VOY Challenge, Ep. 11: State of Flux

VOY_S01_E11TrekGeeks’ Star Trek Voyager Challenge

One Geek’s mission to fire the person who brought Leola Root aboard out the nearest airlock.


The Voyager has dispatched a survey team to the surface of a planet to find food sources. Carey finds a bunch of what look like some form of apple, but Neelix tells him that they’re extremely poisonous. Instead, the Talaxian guide is excited to have found Leola Root. Chakotay takes a taste and spits it out–it tastes terrible. (Is it any wonder? It looks like painted ginger.) Lo and behold, this is the reason Neexlix brought the ship here. Apparently there’s no finer source of vitamins and minerals in the quadrant.


Aboard the Voyager, Paris observes what he believes could be a cloaked ship. Tuvok says that it is a ship using some kind of technology unfamiliar to him. He suggests using a polaron burst and Janeway concurs. When fired, the burst lights up what appears to be a Kazon raider. Janeway orders the survey teams back to the ship immediately. The teams gather at the transport site, and Kim notices that Seska is missing. Chakotay orders everyone back to the ship and he goes on to look for Seska.

He searches for her in some nearby caves (Seriously–why are there always caves in Star Trek?) when he notices 2 Kazon in the caves with him. He hides as they pass by and he continues his search for Seska. He finds her picking mushrooms–she wanted to show Neelix how to make Chakotay’s favorite soup–but now it’s time to get out of there. They are surprised by the Kazon while trying to exit the caves and a firefight ensues.  Chakotay is injured and Seska gets him back to the ship. They leave orbit without further problems from the Kazon.

Seska visits Chakotay in his quarters and brings him some of his favorite while he recovers from his wounds–mushroom soup. While enjoying his bowl of soup, Seska tells him how she and some of the other Maquis officers stole the mushrooms to make it from Neelix’s kitchen. This upsets Chakotay and he revokes the replicator rations of everyone involved for two days, including himself. Seska says the others won’t go along with that and he also threatens to throw Seska and anyone else in the brig…and he’s serious.  Seska said it was worth losing the rations for two days as some romantic tension is introduced. Chakotay reminds her that they decided long ago that it wouldn’t work between them.  Seska tells Chakotay that there aren’t many potential mates where they are and jokes that she’s been keeping her eye on “young Ensign Kim.”  She leaves and the Senior Staff are summoned to the Bridge by Captain Janeway.

The Voyager is receiving a distress call from the same ship that shadowed them at the planet. The call appears to be real and Neelix advises caution because it may be a trap.  This ship looks like it’s part of the Kazon-Nistrim and they’re one of the more violent branches of Kazon. Janeway orders the ship to intercept.

An Away Team of Chakotay, Tuvok, Torres, and Seska beam over to the disabled Kazon ship and the situation isn’t good. They find a lot of dead Kazon and, to make matters worse, they all to appear have died from some kind of subatomic manipulation and their bodies have been integrated with the metal around them. Chakotay’s tricorder reads high levels of nucleonic radation in the vicinity and it’s contained by force fields.  Seska locates one Kazon survivor and he’s in really bad shape. He’s beamed aboard Voyager for medical treatment. The explosion on the Bridge came from a console that seems out of place and it’s got a .41% trace of a neosorium composite and Torres points out the only people who use that are the Federation.

The Doctor reports that every cell in the body of the surviving Kazon has been altered or fused with inorganic matter, bonding with metallic nuclei. The EMH will have to perform a complete pyrocyte replacement on the Kazon to save him, and they’ll need donors. Outside Sick Bay, Tuvok tells Janeway that the explosion had a Federation signature. They don’t know what the console the Kazon were installing was and it’s going to be hard to get to with all that nucleonic radiation.  Janeway’s concerned that they have Federation technology and Tuvok says there are three possibilities: that it’s not Federation technology, that it could have come from another Federation Starship in the Delta Quadrant somewhere, or that someone aboard the Voyager has covertly given the technology to the Kazon. Janeway doesn’t like the third possibility one bit, even though it’s the most likely explanation. (Occam’s Razor cuts deep, Captain.)

