Star Trek: Voyager
Originally Broadcast by November 27th, 1995
Reviewed by Christina Luckings
Captain Kathryn Janeway, Tuvok, B’Elanna Torres and Neelix are out of uniform in an alien market place, looking furtive and generally behaving very suspiciously. The Captain scans a vial while trying not to be noticed by any passers by, then tells Neelix that they need the container filled completely. Cost is not an issue. He takes the vial and leaves just before the local police force descend on the group to arrest them.
There is a fight, and weapons are fired, one of which hits the Captain just as she is calling for transport, wounding her and knocking her out. Before the officials can take her, however, a little old man joins in, sending the policeman flying against a wall.
Voyager’s engineering department is a scene of great tension. Chakotay and Kim are awaiting the arrival of the vial of tellerium, which they will need soon if they are ever to be able to use the warp engines again. In a last attempt to reduce power consumption Chakotay orders the shields to be lowered. Just then Neelix calls in with good news, and they use emergency power to beam him directly to engineering. With the tellerium safely on board, Kim acts as Chief Engineer, ordering the crew around to get the anti-matter reaction stabilised and then back up to normal. Voyager is back in the space-flight business again. Chakotay meanwhile debriefs Neelix about events on the planet. He had been in the shop getting the tellerium when they had heard weapons fire. When he had come out again it was all over. Chakotay wonders who could have tipped oft the police – the Mokra – that they were there but Neelix is sure it could not have been his contact, Darod, as he is a member of the Alsaurian resistance. However, he could well be under surveillance. The pair go up to the bridge, where Chakotay orders Paris to bring Voyager out from behind the moon nice and slowly. Neelix expects the Mokra to start shooting at them straight away, and is surprised when they are hailed by third magistrate Augris of the Mokra Order instead. When asked if they are seeking permission to do business, Chakotay admits to Augris that they already have crew members on the planet who are probably being detained. The magistrate tells them that he will transmit a copy of the regulations to the ship, and look into the matter of their missing crew. Neelix is amazed and sceptical, while Chakotay is willing to try pursuing diplomacy for the time being, but orders scans to search for the Captain, Torres and Tuvok anyway.
Torres and Tuvok are being held together in a small cell with a force field for a door. She can see a control circuit but only gets a shock when she tries to reach it. If they knew that Neelix had made it back safely with the goods, this imprisonment would be worth it. As it is, they do not know what happened to the Captain. She might be dead. Tuvok admits that it is possible, but it is also possible that she is safely on Voyager. They have no evidence one way or the other.
In fact, Kathryn Janeway is waking up to the sound of birdsong and voices in the street below. The little old man, Caylem, has brought her to his room, tended to the injury on her neck, and is now bustling around waiting for her to wake up. He thinks she is his long-lost daughter, Rokana, and that her insistence that she is the Captain of a starship is some story she is spinning for his entertainment. He admits that he does not have any communications equipment because the Mokra do not allow it and side-steps the issue of anyone having an illegal set by suggesting that he make her some soup to help her regain her strength. After all, she’ll need it for when they both return to the detention centre to free her mother.
Magistrate Augris has come aboard Voyager to discuss the matter of Chakotay’s missing crew members. He wants to know who they have been dealing with on the planet so that he can try and find them. Word has reached them that this is a disreputable ship, and some think that their story of being from the alpha quadrant is a lie. Chakotay is not very forthcoming, so Augris leaves, warning him that without co-operation, the search could take a very long time. Now the Commander tells Neelix to get in touch with his contacts again. He doesn’t want to keep waiting on Augris for ever.
Back in the detention cell, Augris interviews Tuvok and Torres. They refuse to give him the names of their resistance contacts on the grounds that they do not know them, and they are not planning to supply them with weapons as the Mokra believe. These answers are not good enough, and Tuvok is taken off for interrogation elsewhere.
