The Omega DirectiveBy Michelle Erica Green
Posted at January 13, 2004 - 3:35 PM GMT
See Also: 'The Omega Directive' Episode Guide
Seven interrupts Kim and Tuvok's Kalto game, winning for Harry when he refuses to leave. He asks her whether there's anything she can't do; she replied that she was Borg. Then the ship jolts, and the computer starts bringing up security lockouts. Janeway says she'll take care of it, seals her Ready Room doors, and listens to a message about "Omega Protocols" to go along with the giant omega that appears on screens all over the ship.
Afterwards, Chakotay meets in engineering with Torres, Paris, and Seven, telling them that all orders are classified, then asking Paris to work on modifying a shuttle to withstand extreme heat and Torres to work on metaphasic shielding for the warp core. He tells Seven that Janeway wants to see her. Janeway says she assumes that Seven knows all about "omega" from Borg assimilation memories of Starfleet captains, which Seven confirms. However, Seven believes that Janeway will try to destroy the omega particle and believes they should harness it. The Borg tested omega particles...and six hundred thousand drones died. Janeway says she won't risk a threat to the entire quadrant, and asks Seven to help her with the mission since she can't inform the rest of the crew.
While Janeway prepares to take a shuttle with Seven, Kim and Torres speculate on what the secret mission is - Species 8472? A plan to open a wormhole to get home? Chakotay corners Janeway in astrometrics and tells her that, in the absence of a Starfleet hierarchy, she's being unreasonable and possibly suicidal to go off on a secret mission without informing her senior staff about its purpose (not to mention self-defeating, since he'd become captain if she died on the mission and there wouldn't be any Starfleet officers to brief HIM about Omega). She argues that it's her personal obligation to fulfill Starfleet orders, but then changes her mind and tells him to call a senior staff meeting, where she finally explains the Omega Directive to her confused crew (and the confused audience):
Years ago, Starfleet discovered and synthesized a particle called omega - so named because it was believed to have powered the Big Bang - which contains massive amounts of energy, enough in a few particles to destroy subspace across half a quadrant. Since a handful of molecules could make warp travel impossible and send hundreds of star systems back to pre-warp civilization, Starfleet created a general order for its destruction wherever it was encountered.
Seven builds a modified Borg harmonics chamber to contain omega particles while the crew finds the source of the omega particles which drew the attention of the ship's sensors and put them in Omega Mode. It's on a moon where a disaster has occurred and subspace has been damaged. Janeway takes an away team down and finds the particles in a containment field, along with injured scientists whom she sends to Sickbay for treatment. Seven, who's been ordering the crew around in her efforts to build a better chamber and has been giving crewmembers numeric designations, overrides the Doctor's orders and interrogates a patient, learning that they were experimenting with hundreds of the particles. There's enough omega to wipe out half the quadrant. As Janeway tells Tuvok that this is a part of the final frontier that wasn't meant to be crossed, Seven tells Chakotay that she has a plan to neutralize and stabilize the omega particles, which the Borg consider perfection; it's a spiritual quest for her.
When Voyager detects alien ships on an intercept course, it takes the omega particles on board and flees. Seven tells Janeway that the particles' harmonics can neutralize them and that she could have conducted her experiments without permission, but Janeway insists that they must eject the particles and destroy them within the containment field: it's too risky to try anything else, with the whole quadrant at stake. Just before the ejection sequence is complete, Seven announces that the molecules are stabilizing on their own. They run out of the cargo bay as the particles are ejected and destroyed.
Janeway finds Seven in her Da Vinci holographic simulation, studying Christ on the cross. Looking at the perfection of the particles, Seven has just had her first spiritual experience, and has come to understand those 3.2 seconds when she saw perfection.
I'm not even going to get started on a Starfleet directive which orders the immediate destruction of a technology so sophisticated that only a highly-advanced race could produce it (and, presumably, defend it). And to protect against a "perfect" unstable deadly radioactive space-destroying molecule which might hold the key to the beginnings of the universe? The Omega Directive isn't even worth taking seriously as a directive, though it sure would have been interesting to see it on TNG - scientific assassination teams swarming the Enterprise, with Picard making demands for science and reason. Janeway's supposed to be a scientist - well, not this week, but that's not her biggest failing as a captain.
Just once, I would like to see Kathryn Janeway make a big gamble that pays off. It's quite common for her to take enormous risks and nearly get her entire crew killed: in fact, between her trigger-happy self-destruct finger and her desire to prove her fortitude to evil aliens, it's a wonder she hasn't gotten the ship blown up in non-alternate realities. But when she has a chance to do something great, to harness a kind of energy that's never been explored before, which could get her home in an instant and revolutionize the galaxy, she chickens out. Why, why, why do the writers do this to her? "The Omega Glory" was a better episode than "The Omega Directive." Janeway reciting the Preamble to the Constitution to Seven would have been more inspiring than the pat speech we got at the end.
But that isn't what I hated most about this installment. What REALLY bugged me was that Janeway didn't shove perfect little Seven out the airlock along with her perfect little particles, so we're going to have to suffer through more episodes with her singlehandedly coming up with plans to save the known universe. In this episode alone, Seven ordered Janeway to assist her (Janeway obeyed), gave Harry a Borg designation (Chakotay told him to get used to it), threatened to risk the entire galaxy so she could see the face of God (Janeway and Chakotay were both sympathetic), and demonstrated that she's smarter than Tuvok even at Vulcan disciplinary games. The Borg don't have to assimilate Voyager: they already control it, through this one individual who has everyone thinking like her...well, except the Doc, but even he got out of her way. I used to hate Seven's catsuit. Now I wish she'd just stand there and look pretty and SHUT UP for a change.
There's not much to say about the rest of the crew because who the hell needs the rest of the crew? This was very much an installment of the Seven and Janeway show...the ongoing series in which Janeway represents the Voice of Starfleet, Seven tells her all the reasons that she's a jerk, and Seven ends up being right. Kirk was allowed to make decisions which even Spock labeled incredibly stupid, but which turned out to be strokes of genius in hindsight. Next week Chakotay, who had to undergo one more round of sniveling before Queen Kathryn this week, finally gets a Real Woman...i.e., one who will put out instead of giving him orders. Guess that's the end of his relationship with Janeway. But then, Janeway - who is certainly not a babe like Seven, and appears to be aging by the week - isn't a woman in any stereotypical sexist action series sense, other than she appears to be designated as walking proof that women are unfit to command.
Michelle Erica Green reviews 'Enterprise' episodes for the Trek Nation, for which she is also a news writer. An archive of her work can be found at The Little Review.