(written from a Production point of view)
Voyager defends a planet that is being bombarded by asteroids.
USS Voyager is protecting the Nezu's colony planet from an asteroid bombardment, having developed a plan with them on board to vaporize an incoming asteroid. Instead, the torpedo blast from the Voyager merely fragments it and most of the debris falls to the planet. All attempts to vaporize the asteroids have already failed.
Fortunately, in this case, the remaining fragments land in the area of the central desert. The next asteroid is scheduled to hit a major city in six hours and a garbled message indicating the asteroids are artificial is received from Doctor Vatm, a scientist on the planet. Voyager sends three shuttles to the surface to rescue him.
The Sacajawea, piloted by Tuvok and Neelix and accompanied by the Nezu ambassador's assistant Sklar, is forced to make an emergency landing due to disturbances in the ionosphere. After setting down violently, they are joined by Dr. Vatm, who introduces them to Hanjuan, a gallicite miner, who saw and heard the shuttle crash. They come in the shuttle and Tuvok asks about his discovery, but he refuses to discuss it except with the ambassador, stating that the information he holds is classified.
While examining the exterior of the shuttle for damage, Neelix steps out and spots an orbital tether anchored nearby. He suggests to the others to use the carriage to ascend the tether. He explains that by using the carriage they could leave the ionosphere in order to get a signal to Voyager, which is blocked by the disturbances in the ionosphere, to beam them back aboard. The carriage attached to the tether is damaged, but Neelix says that he spent two years on a tether maintenance team on Rinax, and is convinced that he can repair it. Despite misgivings, Tuvok agrees to Neelix's suggestion.
Upon arriving at the base of the tether, which is three hundred kilometers long, the party discovers a woman, Lillias, who has been taking shelter within the broken carriage. She attacks Neelix and threatens his life to drive them out.
The group manages to convince her that they do not want to take her supplies and are merely looking at a way to get out. They offer to take her with them, and, eventually, she relents.
Meanwhile, on Voyager, Torres is analyzing a sample of the asteroid to follow up on Dr. Vatm's theory that they are artificial. With the ambassador present, Torres finds triadium, an alloy. As Chakotay picks at the rock, he notices it can be broken in half easily. Inside, they find something obviously artificial, a control node for some kind of guidance system, making them suspicious about the nature of this planetary bombardment.
On the planet, Neelix and Tuvok manage to get the lights on. Neelix then goes to help Lillias, spending some time to bond with her. Tuvok reminds him, in an authoritative tone, that he's taking too much time with idle conversation. Neelix, bothered by that, then concentrates on work. After a while, the whole group is hard at work and manage to get only the majority of the systems online when they see that Dr. Vatm attempts to initiate a premature launch. This forces everyone to get in the carriage. Tuvok subdues Vatm, but it's too late. To escape the collapse of the whole cavern they have to launch the carriage.
The carriage is on its way, with Neelix monitoring its erratic status. The magnetic cohesion is lost, and Neelix hypothesizes they need more power to the tether couplings. Tuvok is able to do it, and the carriage stabilizes at 47 kph. Then, Tuvok sees that an oxygen converter has ruptured, so the other one needs to be boosted. On Tuvok's questioning, Neelix continues to mention "glitches" that they will need to address: Neelix must manually guide the ascent, and there are small fissures in the hull which will drop the atmospheric pressure in the cabin. Unfortunately, he can't remember where the emergency containment grid is, prompting Tuvok to challenge his knowledge. Neelix admits he did not actually work on real carriages, but models which had the same components on a small scale.
Their conversation is cut short when Lillias is heard dragging Dr. Vatm to the door to throw him out. Tuvok stops her and asks why Dr. Vatm launched the carriage when he did. Dr. Vatm, who stays silent even as Tuvok suggests it is related to his discovery. As a result, a violent situation erupts when Hanjuan insists that Vatm be thrown out if he doesn't talk. It is barely contained at the last minute by Tuvok, who is realizing the mechanical issues are not the only ones they will have on this journey.
Voyager discovers that a large asteroid is about to hit the planet within two hours. Unfortunately, Tom Paris's team cannot find Tuvok and Dr. Vatm.
