On Worf's Return to Starfleet

Some Star Trek fans have a major problem with Star Trek: Nemesis–Worf is back in his Starfleet uniform, and his role as Ambassador to the Klingon Empire, established in Deep Space Nine‘s final episode, “What You Leave Behind,” is wholly ignored. This quote is typical “perhaps my biggest complaint about Nemesis was that without even a single line of dialog to explain it they undid every last bit of characterization Worf had during 4 seasons of DS9.”

It’s also misguided.

In terms of Nemesis, no such dialogue was necessary. It seemed clear to me that Worf’s return to Starfleet was not a recent event, and hence no storytelling reason to remark upon it.

Did I think that Worf becoming the Federation Ambassador to Qo’noS was a nifty-cool thing in “What You Leave Behind”? Absolutely, it was a great career move for him. But being an Ambassador is not a permanent career move. An Ambassador serves at the pleasure of the government that assigns him and as long as the government to which he was sent is willing to accept him.

Worf would be acceptable to the Klingons for as long as Martok remains in power. The Left Hand of Destiny and Diplomatic Implausibility make it clear that there are Klingons who resent Worf and will always resent Worf. There are rival houses that would like nothing more than to use Worf as a battering ram on Martok’s house. If Martok’s government fell, the succeeding government might not be as disposed toward Worf. Imagine if Drex took control of the Empire. Drex would, in a heartbeat, order Worf’s expulsion from Qo’noS, and not think twice about doing so.

That explanation really doesn’t put Worf in a bad light. His diplomatic mission doesn’t fail for anything that he did as an Ambassador. Instead, it’s his history that becomes an impediment to his work.

At the same time, what’s to say that Worf, abrasive as he is, wouldn’t make enemies in the Federation Council? They could have him recalled.

Worf as the Federation Ambassador to Qo’noS makes sense, given who Worf is and his unique perspective on the Federation and the Empire. But a Worf assigned as Ambassador to Vulcan or Andor or Cardassia doesn’t make any sense for Worf.

I suspect that Worf went into Starfleet’s Inactive Reserves when his assignment as Ambassdor to Qo’noS became active. Once that mission ended, either by his choice or by the choice of others, Starfleet had a place for him. And those events, as yet unseen, that brought Worf back into Starfleet’s fold would most likely have been of a long-enough piece of time that by the time of the Riker/Troi wedding there was no need to mention Worf’s return to the ‘Fleet; to everyone present it had been the most natural thing in the world.

Any questions? 😉

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