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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 4 E 23 One

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Voyager encounters a nebula that is too dangerous to enter for most humanoid beings. It would take a month to go directly through it, and it would take about a year to get around it. The Doctor suggests that the crew would be put into stasis chambers for the duration of the trip through the nebula while he monitors their condition and Seven of Nine (the only crew member seemingly not physically harmed by the nebula) takes care of navigating the ship through the nebula. At first, the only thing Seven has to put up with is The Doctor and Tom Paris occasionally leaving his stasis chamber to sleepwalk. But then the ship starts sending false alarms, indicating that the nebula is having an effect with the ship's bio-neural gel packs. As other problems with the ship begin to crop up, Seven starts to have hallucinations of the crew appearing in various parts of the ship, as well as an alien intruder who tries to take advantage of her being alone on the ship all by herself. The Doctor tries to help her realize that these were all illusions created by the nebula affecting her Borg implants, but as the ship is almost out of the nebula, he goes offline, and the propulsion systems don't have enough power to get Voyager through the nebula, forcing Seven to make some critical decisions while enduring the abuse of her hallucinations.

This episode provides examples of:

  • 2-D Space: It would take a year to go around the nebula and a month to go through, but based on the scan shown in Astrometrics, this would only be true if the year-long route had them fly to the far edge of nebula. Simply going up and over seems like it would at best add an additional month to their journey — two at most — without having to risk the ridiculously deadly radiation.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • The end of the episode suggests that taking life support offline would kill Seven within minutes. The entire crew save Seven are in stasis chambers with independent life support. The air supply of a ship designed for a crew of about 150 is thus exclusively available to a single person. It would take days if not weeks for Seven by herself to use up all of the available oxygen already within the ship's living spaces, and likewise it would take a decent amount of time for the temperature on the ship to drop to a point that it would become life threatening, especially since Seven would have ample access to heating elements. For comparison, Apollo XIII was able to remain livable for days despite almost complete systems failure, and that was three men in a cramped space. The cargo bay alone makes the module's habitable area look like a walk-in closet by comparison, and Seven could just open every door on the ship to expand that.
    • Additionally, there's no friction in space. If Voyager was at the edge of the nebula there would have been no need for Seven to take extreme measures to keep propulsion online. As long as the ship had enough head of steam, it could literally have coasted through the last few thousand kilometers. The nebula would either have to be dense enough to cause significant friction or exerting some other force that would require continued thrust to overcome.
      • Although given the width of the nebula they were presumably traveling at warp speed so shutting down propulsion would have collapsed the warp field and required them to drift out of the nebula at sub-light speeds which would have taken a lot longer.
  • Big "NO!": Seven of Nine when the Doctor goes offline at a critical moment during their journey through the nebula.
  • Book Ends: Seven practicing her social skills. She does much better at the end.
  • Butt-Monkey: A subtle example, but the first one to feel ill from the radiation is Harry "Chew Toy" Kim. Fortunately, his main character Plot Armor saves him from the same fate as one Red Shirt.
  • Call-Back: The nebula is Mutara-class, but it affects more than just Deflector Shields and sensors.
  • Claustrophobia: Tom Paris doesn't like sleeping in what seems to be like coffins to him. He ends up breaking out of his stasis chamber multiple times.
  • Cold Equation: Near the end of the trip, the ship's systems start breaking down, and there isn't enough energy to keep the engines running. Seven of Nine has to choose which systems to divert power from, and hallucinations of the crew mock her for thinking that she could take a few of the stasis pods offline to get the engines running, calling it heartless Borg efficiency. She does so, then takes life support offline to keep the stasis pods running. Luckily for everyone, the ship exits the nebula in time to for the crew to awaken and save her.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: As the gel packs degrade, the computer's voice undergoes a wide variety of pitch warps and static overlays.
    The Doctor: Sounds like the computer could use a stimulant.
