|DELTA BLUES @ Reviewboy.com - Jim Reviews...|
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BLACK SUNDAY meets DAYS OF THUNDER meets HONEYMOON IN VEGAS. You gotta love it when Sybil does High Concept.
Jump straight to the Analysis
[Note: This breakdown was co-written with Mary Wiecek. Mary's review is found on her own website; you'll find a link to it in the Analysis section. My thanks to Mary for all ehr help!]
In a small, cluttered room, we hear a man's voice chant as he unfurls a blueprint of a familiar vessel. "The prophet's sing, this is a holy time – B'tanay, the time of awakening." The voice is rich, deep--with just a hint of gravel and channeled rage.
The camera pans back to reveal his face, and a dangling earring. He is a Bajoran, dressed in Vedek's robes. He sits down at a small computer. Behind him now, we can see other sketches and diagrams of the vessel...
Oh, crap. It's Voyager. Figures.
Vedek Belial continues to speak as he taps his control board. "Return to that dark place from which all life springs. A primal energy charges your blood – an energy of rebirth. The mind awakens and focuses on its task."
He chants with zealous and creepy intensity. "Pagh'tem'far, B'tanay. Pagh'tem'far, B'tanay." It's got a beat, and you can be entranced to it.
Now we see his computer screen. He is pulling up images as his eyes close fervently. Chakotay, Torres, and a character who soon disappears to be replaced by Tuvok – all in full Maquis regalia.
Let's see. Bajoran. Maquis. Voyager.
In honor of the reissue of Planet of the Apes, let's see what the talking gorilla thinks. Take it away, Koko.
Point ear man sad. Wrinkle nose man bad. Koko smell cheese.
My thoughts exactly, Koko.
* * *
It's a beautiful day in the Delta Quadrant. Birds are singing, warp cores are purring, and B'Elanna is in a good mood.
In short--death is just around the corner.
Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres are strolling through Voyager's corridors looking relaxed and happy. Marriage seems to be agreeing with them. (two whole weeks--and they said it wouldn't last...) B'Elanna is holding a colorful bouquet.
"Fresh flowers?" she says with a tease in her tone. "An afternoon on the Holodeck? It almost feels like we're dating again."
"The secret to a lasting marriage," Tom explains. "Keep the romance alive."
"I'm not complaining," B'Elanna says, grinning.
Hey, anything to pull Armchair Proton away from the television.
Inside the Holodeck, they approach rows of seats. Paris is holding a tray of popcorn and beverages. We get a good look at their off-duty attire. B'Elanna is wearing the quintessential little black dress, sleeveless and short. Tom is wearing a deep blue tunic. Someone probably told him that it brings out the blue in his gray-blue eyes. Dang if they aren't right about that, too.
The setting is unfamiliar to the chief engineer. "Lecture hall?" asks B'Elanna, mystified.
Tom smirks. "Guess again."
She does. "Opera house?" Her eyes widen in sudden panic. "Not another one of the Doctor's performances...!!!"
Tom eases her mind. "This is a movie house." He waves his hands, spilling a few popped kernels to the carpeted floor. "This is the Old Palace Theatre in Chicago, built in 1932." He looks around fondly at the art deco interior. "Look at the detail on that crown molding!"
"It doesn't look very functional," B'Elanna notes. (You can dress an engineer up, but you really can't take them anywhere.)
"Well," Tom chirps, "this place isn't about function, it's about fantasy." He leads her to the best seat in the house. Not difficult, since they pretty much have the place to themselves. There is a holographic audience, but it's not TOO crowded.
Before they reach their seats, though, B'Elanna feels a squish. She stops, sighs, and scowls down at her shoe.
Bazooka Joe, you sneaky punk!
"Chewing gum," Paris says, shrugging casually, doing his best not to show his glee. He always was a stickler for the sticky details. It's what separates the run-of-the-mill holoprograms from True Art.
B'Elanna scowls. "There is such a thing as too much authenticity," she huffs, but she's more bemused than angry. They sit down.
"Attention to detail," Paris says, settling in beside her. "That makes it fun." He hands her a pair of cardboard 3D glasses.
"Protective lenses?" B'Elanna asks, curious.
"These will make the images on the screen appear three-dimensional."
B'Elanna blinks. It takes a moment to process. Bypassing her engineer's logic circuits to comprehend the mind of her flyboy hubby takes time.
"Let me get this straight," she says at last. "You've gone to all this trouble to program a three-dimensional environment that projects a two-dimensional image, and now you're asking me to wear these to make it look three-dimensional again?" She waves the glasses for effect, bending them where they weren't meant to. (You just gotta love cardboard eyewear.)
"Great, isn't it?" Tom says, offering her some popcorn.
Behind them, red and blue beams emerge from the projection booth, and the movie begins.
Hey, cool, it's Revenge of the Creature! Black and white, three dimensional, and nicely cost-effective. Let's hear it for copyright expiration.
Tom and B'Elanna don their glasses as melodramatic music heralds the arrival of the creature from the depths of the black lagoon.
Tom takes his time before making his move--a good ten or fifteen seconds after the lights go down. Then, we see the master at work--he coughs, yawns, stretches, and casually drapes his arm around B'Elanna's shoulder.
B'Elanna is a bit slow to catch on. "Crick in your neck?" she asks.
"People didn't go to the movies just for the movies, you know," Paris says, waggling his eyebrows.
This gets her attention. She turns to look at him, and now the appeal of the holoprogram begins to sink in. "Really," she says, smiling. "What did they go for?"
Tom's grin resembles nothing if not a Tex Avery character--downright wolfish. "Well," he says, leaning in, "I'll try to demonstrate."
They share a passionate buttered-popcorn kiss. Then B'Elanna jumps, startled by the mayhem and Constance Goodheart caliber screaming unfolding on the screen. She clings tightly to her man, and he returns the favor.
"I can see why this was so popular," she says, wryly.
A holographic old biddy in the audience turns around to shush her, loudly and rudely.
B'Elanna removes her glasses and scowls at her. "Maybe this would be more fun if we were alone," she suggests.
You don't have to tell Tom twice. "Computer," he instructs, "delete audience."
Obediently, the audience shimmers away completely.
"Who's that in the front row?" Paris wonders. "Must be a glitch."
B'Elanna looks more closely. "No," she says. "That's Tabor." He is either very into the movie, or very not into the movie--either way, he's still as a stone.
They leave their seats to investigate. Whether to get him a date or to boot him out so they can get down to some serious Balcony Boogie is anyone's guess.
The movie is still playing, of course. That probably means something. Or not. "This is an emergency!" the man on the screen shouts, as they walk down the darkened aisle towards the motionless man in the front row. "The gill man has escaped!"
They reach Tabor a moment later. His head is lolling back against his headrest. This is how most folks look when attending one of the Doctor's performances, not a classic 50s-era 3D cheesefest.
"Are you okay?" Paris asks, shaking him.
Tabor's head falls back at an angle normally associated with Wile E. Coyote after yet another unsuccessful Acme-inspired experiment.
My guess would be No.
In Sickbay, the Doctor speaks to a concerned Chakotay. "He appears to be in a coma, but I'm reading unusual synaptic activity."
"What happened to him?" Chakotay asks.
"I don't know," the Doctor replies. "I'd like to know what he's been doing the last few weeks--where he's worked, away missions..."
"I'll access his duty roster," Chakotay says.
What, no prying into his free time? They found him vegging out in a movie theater, for heck's sake. I'd be checking into his concession stand receipts. Two buckets of moviehouse popcorn is enough to send most folks into cholesterol oblivion.
But hey, I'm a reviewer, not a doctor.
Back at the Old Palace Theatre, Tuvok holds a pair of 3D glasses up to the light as Paris and B'Elanna look on.
"Was Ensign Tabor wearing these when he was found?" he asks.
"No," B'Elanna says. "They were on the floor next to him."
"I don't think they cause comas," Paris says, hoping his almost-a-doctor credentials will keep him out of a holodeck malpractice suit.
"Lights strobing at certain frequencies have been known to induce seizures," Tuvok says, not bothering to add the epileptic potential of certain sounds, such as those emitted by Entertainment Tonight hosts. (Damn you, Tesh!) "We should analyze the optical properties of this...'movie.' When was the last time you spoke with Mr. Tabor?"
"About ten...fifteen minutes before B'Elanna and I got here," Tom says. "He called to say the program was up and running."
