(coexisting on another dimensional plane)
This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Discovery, and thus may contain spoilers.
The Terran Empire was a repressive interstellar government dominated by the Terrans from Earth in the mirror universe. The Empire ruled by terror, its Imperial Starfleet acting as its iron fist. In the Imperial Starfleet, officers promoted themselves by killing superiors that did not follow the rules of the Empire. Torture was a common form of interrogation and discipline. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly"; TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")
"It seems you've created an empire based on the maxim 'because we feel like it'."
Going by rebellion sources, the culture of the Empire was fascistic, described as oppressive, racist and xenophobic, predicated on an unconditional hatred and rejection of anything and everything "other". Michael Burnham summarized this information by identifying the Empire as the antithesis of the United Federation of Planets in every way. (DIS: "Despite Yourself")
Humans of the prime universe could be violent, but violence was so ingrained in Terran culture that it self-propagated as an evolutionary survival mechanism, resulting in a strength that Michael Burnham described as "painted rust" – a facade hiding mutual fear between target and potential killer. From what she had heard of the Terran Empire, Katrina Cornwell came to the conclusion that, on the basis that prime universe Humans would be unaccustomed to the barbarism commonplace on Terran starships, the prime universe's Gabriel Lorca could not have survived his trip to the mirror universe. (DIS: "Despite Yourself", "The War Without, The War Within")
Little is known of the religious practices of the Terran society, though oblique references to the Gods (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly"), and the use of Latin Imperial titles (DIS: "Vaulting Ambition") have given rise to the idea that Terran Society might adhere to the Classical Pantheon of Gods.
During a debrief at Starfleet Headquarters in the 32nd century, the former Terran emperor, Philippa Georgiou, revealed that an alternate First Contact Day was celebrated in the Terran Empire as a Holy Day (DIS: "Die Trying"), commemorating Zefram Cochrane's successful repulse of the first wave of a Vulcan invasion and the acquisition of Vulcan technology which was used to establish the empire as a space faring power.
In 2155, Commander Jonathan Archer stated that the Empire had existed for "centuries". (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly") One of the Empire's early outer space conquests was a landing on Earth's moon, Luna, where it planted its flag. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly", "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" opening credits) Millennia ago, Terrans did believe in freedom, equality and co-operation but eventually abandoned these ideals as they found them to be destructive delusions that bred rebellion. (DIS: "Vaulting Ambition")
Further evidence for potential Roman origins for the empire can be found in the explicitly Roman influenced, Latin title held by 23rd century Terran Emperor Philippa Georgiou: Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius.
Humanity's first contact with an alien species in the mirror universe began exactly as it did in the traditional universe. Upon detecting Zefram Cochrane's warp signature, a Vulcan scout ship landed in Bozeman, Montana, to make first contact with Humanity. Instead of welcoming the Vulcans in a spirit of friendship and understanding, the mirror Cochrane killed the first Vulcan to set foot on Terran soil, with a shotgun, as the Humans boarded and ransacked the Vulcan ship after killing the first officer also. According to mirror Archer, the Vulcan first contact was considered a prelude to invasion.
Instead of the Vulcans gradually releasing technology to Earth over time, the Terran Empire applied the stolen Vulcan technology to a policy of aggressive interstellar expansion. Because of this, the Empire was able to engage in technological research and development considerably earlier than its United Earth counterpart in the prime universe. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")
By the 2150s, the Terran Empire had already conquered the Vulcans, Denobulans, Andorians, Aenars, Orions, and Tellarites and had launched attacks against the Klingons, Rigelians, and Xindi. The flagship of the Empire, the ISS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Maximilian Forrest, had a much more racially-diverse crew than its prime-universe counterpart, with numerous Vulcans and Tellarites serving as crew members.
Due to the rapid initial expansion made possible by the captured Vulcan technology, the Empire's hold on its territories was initially weak. By 2155, some of the worlds conquered by the Terrans were beginning to rebel against Terran rule, leading to a long-running conflict, and after a disastrous defeat at Tau Ceti, the Empire came to the brink of collapse. Propaganda, however, conveyed the message that things were going in the Empire's favor and that the war would be over soon.
In that year, the USS Defiant, a Federation ship launched in the 23rd century of a parallel universe, was reported in Tholian space. The first officer of the ISS Enterprise, Commander Archer, reviewed this report and proposed a bold surgical strike at an asteroid base at which the Tholians were keeping the Defiant. Archer's proposal was quickly rejected by Forrest, causing Archer to mutiny against his captain and take control of Enterprise to retrieve the Defiant so its technology could be utilized against the rebellion. Enterprise arrived and dispatched a boarding party to gain all information they could about the ship, and destroy it to prevent the Tholians from being able to use it. Unfortunately, during the retrieval operation, the Tholians attacked Enterprise and destroyed it, stranding the boarding party aboard the Defiant. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")
Following the destruction of the ISS Enterprise and the death of Captain Forrest, Commander Archer and his away team commandeered the USS Defiant. They proceeded to destroy the Tholian hangar in which the ship was being held and rescued a number of former Enterprise crewmembers, including Hoshi Sato, after apparent consideration of leaving their comrades stranded. Archer made a rendezvous with the ISS Avenger, the flagship of Admiral Black. Archer vaporized the admiral and took command of both vessels.
