It's Paramount's playground. They own the characters, the ships, species, planets, quadrants, and the dialog, plots, etc. My summaries and reviews are for the purpose of entertainment and analysis only. The reviews are full-spoiler, which means that it's as close as you can get to seeing the episode without actually seeing the episode. All that's missing are commercials and pictures. If you want to be surprised and haven't seen the episode yet, read no further. But if you've already seen it, or you don't mind finding out the details in advance, sit back and let Fatherly Uncle Jim spin the tale for you...Review Boy Style.
[Captioning sponsored by Paramount Television and United Paramount Network. "Missing" Canadian scenes transcribed with my thanks by Marianne.]
Seven of Nine dies. Voyager blows up. And they all lived happily ever after.
Jump straight to the Analysis
The vastness of space is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. It's like a three-dimensional Montana--no matter how fast you go, it still takes long stretches of nothing between rest stops and gas stations.
At the Utopia Planitia shipyards, however, space is in short supply. Shining Federation vessels, in varying stages of construction, hang lazily over the rusty Martian sphere, bracketed by scaffolding and anchored in space by a forgiving universal gravitational constant.
It's a busy day. Shuttles flit here and there, round and about, as duranium and isolinear circuitry are wedded into the latest in warp-capable transportation.
The camera zooms in on one particular vessel, toward which a tiny shuttle approaches. It looks familiar--perhaps it's the registry number.
NCC-74656. USS Voyager, looking assembly line new. But it was built over five years ago . . .
Man, that WayBack machine is getting a workout this month.
A lone figure beams into the crowded transporter room. There's no mistaking the near-regal bearing of Captain Kathryn Janeway. Her hair is in that Season One power bun. She exudes an aura of invincibility undimmed by years of hard travel in the Delta Quadrant.
A stern, silver-haired admiral greets Janeway. "You're late," the old man huffs.
"Sorry, sir," Janeway says crisply, stepping off the platform.
But the admiral is already grilling her. "What's the threshold of the H-Two molecule?"
"14.7 electron volts," Janeway snaps off without hesitation, eyes twinkling with the ease of the supremely confident.
"Third brightest star in Orion?" he demands next. (What is the unladen air speed velocity of a swallow?) "Viewed from where?" she shoots back. (What do you mean? African or European?) "Earth," the Admiral says a moment later. (What? I don't know--YAAAAH!)
Janeway doesn't even blink. "Gamma Orionis--or Bellatrix, if you prefer the original Arabic name." Had she been able to see into the future, would she have been so studiously correct?
The admiral nods grudgingly. "Not bad," he says. Then his frown is replaced by a grandfatherly grin. "Now, give me a hug, Katie. That's an order."
Janeway wraps her arms around the bearish man. "I wasn't expecting a pop quiz," she says, patting his back affectionately. "Just wanted to make sure all those pips haven't made you forget you're a scientist first," the admiral says, breaking the hug. "How could they? I still have nightmares about your fractal calculus final," she reminds him, and they laugh on their way to the corridor, followed by a junior officer acting as official scribe, PADD and stylus in hand.
Although the vessel's exterior work may be nearly complete, the overstocked crew is still busy putting the finishing touches on the interior. Crewmen litter the corridors, elbow-deep in open access panels. You can practically smell the newness of the carpeting and the whiff of ozone. All the shiny happy faces inside the shiny happy Voyager are a good omen--this is a ship with a bright future indeed.
"There's still some work to be done," the admiral tells Janeway, "but once the sawdust clears I think you'll be impressed. Voyager may not be as big as a Galaxy-class ship but she's quick and smart--like her Captain," he adds with a twinkle in his eye.
But Janeway is too busy drinking in the sights and smells and sounds of her new vessel. Hers. "700,000 metric tons, 15 decks, and computer systems augmented with bio-neural circuitry...top cruising speed: warp 9.975."
They reach a turbolift. A crewman is there, his sole duty to push the button to open the lift doors--no doubt a courtesy for the captain's first day on her new ship. This small touch is just one more indication of the embarrassment of staffing riches Voyager once had.
"Of course," Janeway says as the lift rises, "I expect to get that up another notch or two." The admiral doesn't look the least bit surprised: "Sounds like you already know your ship pretty well." Janeway's smile of unfettered confidence says it all. "I've been buried in Voyager's schematics for the past three months. I could walk the corridors blindfolded."
The admiral smiles affectionately. "You might not want to shut your eyes just yet." The turbolift door slides open, and the admiral leads the way to the bridge. Like every other part of the ship, the bridge is heavily overstaffed; crewmen swarm over open consoles and control stations.
You need a big audience for a moment like this.
"Captain on the bridge," he announces. All work stops; all eyes turn to the lady in red.
"As you were," she says with a wave a moment later; the work resumes. "It's bigger than I expected," she whispers to the Admiral. "Schematics never fully prepare you for the real thing," the admiral says, gesturing to the Big Chair. "Try it on."
Janeway stares at the padded chair for a moment, then closes her eyes and slides in. Right leg drapes over left. Arms rest at crisp 90-degree angles on the arm rests. The power bun hovers over the headrest like an auburn halo. She basks in the musky scent of the rich Corinthian leather.
A girl could get used to this. Janeway's look is one of pure satisfaction. Her own starship--an honor bestowed on a relative few, the culmination of a storied career.
The Admiral smiles at his star pupil. "Don't get too comfortable. I have more to show you." Smiling, she rises smoothly and follows the admiral into her new ready room.
"Your home away from home," he tells Janeway. It's too new for decorations--no personal effects, no plants, completely unfurnished beyond the desk and chair and couch by the window. The ready room isn't--but the captain will soon see to that.
For starters: the inaugural replication. "Coffee?" she asks. The admiral declines as politely as he can, but she dives in, ordering up a steaming mug of the stuff. The environmental control systems will do what it can, but from this moment on, the ready room will always have that distinct Colombian aroma.
"Any word from Tuvok?" Janeway asks after taking her first sip. Not yet, the Admiral says. "Shouldn't he have made contact by now?" asks, frowning. "We know he's aboard Chakotay's ship," the Admiral says; "he's probably decided not to risk exposure until he has to."
Janeway walks over to her shiny new desk, but doesn't sit. "Catching up with him in the Badlands is going to be tricky, even in a ship as quick and smart as Voyager. I've heard . . . about a pilot . . . who might make the job easier," she says guardedly, using the coffee as an excuse to draw the sentence out, leading the Admiral somewhere.
He bites. "Who's that?"
Her voice drops, softens; she knows this might be a controversial request. "Tom Paris." Janeway leans with her right arm against the back of her office chair.
"Admiral Paris's son?" She nods. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but he's serving a sentence for--"
"He's made some mistakes," she admits. (AAUGH! Why didn't they say it?!?) "But everybody deserves a second chance."
The way she says it seems to mean something to the admiral, though we aren't privy to it. (Of course, in the context of this episode, "second chances" has different meanings entirely.) "I'll look into it," the Admiral promises after a moment's thought -- he can deny his star pupil nothing.
The Captain and the Admiral return to the bridge.
"If it's not too late I'd like to recalibrate the navigational sensors," Janeway says between sips from her steel cup. "I think I can enhance the range."
"Your coffee's not even cold and you're already making changes," the Admiral says, glowing. They stop at the helm station. Janeway asks an Ensign in a blue tunic to excuse them; the officer, a young blonde woman, rises without a word and moves away.
Hey, wait a minute--isn't that . . .
"I like a ship that knows where it's going," Janeway explains.
"I assure you, Voyager has the best sensors in the fleet."
"There's always room for improvement."
Speaking of improvement--nobody can enhance sensors like a certain blonde Borg.
The question is, what's Seven of Nine doing in a Starfleet uniform over three years before she was removed from the Collective? Without any trace of her implants, yet? We see two eyebrows, no starburst near her right ear . . .
This may be more than the average flashback. Thewe's something scwewy awound hewe . . .
* * *
Janeway and the admiral discuss matters of both a technical and a personnel nature. Harry Kim, originally assigned as one of the drones in Engineering, has been yanked up by his Starfleet sideburns to bridge Valhalla at Ops--or will be, once he graduates and reports in.
