Star Trek: DS9’s Kira Did What Voyager’s Chakotay Never Would

Kira and Chakotay had a history of resisting Cardassian occupation, but there was one line that Star Trek: Voyager’s Number One would never cross.

Robert Beltran as Chakotay in Voyager and Nana Visitor as Kira in DS9

Summary

  • Unlike Commander Chakotay in Voyager, Major Kira in DS9 was willing to stage a mutiny, displaying her determination and willingness to take action.
  • Voyager missed the opportunity to explore the dramatic potential of having two opposing crews working together, unlike DS9 which questioned Rodenberry’s vision to create compelling character drama.
  • Chakotay’s refusal to stage a coup against Captain Janeway in Voyager ensured his fellow freedom fighters would remain loyal, highlighting the difference between him and Major Kira in DS9.

Major Kira (Nana Visitor) achieved something in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that Star Trek: Voyager‘s Commander Chakotay (Robert Beltran) would never have attempted. As number one to Captains Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) and Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) respectively, Kira and Chakotay had quite similar backgrounds. In the DS9 pilot, Commander Sisko specifically requests a non-Starfleet officer as his number one, to provide insight into Bajoran interests. In the Voyager pilot, Chakotay is also specifically chosen as Janeway’s deputy due to the unique circumstances of having a starship crewed by Starfleet officers and Maquis freedom fighters.

Sadly, Star Trek: Voyager largely ignored the dramatic potential of having two ideologically opposed crews working together to survive in the uncharted Delta Quadrant. Where Star Trek: Deep Space Nine questioned Gene Rodenberry’s utopian vision of the future to create compelling character drama, Voyager largely stuck to the “no interpersonal conflict” rule imposed upon Star Trek: The Next Generation. This meant that, despite some notable exceptions, the conflict between the Maquis, Chakotay and Janeway was non-existent. However, the same couldn’t be said for DS9‘s Kira and Sisko.

Robert Beltran as two version of Chakotay side by side, the live-action version from Star Trek: Voyager and the animated version from Star Trek: Prodigy.
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DS9’s Kira Did What Chakotay Would Never Do On Voyager

In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 1, episode 18, “Dramatis Personae”, Major Kira stages a mutiny after Sisko allows a Valerian ship to dock at the station. Kira believes that the Valerians are still supplying the Cardassian Union with materials to build weapons, but Sisko points out that she lacks sufficient evidence. Kira and Sisko regularly clashed over such matters in DS9‘s early days, and the influence of a telepathic archive is enough to tip those tensions into a full-blown mutiny. While Kira is acting out a historical power struggle rather than staging a real mutiny, she still takes more action than Chakotay did during Star Trek: Voyager.

A power struggle between the Maquis and Starfleet crews felt like the most obvious story for Star Trek: Voyager to tell, but it never materialized. When Voyager villain Seska (Martha Hackett), one of the Maquis crew members, turned on the crew of the USS Voyager, it was because she was an undercover Cardassian operative. It wasn’t until Voyager season 3 that a Maquis mutiny took place aboard the ship, albeit in an incendiary holodeck simulation created by Lt. Tuvok (Tim Russ). Tuvok would later lead a Maquis mutiny in the final season, when he was activated by a dormant telepathic signal. Of all the mutinies and power struggles aboard the USS Voyager, Chakotay was never at the center of them.

Chakotay Was Why Voyager’s Maquis Never Mutinied

Janeway and Chakotay from Star Trek: Voyager.

Earlier in Star Trek: Voyager season 1, Seska and the other Maquis told Chakotay that they’d support a mutiny to take control of the ship, but he swiftly quelled the rebellion. This quickly established that Chakotay would never try and take control of the USS Voyager. As the leader of Voyager‘s Maquis crew, Chakotay’s refusal to stage a coup against Captain Janeway ensured that his fellow freedom fighters would toe the line. That’s not to say that Janeway and Chakotay always agreed with each other. For example, Voyager’s number one vehemently objected to the alliance with the Borg against Species 8472 in season 3.

It was only in the Star Trek: Voyager season 5 finale, “Equinox”, that Chakotay ever came close to staging a mutiny. Janeway’s obsession with bringing Captain Rudolph Ransom (John Savage) and the crew of the USS Equinox to justice put the crew at risk and forced Chakotay to consider crossing that line. Eventually, he decided that a mutiny wasn’t in the best interests of the Voyager crew. Despite their shared history of resisting Cardassian occupation, a willingness to mutiny is the major difference between Voyager‘s Chakotay and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Major Kira.

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