In which Janeway gets stabbed, Seven gets shot, and the United States invades the Delta Quadrant.
A Klingon bat-leth fight is happening, with one woman, representing the House of Mokai, fighting off male Klingons and then getting stabbed in the heart by a Hirojen, who then tells us why that Klingon looked and sounded so familiar. She was Janeway, and she’s going to sick bay to be patched up for another round.
Voyager is being escorted by a squadron of Hirojen ships who seem to have captured it, and Janeway has been fitted with a neural programming system, along with the rest of the crew, that makes her behave like whatever they want to program her to be. After pulling her out of the Klingon simulation, one of the Hirogen wants to bring her to Holodeck 1 for a different simulation, and we cut to Seven of Nine in a lounge-type setup which is almost certainly going to be ground zero for some sort of mobster shootout. I mean, unless the Hirogen have a heretofore-undisclosed appreciation for crooning. Actually, I take it back, this appears to be a bar in occupied France, circa 1940. The Hirogen are playing SS officers, and apparently the ‘hunt’ they’re participating in here is more of an urban type.
The Hirogen underlings are not all on board with the social trappings surrounding the hunt, but it turns out they do love crooning. The leader is way into it, though, and throwing himself right into the role of Nazi resistance-hunter. He’s deep enough into it, in fact, that he’s almost full Hans Landa. Once he leaves, Janeway, in her role as proprietor and resistance cell leader, sends Seven to go get parts for their radio. She also took a blast of technobabble to the face, and depending on the Hirogen approach to Out Of Character talk, it may be what eventually triggers her and the rest of the crew to be able to break out of their assigned roles. Meanwhile, Seven wants to step up the fight a little more directly. Oh, and Seven is still argumentative inside the simulation, just as she is outside.
Neelix gets stopped on his bike by an Overzealous Underling, and all his wine poured out. And Torres is part of Janeway’s cell and their radio operator. Neelix is part of the cell too, and what he was transporting was a one-time pad under the wine label to decode a radio broadcast. The communique indicates that the Allies will be invading in two days, and they need the Nazi radio. Torres will use her relationship with a German officer and the resulting pregnancy to infiltrate and recon. Evidently, it’s known that she is a… German comforter.
The Hirogen, within the command center, are also interested in some of the German thinking. Since they rolled in with superior forces, it wasn’t really a fair fight. In fact, the Hirogen gets enough of a monologue to make it plain that their philosophy is very different than the Nazi doctrine, and the Hirogen find these guys poo excuses for a hunter. I guess that’s why their playing Maquis-hunters in St. Clair, France instead of skeet shooting in Treblinka. Voyager‘s really on a roll with the uncomfortable topics lately.
Speaking of uncomfortable topics, since Torres is a real person who’s had her brain programmed, is this how we’re going to find out that she and Tom are actually having a baby, or did the Hirogen just choose to make her pregnant for the scenario?
The underling Hirogen are eager to cast aside the social preamble, or maybe they find Neelix just as annoying as everyone else did before he died. Seven rescues him, pulling him away from retrieving the code pad for the day, and they’re both shot down and taken to the holodeck for ‘repairs.’ Seven’s neural interface is damaged, the Hirogen doctor is not up to Federation medical standards, and the Doctor is furious at the role he’s been relegated to, but what’s he going to do, let his crew die? In fact, this treatment has been ongoing for three weeks while the Hirogen ‘study’ humans with the holodeck safeties off.
Not all the crew are in holodecks. Harry has been tasked with cutting apart the ship and expanding the holodecks. The Hirogen are even supplying power cells to supply the system. Harry appears to be the chief engineer now, and in charge of planning the insurrection. Right now, he has a bullet point – disabling the neural interfaces. They need an operative inside the holodecks, and Seven’s in the perfect position to be it.
The Hirogen leader, who I guess I’ll just have to call commandant, is already planning on what to do after the WWII simulation is over. They’ll simulate the Borg and the battle of Wolf 359. Ask yourself how a ship-combat battle is going to work. Don’t ask yourself who the skeletons in display-nets in the Commandant’s office used to be. For all that, the Commandant appears to be something of a philosopher – he notes the decline of the Hirogen, and wants to bring them together to become a cohesive civiliation again, rather than a dispersed clan of nomadic hunters. The holodecks will be used to keep Hunts alive in the face of overwhelming population pressure that would drive any region to prey depletion.
So the Doctor workes with Seven, explains the situation – the crew that aren’t in the holodecks ore repairing the ship are just locked up waiting for their turn. He sets her up with a jammer, but unfortunately she won’t have the Cliff’s Notes version in her head, and will have to try to fit in. The jammer turns on right in the middle of her song, so Janeway goes to check on the problem, and runs into obstructionism which, circumstantially, suggests that Seven is a Nazi plant.
Chakotay and Paris finally make their appearance, as Allied troops, with Tom as a long-lost lover of Brigitte/Torres. Back to important matters, Janeway plans the assault on German command and Seven muddles her way through, playing catch-up as the munitions expert. And Harry almost gets caught in his plotting, but the ‘go ahead, tell your boss I’m proving my innocence to you instead of doing what he told me to’ gambit is basically universal. That should be on the Overlord list. Underlings are always instructed to proceed with, and report, short, five-minute loyalty tests that prisoners need to undergo. Such things should be built into every timetable.
Janeway and Seven make entry into the command post, and while Janeway is distracted with a German communique, Seven is able to get the panel access she needed, allowing the Doctor to shut down neural interfaces, starting with Janeways just as she’s about to find Seven guilty of betraying the Maquis.
You know, for all the Commandant’s talk to the German officer of hunting a prey on even footing and respecting the Hunt, they sure do like marching down the streets of St. Clair in full futuristic body-armor that deflects bullets, and carrying pulse rifles. Tuvok barely manages to distract them before the Allies show up to reinforce. The midden is hitting the windmill all over now, but fortunately Paris and Torres recognize each other before they kill each other, and Janeway and Seven escape German Command just before it blows up in an explosion so powerful that it takes down the hologrid completely. The safeties being off apparently extend to damaging the holodeck itself, and Chakotay interprets this as exposing a secret Nazi bunker (hidden in the air itself) and goes to invade. The Hirogen demands Harry shut down the holodeck, but it’s locked in the On position, and now the Hirogen will have to deal with a full-scale Allied invasion of Voyager.
To Be Continued…