Star Trek: Voyager
Originally Broadcast October 9th, 1996
Reviewed by Chakoteya
‘Captain’s log, stardate 50203.1. We’re three days away from Enara Prime, home of the passengers we picked up from a colony in the Fima system. Our high warp capability has greatly reduced the time it takes them to make the journey home. In return, the Enarans have shared their energy conservation technology with us and, perhaps more importantly, their friendship.’
In engineering, Torres and Kim are working with Jessen, when MirelI, an old frail woman comes over to tell her about the beauties of Enara which the young woman has yet to see. They detect a minor flow problem in the modified relays and B’Elanna predicts, Harry says he will be happy to help Jessen go through them all to track it down in the morning, then invites the three women to join him for dinner. Mirell decides to retire instead and when Torres demurs too the young couple go off together.
Next morning, Torres is woken by Commander Chakotay telling her that she is half an hour late for her duty shift. This makes two days running that she has overslept, and her friend and former Captain is concerned about her. Finally she confesses that she is having vivid, sensual dreams in which she is an Enaran girl in love. It is liberating for her, but if Chakotay breaths a word about it, she’ll rip his heart out and eat it raw.
The mess hall has been out of bounds all afternoon as Neelix converted it into a little piece of Enara, with a blue and green colour scheme, Enaran music, cuisine and furniture – or lack of it. There is not a uniform to be seen as Captain Janeway sits entranced by Jor Brel’s playing of one of Jora Mirell’s compositions. She expresses regret at never having learnt an instrument and accepts his offer to teach her. He hands over the musical device and stands behind her, hand close to her spine. She begins to play like an expert then breaks off wilt a gasp. Tuvok is concerned and interested in the way the Enarans can share their memories and experiences telepathically with other people. Jor Brel apologises if he had misunderstood her request to learn to play.
One member of the senior staff is absent. B’Elanna is continuing her vivid dreams and tonight’s episode is a confrontation between Korenna and her father about Dathan, an unsuitable boy in his opinion. After he leaves the room, it turns out that Dathan is hiding in the bathroom. They kiss, and then the dream takes an unpleasant turn, as he is suddenly a burnt corpse in her arms.
Torres reports to Chakotay in his office with the latest status of the upgrades. They will need to work longer shifts to get it done by the time they arrive at Enara in two days time, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Then she tells him about the latest development in her dreams, how vivid the whole experience is, and neither think it is any co-incidence that all this is happening while they have telepaths on board. B’Elanna goes to talk to Jessen in engineering while Chakotay informs the Captain about the situation. On her way along a corridor, she is suddenly Korenna again, in a town square receiving a Citizenship award from her father before going to a shady colonnade to talk with Dathan. A bell tolls and he has to leave. All the people like Dathan, dressed in fabrics, show their ID cards at a gate and are ushered out of the town by guards, and the gates firmly shut behind them.
Kes finds B’Elanna unconscious in the corridor and has her rushed to sickbay where she wakes with a start to see the concerned face of her Captain. The EMH informs her that her dreams are actually implanted memories placed in her unconscious, and only surfacing when she is asleep. A problem between the memories and Torres’ own brain caused her to black out, but he has fixed it now, and prepared an inhibitor for her to wear to stop any further dreaming. B’Elanna isn’t sure that she wants to stop the dreams yet. She is caught up in the narrative and wants to know how it will develop and end. The EMH says that she shouldn’t risk brain damage and puts the inhibitor on her anyway, while Janeway gives her two days off to rest.
Torres sits in on Captain Janeway’s meeting with Jor Brel about the situation, and he cannot believe that anyone of his group is doing it deliberately. He suggests that she is picking up stray thoughts and memories, and organising them into a narrative to make sense of it all. When Captain Janeway assures him that the memories are being suppressed now, Jor Brel is relieved to hear it, and leaves the room. Tuvok considers his explanation plausible, and the group will be gone in a day or so anyway, but Captain Janeway intends to continue investigating, which does not surprise Tuvok at all. Torres offers to talk to Jessen and Mirell but Janeway overrules her. She needs to rest, and that’s an order.
‘Captain’s log, stardate 50211.4. We’re approaching Enara and preparing to host a farewell party for our guests. They’ve made every effort to help us understand their telepathic abilities but it’s still a mystery why they’ve affected Lt. Torres so strongly.’
