In Voyager, why did the crew not just toss Captain Janeway out an airlock? She kept preventing them from getting home with her stupid, mindless adherence to the letter of every rule. In fact, her mindless adherence to the rules was what got them all stranded in the first place. So why did the crew never mutiny? I can practically guarantee that they'd have all been home by next week if they had. And don't you dare say that it was because failure is the only option. I don't buy it.
When it comes to getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant, keep in mind that even though Tuvok was fairly certain that he could program the array to send Voyager back home, that it would take several hours to do so. Only with Voyager already fighting the Kazon spacecraft for control of the Array, with more Kazon on the way, they didn't have a few hours to spare. It was either destroy the Array as the Caretaker wanted, or abandon it to the Kazon. There was no third option.
Every rule she followed, she followed for a reason. Every instance I can remember where her adherence to the rules prevented them from getting home - including the scenario that got them stranded in the first place, as the series goes out of its way to remind us on more than one occasion - was to prevent a greater disaster from befalling somebody else. You could argue that they would realistically get tired of this and leave the next poor alien-race-of-the-week to whatever their problem was in favor of finally returning to Earth, but I guess they don't operate that way.
Oh really? Well, as I recall, The entire reason the ship got stuck out there in the first place was because Janeway violated the Prime Directive. What's worse, her violation didn't actually accomplish anything. They should have tossed her out midway through the first episode.
By destroying a powerful device, which its original owner was planning to do anyway, in order to keep it out of the hands of a belligerent, warp-capable species? That doesn't sound like a pointless violation of the Prime Directive to me.
A race that uses a LINE ON THE GROUND as a prison are more a threat to themselves than anyone else. They're constantly shown as utterly incompetent and the only time they ever posed any threat was when Seska - a Cardassian - was calling the shots.
It's easy to condemn someone for taking an incompetent race seriously now that we know they're incompetent. Janeway had no way of knowing at the time. For all she knew, the Kazon she met on the planet were just the Kazon short bus and the rest of them(or at least some of them) were genuinely intelligent.
Apparently she'd never heard of a time bomb. Besides she adhered to the rules when it was narratively convenient. Other times she'd say fuck the rules if it meant drama.
One has to question the idiotic writing of Caretaker - it puts the Captain in a situation where staying in the Delta quadrant is not only stranding her crew (and people who AREN'T her crew), but going against the fundamental rule of the Federation and common sense. She willingly violates the Prime Directive here because the plot demands it, but then repeatedly will not be swayed from Starfleet ethics... even if last week she was. Voyager may have been fantastic if after a few weeks of this flip-flopping someone just pointed out that Janeway was insane and had stranded two crews in the Delta quadrant because she was just nuts.
To be fair, Janeway did not break the Prime Directive in "Caretaker." The Prime Directive prevents Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal affairs of another species and the natural development of pre-warp civilizations. Because of the fact that the Caretaker brought a Federation vessel from the Alpha Quadrant to the Delta Quadrant, the affairs of the Caretaker and the Ocampa are no longer an internal matter. Thus, the Prime Directive no longer applies.
Also remember that the Prime Directive's intent is to prevent less advanced races from being taken advantage of. Even if a case could be made for her breaking the letter of the Prime Directive, she's upholding the spirit of it in this case.
I think that if "the plot demands it" by placing you in a dire situation where common sense can be reasonably argued as on your side, that's a reasonable time to succumb to the plot's demands.
On more than one occasion they did rebel in some way, such as early in the first season when Seska was still believed to be a Bajoran instead of a Filthy Dirty Cardie and they violated the Prime Directive to get an upgraded warp drive. I think most of the reason that the Federation crew didn't rebel is because this is what they signed on for: the Federation are supposed to be morally superior to the people of today, and the Maquis are mostly idealists who signed on to overthrow what they perceived to be an injustice that threatened the very fabric of the Federation itself. Besides which, Chakotay was a hippie, Tuvok was completely bad *** , and Torres was always looking to sock someone anyway; when the senior staff is fully willing to throw you out the airlock for talking mutiny, you don't talk mutiny.
The problem with most of these instances of people questioning the almighty Janeway is that the story almost INEVITABLY contrives to show them as either stupid or morally inferior (generally both) for DARING to question her. Chakotay is a real whipping boy for that, he regularly questions her and is nine times out of ten shown to be wrong, wrong, wrong.
They WERE wrong. Encouraging a sense of dissention that could lead to mutiny is the worst possible thing you can do on a starship that's decades away from new crewmen and supplies. That's part of why Chakotay became so completely on her side, he knew that to allow his crew to let their anger over being stranded would ultimately destroy them all. Tuvok realized this as well, which is why he deleted that training program about a Maquis mutiny once he saw thecrews getting along. Unless Janeway started making utterly irrational detrimental decisions, which she really only stooped to in Equinox when Chakotay and Tuvok DID call her out on her behaviour, the best thing to do is support her. Each time she passes up an opportunity to get home there's always a decent reason and her way led to several significant jumps tha ultimately got them home decades faster than they'd expected, and that was even before Admiral Janeway went back and changed history.
It doesn't explain, however, why she didn't ask the Q who wanted to die to send them home before he went human on them.
And don't forget that for a captain so eager to break the rules - she also passes up on Q's offer to send them home if they find in his favour because apparently, she's enjoying the ride.
Q said he could send Voyager home if Janeway would give him a kid...why the hell didn't she just say yes and ask for an anti-Borg gun as well if he wanted twins? Or perhaps more in character, volunteer Harry to act as mommy and say Q could have triplets in compensation for it being Harry.
Ummm... because bringing a child into the world for no better reason than as a bargaining chip is morally repugnant? Hell, if Chuck is taking Janeway's side on this, you may want to rethink supporting this option.
Speaking as a fan of the show, that was so out-of-left-field that it sounds like a poorly-handwaved concession to the status quo. Note that in Q's final appearance, Janeway suggests that as long as he's there, he might as well send them home, only for Q to have (somewhat more plausibly) changed his mind.
Consiering all she'd heard and see herself about Q trusting him isn't really a risk she was willing to take at that point. It wasn't until Q proved himself harmless, if fairly irritating to her, that she started considering his offers.
It's also worth remembering that even the majority of the Maquis were former Starfleet officers. You or I might well mutiny and decide that getting home is worth inconveniencing some aliens we're never going to see again. But there people are a different breed of man. Anyone who wasn't predisposed toward that sort of self-sacrifice would have washed out of the academy.
Where did you get this idea from? Aside from Chakotay and B'elanna, I can't recall a single indication that any other member of the Voyager Maquis were ex-Starfleet. True some of the other Maquis we know are (Eddington, Ro, Cal Hudson), but that is because they have personal relationships with series regulars, who are Starfleet. The bulk of the Maquis are colonists from the DMZ.
That actually is an interesting question which gave me rise of a possible point for the presumed mutiny: why Janeway couldn't just set the array to self-destruct the very nanosecond after she used it to get everyone home? I mean, it doesn't look like transporting them to the Delta Quadrant took enough time for anyone to stop the process, so the Kazon would probably only have enough time to step on the array's bridge before kaboom.
IIRC, they weren't able to self-destruct it: they had to prepare a special explosive and launch it at the array. That still seems like something they could have done from, say, an expendable shuttle, though.
They couldn't have just stuck a time bomb on a jug of antimatter and beamed it onto the array's bridge?
The Caretaker had already activated the self-destruct system - the array would have blown up in a few minutes anyway.
They had no idea how to work the array and a Kazon attack force on the way. They were risking destruction and the chance the array would fall into the Kazon hands, which would doom the Ocampa. Janeway decided to err on the side of caution and not risk the Ocampan people simply for the chance to maybe get home, an act which was supported by the Caretaker who asked her to protect the Ocampa before he died.
Considering that the trip to the Delta quadrant using the array KILLED OVER HALF of both ships' crews, my problem was always that they were willing to take a return trip at all. Even if they did want to do something so stupid after the Caretaker died, maybe the tech was beyond them anyway.
The Caretaker Array was seriously damaged and would take several hours to repair and reinitialize. Considering they were under attack with a seriously depleted crew, their replacement crew were not up to speed on this particular ship, they took heavy damage from the initial trip, there were enemy reinforcements on the way, and a negotiated settlement looking less an option, I don't think a time bomb would have worked unless it somehow allowed them to time travel.
Nonsense, from the dialogue it's clear Janeway has two options - blow up the array or go home.
Check 9:25. It will take several hours for them to work it without the Caretaker's help. And he died less than a minute later.
From my memory, Janeway specifically asks Tuvok if the array can be repaired before the Kazon arrive, he tells her no, meaning the choice wasnt "use it to go home or blow it up", the choice was, "do we leave it for the Kazon to commandeer or blow it up, before we run away?"
The annoying thing is that the later dialogue references this moment like they actually could have chosen to go home, even though the kazon, at that point an unknown race, were swarming their already heavily damaged ship, while the caretaker array would have taken hours to restart, would have killed the remainder of the crew AND would have been commandeered by the Kazon after they destroyed voyager. This was written in the episode itself, but apparently, the writers forgot about it in favor of making Janeway having had to make a dramatic choice.
Actually, it's probably not so much that in at least a few cases, notably "Night", in which Janeway is pointed out to have a tendency to blame herself for things that logically are out of her control. It's fairly plausible that she has genuinely convinced herself that they could have used the Array to get home and it's her fault they're stranded, even if the actual circumstances at the time made it impossible. Similarly, most of the other people who mention the Array as a viable method of getting home are disgruntled crew members blaming Janeway, or otherwise not knowing the whole story.
Why not let the Kazon have it? They're so incompetent they'd probably blow it up. And even if they managed to get to the Alpha Quadrant, they're not exactly a huge threat. Voyager is a science vessel - not particularly well armed. And IIRC, they nearly managed to take Voyager out by outnumbering it quite a bit... and she was still trouncing them while heavily damaged.
They weren't spacefaring to begin with, but they've managed well enough with their stolen starships. It's doubtful the Array would be too difficult for them to eventually master, at least in a basic sense. The issue wasn't that they'd invade the Alpha Quadrant, but that they would use it to conquer their region of space, harming countless people.
They'd do that with the array that's due to self-destruct? That would be a neat trick.
It wasn't going to self-destruct after that Kazon cruiser smashed into it.
They were probably more worried that some other belligerent spacefaring race would come along and take it from them.
It's lightly touched on above but it seems to need being repeated Janeway couldn't set the self destruct because the self destruct system had been destroyed it's stated right there in dialogue. As to why they didn't plant a bomb, did it occur to anyone else that they simply didn't think of it? remember, it's all well and good sitting in an armchair saying what they should and shouldn't have done, but remember that not only had the Ocampans tried to help Kim and Torres without asking anything in return, not only did they have a homeless Ocampan girl aboard who had given them vital information to help rescue Kim and Torres BUT they were also standing on board a heavily damaged ship that was under attack, filled to the rafters with terrorists and had just lost a good dozen men and women. Not only did they not think of it, but to suggest they should have just forgot about the Ocampa and just saved themselves is callous at best and sadistic at worst.
They did think of it. It would have taken several hours to boot up the Array, several hours they didn't have given they were under attack with enemy reinforcements on the way, and probably needed more after the Kazon ship crashed into it, damaging it worse.
What they should have done was have a scene where Janeway (or better, someone else, like Chakotay), hit up the idea that they could try negotiating with the Kazon (their positions as complete morons hadn't yet been established). When negotiations inevitably go to hell, Janeway decides to blow up the Array to keep it out of the Kazon's hands, but in hindsight realizes that she could have held the Array hostage as a bargaining chip (whether or not this was realistic as the Kazon wanted Voyager too makes this position nebulous). Boom, we've no longer got any questions on whether or not Janeway could have used a time bomb, and she's got at least partial responsibility for stranding her crew in the Delta Quadrant (even better if she was the newly promoted first officer, as she believed the captain whose job she inherited could have handled the negotiations).
Tuvix (Is Janeway a Murderer?)
It's somewhat surprising, given what a controversial episode it was at the time, that "Tuvix" has no place here yet. Of course it's aimed at creating moral debate, but one of the reasons it doesn't work is that it fails to work in a time element. At the end, Janeway is so completely full of moral conviction that she insists on separating/executing Tuvix, essentially at gun point. For the record, I am of the "Janeway is a murderer" school but I can understand other perspectives. But what I can't for the life of me figure out is: why does this need to be done immediately? The procedure can wait; Tuvix's claims could indeed be heard and given proper process. Janeway acts more like a fascist than ever, insisting on enact her brand of justice immediately seemingly just so can forestall debate. It sure would have been fun to see her court martial when they got back to Earth.
Janeway had to do it immediately because it had already been too long (by her standards). The longer she waits, the longer Tuvix has to turn the rest of the crew against her. Janeway wasn't willing to lose her friend to the new guy.
As was said, circumventing due process and prohibiting debate. Janeway the fascist dictator.
I'm sorry but I'm completely against the whole Janeway is a murderer argument. I notice that no one ever brings up what Neelix and Tuvok would want - and at the end of the day aren't they the most important people in this situation considering it is their lives at stake? (and no being trapped inside someone else's body isn't life.) By allowing Tuvix to live you are essentially condemning them to death; figuratively if not literally. And that is the reason why no one ever argues it from their point of view; because to do so basically means you condone sacrificing two lives in the effort to save one. I would be very interested to see someone morally justify a 2 for 1 situation without sounding like a Nazi.
I can see this from Neelix' and Tuvoc's perspective, and I don't know if I could live with the knowledge that I am only alive because someone else was murdered (that is, killed against his will, and in cold blood) just to save me.
I would be interested in hearing how how anyone would deny that Tuvix (a living being, which at that point Neelix and Tuvok are not) deserves due process.
Once again the question is ignored - what about what Tuvok and Neelix think? Tuvix has life because he, figuratively or literally, stole it from them. Oh and that comment about her being a fascist dictator; her job as a Starfleet Captain is first and foremost to protect the lives of her crew from any and all threats - and that means Neelix and Tuvok not the accidental mutant they created. Her actions clearly have the full backing of the Federation Council (she's a very high ranking Admiral in Nemesis) and I can guarantee that if you put Kirk in this situation he would chose the lives of his crew without hesitation every single time - hell Archer faced a similar situation in Simlitude and he chose Trip over the life of his sapient clone. The only Captain that might hold some kind of due process is Picard and that would fully depend on whether you're dealing the with TV series or movie version. To argue that Janeway is a fascist to kill Tuvix is to argue against not only the entire Federation but also against the other main Captains of the franchise.
Another point that I have yet to see anyone consider: Tuvok and Neelix's family and friends. Tuvok had a wife and children; Neelix had Kes(at the time), and a number of friends in the Delta Quadrant. I'm sure Tuvix advocates wouldn't care about how Janeway would eventually have had to face Tuvok's family and tell them, "Yeah, I could've saved your husband's/father's life easily. No, I didn't; I liked the new guy better."
This is by no means ignored; in fact, Kes's considerations are a major factor in Janeway's unilateral decision. But at risk of sounding cold, I don't see why this should, from a legal perspective, make a particle of difference. Convicted murderers often have family and friends; I mean, who doesn't? That doesn't carry weight in sentencing. And while technically not existing, neither Tuvok nor Neelix should have any rights.
You keep talking about legal standpoints in your arguments. Clearly (as I previously pointed out Janeway gets promoted with Starfleet having full access to her logs) she followed Federation procedure in dealing with this situation. If she didn't it would have been pointed out at some point. Despite what either of us may think about the rights and wrongs of this discussion and despite what either of us may see as an injustice in their legal system; under Federation Law it is absolutely clear that the rights of whoever came before takes precedent - I see no other way to interpret this situation. As much as you don't like it; under the Federation system Neelix and Tuvok have rights. Changing the subject slightly this legal standpoint is probably why Riker and Pulaski were allowed to kill their own clones despite thousands of fans claiming they should have faced a murder charge.
If Federation law were as clear as you seem to think, then the episode would have said as much. But it doesn't. It chooses to depict Janeway as reckless cowboy (because, to paraphrase The Simpsons, "That's the kind of Captain I am this week!" — Janeway being the poster child for Depending on the Writer). Why would she needed to have grabbed a phaser if it was simply a matter of citing a lawbook?
Why would she need to grab a phaser? Why do guards on Death Row carry weapons despite acting within the law? to make sure these desperate men don't try and escape and/or injure those around them. My theory on on Federation Law is just that: a theory. But please explain to me how and why Janeway gets away with this murder when they return to the Alpha Quadrant if it wasn't completely legal?
Janeway needed a phaser because none of her own people were willing to follow her dubious orders (to extent your metaphor, prison guards carry guns, not the warden, much less the judge who passes the sentence). And I'm afraid pulling "Janeway was eventually promoted! That must mean everything should does is automatically okay!" as a get out of jail card to forgive her many, many lousy command decisions does nothing for me. It's a post hoc argument, for one thing, and we're not party to the circumstances of her promotion. I mean, we're used to Star Trek captains getting a way with an unrealistic violations (Sisko in "For the Uniform," Kirk in Star Trek III, Picard in Insurrection just to name a few)... but even so, Janeway transgressed that line a lot. Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant must have involved some sort of general amnesty.
Tuvix is an accidental creation, but no less than Tom Riker, who presumably has the same rights as anyone else — shouldn't Tuvix too? Like Tom Riker, nobody seems to even deny that Tuvix is a Starfleet officer. His rights should include the right not to be summarily executed because an authority figure things it's the right thing to do (and that's irrespective of whether or not it is, in fact, the right thing to do). "What would other captains do" is a nonstarter it would all depend on circumstances — at least in Similitude everyone acknowledges that what they are doing is of dubious morality but they do it anyway because of the crisis situation that faces them. "What Tuvok and Neelix would think" is also a nonstarter, because that's impossible to know (literally, because the show never gets around to even showing the two of them reflecting — in typical Voyager fashion, it's all papered over and never mentioned again); I seriously doubt either of them would be without sympathy for Tuvix and his sad plight. One can certainly endorse Janeway advocating that Tuvix should be separated. That's a valid position to take. But in an enlightened civilization this would need to be done of Tuvix's volition. Putting it into affect at gunpoint is simply overstepping her authority, and it all feels so needless. Again, the lack of a time element, the lack of a crisis, the lack of the sense of urgency and desperation (something that Similitude does well) is Tuvix's greatest shortcoming.
I would add that this episode illustrates starkly a sad difference between the captains. Whenever Picard makes a difficult moral decision, one gets the impression of a deep thinker who weighs all options carefully and defends his position with such an eloquence and care that even his opponents must appreciate. Janeway, on the other hand, comes off as petulant.
I've no argument there - its what makes him my personal favourite. However I still believe that if Kirk was in this situation he would not only behave the same way as Janeway but would probably have punched Tuvix in the face when he refused.
Or deliver a Kirk speech that convinced Tuvix to separate on the spot. But then, a TOS Tuvix would probably have been as sympathetic as the anti-matter universe Lazarus or the evil Kirk from "The Enemy Within," so, kind of apples and oranges.
I think that what most people are forgetting was that Tuvix was an accident. It was nobody's fault that he was creatednote besides the symbiogenetic alien plant, of course. Not Janeway, not Tuvok, not Neelix, not the transporter operator, and certainly not Tuvix himself. Tuvix is an innocent being who did nothing to ensure his own creation. However, splitting Tuvix back into Tuvok and Neelix is a deliberate act. I can't see anyone on the crew condoning the destruction of an innocent person against his will to save the life of two others. Imagine if a baby is born where the mother dies in childbirth. Is the baby morally responsible for that? Of course not. But what if (hypothetically, now) we discovered some way to bring the mother back by killing the baby? Would that be an ethical choice to make? I hardly think so. I think the writers painted themselves into a corner since both Tuvok and Neelix had Contractual Immortality and Tuvix didn't.
Another implication that hasn't been mentioned so far is that of unit cohesion & good order and discipline. Voyager is for all intents and purposes a military vessel, it has a clear line of command and yes Janeway as the commanding officer is a facist dictator, it's a part of her job description and they bring it up on multiple occasions throughout the show. It's not so much that she has to act quickly or risk Tuvix turning the crew against her. She has to act quickly because if she doesn't there's potentially catastrophic implications for crew morale and the and the fabric of good order and discipline. If the crew knew that there is a cure and she's choosing not to use it(for whatever reason) she's essentially sacrificing members of the crew regardless of the moral implications of destroying Tuvix. This could very likely lead to a catastrophic eroding of crew morale and would be prejudicial to good order and discipline. Because if you leave people behind or sacrifice people on pointless missions the crew will loose trust for each others and for their commanders and very soon Voyager will cease to be and instead we would get the Federation Starship USS Big Brother where everyone fends for themselves and trusts noone, where alliances shifts faster than people can say treachery. The moral implications is a relatively small price to pay to keep the ship from tearing itself apart.
This sounds to me like asserting something that simply isn't in evidence. Is there any point in this episode, or any episode, that implies that Janeway fears Voyager disintegrating into anarchy and her losing her authority as Captain and makes decisions accordingly (indeed, she seems to be going against the will of many of her crew, most especially including the Doctor, which is a strange thing to do if "crew morale" is your major consideration)? Not to say that doesn't sound like it would have made a much more interesting series...
There's evidence in the early seasons that suggest that, yes, this was a real fear for both Janeway and Tuvok. If the show was more faithful to its premise, this fear would have been justified by a significant fraction of the crew being Maquis. In Prime Factors, the crew—including Tuvok, Janeway's most trusted friend—disobeyed her direct orders to pursue an alternate means of getting home. In Worst Case Scenario, it's revealed that Tuvok had created an anti-insurgency holodeck program to train his security staff against a potential crew-wide mutiny. In The Voyager Conspiracy, Janeway finds Seven's elaborate conspiracies just plausible enough to start carrying a phaser. In The 37's, Janeway is clearly worried that the bulk of the crew is going to leave Voyager to make a home for themselves on the planet of the week. This doesn't really mean that Janeway thinks that the crew would go all Fletcher Christian at the drop of a hat, but idea does seem to swim around in the back of her mind.
I'll grant those specific incidents (with the possible exception of "The 37s," since in that case Janeway is freely allowing these people to leave if they want to), but I see little to demonstrate that this paranoia is a significant part of Janeway's overall characterization (which veers closer to smug complacency, if anything), and I see little internal basis for claiming that it has any explanatory power when it comes to the decision she makes in "Tuvix."
Nor do I, really. I just mention it because that fear does seem to be present. I wish that it had been explored more, because it could have been a great way to give Janeway a little more depth—it could have evened helped to explain some of her stranger decisions. I like the idea that there's a nagging little voice in the back of her mind that keeps telling her You're just a science officer who got in way over her head, and the second the crew figures that out, they're going to shove you out the airlock. Most of the time, she can ignore the voice. Sometimes, though, when she's under enough stress, the voice gets to her and she does something crazy. That's why she starts packing heat in "The Voyager Conspiracy," oblivious to how the crew might react when they notice that their captain is inexplicably carrying a sidearm with her everywhere she goes.
Didn't Janeway specifically say something like "Both Tuvok and Neelix would sacrifice themselves for another, so why won't you?" But isn't that what is essentially happening? Tuvok and Neelix are sacrificing themselves to save Tuvix's life.
Ironically, Tuvix is one of my favorite Voyager episodes. Hell, it's one of my favorite Trek episodes period. In other Voyager episodes where Janeway makes a morally dubious decision you can tell the writers really want you to side with her. But Tuvix seems to have Janeway making the morally wrong decision and doesn't even try to justify it. At no point is Tuvix shown to be dangerous, a burden to the crew, or a bad person. At no point does the episode present an argument in favor of obliterating Tuvix, other than the extremely flimsy justification that "Neelix and Tuvok would gladly sacrifice themselves to save others; why won't you do the same for them?" Even the characters who want to see Tuvix separated the most (Kes and Janeway) are obviously deeply ashamed of how they feel. Kes is driven to weeping hysterics by her willingness to let Tuvix be killed in order to get Neelix back, and Janeway is clearly crippled with guilt after she performs the split. And when you stop to think about it, that's a shockingly rare thing in Star Trek. Obviously it's not unheard of for a Trek Captain faced with a Moral Dilemma to make a controversial decision that flies in the face of common sense, but 99% of the time the episode still tries to argue that the Captain's choice was totally justified (such as in Hide and Q where Picard stubbornly refuses to let Riker use his Q powers even to save an innocent child) or at least morally grey (i.e. Sisko's actions in In the Pale Moonlight). But Tuvix seems to be unique among all Trek episodes in that it shows the Captain making a morally repugnant decision, and openly acknowledges it.
I can see all this and yet "Tuvix" still kind of feels like weak tea to me, in part because it affects nothing. Janeway's obviously unpopular decision does not change her relationship to her crew, nor does this experience change Tuvok and Neelix' relationship to each other. There aren't consequences, or even potential consequences, and that's not good writing.
True, but that was a recurring problem across the entire series and not unique to this episode. The writers of Voyager were clearly terrified of continuity and change.
What really bothers me in all of the above debate is this casual assumption that Tuvix's being separated back into Tuvok and Neelix actually was a killing. If anything, the problem with Tuvix wasn't that Tuvok and Neelix had died bringing him into existence, but that they were still alive! Might I present, as evidence, the fact that Tuvix possessed both Tuvok's bond to his wife and Neelix's love for Kes, that he knew and remembered everything they knew and remembered, and above all the mere fact of separation back into Tuvok and Neelix even being possible? Tuvok and Neelix were both still distinct entities, though stuck together in one body and capable of drawing on each others' mental resources at the time. For that matter, am I really to believe that Tuvok and Neelix have no memory of their time together? (Tuvok and Neelix did seem to get along with each other a bit better after that.) Tuvix isn't dead at all! He just went back to being two people again.
That's how this troper saw it: as if Tuvok and Neelix were caught in an anomaly of the week which merged their personalities. Tuvix wasn't really a new person any more than Kes was when an alien personality was controlling her; he was a merging of two distinct people. Janeway rescued them from the anomaly. (I was impressed that the writers resolved it that controversially, since I was completely expecting her to give a speech and Tuvix to sacrifice "himself.")
