Voyager Vignettes IV
Darrel W. Beach
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
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....
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.
"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.
All of a sudden, metallurgical analysis didn't seem quite so
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
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.
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