Star Trek: Voyager – 3×24 – “Worst Case Scenario”

Star Trek: Voyager
“Worst Case Scenario”
Originally Broadcast May 7th, 1997
Reviewed by Chakoteya

The Story

Stardate: 50953.4

Torres is walking along the corridor when she is joined by Chakotay. In the turbo lift he quizzes her on her feelings about spending 70 years or the same ship as Tuvok, then confides that all the Maquis and 25 Starfleet crew are going to support him – in a mutiny! On the bridge, Captain Janeway hands Voyager over to her first officer, then departs on a shuttle with Tom Paris on a one day mission to the Rukani. Chakotay orders the transporters shut down for a diagnostic, then, after getting the right answer from Torres, gives the order to ‘Do it’. There is a brief fire fight in which Torres shoots Kim, then, with the bridge secure they go to help Jonas mop up a pocket of resistance in the men hall. Seska joins them and the Starfleet people quickly surrender, while Neelix switches to the winning side. Chakotay orders the rest of the Starfleet crew released from their quarters where Torres had trapped them and taken to Cargo Bay one.

In the cargo bay, he informs the captives that their senior officers are in the brig, pending being stranded on the nearest habitable planet, and offers then the choice of joining then or becoming part of a crew who will do whatever it takes to get home as quickly as possible. ‘To hell with Starfleet regulations,’ he says. ‘You have fifteen minutes to make up your minds.’ Then Tom Paris walks in to ask B’Elanna why she is late for their lunch date.

She explains that she found this holo-novel while doing routine housekeeping of the ship’s database and he talks her into letting him run it. After all, they need to find out as much as they can about it before reporting to the Captain. When he takes part in it, Tom switches to the Starfleet side during the fight on the bridge, and ends up in the brig with Tuvok before being taken to the Cargo bay for Chakotay’s big speech. There, he tries to rejoin the mutiny but, as he explains to B’Elanna in the mess hall later, Chakotay is so suspicious of him by now that he gets assigned to menial manual duties where he can’t do any harm. Neelix butts in to say that when he played it, Chakotay killed him and the program reset. It turns out that he had heard about it from the EMH, and B’Elanna admits that she might have mentioned it while giving him his weekly overhaul. When Kim comes over to ask about the holonovel Ayala has told him about, they realise that most of the ship probably knows.

‘Lieutenant Paris’s personal log: Stardate 50953.4. I’ve decided to take B’Elanna’s advice and replay the holonovel, this time as a full-fledged member of Chakotay’s team of mutineers. I hope it turns out better than before.’

His ploy works, and now the scenario has moved on to everyone on the bridge in leather Maquis ‘uniforms’, and Seska claims they have a faulty dilithium matrix. Chakotay suspects sabotage, then Janeway and Paris arrive in their shuttle. They know about the engine failure, and despite Chakotay’s assurance that he does not want to kill her, the Starfleet pair attack Voyager. Chakotay has the shuttle destroyed, but Paris and Janeway have beamed on board and are freeing Tuvok from the brig. Janeway and Chakotay shoot each other, Paris aims a phaser at his holographic self, then the program ends. The computer informs him that there is no further narrative. Frustrated, he enlists B’Elanna’s help to try and identify the author of the holonovel, but to no avail.

In the next daily briefing, Chakotay tells the senior staff that this new holonovel has been accessed 47 times by 33 crewmembers, and Captain Janeway orders them to find out who the author is. Tuvok admits that he wrote it, but as a tactical training scenario in the early days of their journey home. As the crews merged successfully, he thought he had deleted it, and apologises for his error. The Captain however, thinks that it is a good idea to start creating their own works of fiction, and Chakotay suggests that the novel should be finished before there is a real mutiny. Paris volunteers for the job.

