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.