(written from a Production point of view)
When an injured, non-humanoid alien attaches itself to Lt. Torres, a hologram of a notorious Cardassian exobiologist is created to help The Doctor remove it from her.
The Doctor is presenting a holographic slide show of his achievements since being activated. Present are several crewmembers as well as the following senior officers: Captain Kathryn Janeway, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Lt. (jg) Tom Paris, and Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres. The audience members struggle to keep their attention on the tedious presentation. On the bridge, Commander Chakotay is reminded by Ensign Harry Kim that the Captain had requested that he call a false yellow alert to "rescue" the audience after thirty minutes. But the First Officer has no intention of doing so. He, Kim and others had to endure it for two hours, and he sees no reason why the rest of the senior staff should be spared the same experience. He tells this to Kim, who agrees with a mischievous grin.
The presentation ends. The senior officers are very chagrined by Chakotay's set-up. In the mess hall, Paris and Torres discuss the experience with Neelix, the ship's Talaxian chef, among other things. Neelix is sympathetic, having had to previously endure the ordeal himself. Then the ship begins to rattle. Officers and crew present immediately leave for their stations. On the bridge, Kim reports a huge energy wave is heading toward them. Janeway orders deflector shields raised and evasive maneuvers attempted, but the wave actually changes direction to suit, as if it is tracking them. They are unable to escape and it hits.
But it merely buffets them hard, causing only minor damage. They know not what to make of it.
When the wave has passed, Janeway orders all stop and damage assessment. As was said, the damage is only minor. But then Ensign Kim reports that a signal was downloaded into the ship's database when the wave hit. He cannot decipher it, but there is an audio component. Janeway orders it played. A strange sound is heard. Janeway surmises that the wave and downloaded signal are actually an attempt at communication from somewhere. Their best bet to find the source is to follow the ion trail the wave left. She orders it done.
The ship slows from warp speed at the end of the trail and the source is indeed found: an alien ship. It appears heavily damaged. Ensign Kim detects a single non-humanoid life sign aboard. Chakotay orders it beamed to the sickbay.
In sickbay, the alien is seen lying on a bio-bed. As a safety measure, the bed's alcove is sealed by a force field. It is a most odd-looking creature. It is pinkish in general color, but green on the head and back. It has 4 multi-segmented limbs with three-digit appendages on each one, presumably appendages of manipulation. Two large eyes are on the front of the head. It has a long proboscis-like appendage, with two feeler-like projections protruding from it, and a long tail. Captain Janeway is present. The Doctor frustratedly reports to her about the alien's condition: it is definitely injured, but he has absolutely no idea as to how to treat, or even diagnose it, as the tricorder cannot make any sense of what it is scanning from it.
Lt. Torres enters sickbay and reports to Janeway that the interface controls on the alien's ship are chemical in nature. She surmises that the alien flies it by interfacing with the systems and using biochemical secretions to command and control it. She approaches the force field.
Suddenly, with a screech, the alien leaps off the biobed, passes straight through the force field and attaches itself to Torres. She falls beneath it, struggling mightily to get it off of her, but fails. The security officer present pulls his phaser and gives it to Janeway but The Doctor stops her, as a shot would harm Torres and may not even faze the alien. Janeway urgently hails the bridge and orders Ensign Kim to beam it back to its ship, but he is unable to get a transporter lock on it. The alien pierces Torres' neck with its proboscis, and her struggling quickly lessens and stops.
Torres now lies unconscious on the bio-bed the alien was occupying. The alien has its limbs wrapped tightly around her upper torso, its tail coiled equally tightly around her leg. Its head is nuzzled against her neck and it is purring like a contented cat. Janeway and Lieutenant Paris, who is strongly romantically involved with Torres, look at her with great concern as The Doctor reports on her condition. The Doctor informs them that her lungs and heart are being severely compromised by the alien interfacing with them, and her kidneys are failing.