Janeway can see the Mokra searching the area from Caylem’s window. He is happily putting together a bag of things that his wife will want when they get to the prison. Kathryn tries to get him to tell her about the defences she will encounter. Everything, he tells her, forcefields, detector grids, physical barriers and lots of guards. No one has ever escaped. Happily calling her his ‘little girl’ he gives her a necklace, one his wife used to wear on special occasions. She tries to tell him that he cannot come with him, but he ignores her, and goes to a chest where he keeps the letters that he has been writing to his missing wife over the years. The last one is missing, the one about the cold morning, and it upsets him that his wife might think he gave up on her so close to gaining her freedom. Then the search party reach Caylem’s room, and they escape through a concealed passageway just before the door is broken down.
Out in the market place, Janeway looks for Darod to see if he can help her contact Voyager. Instead Augris comes into view, asking people if they have seen any strangers lately. He accosts Darod, who denies having seen a woman, but Augris points to two ladies standing nearby and asks if he can see them. It is clear to the Magistrate that Darod has something to hide, and is about to arrest him when Caylem dashes forward and starts a little act. Behaving like someone slightly crazy yet harmless, he asks about his hat, then polishes Augris’s boots with his scarf before dancing with one of the ladies. In all the laughter and distraction of this performance Darod walks quietly away. Augris brings the show to an end by putting a bun in Caylem’s mouth and a hollow piece of fruit on his head as a hat and the crowd disperses.
On Voyager’s bridge, Chakotay, Kim, Neelix and Paris are discussing the problem of mounting a rescue in the prison. Sensors cannot penetrate the rock above the subterranean detention level, the Mokra sensors are very sensitive and would detect a transport even if they could get through the shields. Chakotay wants another way in, offering it as a challenge for Kim to solve.
Back in the market, Janeway and Caylem catch up with Darod again. His resistance cell’s transmitter was confiscated that morning, and he is very scathing about Caylem’s presence there. He calls him a lunatic and tells her that his stories are fantasies. Going to the prison is suicide, especially with him along, but he does tell them about tunnels on the north side that will get them a little closer. However they are guarded, and weapons are not free. Darod sees the necklace around Janeway’s throat and suggests she trade it. Caylem says that it will be all right and she reluctantly agrees. A man in a blue vest will be there in three hours to make the trade, Darod says, before telling them that they will need a miracle for this plan to succeed.
Six hours later Janeway and Caylem are still waiting and to pass the time, Caylem tells Janeway how his wife got arrested. She was leading a raid against a Mokra supply centre. He had been against the resistance, wanting to keep their child safe instead, but eventually he was persuaded to join in. He promised to meet her but he was too afraid to turn up. She was waiting for him when they took her. He never told his daughter what really happened because he didn’t want her to hate him. Then a man in a blue vest arrives. The pair make their way through the crowd towards him, but as Janeway casts her eyes down she notices that he is wearing shiny black boots. She drags Caylem away quickly and tells him what she saw. It was a Mokra trap. Now they will have to try a different strategy, she says, watching two laughing women walking across the street.
Augris returns a very battered Tuvok to the cell, suggesting to Torres that she could spare him more pain by telling them what they want to know, then leaving them alone. The state of the Vulcan convinces B’Elanna that the screams she had heard earlier had come from him. Tuvok tells her that beyond a certain level of pain, Vulcans can no longer block it out and simply have to endure it. This leaves her wondering just what sort of torture they employ, and how she would cope with it.
Janeway’s alternate strategy is to loosen her clothing and act like a ‘lady of the street’ in order to distract the bored guards, lure one of them into a dark corner then knock him out. It works, and she gets through the force field leaving Caylem on the other side. Meanwhile Kim has come up with the idea of firing dozens of radion beams from the main deflector dish, with the transporter beam on just one of them so the Mokra don’t know where they are arriving. Paris is ready in the transporter room, and they send off a test volley which get through the shields safely. But before they can fire off a second set with the transporter beam, the Mokra precisely target the source of the attack and put the deflector dish out of action. Augris hails them to say that Voyager has two minutes to leave or 85 phased ion cannons will open fire on them.
