"We come in peace." The would-be Klingon Messiah, T'Kuvma, insisted those four words were the Federation's greatest lie. He used them as the lynchpin of his argument, suggesting that the Federation should be approached on a united front, banding the 24 Klingon Houses together in opposition to the Federation.
Naturally, we're supposed to assume he was wrong. After all, the Federation are the good guys, the heroes, and they've always stood for peace before. But is that really the case? Or did the Klingon extremist actually have a point? Four episodes into Star Trek: Discovery, it's time to acknowledge that this version of the Federation is very different to anything we've seen before...
The Mystery Of Captain Lorca
Starfleet is all about exploration, but Captain Lorca is a man of war. The fourth episode, "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry," gives us a measure of the man like nothing we've seen before. He's dedicated his life to studying the art of war, gathering a collection of the most dangerous weapons Starfleet has ever encountered. What's more, it's definitely implied that Lorca is proficient in the use of all those weapons too.
Lorca's command style is more militaristic than we would usually expect too. He's distant and reserved, keeping his own counsel, while not even informing his First Officer of command decisions. This Captain is willing to push his crew to the max, pushing them to the point of recklessness. We even see the fatal consequences of this in the fourth episode, as one of the crew members ends up making a foolish decision that costs her life.
The war with the Klingons has only been raging for six months, and a man like Lorca can't rise to power in the space of only half a year. That means Starfleet already had an up-and-coming warrior rising through the ranks, well before that fateful Battle of the Binary Stars. What's more, where there's one such militaristic leader, there are sure to be more. So is the Starfleet of Discovery really the peaceful organization we know it will eventually become? Or is there a darker side to this early version of the Federation?
More Ominous Hints
Is it possible that the early Federation was a lot more warlike than the one we know and love? Lorca's position is the most notable hint, revealing a brutal Captain who's clearly been trained for war. But it's not the only one. Captain Georgiou indicated that she'd been part of another war too, one that doesn't seem to align with either the Romulan-Earth conflict or the battle against the Xindi.
It seems this is a time when the Federation must decide what it truly represents. Will it be the Federation of Lorca, comprised of trained warriors and military leaders who wage war across the heavens? Or will it instead become the Federation we know and love, the exploratory force who really do "come in peace?" No ship from the line will feel this conflict of identity more than the U.S.S. Discovery, a science ship staffed by explorers who answer to a warrior-like Captain.
T'Kuvma insisted that Starfleet's promise of peace is a lie. Disturbingly, it's possible that he has a point. The Starfleet of Discovery hasn't quite decided what it truly is just yet. For every Georgiou, there may well be a Lorca. And that means the Federation of Star Trek: Discovery may not be the heroes we've come to expect...
Do you think the Federation of Star Trek: Discovery should be trusted? Let me know in the comments!