B'Elanna is pacing now, lost in thought. "Funny," she muses.
"Lieutenant?" Tuvok asks. He sees nothing funny about this. But then, he wouldn't.
"When we were in the Maquis together, we used to joke that Tabor had his own personal force field," she recalls. "He went through a dozen firefights without even getting his clothes dirty."
"He's still alive," Tuvok points out, not unkindly. "Perhaps his force field is holding."
Ensign Kim enters the holodeck. "Commander," he reports, "I've reviewed the sensor logs for the four hours Tabor was in here. All systems were operating normally, and safeties were on-line."
"Run a level five diagnostic on the logs," Tuvok orders. Harry nods, and leaves.
At this moment Tuvok's communicator chirps. "Janeway to Tuvok. Report to Sickbay."
"I'm on my way." He nods to Tom and B'Elanna and takes his leave.
The Doctor and Janeway are studying one of the sickbay display panels. "I've found several microfractures in his cranium," Doc says, pointing to the display. "There's also evidence of subdermal contusions along his right shoulder."
Janeway joins Chakotay at Tabor's bedside. "This man was attacked," Chakotay tells her.
"It's possible that whoever did this is still on board," Janeway says, frowning. "Go to yellow alert." She turns to Tuvok. "I'm putting you in charge of the investigation."
He is the obvious choice as chief of security, though the job could have gone to Chakotay as Tabor's former captain. Chakotay, though, seems happy to defer to the Vulcan.
"Aye, Captain," Tuvok says.
Tuvok walks through the corridor, then stops outside the door to Tabor's quarters. "Security override," he says. "Tuvok Pi Alpha."
The doors open obediently, but the quarters are not empty. He startles a woman holding a book. "Commander!" she says.
"Crewman Jor," Tuvok says. "If I'm not mistaken, your quarters are on deck four."
"I-I heard what happened to Tabor," she says, still a bit rattled. "I was looking for a book to bring to him."
"I'm afraid he's in no condition to read."
"I was going to read to him," she says. "I've heard it helps sometimes to hear a familiar voice."
Tuvok accepts this, but as the chief investigator, he can't help but give her a suspicious look or two just to keep her honest. "You and Tabor were friends," he says. "Do you have any idea why someone would want to hurt him?"
"I can't imagine," she says, flatly.
"Would you tell me where you were from 0700 to 1100 hours this morning?" he asks.
She doesn't even blink. "On duty," she replies. "In Engineering. You can check with Lieutenant Torres if you like." (umm, if Torres is the one who found Tabor, how could she vouch for Jor in engineering...? GUILTY!!! FRY HER!!! PHASERS ON 'CANE'!!!)
"That won't be necessary," Tuvok says. "Thank you, Crewman."
It's a clear dismissal, so she leaves. Tuvok remains, and begins inspecting Tabor's quarters.
Janeway sits behind her desk in her ready room. Tuvok and Chakotay are seated across the desk from her. Chakotay hands her a PADD. "Harry's found evidence that someone tampered with the holodeck sensor logs. Several files have been deleted."
"Any signs of an outside intruder?" Janeway asks.
"I believe that a member of this crew was responsible," Tuvok says.
This gets their attention. Eyebrows rise. "Tabor was well-liked," Janeway says. "What's the motive?"
"I have one suspect," Tuvok says. "Crewman Jor."
"I find that hard to believe," Chakotay says. "I've known her for a long time. She and Tabor were friends!"
"Close friends," Tuvok adds meaningfully. "She had access to his quarters."
"A close relationship is hardly a crime," Chakotay says. He gives Janeway a look that every J/Cer in the viewing audience reads far too much into. Janeway shrugs helplessly at the camera; don't blame us, tell it to the Suit Weasels.
"It is my experience that emotional involvements often lead to unpredictable behavior," Tuvok says. Gee, ya think?
"That's an opinion...not evidence," Chakotay says, irritation pumping up the volume in his response.
Tuvok backs down. For now. "There may be other suspects," he says. "I intend to question all crew members who had recent contact with Tabor."
"I'll check the internal sensors," Chakotay volunteers. "See what else I can find."
As Chakotay exits, Tuvok also rises. A pensive Janeway detains him. "Commander," she says, "you seem awfully convinced that one of the crew was behind this. Now, you can't tell me that's the only logical conclusion, because I can think of a number of others."
"I realize that my assumptions seem premature," Tuvok admits. "But I have a strong instinct about this. You might call it...a hunch."
Janeway smirks in spite of herself. "I didn't think that Vulcans HAD hunches."
"I can't explain it, Captain," Tuvok says. "But I can't ignore it either. Someone on board is responsible, and I intend to find out who it is."
Janeway observes her security chief with concern, disturbed both by the accusation, and his intensity.
Engineering is all abustle. A crewman scans a console. "The pressure is fluctuating in one-one-four," he informs his immediate supervisor, who, as it turns out, is Crewman Jor.
"You'd better check the seals," she tells him.
The crewman enters a Jeffries tube, and begins crawling through it, scanning with his tricorder along the way. Suddenly, the lights go out.
"Yosa to Engineering," he says.
There is no response.
"Engineering?" Yosa repeats. His voice trembles slightly.
Again there is no reply. But at the opposite end of the Jeffries tube, a hatch opens. Someone approaches him quickly, shining a bright light in his face.
"Hello?" he says.
The light stays on his face, and it's getting closer as the silent intruder approaches. Alarmed now, Crewman Yosa backs out of the Jeffries tube the way he came. He manages to get through the hatch, but is unable to seal it behind him.
"Crewman Yosa to Security!" he says, panicked, as his mysterious assailant emerges through the hatch. The bright light shines into his wide eyes...
And then everything goes black.
Crewman Yosa is now lying on a biobed in sickbay. His eyes are wide open. The lights are on, but the fridge is empty.
Yosa now looks a whole lot like Tabor. The Doctor confirms the similarities for Captain Janeway. "His neocortical readings are identical to Tabor's, and he has the same microfractures along his right temple."
"Who discovered him?" Tuvok asks.
"Crewman Jor," Janeway says. She remembers Tuvok's earlier suspicion of her, and she hates to admit there may be something to the Vulcan's hunch.
Chakotay taps his combadge. "Chakotay to Crewman Jor." There is no reply. "Jor, respond," he repeats.
"Computer, locate Crewman Jor," Janeway says impatiently.
"Crewman Jor is in the mess hall."
Janeway nods at Chakotay and Tuvok, and the two of them rush to intercept the crewman before she does anything she may regret.
After all, It's Mystery Meat night at Cafe Neelix.
Tuvok and Chakotay enter a darkened mess hall. They make their way to an inert form reclining on one of the chairs.
"Crewman Jor," Tuvok says triumphantly. I've got you now!Jor, however, has joined Tabor and Yosa, wherever they went. Las luces están prendidas, pero no hay nadie en casa. (Thanks, Leandro, for the correction...)
Damn you, Mystery Loaf!
Tuvok feels for a pulse, as he and Chakotay share a concerned, and confused, look.
* * *
"If this keeps up, I may have to open a special coma ward," the Doctor quips.
Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay are all in sickbay, and there is a full bushel of victims now, stacked up like produce in the Stasis crisper.
Chakotay's lips are a thin white line as he hands Janeway a PADD. "Take a look at their names," he says. "Tell me if anything strikes you."
She scans the list, and her eyes widen in recognition. "Former Maquis," she realizes.
"It's either a coincidence, or they're being singled out," Chakotay says.
This isn't something Janeway wants to hear. "There hasn't been any hostility between the Maquis and the rest of the crew for years!"
"Maybe someone on your crew couldn't put the past behind them," Chakotay, the former captain of his very own vessel, leader of proud men and women in a just and holy cause, says to the swaggering petty dictator with delusions of Kirkhood who has for the past seven years shoehorned his entire crew into her rigid and unforgiving Starfleet mold.
But perhaps I'm reading too much into that look.
Janeway's eyes narrow. "My crew?" she asks icily.
"Our crew," Chakotay corrects mechanically, dutifully, sheepishly--just as a vanquished former Maquis scumpuppy ought in the face of superior Starfleet morality and firepower. He even has the transporter beam him into a rent garment of sackcloth and ashes. Nice touch.
Hmmm. Trouble in Paradise, perhaps?
Janeway lets it go. For now. "Are you any closer to a diagnosis, Doctor?"
