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Piers Anthony, Jan. 1, 2011 Piers Anthony, Jan. 1, 2011. Photo by Jane McConnell.
NoRemember 2018

The Cluster series will be featured in Early Bird Books, down-priced to $2.99 on 11/28/2018. Xanth novels 38-40 will be priced at $2.99 at Amazon on 11/22/2018. And my anthology of the stories that propelled me into the sense of wonder and indeed eventually into the profession of free lance writing, One and Wonder, will be priced $1.99 in the USA on 11/4/2018. So if you want to know what turned me on when I was young, this is it, but you have to hurry to catch it. I still remember picking up an old magazine lying forgotten in my mother's office, starting to read about a spaceship returning to Earth to discover everything changed, cities deserted, the space program shut down, and my being mesmerized. That was about seventy years ago, and the genre has shifted since, so you probably won't be moved the way I was. A number of the original notions there have been copied since, so no longer seem original. But if you're curious, this is it.

When cleaning up, I encountered a DVD sent me by a fan in 2002, sixteen years ago, X-Men. I surely watched it then, but didn't remember it, senescent as I am becoming, so I watched it again. It starts with people getting painfully separated from their families in what seems to be a concentration camp, in a downpour. Then elsewhere a boy and girl kiss, and he goes unconscious and she screams. She has done it to him by her touch. Then a government hearing about the question of the mutants: are they dangerous? Then the girl, Rogue, gets picked up by Wolverine, or Logan, in a truck; they don't know each other, but both are mutants. His attention drifts and the truck wrecks, hurling him out. He is injured, but rapidly heals himself; that's part of his talent. He can also sprout deadly metal spikes from his hands.. Two others attack him; they are enemy mutants. He winds up in a strange house, a sanctuary and training center for mutants with dangerous powers, rescued from the bad mutants. Rogue is there too. Xavier (why does he remind me of Star Trek, The Next Generation?) runs it from a wheelchair, and makes a deal with Wolverine: give him two days to find out why the enemy wants him, and he will help Wolverine to recover his lost memory. Another one there is Mystique, a sexy blue skintight garbed enemy woman. Others are Storm and Cyclops. Rogue's talent is to borrow the talents of others, briefly. She borrows Woverine's, leaving him unconscious, and departs the compound. Wolverine finds her, and they apologize to each other. He talks her into returning to the sanctuary. But the enemy mutants, commanded by Magneto, have other plans for them. Or, as it turns out, plans for Rogue. They mean to use her to facilitate the conversion of all the people in the world to mutancy. That will of course be chaos. The good mutants raid, and it is mutant against mutant, making for interesting combat. But Magneto captures them inside the Statue of Liberty. After more mayhem there is a pause; the battle will be continued in due course.

I read Laws and Prophecies by Lee S King. This is the third in a series, and it is 149,000 words long, with more to come. It seems to be a segment in a larger story, and its pace is glacial. It is indeed concerned with the details of laws and prophecies, which fundamentally affect every citizen. I would call it a novel of manners, where social and legal interpretations are essential. Alcandhor is the new Thane, governing his tribe and the Rangers, who enforce laws and protect people. His sister is Sarinna, and his mentor is Mattan, who is a kind of alien with special powers he does not like to show carelessly. There is some question among the nobles whether Alcandhor has the gumption to really do the job, and some resistance to his edicts. He was married, but his wife was not good for him so he had to put her out, the equivalent of divorce, and now he is the target of swarms of women who want the status more than the man. That may be analogous to our own world, where swarms of men want the woman's body without commitment. Elaborate social rules both limit and protect him; he can't escape the women, but neither is he obliged to accept any of them. He would like to marry again, if only to back off the swarms, but finding an ideal partner is difficult. Meanwhile another noble sees a pretty young woman of the appropriate class, but she turns out to be only thirteen, too young. Then there is a rebellion, and when Alcandhor goes to suppress it he gets captured, bound, and left in a cellar to die of hunger and exposure. Mattan acts to finally rescue him, but that is a violation of protocol that Alcandhor will have to punish; the laws are very strict. Then there is a romance between a noble young woman and a ranger, perfect for each other, who are not permitted to marry because they are of different tribes, something she had not known. They do marry, and are sentenced to the mines, where she will surely die. It is senseless, but it is the law. That is the straw that breaks Alcandhor's indecision, and he acts to cancel the restrictive laws. The nobles are up in arms, but the ultimate power is his, once he chooses to exercise it. A prophecy called it exactly, but in the manner of prophecies, the meaning was not clear until the event actually occurred. Not that he wanted more power, but it was the only way to establish the proper order. This book will not be to every genre reader's taste, as it lacks blasters, sexy femmes, and bug-eyed monsters, but those interested in the nuances of protocol should find it worthwhile. There is indeed more to science fiction than pyrotechnics.

I read Writing on an Ethical Life, by Peter Singer. I got it portly by accident, thinking it was by the singer Pete Seeger, but it is well worth reading on its own. This is actually a collection of pieces by the author, assembled to address a particular theme. That means it lacks the dynamic of a normal book; it does not build up to a resounding climax, but moves on from one aspect to another. Still, there's a lot there. He addresses, among others, the issues of abortion, vegetarianism, animal welfare, the environment, and sanitary suicide with singular clarity, and I agree with him almost completely. If the fetus has a bad malformation and will live only in pain, is it right to abort it? If not, because it is wrong to take life, what about the myriad lives of animals sacrificed so that we may eat them? Speciesism is drawing the line at what is human; if it is human it is sacrosanct, but if it is animal, even one as aware and as capable of suffering as a human, it is not. Is that fair? His exploration and reasoning are inexorable; if your mind is not completely closed you are likely to wince. Even I, a vegetarian who does not like abortion, was not completely comfortable throughout. Is there an ethical distinction between abortion, infanticide, abstinence, and contraception? Why draw the line at conception or birth? Don't be sure you have the answer; it's a continuum. Naturally such logic is controversial. When the author was invited to speak at a university in Germany, students chanted to drown him out, and when he continued, one came on stage and attacked him physically. He was condemned for positions folk thought were his, and were not; self righteous ignorance is distressingly common. By my definition those who refuse even to listen to the other side of any debate are bigots, and they exist on the right and left; bigotry knows no philosophy. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to rationally explore issues of life, death, and fairness. Too many of us are living lives of selfish denial.

I watched Inferno. If the switch is thrown, the plague Inferno will be unleashed and half the people of the world will die in agony. If the switch is not thrown, in a century mankind will be extinct. Humanity is the disease, Inferno is the cure. Robert Langdon wakes in an Italian hospital with amnesia. The cute lady doctor Sienna knows him from a meeting when she was nine years old; she read his books. Then an assassin comes to kill him. They barely escape to her apartment. They can't all the police because it was a policewoman, who came gunning for him, so they call the American consulate. But the response is suspicious so he gives a false address for them to come to pick him up. But they also come to the apartment, so the two flee again. They search in Dante's works for clues to where the virus is hiding, while Robert remembers fragments. Then Sienna turns out to be working for the other side; she wants to release the virus and cull the species. The several sides converge on the key spot. They finally manage to stop the release of the virus. But does this mean that humanity is doomed? I am not quite sure which side I am on here; there is a case to be made either way. The plague is ugly, but so is the consequence of doing nothing.

