I’ve had this post percolating all week and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do it justice so I’m just diving in. This post contains spoilers for Star Trek: Discovery.
Over the last year-and-a-half I have felt an affinity for Lieutenant Commander Saru. Saru, played by Doug Jones on Star Trek: Discovery, is the first Kelpien to voluntarily leave his home world. The lives of Kelpians are governed by fear. Saru shares that, until his mission to Pahvo, every single moment of his life from the time of his birth he has known the presence of fear. We feel his fear, his calculation, even among those he should feel safe with, in every moment.
Yes, we feel this.
What is also felt is Saru’s almost insatiable sense of hope. In his life before joining Starfleet, as a member of a pre-warp species, he senses there is something more out there for him. There must be more than to hope for the “honor” of being sacrificed to the Ba’ul. He takes a chance and attempts to reach out.
It is Saru’s revelation to Michael when he believes he is dying that has stayed with me. Toward the end of “An Obol for Charon” (air date, February 7, 2019) he shares that as a refugee he resolved to join Star Fleet to help those like himself. Those who found themselves feeling as though there was no place for them in this universe.
Saru is everywhere in our society, we are all like Saru. We feel the fear of living in a society we do not understand. Sacrificed to the whims and desires of those more powerful. In a very literal sense, there are those fleeing their homeland because they know in their bones there is something better out there for them. But we can rise up and help each other. We have the power to govern ourselves and make our lives, and the lives of those around us, so much better.
We are all refugees in some sense and we all belong.