Posts Tagged ‘Worf’


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is one of those shows. Moving aside from what you believe about the controversy around it appearing as Babylon 5 (uber-geeks like me get it) or the Avery Brooks could not have a shaved head for a few seasons out of fear fans would see him only as Hawk (Spenser for Hire). It is a show that should be contemplated during Holy Week (and Lent) or really can be used to create a youth group exploration of faith/religion/spirituality/ethics across labels.

How did this happen? trials-and-tribble-ations-07

It is set on a space station that was once used as a key of an occupying species (Cardassians) over an entire planet and species (Bajoran). When the occupation ends, the Federation comes in to aid the Bajorans in rebuilding, claiming the symbol of occupation and re-igniting it as one of hope. There is an intricate religious system on Bajor that sustained the resistance, it is based around the Roman Catholic catechism is you watch closely, but is quite universal. A wormhole opens to a new quadrant, it is seen by believers as a Celestial Temple, with the “wormhole aliens/shape shifters” that exist within seen as Prophets. The Bajoran religion grew out of pantheistic roots to the belief in the tangible Prophets and Pa Wraith demons that were active before the occupation, and are active again. ds93

Commander Benjamin Sisko’s first contact with the Prophets brings him to the intersection of Star Fleet Prime Directive and those he is aiding’s religious beliefs as Sisko becomes The Emissary.

That is enough of an ethical discourse. Throughout though the show looks at race relations; in one episode of time travel it looks at the battle for equality within 20th century America. There is another when as Emissary, Sisko is left on the cusp of death, and his son, Jake, must wrestle through the ethical challenges of medically assisted death outside and inclusive of the ethical foundations he knows as a Federation citizen and the role/beliefs his father had been developing around his life as Emissary.

What is using God’s name in vein? For too long we have said its using God’s name as a swear, this is pure bullocks… it is using God’s name to justify your actions that are wrong (contrary to Love) or it is using God’s name/blessings in your life for your own personal gain instead of just being in awe of the love that has come.
This confirmation lesson was brought to you by the letter L for Love like Jesus, and the number 19 (cause 12 close men, and 7 close women=19, Jesus original inner circle).

-Facebook thought circa 2010

 

There is also the touch on genetic (eugenic) engineering, with Dr. Bashir and the illegal enhancements his parents put him through. But also the quandary that because he could “pass” he was allowed a life. While those that could not were institutionalized. A great allegory to the debate/historic throwback/current existence of persons with disabilities.

The underlying story of transformation of the Ferengi Family and Rules of Acquisition in Quark, Rom and Nog as they become more involved with the Federation. The guard of the “other” being let down. But the tiny ripple effect as the curve ball of the misogynistic capitalist species becomes shook to its core when their Mother decides she should wear clothes, and… make her own money.ds9

Worf coming to grips with being a father, and that his son, needs to be affirmed for who he is, not chase who his father thinks he should be to save his life during the Dominion War.

Love—in all its forms. From Garrick’s (Cardassian tailor/Obsidian order trained killer) fawning love of afar from Bashir. To Worf and Dax (a Trill, with many lifetimes lived), to Kira (a Bajoran survivor) and her love for Odo (a shapeshifter alien) and his love for her. To the argument of what is life, with Vic the hologram becoming sentient. To Sisko working through the grief of losing his wife at Wolf 359 (when Picard was a Borg), and finding love a new. To the unlikely friendship of Nog and Jake that shows being best friends can transcend any barriers. To the Orb journey and did Kira’s mother love Gul Dukat (the lead Cardassian of the occupation?)

The Dominion War story arc that creates the ethical debate of war, invasion, how far will you go, what are ethics in war, blindly following an ideology, why the young are first drafted, fear, death, loss, grief, how allies are chosen…but also the role religion and belief play in the outplay…also in the increasing rise of the story line through their final season to the conclusion that was the ultimate story of redemption, where the answer of the whole occupation of, where were the Prophets? Is finally answered.

If you have seen the series, you may seen the bread crumbs I have laid out. If you have not, I do not want to provide spoilers, but it is well worth exploring. At the least for great writing, characters and science fiction. At most, it is a useful tool for discourse, exploration and growth.

For the show truly challenges the answer to the question:

Who is My neighbour?

Is truly universal…

(Star Trek Deep Space Nine, available for purchase on DVD, Blu-Ray, borrow from a public library, or stream on Netflix)


Some Sundays even when one is healthy they cannot pull it together to get to church with the family. It can even be harder after a night of neuro-events, that left your own son checking on you to make sure “Daddy was still alive”. This was the night that I had come through, and was not well rested when I awoke. But needed to fill up the spirit over my cheerios and cuppa, which led me to accept a challenge from a friend. Re-look at JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek reboot.

See, the challenge is, I am not a huge fan of Star Trek XI-XIII. I understand a series rebooting, new generation, new ideas. Yet I was one of the Trekkies’ pulling for a Worf led Enterprise movie; or a Riker/Troi USS Titan or a DS9 or Voyager…or even and Enterprise series movie…if there was to be something new what about looking at Enterprise C or B? Or another ship completely in the Star Trek Universe. Why re-cast iconic characters (and yes I realize this happens with James Bond, Conan, Batman, The Doctor, etc.). But this was the original cast being, well, re-cast. It is also a bit of Trekkie cognitive dissonance because I may not be completely infatuated with the new movies Boldly Going, but have enjoyed the re-cast in the IDW comic series. Soooo….

So addled brained, lethargic and somewhat hypothermic I settled in to be filled.

I am part of an endangered species.

-Spock (2009)

The death of Romulus leading a time travel narrative, a nod to Remus’ demise in Star Trek: Nemesis. Nero seeking vengeance for loss of his family, and destroying Vulcan. The act of travelling back creating an alternate reality where not everything is the same (and Vulcan is destroyed by an act of Zealot-Terrorism). New imaginings of each character.

