After Trek: "mu"


Terran Empire insignia with marching soldiers in the background

The "mirror universe" is the informal name for the parallel universe first recorded as visited by James T. Kirk and several officers from the USS Enterprise in 2267. This parallel universe coexists with our universe on another dimensional plane. The universe was so named because many people and places seemed to be the exact opposites of their "normal" selves in "our" universe, but with numerous "good" aspects now "evil," and vice versa, thus "mirror-like." (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")


For the main article, see mirror universe history.

Terran Empire

In the mirror universe, known history is dominated by the Terran Empire. It is not clear when the Empire began. Commander Jonathan Archer once stated that the Empire had existed for "centuries" as of 2155. Archer did not mention how many centuries, but by his statement, the Empire can be traced back to at least 1955, suggesting that it was a Terran political unit before it became an interstellar empire. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")

The credits sequence for the "mirror universe" Star Trek: Enterprise television series, designed to be seen as if the viewer were an inhabitant of the 21st century of that universe, used footage of battles going back at least to the "Age of Sail". The mirror Phlox noted that the "great works" of literature in both universes were roughly the same, except that their characters were "soft and weak" (except for Shakespeare), pushing back the earliest possible date for a divergence. In the Diane Duane novel Dark Mirror, it was discovered that even Shakespearean plays were more harsh in the mirror universe; the finale of The Merchant of Venice had Shylock taking the pound of flesh from Antonio – the blood being spilled was "interest on the loan" – while scoffing at the legal sophistry which was successful in the original version.
An even earlier date of divergence is hinted at by Dark Mirror when Picard finds that in the mirror version of The Iliad, Achilles kills King Priam after the death of Hector when asked to return Hector's body for funeral rites. Picard thought of our version as the one time in the poem when "that terrible man showed mercy.... but not here."
Lastly, in a cut scene for In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II, Archer gives a motivational speech to the assembled crews of the former ISS Enterprise and the Avenger in which he invokes the favor of the "gods". This, together with Marlena's statement about "being the woman of a Caesar" in "Mirror Mirror", suggests that the Terran Imperial tradition extends at least back to pre-Christian Rome. However, given the nature of the mirror universe, these statements should be taken with a grain of salt.

First contact between Vulcans and the Terran Empire took place in 2063, as it did in our universe. The long history of nations warring with each other, the stronger overcoming the weaker, led the people of Earth to believe that conquest was the only means of surviving in the universe. Peace was only a ruse used to determine an enemy's weaknesses and to enable the one offering peace a chance to conquer from within. So, when the Vulcans landed and made their peaceful introduction, Zefram Cochrane shot the first Vulcan to step onto Terran soil instead of welcoming them with open arms (as in "our" universe), and the Terrans, interpreting the landing as prelude to an invasion, raided the Vulcan ship. The shotgun used by Zefram Cochrane later came into the possession of Jonathan Archer, who wondered what would have happened had Cochrane not "turned the tables" on the Vulcans' "invasion force." With advanced Vulcan technology at their disposal, the Terran Empire expanded and conquered other races, including the Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, Orions and Denobulans.

It is hinted at in the non-canon novel Preserver that Cochrane had instead told the Vulcans about the Borg, thus forming a military alliance.

In 2155, the ISS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Maximilian Forrest, was the flagship of the Terran Empire's Starfleet. In January of that year, Commander Jonathan Archer mutinied against Forrest in order to take the ship into Tholian space to capture the USS Defiant, which had traveled through a spatial interphase from the year 2268 in our universe. While the mutiny was ultimately unsuccessful, Captain Forrest had no choice but to continue the mission, since the ship's helm had been locked on auto-pilot. The Enterprise was later destroyed by Tholian ships, but not before Archer was able to take control of the Defiant. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly") Archer tried to use the Defiant in a grab for power, intending to replace the Emperor, but was betrayed and killed by Hoshi Sato, who declared herself Empress. However, it remains unclear as to whether Sato actually established herself as Empress, or if the Defiant played any further role in the mirror universe (particularly given that the mirror universe showed no signs of being any further ahead of the "standard" universe when the first crossover between the universes took place). (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")

The events following Sato's power grab are covered in the non-canon novel Age of the Empress, which is contained in the first book in the mirror universe series, Glass Empires.

Sometime between 2155 and 2267, the symbol of the Empire appears to have been altered. The earlier symbol closely resembles that of the United Earth government, depicting all of Earth's continents, though replacing a laurel of peace with an aggressive sword. However, by the mid-23rd century, the symbol, while remaining essentially the same, depicted only the continents of Earth's western hemisphere.

