The darkside of being a Voyager!



The idea for this post was given to me by one of my blog readers way back and although I loved it, I never found the time to jump on it. What does this all mean? It's not as horrific as my banner would suggest, though when you think of many events during the course of human history, real life can often be worse than any horror movie or book created to date. We all know Voyagers was a children's show, well, it wasn't Sesame Street, but it was designed to appeal to young ones between six and thirteen...that's my rough guess anyway. But, come on, we're all between 16 and 60 now and we still love it! Part of Voyagers!' mass appeal to its fans was all the terrific possibilities that it left open to the imagination. And many of us fans have jumped on it with our wild and woolly stories! ;)

In Voyagers! we are treated to a generalized, whitewashed version of sixth-seventh grade history and I admit even in the very early nineties we were taught the same. It was all a blur of facts, names and dates that we had to remember for the tests and quizzes. I think the majority of us fans are history buffs, and as we aged we wanted more, we needed the truth behind all these famous events. In many cases the truth is not as pretty or even inspiring. Voyagers! also had a tendency to put most of their notable personages in a noble, heroic light. Their faults were somewhat non-existent. Though when you think about it, the Voyagers aren't there to be judges or moral compasses, though sometimes it's necessary to wear many hats.

The Voyagers had to give people the shove where it's needed...which is probably Bogg's polite term for giving them a swift kick in the assets. Voyagers are there to make sure history stays on course. So, if the man/woman's a bigamist, adulterer, a racist, even a murderer (As was the case of many founding fathers and one time generals, wiping out nations of peoples for expansion..)or if they're just a really big jerk... as long as they invent the widget, or win the battle according to the textbooks, the Voyager has done their job.

So, what are some of the general things that give Voyaging a dark side anyway?

Well, there's this-



I would scream and fall back into Bogg too. But what is so frightening about this is the fact that they were trapped in the catacombs, doomed to a death like poor Skelly here and once caught by the Commandant and his men, executed.

And there's this –


Oh no! Omni malfunctions that leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere during harsh weather conditions! Or what about the dive Jeffrey and Bogg took into the quicksand? We have to imagine that somewhere in the vast galaxy, a team of Voyager time cops are monitoring all the activities, landings, events and so forth, but obviously, things like this can and do happen.

Or what about this? Jeffrey is trapped behind a wall of ferocious flame!



Bogg is ambushed and could possibly be killed at any given moment.

Jeffrey and Bogg are then separated through the vast wilderness of time and space, and then Edison comes along and nearly destroys the omni. What's amazing is that all this happens over the course of one episode! Talk about a dark side to Voyaging!




I am going to make a statement that may make some Voyagers fans annoyed, but at least hear..err..read me out...in 'The Trial of Phineas Bogg' Voyager Drake made a very strong case against Bogg, insinuating that Jeffrey was constantly having his life put at risk. We all know that wasn't deliberate, but I have to agree with him on some of the points he made. (Ducks from rocks and tomatoes!) The omni memory recorder did show good examples of this fact. Never mind all the sentimentality that Bogg loves Jeff and he would always protect him and they're a family....Believe me, I know that he would, and I love all that, but sometimes I get a sugar overload of candy-coated Voyagers! Goodness. The cold, hard Drakonian facts are in-Jeffrey's life was constantly endangered on these Voyages. True, you could argue that it's no worse than being a child actually living through the time period, but wouldn't you agree that there was an immediate danger whenever the boys got involved in making history right?

I have pondered on this and have come to a conclusion that being a Voyager, while ultimately rewarding for the greater good of historical continuity, presents all sorts of dangers, physical, ethical-moral, spiritual..and any others you can think of. Aside from the facts that there were no obvious perks-no sick days, paid vacations/holidays, etc. Greek food one minute, Chinese food the next, while all that is culturally alluring and inspiring, it's also enough for a major case of heartburn and bellyaches! As proven by the episode where Bogg has to drink milk and ox-blood, A Voyager must carry alka-seltzer at all times.

I don't feel like the show did the greatest job in realizing the potential and enormity of the Voyagers Headquarters and their mission, the judicial council and the inner-workings. Strip it down and the basic job description is that Men and women were thrust out into the vastness of the cosmos with a heavy book in one hand and a pocket watch in the other and told to 'fix it.' Albeit with training...but apparently people like Bogg slip through the cracks and get to be Voyagers too. (We know he wasn't as dumb as he seemed of course!)

Voyagers aren't miraculously protected, they can die on missions, as was the case in many episodes...well, our Voyagers had near misses of course. Some of the most harrowing escapes was Jeffrey rescuing Bogg from being burned at the stake in the witchcraft trials, and again when he was about to be executed by the Southern rebels..not to forget Bogg struggling with every gorgeous sinew to grab for the omni on a sinking Titanic. Despite that Bogg looks like he could be one..heehee..Voyagers are not Superheroes, they are fragile human beings like the rest of us and one false move and they too, will be history.

DARKSIDE!

To me, one of the biggest dark sides of voyaging is the sad fact that Voyagers cannot interfere with the course of human events and atrocities. We can use everyone's time-travel go-to moments-Hitler's rise to power, The Titanic sinking, an assassination of an American president (Namely Lincoln and Kennedy)...the list goes on.