I read Tell Me What You Want by Justin Lehmiller. PhD. It is subtitled “The science of sexual desire and how it can help you improve your sex life.” No, I didn't get it from eagerness to supercharge my own sex life; I am after all 84 years old. That said, I may be old but I can still dream. The author is a fan of mine, and sent it autographed “To Piers Anthony: Thank you for inspiring me to become a writer at a very young age. I continue to be a huge fan of your work, especially your foray into erotic sci-fi. With much admiration.” I presume he is referring to novels like Pornucopia and Eroma, and novellas like Captive and Soul of the Cell. Maybe even stories like “Knave” and “Rat Bait.” I do erotic fiction, but the emphasis remains on the story rather than the sex, though I don't like ellipses unless I parody them in Xanth. Tell Me is actually a survey and discussion of the sexual fantasies of more than four thousand Americans ranging in age from eighteen to eighty seven. It puts me in mind of Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden, describing women's sexual fantasies. Yes, I have that book on my shelf; I bought it in 1984 and found it fascinating. Let me tell you, those female fantasies can be a real turn-on for males as well. For example, she tells of how she had a man in bed, and he asked her what she was thinking, so she told him how in her imagination she was with friends at a big football game, all of them huddled under a large blanket to keep warm. Then a key running play occurs and they all jump up in excitement to watch and cheer. One man gets behind her, under the blanket where others can't see, pressing up against her buttocks, his breath hot on her neck. Each time she jumps he gets closer in, his stiff erection getting under her short skirt and past her tight panties stage by stage. As they all go mad with excitement watching the game she lifts one leg up to brace it on the next higher tier of the bleachers to steady herself, and that provides him better access, and he starts to nudge into her, she not eager but also not at all reluctant. As they continue to scream and jump he gets right up inside, like a ramrod, deeper and deeper. “All the way! All the way!” the crowd screams. She feels his spasm of pleasure as he jets into her core... and at that point her companion in the bedroom got out of bed, put on his pants, and left, sex not completed. What a turd! Apparently the very idea of a woman actually enjoying her fantasy of wild illicit almost public sex was so foreign to him that he just had to get out of there. If it had been me, I'd have wanted to turn on a TV football game, place a stool for her to brace her foot on in case she wanted to lift her leg, and stand very close behind her as I navigated her underwear during her joyous and passionate distraction of the game.

So the present volume is a nice follow up, as it covers both genders. What are the more contemporary fantasies, male and female? Ninety seven percent of those surveyed reported having sexual fantasies, most fairly frequently. That is, several times a week, or several times a day. What's the most popular fantasy? Sex with multiple partners, such as threesomes. Men typically do it with two women, women with two men, or with a man and a woman. Other fantasies relate to power, control, and rough sex; novelty, adventure and variety; taboo and forbidden sex; non-monogamous such as wife swapping; passion and romance; and erotic flexibility, such as homo-eroticism and gender bending. Each category has variations, so there's quite a spread of overlap. In general, fantasies are for pleasure rather than discomfort, with the subject the center of attention. Positions vary, with about a third of both men and women imagining doggie style sex, or face to face with partner on top, or with themselves on top, and fewer going for other variants such as reverse cowboy/cowgirl, which I assume is one person lying flat and the other straddling as if on a saddled horse. Using sex toys is popular—85%--including “pegging,” or receiving anal sex from a woman via a strap-on phallus. Some women like the idea of doing it to a man, and men like to have their “P-spot” or prostate massaged in this manner. Perhaps the most frequent fantasy is simply vaginal intercourse. Kissing is extremely popular, as well as giving or receiving oral sex. About two in five women like receiving anal sex, slightly less for men, while giving it is another matter: a majority of men yes versus a majority of women no. Oral sex is more popular; a great majority of both men and women like giving and receiving it. Remember, this is in their fantasies; actually doing it would probably be less popular. Fantasy is freer than reality, being largely risk free, both physically and emotionally. Why have fantasy sex at all? It seems that passion in real life fades in a few months; even sex can get dull when there's too little variety. Incidental statistics: the average time from penetration to orgasm for straight men is 5.4 minutes. 92% of those who act on their non-monogamy fantasies find the outcome as good or better than they had dreamed, but less that half found that the case with larger group sex. Men's rate of infidelity has remained stable, but women's rate has increased by 40% since the 1970s. The average length of an erect penis is 5.14 inches with a standard deviation of .65 inches, but porn penises run larger, just as porn breasts run larger than reality, giving folk a skewed notion of what is real and what is desirable. For example, my own erect penis is five and a half inches; I always thought average was six inches, making me small, when it turns out I'm slightly large. Now they tell me! Many folk have been ashamed of having sexual fantasies, thinking they are a sign of mental derangement, when in fact such fantasies are completely normal and healthy. Better sex education is desperately needed, but in America that's a forlorn hope where masturbation and variety are discouraged and gay sex can be considered a mental disease. I regard this book as a valuable compendium; if I find a fault, it is that the fantasies may be a bit too objective, reduced to statistics and explanations. There are no personalized stories like that of Nancy Friday at the football game. The reader does not experience the sensation of having sex with an excitingly different partner, or using a novel sex toy, or feeling forbidden lust, the fear of discovery, or joy admixed with guilt. He does not exchange glances with his friend's attractive wife and wonder whether there is any way to get alone with her without jeopardizing his friendship. That personal involvement remains the domain of fiction, but it's the very essence of sexual fantasy, isn't it Regardless, this is an interesting and worthwhile book to read, and I recommend it to those who want to get a better notion what's what. We're all more typical than we may believe.

I watched Solo, a Star Wars movie. Han Solo and Qi'ra steal a car and make a break for freedom, pursued by monsters. But they are betrayed as they are about to escape, and only Solo makes it through and signs up for training as a pilot. Three years later he gets kicked out for having a mind of his own. He befriends a Wookie, Chewie, who was supposed to kill him. They hijack part of a train and escape. In due course he gets back together with Qi'ra and schemes for a good ship. They get the cargo they need and fight their way to the shop, losing the female robot L3. But they use her brain to help pilot the ship. Solo wants to be friendly with Qi'ra, but she demurs; she owes someone else. But in the end, after a tangled mass of betrayals, it is Solo she chooses. He wins his ship and his future is on. But I can't say I really liked this movie; it was too consistently dark in picture and spirit, and even with subtitles I had trouble following the confusing story line.

I watched Mad Max: Fury Road. Max is caught, tied, tattooed, escapes, pursued. He is fleeing the living and the memories of the dead. There is a ceremony, and a cascade of water is released for the thirsty throng below. Then we see Furiosa, who directs her caravan east, leaving the normal road. Why? They are pursued, and fight back with spears, bombs, machine guns and flame throwers, all while speeding across the desert. But over-matched, they plunge into a giant dust storm. Max is chained in front of a car with a mask on his face. The car wrecks and he encounters six fair girls washing up: Furiosa and her associates. Her loft arm is mechanical. They form an uneasy bargain, going together in their giant tanker truck, while the pursuit appears. The leader of the gang regards the girls as his property. When they finally get where's they're going, they discover that they have overshot the mark, the green home; they have to back a distance. They do, as the battle with the pursuers continues. They finally do get there, and there is a hint that Max and Furiosa, both battered, will make a couple.

I watched Ready Player One. The year is 2045. Wade is 18, a typical teen, who loves virtual reality. The Oasis is the main arena, where anything is possible. The founder set it up so that whoever finds the hidden Easter Egg will control the Oasis. Get the three keys and proceed. But so far no one has found even one key. Wade gets into a wild car race with destruction on every side, and spies slender Art3mis on a motorcycle. Mode saves her from getting crunched by a giant ape. Next time he interprets the founder's words and drives backwards while all the others are racing forwards, finds a new route, and gets a key. Art3mis saw him going backwards, followed suit, and got another copy of the same key His friend Aech (pronounced H) gets the third copy. Wade tells Art3mis he loves her. She says he doesn't even know her; she does not look like her avatar. They fly into an ambush. She leaves him. Then schemers for power, the 101, come for him in the real world; he barely escapes. He meets Art3mis in real life; she has a birthmark that discolors the right side of her face. He still likes her. Art3mis figures out that the founder's worst regret was not kissing he girl he loved. She searches out that girl and discovers the jade key. The second one. But then the enemy catches her in real life. Wade rescues her. They fight back. It turns out that everyone who wins—loses. They can't win by winning. The third key is the invisible dot in the center of the beginning of the game. Wade finds it by casting about blindly, the only way. There's a contract to be signed—but he realizes that's wrong, and refuses, as being locked into anything is bad. Which is the right thing to do. He shares the game with his friends, and they set about doing the right things. This is one phenomenal movie, in special effects and imagination. I'd have loved Art3mis's avatar too.

