So there’s the Enterprise, boldly going all over the place, beyond the reach of Star Fleet’s whiz bang communication gadgets. Never fear, though, because our friends have guidance from Star Fleet available at all times in the form of Star Fleet Directives, and even–somebody was thinking ahead–a Prime Directive, also known as General Order No. 1 or the Non-interference Directive.
In other words, Captain Kirk (I’m more of a Picard fan myself) and his merry band were not to interfere with the development of the civilizations they contacted. The interesting notion to me is that there was one, tippy-top, tie-breaker rule: Do not mess with the LOCALS.
Clans have mottoes, the US Constitution has a Supremacy Clause, and most faith traditions have a short list of do’s and don’t somewhere in their catechism. Often a romance novel hero or heroine has latched onto what they hope will be the last big rule they’ll ever have to memorize, and that rule ends up outliving its usefulness.
Hannah, in The MacGregor’s Lady had organized her life around protecting her loves ones and thought that’s the only path she could honorably walk. Then she fell in love with Asher, and saw that selfless sacrifice can veer into enabling. Oopsie!
Valentine Windham had nothing in common with his stubborn, close-minded, self-righteous father. Not the smallest, coincidental iota of common ground for the shortest instant, you hear me? Because he didn’t. Ever…. Oopsie!
These characters have to switch that rule they put in the top slot. Gilly will never be a fan of deadly force, but her prime directive becomes “Don’t mess with the people I love or you’ll have ME to deal with.” Hannah learns to do unto herself as she’d do unto others. Valentine… well, he learns to see with his love rather than with his fears, even when looking in the mirror.
They don’t give up on the notion of a prime direction, they just trade up (after 363 pages of struggle and having it darn near cost them True Love) when the one they have no longer works. Maybe this is human nature, to want one overarching rule to fall back on.
I have such a rule: Be kind and tell the truth. That right there is enough of a challenge to keep me busy day in and day out.
Do you have a prime directive? Have you ever had to turn it in for a newer model? Who handed you this rule and how well did they live by it?
To one commenter, a $50 Amex gift card.