(written from a Production point of view)
Tom Paris enters the new Delta Flyer in an interstellar starship race.
Lieutenant Tom Paris and Ensign Harry Kim are in the newly-completed Delta Flyer. Paris is piloting with great speed and extreme maneuvering, coursing madly through an asteroid field. Kim nervously complains, but a grinning Paris insists that the shuttle's capabilities must be tested fully.
A ship comes up off starboard. It pulls up alongside and begins to scan them. Paris hails and politely asks the pilot for identification. A female voice answers, but instead of identifying herself, the speaker compliments Paris on the Flyer in a manner that pleases him greatly. She invites him to race her to a comet on the other side of the asteroid field. Kim is horrified; surely he will not accept? However, Paris insists that this will be a great test for the Flyer. The vessel hares off and Paris immediately follows.
The other vessel proves even more maneuverable than the Flyer. Paris begins to lag, but his pilot's ego refuses to accept defeat so easily and he pursues her avidly. Kim, despite his trepidation, wants to see the Flyer win, now that they are actually racing the other ship. Much to Paris' delight, he really gets into it and suggests using the new impulse thrusters. A pair of six-nozzle impulse thrusters fold out from the Flyer's stern and glow to life. The ship surges forward and passes the other vessel. Now both officers grin.But then the other vessel's starboard nacelle catches fire. Paris immediately has the computer beam the pilot aboard. An alien woman materializes. Her name is Irina. Her species is called the Terrellians. They offer to take her back to USS Voyager and she gladly accepts.
In sickbay, a pleading Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres tries to get The Doctor to part with his scheduled holodeck time ration. She has successfully bartered with other crew-members for theirs, accumulating almost enough time to span a weekend that she wants to spend with Paris and she needs The Doctor's holodeck time to have enough hours. However, The Doctor is resolute, telling her that ordinarily he would happily oblige, but that he has been looking forward to his scheduled time on the holodeck so that he could take up a sport long favored by Earth MDs for centuries: golf. However, Torres doesn't give up, manipulating The Doctor to let her have his time, with a sad, disappointed look that she knows will get to him. Fortunately, it works and The Doctor relents.
On their return to Voyager, Ensign Kim helps Irina make repairs to her vessel. They talk about its capabilities and where she is from. Paris comes and joins the conversation. He comments that her warp drive is rather weak. She responds somewhat disdainfully that warp drive is for straight lines, not for the kind of piloting she likes. Paris, with a smile, says he totally understands. When Irina mentions the upcoming race she was practicing for, this instantly seizes Paris and Kim's attention and they can't wait to find out more.
At a meeting with Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, and Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Paris and Kim mention the race Irina was talking about. It is called the Antarian Trans-stellar Rally, which covers two billion kilometers. Paris and Kim express their desire to enter the Flyer into this race. They argue that it would be the ultimate test of ship design and piloting skills. Tuvok, as one would expect, sees no purpose in it and points out the drain on the ship's resources such an undergoing would cause. Chakotay points out that even if they were to enter, the fuel requirements of the race are incompatible with that of the Flyer . However, Paris and Kim press their case further, arguing that this is about more than just skill and victory, and that participating in it would be a chance to bolster interstellar diplomacy and make new friends; something they could never have too many of, being alone in the quadrant. The race is an attempt to commemorate and bolster the fragile peace that came after a century-long war between the species that inhabit this area. Everything this race stands for, Paris and Kim argue, are Starfleet ideals that Voyager should be supporting. As for the fuel, Irina has agreed to lend them a converter.
To the great surprise of Paris, Kim, and Tuvok, Captain Janeway not only approves, but also shows enthusiasm for the idea as a good break and an opportunity for some much deserved R&R for the crew. But, she warns them, grinning as they hurry to prepare, that now that they are in it, they are representing Starfleet and the Federation and should win and make everyone proud. The two elated officers assure her that they will be successfully coming out of this.