I watched Jobs. I never liked Apple Computers and never bought one, because it was apparent from the start that the company was dedicated to shafting its customers. I don't do business with that kind. Which was too bad, because I think I would really have liked its operating system. But I was curious about the history of its founder, Steve Jobs, so I got the video. I learned that he tricked a girl into having sex with him, before telling her he had a girlfriend. That he worked for Atari originally. He had trouble there because his boss said that while he was brilliant, he was an asshole. His friend Alcorn helped him get through. Wozniac is another friend. Jobs doesn't like working for others; he wants more freedom to do his own thing. So he and Alcorn go into business for themselves on a shoestring basis, starting Apple. They need investors, for operating cash. I learned that he's a fruitarian, eating nothing but fruit. He gets an investor, bargaining hard. When his girlfriend gets pregnant he kicks her out. When his best programmer tries to raise a reasonable point, Steve summarily fires him. Jobs is not a people person. He picks a fight with the giant IBM. The board has had enough; it fires him from the Lisa project. He returns to work on the Macintosh, which is languishing. He recruits more competent people and the Macintosh makes news. Then he calls Bill Gates of Microsoft and cusses him out for stealing Apple technology. Then his close friend tells him he is leaving Apple, because it is no longer about making great toys for people, it's all about the corporation. Then with regret the board kicks Jobs out. They simply can't make the company work with Jobs, who is an awkward wild card. But it turns out they don't make it work very well without him, either. He remains a major stock holder, but the stock is dropping. He returns as an adviser. The board won't allow innovation, so he gets the board changed. He brings back the square pegs, making Apple an innovator again, and ultimately one of the most successful companies in the world. He died in 2011, but the new direction continues. I agree with the supervisor: Jobs was a genius, but an asshole.

I continue to work on my summer project, Hilltop Farm, and there is interesting material there. Remember, this is the history of my parents' experiment in subsistence farming in the early 1940s. Why would top graduates from the University of Oxford choose to become isolated farmers in the Green Mountains of Vermont? The answer is now about 130,000 words long, and growing. One tidbit is one of their first home-canned meals: canned porcupine. The porcupines were a menace to anything made of wood, and some garden vegetables, a real nuisance, so they killed them, then realized that the meat should not be wasted. I became a vegetarian in college, but even as a child I did not like the killing of animals, and as an adult I have trouble seeing how dedicated pacifists should routinely commit the ultimate violence of killing sentient creatures just because they are inconvenient. To my way of thinking, any pacifist who is not also a vegetarian hasn't thought it all the way through. My father wondered in a letter of the time how such a monster as Adolf Hitler could arrange the wholesale slaughter of Jews; he thought if he could only understand that, he might have the key to human violence, and thus maybe a way to abate it. My somewhat sour note is that maybe Hitler regarded the Jews as like porcupines. I doubt my father would have understood that comment, but it does suggest the key: if an animal is in your way, kill it. If a person is in your way, look upon it as an animal, then kill the animal. That's how a self respecting person can wind up doing the unspeakable. I read Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in high school out of similar curiosity. I remember how he said he studied the ills of society and discovered that at the root of each was a Jew, so to improve society the Jews had to be eliminated. Evidently he started with his racist prejudice and sought reasons to justify it, as bigots do. We see a similar process in today's American politics. Letters in the local newspaper say that since Democrats are out to destroy whatever is good in America, they need to be gotten out of power. Fortunately another day there was an answer detailing the ills Republicans are doing, such as lying and cheating to win elections because they can't do it honestly. Democrat, Jew, porcupine—I see a similar progression. If I had ultimate power I would simply eliminate the bigots. That might even ameliorate the population problem. But there is the trap: who defines a bigot? But I am drifting slightly from the subject. Anyway, you can see that however dull Hilltop might seem to a reader who favors spaceships, blasters, and Bug Eyed Monsters who lust after barely clad young women instead of lady monsters, there is food (vegetarian, I hope) here for thought.

Speaking of vegetarian food, an article in SCIENCE NEWS by Susan Milius asks “Can science make meat without the moo?” That breakthrough is getting closer. One approach is to grow in the laboratory just the edible parts of animals. Another is to grow simulated meat directly. Such as a burger: brown, roasted, salty, some fat, juicy, springy, cohesive. Something that looks, smells, tastes and feels just like a steak, and has the same nutrition, but never passed through a cow. That is cheaper than the original. So that the market for dead animals would fade out for economic, if not moral reasons. That would not only be kinder to the animals, it would eliminate the monstrous negative impact the meat industry has on the environment. To get one calorie of chicken meat takes nine calories of feed, and that's one of the more efficient forms of meat. Transform the plants directly into meat and it would genuinely help the world without requiring gustatory sacrifice on the part of Joe Lunchbox. The details are complicated and the process has not yet been perfected, but progress is being made. Meanwhile a newspaper article says that farming of the future will be done by robots.

Other notes: Meanwhile air pollution is shortening lives around the world by months or even a year. It's worst in Asia and Africa, but still four months in the USA. Article in the WASHINGTON POST by Max Boot says he can no longer be a Republican, because Donald Trump is not an anomaly; the history of modern conservatism is permeated with racism, extremism, conspiracy mongering, isolationism and know-nothingism. “It's amazing how little you can see when your eyes are closed!” They have discovered that hidden within our genomes are traces of completely unknown species. Not just Neandertals, but others we never knew about. It seems that humanoids have sex regardless of the species, and some of it took. Looking for non-polluting sources of power? They are making progress toward geothermal, a giant waiting. In 2016 Europe's geothermal power capacity was 2.5 gigawatts; but with enhanced systems technology that could be 6,500 gigawatts. It is a matter of adding fluid to dry rocks to transport heat to the surface and generate steam, or fracturing impermeable formations so that liquid can flow through the hot rocks, heating up along the way. A kind of fracking, really, only for heat, not gas. In the USA alone this process could unlock 130,000 times as much energy as the country uses each year. But there is the risk of causing earthquakes. And an item on our local fantasy monster, the Skunk Ape. Why travel to Loch Ness or Siberia when you can search in warm Florida using only your nose? Because the stench is horrendous. I get a whiff of it when I consider local politics. I see that NBC commentator Megyn Kelly is in trouble because she's being accused of racism. She said that when she was a kid blackface was acceptable when portraying a character. I'm sure that was true. There are things that were okay when I was young that are no longer okay because they were racist, such as the original words to “eenie meenie minie mo...” or “Shortning Bread.” and children's books like Little Black Sambo or Doctor Doolittle. I am glad that our historic racism is being beaten back. But Kelly is being condemned because she even commented on it? How can you get rid of it if you aren't allowed even to identify it? This is political correctness gone wild. She is not the one who needs re-education; it is those who try to suppress candid comment. It reminds me of a local incident some time back, when funds were quite limited and the man in charge said that they would have to be niggardly with the money. That is, stingy. It's a legitimate word that predates the similar-sounding racial slur by three centuries. But black folk there mistook its meaning and demanded that he resign. They should have checked the dictionary and apologized to him. And a “Curtis” comic strip, where he is writing a chapter in his horror series wherein a zombie becomes an uninvited house-guest. His little brother says this is the work of a dark, twisted mind, an upside-down brain running backwards. Curtis says that's all the prerequisites of a successful horror writer. Indeed, just as a bit of insanity is helpful in making a fantasy writer. I should know.

