Okay, I confess, I'm a Sci-Fi junkie. I've always liked Science Fiction, from books to movies to television shows.
Among my favorites are the Star Trek series, ranging from the old classic Star Trek, starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, on through Star Trek The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Enterprise. The series always held up hope for peace and goodwill towards all living beings. It also often held up a mirror to our foibles and the flaws of present day humanity. . . foibles and flaws that Star Trek believed could be overcome.
So it is no surprise that Monday night I found myself watching back-to-back episodes of Star Trek Voyager on my BBC station . One episode, "Muse", called out to me and left a lasting impression.
The story begins with an ion storm that causes both Harry Kim's (Garret Wang) shuttlecraft and B'Elanna Torres' (Roxann Dawson) shuttlecraft to crash on a planet. Unfortunately their crafts crash hundreds of kilometers away from each other. Fortunately the planet is an Earth like planet that happens to be inhabited by a humanoid race, its people have developed to what would be a stage equal to our Roman Empire. They have enemies and they have wars, however they also have poetry and plays and therefore have hope.
One character, Kelis, is a young poet and playwright. He finds B'Elanna's wrecked shuttlecraft and comes to the aid of the unconscious and injured B'Elanna. His experience inspires him to write a play about his rescue and about B'Elanna. In his adaptation he makes B'Elanna an Eternal being, a god. The play is well received by the people of his village and especially by the rich patron, who seems almost like a high ranking Roman dignitary. The rich patron demands another play from the poet.
Kelis returns to B'Elanna's shuttlecraft , he had been tending to her and used the ancient medical practice of bloodletting to try to bring her raging fever down. When he approaches her he finds she has regained consciousness. B'Elanna tells him to bring her a device called a dermal regenerator and has him pass it across the deep slash wounds he had created across her arm for bloodletting, as he does this he is astonished with how instantly the wounds heal and disappear, thinking she must definitely be a true "Eternal". . . a god.
To try to condense the story as much as possible; Kelis needs to write another play in order to keep his patron happy and Kelis thinks that the "Eternal" B'Elanna, can provide him with the stories he needs. At first Kelis' attempts at writing the play is awkward and he is not pleased with the characters or their motives, but when Kelis' patron begins feuding with a longtime enemy, Kelis begins to fear warfare will result. He begins to theorize that if he can write the perfect play his play could inspire his patron to try to make peace and prevent a needless war. So he turns to B'Elanna for suggestions, allowing her to preview the play he has thus far created. B'Elanna is truthful, telling Kelis that the play is a ridiculous romance with the characters all secretly in love with each other and she is appalled by all the needless kissing scenes that occur.
She encourages him to think differently, to create something that would motivate his patron to want peace and not war. She tells him about his character, "Seven of Nine", how Seven was a borg and how she had changed due to Captain Janeway , who is basically a pacifist and only does battle when there is no other choice.
Kelis agrees that he needs a stronger message and so writes that Seven of Nine is in fact also the Borg Queen and she is in battle with Janeway. Janeway bests Seven of Nine and could easily slay her but instead she throws down her sword refusing to do so. Seven of Nine responds that if she doesn't kill her then they will just continue to fight. Janeway concurs that could be the outcome; that Seven of Nine could continually fight Janeway and she in turn could continually fight Seven of Nine, but what would that accomplish? Wouldn't it be better to cease fighting and each could then live their own lives in peace and be happy? And so a truce is forged.
Though Kelis' play now has bones to it, the ending seems weak and lacking and Kelis is afraid it will be insufficient enough to change his patron's mind about warring with his enemy. Kelis then sends a messenger to B'Elanna begging for her presence at the play and requests her aid in helping him come up with a impressive ending.
Unfortunately, a member of the play's cast, a young woman, is jealous of B'Elanna and goes to the shuttlecraft and threatens her, saying that if she comes to the play she will expose B'Elanna's identity to everyone in the audience. B'Elanna however has by now made repairs to her shuttlecraft transmitter, thanks to Harry Kim (who had made the 200 kilometer hike from his crash site to B'Elanna's crash site on foot - and he happens to have just the device that will allow B'Elanna to make the necessary repairs to her craft so that they can contact the starship Enterprise and be rescued.)
Harry Kim is quite ready to return to the Enterprise, but B'Elanna is concerned about Kelis and his play and the impending possibility that his people will soon be engaged in war . She tells Harry to go ahead and beam aboard Enterprise and to inform Captain Janeway to beam her aboard when she sends them a signal to do so.
B'Elanna arrives at the amphitheater dressed in a hooded long robe to cloak her true identity. Kelis is relieved to see that she had made it but the young woman who had threaten B'Elanna was enraged by her presence.
As Kelis and B'Elanna go on stage, the young woman runs out into the audience and proclaims that the hooded stranger is in fact the real B'Elanna and her announcement sends a wave of confusion and loud whispers among the audience. Kelis' mentor, an old and wizen gentleman who had once been a poet and playwright himself, rises and calms the audience saying that the young woman's performance is simply a part of the play, an act to create excitement and make things more interesting. Kelis quickly agrees, going along with his mentor's explanation.
At this B'Elanna contacts her ship and gives the signal to be beamed aboard, She disappears in a sparkling shimmer of light, most befitting of an "Eternal" and definitely making a unique and everlasting impression on all in the audience.
Here Kelis steps forward and says that B'Elanna has returned to her realm . . .
It is here that this Star Trek episode was ever so relevant and left an indelible impression upon me -
Kelis ends with saying that the "Eternal" has returned home . . ."Where Peace reigns and Hatred has no home !"
How wonderful it would be if we could say the same of our own planet Earth. . ."Where Peace reigns and Hatred has NO home "