Paris, on his way to main engineering, stops by sickbay to inform The Doctor about this news. He finds him practicing golf putts using a beaker in place of a hole. Before he can say anything, however, The Doctor tells him that he has already approved his time off. This surprises Paris and he wonders if The Doctor already knew about the race, but The Doctor does not know of anything and just tells him that he was referring to his romantic getaway with Lt. Torres. Paris is thunderstruck because he had completely forgotten about that. He warns him to expect an emergency call from engineering, anticipating Torres' fiery temper after he tells her that he won't be able to make their date.
Arriving in engineering, he approaches Torres quietly. She is elated that he has come early, but then he despondently informs her about the race and that he committed himself to it, and can, therefore, not join her for their planned weekend together. She takes the news quietly, even though it is clear that she is quite disappointed. He remorsefully tells her how sorry he is and offers to cancel his participation in the race, but she insists that it is okay and that he should go ahead with it. Thankful, Paris leaves as she soberly watches him go.
Later, Torres sits alone and forlorn at a table in the mess hall. Neelix, the chef and morale officer, approaches her and tries to cheer her up, but fails. She tells him about Paris. The Talaxian is very surprised that he forgot, considering all the efforts she made to get all those extra hours on the holodeck. He wonders why she is not talking to him about it, but she responds that he should be allowed to do what makes him happy. However, she concludes, this has made her finally see that she and Paris do not belong together. She loves him, but perhaps that is not enough. They have had much fun together, and that seems enough for him but, unfortunately, it is not enough for her. After the race, she will end their relationship.
Captain Janeway and Chakotay hold a meeting with the Antarian Ambassador, O'Zaal, in Captain Janeway's ready room. He has a very serious problem, illustrated by a message he gets during the meeting: one of the species in the race – the Aksani – wants to host the post-race ceremony, and will break the peace if refused. But it has already been agreed that another species, the Chessu, would host it. This, he tells Janeway sadly, is his problem; the peace is quite fragile, and every decision he makes regarding the race is seen as symbolic. If he makes a concession to one species, another is offended. Janeway offers a solution: Voyager is neutral territory. Nobody could object to any of the ceremonies being held on the ship, so she suggests holding all ceremonies aboard Voyager. Relieved, O'Zaal gratefully accepts.
The opening ceremony is held in the mess hall. Pilots mix and mingle while refreshments are served. Not all are interested in mixing, however. One particular individual, Assan – of a species called the Imhotep – has nothing to do with anyone. When Paris tries to introduce himself, he is coldly brushed off. Irina warns Paris and Kim about him, telling them that he was a ruthless fighter pilot during the war and is not above using questionable tactics to win. Then Irina's co-pilot Joxom comes over to the three, and Irina introduces him to Paris and Kim.
Torres goes to astrometrics and finds Seven of Nine there as usual. What is not usual is that she is involved in Voyager's race preparation: she is analyzing the course to find ways to cut time. Torres, aware of Seven's usual attitude toward things of this sort, voices her surprise at her involvement. Seven responds that she believes her involvement would help her improve her relationship with Paris. She has learned that if she embraces some of his interests, supports him in his personal goals, they are able to function more efficiently as crewmates. This resonates well with Torres, who appears to have an epiphany.
In the shuttlebay, Paris is in the Flyer , wearing a pilot's uniform designed for the race. The starting time is at hand. He makes final preparations while he waits for Harry who is to be his copilot. He is surprised when the hatch opens and Torres comes in, wearing the same uniform. She informs him that she is replacing Kim as his co-pilot; the race is important to him, and so she wants to help him with it. He is extremely pleased. They start the engines and leave the bay to join the other waiting racers at the starting point.
With the racers ready, on Voyager's bridge, Ambassador O'Zaal asks Janeway to signal the start. At her command, Tuvok launches a low-yield photon torpedo, which detonates a few hundred meters in front of the starting point. The race begins and the ships hare off.
