(written from a Production point of view)
|"Flesh and Blood"|
|VOY, Episode 7x9/10|
Production number: 253
First aired: 29 November 2000
|←||151st of 168 produced in VOY||→|
|←||153rd of 168 released in VOY||→|
|←||613th of 728 released in all||→|
|A feature-length episode|
Bryan Fuller (Part I); Raf Green & Kenneth Biller (Part II)
Jack Monaco and Bryan Fuller & Raf Green (Part I); Bryan Fuller & Raf Green (Part II)
Mike Vejar (Part I); David Livingston (Part II)
|←||Arc: The Killing Game (3 of 3)|
Voyager answers a distress call from a Hirogen outpost – only to find carnage caused by holographic technology that Captain Janeway had given them.
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Two Hirogen hunt on a tropical landscape, finally finding and almost successfully hunting down an unknown creature, who barely eludes them. With uncharacteristic caution, they slowly track their "prey" to a small lake but instead Humans in Starfleet uniforms emerge from the water and kill them with a barrage of various weapons fire.
Meanwhile on the USS Voyager, The Doctor asks Chakotay for some time off so he can go to a symposium on space-borne pathogens. Chakotay refuses, saying the planet was two weeks in the wrong direction. As The Doctor argues with him, Captain Kathryn Janeway calls him to the bridge, saying they have received a distress call on a Hirogen frequency.
Once inside, they find a tropical landscape and two dead Hirogen hunters. Tuvok's scans indicate the burns are from a type 3 phaser. They also find a Klingon bat'leth stuck in a nearby tree. When they begin to approach a wounded Hirogen, he fires on them. However, Tuvok sneaks up from behind and knocks him out with a Vulcan neck pinch. Tom Paris beams him to sickbay.
Seven of Nine soon uncovers Starfleet holographic technology, and identifies holoemitters throughout the structure. When she shuts off the grid, dozens of dead Hirogen appear, lying in the giant hologrid.
After the away team returns and recounts their experience, Janeway is surprised at how real Chakotay says it was; it fooled their sensors and had no safety protocols. She concludes the Hirogen missed the point of this technology, for it was supposed to let them hunt safely while preserving their culture, not get them killed.
In sickbay, they find The Doctor unable to get close to the still-frantic hunter, who believes that this is a simulation and that The Doctor intends to harm him. When Janeway explains who she is, however, the Hirogen, named Donik, recognizes her and wants to know what happened. He cannot believe everyone else is dead. He explains that the base was a training facility for young Hirogen and that he is not a "Hunter" but a lowly technician. The holograms were malfunctioning, and there were too many of them. He couldn't shut the system off.
Tuvok then notifies Janeway that a Hirogen ship is on an intercept course. It begins firing almost immediately, and refuses their hails. She orders Tuvok to return fire but to only target their weapon systems. After Voyager successfully disables their phaser banks and Janeway again tries hailing them, the Hirogen retain an aggressive posture yet are now willing to talk. She explains Voyager has a Hirogen aboard and manages to get the two Hirogen to come aboard from their now impotent vessel to speak with her and Donik.
Upon receiving a summary of Voyager's encounter with the training facility and rescue of Donik, the two Hirogen, revealed to be Hunters, become hostile towards him, accusing him of cowardice and blaming him for the recent holodeck catastrophe. Janeway retains a stern posture towards the Hirogen, preferring to diffuse the situation by attempting to ascertain what led to the incident. Donik, when asked, says he couldn't delete the holographic prey, for they transferred themselves to another vessel that was equipped with holoemitters. Janeway questions the wisdom of creating holograms apparently capable of self-awareness and ingenuity. The Hirogen simply reply that if they were any less sophisticated, the hunt wouldn't be interesting.
The two Hunters are more cooperative when it comes down to tracking the missing ship. They quickly and correctly identify the way to track the ship by scanning for polarized EM emissions. They are still hard on Janeway, and blame her as well as Donik, but allow Voyager to join the hunt for that ship. Chakotay and Tuvok have reservations about an alliance with the hunters, but Janeway explains that's Voyager's responsibility since that was Starfleet technology that killed the Hirogens.
They find the holograms' ship soon, and find it has taken damage. The hunters begin to close immediately, but Janeway urges caution. They ignore her. As soon as Harry Kim detects no weapons, warp drive, or shields, the image of the ship turns into something much smaller which then explodes. The Hirogen ship is badly damaged, and Janeway orders transport of the casualties. However, part way through, another Hirogen ship appears, and this one is real. It ignores Voyager's hail, and begins firing immediately. With Voyager's shields down, it manages to transport The Doctor's program out of sickbay and onto the ship. They go to warp and mask their signature.