Doc doesn't have a lot of good news, and it shows in his expression. "They all have the same disruptions in their synaptic pathways. The same cranial fractures, contusions..." He shakes his head. "But I still don't know the cause...or how to reverse it."
Janeway turns next to Tuvok. "Your investigation?"
"Nothing conclusive," Tuvok says stiffly.
Janeway seethes. "FIVE crewmen in comas, and we don't have a single clue?!?"
"The assailant must have access to security protocols," Tuvok says. "It's the only way he could have escaped detection."
"You'd better find a way to protect the rest of the Maquis," the Doctor says. "I'm running out of beds."
The Doctor's comment may have been snarky, but he made a good point. Chakotay has taken on the task of meeting with his former crew.
There are at least a couple dozen of them, including some familiar faces. They aren't happy.
"What is it you expect us to do?" asks Chell, the blue-skinned Bolian last seen in the first season's "Learning Curve."
"Stay alert," Chakotay says. "Report anything suspicious to Commander Tuvok."
"I'd rather report to you, if it's all the same," Chell says, anxiously.
"He's right," says an unidentified Maquis in Starfleet blue. "I've never trusted the Vulcan. He's betrayed us before."
FLASHBACK: Way back in Caretaker, we first encountered Tuvok when he was a member of Chakotay's rebel crew, being shot at by Cardassians just before they got yanked into the Delta Quadrant. The first plot twist in the pilot was that Tuvok, after being beamed to Voyager with Chakotay, revealed himself to be Janeway's chief of security, a Starfleet spy and not a rebel. The first couple of seasons, Tuvok was second only to Tom Paris on the unofficial Most Disliked List maintained by the Maquis--the turncoat who now treated them like second class citizens on Starship Janeway.
It's nice to know everyone's let bygones be bygones.
"He was doing his job!" B'Elanna says. You know you're in trouble when B'Elanna is the voice of reason.
"He didn't care about the Maquis then! Why should he now?" argues the blue-shirt.
"We're not Maquis anymore," Torres reminds him.
"Tell that to our friends in sickbay," he huffs.
"Oh, come on!" B'Elanna says, exasperated. "We put our differences aside seven years ago. It's ancient history!"
"Maybe history is repeating itself," Chell says.
Finally, Chakotay steps in. "Look," he says, "the truth is, we don't know what we're up against. But the last thing we need is an outbreak of paranoia. Now--until we get to the bottom of this, I want you all to carry hand phasers. Nobody goes anywhere alone."
Meanwhile, on the holodeck, Tom and Harry are reporting to Tuvok--or, as Chell often calls him when out of pointed-earshot, Dick.
"We thought maybe the intruder left behind some kind of negative image," Tom says.
"Displaced photons," Harry specifies. "Tom figured that if we dampen the photonic ambience and enhance--"
"We can applaud Mr. Paris' ingenuity later," Tuvok interrupts. "What have you found?"
Gee, I wonder who put Grumpy Juice in Tuvok's plomeek soup this time?
Harry pushes a few buttons on the console in front of him, and a flickering, ghostly image appears in the front row of seats.
"Ensign Tabor," Tuvok says.
Harry nods. "Now, that a look at this." He presses a few more buttons, and another vague image appears. This figure is leaning over Tabor...and reaching for him.
"Impressive," Tuvok admits.
"It doesn’t tell us who the attacker is, but we do know someone else was here," Harry says.
Now, maybe Tom and Harry's eyes are dodgy from all those 3-D movies, or perhaps they're just being polite. But the shadowy lurking figure seems to narrow the field more than a little.
I'd describe the image in greater detail, but that would be cheating.
"Can you extrapolate the assailant's height and weight?" Tuvok asks.
"I’d say between 170 and 190 centimeters," Harry says. "Maybe 75 kilograms."
"That describes about half the members of the crew," Paris points out.
"At least we can rule out Naomi Wildman," Kim quips. Paris rolls his eyes.
"Is it possible to increase the resolution?" Tuvok asks.
"Already working on it," Kim replies.
"Keep me informed," Tuvok says. He turns to leave, but stops before he gets to the door. He looks back at the flickering, cloudy image of the assailant, clearly disturbed. What is it about that shadowy figure that's so familiar? The hint of dark pigmentation? The pointy ears? The fingers resting on Tabor's temple in a ritualistic manner?
Nah. That would be too easy. Besides, with a shadow like that, who needs foreshadowing? Nope, my money's on Gill Boy. It started on the holodeck, after all, and the three-D glasses have Malfunction Mayhem written all over them.
"Commander?" Paris asks, noting Tuvok's uncharacteristic hesitation.
Tuvok doesn't respond. But he furrows his brow to show he's still conscious.
Torres apparently drew Chell as a safety buddy. Lucky her. They walk down the corridor together. Chell keeps looking over his shoulder.
"Stop it!" Torres says. "You're making me nervous."
"It doesn't make sense," Chell says. "This ship, with all its sensors--how could five people be attacked without leaving a trace?"
"Good question," Torres acknowledges. (foreshadowing...)
"Maybe it's a conspiracy," Chell says. "Ever since Voyager began sending data streams back home, Starfleet has known that almost a quarter of the crew is Maquis."
[A quarter? Really? After all those untimely Maquis deaths the first three seasons?]
"So?" Torres says.
"Maybe they think we're still dangerous," Chell whines. Torres rolls her eyes. "Maybe they've ordered the Captain to neutralize the threat."
"Yes, that's it," Torres says sarcastically, as they reach the turbolift and she punches the button. "She's putting us all into stasis. The comas are just a cover story."
Chell thinks this one over, and nods. "It would be easier than putting us all in the brig," he says, sagely. Them Bolians got lotsa smarts. B'Elanna wisely ignores him.
The turbolift doors open and Seven steps out, nodding briefly to Torres as she walks away. Chell watches her go intently.
"It could be her," he says suspiciously, as they step onto the lift. He glares at the departing Borg, focusing in on that extremely suspicious drone backside. Who knows what manner of drone monitoring equipment lies concealed down there. He shudders at the awesome evil power of Seven's derriere, but resistance is futile--
"Oh, please," Torres groans as the doors close behind them.
Tuvok is questioning an unnamed, lineless extra in his office. "That will be all, Crewman," he says. "Please send in Mr. Kim." The crewman looks happy to leave and scampers outside.
Harry enters, looking impatient. "I'm still trying to enhance the photon displacement," he says.
"I appreciate your efforts, Mr. Kim," Tuvok says, in full Prosecutor Mode. "But I called you here for another reason. In the last data stream from Earth, you received a letter from someone named Dennis Kim."
"My cousin," Kim confirms, surprised that Tuvok would know this.
"In that letter," Tuvok continues, "he spoke of your mutual friend, Maxwell Soroyan."
"You read my mail?" Kim asks, appalled. "Isn't that a violation of security protocols?"
"As the chief of security, I have the authority to suspend those protocols under special circumstances."
"And what is so special about a letter from my cousin?!"
"The attacks began shortly after we received the last data stream," Tuvok says. "Your letter was part of that transmission."
"A lot of people got letters," Kim points out, still upset by this invasion of privacy.
"Twenty-eight, to be exact," Tuvok says, "but only six of them matched the physical parameters of the photon displacement."
"Am I a suspect?"
"According to your letter, your friend Mr. Saroyan was killed by the Maquis a number of years ago."
Finally, Harry understands. He can't believe what he's hearing, but he understands. "You got me, Tuvok," he says, throwing up his hands melodramatically. "I confess! I was so distraught after hearing Max's name that I fired my Captain Proton ComatizerTM at every Maquis I could find."
Tuvok is not amused. But then, he wouldn't be. "Your sarcasm could be viewed as subterfuge," he says, stiffly.
Subterfuge this, Logic Boy. "Tuvok, it's me. Harry! Do you really think I'd be capable of this?"
"My personal views are irrelevant," Tuvok says.
Harry sighs, then answers straight, his voice firm and confident. "I learned about Max's death a long time ago. I was upset. But I don't blame the Maquis, and I certainly don't blame anyone on this ship!"
Tuvok turns away.
"If that'll be all," Harry says to Tuvok's back. He's angry, but under control.
Tuvok is not angry, but he doesn't seem to be under control. He seems distracted, disturbed.
Even Kim forgets his annoyance long enough to notice. "Is everything all right?" he asks.
"This investigation is...perplexing," Tuvok says. "It defies logic."
