Story: Thus Anew to Greet
Website: DS9 Requiascat in Pace.../Trekiverse.org
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Featured Characters: Major Kira, Dr. Bashir
Spoilers: none beyond season two
Star Trek's fictional universe has always been intriguing to me from the days when, as a little girl, my family would gather around the television on Saturday evening to watch the newest episode of The Next Generation. What was so profoundly wonderful to me, even then, was just how peaceful the humans essentially were. There was no need for money, no wars on Earth, and the people were equally as enthusiastic with exploration as they were with art. But most especially interesting was the not-much-talked-about lack of religion. In reference to the humans living aboard the starship Enterprise, it was rarely (if ever?) discussed.
Then in 1993 came along a new Star Trek series - one that I certainly didn't appreciate at the time, being much too young to grasp the concepts portrayed - called Deep Space Nine. This series dared to tackle the touchy subjects of both religion and politics. On rewatching the series last year, I found it to be a much more engaging (no pun intended, fellow watchers of Trek) universe. Here was depicted an entire planet full of people, the Bajorans, who believed in god-like spirits called Prophets, and who were at odds with other species due to their planet's approximation to a strategic part of the quadrant. The show included stories involving religious radicalism, terrorism, subjugation, and cults, all while never shying away from the political ramifications of those patently-held beliefs. It made for riveting television.
What one doesn't often find, though, is fanfiction written with those issues in mind. But I did come across a real gem of a story which realistically shows two characters from the show of different species and beliefs (or lack thereof), who have a conversation about the nature of their beliefs in a way that didn't personally attack either character.
The story is Diavolessa's Thus Anew to Greet, found both at the author's website and Trekiverse.org. In it, two characters with a history of contention, Major Kira and Dr. Bashir, are given the opportunity to discuss the tricky business of one culture's 'faith' with the scientific truths of another. I love it for the way the philosophical discussion, which had every potential to turn into a raging argument between two rather stubborn characters, instead brought them into a closer understanding of each other, and the beginnings of a friendship can be seen.
The Star Trek universe remains as utopian a place as ever, but not one which is impossible for us to someday make into a reality for ourselves. I have hope that someday, the sort of discourse shown in this story will happen outside of fiction. And that's why I like Star Trek - its optimism is inspiring.