In literature, deus ex machina (Latin for "God from the machine") was a plot contrivance that, while unrealistic, solved a seemingly unsolvable problem by adding something unexpected to it. Some people considered it "an outdated literary device."

The 2373 introduction of a benevolent Rukani vessel to the holonovel Insurrection Alpha by Kathryn Janeway was an example of this. Tuvok praised her addition, calling it "a very effective plot development." (VOY: "Worst Case Scenario")

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