Neelix goes to astrometrics and asks Seven, who is monitoring the race, for an update. When she tells him, he complains that her delivery is very unexciting. He shows her how to do it, activating a ship-wide comm. With great gusto and excitement, he updates the crew on the positions of the racers. All over the ship, crewmembers pause in their duties to listen, their excitement evident. Seven, incapable of purveying such excitement, leaves the update announcements to Neelix. A smiling Janeway enters and joins them.
Tom Paris' skills put the Flyer in third place, behind Irina who is second and Assan who is first. Torres is happily confident that they will soon take the lead, but Paris tempers her confidence because they are about to enter a phenomenon called the Möbius Inversion, which is a small, tight wormhole with level 6 subspace distortions and gravimetric shear. As they near it, Paris points it out to her; she gazes nervously at its swirling event horizon.
Off-duty crewmembers trickle into astrometrics to watch the progress of the race on the lab's huge viewscreen, until the lab is quite crowded. Excitement is palpable. Janeway had been joined by Chakotay. Tuvok enters and gives Captain Janeway his weekly security report. The captain takes it, but tells him they will talk about it later, returning her attention to the race. Tuvok tries to press the matter, telling her that there are some things on it they should discuss, but Chakotay firmly reiterates what the captain told him.
Then the ships disappear into the Möbius Inversion. Seven informs them that the phenomenon's radiation is blocking their sensors. Thus, they have no idea who will emerge as leader on the other side; the phenomenon is certainly capable of altering positions. The uncertainty even catches Tuvok. When Janeway offers to talk about the report until the ships emerge, he asks, with permission, that it be deferred until later. Janeway smiles ironically.
The racers dash through the Inversion. The Flyer is still coming in third place, but Paris brings it within striking distance of the first two. Torres gets an idea on how to pass them, but Paris insists that they wait because now is not the time. But she doesn't listen and executes it, adjusting the engines and shields. The Flyer surges ahead, 'scraping' the shields of Irina's and Assan's ships, knocking both vessels out of the way. Aboard Voyager, in astrometrics, the watching crew erupts in a great cheer as they see Flyer emerge first from the Inversion. Neelix announces the change ship-wide; the rest of the crew joins in the cheering.
On the Flyer , however, Paris is very displeased that Torres did not listen to him. She protests that she saw the chance and took it, but he firmly insists that he will do the flying from now on because he is the pilot. Just then, an announcement comes in: there has been an accident. All racers are instructed to stop and hold their positions. Torres looks rather guilty, thinking that perhaps her action caused the accident. They find out that the accident happened to Irina's ship and that she is fine, even though Joxom, her co-pilot, suffered burns from an exploding console. He is treated in Voyager's sickbay, as Irina, Assan, Paris, and Torres report on the accident to Janeway and O'Zaal in the briefing room. Irina angrily blames Assan's aggressive "scraping" of her shields as the cause of the accident. Assan does not deny it, but he also could not care less, responding that the only thing he is guilty of is coming up second place, something which he intends to rectify in the next leg. Torres admits that she may also have caused the accident by her "scraping" of Irina and Assan, but Paris covers, saying that everyone was flying aggressively; "scraping" was inevitable in such a confined space. Irina quickly absolves them of responsibility.
Tuvok enters. He has news that change the nature of the incident entirely: he has examined Irina's vessel and found evidence of tampering. A component was rigged to explode, thus making it obvious that this was no accident, but sabotage. This is very unpleasant news for O'Zaal, who sees this as a possible terrorist action aimed at reviving hostilities and ending the peace.
Janeway, however, is not so alarmed, not believing that one act of sabotage could threaten the peace. But O'Zaal informs her that this was only one of a series of threats of violence that have been received. These threats come from those opposed to the peace, such as arms dealers, isolationists and political extremists. He sadly makes a decision to call off the race, stating that it is not worth risking lives and the peace over. Irina objects, stating that if he does that, then the opponents win; a view shared by Assan and the Starfleet officers. Seeing the consensus, O'Zaal, therefore, decides that the race will continue. However, since Voyager is neutral, he tells Captain Janeway, that he understands if she wants to withdraw. But Janeway says that she has no intention of taking the Flyer out of the race.
