Voyager finds itself in conflict with Malon salvage vessels who are trying to steal their multi-spatial probe, trapped in the upper layers of a gas giant. Tom Paris suggests they build a new, enhanced shuttlecraft to get it back. But the crew become concerned about the behaviour of their Chief Engineer, who keeps engaging in high-risk activities on the holodeck.
This episode has the following tropes:
- The 47 Society: B'Elanna ran the Maquis massacre program for 47 seconds, then never played it again.
- Action Girl: Deconstructed. In one of her programs, B'Elanna takes on Cardassian soldiers twice her size, which is deliberate because she's not doing these programs to win, but to feel pain.
- A Day in the Limelight: Although this is also the episode that gives us the Delta Flyer, the real focus of this episode is on B'Elanna, and to a lesser extent, Chakotay.
- Badass Boast: Captain Janeway is no stranger to these, but this one is impressive.Janeway: Well, Mister...?Malon: Vrelk. Controller Vrelk.Janeway: Vrelk. We have a little expertise of our own; we're a very determined crew, so my suggestion is that you leave orbit, and in the future, if you come across anything that bears the insignia of the USS Voyager, head in the other direction.
- Berserk Button: Averted; everyone is surprised when B'Elanna doesn't react to events she'd normally blow her stack over, like Seven criticizing her design or Janeway pulling her off the Delta Flyer project.
- Captain Crash: The Delta Flyer is designed to avert this.Paris: Let's face it; Class-two shuttles just don't cut it in the Delta Quadrant. We've needed something bigger and better since we got here.
- Chekhov's Gun: One of the components B'Elanna uses to assemble an improvised forcefield generator is being handled by Tuvok earlier.
- Comfort Food: B'Elanna asks Neelix for banana pancakes, just like her grandmother used to make.
- Cool Ship: The Delta Flyer is designed by Tom to be the embodiment of cool.Tuvok: We are not designing a 'hot rod', Lieutenant.Paris: That is exactly what we're designing. A twenty fourth century, warp-powered, ultra-responsive hot rod.
- Cruel to Be Kind: Chakotay forces B'Elanna into one of her holo-programs to make her reveal why she's been out of sorts.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tuvok gets in a few good ones when discussing the Delta Flyer with Tom;Paris: We'll just have to fly in and grab it.Tuvok: Perhaps you weren't paying attention when the Malon freighter imploded?
- Death Seeker: B'Elanna starts engaging in higher and higher-risk activities on the holodeck with the safeties off. It's pretty clear that if Chakotay hadn't stepped in, she would have kept going until she got herself killed. B'Elanna however denies she's trying to commit suicide by proxy, she's just trying to feel something, anything at all, even if it's only physical pain.
- Fake Action Prologue: B'Elanna's attempt at orbital skydiving is interrupted by the magic words: "Computer, end program."
- Gadgeteer Genius: When a bulkhead threatens to rupture on the Delta Flyer, B'Elanna sets about MacGyvering up a forcefield out of various shuttle components.
- Heroic BSoD: It's an entire episode based around B'Elanna having one of these. It's pretty dark.
- I Know You Know I Know: Both Voyager and the Malon know about each other's efforts to build a new shuttle.
- Infinite Supplies: Enough to build a shuttle of entirely new design. At least this one is a more permanent fixture on Voyager, being too cool to abandon after every shuttle crash.
- Leave Me Alone!: Despite the presence of Parental Substitute Janeway, Fire-Forged Friend Chakotay, her beau Tom Paris, Neelix (who offered himself as The Confidant in "Day of Honor"), and the Doctor, B'Elanna never goes to any of them for help. Eventually Chakotay has to force the issue.
- Lensman Arms Race: Seven scans the Malon vessel with the Astrometrics sensors and finds they're building their own shuttle, which will be ready before the Delta Flyer.
- MacGuffin: The multi-spatial probe.
- Major Injury Underreaction: B'Elanna keeps trying to brush off potentially life-threatening injuries as "a few scrapes," a major sign that all is not well with her.
- Meaningful Look: Janeway orders Chakotay to take over the shuttle mission. B'Elanna insists on going instead. When Chakotay returns to the bridge, Janeway doesn't have to ask how or why he hasn't carried out her order; a single look is enough.
- Never My Fault: Controller Vrelk blames Voyager for the loss of the first Malon freighter, ignoring the fact that those Malon were trying to steal a probe from Voyager and ignored warnings to not fly into the gas giant.
