In Star Trek TNG, Captain Picard’s U.S.S Enterprise-D encounters a mysterious void in space. Picard, ever the explorer moves the ship in closer to investigate. To his surprise, it envelops the Enterprise and his crew can’t maneuver out. Picard must now negotiate with an all powerful being that has already killed a crew member in a mere experimentation to view human death.
Picard counters this malevolent species by threatening to destroy the Enterprise. This is a bluff that works and in the end he gains the acknowledgement that next time he encounters this powerful being, it will be amongst the stars and not in a void in space.
Captain Picard must deal with the unimaginable. Counselor Deanna Troi is impregnated by an unknown alien life-form. Determining whether the life-form is a threat or if it has a peaceful purpose of simply acquiring intelligence is Picard’s best guess. Fortunately a peaceful purpose turns out to be so.
Both aforementioned circumstances are unknowns and are intertwined. Picard’s practical ability to examine and discern allows the threat of a medical contaminate aboard his ship to be exposed. And the fast growing child, an intelligent species in and of itself, sacrifices his young human life to preserve the Enterprise crew. This allows the starship’s rescue mission carrying the medicines needed to eradicate a killing disease to occur. Picard’s tact and resolve is a model to be imitated.
Janeway is forced to rely on her own devices when Torres and Tuvok are captured by the Mokra during an away mission searching for tellerium.
Star Trek Starship Voyager suffers a serious shortage of tellurium, critical to the ship’s power generation systems. In an effort to acquire the tellurium, Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her away team visit a Class-M planet where the people called the Mokra live. The team is forced to operate covertly on the planet, because of the oppressive nature of the Mokra government.
After crew members are detained, Janeway is successful in befriending an Alsaurian resistance fighter named Caylem who is killed but not before he is instrumental in helping the Voyager away team deal with the Mokra officials. Janeway is appreciative of his sacrifice; it reinforces her belief system on loyalty, and the unified purpose that has been building between her Voyager crew. This new crew born out of two crews that were juxtaposed in mission and purpose; one renegade, one military, but both now search for a much shortened journey back home to Earth.
Chakotay ignores his duties of command believing that his past relationship with former Voyager crew member Seska, a traitor, is responsible for the Kazon warriors that penetrate Voyager’s hull and steal a transporter control module. The device represents a significant security risk since the Kazon do not possess transporter technology in this Delta Quadrant of space.
Chakotay commandeers a shuttlecraft, is captured by First Maje Jal Culluh of the Kazon-Nistrim sect who has unified with Seska. At Janeway’s discretion in allegiance to her first officer Chakotay who much of her crew respects, Voyager rescues him. Chakotay learns that personal vengeance no matter the egregiousness of personal attack is no reason to martyr himself when his loyalty should now always be to the Voyager crew. They are all in their plight together. All crew personnel might align together to find their way home to Earth.
The Ocampa Kes once again engages a lesson on where her true new found loyalty lies.
Kes (Jennifer Lien), from the Ocampa species, chooses to align herself with the crew of Star Trek Voyager instead of her new found Ocampa inhabitants found on another spaceborne array created by another sporocystian life-form called Suspiria; the mate of the original Caretaker. The crew searches out the signal that tapped into the Caretaker’s remains aboard ship and finds the 2000 Ocampa who help develop Kes’ psychokinetic abilities to extraordinary levels.
Kes is frightened by the immense powers that were latent in her mind.
Tanis the Ocampa, courts Kes to continue to explore and expand her abilities with him. Suspiria and Tanis attempt to force Voyager personnel to release Kes. Suspiria attacked ship’s personnel because she believed Voyager to be responsible for her mate’s death. Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), reason’s with Suspiria and releases her from capture.
Janeway was hoping to persuade Suspiria to use her array to get Voyager back home to Earth a75,000 year journey. This was not to be; instead Voyager’s entire crew was targeted by Suspiria to be killed. Janeway is successful in driving Suspiria and Tanis into a subspace domain called Exosia, releasing Voyager’s captured and injured crew.
Thanks to Janeway, Voyager personnel have their lives and ship intact to continue on their journey from the Delta Quadrant in order to find a shortened route back home to Earth.
First Officer Chakotay (Robert Beltran), in Star Trek Voyager episode, Tattoo, finds a familiar cultural symbol on an away mission. He and his away team prepare to extract polyferranide deposits found below the planet’s surface. Chakotay’s challenge is to follow orders and direct the team to retrieve the deposits for Voyager or leave the planet and its inhabitants alone.
He connects with an experience he had as a child and tries to contact his spirit people.
In true Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), fashion, respecting the good of exploration, believing that Voyager will find alternative resources, Chakotay makes contact with members of a humanoid species that his ancestors once called the Sky Spirits. Respecting the wishes of the planet’s inhabitants, Voyager departs without the needed polyferranide.
Planted seeds of right and wrong must work their way into the crew when an overt challenge between Chakotay and Tuvok as first-officer and chief of security and tactical operations must work out their different perspectives on leadership of ship operations and procedures. Captain Janeway becomes incapacitated and Chakotay squares off with Tuvok. Chakotay is the rebel force leader and Tuvok is Janeway’s confident, both Janeway and Tuvok are well stoked in Starfleet operating procedure. This is Chakotay’s reoccurring battle with command operations; he knows as a rebel leader that alternative options to standard military operating procedure can provide solid approach and answers to tight circumstances, too.
In this episode, Voyager encounters a non-corporeal, sentient, space-dwelling life-form which is interested in communicating with and learning more about the ship and its people. Too bad it couldn’t just say that. The being eventually passes through the ship, but it upsets computer control, communications, and more bizarrely, distorts the physical arrangement of its decks and sections.
