chapter
The case for the Prosecution
Pages 18

Star Trek’s list of the moral crimes of humanity is headed by slavery, and personal freedom is its most valued objective. On occasion this can sound a little like the Cold War injunction to ‘Live Free or Die!’ still emblazoned on car number plates in the fervent state of New Hampshire.36 It is worth pointing out that the issue of slavery looms over the first Star Trek episode ever produced, Gene Roddenberry’s rejected 1964 pilot, in which Jeffrey Hunter played the short-lived Captain Pike. In the story, Pike is captured by the Talosians, a brainy super-race who have selected him to breed with their one human female. Pike is given a fantasy existence of exactly what he most desires37 and the Talosians cannot understand it when he objects both to his own imprisonment like an animal (the episode is called ‘The Cage’), and to the idea of breeding ‘a whole race of humans to act as slaves’. In some astonishment, they let him go, realising that his species has ‘a unique hatred of captivity’ such that they ‘prefer death’ to life in a cage, however gilded.