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Kes is back. And she's not happy. Reunions with several old friends, and an old enemy.
Jump straight to the Analysis
Captain Janeway stands in her ready room. Her back is to the camera. The stars outside her window fill the screen.
We then see her eyes as the door chimes. The captain sighs and puts on her Captain's Face, but doesn't turn around. "Come in."
Tuvok enters. "You wished to see me."
"We've known each other for how long?" The disappointment in her voice is evident; something is up.
"Approximately 20 years."
"We've served on three Starships together. I was present at your daughter's kolinahr. I consider you one of my closest friends." Her back steadfastly remains all that her security officer sees.
"And I regard you with the same esteem," Tuvok says neutrally.
"I've always been honest with you," says Janeway, turning slowly toward him. "But you've been keeping something from me."
Tuvok thinks hard, but comes up empty. "I don't know what you mean."
"Don't you?" Janeway walks away from the couches, toward the desks and the replicator on the far wall. Her eyes, though, remain locked on Tuvok, and the barrage of accusation does not waver. " It took exhaustive research, sifting through teraquads of data, separating fact from rumor...but eventually, I arrived at the truth." Once again, she turns her back to the Vulcan.
"Captain...?" Tuvok asks--unsure how to respond, unsure even what he's done.
We hear the whine of a replicator. The dull disappointment in Janeway's eyes yields to a twinkle of mischief.
When she turns around, she's bearing a small cake, featuring the vaguely metallic blue-brown marbling of alien chocolate. A single, lit candle rests in the center.
The captain beams. "Happy birthday."
Tuvok, er, takes the cake. "Thank you," he says, relieved that Janeway was just having a little fun at his expense.
She's not done yet. "So, it's not long before you hit the big three digits, hmm?"
"Indeed," says Tuvok. Then, remembering Paris, he asks, "Have you informed anyone else of your discovery?"
Janeway's lips curve upward. "Don't worry, Tuvok, my lips are sealed."
A moment passes. Tuvok seems transfixed by the flickering candle.
"Well?" Janeway asks. "You're supposed to blow out the candle."
"That is not a Vulcan custom," Tuvok reminds her.
"Humor me," Janeway says, pouting adorably.
"Captain to the bridge." Janeway winces slightly at the interruption from Chakotay. But she continues to stare over her shoulder as she walks past Tuvok. She stops halfway to the door. "Well?"
Tuvok sighs and bows to the inevitable. With a quick puff of air, the candle is snuffed out. Smoke billows--and behind it, we see the pearly brilliance of a heartfelt Janeway smile.
"It was a fire hazard," Tuvok says, as Janeway's smile deepens.
The cake is left uneaten in the ready room, still smoking from the just-extinguished flame.
"We're receiving a distress call--a small vessel on an intercept course," Chakotay says as Janeway enters the bridge.
"One," Harry Kim reports. Then he looks up, wide-eyed. "It's Ocampan!"
This shocks the whole of the bridge. The nearest Ocampan should be more than 40,000 light years away--and since the average Ocampan lifespan is nine years, something odd indeed is transpiring.
"We're being hailed," Tuvok says.
Janeway, standing beside Chakotay, nods.
The field of stars is replaced by the interior of a small vessel. The sole occupant is haggard, wrinkled, with a dull silver mop of hair. Old, sunken-eyed, the pilot looks like death warmed over.
And yet . . .
"Kes?" Janeway asks, unable to believe her eyes.
For those playing the home game, or who didn't start watching Voyager until after the Borg Years commenced, here is a brief crash course in the Life of Kes.
Kes is a former member of the original cast, who left at the beginning of Season Four when the Borg assimilated Voyager (the series). An adorable little pixie of a character, she had a voice like chocolate silk, a heart as large as the Delta Quadrant, and a passion for exploration that perfectly suited the Starship experience. Kes was a medical assistant who birthed the Doctor as we now know him--advocating his rights as a sentient being when the Doctor saw himself as nothing more than software.
She was "mated for life" with Neelix until season 3, when she got possessed by an alien Warlord and broke up with him, but apparently decided to let the breakup stand when the demon was exorcised. Most fans blame Neelix's cooking, or the general ickiness of the whole January/December relationship, for the breakup. At other times, in other timelines and realities, she was romantically linked with Tom Paris ("Before and After"), the Doctor ("Projections"), Tuvok ("Warlord"--though that was more sexual tension than anything) and some alien ("Darkling"). A fellow Ocampa might also qualify ("Cold Fire") depending on how generous you're feeling.
Kes and the Ocampa have latent psychic powers--telepathy, empathy, and telekinesis--though some of these abilities had lain dormant for so long, many Ocampa wrote it off as mere myth. With the encouragement and guidance of Tuvok, Kes showed the occasional flash of ability, though it was rarely in full flower. The few times it did were the product of alien assistance/interference/possession ("Cold Fire", "Warlord"), and disappeared almost as soon as those influences were gone.
At a little over a year old when Voyager and Neelix rescued her from the Kazon, Kes would be nearly seven years old now. From "Before and After," we know that Ocampa generally look the same from maturity until their ninth birthday; at some point after that the Morilogium takes hold, sparking a rapid slide towards the final days of life where the body ages and the mind goes.
However, at the age of five, in the prime of her life, shortly after a brutal encounter with the telepathic Species 8472, Kes underwent a metamorphosis. She shuffled off this mortal coil and evolved into a being of pure energy. The last time we saw her, in "The Gift," her essence had engulfed a shuttlecraft and propelled Voyager 10,000 light years closer to home. The episode ended with Tuvok placing a lit meditation lamp on his windowsill, the flame burning as a reminder and as a beacon.
This was just less than 70,000 light years away from Earth. Voyager is now about 30,000 light years away from Earth, thanks to Kes' "gift," some alien technology, a few wormholes and other spatial anomalies, and so on, which even so took nearly 3 years to cross.
In the following three years, the number of episodes with references to Kes will be countable on one hand. For those who fell in love with the character, her departure to make room for Seven of Nine was a blow to the solar plexus. Some never completely recovered their fervor for the series, as the warm and compassionate young woman with the old soul made room for the tight-suited Amazon ice queen of a former drone. The entire feel of the show changed, and "Scorpion" is widely considered the transition from the ensemble Kes Years to the Seven-centric Borg Years.
That's it in a nutshell. In summary: The last time we saw Kes was three years and 40,000 light years ago, when her body was transformed into pure energy.
Oh, one other item: her new state of existence was violently incompatible with Voyager, causing massive disruptions in the structural integrity of the ship. It was too dangerous for her to stay.
Perhaps, in the intervening years, she has learned to control that aspect of herself. She's piloting a shuttle, after all.
But the way she looks, it must have been a rough three years.
"Captain Janeway...I need your help. Will you please give me permission to come aboard?" Kes asks weakly.
"Of course," Janeway says. "What's happened?"
"Please, let me come aboard."
Janeway makes it so. "Prepare the docking port. Tell the Doctor to stand by." Janeway's little girl done come home! Huzzah!
Then, the unexpected happens.
"Her ship is accelerating. It's on a collision course," Tuvok says.
"Janeway to Kes. Cut your engines. You're coming in too fast!"
But the shuttle doesn't slow. "Five seconds till impact," Tom reports.