Such discussions inevitably tread onto metaphysical grounds, but try this out: the very fact that Tuvix demonstrates a self-preservation instinct as Tuvix proves that he is not just Tuvok and Neelix. He is a gestalt being, composed of Tuvok and Neelix but not simply reducible to them. The fact that he has attitudes and ideas and actions and personality traits not demonstrated by either of them prove that he is a being distinct from them. He regards them as his parents: no one is simply reducible to their parents, since their genes have combined in unexpected and unique ways. The same thing has happened with Tuvix, just in a very unorthodox and unexpected fashion. Now, whether or not this is a justification for his continued existence is a matter of moral judgment, but whether or not he exists in his own right should not be in question.
On the question of whether or not Tuvok and Neelix have memories of their time as Tuvix... that's another case of "impossible to know, because we're not told." Episodes like "Rise" and "Riddles," in which the two characters interact extensively, fairly demand that they should talk about Tuvix, either way, but they do not.
I wonder why they couldn't have made use of the alien symbiosis plant within Tuvix. Make the plant be slowly poisoning Tuvix. Eventually Tuvix will die either way. Furthermore, as the poison progresses it will be harder to successfully separate him and restore Tuvok and Neelix. Smaller moral dilemma, right?
You know what really could have worked? The plant might poison Tuvix... the Doctor might potentially in time figure out a way to cure it but would have to pump a lot of work into the investigation, or they could separate him and eliminate the danger altogether. Thus Janeway's dilemma has a dimension of how to best allocate the ship's (supposedly) limited resources.
I have a question about this situation that no one above seems to have thought about: It is made a big deal in the episode that Tuvix is such a valuable person, one who could replace both Tuvok and Neelix. Now imagine that Tuvix had been a wholly different person than in the actual episode and had inherited only the worst from Tuvok and Neelix. It was an accident after all. Such a Tuvix could have been mentally unstable or seriously handicapped. Or he could have been a complete asshole, and not at all the charming person that everyone likes. Would Voyager's crew care as much for such an alternate Tuvix, or wouldn't they rather want Tuvok and Neelix back? Would fans still accuse Janeway of murder, had she killed such an unfavourable Tuvix?
That would have been a great episode. They could really have explored the implications of the Death Penalty, are we prepared to accept killing people because we dislike them or do we have to accept the sanctity of life even if the person in question is despicable. Do we feel worse about killing people we like and better about killing assholes. Voyager dropped the ball again.
I really hope the person who wrote this was Bernd Schneider of ''Ex Astris Scientia'', because otherwise they decided to just do some copy and pasting without crediting the source or using quotation marks (those things that you use to indicate that the words you are providing are not your own). In any event, I'm not sure I follow the point: the argument is that Tuvix is a living being with the intrinsic right to continue living; if he's a great, useful guy, all the better. Maybe the episode sort of stack the deck, but I presume that's so that the "we need both Neelix and Tuvok for ship operations" argument is nullified before anyone can voice it (as if Neelix was ever 'necessary').
The point is that if Tuvix was insane - as in fully fledged Kahn Noonien Singh level psychopath - then he would have been nothing more than the villain of the week and absolutely everyone on board ship would have eagerly tried to separate Tuvok and Neelix and then cheered his demise. He would have had just as many defenders amongst the fandom arguing about his right to live as there are for Evil Kirk i.e. None.
No, that's not true. The original post does not mention hypothetical-other-presentation-of-Tuvix as being a villain at all. That is a different question, because the moral issues around what you can do to people who are evil villains are different than people who are simply benign or even useful. Frankly, if Tuvix were a villain, then the entire point of the episode (presenting this high concept moral quandary) vanishes in a flash, since the debate would not apply. And if all anyone has to say is, "If the episode were different, then it would have been different!", you'll have to forgive me if I file that under "who gives a crap?"
I'll agree to disagree with you because we will only go around in circles otherwise. However I just wanted to point out that whilst Tuvix may not be considered the villain by the script; any man who is perfectly willing to let two innocent sapient beings die (and is actually willing to say that to the faces of Neelix's and Tuvoks best friends) just because he doesn't feel like doing the right thing is nothing more than a selfish asshole. And no, just because they are technically inside him somewhere doesn't make them alive any more than Jadzia being inside Ezri makes her alive. I believe the term that applies here is Karma.
Apparently it's okay to execute assholes without trial now. Glad you don't run the world. Again, it's reasonable to take the position that Tuvix is essentially a criminal holding two of Janeway's crew hostage. But there's a solution: put him on trial. Further, I'm intrigued by the mindset that would denounce someone as a "selfish asshole" because they're basically not willing to commit suicide on request. That is setting the bar too high for anyone.
While we're hurling around outlandish "what ifs" (and this is merely to demonstrate how feeble this is as a type of argumentation), why not propose the opposite: what if Tuvix were a genius who was able to accomplish things that neither Tuvok nor Neelix could and was well on the road to, say, curing a disease, or developing a surefire method of getting Voyager home? Would there then be some moral obligation to separate him this instant!
Both are indeed valid arguments; and prove exactly why this is a controversial topic that goes a million miles above the simplistic Janeway is a murderer/Janeway was absolutely right statements that we so often see. In regards to the comment about why he is a selfish for not committing suicide on request is because it proves that he is less of a man than the men whose lives he stole. I can guarantee to you that if the situation was reversed and that Tuvix was the real person as opposed to the mutant; both Tuvok and Neelix would have happily given their lives to set the situation right. By not even considering it, and showing absolutely zero hesitation over his decision, he was proving that he was a selfish coward who is willing to put his life over his comrades. Come off it; would you seriously trust such a man to watch your back on an Away team as opposed to Tuvok? because I sure as hell wouldn't and I imagine most of the crew would feel the same.
What bothers me is no thought is given to figuring out a way to separate Nelix and Tuvok without killing Tuvix. Which would hardly be the most incredible thing that happened in Star Trek. And which would have been a great idea whether you made Tuvix a security officer or a cook. Cause then you'd actually have two people doing a two person job (tactical officer and chief of security) or someone who can actually cook cooking.
Second Chances from TNG's sixth season suggests that this was probably an option that could have been explored (essentially, a transporter operator inadvertently splits Riker into two complete individuals, neither of whom had better claim on being the 'real' William T. Riker). Going that route would have raised a plethora of further ethical dilemmas. Several interesting story lines could have come form this, though Voyager probably wasn't the right place for them. That's not meant as a slight against the series, the show just wasn't interested in serialization.
Is Janeway a murderer? No, she's technically a mass-murderer. Just as an aside, considering that Insane Admiral is pretty much the first paragraph in the job description as listed in the Starfleet Command HR manual, Janeway's promotion was merely a case of putting yet another inmate in charge of the asylum as per standard policy. Now, back to the original question. This is actually no different than any time anyone has ever separated a drone from the Borg Collective! They are also conjoined life forms, albeit not physically. Each drone is part of the overall Collective, and conversely the Collective provides knowledge (if not the freedom to use it) to the drones. Whenever a drone is forcibly severed from the Collective it is treated as a triumph of "individuality". That Tuvix was basically just a Collective with two minds in it does not change the parallel. As with most Borg drones, Tuvok and Neelix did not set out to become part of this Collective, and neither would have really wanted to remain a part of it. Pulling them apart by force was not any different than separating Seven-of-Nine from the Collective (something she objected to at the time as well).
Janeway and Chakotay
Also, why did the Voyager writers not go with the obvious couple of Janeway & Chakotay (which they were clearly considering) and instead throw Chakotay and Seven together at the last minute? I know there's the whole fraternisation protocol, but that applied just as much, if not more so, between Seven and Chakotay - and at least Mulgrew and Beltran had some freakin' chemistry!
I'm more bothered by the Doctor and Seven's relationship getting derailed than by Janeway and Chakotay, but I see what you mean. I read somewhere—maybe here—that Seven was kind of a consolation prize to Chakotay, since the actor was complaining that they were underusing his character. And anyone who would complain about making out with Jeri Ryan is either a moron or a terrorist.
Or, you know, gay, married to someone really jealous, asexual...
Err, I can think of more romantic environments than in front of a filming team and a director who keeps complaining about your performance and repeating the scene, additionally possibly under the eyes of her reallife boyfriend who makes sure you dont do anything thats not absolutely necessary.
Also, what exactly is the point of insulting people who do not lust after the same women that you lust after ? Whats to gain from that ?
Perhaps, but no matter what they looked like, Doctor and Seven would certainly have been far more interesting than Janeway and Chakotay. Also, it would have evolved naturally, as opposed to being force fed every six months or so when Jeri Taylor wrote an episode herself.
I got the sense Seven saw the Doctor as more of a father figure, even if the reverse wasn't true.
Chakotay was a terrorist! The guy should have tried to be more "Method".
Rumor has it that Beltran complained about not getting any character development, and to shut his mouth they put Ms. Fanservice in it.
Which in itself doesn't really make any sense as it was such a thrown-in-at-the-last-minute occurrence, the guy should have been looking for his next job.
What was so obvious about Janeway and Chakotay as a natural pairing? It would be against protocol, and that's a protocol that's there for a good reason. Look at how badly Picard was rattled in "Lessons," and reimagine that but without the option of Chakotay transferring to another command like Picard's girlfriend did. And there really wasn't any chemistry between them, except for a handful of Jeri Taylor episodes where she forced it on them out of nowhere.
It's been stated repeatedly that Starfleet has no fraternization protocol. Janeway has a personal belief that she probably shouldn;t date members of ther crew, but there's no directive against it.
All right, so Janeway is personally committed to the idea that captains should not fraternize with their subordinates. Sounds like we've figured out why the writers didn't give her a love interest in the crew. . . .
Um, what? The writers also gave Janeway her beliefs, what with her being fictional, so we're still right back at why (not)?
Why is Janeway an idiot for blowing up the Array?
Why are so many fans and even the characters themselves always whining about how Janeway could have used the Caretaker's Array to get Voyager home? Usually what I hear is "put a bomb with a timer on the Array so it blows up after you leave!" or some other similar plan like that. However, Janeway was never in a position to get Voyager home that way at all, bomb or not.
There is an easily-missed line where Tuvok says it would take hours for them to activate the Array and that's before a Kazon ship crashed into it and took out the self-destruct and probably numerous other systems. However, Voyager's writers are terrible with continuity, to the point where I'm pretty sure they forgot it was never an option in the first place, so viewers picked up on that. It doesn't help that Tuvok's line seems kind of out of place with the rest of the episode, almost to the point where I'm convinced they only realized the "Time Bomb" issue later, and shot Tuvok's line and haphazardly inserted it after the fact, and never bothered including it in the series bible.
Exactly. In many subsequent episodes Janeway clearly portrays her decision to destroy the Array rather than use it as an actual decision, rather than being forced into a bad position and having no real choice, and over time she becomes more and more crippled with guilt because she starts to wonder if she made the wrong choice. You can hardly blame the viewers for thinking Janeway made a bad decision when Janeway herself starts to doubt her original decision.
The problem with that is that in a number of episodes, "Night", for example, also point out that Janeway has a tendency to blame herself for things that she has no control over. I don't remember specific examples, but I do know that more than once, characters have stated that there was no way to use the Array to get Voyager home under the circumstances.
Additionally, in the episode Janeway herself presents her decision as a way to protect the Ocampa, which a lot of viewers don't find terribly compelling. The Ocampa are an evolutionary dead end who will die off completely in a very short time without the Caretaker around to support them. Letting the Ocampa hang on for a few more decades doesn't seem like a big enough payoff for stranding her entire crew in the Delta Quadrant.
The odd thing here is that, at least as it seems to me, it plays better if Janeway made a decision to stand the crew in the Delta Quadrant. Characters making difficult calls and facing consequences is better drama than them simply being swept up in unavoidable situations. Perhaps the writers realized that "Caretaker" was mis-structured that way and so they just went with the "Janeway made a decision!" line later on, despite it barely being a decision at all.
Janeway's right to not want to be called "sir".
This also Headscratchers about In Death. Apparently, the idea of calling all officers "sir" is to promote gender equality. In truth, however, it falls flat. By calling both men and women "sir", you're making the statement that the "ma'am" (ie, female) honorific is inherently inferior and to be avoided. Essentially, women in command become "honorary men". Data and the Doctor would get the "sir" honorific. since they are patterned after and identify as male. Genderless and multigendered beings would need a protocol too, I guess.
This was shamefully everywhere back in the nineties including rubbish like renaming Policeman or Chairman into Policeperson or Chairperson instead of the far more obvious and respectful -woman. The reasoning behind it is confusing but Honorary Men does seem fairly accurate in my opinion. I guess you could probably class it as Values Dissonance and it was an innocent if misguided step toward today's gender equality so I can't look too harshly toward it.
It would be interesting to know how Starfleet—and society in general—handles species in which neither gender roll is applicable. DS9 had a Running Gag involving an unseen Lt. Vilix'pran, who was explicitly referred to as a male, but reproduced by budding—which is, at least on Earth, a form of asexual reproduction. There was never any mention of him having a mate or partner, despite having three...uh, "litters," I'm guessing?...of offspring.
Why Did Chakotay and Torres Join the Maquis?
Do we ever actually get any reason why Chakotay and Torres joined the Maquis in the first place? Ro for example grew up during the Bajoran Occupation and saw the old man she befriended murdered by Cardassians. Cal Hudson lived with the people of the Demilitarized Zone and came to appreciate their struggle. Eddington wanted glory. Even on Voyager we have men such as Lon Suder who was a psychopath and just wanted an excuse to kill or Kenneth Dalby from Learning Curve who watched four Cardassians rape and assault an innocent woman. But Chakotay and Torres? I suppose Torres might have done it because she was cast out of Starfleet but Chakotay finished the Academy and even once claimed A man does not own land to a Kazon boy. In fact whilst we're on the subject what about the mild mannered Chell also from Learning Curve? all he seems to be is a man who wants an easy life considering his report to Tuvok is as an unreliable chatterbox.
Torres had anger issues and was bounced out of Starfleet. It would be trivially easy for her to take sides in that conflict, provided the opportunity. Chakotay seems like a textbook example of a sympathizer (remember, there were American Indian societies on those planets). As educated and close to his roots as he is, he is the type of guy who would not stand idly by while such injustice was committed. To the "a man does not own land," bit, Starfleet and the Cardassians are essentially saying, "we own your land, GTFO." Seems to me like that'd be a sore point with him. Many others were probably former colonists.
It's clearly stated in the episode "One" that B'Elanna joined the Maquis through Chakotay, after he saved her life. Later, in "Flesh and Blood," the Doctor comments that B'Elanna joined the Maquis because she sympathized with them, and she didn't deny this. As for Chakotay, this troper thought it was just a given that his tribe had lived in the territory that the Cardassians wanted. (The writers have said that they deliberately set up for Chakotay's back-story with the "Next Generation" episode "Journey's End," by showing Native Americans colonizing planets near the Cardassian boarder).
You know what's extra weird about that? In "Tattoo," Chakotay states that his tribe moved to their colony "a few hundred years ago." In "Journey's End," however, while the colonists left Earth hundreds of years ago, they had only been on Dorvan V for a few decades. So it can't be Chakotay's home. In other words, there are two Native American colonies along the Federation-Cardassian border. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.
In the TNG episode "Preemptive Strike," Ro says: "One of my instructors at Tactical Training, a lieutenant commander in Starfleet, a man I both admired and respected, he was sympathetic to [the Maquis]. He resigned and left to join them." This was apparently designed as a veiled reference to Chakotay. Whether or not this fits neatly with continuity, it gives us a sense of the original construction of the character.
Chakotay explained in one episode that his family had been living on one of the planets ceded to the Cardassians in the treaty, and were later killed by Cardassians, which prompted him to join the Maquis. Torres, as was stated above: she is extremely emotional and has shown her willingness to think with her heart and her fists more often than with her brain. She hears about a group being oppressed, and she's in. As for Chell, well, he has a fighting spirit (as demonstrated on the holodeck and in his defiance of Tuvok) and an upbeat personality (as demonstrated by his chatterbox nature), so he probably joined up for the 'worthy cause' and was fine operating in the loose hierarchy of the Maquis where all he had to do was his own job. Once he was drafted into following the much stricter Starfleet rules, he chafed under the restrictions.
Lt. Commander Tuvok:
Is Tuvok a wimp?
In "The Savage Curtain," as Spock and Kirk listen in on Surak's cries as he's being tortured to death, Spock says "A Vulcan would not cry out so," demonstrating that Surak is not who he appears to be. But in "Resistance," Torres hears Tuvok scream while being tortured. As a way of explanation, he states that "Vulcans are capable of suppressing certain levels of physical pain. Beyond that we must simply endure the experience." Or... is Tuvok just a wimp?
Spock may have an inflated opinion of the legendary Surak. And without knowing the exact means by which either was tortured, it's unfair to compare the pain thresholds of the two.
Ah, but Spock doesn't say "Surak would not cry out so "... he says "A Vulcan." And he doesn't say "... from that kind of torture," either. From any other character one can accept imprecision, but not from Spock.
Its a Retcon. This episode also features a flat-headed Kahless despite the fact we know canonically from TNG onward he had ridges and is a good thousand years too old for the Augment virus. T'Pol has screamed from pain at least once and Soval looked damn near cracking during his torture in Awakening. I also feel like its worth pointing out that we are debating facts from possibly one of the worst episodes of the franchise ever made and as such anything that is presented as fact in an episode with a ventriloquist Kahless and a space breathing Lincoln should be second-guessed.
I don't think that anything that is simply inconsistent deserves to be called a retcon, and like it or not, we cannot choose only the best bits as canon; if it's in an episode, it's all canon (and the presentation of Surak is one of the few things that basically works about "The Savage Curtain").
I have to agree with you there as I have often made the same argument and as such it would make me a hypocrite. Getting back to the original point about whether Spock was right that Surak shouldn't have screamed it still remains a fact that we have seen T'Pol act just as emotional if not more so and she is a full blooded Vulcan so most of the excuses we may use for Spock being emotional simply don't apply to her. The only way I can think to justify this in-universe (in other words not that it is inconsistent or that Enterprise had continuity issues) is that female Vulcans are just more emotional than male Vulcans. The only other females that have had any significant screen-time is Saavik and Valeris and both were, in my opinion, far less restrained and Spock and Tuvok ever were.
Remember that, in many ways, Spock is like Worf. He is a child of two worlds (Earth/Vulcan for Spock, Qo'nos/Earth for Worf), and chose to embrace one to the exclusion of the other. Thus, he has an exaggerated view of what it means to be a Vulcan. In his mind, a true Vulcan would not cry out in pain. Thus, since Surak is the ultimate Vulcan, he most definitely would not cry out in pain, or even acknowledge that he was in pain to begin with. As for Saavik and Valeris, remember also that they had special circumstances: Saavik was half-Romulan and was essentially a feral child until Spock took her in, and Valeris was in the midst of commiting high treason, which would put anyone on edge a little.
Not to play canonicity cop, but Saavik's status a half-Romulan was never established in canon. The script said as much and it informed some of Kristie Allie's acting choices, but the idea seems to have been dropped altogether by the next film (as we can see in Robin Curtis's performance).
Depends on your definition of "Canon". The scenes were filmed, but then cut due to time constraints. There are claims that ABC has aired a version of the movie with the scenes in it, but I've never seen it. However, the novelization of the movie also makes the reference. Is that canon?
No, it is not. Novelizations are not canon. Cut scenes are not canon. Both could hypothetically gain quasi-canonical status retroactively if they are supported by something else on the show, but in this case that did not happen. Nothing except the show itself is canon. The term "canon" is only useful if we agree that we're playing by the same rules that the creators are.
While I agree with your comments about canonicity, let's not forget that Star Trek itself plays moderately loose with canon (Gene Roddenberry said that parts of The Final Frontier weren't canon, and elements of episodes, entire episodes, or even entire series have been ruled non-canon). It is unlikely that consensus concerning canonicity can be reached with anything short of a summit meeting of all the actors, writers, producers, and fans to debate the matter (at which nothing will get settled because too many people will restart the fight over the combination to Kirk's safe).
All true, but of the very few statements that can be made definitively on the slippery subject of canonicity, chief among them is that "fans do not get to decide what's canon" — at least, not on their own.
Agreed, but when the people making the shows/movies/books can't agree on what is canon and what isn't, then it gets harder for the fandom to determine what is and isn't until finally everyone says "screw it" and goes with whatever they want. Come to think of it, this would make a great sociology/anthropology study into things like group-think, concensus, and acceptance/rejection of folklore.
Fans are the only people who get to decide on canonicity; this is the one matter the authors get no say on. In every work, in every medium. Canon is not fixed from reader/viewer to reader/viewer. I am not compelled to accept things that spoil my enjoyment of a work. Ever. Violates the entire point of its existence.
This is a good illustration, I believe, of how this terminology is being redefined into meaninglessness. Canon means officialdom. It means those things legitimized by the Word of God, and this is slightly more than a pure metaphor, since the very term references matters of the sacred. The Catholic Church claims among its powers the ability to degree which books of the Bible are canon, are of divine original and which are not (Apocrypha, Deutercanon, Pseudepigrapha, etc.). Now obviously every other denomination claims these powers too and sometimes have slightly different versions of the Bible, and any individual reader of the Bible has the ability to declare "I think this part is real and this part isn't"... but in so doing, they are hypothetically going against canon. A book like "Bel and the Dragon" obviously does exist — you can go and read it. The question isn't whether or not it exists, but whether or not is contains that mysterious touch of God that gives it the status of canon. The parts where Star Trek canon is nebulous or unclear are roughly equivalent to those moments when the Bible contradicts itself; points for discussion and debate, certainly, but even engaging in this debate theoretically accepts that there is such a thing as canon and that it's worth talking about. Just as the Catholic Church claims for itself the powers to say "this is real and this is not," the people running Star Trek (or whatever) do the same. We do not have to accept their authority, but as soon as we reject it, we're not talking about canon any more. Fans have a place in this canonization process (I gather that a fan poll helped (re-) canonize TAS). Saying "I don't like this" is not the same thing as saying "this is not canonical"; saying "I don't want to think about this" is not the same thing as saying "this is not canonical." To declare I am not compelled to accept things that spoil my enjoyment of a work is fine (though it sort of reminds me of Grandpa Simpson with his 49 star American flag, because he refuses to recognize Missouri), but is a separate conversation to what is and is not canon.
Actually, when Spock says 'A Vulcan would not cry out so', instead of meaning 'A Vulcan would never cry out in pain', I took him to mean 'A Vulcan would never, whilst being tortured, allow his pain to overwhelm him so that it caused him to irrationally cry out to his friend for help, putting him in danger'. If you take the episode independently, and pretended you'd never seen another episode of Star Trek, 'Surak's crying out for help was sill OOC because he'd been portrayed as a cold calculating character who, as Spock said, knew the risks before walking into the enemy base. I, as a viewer, immediately could tell it was not Surak yelling or even being forced to yell because of how OOC was it.
So basically, Spock wasn't saying he was surprised Surak was screaming in pain, but because he was begging for help whilst doing so.
Sounds like a "No true Vulcan" kind of situation. There's a running joke in fan circles that it's not that they're always right, it's that they always sound right (i.e. citing logic, speaking with certainty, dismissing counterarguments).
Lieutenant Tom Paris:
Tom Paris, the pilot, does all the important engineering work, like building the delta flyer. B'ellana Torres, the engineer, does all the scientific analysis, like analyzing the treknobabble radiation of the week. Seven of nine, the science officer, does all the navigation, even having her own station dedicated to stellar charts. Harry, the ops officer, spends most of his time doing menial engineering jobs. Chakotay, the first officer, acts like the ship's spiritual therapist. Neelix, the morale officer, spends most of his time advising the captain, cooking or doing diplomacy. Tuvok, the security chief, flies shuttles and handles weapons. Are Janeway and the Doctor the only ones who actually do their job?
The Star Trek franchise as a whole has a pretty bad case of The Main Characters Do Everything, and Voyager isn't even close to the worst offender. Even if it were, the large portion of the professional Starfleet crew killed in Caretaker, and replaced by a boatload of Maquis terrorists makes it far more justified in this series. One of SF Debris' favorite observations about B'Elanna Torres is that she once failed to identify shit with a tricorder (literally, she was scanning manure). Imagine how much the senior staff has to work around all of the Maquis crew members who are even less qualified than her.
Voyager had, what, 1/3rd or so of the crew killed in the first episode, so it makes sense that there's some multi-tasking going on. And Tuvok being internal security being familiar with the tactical systems isn't much of a stretch— even in TNG, Worf took on both those roles after Tasha Yar died and that was a fully-manned ship. And there are worse examples in sci-fi, like the remade BSG where fighter pilots serve as lawyers, or snipers, or whatever the plot that week demands.
Based on what we see throughout Star Trek when people get killed, relieved, or otherwise removed from duty, someone just strides over and replaces them without a hitch. Comsidering the fact that most every Starfleet officer seems capable of doing every possible job the ship requires, seems to me like just about all Starfleet officers recieve general training in all areas of ship operations most likely for the purposes of redundancy while ones like the senior officers are merely those who have more specialized training in some areas.
Some of the tasks mentioned above are *part* of the characters' assigned jobs. As first officer, Chakotay is supposed to look out for crewmember's emotional wellbeings; Tuvok, as security cheif, *should* be in charge of weapon-related jobs; B'Elanna's engineering job no doubt involves quite a bit of technobabble (since that is the magic power on which everything runs in the world of "Trek"), and Harry, well, a communication's officer is probably comparable to a cashier; when there are no customers, you have to keep yourself busy with mundane work to keep your job.
The bigger issue with Tom is that he is so insanely multi-talented that he could be used in virtually any post on the ship, including his wife's! However, that raises the question of: is he too valuable to lose? Not that he is alone in this case. Despite being unable to copy the Doctor's program (even though he was designed to be copied and distributed to every ship in Starfleet!), they still risked leaving themselves with no CMO in "Message In A Bottle"! Tom likewise often performs things like dangerous away missions and zooming around in the Delta Flyer, despite the fact that it is unclear as to whether or not the ship could continue to function without him! Only the Doctor actually possesses a skill set that they literally cannot live without that Tom cannot fully duplicate. Acquiring Seven was a stroke of good luck, but noticeably they kept her locked safely in Astrometrics just so that B'Elanna's Klingon instincts would not cause her to go berserk and defend her territory in Engineering. About the only time she was really okay with Seven being in there was when she thought she was going to die soon anyway. Tom was sensible enough to position his engineering advice in such a way as to allow B'Elanna to pretend it was her idea 90% of the time. But really, Tom is one of the few members of the crew that is invaluable. Of special note was "Shattered", where in the alternate future Icheb was a lieutenant-commander, and Janeway and Chakotay had apparently been dead for a very long time. It was never specified who took their places, but I would wager Tuvok became Captain and Tom became First Officer. The ship seemed to be doing fine, thus proving that even Janeway was not indispensable!
