Star Trek: Voyager
Originally Broadcast March 18th, 1996
Reviewed y Christina Luckings
Ensign Wildman is having a quiet break in the mess hall when Neelix asks her to have a look at some of his kitchen equipment. The thermal array has vaporised a pot roast and Ensign Kim hasn’t found the time to come and fix it yet. She decides it needs a new set of anodyne relays, and offers to get some from Engineering. Then he steers the heavily pregnant woman to the replicator. The green vegetables are coming out rather yellow, not that he likes using synthetic in his cooking but Kes’s garden isn’t as productive as expected. Wildman decides that it’s the power grid, then winces. Contractions have started. Voyager is having a baby.
Seven hours later, Wildman is still lying on her back being told to push by the EMH. On the bridge, Janeway is doing the traditional pacing up and down of the waiting father, while Paris wants to know why it is taking so long. Tuvok reassuringly comments that his wife was in labour for 96 hours with their third child. Even Chakotay is nervous and it’s not even his. Janeway wonders if she should be apologising to the new arrival. A starship is hardly a suitable nursery, and the Delta quadrant is a very hazardous playground. Fortunately, Chakotay’s father had a saying – Home is wherever you happen to be. Then the long range sensors bring bad news. Voyager is heading towards 20 Vidiian spaceships and 2 occupied planets. They head off for a convenient plasma drift at 40 mark 7 which should hide them from the organ stealers for almost half the sector.
Complications have arisen in the birth. The baby’s Ktarian head spikes have caught in Samantha’s womb so the EMH arranges a transporter birth. A little girl is born as Voyager prepares to leave the drift and carry on it’s original course. She needs a little treatment for a hemocythemic imbalance but otherwise is perfectly healthy. However, as the ship exits the drift there is a big jolt and the warp engines stall. All propulsion goes offline then main power follows it. Torres reports that it is as if they have sprung an anti-matter leak and she is baffled as to why. Janeway tells her to start a series of proton bursts but before she can, Voyager is struck by one from somewhere else. Power conduits rapture in engineering and they have injured crew. Baby Wildman’s incubator loses power and there is a coolant leak is the mess hall. Now Kes and the EMH have a lot more to worry about than just one baby.
The proton bursts seem to be coming from inside Voyager itself, but they are not generating them. Damage increases and finally they get a hull breach. Kim volunteers to go and seal it with one of his new modified super portable force field generators. He meets up with Torres and Hogan, and they head off to Jeffries tube 12. Hogan taps into the power grid while Kim and Torres go off to the site of the breach, but he is badly hurt in an explosion. In sickbay, the EMH might go off line at any moment, while baby Wildman’s treatment fails and Neelix tries to console to bereft mother. Hogan manages to give his location to sickbay – Deck 15 section 29 – and Kes heads there with a medical kit. In the tube, the breach suddenly widens and despite Torres best efforts, Harry Kim is sucked out into space.
Torres gets back to Hogan’s position and sees Kes running down the corridor towards them, and then disappear! She reports Kim’s death and Kes’s disappearance to the bridge, taking out her tricorder and discovering a spatial rift. By throwing a piece of debris into it, her tricorder manages to detect another breathable atmosphere on the other side. Wherever she has gone, Kes is probably alive. Chakotay is nearly ready to magnetise the hull and try and dampen the effects of the proton bursts when Janeway is thrown to the floor and injured. Completing the procedure, they don’t feel the next burst, so the Captain calls for full damage reports.
Tuvok reads off the list. The hull breach has spread from deck 15 to deck 14, and they have 632 micro fractures as well. They are running on emergency power only with just 18 percent of their antimatter left. 15 crew are seriously injured, and the baby is dead. That hits Janeway hard, but she orders a crew to seal the micro-fractures as a priority. She sends Tom to help the EMH, and is planning to see Ensign Wildman herself when the magnetic field collapses and she is thrown to the floor again. The next proton burst causes a breach on deck one so Chakotay herds everyone off the bridge to safety. The Captain hangs back, believing she can seal the breach, but gives up. Just before she gets into the turbolift she sees another bridge, intact, with Kim walking across and herself sitting in her chair.
(Dear reader, this is where the narrative starts to get a tad awkward, so I’ll designate all crew of the intact Voyager as ‘2’ to try and keep some sort of track of things.)
