This week’s Star Trek: Lower Decks entry “Caves” pokes fun at the franchise trope of episodes taking place in caves. Along the way, it takes the opportunity to have fun with another kind of story found way too often in the TNG-era: the disturbing Star Trek pregnancy.
So, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look back at some of the more unsettling Star Trek episodes about “blessed” events.
“The Child” Star Trek: The Next Generation S2, E1
Have you ever just been hanging out, maybe watching Star Trek, and think to yourself, “I should make someone pregnant just because I’m curious?” Well, that’s what happens in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 premiere, “The Child.”
The Enterprise‘s counselor, Deanna Troi, is impregnated by a spacefaring ball of energy. Within the space of a few days, Troi gives birth to the child, names him Ian Andrew after her father, and watches him grow to the size of an 8-year-old boy.
Ian dies, and soon after his passing the energy being who knocked up the Star Trek counselor in the first place, lets her know it got her pregnant because it was curious about what it was like to be human. Meaning that not only does this being impregnate Troi without her consent, but does purely out of curiosity. How romantic.
“Unexpected” Star Trek: Enterprise S1, E5
Fairly early in the life of the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise, the titular ship’s engineer Trip gets pregnant after a sexual encounter with another species; an encounter he doesn’t even realize is sexual. In “Unexpected,” Trip gets friendly with Ah’len, the engineer of a Xyrillian ship, while he helps repair it.
After the Xyrillians go on their way, Trip notices what he thinks is some kind of rash on his wrist, which actually proves to be a nipple. Phlox informs Trip he is, in fact, pregnant. After a bit of a diplomatic dust-up with the Klingons, the Enterprise crew manages to get in touch with the Xyrillians and the embryo is transplanted to Ah’len.
Star Trek heroes being made pregnant without their consent seems to be a common thread throughout the franchise. Though to be fair, in this case unlike “The Child,” Ah’len does not impregnate Trip intentionally. She doesn’t even know beforehand that impregnating a non-Xyrillian is possible.
“All Those Who Wander” Star Trek: Strange New Worlds S1, E9
In the case of the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’s inaugural season, some might take issue with the use of the word “pregnant” when it comes to what happens to Hemmer or the unnamed alien victim before him. Hemmer becomes pregnant in the same sense that face-hugger victims of the Alien franchise are pregnant–he has eggs of an alien species, the Gorn, implanted in him against his will.
Of all the examples of Star Trek characters made pregnant in this list, the Aenar engineer is the only one whose “child” does not survive to birth, and that’s because Hemmer doesn’t allow it. Knowing the Gorn waiting to burst out of him will put his friends and colleagues in danger, Hemmer chooses instead to end his own life by leaping from an icy cliff. It is likely the moment in Strange New Worlds that most angered fans, because in a relatively short amount of time Hemmer had grown to become a fan-favorite hero.
“Body Parts” To “The Begotten” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine S4, E24 to S5, E12
Kira’s pregnancy in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s “Body Parts” is unique in this list for two reasons. First, because it’s the only pregnancy in this list that lasts longer than a single episode. Second because, as ScreenRant recalled in 2020, the story happens because Nana Visitor–the woman who played Star Trek’s toughest Bajoran–was pregnant in real life.
Rather than use tricks other shows had used to hide pregnancies, or alternatively writing a story for Kira in which she would become impregnated naturally, Star Trek chose a very roundabout way to make Kira pregnant. In “Body Parts,” the pregnant Keiko O’Brien is injured in a shuttle accident, and to save the baby Dr. Bashir surgically transplants the fetus to Kira.
Kira’s pregnancy lasts until Season 5’s “The Begotten”–13 episodes later–when she gives birth to Miles and Keiko’s son Kirayoshi.
As weird as it was, Kira’s pregnancy yields some interesting moments. There’s “The Darkness and the Light,” in which you get to see a fully pregnant Kira beat the tar out of Starfleet security officers, there’s the funny scene in which Kira’s colleagues bet on how many times she’ll sneeze (pregnant Bajorans endure excessive sneezing rather than morning sickness), and then there’s “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places” when Miles and Kira inch surprisingly close to having an affair.
“The Q And The Grey” Star Trek: Voyager S3, E11
In what survives as perhaps the weirdest Q episode in the franchise, Star Trek: Voyager‘s “The Q and the Grey” has the titular trickster hounding Captain Janeway to let him get her pregnant. A civil war is tearing the Q Continuum apart, and the more familiar member of the Continuum believes a half-human child will put an end to the conflict.
It’s tough to nail down what’s more disturbing about this episode: that Q comes off like an all-powerful stalker, the inexplicable logic that the existence of a baby will stop a war, or the fact that once Q instead impregnates the Female Q, Janeway seems genuinely a little regretful that she didn’t agree rather than go through all the nonsense.
Perhaps we should just be grateful that even though Q comes off like a truly pathetic stalker for most of the story that–unlike the Gorn, the ball of energy who impregnated Troi, and Ah’len the Xyrillian–Q at least asked permission first. He asked permission again and again and again and again (etc.), but he did ask.