Ensign Harry Kim:
Why is it that Ensign Harry Kim is a member of the senior staff when there are lieutenants running around all over the place? It's possible that he's just the highest ranking science officer/operations officer available, but it never occurred to any of the lieutenants to take a Bridge Officer's Test and show that little shit what's what?
Janeway personally asked for Harry when picking her crew to be a bridge officer. He was on the fast track to a stunning career and she wanted the best for her bridge. It was stated in the show that he would have been a Lt. Commander by the end of the series if they hadn't been stranded. (He would have taken Geordi La Forges's career path in other words.)
Probably those other officers run the Bridge during the night shift. Not as glamorous or fast-track as being a part of Janeway's senior staff, but there's prestige in occupying the captain's chair when she's off-duty or sleeping, too.
It's specifically stated a few times that Harry himself takes the night shift as a way of getting command experience. This however brings up another It Just Bugs Me...
It is possible that Harry had special training in his position. In the TNG episode Lower Decks, a character notes that the ops position is very challenging, and Riker personally evaluates the performance of candidates for the position. If Janeway goes out of her way to recruit him, someone must have realized that he was very skilled at the position. For a freshly-minted ensign on his first assignment, that person almost certainly must have been his instructor. Someone as green as Harry might not have had enough time in service to be made a lieutenant when he joined the crew of Voyager.
Harry Kim pt. 2
Why in the cosmos didn't poor Harry get a promotion at some point? Tuvok got promoted, so why not Harry? With all the random lieutenants running around the ship, it really makes no sense that he wouldn't have been promoted at least to lieutenant J.G. in seven years.
I've heard it suggested that because the ship was self-contained there was no room for advancement. With the rest of the fleet you could transfer people to higher-ranking openings on other ships or starbases or at HQ, like when O'Brien went from transporter operator of the Enterprise to chief of operations on Deep Space Nine, or when Dr Crusher went to Starfleet Medical (only to return after the writer who sexually harassed left the show). You'd also have people retiring and jobs opening up that way. On Voyager, everyone has to stay onboard the same ship, so there just aren't any new openings. So promotions can't happen, or very rarely, because no one's going anywhere, and they keep doing the jobs they've always done.
The problem is, that's bullshit. There was attrition through the many characters who died; most of them were at the bottom of the rank structure, but a fair number of lieutenants bought it, like Carey. When Tom got demoted they could have said "There's room for another lieutenant, let's give it to Harry," though that would have added some tension to their relationship. They could have given him the lieutenant's spot opened up when Tuvok got promoted—and when they promoted Tuvok, they didn't fret over "What will this do to our ratios, or whatever?" They just did it because he deserved it.
Star Trek V is another strike against the ratio idea. Enterprise by that time had no less than three crew members who held the rank of captain: Kirk, Spock, and Scotty. Every other main character had made commander.
And even if there is some magical ratio they need to keep, how does it not include "The Operations officer needs to be a senior officer"? Harry's doing the same job Data did on TNG, and Data was a Lieutenant Commander. Maybe since Voyager is a smaller ship they'd want to make that a lieutenant's job, but no lower.
The producers had a theory that "someone has to be the Ensign."
Probably also had something to do with the producers having a hate-on for Garrett Wang after he badmouthed the show.
This may well be true, but if so it shows what kind of lunatic logic prevailed on the production staff. Making sure that Harry Kim is as pathetic as possible in order to get back at the actor who plays him is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Starfleet has a history of screwing people over for promotions or promoting people who don't deserve it. Look at Hoshi; she was an Ensign for ten years despite being on Earth's most important and most revolutionary starship, was personal friends with the captain and XO, was instrumental in defeating the final Xindi weapon and helped design the basics of the Universal Translator. Her accomplishments, frankly, tower over Kim's. SFDebris has a theory that Janeway just flat out disliked him to the the point she intentionally made him her Butt Monkey - which as mentioned above the writers also had the same feelings. Its well documented that they were going to have him die as opposed to Kes until they changed their minds.
The Expanded Universe at least tries to do something about this; junior Voyager crewmembers who stayed with Starfleet were jumped two grades immediately.
Harry's poor command of the classics
At the end of "Fortunate Son," Harry relates the story of the Sirens from "The Odyssey." He describes Odysseus telling his sailors to "cover their ears so they couldn't hear the sirens' song," in contrast with the text, where Odysseus has them fill their ears with wax to the same end. So: how exactly does Harry think it's possible to hold your hands over your ears and row a ship at the same time?
Poor, dumb Harry. Although given that on Voyager "Ancient Earth" seems to cover everything from the Trojan War to the 1990s, he might have imagined they were on a battleship.
Streamlined language, most likely - 'covered their ears' versus 'stuffed their ears with wax.' The point wasn't in the specifics, just the metaphor.
The Doctor (Emergency Medical Hologram, Mk. I)
Mark I EMH a Failure?
The whole "The Doctor's line of EM Hs was a failure" subplot just bugs the hell out of me. The reason The Doctor's line is considered a failure by Starfleet? Their bedside manner was lousy. Ummm... doesn't EMH stand for the Emergency Medical Hologram? Only meant to be used at all in the worst situations, where people really should be more concerned with staying alive than hurt feelings or bruised egos? Sure it would be something to improve on, but declaring the whole line useless just for that makes Starfleet look like a bunch of whimpering babies. It's especially bad when you consider that The Doctor's bedside manner is no worse than a lot of the human doctors we've seen, and the so-called "improvement", the Mark II, is even more obnoxious than The Doctor ever was.
I thought there was more to it than that. Given how many problems the Voyager EMH ended up having, they probably realized the model was flawed. In DS9 Zimmerman was working on a Long-Term Medical Holographic Program suggesting this is something they've already discovered a need for, even before they knew Voyager was in the Delta Quadrant.
The problems that The Doctor was plagued with in the series seemed to stem more than anything from the fact that he was running near constantly over a long of period of time, despite not being at all designed for such use, and those issues seemed to be resolved with fairly little difficulty as well. A more long-term medical program would definitely have a use, and would be a logical step from the EMH, but remember, the issue here is that the Mark I was considered an abysmal failure as an EMH, despite us seeing no inherent problems in the Mark I that we're familiar with that don't involve his personality, which again, would be a terrible reason, and besides, The Doctor is still a damn sight better than, say, Pulaski.
It wasn't just the bedside manner, the personality couldn't have been the end-all and be-all of the program, though it was probably a factor. In an early episode (Parallax?), Carey has a broken nose from a run-in with Torres, the scene comically has the exasperated EMH trying to treat him, Carey sitting up to complain to Chakotay, and the Doctor forcibly pushing Carey back onto the bed, exacerbating the broken nose, all this occurring at least 3 times. Granted, the EMH is meant for battlefield triage and emergencies, meant to be effective rather than personable, but there are limits. Dr. Zimmerman makes reference to the EMH mk I referred to as "Extremely Marginal Housecalls" - that sounds like a performance critique, not a personality one. Perhaps Voyager's bio-neural circuitry played a factor, giving the Doctor a computational edge over more traditional computer circuits - wasn't that mentioned at one point as being a factor as to how the Doctor evolved? Or, perhaps something simpler - the EMH mk I worked fine as a battlefield triage unit but was being used more and more often as a medical short cut for small ships and starbases, where (unlike Voyager) people could complain about its performance issues more readily.
Regarding the Carey example, the Doctor didn't seem to be pushing him down in a way that affected his nose much, and besides, Carey was acting like a petulant infant at the time anyway; the Doc could be excused for being a little exasperated, I think. The computation issue, however, does make a lot of sense, and does go some way to explain why the Doc can always come up with solutions for such out-there, unprecedented problems as he's presented with on such a constant basis.
The EMH is a software. This "obsolete" thing means... what? That, after a very brief time, a perfectly fine and working software was treated as "obsolete" by the executives who published it, and replaced by a "new" software with only cosmetic or pointless changes? That just means that software industry simply kept its dirty habits. Who didn't fall for the hype of the new cell phone, the new word processor, the new CPU... and, in the long run, payed a lot of money for something so very similar to the old product?
You need to actually read the entry, not just its label. The issue here isn't that the doctor is considered obsolete - of course that'll happen - it's that the Mark I EMH was apparently considered a horrible failure in-universe, despite us seeing nothing that can really be complained about in the Doctor's performance that doesn't come across as absurdly petty.
Odds are that the EMH wasn't so much obsolete as it was simply reaching the end of its useful life. Remember, the EMH was only designed for 150 hours of use. Since ships in the Alpha Quadrant weren't using them as their CM Os, the programs probably lasted longr (and had a lot less character development). Thus, when the programs reached the end of their user lives, it was decided to make an update which would be usable now that the old programs had begun to expire and would also incorporate changes that were being called for by users (better bedside manner, for example). The old models likely had their medical programming deleted and were rewritten for dilithiuim mining (which begs the question as to how they set up enough emitters to handle all those workers...).
Okay, I went ahead and changed the title of this headscratcher, because it's really coming off as though people are reading that, nothing else, and then posting an answer that has nothing to do with the actual question. The issue here isn't that the doctor is obsolete (my own fault to a degree, that could've been worded better), it's that even when the Mark I's first came out, they were considered a failure. Yes, poor bedside manner is something that should be fixed, and even phasing them out once a new program was designed would make a lot of sense. The problem is that the Mark I's were considered utterly useless as their intended job as emergency medics, even though such a verdict stemming from nothing but poor bedside manner is ridiculously petty, especially since there are most certainly examples of Dr. Jerk in the Star Trek verse, and the Mark II, who has supposedly overcome the flaws of the Mark I, is even more obnoxious than the Doctor ever was.
In calling the Mark 1 a failure, there were likely several factors that went into it. One was, undoubtedly, the lack of bedside manner and Jerkass tendancies that it showed. Even in an emergency situation, no one wants an asshole around, especially if they're the one offering to take a laser scalpel to your injuries. Also consider that Zimmerman was rather much an asshole, and his personality rubbed off on the Mark 1, which likely pushed many away from using his new, never been attempted before system. Consider also that Crusher swore she would never use the one on the Enterprise-E (although that can be explained by the crew having so many issues with the holodeck, she was likely scared of the damn thing becoming sentient and taking over the ship). New technology, especially one that has the potential (or at least the implication) of putting people out of their jobs, is often frowned upon by people in that line of work (compare TOS having dedicated transporter chiefs to Voyager assigning anyone who wasn't busy to man the transporter). Starfleet doctors and nurses likely reacted to the Mark 1 in roughly the same way that Kirk did to the M-5: with disdain and apprehension. There's no way they would use a system designed to replace them, even temporarily, for fears that they would get removed from starship duty or, even worse, kicked out of Starfleet for being redundant (go ask Hoshi Sato how much promotion potential she had after the Universal Translator made a ship's linguist redundant). The Mark 2, however, was made younger and less abrasive, coupled with the fact that it did hammer out some of the Mark 1's flaws: it was able to turn itself off (compare how often the Doctor would harass Janeway and crew about his program being left on), it seemed slightly less independant, so that it was less lifelike and more obviously a computer construction (it's mannerisms and speech patterns recalled Data moreso than the realistic Doctor ever did), and was made to seem fairly more subservient (had rather less initiative i.e. turned itself off in a crisis rather than attempting to interfere/distract the crew). Then again, calling the Mark 1 a failure could just be hyperbole, the way that people look back on things like the Sega Dreamcast and call it a failure for reasons that have little to do with it's performance abilities.
The Doctor's Mental Breakdown
I realize that this was supposed to be a plot point, and it had some interesting potential, but the execution was abysmal. There was an episode in Voyager where the Doctor had to make a choice on which person he had to save, and chose his friend over the random blue shirt despite the fact they had an absolutely equal chance. The Doctor has a nervous breakdown as a result as his programming could not resolve the issue after the fact (saving his friend over random crewmember). Fair enough, it helps to establish some of the underlying aspects of the Doctor as a program. However, what happens is that they under go a massive cover-up, excising the blue shirt from all records and modifying the doctor's memories. In addition to how cold this was, I can't help but think it would have been easier to just rewrite a few memories that her body had a bad reaction to the attack (or Harry was somehow less effected, even slightly) or that she banged her head as she collapsed, giving Harry a microscopically better chance at survival (which his programming would have been able to accept).
I'd guess that it was because they could only delete the Doctor's memories, not insert false ones. The EMH was likely designed so that you could delete its memories (after all, we saw in "The Swarm" that it's possible to overload an EMH's memory), but not so that you could implant fake memories, because why would you need to give one fake memories? They aren't supposed to be sentient, after all; the Doc becoming so was an accident.
I haven't seen that episode, but it sounds to me like an enormous flaw in the EMH Program. The entire point of an Emergency Medical Hologram is to provide support to overwhelmed medical staff in an emergency. That necessarily includes life and death situations where every second counts and you can't save everybody. An EMH would have to have a Triage Protocol where he can make those decisions instantly without hesitation or remorse. The Doctor should have said, "My program dictates that I save X" and that would be it, unless he received a contrary order from the Captain.
No that part was addressed. The two characters in the situation had the exact same chance of dying (don't ask me how, given potential differences in biochemistry from person to person). Normally, he'd just pick the one his program decided had the better chance, even if the differences between the two were minute and not be bothered to the extent that he was. For example, based off what he said, let's say we two fatally injured crewman, crewmen A and B and only enough time to potentially save one of them, if crewman A had a 31.334% chance of survival, and crewman B had a 31.335% chance of survival, the Doctor would pick crewman B with no problem (beyond that normally associated with doctors being unable to save patients they can't save). However, if crewman A and crewman B were to each have 33.333% chance of survival, and picks crewman A because he's friends with A but not B, he later cannot justify to himself saving A over B since B had just as much chance of survival.
That's precisely the flaw: The EMH has only one criterion to determine who to help. None of the programmers foresaw the possibility that they would encounter this situation? What if the two patients were the Captain and the janitor? Obviously the Captain should have first priority, right?
True... but the choice here was between random ensign, and main character ensign. Not exactly a major difference in rank.
The problem wasn't precisely that they had the same chance of survival. Presumably, if Blue Shirt A and Blue Shirt B were both on his table, both with the same chance of survival, and he didn't really know either of them, he'd just pick one. Maybe the first one who came in, maybe the one who was closest, whatever. The problem was that he picked Harry Kim not because he had a superior rank (which, being a member of the senior staff, he did) or because he was closer or whatever. He picked Harry because he was the EMH's friend. One assumes that the reason the programmers didn't think of this is because they didn't foresee an EMH becoming friends with anyone.
They explained it all in the episode that it wasn't just a matter of a Logic Bomb or other computer failure but the fact that his program "evolved" to include a real personality and not just be an emergency doctor. The Doctor had added to his program many other things he did not originally have, including ethics not connected to the Hypocratic Oath. As the original EMH, the doctor would have performed without any problem but as the "Evolved" form, he went into an ethic loop.
Presumably, if this could happen to a 'regular' EMH, the engineer would just reset it to zero. Nobody foresaw that the EMH would evole into sentience or that the crew would get attached.
Which was the problem, as Janeway described it: the Doctor's emerging personality had chosen Harry, and both his programming and his own sense of guilt were railing against that choice. Had he been a standard EMH, a random number generator would've probably kicked in to break the tie. The Doctor's dilemma was that he logically knew it was supposed to be a random decision, and it wasn't.
Interesting bit of trivia supporting that: apparently in the original version of the script, Ensign Jetal had a bit of the thing for the Doc. He didn't return her feelings and, having never been on the receiving end of an unrequited crush before (and it being only a little while after the trauma of Real Life) had difficulty dealing with it. His guilt came because he was influenced not just by his preference for Harry, but by his desire to find a way out of the uncomfortable situation with Ahni.
I guess all the stasis chambers must have been out of order that day. After all just put one into stasis, complete the procedure on one, than remove the other from stasis and do the procedure again. (It would make logical sense o have at least one stasis chamber ready in case of medical emergencies i.e only having 1 Doctor)
Another case of discontinuity in the show, in another episode, B'Elanna and Tom were stranded in environmental suits in space, Tom give B'Elanna a not so serious order, and she says he can't give her orders, because they're the same rank. He responds by saying that since he is a bridge officer, he in fact DOES out rank her. There's no way of telling if he was just saying that as a joke, or if it was actually Fed protocol, but if it was, dilemma solved. Harry was a bridge officer, and therefore outranked the woman.
That should have been part of the decision in this situation, actually. It sounds cold—and really, it is—but Harry, Voyager's operations manager, is a mission-critical crew-member. The other ensign, frankly, has been dead for months and nobody's really noticed. They are very far from home, and any program that makes this sort of decision without factoring in the individual's value to the mission (in this case getting the crew home safely) is very flawed.
What bugs me is that we're dealing with a hologram here. A hologram which could probably be (at least temporarily) duplicated. Now they can save both patients at once! And they can keep the spares around to ensure that the sickbay finally has enough staff to run properly!
The Doctor's hologram is ridiculously advanced. It would probably be too much of a drain on the Sick Bay computers to have two of him running around. Remember, not all holographic programs are the same: in one episode, he had to shave off some of his less-important programs to be able to be sent to Earth without any other messages, while in another he sent an entire holonovel to a publisher. It's probably possible that they could have rerouted power to the Sick Bay computers, but they didn't have the time right then, and doing so all the time would, once again, be a drain on ship's systems when there's already at least one doctor available at virtually all times.
It wouldn't be a drain on ship's resources if one used the mobile emitter. But they established firmly that the Doctor's program can only be stored in one place at any given time, a Voodoo Shark against a thornier issue: self-identity when the self is copied.
Except that one time
There was also that episode where the Doctor was off the ship and Paris and Kim spent most of it trying to duplicate him in case something dire happened and he didn't return. It was established that they couldn't even produce a simple, basic EMH, the program was simply too complex, even at its simpliest level.
The EMH is supposed to have an applied encyclopedic knowledge of every form of medicine known to Federation science. He's supposed to be better than Phlox, McCoy and Crusher put together because he basically is all of them put together and then some. He's an aggregate of every great medical mind in recorded history and he can learn and improvise. Think of it this way, in DS9's "Our Man Bashir" we learn that the station's computer can hold the neural patterns of 5 people at the expense of erasing pretty much every other program. The EMH likely runs off a dedicated computer in sickbay that adds up to at least one whole person's neural pattern—and that's before the Doctor became sentient. There likely just isn't enough room for the Doctor to be in 2 places at once while using the main computer. As for why not have 2 Doctors running at the same time (like they did in Equinox) it could be that they have a backup copy of the Doctor in the sickbay computer so they don't lose him forever if the mobile emitter is destroyed. Whenever he transfers back to sickbay he overwrites the backup copy, so the backup would only be as up to date as the last time he was active without the mobile emitter. Given how much he enjoys his freedom that could easily be a few days or a week. And we have no idea how long it would take to do a system restore of the Doctor (since they probably don't just copy/paste him to and from the mobile emitter), it could take a few minutes to bring him back online. In the episode in question, "Latent Image," the Doctor has only minutes to save them and he can't talk Paris through it. Restoring the backup Doctor (essentially having an Emergency Medical Hologram for the Emergency Medical Hologram) might have taken too long for it to be useful.
The real question, in the end, is why they didn't seek out a method by which they could essentially duplicate the Doctor's body, with the one Doctor in control of both bodies. Such a modification should have only required minor modification to a few of his movement and observation subroutines to enable him to split his attention between two bodies, and then some time for the Doctor to adapt to the new subroutines (but only when necessary). Obviously, as this would only have been thought of after such a need arose, it wouldn't have helped the Blue Shirt, or prevented the Doctor's meltdown at the time, but it would provide a helpful way to handle multiple problems simultaneously in the future (and one body would only be needed for most of the time).
Given that Doc could essentially write upgrades for himself, he really should have put some work into developing Kage bunshin Doctor.
Wait, the Doctor writes upgrades for himself, which according to some writers [means...
"Message In a Bottle" shows how behind the times Voyager got. The Prometheus's computers was fully capable of supporting both EMH programs and remote controlling its Me's a Crowd form. Voyager can't. They basically left spacedock cutting edge and are now behind the curve.
In this case, why couldn't the Doctor just abandon the idea of a body and simply use the holographic projectors to create just hands, and save both at the same time. Abandoning a body would free up a lot of processing power, so it would be much more efficient in something like a battle or ... in a case where there are two different patients.
The Doctor's Family
Two JBM's from real life:
The random character generator for the holodeck contains teenagers who want to brutally attack a random stranger and little girls who die by playing a violent game. Why would anyone include these parameters in the standard list? They apparently have a pretty decent chance of appearing too, as no one was shocked by the doctors situation. (and yes, they were stated to come from the standard list of attributes)
These events didn't occur until B'Elanna added "randomized behavioural algorithms" to the scenario; they're not at all part of the standard character sets, they're randomly generated events that could realistically happen within this scenario. Parisses' Squares (the game the little girl plays) is known to be a sport with a high risk of accidents; this doesn't mean that she shouldn't play it. The accident could've happened to anyone.
Why do they bother to include homicidal mania in their list of possible behaviours.
Because it's a Klingon ritual, consistent with his son's Klingon friends.
Having the doctor see klingons as bad high school friends and vulcans as good high school friends. I can't imagine why anyone would program the doctor with such a racist attitude
Well, it seems the person who programmed the Klingons to be bad influences was the only person with Klingon ancestry on the ship!
Who held a rather intense dislike towards said ancestry, demonstrated on several occasions.
If anything, the Doc's programmer doesn't like Vulcans - I think "pointy-eared blowhards" was the phrased used.
The Doctor's programming is modeled primarily after Dr. Zimmerman but has parts of hundreds of other medical professionals' profiles in his makeup, as well. In "Darkling" we're shown that adding personality traits from historical figures can create unanticipated behavioral changes. Maybe including the medical officer logs of one Leonard McCoy, no doubt sprinkled with his colorful opinions on Vulcans and Klingons, left the Doctor with some peculiar baggage. And besides, it's not their species that the Doctor has a problem with it's their culture, one that's largely antithetical to the core essence of his being. He is programmed to follow the Hippocratic Oath and is going to try to pass that value on to his kids, and here are these Klingons who are all about doing harm. Vulcan culture is based on logic tempered with ethics and is more in line with what a medical program would consider "correct."
I might be giving the writers too much credit but I thought the episode carried the implication that B'Elanna's own prejudice that happy family life is a lie was heavily influencing her programming
The Doctor's emotional programming
So... there was a huge deal throughout all of TNG about Data having no emotions whatsoever and his quest for them. The emotion chip built by Dr. Soong, Lore's obviously flawed emotional programming... and yet these medical hologram programs developed by Starfleet can experience real emotions from day one? HUH? For a program intended for emergency use that likely only needed medical knowledge along with maybe a basic ability to fake emotional responses for "bedside manner", The Doctor has no problems whatsoever displaying and even feeling actual emotions from the first episode.
Why is Data's quest for emotions such a long process when Starfleet seems to understand how to give a computer emotions already?
I'm not sure if this is the case or not, but wasn't the EMH developed sometime after Data got the emotion chip? If so, maybe Zimmerman reverse engineered the chip to create the EMH's programming.
The difference is that the EMH Mark I was based off of Louis Zimmerman's personality, whereas Data was a blank slate and not modeled after anyone. Note that Juliana Tainer/Soong in "Inheritance" experiences emotion. It seems Noonian Soong was capable of creating a stable AI with emotion, but only if it were programmed with an existing personality.
Data's "quest for emotions" never made much sense anyway, since as adaptable as Data's programming is he should have been more than capable of at least creating some rudimentary emotion programs.
I think Data's problem is that he wanted to experience emotions, whereas Data's programming could at best mimic them. It's like the difference between reading about a Poker game, and actually playing one.
Data's emotions are either removed or controlled as an addition to the main design; this is the main difference between him and Lore. The evidence suggests that having emotions is the default state of an AI unless designed otherwise. Even then, Data still obviously exhibits "intellectual" emotions, he just refuses to call them that.
The Doctor was designed to run on a massively powerful Master Computer, whereas Data was designed to be a piece of portable hardware simulating a human brain. Considering how unimpressive PAD Ds and other small computing devices are on Trek, Data's positronic brain was quite an accomplishment. But in designing it, Dr. Soong had to find ways to cram a lot of complex thought and behavioral patterns in there. That Soong himself was not exactly the picture of a well-adjusted person, it should not be a big surprise that his emotional programming might have been a little buggy, hence the problems with Lore, whom he readily admitted was almost identical to Data except for his programming. Since the Doctor had fewer hardware constraints, and was also designed to be switched on and off regularly, there was more leeway in developing his emotional subroutines. Also, all evidence suggests that Soong was not receptive to collaboration in his work, even acknowledging that his wife would have left him had she survived.
In the episode 'Virtuoso,' the Doctor attempts to leave the ship in a fit of ego because he's 'appreciated' by the alien race and actually attempts to resign his commission. Fine, I'll grant him that one because he'd become far more than just a piece of technology, so he can be said to have a commission rather than just being a piece of technology created by Voyager, but he is THE ONLY DAMN MEDICAL OFFICER ON THE ENTIRE SHIP. And NO ONE brings this up. Not once.
Probably because it would have cheapened the issue if they just said "you leave and we have no doctor". Still stupid, but understandable from a writing standpoint.
How could the Doctor resign his commission? He doesn't have one — or at least he wears no rank pip.
And, while I'm on the subject, WHY, exactly, is the ship's primary pilot considered the only suitable medical assistant for the Doctor both prior to Kes taking the position and after she leaves? The Hand Wave given is that he took two semesters of biochemistry at Starfleet Academy, but in a situation where the Doctor would need his medical assistant, the ship's best pilot is likely going to be needed at the helm. What's he supposed to do say 'Sorry, need to pilot the ship through a debris field to dodge the Borg cube, your gaping wound is going to have to wait' or 'Yes, I know there's a fleet of Viidian ships hunting for our organs, but Ensign Andrews has a compound fracture that needs mending'? Hell, this could even have been a story for the Doctor in the first couple of seasons, about teaching a group of Voyager crewman medical technique and working to be taken seriously by them!