While they chat, the Seven of Nine crewman heads from the crowded bridge to the empty briefing room, and phones in an update to a disembodied, unfamiliar male voice--perhaps it IS Seven. Definitely her voice. And she looks like she doesn't want to be noticed.
The Admiral, Captain, and Scribe enter just after she hangs up. The admiral shows off the briefing room with a flourish, but Janeway makes a face. "Starfleet's most up-to-date vessel and they still can't design a comfortable place to hold a meeting."
Janeway asks Seven for her opinion. Trapped, Seven answers haltingly. "It is an--efficient design." The captain smirks. "Well, there you have it, Admiral. It's efficient. I must be wrong." She casts a grin at Seven. "Carry on," she says, leaving her coffee mug on the briefing room table for someone to clean up, and her entourage exits, leaving Seven alone again. She doesn't stick around long; Seven takes a deep breath, then returns to the bridge.
Next stop for Janeway: Sickbay. "We've added a new system we're thinking of installing throughout the fleet," the admiral says. Janeway is way ahead of him; she tells the computer to "activate the E.M.H."
[Yeah, I know that up to now, we've always heard that Doc wasn't first activated until they hit the Delta Quadrant ("Projections"). This is just one gaffe of many. But at least they got Janeway's hair right.]
The EMH (he isn't Doc yet) appears with a bland expression. "Please state the nature of the medical emergency."
"It's programmed with over four million surgical procedures," the admiral says.
"Five million," the EMH corrects. "And the medical knowledge of over 3,000 cultures."
"Impressive," Janeway says--to the Admiral. She regards the EMH as she might a tricorder.
"Did you call me to chitchat or is there an actual emergency?" the EMH asks with a hint of that early bedside manner that almost got him reprogrammed with a bludgeon on more than one occasion in Season 1.
"Its personality could use some work," Janeway says, not considering her comments offensive to anyone that matters.
"I'm designed to practice medicine as efficiently as possible. Small talk only compromises my performance."
Janeway casts a baleful over-the-shoulder look at the Admiral. "You installed it, you take care of it," her look says clearly.
The Admiral takes the hint. "Thank you, Doctor," he says dismissively. "Computer, deactivate E.M.H."
This EMH hasn't yet learned to take things personally. But it's encounters like this that no doubt contributed to his early attitude, being activated in non-emergencies, treated with limited patience, and then deactivated.
Seven of Nine is now in Engineering, trying not to draw attention to herself.
As if. Even without the catsuit and the facial jewelry, Miss O'Nine is an attractive woman.
And who should make a beeline for our little drone (snicker) but the man we haven't seen since season 1, Joe "Family Guy" Carey. "I don't think we've met," he says.
"Jameson, Anna," Seven says. "Service number 8-6-7-5-3-0-9." (Or something like that.) Carey waves off the name/rank/serial number stuff; says he's not security (more like stellar cartography, the way he's mapping every inch of her, the cad). "I'm just...trying to get to know all the new faces around here. What are you working on?" The EPS manifolds, she says. He offers to help. She says no, and her body language screams GO AWAY!
"Well, maybe I'll see you in the mess hall later." Unlikely, she says. This catches him short. Thinking fast, she says, "I am not a member of Voyager's crew. I'm on assignment here at Utopia Planitia."
"Too bad," Carey says. "Well...next time I'm in the neighborhood I'll drop by and say hello."
He finally leaves her alone when she levels a phaser, set on Restraining Order, at his left temple. Seven finally manages to get away from him, and slips through engineering and into a Jefferies tube, ignored by just about everyone.
[To be honest, Carey didn't strike me as being particularly out of line here. An unknown crewman in the wrong-colored uniform--science officer blue--entered his section and started fiddling with his controls. He struck me as both polite and curious--in what she was doing--and not all that amorous. We know from "Parallax" that he's gunning for chief engineer, so offering to help someone from another department could be worth brownie points. He even tried to walk away a few times and leave her to her work, but she kept talking, inadvertently bringing him back.
But where's the fun in that?]
[MISSING SCENE-usual disclaimers]
Janeway and Admiral Patterson walk through the corridors on the way to Engineering. "I wish Starfleet would give me more than three weeks," Janeway says. "With a
little more time we could really explore the Badlands."
(A three-week tour. A three-week tour . . .)
Patterson just smiles at her. "You haven't changed a bit." Janeway smiles back--as if he'd have it any other way.
The doors to Engineering open to admit them. Janeway's eyes fixate on the throbbing blue dynamo of Voyager's warp core like she's an extra in a Bolian "Showtime After hours" special.
"Main Engineering," Patterson says unnecessarily. "Class Nine warp drive, tricyclic input manifold." (Yikes.) "You'll be the first to test it in deep space."
Now that's new information. Janeway got to test-drive the latest and greatest in Starfleet engineering.
From the adoring way Janeway views the warp core, one has little doubt that she feels up to the task of riding this dilithium bad boy for all it's worth.
Seven does some Jefferies tube crawling, stopping at a juncture. She whips out her strange communicator. "I've localized the temporal distortions--deck four, section 39."
Through the juncture, then back on her feet, she walks over to an access panel and opens it, where she sees a strange looking device. It doesn't look like it belongs there. She reports in again. "I've found the weapon." Begin the procedure, the voice on the other end commands.
She whips out a pen-like tool and begins waving it over the device.
A console in Engineering beeps. Joe Carey is the first to reach it.
Janeway, with the Admiral in tow, is there seconds later. "Problem?"
"One of the EPS Relays just went off-line," Carey says, confused.
"Voyager's first malfunction," Janeway says like a proud mama, as though Voyager's engines were an infant that just yakked up its first mouthful of strained carrots.
"I'm sorry, Captain. I tested those systems this morning." Carey prepares to fix the problem, but Janeway stops him. "As you were, Lieutenant. I've been looking forward to getting my hands dirty." The admiral just rolls his eyes. Janeway taps the controls, localizes the problem, and leads the way.
The same way Seven went moments before.
After some scans with the strange equipment, Seven reports again. "The weapon is out of phase. You've sent me to the wrong time frame."
"At least we know where the weapon was placed," the voice says. "Now we have to determine when."
As though we didn't know before, this is confirmation: we're not dealing with contemporaries. Seven's in cahoots with someone used to thinking of time as just another accessible dimension.
Janeway and the Admiral reach the necessary hatch. "This hatch is locked from the inside!" she says, frowning. "This isn't a secure area," the admiral notes. "None of these hatches should be sealed." Janeway scans through the hatch. The admiral is startled when he hears her prognosis. "I'm reading some kind of chronoton flux. It's coming from inside this Jefferies tube."
The admiral slaps his chest. "Patterson to Security--seal off deck four!"
Seven knows she's been detected, and calls in to say Get Me Out. The "weapon" (so that's what it is) makes transport difficult, though--she'll have to do some tweaking of the beacon before they can grab her.
Meanwhile, Janeway and Patterson and the poor scribe hustle through the corridors to reach Seven's location in section 39 from another direction.
Seven hears from two men now--a gruff older voice, whose comments sound like orders; and a kinder, younger voice, whose comments sound like reassurances.
We finally get a look at the other side.
It looks like the bridge of a Starfleet vessel, only different. It's much bigger looking, more spacious. The viewscreens seem to deal less with space than with other readings. The uniforms have a vague Starfleet look to them, but they're a bit more stylish, the insignia less pronounced. And some of the species we've never seen before.
"It's time. Pull her out." This from the older voice. It belongs to a man who's standing, looking like he's in charge.
The person he's speaking to is seated, at the place where Wesley crusher used to sit on the Enterprise-D. He belongs to the younger, nicer voice. "There's too much interference. If I transport her now we'll damage her bionetic implants."
"If we don't, Captain Janeway's going to find her. It'll contaminate the timeline." He says Janeway in a way that suggests familiarity... the younger man says Sir cautiously, but the older man makes it an order.
Resignedly, the seated man begins waving his hands over the controls. "Temporal transport in progress."
Janeway and Admiral Patterson reach their goal. But nobody is here. Janeway scans with her tricorder. "Question, Admiral: what causes a chronoton flux of .003?"