"Lock on a tractor beam. Evasive maneuvers!" Chakotay orders.
BOOM. This bridge shudders under the impact. The lights go out.
"Hull breach on deck nine!" Harry reports.
"Emergency force fields!" Janeway orders.
Harry looks up suddenly. "Captain, a transporter was activated just before impact. She's beamed aboard!"
The last time Kes walked through the corridors of Voyager, the energy from her body wreaked holy havoc, blowing out the walls and crinkling the infrastructure like an empty soda can.
History is repeating itself--on a grand, if somewhat cheesy scale.
There's only one difference. Then, Kes was unable to control the damage. Now, judging by the cold rage twisting her face, she is--and causing as much as Ocampanly possible.
Quick guess: this Little Pixie went to hell. And she brought some back with her.
* * *
The BOOMs continue.
"I'm reading bulkhead ruptures--Deck 11, Section seventeen. [BOOM] Eighteen. [BOOM] Nineteen!"
"Cause?" Chakotay asks. Unknown, Harry reports.
"I've located Kes. She's moving through those sections," Tuvok reports. "She's giving off high levels of neurogenic energy."
This is not good.
"Janeway to Kes. Kes, respond!"
"Hull breach, Section 20!"
Janeway starts to get mad. Cross the captain, abuse her trust, and you risk her wrath. "Force fields. Security to Deck Eleven."
Kes encounters a forcefield. It glows blue as she approaches. Irritated, she lowers her head and plows through like it's not even there.
More stuff blows up real good.
"Force fields are not holding."
"She's approaching main engineering," Tuvok reports.
Janeway spits magma. "Bridge to Engineering. Intruder alert!"
Two burly security folks--is one of them Ayala? --are carrying the Big Guns. They intercept Kes. "Stop where you are!"
Kes does a bit of thinking--and with a flash of light, the two large men are tossed about like rag dolls.
The men get up, and try again to stop her. This time, she stomps not only the men, but also the corridor--you cannot even see the men inside the anarchic debris.
No further obstacles remain between Kes and Engineering.
Kes stalks into Engineering, her long robes flowing like an ancient prophet of doom in the midst of a maelstrom.
Torres is surprised; she didn't get the memo that an old friend was coming aboard. "Kes?"
Seven, who didn't have much time to get to know Kes, has a more practical (if still futile) reaction. She draws her phaser. "State your intentions!" Torres looks annoyed that Seven would treat an old friend like that.
But then Kes thinks a little thought, and the two women are tossed aside. Kes walks up to the warp core, and wraps her arms around it like a hippie hugs a redwood.
She begins to glow.
Torres takes command. "Evacuate Engineering." Everyone leaves but Torres and Seven.
Kes glows brighter.
On the bridge, Tom Paris reports that warp power is fluctuating.
Torres hails the bridge with more information. "Torres to bridge. Kes is in direct contact with the warp core. She's drawing power from it somehow."
"Shut it down," Janeway orders.
Torres hurries over to a control panel and begins shutting down the warp core. Kes, who notices the difference, thinks--and an angry bolt of energy slices through B'Elanna. She goes down hard, and doesn't move again. Seven rushes to the still form, helpless to do much else but watch.
Kes glows even more, until she's translucent.
Then she's transparent.
Then she's gone.
"Warp power is returning to normal," Tom Paris reports.
"B'Elanna, report!" Janeway barks.
Seven of Nine responds. "Lieutenant Torres is dead. Kes has vanished."
Tom Paris looks up. The camera is not on him long enough to offer more of a reaction than a look of blank surprise, not too different from the mug shot he gave last week when he first heard Tuvok snore.
Apparently turning Kes into an evil shrew wasn't enough; they also wanted to stomp P/T like a grape.
Hang on, kids--it could be a rough night.
We see the warp core.
Then we see a flash of light, and Kes reappears in Engineering, leaning against the warp core.
That's the Where. But what about the When?
Kes looks around to see if anyone noticed; naturally, everyone's got their noses in their stations and didn't see a thing.
With new reserves of energy, Kes does a quick change. Younger, smooth-skinned, clothes like we saw her wear in the first season.
Now THAT is the Kes I remember.
Well, not quite. The eyes are still old, and burn with cold intensity that the Kes we remember never had.
The doors to Engineering enter and--surprise! --Torres is here, leading the way. "Send Mulcahy. He's in deflector control. We'll need more power to Junction 12-J. And tell Harry I want to talk to him about building a new energy grid." Kes hears her, and leans against the railing from the inside of the warp core warning track.
Torres notices Kes, who is now leaning on the railing from the other side. "Lost?" Torres asks. Kes rarely ventures into engineering.
Well, we know it's at least three years ago.
"No, just looking." The voice is young now, too. "Captain Janeway suggested that I get more familiar with the ship."
Torres nods. "If you have any questions, let me know."
"Thanks." Kes heads for the exit.
"We're about to run a diagnostic on the warp core assembly. You can watch if you want."
"Thanks, but I really should be getting back to Sickbay." Torres shrugs, and returns to her duties.
That's the great thing about Star Trek. Thanks to time travel, nobody ever stays dead.
With apologies to Chevy Chase . . . not even Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
Kes finds a moment alone in the corridor.
"Computer, has long has Voyager been in the Delta Quadrant?"
"56 days, 17 hours."
Kes gives a secret, and unpleasant, smile.
Dang. This is way back in the first season, less than two months after Voyager's journey began.
That would explain why B'Elanna wanted a new energy grid.
But it doesn't explain why B'Elanna Torres is referring to the ensign affectionately known in Season One as "Starfleet" by his first name.
But that's a minor thing--just one of the many minor and occasionally major inconsistencies we'll encounter along the way. Some is inevitable, given the passage of time and its effects on the human body. There are times when willful suspension of disbelief is your only hope.
It is up to each viewer/reader to decide how much it matters to them.
Kes enters Sickbay. She makes a beeline for an instrument table, where she picks up a hypospray. She licks her lips with anticipation.
"Back so soon?"
Kes whirls around, hiding the hypospray behind her back, as the Doctor enters.
"I thought you went to the airponics bay to collect herbs."
"I forgot something," Kes says. Ah, says Doc, thinking nothing of it and returning to his office.
Relieved, Kes turns back around and reaches for an unknown drug, which she sticks in the hypospray. It's now locked and loaded.
"Pyong Ko," Doc says, surprising Kes again.
"You encouraged me to choose a name, remember? Pyong Ko was a 21st-century surgeon who discovered the genetic sequence for inhibiting cancer cells. It heralded a new chapter in earth's medical history."
Kes smiles indulgently. "That's a perfect name, Doctor."
Doc beams. "Then again, I'm also considering Schweitzer, Jarvik, Pasteur." He warms up to the topic. "There are so many options--each with its own merits!"
"Why don't you give it some more thought? You don't have to decide right away."
This part fits the timeline nicely. The Doctor made Kes his new assistant in training at the end of "Phage", and he first asked for certain basic crewman rights in the episode "Eye of the Needle," which aired about five weeks after "Caretaker." I think he did have control over his on/off button at this point, and his search for a name was quite active in these early days. He eventually settled on Schweitzer, though in "Heroes and Demons" which aired a few weeks later, he gave it up because it was too painful a reminder of--
But I digress.
