A man who holds that much power, even with the best intentions, just can’t resist the urge to play God.
-Dr. Leonard McCoy
Module BI-21(b)T: Zeons and Ekosians
This discussion focuses on the Prime Directive, also known as Starfleet General Order 1, which was invented purely out of terror that other cultures, like the Iotians, would rise up and put the bag on us. Before its creation, immensely gratifying meddling in the natural development of other planetary cultures was a demagogic prerogative of starship captains everywhere. But after implementation, many threw away their commissions in disgust.
But Captain James T. Kirk wasn’t one of them. Though, his encounter with a cultural observer, Professor John Gill, gave him second thoughts. Kirk and crew went looking for Gill on the planet, Ekos. But found a thermonuclear tipped missile instead, headed straight for them. The ship’s phasers could easily handle such a primitive militaristic toy. Yet, an aggressively disagreeable warhead with their coordinates printed on it, still put the fear of a horribly excruciating death in them. “Mr. Chekov!” Kirk shouted. “Fire!!”
Kirk suddenly had a strong desire to kick ass on a galactic scale, also a Starfleet regulation, which was in serious need of implementation. He and Mr. Spock beamed down seeking the source of his aggravation. And more blatant specters of hostility confronted them. Ekosians dressed in Nazi Germany Stormtrooper uniforms. Lots of them. Though light years from Earth, they thought, maybe, perhaps, this could be evidence of rampant cultural contamination.
As if this wasn’t puzzling enough, a newsreel depicting John Gill as Führer, leader of the swastika class appeared. There was only one course of action. Steal two SS uniforms, sneak into the local Gestapo beehive, the Chancellery, and find that bastard. Unfortunately, the suspicions of an officiously prickish major exposed Spock’s ears and foiled the plan.
Later, the lashings of a furious Ekosian’s whip crisscrossed the backs of both Starfleet officers. Subsequently, they were thrown into a cell next to Isak, a Zeon, who didn’t quite believe a humanoid with pointed ears was of his species. Chatty, Isak told them his people came to Ekos thinking they “were civilizing the Ekosians.” Spock’s penchant for stating the obvious made a break for it. “It would seem the assumption was premature.”
“They will attack our planet,” Isak stressed. “They’ll use the technology we gave them. And taking life is so repugnant to our people, we’ll go down without a struggle.” Kirk and Spock rolled their eyes. Despite his incessant whining, they invented a laser cobbled from their subcutaneous crystal transponders and bed lattice. This sliced through the cell’s iron lock. “Take me with you,” Isak pleaded. Spock shook his head. But, Kirk relented because they had to find the SS weapons laboratory before the murderous Ekosians duplicated their communicators.
Afterward, in the Zeon underground hideout, they met the heroine of the regime, Party Secretary Fräulein Daras. Who tested their veracity by pointing a Luger at them. Which they resented slightly more than Isak’s blathering. But because she looked good in her uniform, they consented to masquerade as the Führer’s special documentary corps. Which helped them enter the Chancellery, where the “Final Solution” was at hand.
Deputy Führer Melakon, Gill’s puppet master was speaking. “Our solar system will forever be rid of the disease that was Zeon,” he preened. “Our space fleet is on its way toward Zeon. This is the time of destiny. Hail victory!”
The Zeons’ interplanetary travel technology! Kirk and Spock were thunderstruck. They looked at Isak. Zeons gave the Ekosians, barbarians generations behind them, the means to reach their planet? Kirk grimaced. His hands clenched into fists. The sheer stupidity of the act enraged him. But finding Professor Gill in his secret Nazi green room, distracted him, saving the Zeon.
“Gill, why did you abandon your mission? Why did you interfere with this culture?!” But Gill was too far out of it. Kirk summoned Dr. Leonard McCoy to inject him with his handy hypospray. Gill came around, groggy but lucid. Then they discovered the odious consequences which occurred when a Starfleet Academy history professor tinkered with that which went wrong.
Because the Ekosians were on the edge of anarchy, Professor Gill couldn’t resist the urge to play insane social scientist. He took from Earth’s history the epitome of state efficiency. Nazi Germany. Yes, I know. Stupidity walking. But Mr. Spock was kinder than we are. He understood Gill’s aspirations. Editing the monstrous violence from the Nazi administrative genome should have worked. But it didn’t. And why? Because of self-preservation. In Ekosian thinking, the Zeons, after another century of social interaction with them would become as bloodthirsty as they were. Thus, “Death to Zeons!” became an imperative. One humanoid’s hubris was just an impetus for the heart’s prime directive.
Gill insisted his social augmentations worked. At first. Before, Melakon screwed things up. He phased out of consciousness again. But McCoy didn’t dare give him another shot because it could mercifully kill him. But Kirk had to get him to reverse that order!
Just then, the Party Chairman, Eneg, burst in upon their green room wizard chat. Secretly a Zeon sympathizer, he bought their story that Spock really was a pointy-eared Zeon whose freakishness should be taken directly to Melakon.
Melakon was amused. “Note the low forehead, denoting stupidity. The dull look of a trapped animal.” Spock’s left eyebrow lifted. A well-known precursor to opening up a canister of whoop-arse. Meanwhile, Kirk had had enough of Gill’s self-deception. These people, with their nuclear weapons, tried to blow up his ship! So, he took Bone’s hypospray and pumped him full of super-speed. When that didn’t work, he slapped him silly, hard, several times. “Gill!!!”
Finally, the Nazi era addict straightened up and addressed the planet. “I order the immediate recall of the space fleet. This attack must stop. All units are to return to base. This was not an aggression of the Ekosian people. Melakon is a traitor to his own people.”
Melakon couldn’t take even that much belittling. He grabbed his underling’s machine gun and shot down the Führer. But Isak shot the Deputy. Then Gill closed a thoroughly hideous and unentertaining chapter in Starfleet history. “I was wrong. The non-interference Directive is the only way.”
Daras and Eneg bid Kirk and crew farewell, assuring them that Gill’s final words put a stop to their impending doom. Back on the Enterprise, Spock was puzzled that Gill could risk taking such drastic actions. Bones reminded him that absolute power corrupted someone some time long ago absolutely. This, fortunately, distracted Kirk from the fact that the Ekosians still had nuclear weapons. And the Zeons still were perilously pacifistic with a lunatic tendency to give away a tactical military advantage.
However, the Ekosian’s cultural contamination was mitigated due to the diligence of Starfleet officers armed with the Prime Directive’s clarity. But, in the next historical example, these same officers barely escaped the idiotic blatant disregard of Starfleet’s General Order 1 with their lives.
Lucas, John Meredyth. “Patterns of Force.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 16 February 1968. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Patterns_of_Force_(episode)