Today is Independence Day in the USA, a holiday commemorating the signing of a declaration of independence and sparking a revolution. The right to self determination is a strong theme in Star Trek. Regardless of the Prime Directive, Star Trek’s captain’s were known for getting involved and taking on causes. Today we look at some of their finest moments fighting for independence.
Original Series – Kirk sows seeds of revolution
In the closing moments of ultimate alternative universe episode, Captain Kirk just cant help himself as he is leaving the ‘evil’ universe and does his best to inspire “Mirror” Spock to take up arms and fight for freedom against the tyrannical Empire.
Honorable Mention: In “The Cloud Minders” Kirk embraces the cause of the Troglytes on Merak II by forcing the leaders to see that a gas created in mining conditions was turning the Troglytes into dumbed-down second-class subservients.
Next Generation – Picard uses tough love to free addicted race
Captain Picard manages to stay within the Prime Directive while still righting a wrong in the form of one race (The Brekkians) using a narcotic disguised as an unneeded vaccine in order keep another race (the Onarans) under their thumb. Once he uncovers the insidious ‘symbiotic’ relationship he stops providing the help that would keep the drugs flowing, knowing that it would cut them off from their addition.
Honorable Mention: In the film “Star Trek Insurrection” Picard leads an insurrection against the Federation itself, after he deems their policy of forcibly relocating the Ba’ku to be immoral.
Deep Space Nine – Sisko becomes homeless hero
“Past Tense” (2-part episode)
While three hundred years in the past, Benjamin Sisko one ups his predecessors by not only helping a revolution, but actually taking on the identity of the leader (after the original leader, Gabriel Bell, dies). Sisko (as Bell) goes on to spark the ‘Bell Riots’ of homeless and unemployed who have been put into a ‘Sanctuary Districts’ and he even gets himself martyred.
Honorable Mention: In the episode “Paradise” Sisko demonstrates civil disobedience as he quietly (yet powerfully) defies the anti-technology zealot Alixus who has knowingly stranded her followers on the ‘Paradise’ colony. When Sisko refuses to back down and willingly walks back to his torture box, it is a true moment that celebrates the individual against the oppressive society.
Voyager – Janeway gives Borg freedom
“Unimatrix Zero” (2-part episode)
If any group of people have been deprived their right to self-determination, it is the assimilated drones of the Borg Collective. Through Seven of Nine, Janeway connects with and helps foment rebellion for a group of Borg who are able to find their individuality while ‘regenerating’ in a virtual place called Unimatrix Zero.
Honorable Mention: In the episode “Nemesis” Chokotay is recruited into a war and trained to hate the ‘Nemesis’ only to find out that Janeway has allied herself with the opposite faction, and they may not be as evil as he was led to believe. This episode deals with how right and wrong in war and freedom are often a matter of perspective.
Enterprise – Archer sparks Vulcan Renaissance
“Kir’Shara” (3-part ‘Syrrannite’ arc)
After first believing the dissident Vulcan group the Syrrannites were responsible for bombing the Earth Embassy, Captain Archer ends up embracing their cause and (with the help of the Surak’s Katra) leading them to rediscover their Vulcan heritage and begin a new age of Logic.
Honorable Mention: The episode “Dear Doctor” foreshadows the Prime Directive as Archer is faced with a moral dilemma over whether or not to help a dying race (Valakians) who are impeding the development of another race (Menk). It is Doctor Phlox that convinces Archer that in this case the right thing to do is to do nothing, and let nature take its course.