Doc barely notices Kes is there, but he is eager to talk to SOMEONE, he being cooped up in the lab and all. 56 days into their journey, Doc is still stuck in Sickbay--and he can't imagine wanting to leave it. "Of course, it's not that I require one for reasons of vanity. I'm just a hologram, after all. But if I had a name, other than 'Doctor' or 'Hey, you,' it might encourage the crew to treat me with a little more respect."
While he speaks, he doesn't notice that Kes has left. But when he stops, he notices soon enough.
In the airponics bay, Kes--the young, innocent, full-of-life Kes--tends to her garden. For a one-lunged toddler, she looks quite healthy.
She hears the door open and she turns around--but nobody is there. "Hello? Neelix?"
The door closes. May just be another malfunction. Those darn Kazon have been wreaking havoc the last few weeks.
Kes returns to her plants.
Then Evil Kes sneaks up behind her, and applies the hypospray. Young Kes slumps to the floor.
Evil Kes grabs the combadge from her younger self.
Something bad is gonna happen. I just know it.
* * *
56 days after Voyager arrived in the Delta Quadrant, Neelix's cooking was still an acquired taste--and nobody has yet succeeded in acquiring it.
Tom Paris is already trying to expand the Talaxian's repertoire, with limited success. Neelix has just handed him a plate with what looks vaguely burgerlike, but with the inevitable Delta Quadrant variations. Not all are successful.
"Neelix, if you want to put your own stamp on it, maybe you should give it your own name--like 'the Greasy Neelix' or the 'Double Talaxian with cheese.'"
Inconsistency Alert: this Neelix is fairly deferential to the man he'd referred to mere weeks before as a "walking hormone", and of whom he was insanely jealous for many more months to come. In the first season, the original Neelix was a more rambunctious, even aggressively cynical character, who wasn't afraid of going head to head with Captain Janeway.
But not this Neelix. His gratitude seems sincere. "It has a nice ring to it. Thank you, Lieutenant. I'll keep that in mind."
Kes enters. Neelix brightens--this much is consistent. "Sweeting! What'll it be? The usual?"
"I'm not hungry," Kes says, doing her best to smile. "I thought that I'd bring Captain Janeway some coffee."
"That's very thoughtful!" Neelix says, reaching for the big pot and pouring into a smaller travel pot. "I'm looking forward to tonight," he says on a more personal note.
"Actually, I have a lot of work to do in Sickbay."
Neelix is downcast. "But I already reserved the Holodeck. I thought we could take a moonlit stroll through the marshlands of Oshionian Prime."
"Another time," Kes says abruptly. Then, more softly, "I promise."
Neelix notices the change in Kes. "Something wrong?"
"A bad morning."
"Anything I can do?"
"I'll be fine."
"I'm not having a great day, either," Neelix admits. "Nobody seems to like today's menu. I tried blaming it on a replicator malfunction but no one believed me." He's joking, a little. He seems to be trying to cheer up his beloved. And in another inconsistency, it actually seems to be working. First Season Neelix was a bit of a buffoon, with a sense of humor as ham-handed as . . .
Neelix, still holding the coffeepot, begins to gently tease Kes. "Wait! I...I think I see something! Neelix to Security--Kes' frown is losing its structural integrity. Red Alert--I'm detecting a smile!"
In spite of herself, Kes does smile a little.
"That's my Kes," Neelix beams.
But the moment passes quickly. And one wonders how much of that was just acting. "The coffee?" Kes asks again, through gritted teeth. Her eyes smolder--one half-wonders if she'd like to reduce the poor Talaxian to ashes right here and now.
Well, hey, who wouldn't. It took Neelix years to get endearing, and here we are back at square one.
Even so, one wonders if this Kes has been taking acting lessons from the Borg. Brrrr.
Neelix watches her go, and frowns. You can see the gears working. He's planning something.
Janeway's ready room is a sterile place at the moment. Very Spartan, with few of the amenities that will eventually grace the interior.
The Auburn One's Season 1 Power Bun is back, though a bit tighter than I remember.
Chakotay is here as well--and HIS hair is missing that distinguished gray. Apparently he's from the Merlin tribe, and youthens as time marches forward.
"That last attack nearly cost us our impulse drives. Fortunately, B'Elanna found a way to reroute power from the deflector."
"A good choice for chief engineer if I do say so myself," says Janeway. Chakotay smiles; B'Elanna was his idea, and it took him a while to convince the captain to even consider her.
Chakotay notices the hideous face on screen. "Getting to know your enemy?" he asks.
"I feel like I already do," Janeway says with a sigh. She smiles. "Remember the old story? A man goes to Risa, where he meets a beautiful woman who invites him over for an evening of passion."
Chakotay grins. "He wakes up in the morning, feeling wonderful--until he discovers he's missing a kidney."
"Every cadet about to go on his first shore leave hears that cautionary tale." Then Janeway's smile fades. "It doesn't seem so outrageous anymore, does it?"
"No," Chakotay agrees. "But the Vidiians are more than just your garden-variety monsters. I've been studying their culture. They were a lot like us before the Phage."
Janeway frowns. "Do I detect a note of sympathy?"
Chakotay shrugs. "Makes you wonder what we'd do under the same circumstances."
The door chimes, and Janeway bids them enter. It's Kes, with a pot of coffee. (This obsession of Janeway's was introduced a couple of weeks before.) "Oh, you read my mind!"
Kes sees the picture on the screen. "Vidiians?"
"I'm afraid so. We've picked up two more ships on long-range sensors. I've gone to full tactical alert. We're taking every precaution."
"I'm sure you'll get us through it safely." Damn you, she doesn't add.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," Janeway says, missing the subtext. "Tuvok thinks he's found a way to penetrate their shields. The next time they attack us, it won't be so easy."
"That's good to hear," Kes lies.
"Captain to the bridge," Tuvok hails.
"On my way," says Janeway.
Kes spills some coffee on the desk. "Oops. I'm so clumsy! I'm sorry."
Janeway smiles. "Don't worry about it. This desk has seen its share of coffee spills, believe me." She and Chakotay exit, leaving Kes to clean up.
Kes waits until the coast is clear, then sits behind the desk and begins hacking the captain's computer. We don't see what she's typing.
Janeway walks across the bridge to where Ensign Wildman works. Tuvok stands over the Ensign's shoulder.
"Ensign Wildman has an intriguing proposal," Tuvok says.
"We've been analyzing the Vidiian bio-readings from the last attack," Samantha Wildman explains. "Their immune systems have been compromised by the Phage. We could synthesize a neural agent that would incapacitate them without affecting us."
"Might come in handy if we're ever boarded," Janeway says.
"Exactly," says the Ensign.
Janeway nods. "Work with the Doctor. When you've got something, find a way to deploy it through the environmental systems." Aye, Captain, Wildman says.
Tuvok notices Kes leave the ready room and walk across the bridge to the turbolift. The two lock eyes for a moment, then Kes is gone.
But Tuvok winces, as though in pain.
Maybe she threw some bad mojo at her old sensei.
In the conference room, the senior staff discusses their options. Janeway sits silently at the head of the table. Chakotay paces the room, walking by each officer in turn, as though his shadow falling upon them is permission to speak.