"I don't know," Patterson admits.
"Neither do I--but whoever or whatever it was...it's gone now."
Voyager's first mystery.
We get our first view of the outside of whatever those unfamiliar folks are in. It is vaguely Starship-like, but it is much larger than your average starship, and has the rough shape of a Klingon bird of prey. But it's clearly Starfleet--but not 24th-century Starfleet. Cool design.
The leader and the subordinate walk over to something like a transporter pad, right there on the bridge (assuming it is a bridge). "The subject is approaching the temporal threshold," the younger man says.
Seven beams in--with difficulty. When her pattern finally resolves, she collapses on the pad.
The younger guy casts an accusing glare at the older man. "I told you this was going to happen. She's dead."
Alas, poor Seven . . .
The older man looks grim.
Whoever he is, I don't like him much.
* * *
The younger of these time-traveling officers reports to the leader. Seven of Nine is dead and gone.
Guess they'll have to try again. That's the thing about time travel--if at first you don't succeed . . .
But fortunately (for the drama), there's a catch; if this were too easy there would be no tension at all. "Sir, a fourth jump--she could suffer neural damage--even temporal psychosis." So they've recruited Seven three times already. The failed effort and dead drone was simply the latest in a series of attempts to defuse a (snigger) time bomb. Failure does exact a cost--you can't try to change things an infinite number of times. Good.
The leader gives his subordinate a stern look. "Unless we repair the timeline, she's going to die. We're giving her another chance to save her crew and herself. We'll go back and retrieve Seven of Nine a microsecond before the explosion. That way no one will notice she's gone."
The younger man still hesitates. The leader says something he deems significant. "Tempus fugit, Lieutenant." ("Time Flies.")
If this all seems cryptic, don't worry: Tempus omnia revelat. Time reveals everything.
The Lieutenant nods and returns to his station. He coordinates the effort. "Raise shields. Time-frame: Stardate 52861.274." Hey--they've got their stardates down to the third decimal; not too shabby. "Delta quadrant. Spatial coordinates--87 theta by 2-71. Target: U.S.S. Voyager." And they've got a pretty darned good You Are Here map to boot.
[Missing Scene - Usual Disclaimers]
In the present, we see Doc through the Seasick Seven Cam.
"Follow the light. To the left, right.... and up....and down..." The BorgCam moves in the directions the Doctor orders, prompting a major Pepto moment.
When the camera returns to normal, we see Doc and Seven in Cargo Bay Two. Doc is saying hmmm a lot.
"I ran a complete self diagnostic," Seven says.
"Hmm hmm?" Doc says.
"At first I thought my ocular implants were malfunctioning. However, after consulting the Starfleet medical database, I realize it is a flaw in my human physiology."
This perks Doc up. "Specifically?"
"I'm experiencing dizziness, double vision. After considering all potential environmental and genetic factors, I've concluded I'm suffering from Albright-Salzman syndrome."
Uh oh. Never try to second-guess Doc on diagnostic matters. He scoffs. "A rare neurological condition that hasn't affected a single human being for over two centuries. Unlikely."
"Human physiology is imperfect--susceptible to a variety of disorders," Seven says, convinced she's right. (Talk about a battle of egos . . .)
"True, but in this instance, we can safely say that you are suffering from a mild case of sensory aphasia. A minor disruption to your neural-receptors. Neither rare, nor life-threatening."
Occam's razor. Given a choice of all possible answers to a question, the simplest is usually he right one.
Seven considers the possibility that she was mistaken . . .
Gazes deep into Doc's eyes . . .
Gets all gooshy inside, remembering their perfect dance in the Holodeck . . .
"Apparently I was . . . in need of a second opinion." She flutters those baby blues of hers.
Doc preens. "That's the danger of self-diagnosis. Patients always assume the worst."
He plunges a hypospray into her neck. "This should clear it up."
Sure enough, we get the BorgCam view as the nauseating view begins to settle down, until it's almost not painful to see though Seven's eyes.
"How do things look now?" Doc asks. Seven checks out her own hand, and seems satisfied with what she sees. "Normal."
Doc is summoned to Sickbay. "On my way," he says, then casts his adoring eyes on his favorite drone. "Next time your human physiology fails you, don't consult the database. Just call me." With a wink, he heads toward the door.
"You are the database," she reminds him playfully.
Doc doesn't even slow down. His voice gets that lovely flirtatious singsong quality.
"With two legs and a splendid bedside manner." And out the door he goes.
Yeah, right, Seven thinks, checking out his holographic hiney and making num-num noises as he walks away.
[As I've said before, I didn't see this--I may be interpreting things somewhat differently than they actually occurred.]
Tom Paris is strolling through the corridors of Voyager, whapping a ping-pong ball with a standard paddle with moderate skill.
He runs into Seven of Nine along the way. "A curious exercise," she notes. "Ping-Pong," he explains; "You should try it. It's a great test of hand-eye coordination." Seven rolls her eyes. "I don't require testing," she says.
Tom smirks. "Yeah, so the Doc tells me--a visual acuity index of 99.6. Why, you know, you'd be great at this game! Why don't you be my partner in the doubles tournament tonight? Chapman was supposed to play but he's come down with a nasty case of space sickness."
Seven shudders at the name Chapman. "I'm busy."
"Oh. Too bad. Well, I guess I'll have to tell B'Elanna that you thought you couldn't beat her." Ooh, Tom, you sneaky weasel! But Seven does react. "You're attempting to appeal to my vanity." Is it working? Tom asks. "I will consider your request," she says.
"It's yes or no, Seven--the tournament's tonight."
Tom smiles. "Great. Meet me in the mess hall at 1900 hours. We'll get in a little practice first."
What? Tom isn't going to play with B'Elanna against all comers? He's teaming up with his sweetheart's arch-nemesis, the Newman to her Seinfeld?
Death's too good for him.
In Sickbay, Doc notices the entrance of the captain, looking like a performance artist's interpretive impression of decaffeinated coffee. "Captain, you don't look well. Come in, please." Janeway insists it's nothing serious--but she looks and sounds like she is on the verge of piloting the porcelain shuttle.
"It looks like a simple case of space sickness," Doc says--the third he's treated today. Just like Chapman--odd. Janeway wonders why; they haven't it any turbulence. Doc suggests the inertial dampers might be misaligned. Janeway, who barely swallows down a Technicolor yawn, says she's had rougher rides that didn't have this effect on her. Doc says it happens to everyone; "20 milligrams of inaprovaline should restore your space legs."
"I'll check the dampers," Janeway says. "Double-check your bio-readings. See if there's another explanation." She rises to leave--and groans loudly.
The big Mess Hall Ping-Pong Invitational is in full swing. Neelix keeps score. Seven and Tom are on one side, Harry and B'Elanna on the other.
It's a close game. Seven must be a conservative player. But after a decent rally, Tom wins the point. "It's all in the wrist," Tom says modestly.
B'Elanna just glares at him. "Score?" She asks. 19-18, Neelix says.
Tom serves again. It's a good back and forth. But once again Paris finds his opening. "Say good night, Harry!" he spikes the ball in a certain ace--
But the ball stops in midair, right over the net.
And continues to hang.
Nobody expected that.
"What do you call that shot?" Harry asks.
Seven is the first to whip out the tricorder. "I'm reading temporal distortions."
A moment later, the ball remembers that it has a game to play, and continues on its trajectory, nicking the edge of the table before skittering behind one of the tables.
But nobody is thinking about the game anymore.
Janeway enters Astrometrics. Torres and Tuvok are working on the problem there. Tom and Seven are sleeping off their victory celebration, even if the temporal weirdness did put an asterisk by the victory. "Report," she orders.
"The temporal distortions are fracturing space-time throughout the ship," Torres reports. Cause? Janeway asks. Unknown, Tuvok says: "They appear to be emanating from deck four, section 39." Whoa--déjà vu.
"We've already erected force fields but they're not having much effect," B'Elanna says. "If we can't find a way to stop them they'll tear the ship apart."
"How much time do we have?" The captain asks. Two hours, at most, Tuvok says.
Janeway nods. "Go to deck four and find out what we're dealing with. Let's see if we can find a way to enhance the force fields."