However, this coincided with Commander T'Pol and Crewman Soval leading the other non-Human crewmembers on board the Avenger in a mutiny aboard the ship. They attacked the Defiant in hopes of destroying it but the mutiny itself was destroyed after Commander Charles Tucker III reinitialized power systems that Phlox had attempted to disable. Commander Archer, acting as captain, then set a direct course for Earth, where he intended to declare himself Emperor of the Terran Empire. However, Hoshi Sato poisoned him with the assistance of his bodyguard, Travis Mayweather. The two then took control of the Defiant, and upon arriving at Earth, Sato declared herself Empress. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")
At some point between 2155 and the 2250s, the symbol of the Empire appears to have been altered. The earlier symbol closely resembled 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, had a mirrored globe and what seemed to be an inverted delta in the background. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"; DIS: "Despite Yourself")
23rd and 24th centuries
By the mid-23rd century, the Terran Empire had conquered much of known space. However, it continued to be resisted by an alliance of non-Human species, including Vulcans, Andorians, and Klingons. Furthermore Gabriel Lorca of the ISS Buran attempted a failed coup against Emperor Philippa Georgiou. By 2256 or 2257 Starfleet engaged a rebel fleet at Porathia. (DIS: "Despite Yourself")
In 2257, Lorca was able to resume his coup against Georgiou, having escaped the mirror universe and manipulated his way back with a Federation starship, the USS Discovery. For a while, the coup was successful, but Discovery had been informed that Lorca was Terran by the prime Michael Burnham, who Lorca had become obsessed with due to his relationship with the mirror Burnham, and Discovery defeated Lorca. However, although Lorca was killed, not only was Georgiou deposed, but the Charon had been destroyed, and she had been brought to the prime universe, resulting in a power vacuum. (DIS: "Vaulting Ambition", "What's Past Is Prologue", "The War Without, The War Within")
Not long after this, the symbol was changed yet again, returning to its delta-less version and, this time, depicting only the continents of Earth's western hemisphere.
Eventually, the power vacuum was filled. The Empire encountered a Gorlan uprising, to which the ISS Enterprise, captained by James T. Kirk, responded with the destruction of the rebels' home planet. Other feats of Captain Kirk by 2264 included the execution of five thousand colonists on Vega IX and the annihilation of all remaining inhabitants of Talos IV. In 2267, the Empire coveted the dilithium reserves of the Halkan homeworld and Kirk interceded to demand mining rights on behalf of the Empire.
In that year, crewmembers of the ISS Enterprise, including Captain Kirk, accidentally switched places with their prime universe counterparts of the USS Enterprise, who in the same time were transported aboard the mirror version of the Enterprise. Kirk believed that the mirror Spock would one day become captain of the ISS Enterprise, and before returning to his own reality, he planted a seed of doubt about the inevitability of the Empire and whether violence was the only logical answer. Spock promised to consider Kirk's words, after realizing the Empire would only last about 240 years before being overthrown. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")
As Kirk predicted, the mirror Spock later became the captain of the ISS Enterprise and eventually rose to become Commander-in-Chief of the Empire. He began instituting major reforms that were very popular, turning the Empire into a more peaceful and less aggressive power. Unfortunately, Spock's reforms left the Empire unprepared to defend itself against the emerging threat of a united Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, which managed to conquer the entire Terran Empire, turning the Terrans themselves into a slave race. The Bajorans, a people conquered by the Empire, came to be a powerful voice in this Alliance. (DS9: "Crossover")
Robert Hewitt Wolfe decided to give the Terran Empire some formidable enemies. "Empires aren't usually brutal unless there's a reason. There are usually external or internal pressures that cause them to be that way," he commented. "So I just thought that if the parallel Earth was that brutal, there had to be a reason. And the reason was that the barbarians (the Klingons and the Cardassians) were at the gate." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
Wolfe based the Terran Empire's predicament on historical precedents. He further elaborated, "My analogy was to the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was as brutal and as nasty as it was because all around it, it had very aggressive barbarians that it was afraid of. The Chinese had the same thing, the Mongols were always there. So if you suddenly make the Romans nice guys, or the Chinese nice guys, well that's great and everything, but then the Mongols come across and it's all over. So that was kind of the idea." (citation needed • edit)
In the first draft script of DS9: "Through the Looking Glass", Benjamin Sisko described the Terran Empire as "corrupt, brutal, and doomed to collapse in any case." Mirror O'Brien, however, longed for the days when the Empire still existed and, later in the same script, Rom suggested reestablishing the Empire once the Terran Rebellion succeeded, with Sisko as the head of the Empire. Sisko himself, though, was against that idea, commenting, "The Terran Empire was every bit as corrupt as the Alliance." The Empire wasn't referenced at all in the final draft script of "Through the Looking Glass". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library; )
