V'Ger is that which seeks the Creator
May 3, 2012 4:09 PM   Subscribe

In 2273, after having been thought lost in a black hole, Voyager 6 returned to Federation space as V'Ger, the massive and menacing spaceship at the heart of Star Trek: The Motion Picture... Designing the Living Machine - concept art for V'Ger, Redesigning the Walk to V’Ger, The Lighting and Photography of Star Trek's "V'ger", working on the interior of V'ger, V'ger External View, V'Ger - Spock Mindmeld Model Piece (scroll way down) (may contain Darth Vader and Miss Piggy), animating the "V'ger Probe", V'ger rear view.
posted by Artw (41 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
V'ga vous!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2012

Voyager 6?

also, why does it look like an inverted vjay jay? Those lip-like things that lead into the center where the Voyager 6 probe is located are well, pretty damn sexual.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:43 PM on May 3, 2012

Yes, Voyager 6 - you know, launched in 1999, fell into a black hole...
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't like the looks of this... V-GINY.."

I learn something new about Futurama every day...
posted by bleep at 4:49 PM on May 3, 2012

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the one Star Trek movie I absolutely cannot watch because I find V'Ger's destruction of the Epsilon 9 space station to be so terrifying. I think I've actually had nightmares about being that poor guy in the EVA suite desperately trying to outrun the digitizing destruct-o lightning V'Ger fires.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Neat stuff. TMP is still my second favorite Trek movie (after Wrath), it's worth finding a copy of the special edition that Wise put together about a decade ago. I'm not usually a fan of special editions but Wise really proved that the theatrical version needed a few more weeks in editing and a few more finished effect shots to complete it.
posted by octothorpe at 4:56 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is a great post and brought back some quite pleasant--if dirty--memories. This is mainly a response to Ironmouth as told by me when I was 14 in 1979. I was a young VERY geeky teen and in my very first Playboy-that-I-lifted-from-a-convenince-store had a feature article on the movie. The drawing with the article made the bottom part of the saucer section very evocative of a breast.

Soooooo many neural connections were formed right then. It's made me the pervert it is today.

Then actually SEEING the movie, a couple months later (probably Spring 1980, I lived in the mountains and we always were six months behind on EVERYTHING back then) Bob Wise spends the first 1/3 of the movie fucking the refitted Enterprise (I'm not complaining, I love that ship as much as masturbation metaphors) and then the last 2/3 of the movie as one big penetration metaphor. Complete with sphincters! Oh and interspersed we get Klingons and Vulcan and Earth

Oh! and unisex uniforms that made me think of Stephen Collins in ways his playing a reverend for nearly ten years on 7th Heaven have never erased.

Soooooo many more neural connections were formed during that viewing. It made me ENJOY the pervert I am today.

And, rest her soul, I simply cannot bring myself to describe the feelings I had toward Persis Khambatta. Let's just say that "V'GER REQUIRES THE INFORMAION!" is one of the most erotic phrases ever utttered.

Not so much a fan of Star Trek anymore, though the new franchise (SEQUEL NOW WITH 100% LESS LENS FLARE!) is very enjoyable in much of the way I describe above. Maybe JJ Abrams can pervert me further. Okay, never mind, he did that already with Alias.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:58 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

""also, why does it look like an inverted vjay jay? Those lip-like things that lead into the center where the Voyager 6 probe is located are well, pretty damn sexual."
posted by Ironmouth

"By assuming a non-threatening posture, the Enterprise was able to deeply penetrate the cloud surrounding V'Ger"

So we've got Voyager, Star Trek and Futurama all mixed into this thread? *swoons* *faints*
posted by marienbad at 4:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's been years since I saw the film, but I remember being really captivated by the prospect of some long-lost probe coming home to roost.

Also, by the thought of Persis Khambata (rip) coming home to roost. Rawr, Persis.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:05 PM on May 3, 2012

Why does Metafilter require the presence of carbon units?

Check out Gene Roddenberry's The God Thing: the Rosetta Stone for anyone interested in the backdrop to the botched "search for God" stories from ST:TMP and ST:V.

RonButNotStupid: I think that even scarier than the destruction of the Epsilon 9 station is the needless, horrifying transporter accident during the beginning of the story. Saw it when I was five, never forgot. I think maybe it happens as a way of setting up the idea that life in the 23rd century is cold and that there's a good reason V'Ger is looking for something more.

