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"That wasn't my fault! If… if my stupid professors had just let us practice…!"
"Josh died because of your ego, man!

Joshua "Josh" Albert, son of Lieutenant Commander Albert, was a Starfleet cadet assigned to Starfleet Academy's elite flight group, Nova Squadron.

Wesley Crusher and Joshua Albert were close friends. They both once went on a skiing trip in Calgary, where Albert borrowed Crusher's sweater. Crusher had also helped Albert in his studies, especially in statistical mechanics. (TNG: "The First Duty")

In a deleted line, Josh's father had told Dr. Crusher that "Josh once told me that Wesley was the only reason he made it through astrophysics."

In 2368, Nova Squadron leader Nick Locarno was about to graduate, and wanted to wow the assembled guests by performing the Kolvoord Starburst at the graduation ceremony, which required the rest of Nova Squadron. Cadets Albert and Crusher expressed concern over Cadet Locarno's plans; Albert noted that not only had the maneuver been banned, it had been banned for a good reason, and Crusher knew the group needed more training than they had time for, but Locarno dismissed their concerns, stated that the group would be mere ensigns in their first assignments, but living legends on campus if they pulled it off. (LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")

Before a training exercise over Titan, Albert admitted not feeling confident, but the rest of the squad pressured him into going ahead. Tragically, his concerns proved well-founded; while flying in close formation with four other Nova cadets – Locarno, Crusher, Sito Jaxa, and Jean Hajar – after going into the Kolvoord Starburst from a Yeager loop, his ship collided with Hajar's, causing all ships to be destroyed. Albert was the only one unable to activate his emergency transporter in time, and was killed in the accident.

Cadet Locarno convinced the surviving team members to provide false testimony and falsified flight plans during the resulting inquiry into the accident presided by Rear Admiral Brand and Captain Satelk. With the falsified evidence given, the inquiry pointed to pilot error on Albert's part as the cause of the accident, much to the dismay of his father. However, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D noticed the inconsistencies in the survivors' testimonies and performed their own investigation, after which, Captain Jean-Luc Picard realized that they had attempted a Kolvoord Starburst.

On the final day of the inquiry, after a confrontation with Picard about the prohibited maneuver, Crusher came forward and admitted that the true cause of the accident was that he and the other cadets pressured Albert in helping them attempt the Kolvoord maneuver despite him not feeling confident – partly vindicating Cadet Albert and giving his father some closure.

For the duration of the investigation, which lasted several days, the Starfleet Academy flag was lowered to half-staff. (TNG: "The First Duty")

By 2381, Locarno had absolved himself of any guilt involving Albert's death, instead blaming their professors for not permitting them to practice more. Beckett Mariner refuted this, saying that the tragedy was solely the result of Locarno's ego. (LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")

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