Star Trek: Voyager – 2×05 – “Non Sequitur”

Star Trek: Voyager
“Non Sequitur”
Originally Broadcast September 25th, 1995
Reviewed by Christina Luckings

The Story

Stardate: 49009.9

Harry is having a dream in which he can hear Captain Janeway’s voice calling to him. Then he is woken by a young woman who tells him it is time to wake up. Opening his eyes he gazes in disbelief first at Libby, then out of the window at San Francisco on a bright sunny day.

In a daze, he is hauled out of bed and pushed into the bathroom while she tells him that he has a meeting at 0900 which he has been obsessing about a for week, and she won’t have Lt. Lasca blaming her for him being late. He emerges a little later in his uniform to be told that the eggs are getting cold. Harry asks her what the date is and she tells him it is 49011. So this is the present, he muses, and it is too real to be a dream, so that leaves a holodeck or an hallucination, some kind of trick. His last memory is of piloting a shuttlecraft back to Voyager he says as Libby interrupts him to say that they both have long days ahead of them and could they play this game some other time. Harry is staying with this line of reasoning, however, and tells her to her face that it is not possible that she can be Libby then he introduces himself as Ensign Harry Kim of the Federation Starship Voyager. Libby does not find this at all funny. The memorial service for Voyager was only two months ago and Danny Byrd had been his best friend. She tells him to go to work and walks away.

Harry leaves the building where his attic apartment is, and shuts the door behind him. A banner from a lamp post is advertising the Old Town Festival in the Mission District on August 14. He wanders down the pedestrian-only street past neatly tended topiary and various stalls until he is hailed by a store-keeper, who ducks inside then re-emerges with a Vulcan Mocha, extra sweet, which he hands to Harry. The store is a coffee shop, and it’s owner, Cosimo, knows about Harry’s big meeting today about the ship he is designing. He reminds Harry that he promised to bring him a model that he intends to hang in his window and show off to the rest of his customers. Harry asks Cosimo how long he has been coming to his coffee shop. Since he left the academy eight months ago, comes the reply, although not every day, as Harry likes to sleep late on Sunday, and with a fiancée like his, so would Cosimo. This is news to Harry, that he and Libby are getting married, but Cosimo interprets his incredulity as wonder at his good fortune. Another Starfleet officer calls to Harry and asks him if he is ready to go. He takes his arm and hustles him off to the subway to catch the transport to Starfleet Headquarters. Harry tries to plead sickness but to no avail and off they go.

At Starfleet Headquarters, four important looking people are sitting on one side of a long desk while Harry and Lasca are on the other. Lasca opens his PADD while Harry looks very uncomfortable, and gets told to relax. If all goes well he will walk out of this room a Lieutenant. Lasca asks to see the warp coil schematic with the plasma flow equations but Harry does not have it. He claims to have forgotten it, so Lasca says they will just have to improvise. The doors open and Admiral Strickler strides in announcing that he has a meeting at 1100 with the head of SF security, and she doesn’t like to be kept waiting. Everyone sits again and the meeting begins. Lt. Lasca goes to a display panel and brings up an image of a new class of runabout – Yellowstone – that has tetryon plasma warp nacelles. The Admiral wants to know how they have solved the dilithium fracture problem, as tetryon plasma tends to disrupt sub-space. This is the cue for Lasca to introduce Harry as the most promising young engineer to come out of the academy in a long time, and the designer of the Yellowstone’s warp engines. Unfortunately Harry has no idea what anyone is talking about so when the Admiral asks him if he is ill, he seizes the excuse and asks to continue the presentation at a later date. It will have to be when the Admiral gets back from his three week tour of the Cardassian border, he is told, and the meeting breaks up. Lasca is not pleased. He tells Harry that he had better be dying before walking out of the room.

