Starlog – A look at the “Caretaker”

Today we are going to look at the beginning of Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager, unlike the series before it flung the starship to the other end of the galaxy and could not rely on Starfleet to help them out.

Living with limited Resources

The Kazon are lacking replicator technology to explore space, thus they are sitting on a desert planet and are lacking water.

They have developed a trade and pirate society. Due to their lack of resources, there are constant fights and wars between the individual fractions. Thus they are preoccupied with survival that they cannot evolve.

To make matters worse, there is a source of water, protected by the caretaker and exclusive to the Okampa.

The Okampa, in contrast to the Kazon, live with unlimited resources. They have so many resources that they lack the need to explore or to desire to do anything new. They are cut off from the rest of the universe and they do not even care to take a look outside. Since they are not aware of the Kazon they also do not provide help or support for the Kazon.

The caretaker is aware of the Kazon but he does not feel obligated to help the Kazon. In fact, he thinks that the Kazon are so dangerous they are not worthy to be helped. He does everything in his power to prevent the Kazon to get improved technology.

This in a way reflects how in our current society the western society has incredible living conditions while in other parts of the world they are fighting wars about the most basic needs.

The end justify the means

The Caretaker

The ‘caretaker’ is probably one of the evilest characters ever created. He abducts entire starships, conducts experiments on its crew members against their will, identifies individuals to try to procreate with, leaves them to die with a sexually transmitted disease.

He does all of this to ‘protect’ the Okampa civilization. – He is protecting the Okampa because he destroyed their planet and evaporated the entire water supply. His ‘protection’ requires them to live underground and caged behind a forcefield. The Okampa have no information about their surroundings and teach their children to be fearful of leaving the encampment. Thus he is more like a prison warden.

He justifies all of his bad actions that in the end, it is for the good of the Okampa civilization. In the end, he does not manage to find a successor, and even his backup plan to destroy the array fails.

Neelix

Neelix sees the unlimited water supply of Voyager and then goes ahead to suggest to Tuvok that there is an encampment on the surface of the planet where he leads them directly to the Kazon. He fails to tell Janeway anything about the Kazon or to mention that he ‘borrowed’ some water in the past. During the negotiation with the Kazon leader, he just jumps in and forces Janeway to start a war with the Kazon.

He does all of these things in order to rescue his girlfriend Kes. However, Voyager will eventually overrun by the Kazon and eventually, Kes will become a grown-up that develops so massive psychic powers that she nearly destroys Voyager on several occasions.

Janeway

At the end of the episode, Janeway has also adapted this way of thinking, when she ignores Starfleet’s Prime directive “interfering in the normal development of any society” and destroys the array of the caretaker. By doing this she prevents the destruction of the Okampa and prevents the Kazon from accessing the only water supply on the planet. Choosing which of the two species are allowed to continue to exist. Thus directly violating the prime directive.

Sadly Voyager never goes back to take a look at the consequences of this decision. But based on the abilities and powers Kes develops when she grows older without the limitations created by the ‘caretaker’ one can only imagine what devastating effect the Okampa will have on the Kazon once they are forced to leave their cave to look for more resources.

Voyager has to deal with the direct consequences of this questionable action Janeway took. They will need to travel 70 years back to earth.

Conclusion

The interference of Janeway has changed nothing about the status quo. The Kazon factions continue to hate and wage war against each other. The Okampa are going to be helplessly exposed to the Kazon. The only thing that changed is that Voyager has been stranded in the Delta Quadrant.

The only person who did a good thing was Chakotay, where he chose the best thing to do for his crew is to join forces with Voyager. He knows that the survival of his crew is only possible by abandoning his own ship to protect Voyager.

In the end, it is always difficult to do the right thing and probably you should get all of your information correct before you do the ‘right’ thing, as it could have unintended consequences.

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