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Tuvok loses his memory along with his Vulcan emotional self-control when he is attacked by mysterious aliens.



"Ambassador's log, stardate 53263.2. Though helpful during my negotiations on the Kesat homeworld, Commander Tuvok certainly hasn't been the most sociable of travel companions."

Tuvok is attacked

Returning home to USS Voyager in the Delta Flyer, Neelix and Tuvok have been left in each other's company. While Tuvok tries to work quietly, Neelix tries to keep them both entertained, irritating the Vulcan. Eventually, Tuvok agrees to try to answer a riddle set by Neelix which concerns an ensign who is able to survive while stranded on a class L planet for a year with no resources other than a calendar. However, Tuvok is not amused when the answer turns out to be a simple play on words – the ensign survives by eating the "dates" from the calendar. Retreating to the aft section, Tuvok encounters a cloaked alien intruder downloading files from the Delta Flyer's computer core. As he attempts to detect the cloaking frequency, Tuvok is subjected to a neuroleptic blast from the cloaked alien. Neelix hails Voyager and signals a mayday.

Act One

Neelix and Tuvok are picked up by Voyager and Tuvok is taken to sickbay where he lies in a deep coma. Fortunately, The Doctor stabilizes him. Captain Janeway asks Neelix about what happened, but he was focused on getting the ship back, and instantly regretful that he didn't look for more evidence on the way back to the ship. She comforts him that he did his duty and saved Tuvok. With no other leads as to who may have attacked Tuvok, Janeway decides to ask the Kesat if they know anything.

They send Naroq, an investigator who believes Tuvok was attacked by the Ba'Neth, an extremely xenophobic species who often attempt to steal tactical data from passing species (explaining why files were being downloaded from the Delta Flyer). This, however, is his own theory, as the Ba'Neth are widely believed not to exist and his government considers them a myth. He had asked to be assigned to the case in the hope that combining his resources with those of Voyager would enable him to prove his theory. Janeway agrees, and allows him to scan Tuvok, who is the only one out of thirteen victims to have survived.

Neelix lingers in sickbay and undertakes a campaign to help Tuvok recover, despite Tuvok's history of casual disregard for him. With his usual over-enthusiasm, he proceeds to gather many of Tuvok's personal effects from his quarters and place them around him, and play loud Vulcan music. Further, he wants to re-enact Clash on the Fire Plains. The Doctor restrains him a little, as he is trying to work. While arguing, they suddenly notice Tuvok has sat up and is alert. They start to explain what happened, but he doesn't respond. The Doctor scans him, but Tuvok seems concerned about the tricorder. Neelix has to demonstrate that it won't hurt before Tuvok will let The Doctor scan him. It appears he has lost his memory.

Act Two

Later, Seven of Nine and Naroq find residual particles in the aft of the Delta Flyer. Using technology developed by Naroq, they illuminate a silhouette of the attacker. Janeway theorizes that the technology can be adapted to Voyager's sensors to reveal the alien race's ships.

Back in sickbay, The Doctor informs Janeway that Tuvok has regained consciousness but is a little disoriented. The Doctor explains that Tuvok has lost his memory as a result of the encounter with the alien on the shuttlecraft and that his brain is in the process of rebuilding itself – which may take time. Neelix decides to take Tuvok on a tour of the ship in hopes that it will jog his memory. Neelix and Tuvok go to the bridge, where the severity of Tuvok's condition becomes clear. Tuvok is dazed and incapable of vocalization or understanding his whereabouts. Neelix then takes Tuvok to his quarters.

Back on the bridge, Janeway works with Seven as she works from astrometrics to integrate the scanning technique into the deflector array. When the changes come online, several alien ships are revealed in proximity to Voyager. But before Voyager's sensors can determine their cloaking frequency, the ships attack Voyager, then quickly retreat beyond the short range of the deflector-based scan.

As Neelix is comforting Tuvok, he finally begins speaking, calling Neelix by name.