Paris, frantic and very frightened, all but shouts at him to do something. He responds that if he tried to remove it, her affected organs would be irreparably damaged. Neither can it be beamed off her, as Janeway suggests, as that would remove those organs with the alien. To come up with any kind of treatment, he tells them, he needs to consult an extensive database on exobiology. Janeway suggests that he consult more than a mere database; the said database could actually be merged into a created interactive hologram of a leading exobiologist, to work with him as a consultant. He agrees, and Paris cites Ensign Kim as the best crewmember to do this. Janeway agrees.
Kim works at the holographic "consultant" on one of the ship's two holodecks, as The Doctor watches with interest. The Doctor has found a suitable leading figure in exobiology in the database to use: one Dr. Crell Moset. Kim activates the holographic matrix, and a hologram of Dr. Moset appears.
But on seeing him, Kim immediately notes that his species would be a serious problem for Lt. Torres, who is a former Maquis; Moset is a Cardassian. The Doctor is unconcerned, however; Moset was listed as the most highly qualified and respected exobiologist in the database. Kim activates the hologram's interactive subroutines.
The Moset hologram greets them in a cordial, friendly manner, especially The Doctor, citing him as a fellow medical professional.
The Doctor quickly warms up to Moset and they begin discussing Lt. Torres' situation. Kim transfers Moset to the sickbay so that The Doctor could show him the problem. There they confer further, and begin brainstorming possible treatments.
On the bridge, Janeway and Chakotay oversee continuing efforts to decrypt the alien signal. Seven of Nine, the former Borg drone, is in engineering, having been made the temporary chief engineer. Working with her is a young Bajoran ensign named Tabor. They attempt to download the alien ship's database. But the attempt fails, and, moreover, a sudden surge in the badly damaged ship's power system causes it to explode, taking the database with it, destroying all hope of decrypting the signal.
In the sickbay, The Doctor and Moset continue to discuss treatments. Paris remains at Torres' side; a trained medical assistant, the captain has allowed him to remain in the sickbay to assist, for which he is extremely grateful. Moset tells The Doctor that he would be much better able to come up with possible treatments if he had his laboratory. The Doctor suggests having Ensign Kim create a holographic simulation of it. Moset, pleased, agrees. However, as the two holograms confer, Torres regains consciousness and sees Moset. She is instantly angry, as Kim suspected she would be, but Paris assures her that he may be the only way to save her life.
The simulated lab is created, along with a simulation of the alien on an examination table. The Doctor and Moset get to work examining it. As they work, they find themselves file info, to each other's pleasant surprise.
Then The Doctor conversationally asks Moset about his accomplishments, particularly his work in devising a cure for the fostossa virus, a pathogen that killed thousands on Bajor during the Cardassian occupation of that planet. Moset replies in a friendly manner, but sidesteps the question, only replying that he did the work on Bajor itself during the occupation, and not mentioning anything about the details of his research, such as the methods he used.
On the bridge, Janeway and Chakotay surmise that the alien's signal may have in fact been a distress call. Therefore, if it is broadcast, others of its kind may receive it and come, and they may be able to learn to communicate with them. Janeway orders Tuvok to broadcast the signal using Voyager's navigational deflector array, which he does.
The Doctor and Moset begin the examination. The Doctor, however, becomes uncomfortable when he sees the procedure that Moset intends to use: cutting the "living" thing open with scalpel. The Doctor assists despite his discomfort, but winces when the creature screams as the first incision is made. Moset examines the creature's internal organs and decides that a neurostatic shock would cause the alien to lose motor function, allowing its removal. The Doctor concernedly surmises that such a procedure would kill it. Moset, however, responds that the choice may be between it and Torres. Then he begins to fritz. The Doctor has the computer deactivate him and hails Ensign Kim. Kim agrees to meet The Doctor in the sickbay.
