Today I’m glad to present you a guest post by a fellow science fiction author, Michael J. Foy, who, inspired by an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, tries to explore how love would look like in the future.
The other night I saw an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that tackled the emotional complexities of love. It was one of those shows that Trek does well in shining a light on the human condition. The show opens with Dr. Beverly Crusher obviously head over heels in love with an alien ambassador. Unbeknownst to her this man named Odan is actually two beings that live in a symbiotic relationship. There’s the man she sees and the entity that she’s not aware of that lives in the man’s abdomen. It’s called a Trill. This living arrangement is mutually beneficial but the bulk of Odan’s personality comes from the Trill. It is the personality the doctor fell in love with.
Eventually, the ambassador is injured and ends up in sick bay where he’s forced to tell Beverly of his co-existent lifestyle. She’s confused and upset that the man she thought she knew would keep such a big secret from her. On his world this dual relationship is so common that it never even occurs to them to reveal it to single entities like us. To Beverly, though, it appears dishonest and deceptive.
As a good doctor she puts her feelings aside and removes the Trill to save it before the host body dies. The only trouble is that it needs another host to survive. First office Will Riker volunteers to host temporarily while a new more compatible host is found. Not an ideal solution since it stresses both Will and Ambassador Odan. After the operation, Will becomes the Ambassador. He has all the memory and feelings of Odan including a love for Beverly. She, on the other hand, doesn’t know how to feel about him and avoids him in spite of persistent strong feelings. Beverly confides in Counselor Troi that she can’t return the affections of a man she thinks of as a brother. She says she wishes Odan never came on board and that she’d do anything not to feel the way she does.
Doctor Crusher is tortured by a love that’s out of reach. It’s an emotional ache that most of us have felt at some time in our lives and it can come with physical manifestations like loss of appetite and/or sleep. The constant reminder of Will Riker’s presence was an ingenious way for the writers to tantalize Beverly with the prospect of a love now seemingly made unattainable.
Eventually, Beverly does look beyond her so called human bias and goes to Will. Her need for closeness to Odan overpowers her and they consummate their love. She looks forward to removing the Trill and placing it in the new host body so that she can resume her affair. The next scene could be titled: You should’ve seen the look on your face. The new host shows up and it’s a woman. Even in the 24th century we’re not that enlightened. In spite of, or because of, advances from the new female Odan, Beverly ends the relationship.
Given that our physical presences and personalities are inseparable perhaps the question Trek wanted to pose is do we need to know all of someone’s secrets to bond with them? Human nature is very complex and not everything can be learned in the ten days for instance that Dr. Crusher fell for the ambassador. Whirlwind romances do happen all the time in real life though. Does that mean we don’t need to know all about someone to love them?
In Future Perfect, my hero, Jamie McCord, pines for a woman dead one hundred million years. He eventually meets Lilah who reminds him of his lost love and he falls for her. Unfortunately, Lilah turns out be an intelligence agent named Lisa who was manipulating him. With her true nature exposed Jamie rejects her at first but strong feelings return and as sometimes happens in reality they make up and fall in love again. Whirlwind romances can be intoxicating but perhaps love is really a longer term journey of discovery.
Michael J. Foy
Science ficton author
In 1991 he sold an option for his first Science Fiction novel, False Gods, as a screenplay to Timothy Bogart, nephew of Peter Guber, Producer of Batman. Tim and his uncle adapted material for the big and small screens.
Michael has since published Future Perfect, The Kennedy Effect and the Ghosts of Forgotten Empires series.
Look for Michael J. Foy's latest release: Ghosts of Forgotten Empires: Volume II, A Cord Devlin Adventure
For more on his books please visit, www.michaeljfoy.com
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