Some of Harry's anger fades, replaced somewhat by sympathy. Tuvok's in charge, and so far he's made little progress--and he knows what it's like to be on Janeway's bad side. As long as Maquis are dropping like flies, Tuvok's in the pressure cooker.
Not even the famously unflappable Vulcan is immune--the strain is taking its toll. "I'll keep you posted on the holodeck analysis," Harry says softly, then leaves the room.
The Doctor interrupts Tuvok's troubled ruminations. "Doctor to Commander Tuvok. Report to Sickbay immediately."
"On my way," Tuvok says, forcing himself to get back to business.
Tuvok enters sickbay and walks past several still-prone patients.
Tabor, however, is on his feet. Must have been one of those 48 hour comas.
"I thought you might like to have a few words with Mr. Tabor," the Doctor says.
"How did you revive him?" Tuvok asks.
"I didn't," the Doctor says, mystified. "His synaptic pathways stabilized on their own." He walks away, looking as troubled as a hologram can.
"How do you feel?" Tuvok asks Tabor.
"Fine, sir," Tabor says. "Hungry," he amends.
"What do you remember?"
"Not much. I was working in the Holodeck, and then..." he shrugs, "I was here."
"Do you know why anyone would want to hurt you?" Tuvok asks.
"No," Tabor says, looking disoriented by his quick change of locale and the sight of so many blankly staring colleagues. "What's going on?"
"Thank you, Ensign," Tuvok says, dismissing him without answering his question.
Chakotay is walking down the corridor with a Vulcan woman.
There's a Vulcan woman on Voyager? Who knew? Where was she when Vorik needed her?
Anyway, Chakotay is walking down the corridor with a Vulcan woman, when he spots a familiar bald, blue head. It's Chell, and he's alone.
"Crewman," Chakotay calls out, "I remember ordering everyone to work in pairs. Where's your partner?"
"Uh, she's...uh..." Chell stammers.
"WHO is your partner?" Chakotay asks, his patience running thin.
"Lieutenant Torres," Chell admits. "I TOLD her we shouldn't split up, sir, but she said she could 'handle herself.' You know how stubborn she can be..."
"I have a vague idea," Chakotay snorts, amazed she lasted as long as Chell's buddy as she did. "Do you know where she went?"
"Cargo Bay Two, sir," Chell says. Chakotay nods to indicate that Chell and the Vulcan woman should continue on their way together. Then he heads off, alone.
Probably not a good idea. You'd think he'd know better, being first officer and all...
Chakotay enters the cargo bay. It appears to be empty. "B'Elanna?" he calls out.
"Computer," he says, "locate Lieutenant Torres."
"Lieutenant Torres is in cargo bay two."
Chakotay looks around, then breaks into a run when he spots B'Elanna lying on the floor. He kneels beside her and takes her pulse. Her eyes are open, like the others; she looks like she spent one hour too many listening to Chell's conspiracy theories.
Sensing another presence in the room, he looks up to find a silent Tuvok looming over him.
"Help me get her to Sickbay," he says.
Tuvok steps forward. "This is a holy time," he announces. His voice is wooden. Ritualistic. A bit gravelly, with just a hint of evil.
Tuvok closes the remaining distance. Chakotay rises, and--with his keen First Officer's eye for danger--reacts too slowly to avoid what happens next. He fumbles for his phaser; Tuvok slams him backwards into some cargo containers.
Chakotay manages to hit his commbadge and call for security. He also grabs a piece of heavy equipment from an open box on the floor. Tuvok hits him again, hard, but Chakotay gets in one good blow to the ribs before the vastly superior Vulcan strength overpowers him.
Tuvok presses his fingertips onto Chakotay's temple, forcing a mind-meld. You can practically hear the microfractures forming under those fingertips.
"Let the mind awaken and focus on the task," Tuvok intones with Bajoran fervor. "My mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts..."
* * *
Captain's Log, Supplemental: Chakotay and B'Elanna are the latest victims of our mysterious assailant. I've decided to put the ship on a Level Ten security alert. Nonessential personnel are confined to quarters, and security teams have been posted on all decks.
Security teams are roaming the corridors with phaser rifles. Meanwhile, in Cargo Bay Two, Tuvok is still supervising the investigation.
"Ensign, run a metallurgical analysis," he orders. She takes the item he hands her and leaves, just as Captain Janeway enters.
"Two more victims regained consciousness," she says. "Crewmen Yosa and Jor. Their bio-readings returned to normal as if they suffered nothing but a good night's sleep." The Captain is clearly frustrated. "It doesn't make any sense!"
"It is, however, a pattern," Tuvok points out, "and a pattern implies purpose. We simply have to uncover it."
"Any clues here?" Janeway asks, looking around.
"I'm beginning to think our perpetrator is a ghost," she says, annoyed.
"Perhaps we should conduct a séance," Tuvok says. It's a little joke. An extremely little joke.
"Couldn't hurt," Janeway agrees, but the hoped-for smile never appears.
Tuvok turns around to face her. "I have worked meticulously," he says, "yet he has outwitted me each time."
Janeway cocks her head at this. "How can you be sure it's a he?" she asks. Tuvok had said he earlier as well.
"I can't," Tuvok says, "but I am."
"Another hunch?" Janeway asks.
"I can almost sense his presence," Tuvok says, intensely. "It's as though he's challenging me to find him." Must be a smart fella, that assailant. Darn near Vulcan cunning. Maybe an evil twin, only without the goatee...
Janeway is silent for a few moments, but the concern is plain on her face. Her security officer seems to be crossing the line from diligence to obsession. "I'd say you're taking this a little too personally. Maybe you should take a break," she suggests. Time for CSI to take over.
"No," Tuvok says, firmly.
"You haven't slept in three days," Janeway says. "Get some rest. Meditate. Clear your mind." It's a little more than a suggestion this time.
"My mind is perfectly clear," Tuvok argues.
"I don't want to have to make this an order," she says, which pretty much makes it an order. Tuvok knows this. She reaches for the PADD he's holding, and he turns it over, reluctantly.
"I'll go over your scans," she says. "Fresh pair of eyes might help."
"Captain," he says, stiffly, in acknowledgement. He turns and heads for the door. She watches him go, still concerned.
In the half-darkness of his quarters, Tuvok kneels on a cushion and reverently lights his Kes-era meditation lamp. He inhales deeply, and steeples his fingers in the traditional Vulcan meditation pose. He winces though, and appears troubled--it's obvious that he's not finding his peaceful center.
Jumbled images begin to flash through his mind. The victims, lying motionless in sickbay. Tabor, turning in alarm. Yosa, struggling to escape the Jefferies tube. Chakotay, attacking in self-defense. He is seeing all of the incidents--from the perspective of the attacker. Curious.
In evident distress, Tuvok rises and lurches across his quarters to the bathroom, pulling off his outer tunic on the way. He runs some water into the sink, then has another powerful vision. He sees Chakotay land a good blow to the assailant's ribs.
He lifts his own tunic and gingerly fingers a large, ugly green bruise on his own ribs. He looks up at his reflection. Could it be?
Naaah. He turns his attention back to the sink, but when he looks up at the mirror again, he sees someone standing behind him. Tuvok doesn't appear to recognize him, but the savvy viewer does. It's Vedek Belial from the Teaser.
"Resist your doubts," the mirror intruder orders.
Tuvok tugs down his shirt and sprints from his quarters. He strides through Voyager's corridors, still in his purple turtleneck. He hears the voice of the Vedek again, "Don't question your mission!"
At the Old Palace Theatre on Holodeck Two, Janeway and Harry are trying to clear up the fuzzy negative image.
"Filter out the polarized photons," Janeway suggests.
Harry manipulates the console, and the image begins to sharpen.
"Anyone you know?" she asks Harry. Neither of them seems to notice that it's so obviously Tuvok, although the savvy viewer can't help but see the truth.
"Tuvok..." Janeway says.
Tuvok studies the now clearer image. "Computer," he says, completely ignoring Janeway and Harry, "isolate the precise time index of this image."
"Where was Commander Tuvok at that time?" he demands.
"Access to that information has been restricted."
"By whom?" Tuvok snaps.
"Access to that information has been restricted."
"Tuvok, what's going on?" Janeway demands.
Again, Tuvok ignores her, intent on uncovering the information he needs.
"Computer," he says, "override those security restrictions–-Tuvok Pi Alpha. Where was Commander Tuvok at the specified time?"
"Commander Tuvok was in holodeck two."