"The ships we detected earlier have disappeared from our sensors," Tuvok reports.
"Maybe we outran them," Ensign Kim suggests.
"They wouldn't give up that easily," Torres says.
"Why would they?" the Doctor asks. He isn't in the room--season 1, don't ya know--so he's on one of the viewscreens. "Voyager's the only organ bank within half a parsec." That dry wit is present and accounted for.
Chakotay stands beside the viewscreen. "We fought off their first attacks," he says. "Now they seem content to show up on sensors just long enough for us to change course. It's like we're being herded somewhere."
"If we maintain our present course we'll end up in a region filled with subspace vacuoles," says Lieutenant Paris.
This does feel like a Season 1 scene. Quite an ensemble moment.
"We'd have to drop to impulse to get through," Torres says. She sits next to Tom and doesn't look at him like the pig he was, which is a slight inconsistency.
"Sounds like a good place for an ambush," Chakotay says.
"The Maquis used to lure the Cardassians into the Badlands. Those Galor class cruisers had nowhere to run." Nitpick: at only two months after the moment they were all snagged from the Badlands by the Caretaker, the Maquis were not referred to in the past tense. Harry still called B'Elanna "Maquis", and she called him "Starfleet." This continued until well into season 2, after the defection of Seska (unseen here) and the death of Michael Jonas.
Okay, okay. Now I'm just showing off.
"Neither will we," Janeway says, "Unless...Tom, how dense are those vacuoles?"
"They cover about 70 percent of the region," Tom says.
Janeway gets up, moves over to the monitor. "Excuse me, Doctor." Before Doc can object, she replaces his open channel with an image of the region they're headed to. It looks like a game of 70s-era Asteroids.
Janeway gets an idea. "Tom, what's the first thing they teach you about maneuvering at warp?"
Paris stands next to Janeway, and thinks fast. "'Faster than light, no left or right.' When possible, maintain a linear trajectory. Course corrections could fracture the hull."
"Exactly," Janeway says, using some of that scientist's mind in a way common to season 1. "We'd have to drop to impulse every time we made a course change, but--what if we let Voyager do the driving?"
Paris is dubious--let Voyager pilot itself? He crosses his arms. "Ma'am?"
"We could preprogram every kilometer. That way we'd only spend a second or two at impulse every time the computer executed a turn."
"Auto-navigation the entire way?" He doesn't like the sound of that. He could be stuck in sickbay if Voyager proves it doesn't need him behind the wheel.
Janeway gives her favorite roustabout an evil grin and a pat on the forearm. "No offense, but the neural gel packs can calculate vectors a little faster than you can. "
Chakotay looks over at the chief engineer. "B'Elanna?"
Torres thinks. "We'd need a more accurate scan of the region. If we even graze one of those vacuoles..."
"We could send a shuttle ahead," Ensign Kim suggests.
Tuvok pipes up. The camera is angled such that it's Tuvok against the room.
"The Delta Flyer. Its sensors are more advanced."
Everyone looks at him like he's been smoking his plomeek soup.
"The Delta what?" Janeway asks.
Tuvok blinks. "Forgive me. I...must have been thinking of another Starship."
The moment passes. "Prepare a shuttle," Janeway tells Tom. Then she addresses the whole team. "I want all of Voyager's systems operating at peak efficiency by the time Tom gets back. If we're going to pull this off, there's no margin for error. Dismissed."
Tuvok stands, looking uncomfortable. Something strange is going on.
In the shuttle bay, Kes works her magic on one of the small craft. "Computer, display an image of the Ocampan homeworld." She is unaware of the shuttle door opening; she's focused on the screen. "Plot a course from Voyager's current position."
Tom Paris notices what she's doing. "Homesick?"
"Lieutenant!" Kes yelps.
We don't get a great look, but we do see the second, black-centered pip on Tom's collar. "Tom," he corrects, taking the seat next to her. "It's okay. A lot of people on board feel the same way." We hear some of the disappointment in his voice; Tom's still having trouble fitting in.
"I spent my entire life trying to get away from Ocampa. Why would I want to go back?" Kes asks.
Paris shrugs. "Because it's home." Then he thinks. "Home for me means a penal colony. Out here, I get to fly a state-of-the-art ship, and there's no admirals in sight." He begins working the controls.
"What are you doing?" Kes asks.
"Getting ready for a scouting mission." He notices the flight path, already calculated, from Voyager to Ocampa. "You planning on going somewhere?"
"Uh, no, of course not," Kes lies. "I was just studying the helm configurations."
"I didn't know you could pilot a shuttle," Tom says.
"I can't..." Kes says with a nervous laugh, then recovers, and gives Tom a doe-eyed look. "But I'd like to learn!"
Tom smiles. "Well, then, why not learn from the best? I could start you off on the Holodeck, on an old Class One. It's the kind of shuttle my father used to take me up in."
"That would be very nice, Lieutenant." She stands to leave, then catches herself, laughs again, and shakes her head. "Tom," she corrects herself, patting him on the shoulder before taking her leave.
Tom watches her go, looking quite confused.
Tuvok walks the corridor toward the turbolift, reading a PADD. The lift door opens, and a small girl walks out.
"Identify yourself," Tuvok demands of the stranger.
"It's me, Tuvok. Naomi Wildman." She blows past Tuvok, but looks over her shoulder at him, beckoning the Vulcan to follow.
Ever security conscious, Tuvok investigates, eventually tracking Naomi Wildman into cargo bay two.
Where, to his surprise, he sees three Borg alcoves. Twin boys and a statuesque female, Borg and not-Borg, are regenerating. They pay him no mind.
But Joe Carey does. "May I help you, sir?"
Tuvok turns to see Lt. Carey, the original choice for backup Chief Engineer before B'Elanna came along. "Lieutenant, is something wrong?"
Tuvok, we must point out, is wearing 2.5 pips--the rank of Lt. Commander. Ironically, in the first season they didn't pay much attention to this, so Tuvok actually IS wearing the rank insignia he wore back then, even though he was a lieutenant.
I tell you, sometimes it's tough being a certain review boy. How would you call this? It's wrong, but it is consistent.
I don't envy the folks in the Historical Integrity department at Paramount.
Kes returns to her quarters. Someone has been here. A table is set, candles are lit, and romantic music is playing softly.
Kes finds a message blinking for her attention. It's Neelix. "Hello, Sweeting. I took the liberty of preparing one of your favorite meals. It's under replicator program 'Neelix One.' Call me if you'd like some company. Miss you."
What a guy.
Kes doesn't know whether to be touched, or what. Everyone's been so nice to her. It's tough to maintain a decent Deep Blue Funk when everyone's so darned chipper.
But Kes manages. "Computer, end music!" She sweeps the table clean, knocks over a chair, and seethes for a moment or so. Then, regaining her composure,
She heads to the computer. "Open an encrypted channel. Direct the signal to the following coordinates."
"My name is Kes. I'm aboard the Starship Voyager. Respond."
"I know you're receiving this transmission, and I also know that your attempt to capture this ship will fail."
"If you want to harvest Voyager's crew I suggest you answer me now."
Say what? Kes wants to carve up her crewmates for parts?
This does get the attention of the people on the other end of the line. The image of a vessel is replaced by a hideous looking older guy. "Explain," the Vidiian growls.
