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Set Phasers to…stunning?

By Patrick Van Roy On July 13th, 2020


Guest post by Seimi

I have been re-watching Star Trek: Voyager recently (silence, non-nerds!) and found myself pre-cringing – cringing before the act – at certain episodes which I knew were to be forthcoming. I reached the first of those episodes today: Season 6 – Episode 11: Fair Haven.

As you may or may not know, the USS Starship, Voyager, has a number of ‘Holodecks’, rooms where the crew can play out holographic stories, play sports, interact with historical figures and so on. The captain occasionally converses with Da Vinci; some of the crew play assorted parts in a 1950s-style serial, loosely based on Flash Gordon; crew members can hone their fighting skills with a Klingon Bat’leth. Basically any scenario they wish to imagine can be re-created.

The Fair Haven of the title is a quaint, Irish coastal town, which various members of the crew visit during this, and at least one other episode. The scenario is set some time in the late 19th-early 20th Century, and ticks all the stereotypical boxes: The days are sunny; the streets are cobbled; there’s a flame-haired Irish colleen called Molly O’Halloran; a bowler-hatted, waistcoat-with-short-sleeved, mustachioed bar fly called Seamus, who is always on the lookout for ‘a shilling, maybe two,’ to spend in the main pub in town, O’Sullivans (there’s another bar, which we don’t see), whose landlord, Michael O’Sullivan (what else?) presides over the bar with a handsome, sculpted eye. They even have the local priest, in this case played by the ship’s holographic doctor who, whilst being a man of the cloth, is not averse to a bet on an arm wrestling contest in the bar, telling Seamus, when he confesses to having broken the Fifth Commandment – again – to “say ten Our Fathers and see me in the morning.”

I find the episode to be almost embarrassingly twee and stereotyped, mainly for the reasons above, although, overall, I enjoyed the story around it (I won’t tell you – spoilers!). There are, for me, some nice touches to it. The sign at the train station in the town has some Irish written on it, as do a couple of the signs around the town. They’re not all grammatically correct, but the effort is appreciated. There is also, as far as I know, the first use of the spoken language in the Star Trek universe, when Michael O’Sullivan says to Captain Janeway, “Céad Míle Fáilte.”

But Star Trek, since its inception, has pushed boundaries and embraced controversy. From one of the very first inter-racial kisses on television, to having Russian and Asian officers on the bridge – during the Cold War, Star Trek always tried to confront contemporary issues regarding differences, by implying that, by the 23rd Century, they no longer mattered. It is hard to think of another television series that envisioned and celebrated diversity so bluntly and so openly.

But here’s the other thing: they also made predictions about the future, and one of those predictions isn’t that far away.

In Star Trek; The Next generation, Season 3, Episode 12: The High Ground, the ship’s doctor is taken hostage. As the crew attempt to free her, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Commander Data discuss the effectiveness of ‘armed struggle’ or ‘terrorism’ as an effective solution to a problem.

So: Brexit is kinda-sorta-happening; there are new border patrols and tariffs about to pop up where none were supposed to be; a bunch o’ gombeens and cute hooers have clubbed together to divide the spoils in the Free State – everything is in a terrible state o’ chassis. But, according to Star trek, by 2024, we will have a United Ireland! I may be exasperated with Sinn Féin these days, but this is one SF I can buy in to!

21 Responses to “Set Phasers to…stunning?”

  1. Live long and prosper, PaTroll 😊

  2. thanks seimi, star trek seems to have taken a new direction, sounds fun.
    I’m afraid I miss the frequent “crusty banter” between Kirk, Spock, and Leonard McCoy”, which is going back a bit 😉
    It became more interesting to play computers yourself and zap those klingons on the starboard bow. When they we’re welcomed on the USS Enterprise , something inside me died.

  3. kurt
    the episode in question, High Ground, was aired in 1990, during the Troubles. The BBC and RTÉ banned it for years, and it wasn’t shown in its entirety until 2007.

  4. ahh that is interesting, reminds me of spasticus autisticus banned by bbc radio, 30 years later became the anthem of the 2012 Disabled Olympics ..
    maybe in 30 years I’ll get over the shock that Leonard Nimoy is no longer in Star Trek 😉

  5. Then would it be accurate to say that terrorism is acceptable when all options for peaceful settlement have been foreclosed?

    Now there’s a question for ATW to get their teeth into.

  6. That’s exactly what I was thinking, Paul.

  7. terrorism ? – Isn’t that a pre-judgmentalword that most proponents of armed resistance wouldn’t call their campaigns ?

  8. It’s the lazy classification of nonstate mandated extrajudicial violence that people don’t agree with Colm.

  9. Colm
    It is, but it’s how the question is phrased in the episode I linked to. And Picard doesn’t have an answer for it.

  10. Picard doesn’t have an answer, but New Yorker will 🙂

  11. did you mean terrierism? colm, they’ve sorted it all out according to this report

  12. But New Yorker will

    Christ, I’d forgotten about NYer.

    Pretty apt post then, as we’re travelling through space and being beamed through matter expect all history to be rewritten and logic to be suspended.

  13. lol well i’ve been instructed by New Yorker told not to speak on the subject until I’m spoken to . wow so that’s me silenced! maybe i could continue but use helium to subtract credibility from any further comments 😉

  14. The Voyager can reach places in the space continuum that we haven’t even detected exist yet – one day it may even reach Bobby Sands Boulevard 🙂

  15. oh that’s great colm, you know one of the most ( soft )powerful things that echo in diplomatic circles, is when you can pull of stunts like this:

    Britain to reopen embassy in Iran on Bobby Sands Street


    Its keeps her lit !

  16. The Embassy isn’t officially on Bobby Sands’ St Kurt:

    The larger victory, however, was when we discovered the embassy had been forced to change their mailing address and all their printed material to reflect a side door address in order to avoid using Bobby’s name anywhere.



  17. Yes Star Trek certainly was s platform which helped to break new ground and pull down barriers. In Star Trek TNG they even let a black man drive the ship. Best of all, he was supposed to be blind.

    To boldly go when no man has gone before. Just try not to crash into any thing as the insurance premiums on the Enterprise are astronomical


  18. In Star Trek TNG they even let a black man drive the ship. Best of all, he was supposed to be blind.

    Was he singing “Isn’t she lovely” in tribute to the starship ? 🙂

  19. Good post Seimi.
    I actually remember that Star Trek the next generation episode.

    I was talking to my uncle the other day. He’s a big Star Trek fan and he was saying how great the teleporter is, and it would be fantastic if they actually existed.
    I had to point out that I don’t think a machine that brutally murders you, and then creates an exact copy of you somewhere else is great in my opinion.

  20. Cheers, Dave.
    Because it was banned here, it took us a few years to see it. Someone managed to get a video tape of it, and it was shown as a special feature in various venues around the city!
    The transporter question is an interesting one. I’ve read different theories on it – not actually on how it would work, but in what way would it work.
    Is your body safely disassembled at a molecular level and transported over a set distance, then safely re-assembled exactly as before?
    Is the ‘you’ who appears in the new location different from the ‘you’ who left the transporter pad?
    Are you, as you said, killed, and an exact copy created at the other end?
    And so on and so on, etc etc.
    All interesting theories in themselves, but all ultimately impossible with the technology available today and for the foreseeable future. We’re still amazed that Amazon can deliver by drone.

  21. here ya go Seimi/Dave….. this sounds painful.