Act Three

Tuvok begins to have rudimentary, child-like conversations with Neelix in his quarters. Tuvok treats Neelix as his protector and friend, and shows strong emotions. When Neelix and Tuvok go to Janeway's ready room to meet Voyager's alien colleague, Tuvok is unable to remember the needed frequency. Naroq pushes, but Janeway ends the questioning, as Tuvok is disturbed by the memory. Janeway offers to have a meal with Tuvok, but Tuvok states that he would prefer to stay with Neelix.

Some of the crew attempt to spend some time with Tuvok to help him remember. Tuvok and Neelix go to the mess hall, where Harry Kim tries to re-acquaint Tuvok with kal-toh, but Tuvok, failing the contest, angrily states that he doesn't like the game any more. When they return to sickbay, Tuvok sees his personnel file. Now seeming like an older child, he expresses his frustration with the loss of his former self and its talents. Tuvok has a violent outburst and The Doctor, seeing that Neelix's presence in sickbay is upsetting him, orders the Talaxian to leave.

Act Four

As Neelix sits sadly in an empty mess hall, he is joined by Seven of Nine, who is still trying to decode the riddle of the cloaking frequency. Neelix has a riddle of his own: "When is a Vulcan no longer a Vulcan?". As the two talk, Seven tells Neelix that what Neelix has been doing is trying to get the old Tuvok back, when in fact what he should be doing is concentrate on the new individual that he has become. Neelix realizes what she is saying, and leaves reinvigorated.

Later, Neelix and Tuvok meet in sickbay where they have a lengthy conversation about Tuvok's treatment of Neelix to date. Tuvok gives Neelix a flower he made of wax in order to make up for his angry outburst earlier in sickbay. Tuvok has a difficult time understanding why he and Neelix were not previously good friends. Neelix jokes about the sometime rigid seriousness of the "old Tuvok" who never smiled, which the "new" one does readily. They share a good laugh, and Tuvok decides that he is not interested in logic exercises, meditation and kal-toh, but would rather do something else. So Neelix takes him to the mess hall.

The secret is in the frosting

There, Tom Paris and Harry Kim test the many delicious dishes, particularly desserts, that Tuvok has been working on. Janeway enters and joins in the testing. She also prompts Tuvok to try to recall the much-needed cloaking frequency again. Tuvok resists, but when he presents the cake he has been adding frosting to, Janeway notices that the pattern atop the cake is the missing frequency. Tuvok says that's what he saw.

"Captain's log, supplemental. The computer has analyzed Tuvok's diagram and identified the Ba'Neth cloaking frequency. We've narrowed the search to a handful of systems."

They eventually detect a large reading in one of a few systems. The deflector shield illuminates a large space station and ships.

Act Five

Now equipped with the tactical information she needs, Janeway is able to make contact with the Ba'Neth, the species that attacked Tuvok. Janeway negotiates to trade tactical information on Voyager's previous alien encounters for information on the weapon used on Tuvok, but the Ba'Neth refuse. Naroq then offers them the equipment he used to break their cloak, so they can figure out how to defeat it. Both sides now agree to the exchange.

With the new information, The Doctor is able to work out a treatment for Tuvok's condition. But when Neelix goes to Tuvok's quarters to inform him, Tuvok reacts poorly. He says would rather go on having fun with Neelix than return to his previous state. Consoling Tuvok, Neelix charmingly reveals his understanding of him: "You won't call it fun... you'll call it 'deriving satisfaction.' But it's basically the same thing." Tuvok affectionately tells Neelix that he has really enjoyed his company; Neelix says that although he likes the "new" Tuvok very much, the ship needs its tactical officer and that is more important than what Neelix likes.

In the mess hall, afterwards, Neelix runs into Tuvok, who is now his usual cold, logical, distant self. As expected, he dodges Neelix's questions about how he is feeling. Neelix tells Tuvok that he is preparing a dinner in his honor and asks him if he would like to prepare one of his famous desserts. Tuvok replies that he has much more important things to do than engage in the preparation of nutritionally-deficient foods. As a slightly despondent Neelix gets up to leave, Tuvok says that, after giving more thought to the riddle concerning the ensign stuck on the planet, he has concluded that the ensign could have also survived by eating the Sundays ("sundaes"). Amused, Neelix notes that while the answer is clever, it isn't really very logical. Tuvok, who seems a bit surprised at himself, agrees – with a very slight smile.

