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Seven of Nine Needs to Learn Forgiveness

The following message was posted in the "alt.tv.star-trek.voyager" Newsgroup.

First, I would like to say that I very much enjoyed "Prey" (2/18/1998). Not only did it "Rock" as the header to another thread puts it, but it raised some very interesting moral questions.

First was whether Voyager should try to help the wounded Hirogen. In this case, for me, it was a no-brainer, Voyager most definitely should have helped him. As Janeway put it, it was an act of "human compassion" to help a wounded being, even if he was an enemy.

Also, from a strategic viewpoint, helping him might enable them to learn more about his species. Plus, it just might lead to peaceful retaliations between the Hirogen and the Voyager crew.

But Seven of Nine (7/9) was opposed to it. Why? She had been held captive by the Hirogen and almost turned into a "trophy." Plus several Hirogen ships had attacked Voyager, trying to destroy it. So 7/9 had "security" concerns.

However, there were no other Hirogen ships in the area at the time. And this Hirogen’s ship was badly damaged and his life signs were very weak. So there was no immediate threat to Voyager or its crew. So maybe something a little more personal was going on with 7/9.

Having been captured and almost killed by a Hirogen crew, maybe she was afraid. Yes, 7/9 afraid. It seems rather out of character, but possible. But I think than more likely, she held animosity towards the Hirogen.

Two points here. First, to continue to hold animosity towards someone after they have wronged you will only hurt yourself. Maybe, what 7/9 needed was to learn to forgive the Hirogen for what they tried to do to her. If she continues to harbor animosity towards the Hirogen it will eat away at her from the inside out. A person is only hurting themselves when they refuse to forgive another for a wrong rendered.

Second, this could have been a classic cas of racism (or in this case, "specie-ism"). There were two Hirogen in the crew that captured 7/9. And only three other ships had attacked Voyager. But 7/9 immediately assumed that ALL Hirogen were "hunters" out for "prey."

At it turned out, this was the case. But, at the time Voyager did not know this. It was only after helping the Hirogen that the crew found out that "hunting" other sentient life forms was an essential part of the Hirogen culture.

But still, if I was attacked by say, several blacks (I am white) and immediately assume that ALL blacks were violent, then I would rightly be labeled racist. Similarly, it was wrong to assume, without further facts, that all Hirogen preyed on other sentient species.

The second morally challenging scenario was what to do with the captured and injured member of Species 8472. Janeway wanted to help the creature get back to its own universe as it had been trying to do for eight months, all the while being hunted by the Hirogen.

Again, I would agree with Janeway’s decision here initially. Again, it was the compassionate thing to do. Also, if they had been able to return it immediately, they would have been able to get out of the area before the oncoming Hirogen ships arrived (maybe they could have left their injured Hirogen in an escape pod for the Hirogen ships to pick up). Thus Voyager would be out of danger, the Hirogen and the 8472 creature both back with their own kind.

But Janeway needed 7/9’s help to open the "singularity" to send the 8472 creature home. In this scene, I believe Janeway was addressing the wrong attribute in appealing to "human compassion" as the reason why they should help the creature get home.

7/9 refused. She had been "agitated" (as Chakotay put it) ever since the creature boarded Voyager. Her agitation would be very understandable. Species 8472 had been the most serious threat that the Borg encountered. And, as 7/9 said, Species 8472 did kill millions of Borg "drones" and wiped out hundreds of their planets.

So it is understandable why she would not want to have compassion for this very fierce enemy. However, it seemed to me that what she was harboring towards the creature was the same as what she held toward the Hirogen, anger and un-forgiveness.

Whenever one’s race or nation (or "collective" in this case) has been wronged by another race or nation (or species in this case) it is very difficult to forgive that group, or any member of the group.

Now, I have never fought in a war, so I can only guess how difficult it would be to forgive members of the "enemy’s" group. But of one thing I am sure, forgive you must or the animosity will eat you out from the inside out.

In the case of the atrocious committed in war, I am sure that such feelings of animosity would be very great. But the need for forgiveness, consequently, would be even greater still. If 7/9 had agreed to open the "singularity" she would had taken the first step towards healing and forgiveness (and enable Voyager to get out of danger before the Hirogen ships arrived).

Another point worth mentioning is that 7/9 needs to remember that it was the Borg that started the war against Species 8472. If the Borg hadn’t entered Species 8472’s universe in an attempt to assimilate them, then the Borg would not have lost their millions of drones and hundreds of worlds.

Which leads me to my last point, along with learning to forgive, I hope that 7/9 learns that she needs to seek forgiveness.

As a Borg, 7/9 was party to the wholesale destruction of a multitude of other sentient species. So it is my hope that she realizes that the animosity she feels towards Species 8472 is similar to what other species feel towards the Borg. To date, she has shown no ability to empathize as to why people feel animosity towards the Borg.

But if the lost of millions of Borg drones causes her such animosity towards Species 8472, how much more should she realize that the wholesale destruction of an entire civilization should cause the few survivors to feel animosity towards the Borg.

Now it could be argued that 7/9 was not in control of her actions as a Borg. As such, she would not be morally responsible. This might be true. But even Picard was not truly healed after his assimilation until he had a good cry, expressing his regrets at not being able to stop the carnage during the battle at Wolf 359 (TNG: "Family").

To date, 7/9 has not been able to even acknowledge that what the Borg do is wrong. So what I am looking forward to is the day that she realizes the horror that the Borg cause in others. A good, emotional scene of 7/9 in tears would be very fitting to her truly becoming human.

So to me, this episode showed 7/9 needs to learn the very human, and necessary attribute of forgiveness. She both needs to learn to forgive others and learn that she needs to seek forgiveness for herself.

><> Reepicheep <><

Seven of Nine Needs to Learn Forgiveness. Copyright 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.dtl.org).

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

The above article was posted on this Web site
and in "alt.tv.star-trek.voyager" Newsgroup in February 1998.

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