//\\ 15-Minute Federation //\\ presents . . . Star Trek: The Motion Picture — Chapter 6: Why Do V’Ger Probes Take Showers? (Or: Reducing Carbon-Based Units to Data Patterns)

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01:15:01 – 01:30:00

Commander Spork just suggested that we slingshot around the McDonald’s on the corner and go back in time just long enough to take advantage of the breakfast menu. Lt. Hulu, who serves as both our helmsman and main source for pirated episodes of Castle Rock, reminds Spork that some of the breakfast items are now available all day, so the slingshot idea is abandoned.

Captain James C. Firewater worked only a half-day. When he left the bridge, he said he was taking some well-deserved shore leave on Risa, which is his code-name for the gentlemen’s club Paradise Cove out near the airport. He mumbled something about “finding some green alien women” and “taking care of his captain’s log.”

Welcome to The Motion Picture Edition of the 15-Minute Federation. We’ve made it all the way to Chapter 6.

When we last saw the stalwart crew of the USS Enterprise, the bald-headed lady was getting zapped by the Earth-threatening energy cloud. Both the probe that came on board the USS Enterprise and the Deltan hottie Ilia vanish.

Commander Decker turns to Kirk and says, angrily, “This is how I define not warranted.

These words have greater impact if you’ll recall the earlier exchange between the two men.

To recap: Decker told Kirk that going into the huge Seeing Eye cloud was an “unwarranted gamble.” To which Kirk replied, “How do you define unwarranted, mister?”

So now Decker’s former girlfriend has been vaporized, or transported, or something. It’s safe to assume that Decker believes she is dead, at any rate, and he uses the emotions of the moment to take another jab at his superior officer.

Then the ship is seized by a tractor beam and pulled deeper into the structure at the center of the cloud. The ship can’t break free while the alien structure plays doom metal power chords and pulls it deeper inside.

Decker wants to know why the alien is pulling them inside when it could easily have destroyed them outside. Spock suggests that it is curious about them. The ship is pulled through an aperture that closes behind them. Uhura announces this, just in case we didn’t see it.

We‘ve condensed a lot of the “action” here. Trust us that there were some beautiful lingering shots of the inside of this alien thing. Compared to our favorite starship, this thing at the heart of the cloud is huge, and it takes a long while for the ship to move through it.

As the tractor beam is released and the Enterprise is allowed to move under her own power, we notice another orifice located far ahead, an entrance to another chamber perhaps. This orifice is irising closed just as an intruder alert sounds for the officer’s quarters on Deck 5.

This means someone has come aboard the ship. Who could it be?

Kirk leaves Decker in command on the bridge while he and Spock go to investigate the intruder alarm. A security team is supposed to meet them there. Does it make sense for the captain and his first officer to be the two crewmembers investigating an intruder alarm? Seems like something that could be delegated.

Of course, it’s Ilia, back again already and naked in the shower when Kirk and Spock arrive. A sonic shower, we think. The Deltan comes out of the shower stall in a short, high-collared robe. There is now a glowing red light attached to her throat.

Apparently, it’s not Ilia. She announces herself as a probe, programmed by someone or something named V’ger. She has been programmed by V’ger to observe and record normal functioning of the carbon-based units that infest the starship.

Kirk is curious about the identity of V’ger. Is that the name of the captain of the alien vessel?

V’ger is that which seeks the Creator in order to join with Him.

There, that should clear up any questions we might have.

When McCoy arrives, he determines that this thing that looks like Ilia is a mechanism, not a living being. Ilia, sounding quite robotic, proceeds to tell them that Ilia no longer functions (she’s dead) and that the probe was given her form to more easily communicate with the carbon-based units infesting the ship. The “carbon-based” units are the living crew, of course. Are all of the aliens on board carbon-based? We know that Spock’s blood is copper-based rather than iron-based like humans. But, what about the rest of him? Something to think about.

The Ilia-Probe tells us that V’ger (we now have a name for the Seeing Eye cloud) is heading for Earth to find its Creator.

The Ilia-Probe allows McCoy to escort her to sick bay for an examination. Decker comes to sick bay while she is there and the probe seems to recognize him, even saying his name. “Decker.”

Spock remarks that it’s interesting that Ilia says “Decker” rather than “Decker-Unit.” Up until this point, she’s been referring to Kirk as “Kirk-Unit,” and so on. Spock takes Decker and Kirk into an adjoining room, locking the door behind them. He suggests that Ilia’s memories and feelings may have been duplicated by V’ger, just as her body has been. This may be the key to learning more about the alien who now holds them captive.

The Ilia-Probe bursts through the door like Kool-Aid Man and demands that Kirk begin to help her make her observations. Kirk assigns Decker to escort the probe around the ship. Decker no longer looks so distraught. Having a lookalike sexbot is the next best thing to having your girlfriend.

The theme music from the original series begins playing in the background as Decker escorts the Ilia-Probe out of the chamber.

Decker takes the probe to a recreation area and tries to get it to play games with him. The Ilia-Probe doesn’t want to play games. Instead, she questions why carbon-based units are even necessary aboard the Enterprise. Decker explains that the ship couldn’t function without them. She tells him that she needs more information before the crew can be patterned for data storage. When Decker asks what that means, she tells him, somewhat repetitively, that when her examination is complete, all carbon units will be reduced to data patterns.

And here is where we reach the 1:30 mark and the end of our current chapter. According to Memory Alpha, Act 3 began the moment Ilia reappeared in the sonic shower. But, we’re not convinced that we’re in Act 3 yet. We’ll point out where we think the final act begins, probably in the next chapter.

To recap, once again: Act 1 was everything that happened prior to the ship leaving space dock. The midpoint of Act 2 must have been the point where the ship entered the cloud. Ilia vanishing and the Ilia-Probe reappearing in her place were all just part of the second half of Act 2.

Will Kirk and our Starfleet heroes eliminate the threat of V’ger in our next chapter? Probably not. This is a very long movie. But, more stuff happens, so stay tuned. Maybe we’ll even find out why the Probe sent by V’ger felt the need to take a shower when it appeared. Surely there is a better explanation than pointless titillation.

Until next chapter . . . Dilithium Crystals Are BOGO at the 15-Minute Federation . . .Live Long and Prosper.

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