Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I is for Ilia but who is she? In Star Trek The Motion Picture we see a few brief glimpses of the beautiful Persis Khambatta who died tragically at only 47. Shes plays the first female officer to declare an 'Oath of Celibacy' aboard a Federation starship touching us with her empathic powers.

We know from Ilia's chat with Captain Kirk that Deltan culture is dominated by sexuality in stark contrast to Khambatta's emotionless V'ger mechanism. V'Ger beams android "Ilia" aboard the Enterprise to communicate and learn about the humans "infesting" the USS Enterprise 1701 and planet earth.

Ilia speaks for V'Ger now: "I have been programmed by V'ger to observe and record normal functioning of the carbon-based units infesting USS ENTERPRISE."

Kirk: Who is...'V'ger'...?

Ilia: "V'ger is that which programmed me."

Kirk: "Is V'ger the Captain of the alien vessel?"
Bones: "Jim, what the blazes...."

Ilia: "V'ger is that which seeks the Creator."

Bones: "Jim, this is a mechanism...!"

Kirk: "Where is Lt. Ilia?"

Ilia: "That unit no longer functions. I have been given its form to more readily communicate with the carbon-based units infesting Enterprise."

Security Guard: "Carbon-based units"...?

McCoy: "Humans, Ensign Lang, us!"

Kirk: "Why does V'ger travel to the third planet of the solar system directly ahead?"

Ilia: "V'ger travels to the third planet to find the Creator."

The women of Star Trek have rather more significant roles than those in other Tv shows watched by young audiences, like say Daisy in the Dukes of Hazzard. We had to wait until Star Trek Voyager arrived in 1995 before a woman took command aboard a starship. Its only fitting I suppose, that Star Trek is one of the first TV shows to deploy leading women on the front lines of Science Fiction.

Who would you prefer to serve under, Captain Kathryn Janeway (ST) or Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica?


Tony Laplume said...

One of the big losses over the relative failure of The Motion Picture was that it was virtually ignored by later continuity. Kirk went through a different midlife crisis in the next movie, and then Riker and Troi appropriated the Ilia/Dekker romance.

Maurice Mitchell said...

She was an underused character. Why don't we see Deltans on other Star Trek shows? Maybe in the new Abrams movie. Great series of posts you have going here.

Unknown said...

Didn't know that was Persis Khambatta!

Look forward to your challenge run…
--Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I love this post and theme.


SpacerGuy said...

Thanks everyone, Ilia had a teary moment when they shaved all her beautiful hair off for Star Trek TMP in 1979.

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