Meanwhile, back on the tether, the group (except Tuvok) is beginning to suffer from carbon dioxide poisoning. Tuvok gives them tri-ox compound to help, but Neelix notes Tuvok may become the only one awake to drive the carriage. As he shows him the controls, Dr. Vatm suddenly tries to open the door to get outside, managing to mumble that something is on the roof that he needs to get. He then goes into shock and dies. When Tuvok examines him, he concludes that it was murder.
Tuvok says he found traces of lydroxide, the coolant used for the tether couplings, in Vatm's water container. When ingested, lydroxide is poisonous. Since the coolant tanks are sealed, someone must have opened them, meaning someone on board is the killer. While bickering and blaming each other, Neelix suggests stopping the carriage. He insists that they go look on the roof to check Vatm's motive for wanting to climb up there; he says he has a "gut feeling" that this is important. Tuvok disagrees, believing that what Vatm said was just some foolish, delusional mumbling as a result of oxygen deprivation. Neelix insists, however, that they go up and check this out. When Tuvok refuses to further hear him out, Neelix voices his anger at Tuvok's arrogance. Neelix says Tuvok is condescending, dismissive, and filled with contempt and sarcasm: he is tired of being the target of Tuvok's hostility. He says that even though he admires Tuvok's logic and intelligence, he also thinks that Tuvok does not really understand people. When Tuvok insists that Neelix is wrong, Neelix stops the car and says it will go no higher until someone checks the roof.
Tuvok eventually goes out, and when he reaches the roof, he finds an alien datapad with information on it. As he is examining it, Sklar climbs up there as well, after having just fought off Neelix and making him fall from the ladder to the hatch. He fights with Tuvok, getting his phaser and pushing him off the roof. Tuvok grabs part of the carriage as he falls, leaving him dangling hundreds of kilometers above the planet's surface.
Sklar climbs back down, and threatens everyone else, demanding they get the carriage moving again, but Neelix is the only one who knows how. Seeing Neelix too hurt to respond, he goes to see if they can figure it out for themselves.
Meanwhile, Voyager sees an alien ship. The aliens declare a claim on the planet for themselves, but Voyager fires on the ship.
Fortunately, Neelix sees Tuvok through the window of the door, and lets him in while Sklar is distracted. The wind throws everyone off balance when he lets Tuvok in. Sklar is then blown out of the cabin during a struggle with Tuvok. After diagnosing Neelix with a concussion, Tuvok thanks him for opening the door and talks Neelix into finding the strength to get the carriage past the ionosphere. They then contact Voyager, are beamed aboard and, with the information on the datapad, defeat the attacking aliens.
Later in the mess hall on board Voyager, Neelix reveals to Lillias that Vatm believed there was a traitor among the Nezu. He tells her that the people who attacked their colonies call themselves the Etanian Order: they create what appears to be a natural disaster and once the population has been evacuated, they arrive and stake their claim. Dr. Vatm had found out about the Etanian Order and also knew that one of their own people was a traitor; but not knowing it was Sklar, he could not tell whom not to trust.
Tuvok then comes in, saying that Lillias is ready to return to the planet. She gives Neelix a kiss before leaving. Tuvok tells Neelix that he is giving him a special commendation for his endurance and bravery. At the same time, however, he tells Neelix that one day his intuition will fail and then he will have to accept that logic is primary above all else. Neelix, on the other hand, says that one day he will get Tuvok to trust his gut. Tuvok says that he highly doubts this, upon which Neelix amusingly responds that Tuvok always wants to have the last word and just seems to hate to lose an argument. Somewhat annoyed, Tuvok insists that he is mistaken – thus having the last word once more.
"I've been assigned to Lieutenant Tuvok's team, and no matter what I do, I can't seem to please him."
"Vulcans are notoriously difficult to impress. Mr. Tuvok seldom acknowledges my brilliance."
- - Neelix and The Doctor
"Mechanical glitches would seem to be the least of our problems."
- - Tuvok, to Neelix referring to the unrest on board the elevator
"It is illogical to dwell on situations beyond your control. It will only serve to heighten your anxiety, which, if I may say so, is heightened enough."
"Oh. Well, thank you for the reassurance."
- - Tuvok and Sklar
"Where are you going? You don't even know what you're looking for."
"I am looking for Mr. Neelix's instinct. Perhaps it will be marked."
- - Sklar and Tuvok, as Tuvok exits the elevator
"Mr. Sklar … returned to the surface."
- - Neelix, while being debriefed after his return to Voyager, sarcastically rephrasing a previous statement of Sklar.
