Back in October of 2003, I saw Jeri Taylor's Pathways novel in the bargain bin of a local bookstore. Given that it is listed as a member of the Trek canon, I wanted it. Given that it was a Voyager novel, however, I was scared to death.
This is not to say that I knew a lot about the Trek novels, mind you. I'd read the occasional Trek novel when I was younger, and they'd been alright. There were a few jewels like Kobayashi Maru, Doctor's Orders, Federation, Metamorphosis, Vendetta, and the like . . . but for the most part the novels never seemed like Trek to me, and I stopped bothering circa 1990. Then, I ended up grabbing a few recently . . . I'd kept hearing good things about the Eugenics Wars duology by Greg Cox. Trek fans were wetting themselves over this.
I read it. It sucked. But fortunately, it was just interesting enough to make me end up passing by the same aisle another day, where I grabbed Jeffrey Lang's Immortal Coil, which is quite possibly the best book in the history of Star Trek books. Seriously, people were jonesing about this Cox hack because he'd tied Trek history together, but Lang does it a thousand times better. He makes Cox look like a twelve year old fanboy writing his first fanfic for a remedial English writing assignment. But alas, the next book was the kinda-sorta-interesting-but-alas-not-quite-Trek Samuel T. Cogley mystery book, and thus I've stopped again.
So there I was with Pathways in hand. I was prepared for extreme suckage. Timidly opening the book, I started to read.
The main story is a frame for the various main character backstories. In the framing story, a landing party (consisting of everyone of import except the Doctor and Janeway, whose background is examined in Mosaic) is sent to an unpopulated planet, while the ship goes off to do some needless diplomacy with random aliens. Tom joins them by shuttle, a convenient excuse to give us some excitement in the first few pages with his aerial acrobatics. He discovers the crew in the midst of being gassed upon landing, and due to extreme stupidity becomes a victim of it himself.
They awake aboard a ship which deposits them at a prison camp on another planet. The camp is little more than an extremely-ghetto ghetto within some high walls. We learn that this little camp, called Area 347, is run by one side of a war between two worlds, and that it exists on an otherwise unoccupied world. It is run by Evil Cruel Badguys called the Subu who have three legs and other odd physical parameters that Westmore's latex budget never would've allowed. They like to imprison anyone of any race they come across, and also like to set their weapons to "cremate".
Remarkably, though redshirts were brought along, no redshirts were harmed in the making of this novel. Of course, the main redshirts we learn about are a gay couple, so obviously they could not come to harm . . . statistical improbabilities of homosexuality being described in Trek obviously trump statistical probabilities of redshirts meeting a nasty end.
|Despite the above censure of the
creators of Trek for simultaneously claiming the utmost support for the
gay community while refusing to show it, Jeri Taylor rammed it down our throats (if
you'll forgive the phrasing in this context) by having not one but two relationships involving homosexuality
introduced within just a couple of pages of one another .
. . the aforementioned couple, plus a sad tale wherein we learn that Harry Kim's
roommate at Starfleet Academy was in unrequited love with him. Given how homosexuality is never shown on screen,
having it thrown at us repeatedly this way just desperately screamed attention toward
itself. Having the couple constantly fawning over one another and unwilling to be separated, with one of
them becoming ill in the lower digestive
tract while imprisoned, wasn't exactly a good juxtaposition, either.
In other words, even when they finally did something, they did it only in a novel and then so loudly that it was ridiculous. They could've been relatively subtle about it on the show, just putting it there without comment just as had been done with the multiracial crews. Say, two people of the same sex sitting extremely close together or hugging affectionately in the mess hall. Or, they could've been more loudly indirect . . . having a stereotypically effeminate fellow running the ship's theater. Idiots in the audience might not've even caught on, but it would've sent the "hello out there" the writers wanted. Oh well.
The camp has a putrid stream running through it, and is overcrowded
with various unwashed aliens of many different races who are all underfed, with all the unpleasantness that
comes with such a thing. The Voyager crew trade some combadges and uniform
pieces for basic supplies (stuff for shelter, fire, containers for water, etc.),
and set up camp. Harry befriends a scrawny little underfed 12 year old girl
who'd tried to steal his boots. She'd led a very tortured existence in the
prison . . . when Harry caught her, she expected to be raped instead of
Harry brings her back to their camp, where she gets to listen in as they somehow decide to entertain themselves at night by opening up and baring their souls in monologues, with each principle cast member except for Seven telling his or her tale from growing up until encountering Janeway. The little girl learns that there are non-evil people in the universe, and supplies the Voyager crew with information about their surroundings.
So at some point, having bartered virtually everything they have for a few pots and cakes of dried poop (valuable for its flammability), they decide that the only good way to escape is to McGyver themselves a transporter.
Yes, you heard me. A transporter !!!!
See, they find that they can't tunnel, because the Evil Badguy sensors can detect them out to a hundred meters past the walls, and up to ten kilometers down. Below that is solid bedrock composed of a valuable ore. So, they decide to make two transporters. They'll use them to beam out some bedrock 15 kilometers beneath the prison wall. Then they'll beam one of the transporters into the hole. They'll use the transporter in the camp to beam into the hole, and then the hole transporter to beam outside the walls and sensor net into the "hundreds of kilometers" worth of forest beyond, which is the outer boundary of the camp's clearing some unspecified distance away. Then, they'll hope that they can evade the hovercraft-equipped Evil Badguys in the forest.