"Captain Janeway is aware of your ambush. She's found a way to evade your vessels. But I can help you."
A pause. "I'm listening."
"I can send you tactical data on their shields, weapons--everything you need to take this ship."
Why, you traitorous little--
"This is a deception," the Vidiian snarls.
"Do you want this crew or not?"
The guy decides to trust her--for now. "In return?"
"Safe passage to Ocampa for myself and one other."
The Vidiian seems shocked by the magnitude of her betrayal. "Why would you sentence your own crew to death?"
Kes' eyes narrow to slits. "They're not my crew. They abandoned me a long time ago."
That's not how I remember "The Gift."
* * *
Kes enters the airponics bay, and one of the gardens; at its base there's a cabinet, and inside it is the still form of the young Kes, still slumbering. Kes checks her vital signs, then caresses the cheek of her younger self. Satisfied, she closes the cabinet, hiding her handiwork.
Then she walks over to a computer terminal. "Computer, access Voyager's tactical database."
"Command authorization required."
Kes touches the screen. A bit of electrical dance commences, and the screen flashes wildly. A moment later, BOOP. "Access granted."
"Naomi Wildman?" Janeway asks.
"She appeared to be half Ktarian," Tuvok says.
"Ensign Wildman's husband is Ktarian. I met him once on Deep Space Nine."
"There's more," Tuvok says. "I followed her to Cargo Bay Two, where I saw a woman and two children--all with cybernetic implants."
"I can't explain it, Captain. I've had hallucinations before, but only while in a state of deep meditation. These were specific--and they evoked a sense of anticipation."
"It almost sounds like you're describing a . . . premonition," Janeway says. Indeed, says Tuvok. "I didn't think Vulcans had premonitions."
"They don't. That's what concerns me."
Janeway frowns. "Computer, maintain a continuous proximity scan of Lieutenant Tuvok--ten meter radius, all sensor parameters." To Tuvok, she explains, "in case you have any more 'visions.'"
"A logical plan," Tuvok agrees.
"Bridge to Captain Janeway," Chakotay hails.
"We're approaching the vacuoles."
"On my way," Janeway says. She and Tuvok make their way to the exit.
Janeway and Tuvok take their stations on the bridge.
"Last chance to take the long way around," Chakotay says.
"It does feel like we're sneaking through a graveyard at midnight," Janeway agrees. "Any sign of the Vidiians?"
"Not yet, but it's a safe bet they're in there."
"Tom?" Janeway asks.
"Trajectory is laid in. Our trip will take three hours, 12 minutes, 11 seconds with 216 course changes."
"Well, let's get started," Janeway says.
Paris acknowledges. "Engaging at warp eight. Sit back and enjoy the ride." Off they go . . .
"One of the vacuoles shifted position," Harry reports. "The computer's adjusting our vector."
"Dropping to impulse," Paris reports, though the whole bridge shudders from the change. "2.3 degree turn starboard. Jumping to warp six."
It's going to be a long ride. "One down, 213 to go," Chakotay notes dryly.
Janeway rises from her seat. "I'll be in Sickbay." She makes her way to the turbolift; things appear to be in good hands.
The bridge shudders again. Tom's voice is heard as she exits. "Dropping to impulse. New heading: oh-31, mark two."
Tuvok gets a funny look on his face. "There's a ship approaching. It's on a collision course."
Paris double-checks. "I'm not reading any ship."
"Lieutenant?" Chakotay asks, looking back at Tuvok.
We see the internal battle. Vulcan pride battles Starfleet duty. Duty wins out. "Permission to be relieved, sir. I am not well."
It's a rare request. "Of course," Chakotay says.
"The molecular structures appear to be stable," Doc says to Samantha Wildman. "Good."
Janeway enters. "Report."
"We've devised a neural agent that should inhibit the Vidiians' motor functions without causing any permanent damage," Doc says.
"Good. I don't want to add to their health problems," Janeway says dryly. "I just want to keep them from adding to ours."
Ensign Wildman excuses herself. "I'll get to work." Doc and Janeway are now alone.
"Doctor...when was the last time you examined Ensign Wildman?"
"I performed her annual physical six weeks ago."
"Did you find anything unusual?"
"She's in perfect health."
Janeway notes the guarded tone. "This may seem like a strange question, but I need to know if she's pregnant."
Doc is shocked. "I'm not at liberty to disclose that information. Doctor-patient confidentiality."
"What about 'Captain's orders'?" Janeway asks archly.
"Sorry," Doc huffs. "Medical protocol supersede your authority in these matters."
But Janeway has a trump card of her own. "The security of this ship could be at stake."
Doctor relents. His voice drops to a whisper. "She planned on telling you herself."
"Boy or girl?"
"Female...half Ktarian, as a matter of fact, which should nearly double the infant's gestation period." That would explain why she didn't have the kid until "deadlock," all the way into mid-season 2. "How did you know?" Doc asks wonderingly.
Janeway maintains her aura of omniscience, which fate hasn't yet beaten out of her--this is season one, remember. She exits, as Doc gapes.
"And they say I'm rude," Doc huffs.
Tuvok walks through the corridor. But he hears voices.
More than just voices--he hears a replay of the incident five years hence. The approach of Kes. The crash. The invasion of Engineering.
Tuvok clutches at his head, and ends up wandering into Engineering, where the voices grow even stronger. Including some, like Seven of Nine's, that he doesn't yet recognize.
"Problem?" Lt. Torres asks.
Tuvok looks around, disoriented. Then he looks at the warp core, and sees that future scene of Kes hugging the warp core, and frying B'Elanna.
Tuvok grabs his head and groans, and collapses to the deck.
"Hey!" Torres yells, rushing to the Vulcan's side. "Torres to Sickbay. Medical emergency!"
In Sickbay, Doc gets to work quickly on the suffering Vulcan. Kes assists. "20 milligrams lectrazine!" Kes provides it.
"Cortical stimulator!" Kes attaches it to Tuvok's neck.
"We'll start at 20 millijoules," Doc says, indicating a fairly low setting.
While Doc isn't watching, Kes "cranks it up to 11," maximizing the stimulator's output. "Ready," she says.
"Now!" Doc says, hitting the juice.
Only Tuvok gets a lot more than 20 millijoules. With a scream that would wake the dead, Tuvok goes rigid.
Doc is horrified. "He's gone into synaptic shock. I don't understand!"
Perhaps it's a kindness from student to teacher. If Tuvok dies now, he won't be carved up for parts by the Vidiians.
Or if he is, he'll be too dead to care.
Janeway is in Sickbay soon afterward. "Can I speak with him?"
"I think it's best to keep him sedated for now," Doc says.
"When did this begin?" she asks.
"Early this afternoon, in Engineering."
"Time...I need the exact time," Janeway says.
Doc isn't sure why, but he provides the information. "Lieutenant Torres called Sickbay at 1422 hours."
Janeway goes over to a display monitor. "Computer, display proximity scan of Lieutenant Tuvok at 1422 hours."
The data begins to appear. One mark is far higher than the rest, an angry spike. Janeway exhales sharply. "Oh..."
"Tachyons," Janeway mutters.
"I beg your pardon?"
"There was a surge of tachyon particles just before Tuvok collapsed," Janeway says, pointing to the output.