- No OSHA Compliance: B'Elanna keeps shutting off the safety protocols on the holodeck. This nearly kills her when she simulates a flight of the Delta Flyer and gets knocked unconscious with the program still running. Fortunately Chakotay enters in time to switch the program off.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: B'Elanna distances herself from her friends and boyfriend and is startlingly quieter than normal.
- Refuse to Rescue the Disliked: The Malon shuttle gets stuck in the gas giant. Instead of offering to help, Janeway just orders Voyager to leave.
- Rocketless Reentry: The episode opens with B'Elanna doing orbital skydiving from 300 kilometers up, in a thermal suit covered in tiny tiles like a walking space shuttle (before the Proscenium Reveal showing she's actually in a holodeck simulation).
- Rule of Cool: Lampshaded by Tom Paris, who wants to add 'dynametric tail fins' to the Flyer.TUVOK: Your embellishments are purely decorative. They serve no practical purpose.
PARIS: I beg to differ. If we make this thing look mean enough, other ships are going to think twice before taking us on.
- Rushed Into Service: The Delta Flyer is still suffering from a microfracture problem when the Malon launch their ship, and Janeway sends them in pursuit.
- Salvage Pirates: Malon Controller Vrelk decides to help himself to the multi-spatial probe despite Voyager's objections.
- Schizo Tech: Tom Paris includes a manual control panel in the style of his Captain Proton holoprogram so he'll have some hands-on piloting.
- Screw Your Ultimatum!: The captain of a Malon freighter holds Voyager responsible for the destruction of another of their ships and announces that they're taking Voyager's new probe as compensation and demands that they immediately leave orbit of the gas giant in which it's currently trapped (presumably under threat of violence). Janeway, never one to take anyone's crap, reminds him that the other ship tried to steal their probe and was destroyed going into the gas giant after it, against Voyager's warnings. When he continues to press the matter, insisting that their people are salvage experts and Voyager has little chance of getting to the probe first in any event, Janeway just smirks and busts out the above-mentioned Badass Boast.
- Self-Harm: B'Elanna turns off the Safety Protocols during the various simulations, which leads to serious injuries. When asked about it by Chakotay, she states that she wants to feel something other than numbness.
- Series Continuity Error: The computer issues a verbal warning every time B'Elanna turns off the holodeck safety protocols, which we didn't hear in "Night" when Seven of Nine did the same thing. It also contradicts Star Trek: The Next Generation, which says that two senior officers are required to disengage the safeties.
- Standard Female Grab Area: B'Elanna is manhandled around the holodeck by Chakotay with little resistance. She's half-Klingon, so he has to grab her by both upper arms.
- Stepford Smiler: Despite walking around with Dull Eyes of Unhappiness, B'Elanna shows a lot more animation when lying to Captain Janeway or Chakotay that there's nothing wrong with her.
- Straight Man: Neelix tries this, and waits for the Obligatory Joke re his cooking. B'Elanna doesn't respond.
- Survivor's Guilt: Chakotay mentions this, and it may be B'Elanna is feeling it too.
- Technology Porn: Tom Paris is in all his nerdy glory here.PARIS: Behold the Delta Flyer. Ultra-aerodynamic contours, retractable nacelles, parametallic hull plating, unimatrix shielding based on Tuvok's brilliant design for the multispatial probe, and a Borg-inspired weapons system.
- There Are No Therapists: B'elanna is suffering from severe depression, almost to the point of attempted suicide. Though the rest of the crew knows something's wrong with her, it takes a near-death on the holodeck for them to start discussing it.
- Title Drop: Every time B'Elanna turns off the holodeck safeties, the computer warns her that doing so "presents extreme risk of injury."
- Too Dumb to Live: The first Malon vessel implodes while pursuing the probe into the gas giant's atmosphere.
- Trauma Conga LineTorres: When I was six, my father walked out on me. When I was nineteen, I got kicked out of Starfleet. A few years later, I got separated from the Maquis. And just when I start to feel safe, you tell me that all of our old friends have been slaughtered. The way I figure it, I've lost every family I've ever had.
- Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: The Delta Flyer is launched before they've solved the micro-fracture problem. If B'Elanna hadn't insisted on coming along, the crew would be dead.Paris: Look, we could spend weeks trying to solve this, but we've got a ticking clock. Engines are working, weapons systems are online... I say we launch now and hope for the best.Tuvok: Mr. Paris, that is perhaps the most illogical statement you've ever made.
- Worst Aid: B'Elanna treats her own injuries so no-one will know what she's up to.Janeway: Some of these injuries were life-threatening, B'Elanna.
Torres: Do I look like I'm dying?
Janeway: The Doctor says many of the wounds were treated by someone with the medical expertise of a first-year nursing student.