So yeah . . . in a prison camp where pots and poop are hot commodities, they decide to build one of the most advanced pieces of technology around. Imagine being stuck where conditions are on par with a Third World country on a very bad day, and deciding to build a couple of high-tech walkie-talkies from scratch. It would be far, far more difficult than attempting to construct a mnemonic memory circuit from stone knives and bearskins.
Further, the whole beam-a-hole idea makes little sense. It's claimed that they had to build two because one just didn't have the range. And yet, they're beaming out bedrock 15 kilometers below the surface, some five kilometers below the bedrock level! That's a feat that shipboard transporters, with a range of 40,000 kilometers, might have trouble with. Just how far away was that forest? Alas, we're never told.
All of the sudden Janeway pops in (dressed like Spock
out of Black Fire) pretending to be some alien official. The Evil
Badguys give her a tour of the facility, and she comes up to the Voyager
group. Instead of having a rescue operation planned or trying to
beam out the crew directly, Janeway pretends they're old enemies. She
smacks Chakotay, cutting open his cheek with a fat ring on her finger, and leaves
before the nanoprobes thereby deposited result in a Borg doohickey sprouting on
Fortunately, Neelix has been able to schmooze with some of the prisoners, and happened upon the race who the Subu are actually fighting. These guys, called the Rai', get treated fairly well, and they allow Neelix to join them on a low-security mining detail outside the camp. He's thus able to steal some actual tech gizmos, which helps with the transporter plan. Lucky, that. But don't you dare let Taylor off the hook . . . the theft was a stroke of luck which came after the transporter plan.
So, they build two separate transporter units, but their hole-beaming operations are discovered when someone finds the bedrock (materialized as powder) where they're dumping it. Thus, everyone ends up beaming out at the last possible second before the Badguys arrive to roast them all.
Except the little girl, of course, who was so inspired by the tales that she tries to sacrifice herself to buy "the Voyagers" some more time. And, instead of doing jack shit to try to help her out, Chakotay (second-to-last to beam out) just sees what she's doing, thinks she'll be dead soon, says to himself something like "there's nothing we can do for her", and beams out like a bitch. Then he lies to Harry about why she isn't coming with them.
We learn a few pages later that the little girl survives, and came under the care of some of the more affluent prisoners Neelix befriended . . . which basically means that she gets 50% of the food she should, instead of 25% , and that her life expectancy in the hellhole will be, say, 20-30 years instead of 10-20.
I won't completely spoil the novel by explaining how they get out of the woods, but of course we know that at least the main characters do. Afterward, do our intrepid Voyager personnel try to liberate the prisoners? Or at least poke holes in the walls, or kill the Evil Badguys, or anything? Is any explanation given for why Voyager engaged in the whole process of de-orbit and hiding at the bottom of Uber-Niagara for days instead of beaming everyone out (with real transporters) sooner?
I could perhaps forgive that, though, if the story had involved some effort to help the little girl. Instead, Chakotay just sees what she's doing, and in the space of about two sentences realizes that she's just saved their asses, and so nobly writes her off as dead meat. She was alive and kicking when he did so, and they had two f***ing transporters sitting right there. No heroic effort to save the savior . . . no technobabble cop-out . . . not even a decent bit of mourning. Just a quick "hey thanks . . . now will you screw off?"
I'm not asking for a happy ending . . . just one that doesn't make you want to put the author in the sort of prison they describe.
Last but not least, Jeri Taylor needs a thesaurus. Or, more specifically, a better thesaurus. Instead of people "quenching their thirst" or paragraphs describing their relief at the cool of the water, people ended up drinking a lot and it was almost invariably described as "slaking" their thirst, or having their thirst "slaked". While that's technically a valid term for the purpose, it's rather uncommonly used, and is a somewhat gutteral, harsh term for the concept. Thus, the fact that it was basically the only one she used was somewhat jarring.
Far worse was her abuse of the term "fracas" for a fight. Every physical altercation was a fracas. People didn't leap into the fray, but instead leapt into the fracas. Brawlers were engaged in a fracas. Fighters were part of a fracas. Basically any incident that involved contact was a fracas. It was fracas fracas everywhere. I'm pretty sure that the word fracas never appeared in the entire seven seasons of Voyager, but here the narrator, bit players, Chakotay, and even the 'N.D.'s use it almost exclusively. Again, her overuse of an uncommon term was jarring, and took you right out of the story altogether.
Bear in mind, I fully grant that I'm hardly one to always employ the most common phrasings. In my efforts to be precise (or because I simply forget the easiest way to put things (because I need a thesaurus too)), I'll sometimes bust out with some arcane term or antiquated phrasing that might raise an eyebrow. But for the most part, I'd like to think that my usage is aimed toward clarity . . . not a simple replacement of an arcane, ill-fitting term for a common one over and over and over again.
So now, on to the technological fracas, to slake your thirst for technobabble.
(After writing the above, I decided to see what other information I could find about it. Imagine my surprise to find almost the exact same review here. I recommend that for further reading.)