I finished the month reading the book-sized comic, more properly known as graphic art, Astro City: The Tarnished Angel, by Kurt Busiek. I believe this is the fourth in the series, but I don't have them all. The introduction by Frank Miller is interesting, bemoaning how the Comics Code castrated the comics so that they lost their interest, but how this series helped restored some vitality, addressing things like guilt and debt and honor, embracing the ambiguities, doubts, and disappointments of real life while keeping the vital sense of wonder alive. Well said! This one is about Donewicz, who has served twenty years in prison and now hopes to go straight. He is not rich, powerful, or even handsome; he's just a sort of beaten down nobody. He wishes he could be one of the super-powerful Angels. Then he goes to a scientist who converts him into the Steel Jacketed Man, eight hundred pounds of invulnerable ugliness. he wants to join the angels, but they consider him one of the enemies. So his new life seems not much better than the old life. But he does try to do some good where he can, though it can be misunderstood. Yet in the end they realize how he is helping them, and at last accept him. It is a depressing narrative with hope at the conclusion. Indeed, not the conventional kind of superhero comic. Comics Code be damned; this is worthy. --PIERS Star Trek: Voyager

#1 and #2, my numbering. “Caretaker” Trouble continues along the Cardassian border; the Maquis are considered enemies by all sides.. Under fire, the Voyager passes through a warp of some sort. Scene shift to a penal colony where Captain Janeway recruits Tom Paris to assist her in her mission to rescue a lost ship. Then Quark of Deep Space Nine talks with Harry Kim. Crew assembled, the ship departs from Deep Space Nine. Soon it enters the Badlands where the other ship was lost. Suddenly they are 70,000 light years from where they were, on the other side of the galaxy. Then people start disappearing. They find themselves in a holographic Array, amid friendly country folk in a rural setting. Then the folk turn nasty and herd them into another venue. They encounter the personnel of the lost ship. Each ship is missing one crew member, Harry Kim and B'Elanna Torres. Janeway discovers Neelix, a scavenger, and beams him aboard. Kim, a handsome young man, and B'Elanna, a pretty half-Klingon woman, find themselves together, captives of the Caretaker. They are in sick bay, attended by a holographic doctor. [I had a problem with a lost place and missed some of the action; the disc may be defective, but the essence is that they destroy the Array and start their long journey home, merging the crews of the two ships. So the first double length episode is really the introduction of the members of the cast. The episodes do not seem to be numbered, just titled.] [Or maybe the numbers start with 100, so 103 is the third episode.]

#3 “Parallax” There are stresses between the Maquis personnel and the Federation personnel, but they have to work together. B'elanna Torres has bashed Tom Paris in the nose, breaking bones. She has a temper. But there are others who think she didn't hit him hard enough. The Doctor, who is a holograph, is growing shorter by the hour. Meanwhile they encounter a singularity, escape it, but find themselves back with it. They go again, and are back again. Crew members are coming down with symptoms, such as splitting headaches, but the Doctor can find nothing wrong with them. Janeway and B'Elanna investigate in the shuttle, and encounter themselves, but figure it out and return safely to she ship, which then escapes the singularity. The crew is slowly becoming integrated.

#4 “Time and Again” They encounter a civilized planet that may be dead. Janeway, Paris, B'Elanna and Tuvok beam down to investigate. Janeway and Paris slip through a fracture and find themselves amid the living people of the planet the day before the mass destruction. They are captured, but if they warn the people of what is about to happen, they will be interfering, violating the Prime Directive. Meanwhile Kes seems to be psychic, and tunes in on them. It turns out that the rescue attempt is what triggers the explosion. Janeway stops it, and the explosion doesn't happen, and so the ship did not interfere and the population is saved. A day before the ship arrives. So it departs without contact. Kate Janeway shows to better advantage in civilian clothing and her red hair loose.

#5 “Phage” They need dilithium, and find a planet rich in it. They go there, but Neelix gets shot and his lungs are removed. Janeway takes a crew to investigate, and they find a passage leading to technology. There is no dilithium, only the appearance of it. Meanwhile the Doctor works to replace the lungs with a holographic breathing system to keep him alive. Kes comforts him. They spot an alien ship and pursue it to a planetoid, which it enters. They track it down amid multiple images and capture two aliens. Their world suffers a plague, and they harvest organs from other species as replacements. Janeway has no ethical choice except to let them go; Neelix will have to manage as he is.

#6 “The Cloud” They encounter a nebula and enter it, but encounter an energy barrier. They try to leave, but they seem to be trapped inside. Chakotay helps Janeway to discover her animal guide. It is a lizard. The nebula is a life form, which they have damaged by trying to enter one of its vital organs. Now they must try to help it heal. They succeed, but use energy they can ill-afford to lose.

#7 “Eye of the Needle” They discover a wormhole. But where does it lead? It turns out to be only about one foot across, too small for the ship. So they send a probe. There seems to be observation of it from the other side. From the Alpha Quadrant. It is a Romulan science ship, in space a year. They enable visual communication. The Romulan captain, Telek, agrees to try to get his superiors to transmit Voyager's message. But he is from 20 years in the past; it's a rift in space and time. This messes up their chance to return; there would be paradox if their message were even relayed now.

#8 “Ex Post Facto” the Doctor is a hologram, but clearly conscious and feeling. He would like to have a name. Meanwhile Tom Paris is accused of murder. He and Kim take a shuttle to a civilized human planet. Professor Ren and his sexy wife host them. She comes on to Paris, her husband discovers them, and Paris kills him. Or so a memory trace indicates. Banea and Numiri are at war, which complicates things. Tuvoc investigates with a mind meld, and learns that Paris was framed by a Numiri scheme.

#9 “Emanations “ They may have discovered a new element, the 247th, in a passing star system. An away party investigates a cave in an asteroid, and discovers a number of dead humanoid bodies. It is a burial site, and the element seems to be formed as part of their decay. Then a disturbance arises; they hastily beam out, but Kim is accidentally exchanged for one of the alien bodies. They are the Venahri. Meanwhile the exchanged body is revived aboard the ship. This is Ptera, an ordinary girl with four nostrils from another dimension. Naturally she speaks English. (Well, they have a universal translator.) She doesn't want to be here. They try to duplicate the anomaly so as to exchange Ptera with Kim. They succeed, in a manner. Kim returns, dead, but is revived. And maybe the Venahri do have an afterlife, in the form of the energy field that manifests every two hours or so. That would be nice to believe.

#10 “Prime Factors” They visit Sikaris, a planet famed for its hospitality; it's like a vacation resort. Kim accompanies the native girl Eudana to Alastria, which turns out to be 40,000 light years away. But their cultural law forbids sharing their technology. Janeway talks with handsome Gath and tries to persuade him to trade the literature of Earth, which they would love, for a 40,000 light year transmittal closer to home. But all he and this culture want is pleasure. B'Elanna plots to make the deal regardless, but Tuvok catches her—and says he will do it himself. But a field of anti-neutrinos interferes and it comes to nothing. Janeway is furious about the attempted violation of the Code, but can't act, as she needs her crew.

#11 “State of Flux” An away team is harvesting edible roots on a passing planet, when another ship is discovered in orbit, Kazon. They must take precautions immediately, but one member of the party, Ensign Seska, is missing. Chakotay goes into a cave to look for her, finds her, but they encounter two hostile men. They escape, but this is mischief. She is his girlfriend. They discover odd art, and one live Kazon survivor. There was an explosion, and evidence of Federation involvement. Maybe someone on the Voyager sent the Kazon information. Seska is under suspicion. So is another crewman. When they check Seska's blood they discover she is not genetically Bajoran; she might have been born Cardassian. She says no, it is a symptom of the disease she suffered as a child; she had a bone marrow transplant from a Cardasian woman. They contact the commander of the Kazon ship, who comes aboard and kills the Kazon victim. It turns out that Seska was guilty, and is Cardassian, feeling the the Maquis could do a better job of getting them home. She escapes to a Kazon ship. This is a good mystery adventure.

#12 “Heroes and Demons” Harry Kim is missing. Chakotay and Tuvok check the Holodeck, where Kim disappeared. It is set in 6th century Denmark, Beowulf, where the monster Grendel ravages the kingdom. The Holo safety features have been damaged, so they are not safe. So they send the Doctor, as he already is a hologram and can't be dematerialized in that manner. He is transferred to the scene, getting his first experience of nature. He chooses the name Dr. Schweitzer. The king slices him in half, but the sword passes through him without effect. A Danish girl kisses him invitingly. Grendl attacks him. They beam him out, but he is missing his right forearm. They replace it, but Gendl seems to be a life form breaking out of the holodeck and on out of the ship. They had inadvertently captured some of its minions. So the Doctor will try to return the last one to the energy creature. They do, and it returns their three crewmen. A good alien-contact adventure.

