So if you’ve got your main characters, and they’re the heroes. Once in a while, they’ll end up fighting against people who aren’t so bad, and maybe are even heroes themselves. That doesn’t mean they stop being heroes, though, right? But just as there are honorable or well-intentioned villains, there can be heroes who do things that will even cause the villains to stare on in shock. The heroes perform actions that are almost (or sometimes are) unjustifiable, and they don’t always see the problem with that. So, here are 4 of the worst, most questionable actions done by sci-fi “heroes.”
4. Atlantis’s Hybrid Project–Stargate Atlantis
The Atlantis Expedition ran into unexpected difficulties upon arriving in the Pegasus Galaxy, and that’s putting it lightly. As it turns out, the galaxy was overrun by a species called the Wraith, who are humanoid beings that feed on regular humans in an extended cycle of culling and hibernation. Eventually, they came up with a plan that might allow them to convert Wraiths into Humans, instead of having to kill them. Sounds good, right?
Well, that’s not exactly how it worked out. See, the group of Wraith they kidnapped and transformed against their will the first time contained a guy they named Michael. And then he turned back into a Wraith, but he kinda understood why they did what they did and helps them out. So what do they do to repay him? Kidnap him, transform him, and mind-wipe him, AGAIN. And when he finds out about that one, well, that’s the last straw. Now all the sudden he’s their new nemesis, with an army of Wraith/Human Hybrids ready to take the Pegasus Galaxy by storm. And why? For vengeance. Against our heroes.
3. Morden’s Interrogation–Babylon 5
Morden was sent to Babylon 5 as an inquisitor for the Shadows, and he’d managed to find a sucker in Londo. So he shows up again one day, except this time they know he was on a ship that was destroyed, and everyone assumed he was dead. And now he’s magically alive and everyone just knows he’s working for the bad guys. It doesn’t take a genius to put 2 and 2 together there, so Sheridan has him locked up for interrogation. Which, again, isn’t unreasonable at first. But Sheridan’s got a personal stake in this, and he’s not going to let it go. And soon the threats start coming out, and it’s been hours and hours… for a man who’s been highly disapproving of President Clark’s fascist behaviors and habit of disappearing people, we’re getting awfully close, and Garibaldi doesn’t hesitate to point that out to him. But he just can’t let it go. He even tries subjecting him to illegal psychic scans and pretty much violating every other right someone could possibly have until finally even the Vorlon Kosh has to step in and say, “enough’s enough.” Well, it’s more like explaining exactly what Morden is, but hey. And yet even after Kosh and Delenn explain that, basically, the entire station is being put at risk by this, and maybe even the galaxy, Sheridan is still hesitant to let Morden go. That’s some grudge.
2. For the Uniform–Deep Space 9
A lot of people will say, for Deep Space 9, that it should be “In the Pale Moonlight.” I disagree, and here’s why: that episode hinges on the death of a handful of men, and Sisko isn’t the one who pulled the trigger on it. He was merely involved, and whether he knew it consciously or not, Garak is the one who did the dirty work. Here, in this episode, it’s all on Sisko. Star Trek is so fond of the madness born of obsession, usually in an Ahabesque manner, but in this episode, the work we’re emulating is Les Miserables. Sisko is determined to chase down his one-time security officer Eddington, who has defected to the Maquis. Sisko feels like this is a very personal betrayal, and he’s willing to go to ridiculous lengths to bring Eddington in. And as Eddington continually compares Sisko to Inspector Javert, ruthlessly pursuing his righteous quest over some minor slight, Sisko just goes, “Okay. Want me to be the bad guy? That’s fine with me!” And he proceeds to poison an entire planet that the Maquis had illegally colonized. All to get to Eddington. And after seeing that, Eddington realizes he has to turn himself in because Sisko’s fucking koo-koo for cocoa puffs and there’s no telling how many more times he’d do this. Granted, Eddington was working on a similar weapon to use against the Cardassians, but that’s not how a Starfleet officer is supposed to deal with the enemy!
We don’t see the people on the planet evacuated; none of them are brought aboard the Defiant. Hopefully, everyone on the planet fit aboard what ships were already there, otherwise Sisko has quite a bit of blood on his hands. There’s no real consequence of this for him or for the Federation, and it’s definitely one of the huge holes in Star Trek‘s “evolved morality.”
Huge spoilers at this one. If you haven’t seen Farscape, proceed at your own risk.
So in the wrap-up miniseries, Peacekeeper Wars, Crichton has full control over the wormhole technology. Everyone wants it, be they Scarrans or Peacekeepers or just anyone who knows about it. And they all want it to wipe out the other side and that’s making Crichton’s life really difficult. After killing his friend and threatening his lover dozens of times, Crichton’s going to give them all a show. And by show, I mean destroy an entire planet. This isn’t Rodney McKay “5/6th of a solar system,” we’re talking about here, where it’s an accident. No, Crichton blows up the planet in front of both armies and threatens to destroy ALL OF THE UNIVERSE if they don’t back the hell off. Even Scorpius is shocked and disgusted by the display of destructive power taking place before them, and he’s spent the entire series trying to accomplish exactly this! Of course, Crichton does feel bad about all this, but come on–he nearly destroyed the entire galaxy, possibly including Earth (to my knowledge, it’s never specified if it’s our galaxy or not) and we didn’t even know what was going on. He wasn’t even sure he could stop it!
So there you have it, 4 cases of the heroes being pushed far beyond their limits and performing some of the most questionable activities to achieve their goals. Are they still heroes after taking these actions, or have they lost the right to hold that title? Any heroes from other shows that you feel crossed the line? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RetroPhaseShift. On Monday, the Obscure SF Primer!