Harry finds his way to his own office at Starfleet HQ, and has a good look around at the design table, the certificates on the wall and the picture of himself and Libby on the desk before settling down to interrogate the computer about his service record. His request to serve on Voyager after he graduated had been denied, so he had moved to the engineering corp and become a starship design specialist. He had been awarded the Cochrane Medal of Excellence for outstanding advances in warp theory. This does not tally with his memories so he asks the computer if there have been any temporal anomalies lately. Negative, is the answer. Then he asks about USS Voyager, but that information is classified for security level three or above. That is not a problem as it is his ship, and he enters the appropriate code. The computer accepts it and tells him that last contact with Voyager was on 48307.5. Then he asks who the operations officer was on board. Ensign Daniel Byrd is the reply.

Harry returns to the area of his apartment but cannot remember which building it is in, so when Cosimo asks what he is doing back so early, he has to continue the sickness story and ask him to remind him where he lives. Cosimo assumes he has come back early simply to spend time with Libby but tells him he lives on the fourth floor of a nearby building, apartment 4G. Don’t worry, the Italian tells him, everything’s going to be fine, trust me.

Back in the apartment, everything is bathed in a golden evening light and Libby is wrapped in a towel fresh out of the shower. They sit on the end of the bed and she is concerned because he feels hot and tense. What can she do to help him, she asks. Just tell me that you love me, he replies, pretend that we haven’t seen each other for months. So she plays along and asks where he has been. On a mission, but they got a little lost, he tells her. You didn’t visit Risa on the way did you, she teases. No, he assures her, and he thought about her every nano-second. Then don’t ever leave me again, she tells him, and they kiss.

Harry cannot sleep, and leaves Libby in bed to look around the apartment, at the skyline and his clarinet on its stand, before sitting at the console and calling up the Voyager crew manifest. He sits and reads all the names out loud, Orlando, Parsons, Peterson, Platt, Porter then suddenly realises that one is missing. Tom Paris. He asks for Paris’s record, and all this talking wakes Libby. The official record shows that Tom was paroled on 48702 and is currently in Marseilles. Libby asks what he is doing at four in the morning so he claims he was catching up on work, switching off the console before she can read the display. She tells him that Lt. Lasca called her in the afternoon, concerned about him, and tries to get Harry to tell her what is going on with him. She reassures him that she trusts him, after all they are getting married, so he gives in and tries to explain about his ‘other’ life on Voyager, that he doesn’t belong here in San Francisco with her. She puts it down to wedding jitters at first and then suggests that he should see a counsellor to find out if there is something wrong with him. He will, he tells her, but first he has to go to Marseilles to see Paris.

Harry walks into the real Sandrine’s bar, which is remarkably like Tom’s holodeck recreation on Voyager. He leans on the pool table and is accosted by a scruffy Tom Paris who is having a game. This Tom Paris has never met Harry Kim before, but tries to suggest that maybe they served together at the academy or on the Exeter. Try Voyager, suggests Harry, but Tom assures him that he never set foot on that ship. He did get as far as Deep Space Nine, but he got into a fight with a Ferengi, and an unpleasant shapeshifter arrested him. Despite Captain Janeway’s best efforts, his parole was revoked and Voyager left without him. Harry asks if the Ferengi was trying to sell him Lobi crystals and when Tom says yes, he tries to explain about the other version of events, the one where there was no bar fight and the two of them were on Voyager. Tom keeps sipping his drink and tells Harry that it sounds crazy, and asks him what he wants. Harry asks him to return to Starfleet headquarters and help him run a simulation to find out what happened on the shuttle to make him end up here. As the best pilot Harry has ever seen, he is sure Tom could figure it out. But Tom just starts laughing at him and tells him to go back and tell whatever Admiral put him up to this that he is not interested in being a pawn in one of those games. Harry tells Tom that he had told him once that he was afraid of what would happen if he hadn’t taken Captain Janeway up on her offer, and now he can see why. He’s a loser and a drunk and that’s all he’ll ever be. Angry, Tom takes a swing at Harry, but it is dodged and Tom ends up face down on the pool table. He stays there as Harry leaves the bar.

Harry walks into his apartment to find two security officers and Lt. Lasca there with Libby. Starfleet know that he has been breaking into classified files with forged access codes, and they are here to take him to Starfleet Headquarters for questioning. Libby suggests that he tells them what he tells her and then everything will be all right. Faced with no choice in the matter, Harry leaves with the them.