Doc has a line of people waiting for their Pepto hypo. "An injection a day keeps space sickness away," he tells Nameless Crewman #42. The poor guy just grimaces. Doc frowns; "you try to be funny after treating 37 cases of nausea." The crewman flees without saying anything.
Janeway hails Doc. "We've found the source of our epidemic--temporal distortions." Doc thought as much. "I was beginning to suspect some kind of anomaly. I've designed a treatment that seems to be inhibiting the symptoms." Janeway likes the sound of that, and tells him to keep her posted.
Neelix calls a moment later. "I've got a medical emergency in the mess hall. Ensign Mannus is violently ill." On my way, Doc says, reaching for his holoemitter, putting some other nameless crewman in charge of sickbay.
When Doc arrives in the mess hall, Neelix is amiable, not frantic at all. "Doctor! Shall I whip you up a photonic snack?" he asks.
Doc is confused; "Where's the medical emergency?"
"I hope you're not referring to this pot roast," Neelix says with a grin.
"You called me a few minutes ago. You said Ensign Mannus was ill." This is news to Neelix, but Doc insists that Neelix called. Neelix points over to the far wall, where Ensign Mannus is working away at a computer terminal. "Ensign Mannus is right over there. He came in an hour ago and he looks perfectly norm..."
Mannus picks that moment to collapse onto the keyboard. Perfect timing.
They rush over. Doc waves his tricorder. "Acute space sickness."
"Good thing you were here," Neelix says earnestly. Doc frowns. "I wouldn't have been, if you hadn't..."
His eyes light up. "Temporal distortions!" Neelix has no idea what he's talking about, but Doc is already investigating his theory. He calls up the current time in Sickbay, and the current time in the Mess Hall. "This is all starting to make sense. In Sickbay, it's 1500 hours, 43 minutes--but in the mess hall, it's 1536." Cool. This does for time what "Twisted" and "Course: Oblivion" did for space.
Doc gets a faraway quality in his voice. "I did get a call from you. You just haven't made it yet."
In her ready room, Janeway orders coffee. She grimaces when she takes her first sip.
Chakotay comes calling a moment later, and Janeway waves him in. She can tell from the look on his face that the report isn't what she wants to hear. "Before you say anything, let me remind you what happens to bearers of bad news."
"Don't kill the messenger," he says, smiling. She nods, and he continues. "It looks like these space-time fractures are growing stronger. We're detecting temporal paradoxes throughout the ship." Paradoxes? Janeway asks. Yup. "Internal chronometers show it's 0600 on deck nine and 0605 on deck 13. Time's passing more quickly in some parts of the ship and slowing down in others." Well, that explains the coffee, Janeway says; it tastes like it's three days old. Chakotay says the mess hall is having the same problem--food spoils as soon as it's replicated.
"I've been working on a way to enhance our containment fields to keep the fractures from spreading," Janeway says. "I'll get a team on it right away," Chakotay says; "in the meantime, we should evacuate the affected areas." See to it, she says.
"There's one other problem," Chakotay says, walking toward the captain's desk.
Then there's three or four of Chakotay, all of them walking toward her at varying speeds, saying basically the same thing. (It's raining men!) "Turbolifts two and three are off-line so we've been using the Jefferies tube," the Chakotays say.
Janeway whips out the tricorder. Chakotay doesn't know why. She explains. "There's a temporal distortion intersecting this room. It's expanding.
"Time to test your new containment fields," he suggests.
Seven and Torres crawl through the Jefferies tubes. They reach the by-now-familiar junction. "This is where they're coming from," Torres says. "I still can't tell what's causing them."
But Seven can. She's got BorgVision. "A piece of technology. It's emitting temporal distortions." Torres wonders why she can't see it; Seven says her multifunction ocular implant "can detect irregularities in space-time." Like those times when Tom Paris' eyes are not so much blue as gray.
Kidding, Rosie, kidding. Tom's eyes are as blue as indigo. Blue as a bluesman whose baby done left him when he woke up this mornin' while the sky was cryin' and it was floodin' down in Texas.
B'Elanna tabs her combadge. "Torres to bridge. We've found the problem. There's some kind of device in junction beta-28."
Beam it off the ship, Janeway orders. But Tuvok can't get a lock. Harry reports the ship is about two minutes away from one serious Boom.
During the brouhaha, two guys in the futuristic Starfleet suits beam into a corridor.
Harry detects the beam-in. "I'm picking up a strange reading on deck four," he says. Janeway asks what kind. "It's a chronoton flux--.003."
Janeway perks up at the 0.003. Chakotay and Harry exhaust their possibilities, but Janeway runs over to Ops, looking at the readings herself.
"Dry dock . . . " she whispers at last, catching Harry off guard. She explains. "The first time I saw these readings was...five years ago? Voyager was still in dry dock. Same readings, same location." What caused them? Harry asks. "I never found out," she admits.
But there are more pressing concerns. Structural integrity failing, says Chakotay. Hull breaches all over the ship, Tuvok says, adding that emergency systems are failing.
"The distortions are ripping us apart. We have to abandon ship!" Chakotay says.
Janeway hates to do it, but does anyway. "All hands, this is the Captain. Proceed to the escape pods and abandon ship. Repeat: abandon ship. Program the pods for a heading of 178 mark 4. We'll rendezvous in orbit of an M-class planet at those coordinates. Repeat: All hands proceed to the escape pods and abandon ship."
The crewmen begin to head for the escape pods.
Seven moves through the corridors. The section she's in is almost completely empty.
She encounters two guys in uniforms she doesn't recognize. "Identify yourselves."
"No time," the Lieutenant says. He attaches a small beacon to Seven's shoulder, and seconds later; all three of them beam away.
On the bridge, Janeway goes down with the ship. She sighs dramatically.
Then we get an outside view--just as the temporal riptide shreds Voyager, causing a moderate explosion with a whole lot of shrapnel.
* * *
Back to the future . . .
Seven of Nine and the Lieutenant appear on the future vessel. They walk toward the leader.
"Welcome back," the leader says, noting Seven's presence.
Seven seems to be taking everything in stride. "Why have you brought me here?"
The leader shrugs. "For some reason, I always think you'll remember. I'm Captain Braxton. This is Lieutenant Ducane. You're aboard the Federation Timeship Relativity."
Wait. Braxton? That whack-job from "Future's End"? The one who let Ed Begley Jr. hijack his time-ship, making Windows a global standard?
He's evil, Seven. Destroy him now.
"I'm no longer in the 24th century," Seven guesses.
"No," says Braxton. "For you, it's almost 500 years later. We've brought you here to help us solve a mystery. Someone--we don't know who--has planted a weapon aboard Voyager. It's designed to fracture space-time within a radius of 150 meters." We've seen its impact--pretty impressive for a neon Figure Eight. They need her help because even in the 29th century, not all Federation technology is to the level of 24th-century Borg know-how. Her ocular implant, as we've seen here, is a bomb-sniffin' marvel. She's also more familiar with Voyager and her crew, Braxton explains, "less likely to arouse suspicion. So far, you've been quite useful."
"We've recruited you twice before for this mission," Braxton explains. He shows her the bomb schematic--a "temporal disruptor," it's called. He explains what happened on her previous attempts without mentioning the "oh yeah, you died" part.
Seven asks pertinent questions, and the answers are unsatisfactory. Nobody knows who did it, even with the benefit of hindsight and high-resolution time scanners. They don't know exactly when the device was placed, though they have come close--three years before, during a Kazon attack many thousands of light years from Voyager's current position, before Voyager had reached the borders of Borg space, before they'd crossed the Necrit Expanse (remember that?)
Seven of Nine: Do you know when the device was placed?
Seven doesn't respond favorably when she sees the Kazon. "Species 329." Unworthy of assimilation.
"Our database indicates Voyager was boarded twice during that period," Ducane says. Seven wouldn't know--but that sounds about right. Maneuvers and Basics. Seven says they couldn't have planted that weapon, but Ducane says they believe someone who could have done it when Voyager's shields were down planted the weapon.
"If I fail, you will recruit me again," Seven asks.
