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"Commander Burnham, you have endangered your vessel and your shipmates. You have attacked a superior officer. You've violated the chain of command. You are relieved of duty. Security, remand her to the brig."
– Philippa Georgiou ordering Michael Burnham arrested for mutiny, 2256 ("Battle at the Binary Stars")

Mutiny was defined as an unlawful attempt by military personnel to seize or overthrow military authority. Mutiny refers specifically to any attempt by mutineers to illegally take control of a vessel from its commanding officer.

Historically, mutiny was considered to be one of the gravest offenses that a member of the military could commit. In the past, those accused of it faced a court martial, and if convicted, faced severe punishment, up to and including capital punishment (though by the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th centuries, capital punishment had been abolished and thus was not a sentencing option for convicted mutineers). By the 24th century, acts of mutiny in Starfleet were considered nearly unimaginable and extremely rare. (TOS: "The Tholian Web"; TNG: "The Pegasus")

Notable mutinies

Earth history

In the late 18th century on Earth, the crew of the HMS Bounty performed a mutiny against their captain, William Bligh. Tom Paris compared the Krenim Annorax to Bligh, after he learned that the crew of the Krenim weapon ship wanted to end their hunt for the perfect timeline. (VOY: "Year of Hell, Part II")

Starbase 28

During the mid-23rd century, Una Chin-Riley organized an elaborate scenario in which her captain, Christopher Pike, had been arrested for mutiny, as a way of testing Cadet Thira Sidhu. (ST: "Ask Not")

Garth of Izar

Fleet Captain Garth of Izar told Captain Kirk that following his learning of the techniques of cellular metamorphosis on Antos IV, the crew of the starship he commanded mutinied against him. Garth, who had gone insane, ordered the destruction of Antos IV, but the crew did not carry out his orders and relieved him of command. Garth was committed to a Federation rehabilitation colony on Elba II. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy")

Given Garth's mental state at the time he made this claim to Kirk, it's possible that Garth's assertion of an outright mutiny by his crew was grossly exaggerated; alternatively, it is conceivable that Starfleet did not treat it as mutiny because Garth had ordered his crew to commit a war crime. At that point in time, there had been no records of a starship mutiny in Starfleet history, according to Spock and Chekov in "The Tholian Web".

The Battle of the Binary Stars

"A year ago, I stood alone. I believed that our survival was more important than our principles. I was wrong."

In 2256, during a stand-off at the edge of Federation space between the USS Shenzhou and Klingon forces organized by T'Kuvma, Commander Michael Burnham insisted that the Shenzhou should attack first in order to win the respect of the Klingons. When Captain Philippa Georgiou refused to accept Burnham's recommendation, Burnham incapacitated her with a Vulcan nerve pinch, locked weapons on the Sarcophagus, and attempted to fire. She was belayed at the last moment by Captain Georgiou, who arrested Burnham. After the subsequent battle, Burnham was arrested and charged with dereliction of duty, assaulting a fellow officer, and mutiny. She pled guilty before a court martial and was sentenced to life imprisonment with total loss of rank. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars")

While these events seem to contradict Spock and Chekov's claim that there have been no starship mutinies in Starfleet history ("The Tholian Web"), it is possible they were referring only to successful mutinies, not attempted mutinies. Burnham was unable to fire her torpedoes and, while her targeting the enemy vessel was provocative, she enjoyed no support from the crew and was placed under arrest before she could do any real harm. Additionally, Chekov was a child at that time; and Spock would have many reasons not to refer to his own sister's attempted mutiny, not least the sensitive nature of her apparent "death" ("Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2").

Mission to Qo'noS

"You talked them out of it, didn't you?"
"A planetary slaughter? Yes.

After discovering that the mirror Philippa Georgiou planned to activate a hydro bomb in the volcanic systems of Qo'noS – an action that would render the planet uninhabitable within weeks – Burnham contacted Vice Admiral Katrina Cornwell to threaten mutiny on the basis that Cornwell was abandoning Starfleet principles for the sake of the Federation's survival – the exact same mistake Burnham herself had made when she mutinied against the prime Georgiou, as Burnham herself acknowledged. The crew seconded the threat and subsequently agreed to force Georgiou to hand over the detonator to L'Rell, who used the device to take leadership of the Empire and force an end to hostilities. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?")

