The accident was the conclusion to an away mission to collect some orchid samples. Only one molecular pattern rematerialized, and formed a healthy organism combining everything regarding Tuvok and Neelix, including organs, enzymes, and memories. According to The Doctor, Tuvix also possessed: "…Tuvok's sense of intellectual superiority, and Neelix's annoying ebullience." Despite repairs having just been made to the transporter, no fault could be found in the logs at the time of the accident.
It was Tuvix, the name the combined individual had given himself, who realized what had happened. The plant samples, which were also caught up in the matter stream and were also a part of Tuvix, contained lysosomal enzymes. Tuvix's research indicated that this could be an indicator of symbiogenesis, where an organism reproduces by merging with a second species to produce a hybrid. This usually only occurs with microcellular organisms. Tuvix suggested that being deconstructed during beaming allowed the symbiogenesis enzymes of the plant to react to Neelix's and Tuvok's DNA in the matter stream, so only the single organism existed at the point of rematerialization. The theory turned out to be correct when two plants and the orchid were beamed up together, resulting in one plant arriving on Voyager. (VOY: "Tuvix")
Life on Voyager
The Doctor told Tuvix that it might be many years before he could find a way to separate them – in the meantime, Tuvix was invited to become a member of the crew, and given the rank of Lieutenant.
Captain Janeway noted in her captain's log that Tuvix managed to gain friends among the crew in his own right, and was a very able tactical officer who wasn't afraid to voice his opinion. She also noted that Tuvix was an able advisor who cleverly used humor to make a point, and his food was better than Neelix's. He was keeping a respectful distance from Kes, who was mourning the loss of two friends, and feeling uncomfortable with the reminder of them walking around. Tom Paris joked, after Chakotay lost at pool twice against Tuvix, "We've created a monster!"
It took The Doctor almost a month, but he found a way to reverse the accident, by using a radioactive isotope which would attach to the DNA strands of one of the merged species, but not the other. By beaming out the segregated DNA strands, the transporter would have the original DNA strands necessary to restore the two individuals.
Tuvix announced that he didn't want to die, feeling that he had just as much right to exist as any other being. He explained to Janeway that, while he did care about Tuvok and Neelix (regarding them as his 'parents'), this also gave him the will to live of two men, and he didn't want to die. He pleaded with Kes, among others, to speak to the captain on his behalf. Kes persuaded Janeway, however, that the procedure was necessary, as she needed Tuvok and Neelix. Tuvix pleaded with the bridge crew to stop the captain from murdering him, but eventually allowed the procedure to take place, saying that everyone would have to live with his death on their conscience, for which he was sorry, as they were all, in his eyes, good people; his friends.
However, The Doctor refused to perform the procedure; as a physician, he had sworn an oath to do no harm, and he refused to take Tuvix's life, especially against his will. Janeway herself, therefore, performed the process. It was a success, and Tuvok and Neelix were restored, although Janeway was forced to live with the ethical conundrum around the difficult decision. (VOY: "Tuvix")
Naomi Wildman later recounted Tuvix's creation to Brax describing it as "Neelix and Commander Tuvok got combined to make a completely different person." While Brax doubted the possibility, Naomi reaffirmed her claim by stating, "You don't think I could make up a story like that, do you?" (VOY: "Homestead")
"So, what should I call you?"
"Ah, a name. I hadn't thought of that. What an intriguing question. I can see why The Doctor's finding it so difficult to choose one. A name can have a significant effect upon a person's sense of identity. I've got it."
"Why don't you call me Neevok? Wait. This is better. How about Tuvix?"
- -Kes and Tuvix
"Do you mind telling me what's going on here, crewman?"
"We're making dinner."
"I see. All right, everybody out!"
"On whose authority?"
"Chief of Security or Head Chef. Take your pick. Out, out, out! Come, come, out."
- -Tuvix to Hogan, upon finding him making a mess in the galley.
"It's funny. If something happened to Tuvok, if Neelix were here, he'd be the first person to comfort me. And if I lost Neelix, Tuvok would be the first person to guide me spiritually. Now I don't have either of them."
"You have me, Kes."
"Thank you, but-"
"I remind you of what you've lost."
"It's not your fault."
- -Kes and Tuvix
"Commander, are you going to stand by and do nothing while she commits murder? Mister Ayala. Yes, Lieutenant Paris. You. Doesn't anyone see that this is wrong?"
"Let him go."
