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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 1 E 15 Learning Curve

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You call this a PADD, maggot?! It's barely a Game Boy!
Get the cheese to Sickbay.
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Lt. Tuvok is tasked with the job of putting some former Maquis crew members through rigorous Starfleet training while Voyager is dealing with the problem of random ship malfunctions.


This episode provides examples of

  • A Day in the Limelight: For Tuvok.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • This episode is more or less the last episode that plays up any significant hostility between Starfleet and the Maquis, for better or for worse.note  From here, it becomes such a non-issue, that said non-issue becomes a plot point in a season 3 episode.
    • Janeway's Gothic holonovel would appear one more time (in "Persistence of Vision"), then get dropped without resolution.
  • Alien Lunch: Varmeliate fibre, whole green putillos and schplict.
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: The Maquis crewman all work together to rescue Tuvok and Gerron. Dalby says that if Tuvok is willing to ignore regulations to save Gerron, then they can follow them.
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  • Artificial Gravity: Increased by 10% while the trainees do laps on the deck and crawl through the Jeffries tubes.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: We see more of just how well-built Voyager is. The bio-neural gel packs, which can't be replicated or grown, get sick from a bacterial infection. In addition, the manual overrides don't open the doors if they don't have power, which is the entire purpose of a manual override.
  • Artistic License – Military: The futuristic "scrubbing the deck with a toothbrush" scene makes no sense in what is a crash-course in Starfleet operations and protocol, not Starfleet Academy where the instructors can spend years breaking down and reconstructing recruits.
  • Ass Kicking Equals Authority/Talk to the Fist: Chakotay demonstrates the Maquis Way.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Evasive Sequence Beta Nine Three.
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: So what were you saying about doing things the "Maquis way", Dalby?
  • Blunt "Yes":
    Dalby: We didn't ask to come aboard this ship, but we understand the situation we're in, and we've done the best job we can, and now you're telling us that's not good enough.
    Tuvok: That is correct.
  • Boot Camp Episode: For some lingering Maquis members that still hold a grudge against Starfleet.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Henry Burleigh, Viscount Timmons from Janeway's holoprogram. He's unbelievably full of himself, despite being no older than eight, and even talks down to Janeway.
  • Call-Back:
    • Gerron takes off his Bajoran earring because it's against Starfleet regulations, as we saw in the TNG episode "Ensign Ro".
    • The trainees are given an unwinnable training scenario, as in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Neelix gives Tuvok the old-as-Aesop speech on flexibility vs. rigidity. Tuvok agrees with him that the trainees are too set in their Maquis ways, until Neelix awkwardly points out that no, Tuvok is the one with the stick up his rear.
  • Conflict Ball:
  • Deadpan Snarker: B'Elanna brings a bio-neural gel pack to Sick Bay and calls it the Doctor and Kes' "new patient". The Doctor can't help himself.
    Doctor: The patient is sick.
    B'Elanna: Can you be more specific?
    Doctor: To discuss the patient's condition in front of the patient would be a serious breach of professional etiquette. [B'Elanna gives Kes a "really?" look] It's been suggested that I cultivate a greater sensitivity to my patients' needs. [to gel pack] Don't worry, my little friend!
  • Denser and Wackier: TNG ends its first season with the return of the Romulans, DS9 with a festering sectarian war, and Voyager... well Voyager ends its first run with some moldy old cheese sabotaging the ship. Oh the humanity.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The Doctor eventually gets the idea to deal with the infection like a human body would: roast it with a fever. After dialing up the heat on the ship to cleanse the gel-packs, he proudly announces success. Then the camera pans over to a Death Glaring Kes, who is dripping with sweat while the holo-Doc is no worse for wear.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Lt. Tuvok turns into this, including expecting one of trainees to degauss the transporter pads with a hand-held device (the 24th century version of scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush). However, The real Drill Sergeant Nasty in the episode is actually Chakotay. The crewmen that Tuvok is training opt to leave mid-drill as Tuvok's logical Vulcan approach does little to enforce compliance. When Dalby (the ringleader) says to Chakotay that "There's the Starfleet way, and there's the Maquis way," Chakotay sucker punches him.
    Chakotay: That's the Maquis way too, isn't it? And if you want to keep doing it the Maquis way, that's fine with me. We can do that tomorrow, the next day, and every day until you report to Lieutenant Tuvok. You understand me? [smacks Dalby in the face] How does a Starfleet officer answer a question?
  • Dull Surprise: As SF Debris noted:
    Down in the cargo bay Dalby comments that it might be the inertial dampeners failing. He doesn't sound very worried given the severity of the problem. Inertial dampeners are what prevent the immense forces of a ship acceleration or deceleration from being applied to the occupants. Well you know what this is like when you slam on the brakes or take a tight turn in a car that's going at a few dozen miles an hour, so imagine if you are traveling at the kinds of speeds a warp capable ship is. Inertial dampeners failing should be said in roughly the same tone of voice as 'MY ARM IS STUCK IN A WOOD CHIPPER!'
  • Eureka Moment: "Get the cheese to Sickbay."
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Beatrice, when she meets Janeway/Mrs. Davenport.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: Plasma gas.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: An explosion in the Cargo Bay where the trainees are causes the requisite conflict-resolving crisis.
  • The Gadfly:
    • Tuvok says Chakotay is a more logical choice to teach the Maquis, but Janeway wants them getting used to Starfleet authority figures. Chakotay smirks and says he'll tell them to take it easy on Tuvok.
    • B'Elanna takes a gel pack to Sickbay for a diagnosis. The Doctor trolls B'Elanna by saying he can't discuss the patient's condition for privacy reasons.
    • When Chell is stuck spending a full day degaussing the transporter room, Harry "helpfully" points out that he missed a spot.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Henry says "In ullam rem ne properemus" which translates to "Let's not rush into anything" in Latin.
  • Handshake Refusal: Bratty Half-Pint that he is, Lord Henry Burleigh refuses to shake Janeway's hand, and bows instead.
  • Inertial Dampening:
    Dalby: I think the inertial dampeners are malfunctioning.
    Henley: Along with a lot of other things.
  • Infinite Supplies: Once again AvertedVoyager has only 47 replacement neural-gel packs, and no way to get more. Unlike photon torpedoes, at least they never exceed this limit.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Tuvok somehow interprets "show the Maquis why Starfleet does things the way they do" to mean "subject the Maquis to pointless arduous tasks without offering any explanation why". Chakotay, on the other hand, interprets it to mean "punch one of them in the face and then blackmail them until they give in to our demands".
    • B'Elanna then concludes that the only possible reason why Dalby could be annoyed by Tuvok's aforementioned concept is because he's afraid of failing Tuvok's training.
  • It's All My Fault: Neelix feels terrible about causing such a shipwide problem, though B'Elanna tries to reassure him.
  • Kick the Dog: As noted above under Call-Back, Tuvok's uniform enforcement involves stripping a crew-member of a valued religious symbol, in the supposedly tolerant Federation. If there's a safety reason for this (like getting his earring caught in something) Tuvok never bothers to explain.
  • Lethal Chef: Neelix accidentally causes the ship malfunctions by fermenting a cheese from milk with bacteria that affects the gel packs.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Several Maquis who aren't fitting into Voyager's crew well are selected for special training.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Lampshaded.
    Chell: Mister Tuvok estimated 26.3 hours.
    Kim: Sounds like a Tuvok estimate.
  • Motor Mouth: Crewman Chell is so much this trope that it puts him in with the other Maquis being disciplined.
    Tuvok: Your report indicates that you are talkative, disruptive and unreliable. You promise to do tasks which then go undone.
    Chell: That is a complete exaggeration. Just yesterday I overhauled a servicing system—
    Tuvok: Crewman! From this point on you will speak only if you are spoken to.
    Tuvok: Forty laps around the cargo bay. Start running now.
    Chell: But-
    Tuvok: Fifty laps.
  • Organic Technology: To find out what's wrong with the gel packs, B'Elanna takes one to Sickbay for a diagnosis.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Tuvok rescuing Gerron.
  • Rape as Backstory: A vicarious version—Dalby tells Tuvok how his girlfriend was brutally raped and murdered by three Cardassians.
  • Right Behind Me: Janeway is practicing what to say to the children when they do a Walk-In Chime-In.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Day 1 of the Starfleet crash-course ends with the four Maquis walking out on Tuvok. Chakotay makes sure they regret it.
  • Season Finale: But not intended as one, so instead of a Big Badass Battle Sequence we get a crisis involving... cheese?
  • Shrinking Violet: Gerron. He keeps his eyes downcast and speaks very softly.
  • Show Within a Show: Janeway's Ghost Story holonovel.
  • Talk to the Fist: Well, that is the Maquis way.
  • Techno Babble: What's used to increase the temperature instead of merely adjusting the environmental controls.
  • Toothbrush Floor Scrubbing: Future tech variant: Tuvok orders Crewman Chell to degauss a transporter pad with a micro-resonator. Tuvok intends that Chell will learn patience from the twenty-six-hour task; Torres says it would be done in five minutes with a magneton scanner.
  • Training from Hell: It involves jogging ten kilometers and climbing through 50 Jefferies tubes.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: One of the tests for the four Maquis involves a Kobayashi Maru-type test using a holo-replica of Voyager's bridge. Subverted in that there actually is a simple solution; this variant is supposed to test if you Know When to Fold 'Em instead of dying pointlessly.
  • You Talk Too Much: Tuvok says that Chell's report describes him as being "talkative" and makes him run laps when he won't shut up.
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