At Starfleet, Harry is having his story recapped by Admiral Strickler, who points out that there is no evidence for any of this. As they are interrupted by someone bringing in a PADD for the Admiral to read, Lasca leans forward and points out that they have to consider all the options, such as him being delusional, or had his memory changed, or even be an alien masquerading as Kim. Harry suggests they check his DNA to prove that he is who he says he is. The Admiral has finished reading the PADD and has more questions. Why did he go to Marseilles to meet with a convicted traitor and Maquis sympathiser? To help run a shuttle simulation to find out how he got here and how he can get back, is the answer. Harry realises they think he is a Maquis spy and refuses to answer any more questions without legal counsel. Lasca reminds him that the facts as they stand at the moment look bad for him. The Admiral summons a security officer who fastens a security anklet to Harry’s right leg while he is reminded about the restrictions that go with it, including no off-world travel and no tampering with the device. Then he is dismissed.

On his way back home, Harry meets Cosimo the coffee shop owner again, who invites him to have coffee with him. As they sit at a table, Cosimo tells Harry straight out that he was sent to watch him and make sure that he was all right. His race live in a temporal inversion fold in the space-time matrix. Harry’s shuttle intersected one of their time-streams and the accident caused a few things to change. They don’t know how or why it happened, only that it did. This is not good enough for Harry, who wants to know where this time stream is. Cosimo says that it weaves through the galaxy like a thread. He could show Harry how to find it, and then he could try to recreate the conditions of the accident and fly back into it, but the results are not guaranteed. Harry could end up changing reality again so that he was a billion years in the future, or in the past before life began, or right back where he started. Harry is determined to try, even though Cosimo points out that he has a good life here, a good job, a beautiful woman who loves him. Perhaps it is his fate to be here. But Harry is concerned that Danny Byrd and Tom Paris aren’t living good lives here. Cosimo sees his determination and hands him a disc containing details of where the time stream intersects this region of space, wishing him good luck because he is going to need it. Unless he decides instead to stay, in which case he will see him in the morning for his Vulcan Mocha, extra sweet.

Despite the warnings, Harry tries to pick the lock of his security anklet. Libby sees him and is angry. She cannot understand why he suddenly wants to leave her and accuses him of having changed. Harry denies it, and gives her an impassioned speech explaining that he is the same person who took three weeks to summon up the courage to ask her out, the same person who wakes up in the night and says her name out loud. Then why is he trying so hard to get away from her, she asks him. He doesn’t want to leave her, but she should know better than most that once he has made up his mind about something he cannot let it go. He wants so much just be able to forget about Voyager and stay in this reality, but that would not be him, and he needs her to understand that. Before she can answer, the tamper alarm on his anklet goes off. Knowing that security will be arriving within seconds, he promises her that he will try to find a way to get back for real, before dashing for the fire escape. The security guards beam in behind a wicker screen and as Harry heads down the metal stairs on the outside of the building, Libby gets to the window first and closes it, telling the guards she is sorry as she blocks their way.

One of the guards catches up with Harry on the stairs but he punches him out before dropping to ground level, the other guard dashes out the front door and gives chase down the street. They run around corners and through groups of people before Harry is finally rugby-tackled from behind and brought down. The guard pulls his phaser and orders him to get up. Then someone says ‘Excuse me’ to the guard and as he turns, punches him squarely on the jaw, knocking him out. Grimacing with the pain of the blow, Tom Paris picks up the guards phaser, helps Harry to his feet and together they try to walk away nonchalantly.

Out of sight in an alley, Tom explains that he still has a few friends at Starfleet who kept him informed about Harry’s situation. It has been a long time since anyone cared what happened to him, which is why he is here now to help Harry, a fellow suspected Maquis sympathiser. The life Harry told him about on Voyager sounds a lot better than the life he has on Earth, so he is willing to take his chances helping him. Harry tells him that he thinks he can get back to his reality, but he will need to break a ship out of Spacedock to do it. So he’ll be needing a pilot, says Tom, and he used to be pretty good and might still know a few tricks. They should be able to access the runabout launch codes from Harry’s office at Starfleet Headquarters. Tom pulls a site to site transporter device from his pocket and Harry gives him the co-ordinates – main complex level six subsection forty seven. They will only have a few minutes before security detect the transport and come for them.

