In “The First Duty,” Sito Jaxa, a young and aspiring Bajoran cadet, became embroiled in a scandal at school. It seems that a hotshot pilot student named Nick Locarno (Robert Duncan McNeill) convinced her and a few other cadets to perform a dangerous and illegal maneuver during flying class that would have looked really impressive and presumably would have impressed the Starfleet professors. The stunt, however, accidentally killed a fellow cadet and Nick convinced Sito, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), and a few others to cover up the circumstances of the death. Naturally, the students were found out.
Despite the scandal, and despite being held back a year as a result, Sito eventually graduated and was stationed on board the U.S.S. Enterprise-D under Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). Picard admitted to Sito that he specifically requested her for assignment on the Enterprise, as he wanted to see if she had managed to redeem herself. Would she display any newfound strength of character? These events were dramatized in the episode “Lower Decks.” That episode followed not the Enterprise senior staff, but the lower-ranking officers who are specifically excluded from some of the more dramatic life-of-death struggles regularly encountered up on the bridge.
“Lower Decks” revealed that the early part of a Starfleet career involves a series of stressful tests, a constant need to prove yourself, and a lot of following orders without question. All of these were bore out by Sito, who was tested by Worf in combat training, and by Picard, who questioned her integrity to her face. Sito died after she volunteered for a secret spy mission into Cardassian space. After she died, Picard announced that Sito did indeed possess a great deal of strength of character.
It was a heartbreaking moment.