Remember, Voyager being stranded a long distance from anything else Starfleet is an anomaly, something that very few other Starfleet ships have ever been faced with. Presumably, the standing plan for an event that involves mass amounts of sick and wounded would be to head over to the nearest Federation Planet/Base and have the extra doctors and medical staff there sort things out; Thus, the lack of medical staff is only a problem for Voyager because they unexpectedly found themselves in a situation where that's not an option. As for why Paris is stuck with the Field Medic position instead of training up some new people, well, this is Star Trek; Voyager is most certainly not the only series in the franchise to adhere to the The Main Characters Do Everything mantra.
Presumably Icheb would have eventually been given some of this sort of duty had they not gotten back to Earth so soon after he demonstrated his impressive understanding of biology, cybernetics and genetics in "Imperfection". Heck, in "Lineage" Tom, who otherwise often seems to rival Spock and Data when it comes to being a know-it-all, goes to Icheb to ask him about some confusing DNA resequencing models that the Doctor (actually B'Elanna) designed for their unborn daughter!
And why didn't Chakotay's ship have a medic on it? I'd take even a line of dialogue saying 'he/she/it was killed as well,' but give me SOMETHING! A ship of 150 should not have to depend on a two-person medical staff.
The Enterprise D had a crew numbering over 1000 and a medical staff barely in the dozen. The first likewise had a single doctor and maybe three or four nurses. Starfleet obviously feels they don't need a high ratio of medical personnel to patients. As for Chakotay not having a doc on board, he isn't exactly in a position to be picky about his crew. He's a revolutionary, he takes what he can get.
the original Enterprise had two doctors. M'Benga was a recurring character.
Even revolutionaries need someone whose job is to patch the wounded. If he had a crew large enough to account for all the Maquis crew we see over the course of the show, he had to have had someone who served as a medic. Even if they're not a real doctor, they could at least have been assigned to Sickbay.
Further, wouldn't they place a priority on training up more medical personnel?
Why would Janeway compel her red shirts to spend precious hours studying different skills when instead they could set every holodeck on Voyager to run the "Fairhaven" simulation all the time and pretend they're living in early 20th Century Ireland? Her management style is as bipolar as she is! Need certain key skills cultivated amongst her crew? Nonsense! We've got decades to go until we reach home, why should we waste any of that on continuing education? Then there might be even more embittered, over-skilled ensigns like Harry! Ironically, the only ones seemingly pursuing education on the ship were Icheb (who was basically Wesley, only without the barely-concealed superiority complex) and Naomi (who as a child is expected to do something vaguely resembling school work).
Seven of Nine:
The Hansens as Parents
In Dark Frontier what were the Hansen's thinking bringing their daughter with them? They knew that the Borg were dangerous and aggressive enough to turn at least one civilization into a population of refugees and they still chose to go looking for them with her on board? It gets even more ridiculous when we find out that to follow the Borg they crossed into the Romulan Neutral Zone meaning that they put their daughter in danger of being killed/assimilated by at least two different species. Even if we ignore the serious danger they were putting her in without hesitation what did they think spending years on a ship with only her parents for company would do her social skills?
Pretty irresponsible, though perhaps only marginally more so than the Enterprise gallivanting into danger with a full company of schoolchildren. But yeah, it would have been nice, just once, to see somebody call out the Hansens for being cavalier, reckless scientists who got what was coming to them.
If not to their faces, the Hansens were called terrible parents several times, the Doctor and Seven herself among those doing so.
The Hansens had distanced themselves from Starfleet, because Starfleet had problems with their "unorthodox methods." No doubt, dragging their child along for the ride was one such "unorthodox" action that Starfleet had a problem with. Basically, the Hansens WERE awful parents, and the show DOES acknowledge it.
Maybe that's why Seven didn't try to free her father from the collective in "Dark Frontier".
They remind me of Newt's parents from "Aliens" extended director's cut.
That's not entirely fair Newt's parents had no reason to expect anything dangerous to be there. LV-426 was supposed to be uninhabited, hence the terraforming operation. The discovery of anything alien would have seemed exciting, especially in a more hard sci-fi setting where alien life is not to be found on virtually every planet. Plus Weyland-Yutani was concealing the truth about the wreck, risking the colony by deliberately keeping them in the dark about the possible danger. In contrast, the more the Hansens learned about the Borg the more determined they became to study them no matter what the risks. They were also doing it entirely for their own gratification, as they showed no evidence of planning to return to Federation space or handing off their research to Starfleet or anyone else.
Seven of Nine's Outfit
Let me just begin by saying I am fully aware of the real world reason behind the catsuit and as much as I don't like it, her massive fame even among non Trek fans as well as the producers attempting the exact same thing with T'Pol is unavoidable evidence that it worked. But I am more interested in what the in-universe explanation is; what makes Seven want to wear this tight and constricting costume each and every day? Fair enough you could make the argument that for at least seasons 4 through 5 she is most likely unburdened by the embarrassment of having your assets constantly on show would bring (embarrassment is irrelevant would probably be the reply) but as we see from her Holo program in Human Error by season 7 Seven is perfectly happy to wear normal clothes she just doesn't want to for some unexplained reason. I have heard the idea that she isn't Starfleet and as such she hasn't earned the right to wear the uniform but that is in no way a stated rule as back in the Original series we see Kahn wearing an unmarked red shirt so there is a confirmed precedent for giving civilians Starfleet uniforms in certain situations.
The whole problem of Seven of Nine was to be able again to think of herself as an individual, and not as a drone of a collective hive mind. A personalized wardrove, rather than an uniform similar to all the others in the ship, certainly helps and has no disadvantages.
IIRC, the Doctor handwaves her initial catsuit (the shiny one) as being helpful to her healing from the deassimilation via technobabble. After that, however, she maintained the catsuit look, but in more subdued coloring. Most likely, she wanted to still be part of a group ("Voyager is my Collective") but since she wasn't a member of Starfleet either her or Janeway didn't think it appropriate to wear the uniform. Therefore, she chose a style of clothing that would emulate the Starfleet uniform (spandexy, clingy, and 1-2 pieces) while selecting varying colors at the insistence of Janeway and the Doctor in order to showcase her individuality.
SF Debris actually proposed an interesting Hand Wave in The Unity Saga that I rather like. Seven spent most of her life with Borg equipment and body armor grafted to her, and now she feels a bit uncomfortable and awkward without it. She finds the skin-tight catsuit comforting because it mimics the feeling of all of that missing Borg stuff. Now why she couldn't get the same feeling from some sports compression clothing under something more dignified is harder to explain.
Or at least see if resistence really was futile...
Seven's Incredibly Selective Memory
Does anyone else find it strange that sometimes Seven is regarded as possessing the accumulated knowledge of the Borg, yet for whatever reason Janeway's got her working in Astrometrics, instead of designing a functional transwarp drive for Voyager? It seems as if she possesses the knowledge to resolve almost any problem they run into, except for getting them back to the Alpha Quadrant. Or repairing her own cybernetics, since she apparently did not know how to construct a Borg cortical node, even though it is seemingly one of their most crucial implants and therefore something you would expect every drone, being tasked with assimilating other beings after all, would know how to fabricate.
Why did Voyager keep Neelix on their ship? It wasn't necessary to have a chef, and he would boost morale far more if he left. They could have killed him off in "Mortal Coil" when he became a Nietzsche Wannabe. Doing so would basically mean telling the audience that life is pointless, but it's worth getting rid of the Creator's Pet.
Neelix was always a depressive type, or rather that was his original characterization in episodes where he was the main character. Jetrel was the first such episode, and it was carried on with Fair Trade and so on. His apparently sunny disposition is a facade. Remember that he also used to be a small-time criminal. This aspect of his character was dropped as the series changed to being centred around Seven of Nine and the EMH. As to why they keep him around? Who knows. It seems that they've taken him far from home and it didn't seem fair to just drop him off in some far-flung part of the galaxy with Borg space between there and his homeland.
It's simple: as a native to the Delta Quadrant, he knew most of the area (at least in the first few seasons) and the species that resided there well enough to act as both a guide for Voyager and a diplomat; there are several times where the crew comments him on the possibility of becoming the Federation's official ambassador to the Delta Quadrant, because of his skills in trade negotiation. (They actually do it near the end of the series, after they've visited a colony of his species.)
And when the time came that he would lose his usefulness as a guide, it became clear that he would go back to being a roving merchant if he was allowed to leave. (He was willing to leave, especially after that drug fiasco.) Once he joined Starfleet, Janeway and co. got the right to interfere with him—he was their responsibility; and, as Starfleet officers, they just couldn't leave a member of their crew to the invisible hand.
He was the most ineffective guiding guide in the history of guiding! Remember when he lead them to that planet he said was full of dilithium? You know, the one with no dilithium and full of Vidiins? No? How about all those times Janeway asked him about a local people/planet/anything and his answer was a round about way of saying "I don't know?" Or how about in basics, when his survival skills got two people killed?
To be fair to Neelix (and this troper despised Neelix, so it's a bit tough) a guide who knows the geography of a region, but is less than familiar with the inhabitants of that region, is more useful than no guide at all.
He was kept around as Emergency Rations, in case the replicators failed. Notice how despite nominally being "morale officer" he was stationed in the KITCHEN? Pretty convenient, hmmmm?
Jim Wright over at Delta Blues presents a valid argument. Neelix represents the Delta Quadrant mindset. Remember, he's lived most of his life working hard, never knowing where his next meal will come from. He was scavenging in a junkyard when we find him. People in the Delta Quadrant do not live a life of luxury. They still worry about where their next meal is coming from. Peaceful exploration is unheard of. We need Neelix around to show the kind of person our crew will encounter on their journey. And as Neelix learns the Federation gospel, it gives the rest of us hope.
That might be a valid argument if the Delta quadrant was a single homogeneous monoculture and that he'd been all over the Delta quadrant. As it happens, it's full of different races, different cultures and Neelix's experience is limited.
Around Kazon space, life is nasty, brutish and short. Ditto anyone in the Borg's crosshairs. The Malon live it up but pay a nasty price for it. But the Krenim, Voth, Devore, and Hierarchy seem to enjoy decently high living standards without having to make any really unpalatable tradeoffs.
To be fair, Neelix had only ever seen Kazon space, the four races you mention were BEYOND the Nekrit Expanse in which Neelix had never been. The problem is that Neelix was under-utilized; the idea (in my opinion) was to create a humorous survivalist who was also a rogue - kind of like a cross breed between Han Solo and Quark. This was why our introduction to the man was him conning the Voyager crew whilst systematically being a hero by saving a girl's life. Unfortunately, through bad writing they ending up creating a character whose survival skills were a joke, his personality needy and jealous and his role on Voyager superfluous. Of course the last time they tried to make a Han Solo like character we got the Outrageous Okona so maybe Neelix was indeed a positive outcome...
It's a tribute to the idiocy and ineptitude of Voyager that someone whose FIRST encounter with the Voyager crew results in him conning them out of water (he's unaware it's something they can make out of thin air) so he can get his girlfriend back and put the crew into a fire fight. Yeah, that SCREAMS "trust me!"
Neelix was kept around because the characters saw him as a highly-skilled survival expert that knew the region intimately. The writers kinda forgot he had to be shown to be this to be treated like this though, but that goes for every character in the series.
Kes and Neelix
What in every timeline did Kes see in Neelix. He is practically the most appallingly annoying character ever. Were I Kes I would have left him when he attacks your friends because he thinks your having an affair with no logical reasoning. The only two reasons I can think she stayed with him are A.) He is EXTREMELY good in bed B.) He is abusive off-screen.
I really don't get the Neelix hate. I quite like the character and his actor is one of the only decent ones on voyager. He has a couple of episodes where he was annoying, but in just as many he was quite amusing.
He in general was The Load and had a grating annoying personality. He was also a Creator's Pet because the writers clearly loved him even when it was absolutely obvious the fans wanted him to at least be toned down. TO sum it up every time hes on screen its like you entered a Ferengi episode.
The man (thing...) is void of any endearing quality. He's The Load. He joins the crew under false pretenses after conning them. Gets people killed thanks to his insistence that he's a survival expert and never gets called on it. Shows a willingness to betray or lie to the crew at the drop of a hat. He's a danger to everyone around him (almost killed the ship with CHEESE). Is violently jealous to the point he will pick up fights over perceived advances on his girlfriend that have never occurred. He's a coward. Will annoy or butt in into other people's business uninvited, even giving himself a made up rank to justify his doing so. AND he's disrespectful of other people's cultures to their face.
I think one apt description of the Ferengi, as some involved with Deep Space Nine put it, is "cartoon characters". Neelix was based off of both Timon and Pumbaa, it is said in some places. So they have a similar annoyance factor, I guess. Now, I don't mind them as much as a lot of the haters do... but I can also sit through whole hours of kids' shows without flinching on some days. Maybe it's a matter of tolerance or target audience—are people who post about Star Trek on the Internet more interested in space exploration and kicking ass, or about some bumbling sidekick's tomfoolery? Now compare this to what the pursestring-pullers wanted (however misguided or on target): a prime-time show with big ratings; this has to pull something in from the mass market, and they probably thought (at least at the time) that what Neelix ended up being would have some draw.
I'm sure Neelix was intended to be some sort of breakthrough character, but that did not fly (any more than Tom Paris ended up being the hunk, when you think about it). The writers obviously had few ideas of what to do with him: in the later seasons, it seems like Icheb is getting more screen time than Neelix!
He did have his redeeming moments, though, like the one when Naomi's mum was lost and he looked after her(Naomi), while being well aware that she could be dead.
Check the WMG for a more sinister interpretation of that.
So what? If you start with the premise that someone's evil, you can apply Alternate Character Interpretation to every single thing they do to back it up. That doesn't take anything away from the episode.
I never got what either of them saw in the other. When we met Kes she was a late adolescent, and Neelix met her earlier still. True, she wasn't quite young enough to qualify for pedophilia—But who does he think he is, Mark Sanchez? And what appeal could someone who grew up in the super-duper-sheltered Ocampa reservation have to anyone who's remotely worldly? She got her ass enslaved by the goddamn Kazon—People whose idea of a jail cell is drawing a line in the dirt and telling the prisoner he'd better not cross it!!
Neelix likely found her optimism and naivite refreshing. Everything was new to her, the universe was a beautiful and wonderful thing to her and he got to show her each new thing himself. Plus, with her naivety he became her protector, which made him feel needed. As we see later on Neelix has a desperate need to feel needed and accepted. For Kes's part we aren't ever shown any down side to her relationship with Neeix, who introduced her to the wider universe and rescued her from he Kazon, who were using more than a line in the sand to keep her in line, more like beatings, until they got aboard Voyager and Neelix got jelous of Tom a few weeks in. Remember, Kes is a telepath she can tell Neelix's true feelings and motivations, she knew he was jelous she just never really understood jelousy. Ultimately they had little in common and that's likely why they broke up, though they always remained good friends.
Remember the Ocampa as a species lived a very sheltered existence. When Nelix came along he Representative adventure, I don't know why she stayed with him but it makes sense she hooked up with him in the first place.
Think about it though: If an alien with an FTL capable spaceship landed in your backyard and promised to take you with him wouldn't YOU jump at the chance? the problem with the whole arrangement only comes when you A) Realize that he is nothing more than a Scavenger who deals in junk B) That his Spaceship is actually pretty crappy compared to everyone else's and C) He is pretty needy and gets jealous at the slightest provocation. Once Kes had access to a Federation Starship and (more importantly) access to other men who aren't sheltered Ocampa, violent Kazon or an untrustworthy Talaxian it's little wonder she started to look elsewhere.
That might be a bit unfair to Neelix, though. His spaceship really isn't any worse than most anything else in that region of space; his profession and technology level seem on par with what we see from most space ports in the first two seasons, so it's more like he and Kes are just living in a bad neighborhood. And while he doesn't handle his jealousy well at all, he's mostly jealous of Tom, and Tom is both attracted to Kes and has almost no respect for Neelix. It took a long while for Tom to have his "I respect Neelix too much to make a move on Kes" epiphany, and in the meantime he was flirting like crazy (and Kes, being so naive and attracted to Tom too, wasn't really doing anything to discourage him). Still, they had little in common apart from perhaps an optimistic veneer (that, for Neelix, can evaporate pretty quickly under pressure), so it's not a surprise that they drifted apart. I just wish the writers had handled it more gracefully than having Kes seemingly break up with him while possessed. It looked at the time like Tieran was just trying to shake Neelix before he realized something's wrong with Kes, but then the series proceeded as if the split was her idea after all.
As for what they saw in each other, though, there's the wonder factor of Neelix simply being a guy with a spaceship for a sheltered girl, as said, and I like the idea that, as someone else said, she can emphatically, intuitively tell that he really is a good person (in a part of the galaxy where good people seem to be a rare commodity). So long as it was Kes and Neelix against the world, his jealousy and insecurity weren't really issues, and he does have a few other things going for him. He did rescue her from slavery, which is a big thing in itself, and he knows how to cheer her up and make her laugh, which also goes a long way. Also, perhaps most importantly, he needs her. Kes is a nurturer, Neelix is deeply broken beneath the surface, and so they clicked naturally into a powerful, if kinda dysfunctional, relationship that more or less amounts to "I need her" and "he needs me" as their reasons for being together. Once Kes started realizing that she has needs too, and Neelix learned to stand on his own without relying on Kes as a crutch, the basis for their relationship started to fade away. Kes perhaps realized it first, but Neelix did too after awhile, which is why they remained friends.
You have to remember that Neelix was not intended to be Godawful annoying. We were supposed to find him charming and funny, it's just the writers utterly failed in every possible way. Obviously Kes and Neelix's romance was written based on the intent of his character, not the annoying reality he turned out to be.
There was at least that one episode where Neelix finally snaps and tells off Tuvok for all the times Tuvok has all but verbally abused Neelix for simply being nearby. Neelix was supposed to be a wide-eyed optimist type character, but he also had a haunted past due to the entire destruction of his home planet and the death of his family. There was also the episode where he briefly died and began to question life and the afterlife. He was essentially an abused, troubled character who was trying his best to not collapse under all the stress.
After rewatching Parturition recently, I've honestly started to wonder if the writers were subtly laying groundwork for a "Neelix is diagnosed with a mental illness" episode that was never made. In the early seasons he often showed signs of a really odd self-image, and his relationship with Kes was always portrayed as a little unhealthy. In Parturition, however, he seems to have a legitimate psychotic break. That's not hyperbole: after acting paranoid for several episodes, he finally looses touch with reality, makes several blatantly irrational accusations (he believes Tom and Kes taunting him by openly flirting in the mess hall, even though they're sitting at different tables with their backs to each other), and attacks Tom Paris; nothing more is made of this incident, even though it happened in a room full of their shipmates. His behavior is consistent enough that it seems like intentional characterization, and as noted above, Neelix does have some trauma in his backstory, but it never really seems to pay off in any significant way.
In the episode "Mortal Coil", when trying to calm Neelix down as he freaked out over apparently not experiencing the Talaxian after life after spending a brief amount of time dead, Tuvok was apparently open-minded enough to at least suggest that he wasn't dead long enough rather (an idea Neelix quickly shoots down by saying it should have been instantaneous). Now, all things considering that openmindedness, you'd think the writers might have considered the explanation that an experience by a hypothetically temporarily disembodied soul might very well not have been recorded on his physical brain, thus he wouldn't have had any memory of his experience there (hypothetically, of course).
An even simpler answer is that whatever supernatural creature or force is in charge of escorting souls to the next world knows whether you're really dead for good or about to be revived, so it knew it wasn't Neelix's time yet.
At the beginning of the episode Distant Origin the Voth scientists find the remains of Lt Hogan strewn on the ground along with his tattered uniform... What The Hell? the Voyager crew didn't try and retrieve his corpse or bury him or anything before they left at the end of Basics? you would think his friends on board ship would have had something to say about that. It also flies in the face of that supposed superior attitude the humans of the 24th century have over the 21st when you remember that in the episode Galileo Seven set in the 23rd, Bones and the other crew of that shuttle were nearly mutinous that Spock wouldn't endorse them burying their fallen friends despite the danger posed by the even deadlier creature than the one the Voyager crew faced. Are we seriously suggesting here that Voyager couldn't beam up his remains or that the crew couldn't return with phaser rifles? unlike the gaseous entity faced by the Galileo; it was nothing more than a very large animal. Even if they didn't want to kill it I think the combined stun blasts of half a dozen phasers would have made it think twice about attacking them.
They may have figured he was already eaten and didn't feel it was worth either gutting the creature to get his partially digested remains or didn't want to dig through excrement to pick out his combadge. Maybe Hogan's will specified something to the effect of "If I die in the field I don't want my friends risking their lives or resources to bring back my corpse."
Another thing is that it's been proven that anything thicker than a sheet of notebook paper is capable of blocking Starfleet scanners, so its likely that they simply couldn't find Hogan in the cave. If it was a particularly large cave, it could have a vast series of tunnels, each of which would have to be checked manually under threat of being eaten in order to recover a dead body. Odds are, with everything else that had happened, they either forgot or decided that it was too dangerous.
The Borg Baby
What the hell happened to the Borg Baby from Collective? it was the focal point of half the episode that gaining the trust of the Borg children was vital to saving the life of the baby; they beam it aboard and it's life is saved on-screen and we're pointedly told that it'll survive. By the very next episode not only has it completely vanished but completely forgotten about too; in fact Child's Play a mere two episodes later focused entirely on the Borg kids and still not a sight nor sound.
Nobody's saying it's not. It's still an uncreative Shrug of God, and a fairly tasteless one at that. In fairness, it's pretty much the exact same answer William Campbell used to give at conventions when asked what Koloth did with the tribbles on his ship, but it's pretty clear that Klingons eating tribbles is actually funny.
For all the bad jokes, the real explanation is a bit more anti-climactic: as with footage of Kes and Neelix's actual breakup which would have explained a lot, the show did have some footage from the episode where the Borg children were returned to their homeworld in which the Borg baby was sent along with them. Unfortunately, as with so much else that would have been better to leave in, it got cut.
The SFDebris review of "Good Shepherd" brings up an excellent point. We've got a guy with multiple cosmology degrees doing monkey work in Engineering and an incompetant gal in Astrometrics. It does seem like trading their assignments would solve a lot of problems. It does bug me that Seven wouldn't have realized this.
Seven did bring up part of it and was told with absolute certainty that he was wasting his experise because he wanted to be down there and refused to do the extra work when he was given it.
Where was Naomi Wildman every time a shipwide chrisis occured? Okay, when the ship is under attack by aliens or a space anomaly, viewers can safely assume that Naomi is in her quarters with some adult guardians. But what about episodes like "The Killing Game," or "Workforce," where the entire crew is captured or brainwashed? Durring "The Killing Game," for instance, was Naomi a slave like Harry, being forced to serve the Hirogen lemonade between hunts? Or was she brainwashed in the WWII program, thinking she was a little Jewish girl hiding in an attick? How about "Memorial;" we saw Naomi's reaction to Neelix going bonkers, but did they mention later, when the alien memories attacked the entire crew, how Naomi herself was affected by those memories? (That must be traumatic for someone her age, of all people.) It seems that the writers had no problem bringing up Naomi when it meant showing her everyday life on Voyager, or showing her reaction to other characters' problems; but, when something occured that would have a huge impact on Naomi herself, the writers suddenly forgot she existed. Why?
Precisely because they would have been traumatic and not very fun to watch happen to a little girl.
Or it could have been a source of drama and tension, if handled properly. Even humour, hypothetically: they mine the fact she has been through it so many times, all of her life. She could be so unflappable that it affects her less than the crew.
Why did Seska never revert back to a full Cardassian appearance? Even when we last saw her (not counting time travel, flashbacks and holo-recreations), she still had a Caucasian skin tone (as opposed to Cardassian grey) and only slightly pronounced Cardassian facial features. She looked more like the half-Bajoran Tora Ziyal than any other female Cardassian we saw in DS9. Does that mean that Seska is actually of mixed ancestry too, or does it simply take so long to fully reverse the effects of the treatment that turned her into a Bajoran?
Simple: She is using primitive Kazon techniques to reverse the condition; frankly she is lucky she didn't mutate into a Salamander Threshold-style given how Too Dumb to Live they have proven themselves to be several times. No doubt she would have asked the Doctor to use a bit of magic Federation medicine if she actually managed to keep Voyager.
The Starship Voyager:
Voyager's Pristine Condition
How does Voyager get trashed every week and yet always prove to be perfectly repaired by the next episode? It's not like they can stop at a Starfleet base for repairs.
There's a season seven episode where Voyager is sitting on a planet's surface, and B'Elanna is conducting extensive repairs and renovations. Portions of the warp engine interiors are visible, panels are missing from the hull, etc. One can assume retroactively that this was done every so often with parts and components either replicated or adapted from alien technology. It's the equivalent of a starbase repair session, only the Voyager crew have to do all the work themselves.
They called it routine maintenence, kind of like what the Enterprise put in for in "Starship Mine." And in her log to start the episode Janeway mentions that they were long overdue. What no one seemed to notice about that episode, however, is that in the episode right before that one, they had just given themselves a fairly major tuneup.
That was a weird problem Voyager seemed to have. It's almost as if episodes were shown out of order. One weak they'd have a power crisis, and the next they'd be fine. One week they'd be running out of supplies, and the next they weren't, despite no mention being made of how they'd resolved the issue. Species would occasionally show up months and even years after Voyager should logically be far outside their space. Consistency was not the show's strong suit.
It's an unstated assumption of every Trek series that, beneath the shiny surfaces, their current location (starship, space station, whatever) is being held together on spit and duct tape by that series' resident brilliant engineer. Saves a lot on actual engineering research, I'm guessing.
And sometimes, as in anytime O'Brien says anything about the condition of Deep Space Nine/Terok Nor or the Defiant, it's a stated assumption.
After season 4 or so, there were Borg parts mixed in with the Starfleet parts. Possibly they repaired the ship.
Which MIGHT have been plausible if after Scorpion Torres BEMOANS the Borg technology repairing itself as she REMOVES IT ALL.
