Participating in a first contact is one of the most distinguishing events in a Starfleet officer’s career, and is often the first step towards a prosperous and mutually beneficial relationship between a warp-capable species and the United Federation of Planets. With it comes the exchanging of ideas and cultural values, as well as valuable resources and ally-ship.
First contact isn’t without its perils and its blunders, as many Starfleet crews have discovered making their way among the stars. Even the urbane Captain Picard has participated in a truly cataclysmic first contact, and the crew of the USS Voyager often didn’t know what to make of the alien species they encountered for the first time in the mysterious Delta Quadrant, resulting in these worst offenses made by Starfleet personnel ranked by severity.
10 The Siskarians
One of the most hospitable races in the Delta Quadrant, the Siskarians invite the USS Voyager to their home world in “Prime Factors” to gather resources and share in a first contact moment, unaware that they will be taken advantage of and almost thrown into political upheaval.
Rogue crew members defy Captain Janeway’s orders and decide to steal vital Siskarian technology to help their stranded ship travel 40,000 light years closer to the Alpha Quadrant, which ends up forcing the Siskarians to politely ask Federation presence to leave.
9 The Andorians
A founding member of the Federation as well as an ally of Earth, the Andorians first made contact with humans via the NX-01 Enterprise when it visited a Vulcan monastery on P’Jem. Despite it being in the Alpha Quadrant, the crew ended up being in the middle of a military confrontation.
By the end of “The Andorian Incident”, the monastery was destroyed, the Vulcans were very disappointed in Starfleet, and Captain Archer ended up being taken hostage and brutally beaten.
8 The Kazon
When the USS Voyager ends up coming into contact with the Kazon, the encounter culminates in a fiery confrontation that would continue throughout Star Trek: Voyager as the Kazon chases the starship across the Delta Quadrant.
The crew of Voyager tries to be friendly with the Kazon, offering them water in exchange for their help navigating the Delta Quadrant, but by the end of “The Caretaker”, Kazon ships have been destroyed, and they have sworn themselves an enemy of the Federation.
7 The Hirogen
The crew of the USS Voyager once again bungles a first encounter while in the Delta Quadrant when they encounter the Hirogen, a predatory species who view every other species as potential prey. They classify Voyager similarly after a particularly hostile first contact that began with an assault of their diplomat.
Like the Kazon before them, the Hirogen dog the starship across the Delta Quadrant, and at one point Tuvok and Seven of Nine are taken captive and almost killed, all for the sake of the crew getting their hands on Hirogen technology that ends up being destroyed anyway.
6 Species 8472
Just when the crew of Voyager thought they couldn’t encounter a more hostile species than The Borg, they encounter what the Collective classified as Species 8472 after floating through the debris of over a dozen destroyed Borg Cubes.
While investigating the species that has proven to be capable of ravaging the Collective, they find Species 8472 as its assaulting some Borg drones. One of them attacks Ensign Harry Kim who, while able to safely get back to sickbay, is nearly eaten from the inside out. Nothing about first contact goes right, and Voyager knows almost less about Species 8472 than when they started.
5 The Klingons
The Klingon Empire and the Federation have only ever had an uneasy alliance, and it’s not difficult to see why considering their less than ideal first contact. In “Broken Bow Part 1” of Star Trek: Enterprise, a Klingon courier named Klaang crash lands his ship into a field in Oklahoma, avoiding his pursuers only to get shot in the chest by a farmer.
Klaang is eventually healed and makes his rendez-vous on the Klingon Homeworld thanks to the crew of the NX-01 Enterprise, but it doesn’t stop Captain Picard from later recounting the first contact with the Klingon Empire as “disastrous”.
4 The Gorn
In one of the most famous episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series, Captain Kirk and Co. chase down the ship that destroyed the colony on Cestus III, leading to an explosive confrontation that nearly begins a war between the Federation and the Gorn.
Kirk makes first contact in the fashion fans have come to expect – by firing torpedoes and asking questions later, resulting in the captain of the other vessel deciding the only way to solve the conflict is to participate in a gladiatorial fight. Kirk grapples with the Gorn officer as part of the first Federation encounter with his species in a political move hardly sanctioned by Starfleet.
3 The Mintakans
When attempting to clandestinely study the indigenous population of Mintaka III in “Who Watches The Watchers”, the crew of the Enterprise-D inadvertently exposes their post, violating the Prime Directive and revealing the possibility of warp travel to a Bronze Age civilization.
The Mintakans begin to worship Captain Picard as a deity, and one even receives a tour of the Enterprise, introducing space exploration to a group of proto-Vulcans who had never encountered another extraterrestrial before. Not only does the crew contaminate the culture of the population, but more than definitely damages the planet’s organic technological evolution.
2 The Jem’Hadar
When Commander Sisko and his son go on a camping trip in the Gamma Quadrant, they come face to face with the Jem’Hadar, an indomitable military force that ends up taking them prisoner and presenting them to the powerful Dominion.
Due to the horrible nature of the first contact, Dominion operatives are almost able to successfully infiltrate the Federation. They destroy a Federation starship, and begin machinations towards a full scale assault that would end up lasting four years and cripple the Federation.
1 The Borg
Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D were once warned about “terrors to freeze your soul” by Q in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they had no idea the magnitude of menace epitomized in The Borg. After finding themselves 7,000 light years from known Federation Space, they finally make first contact with them.
Ever the diplomat, Picard tries to maintain decorum and protocol during their initial encounter, but 18 members of the Enterprise-D are lost to The Borg. Not only that, but by their meeting The Borg are now alerted to humanity’s existence, and begin a quest to assimilate it that kills thousands more people and plunges the Federation into war.
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