Gel Packs

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Chico Eastridge, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. Chico Eastridge

    Chico Eastridge Ensign Newbie

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    Like many things in Voyager the unique ship design with gel packs were underutilized. They do get mentioned from time to time, but there were very few instances where it seemed to make much of a difference that they were using gel packs over any other Star Fleet design. They mention the gel packs in the first episode in a sort of foreshadowing way, like these are going to be super important down the line, but they mostly get forgotten about. What do you think they could've done with them for plot ideas?
     
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  2. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    On paper, the gel packs were meant to expand a starship's computing abilities, giving it greater flexibility in general, allowing it to "grow" new adjuncts to its programming, and so on.

    In practice, we don't know what a starship's computing abilities were in the first place. Voyager's stats or computing feats might've looked impressive, but how can we know that the Enterprise-D couldn't already do those things — other than the characters telling us? The only way to depict that onscreen is if there's another Starfleet ship on hand, without gel packs, that Voyager could show up. And with the premise of the show ....

    That meant the only way the gel packs COULD stand out was when they became a liability.
     
  3. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commodore Commodore

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    It allowed the ship itself to get sick - and cheese to get sent to sickbay XD
     
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  4. Chico Eastridge

    Chico Eastridge Ensign Newbie

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    Early on it seemed like they were going to be playing with the idea of scarcity. They only had a few replacement gel packs and wouldn't be able to manufacture more. The same idea was hinted at with the photon torpedos, but it never really panned out. Other than the year of hell it seemed like they, more or less, had what they needed to go about business as usual.
     
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  5. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I had figured that shortly after the events of "LEARNING CURVE", they finished the process of converting many systems back to the isolinear chips. It was mentioned they were starting that process in the episode, and it makes sense they would make that a permanent change so fewer systems relied on the gel packs, and additionally extend the life of them, too.

    It would have been nice if the packs were mentioned later in the show. I don't think it was even mentioned again after season 1, maybe 2.
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There was "Macrocosm" where the virus infected a gel pack and spread from them, which kinda highlights they were more of a liability than anything else.

    Other than the ship getting sick, the only other storyline that might've applied directly to the concept of the gel packs would be the ship gaining sentience or some form of intelligence. This probably would've just been a one shot episode, where the ship either chooses or is forced to give this up for the good of the crew, then the reset button is hit and things carry on as normal. The thought of a "living" (or at least independently intelligent) ship would've been an interesting concept, though it would probably mean the ship communicated through the EMH, thus making him even more insufferable--unless the producers/studio decided to make a new hologram and turn who would become Seven into the ship's AI.
     
  7. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ah, Janeway as Ripley. Yeah, "MACROCOSM" was another use of the gel packs. And shows again it was a liability.

    I didn't really think of the gel packs as a recurring plot tool before, but now looking at it... it feels like yet another missed opportunity the series had. I kind of wish they never introduced that into the pilot to begin with.

    Maybe I'm biased... I've never liked the idea of merging organics and technology. It's why I find the Cybermen of DOCTOR WHO the most terrifying villain of that franchise. I used fo find the Borg terrifying... until VOYAGER completely declawed them.
     
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  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I always took the line in the pilot to show that the ship was the newest and best of the fleet, never really thought of it as a major plot element that needed to be expanded upon.

    Voyager really did remove all sense of threat or menace from the Borg, showing that in the case of villains less is most definitely more.
     
  9. darrenjl

    darrenjl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I was always intrigued if the Dr Terence Epstein mentioned in 11001001 was eventually the inventor of the gel pack, although he was more regeneration through cybernetics, which makes you wonder what he though when first contact was made with the Borg.
     
  10. Chico Eastridge

    Chico Eastridge Ensign Newbie

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    I didn't remember the conversion back to isolinear chips, but again that could've been an interesting thing to utilize. Maybe the ship can do things with the gel packs that it can't do with the isolinear chips, but the gel packs are too much of a liability. Maybe they have to get the packs out of storage for some sort of unique situation. Even if it was some throw away moment where there's a virus that's obstructing the ships systems or something. They dig out of the gel packs and get moving just in the knick of time. "Missed opportunity" is really the theme of Voyager. It had a great premise, but seemed like the writers just wanted to keep doing TNG.
     
  11. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commodore Commodore

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    Imagine an episode where the ship becomes half-sentient and its rights are on trial!
     
  12. Chico Eastridge

    Chico Eastridge Ensign Newbie

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    That'd be great!
     
  13. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commodore Commodore

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    Then either the ship remembers that Janeway always talked to it and agrees to being used, also because people are maintaining it and it feels empty like Gomtuu without them - or it insists on a life without carbon units and Janeway kills it.
     
  14. Chico Eastridge

    Chico Eastridge Ensign Newbie

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    Yeah, Janeway would kill that thing in a heartbeat. Janeway dreams of killing new and interesting lifeforms.
     
  15. darrenjl

    darrenjl Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    A real conundrum would be if the ship itself refused to continue its journey to Earth for fear of putting itself in constant danger. That would be an interesting twist. Maybe Janeway has to teach it about risk and death and the concept of home and belonging to somewhere.
     
  16. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think when "Emergence" first aired and the E-D seemed to have become a bit more sentient than usual that I thought it might be going in this sort of direction. Alas, no.
     
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  17. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I immediately thought of "Emergence," too. And it went nowhere. For TNG, that episode was totally random (as were many episodes of that season), but it would've made a lot more sense for VOY with its network of bio-neural gel packs.

    Sentient ships is an interesting concept, whether for 1 episode or many, and it would've been a classic Janeway dilemma for reasons described in others' posts. And their first conversation would've been about her replicator and her coffee. ;)
     
  18. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Janeway: Voyager, have you switched me to decaf?
    Voyager: Decaf is more energy efficient and less addictive. The health benefits are obvious.
    Janeway: Voyager, you have five minutes to replicate me non-decaf before I take a phaser to the warp core.
     
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