VOY: S4E13: “Waking Moments”

In which Harry gets flustered, Janeway gets incinerated, and Chakotay threatens genocide. 

On today's Very Special episode of Voyager...

On today’s Very Special episode of Voyager…

Today we focus on Harry being pulled into an urgent repair by Seven. Tuvok is woken up from sleep to go to the bridge. Janeway is checking around for Neelix, and Paris is asked for a status update by Chakotay. All totally standard activities, happening slightly outside the expected time. Except that Seven dragged Harry into a maintenance junction in order to have her way with him. Tom’s shuttle blows up out of nowhere, Neelix has poisoned and slaughtered everyone in the mess, and Tuvok showed up to work (where Tim and Janeway are present) naked. All these archetypical dreams are being overseen by a sharkfin alien, because we’re apparently in the sector where nobody ever invented the Ethics board.

This look is clearly some kind of HR violation.

This look is clearly some kind of HR violation.

Torres shows up to Tom’s quarters because he missed breakfast. Interestingly, she has a whole bunch of tools in her uniform, whose breast-pocket is not a feature I’ve noticed before. Especially useful for an engineer, but you have to wonder if this is a standard feature that nobody uses (like in the real world) or if she spent replicator rations and had that made special. Anyway, they bicker and make up without it being a huge thing, which is nice. Tom’s running late and only getting a cup of coffee. Shame he’s out of replicator rations and can’t get a nice tube of flavored nutrient-paste to stay nourished. Neelix had a rough night too. He also had nightmares. Chakotay too. He and Janeway compare notes, the sharkfin alien comes up, and they both remember that alien. Paris joins in. A mystery unfolds, and they convene to discuss it, but Harry’s still in his quarters, so they go to find him. Harry’s door is locked, so Tuvok authorizes a breakin, and they find that Harry is comatose.

Several other crew members are… not comatose, but stuck in ‘hyper-REM.’ The doctor perscribes everyone on the crew a dose of amphetamies to keep them all awake, and Janeway has the senior staff (not, like, a random member of the crew with an art hobby) reenact a bad version of the Table scene in the conference room. Not even Seven recognizes him as a species that the Borg have ever encountered. Furthermore, there are no ships or planets anywhere nearby, so the only way to find him is Chakotay’s plan of lucid dreaming. He’s got that Vision Quest Alpha Wave generator, and an Inception-style totem, as well as a post-hyptnotic escape hatch. Janeway orders Chakotay to do this in sick bay and under supervision, just in case.

He dives in and finds himself stalking a deer in the corridors of Voyager, armed with a spear. Soon, he sees his Inception totem, and the deer turns into the alien, which knocks the spear out of his hand and attacks. Chakotay gets the upper hand, but the alien explains that the Dream his his reality, and he and his people will have their revenge on the ‘waking species.’ Once threatened, the alien tells Chakotay to leave their space and their people will wake up, and gives a landmark. That was nice and easy. Maybe there’ll be enough time in this episode for a second Nicktoons-length encounter. He and Janeway have some brief musings, and they power on.

Indeed, Harry and the others appear to be waking up. The first thing that Harry gets, after a brief conversation with the Doctor, is Seven wanting to pull him aside into a Jeffries tube. Awkward. He escapes to the mess hall, where Torres correctly intuits that Harry was having sex dreams. He deflects by making fun of Tuvok instead. At this time, Voyager is attacked by an alien ship, which drains their power. In fact, it’s the same aliens from the dreams, who have tricked Voyager into their trap. The aliens beam onto the ship all at once, and occupy it handily.

The crew are herded into cargo bays so they can talk about how stupid they all are. Janeway asks for a diversion, and Seven’s idea of creating a diversion is to start beating the snot out of Harry. Chakotay and Torres run off to the cargo bay, at which time Chakotay sees his totem on the monitor, and realizes he’s still asleep. This time, he’s no longer certain he’s awake, and tries to pre-emptively wake himself up again. It’s now 39 hours later, everyone else is asleep, and the Doctor hasn’t started feeding anyone intravenously yet.

The Doctor has also found a funky energy field in all the crew’s brains, and identical neural patterns. Everyone’s stuck in the same dream, the one that Chakotay just woke up from. They’ve all logged onto the Dream Server. Chakotay’s guess, then, is that these aliens are all asleep somewhere, hidden away from Waking Species. All  Voyager’s crew needs to do is find them and become the monsters they’re accused of being. And Chakotay asks if the Doctor can… adjust the sensors to do a brainwave scan?

Inside the dream, Torres and Janeway are discussing how Chakotay just vanished after doing the thing that meant he’d get out of the dream. It takes Tuvok to believe that they’re all still dreaming, and Seven to realize the possibility of a Collective Unconsciousness. Like the Dreamborg. They still proceed as if it’s a physical invasion, though, because of good old Pascal and his gambling habits.

Janeway’s escape crew manage to get to Engineering and power up the core, only to find a core breach in progress, which they can’t shut down. They barely manage to contain it, but Janeway senses something wrong and goes back in to witness the explosion. Nothing happens to her, confirming the dream theory. Of course, given how insistent Torres was that Janeway not stay in Engineering, followed by her statement that the warp core explosion should have destroyed the ship, we can pretty much confirm that Dream Logic is in full play here. For most shows it would be a betrayal, but I find myself hoping that some episode winds up with, like, Harry waking up from a drunken Stupor at Quark’s and the rest of the crew coming back from a successful Maquis-hunt. A good old-fashioned Dallasing could make sense of some of the plotting in this show.

In fact, now that Janeway knows for certain that she’s asleep, she managed to pre-post-hypnotize herself and the whole crew into having a post-pre-arranged wakeup signal, and the whole crew begins to wake up to help Chakotay out. Except that Chakotay sees his totem again, and realizes he’s still asleep. The dream-doctor sedates him, and he wakes up to the ‘real’ Doctor giving him a new dose of amphetamines. In reality, Janeway and the others who didn’t already set up a Kick are still stuck in the dream.But now that they know they’re dreaming, they can take some limited control.



Chakotay has beamed into the sleep-caves of the dream-aliens, which is the name of my band. The aliens are laid out on slabs like a mass grave. I’d like to imagine that there’s a subservient class that tends to their bodily needs, because the alternative is that these people dream up food, water, and pooper-scoopers even as their leader taunts Janeway with the same set of concerns. Chakotay’s found their field amplifier. There’s a force field protecting it, serving as a final gate for anyone trying to disable it. They, like Chakotay, would hit this obstacle and fall asleep from proximity to the amplifier. Chakotay has more powerful amphetamines, and also a change of plan injecting this stuff directly into the hearts of the aliens controlling the dream. In the event he fails to check back in, he orders the Doctor to blow up his location, destroy the amplifier, and commit genocide. He gives himself a five-minute grace period.

Chakotay falls asleep before he can deactivate the amplifier, but this means he can issue his General Order 24 threat to the aliens directly. The threat works, and the Doctor is able to wake everyone up. Now we just have to worry about the entire crew of a Federation starship being terrified of going to sleep. Even Tuvok can’t sleep.


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