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DECKER: I'm sorry.
ILIA: That you left Delta Four? Or that you didn't even say goodbye?
DECKER: If I had seen you again, would you have been able to say it?
Wowza. If their longing glances during their first meeting didn't tip you off, then this should make it clear that Ilia and Decker used to be an item. It's also clear that both of them still have some residual feelings.
[Ilia is seemingly disintegrated by V'Ger.]
DECKER: This is how I define unwarranted!
Decker is a lot more of a nebbish than the always-courageous Kirk, so Ilia's death is his worst fear realized. These two lovers were reunited just to be torn apart again.
SPOCK: Suppose that beneath its programming, the real Ilia's memory patterns are duplicated with equal precision.
KIRK: Ilia's memory, her feelings of loyalty, obedience, friendship might all be there.
SPOCK: You did have a relationship with Lieutenant Ilia, Commander.
How would you react if your dead ex-girlfriend came back to life as a super-advanced android? We'd freak out. (Or maybe make out with it—we've always wanted to kiss a robot.) Personal fantasies aside, this is going to be an emotionally draining experience for Decker. He's still grappling with Ilia's death and now he's expected to exhume the grave, metaphorically speaking.
[Ilia seems to remember her identity after trying on a hat she used to wear.]
In an attempt to reawaken the real Ilia, Decker shows her things that were important to her, like her favorite clothes and board games. It works, but only in fits and starts.
KIRK: Spock, what should you have known?
[Spock takes Kirk hand.]
SPOCK: This simple feeling is beyond V'Ger's comprehension.
We'd like to interrupt your regularly scheduled analysis of romantic love to look at the galaxy-spanning bromance of Kirk and Spock. Although these two men are as different as you can be, they get each other in a way that few do.
SPOCK: Captain, V'Ger is a child. I suggest you treat it as such.
KIRK: A child?
SPOCK: Yes, captain, a child. [...] It knows only that it needs, Commander. But like so many of us, it does not know what.
We're pretty sure that we know what V'Ger needs: love. Like a little kid throwing a tantrum, V'Ger is carving a warpath through half of the known universe just to get some attention. That's simultaneously cute and terrifying. Is there a word for that? Cutifying? Terrute? We'll workshop that one.
KIRK: Enterprise, stand by. The antenna leads are melted away.
SPOCK: Yes Captain, just now. By V'Ger itself.
SPOCK: To prevent reception.
This is V'Ger's equivalent to not responding to bae's texts so they're forced to just call you. In V'Ger's mind, it's traveled way too far to settle for a long distance relationship: it wants the real deal. We've never related so much to a machine.
DECKER: To bring the Creator here, to finish transmitting the code in person, to touch the Creator.
Decker instinctively understands why V'Ger is insistent to reconnect with the Creator. Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that his ex-lover is its physical manifestation?
McCOY: You mean that this machine wants to physically join with a human? Is that possible?
You best believe that it's possible, especially when that machine has taken the form of a beautifully bald babe. Unsurprisingly, Decker volunteers for this position, as it is his only way of reconnecting with what's left of Ilia.
KIRK: Spock! Did we just see the beginnings of a new lifeform?
SPOCK: Yes, Captain, we witnessed a birth. Possibly a next step in our evolution.
Talk about a happy ending. Although it began as a star-crossed romance of carbon-based bodies, Ilia and Decker's love has transformed into something incredible. They might have even created a new species. Whoa.
Now that we think about it, however, they might have just created the Borg. Whoops.
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