Kim arrives at the sickbay, bringing Ensign Tabor with him to assist. Torres, still awake, angrily tells The Doctor that Moset should not be reactivated. He tries to tell her that he is, in fact, very kind and compassionate, unlike her stereotypical view of Cardassians, however grounded in fact that view may be; if she would just get to know him, she would see that. In fact, he adds, he is planning to ask the captain to keep him as a permanent consultant for him. She coldly responds that there are many aboard besides her who would have great objection to that. The Doctor turns his attention to Kim and asks him how he is progressing. Kim responds that they are almost finished. He reactivates Moset.
The moment Tabor sees him, he stands rooted with shock, before becoming apoplectic. Screaming that he is a mass murderer, he shouts that Crell Moset killed his grandfather, brother and hundreds of other Bajorans.
Tabor lunges at Moset and has to be held back by Paris and Kim. The Doctor tells him he is mistaken but, nearly choking with fury, he retorts that he is not; Crell Moset performed horrific experiments on living people. Thousands of Bajorans, he charges, were killed by him at his "so-called hospital" on Bajor. Moset denies his accusations. He tells The Doctor he should probably leave, and The Doctor transfers him back to the holodeck.
In Chakotay's office, Tabor in control of himself but still extremely angry, repeats his accusations against Crell Moset to Chakotay. The Doctor is present. Tabor lists some of Moset's alleged atrocities: exposing Tabor's grandfather's organs to nadion radiation, condemning him to a painful, six-day-long demise; blinding others to study how they adapted to being deprived of their sight; exposing others to polytrinic acid to see how long it took their skin to heal. The Doctor reminds him of the fostossa virus which killed thousands of Bajorans. Moset, he tells him, found the cure. Tabor retorts that he did so by infecting hundreds of other Bajorans with the virus, so he could experiment with treatments on them. Chakotay interjects that he recalls, in his time as a Maquis commander, that some of the Bajoran Maquis under his command spoke of an infamous Cardassian doctor. Tabor begs him to have the hologram, and all traces of Moset's research, destroyed.
In sickbay, Torres, though very weak, vehemently tells Paris that she will not let Moset treat her. Before, she simply hated him as a Cardassian; now that she knows who Crell Moset is, she passionately loathes him. She asserts that if she lets "that pig" operate on her, she will be benefiting from his wickedness and his victims' suffering. She would rather die than to do that. Paris is horrified. He tries desperately to get her to reconsider, but she is adamant. The Doctor also tries, telling her that they are very close to a treatment. But she insists that another way be found, before again slipping into unconsciousness. An alarm indicates she is going into cytotoxic shock. The Doctor quickly administers counteracting medication.
Seven of Nine and Ensign Kim are in engineering, studying the ship's databases for information that may prove or disprove Tabor's accusations. What they find is very troubling. Kim hails The Doctor, who soon arrives. They show him what they found: during his time on Bajor during the occupation, Moset had purchased several biological agents, including every known strain of fostossa. The Doctor points out that he would have needed such samples to conduct experiments on vaccine creation. However, they show him the requisition orders; none of them contained any of the enzymes needed to synthesize vaccines. Then, four days later, in the vicinity of his hospital, a major outbreak of fostossa occurred. Before that there had never been a single recorded case in the entire province. The Doctor is stunned. Kim takes the data to Chakotay.
The Doctor returns to the holodeck and finds Moset preparing for the procedure he had earlier decided on to remove the alien from Lt. Torres. But this time, The Doctor's friendly, admiring attitude is absent. He sternly informs Moset that Torres refuses to accept any treatment from him, and that corroborating evidence supporting Tabor's accusations against him has been found. Moset dismisses the barbaric nature of his actions with claims that one must use whatever resources one has available for research. Matters such as ethics, he asserts, are purely arbitrary; what is important is the final result and the benefit it brings. The Doctor angrily disputes this. He is no longer interested keeping him as a consultant and informs him that he may have to be deleted. Moset matter-of-factly responds that he is the only way a solution can be found in time to save Torres. The Doctor has no answer for this.
