By John Taylor; 2009 Oct 26, Ilm 11, 166 BE
It has taken over a month but now at last we have viewed all seven seasons of Star Trek Voyager. On the day when we watched the last episode I dreamed a sort of fan-fiction Voyager scenario. There was a big explosion and one of the shuttles was obliterated, along with several central characters. Captain Janeway was about to move the star ship on when the Doctor objected that it would be immoral to just leave. He could send out nano-probes to act as markers. These will give the cells that are living a chance to gather together into clumps. These clumps of flesh may someday learn to live a sort of multi-cellular existence on their own. She was considering his suggestion when I woke up; only then did the absurdity start to sink in.
My original fear when I heard they were making Star Trek Voyager was that it would be horrible to watch. The plot of making one's way home across the galaxy is too similar to that excruciating TV Sci-fi comedy that blighted my childhood, Lost in Space, with its prescient robot crying: "Danger Will Robinson, danger!" Now that I have seen the whole Voyager series I am reminded more of Homer's Odyssey. Actually, this space opera is probably somewhere in between, though I think closer to the Odyssey than to Lost in Space. The writing is as good as it ever gets on television.
The effect of Voyager on the kids is even more marked than on me. Though I did not intend to do so, it looks like I am raising a couple of trekkers. 15 year old Silvie has decided that her costume for Halloween will be Ohura in the new movie version of Star Trek. Yesterday she and her mother bought a red miniskirt and black net hose, just like Ohura. All she needs is a com badge and a black turtleneck dickey, and maybe a deeper tan, and she will look just like the communications officer of the original Star Trek series.
Ten-year-old Tommy is now spouting pseudo-scientific Star Trek babble as his natural language. He carries around an unrecognizable piece of an old toy that now is his "phaser." In his grade five class he was assigned an outline of a turkey to colour for Thanksgiving. Instead of using crayons, he took a pen and drew cybernetic implants over one of its eyes. When his teacher asked what it was, he said that it was a Borg turkey. In response, she told him of a golf partner she once had who wore a flashing Bluetooth cell device behind his ear, which made him look eerily like a Borg drone. Ignoring the fact that the Borg would have disdained to assimilate a turkey, Tommy's Borg turkey is one of the most ridiculous looking creatures I have ever seen. If the earth were invaded by Borg turkeys we would at least go out with a laugh.
As the series ended for us, I heard news on the CBC science radio program, Quirks and Quarks, that the two real Voyager probes are travelling at two different points of a newly discovered ribbon of EM radiation at the outer edge of the heliosphere. The EM ribbon was discovered by telescope, and the two Voyager spacecraft cannot see it because it runs directly between them. Strange.
This morning before school Tommy was huddling on the couch under a blanket while his hot chocolate was waiting for him on the kitchen table. He made the following observation about Voyager, which had me rolling on the floor laughing. "You know with all the transporting they do in Star Trek, you never see them transporting a meal directly into someone's stomach..."