Since Georgiou was on the verge of committing a war crime, it can be argued that this would not have been a true mutiny, and in any case, Cornwell accepted Burnham's proposal.

The Enterprise mutiny against Janice Lester

In 2269, stardate 5928.5, Janice Lester, via the usage of a life-entity transfer device, switched minds with Captain James T. Kirk and assumed his role as Captain of the USS Enterprise. However, Commander Spock, learning the truth between the two via a mind meld, attempted to rescue "Janice", only to be stopped by security and accused Spock and "Janice" of mutiny.

In the court martial, "Kirk" attempts to paint Spock and "Janice" as mutineers using the life-entity transfer device as a story to stir up support for their mutiny. Both Doctor Leonard McCoy and Chief engineer Montgomery Scott expressed worry in "Kirk"'s behavior and suggested taking over the ship to protect it from "Kirk" and his actions. However, "Kirk" had actually been recording them and extended the charges to them. It is assumed that the charges were rescinded once Kirk reclaimed his body (TOS: "Turnabout Intruder")

The Alien Replacement "Picard"

In 2366, Stardate 43714.1, a group of aliens successfully kidnapped Captain Jean-Luc Picard and replaced him with a duplicate for a study on leadership, to see if a group would follow their leader without question, even unto death. This Picard order the crew to head for a pulsar in the Lonka Cluster at Warp 2, deviating from their path to meet up with the USS Hood to assist in terraforming Browder IV. During the trip, "Picard" began acting more and more erratic, suggesting a more intimate relationship with Doctor Beverly Crusher, overseeing a poker game with the senior staff and ordering ale for everyone in Ten Forward in celebration of Lieutenant Geordi La Forge being able to improve the warp core.

Initially, the senior staff realized that, while there was major cause for concern, they had no reason to perform a mutiny, with Commander William T. Riker proclaiming "The next move is his." When "Picard" ordered the USS EnterpriseD towards the pulsar to the point where the ship and crew would be destroyed, Riker ultimately countermanded his order. When "Picard" ordered Lieutenant Worf to relieve Riker of duty, the Klingon refused, with Riker ordering the ship away from the pulsar. When the real Picard revealed the ruse the aliens had imprisoned him and others in, he was returned to his ship and the imposter revealed. (TNG: "Allegiance")

The Pegasus incident

In 2358, the USS Pegasus, under the command of Erik Pressman, tested a phasing cloaking device. This highly secretive project was in violation of the Treaty of Algeron and was extremely dangerous to the ship's crew.

This dangerous situation came to a head when an explosion in main engineering caused several casualties. Most of the Pegasus officers, including the first officer and chief engineer, initiated a mutiny against Pressman. William T. Riker was the only bridge officer to defend the captain, but a few other crew members joined Riker and Pressman from various sections of the ship. Outnumbered, Pressman fled the ship in an escape pod, along with Riker and seven other crew members who sided with him. The Pegasus apparently exploded moments after. The mutineers went down with the ship.

The Starfleet Judge Advocate General later investigated the Pegasus incident, but the survivors withheld all information about the phasing cloaking device. The Starfleet Judge Advocate General was only able to conclude that there had been a mutiny aboard the Pegasus prior to its destruction and that the survivors were probably not telling the complete truth. Further investigation was recommended. However, due to the sensitive nature of the phasing cloaking device experiment, Starfleet Intelligence quickly classified the report. No follow-up was ever conducted.

The truth was not revealed until 2370, when the wreck of the still-intact Pegasus, along with the cloaking device, was discovered. Riker gave a complete account of what had happened 12 years earlier, and Pressman was arrested for violation of the treaty. (TNG: "The Pegasus")

Since Pressman was conducting an unlawful experiment which had endangered the crew, it can be argued that the crew's attempt to relieve him was not a true mutiny. Indeed the crew of the USS Enterprise-D responded similarly to Pressman once the truth was known.

