VOY Challenge, Ep. 6: The Cloud

VOY_S01_E06TrekGeeks’ Star Trek Voyager Challenge

One Geek’s quest to milk nebulas for all the coffee they’ve got!


Captain Janeway is on a quest, and what she wants is coffee. Problem is, all Neelix has brewing up in his kitchen is the equivalent of sludge. She’d rather use one of her replicator rations for something much closer to her beverage of choice, but Neelix says that wouldn’t be setting a very good example for the rest of the crew. Besides, energy reserves are at a premium and it’s not like they can use that power for replicating coffee on demand.

It’s then that Chakotay interrupts the conversation, summoning Janeway to the Bridge. Upon arrival, he tells Janeway that they’ve found a nebula rich in omicron particles which they can collect for energy—and, as Janeway observes, coffee.   Ah, coffee…

After the opening credits, we learn that Janeway is concerned about the crew given the ship’s current state. She wishes there were a Counselor on board. Chakotay tells her of his people’s traditions–that animals are their counselors, as spirit guides.  He tells her that everyone has a different one, which intrigues the Captain.

Voyager enters the nebula but encounters some kind of energy barrier that’s preventing them from getting to the energy. They force their way through the barrier–and what would seem to be their point of egress closes behind them, leaving them inside the nebula.

This doesn’t make Neelix happy.  He and Kes are down in the Mess Hall looking out the window.  He wonders why Janeway has to endanger the Voyager and her crew in that manner.  Kes reminds him that they’re explorers and they’re curious by nature. Neelix isn’t so sure he agrees, thinking that the Starfleet crew may be “natural born idiots” with their exploration, especially given the ship they have. Kes still doesn’t agree, saying if she were the Captain she’d be doing things like Janeway.  I guess Neelix is sleeping on the sofa tonight.

Neelix may be right about the risk, though.  Now there’s some kind of compound attaching itself to Voyager. It’s time to get out of that nebula but–new problem–the barrier they energy barrier they forced their way through is now preventing them from getting out.  They push the thrusters past the limit, fire phasers, launch a photon torpedo. They make it out, but now energy reserves are now down another 11%.

Later, Paris lets himself in to Kim’s quarters. He wakes him up and tells him he wants to show him something on the Holodeck: a recreation of his favorite pool hall in Marseilles.  They talk about how they miss home.

Meanwhile, in Sick Bay, Torres needs a hand with some analysis so she brings a sample of the compound taken from the hull while Voyager was inside the nebula. The Doctor, after sounding a whole lot like Neelix in Act I of the episode, confirms that the sample B’Elanna has brought to him is definitely organic. Time to tell the Captain.

Chakotay bring his his medicine bundle  to Janeway to help her find her spirit guide. B’Elanna interrupts the conversation to inform them of her findings–that this compound is organic, but it seems to be from a much larger organism.  So, that nebula–yeah, it’s not a nebula.  It’s a lifeform and it turns out that they’ve injured it by taking the actions they did.  That’s not very Starfleet of them, now is it?

Now they have to repair the damage they’ve done. Torres says that they may be able to repair the damage using a nucleonic radiation field.  That should enable the lifeform to regenerate.

Neelix catches wind of that and decides to complain to the Captain. The last thing he wants to do is to go back inside that “nebula” for any reason and he doesn’t think Voyager should either. He asks that Janeway allow him and Kes to sit by the sidelines in Neelix’s ship and they can wait for Voyager to come back and pick them up.  Janeway tells him in no uncertain terms that they’re not going to stop and let him off everytime they encounter trouble and that he should find a good seat for the ride.

Voyager re-enters the cloud and the ship is hit by multi-polaric charges. The ship is pulled even deeper into the lifeform. Chakotay suggests that they could enter the lifeform’s circulatory system to wrap back around to the wound Voyager caused. Neelix shows up on the Bridge with refreshments, having named himself the ship’s Chief Morale Officer.  Once back at the wound, they apply the nucleonic radiation and use the ship as a type of suture to close the wound.   The lifeform is on its way to healing.

On the bright side, Janeway gets invited by Harry to the Holodeck to see Paris’ recreation of the Marseilles pool hall.

On the down side, energy reserves are now down 20% overall. No coffee in Janeway’s future, that’s for sure.


  • Janeway’s opening log entry is good character building and gives us insight to her inner struggles. I’ve always felt she was a study in contradictions as far as the Star Trek captains went, and this is no exception.
  • A very well written scene between Janeway and Neelix regarding her coffee.
  • Chakotay is going to teach Janeway how to contact her animal guide.
  • The scene where Janeway dresses down Neelix is decent and adds credibility to Janeway’s leadership. 


  • Tuvok’s redirection of Kim on the Bridge seems odd–like no one else could hear their communicator conversation?
  • Six episodes in and they still haven’t fixed Tuvok’s pips.
  • Kim’s “in your face” comment to Tuvok seems out of character–and a breach of protocol.
  • Janeway’s taking Voyager into this nebula seems very ill-advised, aside from the obvious reasons.
  • So, Voyager’s energy reserves are down yet another 11%, yet Tom Paris can go and create a French pub on the Holodeck? Janeway can’t even get a damned cup of coffee, for cryin’ out loud!
  • I don’t feel like this pub adds any depth to Paris. He still seems very one-dimensional to me right now.
  • How did Chakotay get his medicine bundle on to Voyager when he was beamed off his Maquis raider at the last second before it crashed into the Kazon ship? Seriously?
  • Janeway’s animal guide is apparently the Geico Gekko.
  • Neelix appoints himself Morale Officer. UGH.
  • Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and Archer would never have allowed snacks on the Bridge.
  • Harry takes Janeway to the Holodeck pub and, still, no one has a problem with this use of energy despite the fact that they’re using replicator rations and energy reserves are down 20% from the start of this episode.


We learned during this episode that the U.S.S. Voyager has a compliment of only 38 photon torpedoes.  They fired 1 to get out of the lifeform, so now they’re down to 37. (Thirty-seven. In a row.)


“The Cloud” is one of those episodes that I think was probably a TNG episode at some point. I think it came too close in the schedule to “Parallax,” because it seems like another “Hey…we found this weird thing in space. Let’s go inside it!” type of episode. While it’s better than “Parallax,” it’s really not all that compelling. It’s a decent enough story, but it just seems odd to me that they would have entered the “nebula” to begin with–especially since Janeway got her start in Starfleet as a science officer.  It seems out of character for her to issue that order, both as a Starfleet Captain and as a scientist.


Although “The Cloud” is a decent script, I think it’s flawed in its concept and the pitch should have been re-worked on a couple of angles. It’s watchable and there are some decent character moments, but it’s by no means the best of Star Trek. It gets 2 1/2 Deltas out of 5.



The Voyager discovers a wormhole and contacts the Romulans in “Eye of the Needle.”