(written from a Production point of view)
A buried holonovel with high entertainment value depicting a Maquis mutiny is discovered.
B'Elanna Torres looks apprehensive as she walks down the corridor on the ship and approaches the turbolift to report for duty, and even more so as Chakotay joins her casually. Once they are in the turbolift, Chakotay begins asking a series of strange questions pertaining to his dislike for Tuvok and mentions that in fact a lot of the crew are not happy with the chief of security and Captain Janeway for that matter. He wonders whether Torres agrees, stating that there will be some changes around here. It seems a mutiny is in the works. All of the Maquis and 25 of the Starfleet crewmembers are behind him, and he wants to know which side Torres is on once the shooting starts.
On the bridge, Torres and the other officers go about their duties, pushing buttons as if they are doing something, when Captain Janeway announces she will be going off in a shuttlecraft with Tom Paris and leaving Chakotay in command of the ship. Chakotay tries to convince the Captain to bring Tuvok with her, without success. The first officer has Harry Kim perform a diagnostic that shuts the transporters down before a pair of security personnel arrive with what Chakotay claims to be the duty roster. As soon as Janeway's shuttle goes to warp, Chakotay tells all hands to begin their plan and commences the takeover, stunning Tuvok and Kim before moving on to the rest of the ship. Torres goes along with his plan. Then there is a surprise: they turn a corner to find Seska.
The siege continues through the mess hall – where Neelix takes their side. With the senior officers in the brig and the rest of the loyal Starfleet personnel held prisoners in an empty cargo bay, Chakotay announces his plan of dropping the senior staff off at the nearest habitable planet and taking USS Voyager straight home – this time without letting mighty "Starfleet principles" get in the way. He offers the remaining crew the chance to join him, when suddenly Paris enters the cargo bay and asks Torres what's going on. It is then revealed that this has all been a holo-program depicting a Maquis mutiny. Torres tells Paris that she was doing a routine purge of the database to get rid of old files when she came across this holonovel, telling Paris that its a very compelling story. Paris asks who wrote it, and Torres admits she doesn't know as the author has encrypted the program to protect his or her identity, presumably due to the controversial plot.
Torres and Paris discuss reporting the program to Captain Janeway, but decide it best if they get a "full report", so Paris has a go with the program. During Paris' run, he walks down the corridor wearing an operations division gold uniform. Chakotay approaches Paris the same way he approached Torres, and knowing what will happen, Paris eagerly goes along with the plan. When it is time for Chakotay's mutiny, Paris attempts to warn Tuvok, but it is too late; once again, Tuvok and Kim are shot, but this time Paris joins them and the other loyal Starfleet officers in the brig. There, Paris grows impatient with simply "waiting around", but Tuvok insists that they wait for an opportunity to overpower the enemy. Chakotay eventually comes along to take everyone but Tuvok and Kim to cargo bay one. There he gives the same speech as before, when Torres ran the holonovel, which inspires Paris to join him.
Paris and Torres now discuss the holonovel eagerly in the mess hall, and Paris reveals that his constant switching loyalties has apparently caused Chakotay to assign him to menial tasks. Torres advises him to go along with the mutiny from the start, since that is a lot more fun to play out. As they talk about plans of attack, Neelix wanders by and reveals that he too has played the program, and describes his own strategy; he tried to send a secret message to Janeway and Paris's shuttle, but was caught by Chakotay. It seems Torres told The Doctor, who told Neelix, who promises his lips are sealed; but as he speaks, Kim shows up asking them about the holonovel Ayala told him about.
- "Lieutenant Paris's personal log: Stardate 50953.4. I've decided to take B'Elanna's advice and replay the holonovel, this time as a full-fledged member of Chakotay's team of mutineers. I hope it turns out better than before."
