In which it is the least mysterious mystery ever presented.
So, we’re going to open today with a Bajoran… I’m gonna say religious extremist… studying a schematic of Voyager with decorative edging. I mention the edging because it’s not in a traditional Federation style and I have to wonder who wrote the bit of code that takes literally everything you try to print out and adds decorative scrolling around the margins. Also, are printers a thing? Presumably, or else you’d have to print out a big flat thing in a replicator designed for compact 3D things, and that leads to questions of replicating a folded thing with creases in it, which I do not like to think about. Anyway, this is a time of portents and prophecies and rebirth. Our Bajoran friend is looking through the Maquis manifest of the Val Jean.
Away in the Delta quadrant, Tom is putting more effort into his relationship with Torres. Today is a recreation of an old movie theater, the Chicago Palace Theater, including used chewing gum, and playing an old-style bichromatic 3d movie. The irony of making a simulation of a movie theater to watch a 3d movie is not lost on Torres, but it’s worth pointing out that movies are passive entertainment in a way that holoprograms are not. Apart from in-person recitals, plays, and listening to music there has been very, very little passive entertainment shown in the Star Trek future thus far, and it seems to be something of a lost (deliberately?) medium. That said, obviously all the files still exist – Voyager has old archives of Return of the Son of the Bride of the Creature from the Black Lagoon or whatever they’re watching. Once again, storage space is infinite except when it comes to the Doctor trying to learn to juggle. Their makeouts are interrupted by an audience member hushing them, so they delete the audience, but someone remains. Tabor, and he doesn’t look healthy. Or alive.
Tabor is, in fact, in a coma with unusual synaptic activity. Tiuvok works on eliminating some innoccuous causes, like the strobing lights being an epilepsy trigger. B’Elanna ruminates that Tabor was always charmed, in the Maquis, and Harry’s found no anomalies in the holodeck logs. The Doctor’s analysis discovers evidence that Tabor was attacked, which officially makes this a security matter. He starts with Tabor’s quarters, where Crewman Jeor is going through his stuff to bring a book to read to him. Tuvok starts the Alibi check, but for some reason declines to follow up on it. Or at least, claims to. In a meeting later, Tuvok drops ‘I suspect a crewperson did it’ like it wasn’t the most likely of three options, and starts with his suspicion of Jeor. In fact he appears to be spinning wild theories and starting a witch hunt. Because he has a hunch. Highly illogical.
Next incident is in engineering. A crewman goes into a jeffries tube to do some maintenance and all the lights go out. Someone approaches with a flishlight on him and pursues him through a hatch that he tries to seal. Now, who do we know who can override security protocols and has mental abilities that can put people in a coma? Bonus points if they’ve been behaving strangely and getting skewed and ominous camera angles. Extra bonus points if both sets of wounds so far are right were a mind meld hand would go. I could guess this is residual serial killer imprint from our buddy Suder.
The culprit definitely wasn’t Jeor, she’s also comatose in the mess hall. They’re all former Maquis, and the tension is making Chakoray slip a little, while Tuvok starts to devise special protocols and Chakotay calls a meeting of all the former Maquis. Turns out they don’t want to report anything to Tuvok, few of them have ever really trusted him after he turned out to be a Federation double-agent. Whether this was part of his original plan or not, in order to quell the chatter Chakotay authorizes (and orders!) everyone to carry a sidearm at all times.
The investigation, meanwhile, proceeds with Tom and Harry trying to CSI the holodeck by restructuring all the photons that were misaligned by the presence of bodies, in a similar extrapoliation-reconstruction to one Geordi tried. And it works – the Holodeck somehow logs misplaced photons and can aggregate them over time. Over time, they’ll be working to Enhance. As he leaves, Tuvok does more weird moves.
With this pattern emerging, there’s starting to be rumors of a conspiracy against the Maquis, at least in the mind of a bolian of nervous disposition. Tuvok is systematically interviewing everyone, and he’s gone so far as to read Harry’s mail from the Earth datastreams – privacy protocols have been suspended, at least for people who match the parameters of the displacement. Harry had a distant friend who died because of the Maquis, and since that friend was named in his letter, he’s now a suspect.