#13 “Cathexsis” To relax Janeway participates in a new holodeck novel, set in England. The mistress of the servants gives her the word: she sets the rules. Janeway gives her the rule: she serves the master of the house. So they will try to get along, but it may be difficult. The master appears and says he is not an easy man to get along with; his late wife had been a buffer, but now the children, a boy and a girl, may be difficult though they need support. This is interrupted by news of an attack on a shuttle, when Chakotay was knocked out and Tuvok barely managed to contact the Voyager. An alien ship disappeared into a dark matter nebula. Chakotay is in a bad way. B'Elanna tries to help him with a medicine wheel according to his cultural belief, but there may not be enough of his mind left to work with. And the ship is being directed by some outside force. Tom Paris is under suspicion, though he says it's not him. The Doctor analyzes brain patterns and discovers that Paris's brain was overridden briefly each time, and so was B'Elanna's. Something is taking over their minds at key points. So the Doctor is their fail-safe as he is inorganic and not affected. Then he gets taken out. Kes is telepathic, and is aware of something on the ship. Tuvak will mind meld with her to investigate. But both are hit by an energy discharge and knocked out. Tuvok recovers but B'Elanna remains unconscious. She was physically attacked, and Tuvok is under suspicion. The alien takes control of one person at a time. Stymieing their efforts to track it down. It takes over Tuvak, who takes the ship into the nebula. He speaks for the Kuemar; this is their domain. More mischief is by Chakotay, though he is unconscious. Chaketay uses the medicine wheel to communicate indirectly with them, showing them a way out of the nebula. The aliens wanted to feed on their neural impulses.

#14 “Faces” They survey a passing planet, and the away team is caught by the Vidiians. The aliens operate on B'Elanna, converting her to a Klingon. Klingons may be immune to the phage that affects the aliens. Paris is another captive. B'Elanna as pure human appears to him, but B'Elanna as pure Klingon remains manacled. Is the human one a fake, or a second aspect of the original crossbreed? Meanwhile Chakotay is made up to resemble a Vidi. The two B'Elannas meet, and plot to escape. They make it with Chakotay's help, but the Kilingon one gets killed. The Doctor will reintegrate them as she needs her Klingon half to survive physically, but it has been a weird experience.

#15 “Jetrel” Dr. Jetrel on another ship must urgently talk with Neelix. But Neelix regards him as a mass murderer of his people, because he developed the weapon. Jetrel says it was the military who used the weapon; now he is trying to helps the remaining survivors. He has the malady himself and will be dead in days. He lost his wife and children because they, too, regarded him as a monster. Now he thinks he has a way to reverse it, but it doesn't work. This is an exploration of the ethics and guilt of the destruction of war.

#16 “Learning Curve” Janeway resumes the holodeck program started in “Cathexis,” meeting and getting to know the two royal children she is to supervise. Naturally it is interrupted. There is a discipline problem with a number of the Maquis crew members. Tuvok as assigned to train them in Starfleet ways, but they rebel. So Chakotay, their Maquis commander, talks with them and makes clear the Maquis way—with his fist—that they are to fall in line. Tuvok's training resumes. Meanwhile there's a problem with the bio gel-packs that are vital to many processes; they are becoming infected. They conclude that a virus has infected the bacteria Neelix uses in cooking, that the air circulation system spreads throughout the ship. They devise a cure, but meanwhile things are breaking down all over. Tuvok bends the rules to save a Maquis crewman, and the other Maquis conclude that if he can bend, they can follow.

Season 2, episode #1: “The 37's” They discover a trail in space, of rust. They follow it, analyzing it. They find an old 1936 red Ford pickup truck with trace of horse manure. Its AM radio that receives an SOS. So they go to the source. They land the ship on the planet, and find an old aluminum alloy airplane. It is sending an automated SOS using an alien power source. And a cryogenic vault containing Amelia Earhart, from 1937. This as 400 years later, 2371. They wake all of them simultaneously. The universal translation device enables them to talk. They take the party to see the ship, as they don't believe where they are. Aliens attack—and turn out to be humans. The Briori abducted 1,500 humans and brought them here; now there are over 100,000 humans here and the Briori are gone. It's like Earth. All the ancient folk want to stay, including Amelia. Janeway will let any of the crew who want to stay here also to do so, though it could cripple the ship because of insufficient crew. But none do. They move on.

#2: “Initiations” Chakotay takes a shuttle for a private mission to honor the memory of his father. A Kazon ship fires on him; he has entered their Ogla space. He fires back and destroys them, rescuing one person, a child named Kar. He wants to return Kar to another Kazon ship, but Kar demands only to be killed. The Ogla capture them. There is no honor for Kar among the Ogla. Chakotay and Kar escape to a moon. Chakotay sets a signal so the ship can locate him and they wait. Meanwhile the ship is searching. Janeway, Tuvok, Kes and one other man land and zero in, joining with a party of Kazons. It is complicated, but they rescue Chakotay.

#3 “Projections” the Doctor is activated, but finds no one on board. What has happened? He has the computer play the last message: Janeway was ordering abandonment of the ship. Then he finds B'Elanna, who was where the sensors were inoperative. She says they were caught by surprise by two Kazon ships. Then he find bodies strewn about. He revives Janeway. Then Neelix calls; he is fighting a Kazon. Then the Doctor is bleeding, which is odd. The computer says he is a living man; Dr. Zimmerman, who originally programmed him. Then it turns out the others are holographic simulations. Then his assistant shows up, a man he doesn't know, Barclay, who says the Doctor is Dr. Zimmerman in a holographic simulation. Thus he has existed for six hours, not the six months he thinks he's been on the Voyager. Barclay says he must destroy the Voyager to end the simulation; otherwise he''ll die. But is this true? He can't be sure that he isn't being set up to destroy the real ship. Then Chakotay appears and says it's not true; he must do nothing while they work to repair the program malfunction. Who is he to believe? Kes is here; she kisses him and says she loves him. That she is his wife. Then reality returns, maybe.

#4 “Elogium” Kes, probably the prettiest girl on board, is a magnet for the attention of men. She also likes bugs. In fact she eats them live. Meanwhile the ship encounters a swarm of space bugs. Kes is now eating ravenously, all manner of foods including dirt. She may be experiencing the reproductive cycle of her species, though she is young for it. She's not at all sure she can raise a child. A larger space creature collides with the ship. They ram it back. That doesn't work. So they play submissive, and that works. Kes decides not to have a baby at this time. But another crew-woman turns up pregnant, so it is an issue the ship must deal with, especially if the voyage turns out to be 75 years.

#5 “Non Sequitur” Harry Kim wakes in bed with lovely Libby, his fiancee, in the city he came from. He attends a meeting with admirals, to present his new ship design, but he has no idea and has to demur. It seems he was not assigned to the Voyager; this is an alternate reality. But the others here don't believe it; they think he must be some sort of spy. He goes to see his friend Tom Paris, but he's alcoholic and unbelieving. But later Paris comes to help Kim escape the authorities, because Kin is the only one who cares about him. They steal a shuttle and enter the time stream. Kim makes it back, and in the process saves Paris from the bad life in the other reality.

#6 “Twisted” A Surprise party for Kes, who is two years old today. Her timeline differs from ours; two is more like twenty. Meanwhile Tuvok spies something in space, an unusual phenomenon. It surrounds the ship, and things start malfunctioning. People can't get where they are going. They organize a search, but that has mixed results. Janeway gets touched by the anomaly and rendered unconscious. It seems better to do nothing. The ring of distortion closes as they wait, and passes. They conclude that it was trying co communicate with them. It downloaded the entire ship's database, and provided a similar amount about itself. They move on, unharmed.

