TNG AT 30

Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Holodeck – technically first glimpsed in an entry of Trek’s animated series, ‘The Practical Joker’ – dazzles with limitless possibilities.  Instruct a starship’s computer to create any environment imaginable, plus a few one could never dream of, and the fabled Starfleet supercomputer whips up an exact replica of your desired destination.

Trek Tech 

Trek tech is famously unobtrusive.  Creator Gene Roddenberry called it “technology unchained”.  No goggles, glasses or headset needed, thank you.  Indeed, current VR’s got a long way to go to compete with the instant gratification, full immersion of a 24th century Holodeck tech. Starfleet clean and neat.

Barclay In The Holodeck

Lt. Barclay In The Holodeck

If we actually craft such tech, there’s a potential downside: Holo-addiction. Many will choose holo-sex to the real, messy thing.  Most of us won’t readily confess, but time in a holographic playroom would likely consist of sexual activity or erotic themed play. If you can’t realize fantasies in a gloriously realistic and private place, where else?  But like with any powerful sensory stimulation, risk of it overtaking life is a real possibility.

Speaking of privacy, the private aspect of one’s intimate play figures mightily into the equation, most of all for one Enterprise D crew member, one Mister Reginald Barclay.

Mister Barclay

If your sexual preoccupation involves gleefully morphing co-workers into fantasy figures like faux Greek Goddesses or silly sword fighters plucked from The Three Musketeers, would you lock the door to your playpen?  Lt. Reginald Barclay, a recurring character on Next Gen, appears not so mindful while he sexually cavorts on Enterprise’s Holodeck.  Indeed, it’s as if he wants to get caught in the erotic act.

In season three’s, “Hollow Pursuits”, we meet him – played wonderfully by Dwight Schultz.  Lt. Barclay’s a terminally nervous klutz. He’s a stammering neurotic – sort of if Woody Allen or Richard Lewis joined Starfleet; he can’t remember co-worker’s names, stutters endlessly and he’s late to staff meetings. Barclay makes everyone really uncomfortable.

Mister Barclay

Mister Barclay

His safe place refuge is a complex fantasy life. Daydreams preoccupy him. Enterprise’s high tech playground is ideal environment for his erotically charged daydreams, and he utilizes the thing liberally.

Open Door Policy

Why doesn’t Barclay lock the Holodeck door?

Superiors, Geordi Laforge, Counselor Troi and Will Riker simply waltz into the Holodeck – with Barclay engaged in various scenarios.  Apparently Reg doesn’t care who catches him, least of all the very ones he models holographic playmates after. The shit really hits the warp core fan after Commander Riker gets a gander at his subordinate’s playfulness. Riker barges in – especially ole Will T. R since he’s so pissed off at his engineer – and we see Broccoli’s colorfully convoluted fantasies morphed into the holo flesh.

Broccoli. It’s a disparaging nickname from Wesley Crusher, but Picard forbids anyone to use it. When the good Captain finally uses it himself – accidentally – it’s clear the nickname’s caught on.

And speaking of great nicknames, Troi gets a doozy.

“I am the Goddess of Empathy. Cast off your inhibitions and embrace love, truth, joy. Discard your facades. Reveal your true being to me.”

Goddess Of Empathy

Goddess Of Empathy

We learn Reg loves holo Troi decked out in ancient Greek garb, spouting aphorisms on love and sex. She’s now resplendent as Goddess of Empathy.  Reg must think it’s fitting behavior for real life counterpart, psychological counselor Deanna Troi. Don’t worry though. However humiliating Troi’s depicted in Reg’s little sexual fetish, the Ent-D boys fare no better.

Holo-Role Play

Riker, Data, Picard and Geordi are comically reduced to 3rd rate Musketeer clones – with too tall Riker being reduced in actual height and vocal timbre, until he’s a mere wisp of his real life towering self. The holo Enterprise officers engage in frenetic swordplay and horseplay – their weapons as classic phallic symbols staggeringly apparent.

No matter how much we directly see in this TNG romp, things implied make for speculative fun. LaForge encounters a holo Beverly Crusher and a famished Wesley devouring a gooey pie. Crusher admonishes her holo-son for tersely replying to Geordi, ‘Master Barclay will spank you if you misbehave.’ Lt. Barclay spanks Wesley Crusher.  Wow, Reg – kinky play, indeed!

Despite info directly gleaned from scenes, we’re left with a nagging fact: Barclay doesn’t secure Holodeck time; appearing a flagrant exhibitionist wishing to get caught while engaging in sexual escapades. Yes, his superiors have override codes for emergency, however, folks just barge in far too often.  Also, as a relatively high level engineer, Reg could probably rig a holodeck for ‘secure entry or ‘my authorization only’ – etc. Bottom line: Barclay appears to enjoy people traipsing in to witness his ‘secret’ activities.

The Future Of Sex Is Digital

As our own world copes with a massive influx and seductive power of tech sex, we’ll eventually encounter Barclays roaming future holodecks awaiting their special playtime. Hopefully most won’t be unrepentant exhibitionists – luring unsuspecting victims to witness insanely wild romps of unrestrained intimacy.

Digital Troi

Holo Troi

With support from a patient Captain and bewildered Enterprise D colleagues, along with a fierce sense of self determination and career competence, Lt. Reginald Barclay prevails.  We’re reminded by Jean-Luc Picard that Reg, despite all his off putting skittishness and apparent lack of confidence, impresses with a sterling track record as a brilliant engineer.  Barclay manages to shake off his veggie nickname courtesy of junior brainiac Wesley Crusher and he abandons his all consuming holo-sex addiction.  At least for awhile…..

The Human Sexual Adventure Is Just Beginning….

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