"If necessary," Braxton says. "But this will be the third time you're going to be removed from your time frame. If we do it a fourth, there could be certain...Side effects." Ducane elaborates. "You might experience sensory aphasia. It affects the cerebral cortex and can lead to temporal psychosis." Braxton offers a halfhearted word of encouragement: "But in your case we're hoping third time's a charm, eh?"
Seven isn't encouraged. Nevertheless, Ducane looks a bit more concerned for Seven's own person, and she draws strength from that. "I'll do my best," she says.
Braxton assigns Ducane to bring Seven up to speed. Good choice.
Tempus fugetaboutit . . .
Ducane drills Seven of Nine on how much she's "assimilated." "The Dali paradox?" Seven recites. "Also known as the Melting Clock Effect. It refers to a temporal fissure which slows the passage of time to a gradual halt."
The Pogo Paradox? "A causality loop in which interference to prevent an event actually triggers the same event." Ducane, impressed, asks for an example. "The Borg once traveled back in time to stop Zefram Cochrane from breaking the warp barrier. They succeeded, but that in turn led the Starship Enterprise to intervene. They assisted Cochrane with the flight the Borg was trying to prevent. Causal loop complete."
"So, in a way, the Federation owes its existence to the Borg?" Ducane asks with a smile.
"You're welcome." Then Seven provides another concept on her own. "The Seven of Nine paradox. How we do know that my presence on Voyager will not alter the timeline?"
Ducane is amused. "You know, you've asked me this every time?"
"What's been your response?"
"That uncertainty is part of the equation. We don't know what's going to happen."
"I don't enjoy uncertainty," Seven says, frowning. This would explain her social life. Few things are as uncertain as dating and relationships.
"Neither do I," Ducane says. "But I trust Captain Braxton's instincts, just as you trust Captain Janeway's."
I have to ask--why the heck would Ducane trust Braxton's instincts? We've already seen him question Braxton's instincts several times, and the episode's only half over.
Braxton gives Seven her briefing. "This is a simulation of junction 49 on Voyager's fourth deck. Thanks to you, we've learned that the temporal disrupter was, and will be, concealed here. I gave up trying to keep my tenses straight years ago."
[Some folks asked why Seven went to Dry Dock the last time, and to the Year of Seska this time? The answer is simple: they know the bomb wasn't placed then. There's no need to go back. It sounds like they'd attempted to go back to the very beginning, before Voyager was even commissioned, and disable it when most of the crew wouldn't know Seven of Nine from Agent 007. The idea of going to that time probably came from Seven of Nine's first unsuccessful mission to the past.
Narrow down. Triangulate. Seven's first mission tells them something that they must know. They get part of that knowledge in her second mission (where to find the bomb), where they learn something else new. Now the third time, they're going to use what they learned the previous two times.
"How will I disarm it?" Seven asks.
"You've already tried... Unsuccessfully. The weapon's out of phase. You'll have to find the saboteur before he plants it. This," he says, handing Seven an unfamiliar futuristic device, "will detect any chronoton flux other than your own. And I'm authorizing you to use whatever force may be necessary," he adds, handing her a much more familiar device: a 29th-century phaser.
"One more thing," Braxton says. "Watch out for the Janeway Factor." Ooh--she has a whole Factor named after her! "Your captain has a knack for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong--especially when it comes to time travel." Braxton doesn't seem to like Janeway much, does he?
"Captain Janeway is quite resourceful. Has it occurred to you that she may be helpful?"
Hardly. "Helpful? That woman has been responsible for three major temporal incursions." (I know, I know--which three? There are more than three to choose from. "Parallax" (relatively minor); "Time and Again" (fairly major, since an entire planet was destroyed and then undestroyed); Future's End, obviously; "Eye of the Needle" (extensive relations with a Romulan who lived 20 years before, through a wormhole); the whole Year of Hell thing with Annorax and the Temporal Eraser ship; Harry Kim in "Timeless." There are no doubt more.
"No doubt creating numerous paradoxes," Seven notes dryly.
"And who do you think had to repair the damage? Me." Not that he's obsessing or anything. "She's reckless; she has no regard for the integrity of the timeline." Well, at least she's consistent.
"I asked for her help once." Oh, yeah. "Please stand still while I blow you to hell." "She refused" (can you blame her?) "And I ended up stranded in the late 20th century." (Which, technically, he shouldn't remember; thanks to Janeway, they broke the temporal loop.)
"After three decades with those post-industrial barbarians I had to go through extensive rehabilitation before I could return to duty," Braxton says. Again, I don't get this--the Braxton we met at the very end of "Future's End" didn't have any idea what Janeway was talking about when he showed up and she already knew him.
But clearly Braxton has a personal beef with The Janeway. "Avoid contact with Janeway. That's an order."
Seven doesn't like it, but she complies. "Yes...Sir."
Ducane waves a futuristic device over Seven's face. Her Borg implants fade away--still there, just not entirely in the Here and Now. The result, and the new blue-shouldered science uniform of 24th-century Starfleet, makes Seven look like any other anonymous crewman.
All is in readiness. Braxton gives her a final encouragement. "We have a saying in our line of work: 'there's no time like the past.'"
Ducane handles the insertion routine. "Raise shields. Time frame: Stardate 49123.5621." Wow--four decimal places! That's down to the second, almost. "Delta quadrant. Spatial coordinates: 21 alpha prime by 936 zeta. Target: U.S.S. Voyager."
The Kazon, in their huge lumbering ships, pound Voyager's shields. This is in the second season, where Janeway's first line of defense was the self-destruct button.
"All hands to battle stations," Chakotay announces on shipwide. We're under attack. Repeat: all hands to battle stations . . . "
Seven beams into a relatively solitary part of the corridor, wearing her Starfleet uniform. She hears the warnings, but does not heed them.
She has more important work to do.
* * *
Seven of Nine has little difficulty roaming about the ship undetected. Everyone else is busy at the moment, worrying about the ongoing battle with the huge Kazon battleship.
We see the bridge abuzz with activity as Janeway calls for evasive maneuvers, return fire, etc. We know how all these battles turn out--lots of damage to the ship and the occasional casualty--so for the moment, we can safely ignore it.
But when Seven of nine begins mucking about in the Jefferies tubes, Harry Kim pipes up. "Captain, I'm picking up a strange reading on deck four." Janeway doesn't care a great deal about it until he mentions the details. "It's a chronoton flux--.003."
Janeway has a good memory for mysteries. She sprints toward Ops. Chakotay and Tuvok are merely curious. But Janeway's curiosity runs deeper. "I've seen these readings before," she whispers.
When Seven reaches the expected section, the weapon is not there. "There's no sign of the weapon," she reports to Braxton.
"Any uninvited guests?" Braxton asks.
Seven checks her temporal tricorder. "Not yet."
Ti-yi-yi-yime is on my side . . .
Meanwhile, the tide of the Kazon battle is turning somewhat in Voyager's favor. Voyager's warp drive is back, sorta. Only warp two, but that's good enough for a quick escape. "I'll take it. Engage," Chakotay orders, and Paris complies. "They're not pursuing," Tom says a moment later.
Janeway is still banging her head against the temporal conundrum at Ops. Then her eyes light up. "Dry dock!"
"Ma'am?" Harry asks.
"The first time I saw these readings was over two years ago when Voyager was in dry dock. Same readings, same location."
"What caused them?" Harry asks.
"I never found out. The signal vanished before we could isolate it." Janeway springs to action. "Erect a level-ten force field around that section," she calls to Tuvok.
Chakotay frowns. "Is this really the time to be chasing sensor ghosts?"
Janeway looks grim. "Something tells me this is more than a coincidence. Seal off deck four; Tuvok, you're with me." She heads for the turbolift.
Seven of Nine hears the alarm and reports in. "They've erected force fields around my location. I may have been detected. How shall I proceed?"
She gets no response. Just static.
"Lieutenant, respond!" She repeats.
Aboard the Relativity, panic has begun to set in. The Janeway Factor has kicked in yet again.
"What's wrong?" Braxton demands.
"The force fields are blocking our transmissions," Ducane says. Compensate, Braxton orders, calling out to Seven for a report.
Seven responds: "Relativity, are you there?"