#7 “Parturition” Paris gives Kes a lesson in piloting via simulation, and becomes attracted to her. Meanwhile the ship needs supplies, so will pause at a planet for them. Jealous Neelix picks a fight with Paris. Then the two are assigned to land on the planet to prospect for food. Kes is perplexed, then chagrined as the Doctor clarifies the situation for her. Now she is furious with both men. Something attacks the ship, while the two men are exploring a cave, having wrecked their shuttle in the landing. They come across creatures hatching. They maneuver to escape the hostile ship. The two men adopt the alien hatchling, figuring out how to feed it. The alien ship lands and an alien claims the hatchling, so they feel free to depart and all is well.

#8 “Persistence of Vision” The Doctor orders Janeway to report to the holodeck for her relaxing program, because she's over-stressed. Lord Berleigh faces her; she is Lucie Davenport, new governess for his two children. He kisses her; he has fallen in love with her. That should be a distraction! The children don't want to eat cucumber sandwiches. But she is called back to the ship. Then at lunch there are cucumber sandwiches. The holodeck program characters start appearing. One attacks her. They may be illusions, but Kes, who is telepathic, sees them too. The Botha ships attack. The Botha captain appears as Mark, the man Lucie loves, and as other figures to other crew members. Now many crewfolk are suffering hallucinations. Chakotay kisses B'Elanna; he's a fake. Then it takes Janeway too. Only the Doctor and Kes remain functional. It attacks her, but she manages to fight it off and activate their defense program. Kes identifies an alien aboard who telepathically manipulated them. It disappears, but leaves the all shaken. Another hard-hitting episode.

#9: “Tattoo” They are looking for what they need on a barren world, and Chakotay spies a sacred symbol of his people. Flashback to when he learned. It way be a blessing of the land. They discover what they need on another world, and take a shuttle down with the Away team of Chakotay, Neeklix, B'Elanna, and Tuvok. A hawk attacks Neelix, and they beam him to sick bay on the ship. Chakotay connects with the native tribe. They provide some of what is needed. Meanwhile the Doctor learns what it feels like to be sick; he will have more compassion hereafter.

#10: “Cold Fire” Tuvok helps Kes mentally orient on the thoughts of others in the ship. The ship picks up intermittent sporocystian life signs. They orient on the source and discovers an alien space station. Could this be the mate to the Caretaker, Suspiria, with the power to send them home? Kes talks to Tanis, another Ocampa, who is 14 compared to her 2 and has full control of his powers. He makes the plants in her room grow marvelously. But a later exercise of hers makes them all burn up. Suspiria appears as a little girl who then starts to destroy the ship. Janeway fends her off and she departs, but remains out there. Kes will continue learning her devastatingly powerful mental skills.

#11 “Maneuvers” The ship is haled by a beacon using a Federation signal. Then a Kazon raider attacks. A shuttle collides with them, and Kazons board. Seska, Chakotay's former girlfriend, is with them, actively working with the enemy. They steal a device from the Voyager that will enable them to significantly advance their technology. Chakotay takes a shuttle and goes after Seska. Janeway doesn't like that. B'Elanna argues his case; she evidently has her own interest in him. Meanwhile the Kason are beating up Chakotay, trying to get him to give them key codes. They rescue Chokatay. Seska sends a message: she extracted his DNA and impregnated herself with it. He is going to be a father.

#12 “Resistance” Janeway, Tuvok, B'Elanna are in a planetary setting, and get raided by masked figures and captured by the Mokra. Janeway wakes to find herself in the care of a man, Caylem, who takes her for “Ralkana,” his daughter. Tuvok and B'Elanna ace being separately interrogated. He and Janeway go to rescue them. She plays the part of a lady of the evening, overcomes a guard, takes his weapon, and helps rescue them. But Caylem dies. Janeway, as Ralkana, reassures him at the end, but his wife and daughter were dead years ago.

#13 “Prototype” B'Elanna is studying something; we see her in black and white. Then we see it as they do, in color; it's a humanoid robot or cyborg with an impaired power source. She finally succeeds in activating it. It was operating aboard a Pralor ship when an explosion cast it into space. It is unit 3947. It would like to reproduce its kind, but B'Elanna isn't allowed. It abducts her and beams them both back to its ship. It attacks the Voyager, and will destroy it if B'Elanna does not build the module it requires, so she agrees. She learns that when the robot Builders tried to end the robots, the robots terminated the Builders. With heavy heart, she destroys the prototype, maybe saving mankind.

#14 “Alliances” They are under fire by the Kazon and are disabled. It's the fourth such attack. Chakotay says maybe they need to start following Maquis rules, in order to survive. They decide to forge an alliance with one of the Kazon factions. Janeway contacts Seska, of the Nistrim, though Chakotay is wary of this. Neelix contacts his friend Tersa, but is betrayed into captivity with the Trabe. Janeway's overture does not work out, because the Nistrim treat women with too much contempt. But the Trabe prisoners revolt and with Neelix arrange a meeting with the Voyager. They invite all the Kazon factions to a conference to maybe establish peace. But the Trabe betray them, a ship attacks, and they and the Kazon leaders barely escape. This region of space is mischief.

#15 “Threshold” Paris is taking the ship into trans-warp, but at 9.9 it breaks up. He emerges in the holodeck. “You're dead” B'Elanna says as he sits there on the bare floor. Warp 10 would be infinite velocity. Neelix has an idea, and they think it could work. Paris tries it in the shuttle. He achieves Warp 10 and disappears. Then he returns. He saw everything, including their looking for him, so he returned. If they can do it and emerge where they choose, they can go home with a phenomenal breakthrough. But Paris is suffering acute allergy to—water. He is rapidly mutating. He dies. And comes alive again. With two hearts. The mutation is accelerating. They treat him to save his life, but he breaks free, abducts Janeway, and flees in the shuttle at Warp 10. The Doctor concludes that Paris is evolving naturally into his future state. Now Janeway also . They are found on a habitable planet, resewbling two lizards, with three offspring lizards. They are rescued and restored, the babies left on the planet. This is one weird conclusion.

#16 “Meld” A crewman, Darwin, is murdered. Suder, who was working with him, is under suspicion. He confesses, saying he didn't like the way Darwin looked at him. Tuvok investigates, then does a mind meld. That gives Suder better control, but puts stress on Tuvok. He says he is no longer fit for duty. He will recover, but it has been difficult.

#17 “Dreadnought” They discover the debris of a small ship. B'Elanna says it's her fault; she had programmed Dreadnought, a sophisticated Cardassian missile, and thought it was gone. Now it's active, and heading toward an inhabited planet. She beams to it and turns it off; it knows her. But when she returns to the Voyager, Dreadnought returns to its mission. It assumed she was operating under duress. She makes a second visit to it, but it does not let her turn it off. Janeway decides to destroy the Voyager in the missile's path, destroying both, saving millions of planetary civilians. B'Elanna continues to try to stop the destruction despite life support ending. She succeeds, and is beamed back to the escape shuttle as the Voyager's destruct sequence ends. Barely in time. This may be my favorite episode so far.

#18 “Death Wish” They check a passing meteor, take a sample, and Q beams aboard. This is of course mischief. He tried to commit suicide, but instead all the men aboard ship disappear. He's not the Q we know, but soon that Q arrives. He restores the men. We learn that this other Q was locked up in the asteroid for 300 years, by the Q Continuum. Janeway sets up an asylum hearing. If Q2 wins, he gets to commit suicide. Tuvok represents him. Q1 says that it would be impossibly disruptive if individuals could choose for themselves whether to live or die. Q1 shows that Q2 has been a key factor in Earth history; for example he was there when Isaac Newton saw the apple drop. If Q1 wins, he will deliver the Voyager safely back to Earth space. They visit the Q Continuum, a scene in the old west of Earth. Q2 says that they are depriving the individuals of choice; the disease is immortality. She decides in favor of Q2, who then commits suicide. This is a provocative, thoughtful episode.

