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Mirror universe

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Mirror Universe
(coexisting on another dimensional plane)

Terran Empire insignia with marching soldiers in the background.

"They were brutal, savage, unprincipled, uncivilized, treacherous..."
– Spock, 2267 ("Mirror, Mirror")

The "mirror universe" is the informal name for the parallel universe first recorded as visited by James T. Kirk and several officers from the USS Enterprise in 2267. This parallel universe coexists with the prime universe on another dimensional plane. The mirror universe was so named because many people and places seemed to be opposites of their characteristics in the prime universe, with numerous good aspects now evil and vice versa, thus "mirror"-like. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

The term "mirror universe" has never been used on screen and is only derived from behind the scenes production sources such as the Star Trek Encyclopedia. On screen only general terminology has been used of both universes in relation to each other, such as "parallel universe" and "the other universe" in TOS: "Mirror, Mirror"; DS9: "Through the Looking Glass", "alternate reality" in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly", "the other side" in DS9: "Crossover", "Shattered Mirror" and "the alternate universe" in DS9: "Resurrection", "The Emperor's New Cloak".


For the main article, see mirror universe history.

Terran Empire

In the mirror universe, much of known history is dominated by the Terran Empire. It is not clear when the Empire began. Captain Jonathan Archer once stated that the Empire had existed for "centuries" as of 2155. Archer did not mention how many centuries, but by his statement, the Empire can be traced back to at least 1955, suggesting that it was a Terran political unit before it became an interstellar empire. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")

First Contact between Vulcans and the Terran Empire took place in 2063, as it did in the prime universe. The long history of nations warring with each other, the stronger overcoming the weaker, led the people of Earth to believe that conquest was the only means of surviving in the universe. Peace was only a ruse used to determine an enemy's weaknesses and to enable the one offering peace a chance to conquer from within. So, when the Vulcans landed and made their peaceful introduction, Zefram Cochrane shot the first Vulcan to step onto Terran soil instead of welcoming them with open arms (as in the prime universe), and the Terrans, interpreting the landing as prelude to an invasion, raided the Vulcan ship. The shotgun used by Zefram Cochrane later came into the possession of Jonathan Archer, who wondered what would have happened had Cochrane not "turned the tables" on the Vulcans' "invasion force." With advanced Vulcan technology at their disposal, the Terran Empire expanded and conquered other races, including the Vulcans, Andorians, Tellarites, Orions and Denobulans.

It is hinted at in the non-canon novel Preserver that Cochrane had instead told the Vulcans about the Borg, thus forming a military alliance.

In 2155, the ISS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Maximilian Forrest, was the flagship of the Terran Empire's Starfleet. In January of that year, Commander Jonathan Archer mutinied against Forrest in order to take the ship into Tholian space to capture the USS Defiant, which had travelled through a spatial interphase from the year 2268 in the prime universe. While the mutiny was ultimately unsuccessful, Captain Forrest had no choice but to continue the mission, since the ship's helm had been locked on auto-pilot. The Enterprise was later destroyed by Tholian ships, but not before Archer was able to take control of the Defiant. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly") Archer tried to use the Defiant in a grab for power, intending to replace the Emperor, but was betrayed and killed by Hoshi Sato, who declared herself Empress. However, it remains unclear as to whether Sato actually established herself as Empress, or if the Defiant played any further role in the mirror universe (particularly given that the mirror universe showed no signs of being any further ahead of the "standard" universe when the first crossover between the universes took place). (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")

The events following Sato's power grab are covered in the non-canon novel Age of the Empress, which is contained in the first book in the mirror universe series, Glass Empires.

Sometime between 2155 and 2267, the symbol of the Empire appears to have been altered. The earlier symbol closely resembles 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, depicted only the continents of Earth's western hemisphere.