But it's the most horrifying thing I have ever seen. And then a second later Kirk is like, "We need a new science officer, any ideas?"

I always admired the ambition of ST:TMP and of course the Jerry Goldsmith score, but what a weird film.
posted by steinsaltz at 5:06 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Well, you know, what they got back didn't live long... fortunately.
posted by Artw at 5:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

My whole family went to see the film in the theater when it came out; which in retrospect, is a little odd, as I was the only Trekkie, and I was only nine so I couldn't have been THAT persuasive. My father, you need to know, really wasn't much of one. He also wasn't very responsive to movies or TV or anything, usually.

So there we all are, in the theater, in the climactic scene when the Enterprise has finally reached the heart of V'Ger and Kirk has walked to its heart, and is examining the column at its heart, and sees the plaque with "V GER" printed on it....

....And before Kirk wiped the plaque off, in the middle of a silent theater, my father suddenly burst out in surprise: "Oh! VOYAGER!" And then started laughing in this wonderful "oh-hey-that's-really-clever" delight. Whoever was sitting near us probably wanted to kill him, but only for two seconds, because then Kirk wiped the plaque off and they saw hey, he was right.

I barely remember much of the movie, but Dad suddenly reacting to that, I absolutely do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:22 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

I went to the opening night of this movie in my burg. Whenever anyone with Vulcan ears walked by the line, the chant of "EARS! EARS! EARS! EARS!" could be heard.
posted by Danf at 5:38 PM on May 3, 2012

I think that even scarier than the destruction of the Epsilon 9 station is the needless, horrifying transporter accident during the beginning of the story.

The scream during that scene still gives me deep chills and I've watched TMP at least a dozen times.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

This film was prescient in that it highlighted the dangers of moving your data into the cloud.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:45 PM on May 3, 2012 [18 favorites]

steinsaltz: I had forgotten mentally suppressed the transporter accident. I've also been avoiding the new Star Trek movie because I've read there's a scene where the camera follows a few unluckly crewmembers who tumble out of a hull breach into the silence of space.

I'm probably one of the very few people who likes the kind of Star Trek where Nobody Gets Hurt and Everyone Learns An Important Lesson ala Star Trek IV* and "The Corbomite Maneuver"

* I'm sure the crews of the USS Saratoga and the Yorktown were eventually rescued off-camera and everyone sat down to partake of some delicious and refreshing tranya while they waited for Earth's atmosphere to return to normal immediately after the alien whale probe stopped destructively perturbing it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Movie Star Trek gave me two of my favorite scary and life-scarring moments: the mind control worms from Wrath of Khan and the transporter accident. For a 9 year old, that scene was beyond traumatic. What made the scene even worse in my memories was from reading the movie novelization (since that was the only way to relive the movie in those halycon days before VCR's) which described how horrific it was in a bit too much detail.

(I would recommend the novelization for anyone who liked the film. It was written by Roddenberry and was full of the little details, character backgrounds, and occasional obscenities he wanted to put into the movie but couldn't.)

The transporter scene, the destruction of the station, and the first appearance of the evil foreheads of the Klingons definitely set the stage right though. This was, by far, the coldest of any of the Star Trek's ever made. Very alien, existential in its own way. Even with the happy, hopeful ending, it felt very much like the depressing pre-Star Wars 70's sci-fi flicks which inspired viewers to give up all hope. As a very young Trek fan, it kinda turned my universe around for a while. Space isn't always the warm camaraderie of the Spock/Kirk/McCoy; it's actually a terribly cold and ultimately hopeless thing sometimes producing enormous inexplicable wonders of great beauty which will unthinkingly kill you. In some respects, it was possibly the most transformative and most frightening movie of my younger years, filling my dreams more than even Star Wars.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

It was written by Roddenberry and was full of the little details, character backgrounds, and occasional obscenities he wanted to put into the movie but couldn't.