No she doesn't. She removes most of it but is given permission to leave in stuff that actually improve things. We don't know if it was just that one thing or if Voyager now has minor regeneration abilities. Of course we're also occasionally informed of Voyager's actual status and it's never as shiney and perfect as it seems. Basically Voyager looks fresh but has serious damage under the surface that's constantly being worked on.
It's possible that there were friendly/neutral space stations and the like that Voyager was able to stop at for repairs between the exciting battles and Negative Space Wedgies. They might have stayed at some of these for weeks, seeing as a lot of the time we aren't given concrete timeframes between episodes.
And of course the real reason: the stock footage of Voyager used a physical model, not CGI, and it would have been far too expensive to have it redone to show battle damage.
Say what you will about Enterprise, but when the ship got beaten up in "Azati Prime," it damn well stayed beaten up for the rest of the season and on into the next one.
Not having replicators available can really slow repairs down. So long as Voyager had power they could fix almost anything back to near full given enough time between episodes and once they had the Astrometrics Lab with it's superior sensors and a former Borg with vast amounts of knowledge finding new power sources became a lot easier.
And of course the real reason: Enterprise effects were all done in CGI, so it was cheap and easy to re-render the beat-up ship model instead of the normal pristine one.
There is another possible explanation: we don't see the crew making repairs because to see engineers doing routine maintenance of a ship would be boring, unless something else happens.
Because there is no way we can just have it in the background or mentioned in the dialogue. Or use it as an excuse to have characters going to places the writers want them to be, because they are looking for help. It's not like we never get scenes of them doing routine thing.
In at least one respect, it may represent a lost opportunity. Numerous times along the way, Voyager was mentioned to incorporate elements of other technology, yet the only visible change was in the Cargo Bay for the alcoves. Imagine what it would have looked like if slowly different bits of alien tech had shown up, a new console here, a doodad on this wall, slowly accumulating over time.
What do you think the rest of the crew does every single day? Voyager, having been sent on a Maquis hunt, did not carry the usual complement of pure scientific research crew that a ship like the Enterprise had. Janeway's entire initial crew consisted of people meant to run the ship. Presumably these worker bees spend their active duty shifts going around performing whatever minor maintenance tasks need doing and which do not require the skills of one of the main characters.
Why is there a night shift on a space ship? In space. With no day or night other than that set by a random clock? Why does most of the crew appear to pop off to bed at the same time leaving a skeleton/junior gang in charge half the time? On a planet bound ship there's the excuse that less goes on at night, and night is the same time for everyone in the area. This is not the case in space.
Well, the crew's mostly human, and humans still function on a 24-hour sleep cycle, so they just designate 12 hours of the day "day", 12 hours "night", and schedule the work shifts accordingly. Though I don't understand why the "night shift" is expected to have it any easier than the day shift: it's not like Negative Space Wedgies and Big Dumb Objects know to hold off until the regular crew's finished breakfast. Then again, maybe Starfleet didn't want two competing, parallel chain of commands on one ship, and so the night crew's supposed to just wake up the senior officers if anything big happens.
Clearly they do. They also know to only mess with the better run Starfleet ships and not ships run by the likes of Harry Mudd. Otherwise some yo-yo crew would have destroyed the universe by now.
How do you know there aren't three 8-hour shifts, and that crew don't change their sleep patterns to match their shift? I think you're making assumptions. For all we see in the series, it's quite possible that there are two or three full crews, the "day shift" is just the arbitrary designation of whatever shift the Captain decides to head, and the other "shifts" live and work completely separate schedules, except for meeting with superiors, etc. (Of course that brings up the issue of, "why does important stuff always happen during the same shift?)
In the TNG episode Data's Day it is established that there is a defined night-shift, during which the lights (at least on the bridge) are actually dimmed slightly at the change of watch. It might be safe to assume that the flagship sets the standard for the rest of the fleet.
However, in Change of Command, Captain Jellico, who was filling in for Picard, orders Enterprise to go to a four-shift schedule from their current three-shifts; establishing that this is all at the CO's discretion.
In the episode Prophecy Neelix is forced to double bunk with Tuvok because he gave up his quarters to some Klingons. The question on my lips is why would Neelix ever have to share quarters with anyone for any reason? he has his own ship parked in the shuttle bay why can't he just go sleep in that? given how long he lived in it I don't think its unreasonable to assume he has some kind of bed in it; even if it's just a hammock or a mattress in the corner. But... taking this to its logical conclusions opens up whole new questions for me: Why was he allocated quarters in the first place? Why aren't other crew members told to go sleep in Neelix's ship or the shuttlecraft in such episodes where energy is at a premium? The Cloud, Demon and even Year of Hell spring to mind here. Remember that these vehicles are completely independent of Voyager; they have their own life support, power supply, environmental systems, free from any disease or toxin that's plaguing Voyager that day (due to being airtight) and even come equipped with weapons and shields should the need arise. By my count if they put at least two crew members in each shuttle and at least four in Neelix's ship that would free up the burden on Voyager's systems having to support at least twenty people. This ship is supposed to have limited supplies and resources after all.
Shuttles are not completely independent of their host ships, their range and supplies are too limited for that. Then you're draining the resources on smaller craft that are still dependent on Voyager for refueling and resupplying. Neelix's ship is likely more like a runabout than a starship: good for hopping around known solar systems but not for cruising through deep space. It's probably more efficient to use an extra room on a starship than to have a shuttle just idling in the bay. By that logic, they might as well sleep in the escape pods since they have independent life support systems.
(op) Whilst you are accurate in saying that shuttles are not fully independent of their mothership the fact remains is that these things have enough power for several weeks (there is an episode where Paris moans that the Academy used to pack cadets into a small Class-2 shuttle for weeks at a time) meaning that in episodes where power is dangerously low such as Demon you would prolong Voyager's life support by a considerable amount by dumping off-duty or inconsequential crewmen in the shuttles and just keeping them parked in the shuttlebay. Personally I think your idea about the escape pods is a good idea; again what is the point of wasting Voyager's power in episodes where they are hours away from suffocating if you have vehicles with their own oxygen reserves? it's like having just enough oxygen for two men in your three man submarine whilst completely neglecting the fact that you have a spare aqualung on the back seat. Just refuel them when you do have the resources to spare.
Even if the power was at a premium, the space wasn't. Neelix shouldn't have had to bunk with Tuvok as he could have crashed in a shuttle for a while. There's no way just using it as a sleeping space would consume any meaningful amount of power. The other headscratcher with shuttles is how often they forget that shuttles have a full set of independent systems including, in some of them, transporters which are "airgapped" from the ship's as well as independently powered.
Voyager's Initial Energy Crisis?
Granted, Voyager suffered significant damage right out of the starting gate what with the Badlands expedition, being transported to the Delta Quadrant, and fighting the Kazon - but why are they so low on power initially? Isn't the deuterium supply (as well as the antimatter supply) supposed to be replenished by the Bussard collectors?
Yeah, this was either a Critical Research Failure on the part of the writers, or complete contempt for the intelligence of their viewers. Deuterium is a common isotope of hydrogen, and hydrogen is the most ubiquitous element in the universe. Most high school chemistry students should be able to tell you that.
They've gone back and forth on how abundant deuterium is, so yeah the real-world explanation is that the writers didn't care. But since that's not a fun explanation, it may be that the Bussard collectors were damaged beyond the ability to fully repair them; Seven of Nine mentions increasing their efficiency by 23%, which is a big improvement for something that was fully functional before the enhancements. And while they could get deuterium from using the Bussard collectors, there shouldn't be any antimatter floating around in space so if that's what they were running low on then I could see finding it difficult to fill up.
The Voyager Conspiracy bomb
In the episode "The Voyager Conspiracy" Seven of Nine goes cuckoo and starts seeing conspiracies everywhere. One thing she digs up is that the Voyager used a powerful explosive to destroy the Caretaker's array, something which a light exploration vessel like the Voyager should have had no business carrying in the first place. While in the end Seven of Nine's conspiracy ramblings turn out to be her going crazy, they never refute her findings about the explosive. So why was Voyager carrying that around on their original mission?
Maybe it was originally on the Maquis ship?
The dialogue clearly excludes that possibility:
SEVEN: The Captain ordered Commander Tuvok to destroy the array. He fired two tricobalt devices. Are those weapons normally carried on Federation Starships?
SEVEN: Yet they were part of Voyager's arsenal. Why?
CHAKOTAY: I can't explain that.
Since Voyager is actually classified as a scout ship (fairly small, lightly armed), and was travelling into an active war zone to play 'needle in a haystack', it makes sense that they would be packing some inordinately powerful bombs in case someone bigger than them decided to start a fight. Remember, the Cardassian Galor-class ships were as much bigger than Voyager as Voyager' was to the Val Jean''.
But why the secrecy about it... all these years later? This is one of those points where, of course, plenty of rationalizations are possible, but the episode raises this as an issue but neglects to offer any explanation whatsoever.
Actually a Galor-class is only slightly larger than Voyager. And Voyager could probably take on a single Cardassian ship in a fight, though having a one-hit-kill weapon like a tricobalt torpedo would still probably be useful since Cardassians rarely fight one-on-one.
It might just be a simple case of the accord that band such weapons hadn't yet been ratified before Voyager got stranded.
The one thing that bugs me about the episode is all the talk and hype about someone using a tractorbeam to steal one of the arrays reactors and never getting closer in that.
^This! They went to all the trouble of adding the tractor beam effect to the image of the Array exploding, and they dropped that plot element like it was a TOS love interest!
No-one has considered that in Caretaker, given how over powered the torpedo's were that it totally annihilated the Array, why didn't they think to fire them at the Kazon Ship instead? Granted they only a limited amount and there were more ships on the way, but it would probably have made the Kazon consider backing down when they saw what firepower they had.
The Kazon were already outmatched and they just got more belligerent rather than realizing that it was a bad idea to pick on Voyager. As for a display of force, they blew up the entire caretaker array, a force which until then they were utterly incapable of handling. If that didn't make them back down, nothing would.
If Water is such a precious commodity, why don't the Kazon consider using the Starships at their desposal to find a planet with water? Granted the Kazon we saw were pretty pathetic and another rival sect may control planets with abundant water, but it does seem ridiculous that they don't just leave Ocampa which is stated to have NO water at all.
They seemed to be obsessed with getting at the water beneath the planet. Also, if I remember correctly, the Kazon were not independently space-faring, but rather former slaves with stolen ships. Since they are too dumb to realize that their ships are powered by heavy water, then going somewhere else is equally out of the question.
Because the Kazon are Too Dumb to Live. It is in fact incredibly easy to create water from any number of chemical reactions, including the consumption of gasoline by an internal combustion engine, which produces water as one of its molecular byproducts. All you need are hydrogen and oxygen atoms, plus a little energy to get them to bond. But the Kazon are like a bunch of chimps trying to run a nuclear submarine, and are so stupid that even the Borg don't want to undermine their "perfection" by assimilating them!
In Year of Hell, the critically damaged Voyager is hiding in a nebula while making repairs. At one point, Janeway and Kim are making repairs in a corridor while gas from the nebula is pouring in. The only protective equipment that the two are wearing is some kind of breathing apparatus, so the corridor has to be pressurized to somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 atm. How is that gas getting into the ship?
Probably a broken pump or something similar. Since Voyager is designed to enter atmospheres for extended periods of time, it makes sense that the ship would be able to pump in fresh atmosphere to replenish what is on board and/or avoid expending supplies.
Ok, Voyager's been tossed into the Delta quadrant. Why did their uniforms update when Deep Space Nine's updated? Heck, why did Voyager's uniforms change, PERIOD? Were they still getting updates in the uniform handbook or something?
Huh? They changed? I swore they were always black bottom, department-color top with plum undershirt. Even in the last episode. The Deep Space Nine/Movie change moved it to black bottom, plum top with department-color undershirt, and Voyager didn't make the switch, even after they made contact with the Federation and the new wardrobe.
Answer - they didn't change.
Even more buggy is why does Starfleet seem to change its uniforms every other year? No military has ever gone through uniforms that quickly. Next Generation should have kept something similar to the nice red tunics they had in the films up through Undiscovered Country.
The blue jumpsuits with service color piping of the ENT era; the corded sweaters of the TOS pilot(s); the uniforms worn on all the other TOS episodes; those ugly-ass things from the motion picture; the red tunics from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan through the time Wesley was born; the TNG uniforms without the collars, which went into service around the time Jack Crusher was killed and were phased out over the course of TNG Season 3; the TNG uniforms with the collars that were worn from Season 3 or 4 up through Generations; the Generations/early Deep Space Nine/Voyager uniforms that went into service in some areas (like Deep Space Nine) at the Deep Space Nine pilot and became standard for everywhere (except Earth, apparently) in Generations; and the uniform with the colored undershirts that went into service while Bashir was being held with Martok in that prison camp while a Founder impersonated him. That's the uniform that was in service up through Star Trek: Nemesis. Whether it was still in service eight years later when the Romulan sun went nova and Abrams kicked Trek canon to the curb, I don't know. I do know that that's nine uniforms in a 228-year period, from 2151 to 2379. I also know that the US Army issued its first set of Service Uniform regulations in 1779, and that by 2007, which covers the same period of time, it had been modified on 25 separate occasions.Take a look.
Flashbacks in TNG indicate that the change from the red tunics of the films to the TNG-style uniforms occured recently - they were still using the red tunics when Wesley Crusher was born (when his dad made a holorecording of himself at the time, he was wearing a tunic). In all probability, most of the Enterprise-D officers had been in service when the changeover occured.
What I heard was that the plan had been to have them wear the tunics on TNG but it didn't work with the TNG set. Considering how much better the tunics looked than the Season 1 and 2 uniforms (especially the ones with the little short skirts) and how the set at first had a pretty blase feel to it, they might have done better changing the set to match the costumes. (I know, I know, the costs would be prohibitive.)
Also, the TNG-style uniforms were obviously in something of a beta test when we first saw them, as they were refined later on to be more comfortable (presumably while Gene was looking the other way in real life).
The Uniforms on Voyager didn't change. Only the Uniforms of people still in the Alpha quadrant (starting with the Prometheus EMH and then moving on to the Pathfinder staff) changed to the First contact/ Late Deep Space Nine style.
Looks like someone didn't fact check.
Considering that Starfleet officers' uniforms are probably replicated on the spot, it's bound to be a lot easier for such a design change to be disseminated in-universe than in any Real Life military organization. You don't have to manufacture the outfits and then ship them to where they're needed, you just transmit the new clothing designs to the fleet's replicators and let the various vessels' crew members input what size they need.
Here's one for you, though: In the episode where they meet that Klingon generational ship that left Klingon space 100 years ago, the Klingons look like 24th century Klingons. And I'm not talking about the cranial features; we'll just leave those be for now. But they were wearing the same uniforms that Klingons wore on TNG and Deep Space Nine. If Voyager, which had been in contact with Starfleet since the last uniform change, didn't change, why would these Klingons, who had not been in contact with the KDF, change? How would they even know what to change to? A lucky guess? Did the Klingons plan the change out a century in advance and say "Remember, at such-and-such a stardate you have to start wearing these"? Those Klingons should either have worn civvies (since they'd despaired of ever reforming the corrupt Empire, they wouldn't be KDF at all) or worn the TOS Klingon uniforms, which would have been a pleasantly nostalgic throwback.
If I'm remembering it correctly, the Klingons in question were civilians. We have seen almost every modern Klingon wear the TNG Klingon clothing, whether they were affiliated with the military or not. As civilians, they may not have been entitled to wear the TOS costume, which which we never saw civilians wear.
I find it a bit more troubling that the Voyager crew didn't wear the TNG uniforms. It was hinted that the DS9 uniforms were more of a working uniform, and that the TNG uniforms were more akin to a service uniform (slightly more formal). During much of DS9 starship personnel were almost always seen wearing the TNG style, and it was occasionally seen being worn by background characters even after the introduction of of the black and grey First Contact uniforms. So, why didn't Voyager staff at least occasionally wear the TNG style?
Star Trek Generations almost made a plot-point out of the characters changing uniforms from the A-style (colored torso) to B-style (colored shoulders) uniform. Starfleet seemed to be actively phasing out the A-style uniform, possibly in preparation for the upcoming major style change. Still, this troper always enjoyed the idea that the A-style uniform was for ship-based personnel and B-style for shore assignments. Production-wise, the B-style was probably cheaper and considered more "current" than the A-style uniforms, the hero versions of each costing a few thousand dollars per.
Holodecks and Holograms (Except the Doctor):
Neelix's holographic lungs in "Phage". How exactly do you project a hologram through someone's chest? They didn't even bother taking off his jacket.
Because holo-transmitters in Star Trek don't need a line of sight? This has been shown pretty much every episode with either the doctor or the holodeck.
Also, how is it that the Vidians could graft organs from completely alien races into their bodies and make them work, yet the possibility of using organs from non-sentient animals never seemed to cross their minds? Surely there must be some planets in the quadrant with vertebrates but no sapients, or a civilization that keeps livestock and can sell them a few tons of slaughterhouse leftovers.
This episode, given that Science Marches On, is a major example of Zeerust. By the time the actual 24th century rolls around, the problem will be solved in 10 minutes:
Doctor: I should have the new set of lungs ready in 5 minutes, Captain.
Janeway: (to Vidiians) This is a bioprinter. You can have one if you go away and never bother us or anyone else again.
Vidiian: You got it!
So there's this massively adaptable parasite that an advanced biotechnology can't do anything about, bad enough to destroy their entire civilization. They beam aboard and explain this, then take a stroll through sickbay. No one, not the Vidiians, not Janeway, not the Doctor, no one thinks to take the slightest quarantine precautions.
How is a person supposed to progress through a holonovel if they have no prior knowledge of it? For instance, the Doctor's Photons Be Free novel apparently requires the user to have enough medical knowledge to diagnose several patients. How do users without medical training get past that part? And the only reason Tom and Harry know what to do in Captain Proton is because Tom wrote the story and kept telling Harry what came next. In short, how are holonovel users supposed to follow a prewritten plot in the ultimate Wide Open Sandbox if they avoid spoilers?
The Doctor's ego at work. He didn't consider that using minor variations on Voyager's own situation and crew might upset his friends, all (excluding Seven and Neelix) cast as the villains of the story, he likely wasn't actually thinking about the average person's own medical experience - it's important to him, that should mean it's important to anyone.
I'd imagine most holonovels have some form of railroading to keep people on track. One of Geordi's complaints int TNG was that Data had read the novels prior, and thus could solve them instantly. From this, one could assume that the program probably has a cheat sheet of sorts to keep players on track.
I imagine most people in the Trek-verse know how to operate a tricorder, so the one provided in the story probably gives dumbed-down readings for the laypeople, providing a diagnosis for the player and giving instructions on what motions to go through to emulate a treatment. Most of the patients of that part had injuries that seemed like they wouldn't be too complex to treat with Trek technology, save one, and the story was dead set on preventing the player from working on him.
1) Most popular holonovels are probably written by actual writers, who know how to deliver story in a fashion that subtly guides the player through the plot, and the Doctor and Tom are not full-time writers; and 2) diagnosing the patient isn't that different from having to learn dialogue and dress up for Janeway's weird 19th-century governess program; many works in real life are better appreciated either in-character or after varying amounts of background reading.
Probably, in the same way someone progresses through first-person shooters: the world itself is supposed to guide the player through it. With this comparison, Harry's behavior is similar to that of a noob who pesters a more experienced player asking constantly "What do I do now? Where do I go now?"
A few episodes of TNG sort of addressed this and confirmed that it does indeed work much like video-game railroading. Whenever the crew members started to go off the rails somehow, the holodeck characters would usually just ignore whatever doesn't match up with the story and then carry along with the script (like they'd mention Picard's Starfleet uniform by jokingly asking "Dixon Hill" why he's wearing pajamas, and then go right ahead with whatever they're supposed to say anyway).
Not that the "Dixon Hill" program is well-written. If you're the second player, you have to spend an hour sitting in a police office's waiting room while the first player's getting interrogated. Yawn!
In the episode Night, Tom and Seven are running one of the "Adventures of Captain Proton" in the holodeck. A ship-wide power loss occurs, causing everything, even the warp core, to go offline; the only things that seemed to continue working were wrist-bound flashlights, tricorders, etc. Why, then, did the holodeck's monochromatic (black-and-white) program act as if it itself had lost power rather than shut down the program?
Seven explains that independent sub-systems (like life support and holodecks) are still operational. OK, fine...but still, why'd the program act as if it had also been hit by a power loss?
That being said, when they're later attacked by an alien on the holodeck, Seven's still able to tell the computer to disengage the safety protocols by vocal command. Wouldn't the main computer be off-line, too?
The holodeck probably runs off of a separate computer system.
In Night the aliens didn't cut all power, they just cut the lights and anything generating large amounts of light IE the warp core.
Yes, they did-the doors don't work, the turbolifts don't work, the sensors don't work, etc., mainly because the warp core itself was offline. A possible explanation for the holodeck's behavior is that it created lights and instrument displays that receive power from the warp core but the creation and maintenance of the force fields and holographic projections themselves are independently powered. That could be a safety mechanism; if a holodeck user happened to be twelve feet above the floor when a power failure caused the projection to collapse, they could get seriously injured. They just don't use that independent power system for something as mundane as powering the light fixtures-which is, admittedly, a flaw.
The Missing Holodeck OSHA Compliance
This is more of a general Star Trek Headscratcher but seeing as Voyager is guilty of the Holodeck Malfunction story on an order of magnitude compared to the other series I thought it was fair to put it here. Why isn't there an escape hatch or a manual release for the Holodeck door? Why does the door disappear at all? I fail to see how a visible door would effect your enjoyment of the program when the very real threat of being trapped inside with deactivated safety protocols should effect your enjoyment substantially more. Failing that why isn't there a circuit breaker to cut all power within the room? the ability to break a circuit is something we've been able to do since the dawn of man-made electricity. No malfunction would be able to effect a manual override as anyone who works with a generator in real life will tell you. Why is it when there is a Holodeck malfunction does no one consider taking a blow torch to the main door, walls, ceiling or floor? remember that the Holodeck (despite shoddy writing in instances where they can apparently pack as many people as they like into here) doesn't have TARDIS like proportions and is in fact no bigger than your average high school sports hall. The perception of vast inner proportions is a mere illusion as Data pointed out by throwing a rock at the wall in Encounter at Farpoint. Holodeck malfunction — saw through roof/wall/floor — drop/raise rope ladder — crew saved. Where is the problem here?
Having a metal door just sticking out of nowhere would really break immersion. If you're creating a room or small space you may be able to put it behind some palm trees so it's not as glaringly obvious. If you're running Picard's horseback riding program then it would just be weird to be galloping through the countryside and have this ugly grey door just flying along behind you. Data hitting the holodeck wall with a holographic rock is Early-Installment Weirdness, as it should have created the illusion of the rock landing where he threw it. As for the vast number of people, I don't recall an episode where more people were in the holodeck than there should have been room for. They are able to get lost in a simulated environment because once two or more people get far enough away from each other, the holodeck probably has them in an isolated zone where they run around on a forcefield treadmill of sorts and the illusion of depth is projected around them. A Fan Wank explanation for why cutting power isn't a viable option comes from SF Debris's "Unity" saga, where the mechanism that cleans up biomatter like sweat, hair and uneaten food when a program is deactivated accidentally "cleans up" a crew member. Could be when you cut the power the computer registers it as an ended program and begins the cleaning cycle.
Its a good point about the the clean up program that I didn't think of when I wrote this. You see I recently re-watched an early TNG episode called The Big Goodbye in which the senior staff are absolutely adamant that if they simply turn off the power Picard and Data would cease to exist. Now there is undoubtedly as much Early-Installment Weirdness here as there is with the rock and the wall seeing as it is never brought up again in any other malfunction story. Nevertheless if we take this episode at face value it would seem that Sf Debris is once again very astute in his observations.
I have a few problems with the alleged "controversy" of the Federation using holograms for manual labor. In Life Line Lewis Zimmerman talks about how humiliating it is that all these holograms scrubbing out plasma conduits have his face. And in Author, Author the Doctor equates this use of the EMH to slavery. Two questions: (1) If Zimmerman finds this situation so humiliating, why doesn't he just ask the Federation to change the appearance of the holograms? We saw in the DS9 episode Doctor Bashir, I Presume? that it takes mere moments to swap out the appearance of a hologram. (2) Instead of repurposing the EMH for manual labor, why didn't the Federation simply have Zimmerman build them a non-sentient hologram with the mind of an automaton? That would completely eliminate any ethical issues with holographic labor.
The closest thing to an explanation for ...everything... concerning holograms in Voyager is probably that the particular hologram technology used for intelligent holograms like the doctor is some kind of independent "holomatrix" that holds its computations internally, unlike simple background NPCs that are just projections run by the ship. If a holomatrix is an autonomous construct - the ship provides the base energy projection diddums, but the mind runs entirely within the matrix, using some kind of photonic hardware without necessarily having a direct connection to the ship computers - it's possible that it works more like an organic neural system and can't easily be redesigned to be non-sentient (e.g. animals can be stupid, bute all animals still feel pain), especially while retaining enough intelligence to do useful work. This seems especially likely since Zimmerman-type holograms are apparently designed to copy personality traits and memories directly from live doctors, rather than being programmed manually.
As for the face... perhaps the whole idea of placing those holograms to work in mines was decided by some burocreat angered with the poor EHM 1 bedside manners, and giving them another face completely ruins the sadistic joke.
The bigger question that topic always raised for me is: why doesn't the 24th century have robots? Not self-aware, positronic androids or the kind in that one TNG episode that were sophisticated enough to become sentient, but simple robots built and programmed to perform a specific task like digging some ore and hauling it out of a mine. We can do that now. They don't even have Roombas, as far as I can tell.
In "Prototype", B'Elanna claims that the Federation does have a bunch of non-sentient robots doing manual labor and such. We never see any of them though.
To be honest I thought the whole plot for that episode was written rather poorly. The underlining message is supposed to be that slavery is bad. The only problem with that premise is unlike the Doctor (as well as Moriarty and his girlfriend) most holograms are not sentient. So they don't have to be treated as such. The Doc has an excuse for forgetting this do to his over inflated ego, the writers don't.
Once upon a Time, Harry makes a Flotter doll for Naomi. He programs the Replicator from memory of playing the Game when he was young. But Flotter's parameters are already in friend Computer. Flotter is a popular game. Janeway and Samantha played it. The Computer ought to have a standard macro "create moichandize from common holodeck programs".
