Star trek: Voyager 6.09a - Spirit folk
Stardate around 53600
Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities
Episode propagandaProblems begin to arise when Voyager runs a holodeck program non-stop. Characters within the holographic re-creation of Fairhaven become suspicious of the Voyager crew when they begin to notice strange, otherworldly happenings.
The city of Fairhaven is set within 19th-century Ireland. While driving along a road, Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) crashes his vintage automobile. Seamus Driscol (Richard Riehle), one of the townsfolk, cannot believe his eyes when he sees Paris' tire magically repair itself. He immediately heads to Sullivan's pub, and tells its inhabitants that he believes Tom is from the spirit world.
Back in town, Kim (Garrett Wang) and Maggie (Henriette Ivanans) are walking together and holding hands. Meanwhile, they are unaware that Seamus and Milo (Ian Abercrombie) are watching their every move. Just as the two are about to kiss, Paris plays a trick on Kim by morphing Maggie into a cow in a holographic effect. Kim can hear Paris laughing, just as they are instructed through a comm call to return to the bridge.
Seamus tells his priest exactly what he saw. Acting as his priest, the Doctor (Robert Picardo) tells Seamus that Tom Paris is a known prankster and that he is not to worry. Later that day, Seamus and Milo run into Maggie who tells them that she feels like she woke up from the strangest dream where she was walking around town with a bell around her neck.
Soon, the townsfolk gather and exchange similar stories. Michael Sullivan (Fintan McKeown) tells Katie that the townsfolk think that she and her friends are not from this Earth. Because he believes that Katie is lying to him, Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) decides to end the program. Back on Voyager, Janeway doesn't know how the holodeck characters could possibly be asking so many questions about their origin.
Persons of interest
- Kate Mulgrew .... Captain Kathryn Janeway
- Robert Beltran .... Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson .... Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill .... Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Robert Picardo .... the Emergency Medical Hologram
- Ethan Phillips .... Neelix
- Tim Russ .... Lieutenant Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan .... Seven of nine, tertiary adjunct to Unimatrix 01
- Garrett Wang .... Ensign Harry Kim
- Majel Barrett .... USS Voyager computer voice
- Fintan McKeown .... Michael Sullivan
- Richard Riehle .... Seamus Driscol
- Henriette Ivanans .... Maggie
- Ian Abercrombie .... Milo
- Ian Patrick Williams .... Doc Fitzgerald
- Duffie McIntire .... Grace
- Bairbre Dowling .... Edith
- Bryan Fuller .... Screenwriter
- David Livingston .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
Special Agent Matti
Fairhaven II: The revenge.
A couple of months down the track, Tom has his latest escapist holo-fantasy back online and it's busy running 24/7, possibly because most of Voyager's crew is Human and has a desperate need to pretend that they're somewhere warm and fuzzy rather than stuck out in the depths of the Delta Quadrant. Neelix is along for the ride, as always, trying harder than necessary to fit in. The EMH is there because it gives him the freedom to interact with the carbon units infesting the Enterpri... oops, er... with the biological sentients on Voyager on equal terms. On the holodeck, everyone's a hologram.
So, how can there possibly be a dilemma when everything is running so smoothly? They can't use the vagaries of space because they did that last time, instead they rehash the vagaries of holo-technology. You'd think that after La Forge created photonic life in Elementary, dear Data and that life form created more photonic life in Ship in a bottle that there'd be some sort of hardware or software to prevent holograms from developing sentience. Even the quasi communist dictators of Earth knew that intellectuals only cause trouble. But, no. Here they are again, learning too much and realising that they glow, therefore they are.
Holo-episodes have never been a good idea, ever since the first door got stuck in The big goodbye. They never heard of picking the lock? Anyhoo, here we are again, with smelly bleeders trapped by the nice clean holograms and no-one can turn the darned thing off. What does Starfleet do this time? Wipe the slate and call it "too dangerous" like the Omega particle? No, they swing the doors open, violating the rules of first contact, mind you, and invite everyone out to play. Maybe it's Janeway's romance with Michael (she actually calls him a boyfriend!) that influenced her decision - rumpy pumpy has been known to turn even the most sensible of people into slavering idiots - but this problem should never have happened in the first place. When the chief engineer complains about increased maintenance overheads on the holodeck the Captain should start thinking about scaling back its use.
Admittedly, Voyager is in a unique position with its holodecks, what with needing them for crew morale and all (look what happened to Captain Ransom of the Equinox), but Starfleet command should long ago have recognised that the technology is way too dangerous for amateurs to be programming proto-sentients. The learning sub-routines which have made the EMH more than just a bunch of photons and force fields should be restricted technology. Wake up and smell the replicator!
Still, it could be good to have a bunch of holograms slavering after the Doctor's mobile emitter so they can go pork a Delaney twin in Stellar Cartography. Speaking of which, what happened to Megan and Jenny? And why isn't Stellar Cartography making more use of Astrometrics? Surely they'd chew off their right arms to use that technology.
Back to the point... with an entire village cognisant of their unnatural origins, what will happen to them next? The holodeck can't be shut down because that, as the EMH has informed us, is like a nihilistic death: nothing but nothing. So, how are these 19th century peasants going to adapt to the 24th century? How will culture shock affect them? Will they form relationships with the crew, and with each other? What if they start having children? Will the program have to run forever? It's only if these questions are raised and answered that this episode be truly worthwhile, otherwise it's the third quarter doldrums when everyone starts hanging out for the season finale.
Security censorship classification
PG (Low level violence)