Yes, delving into the fineries of “Star Trek” canon is one of the dweebiest intellectual activities imaginable. But activating that particular neural gland gives Trekkies no small amount of pleasure, and good-natured nitpicking is one of our most edifying joys, so delve we shall, fellow nerds. Spreading headcanon amongst ourselves is the thing that brings us together. Indeed, credit goes to William Bibbiani for initially making this post’s central observation. 

Trekkies may recall the original series episode, “The Conscience of the King” (December 8, 1966). In that episode, the Enterprise is called to a distant planet to investigate the identity of a local actor named Anton Karidian (Arnold Moss). Karidian is appearing in a local production of “Macbeth,” and has spent the last few decades building his profile as a performer of classics. An old friend of Kirk’s (William Sargent), however, strongly believes that Karidian is, in fact, Kodos the Executioner, a murderous monster who somehow escaped apprehension decades before and who changed his identity.

Years before, Kodos was the mayor of a distant Federation colony that was rapidly running out of food. The starships with supplies were so far behind, the colonists began to starve. Rather than let the colony waste away, Kodos elected to murder half the population. As it so happens, Kirk was present for the massacre of Tarsus IV. Kirk had moved away from Earth, only to witness the deaths of 4,000 people. By Trek’s timeline, he was only 13 or 14 years old. 

In “Conscience,” Kirk has to investigate Karidian to see if he is actually Kodos and also stem the rash of rage from other officers who also witnessed the killing. 

Surely, witnessing a massacre would change a child.