Yet core precepts remain the same.

You are now, and will always be my friend… I am emotionally compromised, I lost my people, you need to get others to see.

-Spock (TOS in 2009).

Scotty talking about beaming Admiral Archers dog into somewhere when trying transwarp teleporting. Elder (Other-reality) Spock doing a tongue-in-cheek nod to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, by giving Scotty a formula he would invent to move along a problem-solving plot point.

Kirk’s beating of the Kobayashi Maru (the no-win situation) a test designed by this reality’s Spock who chose Starfleet realizing he would never fit within Vulcan world fully. Playing out a more human side to the child of both world’s that followed Spock throughout the original.

Bones sharing his venture outwards to space, due to a loss of his family.

The ultimate no-win scenario to beat the drive of vengeance as Vulcan is in ruins, only 10,000 survivors and Nero has set his sights of Earth. The travel back in time to destroy the Federation (A Star Trek: First Contact nod), and red matter if it was the 1980’s you could hear the word “Genesis” ringing…life from lifelessness, lifelessness from life.

But it raises an allegorical point. Vulcan was the epicentre of where the Federation was birthed. A zealot not tied to any group officially lost something and took revenge by blowing up Vulcan (are you seeing terrorist parallels in our world?)…and how easy it would be to move to escalation instead of focusing on the need for a measured response while continuing to build relations. Even by bringing out a darker tone, as the story is being birthed in the world of uncertainty (more precarious than I would say the Cold War world, and post-Cold War world that birthed the original shows and spin-offs)…but still trying to bring hope to the front.

How is hope brought forward?

Through guidance of the elders to the core values of each character. That even if it appears everything may be different, choices can still be made to create a community of belonging.

The question the movie raises is whether Kirk and company this time will let the inclusion principles of the Federation win out, or succumb to the darkness being spread by Nero?

Are you Spock or Nero? Or Spock? Each decision creates a point in time of change.

What is your choice?

 


Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes Redemption (pt. 1&2, or the blu-ray full-length television movie treatment) from June 1991 (summer cliff hanger) and September 1991.

redemption

With the snowy days in Calgary, it has been movie days between shoveling (the never ending job, like the never ending story).  It is the culmination of the story of Worf’s family name return to honour, that started with it looking as his family were the traitors that allowed the massacre that orphaned him, only to be revealed it was the Duras family.

This is where Picard chooses the new Emperor, Gowron, and civil war breaks out, as the Duras sisters show up with an “heir”…partnered with the Romulan empire attempting to break the Klingon-Federation alliance. It also shows a time paradox where Tasha Yar’s half-Romulan/Half-human daughter is spear heading the charge. How? The Yesterday’s Enterprise episode where she went back in time to make her death mean something. An outsider who has wholly become one piece of the two worlds she is a child of.

With Worf being the new “Spock” character, a child of two worlds who internally struggle within. Raised by humans as a citizen of the Federation and a Starfleet officer, yet yearning for and struggling to connect with his Klingon roots.

The challenge of value of the person. I wrote about in my Chain of Command post. Where that show challenged us to look at where undervaluing the other creates, this one places the emphasis on conformity over authenticity. Worf can become fully Klingon, yet he struggles with choices made for they do not consider the collective good, only what is needed in the moment to prove one’s own superiority—as with the scene where Gowron battles a challenger within his own camp, and kills him amid a civil war. It is the front where Kern, Worf’s brother points out it is the Klingon way, to which Worf challenges the thought process.

This struck me in my ongoing reflections, for it is the struggle of being part of a species evolving in thought and inclusion, yet “tradition” attempting to hold one back, and bullying them into submission. The struggle Worf is in within the arc of Redemption. His family honour regained, does he just become the mindless traditionalist or something different?

The struggle I have written about in many spiritual settings, and spiritual based employers church or para-church I realized (probably again) is much the struggle Spock in the classic Trek, and Worf in TNG (Sisko in DS9) are within. The balance of tradition, with progress. It reminds me of something I read in Bishop John Shelby Spong’s memoir, Here I stand, to paraphrase traditionalist fearful of change said he despised scripture, and he shared the story of his love with the stories of God and the people, a gifting of a Bible as a teenager that was his most treasured gift. Yet, it was that love that caused him to go deep and led him into a journey of transformation.

This is the path that Worf was on in this story. How to balance his personality, honour his inherent Klingon and love of the tradition he yearned to be a part of, with who he was shaped to be through his life experience. Looking at the world, and how easily we become divided into ideological camps, and regress, I can see this struggle and how it can be easier to acquis to what is the known past no matter how harmful it can be to the path forward. Yet this is not what we are called to be in our evolution and being caretakers of creation. We are children of two worlds the cosmic, and the physical. The journey is the synergy of them both.

redemption2

This synergy creates the world of inclusion.

This synergy is what we are called to. It is the outgrowth of the love your neighbour as yourself teaching. For it is easy to care for the other if you place value of them. Yet, the challenge of placing value on yourself when others say you do not fit, and standing firm in being who you are. Standing firm in the journey to come to where you are in life to a place where you understand who you are, and why you do what you do.

That is the seedling of growing the love of self. It is the reconciling of desperate pieces, letting that which is harmful to self to fall away (interior and exterior, emotional and communal, etc)…and moving forward.

This is what was seen in Spong’s memoir, the love of the story of love of God, and letting the hate scriptures be revealed and stripped away to reveal the true thread of cosmic creation.

This is the story of Worf’s redemption being able to hold to what is the good of both worlds as one person, and moving forward.

When it comes to loving your neighbour, one has to ask:

Are you ready to love yourself?