Paris and the mutineers are on the bridge again, out of uniform and in control despite problems with the warp core likely the result of a saboteur. As Janeway and the holographic Paris return in their shuttle, she has a chilly reunion with Chakotay, who genuinely does not want to hurt anyone. However, she attacks Voyager head-on and beams aboard with Paris as it opens fire to destroy her shuttle. Chakotay and Paris take the turbolift to the brig, where Janeway and her former first officer shoot one another before Paris comes face-to-face with himself. Paris and his holographic counterpart have each other at phaser point…
…when suddenly the program shuts down leaving only an empty holodeck. Paris tries to resume the program but fails, as the computer explains no more story has been written so cannot continue. Paris is left very frustrated at the lack of conclusion.
In the holodeck, Torres and Paris try to access information on the author of the holonovel from the computer. Despite Torres' knowledge of computers and Neelix's gift of gab, no one is able to find the mysterious author of the holonovel. Janeway brings it up at the next staff meeting, by which time the program has been accessed 47 times by 33 different crew members. Of course, everyone present has tried it (save Janeway and Chakotay), but no one knows who made it, so she tells them to talk to their respective staff and find the author. However, Tuvok reveals that in fact it was he himself who wrote the program, albeit not as a novel but more as a tactical training exercise for his security personnel in the event of a mutiny. He explains that he wrote the program when the Maquis crew had just joined the Voyager crew and when the possibility of a mutiny was very real. But when the two crews began to successfully work together, he realized that the threat of an insurrection was increasingly unlikely and the program might have ended up inciting ill feeling between the crews and and therefore deleted it – until Torres recovered the file. Paris asks if Tuvok intends to continue, but Tuvok instead wishes to permanently delete it since he still feels it could cause discontent between the Starfleet and Maquis crews and expects Janeway to agree. However, contrary to his expectations, Janeway tells him to 'loosen up'. She tells him that while he may have intended it to be for tactical training it is clearly become some harmless fun, and stresses the need for original sources of entertainment now that they are so far away from home. Paris volunteers to write an ending, and Janeway jokes that she is excited to see how her character will manage to outwit the mutineers.
Tuvok finds Paris in the mess hall, working diligently on an ending for the novel. When he suggests helping him craft the novel with some level of organization and logical application, Paris casually states that he doesn't need any help in that regard as he is sort of making it up as he goes along. He tells Tuvok that in his version, Paris and Janeway retake the ship and Janeway decides to execute all the conspirators. Tuvok objects that this is a completely implausible plot development, since Captain Janeway would never do something so inhumane. But Paris laughs his objections off, saying that this wasn't real life but just fiction. Tuvok reiterates the importance of applying logic when writing stories and characters, citing the Vulcan Dictates of Poetics, which state that a character's actions must flow, inexorably, from his or her established traits. But again, Paris laughs off Tuvok's insistence on logical application and in fact finds his own interpretation of things more fun. The two continue butting heads over the Dictates of Poetics versus pure fun until Torres and Neelix each drop by to offer suggestions. Much to Tuvok's annoyance and objections that this wasn't a romance novel, Torres wants to see some passion and heart in the story. Paris suggests adding a passionate scene between "the Starfleet conn officer and the Maquis engineer." Neelix, on the other hand – while not making any plot suggestions – tells Tuvok that he was completely misportrayed as he would would never betray Captain Janeway like the holographic Neelix did. Paris jokes that Tuvok must have forgotten to follow the Dictates of Poetics, at which point Tuvok suggests that it might be best to move their work to some place more quiet.
The two go to the holodeck, where they find The Doctor waiting with his own set of suggestions. Once Tuvok gets rid of The Doctor, Paris tries to get rid of Tuvok… only for Tuvok to reveal he is the only person who can make alterations to the program. Paris concedes defeat and agrees to let Tuvok finish the program with him. Tuvok prepares the holonovel for additions and has the holodeck open the narrative parameters file of the program. Suddenly, the hologrid begins to glitch while the transporters on Voyager shut down, the comm system goes off-line, and the holodeck controls become scrambled. The holodeck safety protocols are also disengaged. Tuvok and Paris suddenly appear in the brig, face-to-face with none other than Seska. It seems the Cardassian spy found Tuvok's program some time ago and rewrote it so the ending will be not-so-happy for its participants. Seska tells a confused Tuvok and Paris that they have ten seconds to run for their lives or she will shoot them with a phaser.