Memorable quotes

"The Vulcan brain – a puzzle wrapped inside an enigma housed inside a cranium."

- The Doctor

"Don't worry, captain. Tuvok will be back to his old self before you can say 'live long and prosper'."

- Neelix, to Janeway

"You said I was supposed to stimulate his senses."
"I said stimulate them, Mr. Neelix, not annihilate them."

- Neelix and The Doctor, about playing a recording of monotonous Vulcan monk chants in an effort to help Tuvok recover

"You're Neelix. I am safe with you."

- Tuvok, to Neelix

"I want to be able to have fun... with you!"

- Tuvok, to Neelix

"... If I stay here and try to talk to Tuvok, I may be able to provoke some sort of response?"
"If anyone can provoke Tuvok, Mr. Neelix, it's you."

- Neelix and The Doctor

"The object of the game is to turn this jumble of rods into a perfect sphere. We take turns positioning our pieces. Whoever gets the shape to appear first, wins."
"I like the way it looks now."

- Harry Kim and Tuvok, about playing kal-toh

Background information


  • Roxann Dawson (B'Elanna Torres) does not appear in this episode. However, she did enjoy Tuvok actor Tim Russ's performance herein. "Tim [Russ] was so fabulous [as Tuvok in 'Riddles']," she remarked. (Star Trek Magazine issue 180, p. 25)
  • Neelix actor Ethan Phillips cited this episode among five "Best of Neelix" installments. Explaining what he believed were the assets in this episode's depiction of Neelix, Phillips remarked, "Again, it showed a great nurturing quality in Neelix and also, for lack of a better word, his humanity." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 77)
  • This installment was the first Star Trek production directed by Roxann Dawson. She later noted, "That was my first stab at trying to figure out how to do it, how I do it." She found directing the episode was a "wonderful" experience. Although Dawson was obviously familiar with the cast and crew of Voyager when she helmed this installment, she was meanwhile unaware of how to adapt to various circumstances which might arise. "I didn't have that [know-how] when I did 'Riddles,' nor did I need it, because of that unique situation [....] I came to it with a strong vision [...] and did things I might've stopped myself from doing if I'd had more experience," she said, with a laugh. (Star Trek Magazine issue 180, pp. 24 & 25)
  • Roxann Dawson was also glad to find that Director of Photography Marvin V. Rush was highly supportive in helping her realize her vision for how the episode should be. "Marvin is very much a rebel. So when I came up with ideas for certain shots," she recalled, "he didn't say 'No.' We went out there and [shot the episode]." (Star Trek Magazine issue 180, pp. 24 & 25)
  • Roxann Dawson held "Riddles" in high esteem, thinking it had "a really good script." In 2015, she enthused, "I'm still very proud of that episode. Number one, it was very well written [....] I'm very proud of my instinctual work on that show [...] [and] the choices I made." (Star Trek Magazine issue 180, pp. 24 & 25)


  • This episode mirrors the events in "Tuvix" that involved Neelix and Tuvok becoming joined as one entity. Tuvok's flair for cooking is reminiscent of Tuvix's cooking abilities, which the crew felt were better than those of Neelix. Tuvok's unwillingness to go through with the medical procedure that will restore him to his former self also mirrors Tuvix's reluctance to return to his former individual selves.
  • This episode features a rare occurrence where Tom Paris is at the Operations Station on the bridge. This episode is also one of a few episodes where Ensign Harry Kim is not at his usual station. For the majority of this episode, Harry Kim is based at the Tactical station.
  • When Neelix gives Tuvok a tour of the bridge Tuvok accidentally activates the photon torpedo banks. According to Captain Picard in "Hero Worship", this should be impossible since Starfleet terminals have multiple safeguards in place, including access codes, to prevent accidental input. Since Tuvok has lost his memory there is no way he could have entered such a code.

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