VOY: S2E02: “Initiations”

In which they ought to make their ships out of whatever that prayer pouch is made of, ’cause it’d hold up better. 

"Gosh-golly, I sure am glad I made Seska abandon her post during the shootout with the Kazon to bring my kit over to Voyager."

“Gosh-golly, I sure am glad I made Seska abandon her post during the shootout with the Kazon to bring my kit over to Voyager.”

Chakotay is trudging along in a shuttlecraft for a memorial service. This ritual evidently requires more solitude than he can achieve by taking off his commbadge and hanging a sock on the doors of a maintenance junction, because Voyager isn’t even hanging out nearby. You know, in the middle of unknown space in at least partially hostile territory. Also, question – does Chakotay’s shaman pouch even work given that it’s definitely replicated? You know, because he got beamed off the Maquis ship at the last possible moment before ramming the Kazons? It seems to me like if you accept the proposition that it’s all just meditative ritual anyway, you lose the point of needing the trappings in the first place. Definitely not enough to suffer through Neelix’s cooking more times than you have to because you spent your replicator rations on a deerhide.

Chakotay’s been spotted by some Kazon, who are going to use Chakotay’s lone shuttlecraft as an initiation ritual. The fact that he packs up his kit before responding to the attack on his shuttle kind of suggests that the kit is genuine and irreplacable, actually. Although if he’d known he was going to be attacked by a twelve-year-old he probably wouldn’t have rushed anyway.

Chakotay does a little fancy flying, and has clearly reverted all the way back to his Starfleet training – or maybe he just doesn’t think of the Kazon the way he does the Cardassians, since he gave the kid a bunch of chances and then saves him from the disabled ship. Voyager is unreachable by his broken comms, unfortunately. They appear to be busy… assuaging Neelix’s guilt about being a freeloader. Or his disappointment about being left out of some defense simulations. It’s around now that Chakotay’s absence has been noticed, so Voyager sets course to go pick him up.

"My people also set great store by arcane practices that seem ridiculous to outsiders, but this is not a bonding moment between us, Federation."

“My people also set great store by arcane practices that seem ridiculous to outsiders, but this is not a bonding moment between us, Federation.”

Chakotay, meanwhile, explains the human conventions around surrender to Kar, and prepares to hand the kid over to his parent vessel. This is not a thing that Kar is happy about – whatever fate awaits him for having failed his initiation is not as fun as being killed semi-honorably in battle. But hey, Chakotay’s not about to have much fun either. The two of them are put in a prison cell and probably torture chamber, and we get an impromput lesson in Nistram-Ogla interfactional politics, and in local rites of passage. The Kazon-Ogla Bar-Mitzvah is based on killing an enemy.

I have no idea what that expression of Paris’ is about. It really looks like he’s about to say something incredibly sarcastic and just barely thinks better of it.

Nobody’s bothered to disarm Chakotay of his tricorder, but they’re all very intent on explaining their background to him. It’s a Warrior’s Pride thing, but apparently the Kazon have, in their history, some dire oppression from what seems like a terrible oppression – the Ogla seem pretty strongly averse to anyone in a uniform.

a) Kazon weapons are pathetic, and b) IF YOU WERE WARPING TOWARDS VOYAGER THEY WOULD HAVE LESS TIME TO SHOOT AT YOU

a) Kazon weapons are pathetic, and b) IF YOU WERE WARPING TOWARDS VOYAGER THEY WOULD HAVE LESS TIME TO SHOOT AT YOU.

Voyager‘s found out that they’re in pursuit of Kazon, and Chakotay’s being used as an example for indoctrination. Chakotay is being made to kill Kar, ‘as he should have done in battle.’ To teach the young’uns that there are no second chances in battle, and to sinpire them to be better warriors. This ends… completely predictably, although the Kazon leader calling Chakotay a coward while capitulating to his demands is a nice touch. Chakotay takes Kar with him and they try to escape the Kazon ship at impulse, because somehow it steering like a cow makes up for it having like fifty weapons batteries, and they go to set down on a nearby moon.

Chakotay and Kar spin into the moon while Voyager plays catch-up, and after an emergency transport, wind up safe-ish and sound-ish on the surface, right next to the goddamn Vasquez Rocks. Voyager‘s found a piece of his shuttle, though, so they should be basically next door. If the transporter can reach, even if it’s out of safety range, then it should be a simple matter to rig up his communicator with a phaser battery or something and make a homing signal. Then again, maybe Chekov didn’t take that elective.

The planet is full of traps, meant to train the Ogla, and now Kar, belligerent as he is, gets to call the next few shots. Oh, plus, Chakotay’s medicine kit has got to be toast now. Maybe the Kazon took it off his ship, but I doubt they’ll give it back.

Oh, okay, there’s convenient radiation that prevents communications, even as it allowed transporter beams to pass even at extreme and unsafe range. It’s definitely easier to keep an enormously complex signal at high-fidelity than it is to keep voice-modulation or VoIP intact.

When Chakotay trusts Kar enough to go to sleep, the kid almost works up the fortitude to kill him and take his tricorder, but something stops him. Human ethical imperialism?

This is the exact face of someone farting into someone else's chair. That is all.

This is the exact face of someone farting into someone else’s chair. That is all.

Janeway’s gonna have to have that chair burned. When the Kazon show up, Paris takes the call, but Neelix’s local knowledge skill ranks pay off, and he’s able to prevent immediate hostilities. The Kazon are moving in closer, and Voyager can’t land because the soil is garbage.

Chakotay was awake the whole time and they discuss the possibilities for Kar. As an outcast, he wouldn’t be welcomed by other Kazon, and he’s not going to fit in on Voyager. We also get a little more history of the Kazon, and when the joint human/Kazon search party (no, there’s no real explanation for why they’re suddently helpful except that the plot demands it) Chakotay decides to help Kar out by faking his murder at the kid’s hand. Well… okay, I guess they’re trying to make use of Janeway’s technology and set up an alliance.

The ship gets the comms up, so Chakotay alerts Voyager to prepare for rapid resuscitation.  The Kazon traps manage to trick Janeway’s tricorder in order to set up this dramatic confrontation in which Kar kills the Kazon leader, at which point the second-in-command gets a dead-man’s-boots promotion and everything works out. And hey, Chakotay’s kit seems to have survived the shuttle explosion. Or he replicated new ones. Apparnetly now solitude in his quarters is sufficient, though, as he finishes his memorial and prays for Kar’s soul too.

Did we miss something awesome?