Setting the Universe to rights in a few easy steps…

Star Trek Voyager: Concerning the USS Voyager herself.

Concerning repairs and the inability of the ship to stop at Starbases. Okay, here we go. The IMPLICATION is enough for me. I do not need to see every single bit of repair work they conduct or see them squaring away the supplies they acquire. Each episode takes place over either twenty four hours, or three or four days. There are exceptions, some episodes take place over a period of weeks or even months, but they are rare exception, usually two-parters. So, 365 days in a year, and each season of Trek encompasses roughly a year. Let’s average it out and say each episode takes three days to pass, and we have an average of 26 episodes per season. 3 x 26 = 78. So, 78 days of action, leaving 287 days of unseen events. (Roughly). Let’s make it 230 days including the occasional ‘long’ episodes. That is a heck of a lot of time for all sorts of other events to take place, some referenced in other episodes but not actually seen, characters mentioning encounters with aliens, perhaps battles or trouble they got into, perhaps peaceful encounters, exploring planets or shore leave they enjoyed. And in this time, repairs would be conducted, hull breaches fixed, ship’s systems enhanced or refitted. The implication is enough. Exposition is a wonderful thing and saves so much precious episode time for the good stuff like action and intelligent drama.

There is another very good reason, and one of critical importance, that Voyager looks relatively undamaged. Janeway’s an astute leader, this would be an obvious fact for her. Keeping Voyager looking tough and undamaged, at least on the outside, would be a very high priority for her, and she would be willing to use significant resources in that area. A ship with massive battle scars, damaged hulls, breaches hastily patched over from other encounters practically SCREAMS to other hostile types: ‘Hey! Come and get us! Another lot had a pop at us last week, maybe you’ll have more luck then they did!’ Screw that. Appearances are important when you have NO BACK UP. They are an island out there, the Voyager crew would know only to well that if the ship appeared intact with no major structural damage, hostile assholes might think twice before having a go at an attack.

This rule is not employed a few times, just enough for the reminder that they have to do all repair work themselves to stick. In Deadlock you see them repairing the ship after the danger has passed and they’ve found a safe spot to slow or stop completely and conduct repairs, go EVA, etc. In Demon they do almost run out of fuel and as the episode opens we see them searching for a source of deuterium. The plot that arises from this happens to be interesting and very well done, mimetic sentient fluid…you really have to watch it, its hard to explain. So the episode is not just a simple (and therefore not boring) search for fuel. It turns into something far more interesting. After the tumultuous events of ‘Scorpion’ in the following episode ‘The Gift’ opens with Voyager still infested with the Borg technology they were forced to install to go to war against Species 8472 and struggling to purge the ship’s systems of the virulent tech. In ‘Nightingale’ Voyager has landed on an uncolonised planet for a major overlay. By this point the ship had been in service for nearly seven years. It is an incredibly advanced starship. I think seven years is an entirely realistic time stretch before a long range explorer cruiser designed to hold its own would need its first major overlay. Any less than that…well, you’d have to question the competence of the ship’s designers.

You know, I don’t watch science fiction to watch people REPAIRING their ships. I don’t watch science fiction to watch a beautiful piece of starship technology slowly fall apart because an incompetent crew can’t keep it together! I don’t watch science fiction to watch a crew twiddling their thumbs whilst their vessel is sat in a Starbase or spacestation! Starfleet vessels are designed to be largely self-sufficient, except for occasional overlays at Starbases for refit, refuelling, etc.  We know Voyager has a refinery aboard to produce important metals, it’s mentioned in Dark Frontier. We know they have the ability to mine, store and refine ore and precious gases, otherwise why the fuck would they search for them?

I am aware this is a sticking point with some fans. Fine. But it shouldn’t be. Damn, just enjoy the show. Science Fiction is riddled with such conceits to make the exiting plots run smoother.

We are a smart audience, we don’t need to be hand-held through all this repairing the ship shit. Otherwise, we’re reaching The Next Generation levels of mind-numbing, ‘tempted to look for the closest rafter to hang myself from’ levels of boredom.

Briefly to finish, I have to say I find the snide insinuations Ronald D. Moore made during his two-episode stint on Voyager offensive. If he thinks that is all audiences wants to see, he’s an idiot. Fine, Moore. You throw your toys out of the pram and sit in the corner and cry, whilst the other writers continue to do what made Voyager the best of the Treks. You whine and bitch because other writers have better ideas than you do. You got some nerve pal, criticising your colleagues like that. Artistic differences are fine, you don’t need to attack the people you work with so publicly. Everybody’s a fucking critic! (Including me dear reader, it has to be noted!) Sure, Voyager ain’t perfect, it ain’t flawless, but its exciting, its intelligent, and holy fuck is it good television. Ultimately, thank god Officer Dickhole didn’t stay aboard and ruin a great show. (If you don’t know what this last paragraph refers to, I recommend that you not to bother finding out. Such small-mindedness does not deserve any more attention than what little amount I have given it here).

Voyager out.


12 responses

  1. Maria

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, but I must say I even more thoroughly enjoyed the comments about Ron Moore.

    Officer Dickhole, indeed. A more fitting name will never be found for him. Not only did he display juvenile, unprofessional behaviour in the incident you alluded to in the post, but the man has never really had an original idea in his life.