Ducane's lips stretch into a thin line. "It's no use, sir; she can't hear us."
Braxton's stern features grow grim.
Seven high-tails it away from section 39, but finds herself trapped between forcefields. Nowhere to run.
She soon has company. "I don't believe we've been introduced, Ensign," Captain Janeway says, phaser leveled at Seven.
"Lower the force field," Seven says forcefully.
Recognition dawns on Janeway. "I stand corrected. We have met. Utopia Planitia. The briefing room. You told me it was 'efficient.' " (It shouldn't be too surprising that she would remember this. "Voyager's first mystery" is something she would have gone over repeatedly, trying to capture every detail. Doubtless Joe Carey would have remembered that Ensign Anna Jameson had said she was realigning the EPS conduits, the very system that went goofy a few moments later. Minor bits perhaps, but the pieces of the puzzle add up. And Seven is a hard person to forget.)
The Relativity can't speak with Seven, but they can hear everything. Braxton grits his teeth. "Janeway..." he mutters as though uttering the name of the foulest demon in Tartarus.
Not surprisingly, he's not the first to take The Janeway's name in vain. She has that effect on a lot of people. Everybody may love Raymond, but captains like Janeway tend to pick up enemies like polyester picks up static.
"You've mistaken me for someone else," Seven tells Janeway.
"Oh, I don't think so. So, here you are, two years later, on the other side of the galaxy--imagine that."
"You are preventing me from completing a vital mission," Seven says urgently.
Janeway is unmoved. "Who are you, and what are you doing on my ship?"
[Don't say anything, Braxton growls 500 years later.
She can't hear you, sir, Ducane points out. Braxton just glares at him.]
"My designation is irrelevant," Seven says, "but I assure you I have no hostile intentions."
"Somehow, I don't find that very comforting." This does seem like the highly paranoid, Activate-Self-Destruct Janeway we saw so much of in season 2. "Are you working with the Kazon?"
Seven makes a disgusted face; as if! "No. I am not."
Tuvok runs a scan, and discovers the partial truth. "I'm detecting biomechanical implants. They have a Borg signature." Janeway slams her hand against her chest. "Janeway to the bridge. Scan the vicinity for Borg ships."
Did you say Borg? Chakotay asks. "Do it!" Janeway orders.
"You will find none," Seven says. "Then how did you get here?" Janeway demands. "I'm no longer Borg," Seven says. "Then who are you?" Janeway says.
"I can't answer your questions." [Good, Braxton mutters.] "Why not?" Janeway asks. "It would be a violation of the Temporal Prime Directive." This seems like a slip on Seven's part--or perhaps a deliberate move.
Janeway can't help but pick up on that. "You're from another time?" Yes, says Seven. [No! rages Braxton.]
"Who sent you?" Janeway demands. "I can't tell you that. I would be risking damage to the timeline," Seven says.
"I don't care if history itself comes unraveled. I want to know why you're on my ship!" That's our Janeway--comments like this can't help but endear her to the Time Cops.
Ah, the Janeway Factor. I'm sure she and Kirk share a chapter in the "Temporal Menaces 101" course at the Academy.
One of Seven's cool 29th-century toys begins to sing. "What's that?" Tuvok asks. From Seven's heightened urgency, we know--the evil midnight bomber what bombs at midnight has entered the starship. "You must release me!" Why, Tuvok asks. "Voyager is in grave danger," Seven says.
"So we've noticed," Janeway says. But Seven disabuses her of that thought. "Not from the Kazon--from an act of sabotage. I've been sent here to stop it. The intruder has already boarded the ship. Please, your lives depend on it."
Janeway approaches the force field. They're almost nose-to-nose. The air crackles between them, and not just from the force field. (No Smint, No Kiss.) "You're not going anywhere until you tell me what's happening."
Seven makes her decision. Tempus fuggit. "My name is Seven of Nine. I'm a member of your crew--rather, I will be a member of your crew. I've traveled back in time to try to prevent a disaster that will destroy Voyager."
[Braxton goes into a full-throated hissy fit. "Get her out of there!" I'm trying! Ducane shouts back.]
Janeway matches Seven gaze for gaze. "Let's see if I've got this straight: you're a Borg drone attempting to prevent a disaster that won't occur for another three years."
"Three years, six months, and two days." (That would make this early in season 2, before the whole Bad Paris arc.) Janeway takes a step back, asks Tuvok what he thinks. Tuvok shakes his head almost imperceptibly. "Like most time paradoxes, it's implausible but not necessarily illogical."
Seven of Nine plays her best hand. "Captain...When you take me from the Borg, you are going to tell me that part of being human is learning to trust. Trust me. Now."
The sincerity and intensity of Seven's words finally overcome Janeway's paranoia. After a moment's hesitation, Janeway turns to Tuvok. "Lower the force field." Tuvok doesn't argue; he taps the tricorder, and the field disappears.
Seven takes a deep breath. "Seven of Nine to Braxton, respond."
"Stay where you are; we're pulling you out!" Braxton yells.
"That would be unwise; I am pursuing the saboteur...with Captain Janeway's assistance."
[Braxton looks like Seven has just told him that she's made a pact with the very devil herself. Ducane smirks. "Tempus fugit," he reminds Braxton, enjoying the opportunity to throw the captain's words back at him.
Braxton has little choice, and he's not at all happy about it. "Proceed."]
Seven acknowledges. "Yes, sir." She leads the way. "The intruder is in junction 52 beta." Janeway accompanies her. "Take the starboard hatch," she tells Tuvok.
More Jefferies tube crawling. Then Janeway and Seven reach their destination.
We see a hulking figure whose back is to the camera. Seven confronts him.
He turns around.
Janeway wouldn't know this guy from Adam--yet. But Seven has little trouble recognizing him. The years haven't been kind, but the gray hair and wrinkles don't obscure the essential look of the man. "Captain Braxton..." she says.
Old Captain Braxton is too busy throwing ocular death darts at his temporal arch-nemesis Kathryn Janeway to pay much attention to the meddlesome Borg.
* * *
Seven points her disruptor at Braxton, tells him to drop the bomb. But he arms it. "I'll activate it. Lower your weapons." After some hesitation, Seven and Janeway do.
Braxton glares at the captain. "Janeway..." he growls. Janeway hasn't seen him before. "Have we met?" she asks, unsure why he hates her so much. "Too many times, but you wouldn't remember. They haven't occurred yet."
While Old Man Braxton foams at the mouth, Captain Braxton calls. "Seven of Nine, report."
"I have located the saboteur," Seven reports. Who is it, Braxton asks. "It's you: Captain Braxton."
Captain Braxton frowns. "Me?"
Old Man Braxton joins the conversation. "More accurately, a future you. Now, let me complete our mission."
"Our mission?" Captain Braxton asks. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Old Man Braxton explains. "Listen...very carefully. The circumstances of your life are going to change in the next few years. You'll be sent into rehabilitation--again--forced to retire! And it's all because of Voyager!"
"Captain," Seven says to the younger Braxton, "I believe your future self is suffering from temporal psychosis."
Old Man Braxton glares at her. "Well, Of course, I am, you pedantic drone!" He returns his attention to the disembodied voice of his former self. "The only way for me--for us!--to recover is to obliterate Voyager from the timeline. That way, none of the events that caused this illness will have occurred."
"What events?" Janeway asks.
"30 years of exile on 20th-century Earth!" ("Future's End") "The temporal inversion in the Takara sector!" ("Timeless") "Three violations that I had to repair!" (Maybe he counts "Future's End" as two. But three that come to mind: Janeway's misadventures with Annorax in Krenim Space ("Year of Hell"), Kes' own backwards life in association with the Krenim ("Before and After"), and the planetary polaric apocalypse in "Time and Again.")
Captain Braxton doesn't like what he's hearing any more than Ducane. "Can you get a lock on him?" he asks. Ducane tries. "Negative. He's activated a dispersal node. I should say...you've activated a dispersal node."
"Don't be absurd! I have no wish to sabotage Voyager."
Ducane grins unpleasantly. "Not yet." We watch his loyalty to Braxton disintegrate in real-time.
"Remodulate the transporters," Captain Braxton orders. "Find a way to cut through the interference."
