Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TNG Ep. 59: The Hunted

The Enterprise investigates Angosia as an applicant to the Federation. During the investigation, the crew assists in the capture and detainment of a criminal escaped from a lunar colony, Roga Danar. The Enterprise learns that the criminal is an war veteran psychologically programmed and physically modified to be an adept soldier. These modifications leave the veterans with tendencies towards violent, even murderous outbursts. The Angosia government has imprisoned all such veterans on the lunar colony with no plans to reintegrate them into mainstream society. Roga Danar escapes The Enterprise and frees several of his fellow inmates, who then hold key members of the Angosia government hostage. It appears as if several of the Enterprise crew will become involved in the conflict, but Picard orders non-interference and they all beam out, leaving the Angosians to their own troubles.

Well, that was sure depressing. Not the ending, but the whole premise. The US government does a lot to attempt to provide for its veterans, but they can never guarantee a good reception by all of society. Just last summer I was hearing that veterans that had left service after 9/11 had a higher unemployment rate that their fellow veterans and also higher than the average citizen. Tsk, tsk, society. Scarier than that, though, is the idea of the super soldier, and of our inability to turn a super soldier back into a regular citizen. You can't just wipe the training and the memories of war. You can't say "just kidding" and rewind time for them - just like you can't take back the bad experiences that happen to numerous poor and otherwise disadvantaged people around the world, except that with soldiers, its more directly our fault if they turn out too Super. But maybe we could give them a chance at a job, out of respect for the fact that they risked so much for us.

Of course, the super soldiers in the episode are a bit more extreme than our real veterans. Most real veterans aren't more likely to, say, knife us in the back, and we try really hard to identify those who are, so that they can get help and not give the rest a bad reputation. We try not to give them multiple personalities and all that fun stuff. But, hey, with Scifi, anything is possible! It's more exciting that way! No, wait... still depressing.


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