"Each of you is going to have to live with this, and I'm sorry for that for you are all good, good people. My colleagues, my friends, I forgive you."
"Commander Chakotay, advise The Doctor we're on our way to Sickbay."
- -Tuvix protesting his right to live to Janeway
"So at what point did he become an individual and not a transporter accident?"
- -Janeway and Chakotay
Tuvix was played by actor Tom Wright in his first of two Star Trek appearances. When he first received a call from his agent about the available role of Tuvix, Wright was immediately eager to take the part. "I felt that it would be unique to create a totally different character," he said, "that had never been created on Star Trek before." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 58)
Neelix actor Ethan Phillips was originally considered for the role of Tuvix. However, Cliff Bole – who directed the episode entitled "Tuvix" – was glad that this idea was dropped. As he explained, "It was better to get just a little different take on the character. Ethan is so identifiable. He might have had a problem trying to give Tuvix the elements of Tuvok's character." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 15) Likewise, Tuvok actor Tim Russ was also considered for the part but he himself was ultimately glad this plan didn't go ahead. "I might favour Tuvok," he conceded, "whereas Tom Wright could be more objective." (Star Trek Monthly issue 106, p. 25)
Though he had never seen Star Trek: Voyager before, Wright knew both Ethan Phillips and Tim Russ personally, having often auditioned for the same roles as Russ and previously acted in a play with Phillips. Required to audition for the character of Tuvix, Wright felt his best course of action would be to play a combination of the personalities and styles of those two Voyager cast members. The audition won him the role. Cliff Bole recalled, "I picked him because I had seen a lot of the work he has done." After Wright was cast as Tuvix, the staff of Voyager sent him a few video tapes of past episodes from the series. The actor noted, "From those, I decided which aspects of each character to put into the part." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 13)
While creating such a composite character, Tom Wright was continually unsure exactly how his performance would end up. This was because the role of Tuvix took Wright into unfamiliar territory. He recalled, "Every now and then a character, situation or work experience forces you outside of your strength, and you have to perform in an area that is a little bit unknown. I did a lot of that in 'Tuvix', so I was completely unsure of how it would turn out. I'm very confident of my ability as an actor, but in this particular circumstance I wasn't sure how it would all pay off." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 58)
Tom Wright was also aware that he had to make Tuvix a likeable character, to accentuate the importance of the character's "death" at the episode's conclusion. "I knew the character's warmth had to be present at all times," the actor stated, "so that over the course of the show, the rest of the characters would warm up to him. And the reason it becomes so difficult [for Janeway to separate Tuvix at the end] is that they've all grown attached to him. They've all taken a certain amount of delight in this new individual." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 13)
Though the intention was for there to be a moral dilemma in Tuvix, Wright couldn't see it; "There isn't any moralizing," he observed. "It's just a story about a character, and you follow that character during the time he is alive. You watch the birth and the life and the death of one character in one episode, and there is no struggle between good and evil. It's purely a no-win situation." When asked if he thought Tuvix should be spared the separation at the episode's conclusion, Wright stated, "I think it was inevitable that he would be separated. There would be no drama without that separation. So, I completely agree that he should have been separated." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 13)
The makeup department purposely shaded Tuvix lighter than Tuvok but darker than Neelix. Tuvix additionally had smaller versions of the pointed Vulcan ears built onto the Neelix head. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 166)
Though the extensive makeup brought at least one complication, it wasn't too tough for Tom Wright to wear. "I had these contact lenses in and I couldn't see anything," Wright laughed. "But it wasn't really that hard. I did Creepshow 2 and Tales From the Crypt, so at least I was familiar with having to work with makeup." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 13)
Following his one-episode appearance as Tuvix, Tom Wright hoped to play the character again. "I'm sorry to see Tuvix go," the performer admitted. "Anything can happen in the world of fiction, though. Tuvix could reappear, and if he did, I would be only too glad to step back into that role because it was a fun one." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 13) Wright also related, "I think that in all fairness, if I were to play Tuvix again, it would be a lot easier simply because I'd know what I'd be walking into." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 59)
In their review of "Tuvix", authors Mark Jones and Lance Parkin labelled Tuvix as "basically a more happy-go-lucky Tuvok who can cook." (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 294) Star Trek Magazine critic Nikki Harper commented that Tuvix was "played superbly by Tom Wright" and went on to say, "The physical appearance of this character is fascinating and one imagines that a lot of discussion went into his design." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 58)
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