The original symbol was seen in the episode "Mirror, Mirror", predating its appearance in "In a Mirror, Darkly".
Uhura distracts Hikaru Sulu (mirror)

Uhura and the mirror Sulu

By 2267, the Terran Empire was the dominant power in the Alpha Quadrant. When four Starfleet officers (Captain James T. Kirk, Lieutenant Uhura, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott and Doctor Leonard McCoy) from the USS Enterprise were exchanged with those same officers from the ISS Enterprise in the mirror universe because of transporter interference from an ion storm, they discovered a brutal regime, almost dictatorial in its command structure. Advancement through assassination was commonplace.

During the encounter, Captain Kirk convinced the counterpart of his first officer, Spock, that the Empire could not sustain itself. Indeed, Spock predicted that in its current form, the Empire had 240 years before total collapse. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

Shortly thereafter, Spock rose to become leader of the Terran Empire, proposing a series of reforms designed to make the Empire more secure and less dictatorial in nature. These included a significant disarmament program. Unfortunately, once these reforms were complete, the Empire was unable to defend itself against the equally aggressive and powerful forces surrounding it. The Klingon-Cardassian Alliance overran the Empire, conquering Earth and leaving Terrans and Vulcans enslaved, and freeing several worlds that still remained under Terran occupation, including Bajor. (DS9: "Crossover")

Klingon-Cardassian Alliance

Klingon-Cardassian Alliance logo

With the fall of the Terran Empire, the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance became the dominant power in the Mirror universe. Bajor soon joined the Alliance, and the command post and ore processing facility Terok Nor was constructed in orbit.

Also during this time, the forces of the mirror universe began implementing safeguards to prevent another crossover event. Transporter design was altered to prevent interdimensional travel, requiring the creation of devices specifically for that purpose, including the multidimensional transporter. In the event of another crossover, those involved would be killed to prevent further interference. (DS9: "Crossover", "Through the Looking Glass")

Kira and Kira

Kira Nerys and... Kira Nerys

By 2370, Terok Nor was commanded by Intendant Kira Nerys, with Elim Garak as her second-in-command. It was at this point in time that the second known contact with our universe took place. A runabout from station Deep Space 9 entered the mirror universe following an incident in the Bajoran wormhole. Kira Nerys and Julian Bashir were captured by forces from Terok Nor, and interrogated by the intendant. Bashir was sent to work in the ore processing plant, where he befriended "Smiley" O'Brien. After instigating a series of incidents aboard the station, including the death of Odo during a slave uprising, Kira and Bashir convinced privateer Benjamin Sisko to rebel against the Alliance and help them to escape back to "our" universe. (DS9: "Crossover")

A year later, Smiley crossed over to the Federation's universe and impersonated his counterpart long enough to capture our Sisko, and brought him back to the mirror universe, where he convinced Sisko to impersonate the leader of the Terran Rebellion. The mirror Sisko had been killed in a skirmish with Alliance ships, and the rebels needed the other Sisko to win over Jennifer Sisko, Sisko's wife, who in the mirror universe was a scientist working for the Alliance. Jennifer had been developing a transpectral sensor array, which would have allowed the Alliance to locate rebel hideouts in the Badlands. Sisko convinced his wife's mirror-counterpart to defect to the side of the rebels. (DS9: "Through the Looking Glass")

While in the Federation's universe, Smiley downloaded information from Deep Space 9's computers, including the plans for the Defiant. In 2372 the rebels constructed their own version of the Defiant, but had trouble getting it to function properly. Jennifer lured Sisko back into the mirror universe to help, though Kira Nerys killed her a short time thereafter. By this time the rebellion had grown in strength, culminating in the capture of Terok Nor, which became a rebel base of operations. (DS9: "Shattered Mirror")

In 2374, Intendant Kira sent a thief, Bareil Antos, to "our" universe to steal one of the Bajoran orbs, believing it would permit Kira to unite Bajor under her rule. The attempt failed, and Bareil returned to the mirror universe without the orb. (DS9: "Resurrection")

In 2375, Grand Nagus Zek, the leader of the Ferengi Alliance in our universe, used the multidimensional transporter to travel to the mirror universe along with his Hupyrian manservant, Maihar'du, hoping to open up business opportunities, but they were captured and held hostage by the Alliance. Kira made arrangements with Worf, the regent of the Alliance, to obtain our universe's version of the Klingon cloaking device in exchange for Zek's return.