Timeline: The book was published in August of 1998, and thus would've been actually written during Voyager's fourth season. We're not given a specific stardate or chronological datapoint to narrow it down further, but given Seven's level of integration into the crew I'd loosely place it as being the latter part of the season, and thus the latter part of 2374.
Chapter 1 - The crew is captured.
Chapter 2 -
|1. "Tom had requested shuttle time during the away mission, not an unusual request. Logging shuttle time was required duty for every pilot, a necessary means of keeping one's skills honed."||One would think that with the limited supplies of a stranded starship, the holodeck would suffice. However, since Janeway was taking the ship elsewhere to try to secure safe passage through a part of space thought to be rough, leaving the away team a vehicle would be a good idea . . . which, of course, is why that isn't the reason Tom got the shuttle.|
|2. Tom was alone and flying the shuttle Harris (the rest of the crew having beamed to the surface), intending to be a little naughty by performing the atmospheric stunt he called the Yeager maneuver.||It is not made clear just what type of shuttle he's flying, and the Harris is not heard of in the series itself.|
2. "It was a watery sphere, much like Earth..."
"... the atmosphere, which, his instruments told him, would first be encountered some thirty thousand meters above the surface.
First would come the mesophere..."
|Earth's mesophere is in a region 50-80 kilometers up. Though it looks like the novel's saying the mesophere of this planet has an outer boundary at 30km (which would make the planet not much like Earth at all), later quotes seem contrary to this.|
2. "The Yeager maneuver was accomplished just at the transition from
mesosphere to stratosphere.
Atmospheric flight was always done under thruster power, and as such was accomplished much as it had been with pre-warp vehicles. There were safety mechanisms in place now, of course, that hadn't been available to earlier craft, but the safety systems could always be taken off line. That was the first thing Tom did as the image of the planet filled the window of his ship, growing larger by the minute.
At the point where gravity began to exert a substantial pull on the shuttle, Tom tilted up the nose of the vessel and cut the thrusters, so that the ship began sinking toward the surface tail first, without power."
"He stared only briefly into the black sky, which, he knew, would soon begin to change color, becoming more blue as the atmosphere thickened."
There is no reference here or anywhere else to an antigrav system, which is quite absurd. Shuttlecraft are not exactly aerodynamic. Then again, "Basics, Pt. I" makes reference to "antigrav thrusters", and antigrav thrusters on shuttles are specifically referenced in "Coda"[VOY3] . . . this may be what "thruster power" refers to in this context. Alternately, it may refer to power from the shuttle thrusters. In "The Outcast"[TNG5] Riker and Soren specifically refer to Type-6 shuttle thrusters as being "microfusion". It's possible that these are potentially useful as mini-reactors and capable of powering the antigrav system.
Incidentally, there's also a shot of the "energy signature" of the shuttlepod from "Descent, Pt. I"[TNG6]. It shows two 750 millicochrane impulse driver engines, eight hot gas thrusters, and three sarium krellide power cells. (The image below is presented in reduced size for this table. Click for larger version.)
|3. "The only way to restart the thrusters now was to get the ship into a dive, nose-down, so that air was forced through the intake manifolds, which would start the magnaturbines spinning and build up the RPMs. Atmospheric oxygen would then combine with fuel from the shuttle's tanks in a supersonic combustion chamber, providing power for the thrusters."||
This doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me, either. Apparently the manner in
which Tom took systems offline is to blame, since of course shuttles, whether in
space or crashed on the surface, have managed to get their engines working without recourse to such odd behavior.
The only way the Pathways reference makes sense would be if the combustion chamber provided power to restart the thrusters in the event of sarium krellide battery depletion, as a sort of emergency restart power generation system. This would fit in nicely with the known canon.
3. (the shuttle goes into a flat spin, as intended) "... his head
filling with blood fromt he centrifugal force of the spin."
"He was falling about fifty meters a second, three thousand meters a minute. He estimated that he'd have to engage his emergency drogue field at an altitude of about thirty thousand meters, and that was coming up fast."
"At thirty-one thousand meters, he realized he was in trouble. His vision was darkening and his head throbbed ..."
Tom must have taken the inertial dampeners offline, though there is no explicit reference to this beyond the "safeties". Otherwise, he was spinning so fast that it was overwhelming the same inertial dampeners which seem to have no trouble taking a person to warp.
So, assuming they were offline, we can get a rough, quick-&-dirty estimate of how fast the shuttle was spinning. We can assume that he was enjoying at least four gees (39.2266m/s²)based on his reaction. Further, we can calculate what the spin rate would've been if those four gees were being experienced at the shuttle periphery (assuming a shuttle center of mass in the center of the shuttle). This will be a severe underestimate of the spin rate depending on the shuttle type that was actually being used . . . the pilot's seats are invariably a meter or two back from the nose.
Assuming a six meter long Type-6 shuttle, then we have a radius of three meters to work with, and the centripedal acceleration of 39.2266m/s². Since centripedal acceleration can be calculated as radius times the square of angular velocity, then we have all we need to get the angular velocity in radians per second. Altering the equation accordingly, we get:
centripetal_accel / radius = (angular_velocity)²
That comes out to about 34.5 RPM, or 0.576 revolutions (207 degrees) per second. Sounds pretty good, but we've actually seen shuttles endure far worse. In "Darmok"[TNG5], we get a frame of Worf's shuttle being hit by the Tamarians.