Harry and Janeway both react to that.
"Computer," Tuvok continues. He wants to be sure. He is, after all, a thorough investigator. "Based on the most recent data, can you give me a better estimation of the intruder's height?"
Well, that's that. Still staring at the image, Tuvok now sees the resemblance. But for the Captain's benefit, he asks one more question. "What is the height of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok?"
"Captain," Tuvok says, finally turning away from the image to face her, "I believe I--" But as he turns, he sees the Vedek again, behind Harry and the Captain, just over Janeway's shoulder.
"Ignore your doubts!" the mysterious Vedek says. Tuvok responds promptly, pulling his phaser and leveling it at the intruder--
the intruder who only Tuvok can see. To Harry and the Captain, it looks like Tuvok's about to buck for a promotion the old-fashioned way.
Harry whips out his own phaser. He's got a bit of Invasion of Privacy payback to exact as well as to protect the captain--and thus buck for a promotion of his own.
"No--" Tuvok says, shakily, to the Vedek.
Janeway glares in the face of danger. Her skunk eye melts the phaser's circuitry, rendering it harmless. "Commander, lower your weapon," she says, hoping that his title and a direct order will end whatever this is.
"Pagh'tem'far, B'tanay," the Vedek chants. This is Bajoran for, roughly, "forget the pon farr, buddy, we've got a holy war to fight."
"Who are you?" Tuvok asks--a reasonable question, if you can see the Evil Vedek. Harry and Janeway can't, so it seems to them that Tuvok has gone Postal.
But then the Vedek disappears. Tuvok, confused as a Vulcan gets most days, lowers his weapon slightly. Janeway takes it from him, but continues to hold onto his hand.
"Captain," Tuvok says, formally, "it would appear that I am the guilty party."
"How is that possible?" Janeway asks.
"I don't know," Tuvok admits. "But for the safety of the crew, you must confine me to the brig."
In the brig, Tuvok appears to be meditating deeply. The Doctor is scanning him with a medical tricorder, which casts a bluish glow on his face.
"He wants to speak with you," he tells Janeway, who is standing nearby. "But I advise you to remain outside the force field."
Janeway steps forward. "Tuvok," she says. "Tuvok, can you hear me?"
Tuvok slowly opens his eyes, tries to focus. "I hear you," he says, quietly, "but there is another voice trying to control me."
"Another voice?" Janeway asks. "Whose?"
When he doesn't respond, Janeway repeats one of Tuvok's earlier phrases. "This is a...holy time. What did you mean by that?"
"A primal energy charges the blood--an energy of rebirth," Tuvok continues, reciting a repeated phrase rather than saying anything original.
"That's what the voice is telling you?" Janeway asks, mystified.
"It is a Bajoran incantation," Tuvok says. "The voice...is Bajoran."
The Doctor interrupts. "We need to get you to Sickbay so I can run..."
"No!" Tuvok shouts, giving the Doc a healthy shove backwards. "No more scans. Leave me alone!"
The Vedek appears again, off to Janeway's right. "Don't question your mission!" he demands of Tuvok.
Tuvok flings himself against the wall, and huddles there. "Get away from me!" he wails.
Janeway knows he's not talking to her. He's not even looking at her. She turns to look at where his gaze is directed, but sees nothing. "What do you see?" she asks.
"The Bajoran," Tuvok says.
Janeway steps to her right, trying to block his view of the Vedek. "Ignore him," she says, steadily. "Focus on my voice. Tell me what's happening."
No longer distracted by the hallucination, Tuvok is able to respond. "I believe I've...I've been attacking...certain members of the crew. The Maquis. Then investigating the crimes with no memory of what I'd done."
"Attacking them, how?" the Doctor asks.
"Mind melds," Tuvok replies.
"Why?" Janeway asks.
"I don't know," he says, and seems to mean it. Janeway and the Doctor exchange a concerned look, which intensifies as Tuvok again spots the Vedek, over Janeway's left shoulder.
"He is responsible!" Tuvok says. "What did you do to me?" he shouts at the Vedek.
"Commander," Janeway says, trying to calm him down. He continues to glower at the Vedek. "Commander! Is he a member of the crew?"
Tuvok shakes his head vigorously.
"Then who is he?" she asks.
"I don't know," Tuvok snaps, frustrated.
Janeway thinks for a moment. Clearly, she's going to have to be the logical one.
Heaven help us all.
"The day the first attack occurred," she prompts, "did anything unusual happen to you?"
Tuvok thinks back. "I was tending to my duties," he says, slowly. "I received a letter from my son."
"A letter?" she says. Her eyes widen as the pieces start to fit into place. "This all started right after we received the last data stream," she realizes.
Tuvok remembers something as well. "I reviewed every letter..." he says, "except my own."
"Stay with him, Doctor," Janeway says, and hurries out of the room.
In sickbay, Chakotay awakens and raises his head. Paris, working nearby, comes over to scan him.
"How long?" Chakotay wants to know.
"29 hours," Paris tells him. He nods over to Torres, now conscious, on an adjacent biobed. "She woke up just before you did."
Janeway steps up to Chakotay's bedside. "They've all recovered; we don't know why." She lets that sink in, then she delivers the shocker. "It's Tuvok."
"Tuvok?" Chakotay asks, surprised. Dang if Chell wasn't right after all. Now THAT is scary.
"He's in the brig," she tells him. "Apparently, he's being manipulated by some form of mind control." She shifts her gaze to Tom. "Can he leave, Mr. Paris?"
"I don't see why not," Paris says, "but he should wear one of these." He attaches a cortical monitor to Chakotay's neck.
Janeway puts a hand on Chakotay's shoulder. "There's something I want to show you," she says.
[Insert bad jazz music here...]
In Astrometrics, Janeway, Chakotay and Seven of Nine are viewing a message from Tuvok's son. He looks like a nice kid.
"Exo-linguistics always seemed a little too...theoretical to me," the young man is saying. "I've decided to study musical composition instead. I would have sent you my latest polytonal construct, but they wouldn't give me enough room in this data stream. Maybe next time, I can..."
Janeway makes a slashing motion with her hand, and Seven pauses the playback.
Janeway looks at Chakotay.
"A letter from his son," he says.
"We found another signal embedded in the message," she tells him. "A letter within a letter."
Seven rewinds the message back to the beginning. "Hello, Father. We received your last transmission..."
The image blurs, then fades out. It is replaced by the intense face of a Bajoran Vedek, the first time anyone but Tuvok has seen him. "This is a holy time," he says. "B'Tanay: the time of awakening. Return to that dark place from which all life springs."
Chakotay immediately stiffens. Janeway looks at him intently, and realizes that he recognizes the Bajoran.
"The signal is calibrated to correspond with Vulcan synaptic frequencies. Tuvok wouldn't have been consciously aware of it," Seven explains.
Chakotay continues to stare at the screen. "Teero," he says, contemptuously. He turns to Janeway. "Teero Anaydis," he tells her. "He was a Bajoran Vedek. He worked with the Maquis."
"Doing what?" Janeway asks.
"Counterintelligence. He was thrown out for experimenting with mind control. He thought it was a good way to 'recruit' agents."
Janeway rolls her eyes. "Well, apparently he was successful at recruiting our tactical officer. These incantations and symbols, they must have triggered something in Tuvok--preconditioned behavior instructions."
Chakotay looks at the screen. "I should've known you'd show up again," he tells Teero, disdainfully.
"Commander?" Janeway asks, surprised by his anger.
"Teero was a fanatic," Chakotay says. "He'd go to any extreme for the Maquis. He called the rest of us traitors for rejecting his ideas. Swore he'd fight the war on his own if he had to."
"Why instruct Tuvok to mind meld with Voyager's Maquis 35,000 light-years from Earth?" Seven asks.
Now that is a VERY good question.
"I'd like Tuvok to take a look at this message," Janeway says. "Maybe it'll jog his memory."
She turns to go, but instructs Seven, "Try to decode those symbols."
Tuvok is reclined on the bed in the brig, looking at Teero's face on a PADD. "It's him," he tells Janeway, who is standing just outside the force field.
"His name is Teero Anaydis," Janeway informs him.
"Teero?" Tuvok asks, with a faint look of recognition.
"He worked for Maquis Intelligence."
"I remember meeting him," Tuvok says, slowly, rising and approaching the force field. "I was undercover, doing reconnaissance on a colony near the Badlands. He was a Vedek at the Bajoran temple there."
