In which I successfully avoid the obvious joke for the whole blog entry.
The Delta Flyer is comet-chasing, and the Doctor is taking samples while Harry Kim weaves in and out of the tail and Seven banters about disabling his speech, continuing a running theme of casually suggesting the disenfranchisement of people. One hopes that the Federation is so far beyond actually acting on these that it’s okay to make jokes that would otherwise get HR involved – but then again it wasn’t terribly long ago that the Doctor was last deactivated against his will. Anyway, the Doctor has found some cometary biomatter that could kick off life on a planet in a panspermia situation. Seven is unimpressed, but is saved from voicing it by an attack on the shuttle.
The attackers cite the transport of a ‘suspected photonic insurgent’ which is not kosher in this region of space. With comms and thrusters offline, they are quickly captured, and they use a beam to destablize and decompile the Doctor. With his program on the line, and the Flyer about to be boarded, Seven is begged to Do Something, and when they barge into the cargo hold, she says they’e murdered him, but she’s acting a bit uncharacteristic. They also decide that the comet samples could be used to manufacture bioweapons, and impound the ship and imprison the crew. In the cell, because they’re dumb, Seven openly admits to actually being the Doctor. Seven downloaded him into her cybernetics, and once again we are thrust into the question of why they treat him like a non-sapient individual one moment but never make backups. Clearly, his program fits everywhere except on Voyager‘s main computer bank.
The question of what’s happened to Seven’s mind while the Doctor is inhabiting her is… unresolved at the moment, and will be until he can hop out of her body and into the emitter. Until then, he’s stuck with Seven’s body and senses, and it seems Harry hasn’t been showering lately. Also, even granting some form of built-in spectroscopy or chemical analysis on the air around him to aid in detecting infections, the Doctor probably hasn’t experienced smell viscerally his entire existence. That said, the Doctor is very creepily appreciating all of Seven’s body functions he’s encountered so far, including needing to self-consciously stop himself from getting handsy.
Meanwhile, Voyager has finished some maintenance and is heading to rendezvous in two days. Tom has had to take the role of doctor, and is treating Tuvok for an illness he refuses to specify, which means it’s probably the Ponn Farr, the Seven Year Itch. Tuvok has a medication that can keep him stable for a while, that can work in concert with meditation, and Paris, for all his ribbing, agrees to keep this embarassing time hidden from Janeway, even though presumably she knows that he’s a Vulcan. Do you think with Tuvok’s focus on opsec he’s conspicuously taken a few days off every year to false-positive his actual Ponn Farr when it inevitably came?
The Doctor is deeply enjoying his first experience with food, in the form of prison rations – imagine how amazing life will be when he gets her hands on cake and scotch. He wants his program modified to include a holographic stomach. The Doctor has very little conception of the severity of the situation, even when the Lokirrim come to escort Seven to the Delta Flyer and go over its tactical capabilities. He starts by showing off the replicator – with cheesecake, which beats the hell out of prison rations. It seems to be winning over their captors, and after a massive feast, including alcohol, they are chatting as old friends, and the Doctor takes the moment to talk himself up for the anti-holographic crusaders. Also, using the state of drunkenness as a lever to get back ‘Seven’s mobile regeneration unit’ so that the Doctor can exist as himself for a bit and check that Seven’s conscioussness still exists.
Seven’s body reacts to synthehol as if it was alcohol, and their half of the bargain to get the emitter back was that the Doctor has to doct for the Lokirrim, since they lost their medic a while back. But soon enough the Doctor is back in his emitter and Seven has her own body back – she was conscious the whole time and not pleased with the Doctor’s treatment of it. Given her especially vitriolic reaction to the cheesecake, I think Seven might be lactose intolerant. Either that or she’s just complaining about the quantity. On the one hand, it’s really depressing if 24th century science can’t solve lactose intolerance (though it’s certainly possible the Doctor was so caught up in the sensation of taste that he forgot to make the slices lactose-free) and on the other hand, we have the question of why the shuttle replicator isn’t set to alter the food to match the projected dietary needs and just inject flavor and texture as a cosmetic effect per usual.
Seven is pissed enough at the Doctor to initially refuse him entry back into her cybernetics, but cooler heads prevail – if the Doctor can get close enough to their computers while they operate them, Seven will be able to observe and decypher them for later hacking. During their stint as ship’s medic, we find out why the Lokirrim hate holograms so much – they’re fighting a Photonic insurgent army that loves using viral weapons that have killed a third of the ship. The Lokirrim had a servant class of sapient photonics, but ‘treated them just like family, honest.’