Tuvok also says that it’s also possible the Kazon were able to deceive their sensors before they arrived at the planet because someone gave them the information on how to go undetected. That means there’s a potential traitor on board and Janeway wants no stone unturned.  Janeway asks Chakotay who could have possibly met with the Kazon on the planet and Tuvok immediately chimes in and says that Chakotay did discover Seska in proxmity to the Kazon in the caves.  (Way to go after the First Officer’s babe, Tuvok.)  Chakotay defends Seska and Tuvok urges him to treat her with caution.  Janeway doesn’t get why anyone on the ship would betray the crew–that they’re all in this together.  (Really?  Really?!? )   They need to get to that console.

The staff assembles in Main Engineering to discuss ideas for retrieving the console. Seska thinks they can use a localized subspace bubble to get past the force field, but Torres thinks that’s risky. Carey says they could use an expander to manipulate the containment field out of the way. By rotating the field, they should be able to get to the console without being at risk of the radation.  (Does anyone else think that Carey kind of resembles Chief O’Brien—without the weekly suffering?)  Janeway gives the go-ahead and Torres says that she can have it ready by tomorrow. Janeway says she wants it by end of day.  Torres says…uh…no, Captain…you don’t get it.  She doesn’t exaggerate and she means she can have it tomorrow and that’s the best she can do.  Janeway appreciates her honesty and Torres and the Engineering Team get to work….with everyone but Seska.

Chakotay reassigns Seska to the Bridge which leaves his Bajoran paramour none too happy.  He reveals to Seska that there’s some “concern” about her because he found her near the Kazon on the planet. Chakotay is reassigning her to the Bridge to coordinate the operation up there because he’s trying to protect her. Seska disagrees–she says that he might as well be pointing a finger at her in front of the entire crew.  Chakotay reminds her that you don’t assign someone to the Bridge that you don’t trust. Seska, still unhappy, storms off.

Seska then drops by Sick Bay and asks how the Kazon is. Kes says that he’ll need his blood replaced. She then asks the EMH if the Kazon will regain consciousness and The Doctor says there’s no way to know that or how much brain damage he may have sustained. Seska says that he’s the only one who can tell people that she had nothing to do with giving the technology to the Kazon. She asks to be notified if the Kazon wakes up.  Kes asks if Seska ever left a blood sample on file and she says she never got around to it. Seska’s blood wouldn’t help anyway–she had a childhood disease that made her ineligible to donate blood for transfusions. The Doctor says that’s all the more reason her blood should be on file.  (Typical Doctor.)  Seska says she will, just not now. She’s got some important stuff going on.  (Don’t we all, sister. Don’t we all.)

Meanwhile, in the Captain’s Ready Room, Tuvok reveals that someone from the Voyager did make an unauthorized transmission and they were an expert in covering their tracks, according to Chakotay. The signal was masked by a test of the dorsal emitters (Emitters?? Emitters of what?!). The whole Engineering crew was working on it and tracking down exactly who made the transmission is a bit like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Paris interrupts and summons Janeway to the Bridge. Another Kazon ship is approaching and attempting to hail the disabled ship.  They’re over four hours away at present speed. Kim shows an unauthorized transport—someone has beamed off of the Voyager.

Seska.  She takes matters into her own hands and  uses her subspace bubble theory to try to fetch the console off the Kazon ship. Tuvok says it’s possible she could be on the Kazon ship to destroy evidence that implicates her and Chakotay disagrees. Just then, they hear a scream over the com and what sounds like it could be some kind of danger.  Seska isn’t responding and Chakotay orders her beamed directly to Sick Bay. Seska looks like she’s been burned pretty badly and Chakotay rushes to her side.

Carey is interviewed by Tuvok, Chakotay, and Janeway. They’re trying to find the traitor and they bring him in for questioning. He says he hasn’t had any communication with the Kazon-Nistrim. Turns out the communication sent to the Kazon during the test of the dorsal emitter (?) was from his console. Carey is stunned and surprised. He doesn’t remember if anyone else was at his station but says that maybe they should ask Seska–everyone knows she was found in the cave with the Kazon. He’s not saying she did anything wrong, but he didn’t, either. Janeway wants to believe him. but until they can get to the bottom of this, she restricts him to quarters. Carey understands and goes on his way. Chakotay observes he had the motive and opportunity. Janeway says he’s had a stellar career in Starfleet, whereas Seska has spent the last couple of years as a criminal.

Chakotay says, “So have I.”

The incoming Kazon ship is hailing. They’re moments away and First Maje Culluh wants to know what they’ve done to they’re ship. Janeway says they responded to a distress call and Culluh wants to speak to the survivor. Janeway offers to beam Culluh aboard.

