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.
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.
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)
- "A year ago, I stood alone. I believed that our survival was more important than our principles. I was wrong."
- —Michael Burnham to Katrina Cornwell, 2257[src]
In the year 2256, the USS Shenzhou's XO, Commander Michael Burnham urged her Captain, Philippa Georgiou, to open fire first on the Klingon forces under T'Kuvma to earn their respect. When Georgiou refused to do so, Burnham knocked her out with a Vulcan nerve pinch and proceeded to target T'Kuvma's flagship, the Sarcophagus. However, her brief mutiny came to an end when Georgiou arrested her. Following the disastrous Battle of the Binary Stars, Burnham was charged with mutiny in addition to the other charges of dereliction of duty and assaulting a fellow officer. Burnham then pleaded guilty at her court martial, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and stripped of her rank. (DSC episodes: "The Vulcan Hello", "Battle at the Binary Stars")
For the next six months, Burnham was known as "Starfleet's first mutineer". In 2257, Burnham and the crew of the USS Discovery then threatened to mutiny against Starfleet when they allowed Captain Georgiou's mirror counterpart to set a hydrogen bomb on Qo'noS. They were successful in preventing Georgiou from setting off the bombs and were able to end the war. (DSC episodes: "Context Is for Kings", "Will You Take My Hand?")
In 2159, the Slayton under Captain Bran Hendricks became stranded in the Wagner-219 system. On the 47th day of being stranded, the Chief Engineer Jack Somers and other members of the crew then mutinied against the captain. Starfleet and Admiral Somers believed from the distress signal that the Slayton and the crew had died as a result of the mutiny. (SA - Starfleet Academy comic: "Issue 3")
However, in truth, the Slayton was actually trapped in a "time quicksand" temporal anomaly. They remained stuck until 2261 of the Kelvin timeline when Starfleet Academy cadet ship A-317 entered the system and discovered it. When the cadets boarded the Slayton, Somers and Hendricks ended the mutiny and worked togetther to leave the anomaly. They were successful and returned to Earth. (SA - Starfleet Academy comics: "Issue 4", "Issue 5")
In 2358, the crew of the USS Pegasus under Captain Erik Pressman was testing a prototype phasing cloaking device when there was an explosion in Main engineering. The Pegasus's first officer, chief engineer and most crew then mutinied against Pressman, believing he was comprising their safety and breaking the Treaty of Algeron. However, Ensign William T. Riker and several others then defended Pressman's actions. However, they were unable to stop the mutiny and were forced to abandon the ship. The crew that remained aboard tried to terminate the experiment, but were killed in explosion and the Pegasus was phased into a asteroid. The mutiny was then hidden from the public following the inquiry into the Pegasus's fate until 2370. (TNG episode: "The Pegasus")
In 2258 of the Kelvin timeline, cadet and acting first officer, James T. Kirk attempted to mutiny against Commander Spock when he disagreed with his order to rendezvous with Starfleet in the Laurentian system instead of pursuing Nero and the Narada to Earth. However, Kirk was then subdued by Spock and was then marooned on Delta Vega. However, with help from Ambassador Spock and Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott, Kirk was able to return to the USS Enterprise. There, Kirk was able to prove and convince Spock that he was compromised and forced him to relinquish command. Kirk, as first officer was able to take command of the Enterprise and pursued Nero. Spock was then allowed to serve under Kirk as his first and science officer. No charges were file against Kirk for his mutiny. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek)
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