It’s February, and love is in the air, especially on Star Trek – or in Star Trek, Star Trek Magazine, Issue #32, to be specific. The new issue, out now, shines a light on some of the galaxy’s greatest romances, spanning from James Kirk’s passion for Edith Keeler in 1930s Chicago to the secret love affair between Spock and Uhura aboard the new U.S.S. Enterprise. Check out the following excerpts – and more – below.
James T. Kirk and Edith Keeler
Decades of Star Trek fans have inferred from the episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" that Keeler is Kirk's soul mate. If only she hadn't died... But consider this: Edith Keeler's untimely death is precisely what made her appear to be the perfect woman for Kirk. Death lends a profound resonance to fictional relationships. Like a gauze-covered lens, it depicts them in a hazy glow that eliminates reality's sharp edges. But without gauze, it's clear that, had Kirk found a way to save both Keeler and the universe, they'd still have parted. Yes, they "spoke the same language," but where would they have lived? In the 23rd century, with Keeler evangelizing aboard the Enterprise and attempting to get Scotty to "break off of the booze?" Or in the "zinc-plated vacuum-tubed culture" of 20th century Earth, where the dynamic captain surely would have died of boredom if he hadn't left Edith's side to do something bold and heroic - like, perhaps, join the International Brigades in 1936 (a la Ernest Hemingway) to fight in the Spanish Civil War?
Geordi La Forge and Leah Brahms
They say opposites attract, and Geordi and Leah are certainly opposites. Geordi has never been lucky in love (and so probably doesn't need the advantage of his VISOR to win at the weekly poker night), and tends to wear his heart on his sleeve, which we see scaring off some potential suitors over the years, including in "Booby Trap" itself.
Leah, on the other hand, describes herself as being seen as cold and aloof in "Galaxy's Child." She certainly comes over as that to Geordi, to his surprise. How can he reconcile the real Leah with the friendly and easygoing one of the hologram made from her works and files? How can we?
The answer is simple, of course. The projection of Leah is her as interpreted by herself and her friends and colleagues. In other words, this is what Leah is like in comfortable surroundings, with those she knows well. Unfortunately for Geordi, that isn't him. That's where the inevitable clashes, which threaten all dramatic relationships, originate for Geordi and Leah.
Odo & Kira
Television shows learn to play to their strengths and work around their weaknesses. One of the very best examples of a show doing this is The Next Generation; watch "Encounter at Farpoint" and see how different the pilot is from the series you remember. "Necessary Evil" is a great DS9 episode, and Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois's performances are a big reason why. It's not hard to see why the writers and fans wanted to see more of the same. In interviews when the show was running, both actors confessed they were worried that as the show went on the relationship would become more conventional. The writers, to their credit, waited four years to make them a couple and kept the relationship spiky even after that. There's something uncalculated, so more truthful, so just more interesting about Odo and Kira's romance as a result.
Janeway & Chakotay
There is no question that Janeway and Chakotay have developed a deep bond, one that is tested in the line of duty more than once, but until "Hunters," fans of their romance have little sign of hope. When an ancient alien array is used to make contact with Starfleet, messages are sent between Voyager's crew and their loved ones back home. Janeway receives a letter from Mark, indicating that believing her dead, he has married another woman. It is interesting that she shares this information first with Chakotay, and ultimately tells him that there is now nothing holding her back from finding a new relationship. The subtext between the two suggests for some that Kathryn and Chakotay might now begin to explore what was left unresolved on New Earth.
Spock & Uhura
In the alternate timeline of the 2009 Star Trek film, Spock and Uhura have a very different relationship. Though he is a Starfleet Academy instructor and she a cadet, they are undeniably romantically linked. We don't know when their relationship started, but she had been one of his "top students." Given their positions, that they allowed the relationship to begin at all tells us how strongly they must have felt for each other from the start. Being found guilty of "fraternization" would have seriously harmed their Starfleet careers, if not earned them both dishonorable discharges. Challenging authority to that degree means that they shared more than a mere infatuation. Feelings aside, it seems likely that two people of such intelligence, and with such devotion to their professions, waited at least until they were no longer in a direct student-teacher relationship to become involved.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that (or perhaps because) their relationship is forbidden by Starfleet, what we see of it of it is thoroughly molded by the organization they serve. The whirl of logic and emotion that fills their lives has the added stress of duty.
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