Captain Janeway calls a senior staff meeting to discuss the situation. Word of Moset has gotten round the ship. Ensign Tabor has tendered the resignation of his commission to Chakotay. More such action from the Maquis and Bajorans among the crew will likely follow. The issue has to be dealt with immediately.
Janeway hears the arguments. There are two sides: The Doctor informs them that he cannot come up with any alternative treatment in time to save Lt. Torres, and Moset's idea will indeed work. Lt. Paris insists that it be used then, regardless of issues about who and where the research came from. Tuvok and Chakotay voice the opposing view, which, ironically, Torres shares: to use Moset's idea would be to validate his methods, which are ethically unacceptable.
Paris' response is very heated, and his refuting comments to Chakotay begin to border on insubordination. Janeway silences him sternly. The final decision is hers. She announces it: all issues regarding Moset aside, the fact of the matter is they cannot afford to lose their chief engineer in their situation, lost and alone in the Delta Quadrant. Therefore, if his treatment will work, then it must be used, regardless of Torres' or any other crewmember's opinion. She orders The Doctor to proceed with Moset's assistance. Any consequences of this decision, she tells them, will be her responsibility. She dismisses the meeting. The Doctor immediately makes ready, and he and Moset begin the procedure.
On the bridge, Tuvok, whose Vulcan hearing is more acute than a Human's, begins to hear a noise. The noise quickly becomes loud enough for all officers present to hear, and increases in volume until they have to shout loudly to be heard. Tuvok reports that it appears to be an alien com signal. Ensign Kim reports that a ship has slowed from warp speed and is quickly approaching. Janeway orders it put on-screen. It is the same type of ship the alien attached to Lt. Torres was on.
The deafening noise suddenly stops. Janeway asks Kim what the message says. But the universal translator cannot make any sense of it. Janeway decides to give them a standard response. Ordering a channel opened, she greets them, identifying herself and Voyager, and explains that one of their kind is in Voyager's sickbay being treated for injuries it has sustained. The response she gets is another loud shriek.
Torres has been moved to the holographic lab. Moset and The Doctor perform the operation. Moset leads. As per what he decided, he has opened the alien's body and is applying neurostatic shocks with a cortical probe to stimulate its primary neural cortex and make it release. The alien screams with pain from the procedure, to The Doctor's great discomfort. The procedure begins to work, but Moset raises the probe's pulse frequency for quicker results. The alien screams louder. The Doctor notes with consternation that its synapses are degenerating; it is dying. Moset tells him not to "lose nerve" and continues. The Doctor watches and listens until he can do so no longer. He pushes Moset aside, takes the instrument from him, and angrily tells him that if they apply the shocks to the secondary neural cortex, the same result can be achieved, without killing the alien or causing it so much pain. He does so, with the alien's response dropping to plaintive whines instead of agonized shrieking.
The alien ship begins firing on Voyager. Janeway orders shields raised. On the holodeck, the lab and Moset begin to waver. The Doctor urgently hails the bridge. Tuvok reports to Janeway that the alien ship has locked onto them with what is presumably a tractor beam; it is draining their power. On Janeway's order, he sends an antimatter surge through the shields' matrix in an attempt to disable it, but this fails to do so. He recommends using Voyager's weapons, but Janeway refuses; her instinct tells her this is not an attack, but merely an attempt by the aliens to rescue their fellow. She hails the holodeck for a status report.
The Doctor's idea works; the alien withdraws its tendril interface with Torres' organs. Torres passes from danger. But the alien's condition deteriorates. The holograms quickly decide on a drug to use to stabilize its condition, and Moset administers it. With its life no longer in danger, The Doctor hails the bridge and tells Janeway to have it beamed to the alien ship. Janeway immediately has it done.
On the bridge, Kim reports that the alien ship is withdrawing. One final screech comes through the com system, which Janeway takes as a "Thank you", and the ship leaves.
