The North Star Paradise Theory

Could the Skagarans be the Preservers?

"North Star"[ENT3] and "The Paradise Syndrome"[TOS3] both feature inhabitants of North America removed from there by alien species.  "North Star" seems to involve the abduction of a large number of western US citizens circa 1865, while "The Paradise Syndrome" involves the abduction of a variety of American Indians which at no point shared contiguous lands.

The "Paradise Syndrome" people were left in place on a lush and lovely world (called Amerind in the script) that seemed to have plantlife very similar to, if not identical to, that of Earth.  I am unaware of any animal life being directly seen, but clothing and other traces of what appear to be Earth-normal animal species are present.   The only evidence of their abductor/saviors was an asteroid deflector left on the planet, with the medicine man of the colony instructed on its use.  

The "North Star" people, along with horses and cattle, were taken to their new colony planet,  which I'll call Skagara Colony.  It was a rather more arid location, and the humans were meant to be slave laborers.  Earth-normal plantlife is seen in the area.   The abductors enslaved the humans but were overthrown within about six months.  The ship was burned and most of the abductors were killed.  Those who were not were forced into sub-1865 living conditions and forbidden from educational activities.

The deflector obelisk on Amerind appears indicative of technology beyond that of the 23rd Century Federation, while the Skagaran technology is only seen in debris form, along with references among the humans to phaser/disruptor and transporter technology.  

Spock is able to decipher writing on the obelisk, and says (borrowing from Chakoteya.net):

SPOCK: Yes. The
obelisk is a marker, just as I thought. It was left by a super-race
known as the Preservers. They passed through the galaxy rescuing
primitive cultures which were in danger of extinction and seeding them,
so to speak, where they could live and grow.

MCCOY: I've always wondered why there were so many humanoids scattered through the galaxy.

SPOCK: So have I. Apparently the Preservers account for a number of them.

Sure, there could be an entire advanced species (or "super-race") devoted to such an activity.  But it seems to me that they would not have renamed their species to correspond to what they were doing.   Ergo, the Preservers likely had an actual species name.   And while I won't outright reject Spock's accuracy of translation (given that it did later enable him to operate the deflector, despite his two months without adequate food or sleep), I will say that the markings were obviously written by the Preservers themselves.

We do not know of any other Preserver-assisted "primitive cultures", though a variety of incidents occurred within centuries of their presumed appearance in the 1700s (such as several whole species dying out) that one would think they might've done more than just pick up some low-tech Earthlings.   So the concept of the Preservers as galactic busybodies seems off.

Worse, if you are rescuing primitive cultures, it does not make sense to screw them up.   Specifically, Spock notes that the Amerind colony appears to consist of Navajo, Delaware, and Mohican tribal characteristics.  While some convergent cultural evolution may have occurred and there weren't really that many tribes originally picked up, nevertheless it seems that the Preservers apparently mixed them, creating an amalgam of the cultures anyway, thereby preserving very little, even beyond the simple act of taking them away from their natural and social environment.

And, of course, we know that the Preservers are not the source of all the humanoids in the galaxy, per "The Chase"[TNG] which shows that it was, instead, largely a matter of guided (or perhaps better put as 'roadmapped') evolution.   Were the Preservers the cause, we would instead expect a number of planets with exactly similar species populations on them, something akin to what is seen in Stargate SG-1 (with various planets seeded over thousands of years by the Goa'uld with humans).   So there would be multiple planets with humans, planets with Vulcans, planets with Klingons, et cetera.  And per the Trek Stagnation Theory, these planets would show almost exactly what life was like on the homeworld when the people were abducted.  

We do not see that sort of thing at all.  Oh sure, we see a lot of species that look just like humans, but almost invariably they are their own species with their own evolution and long history on their worlds.   Instead, all we see of the transplantation is that on one world, Amerind, there are some American Indians. 

Thus, I do not personally think the Preservers were a super-race that did a lot of Preserving.  I think the note upon the Obelisk was simply to say that the abductor species was more advanced, took the American Indians who were in danger, and seeded them on that world.  Why they were interested in the Indians is unclear . . . rather North America-centric of them, really, since I'm sure other groups around the planet (in Africa, for instance) could've used the help, too.