"Go on," Janeway prompts.
"We spoke briefly," Tuvok says, struggling to remember. "He was interested in Vulcan culture. That's all I remember."
"Maybe that's all he wanted you to remember," Janeway muses. Tuvok looks up from the PADD questioningly. "He was developing some kind of mind control technique," she explains. "We think he used it on you seven years ago."
Tuvok has a brief but vivid flashback. He sees himself, restrained on some kind of examination table. He jerks his head violently as the vision ends.
"What is it?" Janeway asks, noticing his distress.
"I...I was restrained," he tells her, haltingly. "Very frightened."
"What did he do to you?" Janeway asks.
Tuvok struggles, but he can't remember.
"Try," Janeway presses.
"I can't!" Tuvok says, flinging himself angrily back on the bed.
"Tuvok," she says, calmly, "if we're going to help you, we need to find out. The last time you meditated, it helped the memories resurface, didn't it?"
He broods on the question for a moment, but eventually nods, almost imperceptibly.
"You've helped me meditate," she says. "I think I've learned a thing or two about the process. Let me try to guide you."
He considers it, then nods again, slightly.
Janeway gestures for the security guard to drop the force field, and she steps inside.
Tuvok is kneeling on the floor of the brig, his index fingers steepled in the traditional Vulcan meditative pose. Janeway is seated in front of him, guiding his meditation.
"Where are you?" she asks.
"In a laboratory," Tuvok says, his eyes closed. "Underground."
"Is Teero there?" Janeway asks.
At first, Tuvok's memory is fuzzy. He sees a man approaching. "There is someone..."
Gradually, the man comes closer, and into focus. "It's him," Tuvok says.
"Describe what's happening," Janeway prompts.
In the flashback, Teero rests his hand on Tuvok's chest, thoughtfully. "Lieutenant," he says, then, as he walks over to a small table and picks up a hypospray.
"Tuvok? Tuvok?" Janeway tries to break in, but Tuvok's flashback continues.
"It IS Lieutenant, isn't it? I'm sure your Maquis comrades would be interested to know your Starfleet rank." Teero says, but he doesn't seem all that angry or interested in the fact that Tuvok is not really a Maquis. "Don't worry," he adds. "I don't plan to expose you."
"What do you want?" Tuvok asks--a logical question, under the circumstances.
"You," Teero says, gazing down at his captive analytically. "You're the perfect subject." The Vedek's voice is soft, melodic, with just enough evil to chill the blood.
"For what?" Tuvok asks. He has nothing to lose--he may as well try to find out why this is happening to him.
"I'm a student of the mind," Teero says, waving his hands in front of Tuvok's eyes, as if testing his reactions. "Yours is remarkable. Disciplined. Orderly. On the surface, that is. Beneath..."
He presses the hypo to Tuvok's neck and injects him with something. Tuvok grunts in pain and surprise.
"Boiling emotions, repressed violence," Teero continues. "In a sense, you're two different men. One, I could never hope to manipulate. But the other..."
He returns to the small table and exchanges the hypo for a sharp, metal probe.
"I have been trained to resist mind control," Tuvok points out. Can't blame him for trying...
"That's the rational, logical part of you at work," Teero says, returning to the examining table and positioning the probe over Tuvok's forehead. "But I want to reach your inner fire. Your spirit."
"Why?" Tuvok asks, but stops his questioning as Teero plunges the probe into his head. He groans.
"Wait," Tuvok pleads, in obvious distress, as the probe begins pulsing light. "Please...please, don't..."
Teero leans over Tuvok's head and begins chanting, "Pagh'tem'far, B'tanay..."
Back in the brig, Tuvok snaps out of his reverie, and hurls himself into the corner again.
"Stay away from me!" he shouts.
"Tuvok!" Janeway says, alarmed.
In Tuvok's eyes, Teero has returned and is once again standing behind Janeway. "Complete your mission!"
"No!" Tuvok shouts.
"This is a holy time!" Teero says.
"Commander!" Janeway says, trying to break through to him. She grabs his shoulders and is flung across the brig for her trouble. The security guard levels his phaser at Tuvok, but Janeway puts up her hand to stop him, since Tuvok appears to mean her no further harm.
This does, however, give Tuvok the opportunity to reach for his communicator.
"Tuvok to Chakotay," he says, breathlessly.
In Astrometrics, Seven and Chakotay are still attempting to decode the symbols in Tuvok's hidden message.
"Go ahead," Chakotay says, in response to the hail.
Why the HELL is he talking to Brig Boy? What happened to Level Ten Security and all that?
"Pagh'tem'far. B'tanay," Tuvok says.
Chakotay's eyes glaze over. (how can you tell?) (Ooh, sorry, that was mean.) "Understood," he says, woodenly. (How can you--oh, right. Been there.) He turns and leaves the room without a second glance, as Seven looks on, confused.
Janeway doesn't like the sound of this. "Janeway to Chakotay," she says, over the comm-link. There is no response. "Commander!"
She glares down at Tuvok, still huddled in the corner, clutching his head.
"Pagh'tem'far, B'tanay," she repeats. "What did that mean, Tuvok? Tell me!"
"This is a holy time," Tuvok rasps feverishly. "A time of awakening!"
"This Teero has awakened you to do what?" Janeway asks. Then she kneels down to look in Tuvok's eyes. "If you can remember, you can fight him. You can resist. What does he want?"
"To give us instructions," Tuvok says, responding to Janeway's intensity.
"What kind of instructions?" Janeway demands.
"Focus on your task!" Teero says.
Tuvok looks at the vision of Teero. "NO!"
Chakotay strides through the corridors like he owns them. His cortical monitor goes off.
In Sickbay, this does not go unnoticed. An alarm beeps, insistently. The Doctor hurries over to a console.
"It's Chakotay," he says, surprised.
"What is it?" Paris, hovering near Torres' bed, asks.
"I'm not sure," the Doctor says. "Sickbay to Commander Chakotay."
Again, there is no response.
"Computer," the Doctor says, "Locate Chakotay."
"Commander Chakotay is in Sickbay," the computer says--just as the Sickbay doors swish open. Good timing.
Chakotay walks in, already speaking. "Computer," he says, "Deactivate the EMH."
The Doctor shimmers away before his shocked reaction can result in something useful.
"Commander?" Paris asks, warily. Chakotay shoots him without another word. He slumps to the floor beside Torres' biobed, stunned into unconsciousness.
"Pagh'tem'far, B'tanay," Chakotay tells Torres as he rips off his cortical monitor.
She glances down at Paris on the floor. She wonders what she ever saw in him. He likes B movies and pork rinds, for Kahless' sake. What could she have been thinking, marrying him? He wasn't even a good Maquis. And he's a couch potato. And those baby blue eyes? More often than not, merely gray. Death's too good for him.
She looks back up at Chakotay. "I understand," she says. And her eyes have the same empty look that his do.
Oh, crap. Not only did that Vedek turn them into Holy Warriors, he turned them into Learning Annex acting-school dropouts.
A half dozen former Maquis, including Chakotay, Torres, Tabor, Jor, Yosa and one other, are now marching through the corridors. They are all armed with phaser rifles. At a junction, they split up. Chakotay and Yosa enter the turbolift.
"Deck One," Chakotay says.
Back in the brig, Janeway is unaware of the insurrection. She's still trying to get through to Tuvok.
"Why were you using mind melds? What did Teero want you to do?"
"To...to awaken the others," Tuvok says, agitated.
"Resist your doubts!" Teero tells him.
"No," Tuvok says, anguished.
Janeway forces eye contact again. "Focus on me," she insists.
"Complete your mission! Pagh'tem'far! B'tanay!" Teero demands.
Confused, Tuvok glances back and forth between Janeway and Teero. "You don't control me!" he shouts, to Teero.
Harry Kim is sitting in the Big Chair on the bridge. The lift doors open, and Chakotay enters. Kim rises. "Good to see you, Commander," he says.
"It's good to be back," Chakotay says dryly, shooting Harry before he can even unholster his phaser.
He waltzes over to some consoles and begins pressing buttons.
In the brig, the red alarm klaxons begin to blare.
"Janeway to the bridge," she says. "Report."
No reply at all. She glances back at Tuvok, but he is completely expressionless now. She gestures to the guard, and he lowers the force field so that she can go investigate. After reactivating the force field, he accompanies her.
Torres and two other Maquis burst into Engineering, firing phasers.
