“Day of Honor”
Written by Jeri Taylor
Directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño
Season 4, Episode 3
Production episode 172
Original air date: September 17, 1997
Captain’s log. For the second episode in a row, we open in the Borg-converted cargo bay, where Seven is meeting with Chakotay. She wishes to have a duty assignment, as being stuck in the cargo bay alone is driving her binky bonkers.
Torres is having a terrible horrible no-good very bad day. She overslept, her sonic shower broke, two of her staff called in sick, and the coolant injector failed. Paris gives her a helm report and asks if they’re still on for tonight, but Torres doesn’t commit. Apparently today is a Klingon holiday, the Day of Honor, kind of a Klingon Yom Kippur, where Klingons reflect on how honorable they’ve been over the past year. Torres had discussed doing a Day of Honor ritual on the holodeck with Paris, but now she’s changing her mind because of her terrible horrible no-good very bad day.
Chakotay informs Torres that Seven will be working in engineering trying to use Voyager’s engines to open a Borg-style transwarp conduit and maybe get them home faster. Torres thinks it’s a terrible idea and doesn’t want to do it, right up until Chakotay makes it clear that he didn’t come to discuss it with her but to give her an order.
Janeway tells Seven that she’ll trust her enough not to post a security guard at her side at all times in engineering, but that Seven must follow Torres’ orders.
A Caatati ship approaches. It’s in pretty rough shape, and according to Rahmin, the captain of the ship, his beat-up vessel is one of about thirty that is all that is left of the Caatati after being assimilated by the Borg. Janeway offers to help them with some supplies they can spare, particularly thorium isotopes, which is the primary basis of the Caatati’s ships’ power systems.
Neelix brings Torres a blood pie because it’s the Day of Honor, but Torres says she’s not celebrating it. However, her conversation on the subject with Neelix turns her around on the subject, and she decides to go through with it after eating the blood pie. (And thank goodness she did eat it, since I can’t imagine anyone else on board would want it.)
However, the holographic Klingon who queries her about how honorable she’s been over the past year is unimpressed with her answers, and, after she gets beat up a bit and beats the Klingons up a bit, she storms out of the holodeck—leaving it running, so Paris wanders in on a pissed-off Klingon. He tries to talk to her about it, but she blows him off.
Another Caatati, Lumas, speaks to the senior staff and tries to guilt them into giving more supplies up. Janeway offers more food and medical supplies, but there are limits. Lumas’ gratitude is less than enthusiastic.
Tuvok escorts Lumas to the transporter room, but they bump into Seven and Paris en route, as they’re headed to engineering. Upon learning that Seven is an ex-Borg, Lumas goes batshit.
Seven, Torres, Paris, and Vorik work to open a transwarp conduit. They’re just going to keep it open for a bit to study it as a first step. However, something goes wrong, as tachyons start draining into engines, destabilizing the warp core. Torres is forced to evacuate the engine room and eject the core.
Voyager falls to sublight speed and is now drifting, as the impulse drive was also damaged by the tachyons. The good news is, ejecting the warp core got it away from the tachyon leak, so it didn’t breach. But Voyager can’t move, so Paris and Torres take a shuttle to track down the warp core while Vorik makes repairs to the impulse engines.
Unfortunately, by the time the shuttle arrives at the warp core, the Caatati have already turned up and are tractoring it away, claiming it as salvage. Torres tries to stop the tractor beam, but the Caatati retaliate with antimatter feedback that causes the shuttle to explode, though Paris and Torres are able to escape in EVA suits before that happens. But the two are now drifting in space, and have to plex together their suits’ communicators to try to contact Voyager.
As part of the investigation into the accident, Janeway questions Seven about what happened. Seven realizes that Janeway suspects Seven of sabotage. However, Seven barely even has a concept of deception, as the Collective is so intermingled that prevarication isn’t really possible. Seven admits that she’s having trouble adjusting to the different social structure of individuals, though she is intrigued by the “surprising acts of compassion.”