After the premiere of DIS: "Vaulting Ambition", screenwriter Jordon Nardino answered fan's questions through his Twitter feed. On the topic of the Terran Empire's relation to ancient Rome, Nardino stated that, "Lots of discussion in the room about the origins of the Terran Empire. In terms of canon, as always, it's what's on screen and nothing more. Unanswered questions leave avenues for future seasons / iterations of Trek to explore. I do not know if MU's "point of departure" is a specific incident, or the entire history of the MU somehow darkly mirrors ours. Canon locks us into an origin no later than the 20th century. Georgiou's "millenia" could be construed as hyperbole. But I firmly do not believe the Terrans are merely a continuation of the Roman Empire. MU earth history should roughly (but darkly) mirror our history as much as possible. I think Rome never falling would diverge too much. Leaders with imperial pretensions have adopted the styles and titles of the Romans since… well… the minute Rome "fell"! Napoleon took the title Augustus. So it's natural the Terrans looked back to Rome too." ('After Trek' Gives Details On Georgiou's Meal, Mirror Stamets, Terran Empire History And More; )
On the topic of Terran history and the meaning behind mirror Philippa Georgiou's elaborate title, Nardino stated:
"All Hail her most Imperial Majesty, Mother of the Fatherland, Overlord of Vulcan, Dominus of Kronos, Regina Andor, All Hail Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius." But what's it mean??!?
When we began digging into the Terrans last year, I had just read a newer history of Rome and was excited to use it as inspiration. (SPQR by Mary Beard, check it out.) Here's some of the titles Roman Emperors used: [LINK]
So into her titles:
– Father of the Fatherland is easy, we turned that into Mother of the Fatherland (even tho we de-gendered Emperor, it felt right)
– Overlord of Vulcan: an early conquest of the Terrans, they see themselves as their protectors. It's paternalistic / delusional.
– Dominus of Kronos: Terrans are very proud of conquering Qo'noS. Dominus is a harsher title the Emperor at the time took as a result (and Georgiou kept for herself). "We OWN them." Qo'noS mispronounced out of cultural chauvinism.
– Regina Andor: Andoria is a jewel in the Terran crowd. Subjugated warrior race. Early Terran conquest, pre-Sato. The title was created to celebrate this achievement. Now as for Georgiou's many names…
"Philippa Georgiou Augustus Iaponius Centarius" Philipa Georgiou: her given name and her family name, just like Prime. Augustus: the Terrans see themselves as inheritors of the Roman Empire so their Emperors take the title of its first Emperor. ('After Trek' Gives Details On Georgiou's Meal, Mirror Stamets, Terran Empire History And More; )
Additionally, Nardino considered that Centaurius was the first system colonized by the Terrans owing to its proximity to Sol, thus resulting in the then-ruling Emperor taking its title in tribute. ('After Trek' Gives Details On Georgiou's Meal, Mirror Stamets, Terran Empire History And More; )
In the game Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force, part of the story involves going through a scavenger base composed of many species' ships. One of these ships is an Imperial Starfleet vessel, apparently dating back to the 23rd century. It is populated by Humans, who behave typically for the mirror universe. How it came to be in Voyager's canon dimension is unknown.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Dark Mirror – written and published before DS9's televised visits to the Mirror Universe – the Terran Empire (called the United Empire of Planets) is depicted as still existing in the 24th century, with Spock's reforms having been cut short by his death, speculated by Captain Jean-Luc Picard to be the result of his assassination after he pushed the Empire too far, too quickly. The crew of the mirror Enterprise-D are assigned a new mission to devise a means of bringing a ship from the prime universe into the mirror universe and then return after replacing its crew, the Empire having run out of territory that it can easily conquer in its own universe, but the Enterprise crew of the prime universe manage to sabotage their efforts and devise a method of detecting future incursions.
In the computer game Star Trek Online, by 2409, the Terran Rebellion has succeeded in overthrowing the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance and restored the Terran Empire to its former status as a major power in the quadrant. The Terran Empire of the 25th century has also returned to the old ways, having engaged in a series of hostile incursions into the prime universe. The Empire attempts to invade that universe using a trans-dimensional portal in the Badlands, and later allies with the Temporal Liberation Front. Imperial ships have markings similar to those used in the 22nd century, albeit red instead of yellow.
The mirror universe novella Saturn's Children identifies Andorians, Bolians, Tellarites, and Denobulans as part of the rebellion. Whereas the success of the Terran Rebellion has led to the reinstatement of the Terran Empire in Star Trek Online, in the novels, the democratic Commonwealth is established.
- Mirror universe people
- Mirror universe casualties
- Mirror universe history
- Starfleet ranks
- Terran Rebellion
- Starfleet uniform