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Mutiny is defined as a group of people rebelling against an authority that the group is legally obligated to obey. It is most often used to refer to members of a military organization rebelling against their superiors, and illegally seizing control of a vessel.

One of the most infamous mutinies in Earth history took place on April 28, 1789, when the British Royal Navy vessel Bounty was seized by a number of members of her crew led by Fletcher Christian. Nearly 500 years later, Doctor Leonard McCoy used this as an inspiration when naming the Klingon Bird of Prey the crew of the late USS Enterprise had captured the HMS Bounty. (TOS movie: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

In the United Federation of Planets Starfleet, mutiny is a particularly severe and heinous crime. Even though outside General Order 7 the death penalty is nonexistent, the punishment for mutiny is quite severe. In Starfleet history, the act of mutiny has been quite rare. The Federation does provide legal methods to remove a commanding officer from his or her post by subordinate officers - such as the first officer or chief medical officer - in the event that the commanding officer becomes physically or mentally disabled, endangers the crew without good cause, or otherwise violates the law or regulations. If upheld by Starfleet, this is not considered mutiny.

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