Starlog 18: Adventures and Star Trek: Returning Home

Professor: Adventures 

Professor and ChrX

I stand outside of the diner looking at the glory that is ChrX.  I can just make out a pair of spectacles with round lenses, a plaid shirt, and a beauteous smile.  You’re far away from home, I say.  Where did you come from?  

From your be-ing, ChrX says.

How is that, I ask. 

It is your be-ing that dwells in every galaxy, in every light and sound wave, in and out of time, says ChrX.

So I am both within and outside of myself, and you are me even as I am you, I say.

Yes, says ChrX.  

I think I see a cat hair on ChrX’s plaid shirt.  

I did not know the influence of alfI even with my Supersense, I say.  Thank you for your assistance.

Always, ChrX says, and shimmers, becoming faint.

Where can I find you again, I ask.

With you, ChrX says and fades away.

I feel bereft and loved at the same time.

Star Trek: Returning Home

“Red Riding Hood” can be viewed as a bildungsroman  The young character moves into adulthood and never can return home again—at least as the person the character once was.  The same is true for Commander Burnham.  The time she spent away from the crew after the 930-year jump from the 23rd to the 24th centurybecame her formative years.  While Red Riding Hood may or may not return home in versions of the tale, Commander Burnham does.  Home—Federation and the Discovery and its crew—has changed.  Commander Burnham has a different relationship with the crew members, and they have a different relationship with her both professionally and personally.  Not only was Commander Burnham demoted from Number One to “chief science officer duties” in Star Trek: Discovery, Season 3, Episode 6, trust also was lost due to her unsanctioned mission.  In the same episode, Commander Burnham acknowledges that she has “become someone new” and there is “a distance between” her and her friends.  At the same time, the episode partially focuses on adaptation.  Discovery is retrofitted and accepted as a beneficial part of Starfleet due to Discovery’s ability to jump through time and space.  The crew is “adapting” and “retraining” and, with their new Starfleet badges, are able to individually jump through space if not time.  The crew is introduced to programmable matter that reads bio-signs.  This matter is “adaptive.  Learns and adjusts to [their] reflexes to create an interface style unique to [them]”.   Home is not static but dynamic—shifting as the inhabitants shift.  Discovery and its crew have changed, and the new Federation has expanded to include Discovery.  

In order to be in a home that has been “retrofitted” as someone who also has changed, Commander Burnham must learn to accept that home will “adjust to [her] reflexes” to create a unique “interface style” or place just for her.   In Star Trek: Discovery, Season 3, Episode 4, Adira was baptized in the sacred caves that felt like home for her—that in fact became a home as she fully opened herself to a new way of being as a Tal.  Like Adira, Commander Burnham returns in Star Trek: Discovery, Season 3, Episode 7 to one of her own homes: Vulcan.  Commander Burnham initially returned to Vulcan to obtain data.  However, she reconnects not just with her people but also her deceased brother thorough his legacy: The Vulcans and Romulans re-united, and the expanded Vulcan was renamed  Ni’Var.  Spock was the author of this change that did not fully manifest until long after his death.  After seeing that pursuing the information was leading to a renewed rift between the Vulcans and the Romulans, Commander Burnham changes once again—this time by foregoing her mission as it concerns Ni’Var to ensure her brother’s legacy remains intact.   

Commander Burnham also reconnects with her mother on Ni’Var.  Her mother has changed by becoming Qowat Milat.  As Qowat Milat, her mother helps Commander Burnham express her truth:  that “[e]verything is different” and that she fears making grave errors, “destroying the people” she loves, and losing “everything and everyone”.  After expressing her truth, Commander Burnham is able to face the trauma that the rest of the crew began facing in Season 3, Episode 4 and see that connection, a major theme this season, can be expansive rather than restrictive.  Disconnection is not necessarily resultant of change, and connection inspires trust.  Like Red Riding Hood in the versions in which she returns home, Commander Burnham returns home to the community of the Federation as a result of her return home to Ni’Var and does so more fully aware of the uniqueness of herself and of her place: She is a “member of Starfleet”, and she belongs with the Discovery crew even as she is home to Book and he feels like home to her.

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