On the bridge of an intact and unscathed Voyager, Captain Janeway2 sees a dishevelled version of herself enter the turbolift and shares the experience with the rest of the crew. Harry Kim2 checks the sensors and reports that there was a minor spatial fluctuation. She was not imagining things. Janeway2 asks Torres2 how long it will be until they can use main sensors. It will be another three hours as they are only half way through the proton procedure. Then she orders Chakotay2 to check the sensor logs for anything unusual during their trip through the plasma drift, and sends Kim to modify a tricorder to scan for spatial fluctuations on the bridge. She herself heads off to sickbay, to congratulate Samantha2 on her healthy daughter, and ask if she has decided on a name yet. She just has to put the initial on a baby blanket to finish it. Then she asks after the other patient, who is still unconscious. Kes2 says that she is identical to her in almost every way, apart from a slight phase shift in her DNA. Janeway2 and the EMH2 walk over to the other bio bed, where a second Kes is lying.
Awake, Kes tells her tale to Janeway2 – the damage to Voyager, the dizziness and waking up here. This confirms what Janeway2 already suspects from the presence of the spatial rift, that there is another Voyager close by but unseen. The experiences of the two vessels diverge when the decision to emit proton bursts is taken. One emits them, the other suffers the effects of them. Janeway2 orders Torres2 to cease the proton bursts immediately. There’s another Voyager out there and she intends to find it.
On the bridge, Chakotay2 displays the results of a quantum level analysis, and they see that the turbulence they hit just as the ship left the plasma drift was actually a divergence field that turned one Voyager into Siamese twins joined at the antimatter supply. Janeway2 recalls a Kent State experiment that was able to duplicate matter in a similar way, but not antimatter. The other Voyager is right here, right now, just slightly out of phase yet drawing on the same source of antimatter that they are. That mystery solved, Janeway2 tells Torres2 to find a way to communicate with them, and Kim2 offers to rig a phase discriminator to help Kes return through the spatial rift safely.
In sickbay, baby2 is due her first feed, but her incisors will be coming through in a few weeks and other arrangements will need to be made as Samantha2 does not have scaly skin. Kes listens to the exchange with memories of the death of the other baby fresh in her mind. EMH2 notices her distress and she has to explain to him that the damage on her Voyager meant that the treatment didn’t work.
Torres2 isn’t getting very far in trying to contact the other Voyager. The phase variance is the problem. They need the other ship to modulate their channel at the same time to compensate. Finally they go for the low tech solution – an all bands screech. Damaged Voyager picks it up and tunes into it, then they receive a short message in the emergency code. Tune into 12 gigahertz. On a monitor in engineering, a dishevelled Janeway gazes at the immaculate coif of Janeway2. After a discussion, Janeway explains it to the rest of the senior staff. She is convinced it is not a trap because of the depth of knowledge displayed by Janeway2 not only of their current situation but of her personal history too. Janeway2 also has a solution – merging the two ships by sending out a massive resonance pulse from their deflector dishes at the same time. Chakotay points out that they barely have enough power for life support, and Janeway orders all personnel evacuated to the engineering deck so that power can be cut to the rest of the ship. Decision taken, Torres gets in touch with Voyager2 again. All the staff gaze at the images of Janeway2 and Torres2 on the monitor as they agree to give the scheme a try in 15 minutes. But it will be a single shot. Paris goes to tell the EMH he’ll be on backup power only.
With the damaged Voyager taking the lead, the energy is sent out from the two deflector dishes and for a moment it looks like it is working, but then the two vessels move even further apart. They have to abort before they lose the antimatter containment. Torres2 reports that the antimatter leak is worsening, and they lose the whole supply in 30 minutes unless they start the proton bursts again. Janeway2 cannot make a unilateral decision that will affect the lives of everyone on the other Voyager, and contacts Kim2 to find out if the spatial rift on deck 15 is still stable. It is, and he has rigged the device to enable Kes to return ‘home’. Janeway2 tells him to rig another one. She’s going through too.
Janeway needs options from her crew as to their next step, when Kes and Janeway2 walk into engineering. The two Captain’s discuss the situation and their possible resolutions. They cannot divide the antimatter, they cannot move all the crew onto one ship because that would upset the atomic balance, because both would result in mutual annihilation. Janeway sends Janeway2 back to her ship to work out their precise phase difference so that they can try to realign the ships again. Janeway2 knows this is just a ruse to get her off the damaged Voyager before Janeway blows it up. After all, it’s what she would do in her place. But she asks for 15 minutes grace to try and come up with something else. They agree and part.