The Telepathic Archive

Kira leads a mutiny against Sisko

The newly discovered Bajoran wormhole, which provided instant access to and from the Gamma Quadrant, inspired many exploration missions, but one Klingon expedition ended in tragic mutiny. Upon returning from the Gamma Quadrant, the cruiser was badly damaged and only its first officer survived. He was beamed aboard Deep Space 9 shortly before his ship exploded, and although he died within moments, he managed to utter one word: "Victory."

Unknown to both the Klingons and the crew of Deep Space 9, the cruiser had discovered a telepathic log from a long-dead civilization, and when the first officer was beamed aboard the station, he brought it with him. The same mutiny which had destroyed his ship became to manifest itself aboard the station as tensions between Major Kira Nerys and Commander Benjamin Sisko escalated to unusually high levels. Loyalties were split primarily along Federation and Bajoran lines, with Chief O'Brien being Sisko's closest ally but Lieutenant Dax siding with Kira. The only members of the senior staff not involved were Constable Odo and Doctor Bashir; while Odo was unaffected by the telepathic field, Bashir appeared to have been affected by someone who had been neutral or otherwise more interested in his own well being in the ancient civilization.

As Odo realized what was going on and both Kira and O'Brien courted him for his loyalty, he began to discover the cause of the mutiny as he pieced together damaged log entries from the Klingon ship. He and Bashir came up with a plan to remove the telepathic field, although Bashir was more interested in gaining a personal advantage than saving the other crew members. Odo used his favorable position among both sides to lure them both into a cargo bay, where he activated the program to remove the field. Everyone but Odo, including Bashir, appeared to suffer a massive headache when it was activated, and a purple energy field was released from their bodies. None of them remembered what had happened. Telling them to grab hold of something secure, Odo opened the cargo bay door enough to allow the field to be blown into the vacuum of space, saving the station and its crew. (DS9: "Dramatis Personae")

The Komar

When Tom Paris started to act strangely and sabotaged the navigational control as well as the current course of Voyager, he was sent to sickbay by Captain Janeway. She was willing to rule out mutiny for the time being. (VOY: "Cathexis")

The Maquis and the USS Voyager

A Maquis mutiny on Voyager in 2377

When the Maquis crew of the Val Jean and the Starfleet crew of the USS Voyager merged to create one crew in the Delta Quadrant, thoughts of a Maquis mutiny were constant initially.

When B'Elanna Torres attacked Joe Carey in 2371, a number of Maquis crewmembers, including Seska and Jarvin, were in support of a mutiny if Chakotay was to perform one. This did not go forth. (VOY: "Parallax")

The holoprogram Insurrection Alpha was written by the ship's chief of security, Lieutenant Tuvok, to prepare security officers for the possibility of Maquis mutiny, but was deleted by him unfinished when he concluded that the program's incendiary nature might result in the very conflict he sought to prevent. The incomplete program nevertheless enjoyed a vogue as entertainment among the ship's crew when the deleted file was discovered by a resourceful B'Elanna Torres who believed it to be a holo-novel. (VOY: "Worst Case Scenario")

Vedek Teero Anaydis

In 2377, Teero Anaydis, a radical Bajoran Vedek who was determined continue the fight against the Cardassians, engineered a plan to cause a Maquis mutiny on the USS Voyager. Teero Anaydis had been kicked out of the Maquis earlier for experimenting with mind control as a means of getting new agents. Afterward, the Dominion crushed the Maquis resistance in the Alpha Quadrant so Teero Anaydis turned his attention to the Delta Quadrant and the stranded Starfleet vessel whose crew, many of whom were Maquis, had contact with the Federation.

In 2370, he had implanted suppressed memory commands into Tuvok at a colony near the Badlands. These commands would activate when Tuvok heard a certain Bajoran chant. Teero Anaydis triggered the suppressed commands in Tuvok in 2377 by embedding a subliminal message consisting of the chant into a letter to Tuvok from his son Sek. Tuvok then used mind melds to implant these commands into the other Maquis members of the crew. Voyager was almost taken by Teero Anaydis and his new 'recruits', however Tuvok managed to reclaim control of his mind and used the mind meld technique to stop the mutiny by returning the minds of the other Maquis crew members to normal. (VOY: "Repression")