In her quarters, Torres comes to a decision and takes off the inhibitor. Korenna gets a lecture from her father about the Regressives, how different they are in refusing to live with technology. He assures her that their voluntary resettlement to a new colony is for the common good, as they live in such dirty conditions that they could start a plague. By the town gate Korenna and her father are checking off names of resettlement volunteers when the is questioned by a woman who wants to know where they are going. She is startled to see Dathan’s name on the list, but he has not turned up. Another man tries to run and Korenna is knocked over, her cheek cut. B’Elanna wakes and touches her face. That wound would leave a scar – just like the one on the face or Jora Mirell. She hurries to the old woman’s quarters to find her lying on the floor, dying, but before she does, Jora/Korenna gives B’Elanna the final chapter of her story.
Dathan comes to ask Korenna to leave with him. He tells her the rumours about no one ever hearing from relatives who are supposed to have gone to this new colony. It is said that there is no colony, that the Regressives are killed on the transport ship. Korenna’s father comes to her room and she challenges him over the resettlement. He refutes the stories of course, and challenges her to choose between believing that her family are involved in genocide, or that the Regressives are lying to try and hold the rest of the population back. Then he suggests that Dathan is unfaithful, talking to many young women just as he has talked to her. Korenna’s gaze lifts to the curtain at the end of her room, and Dathan is discovered. In the town square he and several other Regressives are denounced as criminals, fastened to columns and executed in front of a baying crowd that includes Korenna. The scene shifts to years later, and Korenna is explaining the fate of the Regressives to a group of children. They all died in their colony from a disease they brought upon themselves by living in unhygienic conditions. The lesson the Enarans must take from their fate is not to fight technological progress.
At the farewell party, Jor Brel is proposing a toast to the Captain and her crew when Torres bursts in to tell them what she has seen about the Regressives. She accuses the Enarans of being murderers and hiding the truth of what happened, killing Mirell when they discovered that she was passing on her memories. Tuvok says that Mirell had denied doing any such thing just the day before. Jor Brel suggests that the dying woman’s illness had changed the memories in some way. Jessen refuses to believe that her people were capable of doing any such thing. Torres persists, but the Enarans leave and Janeway tells B’Elanna to be in her ready room in one hour, after she has talked to the Doctor.
Calmer, Torres apologises for her behaviour, and the Captain tells her that she believes her story, but it is not their place to bring the Enarans to justice. There is no evidence of murder being committed on board Voyager and they have no excuse to act. The trade negotiations and shore leave have been cancelled but that is as far as they can go. Janeway suggests that Torres go to engineering while the Enarans are still there, collecting their equipment. Jessen does not want to talk with her, but she does listen. Torres challenges her to prove her wrong, to find the colony and learn the truth about their fate for themselves. When she wishes that she could share Korenna’s memories with Jessen, freely and openly, the young Enaran offers to make the connection herself, and does so.
This is Voyager’s Holocaust story, told in a fairly interesting way but with very little intensity other than from Torres, who gets so wrapped up in the narrative that she is willing to risk brain damage to see how it all ends. How it all ends is pretty much up in the air, with questions, and Trek taking a different attitude to the 21st century in how it regards such acts. Here and now we have international courts trying the leaders of countries who have committed genocide, there we have Captain Janeway saying it’s not our place to get involved with what they did. How the Enarans, who can share memories between each other, have managed to totally expunge these events from their history is baffling too. Mirell may have been living on a remote colony, but she cannot have been the only one of her generation to have survived into old age, can she?
The strange attitude towards telepathy gets me too. Here is this potentially potent means of communication once again hedged about with taboos and protocol to the point where the population would really be better off without it altogether. I cannot help but feel that a society whose members are open to each other’s thoughts like that should have no secrets, no concept of privacy at all, and therefore completely be alien to us.
As Korenna, Roxann plays the part much more girlishly, with a slightly higher pitched voice, slightly shy yet giggly when in the company of her first love. A good contrast to the confident, contained Torres we have come to know. It really is a good showcase for her.
So, all in all, subject matter notwithstanding, this is an average to good show, with the dual role for Torres raising it slightly above par.