"Written." Alan Dean Foster ghosted from Roddenberry's outline and notes. It's very passable, though, and definitely worth a summer afternoon read. It's certainly much better than Vonda McIntyre's later novelizations, of which I only really recall David and Saavik having a romance. There was one bit about them holding hands when transporting and how fucking stupid that was.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 6:43 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

(And I just realized I was that guy there and I am so sorry, Honestcoyote.)
posted by beaucoupkevin at 6:45 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

Admit it - your profile pic, that is what you are wearing RIGHT NOW, isn't it? :-)
posted by Artw at 6:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

No worries beaucoupkevin. I didn't know about the authorship though I should have guessed it was ghosted since Roddenberry was not known for writing novels but he was well known for taking undue credit. Thanks for the info.
posted by honestcoyote at 6:54 PM on May 3, 2012

Just watched this again fairly recently, after seeing it a zillion times on Showtime 25 years ago. Still a good one!
posted by rhizome at 6:54 PM on May 3, 2012

The film owes quite a lot to the TOS episode "The Changeling". V'Ger is basically "Nomad" with a RAM upgrade and a larger case
posted by Stoatfarm at 7:03 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]

ST:TMP comes with an aura of residual guilt for me: my buddy Jeff and I went to see it one crowded weekend matinee at a glorious, now long-closed movie palace. As we waited patiently at the snack bar to pay for our Glossettes or ju-jubes or whatever, it became clear that a couple of ten-year-olds were beneath the notice of the cooler-than-thou teenagers working there. After trying three or four times to flag someone so we could pay, we looked at one another and wordlessly headed for the theatre with our purloined snacks. I was wracked with guilt (my career as a disaffected teenage shoplifter was still years away) and spent the movie terrified that a manager with a flashlight would descend upon us and eject us into James Street.

Oddly, the same theatre was the source of more anxiety during the preview of Wrath of Khan two and a half years later. Jeff and I had fallen out over something, but I heard through the grapevine that he had won tickets through a local radio station. After school one day, I turned up at the radio station, introducing myself as Jeff, to claim 'my' tickets. I was asked to prove my identity by giving Jeff's name, address, and phone number, all of which I knew. So I saw the thing now worried Jeff would track me down in the auditorium (it was packed and seated 800, so little worries there, really).

And just before STIII, I killed a guy. But that is another story.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:04 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

steinsaltz: I had forgotten mentally suppressed the transporter accident. I've also been avoiding the new Star Trek movie because I've read there's a scene where the camera follows a few unluckly crewmembers who tumble out of a hull breach into the silence of space.

Oh, don't worry, it is much less scary than the transporter scene.

That transporter scream. I can hear it right now. It is like my version of the silence of the lambs. And just as a way to write out Xon, the Vulcan who was cast to replace Spock in the aborted Phase II series. It still does not make any sense.

According to the Roddenberry novel, the other victim was Kirk's wife. The novel was the biggest reboot of Star Trek ever, with Roddenberry claiming that the TV series was just folk tales and that this TMP story was going to be the way it really is in the future. There is some 70s free love stuff in there and the Federation secretly implants commanders with communicators, in their heads, but hides this fact from the public because of the "Mind Control Riots."

In conclusion, Roddenberry's book is way less faithful to Star Trek than J.J. Abrams's movie!
posted by steinsaltz at 8:08 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

honestcoyote: Thank you for a beautiful description that matched my own TMP experiences. There is something about the coldness of TMP, combined with the Goldsmith score (esp. the "Floating Office" cue) that still fills me with dread to think about.

It was like finding a secret omen at age five that the world was headed into a future of space travel and soullessness, where even James T. Kirk, the charming guy from TV, was going to become a heartless jerk who yelled at people for competing with him. Plus the eroticism of Persis Khambatta.
posted by steinsaltz at 8:17 PM on May 3, 2012

The film owes quite a lot to the TOS episode "The Changeling". V'Ger is basically "Nomad" with a RAM upgrade and a larger case

