Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 02:07:20 -0800 From: Levi@spirit4tag.com.au (Graham Levi and Cecilia Levi) Subject: Mission Of The Darians. Hi Everyone, Yes, now that the New Year is here its time to start thinking again. I have been pondering the episode Mission To The Darians. This episode focuses on two ideas 1) purity of a race and 2) what price survival. How far would we go to live. The Darians exploit other people, are cannibalistic not just for food, but also body parts for transplantation, to futher the lives of true pure Darians. The novelisation of the story is bleak. In contrasting both stories it is an interesting tale. The novel could never have been done on TV. The censors are a bit sensitive. The graphic nature of the Darian society and its treatment of mutation and difference just wouldn't make it to the screen.The termination of Lowery and Helena's examination for conformity were quite horrific. It is interesting to consider that this idea of purity has been one of the C20th's greatest problems. Salam Rushdie is here in Oz at the moment discussing this idea. The Darian story deals with this well. It is Koenig that puts together the pieces of this paraistic group and their plans for the Alphans. Although, when Koenig brings back his traumatised away team to Alpha, he is unable or unwilling to answer Carter's question, if it happened on Alpha would you have chosen differently. Koenig can only quip, Remind me to tell you some time! What price do we hold on life? On Alpha they have limited resources and limited time. How long could they expect to last? 10 years 20 years? Will they be forced to make decisions like the Darians or are they(we) above this? It certainly wasn't above the sophisticated nations of Germany and Japan through WW2. It is happening in Bosnia now, and in 70 other small bushfire wars during 1995. The other episode to deal with this issue was The Exiles. Tony asks John "What sort of people are we" and "Is survival all important"? What is the price for life. An interesting issue that gives us a lot of food for thought. Hmmm... Your Fellow Alphan, Cecilia.
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 06:20:11 -0800 From: Kimmurphy@aol4tag.com Subject: Re: Mission Of The Darians. This is one of my favorite episodes for much of the reasons you so eloquently outline. This is a difficult episode to watch but a must-see for 1999 fans. The whole point of this episode--"At what price survival" is well done, bettter than one or two TREK episodes which had very similar plots. I for one would think the Darians had quite a struggle with the notion of purity when they started accepting donor organs. After all, these are not Darian organs they are implanting. As an example, a friend of mine--a breast cancer survivor who had a life-saving mastectomy--has a great deal of difficulty accepting what has happened to her. Breast jokes still, even after 5 years, make her very sensitive. She still views herself as mutilated. When asked if she would consider reconstructive surgery, she says bluntly that she has no desire for "the butcher who did this to me" to do anything else. In contrast, another friend who lost her reproductive system when she was in her 30s to fibrocystic disorder, had her right foot badly mangled in an accident in her early 40s, and lost most of her sight in her right eye to glaucoma and cataracts in her late 40s deals with what happened to her with jokes about having zippers installed to facilitate access and getting extended warranty on her bodywork, treating all of it as just another step she had to take in order to keep on living, working, and raising two children by herself. I'm wondering how the Darians feel sometimes when they get these outsider organs put into them--whether they are bitter about their purity being destroyed or if the will to survive is so strong that they would view this as a miracle and keep going. Food for thought...
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 11:34:53 -0800 From: Anthony (email@example.com) Subject: Re: Mission Of The Darians. We do this *now* with organ transplants all the time...and even with animal to human transplants!!! So, I guess a partial answer is out there...survival at any price! Another example...look at the story about the people stranded in the Andes mountains after their plane crashed...did they not eat the dead??? What would you have done? Great discussion so far...OK, we didn't start with Breakaway, but at least we started! :-)
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 21:35:15 -0800 From: Levi@spirit4tag.com.au (Graham Levi and Cecilia Levi) Subject: RE; Mission To The Darians Hi Everyone, I wanted to reply to Kimberly's post on "Mission To The Darians". I think this episode has become my personal favourite because of its dark and psychological insight into an aspect of humankind that really isn't all that glamourous or noble. I agree that Space 1999 had that reality edge that other Sci-Fi shows have not attempted or watered down so that issues become unrecognisable. I don't want to bag Star Trek but it is very guilty of this. Yet it can do it. The best and most confronting Star Trek episode was "Violations". It was about the issue of rape and personal privacy. The novel that confronts these issues in Space 1999 is EC Tubb's "Earthfall". The issue of rape and privacy on Moon base Alpha is very well considered, and slightly disturbing. On the issue of organ donation and purity, the Darians state that this only started to occur long after the accident. Their screening of perfect specimans to use in transplantation is so calculating that it really is obscene. In the novel, Helena's examination for purity is most meticulous and terrifying. Yet in true style she stands there and takes it. On a more personal level, I do see the need and sorrow involved in this issue. It is odd, but friends of mine were discussing how we were all brought up within the Catholic faith as children, and the issue of Donar transplants came up as a topic that we all remember as being contentious. I agree totally with it, as it saves lives. I just don't agree with the selling of body parts or exploitation of any group including animals to facilitate survival. As a race we should know when our time is up. I don't make this comment lightly. My father was involved in one of Australia's worst industrial accidents when I was 7 years old. I couldn't believe the plans for surgery, tissue thearpy and transplantation that they had lined up. At 7, I wished for his death to avoid all that - he was already totally traumatised, why add to it? I know he was only 32, but the price of survival was just too high. I suppose this aurgument of "What price Survival?" will continue. I suppose it is a symptom of our inward looking lives - the me generation. How highly do we value ourselves in the scheme of things? - I am not being religious here - just pragamatic. The Darians probably looked at themselves as pragmatic, but was it just a justification of evil. Koenig believed that it was. The character was totally shocked by the Darians and their eventual plans to exploit the Alphans as breeding stocks for their transplantation process. Sorry if this topic is a little heavy. I just think it was a real strength of Space 1999 to look at issues in a realistic fashion without heroics and the "isn't humankind the greatest" angle. Your Fellow Alphan, Cecilia.