He notices that Ducane is not complying. "I gave you an order, Lieutenant!"
Ducane makes his decision. "I'm sorry, sir." He rises, grabbing a nearby phaser. "I'm taking command of this vessel...And I'm relieving you of duty for crimes...you're going to commit." This seems awfully unfair, but who knows what laws are in place in 29th-century Starfleet.
Certainly not the laws of physics.
"I haven't done anything!" Braxton protests, but the crew follow Ducane. Captain Braxton is taken into custody. Ducane hails Seven of Nine. "Seven of Nine...apprehend Braxton."
Old Man Braxton looks disappointed. "No." He activates his tricorder and beams away.
"Relativity, he's escaped," Seven reports.
Janeway is looking like she's nursing the queen mother of all headaches at the moment; we know that time travel, temporal paradoxes, and the like have a migraine-like effect on her. She's said as much before.
"I'm tracking him. He's traveled to another time frame...two years earlier," Ducane says.
"Transport me to those coordinates," Seven says, looking worried but determined to see this through to the end.
"That would be your fourth jump." (It would?) Seven sets her jaw. "I am aware of the risks." Stand by, she hears a moment later. Seven looks at Captain Janeway. "Thank you for your assistance."
Then she, too, disappears, leaving Janeway to wonder whether it was worth trading one mystery for another, larger one. For two years, she gave brain time wondering about a .003 temporal anomaly. Now she's got a future crewman and a future adversary who holds a deadly grudge against her and her people for things she wouldn't (at this point) even consider doing.
Seven arrives on Voyager when it's still in dry-dock. She almost collapses; the strain of being unstuck in time is taking its toll. But she regains her footing, and begins scanning for the elusive Old Man Braxton, her weapon drawn.
Meanwhile, Admiral Patterson is showing Captain Janeway around her new vessel. "There's still some work to be done but, uh, once the sawdust clears I think you'll be impressed. Voyager may not be as big as a galaxy-class ship but she's..." (this is just before they reached the turbolift to the bridge, so they haven't seen the Seven of the teaser yet.)
Janeway sees Braxton, with his weapon raised. She has no idea who he is, but when a guy with a weapon-like thing is running over crewmen, knocking them to the floor as he careens through the corridors, instinct takes over. She grabs Patterson by the arm and throws him against the wall, shielding him with her own body as Braxton runs past.
"Take cover!" Seven of Nine says, running after him, firing, striking Braxton on the shoulder but not slowing him down any. Everyone stays down while Seven, too, runs past them.
When the coast is clear, Action Kate locks the ship down cold. "Security, report to deck four, section 12. Erect force fields around all access points."
She spares a gallows-humor grimace at Admiral Patterson. "Is this part of the tour?"
Braxton jogs through the now-empty corridors. Seven pursues.
Braxton runs into a force field, knocking him back. Nowhere to run. Seven catches up, but she collapses against a bulkhead, the strain of all those jumps taking their toll on her. She sees as through a green haze. She tries to take aim at Braxton--but he beams away before she can pull the trigger.
"I've lost him," she rasps to Ducane.
"He's still on Voyager," Ducane responds after a quick scan, "but he's gone five years ahead." To the "present," in other words.
Seven notices Janeway and Patterson approaching, in visual range. Beam me there, Seven orders, knowing it might just be the death of her, but not wanting to corrupt the timeline any further by getting caught here and now.
The captain and admiral and security team watch as the blonde in the science officer uniform disappears in a flash of blue.
The big Mess Hall Ping-Pong Invitational is in full swing. Neelix keeps score. Seven and Tom are on one side, Harry and B'Elanna on the other.
It's a close game. Seven must be a conservative player. But after a decent rally, Tom wins the point. "It's all in the wrist," Tom says modestly.
B'Elanna just glares at him. "Score?" She asks. 19-18, Neelix says.
The mess hall door opens, and in comes Old Man Braxton, waving a phaser and carrying the Temporal Boom Box. "Who are you?" Tom asks. Braxton just looks at them agape, not sure what to say. (Perhaps all this time jumping is taking its toll on him as well, beyond the temporal psychosis.)
Seven of Nine, wearing the Starfleet uniform, staggers into the mess hall. Braxton is surprised to see her there--and more surprised when a phaser shot nails him full in the chest. But it's not even a stun setting--he doesn't collapse, he just staggers, semi-frozen in place.
This whole spectacle confuses everyone, unsurprisingly. But Paris has enough wits about him to call security for an intruder alert.
Braxton reaches for his tricorder. In a beautiful shot, Seven fires again, knocking the tricorder out of his hand, and no doubt disabling it.
Nowhen [sic] to run. But there are still places to go, people to blow up. Braxton runs out the far door of the mess hall with the bomb.
Seven cannot follow. She collapses against the other door, and slides weakly to the floor.
The Seven of Nine with the ping-pong paddle approaches herself. "Explain."
"No time. You must apprehend him. He's trying to destroy Voyager."
Ducane hails. "Seven of Nine, status."
"I am incapacitated--it's sensory aphasia." Ducane acknowledges. "Stand by. I'm pulling you out."
Seven of Nine stares hard at herself. "Stop him. Your future depends on it." With that, Seven watches herself beam away into the future.
Behind her, B'Elanna Torres folds her arms. The irritated look on her face is clear. Why do you get all the fun jobs?
Back on board the Relativity, Seven of Nine is looking a bit healthier. I guess the fifth time didn't kill her. But she's still being treated for her aphasia.
"Braxton?" Ducane asks.
"I disabled his tricorder. He's trapped there. Seven of Nine is pursuing him. She is efficient. She will succeed." Her voice is weak, but she's not as bad off as she was a moment ago.
"Let's hope so...Because we've run out of options."
Braxton soon finds himself cornered. Janeway and Tuvok are the first to arrive on scene. Braxton spits. "You again!"
"I don't believe we've met, Ensign," Janeway says with false cordiality.
Then she gets a good look at him. "No, I'm wrong. We have met. Captain Braxton."
"Not anymore. I've lost my rank, thanks to you!"
Seven of Nine has by now arrived to assist. Everyone seems surprised (except Seven) when the hail comes in. "Seven of Nine to Seven of Nine. What's your status?"
"We've apprehended Braxton," Seven of Nine tells Seven of Nine. "How shall we proceed?"
A pause. "Stand by."
Ducane does the honors. He activates the controls, and Braxton beams aboard.
Old Man Braxton glares at his former underling. His eyes are a bit on the wild side. "Long time no see."
Back in Season Five, Janeway asks Seven if she's okay.
"I believe we've just prevented Voyager's destruction," Seven says, though she has almost as little idea of what's happening as Janeway does. Perhaps less, since at least Janeway was there three years before.
But it's Janeway who demands answers. "Would you care to explain how you--"
Her words are obscured as she's yanked from her vessel in mid-sentence.
Ducane does the honors. He activates the controls, and Janeway beams aboard. She appears on the transporter pad, and though she does take a second to look around, she doesn't look quite as shocked as she might have been had she not already seen Braxton beamed away a moment before.
"The Timeship Relativity," she guesses.
"We need your help," the uniformed Seven of Nine says.
"This Seven of Nine stopped Braxton," Ducane says, "but she created several temporal incursions along the way." (In short, she did a very messy job, and when you're cleaning up the timeline, it's important not to make other messes along the way.)
Ducane lists Seven's infractions, amused but not overly so. "She instigated a phaser fight at Utopia Planetia; she was seen by you and Lieutenant Tuvok two years before she joined your crew; and she interacted with her past self in front of 15 crew members at a . . .Ping-Pong tournament approximately six minutes ago--your time frame, of course."
Seven doesn't look all that penitent. Hey, at least she caught him this time. But Janeway, used to Seven taking the unconventional approach, allows some amusement to creep into her otherwise-flummoxed expression. "Of course."
"Needless to say," Ducane says, "we need to clean up the timeline. Someone must go back to the beginning and prevent the chain of events from occurring in the first place."
"I can't make another jump without damaging myself," Seven says.
Janeway gets an Uh-Oh look. "I get the feeling I'm about to be drafted." She's none too happy about it.