UNTRUE! V'ger is a probe upgraded by aliens to sort-of-follow it's original instructions, whereas NOMAD is a probe that collided with an alien probe and sort-of-followed a mish-mash of the instructions of both - leading it to find life AND DESTROY IT (originally one found life and one, um, destroyed something else?) - TOTALLY DIFFERENT. And I don't care if NOMAD is going on about Kirk Units and Spock Units all the time, that's just cooincidence.
posted by Artw at 8:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always liked the idea that V'ger and the Borg were connected. Apparently, so did Roddenberry.
Gene Roddenberry joked in an interview shortly after "Q Who" that the machine planet seen by Spock might have been the Borg homeworld. (Star Trek Encyclopedia) This idea was further developed in the William Shatner novel The Return, where Spock's mind meld with V'Ger not only protected Spock from being assimilated (since the Collective was already present in Spock's mind, the Borg assumed he was already one of them), but provided the Federation with the coordinates of the Borg homeworld for a final attack. It may also be significant that Spock, when referring to V'Ger, says, "Resistance would be futile." In the game Star Trek: Legacy, it is said that V'Ger itself created the Borg to gain the knowledge by assimilation. The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Dragon's Teeth" seems to contradict the game's storyline, as the character of Gedrin states to Seven of Nine that his species, the Vaadwaur, had encountered the Borg over nine centuries prior to his revival, placing the Borg's genesis at least as far back as around the year 1400 AD. The story writers for Star Trek: Legacy, however, claimed on the official game forum that Voyager 6 was meant to have been thrown back in time as well as across the galaxy, an aspect mentioned in the "extras" cut-scenes of the game itself. Star Trek Online also hints at a connection to the Borg, as vessels closely resembling V'Ger are featured as Borg mini-bosses, even including the disintegrating plasma weapons and the V'Ger-style low-pitched sound effects.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]

I was in sixth grade when I became obsessed with Star Trek, staying up until 2 or 3 am to watch TNG and TOS repeats on WPIX on the black and white TV I'd inherited from my older sister. I found a cheap copy of The Star Trek Encyclopedia at a book store and began to obsessively memorize everything I could about it. I'd seen some of the movies before, but that summer my mom and I decided to rewatch all of them. I was so excited about TMP, especially knowing how many little bits and pieces were eventually reworked into TNG.

But it put me to sleep. Like knocked straight out. I woke during the credits to my mother's snoring.

I love a lot of Trek movies (though I'm not as much of a sucker for II as most; the Undiscovered Country is my personal fave, followed by a three-way tie between III and IV and First Contact), but TMP never fails to put me to sleep, at least for a few minutes. I don't think I ever made it through the whole thing conscious.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:58 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Y'know, I love Insurrection a lot. It's just so damn PRETTY, and not in a cold-space pretty way. Couldn't tell you what the plot is about except the Dominion War got a name check (I was SO into DS9) and I thought it silly that the flagship wasn't out at the wormhole kicking Jem'Hadar ass.

But still ... so PRETTY.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

V'Gir had a sandwich in his head the whole time!
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 10:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I always liked the idea that V'ger and the Borg were connected.

Decker's dad copped it taking out The Doomsday Machine, which is later revealed (in a somewhat fan-wanky novel</a) to have been constructed as a prototype anti-Borg weapon.
posted by Artw at 10:42 PM on May 3, 2012

Bah. One bit of formatting away from claiming the beige unitard of TRUE NERDDOM
posted by Artw at 11:06 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ah, The Motionless Picture.

For me, ST:TMP was part of a process of self-discovery, that while I loved (and love) ST:TOS, I merely liked Star Wars and just didn't get involved by TMP, and that I wasn't going to be that sort of rabid fanboi. (I am, of course, a rabid fanboi about SF. Just not that sort.)

It was a lesson that, even in the isolated world of rural teenage geekdom, further levels of isolation were possible.

(Those old NASA animations of the Voyager planetary fly-bys, on the other hand, move me more deeply in thirty seconds than TMP manged in total.)
posted by Devonian at 1:08 AM on May 4, 2012

(in a somewhat fan-wanky novel)

Well, it IS Peter David....
posted by mikelieman at 4:23 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Funny, the "destruction" of both the Klingon fleet (why didn't that bother any of you young'uns?) and the Federation station never bothered or scared me because I never felt the effects used didn't imply destruction but ... I dunno, but the end of the movie made pretty clear that both things had been converted to digital data, so it was really like being stored in a big transporter pattern buffer.

The transporter accident didn't gross me out either, but I always assumed something like that had happened before--after all, the transporter's hurled people into alternate universes and split Kirk into "good" and "bad". And half the technobabble from TNG onwards usually concerned transporters and/or holodecks, always implying that they're not necessarily the safest devices in the Trekverse.

