Star Trek 619: The Void

619. The Void

FORMULA: Night + Concerning Flight + The Time Trap (animated series) + Elite Force (computer game)

WHY WE LIKE IT: The principles of the Federation. The Hierarchy is back.

WHY WE DON'T: A couple of dumb moments.

REVIEW: Voyager comes across another one of those pockets of nothingness Starfleet ships are prone to, and this time it's filled with ships from a number of different species, all playing a salvage and piracy game to survive in that ressourceless pocket dimension. The area has a nice stark look, with running lights providing most of the lighting, but it's not as dark as it could be. In any case, Voyager is hit immediately and a lot of its supplies stolen. Dumb Moment #1: A computer console is taken from engineering, and it appears that Starfleet equipment isn't plugged into anything. Where does that deadly wattage come from then?

Janeway's reaction is, for once, perfect. Instead of falling into the same criminal pattern everyone else has, she puts the Federation Charter to good use. After all, what are Star Trek's humans good at? Klingons are warriors and Ferengi are merchants, etc., but humans are assemblers. Through tolerance and cooperation, we've built a mighty Federation that's sometimes been able to make friends with its greatest enemies. So IDIC philosophy fuels a makeshift alliance with the dual goal of pooling resources for survival and of course getting the hell out of the Void.

Some of the species in the Void, we've encountered before, including the recent Nygeans and the egg-headed Hierarchy. I was pretty glad to see the latter again, and I think their use of Astrometrics for spying shows there's still some juice for a race of watchers. But they probably make better allies than enemies, but I still wish we'd seen more of them. And of course, their contribution is an important one once the bad guys realize that cooperation must be fought with cooperation.

But the key is a stowaway beamed to Voyager by mistake. "Fantome"'s species play the role of rats aboard a ship, a sort of infestation, hard to find and eliminate. If it wasn't for the fact they wear clothes, it might be hard to believe in their sentience at first. But sentient they are, and the Doctor teaches them to vocalize their presumably telepathic language with musical tones. Dumb Moment #2: Janeway wondering if they are native to the Void, a laughable notion in a space without any stellar matter. Anyway, cooperation and tolerance triumph again, and it's Fantome's people who sabotage the bad guys and allow Voyager and its allies to escape.

LESSON: Bolt your stuff down.

REWATCHABILITY - High Medium: Showing why Starfleet principles are important has rarely been done so efficiently on Voyager, despite my misgivings about the highly improbable Fantomes.

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