In Which We Discuss Fantasy, Reality, and Holodecks

Jennifer (RantingnRaven) and I (VampireNomad) haven't had time for a lengthy chat in awhile.  We miss those.  So when we finally got time together, naturally we lobbed the idea of holodeck technology back and forth.  And as usual things escalated quickly.  Herein we offer your our totally rational and scientific take on holodecks.


VampireNomad:  I feel like these chats need some sort of formal announcement to start.  But greeting each other seems idiotic since we're clearly already talking and do daily.  Even our readers have figured that out.  I feel like we needa fanfare and a Town Crier.  "Hear ye, hear ye, a conversation shall now commence!"
RantingnRaven:  LMAO. Yes we need fanfare and greek gods to feed us grapes and spritz us.
VampireNomad:  OH GIRL.
RantingnRaven:  Sorry... I had to.
VampireNomad:  I propose to you a one-word topic: holodecks.  Fitting, since you just stuck the very visual imagery of gods spritzing us in my mind.  
RantingnRaven:  Yes. Let's roll.
VampireNomad:  You've watched enough Star Trek: TNG to know holodecks, right?  Do we need to discuss how they work?
RantingnRaven:  Nope, I've got it.  I wouldn't consider myself a trekkie, but I did see every episode of Star Trek: TNG in my youth.
VampireNomad:  I think you qualify.
RantingnRaven:  Yay!!
VampireNomad:  If anybody doesn't know what a holodeck is I doubt it will matter shortly anyway since we'll veer wildly off-topic and science will stop being important.
RantingnRaven:  Ha! So true. We like our tangents.
VampireNomad:  I like to think of us as 'free thinkers'.
RantingnRaven:  We totally are and we shall waste no time in doing so.
VampireNomad:  If you had a holodeck, what would be the very first program you make for it?  What's your number one program?
(Also, I just said "number one" unintentionally.)
RantingnRaven:  Oh my goodness, you start off running... I think I would like to do a program in the Victorian Era. I love the fashion of the time and I'd love to meet the real Mr. Darcy.
VampireNomad:  You'd have a Jane Austen program?
RantingnRaven:  Yes, yes I would.
VampireNomad:  How very literary of you.
RantingnRaven:  Why thank you.
How about you?
VampireNomad:  Well... I've always wanted to be James Bond.  Except female.  So I think I'd probably save some exotic locale from a madman with an overarching plan and then find myself surrounded by incredibly grateful Tom Hardy and Robert Downey Jr lookalikes.
Just to start.
RantingnRaven:  Wow! I did not see that coming.  Ever cool. You could totally pull that off. I could see you kicking butt; taking out the bad guys; and then being showered with compliments by Tom Hardy and Robert Downey Jr.
VampireNomad:  Really?  Thank you.  I can't see myself so much in the kicking ass part but can TOTALLY envision the gratitude of the men part.
RantingnRaven:  Ha! No girl you got it going on. You can be stealthy.
I can see you in black leather tights.
VampireNomad:  Maybe after I save the world I can come to your mansion for a proper tea?
RantingnRaven:  You're always invited, but you have to wear a hat.
VampireNomad:  Oh fine, I love a good hat.
If you want to come world saving with me, I can suit you up with a gadget and car.
RantingnRaven:  Oh.My.God. it has to be Porsche and not just any Porsche either. It has to be the one Sean Connery used in From Russia With Love.
VampireNomad:  SPECIFIC.  I love it.  Done.
RantingnRaven:  Yay!
VampireNomad:  I'll drive the tricked out Aston Martin.
RantingnRaven:  Sweet! That's a lovely rig.
VampireNomad:  We will look lovely driving them, too.  Who do you envision in your passenger seat?
RantingnRaven: Well now that you ask, I think Jude Law.
VampireNomad:  Mmmmmmm.
RantingnRaven:  You?
VampireNomad:  Tommy.  Obviously.
RantingnRaven:  Obviously... I should stop asking eh?
VampireNomad:  The answer will always and forever be Tom Hardy or George Eads or, if I'm feeling saucy, both.
RantingnRaven:  Oh you should feel saucy... but both our cars are two seaters so we can only take one. However, that doesn't stop us from having the other one waiting for us at the hotel.
VampireNomad:  It's a holodeck, I guess we could just materialize another seat.
RantingnRaven:  Oh ya, good point.
But I like the idea of another man waiting for me at the hotel.
VampireNomad:  A third man!
Who's your second, by the way?
RantingnRaven:  Ya why not!
Robert of course.  By now, he must think that I am stalking him, but he's so...<sigh> lovely and talented.