#19 “Lifesigns” There is a distress call. They pick up a woman's body. She's alive, but rapidly fading; a device is stimulating her, but there's is little to work with. Danara Pel was chronically ill, but the Doctor makes a holographic body for her that is healthy, though it won't last long. She calls the Doctor Schmullus, after her uncle. He shows her around and it's like a date. They are attracted to each other, but neither knows how to handle it. So Paris helps the Doctor and Kes helps Danara. They meet for a date in a car parked on Mars and he shows her the stellar sights. They kiss. Her body will sicken and die, but they can have two weeks together before she must depart. It's a nice temporary romance.

#20 “Investigations” Paris has trouble getting along, and asks to transfer to another ship. He departs, to Neelix's regret. Then a Kazon ship raids and takes Paris. This is Seska's plot. Meanwhile Neelix is on the trail of deleted files. It turns out that Janeway knew that someone on the ship was secretly giving information to the Kazon, and Paris played along so that his departure would seem reasonable. Paris gets the information, steals a Kazon shuttle, and returns to the Voyager after a hazardous journey. The spy was Jonas, whom Neelix kills in a fight. Paris's reputation is restored.

#21 “Deadlock” Ensign Wildman is birthing the first baby aboard the Voyager. They enter Vidiian space and need to avoid the Vidiians. They try, but are not completely successful, and take casualties. Power systems are interrupted, and the baby dies. But then the baby is alive. Janeway sees herself running through the ship. Kim dies. Now there are two Kes, with different memories. In fact here are two Voyagers, overlapping. They manage to establish communication between ships, and Janeway talks with Janeway on the screen. They try to merge, but can't quite do it. So Kes and Janeway cross by themselves. Now there are two Janeways interacting. They decide on a course of action, but are interrupted by the attack of a Vidiian ship. They send the living Kim with the surviving baby to the damaged ship, and self destruct, taking the Vidiians out with them. Now the surviving ship has Kim and the baby restored, but they are both from the other ship. They find it weird. So do I.

#22 “Innocence” Tuvok is on a moon where another crewman dies. Tressa is a child from another ship, maybe six years old; Tuvok says he will see that she and the two other children with her get home safely. They hug him, relieved. But they fear the morrok, which will take them tonight if they don't leave the moon. Then their people come—and they says to hide because if they are found they will die. This is where children are sent to die. So Tuvok plans to take them to the Voyager. Meanwhile they should sleep, and can't, so he sings them to sleep. And in the night two of them disappear. Tuvok explores the morrok's cave. All he finds are children's empty clothes. There is a face-off between Janeway, Tuvok, and the Drayans, who say Tressa is actually 96 years old, because they live backwards. Tressa wills inevitably die. Tuvok will stay with her for that. A thoughtful episode. #23 “The Thaw” They encounter a system where a solar flare wiped out a population of 400,000, about 19 years ago. Are there any survivors? They are hailed. There are five stasis pods. Two are dead, three remain. So Kim and B'Elanna occupy them and enter the fantasy realm of the survivors. It is as though they are there physically. It's a costume party. They are discovered and captured. The characters don't want the real folk removed, because then they will disappear. Rather it's the computer's persona, the Clown. The Doctor enters the scene, but the Clown can read minds and governs by fear. They try to disable the program from outside, but the Clown kills one of the hostages, Janeway has to capitulate. Then Janeway delivers an ultimatum: the program will be completely shut down, unless all hostages are released. Janeway herself will become the new hostage. But she does not enter stasis; she does it while awake, sending in her holo image. Now she controls the Clown, and like all fear, he fades out. A fascinating episode.

#24 “Tuvix” Tuvok and Neelix go on planet to get a specimen of a potentially valuable flower. When they return there is a transmission foulup and they are merged as Tuvix, including also some of the flowers. Next day Paris and B'Elanna beam down for more flowers, but the merger can't be undone. Kes is distraught; she loves Neelix, not Tuvix. They work out a way to restore Tuvok and Neelix, but in the interim Tuvix had made a life for himself on the ship, made friends, and he wants to live. Is it right to end him to restore them? Janeway must make the decision. She does, painful as it is, and the originals are restored. An uncomfortable episode, though I agree with her choice. Tuvix did not have the right to pre-empt two other lives for his own benefit.

#25 “Resolutions” Chakotay and Janeway awaken in pods in a rustic scene. They have caught a plague from an insect bite, and have been in stasis for 17 days while the Doctor searches in vain for a cure. They are okay as long as they stay here. So she turns the ship over to Tuvok, who will continue the quest for home. Meanwhile she and Chakotay will continue researching for a cure. Six weeks later they encounter Vidiians. Kim wants to make a deal with them, exchanging research to cure the illnesses each suffers. Tuvok vetoes it as too dangerous. On planet, a weird storm comes that wrecks their insect traps and equipment, so they can't continue research. They face the rest of their lives here. The Vidiians betray the Voyager folk, but they are able to get the serum. They return to pick up Janeway and Chakotay. All is well again.

#26 “Basics, Part 1” Chakotay gets a message from Seska that others are taking Seska's baby. What should he do? They try to rescue the baby. They generate multiple additional holographic ships to confuse the enemy. It works, but they have a traitor aboard, a man they rescued from space. He generates an explosion that partly cripples the ship. The Voyager is captured by the Kazon. They are marooned on a volcanic planet, the ship departing without them. To be continued.

Season 3 #1 “Basics Part 2” They are marooned on as uninhabited planet. They find human bones before a cave. Hogan is assigned to collect them, but something in the cave snatches him inside. They find part of his knife. Meanwhile on the ship Seska takes the baby to the Doctor, who determines that it is not Chakotay's child. He also learns that Suder is aboard. On planet, a band of humanoid primitives captures Neelix and Kes. Chakotay rescues them with the help of Tuvok and others with improvised weapons. Janeway's party enters the caves and discovers a cave monster they manage to thwart. A volcanic eruption commences. On ship, Seska deactivates the doctor. Now it is up to Suder. Chakotay rescues a stranded native, finally establishing rapport with the natives. Suder kills a number of Kazon and activates a special program before he too is killed. Paris is able to take over the ship and bring it back to pick up the others. They are back on their way.

#2 “Flashback” They discover a deposit of Sirillium, a potentially valuable energy source. Tuvak suffers a challenging flashback. It may be repressed from childhood. He mind melds with Janeway, who appears as an unobserved observer in his memories. There is something else masquerading as an anagram. The doctor tries to abolish it, but it migrates to Janeway's mind. They manage to eliminate it, curing them both.

#3 “The Chute” Harry Kim gets thrown into a cell with violent prisoners who immediately start beating on him. He recognizes Tom Paris, who hits him seemingly without recognition. It turns out that each was told the other implicated him in a bombing. There are implants in their heads that will kill them if they try to escape. Meanwhile the Akritirians demand to board the Voyager and arrest its personnel. Janeway says no. They locate a ship that makes bombs; the people claim they are rebels, not terrorists. Paris gets stabbed. Kim makes a deal with a prisoner for help in exchange for taking the prisoner along when they escape. Janeway and Neelix rescue them.

#4 “The Swarm” Paris and B'Elanna are in a shuttle investigating an anomaly when they are boarded by aliens and phasered. They return to the ship, but Paris is in a bad way. The Doctor needs to do spot surgery on him, but has a mental problem and can't remember how to do it. Kes does it instead. What is wrong with the doctor? B'Elanna gets on it, and the holo originator Zimmerman is activated. He looks just like the doctor in different clothing. He says the doctor needs a complete re-initialization. That's not feasible, so Zimmerman proceeds to treat the Doctor. A swarm of mini-ships attacks the Voyager. They clamp onto the hull like leeches. They manage to start a chain of destruction of the mini ships. And they manage to re-initialize the Doctor, by overlaying Zimmerman.

#5 “False Profits” They investigate a possible worm hole. Chakotay and Paris go native and beam to the primitive local planet. Two Ferengi have used technology to fashion a profitable “religion.” So the Voyager improvises a scheme to get them out of there. The “Grand Proxy” arrives and tells them they have been recalled. They get them out of there and move on.