Janeway and the guard are walking through the corridor on their way to the turbolift. Two figures appear behind them. One of them shoots the guard. Janeway turns to see Chakotay, holding a phaser.
"What the hell are you doing?" she asks, angrily.
"I think it's obvious," he says with all the fire of a spent Bic. "I'm taking control of your ship. Within the hour all Starfleet personnel will be locked in their quarters. Step back in the brig, Kathryn."
"What's Teero done to you?" she asks, unable to believe the change in him.
"He simply helped us remember who we are," Chakotay says, with something approaching, but not quite achieving, religious fervor. "We're Maquis. We've always BEEN Maquis." yeah, that was convincing.
"The rebellion ended three years ago!" she reminds him. "You know that!"
"In the Alpha Quadrant, maybe," he says, grabbing her arm. "Not on this ship."
At times like these, one longs for the Kirk-like passion of the average drone. Resistance is futile. You will be incarcerated.
As Chakotay escorts the deposed Captain back to the brig, Torres hails to tell him that Deck Eleven is secure.
"We're 35,000 light-years from Earth, Chakotay," Janeway argues, as they re-enter the brig. "No one out here even knows about the Maquis." Much less gives a tinker's damn. "It doesn't make any SENSE. There's nothing you can accomplish!"
"As long as we exist," Chakotay says, gesturing for the other Maquis to put her into the cell, "so does the rebellion."
"That's Teero talking," Janeway says, as she's forced into the cell. "He was unstable. You said so yourself!"
But Chakotay is not listening to reason. "We have no intention of hurting any of you," he tells her.
In the cell, she looks up at the passive face of Tuvok.
Tuvok turns to Chakotay. "Your orders...Captain?"
Janeway barely flinches, but that's got to hurt.
"Take your station," Chakotay tells him.
* * *
The ship is travelling through space at impulse, but it's Chakotay recording the Captain's log.
Captain's Log, Stardate 54178: Voyager is now under my command. We're en route to an M-Class planet where we will relocate the Starfleet crew.
The bridge is swarming with leather-clad Maquis. Well, maybe not swarming, but at least Torres, Jor and Tuvok the Traitor are there. They're exhibiting all the righteous zeal of a really intense Classical Music disc jockey convention.
"We're in range," Jor reports, from the helm.
"On screen," Torres says. A blue planet appears on the viewscreen.
"Looks like a nice place for a Federation colony," Torres says. "Take us into orbit."
"Tuvok, would you mind joining me in the ready room?" Chakotay asks over the comm-line.
Tuvok the Traitor enters the ready room. Chakotay is there, as is a Maquis security guard.
"You wished to see me, Captain?" Tuvok says.
Chakotay is holding two glasses of amber liquid. "You can drop the formalities," he says. "This is a Maquis ship now." He offers Tuvok one of the glasses. "Vulcan brandy," he says. "I thought we should have a drink to celebrate."
"A fitting gesture," Tuvok says. The Maquis security guard moves to stand in front of the door.
Chakotay raises his glass. "To awakenings," he says.
"Awakenings," Tuvok replies, and they drink.
"There are still 23 of our former comrades who aren't with us yet. I was hoping you'd be able to help...persuade them," Chakotay says, conversationally.
"I'm prepared to mind meld with the remaining Maquis to convey Teero's instructions," Tuvok says.
"It'll be nice to have my old crew back," Chakotay says, turning away. "You've been a big help to us, Tuvok," he adds, "but I can't forget what happened seven years ago. You have a history of betraying the Maquis."
"It won't happen again," Tuvok the Traitor assures him.
"We have a small crew," Chakotay points out. "I have to be able to trust everyone, especially my tactical officer."
Tuvok doesn't flinch. He maintains his level gaze into Chakotay's eyes.
Chakotay taps his commbadge. "Bring her in," he says.
Janeway is escorted in by another Maquis security guard. She does not look happy to be there.
Chakotay unholsters his phaser and hands it to Tuvok. "Consider this a test of your loyalty," he says. "It's set to kill."
"You said you wouldn't hurt anyone!" Janeway reminds him, to no avail.
Tuvok sets his drink down and aims the phaser at Janeway's head.
"You're in control of your actions!" Janeway says to Tuvok, still trying to reach him. "Not Chakotay! Not Teero!"
Tuvok hesitates. The phaser wavers.
"Tuvok..." Chakotay prompts.
Tuvok aims again.
"Don't do this," Janeway tells him. But he does. He fires the phaser, but it just fizzles--as effective as the brainwashed Maquis' acting chops.
"This phaser is defective," he informs Chakotay, handing it back.
Janeway is still standing proud. She doesn't flinch visibly, but her eyes show relief, and irritation. When--not if--she gets out of this and things are back to where they oughtta be, she's gonna enjoy having her once-favorite Vulcan flogged...pon farr or no pon farr.
"Take her back to the brig," Chakotay orders the guard.
On her way out, Janeway lets slip a Level Ten Death Glare that sears the uniform right off his hairless, manly chest, so she has a nice visual to remember him by before she has his bloodied, deboned carcass spaced into the heart of the nearest Class G star. All but the tattooed forehead, which she plans to have tanned and turned into an armband, with Vulcan ear tassels.
Yessir, heads are gonna roll. And when she gets back to the Alpha Quadrant, she's gonna nuke Bajor just for spite. And then she's gonna use the slingshot maneuver to go back in time and kick hiney on that jerk Pavlov until he doubles over in pain every time he hears a frelling bell ring.
Not that Janeway holds a grudge or anything.
for his part, Chakotay notes Janeway's departure impassively. "You passed," he tells Tuvok, then dismisses the guard with a nod. All business now, he gestures Tuvok over to his side. "Now," he says, "we've got some tactical issues to review. I want to re-route all weapons control to my console--"
But he stops short. Tuvok has his skull in a Full Monty mindmeld, and is executing the old Vulcan nerve pinch like a pro.
Whatever you call it, it's Nap Attack time for Captain Monotone. Chakotay slumps to the floor with a groan. Tuvok leans over him and begins another mind meld.
"My mind to your mind...my thoughts to your thoughts..."
So what do you call it when you double-cross the double-crossers? I'm so confused...
On the bridge, Torres is standing by Jor at the helm. The ship is now orbiting the blue planet. Tuvok and Chakotay emerge from the ready room and take their stations.
"Kim and Paris organized a little breakout on deck six," Torres informs Chakotay. "We've contained them all behind a force field."
"We should begin the evacuation," Jor says.
"Start beaming them down," Torres orders. "Begin on deck two, section zero one."
"Belay that order," Chakotay says, suddenly. Torres turns and looks at him, surprised. "Tuvok informed me that this planet has an unstable atmosphere. Go to astrometrics and scan for an alternative."
Torres looks at Chakotay, then over at Tuvok. "What are you talking about?" she asks, going up to the command level to stand in front of Chakotay. "There's nothing wrong with the atmosphere."
"We don't have time to debate this," he tells her.
"Well, I can scan from here," she says, and starts toward a console. She's brought up short by the look on Chakotay's face.
"Chakotay," she says, suspiciously, "what's going on?"
When he doesn't respond, she reaches for her weapon, but he pulls his first. So does everyone else on the bridge--but the good guys, it would seem, have the upper hand.
Whoever they are. (What, your humble Review Boy can't be a closet Maquis? I mean, Have you SEEN Torres in leather lately?)
"Stand down," Tuvok tells everyone. The Maquis lower their weapons.
My, my. Insurrections come and go so quickly around here.
Tuvok and Chakotay stride into the brig, surprising the Maquis guard, who only puts up a token resistance before Tuvok instructs him, "Lower your weapon."
As Tuvok disables the force field, Chakotay approaches the cell, where Janeway is cooling her heels, mad enough to chew neutronium, but behaving herself.
"I thought you might like to have your ship back," Chakotay tells her.
"No more rebellion?" she asks, snidely, shouldering past him.
This time, Chakotay winces under the withering glare of the captain. Well, it's not Juilliard, but she'll take it--he's back to normal. "It took another mind meld from Tuvok, but I'm fine now," he assures her. Not that she's listening. She only has eyes for Tuvok, the one friend she was able to reach.
"Tuvok," she says, fondly, "You're all right."
"I am in control again, Captain," he says.
"Whatever you said to him, it worked," Chakotay says, behind her.
Still looking only at Tuvok, she says, "It's good to have you back, Commander." She and Tuvok leave the room, Chakotay close behind.
