Seemingly unable to help themselves from continuing to inject modern political topics into the once-proud sci-fi franchise, the premiere of Alex Kurtzman’s new Star Trek: Strange New Worlds features protagonist Captain Pike declaring that the Capitol Hill riots of January 6th, 2021, were the first steps in humanity’s march to nuclear war.
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Premiering on May 5th, the self-titled debut episode opens with Starfleet prematurely recalling Christopher Pike from his downtime after they lost contact with his first officer, Una Chin-Riley, during a first contact mission to planet Kiley 279 after the department detected signs of warp drive technology on its surface.
Eventually, Pike and the crew of the USS Enterprise discover that not only had Una been captured by the inhabitants of Kiley 279 due to their suspicion of her team’s objectives.
After rescuing Una and her team from captivity, Pike and Spock find themselves captured by the Kileys, being brought before their planetary governing body to explain their purpose for visiting their world.
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Attempting to elaborate on Starfleet’s interest in extending membership to warp travel capable planets, Pike learns from the Kiley leaders that though they had in fact discovered the technology, they had weaponized it instead, utilizing its offensive capabilities to forcefully stamp out the numerous rebel factions that continue to oppose their united front.
After this meeting, the Kiley government calls for a ceasefire with the rebel factions, proposing a meeting to discuss what to make of Starfleet’s arrival to their planet.
Observing the talks from aboard the Enterprise alongside his crew, Pike is met by his current first officer, La’an Noonien-Singh, who dismisses the Kiley’s entire conflict with her father’s last words, telling her captain, “Not believing you’re gonna die is what gets you killed.”
Finding himself inspired by these words, Pike moves to access Starfleet’s historical records and travel to the planet, beaming himself directly into the middle of the proceedings.
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“Hi. Sorry to interrupt,” Pike addresses the group. “My name is Christopher Pike, my world is called Earth, and though it’s far from here, my people and yours – very much alike.”
“This is my world today,” Pike begins, opening his speech by showing the gathered leaders a montage of the Earth’s current utopian state.
“But we were not always peaceful,” he continues, flipping his imagery to shots of present day Washington D.C., New York City, San Francisco, and Paris. “This is Earth in our 21st century. Before everything went wrong. It’s a lot like your world today.”
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Referring to an earlier vision he had of his eventual radiation poisoning – as seen in the twelfth episode of Star Trek Discovery’s second season, Through the Valley of Shadows – he experienced earlier in the episode, Pike reflects, “Recently, I was treated to a glimpse of my future. It was not all I’d hoped. After all, what good is there in knowing your future?”
“A friend of mine asked me that recently and I didn’t understand what he meant,” he adds, noting his previous discussion of the vision with Spock. “Until now. I’ve seen my future. Let me show you yours.”
Playing actual news footage from not just the aforementioned riots, but the peaceful protests earlier in the day, Pike asserts, “Our conflict also started with a fight for freedoms. We called it the Second Civil War.”
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“Then the Eugenics War, and finally, just World War 3,” he tells the Kileys, again changing the visuals in his presentation, this time to footage of various nuclear eruptions occurring around planet Earth. “This was our last day. The day the Earth we knew ceased to exist. What began as an eruption in one nation ended in the eradication of 600,000 species of animals and plants and 30% of Earth’s population.”
“Global suicide,” he declares. “What we gave you is the means to exterminate yourselves” – the Kileys having learned of warp technology from observing Starfleet’s space war against Section 31 as depicted in the fourteenth episode of Star Trek Discovery’s second season, Such Sweet Sorrow – “And from the looks of you – you’re gonna do it.”
Turning to images of a post-nuclear Earth, including one emphasized shot of the Statue of Liberty against a hollowed out New York City, Pike posits, “You’ll use competing ideas of liberty to bomb each other to rubble just like we did and then your last day will look just like this.”
“Perhaps, somewhere, all your ends are written as indeliably as mine,” he continues. “But I choose to believe that your destinies are still your own. “
“Maybe that’s why I’m here,” he draws his address to a close. “To remind you of the power of possibility. Maybe that’s the good in seeing my future, that I might remind you that right up until the very end, life is to be worn gloriously. Because, to our last moment, the future’s what we make it.”
“So, go to war with each other,” he ultimately concludes. “Or join our Federation of Planets and reach for the stars. The choice is yours.”
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