Tuvok tries to disable the holodeck program and contact help, but to no avail. Seeing no other alternative, Tuvok and Paris run from the brig where they encounter Captain Janeway, who they almost immediately recognize as being holographic. "Janeway" asks them to help her retake the ship by transporting into the cargo bay. Tuvok thinks that they shouldn't participate in the scenario, as it presents the least possible risk. After all, Seska may have programmed the holographic Janeway to betray them. Janeway configures the transporter and tells Tuvok and Paris to go when Chakotay and Seska appear at the door. Janeway defends herself with a phaser rifle, but it malfunctions and she is killed. Seska then tells Tuvok and Paris to run. Paris tells Seska that none of the simulation is real, including the holographic Chakotay who is attracted to her. She gets angry and has Chakotay shoot Paris' arm with a phaser, removing any doubt that safety protocols on the holodeck had been disabled. Tuvok and Paris run once again. They enter sickbay to try to treat Paris' phaser wounds. The Doctor appears and says he's going to treat Paris' second-degree phaser burns, but he uses a hypospray to inject twenty ccs of nitric acid into his arm. Tuvok tries to help Paris, but The Doctor grabs him and starts to choke him. The Doctor's arms are the only part of him that are solid, so any attempts to hurt The Doctor are unsuccessful. Once The Doctor is finished "treating" them, he throws Tuvok and Paris out.
On the bridge, the real Captain Janeway asks for information on Seska's modifications to the holodeck program. It turns out that on stardate 48671, a month before she left Voyager, Seska found the program and modified it. She triggered her modifications to activate when Tuvok re-opened the narrative parameters file. To make matters worse, Seska put in various booby trap subroutines to prevent the crew from helping Tuvok and keeping him trapped on the holodeck. For example, if the holodeck doors are forced open, the holodeck will explode. Janeway gets an idea to help… perhaps she could modify the program by co-writing it in a manner that would ultimately help Tuvok and Paris.
Inside the holodeck, Tuvok and Paris are traveling through a Jefferies tube where they encounter a plasma fire behind a door. Tuvok isn't able to close the door, but all of a sudden a plasma extinguisher appears. Paris extinguishes the fire and crawls down to the next deck. Tuvok and Paris realize they are being helped from the outside; however, Janeway is only able to make minor changes. A display appears telling them to go to the weapon's locker for additional help. When they reach the locker, however, Chakotay and a group of Maquis appear, and Paris and Tuvok are captured. Janeway, outside the holodeck, learns that Seska had programmed the holodeck to adapt to any changes that were made to it.
In engineering, Janeway and Torres are re-writing the program to help Paris and Tuvok. Harry Kim reports that the altered program has burned out the transporter access relays, so they can't simply beam them out of the holodeck for the time being. Meanwhile, in the holographic cargo bay, Seska tries to have Tuvok and Paris killed, but Janeway alters the Chakotay hologram character to prevent him from cold-bloodedly murdering the two. Angrily, Seska kills Chakotay to prevent any interference in her plans. Undeterred, Janeway decides another way to modify the program: she rewrites it to include a Rukani attack. Tuvok and Paris are able to take the weapons from the crew during the attack. Seska refuses to give up and activates a sixty-second auto-destruct, which would destroy the holodeck and everyone on it in the process. Tuvok tells Seska that he set his phaser rifle to kill and he will fire if she does not disable the auto-destruct. Seska refuses and demands that he hand over the phaser rifle to her. Tuvok does so, and Seska deactivates the self-destruct. She then turns the phaser rifle on Tuvok and Paris, intent on killing them. However, the weapon malfunctions, killing Seska. Tuvok reveals that he had reconfigured the rifle to malfunction in the same way it had for the holographic Janeway in the transporter room. With the holographic Seska dead, the story has come to an end and the simulation finally shuts down. Kim reports that the transporters have been brought back online, but Janeway assures him that there is no rush.
