Saturday, October 26, 2013

Course: Oblivion

Yesterday, while assembling some bookshelves, I watched Course: Oblivion. I love this episode and have been looking forward to it all year. While it's not especially fun or action-packed, it's a great example of the interesting stories Science Fiction can tell.

As the episode opens, Tom and B'Elanna are getting married. Janeway conducts the ceremony. Rice is thrown. But something is amiss. The ship is degrading. The people are degrading. Everything is falling apart but no one can figure out why. Tuvok and Chakotay go back through Voyager's timeline, detailing missions in hopes of getting to the bottom of their mystery. Finally, they figure it out: they're not the real Voyager crew. They're duplicates. They originated on the Demon Class planet and without a connection to their home-world (or one like it) the crew and ship will eventually degrade into

I was thinking about this a lot last night. I was at a wedding. Already I knew something was up since I don't (as a rule) go to weddings. I sat in the back row with Scott as the ceremony was conducted and the vows were exchanged and lots of TV references were made and thought, "Is this the real life?" The officiant (a friend of ours who also happens to be a Jesuit priest) said, "So say we all," and we responded appropriately. I asked myself, "Is this just fantasy?"

I considered whether it was possible that I was a duplicate. I thought about the events that had led up to my sitting there: our recent move, Scott's job, my writing and illustration, our trip to Vancouver, Scott's time at UCLA, our move to Los Angeles, my work with kids, our camp, graduating...our own wedding. Our wedding was tiny. It was just the two of us and a police chaplain who recited phrases from The Princess Bride and Star Trek. It was October. A breeze came off the ocean. Our bare feet sunk into the sand of Virginia Beach. A day later we drove back to Northern Kentucky over the Appalachian Mountains where we'd both been born and raised.

Sitting at the wedding last night, I considered whether I might disintegrate if I didn't return to those mountains. Would I fall apart if I didn't return to my place of origin? Could I keep going on my crazy life-adventure? I realized, as everyone stood and followed the wedding party into the reception area and Scott wordlessly stayed back with me and took my hand, that I wouldn't--that I'm not a duplicate and even though I'm a grown up and have to do grown up things sometimes (like go to weddings and pay bills and assemble bookshelves) I'm still the same person. I haven't been replaced and I'm not going anywhere.


  1. This episode always leaves me feeling empty and sad. This crew, though not the crew we love, is for all other intent and purpose: the crew we love, and in this mortal crisis, there comes no rescue or resolution. They become dust. Never to be known or commemorated. It's very tragic. And one of my favourite Voyager episodes. I'm morbid like that.

  2. YOU are REAL! so very will not disintegrate if you don't get back to the see, you have taken the mountains and your family's love with you in your heart. I am glad you and Scott have each other and are on this adventure. I am excited for you both and thankful you both are able to use your gifts of creativity. I am glad you had a sweet REAL wedding with no pomp and all that jazz. You married each other to the sound of ocean waves at the beauty of the ocean and with words you chose and will cherish forever. Sometimes those of us who have done theatre question society's rituals (weddings, funerals etc etc etc) because the seem like another "performance." but yours was real and meant for just each other (you and Scott) and that is precious.I know your blog is about Star Trek but I like reading your parallel memoirs that go along and I love your honesty. <3 Mama

  3. I was touched by this post also. My first reaction to “Course: Oblivion” was that duplicating leading characters in Trek has been done so often before– Kirk, Picard, Worf, Data, Riker – but I love how you take these stories to heart. [plus I live in the Blue Ridge mountains and have been to Virginia Beach many times…. your wedding sounds a lot sweeter than B’Elanna’s.]

  4. I doubt such a bloody real and wonderful woman like you will disintegrate...............I love a good wedding


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