Now you try one more illusion, try anything at all, and I’ll break your neck.
-Captain Christopher Pike
Module BI-07T: Telepaths, Empaths And Illusionists
Before we start this discussion you need to know that I have a strong bias against telepaths. Although, I usually don’t mind Vulcans. Since they have to touch you in order to get an inkling, thereby announcing their intentions when creepily invading your personal space. And Betazoids are just irritating. Who likes a species who can feel it when you detest them? These mind sucking vultures are within the range of tolerable. But telepaths who are powerful enough to read my mind light years away, I have a serious problem with. They should, at least, pursue voyeurism someplace else, far, far away from the rest of us. If possible, even suffer exile on a rogue planet somewhere. Luckily, for non-telepathic species everywhere, this is exactly what happened to one member of a very astute race.
An Enterprise NX-01 crewmember, Ensign Hoshi Sato, met Tarquin, a long-lived telepath banished because his appearance as well as his mind threatened normal populations. Tarquin sifted through all of Sato’s thoughts, past and present. Then luring her to his planet of exile, almost immediately, began teaching her the use of a telepathy enhancer. That’s how powerful telepaths are. If they like you, they can’t wait to indoctrinate you into the grueling loneliness they’ve fortunately had to endure.
For days the controlling telepath continued to “watch” Sato though only a few rooms away. Turns out Tarquin was looking for another “companion” after his last one finally died from having to look at him for eighty years. Sato didn’t think she could last that long. “I’ll teach you ways of sharing thoughts and emotions no human can.” To which she replied with words no humanoid male ever wants to hear. “I’m not interested.” She really was doing him a favor. Four previous female companions were enough punishment even for his extended lifespan. But no, he was a glutton for more.
When Tarquin tried to trick Sato into staying, she saw through his obvious ruse when, appearing as Archer, he tried to pimp her. “I can’t let you leave, Hoshi,” he finally admitted. “I’ve waited too long to find you. Stay with me.” To which she replied with even more words no male wants to hear. “I don’t want to.” He must have been made of stone. Finally, she picked up his glass telepathy-enhancer thingamajig that helped him lure his companions and threatened to shatter it. Staring down the possibility that this spiteful human would be his last, he let her go.
In exchange for hosting Sato’s chestnut roasting, Tarquin promised Captain Jonathan Archer a clue to the whereabouts of the new Xindi weapon for finishing off Terrans. Telepathically, he could sniff out the residual mental impressions left over from the fragments of their first weapon of mass destruction. Was getting the coordinates to the Xindi colony assembling a new probe like the one that took out half of Florida worth Sato’s honor? You bet it was.
If only it was that easy for the next Enterprise crew. They ended up in the clutches of aliens so malicious, they not only probed minds with their hideous telepathic techniques, but projected prolonged and enticing images into them as well. Like a private holographic world only you and any other lifeform with telepathic abilities in the galaxy could see. And any other unfortunate companions as well if the aliens were feeling particularly freaky that day.
In this way, the Talosians lured Captain Christopher Pike and crew to Talos IV with the illusion of a fake distress signal, a wizened group of raggedly-dressed clueless scientists and a scantily clad woman. The last peaked Pike’s interest and, not knowing it was just a mirage, he followed the female to a secret elevator where he was handily captured by the treacherous beings.
While his crew stumbled around on the surface, Pike’s mind endured unimaginable torment. The gyrations of a green animal woman, pummeling by a ginormous animal man and the emotions elicited by a fawning creature called a “horse.” The hysterics of Vina, the sensitive lightly clad woman, made it worse, crying incessantly over every little illusion.
As often happens with first contact miscreants, mating Pike with the crybaby was the prime objective. “This is necessary in order to perpetuate the species,” was the Talosian’s excuse. But it wasn’t working at all. In an attempt to salvage their viewing pleasure, they brought additional female crewmembers down to his little glass paradise to entice him. Though the caveat was he could choose only one. But he didn’t like them either. The aliens, deprived of the prospect of seeing humans briefly mate, were at their wit’s end.
Unbeknownst to them, Pike was planning his revenge on them for trying to make him monogamous. He finally got his hands around one of the telepath’s throat and squeezed his way back to the planet’s surface. That’s where the aliens revealed they had found Vina alive in the wreckage of the actual scientists’ ship. But they didn’t know how to glue her back together, despite the overwhelming similarity to their own anatomical structure.
Understandably, Pike withheld his empathy until they wiped away the illusion of Vina’s beauty. And, gods, what an illusion it was. No wonder the poor woman cried incessantly. Pike forgave them all and got the hell out of there. Placing a warning beacon in orbit so these cosmic peeping Toms wouldn’t play their tricks on anyone else.
But that didn’t help Captain James T. Kirk and his crew with their encounter on Minara II. They were trying to save a research team from the ravages of a few catastrophic solar flares before an impending supernova. However, strange aliens again whisked them away deep below ground. This time they made the acquaintance of a lone mute empath named Gem, tormented by particularly malicious and demented telepaths, the Vians, more psychopathic than the Talosians.
These monstrous mind readers liked to torture their captives physically as well as mentally. They had Captain Kirk strung up so fast he didn’t have time to mate. Spock and Dr. Leonard McCoy desperately tried to find their friend, to no avail. Finally, when he was released, they discovered Gem could heal him by empathically absorbing his injuries into her own body then healing them. But the demented psychopaths weren’t satisfied with this and actually asked for another volunteer. Bones took out Kirk and Spock with his every-ready hypospray and proceeded to mad scientists’ heaven.
There was not much left of Dr. McCoy after they were through with him and he was near death. Gem, reluctantly offered to save McCoy, but he graciously declined. That’s when these crazy aliens revealed their true motivations at the end like crazy aliens always do. With the sun going supernova, the Vians had the ability to save the inhabitants of only one world. They were testing Gem to see if her people were worthy.
But because Gem had the good sense not to sacrifice herself for an alien she barely knew, she failed. Kirk pointed out that they, too, were lacking in this kind of stupidity-based compassion. Finally, seeing the wisdom of Gem’s well-founded self-preservation, they, at long last, agreed. As a bonus, they healed Dr. McCoy. And with Gem’s people now worthy of rescue, and with nary an apology for their evil experiments, they sailed away. Kirk and crew should have hunted those bastards to the ends of the galaxy.
Most space perils are largely tolerable because they take place outside your cranial cavity. But when the worst of alien lifeforms, like nearly omnipotent telepaths, take to messing with your mind, it’s game on. These cosmic cretins have the advantage of manipulating what you see and how you respond to it. They are literally looking through your eyes and your thoughts to get you to do whatever they want. Talk about stacking the deck in their favor.
So what can a mere non-telepathic, unenhanced humanoid do? Believe it or not Betazoids, Vulcans, Deltans and other species of their ilk can help. Moderate and relatively benign telepaths can make you aware that more powerful ones are in the vicinity. That gives you time to make your escape while the cosmic psychos are occupied with their less gifted cousins. Leaving your mental abilities intact and free to form perceptively defensible biases elsewhere in the galaxy.
Strong, Phyllis. “Exile.” Star Trek: Enterprise. Paramount Television. 15 October 2003. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Exile_(episode)
Roddenberry, Gene. “The Cage.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Station. 4 October 1988. Television. Retrieved: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cage_(Star_Trek:_The_Original_Series)
Muskat, Joyce. “The Empath.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Station. 6 December 1968. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Empath_(episode)