The Fed has no money. Fed copyright law is about the Artist's control of their work. Under Earth Law, Disney can sue anyone who makes a Mickey Mouse doll and don't pay Disney their percentage. Under Fed Law, Disney gets no percentage and can only sue people who make an inferior doll because it brings their brand into disrepute. Harry making an inferior doll does not get around either Earth Law nor Fed Law.
It could also be that between all the anomalies Voyager has flown through, aliens deleting files and having the main processor beamed off the ship that the original files for the Flotter doll were corrupted (it's probably a low-priority file when it comes to backups and recovery, anyway). Harry then had to recreate the parameters for the doll from memory.
So the Holodeck has a completely independent and apparently near inexhaustible power source. Fine, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever, but fine. Now it's already been proven that Holographic food and drink can be consumed because we've seen it happen dozens of times across TNG, Deep Space 9 and Voyager. So here's an idea... set up the Mess Hall in the Holodeck. We have a room that can produce an unlimited supply of food that doesn't drain the rest of the ships power in any way and yet we are reduced to eating Neelix's assorted creations and using our limited Replicator rations; Anyone else see the contradiction here?
There is a possibility of it simply giving the experience of eating and drinking rather than the actual material. Of course it's stupid that this is never answered in the series considering how often Star Trek writers go to the Holodeck for episodes. Another question would be why technology from completely different parts of the universe is compatible with Federation tech but they can't simply hook the replicators to the Holodeck source.
It's not inexhaustible, they ration that power in tight situations on Voyager too. And it may be that under normal conditions they replicate/beam food into holodeck and when they're running low on power you just can't run programs that have food in them.
Word of God does pretty much just Hand Wave the question about diverting holodeck resources by claiming the power source is incompatible with the rest of the ship. As for eating in the holodeck, holographic food probably tastes just as good or bad as the real thing and fills one's stomach just as much as the real thing, but it's the ultimate form of empty calories: without the projectors to keep the photons and force fields in place, it immediately dissipates. It can kill feelings of hunger, but it won't prevent anyone who eats it from starving to death. This may be part of what keeps the crew from getting overweight: you can chow down on all the holographic prime rib and fudge sundaes you want, but your digestive system won't be able to draw any nutrients from the food and the moment you leave the holodeck, your belly will be just as empty as it was before.
Actually, in some places it is suggested that the holodeck utilizes a replicator for edible stuff.
I believe that in Encounter at Farpoint it is explicitly stated that holodecks often replicate matter in the holodecks. The implication is that it is simply more efficient than creating holograms of said material.
Which episodes had them eat food explicitly having been created on the holodeck, as opposed to bringing it from the outside like they do with a lot of their clothing?
Kim: l don't like to drink this late at night. l get an acid heartburn.
Paris: Harry, it's holographic wine. It doesn't give you acid. Try to get in the mood, huh?
Pon Farr & Holodeck Pimping
Voyager leaves us with a pretty confusing view as to whether a Vulcan can use a hologram or not in order to alleviate the Pon Farr - Vorik failed absolutely in Blood Fever whereas Tuvok completely succeeded in Body and Soul. So which is it? The two examples can not possibly be more different.
It might vary on the individual Vulcan. Some people can get turned on by sex toys and some can't. Not to mention that Vorik was attracted to B'Elanna and wanted to mate with her, not some holo-Vulcan; Tuvok wanted his wife and got a tangible recreation of her. Although given that Vulcans are telepathic, it is odd that a holographic substitute would work at all, since Tuvok should have known she wasn't real as soon as he touched her.
Propulsion, Slipstream, and Transwarp Drive:
In Threshold what was the point of having simulations of going to warp 10? If it's never been done before then the computer has no idea what the result will be. It can have a theory but that's no better than anything a human can create by going through calculations. In the early days of studying nuclear power there was a fear that setting off a nuclear bomb might ignite the atmospherenote this theory was discarded before they did the testing during World War II. A computer simulation during that time could have easily resulted in a simulated atmosphere catching fire and it would tell the scientists nothing of any scientific value.
The point was to make sure the test shuttle didn't destroy itself. That's what the simulations were for. "Holodeck says the shuttle will survive? Good. Now we move on to practical trials."
But the computer won't know if it'll survive until they actually try it. If you could simply put in the variables and get a perfect answer there wouldn't have been any need to keep sending shuttles up during the Space Race, they would have known what was going wrong and fixed it after the first one.
If you want to be really, really, overly generous to the episode... the simulations don't necessarily have to test for everything, only certain things they know will be among the consequences of the real-life test. e.g. "in the buildup acceleration, the shuttle frame will be under increasing amounts of structural stress in the following places...", so they can test and fix the elements of the design that are working within known physics. Then you can read the "successful" simulation as "assuming the magical parts actually work, they won't break the ship trying to reach Warp 10". Of course the episode itself doesn't even try to make this much sense (why a cockpit simulation is needed for any of this is another question...).
The point of the simulations is because even the most competent and anal person or even people can't think of every factor that could possibly have an effect on their tests when they make calculations. The computer automatically finds the factors they didn't account for and factors them into the simulation so that people don't have to, cutting out the middleman and making it easier to be successful in an actual test. It's the same reason that when scientists come up with a theory on how anything would work, even with rock solid calculations behind them they still build and test prototypes until anything unknowable that could screw with the calculations is ironed out instead of just throwing it on the assembly line right away.
In real life aircraft models are given plenty of flight simulator time while they are being designed. You can design for certain aerodynamic parameters and to withstand certain stresses, but even perfect knowledge of aerodynamics and perfect knowledge of structure, warp field theory, etc, doesn't mean you have perfect knowledge of how they interact — some changes in aerodynamics change the way you need to fly the craft, which might stress the structure in different ways than you anticipated, and so on. The complex interactions need to be ferreted out by going through particular scenarios.
There is another problem with the episode. They now managed to work with a speed that would allow them to return home in an instant. And yes, it also turns people into lizards, but the doctor found a way to revert the change. So... why not use it with Voyager itself? Yes, all the crew would be affected... except the doctor. And they would have plenty of time to organize things in advance, first giving the doctor the protocols to run the ship when everybody else is incapacitated, and then to manage a mass healing with the procedure he used with Paris and Janeway.
This one is really hard to explain in-universe since the real answer is, "the episode was so awful the writers wanted to forget about it as soon as possible and never bring up again." Even the database of navigational information the warp 10 shuttle gathered was completely forgotten.
The pages for Canon Discontinuity and Discontinuity Nod both claim that the writers disavowed "Threshold" by having Paris say "I've never been in transwarp" at some point. Yet web searches for this phrase fail to return anything definitive. Did Paris ever actually say this, and if so, where?
Can we just declare that somebody was overzealous (and probably suffering from the "false scene memory syndrome" which has struck us all at some point) and remove those entries?
In Day of Honor Tom states "I've never navigated a transwarp conduit" while discussing Seven's nascent attempt to duplicate Borg technology. On one hand, it's easy (and perhaps preferable) to interpret this as intended Discontinuity Nod. On the other hand, his line fails to do this effectively, owing to the fact that transwarp is a generic term. Transwarp speed is explicitly achieved in Threshold by using a new kind of dilithium to break the warp 10 barrier and be everywhere in the universe simultaneously. Depictions of Borg transwarp in TNG's Descent and all VOY episodes are more akin to artificial wormholes - incredibly fast, but not infinitely fast. Narrowly defined, Tom is simply saying that he's unfamiliar with how the Borg do transwarp. Ultimately, based off of this, I would say his statement that he's "never been in transwarp" is almost certainly a Beam Me Up, Scotty!.
Indeed; Borg Transwarp appears to identical in both function and in visual effects to the Hyperdrive from Stargate by using a subspace tunnel fast enough to travel between galaxies in days (although ironically the FTL drive featured in Stargate Universe appears to operate in a similar fashion to Star Trek style Warp Drive and that is even faster.) I agree with the interpretation above that Tom's statement is a misconception; Borg Transwarp would appear to be something in the region of Warp 9.99999 (Voyager at Warp 9.975 would take 75 years to cross the galaxy) fast certainly, but not in any way close to Warp 10.
There is a bit of a complication in that we really don't know what 'transwarp' means. It's generally accepted that the transwarp drive tested by the USS Excelsior was a failure, but believe it or not, that's not cannon. There is never any mention of whether the project succeeded or failed in any TV episode or movie; it may well have succeeded. Transwarp may just mean something like "a much higher warp-factor than we could attain before." In fact, the warp scale was revised between the TOS movies and TNG. That could very well mean that the old scale was no longer sufficient for describing the velocity we can now attain as a result of Starfleet's transwarp project.
The writers seemed to be well and truly in love with the word "transwarp" but created a ton of confusion by using it indiscriminately — the "transwarp" of "Threshold" is obviously not the same thing that the Excelsior was purported to have or the Voth definitely did have, much less the transwarp conduits and transwarp coils that the Borg use. I suppose the best explanation is that it's a general term that describes a range of phenomena, but then one wonders why there aren't more precise terms available (isn't the "transwarp" of "Threshold" a bit inadequate to describe being everywhere in the universe simultaneously — maybe "ultrawarp" or "suprawarp" or something similar but less lame?). "Threshold" builds on a the description of Warp 10 in the first TNG technical manual (sensibly presented as a theoretical concept only, not something just a teensy bit faster than warp 9.9...), but that tome sensibly does not use the abused term "transwarp" to describe it.
I've always titled that episode 'Threshold: Doctor What and the RE-TARDIS' in my mind. The writing of this one was indeed rubbish, but did no-one notice the obvious here? Transwarp is basically explained as being everywhere in space at once. Tom Paris clearly made a trip through Time And Relative Demensions In Space. He then dies under the care of the EMH Doctor What Is Your Name? Then comes back to life and has grown a second heart as the first symptom for his mutations, followed by radical- erratic personality changes. Regeneration, anyone?
It wasn't 'regeneration'; what happened to Tom was nothing short of resurrection. Tom, somehow, spontaneously came back to life after meeting every definition of the word 'dead' for several hours. I think even The Doctor, would be stumped by that one.
Like weeds, references to this disavowal are back on the pages for Canon Discontinuity and Discontinuity Nod (where it's misattributed to "Dark Frontier." Does anybody have any statements on the part of the creative staff to prove that Paris's line was intended as a shot at "Threshold"? Because on the face of it, "I've never navigated a transwarp conduit" is a fairly banal line and seems unlikely to be a Take That.
So, I have two issues with this:
First: Why the hell didn't they test it more rigorously? There was no time factor beyond their arbitrarily selected test date and the simulations revealed a potentially catastrophic fault in their highly dangerous, highly experimental new technology only hours before it was due to go online, yet their reaction is "Meh, what's the worst that could happen?". Surely anyone with a couple of braincells to rub together would have postponed trusting their lives to the thing and explored the problem further?
There WAS a time factor - when Kim and Paris confronted the Captain about the simulation issue, Kim mentioned that certain components within the drive were starting to decay as it was and that it could be years before replacements could be fabricated. Janeway listened to their concerns (including Chakotay's statement that if they used the drive in the morning, the crew would be in the escape pods by afternoon) and asked Kim to write-up his proposed solution. She weighed the risks and made a judgement call, even calling the decision one of the bigger risks she'd taken. Still, it was her decision to make. To be fair - it nearly worked, the doomed Voyager was only a few parsecs from Federation space.
Secondly: Why not use it repeatedly in short jumps to get home?
The unfortunate real world answer are two men that go by the names Brannon Braga and Kenneth Biller. Its a tired meme that they helped destroy Star Trek with their awful scripts but just because something is cliche doesn't make it wrong and chief among this was their ability to introduce a technology/character/strategy and completely forget about it in order to maintain the status quo. The Slipstream Drive joins other such prime examples as the Warp 10 engine, the Doctors mental breakdown, the Doctors back-up holo module, Seven's Borg shields and the Vidian Scanner from Phage that is never seen again despite being superior in every way to the Starfleet Medical Tricorder. That is but a fraction of a very large and embarrassing list.
I don't disagree at all, but this is broader problem than Voyager, or than latter-day Star Trek. Think of all of the things that get mysteriously forgotten in TOS: superior technologies, superior building materials and, my favourite, the ability to give normal humans amazing telekinetic powers at will (in "Plato's Stepchildren"). Seems like that might have been a useful thing to hang on to, no?
Without knowing how the retrofitted slipstream drive works, it's hard to say for sure. The instabilities show up 17 seconds into the flight, so if you just turn the engine on and off every 15 seconds you could presumably avoid the problem, but it may damage the engine or hull by having the stress of entering and exiting slipstream many times in a short period. It could also be that entering slipstream uses up a lot of energy but once you're in it energy consumption is lower, so it's only practical for long distance travel and more than a few jumps would deplete their fuel reserves. Perhaps there's an acceleration factor and for the first few seconds it's not any faster than their standard warp, and the benefits only really start if you're in slipstream for at least a minute. I always prefer the WMG answers to Headscratchers rather than the real-life explanation of, "The producers just suck."
In "Dark Frontier" they manage to acquire one, and it enables them to travel about 20,000 light years before burning out. They never seem to try to acquire another one, which might be forgivable in that it would require raiding another Borg vessel. But how about simply copying the technology? Instead of using it until it is fried, why not just put some distance between themselves and Janeway's latest debacle, then stop and study the technology? Wouldn't Seven already have at least some idea as to how it works and how another might be fabricated? Sure, it might take some time. But it's not as Voyager was expecting to get home soon anyway. Given that, even with all their shortcuts, they had only managed to shave a few decades off their travel time, they still had a long way to go. Instead the transwarp coil becomes just another piece of Forgotten Phlebotinum, to be used and then never even mentioned again.
Message in a Bottle
"Message in a Bottle:" The Doctor beams himself to the Alpha Quadrant temporarily and makes contact with Starfleet aboard an experimental new warship. It's got a lot of shiny new secondary systems, which is usual for experimental new warships (the USS Monitor was the first US Navy ship on which you could flush the toilets) but the main thing with it is that it can divide into three parts which can attack an enemy in unison. Is it really that big a deal? Why not just send three ships into battle with orders to operate as a unit? I know Starfleet is Mildly Military, but is it that hard to find two captains in the entire fleet who are NOT such insubordinate hotheads that they will disregard orders from the flagship the second they see a Jem'Hadar fighter?
Apparently not. After the experimental ship was hijacked, what did they do? Sent a three-ship task force after it!
I'll put this as lightly as possible. Starfleet's status as a military organization has...degraded quite a bit since Kirk's day. The TNG era does a lot of things that would not be tolerated in any real military, so you could ask a similar question about a lot of things seen in Voyager, Deep Space Nine, and The Next Generation. For instance, why did they change the shape of the phasers from the conventional gun-shape of TOS to the ergonomic nightmare tv remote design of the TNG era?
It makes as much sense as the saucer separation design of TMP (All There in the Manual) and TNG. My guess is that since a separated saucer is slow, weak and immaneuverable they were toying with the idea of having a saucer section that is semi-autonomous. In case the stardrive section was destroyed in the battle that required the saucer to stay behind, they wanted the survivors to have a chance to escape or fight. And since Starfleet was designing ships specifically to counter the Borg, and Riker had successfully used the saucer and stardrive in "Best of Both Worlds" as two combat-active platforms against a single target, they wondered if three autonomous, explicitly combat-oriented sections would be even more effective. As for why not send three ships instead, when it's a large battle they always do but when it's a lone ship entering a skirmish (like what happens in every Trek series) it's usually somewhat unanticipated.
Bear in mind that one ship in three parts isn't the same thing as three ships: it's probable that the separated components don't really have much in the way of secondary systems (fuel, repair systems, decent engines... I don't know) and are really just weapon platforms; only the unified ship being able to properly power, repair, maintain itself etc. Thus delivering more weapons to the battlefield at a much lesser expense, something that fits in neatly with the plot of DS9 happening in the background. So its real advantage is efficiency/economy (compared to wasting a whole Galaxy-class cruise-ship-with-weapons-tacked-on).
it's possible that the design, power systems, weapons distribution etc. we're designed so that the captain had a choice of fighting with three quick knives or one big claymore. There are situations where one would be preferable to another. It also represents a return to form for the Fed designers, who seem to really like versatility. The Defiant, built with the same philosophy as the A10 Warthog (BFGs strapped to an engine) was a major departure for them.
It's also possible the design was stupid, and a failure, and was never produced in number. It was an experimental ship. Hell, the Russians built two circular battleships in the late 19th century before they realized the concept was awful. Or, more recently, the US built the Sea Shadow stealth ship concept in the mid-80s and proved to be a mostly useless, unworkable design.
Breaking into three ships could be very useful in battle because of the way battles work in Trek. Consider that we rarely see any ship attack more than one target at a time. The normal method is to pick one target and blast away until it's down, then turn to the next. (In reality, any ship's computer should be capable of targeting multiple ships simultaneously with different weapon systems, as DS9 does, but we rarely see that, if ever.) With three separate ships, two of them could be whaling away at the enemy while only a third of the crew is stumbling around as the third ship takes hits.
I can see the flaw in the design immediately. You have one serious battle and having sent three split-into-three-ships out there you come back with one and two thirds worth of bits. And some of them are duplicates. Its worse than mixing together three boxes of legos and then losing half of it. Plus you have to wonder just exactly what the effects of battle damage would be on coming time to put them back together even if all the bits survived. How quick is the turn around from that? Can you get all the bits back together before the reinforcements arrive? It is a logistical and engineering nightmare (and that is before the captains who came back with incomplete bits start arguing over who gets to keep the one whole ship they can reassemble from those bits and who gets stuck with two middle of the sandwich hulls, now there is a morale shredder). The triple hull thing sounds cool, but it is feature-creep at its worst.
The Voyager is across the galaxy from home, 70000 light years from Federation space, but somehow everyone they meet speaks their language fluently.
The Star Trek Wiki indicates that that technology is present in their comm badges. In Cathexis the crewmembers captured by the Viidians have their comm badges confiscated, but have no difficulties communicating with either the Viidians or their fellow prisoners.
The various races they encounter likely have Universal Translators of their own, given that they are space-faring species that encounter aliens on a regular basis as well. Since the Viidians are using prisoners for slave labor, it makes sense that they would have a method of talking to whoever they were keeping as slaves.
Truth is, nothing Voyager does with the UT is any stranger than what any other Star Trek series does.
Biology and Culture:
In the episode "Distant Origin," the crew meets an advanced race of beings that originally evolved on Earth from dinosaurs. How do they know this? Janeway asks the computer in the holodeck to extrapolate along what lines a specific dinosaur (parasaurolophus) would have evolved, based on its DNA, if it had not gone extinct. The computer does just that and produces a perfect hologram of one of the alien species (sans clothes). That's wonderful, except that evolution doesn't work that way. We don't have our future evolutionary state encoded into our genes. Evolution is a result of outside factors such as environment, and occurs as random genetic mutation allows some members of a species to survive long enough to pass on their genetic material where others cannot. This would almost be forgivable, except that they made the same mistake on the episode "Threshold," where Tom and Janeway are turned into future evolutions of humans by going faster than warp 10. I don't think the writers had much of an idea what the whole "survival of the fittest" thing really means.
Now here's the thing about Star trek evolution - it doesn't work the same way as in the real world. The universe Star Trek is set in works under different scientific principles to our own; we have sound in space, transporters that defy the Heisenberg Theory and of course warp drive to name but a few. Evolution being a pre-set path instead of a combination of variables has always been consistent in the Trekverse and we can look no further than the Next Generation episode the Chase. Here it is revealed that the lack of variety in Star Trek aliens is not because of a poor make up budget but because an ancient race of aliens spread its DNA across the galaxy and founded all life as we know it. If that situation even remotely happened in the real world, diversity among extra terrestrials would be an order of magnitude higher than pointed ears or wrinkled nose. while we're on the subject of real world verses Trekverse evolution a species such as the Ocampa which only live nine years, reproduce only once, have absolutely no canon evidence of litters or hermaphroditic reproduction and give birth out of a rear mounted sack which increases the likelihood of the mother dropping the child during birth would have died out in a few hundred years due to zero population growth.
Given that those cases of bad evolution were unintentional, I don't think this excuse applies. Just because you get something consistently wrong, doesn't mean it stops being wrong. And it was actualy contradited later in Dear Doctor, where Phlox argues evolution of Menk is affected by presence of Valakians.
Besides the episode said they evolved on Earth and then left. Basically the transporter was mapping out how they would have evolved further in the same environment. A stagnant environment is still unlikely but a lot more realistic then evolutionary fate.
It's still not possible to extrapolate that. Environment determines which mutations last and which ones don't, but the mutations are still randomly generated.
If the universe of Star Trek works under different rules than ours, then many of the most fundamental "lessons" it attempts to teach have no meaning. See for instance the frequent attempts to demonize Khan and other genetic superhumans. If evolution in the Trekverse follows some pre-destined path, then what's the problem with intentionally nudging the species further along that path?
Actually, the prejudice against genetically engineered beings makes more sense if Trek "evolution" is following some sort of predestination, since an artificially altered being is far more likely to diverge from "destiny" than move "further toward" it. (That's if one stipulates the fallacious idea that chance mutation and natural selection are both irrelevant forces to Almighty Evolution.)
The very same episode referenced here specifically states that the two races, the dinosaur people and humans, share 47 base pairs of their DNA and chart this back to a common ancestor. While there are some instances where evolution seems weird in Trek, this particular instance answers the question and is internally consistent.
Think you're mistaking base pairs for something else, base pairs are the most fundamental building block of DNA being guanine-cytosine and adenine-thymine. So we would actually share all our base pairs all two of them. Perhaps you mean a sequence of base pairs but the human haploid genome contains 3.2 billion base pairs, so you'd expect to share more than that with any random DNA based lifeform even if you're not related to them. Now I've looked up the episode and apparently what is shared is 47 genetic markers, not base pairs. But without telling us how large those markers are that a meaningless distinction. Could be super related, could not actually be related at all if they're small enough sequences.
Going back to that TNG episode, if Picard brought back to the Federation a photo of those progenitor aliens, the computer could be evolving the dinosaur assuming it was being affected by the progenitor genetic seeding as ancient human ancestors were, and that's a lot more plausible. We know that virtually all sentient races were seeded by them, it should be easy to predict what their genetic programming would produce from a source animal, given enough time.
The Borg Collective:
Bringing back the Borg Queen in Voyager. This really bugs me, since it completely invalidates all of First Contact. First Contact was about Picard confronting his issues with the Borg and facing them down, ultimately killing the Queen, the single personification of his greatest enemy in an emotional climax. But then she just comes back in Voyager so that their writers can give Janeway the glory of defeating the Borg Queen for good. So all that stuff that Picard went through? Totally doesn't matter. Great job Voyager.
Voyager retconned it into either that there is one Queen for every Unimatrix, or that every time the Queen is killed, a drone is promoted into a new Queen. The books take the latter side. It can also be read pretty easily that the Queen in Voyager was grooming Seven to be the next one.
Now, what bugs me is that they got Alice Kriege back for the finale. Suzanna Leigh was different enough to be used as evidence that she was a new former drone.
Some of the post-Nemesis novels explain that the "promotion" of a drone to a queen involves a biological transformation induced by immersion in a hormone-saturated royal jelly. It may include some sporadically expressed genetic component, which would explain the fluctuation and recurrence of the Queen's appearance.
It's not a retcon. First Contact itself established that the queen can somehow come back after being killed. Picard says she was on the first cube that attacked earth. The one that self-destructed.
But recall that the Queen immediately reacts with "You think in such three-dimensional terms"... this leaves open the possibility that she either somehow left it in time or was never really there, Picard just remembers it as such. Dying and respawning does not suggest four (or whatever)-dimensionality to me. In any event, the line is more of an evasion than an explanation and leaves the means of her survival/resurrection unclear
Picard saved Earth, and the Federation TWICE, and you're saying it doesn't matter just because he didn't destroy the borg as well? Besides, the borg have suffered enough Villain Decay without the death of one queen bringing down the entire collective. Especially if they are then dumb enough to send their one and only queen on a mission to Earth with only one ship.
In a way, the creation of a new Queen is somewhat logical in a screwy sort of way. This is admittedly Fanwank most foul, but consider that it could be the case that the removal of the Borg Queen from the 24th century in First Contact would have immediately have severed her contact with the collective in that time period - something she surely wouldn't have done without the certainty of a replacement taking over straight away. It also explains the apparent contradiction of why her death causes the Borg around her to stop functioning in that time period - they were all that was left of the collective she was in control of (the Delta Quadrant Borg of 2063 having their "own" Queen, a seperate collective), and the limited technology they had aboard the Enterprise couldn't produce a second replacement to pick up the mantle.
I'd always assumed that the Queens were just programmes that the Borg activate to deal with certain situations or manage various parts of the Collective (I'd have preferred it if they'd simply been avatars of the Collective but I have to concede that the show seems to indicate that this isn't the case). The fact that the same actress from First Contact returns in Voyager implies that these are actually "models" of queen rather than simply replacing a dead body with a new drone and so might imply that there are different queens activated under different circumstances
My personal theory(ignoring novels which are not exactly canon) is that the Queen has numerous ""avatar" bodies, which makes sense with First Contact's situation- when the Queen was killed, all Borg on the ship shut down instantly. If there was only one Queen who needed to be in contact with the collective at all times or the collective fails, then wouldn't the only queen going back in time disconnect her from the collective and shut the Borg down? For that matter, why didn't the Queen and this small sect of the Collective either A) automatically somehow connect via subspace with the Borg of that era, or B) go a bit nuts with the collective suddenly being cut down to a single Queen and only a few members and no contact with anyone else? I am going with the assumption that the Queen did not have some odd temporal link to the "present" and the rest of the collective. Either way, the Queen can break off an avatar as needed. After all, the Borg are a multi-unit collective with every member linked but the Queen is important. It's also possible that the Queen is more of a program and bodies aren't exactly needed beyond interacting with humanoids directly- it seemed in the finale that they did something to her programming that went beyond physical harm. Don't forget that in Enterprise, two drones from the 24th century reactivate after being discovered, despite not only being of a different technological level than current Borg, but also being nowhere near a collective and their queen having been "killed".
