//\\ 15-Minute Federation //\\ presents . . . Star Trek: The Motion Picture — Chapter 7: Spock Completes a Side Mission (Or: V’ger Has Daddy Issues)

01:30:01 – 01:45:00

A new ensign joined us as navigator here on the bridge of the 15-Minute Federation. He has shaggy hair and goes by the name Shecky Pavlov. He looks a lot like Captain Firewater’s pet sheepdog. He also salivates every time he hears a bell ring. To be fair, he salivates when he doesn’t hear a bell ring, too.

Until Ensign Pavlov joined the bridge crew, we had a different crewmember at the navigator station each week. Pavlov and Lt. Hulu seem to have a good rapport. We think it’s because Hulu keeps a ready supply of Pup-Peroni treats at the helm.

As we begin the penultimate chapter of The Motion Picture Edition of the 15-Minute Federation, we rejoin Commander Willard Decker and the V’ger-Probe-Formerly-Known-As-Ilia. We should be getting into our final act, Act Three, at any minute. As was pointed out in our last chapter, Memory Alpha proposes that Act Three began the moment Probe-Ilia appeared in the sonic shower. Since Ilia was literally murdered in order to create the probe replica, and the Probe-Ilia is now the source of whatever knowledge we get about V’ger (including the name itself), this argument has some weight to it. This could be considered a major turning point in the plot, from a certain point of view.

It doesn’t feel that way though. No one seems to be grieving over Ilia because something that looks exactly like Ilia, with a red jewel at her throat and a dangerously short robe with a high Mandarin collar, is walking around with Decker getting a guided tour of the ship. It doesn’t feel like much has changed at all, actually. We offer an alternate beginning point for Act Three, coming up very shortly.

As we ended our previous chapter, Ilia had just informed Decker that V’ger plans to reduce all of the carbon units to data patterns. In other words, V’ger is going to kill everyone on board the USS Enterprise.

Decker says that, within the Probe-Ilia, there are memory patterns of a certain carbon unit, and he wants to revive those patterns so that Probe-Ilia will understand the functions of carbon units better. This seems logical to the probe, and she allows him to proceed.

The scene shifts and the focus is now on Mr. Spock. Something different is happening. Spock uses the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to knock out a technician in an airlock. Spock is being naughty, which is interesting.

Then, back to less interesting things. Probe-Ilia is trying on a decorative headband that Dr. Chapel handed to her. Dr. McCoy and Decker are present as well. They may be in Ilia’s quarters. They must be since they are putting Ilia’s things on the probe. Decker asks the probe if she remembers wearing the headband on Delta IV. They seem to be getting through to the part of Ilia that remains in the probe, but when they begin pushing her for information about V’ger, she reverts to her emotionless probe state again.

Spock leaves the ship in a red EVA suit that is maneuvered with the use of thrusters.

Here is where we believe Act Three begins. Spock is actively doing something that kicks off the chain of events leading to the movie’s conclusion. And we’re roughly a half hour from the end of the movie, which is right on the money in a two-hour movie.

What is Spock up to? He’s timing the opening and closing of an aperture that’s located directly ahead of him. He also records a log entry explaining his actions: he’s doing this in an attempt to communicate with the alien.

On the bridge, Chekov reports that airlock 4 has been opened and a thruster suit has been reported missing. No one says anything about the technician being rendered unconscious. Kirk instantly knows that Spock is the one who went out the airlock, though.

At the precisely computed moment, Spock activates his thrusters and rockets straight towards the V’ger orifice. He plans to progress even deeper into the massive spaceship. Spock shoots through the opening, continuing to narrate his journey through the log entry. He sees an image of V’ger’s home planet, then passes through a long tunnel, then sees more images beyond the tunnel. Planets, moons, stars, galaxies. A visual record of V’ger’s entire journey. The Epsilon IX station, which was destroyed way back in Chapter 1, is there as well.

Somehow, all of this digital imagery convinces Spock that all of what he’s seeing is a part of V’ger. They are inside of a living machine.

This weird parody of childbirth wouldn’t be complete without Spock passing through another aperture with a decidedly sideways-vagina shape. Beyond this is a giant digital copy of Ilia. Why is the image of Ilia so huge? It even has the glowing red sensor at the throat, which Spock, naturally, attempts to mind meld with.

The mind meld knocks Spock unconscious. Maybe he overloaded his brain.

While we weren’t looking, Kirk put on an EVA suit as well and is outside the ship. If you’re keeping score, that’s both the first and second officers on the outside of the ship. He catches the unconscious Spock as the Vulcan is forcibly ejected from the first orifice like a . . . well, like something that gets ejected from orifices. Let’s leave it at that.

Later, Spock is in sickbay being examined by both Dr. McCoy and Dr. Chapel. McCoy determines that Spock has endured massive neurological trauma from the mind meld. A revived Spock says that V’ger is a conscious, living entity. V’ger comes from a planet of living machines with unbelievable technology. But, with all of its knowledge, which spans the universe, and with its perfect logic, V’ger still feels incomplete.

Spock grabs Kirk’s hand, a move that probably made lovers of slash fiction very happy, and says, “This simple feeling is beyond V’ger’s comprehension. No meaning, no hope. And, Jim, no answers. It’s asking questions. ‘Is this all that I am?’ ‘Is there nothing more?’”

V’ger is experiencing existential angst. Probably reading too much Camus and Kafka and wearing a lot of black clothing.

Uhura contacts Kirk over comms, telling him that they’re getting a faint signal from Starfleet now. The cloud surrounding V’ger has been dissipating as it approaches Earth. Sulu adds that V’ger has slowed to subwarp speed and is now only three minutes from Earth. Kirk, McCoy and Spock return to the bridge.

Once there, Uhura informs them that V’ger is transmitting some sort of signal. When Decker and Probe-Ilia reach the bridge, the bald one says that V’ger is signaling the Creator. Spock determines that the signal is a simple binary code transmitted by carrier wave. In other words, radio.

Because the “Creator” has not responded, V’ger zaps Earth and makes all planetary defense systems inoperative. More energy bolts are unleashed, glowing green things that spread out all over the planet. The Probe-Ilia suggests that carbon unit infestation is interfering with the Creator’s ability to respond to V’ger’s signal. V’ger is going to get rid of the infestation by wiping out all life on Earth. Probe-Ilia suggests that the crew of the Enterprise are causing the same problem.

We’ve witnessed Captain Kirk talking a computer to death. More than once. He tries the same thing with Probe-Ilia, hoping to convince her that carbon units are living things, not infestations. The probe says they are not true life forms like the Creator. McCoy realizes that V’ger thinks its creator is a machine.

Decker says, “We all create God in our own image.” Deep, Decker. Deep.

And, with this, we’ve reached the 1:45:00 mark and the end of this chapter. Things have come to a head and V’ger is about to destroy all life on Earth unless it hears from its Creator. In that TOS episode, “The Changeling,” the living machine Nomad believes that Kirk is its creator. You think Kirk is going to try the same trick with V’ger, or does he have something else up his sleeve?

We’ll find out in our last chapter.

Until then . . . We’re All Just Warming a Chair Until Pavel Chekov Arrives at the 15-Minute Federation . . .Live Long and Prosper.

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