She sent Ezri Tigan, a Trill mercenary and Kira's lover, to our side to give Quark the ransom demand. Quark and his brother Rom stole the cloaking device from Klingon General Martok's ship and delivered it to Ezri, but decided at the last minute that they couldn't trust her to keep her side of the deal, and accompanied her to the mirror universe, where all three were captured by the Terran rebels, who planned to keep the cloaking device, until Ezri's companion Brunt freed them, delivering them to Regent Worf. Aboard Worf's flagship, Quark and Rom were imprisoned along with Zek upon discovering Kira's plan, only to be later rescued by Ezri as revenge against Kira for killing Brunt. Ezri ended up joining the rebel cause. Quark, Rom, Zek and Maihar'du were allowed to return to the primary universe for having aided the rebels' defeat of Worf, a major victory for the rebellion. During the escape from Worf's ship, Garak was killed. When last seen, the rebels' march towards victory showed no apparent signs of slowing. (DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak")




See also: Mirror universe starships


Related topics



Any possible "point of divergence" from the traditional Star Trek universe is not confirmed, though there have been different non-canon explanations. According to the FASA role-playing games and The Best of Trek, the mirror universe diverges from our own timeline around the Eugenics Wars, while DC Comics' The Mirror Universe Saga comics speculate the Earth-Romulan War was the point of divergence, with Earth having lost that war, and then embarking on a policy of conquest after overthrowing the Romulans (It is not known what kind of contact Sato's Empire had with the Romulans). Still other non-canon works, the novels of William Shatner's Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Trilogy (co-written with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens) and the novelization of Star Trek: First Contact seem to indicate that time travel of the Borg to Zefram Cochrane's era might be responsible.

Were Shatner and the producers of Enterprise to have agreed on financial compensation for a guest appearance during the fourth season of the series, there may have been a canonical explanation of the mirror universe's origins as an alternate timeline. According to reports, the episode would have featured Shatner as "Emperor Tiberius," the mirror universe James T. Kirk last seen in "Mirror, Mirror". Supposedly killed by that universe's Spock in his rise to power, it would have been revealed that the Tantalus field only relocated its victims in time and space. If this story were to have been filmed, the ISS Enterprise NX-01 would have encountered the mirror Kirk on a planet in the 22nd century, where he had been deposited by the Tantalus device forty years earlier (in his life's timeline), and through the course of the episode, we would have seen the events which would have caused the Mirror universe to come into being, and the timelines to diverge. Since financial terms could not be agreed upon with Shatner, this guest appearance never occurred, and a different explanation of the Mirror universe as a parallel universe was implied in "In a Mirror, Darkly" parts I and II.

Episode writers maintain that the mirror universe is not simply an alternate timeline, but instead a parallel universe where the patterns of events move in similar manners, but the intentions and characterizations are different, so the people of the mirror side will always remain (and always have been) skewed versions of their "normal" counterparts, so no true point of divergence can be traced, as the two realms move in a parallel manner. According to Fearful Symmetry, the mirror universe is in fact a parallel quantum universe, as quantum signature scans used to match Worf with his USS Enterprise-D in TNG: "Parallels" were also able to differentiate natives of the mirror universe from those of the prime reality. Dark Mirror, a Pocket TNG novel by Diane Duane, places the mirror universe as parallel since at least the end of Homer's Iliad, where the mirror universe parallel of Achilles kills old King Priam instead of showing one moment of Humanity. After this there seems to be some sort of "moral inversion". For instance, according to Plato the perfect government is now one in which fear is meted out to the people in proper proportion by a wise ruler. Picard notes that the ending of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice is drastically different: Shylock is awarded, and accepts, the owed pound of flesh. This universe is inconsistent with the others in that it was written before the DS9 mirror episodes, and references the Terran Empire as still being active in 2367.

The possibility of divergent mirror universes has also been considered by fans – to explain costume and effects inconsistencies in the structure of the mirror universe. In "Through the Looking Glass", Alliance ships were seen de-cloaking, and in "The Emperor's New Cloak" the Alliance didn't have a cloaking device.

The mirror universe made an appearance in Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force, a video game released for the PC. Voyager, having been pulled into a starship scrapyard, encounters hostile Humans working with various aliens, including Malons, Klingons and Hirogen. These Human "scavengers" are from the mirror universe and operate from a station made up of the remains of a mirror universe Template:ShipClass starship, among other things.

The mirror universe also features prominently in Star Trek: Shattered Universe, a video game released on PS2 and Xbox. It depicts an Empire Starfleet of the 2290s, and a crossover to the adventures of Captain Sulu on the ISS Excelsior.

The mirror universe is mentioned a few times in the Deep Space Nine book trilogy Millennium. During the second novel, it was revealed that Dukat, possessed by the Pah-wraiths, has taken over the mirror Terok Nor, where he is awaiting a final confrontation with Kai Weyoun. Also, General Martok crafted an invasion strategy that would have involved moving the entire Klingon fleet to the mirror universe.

In the novel The Soul Key by Olivia Woods, it is revealed that the mirror Benjamin Sisko staged his death. In addition, the Bajoran wormhole is discovered by the mirror version of Iliana Ghemor.

Apocryphal appearances


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