Strange New Worlds explores how prejudice hinders Starfleet

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds opened a new door in its latest episode.

Last Thursday, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds revealed a secret about Lieutenant Commander Una Chin-Riley that could lead to her dismissal from Starfleet if it ever comes to light. Commander Chin-Riley, also known as Number One, is an Illyrian, an alien race who practices genetic engineering. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s more about adapting their body to the planets they have installed rather than adapting the planets to their liking. Still, Starfleet is against any type of genetic augmentation, so Illyrians are forbidden from joining. Not only are they not allowed in Starfleet, but they also cannot join the United Federation of Planets.

According to Rebecca Romijn, The Secret of Number One will continue to unfold until the end of Season 2, who shared more about what’s to come in The Ready Room. [Via Trekmovie]

“You’re going to see a lot more where that came from… It was such an interesting layer to add to this character who seems like the most picky, meticulous, perfect first officer. And I think she hide this horrible deep secret by being as perfect as possible in the workplace…”

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds introduced this secret for a purpose.

Akela Cooper, the co-writer of the episode that revealed Number One’s secret, “Ghosts of Illyria,” also appeared on The Ready Room and explained why this secret is in Star Trek lore.

No matter how successful Star Trek has been over the past centuries, there really isn’t a utopia for the future. The number one secret proves it. The Illyrians have done nothing wrong, but they are being held back from moving forward with the United Federation of Planets simply because of who and what they are.

Cooper said this secret was not only a way to explore the character of Number One, but also to explore “how prejudice hinders Starfleet and can work against him”. So Lt. Commander Chin-Riley is going to be forced to keep this secret and believe that others won’t share it, or she could be court-martialed and kicked out of Starfleet…all because she’s different.

Yes, Starfleet already had this rule in place, and number one signed up knowing the rules, but any regulations based on bias should not be allowed to remain. So maybe his story will be the start of a change that Starfleet needs.