#6 Remember” The Voyager helps Enarian travelers to return home more swiftly. In return they share their energy technology. While they travel, B'Elanna dreams of making out with a lover. The Enarians are telepathic, and share their skills and emotions, but they say the dreams should not be so strong. Something is going on. She learns that the memories are from an older traveler, Jora. That a group is being resettled, but that's a ruse; they are actually being destroyed. Is that true? How can she be sure? Jora is killed, but B'Elanna persuades another woman to share the memories she now has, so she can investigate for herself. That will reveal the truth.

#7 Sacred Ground” They take shore leave at a passing planet. The Nechristi invited them. Neelix and Kes explore a native shrine. There is a flash and Kes falls unconscious. They beam her to sick bay and investigate. The natives say the spirits do what they do. There is a ritual that a responsible person can undertake that might enable him/her to help. So Janeway decides to do it. She beams to the shrine. The native women set her up. She encounters three who are waiting indefinitely. She studies a rock, but sees only a rock. She paints a picture, evidently a vision from the rock. She puts her hand in a jar and gets burned in three places on her arm. She passes out. She wakes by the shore of a sea. But she is told it is all meaningless. She returns to the ship, and the Doctor says what has passed so far is meaningless. She goes back to the shrine and talks to the three, who tell her that if she believes she is ready, then she is. She carries Kes into the dangerous field, and that cures her. The Doctor has an explanation, but it may seem meaningless.

#8 “Future's End, Part 1” Flash back to 1967 Earth. Then a Federation ship from 500 years in the future says it has returned in time to prevent the Voyager from destroying Earth. And they are in 1996. They beam to Los Angeles. They find an old man who is Captain Braxton, who has been here 30 years. The one who came back from the 29th century to stop them. He says an explosion in the 29th century make debris going all the way back to here. His timeship actually caused the explosion. A man called Starling is the one who caused it. Tuvok and Paris encounter a young woman searching for extraterrestrial visitors. They are shot at, but escape in her car. Meanwhile Janaway and Chakotay check and discover they are involved in a time paradox. They meet Starling. Kim and B'Elanna beam Janeway and Chakotay out of there. There follows an interesting battle. The Doctor winds up with Starling. Word of the Voyager begins to appear in the 1996 news. To be continued.

#9 “Future's End Part II” Tuvok and Paris must work with the young woman, Rain Robinson, to communicate with the Voyager. Starling animates the Doctor, and shows he can coerce him with pain. They go to pick up Rain. Chakotay and B'Elanna bring the shuttle down to pick up Tuvok and Paris. And Starling. The Voyager manages to beam Starling aboard. Two local men capture Chakotay and B'Elanna. Rain and Paris are getting to like each other. The Doctor rescues Chakotay and B'Elanna. In the end they do manage to nullify Starling and save Earth. They return to their original time and place. Earth is saved, but Paris has to leave cute Rain behind.

#10 “Warlord” They pick up three survivors, one of whom dies. They go to Ilari. Kes helps the two others steals a shuttle. Kes has been taken over by another entity. By the one who died, Tieran. He is clearly a mega-maniacal tyrant who destroys anyone who tries to oppose him. But Kes is fighting within the body, and that finally drives him out. But the experience has changed her; she is no longer the same person. This suggests a change in her role on the Voyager. We'll see.

#11 “The Q and the Grey” They witness a supernova explosion from up close. Tired after a long session, Janeway discovers Q in her room. He says he has chosen her to be the mother of his child. This is of course mischief. He says she is playing hard to get; she says she's impossible to get. A lady Q appears, jealous, saying her affair with Q was about four billion years. It seems that the Q continuum is in civil war. And suddenly he and Janeway are in an American Civil War setting, besieged. They are about to be executed by firing squad when Union troops attack. Q and Lady Q make up and mate by touching fingers and soon have a son. Janeway will be godmother. Otherwise things are back to normal. Maybe. Nothing really is normal with the Q.

#12 “Macrocosm” Neelix and Janeway are on the shuttle returning to the Voyager after three days negotiating with the Tak Tak. But the ship is empty. No damage, no departures, just no crew. They seem to have disappeared eleven hours ago. There's a snakelike alien creature aboard. Maybe also humans, hiding. It's hot. Green goo is on some objects. She explores the ship, carrying a rifle. She finds Kim, unconscious. A flying bug attacks; she shoots it. She finds the Doctor. He says a macro-virus has infected the ship. They went to help another ship that was suffering a viral infection. The Doctor beamed across to help. But the virus traveled back with him. He makes an antivirus and starts stopping the giant bugs, which look like flying balls with three heads on long necks. He cures Janeway, who was infected. The Tak Tak attack, to eliminate the virus, but Janeway talks them into holding off for an hour. She fashions a bomb that destroys all the viruses.

#13 “Fair Trade” They encounter the Nekrit Expanse, ominous looking clouds in space. They stop at a supply station at the edge. Neelix inadvertently gets involved in something shady, misled by an acquaintance. Chakotay and Paris get arrested for a murder they did not commit, but Neelix helps get them free. He and his friend say they will expose the smugglers. They do, and nab them. But Janeway is not pleased with his deception, and puts him on cleanup duty.

#14 “Alter Ego” They investigate an inversion nebula. Kim asks Tuvok's help in controlling his emotions, because he has fallen in love with Marayna and doesn't want that; she is a holo female, nonexistent in real life. All are invited to a Hawaiian Luau in the holodeck. Tuvok attends reluctantly, and Marayna makes a play for him. Kim gets jealous. The nebula seems to be interfering with the computer. Then Marayna appears in Tuvok's quarters. He summons security, but she vanishes. They conclude that the nebula is giving her power. They need to stop that. They try, but the folk of the luau attack them physically. Mayayna wants Tuvak and won't let the ship depart until she gets him. Now he sees her as she is, a different humanoid species. She is lonely. He tries to persuade her to return to her own kind, perhaps finding better interactions there. She says she will consider it. She lets the ship go.

#15 “Coda” Janeway and Chakotay get caught in a storm in a shuttle and crash on a planet. She is knocked out, but recovers. Vidiians are after them. Then they are back in the shuttle, being fired on, and it explodes. Then back in the shuttle. It is a time loop. This time they manage to contact the Voyager, and rejoin it. But Chakotay does not remember any time loop, only Janeway does. The Doctor says she has the phage. She faces prolonged distress and loss of mind. The Doctor prescribes euthanasia. Then they are back in the shuttle. They crash and she dies. The ship rescues them and the Doctor treats her, but can't revive her. This time she is there, invisibly watching, a ghost. She almost contacts Kes. Her father, who died 15 years before, appears and says there can be another state of consciousness. Tuvok and Kes try to locate Janeway mentally, and fail, while she watches. They hold a memorial for her, then release the pod with her body. But she refuses to leave. She realizes that her “father” is actually an alien creature trying to get her to go with him. She rebels, and recovers, on the planet. A powerful episode.

#16 “Blood Fever” They spot a kiloton deposit of gallicite, a rare and valuable mineral. B'Elanna is surprised by a Vulcan crewman Ensign Vorik's proposal of marriage. She says no, but he insists, and she decks him with a punch. Tuvok says it is a seven year Vulcan cycle where emotion takes over. B'Elanna, Paris, and Neelix go for the gallicite, where things go wrong and B'Elanna throws a fit. Tuvok checks with Vorik, and concludes that Vorik's touch transferred the Vulcan mating cycle to her, called Pon farr. She needs to be cured of it, as it could be fatal. But she and Paris wind up alone together in the tunnels, he trying to be proper, she increasingly desperate for sex. There are aliens there, the remnant of a colony destroyed by anonymous invaders. Then, following Vulcan tradition, B'Elanna and Vorik fight, he to win her as his mate, she to prevent that. She wins. And they discover that it was the Borg who destroyed the colony. Another potent episode. I see B'Elanna Torres as parallel to Nerys Kira in Deep Space Nine, and here she comes across exactly like that, even flashing some breast. As the saying of my day goes, I wouldn't kick either of them out of bed.

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