At this point, Tabor has woken up – he’s stabilized on his own, but doesn’t remember anything about the attack. The next development is that Torres split off from her buddy because he’s super annoying, and Chakotay finds her passed out in Cargo Bay 2, with Tuvok standing over her muttering the incantation that our Bajoran buddy was reciting earlier. Chakotay calls for security in the ensuing scuffly but doesn’t bother to shout “it’s Tuvok and he’s talking crazy nonsense” in between punches in case he gets his brain wiped. Which he does, immediately. Strangely, nobody thought to ask the computer who was with Chakotay when he made the call for help. Maybe the call never went through.
Tuvok is still leading the investigation, and two more crew have awakened. It certainly seems like Day Tuvok is unaware of his nighttime activities, but he’s so overwrought that Janeway orders him to take a break. This means meditation, during which he remembers attacking people, but not clearly. Just enough to confirm that Chakotay gave him a pretty vicious bruise. And then he sees our Bajoran friend in the mirror behind him, urging him to continue the mission. He rushes to the holodeck, where Harry and Janeway are working on the residual image to correlate his own location at that time. The log of his behavior is restricted, as is the person who restricted it, and roundabout-confesses in front of them. He also pulls his phaser on the hallucination, and is confined to the brig on his own request.
So the question is what’s happening, and what’s he going on about this being a ‘holy time.’ We recognize this as a Bajoran incantation. But one of Tuvok’s early leads may have been on to something – Tuvok mentions a letter from his son. After 29 hours, Chakotay is awake, but doesn’t remember it was Tuvok. On review, Tuvok’s son sent a letter with a Manchurian Candidate trigger buried underneath it, designed to be perfectly subliminal to Vulcans. And Chakotay recognizes the Bajoran as Tiro Anedas, a Maquis-aligned Vedek, who worked with counter-intelligence and kicked out for his subliminal experiments. He was an extremist, so it’s puzzling that he ordered Tuvok to attack the Maquis… except when you factor in that the attacks were mind-melds and he could have just planted the plans for a full-blown mutiny in at least seven crewmembers.
Once Janeway confronts Tuvok with Tiro’s face, he remembers being restrained in a Manchurian cradle. He can’t face it directly, but Janeway offers to guide him in meditation… in the cell with the mentally compromised superstrong telepath with a recent string of the old ultraviolence.
In the flashback, Tiro show’s he’s aware of Tuvok’s true allegiances – as a counterintelligence agent, he’d be the one to find out. And rather than expose Tuvok, he’s turning our good security officer into a triple-agent, subliminally. And when Tuvok comes out of the trance, he triggers Chakotay, who is now rogue. His monitor alerts the Doctor, which is more than Janeway thought to do, but it’s too late, he deactivates him, stuns, Tom, activates Torres, and they start a mutiny, lock all the Starfleet personnel in the brig, and fly to an M-class to drop off the Starfleet crew.
Everyone is also immediately back to their Maquis un-uniforms. Did they have those stored away, or replicate new ones? Sudden manpower issues aside (the Val Jean was not a large ship) the sudden breakdown in discipline is liable to come back to haunt them real quick. Chakotay calls Tuvok in to celebrate over some Vulcan brandy, which I bet is delicious even though I can’t see intoxicants as being a popular choice for a species of repressed violent psychopaths. Also, there’s the question of whether Tuvok is trustworthy, given his previous betrayal. Chakotay calls Janeway in and gives Tuvok his phaser, as a test of loyalty. He fires, but the phaser was disabled. Chakotay has read the overlord list – never give your almost-trusted henchman an actual loaded gun for a loyalty test.
Now that Tuvok’s passed the loyalty test, Chakotay dismisses the guard, at which point Tuvok nerve-pinches Chakotay and deprograms him. See, it turns out if your almost-trusted-henchman knows for sure you’re too smart to give him a deadly weapon for the loyalty test, they can cheat on it. From there, clean-up is… distressingly simple. Apparently Starfleet security procedures, disjointed as they are, are still more professional than the Maquis ones were. That might be why they lost so hard. Too soon?