As a fan of the Star Trek franchise – and in keeping with Star Trek Week here at IoM – I thought it might be prudent to do a few entries on Star Trek. Since I am just as much a whore as any other geek, I’ll use this opportunity to talk about some of the enemies faced by the many Captains. I’ll save the cliché “which-captain-is-the-best” entry for next week.
Not every enemy stayed an enemy, and not all members of a single race were necessarily bad. We don’t want to think that Roddenberry was ultimately racist in the things he created. Klingons were bastards at times, but Worf was fun, and they weren’t all trying to bring down the federation. The real question posed here though is, “are there any real enemies?” I don’t mean the Klingons or the Ferengi, I mean the real dangers to the Federation.
The Borg: First encountered by Picard in The Next Generation, the Borg are a highly advanced hive mind with the goal of the assimilation of every living sentient being in the universe. They have the ability to adapt to any energy weapon, which means they are difficult to kill in large numbers.
But are they evil? I’m reminded of the Cybermen from Doctor Who when it comes to the Borg. Nothing more than a (race? group?) of entities attempting to achieve their idea of perfection. In many ways, they are right about their assumptions about other sentient beings. They are imperfect, often letting their own emotions get in the way of things, but think of their world. There is no war, no strife, nothing in the way of violence except against those who attack first. Sure you don’t get to fall in love, but you don’t get heartbreak either. They are the opposite of the other sentient beings in the universe, but their failures serve them well and make them into a hard group to kill. But their lack of emotion means they cannot be evil. To be evil, one must feel.
The Q: Picard, again, was the first to discover this race, and one of the members of the Q introduced the federation to the Borg, perhaps giving an advanced warning. Q shows up unannounced on the deck of the Enterprise and struts around making witty and insulting retorts while dispensing smugness. It would seem that Q just wants to play with the crew, acting out and generally being a dick, but he gives fairly useful information for humanity.
The Q, for those who may have missed the few episodes with him, is a race of beings that consider themselves the height of evolution. They are immortal, nearly godlike with the powers to match. But it was always just the one member that visited the crew. The rest of the Q didn’t care about the rest of the galaxy. I’m not too sure what they amused themselves with, but it certainly wasn’t humanity or any of the other races around. Enterprise’s Q was different. He tempted Riker with the Q power, he alerted the Federation to the Borg, and was stripped of his powers at one point and came begging for a job on the deck of Picard’s ship. As enemies go, Q was downright helpful in many ways, and was just another being who, in his own way, wanted to help. I’m sure he just found the rest of the universe fascinating. At least more then the rest of those arrogant bastards.
Orion Syndicate: The Orions originally came up in the original episodes of Star Trek, and weren’t seen again as a key player until Enterprise, other than a brief showing in Deep Space Nine. If this is wrong, please know that my knowledge of Star Trek is lacking in many avenues. I have quite a bit of catching up to do.
The Orion are a crime syndicate, sometimes seen in many respects as what we would call the Mafia. The females are known for being wildly sexual and are sought after as consorts and entertainers. I guess Kirk needed something to bang that week.
There isn’t much known about the Orion, but I do have my opinions about their business practices. All in all, they just want to make money. They may prey on the weak, but as a friend once said to me, “Hey, we’re all adults” Falling victim to the group is probably your own damn fault. If you see a green skinned woman around, just run. Their pheromones are dangerous to any guy that hasn’t gotten any in the last thirty minutes, and you can find yourself in a bad way quickly. I liken them to the Ferengi. Shrewd, tough and maybe a bunch of assholes, but they don’t want power, they want money. But as Tony Montana taught us, first you get the money, then you get the power. If the franchise is rebooted well enough for a new TV show, I hope to see this group again.
The Gorn: It took a bit of pondering on whether or not to include this race, but the episode “Arena” is so well known among the geek community as laughable, that I thought to throw this race a bone.
The Gorn were involved with the Orion in a few ways, but it’s never really fleshed out in canon. For those of you still confused, this was the slow, hissing lizardlike creature Kirk fought on a desert planet by creating a cannon of some kind of bamboo, gunpowder and diamond like rocks. Though seemingly slow, the Gorn that Kirk was fighting knew his own limitations, mostly that he was slow and made a lot of noise, and set a trap for Kirk, injuring his leg.
The entire fight was a misunderstanding. The Enterprise crew was heading to dinner, and found the place they were going to completely obliterated. Then they came under attack by an unknown ship, and they warped out, landing them into an uncharted sector of the galaxy. The beings there, showing an almost Q like quality, decide to be arrogant bastards and force the captains of both ships to fight it out. Who ever wins goes free and the other is destroyed.
After all is said and done, Kirk does what he does best (no, not bang the Gorn, though that would have been interesting) and after winning declines to destroy the other ship. After that, there is hardly any other mention of the Gorn, but I assume they decided the Human race was not to be messed with.
I give the Gorn the benefit of the doubt. I don’t just assume they destroyed the outpost, maybe they were in the wrong place a the wrong time. Innocent until the Federation says you’re guilty.
I’m sure there are some I’m missing. Ask what you will in the comments. I’ll defend any “enemy” as a possible friend. Just because you think they are bastards doesn’t mean they are.