I love the crews of the Enterprise, but I’ve never felt I’d belong there. Ensign Ro Laren was the first Star Trek character I felt really represented me — and she decided she didn’t even belong in Starfleet. The second character I thought represented me was Ezri Dax. Like the crews of the Enterprise, until Ezri, Deep Space Nine was populated by people who are fully formed. Who know who they are, and what they want, and often how to get it.
But on Voyager, Captain Janeway is the only one who really, fully fits that description. Voyager, the show and the ship, is populated by misfits, by people who don’t think they belong anywhere. Biracial engineering phenom B’Elanna Torres’s struggle to accept all sides of herself and her heritage best represents this idea, but every character fits it.
- An indigenous man who resented his culture until it was destroyed by the Cardassian War.
- A Vulcan security officer who joined Starfleet later in life.
- Starfleet royalty who succumbed to the pressure of expectations and ended up in prison.
- An introverted ensign consistently overlooked because he never learned how to stand out.
- A Hologram created to be a stop-gap measure required to evolve into much more.
- A girl born underground who wanted to reach the stars.
- A junk dealer who chooses to leave his home behind to help Voyager find theirs.
- And a little girl raised by monsters who has to learn how to be human again.
I read a lot of ‘young adult’ fiction because I love the messiness of ‘coming of age’ stories. But I love them even more when they’re told about adults, about people who have experienced the ups and downs of life and know what it means — and what it takes — to keep going. Or more to the point, to keep growing. Even (or especially) Janeway fits that part of Voyager’s misfit narrative.
Voyager isn’t about getting home. It’s about creating home — creating a community, a family, of people who didn’t belong anywhere. . . until now.
Voyager is my collective.