VampireNomad:  I agree wholeheartedly.  The man is a god.
RantingnRaven:  Yes yes yes... that's all I would say to him by the way.
VampireNomad:  Words are not needed.  <wink>
RantingnRaven:  Ha!
I have no words at this point; too busy dreaming.
What gadgets shall we have?
VampireNomad:  Haha!  ... oh, I guess it being a holodeck sort of negates gadgets too but I would still want some.  I think I'd ask Q for the Batman utility belt, actually.  Why not mix and match fantasies?
RantingnRaven:  Meh, we can have whatever we want. It's our holodeck.
Yes we can mix and match fantasies.
VampireNomad:  Oh good.  I'm going to be Bat-Bond.
RantingnRaven:  Whoa! Bat-Bond.
Can I be Wonder Bond?
I like Wonder Women's abilities.
VampireNomad:  You can be anything!  You should really be like Wonder Austen. Victorian Wonder Woman.
In a Bond car.
RantingnRaven:  Oooh Victorian Wonder Woman...interesting.
I also want a helicopter that's invisible.
VampireNomad:  Done.
RantingnRaven:  I'm ahead of my Victorian time with the helicopter.
VampireNomad:  You're kind of steampunk.  Gross.  But it's your holodeck!
RantingnRaven:  Ooh ya I don't want that... scrap that. Sorry steampunks.
VampireNomad:  Yeah, sorry steampunks.  But I'm not one of you.
RantingnRaven:  Exactly.
I just like Wonder Woman's kick ass style.
VampireNomad:  Who doesn't?
RantingnRaven:  Touché.
VampireNomad:  I think I'd actually like to be a vampire James Bond.
RantingnRaven:  Ooh good one. I love that! That is so you.
I want to be a shape-shifter Raven Woman.
VampireNomad:  Oh snap!  Would you live in the trees or in a crypt?
RantingnRaven:  Trees for sure.
You?  Crypt?
VampireNomad:  I'd definitely live in a crypt.
RantingnRaven:  I'd swoop in and out.
I could shape shift so I could assume any person I wanted.
VampireNomad:  I love that.
We don't even have a holodeck and we already use it better than any of the TNG crew did, save possibly Barclay.
RantingnRaven:  Hahahaha.  Well, we are new to this, so over time we'd get better and more specific.
VampireNomad:  But we're already better!  We have more imagination.  Sure over time our programs would get more specific and better organized but we're already using the hell out of it.
I always question, though, why anybody leaves the holodeck.  Humanity doesn't strike me as very able to be disciplined when faced with that technology.
RantingnRaven:  I wonder that too. Maybe they are scared about never seeing their "real" loved ones again or that they'd be consumed by the alternate reality and lose themselves.  A sheer loss of control might be too scary.
VampireNomad:  Yeah, I see that.
But most of them don't really have families.
And let's be honest: would you want to leave your Robert Downey Jr.-filled hotel suite in favor of the stark mustard-uniformed reality of the Enterprise corridors?
RantingnRaven:  Ya but they have relationships with their crew members which sort of take that role on for them.
VampireNomad:  Are you arguing that they're more evolved?  Because people nowadays have real lives to lead and people who fill those lives and yet they squander their existences on addiction and porn and whatever to avoid actuality... I can't see holodecks would be any different.  A better, more complete escape.
RantingnRaven:  I think that in their reality, not in the holodeck, yes they are more evolved. But yes I agree that the holodecks are a complete disconnect with reality.
I mean why else do it?
VampireNomad:  That's the puzzling question.  Why else do it?  They don't appear to want or need a disconnect from reality.  So why do they have holodecks?
RantingnRaven:  I'm not sure. Is it like a play place? They get to have some play time.
VampireNomad:  Arguably it could be a stress release.  Also a way to get nature since they're basically removed from natural elements.
RantingnRaven:  True. I'd like to think it gives them a way to be creative. They have to totally create their holodeck worlds.
VampireNomad:  Though it is always amusing to me that they consistently recreate only historical Earth things.
RantingnRaven:  Well that's all we can relate to. It's like they yearn for home. Isn't that the age old adage... people want to go home again.
VampireNomad:  That doesn't really explain Data or Worf, though.
Or even Beverly, who was born on the moon.  
RantingnRaven:  Ya I was thinking about that... why would they want to recreate Earth-like scenes?
Is Earth seen as the perfect place? Is that what they are all striving for?
VampireNomad:  I don't know.  I get Picard's Dixon Hill thing.  It's like my Bond fantasy in a way.  It's a total departure from his work.  But I don't really get the rest of them consistently wanting to visit Earth-centric things.  Especially Data and Sherlock Holmes.