USS Equinox

Mutiny on the USS Equinox in 2376

In 2376, Maxwell Burke, first officer of the USS Equinox, mutinied against Captain Rudolph Ransom after Ransom had ordered the remnants of his crew to surrender to the USS Voyager. Burke wished to continue killing nucleogenic lifeforms to fuel the Equinox's enhanced warp drive, an action which Ransom initially supported, but later realized was against both Starfleet principles and his conscience. While Burke asked Ensign Marla Gilmore to take Ransom to the brig, she instead escorted him to engineering and informed him she was still on his side. Ransom arranged to beam Gilmore along with other two crew members not in shielded areas to Voyager. Refusing to beam aboard Voyager, Burke and three others – all that was left of ship's crew – were killed by the nucleogenic lifeforms while attempting to reach the Equinox's shuttlebay. Ransom went down with his ship. (VOY: "Equinox, Part II")

The mirror universe

In 2155, Commander Archer stages a mutiny aboard the ISS Enterprise and captures Captain Forrest

Mutiny was a common sight in the mirror universe throughout the 22nd and 23rd centuries. Mutiny usually involved members of the crew assassinating a superior officer as a means of advancing in rank. Such officers who carried out these assassinations tended to rely on bodyguards and surprise.

In 2155, Commander Jonathan Archer, first officer of the Imperial Flagship ISS Enterprise, staged the first recorded mutiny aboard a Terran starship in Starfleet history by wresting control from Captain Maximilian Forrest. By rallying the support of Major Malcolm Reed and Sergeant Travis Mayweather, Archer was able to detain Forrest and bring Enterprise into Tholian space to pilfer the USS Defiant, a Federation starship brought across an interphasic rift from 2268.

Shortly after these events, the now-First Officer T'Pol waged a second mutiny, using Vulcan crewmen to extradite rightful Captain Forrest from the brig. The command crew was able to detain Archer, who was entitled to a record ten hours in the agony booth, developed by Major Reed and Doctor Phlox.

After Archer was able to successfully attain command of the Defiant and escape from Tholian space, his mutinous actions were far from over. Leaving Captain Forrest to die with Enterprise, he then brought Defiant to the front lines of the Rebellion the Empire was losing badly. With the advanced Starfleet weaponry, the 22nd century vessels were easy targets for the Defiant's phaser and photon torpedo banks.

After successfully destroying a Rebel attack force, Archer's plans doubled yet again. It was now that the former Enterprise first officer began sowing the seeds of his own ascent to the role of emperor by challenging Fleet Admiral Gardner. His downfall, however, was his Vulcan first officer, who saw that it would make things even worse for her people. She used the completely non-Human crew of the ISS Avenger to sabotage the Defiant's power grid and attack. However, the quick actions of Chief Engineer Tucker allowed Defiant to raise her shields and destroy the Avenger.

When celebrating his victory with Hoshi Sato, whom he trusted implicitly, Archer found his champagne poisoned. Sato then rewarded his personal guard, Mayweather for his treachery and the former comm officer took over the late Commander Archer's plans to overthrow the Empire with the Defiant at her disposal. This cutthroat, cloak and dagger means of assassination paved the way for the Imperial crews in future years. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly", "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")

In 2267, Pavel Chekov was a cunning schemer with designs on overthrowing Kirk as captain, to which end he enlisted several other crew members in his mutiny. By the time Chekov carried it out, the mirror Kirk had been replaced with a parallel universe duplicate who was able to defeat him. Chekov was punished with a trip to the agony booth. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

Alternate reality

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In the alternate reality, James T. Kirk attempted a mutiny against Spock when he disagreed with Spock's decision to take the USS Enterprise to the Laurentian system, rather than go after the Narada and Nero. His mutiny failed, after which Spock marooned him on Delta Vega. Kirk later returned to the Enterprise with the help of Spock Prime and Montgomery Scott. Once there, he successfully took command of the ship by goading Spock with slurs against his heritage and his mother, proving that the Vulcan was emotionally compromised, as Spock Prime suggested he do. As Kirk had previously been made acting first officer, when Spock resigned, he automatically became acting captain.

After Spock regained control of his emotions, he returned, but deferred to Kirk's command and seemed to function as his first officer. Kirk suffered no reprisals from his mutiny and was later given official command of the ship. (Star Trek)

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