- See West for other articles with titles that contain, either by relationship or by coincidence, this character's surname.
- For the mirror universe counterpart, see Ivan West (mirror).
West studied xenoanthropology at Starfleet Academy, particularly Klingon culture. His senior thesis at Starfleet Academy, which criticized Starfleet's handling of the Battle of Axanar, not only caused controversy, but also estranged him from his father.
After graduation in 2266, Ensign West hoped to serve on a starship, but was instead assigned by Admiral Robert Justman to research the current situation with the Klingon Empire in the hopes of finding a diplomatic solution, as the latest Starfleet Intelligence reports indicated that they were preparing for war with the Federation. West also advised Ambassador Robert Fox to be more aggressive in his diplomacy with the Klingons, as they saw his willingness to make concessions as a sign of weakness. (TOS - Errand of Vengeance novel: The Edge of the Sword)
West worked in the office of Federation Starfleet Admiral Herbert Solow in the months immediately prior to the signing of the Organian Peace Treaty. Those months saw escalating tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, and it was widely believed that war was inevitable. In spite of his young age and rank of lieutenant, West's analysis of the Empire had come to the attention of Federation President Kenneth Wescott, and he was invited to a meeting in the Presidential Office along with Admiral Solow to brief the President, his staff, and senior members of the Federation Diplomatic Corps. In the course of the meeting, President Wescott decided to allow a colony of independent Klingons that the Empire wished to annex to determine for itself whether it wished to join the Empire or remain neutral over Lt. West's loud objections. West had clearly not endeared himself to the president, and believed Wescott to have made a dangerous decision. (TOS - Errand of Fury novel: Seeds of Rage)
In 2293, West briefed Federation President Ra-ghoratreii of Efros on Starfleet's plan to rescue Captain James T. Kirk and Dr. Leonard McCoy from the Klingon Empire, which had arrested the two for the assassination of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon, Son of Toq. West strongly recommended that "Operation Retrieve" be implemented; when Ra-ghoratreii asked what would happen if this prompted a war, West - war hawk that he was - simply replied that the Federation would clean the Klingons' chronometers.
Ra-ghoratreii's and Gorkon's work towards peace angered West, and he conspired with Federation Starfleet officers Admiral Cartwright, Lt. Valeris, Yeomen Burke and Samno, and with Romulan Ambassador Nanclus and Klingon General Chang, to assassinate President Ra-ghoratreii at the Khitomer Conference while disguised as a Klingon, thus guaranteeing a war between the Federation and Klingon Empire. The conspiracy was uncovered by Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. West managed to fire his Klingon manufactured weapon at Ra-ghoratreii, but missed when the President was tackled by Captain Kirk. Losing his chance to kill either Ra-ghoratreii or Chancellor Azetbur, he decided to kill Valeris to ensure her silence. As he began to press on the trigger, Captain Montgomery Scott burst into the room where West was hiding, and fired a phaser at him. West fell through a window into the main chamber, and died on impact with the floor. Colonel Worf and Admiral Smillie ran over to check on the assassin, and Worf soon realized that the blood pooling on the floor was not Klingon in origin. Smillie removed the mask worn by the "Klingon" and identified the dead man as Colonel West. (TOS movie: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
- In the film, West was referred to only as "Colonel West." "Colonel," of course, is not part of the Federation Starfleet's naval-based rank structure. However, he wore the uniform of a Starfleet Vice-Admiral. Some have suggested that he was part of a Starfleet Marine Corps; this is also borne out by the Operation Retrieve briefing itself, which mentions the Corps (however this is only displayed onscreen and not actually spoken). Alternatively, West's rank could follow British military tradition, in which a flag officer in command of a regiment of troops can be called "colonel of the regiment". In this case, West's actual rank could indeed be Vice Admiral, and the term "colonel" would be a title. West was named as a reference to the infamous United States Marine Corps Lt. Colonel Oliver North, who, as part of the Reagan Administration, sold weapons to the Islamic Republic of Iran and used the profits to fund the anti-Communist Contra rebel group of Nicaragua in violation of United States law and later lied to Congress about his role.
In an alternate timeline created by the death of Spock in 2237, West was placed in command of Starfleet after Admiral Harold Morrow was killed in the Genesis War in 2291. He then used the rank of Admiral. West sat in on the planning session for deployment of the Genesis Device against Praxis. (TOS - Myriad Universes novel: The Chimes at Midnight)
- ↑ West's given name was not specified in The Undiscovered Country. The novel Seeds of Rage established it as "Patrick". (TOS - Errand of Fury novel: Seeds of Rage)
- ↑ In Demands of Honor, West notes he has used the transporter more "in the past two weeks than in his first twenty-three years." Presumably, this means he's past his twenty-third birthday and not yet to twenty-four. (TOS - Errand of Fury novel: Demands of Honor)