"You always have to get in that last word, don't you?"
" I am simply responding to your erroneous statement."
"Something tells me you just hate to lose an argument."
"Losing is irrelevant."
"See what I mean?"
"No. I do not."
- - Neelix and Tuvok
Story and script
- Story writer Jimmy Diggs, stuck for an idea to pitch to Star Trek: Voyager, took inspiration from the 1965 movie The Flight of the Phoenix. This episode reuses, from that film, the idea of stranded innocents with no escape, an expert coming to the rescue whose actual experience is revealed to be limited to models, and a hero who nevertheless succeeds in ultimately making it all work out. Selling the story for this installment gained Jimmy Diggs US$15,000 as well as never-ending residual checks. 
- This episode's use of the mag-lev carriage and orbital tether were based on theories that have been proposed in reality. (See space elevator)
- Script writer Brannon Braga found that he struggled with writing the installment's teleplay. "The spy plot was difficult for me," he admitted. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- The episode's final script draft was submitted on 19 November 1996. 
Cast and characters
- At the end of Star Trek: Voyager's third season, actor Ethan Phillips cited this episode as one of several whose scripts had excited him because, upon reading each one, he had discovered something new about his regular character of Neelix (other such episodes being "Investigations", "Tuvix", and "Fair Trade"). (Star Trek Monthly issue 28, p. 62) At the start of the fourth season, Phillips cited this episode (in common with "Fair Trade") as a Neelix-related highlight of the third season. Considering what he believed to be this episode's merits, Phillips stated, "I got to show that Neelix is a man of action when necessary, and demonstrated his expertise with mechanical things. It also showed he could only take so much from Tuvok, which was kind of good." (Star Trek Monthly issue 33, p. 38) Indeed, Phillips cited this episode as one of many examples wherein Neelix considers Tuvok a challenge: "Tuvok represented a very specific and challenging goal for Neelix; to elicit a smile out of that guy. In my mind, he set about it and said 'I'm going to pierce this Vulcan's cold exterior and get to his heart.' And he tried in 'Rise!' and he tried in many scenes." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion) In a 2015 interview, Phillips included this installment among five "Best of Neelix" episodes. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 77)
- The tension between Tuvok and Neelix in this episode was memorable for Tuvok actor Tim Russ, as was the installment's conclusion. He said, "Everything comes to a head in terms of our relationship, and we come back looking at it differently at the end. The last scene basically reflects the way that our relationship has been, and continues along that path, but with a different understanding. [Ethan Phillips'] character drives a great deal of it, and I think his character also drives the exploration of the relationship." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 100)
- Brannon Braga was happy with the interactions between Tuvok and Neelix in this installment. "What I thought did work was the Tuvok-Neelix relationship," Braga enthused, "and I was very pleased with that. I think it was really a nice show for those two." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- Alan Oppenheimer (the Nezu ambassador) previously played Koroth in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Rightful Heir" and Captain Keogh in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Jem'Hadar".
Production and effects
- The table with the globe in the middle, inside the tether's base, is a redress of a console from the USS Enterprise-D's original stellar cartography lab. 
- This was the second of two Star Trek: Voyager episodes directed by Robert Scheerer (his first being "State of Flux") and the last of fourteen Star Trek episodes he directed in total. His main challenge with this episode was making the set for the interior of the mag-lev carriage believable. "It was complicated," he later admitted. "That was challenging because, basically, you're in a big square room. The art director and I had some talks about it. I kept saying, 'I need something visual,' and he came up with that striated thing that was in the back that showed it going up the rope. That at least showed some movement. You depend on the special FX and they bring you in showing the tether and stuff going up. You're doing everything you can to make it look like they're in flight." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 17)
- During production, blue-screen was used to stand-in for the clouds and sky outside the mag-lev carriage. These elements were then added later, via CGI. (Image Gallery, VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- The process of designing the space elevator began with a sketch by Rick Sternbach. Ronald B. Moore then took the sketch to CGI supplier Foundation Imaging. "I asked the CGI guys, 'What could you do?'" Moore recalled. "In a day and a half they completely modeled it, and did a nice job. With the lights, and given the textures, and all that I was very pleased with it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 98)
- Brannon Braga was dissatisfied with the directing in this episode. "I think that we had some production problems on that one," he remarked. "I wasn't thrilled with some of the staging." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, 108)
Reception and aftermath
- Brannon Braga was disappointed with his script for this episode. "I do have to fault myself for a somewhat flaccid script," he complained. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 108)
- Jeri Taylor cited this episode and the following one, "Favorite Son", as being among the weaker offerings of Season 3, feeling that they were both let down by their execution. She specifically said of this installment, "'Rise' just never quite came together in the way we saw it. It had a wonderful high concept idea, but it had to be anchored by what was going on between Neelix and Tuvok, and I just don't think that came to the forefront in the way that it should have." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 12)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.6 million homes, and a 7% share.
