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"I could've been the best pilot in Starfleet!"
"Don't let that anger define your life! You stunned all those crews, you didn't kill them, because deep down, you're not a murderer."
"I'm sorry, but I really am. My perfect life was taken from me, and now I'm getting it back!"
– Nick Locarno and Beckett Mariner, 2381 ("Old Friends, New Planets")

Nicholas "Nick" Locarno was a male Human who lived during the late-24th century. Following his expulsion from Starfleet Academy for impeding an inquiry over the death of a fellow cadet killed in a botched illegal flight maneuver, Locarno eventually moved to New Axton where he began operating as a civilian pilot for hire.

Over the next decade, his resentment towards Starfleet festered so much that he conspired to found an independent space exploration organization called Nova Fleet, consisting of starships stolen with the aid of lower deckers he talked into mutinying against their captains. However, when he attempted to recruit Beckett Mariner, she refused to cooperate and fled with a Genesis Device he had planned to use as a deterrent. His erratic behavior as a result of her actions ended up alienating his followers and ultimately resulted in his death when he was caught in the device's detonation. (TNG: "The First Duty"; LD: "The Inner Fight", "Old Friends, New Planets")

Starfleet Academy[]

"Locarno was kicked out of Starfleet. He got one of his squad killed performing a banned flight maneuver, then tried to cover it up."

As a cadet first class, Locarno was the leader of Starfleet Academy's Nova Squadron in 2368.

Shortly before commencement, on stardate 45703, the Nova Squadron flight team was involved in an accidental collision while trying to execute the highly controversial and banned maneuver known as the Kolvoord Starburst, as part of his graduating class's graduation ceremony on the Academy Flight Range near one of Saturn's moons, Titan. Cadet Joshua Albert was killed in the crash. The other members of the team, including Locarno, were able to activate their emergency transporters to avoid a similar fate. Locarno's doomed ship was destroyed in the accident.

Nova Squadron

Nova Squadron's hearing

Locarno convinced his team members – Wesley Crusher, Sito Jaxa, and Jean Hajar – that the accident was Albert's fault and persuaded them to ultimately cover up the fact that they performed a prohibited maneuver and lie at the subsequent hearing. However, the truth was discovered by Captain Jean-Luc Picard who believed that Locarno wanted to end his Academy career in a blaze of glory and that he convinced the other team members to learn the Kolvoord Starburst for the commencement demonstrations, allowing Locarno to graduate from the Academy as a living legend. Dismayed at the deception, Picard confronted Crusher about it, sternly urging him to come forward with the complete truth at the hearing before it was concluded, or Picard would present the results of the Enterprise's investigation. When Crusher informed Locarno, he pointed out that the captain had his theory but not enough hard evidence, and the team could still get away with their deception as long as they stuck to their story.

After Crusher disclosed the true cause of the accident, Locarno, who had always insisted that everything he did was for his friends and the team, took full responsibility for the accident and cover-up and was subsequently expelled from the Academy. Locarno made an impassioned plea to the inquiry board which saved the other members also from almost certain expulsion. (TNG: "The First Duty")

However, Locarno would go on to convince himself that the stunt's catastrophic failure was due to their professors not allowing the team sufficient practice time (for a banned maneuver that they didn't know the team planned to do and certainly wouldn't have approved), for which he, therefore, blamed the Academy as a whole. Locarno's errant beliefs prevented him from learning from his mistakes and caused a festering resentment towards Starfleet as an organization, that they had taken away his "perfect life." Even while he verbally acknowledged that he had been expelled and was no longer part of Starfleet, on a subconscious level, he was convinced that he was a graduate of the Academy. (LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")

LD: "Old Friends, New Planets" ultimately confirms Picard's belief by revealing that Locarno pressured the entire team into performing the stunt despite Josh's uncertainty and Wesley realizing they didn't have enough time to sufficiently prepare. It is unknown if Locarno ever blamed Wesley–who would resign from the Academy two years later–for breaking the team's silence, or Picard for convincing Wesley to confess.

Civilian career[]

Nick Locarno personnel file

Locarno's personnel file

Following his departure from the Academy, Locarno became a civilian pilot for hire who operated out of New Axton.

In 2370, Ensign Sito accepted an assignment to a top-secret and dangerous mission, during which she succeeded in her objective, but was then killed by the Cardassians. Locarno would eventually learn of her death and believed it had been meaningless. (TNG: "Lower Decks"; LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")

In 2381, Locarno was one of four former Starfleet officers deemed to be in need of rescue as Nova One was supposedly targeting other former officers. The USS Cerritos was tasked with finding him. However, as Beckett Mariner had gone into a self-destructive tantrum due to her promotion to lieutenant junior grade, D'Vana Tendi took Mariner for a simple mission fixing a weather satellite while the crew tracked down Locarno.