In the shuttlebay, Paris and Torres prep the Flyer . Kim comes to see them. With Joxom injured, Janeway has allowed him to serve as Irina's copilot. The announcement for the racers to take their positions is heard, and Kim leaves to rejoin Irina. The ships fall into position and the race resumes.
On the Flyer , Torres thinks heavily about Kim and Irina. Kim told them that he and Irina seem to be hitting it off quite well and really getting along, without even trying. This now has Torres considering herself and Paris and their complicated relationship in the light of her decision to break the relationship off because she believes that they do not belong together. She cannot help but mention the ease of how well Kim and Irina get along together to Paris, though she is unwilling at this time to discuss their own relationship. But Paris, on hearing her, immediately senses that she might mean something else. He asks her if she is talking about them, but she quickly ends the conversation, suggesting they concentrate on the race.
Irina and Kim begin to fall behind. Kim reads malfunctions in the EPS relays even though he checked them thoroughly the night before. He suggests trying to reroute power through the impulse manifold, but Irina insists that he not do this, pushing him back in his seat. Kim, confused, asks her why he should not and she gives him all manner of weak, nonsensical reasons.
Kim is even more confused now, wondering why she does not want to win. He tells her that it appears that for every solution he comes up with, she finds a reason to reject it. Then his console beeps – the same one Joxom had been sitting at. It is an overload; the console is about to explode, but Kim manages to leap away before it does, escaping injury. He turns to Irina, commenting on the coincidence, pointing out that this is the second time this console has exploded.
And finds her leveling a hand weapon at him.
Kim is shocked; why, he asks her, did she sabotage her own ship. She says nothing. He suddenly dashes to a button and hits it, causing the ship to shake a bit and throw Irina off-balance. Then he rushes her. A struggle ensues, which he wins, relieving her of the weapon. Holding her at bay with it, he tries to contact Voyager but fails. He decides to wait, keeping the weapon trained on her. She asks Harry to check on how the race is going. Although a bit perplexed, Harry does so and confirms the Flyer is still in the lead.
On the Flyer , Paris again returns to the subject of his and Torres' relationship, persisting despite her attempts to change the subject. Finally, she speaks up, saying that she thought that if they could do something together that really interested him, it would help their relationship. This surprises Paris, who wasn't aware that it needed help.
This is part of the problem, she stresses. She finally tells him what she told Neelix earlier, namely that merely having a good time is not enough for her. To her great surprise, he cuts the engines.
Kim and Irina see the Flyer stop. Irina shows inordinate interest in how far they are from the finish line. This makes Kim very suspicious. He demands to know why she is so interested in this. Then he realizes that whomever she is with planned an attack. He tells her that there are hundreds of innocent people there and how she could do that. Irina reveals herself to be one of the isolationists who oppose the peace. She and her group do not believe in the mixing of the species that the peace has brought; by destroying it, they hope to end this intermingling. Kim recalls that it was Irina who told them about the race and gave them the fuel converter so that they could participate. A flash in her eyes on his saying this reveals the plan: the converter is the bomb and she and her terrorist group intend to use the Flyer to deliver it upon crossing the finish line.
But, with the comm down, there is not way to warn Paris. Unless...
Kim gets an idea. With the weapon still trained on Irina, he begins tapping a button on a console with his free hand.
Assan speeds past the Flyer . Torres agitatedly asks Paris why they have stopped. He looks at her, telling her that if they have a problem, they are going to resolve it, here and now. Frustrated, she tells him that she never wanted him to throw the race, knowing how much it meant to him however Paris insists that she means more to him than anything else. B'Elanna is shocked, not knowing he felt this way. He responds that he never told her because he did not think she would appreciate the "mushy stuff". He sees that this assumption was not correct, He kisses her, whispers endearments... and prepares to pop a certain question.
