In Star Trek: Insurrection, Son'a fly some very powerful high-tech ships and in general boast a high-tech base/infrastructure.

But, as we find out (quoting Wiki)

The Son'a are a breakaway faction of younger Ba'ku who a century previously, wanted to give up their bucolic existence and re-embrace the use of technology.

While Ba'ku obviously possess a great deal of technical expertise, having come originally from a high-tech civilization, there are VERY few of them.

Therefore, Son'a - whom there are then even fewer - somehow, with almost no people, managed to rebuild an extremely powerful tech base (including starships rivaling Enterprise, RoboMaid, etc...) in only 100 years.

Is there any explanation in canon for how they managed that organizational (not technological) feat?

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    It doesn't seem remotely implausible to me, think of how far we have come in the past 100 years, then take away the differing opinions/debates, give us a common cause, and give us the knowledge of how the advanced technology works ahead of time. I feel like if anything the fact that there were fewer of them, with a common ideology between them, would make it much easier to get organized.
    – NominSim
    Aug 7, 2012 at 18:16
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    @NominSim - Take a random 100 people. Put them on a ship to an island and give them >100 year old lifespan. Will they build USS Enterprise in 100 years, even with all the modern technological knowledge? Not likely. There's a difference between technology level and building large scale infrastructure. Unless Son'a had self replicating nanobots, I don't see it possible. Aug 7, 2012 at 18:18
  • @NominSim It doesn't work that way though. It's not a motivational problem. Even if you know all the principles and what you want to build, unless you have blueprints, you still have to do experimentation/engineering/prototyping on a massive scale. And even if you do have blueprints, then you have to have a massive workforce just to dig up the ores via manual labor, you have to have a massive exploration force to find such ores (they might be hidden on another continent), etc. You'd need millions, if not billions of people to do that. Chalk it up to more bad Star Trek screenwriting.
    – John O
    Aug 7, 2012 at 18:22
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    @DVK I agree, but that isn't a good analogy. The Son'a were not a random group, but rather a group of individuals who were united in their desire to embrace technology again. They left their planet (possibly even with some advanced technology) and were out in the galaxy with technological knowledge, motivation, and desire. Mind that this is a galaxy which is bustling with technology, replicators etc. and that ones worth is valued by their intelligence more than their monetary worth.
    – NominSim
    Aug 7, 2012 at 18:26
  • I was under the impression that the movie implied that the Son'a left Ba'ku with most of their technology- that is, they, like Moana, found a fleet of old ships in a cave or something somewhere, did whatever minor upgrades or repairs were necessary, and flew off from there. I've also speculated that most of the Son'a ships could have been stolen from other civilizations. Mar 19, 2018 at 0:06

3 Answers 3


The article at Memory-Beta says that the Son'a were extremely aggressive, and:

"During their travels they visited many planets and took what materials they needed to improve their existence. They were also known to subjugate weaker species and make them their slaves, as in the case of the Tarlac and the Ellora in 2325."

(It's not cited, but I imagine this detail is from the Insurrection novelization. I don't recall the intervening century being described in this much detail in the movie.)

It's likely that they were able to bootstrap themselves to more and more advanced technology. Perhaps by the time of Insurrection, their technology is entirely based on what they stole from the peaceful Tarlac and Ellora. There were two Elloran officers on the Son'a ship, it seems unlikely indentured servants/slaves would have a bridge position on a starship unless they had direct knowledge of the technology involved.


One never knows but I presume it was possible for the Son'a exiles to return to the original home world/empire of the Ba'ku. Even if that civilization had collapsed in the 300 years since the Ba'ku's departure it's plausible that remnants of their technology and expertise could have remained, perhaps in the hands of successor alien societies.

Also, the Son'a exiles, having lived their entire lives on the Ba'ku fountain of youth planet may have retained, at least for a time, the impressive mental abilities of their brethren - although I expect these would have deteriorated over time along with their bodies.

Both factors would have been a huge advantage to even a small band of itinerants in the in the 24th Century Alpha quadrant. Ask yourselves this: could the crew of the USS Voyager have carved out an empire amongst the less advanced species of the Delta Quadrant such as the Kazon and Talaxians? Possibly.

  • Their homeworld/empire was destroyed in the wars, that was why Ba'ku were so pacifistic Dec 3, 2012 at 15:03

My belief, is they simply used the technology which originally brought the Ba'ku to the planet, and then simply built upon that with their slave labourers...

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    Do you have any evidence to support this belief?
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 15, 2016 at 13:26

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