VOY: S3E01: “Basics: Part 2”

In which a whole lot of people get needlessly eaten and an old adversary stops being a threat. 

So, quick recap – Seska tricked Chakotay into coming to rescue her baby, but it was an elaborate trap including a sleeper agent suicide bomber and an alliance of the tribes. Paris ran for backup and was probably-destroyed, the thelpathic sociopathic murderer Lon Suder is free in the vents, the Doctor is… around, and the rest of the crew has been left on a volcanically-active planet full of giant lizards and some primitive homonids.

Remember - if someone vanishes screaming into a deep cave you can't see the end of, the first thing you should do is silhouette yourself against the light.

Remember – if someone vanishes screaming into a deep cave you can’t see the end of, the first thing you should do is silhouette yourself against the light.

Samantha Wildman is a little unsteady on her feet, what with the new baby, but soon Janeway has everyone make camp in a cave system, well hidden from Neelix’s party. Neelix’s group, meanwhile, has found some bones and evidence of cave-dwelling homonids with really nasty-looking cooks in their bones. Yeesh. And I thought shin splints after running were bad. He directs Hogan to pick up all of them, and then drops the one he was holding just to be a jerk. Hogan is then immediately eaten by something huge and fast.

Tom Paris is alive, desperately trying to fix his shuttle and not making great headway while under attack by Kazon raiders. After all, he has to go back through the territory Voyager ploughed through while under constant attack. He’s got some sort of plan, and apparently the shuttles do use maneuvering thrusters with retrograde jets for tight maneuvering for dogfighting purposes. One has to presume that Voyager‘s maneuvering thrusters work on the same, scaled-up principle. But we also see capital ships move as though they’re in a medium most of the time, so it seems likely that Federation ships are equipped with both kinds of drives – newtonian thrusters and inertialess warp-bubble-impulse tech, and can use whichever affords more of an advantage. For reference, compare any Starfleet  battle with the way an Earth Alliance Starfury moves.

You should, Neelix. You should blame yourself, Neelix. Janeway refuses to let anyone else die, and starts people in on designing life support equipment and eating grubs. Meanwhile, aboard Voyager, Seska ‘activates’ the Doctor, tests him for any resistance to the new Kazon crew, then seems to accept his really-rather-clever deception. Oh, also, the baby isn’t Chakotay’s. When she implanted herself with Chakotay’s DNA, she was already pregnant with Maj Cullah’s child. Unless the Doctor is lying, both to Seska and to his own logs. He also has a program in place to reactivate himself after being deactivated, which seems like a good idea.

It is at this time that the Doctor discovers that Lon Suder is aboard, and it’s just a good thing that none of the Kazon thought to get a headcount until the Doctor discovered it and stopped the computer from tracking Suder’s lifesigns.

Janeway orders everyone to cuddle up for warmth in the caves, and Harry and Torres have found two eggs and three cucumbers, which is clearly enough to feed the whole crew. Chakotay’s trying to make fire and isn’t doing all that well, but after some frustration he starts using the crew’s hair for kindling and starts it up. Neelix goes to get some rocks to store heat, and both he and Kes get immediately kidnapped.

Whatever happens, we can acknowledge that this is a really good use of the character.

Whatever happens, we can acknowledge that this is a really good use of the character.

Paris has made contact with the Talaxian Commander Paxim, convinces him to help on the credit of a plan. The Doctor is also trying to come up with a plan, with Suder, who’s got… conflicted feelings about killing some of the Kazon. Like an alcoholic, he’s worried about not being able to put the monster back in the box. Tuvok, meanwhile, has made some weapons, including a bow, which he can use because he was an archery teacher at the Vulcan institute of Defensive Arts. Talk about a culture wearing its hair shirts on the inside. We know the Vulcans are massively repressed (unless, as we’ve postulated previously, they’re just massive wusses because they don’t practice actually living with their feelings) and they go psycho every seven years until they either commit murder or get laid. Either way, Janeway orders a party to go track neelix and Kes.

The two are in a circle, surrounded by the homonids, and some sort of argument is going on when Chakotay breaks it up by wandering into the circle. The local shaman seems to be offering some sort of personnel trade, which Chakotay refuses, grabs the hostages, and ambushes the locals. In flight from the locals, they hide in one of the monster tunnels so they can immediately get lost and then slowly eaten.

Neat critter design. You don't see many complex creatures with both a recognizable face and radial symmetry.

Neat critter design. You don’t see many complex creatures with both a recognizable face and radial symmetry.

The Kazon are having trouble with the warp engines. Seska orders an internal scan, which is sabotaged, and then a deck-by-deck search, but Suder knows a way to neutralize the tricorders. Planetside, the baby is feverish, the volcanoes are grumbling, and the locals are trying to smoke out Chakotay and the rescue party. none of this is terrible interesting except inasfar as it tells us which of the crew took what survivalism electives at the Academy. They do find the rockworm at the center of the cave system. Janeway orders Torres and two nameless fodder crewmen to distract the natives so the rescue-party-rescue party can put out the fire, shout into the tunnel, and wake up the worm. Well, that would have been the risk, anyway, if another nameless fodder-crew member handn’t dropped some rocks on it’s head. The way to deal with that is, of course, a cave collapse.

The Kazon are pretty adept at reading Federation tricorders and interpreting them, but they also make the mistake of splitting up in Suder’s lair. Paris also piggybacks a message to the Doctor and gives him a task to accomplish for the main attack. Suder is… also doing his part. He just needs to come to grips with this little backslide.

The Kazon continue to insist that they destroyed Paris’ shuttle, found no bodies, and she immediately recognizes the Thoron Particle trick. Planetside, the volcanoes are getting worse and an eruption has just happened, taking precedence over the whole baby-dying-of-fever problem. Seska confronts the Doctor, they play two-truths-and-a-lie wrong, and she disables his hardware once the Talaxian attack starts. Now it’s down to Suder, who gets a post-…moretem? message from the Doctor, and now it’s time for Suder to be the hero we need right now.

Why is it EVEN POSSIBLE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN?

Why is it EVEN POSSIBLE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN?

Planetside, everyone’s running away from the volcano, but one of the locals got stranded on a rock in the middle of a lava river and Chakotay somehow rescues… uh… it? without being immediately steam-cooked. Peace is made between the tribes for this heroic act, and Paris starts bee-stinging Voyager right in the phasers from inside the blind spots while Suder goes all sorts of murdery on the Kazon in engineering. So much for progress. He gets shot in the back in time to not have to live long with the burden of his actions, and live just long enough to rig the ship for phaser overload, possibly frying everyone on board when they’re hit with the backfire of a ship’s phaser power. No, they’re all still alive, even Seska’s baby. Apparently it was pretected from the blast either by the cushions or the lack of nearby consoles, and she seems to die just after making sure it’s still alive. The Talaxians board, and Cullah orders an abandon-ship while Paris starts repairs. The Kazon steal a bunch of escape pods, the planetary shaman gives a human/alien hybrid a poultice made of space-vapo-rub, and soon thereafter Voyager returns to pick up the crew.

In the end, Suder gets to have died a hero, and finally find peace. Chakotay finds Seska’s corpse and somehow doesn’t vaporize it just to make sure. After some repairs, the journey continues for at least one more season.

 

 

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