But what about the everyday events that a Voyager must endure during his/her travels? Death of all sorts. The tragedies on the battlefield...growing more horrendous with each decade as nations produce new and improved technology to kill one another. Remember Bogg saying in the pilot episode – 

"Great! We get airplanes into the war so they can blow us to bits!" – How true.

The Voyagers no doubt see the plight of widows and orphans and starvation on a global scale. They must watch the ravages of diseases and epidemics that wipe out individuals and masses of people. What about the grave injustices done to all sorts of groups around the globe? A Voyager's constitution must be strong, they must have a big, and often dark sense of humor and be able to maintain a strong optimism at all times. I think without it, they could crumble, quit, or the worst, kill themselves from failure and hopelessness.

Many of those things are just what a Voyager will witness out in the field. What about what could happen to them personally? Let us count the ways-tricky, faulty omni landings. As mentioned, landing in the quicksand, or how about in the middle of a war or revolt? They only have minutes or even seconds to get cover or escape.

Jeffrey has been through it all, from Pearl Harbor to the Civil War, the Revolutionary war, World War I, being held hostage in Africa by an angry tribal leader, outsmarting Nazis, and standing up to Billy the Kid. All this and so much more with his fearless partner, Bogg and all in a day's work of course.

Then there's the fear of losing the omni, or having it stolen or confiscated...which happened in episodes like, 'The day the Rebs took Lincoln', 'World's Apart', 'Voyagers of the Titanic' and 'Sneak Attack.' Not to mention when it was mistaken for a Hollywood prop in 'Destiny's choice.' Without the omni, the Voyagers are invariably stuck in the current time zone...unless someone paying attention at VHQ realizes there's an omni off the grid or something. But how would they really know unless the omni was activated?




Or is VHQ like the show 'Lost'? Where the mystical and mysterious Jacob had names written and crossed off on the dials. And he was able to see the people he had chosen to come to the Island through his Lighthouse mirrors.
I prefer a more scientific/sci-fi explanation, I mean, the omni is obviously electronic...but in 'The travels of Marco Polo and friends' the auctioneer was trying to embellish the omni's 'powers.' He said it was created by a tribe of sorcerers on an uncharted island, Bogg whispered to Jeff that, 'He was close..'
Voyagers don't seem to carry too many material things. Bogg and Jeff rarely did, but I think a woman may travel with a bit more. I would! However, all Voyagers must rely on their wits and the kindness of strangers to get their next hot meal, a place to sleep, and a change of clothes. If they do carry some funds, what good is it in the next time zone where that money may not be worth anything? Reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode where greedy men killed each other in the desert over gold, and then you realize they had landed in the future and gold was completely worthless.

A dear friend of mine gave me some good advice I still struggle to heed-always keep a spare ten or twenty in your wallet for emergencies. Fold it up, hide it, just don't spend it, because you never know what could happen out there. I guess Bogg could try something similar, aside from the smoked jerky. He did make good use of his Spanish Galleon coin winning back Harriet's freedom.

We can't forget the psychological effects of Voyaging, or the rough influences...especially in Jeffrey's case. There is plenty of stress to be had. Like Jeffrey believing he ruined everything when the omni was taken apart and he and Bogg were separated. Or when Bogg fell in love for what appeared to be the first time and had to sacrifice his personal happiness for history to carry on.




We see Bogg trying to be a good role model, and he deserves a lot of credit. We know the type of randy rogue pirate he was before Jeffrey. He was not ready to be a father. However, you notice how he holds Jeffrey back from doing certain things for his own protection? Like going into rowdy, sailor taverns (Old Hickory and the Pirate) illegal speakeasies (Cleo and the Babe.) the gambling den (Created Equal) and a number of other undesirable places off limits to kids.

He teaches him that guns are bad, and considering that he doesn't drink, Jeffrey won't be exposed to boozy pubs and an inebriated partner...which could lead to other moral dangers as Jeffrey gets older. Phineas still tries to help Drake, despite the fact that the wicked Voyager tried to destroy his reputation and have him banished. It is funny though, how Bogg often says things like how Jeffrey will know what's really important when he's older...implying women...and how he can't wait for him to get older so they could see some of those truly beneficial areas in Paris, like the Moulin Rouge.

"A Voyager's got to have spirit, so when everybody's telling you you're wrong you got the courage to fight back, and a Voyager's got to be able to make people take a new look at a situation, to give people the confidence to take that one extra chance." – Phineas Bogg

We know Bogg has all the fine traits to carry out his Voyager missions. The courage, the strength, and the compassion.

And Jeffrey is a fine Voyager in the making, with spunk, gumption and a big heart.


All that makes the darkside... not quite as dark.

Comments

  1. Ginger, I really liked this post you made some very good points.I think that if Voyagers was made today it would probably alot darker and more violent . I would have liked to have seen the show explore some of these issues . Sometimes I felt like the show forgot that even though he was very smart Jeff was still just a 12 year old boy who was thrust into dangerous and scary situations where he might feel very afraid and unsure at times,thats why I liked World's Apart because he did at one point say if only Bogg were here. Emily W.

