The Star Trek Suicide Squad
The rise of the anti-hero has been long heralded in pop culture, especially in the era of Peak TV. The Tony Sopranos and Walter Whites of television have battled their inner demons as morally ambiguous protagonists. While this is a less common archetype in recent science fiction and fantasy films, there are a few who step forward to test their level of morality.
Most superheroes are presented as distinctly moral. They have an uncomplicated view of right and wrong. For example, Steve Rogers has such an internal sense of morality that he’s willing to turn on his ally, Tony Stark, if necessary. But what about the villains? Are they presented as distinctly immoral? In Suicide Squad, a collection of supervillains led by government operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) are recruited for a secret mission to save the world. As Waller notes, using villains gives the government deniability. The Suicide Squad is faced with a difficult decision to comply with her risky plan or face imprisonment.
It's not only in DC Comics where the morally ambiguous wild cards are called on to save the world and/or galaxy. In the Star Trek universe, characters have come a long way since the original series’ Cold War mentality. In the original, Federation species were noble and Klingons and Romulans were untrustworthy opponents. In more recent history, many non-Federation characters in the greater Trek universe have complicated loyalties, which can either work for or against the current needs of Starfleet. Here’s a list of the most memorable free agents in the Milky Way Galaxy who would be so well suited for a Suicide Squad.
Any Suicide Squad would hands down be led by Q. He's a member of the Q Continuum, a race with God-like powers. Q's name is mega frustrating because it's so unspecific—the same letter of the alphabet is applied to every member of the Continuum. Q has long had a complicated relationship with both Starfleet and humanity in general. He frequently attempts to force the USS Enterprise-D to stand trial for the mistakes of the human race. Yet Q has, at times, indirectly helped humanity. Q once allowed Jean Luc Picard to revisit his past in order to understand the effects of all decisions (even the ones we regret) have on our lives.
Perhaps most notable was the introduction Q provided to one of humanity’s deadliest enemies, the Borg. Q abducted Picard into unchartered space and allowed him to encounter a new race—a cybernetic hive mind very interested in the Enterprise’s technology. While Q placed the Enterprise in danger, his interference also serves as a warning signal for the Federation—to alert them that the Borg are coming to assimilate them. Q’s help is not totally generous. He has made it clear that he enjoys watching Picard squirm. Yet Q has enabled the Federation to continue to survive and fight back. Like Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad, he is not adverse to his powers helping to save worlds. And since he can end any stand off with a simple snap of his fingers, any Suicide Squad would be better off with a Q as leader.
Garak may describe himself as a simple tailor, but he's an exiled member of the Obsidian Order—the intelligence service that tightly monitors and controls Cardassian citizens. He also masterminds the controls of Cardassian colonies, such as Bajor. He is initially miserable in Terok Nor, what with the cranial implant intended to help him to resist torture by altering his mood and all. It helps him deal with his exile from Cardassia Prime. Yet he becomes loyal (well, as loyal as a Cardassian can be) to the Federation command on Deep Space Nine. During the Dominion War, Garak uses his specific expertise and skills to help the Federation win.
The most notable incident of Garak’s ambivalent morality is his role in the assassination of Romulan Senator Vreenak. Garak attempts to convince the Romulans to ally with the Federation and manufactures evidence that the Dominion plans to eventually conquer the Romulan Empire. When Senator Vreenak realizes the evidence is fake, Garak has him assassinated. This proves to Commander Sisko that Garak is useful to the Federation for a reason—he can do what Starfleet officers are unwilling or unable to do within their ethical code. He reminds Sisko that a guilty conscience is a small price to pay to win the Dominion War.
Garak embodies many of the contradictions inherent in the Suicide Squad, namely that bad guys can act without the restraint the good guys feel. Morality can be a limitation when saving the world.
Hailing from the capitalistic society of Ferenginar, Quark has no belief in ideals of right or wrong, and instead focuses on the Ferengi values of profit and loss. He has few qualms about smuggling dangerous materials, exploiting his workers, and even mistreating his brother and nephew in order to accumulate his beloved gold-pressed latinum. Yet Quark notes that the Ferengi single-handed pursuit of wealth has meant that Ferengi are not distracted by racism or war (far too unprofitable). They have never committed genocide or colonised other planets—although their environmentalism is questioned, as they have sold off their moons and polar ice caps for profit.
Quark proves his mettle when it counts most. When his mother is kidnapped by the Dominion, Quark leads a crew of Ferengi to rescue her. While rescue is a tad non-traditional (it involves a business negotiation and a dead body kept moving by neural stimulators), Quark and his fellow Ferengi are able to prove that their keen sense of a deal can be an asset to any situation. Perhaps not the best choice for every black ops mission, but in any situation which requires charm and negotiating power, Quark is always willing to negotiate.