Star Trek: Voyager
“Scorpion, Part 1”
Originally Broadcast May 21st, 1997
Reviewed by Chakoteya
See the Borg cubes, floating in space. See the streaks of energy blast them to atoms.
Signorina Catarina Janeway is listening to Leonardo da Vinci complain about the lack of payment from his patron, and talking him into allowing her to work along side him in his studio. She finally persuades him by suggesting he model his flying machine not on a flapping bird but on a soaring, gliding hawk. Chakotay summons his Captain to Engineering, to tell her that their long range probe has stopped transmitting after two months, and the last thing it saw was – a Borg cube.
The senior officers briefing examines telemetry from the lost probe which shows a Borg-free passage which is riven with gravitational problems. They are going to go for this, and the EMH reports that he is getting to grips with the Borg nanoprobes. Neelix has plans to make their rations go further. Voyager becomes a hive of activity as everyone prepares for the possibility of being boarded.
Whilst Kes and the EMH consider ways to try and slow down assimilation by using the victim’s own immune system she has a vision of dead Borg piled up in a heap. Tuvok reports that she is continuing to see images as Voyager is suddenly caught in the middle of subspace turbulence with fifteen Borg vessels closing on them. The little ship is bounced about in their wake as they streak past. One scans them, then continues on its way. Later, Chakotay tries to prise Janeway out of her Ready Room to eat something, but she is working through various log entries about the Borg. This moment was inevitable, and she has doubts as to whether she should go on, or tell the crew that they are going to turn around and find somewhere to settle down.
Kim reports that the fifteen Cubes are now dead, and, consumed with curiosity, Captain Janeway orders them to set a course to investigate. Once at the sight, the viewscreen is full of debris. There is the weapons signature of a second kind of ship. Someone powerful enough to destroy the Borg. Kim is keen to meet them – the enemy of our enemy is our friend – then they pick up traces of a biomass on the side of a near intact Cube. Chakotay, Tuvok and Kim are sent to find out more.
Phaser rifles at the ready they make their past drones stuck in their last assigned task, and come across the pile of bodies that Kes saw in her first vision. At the biomass, they find a drone trying to assimilate it, and constantly failing. Chakotay requests permission from Janeway to enter what appears to be an organic ship, and sends Kim to download what data he can from a nearby node. Inside, Tuvok notes that the walls are regenerating themselves from weapons damage, while Kim picks up something nearby. Kes has a premonition in sickbay and insists that the team are in danger. The EMH contacts the bridge, but Torres cannot get a clear lock, so she tries a skeletal lock instead. An alien lashes out at Harry and injures him just before the away team is beamed to safety. The bioship powers up, and Voyager makes its escape. Kes has received a message from the pilot in the meantime – the weak will perish.
‘Captain’s log, Stardate 50984.3. It’s been 12 hours since our confrontation with the alien life form. There is no sign that we’re being pursued, and we’ve had no further encounters with the Borg. I’ve decided to hold our course. The Northwest Passage is only one day away, and I won’t allow fear to undermine this crew’s sense of purpose, even if that fear is justified.’
The EMH has been unable even to sedate Harry since he was infected with alien cells. Now they have multiplied and are eating him alive. Although the Borg nanoprobes are normally ineffective against the invaders, the EMH has modified a few and they are successfully fighting the infection, but it will take him several days to modify enough to cure him.
On the bridge, Torres has been examining the data Harry got from the Cube. The aliens have been designated species 8472, and they can be found in that exact part of space that Voyager is heading for. There are over 133 bioships emerging from a quantum singularity ahead and Kes can hear them. These aliens come from a place where they are all alone, and they intend to destroy everything here. Janeway takes Chakotay into her ready room to discuss their options, which are now down to turning around or dealing with the Borg. Chakotay suggests she sleep on it, and she agrees, but instead goes to talk with Leonardo. He is sitting gazing at the shadows cast by candlelight on a wall, seeing many images with his imagination. Catarina tells him that she cannot find a way between her options of being destroyed by mutual enemies or never getting home. Leonardo suggests they wake the Abbott and appeal to God for a solution. She dismisses the idea, then considers it’s opposite – what if she made an appeal to the Devil?
Explaining herself in the briefing room, she says that she is going to offer the EMH’s research into fighting Harry’s infection in return for safe passage. By keeping all the information on his holomatrix, the Borg will not be able to get at it, and after all, they are only one small ship. She dismisses them, but Chakotay stays behind. He disagrees with her, and tells her the parable of the Scorpion and the Fox, in which the fox is persuaded to allow a scorpion to travel on his back as he swims across a river. Half way across, the scorpion stings the fox, and they both drown, because it is in it’s nature. Janeway is confident in her plan, while Chakotay wants to turn around, find a safer way. He doesn’t want to help the Borg assimilate another species just to help the crew get home, and cannot be persuaded. She calls on his trust, and asks if she has his support. He tells her that as her first officer, he will follow her orders. She dismisses him.
Voyager makes it’s rendezvous with a Borg vessel orbiting the nearest Borg inhabited planet. As a tractor beam is locked onto them, Janeway makes her pitch, sending a small sample of their information as a taster of what they can offer. In reply, they beam her on board a Cube, and tell her that they need the technology to stop 8472 now. Escorting Voyager through their space first would take too long. She sticks to her guns, and offers to work with the Borg to develop a weapon more quickly en route. A quantum singularity suddenly opens nearby and a swarm of bioships launch an attack on the Borg planet, blowing it and the nearby cubes apart. Just one gets away, dragging Voyager with it.
To be continued…
Finally, as promised in the epilogue to Blood Fever, and all through Unity, here are the Borg. Big, black, cubed and – at war with someone more dangerous to humanoid life than they are. If you like explosions, spooky corridors and Harry suffering silently as he gets eaten alive, you’ll be happy here.
However, there is something sitting not quite right with this show, and it’s Captain Janeway. For most of this season she has been channelling James T Kirk, and the show has benefited from it. Now it appears to be Captain Ahab, with all the blinkered vision that implies. She won’t take her first officers advice, and the implication is that if he ‘loved’ her, he’d go along with everything she said. Janeway has got religion, and her fanatical creed is to Get Home no matter what danger she puts everyone in.
Her holodeck program has changed, for the better, which is another source for the ‘religious’ overtone of the episode. Sadly, the Captain is being lured to the Dark Side, making a pact with the devil she knows, the Borg.
It’s a well presented story, and the stakes have been increased with an adversary even more fearsome than the Borg. It’s a great cliff-hanger too.