I have a very special story for you about Star Trek: Voyager and how my life inadvertently imitated a holodeck fantasy. Gather ’round.
The tale of my holodeck-style adventure starts not terribly long ago when I moved my little family to Ireland. One night shortly after our move, my husband and I lay in bed, me dozing off after a long day of unpacking boxes. He, intent on finding a new show to watch on Netflix, was irritatingly scrolling through app menus so that they flickered through the dark room and pierced my closed eyelids. Sighing, I cracked my eyes open just enough to see the screen. One of the title cards flashed past my vision and prompted me to mutter through my own drool, “What is Red doing on Star Trek?”.
Wait, was I half-asleep? “Was that really RED? That was RED! Red from Orange is the New Black! On STAR TREK!” He scrolled back to a cast photo of Star Trek: Voyager. My husband had been keeping a terrible secret from me! Red, the grumpy prison chef has always been my absolute favorite character from Orange, and he never let on that she was a Star Trek Captain?! Startled by my recognition, he confessed to having never connected Kate Mulgrew’s two brilliant roles before–a notion that still horrifies me, and brings great shame upon our family.
And to add to his dishonor, he admitted that he never even watched all of Voyager, since his dopey late-90s teenaged self had fallen into the chauvinistic trap of not appreciating Capt. Janeway, thinking of her as a less-than, politically correct version of Kirk and Picard (Sisko deliberately omitted from this list since he is terrible.) Now, wiser and older, and considerably more discerning, he announced instantly that he would undertake the quest of re-watching every episode, beginning that very night.
From then on, each night I drifted off to sleep to the beautiful opening melody, and then the husky tones of Kate Mulgrew’s voice. It became a soothing balm as I learned to settle into sleep in a new house and a very new place. Several weeks passed until one night when my husband shook me out of a sound sleep to look at the television screen. He had just started a Voyager episode called “Fair Haven”, and it had a startling connection to our own real life.
In the episode, the crew are all in need of a respite from their stressful roles. Tom Paris answers this need by creating a new holodeck program surrounding featuring the old-timey town of Fair Haven in County Clare, Ireland.
And this is where the beat drops. My new home, boxes still scattered and things still not hung on the walls, is in County Clare, Ireland. This was one of those moments when I really wondered if my life is The Truman Show.
(I have wondered this often, and have seriously pondered the notion that if my life is The Truman Show, some team of writers would most definitely taunt me by fabricating a Hollywood film that mocks my actual life and lays out the entire truth right in front of my face, both beckoning my recognition and also belittling my paranoia–and of course it would star Jim Carrey. But I digress…)
The episode continued to get spookier and spookier. Captain Kathryn Janeway quickly falls in love with the quaint rural setting and begins to adopt the in-holodeck moniker of Katie O’Clare.
But I am Katie. Katie of Clare.
Through my sleepy eyes I watched the tale unfold–both sweet and disarmingly dark at various points (“Delete the wife”), until it reached a point where both my husband and I nearly fell out of bed in sheer disbelief.
Katie O’Clare saunters over to the Fair Haven train station to get her flirt on with the local bartender, and does so by attaching herself gingerly to a signpost–a signpost that points to towns such as Tuamgraney and Killaloe. Both are towns very close to my home. I visit Tuamgraney frequently, and Killaloe every now and then (I tend to head there less frequently since traffic flow is dependent on this 18th century one-way stone bridge).
Naturally, because I am a super nerd, my first reaction was to jump up and down and yell “I’m Katie O’Clare! I’m Katie O’Clare!”, because hells yes my life is reflecting a Star Trek holodeck fantasy (and it doesn’t even involve Vic Fontaine!).
The very next thing I did was sit down and attempt to calculate where the fictional Fair Haven might fall on the map. The signpost–notably created by Tom Paris–indicates that Fair Haven is 5 km from Tuamgraney and 3.5 km from Killaloe. Also 7.5 km from Holy Island, but we’ll set that aside since it involves water travel.
Not so surprisingly–especially considering Tom couldn’t even put the harp in the right direction–neither of these distances accurately points to any specific location, the two towns being approximately 13-16 km apart.
Roughly, Fair Haven would be located in the vicinity of Twomilegate or Faltagh, County Clare. Or, for the visually inclined, I plotted it on a map…approximately.
And in some very peculiar way, this terribly odd coincidence of Fair Haven appearing just after our move, and just when I could use a little comfort, made me feel even more at home. There was Kate Mulgrew, an actress I already adored, delighting in the rural atmosphere of County Clare, and somehow I felt much more connected to my old life in America. Also, more connected to my new world–like the universe was jabbing at my love handles and letting me know that this move was a pretty cool adventure, the type of thing a Star Trek Captain might even envy. It’s all philosophical and whatnot.
(Unlike my absolutely non-philosophical thoughts about Janeway making out with a hologram and deleting his wife. I have so many questions about how sex would work–including how bodily fluids…work…and happen…and what Janeway looks like to a casual observer while in the holodeck, especially when getting all romantical. But, again, I digress…)
I think the only thing left now is to do up my hair a la Janeway and go fine some local signposts pointing to Tuamgraney and Killaloe. Once that happens, I promise to post them here. And a promise from Katie O’Clare is as good as gold.