  • Foreshadowing: Before traversing the nebula, Janeway raises the possibility of the Doctor's program going offline. Sure enough...
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: The entire purpose of the episode is to show how Seven of Nine handles herself as the only crew member who wasn't affected by the Nebula, and the burden of getting Voyager through. Her separation anxiety from the Borg only makes things worse as she's now separated from the rest of the crew.
  • Hallucinations: Very real ones at that. So real that Seven of Nine fires a phaser at one.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Seven of Nine channels the remaining power from life support to get the ship through the nebula. She thinks that she is going to perish, but she later awakens in Sickbay with the crew safely awakened.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    Doctor: Home, sweet Sickbay.
  • Idiot Ball: In the teaser, Janeway orders Voyager to enter an unknown nebula without a comprehensive scan for harmful effects like radiation beforehand. Ensign Kim detects radiation as they enter but the ship is already being irradiated, causing the bridge crew and many crew members to start becoming incapacitated. Lt. Cmdr. Tuvok has to limp to the navigation console to save the day from the potentially fatal error.
  • Imaginary Enemy: Seven's mind unwittingly creates an imaginary explorer who antagonizes her for most of the second half of the episode, which is later joined by mutilated crew members and Borg hallucinations. She's deluded to the point that they can be handed objects and open doors.
  • Infinite Supplies: No explanation is given for how they're able to produce enough stasis pods to hold every member of the crew.
    • Although it's not mentioned, one possible explanation is that they ended up recycling the crew's furniture, uniforms and equipment to make the necessary stasis pods, since those items wouldn't be needed during the trip. Although such a feat wouldn't consume any extra matter (since it was all likely replicated originally), the task would probably end up consuming a fair amount of energy in the process — and then doubly so after they exited the nebula. But, considering their only other alternative would be an extra year added onto their voyage, this course of action was probably the 'better' of the two outcomes.
  • No Social Skills: As shown in Seven's holodeck training in this field. At the beginning of the episode, Seven asks B'Elanna and Harry personal questions, but doesn't give them time to answer the questions when she immediately fires off the next question relating to completely different topics. Later on, Seven attends a holodeck party, but can't put aside her work to become friendly with the other crew members when she calls Janeway and Neelix over to help her out with a problem.
  • One-Episode Fear: Tom Paris has claustrophobia because closed spaces remind him of coffins, leading him to get out of his stasis pod. Apparently, he's always been like this and still is, but it has never before or since shown up due to being irrelevant.
  • Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: There's an air of sexual menace in Trajis' interactions with Seven. While this is played for the usual Alone with the Psycho tension at the time, The Reveal that Trajis only exists in Seven's head implies this trope.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: The radiation doesn't do wonders for the ship, either, which coupled with the staffing shortage leads to Seven having to make some difficult choices.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The Doctor reveals that Seven has only been annoying holograms of Harry and B'Elanna.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Seven gets a collective one from a hallucination of the crew.
  • Red Shirt: One unfortunate crew member on the bridge dies from the radiation.
  • Ridiculously Difficult Route: Janeway would rather take the short hazardous route than the long safe one by going around, a difference of 11 months that she simply won't tolerate in light of all the other crap they've survived.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Once again, the writers assume that life-support failure means instant suffocation, even though Voyager has more than enough air for Seven to breathe for a long time before the air becomes toxic.
  • Sleeper Starship: What Voyager became during the journey through the nebula, with only Seven of Nine and the Doctor monitoring their conditions.
  • Sleepwalking: Tom Paris is revealed to be a sleepwalker during his suspended sleep.
  • Space Friction: Seven has to keep diverting power to the engines to get Voyager through the nebula.
  • That's an Order!: The Doctor has to order Seven to the holodeck for another round of social training.
  • Worst Aid: If anything else had gone wrong, Seven's Heroic Sacrifice might have condemned the entire ship. There's a reason the priority of an emergency responder is to protect their own life first, then the casualty.
  • You Are in Command Now: Janeway puts the Doctor in command. Seven doesn't seem thrilled at following a hologram's orders.