Logically-speaking, a true "Collective" would be impossible with something like the Borg, since the vast majority of beings in it were assimilated against their will and have to have their individuality and will suppressed in order for the Collective to continue to function without deteriorating into chaos. It is shown repeatedly that Borg that get severed from the Collective often go off the rails (e.g. following android cult leaders like Lore). Something needs to define the overall paradigm of the Collective. In this regard, the Queen acts as set of core principles ensuring that the myriad components of the Collective all stay on-script. Seven has stated that every Borg drone that ever existed has its memories preserved as a part of the Collective. It would only make sense that this is true of the Queen too. But furthermore, the Collective will produce a new Queen (which is after all, just some organic structures, a cyborg body and a mind that is stored in the Collective) as needed. This also explains why the Borg would risk a Queen on a time travel mission just to attack Earth.
Kes and Neelix pt. 2
In Voyager, Kes is very young (2 years old at the start) although a member of a race who age and die much more quickly than humans (IIRC they tend to live to the age of 9). Neelix often comments on how young, inexperienced and naive she is. Neelix is in a romantic relationship with her, and seems to have been for some time before the programme started. So, perhaps he's exaggerating how young she is? Near the beginning of season 2 she starts to go through puberty and explains that she is half the usual age for this to happen. So she's basically like a 7-year-old human girl in terms of sexual development. Does nobody else on the ship have a problem with this? Even if Neelix is going to wait for her to grow up before doing anything, he's been grooming her for quite a while.
With so many alien species that have different life cycles, ages of sexual maturity, and so forth, Starfleet personnel are probably immunized against Squick. At least to some degree. If they try to apply human standards to aliens, even in terms of "a 2-year Ocampa is 14 in human years," they're going to end up making fools of themselves over and over because of misunderstandings. So they give up, even when they shouldn't give up.
They couldn't use the "equivalent in human years" standard even if they wanted to. Every species grows and matures at different rates. For example, the old adage that "1 human year is 7 dog years" is a fallacy, based on the semi-true belief that a dog's natural lifespan is about 1/7 that of a human. While dogs do live shorter lives than humans, their biological development is vastly different. See here for a more thorough explanation.
Minor point to start. Kes actually turned two in a very late first season episode. She was only a little over one year old in the pilot. But on to the main point. Kes does not "go through puberty" in that episode. The process going on is a once in a lifetime process that allows her to have a baby ONE time in her entire life. Ocampa, however, seem to be like humans and able to have sex for pleasure at any time. In other words, the Ocampa reach sexual maturity and are able to have sex LONG before they can actually have a baby. At 7 or 8 months she's like a teenager to her species. At 1 year it's like she's 20 or so in human terms. Ocampa can't even have kids normally until middle age. It's like a human being able to have sex when she's 16, but not actually being able to get pregnant until she's 40.
How did the writers not realize the problem with Kes only being able to have one baby in her lifetime? A species with males and femals in which each female is limited to one child will have reproduction rate below replacement and eventually dissapear. If the Ocampans are about 50% male and 50% female, as they seem to be, and a generation is only a few years long (the time it takes a female to become fertile) this would happen rather quickly.
This is actually one of the (rare) moments of presumably accidental Fridge Brilliance in Voyager. We're never told that Ocampan pregnancy is female only — the other member in an Ocampan-Ocampan relationship could well end up a Mr. Seahorse — and they were pretty heavily monitored by a stupidly powerful being. Combined with the events of Elogium, where Ocampan estrus was artificially induced and the Doctor thought this would allow Kes to have a second estrus, this starts to make sense. If there's a one to one replacement ratio and the offspring are more directly related to their individual parent, this seems like the perfect way to prevent the species from either having a population explosion or mix of mutations likely to cause a population explosion, while still being able to replace the population in the case of accidents, early death, or violence. Unfortunately, it's not really enough to save the crappy, crappy episode.
Alternately, Ocampans could (like many Real Life invertebrates) be a sperm-sequestering species. The females may only need to mate once to obtain sperm, which are stored internally and then doled out at intervals, providing for a lifetime's worth of pregnancies.
This raises more Fridge Logic about when the heck Neelix even met Kes. Putting aside the question of how they met each other, since any number of crazy scenarios might've done it, how fast did she grow up into a seemingly adult female? If she was only about one year old at the beginning of Voyager, and he and Kes were implied to already be in a serious relationship, was she only a few months old when they met? How old did she actually look at that point? Ocampans must reach apparent maturity really quickly, and it's possible Neelix didn't know what he'd gotten into until they were already a couple, but it's still kinda squicky to think about.
I don't think Neelix's age was ever stated, so maybe he is a shorter-lived species too, with a maximum age of thirty years? All wild guessing of course, but it would explain why his relationship with Kes developed this quickly and he quickly latched on to the voyager: short-lived species like Kes have been shown to develop personal relations far faster.
Here's my problem with the above point that Ocampans appear to be able to have sex for pleasure at any time... not to put too finer point on it, it's been shown that the mating process involves the couple to hold their hands together (no joke) and after an undermined time the child grows out of a sack on their back. In other words Ocampans shouldn't have a penis or a vagina because their reproduction simply doesn't work that way - in fact, outside of the Elogium they shouldn't even have any sexual impulses of any kind because biologically, a sexual impulse is the subconscious desire to want to reproduce - the situation would be far more similar to a dog on heat than anything we would term as sex. Going further with this concept, Kes shouldn't even have permanent breasts considering that they would only be used once in her entire life; they should, again, function like a dog. Basically, if this reproductive system was in anyway realistic, male and female Ocampa would have such spectacularly limited sexual dimorphism you would barely be able to tell them apart.
Um, the series didn't really establish very many of those claims at all. The sticky stuff grows on the Ocampa hands, but that doesn't necessarily mean they lock hands with each other: maybe those sticky palms are supposed to be stuck to the mate's body the way tree frogs sometimes do with each other when mating. No penis or vagina? We don't know that. Just because the Ocampan equivalent of a uterus is a temporary sack that grows on the woman's back (and maybe the man's back too) doesn't mean she doesn't have an entrance to it somewhere. A male from one species shown in a Star Trek movie had his testicles on his knees; maybe an Ocampan woman has her vagina in the small of her back! That would lead to some interesting and potentially dangerous social situations (hugging being an easy way to cop a feel, for instance), but it wouldn't necessarily prevent a bit of inter-species romance and sexuality.
Out-of-estrus sexual behaviors aren't unprecedented as a bonding mechanism among social mammals. Ocampans' non-reproductive sex might serve a social purpose, like it does with bonobos or many cetaceans.
Bringing up the Bonobo is a brilliant point; after all Ocampan's seem to be a very emotional and social species that would probably appreciate such contact. However it still doesn't explain how a non-Ocampan could possibly have sex with Kes. Again, trying to be as family friendly as I possibly can be, wouldn't a race who technically shouldn't have genitals (even without the application of Fridge Logic, that is exactly how their reproduction is presented to us) having sex with a race with genitals be incredibly one sided?
I would summarize everything said above as: the idea of having a sentient species that only lives about 9 years is completely stupid and impractical, and should have died before making it into any script.
Yeah, I think we can all agree that the Ocampa as a species are a huge screw-you to evolutionary biology.
Q and the Q Continuum:
Do the Q have gender?
The Next Generation episode Qpid seems to very clearly state that the Q are beyond gender; he constantly mocks the interpersonal relationships between men and women, he tells Picard that he would have appeared as a female if he had known sooner that Picard had a soft spot for the ladies and he even claims that he thought Picard was more evolved than every other human in existence for not allowing him to be swayed by love until he was brought down by a woman as Q put it. All of this would seem to claim that if the Q do have males and females they have a radically different social structure than we do. Fast forward to Q and the Grey and we get the female Q claim she was in a relationship with Q for a billion years and is possibly one of the most stereotypically condescending women we have ever seen in Star Trek - and no there is no indication that it was anything but a bog standard male female relationship nor is there any indication that she has ever been anything other than a woman. So which is it? are the Q a godlike race that have completely out evolved gender or a godlike race that is essentially exactly the same as us but with superpowers?
I hate the way Voyager watered down and debased the Q in this way and more. If one were inclined to grant some breaks here, one might suggest that it's not such much that they have gender as their self-presentation to their audience on Voyager invokes as a kind of Translation Convention, where the concept of gender gets invoked to make the dealings of omnipotent beings more comprehensible to the limited confines of human understanding.
Bad writing, combined with probable Executive Meddling, with an eye towards Hide Your Gays. For starters, the early assumption that the Q are genderless makes perfect sense. Since they do not normally procreate (Amanda Rogers being the actual first Q offspring in canon, long before Q Junior), there is no particular reason for them to need genders. They may usually appear as humans, but they are not. Even Q and his girlfriend "mating" was an act that fell far short of what most people (even the prudish Janeway) would consider "sex". It was more like a fusion of energies. Realistically speaking, any two Q could do it. Then there is Q Junior, raging heterosexual "biped". He appears as a male human teenager and seems quite obsessed with women, but not men. He wants a dance from B'Elanna, strips Seven naked (not that she wasn't already halfway there anyway) and selects a star system to flee to based on the hot women there. So not only are the writers trying to reinforce the idea of the Q having gender, but they also have sexual orientation, specifically heterosexuality. Why they would have these things, being a race of abstract beings from a higher plane of existence who only rarely procreate anyway is a clear cut case of the show trying to "normalize" them and make them conform to preferred human social standards.
One possibility - Q trapping q in human form caused q to exhibit human behavior (possibly intentionally as part of his lesson). q wasn't mentally or emotionally mature enough to separate his higher self from his form, so essentially became a hormone-riddled, undisciplined humanoid biped with an IQ in the thousands. Possibly, behing human even exacerbated the situation as q didn't have any experience regulating his behavior or dealing with emotions. Q himself has also displayed an appreciation for the opposite gender on occasion (at least in Star Trek:Borg) as well as other human behavior (like getting high during Encounter at Farpoint or liking lemonade later on).
The problem is that the episode itself invalidates that theory. q briefly gets turned into an amoeba, which was apparently disconcerting to him, but had no lasting impact on his personality. Given that we are talking omnipotence here, and the Q could force him into any form, if biology were the problem then why not just change him into some species with a better temperament? How about those peaceful, slow-moving beings that Tam Elbrun said had "glacial" minds? The forms they assume do not appear to alter the Q's basic personalities. If only it were that easy...
The only hand wave I can think of if we are willing to be generous is that the Q don't have biological sex but do have gender identity. For some reason or another they just prefer to think of themselves as male or female. I'm battling uphill against the terrible writing here but maybe if a Q spends too long interacting with a patriarchal or matriarchal society they get influenced? After all we have only seen a hand full of Q outside of the Continuum so we can't tell for certain if they all act that way and if for example one spent a long enough time living in the 1950's it would certainly gain a preference to being a male unless it doesn't feel like doing anything beyond sitting in the kitchen cooking and cleaning.
That might be reasonable if the Q gave a damn about the social mores of any civilization they decide to play with. But from what we have seen, "blending in" is not one of their preferred habits. Other than the Rogers family, they are not big on pandering to "lower life forms". Although it should be pointed out that Q has stated that perhaps he should have appeared to Picard as a woman instead. Then their Ho Yay would have been a canon romance faster than you can say "James T. Kirk"! Granted, Villain Decay is in affect here big time. But Deanna's initial sense of Q was that he was not even close to humans, which even her pronoun usage reflects.
Deanna: It it felt like something beyond what we'd consider a life form.
The 'Q' Pun Writes Itself!
Granted, as alluded to above, The Q and the Grey doesn't really stand up to much analysis, but there's an especially odd choice that has been bugging me for years: Why are the establishment Q represented as the Confederacy, and Q's forces represented by the Union? Shouldn't that be the other way around? If you're using the American Civil War as an analogy for the Q civil war, shouldn't the side fighting to preserve a peaceful union be the Union, and the side fighting for individual rights (Q and friends) be the Rebelsnote I'm intentionally ignoring the issue of slavery both for clarity and as an attempt to avoid argument that would derail the topic? Obviously, they probably wanted a conflict that American audiences would be familiar with—one that would clearly telegraph which side was right and which side was evil—so why not just go with the American Revolutionary War? It has everything you'd need in an analogy: it's a war Americans are familiar with, it a clear good guy that the audience could identify with, a ragtag army fighting oppression that doesn't carry the baggage of the Confederacy, and you even have an obvious Q pun title: The Red and the Q.
Presumably, besides the television convention of "Union good, Confederate bad," given that this is a visit to the Q Continuum, which, in "Death Wish" was said to be filtered for the perception of mortals, it puts our Q, the one the characters side with (in a loose definition of the term, but still) on the side that they'd most reasonably align with.
For a non-American (OK, British) audience the Revolutionary War wasn't a pure "Good v. Evil" clash unlike the American Civil War (and yes, the Civil War wasn't as simple as "Good Emancipators v. Evil Slavers", but that's the Clip Notes version).
The 'Q' Pun Inexplicably Fails to Write Itself
...Is there a reason why 'Death Wish' was not titled 'Qicide'? Seriously. It's obvious, it's certainly more fitting than things like 'Q Who' (I'm not even sure if that's a pun at all), and it fits perfectly with the episode. The only argument that I can think of is that 'suicide' is somehow a loaded word...but...you'd think that 'death wish' would suffer from the same thing...
Possibly they thought that any kind of pun did not suit the tone of the episode.
Possibly to hide the fact that it was going to be a Q episode.
Watching Phage again, something occurred to me. Why did the Vidiian who shot Neelix ONLY take his lungs? Sure, the Vidiian might need lungs for his friend right then, but why not take all of his organs to store away for whoever might need them? After all, if you are willing to take someone's organs out and kill them, the very least you could do is make sure their death accomplishes as much as possible.
It's possible he was interrupted. Other episodes seem to indicate that the Vidiians normally make use of all the organs of their victims. In this case the Vidiian knew the away team would come running when Neelix screamed so he only took what he needed right at that moment. Or he could have been trying to rationalize his actions. "Oh, it's only one or two organs, I'm not some barbarian!" I know that doesn't make much sense since Neelix only has two lungs and can't live without them, but once you've reached the point where you're stealing other people's organs and grafting them into yourself, logical thinking has gone out the window.
As quick as the Phage spreads, and as devastating as it is, it's probable that long-term storage of organs isn't feasible, especially since the nature of how the Phage is spread remains unknown. If it is airborne, then it's likely that organs in storage get contaminated and become unusable. If the Vidians haven't developed stasis technology, then it makes even more sense why they would only harvest what is immediately needed.
The fact that Neelix didn't immediately bleed to death from the loss suggests the Vidiian was interrupted. The only reason why his attacker would bother to re-route Neelix's blood flow to bypass the missing lungs (and no matter how alien Neelix's species might be, he couldn't use lungs if they didn't have a blood supply) would be if he expected to have time to detach other organs, one by one, keeping his victim's circulation going until the very last instant. If he just yanked the lungs and ran, Neelix's entire blood volume would've drained into his vacant pleural cavities within a few heartbeats.
I like the theory, because it somehow makes a brutal act even more horrifying, but it seems to me that there would be much simpler ways to get the same results without having to reroute the victim's circuitry system. Without the lungs, blood cells are going to die very quickly, so continuing to circulate blood throughout the body becomes useless pretty fast. I think your best, fastest course of action would be to clamp off major blood vessels, remove the organ, cauterize any larger hemorrhages, maybe pack the cavity with ice if you brought any (failing that, use one of those nifty, coffee mug-sized stasis fields like Tuvok used in Innocence), and move on. Though because organs are usually still viable for a short time after death, I don't know why you'd go to even that much trouble.
In Warlord, the Doctor creates a device to interface with the implants Tieran had put in Kes's body, in order to pull his pattern out of her body. He then transfers out of Kes's body and into an anonymous guard, who couldn't've possibly had enough time to have implants installed, and it inexplicably worked, even after the Doctor explicitly stated it worked through the implants.
Maybe I misunderstood what was going on but I was always under the impression that only one side needed the body swapping implants and we see Tieran!Kes having some installed not long before; Tieran was essentially trapped inside that guard once he swapped with him. The Doctor's device merely enabled one to delete Tieran's mind. Like all Star Trek technology it is best not to analyse it too much as the headscratchers for the Holodeck prove. Incidentally these implants are a fantastic example of how this franchise forgets galaxy changing discoveries each week and how they willing to kill off fantastic ideas for stories. True Starfleet as a whole is much too honourable to use them maliciously, but nevertheless they ignore the fact that they now have a device that could save the lives of anyone on the crew provided that they are willing to sacrifice themselves. Imagine how interesting an episode like Before and After would have been if Kes's daughter, Tom Paris and Neelix were willing to mutiny in order to save Kes from death.
In Nothing Human the alien sucking off Torres is beamed away, leaving behind a pristine uniform. Um, what? If this thing was acting as a parasite to heal itself, it has to actually touch her, right? Was it impossible to either do the transport offscreen and cut back to Torres after the wings of the surgical bed have covered her (and the blood, etc.) up, or put some cosmetic blotches of blood and gore on tears in her uniform in strategic locations?
Ignoring the episode's strange opinion on morality and the rights of holograms, the conflict itself doesn't make any sense. If they were able to make a hologram with knowledge of how to cure the disease that means that the information on how to cure the disease was already on the ship's computers. In other words the episode could only happen by everyone forgetting that they already have what they need. There was never any need to create the holographic Cardassian doctor.
I'm fairly certain it's implied(or even outright stated) that a great deal of the information they were using from the ship's computers was obtained by Krell, which would also explain why the Doctor was so adamant on using Krell's appearance and personality specifically - the best personality to give the hologram would obviously be the one most familiar with the information it would be using. The hologram being based on Krell wasn't the main issue so much as the Bajoran recognizing him gave the crew the opportunity to figure out how the information they were using was gathered.
As for why the hologram needed to be created at all, the information was in the computers, but it wasn't in the Doctor; his program simply can't hold all the medical information needed to treat every known condition for every known form of life. Granted, he probably could've tried temporarily tossing out some of the information that wasn't relevant at the time and dropped the exobiology information in its place, but it would probably make more sense to take a crack at creating a new, temporary hologram with that information then to go mucking about in the programming of their only medical officer.
My understanding was that the EMH is such an amazing achievement precisely because it can hold all the medical information known to the Federation and has the applied wisdom to use it (as opposed to simply reciting Grey's Anatomy). Crell's research was probably filed under "war crimes" instead of "medicine" which is why Voyager's computer had it but not the EMH's computer.
So the Doctor literally cannot comprehend any more medical information? He clearly can remember things that happened to him some time ago, he's capable of recognizing that things are happening in the present so what's stopping him from learning more about medicine? Even if there is some semi-plausible reason for why he can retain data about new crew members but can't keep the data about the procedure why don't they remove his nonessential data such as a particular opera? Besides that, how do they have enough information on Krell to know exactly what kind of mind to create and yet they were unaware of his crimes?
A set of contrivances allow the episode to take place (didn't "The Swarm" or some other episode state that only one hologram can run in sickbay at once?), and it ends up being a stunning example of how Voyager falls on its face when it tries to take on TNG-style "big moral questions"... in this case the morality of using medical data acquired through horribly unethical means, with Crell Moset as a stock Mengele stand-in. The roundtable discussions in TNG episodes like "Pen Pals" are transfixing compared to the limp copy "Nothing Human" presents, but one wonders why nobody simply says something to the effect of: "this data exists, and not using doesn't make it stop existing, or erase the circumstances under which it was acquired." It doesn't particularly make sense to let somebody die by not using it, which might actually be interpreted as adding to Moset's death count.
If I was to WMG an answer to the Krell problem I would say that Zimmerman never felt research conducted in a Cardassian death camp was appropriate for his Federation medical program; after all Zimmerman was bit of a dick but he wasn't cold hearted nor was he blind to the moral implications that could have stopped the ultra-politically correct Federation from publishing his proudest achievement to avoid offending the Bajorans. Perhaps also, given how Voyager was launched from season 1/2 Deep Space 9, we can reasonably assume that he started development of the EMH during a time where the Cardassians and the Federation weren't the best of friends - he may have assumed in depth Cardassian knowledge would be a waste of time or he resented including the spoon heads into his work of art. There are numerous problems with my theory but it's the best I've got.
Well, Starfleet certainly has its areas of hazy morality, but I don't think they would be too big on having data gathered that way either. Remember, Krell has published distinguished medical papers and received prestigious awards; I have a feeling that, in-universe, the whole Cardassian Death Camp thing isn't a very well-known part of his bio outside of Cardassia and a few select Bajorans. Remember, the Doctor knew about the disease that Krell cured, but he had no clue how Krell actually did it.
In Nothing Human the Doctor was going to add the necessary files to his program and when Torres found out she was pregnant the doctor talked abought adding neonatal data to his program. So in all likelihood he adds and removes specific medical information as needed. He probably cant have all the data running at once like he only has so much RAM so he zips other data until necessary
"Nothing Human" is a strange title, when you consider that none of the principle players in the episode's moral dynamics — Moset, the Doctor, B'Elanna, the Bajoran victims — are human (well, B'Elanna is half human but you take my point). Okay, sure, so "Nothing Human" is literally true but... so what?
It's a reference to how utterly alien the parasite is as opposed to the other Rubber-Forehead Aliens on the show. Granted, a more accurate title would be "Nothing Humanoid" but but there you go.
What I found most bewildering about this episode is that it actually broke the one Aesop that you would expect the Star Trek franchise to consider unbreakable - "Racism is bad." Right from the beginning, B'Elanna was unremittingly hostile toward Krell Moset, for absolutely no reason other than that he was Cardassian. The Doctor viewed this - rightly - as an unacceptable prejudice, and objected to it. So what happens? Does B'Elanna learn how wrong it is to condemn an entire race for the actions of some members of that race? A lesson that even Kira Nerys eventually came to understand? Um, no. Instead, Moset turns out to be a war criminal, and the episode becomes a debate on medical ethics. In truth, regardless of what Moset was ultimately revealed to be, it was still wrong to condemn him simply because he was Cardassian. But not only does B'Elanna never learn this, she acts like the discovery of Moset's war crimes actually vindicates her, and the rest of the episode plays it off as if she'd been right all along. What was the point of making racism an issue at all, if the episode was just going to brush it aside, or worse yet, do so by acting like the racist was in the right?
B'Elanna's statement, "I had a bad feeling about that Cardassian from the first moment I saw him," would almost come across as comical if it wasn't so sad and ugly. She had a "bad feeling" about Moset? Oh, so she's psychic now? She knew nothing about Moset when she first saw him. The only "bad feeling" she had about him was her own racial prejudice. But nobody ever calls her out on this. Granted, you don't really want to berate somebody who's critically ill, but considering the extent to which Star Trek has traditionally been "message television," you'd think that the issue would have come up in some form eventually.
Trek is notorious for Unfortunate Implications due to its standard practice of depicting Planet of Hats cultures for all species except humans. Despite occasional exceptions (usually involving regular characters), most species have a defining trait which is present in nearly all of its members. Hence, B'Elanna herself is supposedly temperamental because she's half-Klingon, not because she just happens to be an ill-tempered sort of person. Likewise, being distrustful of Cardassians or Romulans is justified in-show by the fact that in nearly all appearances they are treacherous and this is shown a cultural/species trait. This serves to further hammer home the Humans Are Special message because humans are morally-neutral and can choose to be good or evil, whereas other species have seemingly genetic predispositions one way or the other that only exceptional individuals can overcome.
Repression: Vedek Teero, an ex-Maquis fanatic back in the Alpha Quadrant uses a subliminal message to turn Tuvok into the Manchurian Vulcan and brainwash the rest of the ex-Maquis to mutiny and hijack Voyager in order to....what? What the hell does a fanatical Maquis need with a starship stranded on the other side of the galaxy? For that matter, given that the Maquis formed to liberate their colony worlds from the Cardassians, and that said Cardassians have just been on the losing end of a major war and have been stripped of their non-Cardassian subjects (and probably put under three-power occupation themselves), just what is Vedek Teero's motivation at all?
Teero brainwashed Tuvok back in the Alpha Quadrant at a time where the Maquis were still at the hight of their rebellion. Seeing as all the Maquis have are a few small fighters I imagine that converting the tactical officer of one of the Federation's most advanced and powerful starship's would have no end of benefits - even if they couldn't capture it they would still have gained vital intel from it's data banks. Also remember the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Defiant where Tom Riker captures the titular starship and proceeds to wipe the floor with the Cardassian fleet to the point they had to send an armada to stop him. Now we can debate all day whether a Defiant class is superior tactically to an Intrepid class but given just how much damage we see Voyager endure across its seven year mission I refuse to believe it wouldn't have far outclassed your standard Galor class warship.
That's all good and well, except for the facts that Voyager is still tens of thousands of light years from Cardassian space, Teero pulls this stunt 2 years after the end of the Dominion War and the Maquis are long dead back home. The plan to have Tuvok funnel information to the Maquis made perfect sense before they got stuck in the Delta Quadrant, but there's no way Teero planned to have the Maquis integrate into a Starfleet ship. My best guess is that Teero was just insane and thought even after the Cardassians lost 900 million to the Dominion that they deserved whatever extra punishment Voyager could dish out when/if it got back home.
Eventually we learn that the Brunali, Icheb's people, live right next door to a major Borg transwarp hub and are constantly coming under Borg attack. If they can't find a way to stop the Borg from attacking them, they'll go extinct. In desperation, they've developed a virus which will transfer from the Brunali to the Borg and will disrupt the Borg's ability to . . . do something or other, rendering their ships inoperable. Kind of like the impossible shape on TNG's "I Borg," except it requires the Brunali to sacrifice one of their own to introduce the virus into the Collective. Or does it? I'm pretty sure I remember that the virus had no effect on the health of a Brunali individual. So why not just inject it into everybody and warn the Borg not to fuck with them? After the Borg assimilated a few Brunali and lost a whole cube each time, they would quickly realize that it was no longer safe to do so, and would be no more inclined to assimilate the Brunali than a rapist would be to rape someone whom he knew would infect him with HIV. But unlike HIV, this virus would not affect the Brunali and they could just go about their business with nothing to fear from their nasty neighbors.
The Borg destroy what they can't assimilate. They wouldn't be much better off.
