but we shall not dismiss him."
– Jean-Luc Picard, 2367 ("The Wounded")

Benjamin Maxwell was a male Human Starfleet officer of the 24th century, and considered one of Starfleet's finest captains. He was a veteran of the Federation-Cardassian War, during which he was twice decorated with the Federation's highest citation for courage and valor.

Maxwell had married and had children in the early part of the century. They lived in an outpost on Setlik III while he was a captain.

The Rutledge Edit

During the Federation-Cardassian War, Maxwell served as captain of the USS Rutledge. He earned a fierce loyalty from his crew, and got to know them well.

Maxwell responded to news of the massacre at Setlik III, wherein his wife and children were killed. He arrived the day after most of the inhabitants were killed, and sent away teams to protect the remaining people in the more remote regions.

Maxwell's tactical officer at the time, Miles O'Brien, would later remark that Maxwell appeared to take the loss of his family remarkably well, not missing a single minute of duty.

He was fond of a certain song, "The Minstrel Boy," sung by one of his crew, Will Kayden. (TNG: "The Wounded")

The Phoenix Edit

USS Phoenix

The Phoenix

By the late-2360s, a peace treaty had been negotiated between the Federation and Cardassian governments and Maxwell had been given command of the USS Phoenix.

In 2367, Captain Maxwell, believing the Cardassians to be re-arming and re-equipping themselves, undertook his own unauthorized preemptive strike, beginning with the destruction of a Cardassian outpost in the Cuellar system which Maxwell believed to be a military supply port disguised as a science post. He then turned to any supply vessels heading for the outpost. The USS Enterprise-D was ordered in pursuit. Maxwell destroyed a supply vessel and a nearby Cardassian warship, killing approximately six hundred-fifty Cardassians, despite it being given the Phoenix' prefix code.

Eventually, the Enterprise arrived and Maxwell agreed to a meeting with Captain Jean-Luc Picard, explaining that he knew the Cardassians were arming again. The peace treaty was a ruse to give them time to re-group. He had undertaken these unauthorized attacks because he did not trust the "bureaucrats" in Starfleet to take decisive action, an assertion to which Picard responded by stating his opinion that Maxwell was simply seeking revenge for the death of his family. Maxwell was also reunited with O'Brien, who was serving as transporter chief, and the two men greeted each other warmly as old friends. Maxwell also complimented the chief's abilities as a tactical officer. Miles expressed his own admiration for his former Captain.

Subsequent to Picard ordering him to travel to Starbase 211 under escort, Maxwell feigned compliance, but altered course en route, leading the Enterprise-D to another Cardassian supply vessel. Maxwell claimed it was transporting weapons in preparation for an attack on Federation space. Imploring Picard to search the ship in an attempt to prove his assertions, Maxwell threatened to destroy it, along with all hands. He was eventually talked down by O'Brien. Realizing that he had lost, Maxwell willingly surrendered to Picard, turning over command of the Phoenix to his first officer. (TNG: "The Wounded")

Appendices Edit

Background information Edit

Captain Benjamin Maxwell was played by actor Bob Gunton.

The script for "The Wounded" describes Maxwell as, "not at all what one might have expected. Slight of build, short greying hair, chiseled, angular face -- he could be Lenin. Or Lennon. But in the eyes there is warmth -- and humor. Creases at the edges testify to a lifetime of smiles and laughter. He is genuinely at ease with himself, and consequently puts others at ease." [1]

Author and writer Larry Nemecek noted that Maxwell's "Queeg-like turn" echoed Matt Decker from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Doomsday Machine". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p.152)

Apocrypha Edit

The novelization of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine pilot episode "Emissary" gives Maxwell's wife's name as Maria Huxley.

The Gateways novel Demons of Air and Darkness reveals that Maxwell was court martialed and imprisoned after the incident shown in "The Wounded".

The DS9 novel Force and Motion established that, after being incarcerated for nearly two decades, Maxwell was employed as a maintenance engineer on a private science station.

External links Edit

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