The Voyager ConspiracyBy Edward James Hines
Posted at November 24, 1999 - 6:00 AM GMT
Taken strictly at face value, "The Voyager Conspiracy" worked as a fast-paced, clever extrapolation of events from the "Caretaker" pilot. Thoughtfully set up, it wisely validated Seven of Nine's deduction about the photonic flea infestation before postulating her bigger "conspiracies."
The most effective device in weaving these was speed. Delivered quickly and without too many details, Seven's outlandish theories actually seemed plausible. This was why Janeway and Chakotay — who should have known better — fell for them at first; but when examined closely, Seven's theories were full of holes.
The first sign of her dementia was when she misquoted Neelix's supposition that the Caretaker had returned all vessels appropriated for his experiments. Seven's version to Chakotay postulated that only the Cardassian warship was returned to its place of origin — and that for the purpose of fomenting an invasion of the Delta Quadrant. She did not explain why the Caretaker had chosen the Cardassians as his agents, nor why the Cardassians would ally with the Federation (and vice versa) to mount such an attack.
Later portions of Seven's argument completely fell apart under scrutiny. First, why would the Federation proceed with such a sloppy plan? If its intention was to bring ships to the Delta Quadrant, then why destroy the Caretaker's array? Why go to the trouble of employing a mysterious "cloaked ship" to snag the reactor when the array was destroyed?
Also never accounted for were Voyager's various leaps forward during its journey home — not the least of which was the 10-year jump facilitated by Kes. How did all those Delta Quadrant vessels, which were relaying the tetryon reactor, keep pace with Voyager?
Chakotay's reaction to Seven's rapid fire of false facts was the most interesting. He did not confront Janeway, with whom he has built a solid friendship of trust and camaraderie. Instead, he ran to his old Maquis compatriot, Torres, and attempted to sabotage the mission. This potentially damning response brought Chakotay full-circle, weakening him further and serving to demonstrate that he can still be swayed under pressure (recall his bout with Stockholm syndrome in "Year of Hell, Part II").
Memories of how 'Babylon 5' often turned the world on its ear made me hope that some small nugget of Seven's suspicions was true. Admittedly, the very notion that Voyager might be purposefully trapped in the Delta Quadrant is one of the most compelling ideas this series has had. Hopefully, some clever writer will build on it further.
Edward James Hines writes weekly reviews of Voyager episodes.