(written from a Production point of view)
|"Blink of an Eye"|
|VOY, Episode 6x12|
Production number: 233
First aired: 19 January 2000
|←||131st of 168 produced in VOY||→|
|←||130th of 168 released in VOY||→|
|←||590th of 728 released in all||→|
| Teleplay By|
Scott Miller and Joe Menosky
Over time and generations, a world tries to uncover the mystery of a strange object in the sky.
The USS Voyager approaches a planet rotating 58 times per minute and, while investigating, the ship enters a gravimetric gradient pulling it into an orbit in which the crew becomes trapped. On the planet, a native is then seen preparing an altar. Just then, an earthquake happens, and the native sees a new star in the sky, which is Voyager.
The tachyon core of the planet has created a differential in space-time, meaning that time passes much more quickly on the planet than in the rest of space. Within "moments" of Voyager's arrival and entrapment many years have passed on the surface. The initial entry into orbit coincides with an earthquake interpreted by the inhabitants as an act of a new deity, the Voyager ship appearing as a new bright star in the sky. Chakotay asks B'Elanna Torres to reconfigure a Class-5 probe to take pictures every ten milliseconds, and to take surveys of the planet to help try to get Voyager out of orbit. Chakotay goes on to say that this could be the best anthropological find ever; it is one thing to dig and find the history, but to watch the civilization develop before your eyes is another thing entirely. After Torres tells Chakotay that it could take a few hours to reconfigure the probe, he says that they might miss the rise and fall of a civilization. Torres reassures him that they'll just have to watch the next one.
As time passes, the planet's inhabitants quickly change from a pre-medieval level of technology to enter an industrial age and gain technology to the point where radio transmissions are possible. The scientist that has made first contact with Voyager explains to a fellow scientist that the Sky Ship, the name the planet's inhabitants have given Voyager, is a prominent feature of all of the planet's culture. The scientist states that he even had the entire collection of "Sky Ship Friends" dolls. A message is received from the surface by Seven of Nine which tells the crew of their insinuation into the culture and mythology of the planet's people. For centuries the society lives with the constant ground-shaking effect brought about by Voyager and its effects on the natural poles and rotation of the planet. Cautious about First Contact with a pre-warp civilization and aware of the accelerated aging causing by the time differential, Captain Janeway employs The Doctor to beam to the planet on an undercover mission to gather data in an effort to find a way for Voyager to escape orbit. As Janeway and Torres prepare to beam him back, the signal is lost.
By the time The Doctor is successfully located and beamed back on board, three years have passed on the planet. He explains that Voyager is a catalyst for invention and that a space race is in progress to make contact. Voyager is also used as a catalyst for religion, music, art, and even children's toys. He tells the captain that his roommate, which he shared an apartment with, even composed an aria about Voyager. He said the apartment was destroyed by a rival state's cannon shells when they started a war with the one he was in. The Doctor goes on to explain that the war was finished in six months when a new treaty was signed.
He also informs Janeway that he has committed to memory the last three hundred years of geological data from the planet. Using The Doctor's data, the crew attempts an escape, but after only 50 meters of ascent, seismic activity increases and the exercise is aborted. In the meantime, a space capsule from the planet's surface reaches Voyager and its two-person crew find the crew in what appears to be some form of stasis; the time differential causes them to observe only microseconds passing on board the ship while they experience several minutes. As they reach the bridge, they enter Voyager's time-frame and collapse, to the surprise of the bridge crew. The commander, Tureena, does not survive the transition.
The pilot, Gotana-Retz, survives and tells of how he has grown up always knowing of the Sky Ship. Although every minute spent aboard means months pass on the surface he agrees to help the crew interpret The Doctor's data and find a way to break orbit. As Seven scans the surface she detects warp experimentation. Soon after, Voyager is being attacked by antimatter torpedoes and a tricobalt device.
Gotana-Retz returns to his planet with Voyager's specifications, with Janeway hoping he can convince his planet's rulers to stop the attacks and help them leave orbit. Before the pilot leaves, The Doctor tells him that, when he was living on the planet, he got a son that should be dead now. He asks the pilot to contact the members of his son's family to tell them about their holo-granfather. As the pilot is wondering how a hologram can have a son, The Doctor just answers "it's a long story!".
After more attacks and a planet's year since the pilot returned, two ships appear next to Voyager and deploy a tractor beam to pull it clear. Using a temporal compensator invented on his planet, Gotana-Retz returns one last time to say goodbye before the sky ship leaves forever.
