Star Trek: Voyager
Originally Broadcast May 14th, 1997
Reviewed by Chakoteya
It is 11:32h, and Paris has been collecting on the bet he won in Distant Origin, but Torres isn’t too happy with a Klingon martial arts program. While they are arguing in the corridor, a stranger pops into view in front of them and asks, ‘Where am I?’ They take him off to sickbay, where the EMH raises the heat and lowers the light levels to make their visitor more comfortable. The Nyrian, Dammar, tries to explain what he experienced, and describe where his colony is, to the Captain and Tuvok. When the EMH mentions that Kes has not turned up for her duty shift, Janeway asks the computer to find her, and is told that she is not on Voyager. She left at 11:32.
Torres and Kim are examining the sensor records in engineering, and discussing whether or not she is hostile, when they detect elevated levels of polaron particles. Then Harry disappears, and another Nyrian appears on the bridge. Exchanges continue despite trying to strengthen the shields, and eventually sickbay is getting full. Twenty two swaps later, the remaining senior staff discuss the various possibilities. Captain Janeway has a gut feeling that something is wrong, as there are exactly 9 minutes 20 second gaps between each exchange, so she orders the Nyrians confined to the Cargo Bays under guard.
‘Captain’s log, stardate 50912.4. It’s been twelve hours since these mysterious exchanges began. We still haven’t discovered their cause. I’ve already lost over half my crew.’
Chakotay reports the cargo bays full, and asks Captain Janeway for permission to begin converting the shuttle bays. In engineering Torres tells them that a Nyrian called Rislan has suggested that Voyager has snagged a wormhole. The Captain contacts Neelix and begins to tell him to find this scientist, then vanishes. Chakotay continues to issue her last order.
With only 40 crew left, young Miss Lang is now head of Security on the bridge, reporting to Chakotay. He orders unused areas of the ship shut down, and security measures put in place to stop unauthorised tampering as the crew’s numbers continue to decrease. Down in engineering, Rislan is trying to persuade Torres not to run a particular type of scan, but she does anyway, and discovers that the phenomenon is not a wormhole, but a form of teleporter. Rislan shoots the security guard and arranges for her to be moved to the head of the queue. She vanishes.
Torres finds herself in a light, bright place with the rest of her missing crewmates. There are a group of compounds in the area and Tuvok is scouting the surroundings for more information.
On Voyager, there are only 12 crew left when Chakotay discovers the Nyrians have left the cargo bays. Immediately, he orders his people to secure all strategic areas, but the bridge is overwhelmed after a short fire-fight. Chakotay is with Larsen when he deduces that the Nyrians must have got into Voyager’s database some time before in order to plan the takeover so well. Then there is only he and Gennaro left, so the two set out to sabotage as many systems as possible. If the Nyrians want Voyager, they’re going to have to work for it.
On the bridge, Dammar reliever a report from Rislan that the navigational controls are not working. He orders the saboteurs found, but meanwhile, the warp core is disabled and engineering is flooded by brilliant light, driving the Nyrians out. Back in the cargo bay, Chakotay enters commands that will disrupt all computer functions, then tries to contact Gennaro, only to learn that he has been alone for seven minutes 20 seconds. He dashes to sickbay, activates the EMH, and downloads his program into the mobile emitter. As the Nyrian security team breaks in, he palms the emitter, surrenders, and vanishes.
Tuvok reports that the crew are in ten compounds scattered over four hectares, with impassable barriers on all sides. Now that everyone is present, a Nyrian tells them to get used to the place because this is their home now, then leaves just before another alien appears through a glitch in the scenery. The explains that his name is Jarlath, and he lives in the environment next door. It took him nine years to find the portal and learn how to get through it. Janeway offers to trade food for the information.
That evening, Torres is adjusting the EMH’s optical sensors so that he can become a tricorder searching for portals. Paris is sent down to get an update on progress, and the pair end up arguing again, while the EMH makes comments about defence mechanisms until Torres mutes him. Upstairs in the building, Neelix is delivering scavenged parts to Tuvok and Chakotay, who are improvising weapons. The Vulcan’s unexpected talent has impressed the first officer. Next morning, the EMH is trying to claim that he is tired of scanning, when he finally locates a second portal. Janeway, Tuvok, Torres, Paris and Jarlath go through to find themselves in a control area, not another habitat.
They split into two groups, and while Tom, B’Elanna and Jarlath find entrances to more habitats, the Captain and Tuvok locate computer consoles which show them that there are 94 habitats on this space station. Then an alarm goes off. Jarlath is caught and sent back to his habitat as Tuvok monitors the procedure. Guards chase Paris and B’Elanna who decide that an arctic environment is their best chance for a safe haven. With the makeshift phaser losing power, the pair manage to avoid capture before Torres begins to succumb to hypothermia. Janeway works out how to use the Nyrian teleporter as Voyager is repaired and comes to help put down the rebellion. She swaps Tom and B’Elanna out to the Federation habitat and Dammar and Rislan into the arctic Argala one. Then she goes in herself to offer her ultimatum – free everyone in the space station and have a nice warm, dark habitat of your own, or stay here and freeze as your comrades are teleported in to join you. They take the first option.
Captain’s log, stardate 50929.6. The Nyrians have surrendered Voyager, and my crew is safely back on board. The former prisoners on the habitat vessel have contacted their native worlds, and are waiting to be taken home.
Torres sits next to Paris on the resort holo-program, and the two agree that it is nice to feel warm again.
Finally, Lisa Klink does us proud with a Paris/Torres relationship development episode set against the intellectual challenge of the Nyrian dilemma. I was so pleased to see that it was Chakotay who got to be last in the queue, pretty much sabotage the ship and be quick enough on his feet to get from the Cargo Bay to Sickbay in about a minute! The other good concept was that the Nyrians prefer a different environment to the crew – dark and warm as opposed to cool and bright.
Which was a kind of metaphor for the Tom and B’Elanna situation too, as the couple move from a cool, antagonistic relationship to a warmer, friendlier one. Now, if he can just be a little less brash, and she a little more accepting of her bloodline, things should trot along nicely. Just like the episode really. No lags, no boring interludes, just a good pace of plot development all the way through. Apart from the usual technobabble grievance of how quickly the heroes can work out how to use a completely alien computer system, there was no big leap or deux-ex-machina for the resolution, just strategy and determination from the Captain.
This is the third strong story in four episodes. As we move to the end of the season, things are boding very well.