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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 5 E 9 Thirty Days

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"Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris, I hereby reduce you to the rank of ensign. And I sentence you to thirty days solitary confinement."

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/voy_thirtydays_048.jpg
You know, if he watched eight episodes a day, Tom could finish all of Friends while he's in there.
Tom Paris is demoted to Ensign and confined to the brig for thirty days. While there he dictates a letter to his father about how this came about. It started when Voyager came across a celestial body that is essentially an ocean held in a planetary shape by a containment field. After making contact with the world's people, the Moneans, the crew learns that the world is losing its water and that the Moneans themselves are causing it with their oxygen-mining operations, and that if they don't cut back or cease, they could lose their world altogether. Paris wants to help the Moneans stabilize their world, but their ruling council and Captain Janeway prevent him from doing so, with the latter stating the Prime Directive. Paris decides to go against the captain's orders and steals the Delta Flyer, taking one of the Moneans with him to destroy one of the oxygen-mining refineries so that they could have time to rebuild it better. Captain Janeway finds out what Tom Paris is doing and stops him from achieving that purpose, which leads to his demotion and thirty days of incarceration.

This episode has the following tropes:

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  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Janeway tells Tom that having given the Moneans what they needed to fix their problem, it's up to them now. Starfleet can't impose its solutions by force.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: 'Immersion shielding' is used to turn the Delta Flyer into a deep-sea submersible.
  • Artistic License – Physics: At 580 kilometers depth, pressures would be so overwhelming that if the cabin were to be breached by a water leak, it would have already been crushed like a tin can.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Tom Paris gets to indulge his passion for the ocean, denied when his Fantasy-Forbidding Father insisted he join Starfleet instead of the Federation Naval Patrol.
    PARIS: Ah, boatswain. Ready to shove off?
    SEVEN: What are you talking about, Lieutenant?
    PARIS: Call me Skipper.
    KIM: Sailor talk. You'll get used to it.
    SEVEN: I think not.
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  • Attack Hello: The first thing the Moneans do is fire upon Voyager, which doesn't work and makes Voyager knock out their weapon systems easily, causing them to try communication instead.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Captain Proton is introduced flying through outer space with his Jet Pack, protected only by a leather jacket and flying goggles.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Captain Janeway drops the Team Mom act the moment Tom disobeys orders. She makes it clear that she would have destroyed his shuttle if required.
  • Cabin Fever: Tom is going stir-crazy locked up in the brig.
  • Comm Links: Proton has a wrist radio.
  • Continuity Nod: Megans mentions working on some star charts for Seven of Nine, a reference to the twins working in Stellar Cartography.
  • Could Say It, But...
    PARIS: I'm not supposed to get involved in the internal affairs of alien worlds. Unless, of course, someone makes a direct request...
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  • Delivery Not Desired: Averted; Tom appears to be dictating the letter purely to come to terms with his actions, but at the end of the episode he saves the letter and orders the computer to transmit it to his father should they ever get home.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Tom is restricted to a leola root stew diet. The horror...
  • Description Cut: Tom says that it all began with something his Fantasy-Forbidding Father would consider a complete waste of time. Cut to Tom as Captain Proton!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Janeway sentences Tom to thirty days of solitary confinement with only basic nutrition and almost nothing to do, something that many cultures would consider a form of torture. What's make this more confusing is that Torres and Tuvok have also gone against Janeway's orders and the Prime Directive, and almost destroyed the ship in the process, but were only given a verbal warning. Or worse, there was the time Crewman Suder murdered a man for just for looking at him and Janeway had him put under house arrest in his quarters and allowed him a variety of activities to spend his time on, though Suder might well have been confined to quarters for life if the Kazon hadn't intervened.
  • Distressed Dude: Proton's trusty Side Kick Buster has been captured by the Twin Mistresses of Evil!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mining operations are destroying an ecosystem. Efforts to introduce recycling are hampered by pride and politics.