They continue to investigate, only to discover that there was no malicious intent—the tachyon leak was, indeed, an accident. Vorik gets the impulse engines up and running and Chakotay reports a signal from Torres and Paris.
However, before they can go rescue the pair, a dozen or so Caatati ships show up. Lumas says he has their warp core, and will only give it back if Voyager provides them with all their food supplies, all their thorium, and also Seven.
Janeway won’t give in to those demands, even though Seven is actually willing to be their prisoner. Then Seven presents an alternative: she can create a device that will replicate thorium. The Caatati had that technology, but none of the survivors know how to create it. Seven, however, has the knowledge that the Borg assimilated. She offers to fabricate one, which they can use as a prototype to fashion more of them. Lumas agrees to give back the warp core in exchange for this game-changing technology, impressed by the surprising act of compassion.
Just as Torres and Paris are about to run out of air, Torres admits that she loves Paris, and then Voyager shows up to rescue them in the nick of time.
Can’t we just reverse the polarity? Tachyons leaking into the engines are bad. We also, for the first time, see an actual ejection of the warp core.
There’s coffee in that nebula! Janeway wants to trust Seven, but it’s a process—she lets her go to engineering without a prison guard, as it were, but still suspects her of sabotaging the ship. She also wants to be nice to the Caatati, but they make it difficult, and she’s not at all willing to bend over for them just because they have Voyager’s warp core.
She also wants to call Seven “Annika,” but Seven would rather be called “Seven.”
Half and half. The Day of Honor ritual includes eating the heart of a targ, drinking mot’loch from the Grail of Kahless, and being hit with a lot of painstiks. Torres makes it through the first two, but passes on the third.
Torres never thought much of the Day of Honor or any other Klingon ritual, but it has more appeal now that she’s been trapped half a galaxy away from home for three years.
Resistance is futile. Seven feels absolutely no guilt about the Borg’s assimilation of the Caatati. She is trying to adjust to life as an individual and trying to become part of the community of the ship.
Everybody comes to Neelix’s. Neelix recognizes that Torres has a tendency to bottle up her anger for long periods of time until it explodes. He offers himself up as a punching bag of sorts: he’s willing to let her take out her anger on him with no fear of reprisal or consequence. Torres does not take him up on it (which I’m sure disappointed more than one viewer), but she does appreciate the gesture, and it steers her toward trying out the Day of Honor.
What happens on the holodeck stays on the holodeck. Torres re-creates the Day of Honor ritual on the holodeck. It’s just a cave with Klingons in it, which is kinda dull, though that may just be Torres not wanting to go all-out with the decorating.
No sex, please, we’re Starfleet. Torres finally admits that she loves Paris. Even though Paris has obviously been willing to admit that he loves her a lot longer, he doesn’t say it back, the shit.
“There are many people on this ship who have similar feelings toward me.”
“I’m afraid you’re right. Does that bother you?”
“Well, I’m not one of those people. We all have a past—what matters is now.”
“I am uncertain what you’re trying to say.”
“That if there’s any way I can help you adjust to your life here on Voyager, please ask me.”
“I will remember your offer.”
–Seven and Paris discussing the Caatati reaction to her and Paris sympathizing about being the asshole outsider nobody likes.
Welcome aboard. Stunt performer and swordmaster Kevin P. Stillwell plays the holographic Klingon, while the two Caatati are played by Michael Krawic and Alan Altshud. Krawic previously played Samuels in DS9’s “The Maquis, Part I” and will play Stron in Enterprise’s “Carbon Creek.” Altshud previously played the sandal maker in “False Profits” as well as one of the terrorists in TNG’s “Starship Mine” and a Yridian in TNG’s “Gambit, Part I.”
Plus we have recurring regular Alexander Enberg for his first of two fourth-season appearances as Vorik; he’ll next appear in “Demon.”