In the 33 years since the movie's release, this is the first I've read of kids 5 or more years younger than I being scared by the events in TMP. I'm pretty blown away and empathize, and now my hormone-drenched recollection seems kind of trite. Still, please withdraw from my grassplot. Thank you.
posted by PapaLobo at 6:01 AM on May 4, 2012

(in a somewhat fan-wanky novel)

Well, it IS Peter David....

I'm unsure as to how much Troi/Riker makey out time was in it.
posted by Artw at 7:39 AM on May 4, 2012

This SHOULD be related...

Coincidentally I was summarizing (with a very large pinch of salt) this exact idea to some work colleagues recently. It began as "You know seven of nine....what does that mean?" so we had a good old chat about it.

I am not a mega trekky (although I love the series) so most of this might be entirely wrong, eitherway, hopefully someone might get a kick out of it :)

Seven of Nine - Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01

But what does this actually mean? Not much apparantly... (other than being a hot Star Trek babe)

So this basically means that she has no actual purpose or function, even to the Borg, beyond simply... being hot!
Does that make 's.exy' her primary function!?

I've got her primary function right here, in my pants.

Seven of Nine - Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01

Ok, let's say that there are 9 bots in total. They are based in Unimatrix number 1 (Matrix = Collective mass of regimented stuff - in maths its a set of numbers, in geology its a equal material in which other stuff is imbedded, in English lit it is an environment which something develops - its basically "a regimented amount of things" nb: the borg cube is a mathematical matrix as it is a simple 3D structure) Tertiary adjunct is that the 9 bots are based on the 3rd attached "area" of her particular unimatrix (imagine a blue print of the borg cube - there will be blocked out "areas", the third one up attached to the side of the main chamber) would be the Tertiary adjunct

So the matrix (the environment of everything) is called the UNI matrix by the borg because they share a single mind (see: hive mind linked by subspace radio frequencies in persuit of mechanical perfection achieved through forced assimilation) so that is why it is "Uni" (unilateral: all encompassing) matrix.

spoiler: The borg were born out of necessity when start trek needed a new baddy as klingons were allies and romulans were absent and the ferengi were too comical.

The Origins are largely mysterious but a bit of research you can see that the the ship called V'Ger aka "Vejur" may have been involve. It was one of the most powerful mystery energy clouds ever come across by the enterprise - they could not interact with it because it was so powerful, its messages were in too high-a frequency to decode (and lasted only a milisecond) - all it did was research stuff and scan stuff (unfortunately due to the high power, it "scanned people to death") - the heart of the V'Ger the Voyager 6 probe launched by Nasa in the late 20th century. The entire "mega structure" (causing the energy) that surrounded the tiny probe, was supposedly built by an "unknown race of machine entities" after Voyager 6 went through a black hole to the other side of the universe, then crashlanded on a planet populated by living machines. Even though Voyager 6 was rudimentary and simple, it was to them a kindred spirit so the machine dudes, in order to help it on its mission ("Learn all that is learnable") - gave it a very powerful data collection system and a shiny new lick of paint, and called it V'Ger (after the other letters of "Voyager" were rubbed off during the crash) - eventually V'Ger amassed so much knowledge thanks to this highly advanced mechanism that it become self-aware.
Vger began then to question his own existence "is this all I am" and then headed back to earth for answers. As it only ever new machine-entities it began to see biological organisms as "infestation" (like we think of ants) and destroyed them. Eventually it decided to "merge with its creator" but in finding out that its creator was was just a squishy human "infestation" it demanded to learn about humans and as such joined with a red coat from the enterprise who was upset because V'Ger had scanned (and killed) his lover Illa and created a robo-Illa-clone as its envoy. In one of gene rodenberries novels he goes on to say that initially, the robot Illa clone resisted being V'Ger's envoy because she still loved the redcoat that had "merged and killed himself" with it - but Spoc commented that that "Resistance was futile of course..."

posted by Cogentesque at 7:50 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Huh, quite a few of us were shrinking violets as kids, what with all the angst over the transporter accident. I remember the scream quite clearly, but it means nothing to me. Is that something I should AskMe about?
posted by wierdo at 11:57 AM on May 4, 2012

I was all "cool! They totally turned into goop, with organs on the outside and stuff!" - I was like that as a child.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

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