  • Downer Ending: Unless the Moneans make radical changes to their technology in the next few months, their planet and entire way of life is doomed within the next five years. To say nothing of Tom, who gets the harsher end of Janeway's discipline.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted; with Voyager's crew now firmly under her control, Captain Janeway can afford to be a bit more harsh on a crewmember who steals a shuttle and takes off on a private mission. Unfortunately Status Quo Is God, so Tom eventually gets his rank back to ensure he's on an equal footing with B'Elanna.
  • Femme Fatale / Trickster Twins: Demonica and Malicia, the Twin Mistresses of Evil, are the Delaney sisters' attempt at this. Harry can't help enthusing, "Great, you're doing great!" while the Delaney sisters are caressing his chest and purring how they're going to turn him into their groveling slave.
  • Framing Device: Tom narrating a letter to Admiral Paris, from his cell.
  • The Ghost: The oft-mentioned but never seen Delaney Sisters finally make a cameo.
  • How We Got Here: The episode starts on Tom being stripped of his rank, then shows via flashbacks why.
  • In Medias Res: A non-action variety: the episode starts us off with the hook, as demotions are rare in the franchise. About five minutes in is where the story chronologically begins.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: The episode opens on Janeway removing one of Tom's pips, demoting him to Ensign. The commbadge he removes himself, as he enters the brig.
  • Ironic Echo
    KIM: What are you going to do — delete the letter? That would be pointless.
    PARIS: At least I'm consistent.
  • List of Transgressions:
    Janeway: Lieutenant Thomas Eugene Paris, you are guilty of insubordination, unauthorized use of a spacecraft, reckless endangerment, and conduct unbecoming an officer.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Lampshaded by Tom re Harry, who's attracted to Ice Queen Megan while rejecting the advances of the equally-attractive (literally) Jenny.
    PARIS: Well, you've done it again, Harry. Fallen for the unattainable woman. First it was a hologram, then a Borg, and now the wrong twin.
    KIM: At least I'm consistent.
  • Lost Technology: The Delta Flyer discovers a 100,000 year old machine in the centre of the planet, that was used by Precursors to transfer the entire ocean of a planet into space for unknown reasons.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Averted; after the ship is attacked by unknown hostile aliens, the Doctor enjoys informing Paris that he's not indispensable at the helm.
  • Meaningful Look:
    • Chakotay gives a WTF? look when Captain Janeway offers to give a tour of Voyager to the aliens who've just fired on them. Fortunately they're not a Villain of the Week.
    • Tom and B'Elanna share a look after she points out that Captain Proton might not be able to save the day, but what about Tom Paris?
  • Military Mashup Machine: Three Monean vessels fly out of the ocean to attack Voyager in orbit.
    PARIS: Are those starships or submarines?
  • Military Maverick: Harshly deconstructed. Janeway nearly kills Tom to stop his one-man crusade, and demotes and imprisons him when he's recovered.
  • Mind Probe: The Brain Probe, though it's more of a Mind-Control Device given the description.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Tom gets what Naomi Wildman would call a "boo-boo", but begs the Doctor to take him to Sickbay for a full medical examination. This is mostly because of his growing case of Cabin Fever.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Captain Janeway provides the technology enabling the Moneans to solve their problem, but whether they're going to use it is something else.
    BURKUS: I'm supposed to go back and explain this to forty-seven regional sovereigns? They'll pass their first unanimous resolution, calling for my head!
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Even after Voyager gathers conclusive evidence that the oxygen refineries are going to destroy the ocean, Butkus says that the results are going to be sent to sub-committees for review, all but guaranteeing that any action to be taken will be too late.
  • One, Two, Skip a Few: Tom starts doing push-ups in his cell. He's only got to three when Neelix enters, whereupon he immediately jumps to 98...99...100.
  • The Only One: Deconstructed; Tom thinks he's the only one capable of Saving the World. Janeway makes it clear that he is not the Designated Hero of this series.
  • Parental Substitute: Tom dreams of himself as a boy, being scolded by both his father and Captain Janeway.
  • Permission to Speak Freely: Janeway tells off Tom for his outspokenness, so he makes a point of asking her permission before defending his actions to her later.
  • Polar Opposite Twins/Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tom is bemused that Harry cares which Delaney sister takes a fancy to him.
    KIM: They're nothing alike! Jenny's aggressive, and sometimes annoying, but Megan — she's quiet, artistic, and she's got that cute little dimple in her right cheek.