The original symbol was seen in the episode "Mirror, Mirror", pre-dating its appearance in "In a Mirror, Darkly".
Uhura distracts Hikaru Sulu (mirror)

Uhura and the mirror Sulu

By 2267, the Terran Empire was the dominant power in the Alpha Quadrant. When four Starfleet officers (Captain James T. Kirk, Lieutenant Uhura, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott and Doctor Leonard McCoy) from the USS Enterprise were exchanged with those same officers from the ISS Enterprise in the mirror universe because of transporter interference from an ion storm, they discovered a brutal regime, almost dictatorial in its command structure. Advancement through assassination was commonplace.

During the encounter, Captain Kirk convinced the counterpart of his first officer, Spock, that the Empire could not sustain itself. Indeed, Spock predicted that in its current form, the Empire had 240 years before total collapse. (TOS: "Mirror, Mirror")

Shortly thereafter, Spock rose to become leader of the Terran Empire, proposing a series of reforms designed to make the Empire more secure and less dictatorial in nature. These included a significant disarmament program. Unfortunately, once these reforms were complete, the Empire was unable to defend itself against the equally aggressive and powerful forces surrounding it. The Klingon-Cardassian Alliance overran the Empire, conquering Earth and leaving Terrans and Vulcans enslaved, and freeing several worlds that still remained under Terran occupation, including Bajor. (DS9: "Crossover")

Klingon-Cardassian Alliance

Klingon-Cardassian Alliance logo

With the fall of the Terran Empire, the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance became the dominant power in the Mirror universe. Bajor, which before has been enslaved by the Terrans, soon joined the Alliance. The command post and ore processing facility Terok Nor was constructed in orbit.

Also during this time, the forces of the mirror universe began implementing safeguards to prevent another crossover event. Transporter design was altered to prevent inter-dimensional travel, requiring the creation of devices specifically for that purpose, including the multidimensional transporter. In the event of another crossover, those involved would be killed to prevent further interference. (DS9: "Crossover", "Through the Looking Glass")

Kira and Kira

Kira Nerys and... Kira Nerys

By 2370, Terok Nor was commanded by Intendant Kira Nerys, with Elim Garak as her second-in-command. It was at this point in time that the second known contact with the prime universe took place. A runabout from station Deep Space 9 entered the mirror universe following an incident in the Bajoran wormhole. Kira Nerys and Julian Bashir were captured by forces from Terok Nor, and interrogated by the intendant. Bashir was sent to work in the ore processing plant, where he befriended "Smiley" O'Brien. After instigating a series of incidents aboard the station, including the death of Odo during a slave uprising, Kira and Bashir convinced privateer Benjamin Sisko to rebel against the Alliance and help them to escape back to the prime universe. (DS9: "Crossover")

A year later, Smiley crossed over to the Federation's universe and impersonated his counterpart long enough to capture the prime Sisko, and brought him back to the mirror universe, where he convinced Sisko to impersonate the leader of the Terran Rebellion. The mirror Sisko had been killed in a skirmish with Alliance ships, and the rebels needed the other Sisko to win over Jennifer Sisko, Sisko's wife, who in the mirror universe was a scientist working for the Alliance. Jennifer had been developing a transpectral sensor array, which would have allowed the Alliance to locate rebel hideouts in the Badlands. Sisko convinced his wife's mirror-counterpart to defect to the side of the rebels. (DS9: "Through the Looking Glass")

While in the Federation's universe, Smiley downloaded information from Deep Space 9's computers, including the plans for the USS Defiant. In 2372 the rebels constructed their own version of the Defiant, but had trouble getting it to function properly. Jennifer lured Sisko back into the mirror universe to help, though Kira Nerys killed her a short time thereafter. By this time the rebellion had grown in strength, culminating in the capture of Terok Nor, which became a rebel base of operations. (DS9: "Shattered Mirror")

In 2374, Intendant Kira sent a thief, Bareil Antos, to the prime universe to steal one of the Bajoran orbs, believing it would permit Kira to unite Bajor under her rule. The attempt failed, and Bareil returned to the mirror universe without the orb. (DS9: "Resurrection")

In 2375, Grand Nagus Zek, the leader of the Ferengi Alliance in the prime universe, used the multidimensional transporter to travel to the mirror universe along with his Hupyrian manservant, Maihar'du, hoping to open up business opportunities, but they were captured and held hostage by the Alliance. Kira made arrangements with Worf, the regent of the Alliance, to obtain the prime universe's version of the Klingon cloaking device in exchange for Zek's return.