He is interrupted by beeping from the console. Torres checks it; it is a modulating pulse from Irina's ship, but the pattern of the beeps is familiar to Paris. He suddenly realizes that it is a Morse code, which he taught Kim as part of their "Captain Proton" adventures. The message is a warning about the converter and that it must be ejected at once. Torres checks the converter, which is leaking veridium isotopes. Within a minute, the leak will breach the warp core, causing a huge explosion. She discovers the sensors were tampered with, which is why the computer didn't notice this earlier. She also notices the subroutines for the ejection system aren't working. She quickly works to fix them, as Paris re-engages the engines and hurries the Flyer toward a nearby nebula, which will contain the explosion. Along the way, Paris finally asks her to marry him, to her shock, considering the timing. They reach the nebula and Torres manages to get the ejection subroutines back online and eject the core while Paris takes the Flyer far enough away from it.
However, he cannot get the Flyer far enough and it is caught by the shock wave. On Voyager, a disappointed Janeway and crew witness Assan passing the finish line first, winning the race. Then the shock wave from the explosion rocks the ship, and Janeway orders a report from the bridge. Tuvok informs her of an antimatter explosion. The Flyer , scorched from the explosion, hangs dead in space. But aside from the burns, it is undamaged. Torres comments on how they have likely lost, but Paris says that depends on how she answers his marriage proposal. The two kiss.
Afterwards, Voyager's crew are invited to join in a post-race celebration. Meanwhile the repairedFlyer cruises leisurely while Paris and Torres are aboard finally enjoying their delayed vacation, sipping champagne and discussing if B'Elanna will take Tom's name... or possibly Tom could take B'Elanna's. A ring is on her finger. The Flyer trails lines of storage containers, tied together, with sign reading "Just Married" painted on the stern.
- "Captain's log, stardate 54058.6. Our request to enter the Delta Flyer into the rally has been accepted. I'm meeting with the race coordinator, Ambassador O'Zaal, to work out the details."
- "Captain's log, supplemental. The Antarians have invited us to participate in the post-race festivities, which has allowed me to give two of my senior officers time off for a well-deserved romantic getaway. The Delta Flyer still needs a new warp core, but I don't think they're in a hurry to get anywhere."
"Keep a lock on my bio-signs, will ya' doc?"
"Because, in about five minutes, there's going to be a medical emergency in engineering."
- - Tom Paris and The Doctor, talking about meeting B'Elanna Torres
- - B'Elanna Torres, upon taking a holo-image of Tom Paris
- - Tom Paris, commenting on Harry Kim's latest crush
"I can't get the ejection subroutines on line."
[Computer voice] "Warp core breach in twenty seconds."
"So what's your answer?"
"Will you marry me?"
[Computer voice] "Warp core breach in fifteen seconds."
"You're proposing now?"
"It's as good a time as any."
- - B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris
- - Kathryn Janeway, after Assan crosses the finish line first
""B'Elanna Paris". That has a nice ring to it."
"Thanks, but I already have a ring. Anyway, I kind of like the sound of 'Tom Torres'."
"I hope you're kidding."
"Hey... it is the 24th century."
- - B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris
- Filming for this episode began on 14 July 2000 and finished on 24 July 2000 .
- Cyia Batten, Brian George, and Patrick Kilpatrick have all appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. They played Tora Ziyal, Richard Bashir, and Reese, respectively. Kilpatrick also played Razik, the first maje of the Kazon-Ogla, in VOY: "Initiations".
Continuity & trivia
- The new Delta Flyer is introduced in this episode, having been built to replace the Delta Flyer lost in "Unimatrix Zero". The new Delta Flyer however did appear in the previous episode "Imperfection" which aired beforehand but is set after this one.
- Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres are married at the end of the episode. This marriage should not be confused with the marriage that took place in "Course: Oblivion", in which the biomimetic copies of Paris and Torres are the ones who actually got married.
