Eventually, the natives realize that it isn't a star but a "sky ship." It's speculated that the Sky Ship is full of people and those people (called Sky Ship Friends) are dreamed about by children the world over. Eventually, an astronaut--Gotana-Retz--makes it aboard Voyager and, in one of the most touching scenes of the whole series, he tells Janeway about how the very first memory he has is of a Skyship mobile, which hung over his cradle. The Sky Ship and the Sky Ship Friends have been part of his whole life and now here he was, talking to them. It's a surreal moment for Retz.
And, the crazy thing is, I get it. Earlier this year, I met and talked to two of my own Sky Ship Friends. I don't remember not knowing about Star Trek. I don't remember learning to do the Vulcan salute or memorizing the characters' names. I don't remember the first time I asked my mom to tell me a bedtime story about Geordi and Data or the first time I dressed up and pretended to go on an away mission. Star Trek has just always been there and, even though I (like Retz) put my life on the kind of path that might eventually intersect with some element of show business, I never imagined I'd be telling LeVar Burton how much I appreciated his work or drinking beer with Jonathan Frakes while we talked about actual astronauts who'd actually gone to the actual moon thanks to actual NASA (whose scientists were inspired by actual Star Trek.)
What I'm saying is: I get Gotana-Retz. Meeting your childhood idols is surreal and surprising. It stirs up strange, unexpected emotions. Like Retz, I got lucky and had great experiences and, also like Retz, as much as I liked hanging out with the people I'd fantasized about for years, in the end, I just wanted to go home and tell other people about the Sky Ship, about my experience with it, and about how important it is to our culture, how the Sky Ship serves as an inspiration to millions to reach for the stars.