Underground, Janeway has come to a security grid panel, and she sabotages it, opening all the detention cells and disrupting the prison shields. Kim detects it and the rescue team are sent down while the Mokra are busy coping with it. Chakotay warns Paris that the cannons will be opening fire on Voyager in thirty seconds and he doesn’t know how long he will be able to wait for him. Janeway encounters Darod in the prison and nearly shoots Caylem as he comes around a corner looking for her, as he is determined to protect his only child. Then they come across Tuvok and Torres who are taking advantage of the confusion to try and escape like good officers. Caylem insists that they go and find his wife. Janeway hesitates for a moment then gives the others directions to the passageways out of the area. Then Augris turns up.
He knows Caylem of old, and is surprised he has gotten so far this time. Although Caylem’s wife has been dead for 12 years, he still comes on occasional rescue missions, and they just turn him around and send him home as a lesson to others. His daughter had got as far as the tunnels before she was shot. Augris orders the guards to take the others away. He wants to interrogate Janeway himself. Caylem launches himself at Augris to protect her, there is a fight in which a guard shoots Caylem, then Augris stops and slowly slides down the wall with Caylem’s knife in his chest. The Mokra guards silently melt away into the darkness leaving Janeway to comfort the dying hero of the hour. She assures him that Augris was lying when he said that his daughter had been shot and that his wife was dead, and tells him that they both forgive him. Tom Paris comes upon the group after all the action is over. Chakotay is extremely relieved to hear Captain Janeway’s voice over the comm. telling him to get Voyager out of there.
Later in her ready room, the Captain is only half listening to Ensign Kim’s status report. She assures him that she is all right, and he leaves her holding Caylem’s necklace, with a distant look in her eyes.
This Janeway showcase is completely stolen by the wonderful Joel Grey as Caylem, the sad, slightly deranged old man. He turns in a wonderful performance that cannot fail to tug at the heartstrings, and his distraction routine in the market place is an absolute gem. Otherwise, although it is nice to get Janeway out of uniform and into personal jeopardy for a change, this would be a fairly so-so episode. It is also pleasant to have Chakotay and Kim extending their repertoire. With the Captain off the ship, the first officer is in total charge and doing a fair job of it, while the raw young ensign is also doubling up as Chief Engineer – a role which surely should have been taken by Lt. Carey in Torres’ absence. Neelix is back in his role of shady trader, doubling as everyman when the engineering technobabble is being thrown at us by Kim, and doing it rather well He is far more acceptable like this than the annoyingly cheerful chef.
Once again, Voyager’s reputation has preceded them to this isolated, fascist dictatorship of a planet, most likely courtesy of the Kazon rumour machine. One has to wonder what they were trading for the tellurium, given that it is highly unlikely that Voyager would be carrying enough local currency for such a precious commodity. It could be argued that whatever they gave for the element was aiding and abetting the resistance and thus breaking the Prime Directive, but given the imperative of keeping Voyager’s warp engines working I suspect that can be quietly ignored.
The story moves along nicely, with good performances from Dawson and Russ as their characters face and deal with torture. There is a total absence of Lien and Picardo from the story, as the sickbay never gets used and the whole plot line is far too violent for sweet Kes to be involved in any active way. After her Cold Fire story, she seems to have been given some shore leave to recouperate recently. Tom Paris is becoming awfully concerned with Torres welfare recently, as evidenced in his keenness to get down to the prison and save her. Is a love/hate relationship developing here? The look of total delight on Chakotay’s face when he hears that the Captain is back and safe could be interpreted in two ways as well. Either he is pleased not to be the one in command anymore, or he is pleased that Janeway is safe. We shall have to wait and see which one it is.
On the whole, this is an above average offering, with interest all the way through.