PART XV: PLEDGE WEEK AT ALPHA GAMMA DELTA

Cool from this angle, but from underneath it looks like a toilet seat.

Going into Star Trek Voyager (VOY) I was a bit nervous. The final few seasons of The Next Generation (TNG) along with Deep Space 9 (DS9) so far have been so wrapped up in the Cardassian threat. I wasn’t sure what to expect with VOY. More of the same? Some sort of low-cost replacement for my friends aboard NCC 1701-D? Well the pilot begins with words scrolling on the screen explaining Maquis and Cardassians private little war which has been raging throughout the previous couple of seasons of both TNG and DS9, in the demilitarized zone. Uh oh, here we go. Then we’re introduced to the crew of a Maquis ship. Oh boy… seven additional seasons of this? To make things even rougher on me I’m introduced to a human Captain, human helmsman, ops, doctor, human, human, human. Did Michael Westmore just pack up the make up department and leave or what’s happening here? Then it happens…  the twist. Lets just say that by the end of the pilot I had to check to make sure my room mates weren’t home so I could cheer as loudly as I liked over how pumped I was for VOY. Turns out one of my room mates was in his room with the door shut, very embarrassing for me.

VOY is very much its own show. The twist I mentioned previously is that the crew is taken far, far away from the usual. The Maquis ship, and the federation ship, named Voyager, are sent WAY off into the Delta Quadrant of the galaxy. No idea what that means? Well look directly to the left. So bottom left we have the Alpha quadrant, of which a teeny tiny portion is Federation space (a few episodes aside, all of The Original Series (TOS) and TNG takes place in said tiny space.) The Beta Quadrant (bottom right) is blocked off by the Romulans so you need not concern yourself there. The Wormhole being protected by Deep Space 9 leads to the Gamma quadrant (top left) which would otherwise take about 70 years or so to get to. Then, top right, as far from the all mighty Federation as could be, we have the Delta Quadrant. So the crew of Voyager is whisked away to the other side of that! No back up, no spare parts or spare power. 38 photon torpedoes and counting. Oh, and their ship is damaged and a good portion of an already small crew is dead. So the Maquis crew and Federation crew, with only themselves, limited supplies, and a holographic emergency doctor, have to join together under Federation rules and work together to make the long journey home! Oh, and they have a Vulcan! I had been missing me some sweet Vulcan action.

This look of terror is quite common aboard Deep Space 9

Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy DS9 is getting just plain cray. The shadow of a threat from S2, the Dominion, have taken shape. (Ha… inside joke.) That threat has become very real. So the Gamma quadrant, which at first beamed with the prospects of new knowledge and exploration, has fallen in line with the rest of DS9 and become very dark. One thing I like about DS9 is how much a role the secondary characters play. The main cast is of course at the forefront, but the series of regular guest stars play as intricate a role. Here, without losing it’s foundation, they’re able to play with the characters. Some, who you want to live, die. Those you want dead, thrive. Some, particularly Garak, continue to evolve yet still remain a mystery.

“Are you saying I won’t fuck you up right now?”

It’s the main character who hold the plot together though. Commander Sisko (Avery Brooks) is supposed to be the rock which holds it all together. Sisko himself though, remains a peculiar mystery in his own right. He’s not as much a straight and narrow kind of guy as Kirk, let alone Picard. He’s going to the beat of his own drum. He’s a bit of an oddball, capable of obsessing over the strangest things. He has a certain poetic sense about him, and he’s difficult to really get a grasp on. It’s whats best about him though, as Deep Space 9 and the situation it’s stuck in has a quirkiness of its own.

This picture shows off Kira’s ability to be annoying looking, yet somehow sexy at the same time.

His second in command, Major Kira (Nana Visitor), a Bajoran former… well, the Cardassians would say terrorist… took a bit to grow on me. She comes across as an over eager, mousy person at first. You know, that “head of every club and committee possible” girl in high school who you have to hold back from punching every time she speaks. Like that! Kira is dedicated to her values and to Bajor, which more often than not conflict. You eventually have to learn to love the girl as she is really a major (ha… that’s her title) part of the series.

Odo: I’ll tell you exactly where you can shove that stick Quark.

Also coming into his own by the third season is an early favorite of mine. Everybody’s favorite shapeshifting head of security, Odo! (Rene Auberjonois) Like Clint Eastwood in… well… every Clint Eastwood movie, Odo just don’t give a fuck. He knows what he has to do, does it. If you don’t like it, what are you gonna do about it? He’s a shapeshifter, he’ll destroy you! In usual Star Trek fashion though, the soft underbelly of Odo has to do with his past. His natural form is a liquid state, no other creature like him has ever been seen by Federation eyes before him. So, he was studied in a laboratory and was asked to turn into things for people’s amusement. We certainly can’t be blamed for it, it is only human after all. I know it would be the first thing I ask. Unfortunately, this pissed Odo off, and that in combination of being all alone in the universe. It made Odo ashamed of himself and turned him in to the Clint-esque bad ass I described.

Playing the role of the thorn in Odo’s side is none other than the ever greedy, always manipulating, but you love him way too much to ever hate him; Quark! (Armin Shimerman) He’s arrogant, money driven, and an all around conniving little weasel. He’s probably the most likable character on the show. With his as always is Rom… (Max Grodénchik)

He’s just here to fix the station, leave him out of the rest of it.

Chief O’Brien (Colm Meaney) is an ode to Scotty in many ways. Similar accent, similar friendly persona. In many ways, he’s more of the audience’s connection to everything else. He’s such a good old, regular guy. You often feel like you would react the same way if this insanity were surrounding you.

Sexiest parasite I’ve ever seen

Lt. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell), who is half a worm who has lived 8 lifetimes in different hosts, half that worm’s current host. Not kidding about any of that. So having had the memories of living eight lifetimes, sometimes as a man, some as a woman, she’s kind of just all around awesome! She can hang with the grimiest or the best. I’m fairly certain she’s the first babe on television to ever be regularly referred to as Old man. Maybe not though…

Garak: This is the second face off picture in this post.
Bashir: Well, the author isn’t as imaginative as he thinks he is.

The young, confident, bright-eyed do-gooder, Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig), as seen here with his best bud; the devious, mysterious, quasi-villian Garak (Andrew Robinson), is kind of the hopeful hero of the group. He has that optimist’s spirit where you just kind of have to root for him or it makes you a bad person.

Jake: Can you let me out now? He’s been singing the Full House theme song for an hour!

Then there’s Commander Sisko’s son Jake (Cirroc Lofton) and his buddy Nog. (Aron Eisenberg) Jake’s alright I suppose, but it turns out I’m a big Nog fan. Actually, I like all the Ferengis. They really do add a great deal to the series.

Garak, Rom, and Nog are not series regulars. There’s many more; Gul DuKat (Marc Alaimo), Kai Winn, (Louise Fletcher) Vedek Bareil (Philip Anglim), who all are just as important to Deep Space 9 as anyone. Garak’s in almost every episode of season three. The show is a far cry from TOS’s one-episode-per-non-regular-unless-your-dumb-as hell-Harry-Mudd-then- you-can-come-back-for-a-second-episode policy. Of course its totally different, but in many ways still holds onto it’s spirit. DS9 has grasped hold of Star Trek’s political side and ran with it. The show’s tension is built on a political foundation. DS9 has taken issues we face, and have faced as a planet, and transferred it to the galaxy. Leaving VOY with Star Trek’s love for discovery and exploration, the scientific and the insane and unknown. So keep flying Voyager, and you keep fighting the good fight Deep Space 9. The second half of the trek through Trek is starting off very nicely indeed.

Advertisements