Janeway conducts Culluh and another Kazon to Sick Bay. The Doctor reports good news–the injured Kazon is stabilized and that his blood had been completely replaced. Culluh asks what they were replaced with and Janeway says that it was the blood of volunteers from her crew.  Janeway says they’re still investigating the source of the explosion and Culluh says that’s not necessary–they’ll just take the ship to their port and continue from there. Janeway says she can’t allow that because she believes that someone on her ship gave them that technology. Until she has a better explanation, that ship isn’t going anywhere–and that doesn’t set well with Cullah. He mentions there are more Kazon coming soon as a veiled threat.

Janeway moves off to the corner with The Doctor to discuss matters, and Culluh’s companion moves closer to the injured Kazon. He touches his ring and a needle protrudes from it. Tuvok observes what’s going on and moves to stop them, but not before the injured Kazon is hit with the needle. Janeway draws a phaser to hold Culluh in place and, it’s too late. The Doctor reports that the injured Kazon is now the dead Kazon. Janeway tells Cullah to get off the ship. The Doctor says he died instantly from a nerve toxin in the needle.  He also tells her that Seska isn’t Bajoran at all–she’s a Cardassian who has been genetically altered.

Chakotay isn’t buying it, but Tuvok says this kind of thing isn’t unprecedented. Tuvok tells Chakotay that The Doctor says there is no other plausible explanation for the medical anomalies. Chakotay wants to hear Seska’s side of things before they dismiss it. Chakotay wants to question her, but Janeway wants the console from the Kazon ship first.  Torres tells her over com that she’s done with her simulations and they’re ready.  So the retrieval begins.  Chakotay then says to Tuvok, “You were working for her; Seska was working for them. Was anyone on board that ship working for me?”

The Kazon hail the Voyager. They’re displeased that an Away Team is trespassing on their property. Janeway says she told them she was going to get the console. Culluh says that if they remove anything from the vessel, it will be considered an act of war. Janeway says she’s easy to get along with, but she doesn’t like bullies, she doesn’t like threats, and she doesn’t like Culluh.  She promises to respond with all the “unique” technologies at her command if the Kazon try to stop them.

In that time, Torres grabbed the console and beamed it to Engineering. (That was quick!) Torres reveals that the console is a food replicator, or it was trying to be. The Kazon didn’t use a thick enough interior shield casing which is what caused the explosion. Torres also says there’s no question that the pattern buffer relays are composed of bio-neural fibers so there’s no doubt that it came from the Voyager.

Chakotay heads to Sick Bay to talk with Seska and says they’ve recovered the console and that it came from the Voyager. Seska says that she assumes now people will think she was trying to destroy evidence. Chakotay asks, “Did you?”  She maintains that she was trying to show everyone–including him–that she didn’t. Chakotay isn’t sure she didn’t have anything to do with it and he’s doubting a lot of things lately. Seska sarcastically suggests that he talk to his animal guide and figure it all out. Chakotay says he knows she’s a Cardassian and that he knows her blood is missing all the Bajoran markers. Seska says it’s a side effect of Orkett’s disease and to ask The Doctor. She says she survived an outbreak in the Labor Camps thanks to a bone marrow transplant from a sympathetic Cardassian woman named Kattell. She maintains she only had one agenda with Chakotay and that she never kept that a secret–a reference to her love for him.

She asks him if he trusts her again and he says he wants to.  Chakotay tells her she has to stay confined to Sick Bay until they can find where the components for the replicator were taken from. She asks him if he really believes that the person who did this was foolish enough to use their own name while logging in. He says Tuvok is looking into it and he’ll brief the Captain.  Hopefully, it’ll clear up soon.

Chakotay leaves Sick Bay and Tuvok is waiting for him in the corridor. Chakotay tells him the story about the Cardassian bone marrow transplant. Tuvok asks him if he set their plan in motion and he nods.  Tuvok gave Carey the same information. All they can do now is wait and see if one of them takes the bait.

Back in Engineering, Tuvok and Chakotay are playing Gin. Torres comes in and tells them there are two more Kazon ships about six hours away. Just then, an alert goes off on the console.  Seems that someone has taken the bait that Chakotay and Tuvok left and they’re accessing the inventory database. The infiltrator is trying to place evidence to point the blame at someone and using an encrypted security code to do it. The code belongs to Seska. Torres says it has to be Carey and he’s trying to point the blame at Seska but Chakotay knows what’s going on.