    Most Trek fans on line treat DS9 like some sort of Sci-Fi gospel. At least it’s last 4 seasons, helmed by Moore. And yet when I watch a Moore show (DS9, Battlestar Galactica, etc.) I get a very uneasy feeling that I’m watching the thinly veiled social commentary of Ronald D. Moore, and not a sci-fi adventure show.

    The man has to have an evil lesbian on every show he writes.

    But the crux of my distaste for Moore comes form how he built his reputation as a sci-fi writer. During his time on TNG he became the “go-to guy” for all things Klingon. And yet everything he ever “originated” about Klingons was actually “borrowed” (read stolen) from a 1980s Star Trek roleplaying game, published by the FASA corporation, and forced out of print by Paramount (largely because of the same stuff Moore later “borrowed” as a writer).

    The game was good (though Decipher’s very pro-Voyager version from 2002 is better). Moore’s writing is not.

    August 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    • LOL at the evil lesbian quote. You nailed that one. The guy’s a shallow, shallow man. He stole from other writers and nicked their ideas and called them his own, and everything he writes is largely cynical and negative in nearly every respect. I’d love to shove DS9 where the sun doesn’t shine. Heh-heh.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and my blog in general, and thanks for the considered comment, I enjoyed reading it.

      Which 2002 game are you referring to? You should play 1999’s Voyager Elite Force, that’s brilliant.

      August 6, 2010 at 9:51 pm

  2. Wen

    Wow, you think Voyager was the best Star Trek? I’ve never heard a sillier statement in my life.

    Really, everyone KNOWS the writing for Voyager was absolutely terrible.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

    • It’s a free country, and I’ll state whatever the FUCK I want. Everybody doesn’t know that, you’re full of shit. Generalising EVERYONE is silly as shit, so go eat some. Go and troll a DS9 blog.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:27 am

  3. Janewayjp

    I seriously hate people who talk crap about Voyager,it was and will always be ”Unique”
    unlike the Boring TNG and the Drama of DS9.
    They criticize the repairs,the torpedoes,the Maquis,the Borg being weak omg!!! did you people watch the show…
    Voyager is amazing and i hope it gets a reboot.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Yup, the other Treks are boring compared to Voyager, it was action-packed whilst also being cerebral. I always felt it had a good mix of both approaches to Trek.

      I’m not sure it requires a reboot, but it would be interesting!

      February 25, 2013 at 2:43 am

  4. Jdbolander

    I never cared much for the geometry and color palette of Voyager. I found Andrew Probert’s ships (Enterprise A, C, D) to have more elegant lines and from an audience perspective, a more graceful and affectionate design. When I saw those ships there’s a real emotional connection, as if the Enterprise is a character in the show and the hero shots create emotion.

    However, with Voyager, I found John Eaves’ designs to have less grace to their lines. It’s a subtle thing, but the Enterprise E and Voyager just don’t evoke the same excitement when I see them. The design language didn’t connect me to a more hopeful future like Probert’s exploration vessels. Voyager looks like a proto-reptilian creature just emerging from the swamps of ancient past rather than evoke sentiments tied to seafaring days.

    The sets also lacked something for me. While from a storyline perspective I can understand why Voyager would be more subdued and monochromatic due to its mission purpose—I think it was a subtlety that made me care less about the ship. The Enterprise has a warmth in color palette that makes me have a affinity to it. The rooms of Voyager seem flat and lifeless.

    December 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    • Fair enough. I disagree, but I respect your opinion. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      January 4, 2014 at 11:19 pm

  5. Katie

    The most irritating part of Voyager, in my opinion, is the ship itself. Here we have one of the most advanced ships starfleet has to offer, yet everytime they meet a new hostile race they get their butts kicked all over the Delta quadrant. First shot “shields down to 60% warp drive down, gonna take 3 days to fix” EVERYTIME! How shitty is federation tech that they get smoked EVERY time? & Janeway is a sissy wimp, never goes for the kill shot. Always “evasive maneuvers” or “can you disable them?” They’re about as intimidating as a box of bunnies. And Voyager is as sturdy as the box.

    August 12, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    • I’m sorry, ‘Never goes for the kill shot?’ Methinks someone missed the point of Star Trek. And they rarely get their butts kicked, they’re a capable crew who can give as good or better than they get. And if they never got their butts kicked, there would be no sense of danger in the show, and therefore no drama. Powerful people are great to watch. All-powerful heroes who never get in trouble or real danger are not interesting to watch. So no. You’re wrong, but I respect your opinion regardless. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      August 13, 2015 at 9:53 pm

  6. TLW

    I love this article. I read a post on the Quora website and someone told another person who was interested in Voyager and wanted to know about other Treks, told them to watch nuBattlestar Galactica instead. They said it was the show that Voyager wished it could be. That really pi$$ed me off.

    I think Voyager suffers the same as the Star Wars prequels. Like it’s popular to hate on them.

    May 5, 2017 at 1:29 pm

  7. TLW

    There were plenty of episodes where it was at least mentioned that they were trading for supplies or they were out looking for them. Janeway wasn’t sending those doomed shuttles out for nothing. 🙂

    January 13, 2018 at 12:24 am

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