Doc nods. "That could have triggered this. But where did they come from?"
"They're normally caused by temporal distortions," Janeway explains.
Janeway doesn't answer, and that's answer enough. "Let me know if his condition changes."
Janeway exits Doc's office, and talks to his assistant. "Kes...you have telepathic abilities. Have you experienced anything unusual during the past couple of days? Hallucinations, premonitions?" (She showed these in "Time and Again.")
"If you do, you'll let me know?"
"Of course, Captain." Satisfied, Janeway leaves.
Kes' eyes go wide. Merde! She finds an excuse to leave Sickbay. "We're low on neuro-stabilizers. I'll go replicate some more."
"Hurry back," Doc says.
In her quarters, Kes contacts the Vidiians again.
They're in an unhappy mood. "Where's the tactical data you promised us?"
"I'm downloading it now. I'll transmit it to you once you've arrived."
"I need it now!" The Vidiian rages.
"Janeway's already suspicious. If I transmit it now, I'll be discovered."
"That's your problem."
"Apparently it's yours, too," Kes shoots back.
She's got him there. All the Vidiian can do is let out a heavy sigh--and hope his chin doesn't rot off before the call ends.
Janeway reaches the bridge and makes a beeline for Ops. "Gentlemen, scan for tachyon particles deck by deck."
"Tachyons?" Harry asks.
"Looking for something specific?" Chakotay asks.
"I'm not sure," Janeway admits.
"Report!" Chakotay bellows.
"We're under attack," reports Lt. Paris. (Enjoy the sound of that while you can . . .) "A Vidiian ship is closing on our position!"
Janeway sits in her chair. She sets her jaw. She gives the word.
The act ends with a much larger Vidiian ship closing fast, hammering Voyager with energy weapons.
* * *
The assault continues. We get a whole lotta BOOMs.
"We've lost warp drive and weapons!" Harry shouts.
"They're cutting through our shields," says Chakotay. "Remodulate!"
"I'm trying! They keep matching the frequencies."
Chakotay checks his main board. "We've still got impulse."
That's the good news. Paris delivers the bad. "They've taken out navigation. I can't plot a course."
To make matters worse, Kes has begun transferring Voyager's tactical data to the Vidiians, which makes the Starship even easier pickings.
Emboldened, the Vidiian vessel lowers a trio of docking clamps onto Voyager. The ships are now tethered together.
Let the harvesting begin.
"They're cutting an access route through the hull. Evacuate deck three and seal it off!" Chakotay orders.
"Bridge to Sickbay," says Janeway. "Are you ready with that neural agent?"
"Aye, Captain," Doc says.
"Stand by to release it on Deck Three."
In Sickbay, the Doctor tells Samantha Wildman to begin. "50 milliliters should suffice."
But then an alarm goes off, and the screens begin flickering. "Doctor!"
Doc's eyes go wide. "Doctor to the bridge. Environmental controls aren't responding!"
Janeway whirls on Ops. "Harry, what's going on?"
"We've been locked out of that system!" Harry says, disbelieving.
The captain sprints over in a New York minute. "What do you mean, 'locked out'?" she demands.
"The command relays have been fused."
Janeway blanches. "They knew where to find us. They knew our shield frequencies, which systems to target..."
"We're being boarded!" Harry says, his panic rising.
Chakotay returns Janeway's attention to the center of the action. "I'm reading an E.M. fluctuation. It could be a transmission."
Chakotay narrows it down. "Airponics bay."
"Who's down there?" Janeway asks.
Chakotay frowns. "I'm picking up two bio-readings. The sensors must be malfunctioning. They're both reading as Kes."
Janeway frowns, then springs to action. "Security to airponics bay. Shut down control functions to that section." She looks at Chakotay. "I'm going down there. Something tells me we've got more than one battle on our hands."
The bridge now belongs to the former Maquis "angry warrior"--at a point in time when that actually meant something.
In the airponics bay, the computers go down. Either the transmission is complete (and Kes is hiding her tracks), or the transmission has been interrupted and Kes knows the hunt for her has begun.
She walks over and opens the chamber holding the still-unconscious young Kes. "Computer, initiate site-to site transport. Program Kes beta-six."
"Unable to comply. Control functions have been disabled."
Kes sighs. She opens her medikit and prepares a hypospray, then applies it to the neck of her younger self.
Young Kes is still too groggy and out of it to understand what's going on.
"Shh! Shh! Shh!" Soothes her future self. "I'm taking you home."
Janeway leads the way, joined by two security guards. They encounter two Vidiians in the corridor, and a firefight begins.
The captain is pinned down briefly, but she orders the guards to lay down cover fire. She proceeds alone to the airponics bay, firing as she goes.
On the now all-male bridge, a testosterone charge is in the air when Harry Kim utters his next words. "We've got weapons back."
Chakotay runs over. "Can you target those hooks?"
"Not at this range. We'd breach the upper hull."
"It's better than being dissected," Lt. Paris counters.
Whatever they decide, they need to do quickly.
Chakotay makes the fast call. "Reverse the hull polarity. Maybe we can shake them loose."
Janeway arrives at the airponics bay under a volley of Starfleet and Vidiian weapons charges. The door closes behind her.
Janeway sees the two Kes', and focuses on the one doing the carrying. "Now, one of you doesn't belong here--and I'm guessing it's you."
Kes--the conscious one--glares.
"Tuvok's premonitions were real. You're from the future."
"A future I'm about to change," says Kes.
"You're helping the Vidiians, Kes. Why?" They took one of your lungs, for photon's sake.
Kes does one of those Scanners glares. The light in the room changes, as though all the photons were sucked out of the room and replaced with dimtrons. Then the light gathers on Janeway's chest--she is tossed into a wall. With a grunt, Janeway slumps to the floor, and drops her phaser. Her hair falls partially out of the bun--but like everything else on Voyager, it's self-repairing.
Kes makes her way to the door, doing her best to prop up her younger self. But the weapons fire criss-crosses the corridor, making it a place of instant death. With a curse, Kes shuts the door.
"Tell me why you're doing this," Janeway pleads. She limps over to one of the garden troughs, as Kes sets her young self gently on the ground.
"I won't let you hurt her again," Kes says.
Now Janeway's the one who is hurt, by the mere suggestion. "I haven't done anything to harm her!"
"You took her from Ocampa--her home! She's a prisoner on this ship!"
"No one's a prisoner here, Kes."
"I was a child. You corrupted me with your ideas!" Kes flails her arms semi-dramatically.
"What ideas?" Janeway begs, hopelessly confused.
"Exploration. Discovery. I believed you!"
Both women are jostled as the ship lurches and the lights dim.
"Hull polarity loosened their hold, but not by much," Harry says to Chakotay.
"It's a start. Reroute the deflector. Have it discharge anti-graviton pulses along the hull. Engage the inertial dampers. Get a controlled pitch going."
We see one of the docking clamps get a real workout as Voyager's hull begins to fluctuate. The shock absorbers on the clamp start to waver.
"In three years, I'm going to leave Voyager and search for higher things because you encouraged me to do it," says Kes, who has apparently been taking emoting lessons from Max Burke. Ananova.com reads the news with more passion.