"In exchange for leniency, Captain Braxton informed us of the precise moment he boarded Voyager to plant the weapon. We'll be sending you to stop him. Tell her," he orders Old Man Braxton.
Braxton refuses to look at Janeway. He'd probably go for her throat if he did. "Deck four, section 38. I'll stumble over a wounded crewmember. That will be your chance to capture me. "
"Don't miss it," Ducane says, "or we'll have to do this all over again."
Janeway's headache is actually visible. It throbs like a red alert beacon. "Wait a minute, let me get this straight. I'm going back in time to stop Braxton...But you already have him."
Ducane smirks. "And there's a third one in our brig. I arrested him earlier today. But don't worry. They'll all be reintegrated in time for the trial." (Oh? And how exactly does THAT work?)
Janeway blinks. Blinks again. Neural processes…failing…She needs coffee, and she needs it now. "And Seven?"
Ducane smiles again. "Oh, I assure you--when all this is over, there'll be just one Seven of Nine."
Thump. Whump tump. The vein in Janeway's forehead throbs like the subwoofer during a Schwarzeneggar film. "All right. Let's get started before my headache gets any worse."
Back in Season 2, the Kazon are kicking Voyager hiney at the moment. Shields are down. Crewmen scurry hither and yon moving to battle and repair stations.
Janeway beams in. We know it's Our Janeway because her hair is fifth-season shoulder-length. She begins to move toward section 38. Stumbling occasionally when Kazon weapons shake the floor beneath her.
B'Elanna Torres intercepts her. She doesn't notice the hair. "Captain, a Kazon torpedo just blew out the containment generator. Do you want me to reroute emergency power or take the warp core off-line?"
"Use your best judgment," Janeway says, improvising, continuing to walk away from Torres. Torres (whose own hairstyle is definitely Season Two--darker, more off the forehead to give emphasis to her Klingon ridges) is surprised by this, but not ungrateful. Then she notices something--the direction the captain is headed. "I thought you were on your way to the bridge. "
"I have to take care of something first. Now, get moving, Lieutenant." Torres knows that voice, and obeys.
Janeway tries to avoid further contact with her crew. She reaches the point where Braxton will trip--she sees the felled crewman, a female (?) in science-officer blue. Janeway hangs back around the corner, waiting.
At one point, she hangs in a darkened doorway to avoid herself. She looks, checking out her old hairstyle and hyper-military bearing, and shakes her head. She doesn't miss these days at all.
She hears herself giving orders to an unnamed underling. "Send damage control teams to decks nine through 14. Seal the breaches if you can. I'll be on the bridge; keep me informed."
Our Janeway returns to her prime firing position. She hears the whine of the transporter, and spares a look. Braxton is here, and moves purposefully.
Then another Kazon weapon strikes home, and the floor buckles. Braxton trips, dropping his phaser but not his bomb.
Janeway picks him up, puts a gun under his chin. "Come here often?" she asks pleasantly.
Braxton's white-hot glare is answer enough.
Back aboard the Relativity, Ducane runs a postmortem on Janeway's efforts. "Incursion factor: .0036. That's better than I expected." Especially compared to Seven's efforts. He seems pleased.
"Glad we could lend a hand," Janeway says. And why not? Her ship is no longer on the verge of going Foom. "When do we go home?"
Ducane rises to begin the process. "You'll both be returned to your time frame. You'll be reintegrated with the other Seven of Nine," he tells Seven. "Since none of your time-jumps were to your foreseeable future--only the past--I see no reason to resequence your memory engrams." Janeway breathes a sigh of relief at that. "But remember the Temporal Prime Directive. Discuss your experiences with no one."
Janeway and Seven reach the transporter platform, take their places, and look at each other. Janeway then looks at Ducane. "Understood." She doesn't seem to mind taking orders from a Lieutenant.
"Oh, Captain...Braxton was right about one thing: Voyager shows up on our sensors far too often. Try to avoid time travel." Easier said than done--Janeway hates time travel, but seems to encounter it despite her best efforts.
Perhaps she should have requested a brochure.
"See you in the 24th century," Janeway tells Seven.
"I look forward to it." Janeway bites her lip.
"Or should I say, backward?" Seven adds.
Janeway's look would kill, but it has no effect on Seven, and they both know it. "Don't get started," Janeway says. We actually see Seven of Nine smirk a little, and the mirth goes right down to her eyes. Janeway allows herself a bemused expression. Danger past, there's time for a brief wallowing in the moment.
And on that jovial note, they are beamed back home, where they will remember their adventures, but are sworn to secrecy.
Where to begin.
Or should I say, when to begin.
Some reviews practically write themselves. Some beg to be written.
Others mockingly dare my to try.
This was one of the latter.
I enjoyed the episode when I first watched it, though there are holes large enough to hold Amazon.com's entire inventory. It was "fun," and played for "fun." But if you spend any time at all thinking about it, forget it.
Frankly, I don't want to spend any time analyzing it. It's a waste of time, so to speak. So let's stick with the basics.
Jeri Ryan and Kate Mulgrew did a nice job. Seven's natural unflappability is well handled. Janeway's character in multiple timelines is also relatively consistent. The Dry Doc Janeway is exactly as I would expect her to be. The no-nonsense, paranoid Second Season Janeway is as well. Of all the Janeways to send on this particular mission, Fifth season Janeway is the one I would have picked as well; she could appreciate the ridiculous nature of the situation. She was there after the hard work had been done and the ship was technically no longer in danger.
Braxton, played by Bruce McGill instead of the original Allan G. Royal of "Future's End," does well--I thoroughly dislike the guy. Ducane, played by Jay Karnes, was less annoying at first but was way too smug--hindsight may be 20/20, but it doesn't improve one's personality. Overall, the 29th century was about as sterile and dull as one could ask for--not a place I'd want to be.
It's too bad Janeway didn't pick up a few spare holoemitters for Doc.
The story was actually pretty straightforward. The details are a nightmare, but the basic idea, "chase the bad guy," is different only in that it takes place mostly in time, rather than space. Heck, this first happened (much more amusingly) in "Death Wish" when the two Q's chased each other from the Big Bang to the inside of an atom to a Christmas tree.
It started out as a mystery. Seven looking for clues. Finding one here, another there. Not living to continue her work. We saw her die--there's real potential for drama there. But they just say, "Oh well, next round. Grab the Borg and we'll try this again." They hinted at dire possibilities if they did this too many times, but this was ignored by the end of the episode. (the number of jumps was also not very reliable; the third jump was called the Fourth, and that was bad enough--she was severely damaged in her fourth, and then yanked back to the 29th century in a fifth jump--where she was in relatively good shape when Janeway arrived.
We don't know exactly how the temporal bomb was placed. It could have changed every time. When Seven jumped aboard in the teaser, had Braxton placed it before she arrived, or was she seeing into the future? Her amazing ocular implant was able to see temporal variances, so it's possible. This would have helped them pinpoint the insertion point for their NEXT attempt. (but this assumes that on top of all the relative time, there's a FIXED timeline that the 29th-century is bound by. Perhaps there's a time at which the bomb is ALWAYS visible (when Braxton installs it), even in earlier years; and a time when it's NOT visible (as it was not when Seven jumped into Season Two--in that timeline, Braxton had not yet jumped in to place it.)
Make sense? I thought not.
The Tom Paris moment was cute. His Ping-Pong playing manipulation of Seven, appealing to her vanity and her competitive nature with Torres. It was a lighthearted character moment that had nothing to do with the episode, but I'm sure plenty of speculation will come from it--such as why Tom was playing against B'Elanna.
Ping-Pong was an interesting choice of games. The ball hanging in midair was a nice touch. The Chakotay-in-triplicate moment was also pretty cool, as was Voyager getting destroyed. The view of Voyager in dry dock and the first glimpse at Utopia Planitia--amazing. The time ship disappointed, but it had an intriguing design.
Overall, the episode was fairly amiable and amusing.
So sue me--I just didn't like it that much. Intellectually, there wasn't much to it, and emotionally, it didn't grab me. It didn't stink, but it did disappoint me.
On a 4 star scale, I'll call it (* * 1/2).
Next Week: Sure, war is hard on people; but how do you think the bomb feels?