The senior staff is having a discussion in the mess hall about holo-novels. Chakotay says that he looks forward to the next one, just as long as in whatever they write next, he is not the bad guy. Neelix suggests a story about a cook on a starship, similar to his own life. Tuvok says that if they decide to collaborate on a new holo-novel, they will choose a subject much less close to home.
"Under my command, we won't let almighty Federation principles get in the way of opportunities the way Janeway did when she destroyed the array that could have gotten us home. And we won't be wasting precious time stopping to investigate every insignificant anomaly that we come across. What we will do is use any means necessary to acquire technology that can shorten our journey. To hell with Starfleet regulations. You have fifteen minutes to make up your minds."
- - Chakotay hologram, to the remainder of the holographic Starfleet officers
"Do you want me to shoot him?"
- - Seska hologram to the Chakotay hologram, regarding the Neelix hologram's little speech after his change of heart
"Remember the good old days when it was impossible to keep a secret on a ship this small?"
- - Paris, on the anonymous author of Insurrection Alpha
"We're not going to kill anybody today… unless it's absolutely necessary."
- - Chakotay hologram
"It's not like I caught you dancing the rumba with a naked Bolian!"
- - Paris to Torres
"I expected to find you shooting pool at Sandrine's… not hanging out with Seska…"
- - Paris, after walking in on Torres' holodeck time
"With all due respect, Mr. Tuvok, loosen up."
- - Janeway
"You never should have crossed her, Tuvok."
"SHE has been dead for over a year! There was no way to predict this turn of events."
"I guess we should have known Seska wouldn't let a little thing like death stop her from getting even."
- - Paris and Tuvok
"You just threatened the wrong woman, Chakotay!"
- - Janeway hologram
"I don't care what kind of story it is, as long as I'm not the bad guy this time."
- - Chakotay
"If you think I will allow you to turn this novel into a parody you are sorely mistaken."
- - Tuvok to Paris
"Now up until now the story has been nothing but action, which is fine, but what it needs is a little heart, a little emotion."
"We are not writing a romance novel, lieutenant."
- - B'Elanna and Tuvok
"No offense Mr. Vulcan, but I don't think you understand my character very well."
"Tuvok, did you forget to follow the Dictates of Poetics?"
- - Neelix and Tom Paris
"Twenty ccs nitric acid – a little proverbial salt in the wound."
- - The Doctor in Seska's altered version of Insurrection Alpha "treating" Tom Paris after a phaser burn
"Mr. Neelix, if Mr. Paris and I do create another work of holofiction, I assure you, we will choose a subject much less close to home."
- - Tuvok, to Neelix after curtly stopping his suggestion for a future holonovel
Title, story, and script
- In Germany, this episode's title (translated back into English) is "Rebellion Alpha", after the holo-program (which is called "Insurrection Alpha" in the English version of the episode).
- This episode had the working title "Novelty". 
- While writing this episode, co-producer Kenneth Biller attempted to add a certain comedic flavor to the installment. He said of the episode, "I won't say it's an out-and-out comedy. It ultimately has some serious jeopardy to a couple of the characters, but it's a comic musing on the creative process. It operates on a lot of different levels. It's a little inside stuff about the creation of the show, the process of writing for Star Trek, and the interaction between the actors who we write for, and the writing staff. It was a lot of fun to write." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 113)
- The episode's final draft script was submitted on 14 February 1997. 
Cast and characters
- Actress Martha Hackett appreciated the reappearance of her role of Seska in this episode, that character having recurred in Star Trek: Voyager's first two seasons. Hackett said of this episode, "Even when I had been off the show for a season and, you know, we pretty much thought Seska had disappeared, there she was. She came back to haunt them – in a very clever way, I thought – when they brought [her] back as a hologram. And […] you know, it was kind of fun to go back to that, [to] bring all those storylines back up again." (VOY Season 3 DVD special features) Hackett also commented, "I thought it was great that she thought ahead and planned something that would mess with people even after she wasn't around." 
