Voyager Vignettes IV

Darrel W. Beach

Sept. 1997
Revised and HTMLized, July 1999


The characters and materials of Star Trek: Voyager, such as Chakotay's soliloquies from the episode Distant Origin, are the rightful property of Paramount Studios. No infringement of copyright is truly intended.

The following presentation is rated G.


     Gegen turned off the console and rubbed his weary eyes. Spending ten hours every day cataloguing ore samples proved to be tiresome work. He ached to be back in his old research lab, tending to ground-breaking hypotheses instead of analysing and recording mineral compounds, but that would never happen. Never again, thanks to the minister's obliqueness. By her ruling, the elderly scientist was deigned to spend his remaining days in harmless anonymity, or subject himself and the Humans on the Voyager starship to a life of imprisonment.
     It shocked and appalled him that the minister could be so cold and ruthless. The Humans had done nothing outward to deserve such a cruel fate. Their only "crime" they had committed was confirming -- even corroborating with their own evidence -- the Distant Origin Theory, that the people of Voth had actually migrated from a distant planet to the world they now called home in the Delta Quadrant. Was it so important to uphold the laws of Doctrine that the lives of innocent beings be threatened?
     Gegen decided that arrogance and stubbornness were the two most defining characteristics of his people. The Voth took great pride in the history of their people, in the advancements they achieved, and in the laws that governed them...maybe too much so. His people believed themselves to be superior to other races, especially non-sauroid species. Their belief in Doctrine bordered on obsessive. And of course, like the minister, they stuck to their supposed heritage with blind devotion. Ironically, his own pig-headedness led to the situation he now found himself. It pained him to have to retract his theory before the entire Circle of Science. He was prepared to sacrifice his life to stand up for his beliefs, but condemning a ship full of people he barely knew to a life of encampment and forced labour was unconscionable. He might never possess the power and influence to bolster the strength of his convictions, but at least he could claim to have compassion and regard for all living beings.
     He reached over his desk and palmed a small blue and terracotta marbled sphere mottled with white. It resembled the goal of his extensive research: the lost planet his forefathers once called home. He received the small globe from the Human named Chakotay as a gift, a symbol of hope and future understanding. He thoughtfully smoothed his thumb over the sphere's surface and considered the words the man had spoken:
     I know from the history of my own planet that change is difficult. New ideas are often greeted with scepticism, even fear. But sometimes those ideas are accepted, and when they are, progress is made....
     "I see something very different.... An ancient race of saurians, probably the first intelligent life on Earth...developed language and culture and technology. And when the planet was threatened with danger they boldly launched themselves into space...facing the unknown everyday. But somehow they stayed together, kept going with the same courage that had served them before, until they reached this quadrant where they laid the foundation of what was to become the great Voth culture. Deny that past, and you deny the struggle and achievements of your ancestors. Deny your origins on Earth, and you deny your true heritage.
     It seemed Chakotay held a special insight to the plight of the Voth, and he was right. The minister was wrong to think that the acceptance of the Distant Origin Theory meant the abandonment of the Voth legacy. Their legacy was one of survival, of triumph over adversity, and like all that preceded it, the Distant Origin Theory would yet triumph. He might not live to see it, but Gegen knew that one day his people would be ready to seek the truth. When that happened, the Voth would usher in a great new era of civilisation, hopefully one not quite so dependent upon Doctrine and the ministry.
     All of a sudden, metallurgical analysis didn't seem quite so tiresome anymore.

The Role of Respect

     Peter Dawson snapped his head up at the call of his name, recognising the strong timbre of his commanding officer, Lt. B'Elanna Torres. "Yes, sir?"
     The half-Klingon buzzed her way through the main engineering deck, as was customary for her daily morning inspection, reviewing work reports and system logs. "Dawson, where's that report on the power converters and the plasma flow regulators? It was supposed to be on my desk an hour ago."
     Peter knit his brows. He had been working non-stop for the last twelve hours, performing tests on the engine core ever since he noticed a four percent decrease in warp field power efficiency yesterday. Torres immediately assigned him to run diagnostics on the main assembly. With the amount of work that entailed, the former Maquis rebel was gracious enough to loan him one other person. They had been crawling through the bowels of the ship all night tracing the power distribution network. "Sorry, sir. We only completed the inspection fifteen minutes ago. We couldn't detect any problem in that part of the system." While giving her the rundown, the ensign quickly downloaded the results onto a padd and handed it to her. "I just finished cross-tabulating the data a moment ago. As you can see, the power levels are within normal tolerances, with no significant variance from last month's figures."
     B'Elanna took the padd and inspected the numbers for a few seconds, her face dour. Peter didn't know why she was so terribly concerned. This problem was trivial in comparison to some of what she'd had to deal with in the past, and she'd managed to keep her cool in worse situations than this. He supposed the emotional display could be attributed to her Klingon heritage. Usually he avoided making such judgements about people based on social schema: people were always capable of demonstrating abilities inconsistent with the behaviour of their native species. However, Klingon behaviour was unilateral; one would be hard pressed to find a Klingon who wasn't aggressive and generally ill-tempered. "Well, the data does seem to check out. So, if it's not the reactor assembly, what is it?" she wondered.
     Peter could tell that her question prompted a proactive response, a demonstration of his knowledge of starship engineering. He appreciated her giving him the opportunity. "I'd put a week's worth of rations that we'll find what we're looking for in the plasma injection system. Something's getting in the way of the plasma reaching the field generator coils."
     "Whoa, wait a minute. Couldn't it be the EPS taps?" she pressed.
     "Mm, no, sir. We'd have noticed fluctuations in the plasma flow, but we didn't. In fact," he ruminated further, "considering the sudden drop in field output despite the constant plasma flow, we might be looking at a problem with the injection valves. There might be something wrong that the computer isn't registering."
     She looked at him, scrutinising his appraisal. "Fair assessment, Dawson. Grab a couple of people and scan the plasma injectors," she deadpanned.
     Peter blinked. No words of approval or acknowledgement of insightful thought? Not that he was looking for it, mind you, but he was sure the lieutenant sought proof that he could evaluate the situation and provide a thorough prognosis. "Yes, sir, I'll get right on it." He turned, sullen, intent on recruiting a few engineers for the task.
     "And, Dawson!" the chief engineer barked, stopping the ensign in his tracks. He looked back expectantly for whatever additional orders she had to give. A small hint of a smile appeared in return. "Good work. Thought the same thing myself."
     Peter grinned in appreciation. "Thank you, sir." He returned to the job at hand, riding a crest of gratification.

     B'Elanna watched Ensign Dawson stride purposefully from the engine room, taking three engineers in tow. She was impressed: the man really knew his stuff. How do you like that? she mused. I guess Chakotay knows what he's talking about. Allow people to do their jobs and they'll respect you for it, regardless of whether you're Starfleet or not. I could get used to this. The lieutenant continued her morning rounds, riding the same wave of gratification.

Return to the Stories page