In the midst of the crisis, Tuvok listens to Chakotay’s concerns and considers his position. He offers his apologies for Chakotay’s past issues, especially since Chakotay was promoted to First Officer over the next Starfleet officer to receive this command, Tuvok. Unfortunately their stand-off leaves the ship with one option, allowing the being to pass through it and hopefully the crew and ship will survive.
Thankfully when the being passes through Voyager, so does the crew’s fear and confusion, and happily the curious creature deposits a massive chunk of information into the ship’s computer memory banks. In the end, both Chakotay and Tuvok rise to the occasion of being better commanders and better men. Thankfully they learned from their stand-off and agree to better communicate with one another. I attribute their decision to do so to their admiration and acceptance of Janeway’s methods and leadership. I hope to instill the same type of resolve in those I will command.
Such was a world created by Gene Roddenberry, in the original Star Trek series (1966-1969), officers serving and coexisting in rank on a bridge of multi ethnicities. Nichelle Nichols, (cast as Nyota Uhura), has shared the story of how she met MartinLuther King during the Civil Rights Struggle while she contemplated leaving the Star Trek series. She explained how she told Roddenberry, she was leaving the show and he asked her to reconsider, because he was building something of significance. Making a statement about the inequity of a society in which they were living.
Nichols was invited to an event and as luck would have it,she meets Martin Luther King that night. He sought her out and told her how much her show meant to him. Nichols explained that she was leaving the show. He told her, she couldn’t do that. What she represented was too important. Roddenberry’s Star Trek was the only show that he would allow his children to watch because of the multi ethnicities that served together of equal rank (all officers) and of equal capability and training.Nichols decided to stay on the series after her conversation with King.
How Star Trek Influenced Vela Kurv’s
Star Trek had such a resonating tone of truth for me. It
spoke to me as a child; I would watch the syndicated reruns everyday after
school during my elementary school days. The truth of opportunity and
capability resonated with me, as well. How could it not, resonate with
everyone, I thought.
This television series did something extraordinary during a
very turbulent time in the United States. Star Trek was able to shine a light
on inequity, on prejudice and racism and on the plight of war. In fact, so much
of the series connected with me, that I was driven to create my own biracial
female superhero inside my own world of science fiction, her name is Lorabella
Kurv Wiles, also known Vela Kurv. Presently Vela
Kurv Begins and Vela
Kurv Becomes are in print and for sale on Amazon.
Vela Kurv Finds Its Way To Story
The backstory of Vela Kurv is somewhat surreal. Vela Kurv is
part of a line of women created by the combustion of a star, the Constellation
Vela. Lorabella becomes Vela Kurv because of her alien and human bloodline.
Like all superheroes, she struggles with her own humanity. She has a lesson to
learn in dealing with her own father, who happens to also be the commanding
officer of Earth’s military.
The struggle of humanity exists for us all in how we view
our own world and circumstances. The scales of justice don’t always feel
balanced because the struggle for equality has never been just. I can only hope
for a world filled with truth, justice and equality for all men, women and
children but until that day becomes a reality, I have made make my commentary
through the world of Vela Kurv and I
show how this biracial female superhero seeks to balance the scales of right
and wrong, because she believes that it’s possible. She fights to make justice
the prevailing truth inside the world of Vela Kurv.
From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv
How to prepare for being blindsided? Captain Picard is offered a gift from Ferengi Daimon Bok, the hulk of Pickard’s former command, The U.S.S. Stargazer. What begins as a gift becomes the tool for revenge. Bok uses this gift as an elaborate ploy to gain revenge on Picard for killing his son in the Battle of Maxia. Bok tries to put a nail in Picard’s coffin by falsifying the ship’s records of the battle laying blame on Picard instead of a documented self defense maneuver. Finally, Bok physically injures Picard by using a mind-control device to change his perception of reality and set him up to be destroyed aboard the Stargazer by Picard’s present commanding ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise-D.
In the end, Bok’s falsified records begin the unraveling of the truth. However, rescuing Picard from his own demise now becomes Riker’s (Picard’s second-in-command) objective as well as his duty. I believe it is Picard’s own logic and presence of mind that enables him to push through the fog of mind-control and free himself from his impending plight. But probably the additional contributing factor is the respect that he’s earned to push Riker and the rest of his crew, Counselor Troi and Doctor Crusher to dig deep for answers.
In the end, not only is a leader responsible for the constant oversight of their own balance of senses but the richness of the relationship they foster with their crew. In order for subordinates to have your back, they have to first want to. Engendering this type of loyalty has to be an aspect of the commander’s character. Talk about working on the internal humanity, this is truly the challenge of responsibility.
From Lorabella’s journals at the West Pipe Space Academy, before she becomes Vela Kurv
Another curious episode drawing from Latin for its title “from a thing done afterward”, which refers to the concept of retrospective? A law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions committed or relationships that existed prior to the enactment of the law. Chief Helmsman Tom Paris is accused of murder on a planet occupied by the Banean people and instead of being sentenced to death; their new punishment is the implantation of memories of the murdered victim into Paris’ mind so that he regularly relives the murder through the eyes of his victim.
Janeway is determined to prove his innocence, a commander standing by her pilot that she desperately needs to get her crew home, so Voyager flies in to investigate this conviction. Tuvok determines that Paris is innocent, a pawn in a warzone between the feuding Banea and Numiri. The Banean doctor is proved guilty. Paris is released, and the doctor arrested along with Ren’s wife who was complicit in the murder of her husband. Voyager leaves the Banean homeworld and continues its journey.
Janeway’s strength is shown and proven by Paris’ innocence. Her judgment is also proven to be of good merit, another lesson for a leader (me) building her chops of command to draw from.