- Not only did Martha Hackett like the way in which this episode brought back the character of Seska, but the actress also enjoyed appearing in the installment. "I was really pleased when they invited me back. I thought it would be great fun," she remembered. "It was really nice to go back and the cast were all very welcoming. Also, it was enough time after I'd had my baby, so I felt myself again and was more free to work. I had worked just after I had my son, but a bit too soon afterwards, and it was a little stressful. This episode was good timing." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 40)
- Janeway actress Kate Mulgrew counted this as one of her eight favorite installments of Star Trek: Voyager's third season. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 14, p. 32)
- The episode was also pleasant for Paris actor Robert Duncan McNeill, who said that he "really enjoyed the episode with Tuvok, 'Worst Case Scenario'," and related that the reason he found this episode to be "a lot of fun" (in common with the two-parter "Future's End" and "Future's End, Part II") was due to "a comic side that comes out of both of us [meaning himself and Tuvok actor Tim Russ] when we share the screen." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 44)
- Jennifer Lien (Kes) appears in this episode only as a hologram, with the same hairstyle she sports for most of the first three seasons.
- Ken Biller liked, in this episode, the performances of some members of Voyager's main cast. He remarked, "I think [it] really shows off some of the actors in our cast who are very strong with comedy." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 113)
- During the making of this episode, at least two flubs were made. One was while filming the scene wherein the real Paris notifies Chakotay that Holo-Paris and Janeway are returning to the ship. After Paris actor Robert Duncan McNeill gave Chakotay actor Robert Beltran this news, Beltran paused and then, breaking character, asked McNeill, "How do you know?" to which the cast and crew erupted into laughter. The other was during filming of the scene in which Tuvok is shot by Chakotay; Tuvok actor Tim Russ dramatically over-performed his reaction to being shot. These outtakes are commonly seen on the Internet (notably on YouTube), and were included in the UPN special Ultimate Trek: Star Trek's Greatest Moments.
- Ken Biller was ultimately delighted with his script for this episode. He noted, "This is maybe my favorite script of all time." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 113)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.0 million homes, and a 6% share. It was the least watched installment of Star Trek: Voyager's third season (on first airing).
- Nevertheless, Martha Hackett believed that the reappearance of Seska in this episode had fan support. The actress noted about the fact that Seska is brought back as a hologram, "That's something the fans appreciated." (VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 3 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 113)
- Star Trek Monthly scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars, defined as "Warp Speed". (Star Trek Monthly issue 32, p. 93)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 187) gives this installment a rating of 8 out of 10.
Continuity and trivia
- When Paris and Tuvok are discussing new ideas for a holonovel, Torres and Janeway suggest a Western or a mystery. These suggestions may be in reference to Captain Picard's Dixon Hill (from Star Trek: First Contact as well as from episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation), a Western program in which Worf and Alexander participate (in TNG: "A Fistful of Datas") and the conceptual origins of the Gothic Janeway Lambda one mystery holonovel (which appears in "Cathexis", "Learning Curve", and "Persistence of Vision" but was originally intended to be a Western in "Eye of the Needle").
- This episode contains at least one of many Star Trek references to the number 47. At the staff briefing, Chakotay says that the program has been used "47 times by 33 different crew members." Also, Tuvok's security clearance code – used for accessing the "Insurrection Alpha" program – is "four-seven-seven-four".
- This episode resembles DS9: "Civil Defense" in that the crew, in both cases, triggers an old computer program which (1) they are unable to shut down and (2) is threatening to kill (in this episode, some of) them. However, the computer program here is meant for members of the crew while, in the case of "Civil Defense", it is a defense system left over from the Cardassian occupation, meant to be triggered in case of a Bajoran uprising at Terok Nor.