"You encouraged me to develop my mental abilities. I wasn't ready. What I found...I couldn't control it. It scared me. I had nowhere to go. I thought of returning home to Ocampa . . . but I had changed too much. I knew they'd be frightened of me. I knew they wouldn't accept me, but they'll accept her."
"You don't have to destroy this ship, Kes. We can help you."
"No. I trusted you."
"No!" She gets that Scanners look again, the light flashes, and Janeway gets smacked down hard, flying back over a dozen feet.
But Kes gets knocked aside as well, when the ship lurches hard.
Voyager bucks like a bronco; the docking clamp manages to maintain its hold--but the cable connecting the clamp to the Vidiian ship isn't so fortunate. It snaps, and Voyager's rock-and-roll defiance increases.
"We're breaking free!" Harry reports.
"They're trying to lock on us with a tractor beam," says Tom.
Chakotay doesn't think so. Action Chak'son is in the house. "Reverse thrusters. Full power!"
"That could tear the hull apart!"
"Then tear it apart!" he bellows. Shades of Captain Sulu?
Tom doesn't need to be told twice. Harry winces, and Tom does as well--but he does what he's told.
And sure enough, the leap backward tears the hull apart. Or at least those sections the docking clamp on the sides of the slender neck of Voyager's hull (where the saucer section tapers down toward the nacelles); big chunks of outer plating get left behind, and some fairly righteous explosions spit out of the holes, like a particularly kick-ass Eddie Van Halen custom guitar during a particularly appropriate solo.
But they're free. And the soft underbelly of the Vidiian ship is in the perfect targeting position.
"Photon torpedoes--full spread," Chakotay shouts. "Ready! Fire!"
One, two, three. Photon torpedoes fly straight and true, and give the organ-hungry Vidiians a serious case of indigestion.
Kes gets up first. Janeway soon follows, though she has to lean against the conveniently located troughs. She's still got her weapon.
Kes marches toward her, with the Ocampa Death Glare in full fury. Janeway fires with her hand phaser, knocking Kes back a little--but she soon comes back with another captain-slapping skunk eye.
The good news is, Janeway didn't get stomped into putty with the last one. The phaser took its toll. Janeway quickly ramps up the setting on the phaser.
"It's set to kill, Kes."
Kes glares some more, and closes the distance. Reluctantly, but with determination, Janeway throws her arm forward to give her phaser blast a little more oomph.
Kes goes down hard. She doesn't get up.
Janeway kneels beside the now still form. She rolls Kes over on her back, and is shocked when Kes turns into her older, more worn-out, Dorian Gray self, like Madeline Albright in a good mood.
Janeway takes a shuddering breath, then taps her chest. "Janeway to bridge. Status?"
"The Vidiians are in retreat. Everything all right down there?"
Janeway looks at the two Kes'. Neither is moving. The fate of one is certain. The fate of the other, less so.
But still, the captain is on her feet, her bun is back in place, and the bad guys are barbecue "For now," Janeway says.
* * *
Tuvok stands near the warp core in Engineering. Janeway watches her old friend.
"She was here...in my last premonition. She appeared older. Her face was tired."
"What was she doing?" Janeway asks.
"She had her hands on the casing...as if she was drawing energy from it."
"The Tachyons are concentrated here," Janeway says. "It's possible she needed the core to travel back in time."
"If that's true, then she'll need it again."
"But we don't know when that'll be," Janeway says. "We have to be ready."
"Doctor to the Captain."
"Go ahead," Janeway says.
"Kes has regained consciousness."
In Sickbay, Tuvok and Janeway learn what they can from their still-innocent young Kes.
"What do you remember?" Tuvok asks.
Kes still looks slightly disoriented. "I was in airponics, and then I felt dizzy. And then I was watching myself."
"Yourself?!" Doc says, disbelieving.
Janeway looks annoyed. "Computer, deactivate E.M.H." Before he can protest, Doc goes zzzzzzt and disappears.
Well, that was rude.
Janeway thinks hard. "What I'm about to tell you stays between the three of us. Understood?"
"Yes, Captain," Kes assures her.
Janeway presses on. "Something terrible has happened...or more precisely, will happen. We're going to need your help to prevent it from happening again."
Time marches on.
Three years and 40,000 light years later . . . we're back where we started. In Janeway's ready room, where the captain is giving the Vulcan a hard time and enjoying every minute of it.
"It took exhaustive research, sifting through teraquads of data, separating fact from rumor...But eventually, I arrived at the truth." The scene is slightly different--the camera angle has changed, and Janeway doesn't keep her back to Tuvok as often.
Janeway turns away from Tuvok, then faces him again, cake in hand. "Happy birthday."
"Thank you," says the flustered Vulcan.
"So, it's not long before you hit the big three digits, huh?"
"Indeed. Have you informed anyone else of your discovery?"
Janeway smirks. "Don't worry, Tuvok, my lips are sealed." She waits. "Well? You're supposed to blow out the candle."
"That is not a Vulcan custom."
"Humor me," Janeway pouts.
"Captain to the bridge," Chakotay calls.
"On my way," says Janeway, who heads for the door. She looks back at her Vulcan pal. "Well?"
Tuvok blows out the candle. "It was a fire hazard."
Big smile, Big eyes. Big heart. Cute moment between longtime friends and bearers of each other's secrets.
"We're receiving a distress call--a small vessel on an intercept course," says Chakotay to Janeway as she and Tuvok emerge from her ready room.
"One. It's Ocampan!" Says a very surprised Harry Kim.
Janeway's eyes go wide. She looks back at Tuvok. "I'd almost forgotten."
Tuvok takes his station. "We're being hailed."
"Red alert," says Janeway instead. "Raise shields."
"Captain?" Chakotay asks.
Janeway opens up a shipwide channel. "All hands, this is the bridge. Begin emergency evacuation of deck 11. Repeat: all hands evacuate deck 11."
In Engineering, Torres and Seven lead the way. "You heard her. Get moving!" Torres bellows. Engineering clears. Torres whips the stragglers--you know how engineers can get sometimes. "Now!"
On the bridge, Janeway is satisfied that preparations are in place. "Open a channel."
The screen changes to a view of a very old, but still familiar, Ocampan. "Kes," Janeway says.
"Captain Janeway...I need your help. Will you please give me permission to come aboard?"
"Of course. What's happened?"
"Please, let me come aboard."
The channel closes.
"Her ship is accelerating. It's on a collision course," Tuvok says.
"Five seconds to impact," Ensign Paris says.
"Tuvok," Janeway says, reminding him of a long-ago conversation.
"Lock on a tractor beam. Evasive maneuvers," Chakotay orders.
"Shields are holding," Tuvok reports. "Her ship in intact."
"Captain, a transporter was activated just before impact. She's beamed aboard!" reports Harry Kim.
History repeats itself. Kes walks through the corridors, which implode behind her.
Harry notes the damage. "I'm reading bulkhead ruptures on deck 11 section 17, 18, 19."
Chakotay gives Janeway a wide-eyed look. "How did you know?"
"Ready?" Janeway asks Tuvok, ignoring her first officer. Tuvok nods. "Shut down the warp core," the captain orders.
She hands the bridge to Chakotay, and moves to the turbolift with Tuvok close behind.
Engineering is empty when Kes arrives. The warp core is also slowing down. Kes' frustration grows.