- At the end of the episode the Flyer trails lines of storage containers, tied together, with a sign reading "Just Married" painted on the stern.
- This was the second marriage on Star Trek between main characters. The first was between Worf and Jadzia Dax. Worf and Torres are also both the only main characters who are also Klingons. The marriage between Miles O'Brien and Keiko occurred on Star Trek: The Next Generation when O'Brien was not yet a main character. Odo and Lwaxana Troi were also married during "The Muse". Deanna Troi and William T. Riker were later married in Star Trek Nemesis.
- During the episode, B'Elanna Torres irritably tells Tom Paris that he was expelled from Starfleet Academy. This is a continuity error, as Tom Paris graduated from the Academy. However, this may have been confusion with the writers combining the history of Nicholas Locarno (who did get expelled during the events of the TNG fifth season episode "The First Duty") and Tom Paris, both played by the same actor, Robert Duncan McNeill.
- Paris states that the race course is 2.3 billion kilometers in length and must be navigated at sub-light speeds. At light speed it would take just over 2 hours to navigate.
- Irina says "warp's fine if you like going fast in a straight line," which would seem to support the warp manoeuvring maxim "Faster than light, no left or right" established in "Fury".
- Voyager uses a photon torpedo in this episode, three having previously been used in "Fury" (although in that episode, the depicted torpedoes are shown to have been used in the past). This brings the total number of torpedoes confirmed to have been used by Voyager over the course of the series to 67, a total which exceeds the irreplaceable complement of 38 that had been established by Chakotay in the first-season episode "The Cloud".
- Paris says of Kim's interest in Irina, "she's not a Borg, she's not a hologram, and she's not dead," referring to the events of "Waking Moments", "Alter Ego", and "Ashes to Ashes" respectively.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 7.2, 7 May 2001
- As part of the VOY Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant junior grade Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Michael Bailous as operations officer
- Steve Chvany as Assan's co-pilot
- Carter Edwards as command officer
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Chris Evans
- Bill Hacket as male Imhotep
- Sue Henley as Brooks
- Kerry Hoyt as Fitzpatrick
- Rubin Knight as Terrellian delegate
- Stephen Pisani as operations officer
- Chuck Poynter as male Imhotep
- Erin Price as Renlay Sharr
- Keith Rayve as command officer
- Richard Sarstedt as William McKenzie
- Linnea Soohoo as sciences officer
- Star as female Imhotep
accusation; Aksani; Aksani vessel; Alpha Quadrant; Antarian; Antarian Security; Antarian Trans-stellar Rally; arms dealer; asteroid field; bathing suit; beach; beaker; "by a nose"; Captain Proton; cheek; Chessu; Chessu ship; class J nebula; comet; co-pilot; Darla system; deflector; deuterium; driver coil; dwarf star cluster; Delta Flyer; ejection subroutine; "Ensign Eager"; EPS relay; exhaust port; extremist; facial expression; Federation; fighter pilot; flight suit; fuel converter; gas giant; Gedi Prime; gesture; golf; golf ball; golf club; golf course; gravimetric shear; greens; holodeck; hyper spanner; Imhotep; Imhotep ship; impulse manifold; impulse thruster; injector port; Irina's ship; isolationism; K class anomaly; kilometer; Klingon; L'Naan; level 5 diagnostic; meter; Möbius Inversion; mok'tah; mood reef; Morse code; nyocene gas; overload; parsec; phase inverter; photonic interference; pilot; polarity; power transformer; pulsar; R&R; race coordinator; reactor coil; red giant; Risa; Saint Andrews; scraping; senior officer; shield generator; shuttlebay doors; Starfleet Academy; subspace distortion; suicide mission; tee time; Terrellian; Terrellian homeworld; Terrellian ship; terrorism; tourist trap; trinary system; veridium; veridium injector; warp core; warp core breach; warp plasma; waterfall; wedding
- "Drive" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Drive" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Drive" at Wikipedia
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