- This episode is both the twelfth Voyager installment to feature the character of Seska and the second Season 3 episode to do so, she having died in the third season premiere "Basics, Part II". Owing to the way in which that episode ends, Martha Hackett was initially unsure whether her character of Seska would return after it. She later explained, "I always thought that they could bring me back in some incarnation. You know how it is in Star Trek – if you die, you can come back! But on the other hand, it wasn't exactly a cliff-hanger with Seska. So it could have gone either way." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 40) Following her inclusion in this episode, Seska would reappear once more, in the seventh season episode "Shattered".
- When Seska returns in this episode, she is in holographic form and with her Bajoran disguise, having looked Bajoran in all of her episodic appearances of Season 1. However, the holographic Seska also slightly differs, in appearance, from how the actual Seska ever looked. "We […] see Seska in an incarnation we had never really seen her in before," Martha Hackett commented. "They changed everything – her hair and costume – because it's her creation in the hologram." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 40)
- Seska left the ship around stardate 48658.2 (in the first season episode "State of Flux") but, according to Torres in this episode, Seska modified the holo-program on stardate 48671.
- This episode includes the fourth of many times when Janeway "dies" in the series. On this occasion, the holographic Janeway is murdered by Seska.
- This is the sixth and final episode to feature the recurring character of Michael Jonas. Although only his voice is heard here, he physically appears in each of the previous episodes that feature him. According to the unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 186), the performer who voiced Michael Jonas in this episode was not Raphael Sbarge – the actor who regularly portrayed Jonas.
- Tuvok's program is referenced in the story "Command Code" (by Robert Greenberger) from the tenth anniversary compilation Distant Shores. The story indicates that Tuvok reconsidered the program, following an incident involving a species called the Dresh, in which he temporarily disabled Chakotay's command codes in the belief that Chakotay was reverting to Maquis methods in a crisis before Chakotay's counter-argument helped Tuvok recognize that Chakotay had played by the book as much as possible. He estimated that he had only completed what he assumed to be a quarter of the scenario.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.13, 20 October 1997
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Kate Mulgrew as Kathryn Janeway
- Robert Beltran as Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Harry Kim
- Steve Blalock as operations division officer
- John Copage as science division officer
- Damaris Cordelia as Foster
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Ransom Gates as O'Donnell
- Heather Ferguson as command division officer
- Sue Henley as Brooks
- Kerry Hoyt as Doug Bronowski
- Zach LeBeau as Larson
- Tom Morga as Carlson
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Raphael Sbarge as Michael Jonas (voice only)
- Jennifer Somers as science division officer
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
- Unknown actor as Murphy
47; all hands; auxiliary database; away mission; bearing; Bolian; booby trap; brig; Caretaker's array; Class 2 shuttle; coffee; compression phaser rifle; detective story; deus ex machina; Dictates of Poetics; dilithium matrix; duty roster; emotion; EPS conduit; Federation; fiction; force field; frying pan; headache; heart; holofiction; holomatrix; holonovel; holodeck; holodeck safety protocol; Insurrection Alpha; internal sensors; intruder alert; jack-in-the-box; Jefferies tube; kill setting; kiss; literary device; logic; Maquis; Mister Vulcan; mutineer; mutiny; narrative parameters file; narrative subroutine; nitric acid; parody; phaser; phaser burn; plasma extinguisher; plasma manifold; plot; plot twist; pool; practical joke; quarters; rebel; red alert; relay access port; rodent; romance novel; Rukani; Rukani sector; Rukani vessel; rumba; sabotage; Sandrine's; self-destruct; senior officer; Starfleet Regulations; Starfleet uniform; story; stun setting; tactical training; T'Hain; title; toast; transporter; Transporter Room 1 and 2; turbolift; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Western; writer's block
- "Worst Case Scenario" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Worst Case Scenario" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Worst Case Scenario" at Wikipedia
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