- This installment is the second in what is known to some fans as the "trilogy of terror" – three consecutive episodes that are often considered to be remarkably bad (the other two episodes being "Darkling" and "Favorite Son"). (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 304)
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 106)
- Star Trek Magazine scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars, defined as "Warp speed". (Star Trek Monthly issue 30, p. 59)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 175) gives this installment a rating of 5 out of 10.
- Ethan Phillips thought after-effects of how "Rise" portrayed the relationship between Neelix and Tuvok were subsequently evident. "After that episode, Tuvok came to respect Neelix quite a bit," observed Phillips. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 77)
- Several costumes from this episode were auctioned off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including one of the costumes worn by Lisa Kaminir (as Lillias). 
- In common with this episode, 2009's Star Trek includes a fight scene in a planet's upper atmosphere, on a platform whose level can be remotely adjusted.
- Several years later, Neelix wins the debate that ends the episode: Tuvok finds himself relying on a "hunch" to the point of staking Captain Janeway's life on it, in VOY: "Repression".
- Voyager uses a photon torpedo in this episode, having previously used one in "Future's End, Part II". This brings the total number of torpedoes used to 19, of the irreplaceable complement of 38 established in "The Cloud".
- Captain Janeway directs that three shuttles be dispatched in this episode, indicating that Voyager was equipped with at least seven shuttles when it arrived in the Delta Quadrant, given that four shuttles have so far been lost (in "Initiations", "Non Sequitur", "Parturition" and "Unity").
- Neelix mentions in this episode that his entire family was lost in a war on his homeworld. This is consistent with the events of "Jetrel", in which Neelix explains that his family was killed in an attack on Rinax while he was stationed on Talax.
- Based on Kes' style of clothing, this episode was produced before "Darkling".
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.10, 22 August 1997
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Alan Oppenheimer as Nezu ambassador
- Lisa Kaminir as Lillias
- Kelly Connell as Sklar
- Tom Towles as Vatm
- Geof Prysirr as Hanjuan
- Brian Donofrio as science division officer
- Jennifer Gundy as Female crewmember
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Shepard Ross as Murphy
- Unknown actor as Murphy
47; accelerator control; air; Alixia; alloy; Alixia; analeptic compound; arctic spider; area; ascent thruster; asteroid; astrophysicist; atmosphere; atmospheric pressure; attitude control thruster; auto-ascent sequencer; biolab; British pound; carbon dioxide; carbon dioxide poisoning; Caves of Touth; centimeter; Central desert; citizen; collision course; colony; concussion; continent; continent grid; control node; damage; damage report; data storage device; debris; delirium; dust storm; electrodynamic turbulence; Etanians; Etanian Order; Etanian starship; equatorial dust shrouds; exogeology; expression; fissure; foundry; foundry worker; free fall; gallicite; hail; Halla; holodeck; lack of oxygen; idle conversation; impact; induction coil; induction damper; "in for a penny, in for a pound"; ionosphere; iron; kilometer; leverage; logic; lungs; lydroxide; mach; mag-lev carriage; mag-lev cohesion; magnetic leverage; meter; millibar; mission report; Mister Vulcan; Nezu; Nezu colony planet; nickel; offline; olivine; orbital engineer; orbital supply station; orbital tether; oxygen; oxygen converter; oxygen regenerator; penny; pressure valve; prototype; rescue mission; respiration; Rinax; roof; Sacajawea; sarcasm; shock; shock wave; signal relay; stratosphere; suffocation; Talaxian; Talaxian-Haakonian War; temperature; tether coupling; toroidal antenna; tranquilizer; traitor; triadium; tri-ox compound; tricorder; troposphere; tryoxene; Type 6 shuttlecraft; Voyager shuttles; Vulcans; water supply
- "Rise" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Rise" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Rise" at Wikipedia
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