Unknowingly, Tendi's act drew them to Sherbal V, where they were attacked by the IKS Che'Ta' and forced to beam onto the planet. There, they discovered the captains of the missing ships, who had been marooned on the planet by their lower deckers. After rallying the stranded crews together, Mariner was transported up to the mysterious ship and was met by Locarno; apparently simultaneously, an away team led by Captain Carol Freeman discovered the plans for the mysterious ship in Locarno's storage bay on New Axton. Having been casually acquainted with Mariner at the Academy through her friendship with Sito, Locarno had noticed Mariner's record of insubordination and, unaware of the reason for her erratic behavior, planned to recruit her on that basis. He believed she would join his cause and thus embarrass Starfleet Command, given that she was the daughter of Admiral Alonzo Freeman. (LD: "The Inner Fight", "Old Friends, New Planets")

Death and legacy[]

Nick Locarno sucks

Lt. Mariner disrupts Locarno's recruitment broadcast

On board Locarno's ship, the Nova One, he made a call to everyone willing to listen to join his Nova Fleet, an independent fleet that would not be held back by bureaucratic red tape and where all members were equals, and invited them to the Detrion system. Locarno protected his fleet behind a system-wide trynar shield and a Ferengi-created Genesis Device which he obtained from the black market. He had hoped to use Mariner to "bring truth to power", but she instead called him out on his mad plan and stole the Genesis Device before commandeering the USS Passaro. Locarno and Nova Fleet chased Mariner but when she hid in an ion storm, only Locarno went after her. Locarno attempted to manipulate Mariner by telling her that Sito's death had been meaningless, but Mariner–who, while stranded on Sherbal V, had been told that her erratic behavior dishonored Sito's memory–told him that Sito had given her life for Starfleet, and then reminded him that he had caused Albert's death.

As Locarno pursued Mariner, the Cerritos flung the Orion destroyer Retribution into the trynar shield, causing a breach that allowed her captain's yacht to enter the system. This caused the rest of Nova Fleet, already disillusioned by Locarno's controlling and reckless behavior, to abandon Locarno. As Locarno disabled the Passaro, Mariner activated the Genesis Device before he boarded the ship and the two got into a fight before Freeman was able to transport Mariner onto the Cerritos' captain's yacht. Confident, Locarno raised the shields on the Passaro and went to disable the countdown, only to learn that it was locked behind a two-latinum-bar paywall. The bomb detonated, killing Locarno and using his components, along with those of the Passaro, Nova One, and the ion storm, to create a new Class M planet.

This world, Locarno, was named after the late cadet (due to the incorporation of his atoms into its overall makeup), and provided that it proved to be stable, was expected to become a new home for refugees. Upon learning this, Freeman mused that Locarno had done some good after all. (LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")



Background information[]

Nicholas Locarno was played by actor Robert Duncan McNeill.

In the script for "The First Duty", Locarno is described as "well-built, charismatic, a born leader. [...] He's part priest, part politician -- an earnest, believable young man with the capacity to sway people to his cause. There's nothing consciously manipulative in Locarno; he's one of the best and the brightest. His only flaw is ambition -- without that, he might have been one of the best the Academy has ever seen." [1]

Locarno was the inspiration for Star Trek: Voyager's Tom Paris. In interviews, the producers of Voyager claimed Locarno's actions made him irredeemable, and therefore a new character was required. (TNG Season 5 DVD) Voyager Producer Jeri Taylor has stated, "We had liked the idea of a character like Tom Paris ever since we had done "First Duty" and had Lecarno [sic.]. We didn't make Lecarno the con officer, because he was somewhat darker and more damaged. We felt Lecarno couldn't be redeemed and we wanted to be on a journey of redemption." On the same occasion Taylor confirmed that McNeill had always been the first choice for the character, "We knew from the get-go we were going to read this guy," thereby squashing the contemporary rumor that it had been a stroke of inspiration from Executive Producer Rick Berman. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, issue 4/5, p. 62) Tongue-in-cheek fun is poked at this apparent incongruity in the later Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Old Friends, New Planets" when Brad Boimler and Sam Rutherford start arguing over the obviously identical facial features of Paris and Locarno.

Robert Duncan McNeill said in a 1997 interview that while they may seem similar, Locarno and Tom Paris were actually quite different. He remarked, "Locarno seemed like a nice guy, but deep down he was a bad guy. Tom Paris is an opposite premise in a way. Deep down he's a good guy. He's just made some mistakes." [2] Having had almost a quarter of a century to ponder the issue, McNeill stood by his assessment when he reiterated in 2020, "I think Locarno was a bad guy who pretended to be a good guy. Deep down inside, he was rotten. In contrast, inside Tom was a good guy who pretended to be a bad guy. He sort of wanted everybody to think he didn't give a damn and that he was a lone wolf, but deep down he wasn't like that." (Star Trek Voyager: A Celebration, pp.55-56)

Taylor even proceeded from the assumption that McNeill was to reprise the Locarno character for Voyager, as shown in her preliminary story notes of 3 August 1993 during the development stage of the new series, where he was mentioned by name as one of the main protagonists, and reiterated in her story notes of 10 August. However, by the time a preliminary version of the series' "Writer's Bible" was drafted at the end of September, the character's name was, for whatever reason, changed to Tom Paris. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 178, 186 & 208)

"The First Duty" writers Ronald D. Moore and Naren Shankar never bought into the "irredeemable" argument however, later stating that they were "bummed" that the same actor was recast as Tom Paris instead of reprising his role as Locarno, as they couldn't see why Locarno's actions should have been irredeemable whereas Paris' equally serious actions were not (TNG Season 5 Blu-ray: "The First Duty", audio commentary).

A photo of McNeill as Locarno was later used as a photo of young Tom Paris on Admiral Owen Paris' desk in the Voyager episode "Pathfinder". His uniform from this episode was later sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [3]


Prior to Star Trek: Lower Decks, the novella "Revenant" from the 2010 anthology book Seven Deadly Sins depicted Locarno as having joined the privateers of the Celtic - a private starship. In 2380, they boarded the USS Reston, a Starfleet vessel that was taken by the Borg. Locarno was assigned to the boarding party, but it turned out that the away team had been sent there to be assimilated by the Borg. He subsequently allowed himself to be assimilated with the other members of the crew.

In Star Trek: Coda: The Ashes of Tomorrow, Wesley Crusher mistakes Paris for Locarno. Paris states that he gets this a lot.

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