Ignoring the issue of shutter speed, we can say that at 30 frames per second, the above action can be no more than a thirtieth of a second in length. It shows a shuttle being turned by at least thirty degrees, and thus the total angular velocity would be 900 degrees per second, or over 15.7 radians per second. If we returned to the earlier equation then we'd find that the shuttle, at approximately four meters in width, was enjoying an acceleration on her outer edges of 493m/s², or over 50g. Worf and the redshirt were unharmed, and the yield of the shot was just enough to disable their starboard engine.
Finally, there's no indication of the tech behind this " drogue field" that Paris plans to activate, though one would assume it basically acts like a drogue parachute.
|3. ( Tom activates the field, gets out of the spin, reactivates the thrusters, and heads for the away team. He sees them running amok, though, and realizes something is wrong. He checks his sensors, noting that there are dozens of alien lifesigns now that had not been present before. He lands, gets out of the shuttle, smells a sick sweetness in the air, and starts to get dizzy while the last members of the away team fall. Then he succumbs.)||
I find it disconcerting that the away team could be gassed and had no defense for it. Granted, the planet had read as uninhabited and so no danger was expected, but I would still expect that some sort of basic air filter, perhaps resembling Scotty's clear mask from ST2, could be carried folded away neatly into a pocket somewhere. This would satisfy the technological continuity as well as the producer-driven desire to see the actor's face.
Whereas some medical masks were used on DS9 that look similar to Scotty's clear mask (in "The Alternate"[DS9-2]), the one time we saw an air filtration mask on Voyager it was a large and bulky object with an air hose connected to another large, bulky object . . . possibly a heavy-duty version.
Paris falling victim to the gas was just stupid. He simply lands and pops out in a "hey guys, what's up?" sort of way, while knowing full well that there are alien lifesigns and that his crewmates seem to be running around like something's wrong. Not only does he not use the sensors to scan for anything besides lifesigns, but he also doesn't even seem to consider the tactical advantage he's giving up by parking.
|After this point the crew awakes, groggy and with slight amnesia, aboard a ship. They hear and feel the atmospheric descent and landing, and disembark into the stockade facility. That evening, Chakotay begins his backstory.|
|17-18. We learn that Chakotay's ancestors come from Central America. At age 15, he was taken there by his father as his father tried to teach him of the legends and history of their tribe. The area of the tribe's ancestral lands was undeveloped jungle . . . they were looking for one of the old villages.||
This is the story which we ended up seeing in "Tattoo"[VOY2], and some of the flashback tale from that episode is retold in this section of the story. Given Chakotay's grave marker from "Endgame", the year of his birth was 2329, and thus the journey into the Central American jungle occurs circa 2344. Here's the overview Chakotay gives Janeway in that episode:
The "Rubber People" were the Olmecs, whose civilization flourished between 3200 and 2400 years ago in between the locations of the later Maya and Aztec cultures. The Olmec civilization was an evolution of the Mokaya, or the "Corn People", a sort of catch-all term for the pre-Olmec societies that were responsible for domesticating early maize from the teosinte plant circa 6,000 years ago. The Mokaya were also avid players of ballgames, and the word Olmec is an Aztec word referring to the continued popularity of the games, which used rubber balls (hence "rubber people").
The Olmecs engaged in very good stoneworking, creating sculptures, structures, and drainage systems still existing today. They had a number-writing system which used the base-20 counting system common to the region, a heiroglyphic writing system, a special religious reverence of the jaguar, use of hallucinogenics in religion, and ritual sacrifice. There also appears to have been a fashion of warping the heads of infants to produce tall, pointy skulls, especially in the nobility. This idea runs a bit contrary to the notion that certain head sculptures . . . which archaeologists found intriguing for their round heads and African features . . . were depicting kings who had died. Seems to me that they could only have looked like that as children, with the depiction representing them as such, either in this world or the afterlife. In any case, after one of their major cities was destroyed in some manner circa 900 BCE they rebuilt, but within a few hundred years they were in a state of decline, eventually disappearing altogether but for their profound influence on other cultures.
In "Tattoo", we're told that an ancient spacefaring race from the Delta Quadrant had visited Earth 45,000 years ago, encountering a small group of nomadic hunters in frigid conditions. Though the hunters had no spoken language and no culture (in their opinion), the aliens were so impressed by their respect for the land and life that they altered the group's genome in an effort to make the group more successful. The alterations included a genetic memory of the encounter and a spirit of curiosity, and possibly the same bumpy foreheads as those of the aliens. The group thus spearheaded the expansion into the Americas, and the culture they developed, with members counting in the hundreds of thousands, had a profound influence on others. However, according to the aliens, known to Chakotay's people as "Sky Spirits", those who received their gift were wiped out by the European weapons and diseases.
Little of the tale from the paragraph above makes much sense in the light of known history. The Olmecs, for instance, were long gone well before the Europeans arrived. Further, in "Tattoo", we see that circa 2344 there is still a small, primitive jungle community of bumpy-headed Native Americans living in the Central American jungle, hidden away from the rest of civilization and without a trace of stoneworking.
