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Poll of the Week: The Scapegoat Directive

Randal Shayne

How would you have handled the delicate situation at the end of "Dear Doctor"?  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you have handled the delicate situation at the end of "Dear Doctor"?

    • I would have made certain that they recieved the cure. Whatever happens, allowing a species to become extinct is unacceptable. I'd then leave.
    • I would have handed over the cure, but would have implored the Valakians to reconsider their policies toward the Menk in exchange.
    • I would be very torn, but in the end, I'd give them the cure. I'd also offer to help the Menk in any non-violent way I could.
    • I'd abstain in a similar way as Archer- stalling the problem long enough so that it will resolve without my interference.
    • None of the above! The moment that I realize I'm in that situation, I'd cut and run. I won't become involved.
    • Something else? Let us know in the comment's below!

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The Prime Directive, whatever your opinion on it, is a fascinating rule to consider, and has undoubtedly caused more disagreement and discussion than most anything else in the Trek Universe. There seem to be episodes that would support both sides of the argument. One that is often referred to is Enterprise's "Dear Doctor". In it, the crew stumbles on a world with two species, who seem to live with one another in some sort of harmony. The Valakians, the dominant species, is facing extinction due to a rapidly spreading mutation, whereas the Menk, the second species, remain unaffected. As time goes on, the crew finds that the Valakians marginalize the Menk, and that despite the peace they share, the Valakians clearly see the Menk is inferior. Phlox eventually finds a cure to the Valakian's illness, but feels it is unethical to administer it. Phlox believes that the Menk are on the verge of an awakening, and a huge surge in development. If the Valakians were allowed to become extinct naturally, that surge would be an important step in their history- a step that would not be taken with the Valakians still alive and able to maintain their dominance. 

In the end, Archer orders Phlox to provide the Valakians with enough medication to ease the symptoms for approximately a decade, instead of the cure. In this way, a solution might yet be found, but it would not be as a direct result of Enterprise's visit. At the end, Archer considers a "primary directive" that might deal with this problem for future starship captains. 

NOW! With that lovely bit of exposition out of the way, this week's poll is simply as follows: What would you have done in that situation? Would you have provided the Valakians with the cure itself? Perhaps you would have abstained, much in the way Archer managed to do? Or would you feel more compelled to assist the Menk, either by refusing to hand over the cure, or other means? Maybe there's something that hasn't been considered- if so, please let us know in the comment's section below! 

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