Extensive 'Natural Law' Plot SummaryBy Christian
March 25, 2001 - 1:07 PM
Like 'Friendship One', of which we provided a summary yesterday, 'Natural Law' deals with important Prime Directive issues. Unlike that episode, however, here Janeway does not find herself responsible for interfering in an alien culture, but rather has to stop another race from doing so.
According to a source, in 'Natural Law' Voyager arrives at the planet Ledos, where the crew is looking forward to spending some recreational time. Most of the crew, that is, as Tom Paris is faced other obligations. While taking the Delta Flyer through Ledosian space, he is hailed by Ledos Port Authority, who inform them he is guilty of "committing piloting violation two five six." As his penalty, he is sentenced to attend Ledosian Flight School, something that amuses Harry Kim and B'Ellana Torres no end. As they beam down to the planet to enjoy themselves, Paris meets Instructor Kleg, the old Ledosian gentleman who will be instructing him and examine him for his final test.
Later, the real crisis of the episode develops, as Chakotay and Seven of Nine take a shuttle on a mission, and are trapped behind an energy barrier of some sort. Voyager's scanners are unable to penetrate the barrier, and so Janeway hails the Ledosian ambassador. The ambassador assumes that they collided with the barrier, and offers his condolences. Janeway tells him they believe the shuttle found a way through the barrier, and while the ambassador is skeptical of that, he agrees to provide some more information on the barrier.
Apparently, the barrier was erected by off-worlders to shield the territory of a primitive society, the Ventu. Rather embarassed, the ambassador explains that this was done to protect the Ventu from the Ledosians of that time, who fought wars there and polluted the environment. Janeway diplomatically tells him that Earth had dark periods in its own history as well, and asks if he would have any objections to Voyager trying to lower the barrier. The ambassador says they'd be wasting their time - the generator is located inside the barrier, and it is impossible to shut it down or even analyse it. "Even if your people did survive," he says, "there's no way to get them out."
Of course, Janeway is not deterred by this, and through the use of a deflector manages to remove the barrier. Unfortunately, besides giving Voyager the chance to retrieve Chakotay and Seven, this also gives the Ledosians a chance to get to the Ventu again. On the planet, the Voyager crew members have made meaningful contact with the Ventu, but then encounter a Ledosian expedition who are more interested in the scientific opportunities present. Now that the energy barrier is down, they're finally able to do research and use the planets resources. "We've been waiting years for this," the expedition leader tells Seven.
As for the Ventu, the Ledosians say they want to help them, by building new infrastructure and educating them. "Lowering this barrier will be the best thing that ever happened to the Ventu," according to the Ledosians. According to Janeway, this will likely not be the case, and she decided to remove the deflector and raise the barrier again.
Voyager moves to transport the deflector back to the ship, but before being able to do so, a Ledosian vessel attacks Voyager, causing the transporters to go off-line. The Ledosian ship hails Voyager, and the ambassador appears on the screen again. He informs Janeway that his government has decided not to let her remove the deflector and orders them to leave the system, or else they'll consider it an act of agression.
Janeway orders to take the ship out of orbit, while Chakotay asks her if she just wants to leave behind the deflector. Janeway turns to Kim, and tells him to open an encrypted frequency and hail Tom Paris, who is still taking flying lessons.
As Act Four ends, the Delta Flyer is racing through space, occupied by Tom Paris and a rather worried Instructor Kleg. "If you don't reduce your speed immediately, you'll have to start the course over again!", he warns Paris. But Paris doesn't react, instead focusing on his mission to remove the deflector and return Ventu society to undisturbed peace....
Unfortunately, our source did not wish to give away the ending of the episode, so we can't tell you if Voyager succeeds in removing the deflector. In addition, our source did not want to reveal too much about Chakotay's and Seven's scenes in the Ventu village, which should also be interesting.
'Natural Law' is scheduled to air on the 2nd of May, as one of the three last episodes before the Voyager finale. It is based on a story by Kenneth Biller & James Kahn, and a screenplay by James Kahn. The episode was directed by Terry Windell.