Kim2 gets the comm. link back and just as the two Captains are talking, a Vidiian ship drops out of warp nearby. It’s Commander sees just one Voyager, trapped in a spatial flux and completely defenceless. They open fire. Both sets of crews brace for impact, but the damaged Voyager is untouched. The Vidiians have destroyed Voyager2’s weapons array and are boarding the ship, shooting the crew and scanning them for suitable body parts. Tuvok2 is the first victim and Paris2 the second. The EMH2 puts a forcefield around sickbay and plans to hide the baby in an access port for safety but the Vidiians get in before he can do it. Chakotay2 reports that everything below deck 5 is taken. With 347 on board and more coming every minute, they are outnumbered 2-1. Janeway gets in touch with them to find out what is happening. Janeway2 informs her counterpart of the situation and tells her that she is sending Kim2 and baby2 across to them before she sets the autodestruct sequence to 5 minutes, no warning. Kathryn promises that she will get her crew home.
Kim2 gets to sickbay just as the Vidiians are looking for the baby. He shoots them and the EMH2 comes out of hiding to hand it over with the message that all signs of hemocythemia have been corrected. Janeway2 welcomes the Vidiians to the bridge calmly and politely. Then one of them notices a red warning on a monitor, counting down, 2, 1….
The resulting warp core breach rips through the attached Vidiian vessel leaving just one very battered and damaged Voyager hanging in space, as Harry Kim2 walks through the spatial rift carrying baby Wildman in his arms to be greeted by Torres, Tuvok and Neelix. They inform the Captain, who is also given the news of the fate of the Vidiians and the other Voyager.
‘Captain’s log, stardate 48548.7. There are no signs of any pursuing Vidiian vessels and we have resumed a course toward home.’
In Sickbay, Tuvok tells his Captain that they should be able to return to the bridge in 3 days. She is sure B’Elanna will be glad to get her out of engineering. He wants to know if she would have given the self-destruct order just as her counterpart did. Kathryn isn’t sure, but could see the other Janeway’s point of view. Samantha is grateful to Harry for bringing her baby back to her, and he says that the EMH2 should be congratulated for saving her from the Vidiians. The EMH is not surprised. He is programmed to be heroic when required. He wonders if the EMH2 had a name. He didn’t ask, says Harry. Kim and Janeway leave sickbay together and he tries to explain that this isn’t really his ship, but it is, yet he knows there’s a difference, and it’s weird. ‘Mr Kim’, replies Janeway, ‘we’re starfleet officers. Weird is part of the job.’
This is one of those great Trek shows that sweeps you along with the action, so you don’t start asking questions until well after the closing titles have faded. The jeopardy with the unexplained damage, the discovery of the twin ship, the entrance of the Vidiians and the resolution of the problem in Janeway’s hallmark suicide bid all keep moving wonderfully. The closing quote has become a classic.
So what are those questions? Well, why isn’t airponics providing the vegetables as expected? Are Kes’s medical studies distracting her from her first job of helping feed the crew? What is going to be done about it? And why should the EMH think that his counterpart of just a few hours be so radically different as to have a name? Who is going to have a serious counselling session with the Captain about this death wish of hers? Somebody had better do it soon, because it seems to be her staple response to an apparent no-win situation, and she is resorting to it all to frequently these days. In Alliances she said she’d destroy Voyager before letting the Kazon get their hands on their technology; in Dreadnought she prepares to ram the missile; and now both versions of her are ready to blow up their ships to save the other. All noble reasons, I concede, but nonetheless she is ready to perform the act a little to easily for my liking. The fact that on this ship it only takes her sole instruction to do it also still bothers me. Chakotay and Tuvok should get together to do a little computer re-programming and add a second command requirement for the self-destruct sequence. It might be in everybody’s interest to do so.
But this is all totally incidental to the show, which is a roller coaster ride from start to finish, from Samantha Wildman going into labour to her receiving the duplicate baby from the arms of the duplicate Harry Kim. This is as near perfect as Trek gets, in my opinion. Enjoy.