Possibly the Olmecs were supposedly ruled by bumpy- or pointy-headed quasi-aliens, or else the Mokaya were and the Olmecs were their intellectual offspring (if not literal), or perhaps after the decline of the Olmecs 2000 years of inbreeding within the small group brought out the bumpy heads that might've been a recessive quality in the genetic "gift" from the "Sky Spirits".
After all, even the Eskimo do have a bit of a sagittal crest, a trait that hasn't been all that common in hominid lines for awhile.
|20. "Who could even be sure the village still existed? There had been an exodus from this part of Earth over two hundred years ago; who knew what might've happened to those who stayed behind? They had probably become blended into contemporary human society, losing the ancient ways. At least, that was the fear that had driven his father's tribe to leave Earth and settle on a remote planet several thousand light-years away, hoping to find a place where they could preserve their customs and rituals."||
Just as the Native American group (apparently of the western United States) who eventually settled on Dorvan V near the DMZ (as seen in "Journey's End"[TNG7]) had left Earth to maintain their ways, so too did Chakotay's ancestors from Central America. In "Tattoo", Chakotay says they'd been at the colony, named Trebus in the novel, "a few hundred years" . . . here we have the departure narrowed down a bit further, to "over two hundred years ago". Assuming a late-2374 date for the novel, that implies that the exodus began sometime before 2174, and suggests that the arrival did not take too terribly long.
This is a bit of a surprise in multiple ways. Twenty years or so after the Enterprise era, human vessels were capable of travelling thousands of light-years, and arriving within a couple of decades or less. Either the ships were relatively small and capable of relatively high warp, or else they were relatively large and capable of warping for profoundly extended amounts of time . . . either is pretty impressive.
Given the distance to Trebus and its stated location near the DMZ, we also get a good estimate of how far at least one section of the Cardassian border is from Earth . . . "several thousand light-years away". The upper limit of this figure would be 8,000 light-years, per Picard in ST:FC, and a ridiculous lower-limit would be 2,000 ("ridiculous" because two does not equal "several").
24. ""I got to know a lot of the Starfleet officers patrolling the Cardassian border . . . I asked Captain Sulu if he would sponsor me at Starfleet Academy."
He was prepared for his father's distress at this revelation. Hiromi Sulu, grandson of the legendary Hikaru Sulu of the USS Enterprise 1701, had become a familiar figure on their homeworld, Trebus, which was near Cardassian space."
|This helps clear up the
reference to Captain Sulu from "Tattoo" by identifying the
Sulu in question as Hikaru's grandson.
We are told within the next couple of paragraphs that Chakotay was fascinated by their technology, including replicators . . . which implies their use at least as far back as
2344. Sulu had dined with Kolopak on several occasions and was a friend, implying that ships on patrol keep up with the local communities they protect.
Chakotay left a year and a half later, suggesting he was 17 at the time, circa 2346 or 2347. Sulu's (unnamed) ship took him to Earth.
26. ""Way too slow, Cadet. Ten times around the track."
Chakotay's head whipped toward Lieutenant Nimembah, his prep squad officer. He was sure he'd shaved several seconds off his time -- his phaser had been disassembled, reconfigured, and reassembled in just under seventeen seconds. How fast did he have to be? He started to ask just that when Nimembah spoke again. "When I give an order, you follow it immediately. That's fifteen times around the track.""
|Prep Squad is mentioned as a sort of short (two-week) pre-Academy endeavor, and Nimembah (also an Academy instructor) was there long enough to oversee Chakotay (as Lieutenant Nimembeh) and Harry (as a Commander). Chakotay ended up getting 20 laps for asking if he was to run in his uniform and boots. Prep squads were composed of 20 persons per squad.|
|26. "It would be easy enough in running shoes, but the black leather boots weren't at all conducive to jogging. He'd be in blisters by the end of it."||And so he was. I found this mildly disconcerting . . . this would've occurred in 2347 or 2348, and apparently the footwear was no different than 1948. Assuming these are the same basic boots worn with normal uniforms, then this probably limits the range and ability of a normal officer. I know, maybe it sounds silly to expect simple shoes to be far more advanced, but given the range of behaviors uniforms are put to I would expect something more out of Starfleet tech than basic leather boots that will kill you if you try to run in them . . . at least something to prevent excessive blistering.|
|33. The mitered corner is required bed-making practice for Starfleet Academy cadets.|
|35. ""Thermodynamics, Engineering Analysis, Duonetic Systems Design, and Warp Field Theory,""||The above is the list of classes for Chert, Chakotay's Bolian roommate, who is a freshman on the engineering track.|
36-42. We learn that Academy cadets get summer off. Chakotay went home, to the planet Trebus several thousand light-years away.
|Assuming a three-month break and just enough time to pop in and say hello (which is not the case, since Chakotay "spent the summer" there), that would be about 45 days to travel a bare minimum of 2,000 light-years. That would imply a speed of 16,222c. Not bad for the 2340's.|
|44. We're told of an encounter with the Cardassians, while Chakotay was a Lieutenant aboard the USS Vico under Captain Roger Hackney, which is engaged in an astrographic charting mission. At 1.6 light-years distance, Vico sensors showed an unidentified vessel on intercept course.||It's not known when first
contact with the Cardassians occurs. However, Starfleet's
patrolling the Cardassian border in the 2340's, and of course the Trebus
colony has been there for two hundred years.
