gamma colony

5

because saathi1013 asked to see it: the rant I went off on over at twitter earlier, about The Trouble With Tribbles, the Federation’s neoliberal space colonialism, and why Deep Space 9 is my favorite. this is the video I linked to. one addendum I would make is that… yes, Sherman’s Planet is meant to be “undeveloped” — but as early seasons of DS9 point out, a planet being “undeveloped” by some standards doesn’t mean that it's uninhabited.

it’s easy to forget about this when things get really moving in the Dominion War arc but the whole arc with the Dominion started in the first place because all of the major powers in the Alpha Quadrant (Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and Cardassians) started setting up colonies on Gamma Quadrant planets and fighting over these territories like they just belonged to said powers.

The people in charge of leading these colonizing missions even knew that there was sentient life in the Gamma Quadrant as early as season one. 1.06 “Captive Pursuit” has at least two Gamma Quadrant species coming through the Wormhole, which says that there are sentient species living there, which means that everyone in the Alpha Quadrant had definitive proof that these planets were not just “free for the taking” and that they were in the wrong for thinking so at all. The Dominion retaliates against the Federation et al. because they were colonizing the Gamma Quadrant and while the text doesn’t deal with this as much as I’d like, and while the Dominion is ultimately in the wrong for how far they take things during their war with the Alpha Quadrant, that history is important to remember.

meanwhile, in The Trouble With Tribbles, Kirk, Spock, Chekov, Federation Undersecretary Baris, and Koloth don’t say anything about the people on Sherman’s Planet, if there are any people there in the first place, what their perspective here is. The episode probably means for us to assume that there aren’t any people living there and/or that Sherman’s Planet is only a contested territory due to it being a border planet with some kind of strategic advantage. But the fact that they don’t even stop to consider the presence or lack thereof of people on Sherman’s Planet bothers me because it’s symptomatic of Roddenberry’s and TOS’s overall attitudes toward all of the Federation’s expansionist missions, and toward the real world colonialism that inspired said missions whether consciously or not.