Star Trek Guide

Star Trek's Captain Janeway is Pirate Queen of The Mirror Universe

In Star Trek: Voyager, fans followed Captain Janeway’s attempts to get her crew back to the Alpha Quadrant after a powerful alien being strands them in the Delta Quadrant, an area of space even Starfleet hasn’t fully explored yet. Voyager’s journey home challenges the crew to not only come up with faster ways to travel but also ways to retain their morals and principles in an unknown and frequently hostile environment.

For the most part, the Voyager crew manages to hold onto the ideals of Starfleet – but what if the ship that landed in the Delta Quadrant wasn’t run by such an ethical crew? What if the Voyager in question belonged to the Mirror Universe where humanity embraced a darker path? One Star Trek one-shot comic dared to explore this question, and the answer is more than a little disturbing.

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Fans who followed the Mirror Universe’s history in the original Star Trek, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine know that in this alternate reality, humanity chose to build an interplanetary empire by enslaving Vulcans and other alien races. Instead of peacefully exploring the galaxy, Captain Kirk and his crew sought out new civilizations to exploit for the glory of their Terran Empire. All this changed, however, when the Mirror Spock met the Kirk of the Prime Universe and realized that the Empire was doomed to failure.

Hoping to avert this, the Mirror Spock started a revolution and introduced a series of reforms that greatly demilitarized the Terran Empire. Unfortunately, this allowed humanity itself to be dominated when the Klingons and the Cardassians created an alliance and subjugated the former conquerors. In response, humans and other subjugated races formed an alliance of their own and launched a rebellion against their oppressors.

One of these Rebel ships turned out to be Captain Kathryn Janeway’s starship Voyager. When Janeway’s ship was thrown into the Delta Quadrant much like her Prime counterpart, however, she saw this predicament as a great opportunity. Rather than find a way home, Voyager chose to stay in the Delta Quadrant, where its superior technology allowed it to plunder other ships and make Janeway a Pirate Queen. Her actions make her many enemies – including the scavenger Captain Neelix and his psychic ally Kes.

During one of their battles, however, Voyager receives an unexpected visitor when the occupant of a shuttlecraft they were fighting over beams onto their bridge and reveals herself to be the human Annika Hansen who had been surviving all alone in the Delta Quadrant since her parents were captured by the Borg. Unassimilated but traumatized, Annika seems relieved to be on a Terran ship, but shortly after her arrival, Voyager’s systems all go haywire. Food replicators poison the crew, artificial gravity goes offline, and sickbay becomes full of injured people.

Naturally, the crew suspects Annika – and they’re right – but not in the way they think. Turns out, while she was confined to sickbay, Annika made friends with the holographic Doctor. By showing her kindness and respect, she enabled the hologram to achieve sentience and concoct a plan of his own – kill virtually everyone aboard Voyager and run it with Annika and a skeleton crew. Unwilling to submit, Janeway forms an unusual alliance of her own – she contacts Neelix and Kes and has them board Voyager to take back control. While Kes uses her powers to disrupt the Doctor’s hologram program and knock out Annika, Neelix revives Janeway only to inform her that he’s taking her ship for himself. Naturally, Janeway will have none of it and overpowers Neelix and Kes, putting them in the brig with Annika (who’s now forced to wear a silver skintight catsuit for some reason).

In the aftermath, Janeway takes Neelix’s ship and makes her new first officer Chakotay its captain. Realizing they now have the beginnings of their own pirate fleet, the new Commodore Janeway decides to go after a new target that could yield them better weapons and defenses – the Borg.

Much like the IDW miniseries Star Trek: The Next Generation – Mirror Broken, which follows the Mirror Universe counterparts of Captain Picard and his crew, Star Trek: Voyager – Smoke and Mirrors gives fans a disturbing glimpse into how Captain Janeway and her crew fared in the Mirror Universe. It’s a clever take that fits within the broader history of the alternate universe covered in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Where the TV show attempted to humanize the formerly antagonistic Terrans, however, the comics fully embrace the dark aspects of the Mirror Universe by showing how Picard and Janeway’s counterparts could be just as ruthless and wicked as the original Terrans as they sought to amass greater power. The decision to make Voyager a pirate ship constantly in danger of internal mutinies was an inspired one, and fitting given the Mirror Janeway’s more opportunistic nature. One suspects Kate Mulgrew would have liked to play this version of Janeway, given how much fun she seemed to have playing a similar character in the Star Trek: Voyager episode “Living Witness.”

Since the comic is only a one-shot, the other Voyager crewmates unfortunately don’t get a lot of time to shine. One nice exception is the interplay between Annika Hansen and Kes – as the two rarely had opportunities to interact in the actual show seeing as how Annika/Seven of Nine was brought on to replace Kes. In the Mirror Universe, it almost feels like the two switched personalities, with Kes showing a darker, more ruthless side, and Annika displaying a softer, kinder personality in her dealings with the Doctor. Seeing as how both characters survive at the end of the adventure, the door remains open, should IDW sought fit to resurrect the Mirror Universe version of Star Trek Voyager and continue the dark adventures of Janeway, Annika, and the others.

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