Equally important would be the issue of when the Cardassians gave up their old artistic and spiritual ways in favor of militaristic expansionism and brutality, as discussed by Picard and Madred in "Chain of Command"[TNG6]. Given Madred's statements it seems to be something that has occurred within his lifetime or nearly so, though other references may indicate a longer timeframe.
The Cardassians are said to already be known as dangerous and unpredictable at this point, suggesting that the Cardassian War has not broken out yet. It isn't clear just when this occurs, but it is at least after Chakotay's graduation circa 2352.
|45. The ship is put on screen, "and now the image took shape: a massive, tripartite warship with extensive -- and powerful -- weapons systems."||This may be the Galor Class, or some unknown vessel type. It is not likely to be the Cardassian Hideki or Keldon Class.|
|45-46. Hackney and the Cardassian have a nice little chat in which the Cardassian says the Vico is close to Cardassian borders. Hackney points out that the Federation is aware of the Cardassian borders due to the number of encounters between Cardassian and Federation ships. The unnamed Cardassian captain transmits their borders to the Vico, and Hackney notes that Cardassia's claimed borders have swelled considerably in the past month . . . their last reported border was two light-years away, but now the Vico is almost within Cardassian space. Hackney tries to be diplomatic, but then the Cardassian starts saying that the Vico is actually inside Cardassian space . . . Hackney is surprised, and asks that the Cardassian repeat that. The Cardassian replies by transmitting the borders again . . . though this time, the border has expanded still further right there during the conversation. Hackney is non-plussed, but doesn't want to engage the Cardassians and backs down.|
|46. ""We shouldn't let him push us around like that," Chakotay said instantly. "Our ship is as powerful as his -- we could have made things difficult for him."|
|47. "And yet he knew his captain was correct in his assessment of the situation. One Starfleet survey ship and one Cardassian cruiser weren't going to affect their governments' policies one way or the other, and the only thing that could come from a skirmish between them would be a further deterioration of relations between the two entities. Better to back off."||
I'm guessing that the description from page 45 is not actually that of a Galor Class Cardassian ship . . . either that, or the USS Vico is not the same Oberth Class ship SS Vico that we later saw in TNG with an NAR registry. Otherwise, the Cardassians should've been highly embarrassed, not aggressive.
So, is the USS Vico the same vessel as the SS Vico, NAR-18834, seen in "Hero Worship"[TNG5]? On the one hand, this seems like it must be the case . . . with a registry that low, the SS Vico would've been in service at the time, and we could assume that it was an NCC re-registered to an NAR state later. On the other hand, Chakotay seems to think that the Vico is on equal footing with the Cardassians. Since the SS Vico was an Oberth Class starship (which places it on equal footing with a crashed shuttle), that doesn't make much sense.
47. "In the long run, of course, Starfleet's enlightened policies couldn't endure. Cardassian ships kept nibbling away at the outer edges of Federation space in an intentional and well-orchestrated effort to provoke retaliation and, since they were frequently dealing with civilian colonists rather than well-disciplined Starfleet personnel, began achieving their goals. Disagreements became altercations became skirmishes became battles. The Cardassian border territory disintegrated into a series of hot spots, growing in intensity until the Federation had no recourse but to respond militarily.
It was at this time that Chakotay was transferred to the Gage, as posted to defend Federation space in sector 21749. It was at this time that he learned everything he needed to know about warfare."
Good sector-related continuity (see sectors 21505, et cetera, in "The
Wounded"[TNG4]). We're told later on the page that Chakotay endured
nearly four years of war. Given the chronology of Sveta and
Riva Prime (from p. 53), as well as Setlik III (below), the war lasted
from approximately 2358 to 2362, give or take a year.
2358 would be some 11 years after the commonly-referenced date for Setlik III. However, 2370's "Tribunal"[DS9-2] features a conversation between O'Brien and Cardie-Boone which seems to indicate that Setlik III occurred only a little more than eight years prior. Further, Cardie-Boone was determined to have altered his life entirely "shortly after Setlik III", leaving his wife of almost 15 years, ending communication with his parents, and leaving Starfleet, all of which occurred "about eight years ago". All of these point to Setlik III occurring circa 2362.
Incidentally, it is remarkable that the word "fracas" does not appear in the quote to the left.
48. "When, at last, there was a cessation of hostilities -- not an end to war, in that war had never been declared -- he was given an extended leave and he returned, for the first time in years, to his homeworld."
|The Cardassian War was, legally, the Cardassian Conflict.|
50. "It was years before Cardassia and the Federation were able to finalize a treaty that officially dealt with the disputed area between their territories. It was controversial, creating a demilitarized buffer zone which belonged to neither power, and which ideally would've been unpopulated. But a number of worlds in that zone had already been occupied, generally by hardy pioneering people who were self-reliant and stubborn, and who had no intention of abandoning the homes they'd created. Among these were Chakotay's people, who had searched for years to find the planet that
was most suited to their needs, and with which they were spiritually at one.
Thus Trebus, formerly near the Cardassian border, became an occupant of the DMZ. This is a better fate than that of Dorvan V, which ended up in Cardassian hands.
The exact date of the treaty is in some dispute. It's referenced in "The Wounded" as having been signed in 2366, but evidently that was primarily the formal cease-fire. Negotiations on the fine details weren't apparently finalized until circa 2369.