She sent Ezri Tigan, a Trill mercenary and Kira's lover, to the prime side to give Quark the ransom demand. Quark and his brother Rom stole the cloaking device from Klingon General Martok's ship and delivered it to Ezri, but decided at the last minute that they couldn't trust her to keep her side of the deal, and accompanied her to the mirror universe, where all three were captured by the Terran rebels, who planned to keep the cloaking device, until Ezri's companion Brunt freed them, delivering them to Regent Worf. Aboard Worf's flagship, Quark and Rom were imprisoned along with Zek upon discovering Kira's plan, only to be later rescued by Ezri as revenge against Kira for killing Brunt. Ezri ended up joining the rebel cause. Quark, Rom, Zek and Maihar'du were allowed to return to the primary universe for having aided the rebels' defeat of Worf, a major victory for the rebellion. During the escape from Worf's ship, Garak was killed. When last seen, the rebels' march towards victory showed no apparent signs of slowing. (DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak")




See also: Mirror universe starships


Related topics


Background information

Episode writers have maintained that the mirror universe is specifically a parallel universe, where the patterns of events move in similar manners, but the intentions and characterizations are different, so the people of the mirror side will always remain (and always have been) skewed versions of their "normal" counterparts. However, according to the writers and producers of Star Trek: Enterprise in their panel discussion at the 2005 Grand Slam XIII, if they were to have agreed on financial compensation for a guest appearance for William Shatner during the fourth season of the series, there may have been an episode with a canonical explanation of the origins of the mirror universe as an alternate timeline. [X]wbm

According to Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens, the episode idea Shatner had pitched would have featured him as "Tiberius", the mirror universe James T. Kirk last seen in "Mirror, Mirror". Supposedly killed by mirror-Spock in his rise to power, it would have been revealed that the Tantalus field did not disintegrate, but in fact relocated its victims to a penal colony in the prime universe. If this story were to have been filmed, the Enterprise NX-01 would have encountered Tiberius in the 22nd century, who had been deposited there forty years earlier. In an attempt to return to the mirror universe, using the transporter of the Enterprise, Archer and Tiberius end up creating the mirror universe in the first place, as a diverging timeline. [X]wbm

The credits sequence for the "mirror universe" Star Trek: Enterprise television series, used footage of battles going back at least to the "Age of Sail". The mirror Phlox noted that the "great works" of literature in both universes were roughly the same, except that their characters were "soft and weak" (except for Shakespeare), pushing back the earliest possible date for a divergence to the 16th century.

In a cut scene for In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II, Archer gives a motivational speech to the assembled crews of the former ISS Enterprise and the Avenger in which he invokes the favour of the "gods". This, together with Marlena's statement about "being the woman of a Caesar" in "Mirror Mirror", suggests that the Terran Imperial tradition extends at least back to pre-Christian Rome. However, given the nature of the mirror universe, these statements should be taken with a grain of salt.

Brannon Braga revealed via his Twitter account that before the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise there was even some talk about setting the entire fifth season in the mirror universe. [1]


The existence of a "point of divergence" from the traditional Star Trek universe has not been confirmed, though according to the novel Fearful Symmetry, the mirror universe is in fact a parallel quantum universe, as quantum signature scans used to match Worf with his USS Enterprise-D in TNG: "Parallels" were also able to differentiate natives of the mirror universe from those of the prime reality. This suggests that even though the two universes were always separate, they shared a similar past up to some point in their history.