  • Proscenium Reveal: Our first sign that Demonica and Malicia aren't holodeck characters is when Megan says, "Sorry, Harry!" after missing her cue.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Justified; Captain Janeway might violate the Prime Directive on occasion, but that's her prerogative as The Captain, not Tom's.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Averted; the machine at the core of the planet has been there for millennia, but oxygen-mining is increasing the density of the water, forcing it to divert power to prevent it from being crushed. This means the ocean will eventually dissipate into space.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Tom Paris saving the day in the Black and White Morality world of Captain Proton, versus the complications of planetary politics that Starfleet has to deal with.
  • Rule of Three: Tom tries three times before getting the introduction to his letter right.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Tom Paris screws the Prime Directive to try to save an ocean planet that was slowly being destroyed by an oxygen-mining operation. He gets a demotion and thirty days in the brig for his effort. And he didn't even save the planet.
  • Sea Monster: A giant electric eel with teeth attacks the Delta Flyer.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Tuvok hits the missile fired from the Delta Flyer with a photon torpedo fired from orbit.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show Within a Show: Yet another exciting chapter of...The Adventures of Captain Proton.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Voyager comes across an ocean world with no landmass whatsoever.note  In its center is a machine created by Precursors, that stops the water from dissipating out into space.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Demonica and Malicia pout in unison.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Demonica is introduced reclining at the control console of Proton's rocketship.
  • Space Clothes: The Twin Mistresses of Evil both wear flowing metallic robes and high-heeled boots.
  • Sub Story: More literal than usual for Star Trek, as they convert the Delta Flyer into a makeshift submarine. This also gives Tom a chance to use sailor lingo.
  • Team Mom: Captain Janeway indulges Tom's passion for the ocean planet by putting him in charge of the mission to explore its depths. This makes his betrayal all the more difficult for her.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Tom anticipates his father's reaction to him starting the letter by saying he's been demoted and put in the brig. "Wait! Just listen; don't turn this off..."
  • That's an Order!: B'Elanna gets her revenge for Tom pulling rank in "Displaced".
    Torres: Rumor has it you're free for dinner.
    Paris: Gee, I don't know. Are you sure you want to be seen associating with an ex-con?
    Torres: My quarters, 0700. That's an order...Ensign.
    • Captain Janeway gives a direct order to Tom to turn back before firing on him.
  • Title Drop: In the very first sentence of the episode, Janeway reduces Tom Paris' rank and sentences him to thirty days of solitary.
  • Toasted Buns: Captain Proton flies through space with a huge sparkler scorching his trousers.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Harry Kim greatly enjoys being chained up by the Delaney Sisters and threatened with mental enslavement via their evil Brain Probe, so much so that he insists Captain Proton not be hasty in his rescue.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Both Tom and Tuvok complete a single countdown before firing their respective torpedos, Tom to disable the refinery and Tuvok to disable the Delta Flyer.
  • Underwater City: The entire Monean civilization lives underwater.
  • Voiceover Letter: Tom is dictating the letter to his PADD, producing the same effect.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Tom and Riga try to destroy the oxygen refinery so the Monean bureaucracy will be forced to make changes. Janeway stops them with a well-placed photon torpedo.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Tom still feels the need to connect to his estranged father.
    "I honestly don't know if I'll ever understand you, or what went wrong between us, but I hope this letter helps you understand me a little better. Computer, file letter in my personal database, and transmit when we're within range of Earth."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Tom. Janeway isn't impressed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The ocean planet was created by draining all the water from an M-class planet like Earth. So where is that planet?
  • With All Due Respect: Done without respect, as per usual.
    BURKUS: With all due respect, who are you to tell us what to do with our ocean?
    PARIS: With all due respect, it's not your ocean.
  • The Woman Wearing The Captain's Mask: After Tom is hauled off to the brig by Security, Captain Janeway visibly struggles to maintain her composure.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Tom gets a lot of visitors for a guy sentenced to solitary confinement. He even has a guard stationed just outside his cell. Especially weird since the real-world purpose of causing a person to go mad from the isolation is openly and smugly referenced by the Doctor.

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