We learn that Chakotay was a Lt.Cdr. aboard the Gettysburg at this point, and that the ship visited Bajor at this time, just after the Cardassian withdrawal. On the way there, we get to hear the minor debate between Chakotay and the captain. Chakotay called the treaty concessionism. Captain Gordon says ""Those colonists were given every opportunity to resettle. They would have been moved by Starfleet to any of a number of planets that were virtually identical to the ones they left.""
53. ""You know that Riva was a prime target during the war. Starfleet did its best to protect us, but the Cardassians were determined to occupy our planet and mine the valuable pergium ore there. Eventually, there was no letup." Antoher silence ensued, and Chakotay could sense her trying to find a way to continue. She looked up at him with sad eyes.
On Bajor, in a bar, Chakotay meets up with Sveta, his lover from the Academy who we hear a great deal about in those sections. She'd been married with children since then, but they were killed by a Cardie attack on planet Riva Prime during the war. She was in the same year at the Academy as Chakotay, and mentions serving eight years with Starfleet before marrying and leaving the service to be with her farmer husband. This implies that her departure from the service was 2360, and considering her twin children, implied to have come after the wedding, we can presume the attack took place no earlier than 2361. Given the Setlik III massacre, however, the attack would best fit as being in 2362.
Chakotay has met his first Maquis. She tries to get him to join her, but he refuses.
|An unspecified time later, we hear Gordon telling Chakotay about the first reports of an attack on Trebus. Chakotay goes there, arriving four days after he was told.|
55. "Of the village in which he had grown up, nothing was left. Only piles of rubble, some still smoking, gave any indication that once it had been a place where gentle people lived in close harmony with the land.
There had been nothing gentle in their destruction. Thermalite weapons had incinerated the village, creating a firestorm that raged at sixteen hundred degrees centigrade, a temperature at which iron melted. The stone of their dwellings had been transformed into glass."
"I will avenge them," Chakotay said as he stood in the remains of the village.
There are some chronological discontinuities to contend with here. In "In the Flesh"[VOY5], Chakotay gives the date of his resignation from Starfleet as 3 March 2368, delivered to Admiral Nimembeh (Chakotay's teacher at the Academy). However, Nimembeh was identified as a Commander at Harry's graduation a week before he joined Voyager at DS9. Further, the impression given in "Emissary"[DS9-1] is that the Cardassians had only barely departed as of Sisko's arrival in 2369.
Then again, Picard had made reference to the barely-adequate relief missions of the Federation, implying that the Gettysburg could've been a part of those. If so, then we would have to conclude from the dates provided that the Cardassians pulled out toward the end of 2367 or very early in 2368, giving Chakotay enough time to hit the Bajoran pub and then to learn of Trebus shortly thereafter.
However, that still doesn't solve the issue of Nimembeh's rank, which can only be identified as a contradiction. Since the show can be assumed to outrank the novel, we must presume that Nimembeh might've been a Commander when Harry met him, but was promoted to a full Admiral prior to his graduation in 2371, and prior to Chakotay's resignation in 2368.
|56. "She procured a ship for him, not the most splendid or the most up-to-date, but packed with weaponry and defensive features. It was a guerilla ship, meant for fast, daring raids, quick battles, and swift escape. He named it the Liberty."||This is apparently the same vessel he has when we meet him in "Caretaker"[VOY1]. We learn throughout the various stories that it is an Antares Class vessel, carries a warp-capable shuttle, and has an always-small supply of photon torpedoes.|
|57-59. A group of 20 Cardassians had just settled on a jungle planet in the DMZ several weeks before, in violation of the treaty. Chakotay decides to show them they are not welcome, doing so by igniting deadly isotane gas canisters around their camp. This will force them to get to safety or die, and if they come back Chakotay has enough gas to repeat the maneuver. A simple orbital strike would've killed them, Seska argues, but Chakotay does not wish to drop to their level and slaughter them.||In the process of synchronizing the canisters, Chakotay falls into a pit trap featuring a Cardassian snake. "He crumpled to the floor of a pit that he estimated to be about twice his height. Mercifully, it had contained no spikes, no acid bath, none of the surprises Cardassians had been known to put at the bottom of their traps."|
|59. "From his Starfleet training, he identified it as a Cardassian nephrus snake, which had obviously been brought here by the illegal settlers. It was a mottled brown color with an abnormally thick, muscular body and an elongated, wedge-shaped head and one unblinking eye, which now fixed him in its flat gaze. Unlike the reptiles of Earth, it depended on its eye to detect its prey..."||The nephrus snake is compared to
an alligator insofar as its teeth and powerful jaw, and is identified as
a constrictor, capable of crushing a man to death.
Chakotay calls for beam-out, but the pit has a dampening field that prevents both communication and phaser fire. His wrist flashlight, however, is unaffected, and Chakotay uses it to attract the snake while he moves away, finding just enough roots and such to climb away. The snake made a strange squeal in frustration.
As Chakotay reaches the top, his hand is stepped on by the heel of a Cardassian soldier's boot. Chakotay knocks the Cardassian off-balance, climbs out, and the two are suddenly locked in mortal combat. Chakotay is weary from the climb, and the Cardassian is larger.
|62. "His blows took
their toll on Chakotay, who felt bones shatter in his jaw as the soldier
landed a solid punch. Chakotay summoned every reserve of strength
he had and shoved the Cardassian off him onto an outcropping of rock,
then dived on top, fingers finding the corded neck."