In the mess hall, Tuvok offers Paris the original probability studies that the scenario is based on. Tom rejects them, and the two clash over the correct approach to the continuation of the story. B’Elanna suggests the addition of a romance, while Tom wants the Captain to execute the mutineers, and Neelix feels that his character should be changed as he would never betray Janeway. The pair head off to the holodeck, arguing about the need for chapter outlines. In the holodeck, they find the EMH has not only suggestions for the new chapters but also revisions for the earlier chapters. Tuvok sends him back to the sickbay, then informs Tom that only he can reopen the narrative parameters file. Unfortunately, when he does so with his authorisation Tuvok 4774, Kim reports to the Captain that the transporters have gone down, as has the comm. system and the holodeck systems.

Tuvok and Paris are in the holographic brig, facing Seska, who informs them that she has written the rest of the program, sealed the holodeck and taken the safeties off line in order to take her revenge on Tuvok for betraying the Maquis.. They have 10 seconds to run for their lives. On the way, they meet Captain Janeway in a transporter room, but when she tries to use her phaser rifle to shoot Seska, it malfunctions and kills her. Then Seska gives Tom a flesh wound, just to prove that the safeties really are off, and the pair run again. In the holographic sickbay, the EMH sadistically adds nitric acid to his wound then throws the pair out into the corridor.

Kim and Torres inform Captain Janeway that Seska got into the program on 48671, and that the narrative parameters are currently open and rewriting themselves as they go along. Janeway muses that maybe she can rewrite Seska.

In the holographic Jefferies tubes, Tuvok and Paris are confronted by a plasma fire, when an extinguisher appears in the nick of time. A monitor flashes the message – trying to help you, go to weapons locker – but Chakotay is waiting at the door and takes them prisoner. Kim is struggling with getting the transporters back on line as Tuvok and Paris are taken to the cargo bay to join the rest of the crew. Seska marches in and orders two Maquis to separate them out and execute them. Chakotay is rewritten by Janeway to resist doing any killing, and an argument breaks out between the pair, then Seska kills him. She is about to have Tom and Tuvok shot when Voyager is shaken by weapons fire from the Rukani. There is a brief fight and Tom and Tuvok manage to arm themselves. In a last ditch effort to kill her nemesis, Seska orders a 60 second countdown to self destruct and demands Tuvok hands over the phaser rifle that he is holding. Torres tells Janeway that the self-destruct will cause the whole holodeck power grid to explode, killing anyone in there. With 15 seconds left, Tuvok presses a few buttons on the rifle then hands it over to Seska, who then calls off the self-destruct order and tells Paris to do the same for the Rukani. Tom taps his communicator badge and does as he is told, then Seska pulls the trigger of the phaser rifle and learns that she is not the only one who knows how to cause one to malfunction, killing it’s user.

With Seska dead, the program ends and then Kim announces that he has got the transporters back online. In the mess hall, Captain Janeway toasts ‘happy endings’, and B’Elanna suggests that Tuvok and Paris’s next collaboration should be a detective story, while Janeway wants a western, and Chakotay just doesn’t want to be the bad guy next time. Tuvok assures the company that if there is to be another story, it will be much less close to home.

Review

I love this episode.

Oh, you want more? Okay. The concept is great. I can believe in Tuvok sitting down and devising a training scenario in case of a Maquis mutiny early on in the journey. He did spy on them, after all. I can believe in duplicitous Seska trawling the databases and finding it, using it to create havoc whether or not she was present.

The acting is superb. The holodeck variants are played just slightly differently to give you the clues in the teaser (if you needed them). Everybody gets to be in it, albeit only slightly for Kes and the EMH. Even the handsome Ayala and Hanson are there, if you like your eye-candy tall dark and macho. Tuvok and Paris spark of each other very well, better than Tuvok and Neelix, which can become painful. These two are just right, the rule follower versus the instinctive, the steady and mature versus the restless almost-teenager. It works so well.

We also get to see just how settled everyone has become on the Voyage Home. Creating their own entertainments, no fears of mutiny and the Maquis wanting to take the short way back by whatever means possible. Maybe that’s a little sad from a drama perspective, but if you’ve got the prospect of 70 years travelling in front of you, it’s rather inevitable. Otherwise you might just as well find a nice planet and colonise it, which would not make for a fun Star Trek series.

This is the final stand alone story of season three. The whole season has been pretty good, with more hits than misses, and what a way to finish it. Excellent.

Grade: 10/10

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