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  2. Thank you Emily. How often has Jeff said 'If Bogg were here...'? Right? I agree it would be more true to historical fact and show more violence today. I did make this rant before, but the eighties were the start of what I call the 'TV' kid, big for their own britches defying parents and authority and having all the answers. It's rampant today. I suppose Jeffrey is very mature for his age, but I appreciated the episodes where he cried, and didn't know what to do w/o Bogg's help and support.

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  3. What I've always thought about the dark side of being a Voyager is how it seems that bad things are happening anyway, and it's only the good ones that need a shove. Normally, you would expect that a Voyager would have to "fix" also the cases where things turned out BETTER than in history books. So, they would have to prevent a succesfull assessination of Hitler and stuff like that. What do you think?

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  4. Hey Dolores,

    I agree with that, I've touched on that in some of my stories. In some cases they would have to step in to help what is considered 'bad' history go as planned. That's gotta be a tough one.

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  5. You got that right! Not much I can add, since I’ve already said all of it before in an earlier post. So I’m going to move on to some comments on “The Trial of Phineas Bogg.”

    OMG, Ginger, I LOVE that word-play! “Drakonian” indeed! But you’ve really hit the nail on the head here; Drake did indeed have a case, but there was only one point he could have made stick. Why? Well, we saw the Tribunal shoot down the charge of violating territorial parameters in view of an Omni malfunction. (More on this later.) Secondly, the business in the gladiatorial arena was in no way Bogg’s fault; the Omni dumped them in the middle of the arena, and events quickly went downhill from there. There’s a gap of time in the episode when the trial was recessed; other stuff must have happened beyond what they showed. I posit that the Tribunal, in its deliberations, probably dug a little deeper into that piece of evidence and threw it out.

    The loss of the Guidebook was really only a minor thing; to quite that book itself, “Permanent loss of a Guidebook is considered less consequential, as they are generally discarded or ignored by historical figures…” The reason for this is given in another section: “[The] Guidebook is written in the language of the Omni inventors. However, all the information…within, you will automatically see in the language to which you are accustomed.” I would presume this is due to something I call the “Omni effect,” regarding translation of languages. Only a Voyager would be able to read the thing; to someone who had never been caught in an Omni’s chronofield, it would be gibberish.

    The reason I say the Red Baron thing was the only bit of endangerment for which Bogg could possibly be blamed is because, throughout the entire series, every other time Jeff got into potential danger was either because of circumstances completely beyond Bogg’s control, or because of the kid’s own impulsiveness. And this is a charge that could have stood up regardless of whether or not Jeffrey was actually supposed to be a Voyager. Two Codes cover this; if the kid was supposed to have been returned to his own time, the one that applies is as follows: “On the accidental Omni transport of non-Voyagers: First priority is to return the historical figure(s) to his/their correct time zone. The safety of the historical figure(s) while in the displaced time zone is the direct responsibility of the field worker, and any actions to the contrary are punishable directly by the Voyager Ethics Tribunal.” On the other hand, as he was supposed to be a Voyager, the one that comes into play is “On the field training of Voyagers: …recruits will be assigned to field workers for a short duration. During this time, the safety and well-being of the recruit becomes the field worker’s responsibility.” Given everything that happened in connection with the trial, it is conceivable that the court could have been inclined to be lenient in regard to the one clear-cut instance of endangerment, and perhaps let Bogg off with a figurative slap on the wrist. However, once it was discovered that Drake had caused the banishment of innocent Voyagers, their only option was to throw the entire case out of court.

    As for why Bogg landed in Jeffrey’s room in the first place? That same Code article also says, “Field workers may also be required to periodically retrieve historical figures for training as Voyagers. The field worker will be notified by automatic Omni Recall to Voyager Headquarters.” Obviously, this did not happen. My own personal theory is that the Omni control system, while manned by humans, is rather like QL’s Ziggy: It contains all historical records, including those regarding the recruitment of Voyagers. It would have known that Jeff was supposed to be picked up, and when it was supposed to happen; therefore, when no one took action to retrieve the kid when it was time, it took matters into its own hands. (I can hear you giggling back there, Ginger! ;D)

    ---Jake

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  6. Yes, I'm giggling Jake! LOL. WOOOW! I REALLY need to buy myself a Guidebook. It's only right, lol. How can I even call myself that name without one? Do they still make them? I'd have to start saving which is sometimes impossible. But thanks for bringing all this up. If I ever get a guidebook, I would definitely make a new website page and post some Voyager codes and rules and things. It's all just too cool. And yep, seeing as Drake rigged everything for the trial in his favor, they would have to throw the whole thing out, a slap on the wrist and away they go. I wish I knew all this cool stuff before I wrote Voyagers Aide, how much more 'intelligent' certain characters could have came off..oh well, now I know. Who knows, maybe one day I'll write another story in that series.
    But for now, I'm eagerly getting involved on working on my first 'real' non-fanfic novel that I hope to publish. Historical mystery!

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