The Doctor reports on Torres' condition to Janeway in her ready room. He has released her to her quarters for convalescence. He also reports that she was "extremely unhappy" (which, given her Klingon temper, translates as "violently angry") that Moset was used to treat her; she nearly had to be sedated. Janeway responds that she will speak to her. The Doctor then brings up the issue of what to do with Moset. Janeway tells him that she is leaving that decision to him. But she urges him to make it quickly, whatever it is, so the whole thing can be laid to rest.
Torres in is her quarters. Janeway goes to see her. She tries to soothe Torres' very evident anger with concerned questions about how she is feeling. Torres coldly responds that she is "alive". Seeing that Torres will not be soothed, Janeway softly, but with authority, tells her that losing her was unacceptable, therefore, despite her objection, she authorized the use of Moset to treat her. With the steel of command beneath her calmly spoken words, she tells Torres she needs to put this behind her. Torres asks if this is an order. Janeway affirms. Torres angrily tells her that she had no right to make the decision for her. Janeway stops covering the steel and sternly responds that she is the captain and did what she thought best. She leaves. Torres angrily watches her go.
The Doctor goes to the holographic lab. Moset greets him amiably, with an air of celebration, but The Doctor does not reciprocate. He tells Moset that the captain left the decision of what to do with him up to him, and this is what it is: he will be deleted, along with all of Crell Moset's research, as he cannot in good conscience continue to make use of either. Moset becomes angry. He reminds The Doctor that those same techniques which so appall him were instrumental in saving Lt. Torres. He asserts that The Doctor will need him again; Voyager faces new, unknown and often dangerous lifeforms every day. To delete him would be to deny the crew a vital medical resource. The Doctor would be violating his physician's oath: "Do no harm".
The Doctor is greatly offended to hear these words coming from him of all "people." Crell tells The Doctor that whether he deletes him or not, the damage is done: the crew has already benefited from Crell's research. The Doctor crisply orders the computer to do the deletion. Moset's eyes go wide and he opens his mouth to protest, he is deleted before any word can come out. The Doctor turns and leaves the holodeck without a backward glance.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. While The Doctor seems to be making progress, Commander Chakotay and I have hit a wall in our attempt to decipher the alien message."
- "Chief Medical Officer's Log, supplemental. I've managed to stabilize Lieutenant Torres for the time being, but the matter of how to proceed with her treatment remains unresolved."
"I can still remember the sounds his instruments made; the screams of his patients; the smell… of chemicals and dead flesh. He operated on my grandfather, exposed his internal organs to nadion radiation. It took six days for him to die."
- - Ensign Tabor, telling Chakotay about Crell Moset
"He blinded people so he could study how they adapted; exposed them to polytrinic acid just to see how long it would take for their skin to heal!"
"Ensign, the man you're accusing cured the fostossa virus. He stopped an epidemic that killed thousands of Bajorans!"
"By infecting hundreds of people! So that he could experiment with different treatments; old, helpless people… like my grandfather… because he considered their lives worthless!"
"How do you know this?"
- - Ensign Tabor and The Doctor, talking to Chakotay about Crell Moset
"I remember some of the Maquis under my command talking about an infamous Cardassian doctor."
"Could these simply have been rumors spread by Bajorans who hated the Cardassians?"
(Furious) "I was there!"
- - Chakotay, The Doctor, and Ensign Tabor, talking about Crell Moset
"I may be a walking encyclopedia but even I don't know everything."
- - The Doctor
"It is curious. The Borg are accused of assimilating information with no regard for life. This Cardassian did the same, and yet, his behavior is tolerated."
- - Seven of Nine, to The Doctor
Tuvok: "If the Doctor uses knowledge that Moset gained through his experiments, we would be validating his methods, inviting further unethical research."
Chakotay: "We'd be setting a terrible precedent."
