TIME TRAVEL via "Star Trek"
- Remembering Favorite Journeys In Time -
By George A. Haloulakos
This month we talk about a perennially interesting topic - Time Travel! The concept of Time Travel has been a recurring theme in literature, film and television that goes back nearly two centuries. For example, Charles Dickens used Time Travel via the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future in his classic morality tale "A Christmas Carol" published in 1843. In 1895, H.G. Wells wrote a science fiction novel, "The Time Machine," that was later made into a full length motion picture (1960) to be followed by several remakes. Time Travel has been adapted by lots of TV shows and made-for-TV movies, but perhaps the most successful franchise to employ Time Travel has been the "Star Trek" franchise in all its variants for more than 50 years. The various "Star Trek" series and movies have all used Time Travel to various degrees, and often with critical success. A good number of these plotlines seem to involve very dramatic, major historic events, often incorporating noteworthy heroes and heroines from recorded history. In each case that was related to a major historic event or public figure, the Time Travel theme is used by the "Star Trek" characters to save humanity or perhaps the galaxy! No doubt many of you in our GNN audience have your own favorites, and so we invite you to please share it with us by either posting to the GNN FACEBOOK page (and "liking" us when doing so) or send it directly to the Galaxy Nostalgia Network at: GalaxyMoonbeamNightSite@gmail.com
When submitting your favorite Time Travel themed "Star Trek" episode or movie, be sure to include your reason or reasons for doing so. This is a fun topic for people of all ages, backgrounds and with various interests. My personal favorite Time Travel "Star Trek" episode is "Timeless" - the 100th episode of the "Star Trek - Voyager" series (with an original air date of November 18, 1998). My reason for this choice is that it is one of the few Time Travel themed episodes that did not involve a major historic event but was far more personal in nature. "Star Trek" in all of its variants exhibited its greatest attribute when it highlighted strength of character. In this particular episode it begins fifteen years in the future where First Officer Chakotay and Operations Officer Harry Kim discover their spaceship Voyager frozen in ice following a crash landing in which all crew members aboard were killed on impact. The only survivors, Chakotay and Kim, avoided the disastrous accident because they were piloting a small scoutcraft leading the larger spaceship (Voyager) using slipstream quantum technology in an attempt to return to Earth in a matter of moments rather than decades. The slipstream technology was unstable, and this resulted in the scoutcraft reaching Earth safely but leaving Voyager behind to spiral out of control and crashing on the aforementioned ice planet.
The crash sequence along with Chakotay and Kim recovering the remains of the crew fifteen years later are truly haunting. Chakotay and Kim have returned to recover the body of Seven of Nine, a Borg drone with technology able to receive messages from the future. Using a stolen Borg temporal transmitter, Chakotay and Kim hope to send a message back in time to avoid the accident that killed all of their crewmates. Aided by Voyager's holographic medical doctor (who is activated by a mobile emitter recovered from the crash site) and Chakotay's girlfriend, Tess, they send a message back in time using Kim's new instructions aimed to help Voyager safely reach Earth, but this has no effect in correcting the quantum slipstream and Voyager is destroyed a second time! Kim's follow-up attempt, this time using new instructions designed to cause the slipstream to fail prematurely so that Voyager will simply power down and not crash, is successful and tragedy is avoided. The entire Voyager crew along with Chakotay and Kim, return safely to normal space, unharmed, and ten years closer to home (in what is a 75-year journey).
What makes this a compelling story is how Kim deals with survivor guilt in trying to make things right. While Chakotay has seemingly moved on with his life, his girlfriend Tess -- knowing full well that if they are successful, the timeline in which she and Chakotay meet and fall in love, will be erased -- provides him the encouragement to do whatever is necessary to reverse Voyager's disastrous accident because she knows Chakotay's heart will always be with his beloved crewmates! This selfless act of love is both inspiring and sad because it is evident that Chakotay and Tess are a strong couple who realize they have truly shared a very special moment in time. Finally, when the timeline is restored, Kim learns his future self sent to his past self an encoded message along with the operational instructions directed to Seven of Nine. As Kim watches the message from his future self on the viewscreen, his facial expression imparts a poignancy as he realizes the enormity of his actions in the alternate timeline. The result is a significant increase in self-confidence and respect that Harry Kim had not yet experienced in his career, thereby giving him a renewed sense of purpose and hope.
While any story concerning Time Travel raises a host of "what-if" questions about how seemingly trivial events and unimportant people can have major impact on the historic timeline, "Timeless" is an episode in which its characters are taking action solely out of love for their comrades and friends that were left behind in a horrific accident. Chakotay and Kim were willing to risk it all for personal reasons. In my opinion, this is what makes this Time Travel episode so very special, and ultimately, my favorite in the "Star Trek" franchise. What is your favorite? We look forward to hearing from you, our wonderful Galaxy audience!
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