Trivial matters: This is only the second time that an episode was inspired by something that happened in the tie-in fiction. (The first was TNG’s “Where No One Has Gone Before,” which was based on the novel The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane, who cowrote the episode with Michael Reaves.) In 1997, Simon & Schuster published the “Day of Honor” crossover, which had Kirk’s Enterprise (Treaty’s Law by Dean Wesley Smith & Kristine Kathryn Rusch), Picard’s Enterprise (Ancient Blood by Diane Carey), Deep Space 9 (Armageddon Sky by L.A. Graf and the YA novel Honor Bound by Diana G. Gallagher), and Voyager (Her Klingon Soul by Michael Jan Friedman, who also wrote a novelization of this episode), all celebrating the holiday in various ways. (The TOS book and adult DS9 book both featured Kor; the TNG book and both DS9 books all featured Worf.) S&S editor John J. Ordover, who conceived the series with Paula M. Block, was already working with Jeri Taylor on her novels Mosaic and Pathways, and he mentioned the crossover to her and the holiday it was celebrating, and Taylor ran with it, using it as a way to develop Torres’s character.
Roxann Dawson was approximately three months pregnant when this episode was filmed. Unlike, for example, Nana Visitor’s pregnancy, but like Gates McFadden’s, it was not written into the storyline but written and filmed around. This was the first episode that proved a challenge due to Dawson having to do action scenes on the holodeck and especially putting on the EVA suit.
The EVA suits are the same ones that were seen in First Contact.
In “Cathexis,” Janeway stated that Torres didn’t have the authorization to eject the warp core on her own, yet she does so on her own in this episode.
The shuttlecraft Paris and Torres take out is the Cochrane, the same shuttle used to go warp ten in “Threshold.” It’s destroyed, bringing the dead shuttle tally up to six, and the second episode in a row where a shuttle goes blooey. Prior shuttles were lost in “Initiations,” “Non Sequitur,” “Parturition,” “Unity,” and “The Gift.”
Set a course for home. “Welcome to the worst day of my life.” I like the idea of the Day of Honor, when Klingons look back on the prior year to see if they’ve been sufficiently honorable and how they can improve that performance the following year. It’s very similar to a lot of human new year’s rituals, and yet also very Klingon.
And it’s a chance for Torres to confront her own feelings. She’s always been an outsider, never fitting in as a human or as a Klingon. She washed out of Starfleet Academy. Unlike many of the other Maquis we’ve met, she doesn’t seem to have any particular personal crusade for their cause. It feels like she joined because they were the outsiders.
But now she’s on Voyager for what may be the rest of her life. Whether she wants one or not, she’s got a family, a community, that she’s never had. She’s actually developing relationships, and even falling in love, and it obviously scares the living crap out of her. We saw in “Faces” that her Klingon arrogance is constantly butting heads with her very human insecurities.
Would’ve been nice if Paris actually fucking told her he loved her back. It was especially annoying because mostly Paris was good in this episode, though his best scene wasn’t with Torres, but rather with Seven. His telling Seven that he understands what she’s going through, because, like Torres, and like Seven for that matter, he’s the outsider trying to find his place in the enforced community of Voyager, though Paris’ status is his own damn fault. Still, I like that he tells Seven that he’s there to talk to her about it and doesn’t prejudge her the way so many others, from the Caatati on down, have.
Speaking of Seven, I do like the fact that they didn’t take the lazy way out and make her feel guilt over what happened to the Caatati, because that wouldn’t make any sense, at least not this soon after leaving the Collective. But she does see the value of compassion, especially since in this case it’s rewarded by Voyager getting their warp core back without violence.
A good episode about the struggles of fitting in and figuring out your place in the universe, especially when your universe has been reduced to a single ship zipping its way home.
Warp factor rating: 7
Keith R.A. DeCandido‘s latest novel is To Hell and Regroup, a collaboration with David Sherman. The third book in David’s “18th Race” trilogy of military science fiction novels, this concludes the alien-invasion tale begun in Issue in Doubt and continued in In All Directions. The book is on sale now in trade paperback and eBook form from eSpec Books.