"He gave one quick chop to the throat and heard a heartening grunt of pain, and then, using his grip on the man's neck cords, let out a huge yell and began hammering his adversary's head against the rock."
|Chakotay's first kill as a
Maquis is in hand-to-hand. As the Cardassian fights back against
having his head bashed against the rock, Chakotay's thoughts are of the
destroyed Trebus. By the time Chakotay stops, the Cardassian is
long dead. Chakotay strips the body and dumps it into the pit,
where the nephrus snake suddenly becomes much less frustrated.
After the fight, Chakotay beams out. He begins to think of his father, who he has now theoretically avenged, and becomes troubled that his last words with him after the end of the Cardassian conflict were angry ones. It is presumably during this time after the pit battle that, per "Tattoo", Chakotay takes the mark his father had been given by the Central American primitives in the episode.
|We're briefly told of new crewmembers B'Ellana, Tom, and Tuvok, and there's a brief mention of the Caretaker incident. With that Chakotay's story ends, and everyone goes to sleep. The little girl, Coris, tries to steal Harry's boots, but when she becomes terrified and pleads "don't hurt me" when he catches her in the act, he lets her go. And so we go on to the first day at Area 347, which the Voyager crew dubs "Hellhole". They decide to try to barter for supplies.|
71. "It was Vorik who first succeeded in trading with other prisoners. He
approached a seedy gathering of small, gnomelike creatures who had built a
rather sizable lean-to and seemed to have any number of pots and pans and other
artifacts strewn around their area.
"My jacket is made of synthetic polyfibers which provide insulation angainst both heat and cold. It is of superior construction and can be expected to hold up against the harshest elements, as well as resisting wear and tear for some time to come. It is stain-resistant and can be rolled up to become quite a comfortable pillow, as I can attest after last night."
|An interesting description of
Starfleet uniforms, provided by Vorik.
Evidently the so-called "Ripped-Shirt Kirk" syndrome had so frightened Starfleet with its wanton destruction that they'd finally made uniforms that were more resilient. ;-)
|Meanwhile, Harry finds Coris, and invites her back to their camp. She accepts, cautiously, and ends up hearing his story.|
74-87. Harry was a musical prodigy, with parents who I can only describe as almost annoyingly perfect, mostly because they'd tried so hard to have a child. His father was an artist, and once when Harry was 14 his father took him on a hike into the Sierra Nevadas to find a perfect lake to paint.
His father ended up falling off a steep incline, and it was dumb luck that Starfleet cadets on a training exercise happened upon them. They called their base and the entire group was beamed straight there. Harry was so strongly impressed that he ended up wanting to join right then and there.
|Harry was fresh out of the
Academy in 2371's "Caretaker", so we can pretty confidently
say he was born in 2349. Thus, the event described seems to have
taken place in 2363, just before TNG season one.
By the time he was ten, he was playing at Julliard.
81. ""Starfleet?" said Harry in response. "I thought all that was in San Francisco."
"Headquarters is there," she replied, "and the Academy. But there are facilities all over Earth. We do survival training in the Sierra Nevadas, and there are two base camps like this one to coordinate all the teams.""
|Starfleet has facilities all over the planet, and at least some of these have their own transporter units.|
|82. "It is extremely difficult to be accepted. There are thousands and thousands of applicants from all over the Federation, so the competition is great."||A Vulcan's response to young
Harry's question about getting into the Academy.
Harry starts preparing almost immediately. His parents are concerned about this, but supportive as ever.
83. "The test lasted eight hours, with one ten-minute break in the morning, another in the afternoon, and an hour for a lunch that none of the test subjects really tasted. It covered a vast array of subjects: Federation history, astrophysics, interstellar treaties. It was the most grueling day Harry had ever spent in his life."
||Harry, at 17 (2366), takes the
Academy entrance exam. The results of those only come in after everyone's had an opportunity to take the test and all the results are in. Then, those who do well are called back for the oral exams. Harry didn't tell them about his father . . . he wanted to be so prepared and have everything be so smooth that wrote a veritable speech, and delivered it to Admiral Brand and company. He felt good afterward, until he ran into Boothby . . . or, more precisely, Boothby's azaleas followed in short order by
a non-plussed Boothby. In the process of explaining and apologizing, Boothby harrumphed during the part where Harry confidently asserted that he did well and would be coming to the Academy next year. Boothby was correct. After receiving his "reapply next year" letter, Harry sought out the old gardener who had known in advance, and Boothby advised him to lighten up and be real, instead of trying to be perfect.
After a nice quiet year spent in hollow pursuits, Harry did, and he was accepted. We next hear his tale of trying to field-strip a phaser, and his own 20 lap run (he stopped after 11, nearly collapsed).
|94. "And thus was Harry's decision made. A week later he had joined Voyager at Deep Space Nine, and walked into Captain Kathryn Janeway's ready room."||It takes about a week for Harry to get to DS9 from Earth. This may give us some indication of chronological elements from DS9, especially in regards to "Homefront" and so on.|
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