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Bio-neural gel packs d14

A series of gel packs

Gel pack in messhall

A gel pack in the panel behind a replicator

Bio-neural gel packs were a component of bio-neural circuitry computer systems used by Starfleet in the 2370s. The packs had both mechanical and biological components, and contained bio-neural cells and neurodes which organized information more efficiently and faster than isolinear circuitry. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Macrocosm")

Technical information[]

Gel packs were known to have an extremely reliable track record with minimal malfunctions. They were considered almost impossible to damage, and couldn't be replicated. (VOY: "Learning Curve")

At its launch in 2371, the Intrepid-class USS Voyager's use of bio-neural gel packs was one of its highlight features. The packs were responsible for running half of the ship's critical systems, and otherwise affected every system on the ship. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Relativity", "Learning Curve")

Captain Kathryn Janeway joked that bio-neural gel packs could plot vectors "a bit faster" than helmsman Tom Paris. (VOY: "Fury")

Locker Gamma 5

The Doctor (as Torres) steals spare gel packs

Gel packs were located behind access panels across the ship, forming a network comparable to a nervous system. Packs were located on the bridge near the engineering station and within the tactical station, in the mess hall replicator and the galley on deck 2, beneath the transporter room platform, in the holodeck, and numerous corridor and Jefferies tube maintenance panels. (VOY: "Macrocosm", "One", "Shattered", LD: "Twovix")

The gel packs in the forward grid interacted with primary systems and replicators. While isolating and taking the forward grid offline would lose replicator operations, primary systems could be rerouted. (VOY: "Learning Curve")

Bio-neural gel packs, Enterprise-E

Enterprise-E gel pack monitor

Bio-neural gel pack sequence 6-Theta-9 was located on deck 4. (VOY: "One")

Voyager carried 47 spare gel packs at the first instance of one malfunctioning in 2371. By 2378, spare packs were kept in locker Gamma 5 on the second level of main engineering. (VOY: "Learning Curve", "Renaissance Man")

The USS Enterprise-E's systems utilized bio-neural gel packs. In 2375, gel pack sequences were displayed on bridge stations. (Star Trek: Insurrection)


Lieutenant Stadi first explained the technology to Tom Paris on approach to Voyager in 2371. (VOY: "Caretaker")

Infected bio-neural gel pack

An infected gel pack

Later that year, Neelix's attempt to culture grakel milk into brill cheese introduced a bacteria into the ship's ventilation system, which then infected the bio-neural gel pack network. When a pack on deck six malfunctioned, it produced power fluctuations to a number of ship's systems, including holodecks (though Crewman Kenneth Dalby attempted to repair it.) After an additional gel pack failed on deck four, section 9-C, The Doctor diagnosed it as a very contagious infection, systematically attacking every cell in a gel pack's biological matrix. Eventually, superheating the gel pack system to simulate a fever destroyed the bacteria. (VOY: "Learning Curve")

In 2373, a gel pack in the mess hall became infected with a Tak Takian macrovirus. When a heating array overloaded, Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres found that a gel pack behind a replicator panel had become filled with a mucilaginous compound, and that half the neurodes had burnt out before the pack ruptured and the macroviruses began infecting the crew. (VOY: "Macrocosm")

While passing through a Mutara class nebula in 2374, subnucleonic radiation caused neurodes in a series of gel packs to discharge in random bursts, feeding false readings to the sensors. The radiation eventually led to quantum failures and degradation in the synaptic relays of thirty-three percent of the gel pack relays. (VOY: "One")

In an alternate timeline, in 2375, Voyager crash landed on a frozen planet after falling out of quantum slipstream, killing all aboard. When Harry Kim and Chakotay finally found the ship in 2390, Kim found the gel packs had been frozen solid. (VOY: "Timeless")

After Voyager passed through a class J nebula in 2376, malfunctions were blamed on a series of gel packs on deck thirteen having been burnt out by an EM discharge. When Torres and Chakotay investigated, they found that the packs had not been burnt out, but an electromagnetic lifeform had been using the bio-neural circuitry to move throughout the ship's systems. Neelix later told the story of the experience to Icheb, Mezoti, Azan and Rebi. (VOY: "The Haunting of Deck Twelve")

In 2377, when a chronokinetic surge shattered the spacetime continuum aboard Voyager, an alternate timeline version of Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine devised a method of injecting chroniton-infused serum into gel packs across the ship to transmit a chroniton field from the warp core and bring the ship into temporal sync. (VOY: "Shattered")

Rutherford views gel packs

Rutherford touches gel packs within the tactical station

In 2378, Overlookers Zet and Nar kidnapped Captain Janeway, coercing The Doctor to steal gel packs for them by posing as Lieutenant Torres. (VOY: "Renaissance Man")

In 2381, Ensign Sam Rutherford was eager to take a look at Voyager's bio-neural circuitry during the ship's conversation and escort to museum status, and accidentally disconnected a gel pack in the tactical station. Ensign Beckett Mariner later released a Tak Takian macrovirus that had been dormant behind a gel pack in another bridge panel. Rutherford later regained control of Voyager by intentionally infecting the gel pack network with the "Neelix cheese" once again. (LD: "Twovix")

Background information[]

The Star Trek: Voyager Technical Manual (p. 24) describes the gel packs as "synthetic brain neurons suspended in a nutrient gel medium. Based on the organization of neurons and synapses in the humanoid brain, these gel networks make informed decisions at a faster rate than the chips alone, in that they do not have to calculate all possible actions (as in a fast chess program), but will rather go with a best 'guess.'"

The gel pack props were designed by Rick Sternbach for "Learning Curve". [1] Sternbach also designed a "micro gel pack" for use inside a PADD for the episode that did not end up used on-screen, which would have included "a computing 'card' made of eight transparent aluminum tubes of synthetic neuron goo." [2]

The Q Continuum trilogy refers to bio-neural gel packs aboard the Enterprise-E, in that Reginald Barclay discovered the gel packs were capable of absorbing the psionic energy of the galactic barrier while attempting to hide from the Calamarain.

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