Tuvok is walking down the corridor, absorbed in his PADD, oblivious to the people walking past him. Everything seems to be back to normal on the Starship Voyager. Chakotay emerges from the turbolift and falls into stride next to Tuvok.
"All ready for 'Attack of the Lobster People?'" he asks.
"I am not familiar with that species," Tuvok deadpans.
"You will be," Chakotay tells him. "Soon enough."
"I haven't completed my security rounds," Tuvok protests.
"You have now," Chakotay says firmly, taking the PADD away from him. Captain's orders.
This would seem to be Janeway's Revenge on the whole crew for letting her get tossed into her own brig. Let there be crappy Ed Wood productions for all my miserable minions...
Back in the Old Palace Theatre, Neelix greets Tuvok and Chakotay with two bags of popcorn. "Buttered or unbuttered?" he asks.
"Thank you, Neelix," Chakotay says, foolishly choosing 'buttered.' He sits down near the aisle, and Neelix joins him.
In the middle of the theatre, Janeway sees Tuvok and waves him over with her 3-D glasses. He joins her.
"I saved you a seat," she says.
"How long is this...'entertainment?'" he asks, grimly, but resigned.
"I'm not sure," Janeway replies. "Tom said something about a "double-feature." She pauses for a moment, then says, "I've been meaning to ask you--how did you know that phaser wasn't charged?"
"Chakotay doubted my loyalty," he says. "He wouldn't have given me an active weapon."
Janeway makes a face. "Not exactly iron-clad logic," she says, wryly.
"Call it...a hunch," Tuvok says, as the house lights go down.
She laughs. The movie is starting. "Remind me to pay more attention to your hunches," she says.
Waitaminit. Janeway's backing his hunches? Tuvok's hunches are backed?
"Shhhhh!" Torres hisses, two rows behind them.
Sorry. Couldn't resist.
Janeway shoots Torres a bemused look, then hands Tuvok a pair of 3-D glasses. They don their specs simultaneously, and form a tableau which is a recreation of that famous picture from LIFE magazine.
Roaring and hysterical screaming fill the theatre as the once-again united crew settles in for one long passionate night of Balcony Boogie.
I guess that's Chakotay's punishment for taking over the ship and ordering Janeway's execution. It's a double-feature in a darkened theater during a B-movie screamfest...and he's sitting next to Neelix.
Damn you, J/C squelching Vedek Badinov.
First, many, many thanks to Mary "Monkee" Wiecek, fanfic author extraordinaire, who braved the tortured raw transcripts to craft a terrific breakdown, which I promptly corrupted with all my snarky asides. She joins the select ranks of those who have recreated, line-by-line, a Voyager episode, and emerged with sanity more or less intact. My hat's off to you, Mary.
She has a review of this episode at her own site, Monkee's Place; click to get her thoughts.
As to my take...I've seen better. Boy, have I seen better.
From moment to moment it wasn't necessarily bad; were some good performances from Mulgrew and Russ, Wang and McNeill, and I enjoyed the guest performances of Derek McGrath (Chell the paranoid Bolian) and Keith Szarabajka (the evil Vedek with the creepily excellent voice, Teero). But the episode as a whole...feh. The tone was rather lackluster. The Maquis rebellion was not only bloodless, it was listless--and as Janeway pointed out, it was frelling pointless.
The plot was transparent as well; I had Tuvok pegged as the culprit almost from the beginning.The teaser pretty much gave it away.
I did enjoy seeing Tim Russ get the opportunity to chew the scenery a little--Tuvok Under Duress is not a common occurrence, and he managed to effectively portray the Vulcan cool, and the stress of a Tuvok whose control is being wrested from him. Russ gets far too few opportunities to shine, and that's a shame. Of all the players, Tim Russ actually got to show inner conflict as the disciplined Vulcan warred with the chaotic inner self; the other Maquis pretty much shrugged their way from conformity to rebellion and back to conformity. Aside from Chell, we didn't see much fire at all from the Maquis, even as their comrades were dropping like flies.
The Maquis as a conflict device hasn't really been a factor since the second season. There was "The Voyager Conspiracy," but it was a stretch, and served mainly to show just how far from the early tension they'd come--and to further corrupt our fond memories of the first three, pre-Seven of Nine seasons by interjecting her into that very first mystery.
The mind control angle certainly had potential, but it irked me that Tuvok was the only one who battled between his independent and brainwashed selves. Does Torres as a born-again Maquis no longer have any feelings at all for her newly-wed husband? Does Chakotay just walk around saying "we're Maquis" and conveniently forget seven years of personal history? The LEAST they could have done was take those seven years and corrupt them, turn them from benign or petty incidents to fuel for the fire that could have given some passion to the players. Imagine if Chakotay had pointed out, and keenly felt thanks to the Vedek's tricks, all the animosity that could have built up subconsciously. There's plenty of resentment there to mine, after all. B'Elanna has less--she's fared pretty darn well under Janeway's leadership--but on a personal level she's certainly disagreed frequently and vehemently with the captain on things she's felt passionately. Why not USE that?
But no. It's just Pagh'tem'far, B'tanay, and you find yourself with a batch of dull, lifeless zombies rebelling without a care. It's pointless; there's no good reason for them to rebel NOW, there's no pressing need for the crew to retake the ship and return things to normal. It's a coup without context, and that's a wasted opportunity. In "The Voyager Conspiracy" we were at least given a Larger Concern--Seven of Nine was spitting out conspiracy theories at the speed of paranoia, and at stake was the use--or possible abuse--of a device that (depending on who you believe) can either be a quick way to shave a few years off their journey, or a weapon that the Federation or the Maquis can use to strike a crippling blow against the other.
This episode lacks a good reason for springing this particular trap at this particular time. There's no planet filled with people who would be treated one way by a Starfleet-controlled Voyager, and another by a Maquis-controlled Voyager. Aside from Tuvok, there is no inner conflict between the I Am Maquis, Hear Me Snore drones and the well adjusted, integrated, shiny happy Maquis we've come to know and (presumably) love the past seven years. Perhaps this was intentional--a way of showing that the Vedek's ideas were crackpot, and doomed to fail because they turned out such lackluster zealots--but whatever the reason, it fails to entertain. Of course, there will be no lasting consequences--the rebels won't be punished because they were hyp-mo-tized into it by some alpha quadrant bad guy. Maybe in the next transmission they'll send out a manhunt order for him, but he's an outcast even among the Maquis.
The focus seemed to be on Tuvok--Tuvok chasing his own tail, the Vedek making use of the Disciplined Outer Tuvok's repression of the Volcanic Inner Tuvok, Janeway's passionately yelling at Tuvok to fight against it (Janeway and the Vedek, two personality cult figures, warring over the soul of Tuvok). Tuvok's dual past--Maquis, Starfleet, Spy, Counterspy. All coming to a head at a bizarre and meaningless moment. (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!) All this, bookended by Art Deco, and movies known more for THRILLS! CHILLS! SCREAMS! than for coherent plot. Fitting.
the movie theater--eh. Cute set, but since they're likely to have access only to public-domain cheesefests from the 50s, I can't see how anyone other than Tom Paris would care at all for it--unless it's meant to be the new makeout headquarters of the ship. Perhaps Janeway can move her Irish holo-honey over for a little of the ol' Loge Luge.
Chakotay. I mean Chakotay. Please don't hurt me.
But the theater looked good, and Tom and B'Elanna looked good in it. The opening scene was nice for the P/Ters, and was a decent nod to continuity, highlighting Tom's talents as well as his quirks, that annoying eye for the minutest detail, no matter how it might detract from the casual participant's enjoyment. Tom loves that there's gum on the floor. B'Elanna...not so much. The closing scene, with the LIFE homage, was amusing, but again it didn't seem to fit anything--unless you want to suggest that the sight of a room filled with happy, conforming Voyager crew, all wearing 3D glasses, is representative of the "repressive" 1950s in which those movies were popular. Captain Scheisskopf wants everyone to march.
But I doubt it.
Anyway. I originally gave this 2.5 stars, but on more thorough viewing I can't even go that high. Call it (* *) on a 4 star scale--and 1.5 of them are just for Tim Russ' performance. He deserved better. (The other half star was for the view of B'Elanna in Maquis leather. Yummy, but I couldn't give more in good conscience, since she's now a married woman.)
In a nutshell: "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"
Next week: Doc joins an HMO.
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