That North America-centric position brings us back to "North Star".  Could it be mere coincidence that members of the same culture which endangered the American Indians were made slaves on another world?   Could it be mere coincidence that around the same timeframe, two groups along with local plant and animal species were taken from North America and transplanted elsewhere?  

I don't think that seems very likely.  Why would the Skagarans, if they were really just interested in slave labor for a new colony, bring along alien plants and animals, too?  If they meant to build a colony, would they not have brought their own?   And if they had transporters, phasers, and a starship large enough to carry hundreds of humans and a wide assortment of lifeforms away, why didn't they just conquer Earth?   The 1.3 billion Civil War-era humans of Earth weren't exactly in a position to kick their ass, after all . . . we didn't even have aircraft.

I think the Skagarans were the Preservers, and that the Skagarans were not quite as fully evil (nor the Preservers as fully good) as has been believed.  Instead of a century-wide gap between abductions, I think they occurred at the same time.  And I think the Skagarans made a moral judgment about the events in North America at the time (perhaps even thinking the slaveholding South was going to win, which would put their visit prior to 1864), and took parts of both of the groups they were interested in for two colonies.

The first colony was the most livable, but also the most dangerous due to asteroids.  The American Indians they sought to save and perhaps even co-exist with upon a possible return to that more lush environment.  With the deflector in place, that colony could do well.

The second world was, I presume, nearby.   The Americans they intended to punish and force into labor were placed there to start working on the colony.  It was safer, but the environment was not as good.

However, the Skagarans were overthrown and most of them wiped out just six months in to the building of the second colony.

Who were the Skagarans and why were they in this area anyway?  Who knows.  If the theory is correct, their ship was at or beyond 23rd Century Federation technology.  Their ship was large enough to carry the hundreds of humans that must've been needed for the Skagaran Colony, along with horses, cattle, and plant species, as well as the Skagarans themselves.   With 1000 or so Skagarans on Skagara Colony, after most were wiped out centuries prior, we must assume a large crew, perhaps even on par with a Galaxy Class Federation ship.   But with no other Skagaran lifeforms in evidence, we must presume one of two things:

1.  That it was a colony ship which had a problem of some kind, resulting in the death of their plants and animals and perhaps some people.
2.  That it was not a colony ship at all, but a ship that had to choose to make a colony.

Notable is that despite their technology, advanced to no less than 22nd Century levels (ignoring the North Star Paradise Theory) as early as 1865, no one has heard of the Skagarans in the 22nd-24th Centuries.  This suggests that the Skagarans weren't from Earth's area anyway.

I would thus submit that the Skagarans were on a ship very, very far from home (intentionally or otherwise), and that they were damaged in some way, perhaps even near Earth.   Visiting Earth for supplies at some point, they became interested in North America and took people, but they were not interested in (or simply unable to achieve) conquest of the planet.   With their situation hopeless, they kept searching for a good place until they entered the early Delphic Expanse area, which may or may not have had a barrier around it at the time, and whether intentionally or not they ended up selecting planets there.   The American Indians they set down and built the deflector, with some Skagarans intending to return.   In the meantime, the other colony had to be set up, so everyone went to the Skagara Colony planet, where in a flagrant display of incompetence they had their asses handed to them by a bunch of cowboys.

The idea is not without problems, and there are undoubtedly some aspects that could be tweaked, but I don't think it has any major holes.    It reduces the number of Earth-visiting species (which is still terribly high, but still). 

I also like the irony.  The American Indian colony dwellers called the Preservers "the Wise Ones".   Yet on Skagara Colony, their defeat means that they forgot everything they knew about who they were.

Now if you really want to get some interesting ideas going, suppose that the Skagarans of 500 years ago (as counting from circa 2370) were some of the last survivors of the species the Klingons called the Hur'q, who apparently originated in the Gamma Quadrant, and who had sacked Qo'noS circa the 1300s . . . .


jhplayer0 said...

Goddamn you're awesome, really i look at Trek in a whole new light thanks to your analysis.

Unknown said...

Spock said they were "known as" the Preservers, not that this their actual name. Little was known about them, obviously, therefore they'd be known by a descriptive title of their observed activity, rather than their own. It's highly unlikely that they'd be devoted simply to preserving primitive races-- any more than we humans today would all devote our entire existence to saving endangered species by transplanting them as well, just because we happen to do it on occasion.