Paris: "We're in the middle of the Delta Quadrant. Who would know?"
Tuvok: "We would know."
- - Tuvok, Chakotay, and Paris
"Fine. Let's just deactivate the evil hologram and let B'Elanna die. At least, we'd have our morals intact."
- - Tom Paris
"The arguments have been made and we're running out of time. The fact is, you're both right, but when it comes down to it, the only issue I'm concerned about is the well-being of that crew member lying in Sickbay. We'll wrestle with the morality of this situation later, after B'Elanna is back on her feet. Doctor, you have my authorization to proceed, with Moset's assistance."
"Any consequences of this decision will be my responsibility. Dismissed."
- - Janeway and The Doctor
"I hope you can understand why I went against your wishes, B'Elanna. Losing you was unacceptable. I know you're angry, but we need to put this behind us. Understood?"
"Is that an order?"
"You can't order someone to get rid of an emotion, Captain."
"And what emotion is that?"
"You had no right to make that decision for me!"
"I'm the Captain. You're my crewman. I did what I thought best. I get the feeling there are still a few demons in the air. Let's hope this does the trick, huh?"
- - Janeway and Torres
"Think about what we accomplished in the last twenty four hours. Our first case was a triumph. Both patients are thriving, and we advanced the frontiers of medical science. I've already outlined a paper that you and I will one day present to the Federation Medical Academy: "Total Systemic Invasion of a Klingon-Human Hybrid by a Cytoplasmic Pseudoparasite". Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"
"Are we also going to tell them where you honed your surgical techniques? A footnote, perhaps. 'For further details, see Cardassian death camps.'"
"Those techniques were crucial this morning. Where was your sarcasm then?"
"I didn't come here to debate the issue with you, Crell. I came here to inform you of my decision. It is my judgment that the Medical Consultant Program and all the algorithms contained therein shall be deleted from the database. In light of recent evidence, I cannot in good conscience utilize research that was derived from such inhuman practices."
"In good conscience? What about the well-being of your crew? You're confronted by new forms of life every day, many of them dangerous. You need me. Delete my program and you violate the first oath you took as a physician. Do no harm."
"Do no harm?! You have no right to say those words. Computer–"
"You can erase my program doctor, but you can never change the fact that you've already used some of my research. Where was your conscience when B'Elanna was dying on that table? Ethics, morality, conscience; funny how they all go out the airlock when we need something. Are you and I really so different?"
"Computer, delete medical consultant program and all related files."
- - Crell Moset and The Doctor
- Although Jeri Taylor and other members of Star Trek: Voyager's writing staff (including Rick Berman) initially intended for Taylor to write numerous scripts for Voyager after she retired from the industry and ended her position as an executive producer of the show – between its fourth and fifth seasons – this was ultimately the only episode whose writing she was credited for, following her four-year stint as an executive producer. By extension, this was also her last writing credit for the Star Trek franchise in general, though she would remain credited as co-creator and as an executive consultant for the rest of the show's run.(Star Trek Monthly issue 39, p. 4; Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 13, et al.)