In the office, Harry accesses his desk console and tells Tom that to get back to his reality he will need to recreate the conditions of the accident. Then he might get back to where he started, but there are no guarantees. Security are only twenty seconds away as Harry bypasses the security lockouts and Tom prepares to beam them to the runabout. They duck behind the design console as a phaser is fired at them, and beam from there to the runabout. As Harry powers up the vessel, the computer announces an unauthorised launch in progress and sounds the alarm. The spacedoors start to close and Tom launches the runabout through the remaining gap just in time. Harry puts the co-ordinates of the time stream into the computer and they set off at full impulse as a Nebula-class starship gives chase. Thinking that they are stealing the Yellowstone prototype, the starship warns them to stand down or be fired on. Tom tries to evade but the starship is faster and phaser hits reduce their shielding. Despite being new and improved, Yellowstone is not yet complete, particularly the defence systems. As a hit weakens the anti-matter containment field, they approach the co-ordinates of the time stream. Harry suggests trying to slow down their pursuers by venting their tetryon based warp plasma. Tom realises that would make the chasing ship’s engines stall. With the starship at one tenth impulse and their own containment field at critical, they try to recreate the accident that brought Harry to this reality. Speed 140,000 kph, he thinks, while running a polaron scan at a radius of a quarter million kilometres. But they reach the co-ordinates of the time stream and nothing happens.

The starship is repowering its engines as Harry thinks hard. Then it comes to him. The last thing he remembers is Captain Janeway on the comm telling him that she was trying to beam him off the shuttle. The starship scores another hit on the Yellowstone and they have only twenty five seconds before a core breach as Tom locks the transporter onto the time stream for Harry. Harry is trying to shut down the core breach but Tom points out to him that if he is right, everything will change back to how it should be, and he will not be killed in the explosion. Harry is unwilling to risk him if he is wrong, so Tom pushes him back into the transporter area and energises. Yellowstone explodes.

Harry opens his eyes as he hears Captain Janeway’s voice telling him to prepare for emergency transport. He is back on the Drake, and he drops his shields as ordered, but Torres cannot get a positive lock because of the sub-space anomaly. Tuvok cannot boost the transporter signal but Janeway has an idea and asks B’Elanna to tap the transporter into the main deflector dish to extend the signal. It works and Janeway tells Chakotay to analyse the sensor logs to find out just what happened out there. Safe and sound in Transport Room two, Harry asks if Lt. Paris is there.

When Harry returns to the bridge, Chakotay tells him they think the shuttlecraft was caught in a temporal anomaly. A time stream? asks Harry with a grin. He’s already been briefed, he tells the Commander as he goes to see Tom at the helm, clapping him on the shoulder and informing him that he owes him one.

Review

Ensign Kim lurches from crisis to crisis as he attempts to make sense of and resolve the strange situation he finds himself in. Just as in Emanations, he is stranded where he should not be, and forced to come up with his own solution to his dilemma without any technical help from Voyager. And he does it, by sheer personality and ingenuity. This is a good character story, nicely filmed with location shots that give the viewer a glimpse of what our cities could become one day.

Garrett Wang plays confused and baffled well, and tries to put emotion into his scenes with Libby, although somehow they do not quite come off. The conflict between being where he has been dreaming of for the last season and knowing that he shouldn’t really be there doesn’t quite come through in his body language and voice, although it is there in the dialogue. The static apartment scenes with Harry and Libby just sitting there facing each other are, frankly, boring, and I don’t know whether it is the actors or the director who is to blame.

Braga’s story hangs together well, although I am not entirely happy with the sudden appearance of a hand-held site-to-site transporter device to get our heroes from one place to another quickly. Still, it served it’s purpose well in moving the action along briskly. So, despite all it’s promise and potential, this episode does not quite rise above average.

Grade: 5/10

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