By Rick Lundeen
The Mirror Universe – an alternate reality containing a darker, more ruthless version of the human race. Most people, places, and things we know are all there, but different. Twisted.
In this, the Prime Universe of Star Trek, we’ve been witness to centuries of human development and achievement – humanity attaining warp capability thanks to Zefram Cochrane, for example, which led to first contact with the Vulcans. Then we have Earth, co-founding the United Federation of Planets with other worlds – a union which expanded further and further as the centuries passed. Eventually, even the oldest of enemies joined the UFP.
But in the Mirror Universe, a very different chain of events took place. When the Vulcans arrived, humans killed them and stole their tech, venturing forth into space and slaughtering their way through the galaxy. Humans, or “Terrans,” accumulated more and more power, as they enslaved all other worlds. Thus was born the Terran Empire.
Moving through the Star Trek timeline chronologically, the story begins in Star Trek: Enterprise with ‘In a Mirror, Darkly’ – set 100 years before The Original Series. In this episode, the Mirror Universe Jonathan Archer and his crew take possession of a derelict ship from our universe’s future. Such advanced technology makes the Terran Empire much more powerful.
We also see the empire a little later on, a decade before Kirk, in the Star Trek: Discovery episodes ‘Despite Yourself,’ ‘The Wolf Inside,’ ‘Vaulting Ambition’ and ‘What’s Past is Prologue,’ where we meet the Mirror Universe’s emperor herself.
Starting in the middle of the story
For the fans, we first visited the Mirror Universe in Star Trek: The Original Series‘ second season: ‘Mirror, Mirror.’ Captain Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and Scott were teleporting back to the Enterprise from an away mission when an ion storm interfered with the transporter beam, sending them into the other universe. Their counterparts, meanwhile, ended up in our universe. Kirk and company were horrified at the bloodlust and casual genocide committed by these people. But they had to play along until they could figure out a way to get home.
However, this was not before Kirk made a case to Mirror Spock to try and take over from Mirror Kirk, and change things for the better. Kirk submitted that such a brutal regime was not logical and could not stand. The Mirror Spock said that he would consider it.
That might have been a mistake
The next time we visit the Mirror Universe is some 100 years after TOS, in Season Two of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in an episode called ‘Crossover.’ Another anomaly sends Major Kira and Doctor Bashir into the Mirror Universe. By then, the Terran Empire is long gone. The Mirror Kira tells them that, all those years ago, Spock did indeed try and reform the empire, and build a universe that was kinder and more just.
But they burned it to the ground. The empire showed weakness and got blasted away, to the point that humans were the lowest of the lowly slaves, and mostly exterminated. The Klingons and other warrior races took over.
DS9 gave us five more episodes devoted to the Mirror Universe: ‘Crossover,’ ‘Through the Looking Glass,’ ‘Shattered Mirror,’ ‘Resurrection’ and ‘The Emperor’s New Cloak.’ In these stories, we track the eventual recovery of humanity as their alliance fights back once again.
A decent representation of the history of the Mirror Universe
As we knit together the myriad episodes featuring the Mirror Universe – across four separate series – they actually create a rather interesting tapestry, which spans 300 years of alternate history.
Would you like to see more Mirror Universe episodes in the future? And if you haven’t seen any yet, are you interested in tracking them down? Let me know in the comments below.
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