The virus wasn't something injected. Icheb was a living bioweapon, designed to manufacture the virus. All they did was trigger the process. They'd have to engineer the entire civilization with the bioweapon, and even then they would have to be assimilated anyway. There's no benefit. It was a ridiculous plan, anyway. They were clearly too stupid to realize the fact that Icheb's return was obvious proof that their idea had failed, only destroying the cube they had to sacrifice a ship to attract in the first place. The Borg would just keep coming.
I don't think they ever thought the plan would destroy the collective; they just thought that if the Borg lost enough ships in that area, then they'd eventually start avoiding it. Of course, that's also ridiculous, and it makes the same mistake the Hansens made when they studied the Borg: it assumes they're robotic scavengers running on mindless instinct. In reality, if the Borg lose too many ships in that area they'll just get even more interested in what's going on, and start coming in force to investigate it.
Vis a Vis
I am at a significant loss as to how Steth's body swapping ability works. Initially it seems quite simple; he is stealing the DNA of his victim and then replacing it with his old DNA, essentially meaning that he is cloning both him and his target and is not actually swapping bodies in a traditional sense. It's stupid and absolutely impossible but fine I can understand the concept. From here however it gets confusing; the DNA in Steth's body isn't permanent and he eventually ends up reverting back to his old self/previous form. Huh? why don't his victims revert after a set period? (the woman who turns up at the end proves the transformation is permanent without Steth's help.) What happens to any lost mass and where does the new mass come from? If it is a simple cloning technique why and how does it effect clothes on some occasions but not others? after all when he stole Tom's body he was still wearing that identical red jumpsuit and yet later on, when he stole Janeway's appearance, he/she was now wearing the female Starfleet uniform (check the high heels.) Or are we actually supposed to believe that in the five seconds Steth!Tom was strangling Janeway he stripped her?
This episode didn't really have any strong backing in science. It would fall apart if you really knew anything about DNA
I think we can agree that the biology of the virus from Macrocosm was beyond ridiculous—and I can live with that in my Sci-Fi. Something that's been bugging me (no pun intended) since the day the episode first aired: How the hell was the macrovirus flying? Was there ever any explanation of how the virus was defying gravity and propelling itself, or is Newton hovering in his grave?
Voyager’s Location Throughout the Series:
Voyager was lost in the Delta Quadrant, correct? If I remember correctly, the Gamma Quadrant - home to the Bajoran Wormhole - was right next to it. So, why in the hell couldn't they set a course for the wormhole? Again, if I recall correctly, Voyager was lost in the Badlands hunting down Maquis, after Deep Space 9 was given back to the Bajorans with Sisko in charge and the Wormhole was discovered. Honestly, they could set a course for the Alpha Quadrant and Earth, but they couldn't set a course for the Gamma Quadrant and its terminal for the wormhole?
Two reasons. First, by the time Voyager embarked, Starfleet knew that the Dominion controlled large parts of the Gamma Quadrant and didn't like them very much. Better to take the long way than to get blown up taking the short way. Second, without seeing a map, we don't know if it would actually have been faster that way. I don't think there's a canonical map of the Trek galaxy, but there are plenty of ways for a point in the Delta Quadrant to be closer to Earth than to a point in the Gamma Quadrant.
I can't imagine going through Borg space seemed like a better idea than Dominion space, especially since if I recall correctly, the war with the Dominion had not started yet.
Generally speaking, Borg space might have been better even in wartime. Borg (at least at one point) had a convenient tendency to ignore you if you mind your own business. Jem'Hadar adhere to no such policy.
Because Voyager doesn't know where Borg Space is. No one does at that point. When they first encountered Borg Space, the only reason they knew they were anywhere near it in the first place was because they found a Borg corpse shortly before that. The Delta Quadrant is a huge place. The only reason they entered Borg Space is because the writers said so (and because the fans wanted it).
Imagine an isosceles triangle superimposed on a dinner plate. Point A is about halfway along a radius - that is where the Federation, Romulan Empire and Klingon Empire meet. The Alpha Quadrant terminal of the Bajoran Wormhole is roughly a finger-width closer to the centre, and the same distance to one side. Point B is about three quarters towards the rim along a radius on the other side of the plate - this is the Gamma quadrant terminal of the Bajoran Wormhole, 70,000 LY from point A. Point C is also 70,000 LY from point A, but it is only two-thirds towards the rim along a radius - this is where Voyager ended up in the Delta quadrant. Point B is, however, 90,000 LY away.
Math stuff is hard for me, so forgive me if I don't follow. I also realized that the question could also be turned to why they couldn't set a course for the Beta Quadrant, which was also right next to the Delta Quadrant. In fact, it seems like the course to "home" meant "Earth", and not any of the nearest Federation or allied space stations in any of the other quadrants. Yes, most of the crew was human, and getting to Earth would put them smack-dab at Starfleet Headquarters, but one would think the more logical choice would be to set a course for the nearest bit of friendly territory, first.
Basically, quadrants are HUGE. Each quadrant is a quarter of the galaxy. The entirety of the original series, Next Generation, and Enterprise are spent in the Alpha quadrant (and a sliver of Beta Quadrant), and they still haven't explored the entire Alpha Quadrant. Even if the Gamma quadrant is closer (and I'm not sure it is, all the quadrants are "right next to" each other seeing as there are only four of them), it wouldn't be a big enough difference to merit all the other problems trying to find the other side of the wormhole would cause.
Also note that the border between the Alpha and Beta quadrants is a line that passes through Earth. It would have been almost exactly as accurate to say their destination was the Beta quadrant, but that would have been less clear. Likewise, in Deep Space Nine, they were constantly obsessing over defending the Alpha Quadrant from the Dominion, despite the entirety of Romulan and Klingon territory lying within the Beta Quadrant. Although, to be fair, the Dominion would have to conquer most of the Alpha Quadrant before they'd be able to get around to invading the Beta Quadrant.
Everything I've seen, and that has been suggested about where Voyager landed implies that the ship landed on the EXTREME far end of the Delta Quadrant, to the point where they would have to cross the ENTIRE thing to get to the closest point of any other Quadrant, Alpha, Beta or Gamma. Furthermore, from what was said, it seems that the Bajoran Wormhole was located on the far end of the Gamma Quadrant from Earth. In other words, the Bajoran wormhole and Voyager were on opposite ends of the galaxy, to the point where Voyager would have to travel not just through the entire Delta quadrant, but the entire Gamma Quadrant as well, just to get to the wormhole. So, they'd be traveling twice the distance as they would to get to Earth. Setting course for the Alpha Quadrant is faster.
Here's a map for you◊. For reference, Voyager got planted in the Delta quadrant by the Caretaker somewhere in or pretty damn close to Kazon space (top right). The Gamma Quadrant end of the wormhole is likewise either in or pretty damn close to Dominion space (middle of top left square. The Alpha Quadrant end of the wormhole is next to Bajor, which for the purposes of this map is just on the edge of Cardassian space (as the Cardassians had just withdrawn at the start of Deep Space Nine) and thats on the right of the bottom left square. Voyager left from Deep Space Nine in the pilot episode (of Voyager) sometime after the wormhole had been discovered so they knew it existed and likely had some stellar cartography data in their computers about where it ends up. Whichever way you look at it, it would have been faster to go catch a wormhole home.
Besides, the wormhole was only opened up recently, and the possibility of cross-quadrant conflict can't have escaped anyone's notice. Sealing the wormhole again would be a valid tactic for whichever quadrant seemed to be losing such a conflict, so even if its Gamma end was nearer than Earth, who's to say it'd still be open when Voyager finally arrived? At least (barring certain movie-plots) they could be reasonably sure the Earth wasn't going anywhere in the meantime.
It was stated in episode 6 of Deep Space 9 that the wormhole opens 90,000 light years away; Voyager was transported 75,000 light years away - they would still have to travel 15,000 light years in the wrong direction to track down a single point in the largely unexplored Gamma Quadrant. Not only that but keep in mind that the Bajoran Wormhole is also invisible to both sensors and the MK-1 Eyeball unless you are standing directly in front of it and suddenly you start to realize why Janeway decided to take the direct route home. It must also be said that given how badly this show neutered the Borg that Voyager staying the hell away from the Dominion was one of the best real world choices in Star Trek history.
I once saw a map of where Voyager was pulled into the Delta Quadrant and where the wormhole is. The wormhole is much closer than home but it's still roughly a 30 year journey to get there. I guess the crew must have reasoned the risk of the Borg was better than the certainty of the Dominion. But as the crew didn't know that they'd get help to cut decades off here and there it does seem stupid to start a journey longer than your lifetime.
According to Memory Alpha both Voyagers Launch and first contact with the Dominion both occurred at the beginning of 2371. The Federation knew the Dominion were a threat given how they effortlessly destroyed a Galaxy Class starship but honestly there is nothing that says they were a bigger threat than the Borg in a traditional sense until the Cardassians allied with them. Until then, their threat came from how they infiltrated the upper chambers of the Alpha Quadrants great powers using their shapeshifting. Realistically, acting upon a 2371 understanding of how powerful the Dominion were and given how the Borg were still in their state of not yet suffering massive Villain Decay the Collective would (or rather should) have seemed like a ridiculous option. Its a tired meme but I think we can blame Janeway's notorious split personalities for this decision. I will however, also be very generous and say that former science officer Janeway, genius Tuvok, the supposed prodigy Harry Kim and the entire compliment of science staff aboard ship completely forgot about one of the greatest stellar discoveries of all time given how its the only known stable wormhole to exist.
Stable as of 2371. The wormhole had only been a reliable travel route for a few years, and the physics that kept it that way were pretty esoteric and bizarre, even by the standards of Federation science. It's possible that the Voyager crew didn't trust it to still be there after 30 years; at least, not enough to risk a detour that would've left them more like 150 years from home, give or take, if they'd arrived at its Gamma access point only to discover it'd collapsed years ago when the Prophets threw a hissy-fit or whatever.
I'm not convinced this needs any explanation other than the simplest: it was farther. As has been pointed out on this page, it's quite mathematically possible for Voyager's original position in the DQ to be farther from the Bajoran Wormhole than from the Federation, so that's that.
Right. Picture this analogy: there are four states in the USA that meet at a single point. Consider that point as the center of the galaxy, so the states match the quadrants: Alpha=Arizona, Beta=New Mexico, Delta=Colorado, Gamma=Utah. Earth is Duncan, Arizona, on the border between Arizona and New Mexico, toward the southern end, surrounded by a small area representing the Federation and explored space. DS9 is a bit northwest of there, maybe Clifton, Arizona. Voyager ended up in northern Colorado, maybe around Fort Collins. We don't know where the other end of the wormhole is, but if it's 90,000 light-years away, it has to be in the far northwest corner of Utah. Not only might that have been further away, but heading that direction would have meant traveling on the outer edge of the galaxy, where there would be large gaps between stars and inhabited planets where they could get supplies.
This raises another problem. At some point they'd either have to cross the galactic core (basically a death sentence according to TNG) or go around it, gaining many light years.
Okay, Voyager's journey home consisted largely of a series of large leaps. First leap: Projected across Borg space by Kes as she departed. Time savings: 10 years. Second leap: Quantum Slipstream drive. Time savings: 10 years. Third leap: Stolen transwarp coil. Time savings: 15 years. So, before making the final leap back to the Alpha Quadrant, they'd saved about 35 years' travel, or a little more than half. Given this, why do they still speak of being in the Delta Quadrant? Shouldn't they be in the Beta Quadrant by then?
There's a discussion of "The Beta Quadrant Taboo" here. It's obvious that the writers didn't want to confuse the audience with too much terminology, because Viewers Are Moron. It's funny that official artwork and ancillary materials like to place the Romulans and Klingons in the Beta Quadrant (to say nothing of a chunk of the Federation), and yet dialogue refers to them as "Alpha Quadrant powers" again and again, notably within DS9's war arc.
It is probable that more than half of the distance before reaching the Alpha Quadrant was in the Delta Quadrant — Voyager would have moved roughly in the direction of the galactic core (they arrived somewhere in the 'northeast' and were going 'southwest'), and the closer you get to the intersection point (which is the galactic core), the shorter you have to cross between one Quadrant and the next.
I consider myself a fairly forgiving Trekkie; I slogged through the early seasons of both VOY and TNG, trusting that my patience would pay off. It certainly did with TNG and mostly did with VOY, but the one thing in later seasons that seriously grinds my gears (OTHER than Chakotay/Seven, that is) is the presence of the distant Talaxian settlement in "Homestead". At that point the Voyager crew was 30,000 light-years from Federation space, while Kazon Space — where, I assume, Talax is located — was 75,000 light-years from the Federation. At that point, they were closer to Earth than they were to the Talaxian homeworld, how did the titular Homestead get there? Were they fumbled with by the Caretaker? Generation ships? Then how come some of them remember Talax? All it would've taken is a bit of throwaway dialogue to establish how they got there. Any random Negative Space Wedgie would've sufficed. But they didn't, showing off once again the writers' notorious laziness.
In the Voyager episode where they are stuck around orbit of the strange planet displaced in time, after they are broken free, why didn't they just stay nearby, and wait an hour or so for the inhabitants of the planet to invent transwarp, or some other technology, and ask for it? Legends of the Skyship would obviously have continued, and the people of the planet would likely have been happy to help, or if not, they could have waited another few minutes.
For that matter, given the rate at which they were progressing... well, it was a fun episode, but Fridge Logic (if that) has me really grasping for an explanation as to why they weren't in a league of their own, breaking free of their planet's confines, and going galaxy-hopping in the space of maybe a few more days. (Best guess, nuclear war, anomaly over. But I really hope there's a cleaner reason than that.)
I don't remember if it was addressed at the end of the episode, but the fast-people synching with the normal time was fatal in most cases (at least, initially). It might also be that sending anyone out to do exploration would be near pointless, as within a few normal-time days, the fast-time planet would have made vast improvements on the travel systems and the older ships would be useless. OR, after the ships have gone out and done field testing, everyone that worked on them an understood there systems would have already died (unless they were on the ships), and the knowledge would have to be passed to people who only know the theory of the ships but weren't there for the application. Still, I would have preferred a ship from that planet showing up at the last minute and taking Voyager all the way back to Earth before they evolved into Q-like forms over the real ending of the series.
At the end of the episode the inhabitants of the planet have worked out how to synch with normal time without any ill effects.
But only for short periods.
By the time Voyager left their star system, they'd already have had decades to refine that technology though...
I always assumed they realized that if they wanted to become an interstellar empire they couldn't do it with the seat of their civilization being out of sync with the territory they'd be colonizing. So they either had to get their whole planet to sync up or figure out how to become permanently synced with no ill effect and leave their homeworld behind. In either case, they'd be nothing special anymore. The only other option would be to leave well enough alone and content themselves to live on their one planet. And if your question is "Then why not wait till they developed into superbeings and then leave the planet behind?" I'd assume there's only so much development that can be done with only one planet. Earth poured everything it had into the NX-01, and it was nothing special compared with even modest local powers like the Vulcans and Andorians. And while the temporally displaced people knew enough about antimatter to shoot down Voyager, we never even saw them test a Warp 1-capable vessel.
Their super-speed development only gets them up to interstellar travel. Space travel technology requires research and testing in space, meaning they move as slowly as everyone else (or more slowly given the reluctance any potential astronaut must feel once they know that by the time they get back everyone they know will be dead).
In "Future's End" Voyager ends up in Earth-in-the-past. Why didn't they just do the same slingshot-around-the-sun technique Kirk + company used in The Voyage Home? They could have warped back to their time and been home with a few freaky effects.
Good thought, but by the time the dust settled, Captain Braxton and company had a close eye on them. Since he refused to send them back to Earth-in-the-future, he probably wouldn't have taken kindly to them doing it on their own power, either.
But they'd already blown his dinky little ship out of the sky once, and he came back none the worse for wear. Why not just shoot him again, confident that he'll be fine in the future, then use the Light-Speed Breakaway before he got back? Or just do it the slow way; drop The Doctor on Earth with his new mobile emitter, tell him to wait 700 years then rise up the chain of command high enough that he can order Braxton to help, instead of being a useless jerk-ass.
I'd be willing to bet that if they shot his ship down more than once, Starfleet would stop screwing around and send an actual starship to put them in their place. Braxton was desperate the first time, and it was obvious no one sent him. They'd probably also catch on catch on to the Doc messing with the timeline.
Based on what we've seen, the Starfleet time-cops seem only to get involved with incidents which do not resolve on their own, else they risk altering their own past timeline and unmaking themselves. As such, they ignore most time-travel incidents we see because they are fixed or supposed to happen - the Enterprise fixed the Borg's temporal incursion in First Contact, for example. As such, when Voyager was sent back to earth, it was because of events external to the native timeline (the future) and shouldn't have happened in the first place. Even so, they did give the crew a consolation prize in the form of the holographic mobile emitter.
In Trek Lit, the usual Hand Wave in reference to the slingshot maneuver as a common way to head back from the past is that in order to use it, you would have to have used it to travel to the past to begin with, that's it's effectively a method used for a round trip journey instead of something that can be used to send them back where they belong once they're already there.
Year of Hell
What happened to the Borg during The Year of Hell? think about this: At the hight of their power the Krenim possessed a vast interstellar empire which was powered by their knowledge of temporal weaponry - the Time ship or the chroniton torpedo which is superior to the photon torpedo against probably 90% of all enemies (I.E. the ones not capable of creating decent temporal shields) so why exactly don't the Borg want a piece of that action? Borg space is close enough to Krenim space for them to send a fleet of Cubes and the Borg are smart enough to adapt to the weaponry (assuming the chroniton torpedo would even cause significant damage against a Cube's armour regardless of how ineffective it's shields are.) I'm going to make the WMG here that, if the Borg DID partially assimilate the Krenim during that timeline, the Borg would have won the First Contact battle and Voyager really was the last Federation starship OR the Borg should have completely destroyed the Krenim and Voyager would have spent a year fighting off Cubes instead of Krenim fighters. Time, as Annorax stated, is unpredictable like that.
If they knew where the Borg homeworld was, a clever sneak attack might well have been one of Annorax's first moves. Not having to deal with the Borg later might simplify his calculations. (Additional note: the Borg are unlikely to think their homeworld is especially important, meaning it may well be only lightly defended or even completely abandoned, potentially making them a really easy target for the Weapon Ship.)
The problem with that is that the Borg have doubtless had a huge impact on everything in the region. The simulations that the Krenim run before they use their weapon seems dodgy at best, and a total crap-shoot at worst. How exactly are they able to account for every single variable in their calculations? Nobody seems to know much about the Borg, but what we do know is that Collective's sphere of influence is vast, and they have assimilated thousands of species. Even for the Krenim it must be nearly impossible to guess what would happen if you erased them from history.
It's worth mentioning that in Infinite Regress we find out that the Borg did assimilate Krenim, and, if I recall correctly, a Krenim expert on temporal mechanics no less
How come there is no recall of Kes's warnings about the Krenim from Before and After? After the first use of the Krenim weapon, the temporal shock wave ought to have put Voyager in a timeline in which they steered clear of Krenim space.
The original timeline involving Voyager's interaction with the Krenim was based on the assumption that Kes wouldn't be telekinetically throwing the ship 10,000 lightyears. Odds are, they originally encountered the Krenim on a much different date (likely years later) and Janeway didn't make the connection that these were the species that used time itself as a weapon until after the timeline had gotten fracked.
Forgot Q can time travel?
This is a very minor point, but in "Death Wish", Tuvok argues that Cmdr. Riker couldn't have met the suicidal Q because Q had been imprisoned for the past 300 years, i.e. during Riker's entire life. But...doesn't he know that the Q can travel in time? In fact, hadn't Tuvok himself (along with the rest of Voyager), already traveled back in time to the Big Bang via the very same Q? Seems strange that he would try to make that argument at all.
Yeah, that seemed stupid. I assumed they included some means to time-lock him so he couldn't affect the periods he was imprisoned just to explain that Plot Hole.
The objection was based on the belief that Q (the suicidal one) couldn't have had an impact on a modern person's life due to having been confined for the last three centuries. In fact, the impact on Riker's life took place in the 1860s, when Q saved his ancestor's life in battle. Tuvok's mistake wasn't forgetting that Q can time travel, it was forgetting that Q is immortal, omnipotent, and omniscient.
We seem dangerously close to invoking Doctor Who conventions to explain away Voyager plot points.
In the plot arc where the crew ends up in 1996, why does no one seem to notice that this is an altered timeline? It's made very clear multiple times that this 1996 is due to a 29th century vessel going back to the 1960s and being found, altering the course of technological development. However, the writers indicate they "left out" the Eugenics Wars because they simply didn't want to address it, when it would have made no sense whatsoever for the Eugenics Wars to happen, given the divergence in history. Even the fans seem to totally ignore the change to the timeline. This is not the same 1996 that would normally apply to Trek's history- no Khan, no Eugenics Wars. It's something a lot of people overlook.
Wasn't the Eugenics War in 1999, and focused mostly in Asia/Middle East? And with WW 3 in the 2050s, odds are that a large number of records were lost, leading to inaccurate reconstructions of what happened in the past.
From "Space Seed": KIRK: Name, Khan, as we know him today. (Spock changes the picture) Name, Khan Noonien Singh.
SPOCK: From 1992 through 1996, absolute ruler of more than a quarter of your world. From Asia through the Middle East.
MCCOY: The last of the tyrants to be overthrown.
I suppose the idea in "Future's End" is just "ah, that's happening a world away. Easier to ignore it than to rewrite our own present." Whether its really believable that the fall of a tyrant who controlled a quarter of the world is something that just happens off camera is a matter of perspective. Of course, one wonders why they didn't just make it a bit further into our future to cover this problem; presumably UPN insisted that their big two-parter be framed around "Voyager visits present-day L.A."
Henry Starlings plan from Futures End suffers the exact same problem as Berlinghoff Rasmussen had back from A Matter Of Time namely that he is going too far ahead in time for someone who is just trying to make a little money reverse-engineering stuff. Even if he went forward about a 150 years to Captain Archers time and stole a couple of hand scanners or phase pistols he would already have doubled his money to say nothing about trying to get hold of the blueprints to something larger like a shuttlepod or a photon torpedo. Also common sense would make it pretty obvious that if he turned up in the 29th century flying a stolen government owned craft in the orbit of said government he would last maybe five minutes before he is hunted down and arrested whereas back in the 22nd century that timeship would easily still be advanced enough to avoid Earth's one or two assorted ships it has in orbit. His belief that he had completely tapped out the next 800 years of technological advancement just because of the few things he had cannibalized from the timeship really is veering into Idiot Ball territory.
Characterization vs. Writing
This one is about the writing staff: why, for the love of science, did the writers decide to write the characters differently than they characterized them. The scary thing is that the characterization is consistent (seen when other characters describe a character), but the writing is also (fairly) consistent. Didn't any of the writers actually catch this in the seven years they were writing for the show?
Neelix is the worst offender, with only the loyalty shared between characterization and writing
Characterization: competent survival specialist with intimate knowledge of the sector, great loyalty to the crew. Hardened by a life in the delta quadrant.
writing: comedy relieve bumbling cook. Doesn't know anything but makes tries to make up for it by being highly social
Characterization: naive young girl that always stands ready to give psychological advice to the characters
Writing: highly competent medical expert that always stands ready to give psychological advice to the characters
Characterization: A former mercenary with few morals that is coming to terms with having friends and a purpose. Is specialized in piloting.
Writing: Best friend with every member of the crew, friendly, outgoing and loyal. Is expert on every aspect of a starship, from maintanance, to astrophysics, to his actual job; piloting.
He wasn't best friends with everyone at first. Early on, he and Chakotay hated each other. Neelix didn't like him either. Even his best buddy Harry got annoyed at his antics from time to time. It took him a while to fully adjust to Voyager. The friendly and outgoing bits were often shown to cover his own insecurities, and much of his loyalty came from Janeway giving him a second chance.
Kathryn Janeway actually occasionally acts like her characterization.
Characterization: Got stranded in the delta quadrant through no fault of her own. Is a motherly figure to her crew and all adore her. Is a firm believer in the scientific way. Strictly follows any and all rules.
Writing: Someone who had to make a tough decision that got her crew stranded and, though unwilling to break rules before, will do anything to get them back. She is socially stiff and awkward.
Chakotay, like neelix, has opposite characterization and writing
Characterization: native american that gave up on the ways of his tribe, is a former terrorist and often disagrees with Janeway, being more militant and distrusting
Writing: native american that still follows the beliefs of his tribe, is one of janeway's most loyal followers
Not always. He could be insubordinate in extreme situations: "Scorpion," "Equinox."
Even when he disagreed with Janeway, he still did his duty as First Officer. (Being a yes-man is not a good character trait for this position.) And as for the beliefs of his tribe, he rebelled when he was young, but grew to embrace his heritage as he grew older. (Losing his father my have contributed to that.)
Characterization: a young prodigy who is quickly moving up through the ranks.
Writing: an insecure kid who is at best mediocrore at his job
The regulation didn't "impose celibacy on the entire Federation." It just placed restrictions on sex with aliens whose biological and societal differences with Federation species hadn't yet been fully worked out. (Sometimes, such differences actually matter.) Vulcans and Terrans had known each other for 200 years prior to this point in time, so relations between the two have been declared safe long ago.
The two incidents that come to mind are the episode your mentioning where he had sex with an alien that was alien enough that I really dont want to think through the implications, and his nightmare from the episode (I think Waking Moments) which was seven having sex with him despite him having been flirting with her for the entire season.
Might you be thinking of SF Debris' review of "Waking Moments"? He took some creative liberties there. The nightmare Harry had was because he was making out with Seven and when she pulled back he saw she had become a hideous (male) alien. As for scoring with the alien with different genitals than humans, maybe they've added an an X (for xenosexual) to LGBTQQA in the 24th century and it's only deviant according to our less evolved sensibilities. Besides, are we to believe that in all of their sexual escapades Kirk and Riker never scored with a "sufficiently weird alien"?
Characterization: the genius engineer who keeps the ship working even with all the damage they take. Is torn between her human and klingon ancestry
More than her mixed ancestry, she was supposed to have a painful backstory which had left her with a lot of anger and resentment toward Federation society that she would have to work through. This came up once in a while, but very intermittently.
And that gets into the whole problem that the writers almost immediately forgot that mixing the crew with the Maquis was supposed to lead to some culture shock.
Writing: the engineer that nearly always requires help from other characters to solve her problem. Is torn between her human and klingon ancestry