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 06:40:22 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeanette Quimby) Subject: Re: Mission To The Darians Hello everyone, I hope all had a nice New Years holiday. I thought I would add my thoughts to the Darians survival and purity debate. Their quest to have only the true and pure Darians would have been met with their gene bank - in which Joan Collins character explained to John Koenig - contained the pure genetic material of the true Darians. If the gene bank had not been destroyed and knowing that their technology was "highly advanced" - they may have been able to create a perfect "test-tube" Darian once they found a hospitable environment. But keep in mind, she stated that they were sterile - not necessary unable to carry a child, but unable to conceive. Thus, the need for the "organ donors" could also be for one of two purposes: First, prolong the life of the original Darians so that they could carry a child (if the problem was only with conception and not carrying to term) and thus be born from a pure Darian. The second option would be if the Darians were also unable to carry a child, then they would also need to heavily screen the "surrogate" mother to carry this child. Even if the child is "pure" Darian material, she/he would still be nourished with the blood of the unpure Darian. So the surrogate would have to be thoroughly screened to prevent rejection of the fetus, as well as transmission of any contagious diseases (in human terms, possibly hepatitis, AIDS) to the fetus. But, again, if their technology is advanced, there might not even be the need for the maternal factor to carry a child - but then with "test tube" babies. But this hypothesis is in a sense answered by the fact that if it were possible for them to "grow" the genetic material into Darians without the use of a surrogate, why not grow pure organ donors - at that point though they might not have been so willing to harvest from true Darians as compared to the abundance of mutated Darians. Would they have gone so far to survive to "grow their own pure replacement parts"? The question of what would you do to survive is highly personal and even under the conditions that the Darians were under, the individual still controlled the outcome. Sure, they could force you to have surgery. But if your concious could not deal with taking another life to prolong your own, what would you do? No, you wouldn't necessarily have to call Dr. Kervokian, but you could have attempted to contact and educate the donor group (mini-mutiny?). You have the technology, but you don't have to use it selfishly only for your individual group. Share the knowledge. Again, what price for our own survival. Working in the Texas Medical Center and seeing the research (basic science, animal, human), as well as seeing patients take the risk on an unknown cancer drug while others don't in the quest for survival, can make you wonder to what extent you would go to prolong your life. As a parent, that decision is equally challenging - to what extent would I go to prolong my child's life in a life-threatening situation? When looking at Mission of the Darians - you could equate that to the 1940s and Hitler - in his quest to create a pure race and his experimentation in the concentration camps (as well as killings of the unpure Germans - mentally and physically handicapped) - The Darians though did it for "true survival", Hitler for what he thought was "survival of the fittest". Two cultures/ societies clashed (for reasons other than the camps originally). At the conclusion of the war, we were all horrified as to what he had attempted to do with the Genocide of other cultures and Mengele"s experiments. The question would be - would John Koenig knowing Earth's history have made the same choice as the Darians? Personally, I think not (Even though he could not directly answer Alan Carter at the end of that episode). His outlook was always for the survival of the "entire group". Yes at times they did send out a "survival" group (Black Sun), but the decision for the composition of that group was made by the computer, not by him, as was the decision for Simmonds to go in the one pod was also made by the computer - if Simmonds had not hijacked it. But also notice the shows mentioned were in Year I, when there was also a "command team" for decision making. Would the "team" make the decision for survival of an elite group no matter the consequences - like the "command group" of the Darians. Thus, the decision would not have been John Koenig's alone, but the decision of the Dr. Russell, Dr. Bergman, Sandra, Kano, Paul, Alan, (and anyone I missed on the team), with Koenig probably having veto power. Oh well, enough ramblings. I better get back to work! Jeanette
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 15:02:57 -0800 From: Levi@spirit4tag.com.au (Graham Levi and Cecilia Levi) Subject: Re;Mission To The Darians Hi Everyone, Jeanette brings up some interesting points about the Darians. The point about the gene bank is an interesting aspect to their survival. I just can't see this particular group using surrogate mothers for their pure gene stock. Maybe that's what they had in mind for the Alphans - like brooding mares. They would probably try to carry the children themselves, so that no contanimation would occur. This leads to the question of - What would they do with the survivors of level 7 and others when their journey was complete? They couldn't let mutations run around near they new race of Darians. This problem of growing body parts is interesting as well. If the Darians were that sophisticated with technology why didn't they attempt this? I suppose in Jeanette's line of work she would see all types of experiments and stories concerning this issue. She would see both sides fairly well. I agree with the statements about Koenig. Knowing Earth History he would make other choices. The character doesn't seem to believe in the cult of the individual, rather he is a serious believer in the idea of community. It is through community and shared struggle that the Alphans will survive. Yes, all the shows mentioned were from Year 1, I also mentioned "The Exiles" from Year 2, as some of the issues dealt with overlap. I agree that the choices the Alphans would make would be a team approach - the community winning out. Your Fellow Alphan, Cecilia.