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Star trek: Voyager 7.02a - Drive

Stardate 54058.6
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Episode propaganda

As Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill) and Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) are taking the Delta Flyer for a test run, another small alien ship pulls alongside them. The alien pilot, Irina (Cyia Batten), challenges them to a race. As the two ships race through an asteroid field, Irina's ship begins filling up with nyocene gas. They beam Irina to their shuttle and bring her and her ship back to the USS Voyager. While making repairs, she explains to them that she is entering a race in a couple of days. This prompts Paris and Kim to convince Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) to let them enter the race, too.

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
  • Cyia Batten .... Irina
  • Brian George .... O'zaal
  • Robert Tyler .... Joxom
  • Patrick Kilpatrick .... Assan
  • Chris Covics .... O'zaal's assistant
  • Michael Taylor .... Screenwriter
  • Winrich Kolbe .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Intelligence report

Driving Miss Torres.

Tom has a long history of hiding in his hobbies. Somewhen back in his strictly-controlled childhood he found a safe place in doing the things in which his father approved. Piloting was one of them. Learning about the 20th century on Earth was another. In adult life these translated into his holoprograms (The adventures of Captain Proton and the classic Monaro in Vis à vis), his work (the construction of the Delta Flyer in Extreme risk) and his, erm, relationships (Alice), all to the annoyance of the love of his life (ie B'Elanna). This latest wild, mechanical, piloting love affair, despite protestations at the end of Alice that he was not going to have any more relationships with strange ships, pushes B'Elanna over the brink, and good on her. Men are pigs (as she herself has said on a number of occasions) and no woman should put up with their behaviour (let alone encourage it by allowing their pig genes to reproduce!) so it's time for the big crunch: get real or get out.

Fortunately for Tom, he makes the correct decision (you don't want an angry, half-Latina, half-Klingon ex-girlfriend Chief Engineer of the ship you have to pilot, with a chip on her shoulder). B/T relationshippers all over the planet spontaneously combust and the smoke floats up to fanfic heaven. After the bitter disappointment of Course: Oblivion (in which sentient deuterium duplicates of B'Elanna and Torres tied the knot) there'll be some steam in the chat rooms tonight. It's somewhat disappointing that you don't get to see the marriage itself (44 minutes is never enough), but you can always imagine what it was like. After all, what is Star trek without your imagination?

In other areas, the Captain completely undercuts Tom's request to fly in the race by agreeing with him before he's had time to give her all his arguments. It's a funny scene because it shows her wild streak (that hair didn't turn red by itself, you know) and her ability to make the correct command decision from instinct alone. Kathryn is a far more instinctual captain than Picard or Sisko, in fact she's a lot more like Jim Kirk than any of the other Starfleet captains that have graced your screen. She is not just a good diplomat, she is a warrior. She doesn't just respect the tenets of the Federation, she believes in them with her heart and soul; even when she is willing to sacrifice every member of her crew to preserve the Prime Directive (think back to the first two seasons when she had her hand on the self-destruct button 24/7 to keep Alpha Quadrant technology out of the hands of the Kazon) she knows that the law can sometimes be an ass and will march across the fine line with eyes wide open if she believes that more good will come of it than if she followed the letter of the law (she broke the directive as early as Jetrel in season one).

As for the race, well, it's one of those Cold War thaw stories, much like The undiscovered country, in which there are some people who are more interested in war than peace. For Kathryn, it's the perfect opportunity to do some serious diplomacy and help reduce tension in a battle-scarred sector of space. For the participants, it's more than just the thrill of competition, more than a surge of speciesistic pride, it's the chance to control the fate of their area of space. Many, many sticky fingers are poking into the pie and not all of them can pull out a plum.

Drive is an entertaining episode with some big decisions being made and that's always good to see. Enjoy.

Security censorship classification

M (Low level violence)

Not for public release in Australia before date

VHS rental and retail: 11 May 2001

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