According to the FASA role-playing games and The Best of Trek, the mirror universe diverges from the prime timeline around the Eugenics Wars, while DC Comics' The Mirror Universe Saga comics speculate the Earth-Romulan War was the point of divergence, with Earth having lost that war, and then embarking on a policy of conquest after overthrowing the Romulans (It is not known what kind of contact Sato's Empire had with the Romulans). Still other non-canon works, the novels of William Shatner's Star Trek: The Mirror Universe Trilogy (co-written with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens) and the novelization of Star Trek: First Contact seem to indicate that time travel of the Borg to Zefram Cochrane's era might be responsible. This explanation would tie in with ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly" when the Vulcan's first arrived and were killed by Cochrane.

Dark Mirror, a Pocket TNG novel by Diane Duane, places the mirror universe as parallel since at least the end of Homer's Iliad, where the mirror universe parallel of Achilles kills old King Priam after the death of Hector when asked to return Hector's body for funeral rites, instead of showing one moment of Humanity. Mirror-Picard thought of prime universe version as the one time in the poem when "that terrible man showed mercy.... but not here." After this there seems to be some sort of "moral inversion". For instance, according to Plato the perfect government is now one in which fear is meted out to the people in proper proportion by a wise ruler. Picard notes that the ending of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice is drastically different: Shylock is awarded, and accepts, the owed pound of flesh.

This universe is inconsistent with the others in that it was written before the DS9-mirror episodes, and references the Terran Empire as still being active in 2367. Alternate mirror universes might however explain some of the costume and effects inconsistencies in the DS9-mirror episodes. For example in "Through the Looking Glass", Alliance ships were seen de-cloaking, and in "The Emperor's New Cloak" the Alliance didn't have a cloaking technology.

The mirror universe is mentioned a few times in the Deep Space Nine book trilogy Millennium. During the second novel, it was revealed that Dukat, possessed by the Pah-wraiths, has taken over the mirror Terok Nor, where he is awaiting a final confrontation with Kai Weyoun. Also, General Martok crafted an invasion strategy that would have involved moving the entire Klingon fleet to the mirror universe.

In the novel The Soul Key by Olivia Woods, it is revealed that the mirror Benjamin Sisko staged his death. In addition, the Bajoran wormhole is discovered by the mirror version of Iliana Ghemor.

The mirror universe made an appearance in Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force, a video game released for PC. Voyager, having been pulled into a starship scrapyard, encounters hostile Humans working with various aliens, including Malons, Klingons and Hirogen. These Human "scavengers" are from the mirror universe and operate from a station made up of the remains of a mirror universe Constitution-class starship, among other things.

The mirror universe also features prominently in Star Trek: Shattered Universe, a video game released on PS2 and Xbox. It depicts an Empire Starfleet of the 2290s, and a crossover to the adventures of Captain Sulu on the ISS Excelsior.

According to the novella Age of the Empress, World War II occurred in the mirror universe, with Japan as one as its participants. One of the results appears to have been a lessening of the power of Japan's emperor, as the Kyoto Imperial Palace was turned into a tourist attraction.

A mirror universe of the alternate reality is introduced in issue fifteen of IDW Publishing's Star Trek comic. In this version of events, Nero at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works's incursion results in a timeline where the Terran Empire conquers the Klingons in 2258, and James T. Kirk at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works recovers the Narada at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works from Rura Penthe at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works. Having destroyed the ISS Enterprise at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works and proclaimed himself captain of the 'new' Terran flagship, Kirk subsequently tracks down another anomaly similar to that which brought the Narada into their universe and discovers another version of 'Spock Prime', who recognizes this world as the Mirror Universe. Kirk subsequently attempts to use the red matter from the Jellyfish to destroy Vulcan, but this plan is prevented by the treachery of Uhura at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works, who beamed Spock at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works to safety at the last minute. The two Spocks decide to remain on Vulcan to help their people, while Uhura departs as the new captain of the Narada.

The mirror universe plays a role in Star Trek Online. They appear in three main missions - "Tear of the Prophets", "Crack in the Mirror" and "The Other Side", in which you deal with the Terran Empire's incursions into the Prime Universe and prevent their actions from ravaging both universes.

Apocryphal appearances


See also

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