- This episode was an effort to bring the Cardassian species onto Star Trek: Voyager, as they had been featured more prominently in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, as Jeri Taylor explained. "We could not simply import them into the Delta Quadrant. So, this was an opportunity to use a very interesting alien species and, because they were so universally reviled, we kind of put that holodeck creature into the guise of someone whose expertise was needed to save a life." (VOY Season 5 DVD, "Braving the Unknown: Season Five")
- The working title of this episode was 'Not Human'. (Delta Quadrant, p. 270; Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 324)
- The character of Crell Moset is reminiscent of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who was notorious for performing bizarre and barbaric experiments on concentration camp inmates during World War II. In fact, Moset was actually somewhat modeled on this historical figure. "We talked about Mengele […] and that was sort of a model, there," reflected Jeri Taylor. "Now, he had no compunctions […] [but] we wanted to provide a grayer area of someone who, in his mind, was very justified in doing this, because the greater good would outweigh the cost to the people that he was experimenting on." (VOY Season 5 DVD, "Braving the Unknown: Season Five")
Cast and characters
- Like her on-screen persona, B'Elanna Torres actress Roxann Dawson did not find this episode a comfortable experience. In an interview on StarTrek.com, she cited this as the worst episode she ever took part in, due to the fact that her pet dog died during filming, and all she had to do for that week, while grieving, was lie on a bio-bed. Dawson, with a laugh, also said, "I hated every minute of that episode. It's no secret, so I can just blurt it out. That bug was just horrible. It was no fun. It's not like I was challenged in any kind of actor way. I was just laying there with a bug on me. It was a real pain." However, Dawson tried to look on the bright side of the episode. "You had to have a sense of humor [about it] […] I spent most of that episode trying not to laugh at the whole thing. Granted, maybe the story had something to say, and I think that was the saving grace. I wasn't a part of a lot of those points [though]. I think of myself as more of a prop in that episode." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 36)
- Working on this episode was a remarkably different experience for actor Robert Picardo. He commented, "Now, some people remember that show as the episode where B'Elanna Torres had to go through forty-three minutes with a giant rubber trilobyte glued to her body. But I remember it as a very interesting discussion about medical ethics between The Doctor and the Cardassian doctor [Crell Moset] […] I found that it was one of the classic Star Trek episodes where, because it's in science fiction, you can really deal with the essential ethical issue, you can pare away all the externals and just look at a core question […] That is a really terrific example of what Star Trek can do better than any other show." (VOY Season 5 DVD, "Braving the Unknown: Season Five") On one occasion, Robert Picardo admitted that he was unsure whether, in this episode, his character of The Doctor errs by deleting the Crell Moset holoprogram but also asked several rhetorical questions that implied that he tended to believe The Doctor had. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 30)
- Robert Picardo enjoyed working with David Clennon, the actor of Crell Moset, the two performers having been friends for many years. "I was delighted when he was cast in the show and I got to have those great scenes with him," Picardo said. (VOY Season 5 DVD, "Braving the Unknown: Season Five")
- Director David Livingston was tasked with keeping a sense of momentum to this exposition-loaded installment. "The challenge for me on that episode was to, in some way, keep it visually interesting and not just talking back and forth," he explained. "Sometimes talking back and forth was fine, but on a TV show, you've gotta keep things moving." (VOY Season 5 DVD, "Braving the Unknown: Season Five") Also, Livingston recalled, "It was about something, yet it was all talk. I said, 'We are just going to move the camera all the time.' I said to the actors, 'Don't ever stop moving.' I told them to make it a dance." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37) Livingston remembered the results of these directions: "I think we [kept things moving] by having them walk around tables and stuff, and keeping the movement going. So, physicalising what they were saying, not just [them] saying the words." (VOY Season 5 DVD, "Braving the Unknown: Season Five")
- David Livingston was not entirely satisfied, however, with the rubber alien of this episode. "We had bladders put into it so it would look like it was moving, but you never wanted to stay on it long enough to see the bladder moving," remarked Livingston. "It was this big, silly piece of rubber – one of those things you have on Star Trek once in awhile. It's part of the genre." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- The last day that filming for this episode took place on the set for Voyager's bridge was 29 July 1998. (Star Trek Magazine issue 139, p. 44)
Continuity and trivia
- The idea of an infamous Cardassian doctor experimenting on Bajorans was reused in this episode. It began as an idea for the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fifth season episode "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night". The original concept was to do a Deep Space Nine episode inspired by the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who was notorious for performing bizarre and barbaric experiments on concentration camp inmates during World War II. In the episode, the ghosts of Bajoran children were to begin appearing on the station, and the crew would come to believe that they are the ghosts of children killed by a Cardassian scientist during the Occupation who carried out research on them. However, it turns out that they aren't ghosts at all – the doctor was in fact sending the children into the future to gather information for the Obsidian Order. However, the writers couldn't make the story work, and it was abandoned at the last minute. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Tabor later reappears in "Repression".