Tuvok’s Ponn Far is not going well, and Tom doesn’t have the medical know-how to beef up the medicine safely. Instead, Tom suggests porn. If he’s sensitive about it, making a hologram of T’Pell – which is unfortunate because Voyager is entering Lokirrim space, and they disrupt his porn just as it’s getting… well, before Tuvok is done with it. Janeway offers to allow them to escort Voyager through Lokirrim space to ensure they never use the holodeck in exchange for not destroying them.
On the Lokirrim picket ship, the Doctor has endeared Seven to their tactical officer, despite some pronoun slip-ups, and even might be getting set up with her brother, which disappoints the Doctor rather viscerally. What reason Zimmerman had to program in a sexual preference to an Emergency Medical Hologram baffles me unless it’s under the heading of that ‘too much of himself‘ foible. More on this theme, the captain of the Lokirrim ship takes Seven up to the bridge to show off a nebula, with some mood lighting. The predictable happens, and the Doctor storms back to the sick bay to report it, only to have the Tactical officer make excuses for him. Fortunately, we are led to believe that at least in Starfleet, reporting something like this would not be met with early 21st-century excuse-making.
But glossing over a serious discussion of deeply inappropriate romantic advances like those between captain and subordinate, captain and prisoner-of-war, let’s go back to the farce – like the Doctor in Seven’s body hitting on the tactical officer, then spraining Seven’s traps and needing some clinical massage. Then there’s one of those ‘talking past each other’ moments where it seems like the Lokirrim know the Doctor’s situation but are actually just aware that Seven is Borg. To save us from this, Harry’s faking sick.
So to the Doctor’s defense, although he didn’t do a lot of scoping out the computers he also left both precarious sexually-charged situations as soon as he could. I wouldn’t want to be Seven in this situation, particularly to experience the posessing ghost of your doctor getting aroused in her body, but he absolutely did not take advantage of the situation. Not that he’s doing a good job of defending himself, and instead attacking Seven for her lack of life indulgences. Again, conflict is quickly put aside for planning, and the Doctor’s plan to get to the Delta Flyer will probably involve using Seven to seduce Captain Ranik so that he can actually earn all that blame she just heaped on him.
Indeed it is, and to Ranik’s credit he’s absolutely ashamed of his advances, and confused (but delighted) when the Doctor dims the lights and lets down Seven’s hair. This is ‘necessary’ because he hid a hypospray in there, which was necessary because Torres commands the only pockets on Voyager. The Doctor teaches Ranik to waltz, then injects him and knocks him out – unfortunately just after he’s been summoned to the bridge.
Tuvok’s ‘condition’ has been sussed out by Janeway – he only gets the ‘Tarkalian Flu’ every seven years. She assures him the holodecks will be available as soon as they won’t get attacked for turning them on, but here’s Neelix to offer him some bland soup because the pretense must go on. They now receive the distress call from the Doctor, with all the tactical details needed. To shake their excort, Janeway opens fore on the Lokirrim escort’s power plant and sets course. Hey, since they no longer have an escort, maybe Tuvok could take the transit time to reset his hormone balance.
Having played his hand, the Doctor is now being sent to isolation… which is amusing in that Harry will be the only one in isolation. Less amusing is the continued quips that any half-competent captors would be jumping on. Happily, Voyager is nearby so there won’t be a chance. It’s all tension from here, in part because Ranik is willing to let his whole ship blow up rather than allow his prisoners to escape after transporting photonic insurgents and ‘biogenic matter.’ Note that we’ve never gotten more than a taste of the insurgency, that’s not the morality tale they want to tell this time.
After some action, Ranik gets a console blown up on him and the Doctor gets the chance to prove that not all Photonics are insurgents, and to play matchmaker. Who knows – maybe it’ll put a dent in their fanaticism, although that would land harder if we had any sense of what the rebellion was all about.
The other good news is that Holo-porn is a servicable treatment for the Ponn Farr. Fortunately the Pon Farr appears to be primarily a Male Vulcan thing, so we don’t necessarily need to worry that T’Pell is being faced with a similar choice of ‘be unfaithful or have your brain dribble out your ears.’ And Seven has brought some special-occasion foods to share with the Doctor