Finally, Gotana-Retz, now an old man, sits on a hillside and gazes wistfully into the sky as the star that is Voyager winks out and vanishes. The hillside now overlooks a vast technological metropolis.
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"How does this sound? 'The Weird Planet Where Time Moved Very Fast and so did the people who lived there,' by Naomi Wildman..."
"Your title is verbose. I suggest you try to condense it."
"The Weird Planet"
"Better, but it lacks precision. 'The Weird Planet Displaced in Time'"
- - Naomi Wildman and Seven of Nine, discussing the title of Naomi's astronomy essay
"That's one planet that never showed up on the multiple choice exam."
- - Tom Paris
"If there's an intelligent species down there, we'll be able to track their development, not just for days or weeks, but for centuries."
- - Chakotay
"We might miss the rise and fall of a civilization."
"So, we'll watch the next one."
- - Chakotay and B'Elanna Torres
"What should I say?"
"Oh...glad to meet you. Where are you from? Please stop shaking our planet."
"What if they're big purple blobs of protoplasm?"
"Then you'll be the best-looking blob on the planet."
- - The Doctor and Captain Janeway
"Captain, isn't it time we returned fire?"
"We've done enough damage to these people over the last thousand years."
- - Tom Paris and Chakotay
"Jason? An unusual name."
"Yes. He was my... son."
"But you're a hologram."
"lt's a long story."
- - the planet's pilot Gotana-Retz and The Doctor
"If you've ever wanted to report more than the weather, now is your chance. Tell them to clear Central Lake of all traffic: Orbital 1 is coming in for a landing."
- - Gotana-Retz, to the lady on the radio.
- This episode was being prepped for shooting under the title "Wink of an Eye" when production realized that there was already a TOS episode, "Wink of an Eye". Furthering the coincidence, both stories feature aliens existing at a much faster rate who visit the ship and see the slower crew apparently "frozen".
- Obi Ndefo previously played Drex, Martok's son, in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season four premiere "The Way of the Warrior".
- One day on the planet is slightly more than one second long (1.03 seconds) in normal time, so three years on the planet would only be 18.9 minutes in normal time. This would mean that 100 years on the planet would pass every 10.45 hours. Since Voyager seems to have been in orbit for centuries of planetary time it is likely that the episode takes place over a few days of time for the crew. When the inhabitants look at the sky, they can see a star background which would be impossible at the planet's rotation velocity.
- This episode contains a scene in which a member of an alien species writes in English using a pen and ink. This is unusual considering most alien writing depicted in Star Trek is made up of alien-looking characters.
- Although Tuvok describes the planet as having a high rate of rotation "like a quasar", this property more accurately describes a pulsar.
- In the observatory on Kelemane's planet, the hole in which the large telescope is encased in is a reuse of the framework of the Cardassian circular airlock hatch from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. One of the hatches later reappears in VOY: "Tsunkatse", on Penk's starship and later in the seventh season episode "Friendship One", in the Uxali cave settlement.
- The book Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode as one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: Voyager.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 6.6, 14 August 2000.
- As part of the VOY Season 6 DVD collection.
Links and References
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Ensign Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- Obi Ndefo as Protector
- Daniel Zacapa as an Astronomer
- Olaf Pooley as a Cleric
- Jon Cellini as a Technician
- Kat Sawyer-Young as Astronaut
- Melik Malkasian as a Shaman
- Walter Hamilton McCready as a Tribal Alien
- Scarlett Pomers as Naomi Wildman
altar; ammonium; amplitude modulation; anthropology; antimatter torpedo; astronomy; cannon; carbon monoxide; carrier wave; Central Protectorate; Class V planetary probe; concert hall; confinement beam; docking port; doppler component; Doric; display buffer; dwarf star; elemental constant; exile; fire fruit; god; gravimetric gradient; "Ground Shaker"/"Sky Ship"; holomatrix; hot-air balloon; internal combustion; iron; Jason Tebreeze; Jefferies tube; Kelemane's planet; Kelemane's planet sport; Kelemane's species; Kelemane, son of Kelemane; Klingon; Lakeside; Launch Control/Tactical Command Center; logic; Mareeza; mathematics; Milky Way Galaxy; Mountain (team); multiple-choice exam; mythology; observatory; opera house; orbit; Orbital 1; pre-warp; Prime Directive; prime number; Protector; protoplasm; quasar; radio transmission; Red River; Sky Ship Friends; Station 004; tachyon; Tactical Air Command; Tahal; technology; telescope; temporal compensator; temporal field; Torelius; tricobalt device; Tureena; ultra-high frequency; weather coordinator; The Weird Planet Displaced in Time
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