- This is the final Star Trek episode to be written by Jeri Taylor. Coincidentally, the first episode she wrote was the Star Trek: The Next Generation fourth season episode "Suddenly Human" and the last was "Nothing Human".
- This episode bears a strong resemblance to "Jetrel". In both episodes, a crew member of Voyager relies on (but refuses) the expertise of a scientist accused of war crimes.
- Although there were numerous episodes of Deep Space Nine in which the events of the Occupation of Bajor were discussed, examined in detail or even experienced by the crew of Deep Space 9 and others such as "Duet", "Necessary Evil", and the aforementioned "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night", this is the only such episode of Voyager. The only other episode outside of Deep Space Nine in which events surrounding the Occupation played a major role was TNG: "Ensign Ro", in which the Bajorans were introduced.
- The "scalpel" used by Crell Moset in this episode is a re-use of the scissor-like prop used by the Solanogen-based lifeforms in the TNG sixth season episode "Schisms"
- When Moset and The Doctor first transfer from the holodeck to sick bay, the EMH was wearing the mobile emitter, in spite of having no need for it in either location.
- The Doctor's quest to find a name, which started with his request for one in the first season episode "Eye of the Needle", is referenced in this episode when he tells the Crell Moset that he is "in between names".
- Jeri Taylor commented that she thought the ethical dilemma around which this episode is centered is "an interesting" one that "persists today, in all kinds of science." She also spoke about the effectiveness of the Crell Moset character; "'Could you not trust [him]' – because the Cardassians usually could not be trusted – I think was good storytelling because it does keep you on pins and needles, as to what's going to happen." (VOY Season 5 DVD, "Braving the Unknown: Season Five")
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.4, 24 May 1999
- As part of the VOY Season 5 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant 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
accusation; anaphylaxis/anaphylactic shock; assimilation; auxiliary power; Bajor; Bajoran; behavior; blindness; body; Borg; Cardassia Prime; Cardassian; cardiopulmonary system; centimeter; Chief exobiology specialist; coffee; consultant; cortical probe; cortical stimulator; crash course; cytoplasmic lifeform; cytoplasmic lifeform's language; cytotoxic shock; death camp; decryption algorithm; deflector dish; Delta Quadrant; demon; Earth; Einstein, Albert; emergency power; energy wave; enzyme; epidemic; ethical subroutine; ethics; evasive maneuvers; evidence; exobiology; experiment; Federation; Federation Medical Academy; footnote; Fostossa virus; heart; higher species; Hippocratic Oath; holodeck; hull plating; inaprovaline; information; internal organ; isomolecular scanner; kidney; kilometer; Klingon; laser scalpel; Lav'oti V; Legate's Crest of Valor; life preserver; liver; logic; lower species (aka lower animals); lung; Maquis; mass murderer; Medical Consultant Program Beta one; medical ethics; medical tricorder; memory; Milky Way Galaxy; milligram; morality; mutilate; nadion; neocortex; neural pathway; neurostatic shock; non-humanoid (aka non-humanoid lifeform); non-humanoid exobiology; Occupation of Bajor; Palomar; Picasso, Pablo; patient; personal database; personality subroutine; physical appearance; pig; plasma injector; polytrinic acid; recursive algorithm; red alert; sarcasm; scalpel; sentient lifeform; skin; slide show; stenophyl; subspace band; surgical table; Tabor's brother; Tabor's grandfather; tendril; tone deafness; tractor beam; transceiver; triaxilating wavelength; Under the Skin: Humanoid Anatomy as Art; universal translator; University of Culat; vaccine; Vulcan; yellow alert
- "Nothing Human" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Nothing Human" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Nothing Human" at Wikipedia
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