RantingnRaven:  I can see that.  But I always felt like Data was so introspective. He always wanted to know where  he came from, which is a very human mind-set. It's appropriate that he was a clue-seeker in his holodeck.
VampireNomad:  Except... was Noonian Soong even a human from Earth?
Like if Data's seeking his origins wouldn't he seek the Soong origins?
RantingnRaven:  Oh my gosh, seriously I have no idea.
VampireNomad:  Data is so problematic for me in that way.
RantingnRaven:  You'd think so.
He's a conundrum for sure.
VampireNomad:  I feel like somebody programmed the Holmes obsession into him on the sly so they'd have an excuse to smoke a pipe in a formal drawing room.  I blame Geordi.
RantingnRaven:  Ha! That's the most brilliant thing I've ever heard. Yes. Geordi and Picard programmed that shit, so they could smoke a pipe in a formal drawing room.
VampireNomad:  Right?
RantingnRaven:  Picard wanted to play his flute.
He needed the right atmosphere for that.
Do you believe in holodiction (an addiction to the holodeck experience)?
VampireNomad:  I do believe in holodiction.  I believe in the human ability to get addicted to just about anything.  I don't mean that as a damnation, just a fact. Personally if my fantasy were interrupted by Riker demanding I get back to work I'd tell him he could peel me out of Tom Hardy's arms over my cold dead body.  Or he'd have to wade through like a shit-ton of blue-lit labs to find me "consulting" with Nick Stokes.
RantingnRaven:  Ha! Who wouldn't get addicted to the Utopian society created in our minds where we are canoodling with the Tom Hardy's, Nick Stokes, and Robert's of the world (earth that is).
VampireNomad:  Exactly my point!  Barclay was the only truly honest crew member.
He lived for the holodeck.
RantingnRaven:  Yes and rightly so. I'd be there all the time. You wouldn't be able to get me out of there.
VampireNomad:  And you wouldn't want a cure either!
RantingnRaven:  Nope no cure necessary.  
I think we'd be able to write our novels in there.
VampireNomad:  I think we'd be able to LIVE our novels in there.
RantingnRaven:  Ha! True.
We could test alternative endings like choose your own adventure.
VampireNomad:  Hilarious!  "If you decide to enter the cave, turn to page 5; if you decide to fight the pirate, turn to page 12"  Those things cracked me up.
RantingnRaven:  I loved those stories. They were so awesome.
If you choose Tom Hardy to be your mate, choose page 18.
VampireNomad:  The perfect ending.
Do we think holodecks are essentially good or essentially bad?
RantingnRaven:  I think they are good. I would like one in my office at work so I could disappear for a while.
VampireNomad:  And by "a while" you mean "forever".
RantingnRaven:  Yes, yes forever.  
I think that everyone using one uses it for good and not to go on a rampage.
VampireNomad:  But if you DID go on a rampage, who are you really hurting?
RantingnRaven:  That's true.
You aren't hurting real people.
VampireNomad:  No.
RantingnRaven:  Didn't they have a wild west holodeck with Data?
VampireNomad:  I mean... I guess unless the safety malfunctions.  Like it did in the Wild West one with Data, yes.
And then all the characters were Data, remember?
RantingnRaven:  Yes... so funny.
VampireNomad:  So in that one they could die because the safety was off.  Just like in the Dixon Hill one when the safety was off and they got trapped and the bullets were real.  I don't... even understand... the science.... it hurts my head....
RantingnRaven:  So there's one little button that controls reality? my.mind.is.blown.
VampireNomad:  RIGHT? DOES THAT MEAN IF WE TURN THE SAFETY OFF IT'S REALLY TOM AND ROBERT?
And, I guess more importantly, reality can be switched on and off by a button?
RantingnRaven:  Yes, yes it does. TOM AND ROBERT FOREVER...
VampireNomad:  We are doomed.
We're going to enter a holodeck and die there.
In ecstasy.
RantingnRaven:  No we are fine. Tom and Robert, however, are doomed.
VampireNomad:  Bwahahahaha!
Oooooh poor boys.
RantingnRaven:  Or are they...
Meh, they're tough. They can handle it.
VampireNomad:  Well I'm glad we so thoroughly explored the philosophical ramifications of holodeck technology and came up with "I WANT ONE NOW". Productive as always!
RantingnRaven:  Shit, we gotta work on this becoming a reality. I WANT ONE NOW TOO.
VampireNomad:  End result: PANIC.  Scientists, get on this!
RantingnRaven:  Love it.

- Jennifer Ward and Corinne Simpson