He goes to Sick Bay to talk to Seska. She awakens and asks what’s wrong. He says that they know who gave the technology to the Kazon–and it was her. She tries to explain it away, but Chakotay says they found the evidence she put there for them to find. She says that it’s a terrible way for her to cover her own tracks—to use her own security code. Chakotay says she knew no one would believe she’d be that careless and that she’d say someone was trying to frame her. He tells her they even traced the console she used right back to Sick Bay. The lights come up and Janeway enters with Tuvok and two security officers. Chakotay activates the EMH and he comes in to “testify.” Chakotay tells her that before she mentioned Orkett’s disease, The Doctor had already excluded it as a possibility. (His program includes the complete Bajoran medical text on the ailment, so he’s a bit of an expert.) Chakotay still doesn’t understand why, though.

Seska says she did for him and the crew because of Janeway’s “incomprehensible decision” to strand them in the Delta Quadrant. Seska also says they need to form alliances to survive with powerful friends…friends like the Kazon. Seska calls Janeway a fool and Chakotay a fool for following her. She can’t imagine how she ever loved Chakotay.  She then issues “command XJL” to the computer and she is beamed away in front of their eyes. Chakotay orders an override but the computer can’t comply–Seska has locked out the security on the transport. She’s beamed to the Kazon vessel and they’re getting out of there. Janeway orders a tractor beam, but Paris indicates there’s two more ships just moments away. Tuvok says they can’t outlast the three vessels if they get into a fight.  Janeway orders Paris to take them out of there at Warp 4.  They’ll have to wait for another time to deal with Seska the traitor.

Later, Chakotay encounters Tuvok in the Mess Hall. He asks Tuvok to be honest with him. He wants to know from Tuvok–since he also deceived Chakotay back in the Maquis–if he thought Chakotay was particularly naive and what it was that let a bunch of spies get by him. Tuvok replies that humans rely on feelings and instincts to guide them and they can let you down.  He doesn’t find him particularly naive at all.  Chakotay asks if he ever saw anything about Seska that made him suspicious and Tuvok says no. She pulled the wool over his eyes as well.  It’s a minor consolation to Chakotay.

Tuvok finds it curious that his failure added to Chakotay’s improves the Commander’s feelings. Chakotay reminds him that misery loves company as the episode draws to a close.


  • Chakotay’s outrage at Seska over the mushroom soup is spot on, as is his asserting himself as First Officer.
  • Martha Hackett is great as Seska and nails her duplicity perfectly. Casting her in this part was a big win.
  • Robert Beltran does a great job as a betrayed Chakotay—you really get the credible sense that he’s very wounded by Seska.
  • Seska as a Cardassian agent who has infiltrated the Maquis—this is a great plot twist and it was revealed well!
  • The exchange in the Mess Hall between Chakotay and Tuvok at the end of the episode is well done.
  • Minimal Paris, Neelix, and Kes.


  • Two episodes of possible betrayal by a crewman back-to-back. Is Janeway in control? Makes one wonder.
  • Painted Ginger masquerading as Leola Root.


The Voyager didn’t fire any photon torpedoes this episode, so the count still stands at 37.


There are no updates in the Harry Kim Tracker in this episode since he didn’t have a whole lot to do. The totals stand from the previous week’s episode.

Harry Kim’s Condition # Episode(s)
Abducted by Alien Race 1 Caretaker
Mysterious illness 1 Parallax
Killed 1
   Euthanized in Vhnori Death Pod Emanations
Dejected over mini-wormhole 1 Eye of the Needle
   Wormholes named after him 1 Eye of the Needle
Dejected over teleportation technology 1 Prime Factors


This is an outstanding episode of Voyager–and, more importantly, a great episode of Star Trek–because it relies on drama between characters to tell a story instead of technobabble or some kind of spatial anomaly. Martha Hackett and Robert Beltran are outstanding in this episode and there are enough twists in the story to keep the viewer engaged the whole time.  I almost wish this episode had been the Season 1 finale, because it would have been a great way to leave things with the characters–slightly unresolved but on a definite high note. This episode guarantees that Seska and the Kazon will be back, and probably sooner rather than later. This is the best standalone episode of Voyager since the pilot and it merits a solid 4 and 1/2 Deltas.  It’s got a few minor script issues, but if I were sitting someone down to introduce them to this series, I’d make sure this were one of the episodes.








The Doctor must save the day when the Beowulf program in the Holodeck goes awry in “Heroes and Demons.”