Then she's not alone. Young Kes is here. Old Kes is spooked by this specter from the past. Which of course it is.
"Remember me? The innocent child you're here to save? You blame Captain Janeway but the choice was yours. You made the decision to leave Ocampa, and you made the decision to leave Voyager. If you're watching me now, you've come back to take revenge on the people who cared about you. That's not who you are, and that's not who I am.
"Don't do this. Find another way home. Captain Janeway will help you if you give her the chance.
"Try to remember who you were. Try to remember me."
With that, the holo-message sizzles away.
Janeway and Tuvok enter. Tuvok's phaser is drawn. Janeway's is holstered, but her hand is mere inches away. "Don't you remember? You made that holo-recording because you didn't want this to happen again. Three years ago, you traveled back in time. Kes, you wanted to take that woman with you and you were willing to hand the rest of us over to the Vidiians to do it. It didn't work. You forced me to kill you, Kes. If you go back now, it will all happen again."
Old Kes isn't sure what to do, but she is being shaken in her resolve.
Janeway feels safe enough to hand her phaser to Tuvok, and walk closer. "Just before this terrible thing happened you told me you had nowhere to go. That's not true! Stay here with us."
"I can't. I don't belong here. I need to be with my own people!"
"You told me you had the ability to get home, but you were afraid the Ocampans wouldn't accept you. Why?"
Such a question. Kes tries to think.
A funny thing happens when you think. You never quite know where the thoughts will lead.
Kes' eyes widen. "I remember!"
"What? What do you remember?" asks Mama Kate.
"The holo-recording--I remember making it! You asked me to help you--to help myself."
Kes gets a strange look for this wrinkled, angry creature--she begins to smile, even to laugh. "You wanted me to remember who I was!" The weight of years falls away; the wrath dissipates. "These years were so filled with confusion...And anger. I buried the memory. I'd almost forgotten."
Janeway closes the distance still further. "Does it really matter which Kes goes home?"
Kes looks back, dewy-eyed with gratitude.
Sometimes it takes a phaser to dispatch an enemy.
Sometimes, though, it just takes a hug to dispatch the enmity.
A quiet farewell is conducted in the transporter room. Janeway and Tuvok, Kes and Neelix.
It's a shame the Doctor isn't given the opportunity to be here. He never got to offer a proper goodbye
"A few snacks for the journey," Neelix says, handing her a basket. "You do still like leola root?"
Kes doesn't answer directly. "Thank you," she says, as much for the gesture as anything.
Neelix continues to stare at her.
"What?" she asks.
"Just looking," Neelix says.
"See anyone you know?" she asks, almost afraid to hear the answer.
"Only you." Good answer. Kes accepts this with a sad smile, then stands on the platform.
"Good-bye, Kes," says Janeway, torn up to say so yet again.
"Captain," Kes says, all her emotions wrapped into the word.
Janeway nods to Tuvok, who beams her back to her shuttle.
"What should we tell the others?" Tuvok asks.
Janeway's voice is sad. "A friend got lost. We helped her find her way."
The small craft flies away, back toward Ocampa. And home.
Of course, if it took her three years to find Voyager, it could take three more to reach Ocampa. She's seven years old; few Ocampa live to see much further than nine.
But I won't tell if you won't.
Objectively speaking, "Fury" isn't terrible. A relatively consistent time-travel episode, filled with action and cameos and featuring some nice character moments. The ensemble work reminiscent of the early seasons was also in evidence, which brought back some fond memories. The episode was marred by uneven and at times flat performances, a few scenes that would likely be confusing to people unfamiliar with the character of Kes, and a climax that frankly strains credulity. ("Oh, now I remember--I don't hate you guys, I love you guys! I was going to go back in time and turn Voyager into a cannibal deli, but . . . no hard feelings, right?")
Some of the scenes felt a bit flat--Tom's reaction to B'Elanna's death, Kes' attempts to portray any emotion beyond mellow (I mean, I've thrown a tantrum or two in my day, and I can tell you, that was the second-least convincing room-trashing I've ever seen)--but all in all, I enjoyed the character interaction. It was good to see Samantha Wildman and Joe Carey again, however briefly. The Janeway/Tuvok scenes were nicely handled. The early glimpse of Tom Paris, shown with six years of backstory development, gave his shuttle scene with Kes some added poignance. It also was a nice nod to continuity; Tom began teaching Kes to pilot a shuttle shortly thereafter. The Vidiians were as ugly as I remember, and the battle for Voyager's freedom allowed First Season Chakotay--a character I miss terribly--to strut his stuff. The special effects were generally outstanding, though Kes walking through the corridors with the stuff imploding behind her looked a little cheesy.
If I had little or no emotional attachment to the subject matter, I'd probably give it 2.5 stars, maybe 3. Not a favorite, but not bad.
Speaking as a longtime fan of the Kes character, I haven't been this disgusted by an episode since "Demon." Maybe even "Mortal Coil."
The one consolation in Kes' farewell episode, "The Gift," was that she had evolved into something wondrous, and had gone off to explore her potential to the nth degree. She was living proof that Voyager's tenure in the Delta Quadrant had had at least one lasting, positive influence. A wonderful young woman of a species with a nine-year lifespan, who was born undergound and dreamed one day of seeing the sun, fulfilled the fondest credos of Star Trek--her world was hollow, and she had touched the sky. She soared among the stars. She rediscovered mental abilities that had been lost to her species for generations. Her enthusiasm for the adventure was infectious, impacting even the cynical Neelix. She was the Doctor's earliest and fiercest advocate, transforming a surly piece of software into a sentient, complex being. When she left, Voyager arguably lost its heart of hearts, that noblest and gentlest part of its soul. The post-Kes years were often exciting, action packed and high concept, and frequently excellent. But they were Kesless, and that loss was keenly felt by those who cared for the character. But at least she went out on a high note.
And then...in one fell swoop, those three years where fans could console themselves with the happy ending for a character who deserved no less, was turned into a cruel hoax. The Roddenberrian optimism for the value of exploration was spat upon, and one of the nicest characters in Trek history has been irredeemably compromised. It is ironic that "The Gift" ended with Tuvok lighting a lantern in his window in memoriam of his student--and in this episode twice blew out a candle to honor a tradition he didn't believe in, just to humor his boss. And doubly ironic that the birthday celebrated is at least 12 years smaller than the age set in stone in "Flashback." The teaser was both symbolic, and portentious--they were throwing out the rulebook for this episode.
It simply doesn't matter that Janeway and Tuvok managed to avert disaster in the end, and send a newly non-homicidal Kes homeward. That she is portrayed as having reached that depth of despair in the first place is what I find most disconcerting.
In my humble opinion, they should have left well enough alone.
I don't know how much more there is to say. Those who don't know much about Kes might not care one way or another, or wonder what the big deal is, or ask what the point is. Those who DO remember Kes, and wished to remember her fondly, will take scant comfort from this episode.
As often as I say, "hey, it's just a TV show," this week it's one of my sacred cows that got tossed on the barbie, and I'm none too happy about it.
Call it 1 damn star, the score I reserve for the episodes I hope never, ever, to be subjected to again.
Next week: Another TNG/VOY crossover, with Troi and Barclay and alien women in catsuits. Hilarity ensues.