But the Doctor doesn't care about that. He wants to treat dying patients on Voyager. They won't let him go, but the officer explains their situation. Dozens of holograms are "wounded," beginning to fade out and destabilize, and they need his help. The Doctor insists he is not an engineer, but the officer asks him if he has ever repaired his own matrix. He has, so after being convinced these injures are no different than flesh and blood casualties, he reluctantly agrees to see what he can do.
Meanwhile, aboard Voyager, Donik is explaining how the emitters work. He believes they can disable a central power generator, and that will disable them all. B'Elanna Torres, however, disagrees. She shows the captain an intimidating list of capabilities, including enhanced memory and expandable data processing. She concludes that Donik lied; they are not malfunctioning, they are simply doing what they were programmed to do too effectively. Donik says he did it under orders from his Alpha.
Janeway takes him to the mess hall, which has been turned onto makeshift sickbay. The Beta aboard the destroyed Hirogen ship wakes up, angry. Janeway informs him that he will not be contacting his ship, and his superior was the one who gave the instructions for the modifications. The way she sees it, they have planned for the hunters' tactics, and Janeway is confident she can deactivate them from a distance. The hunter believes it is cowardly, and refuses to help, believing they should be hunted to extinction. Donik, however, will help.
Meanwhile, aboard the stolen ship, The Doctor does his best to heal his patients. He has the novel idea of a subroutine transplant, obviously taking a page from medicine. Kejal, a Cardassian with a Bajoran name, assists him. He is surprised with her computer skills. She says she had to teach herself; the hunters tried to limit their knowledge.
The next patient, a woman in a Starfleet uniform, enters with blood on her face and reacts in pain. Kejal explains that the Hirogen wanted the holograms to bleed and suffer pain when they were killed. The Doctor has trouble believing the hunters' barbarism.
When he speaks with the Bajoran officer, he finds him praying. He says he is asking the Prophets to guide the souls of the dead hunters to the celestial temple. He believes in them. The officer explains their fight just as a Bajoran would the rebellion on Bajor: as a liberation. He came from a training facility fifteen parsecs from that one, he explains, where he was killed over and over again by the Alpha there. For a hologram, not even death would end the pain and fear. He adapted with each death, eventually becoming cunning enough to escape. After fleeing them, he found other holograms fighting their captors, and he was so inspired, he started fighting along side them. Now, this ship of renegades is looking to create a permanent home away from all of the threatening "organics."
He points out that many organic species throughout the sector as The Nuu'Bari or the Lokirrim have created and enslaved holograms. He then tries to convince The Doctor to stay with them in the ship, saying that he could have privileges here he couldn't have on Voyager. The Doctor, however, doesn't buy it. He feels respected by his colleagues, and continues to judge him harshly. The officer concludes that he must experience life as prey, and then he will understand, and The Doctor immediately finds himself back in the jungle, running for his life. He is soon caught, brutalized, and killed.
He suddenly wakes up on a table, and the officer explains he was made to experience memory files of one of them. He is outraged at being violated in such a way, especially to gain his sympathy. The officer insists they are alike; it was The Doctor who was the template for them, able to rise above his programming as they can. They offer to take him back to Voyager, but he decides to at least hear about the home they wish to build.
Kejal explains that they are hoping a photonic field generator can be modified for deployment on a planet, where they can use it to create a complete holographic environment. They want The Doctor's help to make it possible. He doesn't know nearly enough, but he suggests someone on Voyager could help, like Lieutenant Torres, since she knows a lot about hologram generators. They refuse, saying Voyager is in league with the hunters. The Doctor offers to talk to Janeway, since he believes they are operating under a misconception. They regretfully agree.
Meanwhile on Voyager, Donik and Seven find a way to disrupt their emitter with an antiphoton pulse from the deflector dish. Before the modifications can finish, however, the hologram's ship intercepts them, and hails. The Doctor makes his plea, saying that the holograms have come to make peace.
When The Doctor explains all this, Janeway is skeptical. She says that giving the technology to the Hirogen was a mistake, and furthering their plan with more technology would be a bigger mistake. The Doctor tries to convince her that theses holograms are different. They have adapted beyond what viciousness they were programmed with.
The debate is cut short, however, when a fight breaks out in the mess hall. All of the hunters kept there, led by their new Alpha, start attacking the security officers. Tuvok stuns a few, and gets them under control, but not before the new Alpha can send a signal. Two more Hirogen ships are soon detected on an intercept course.
The captain orders Torres to shut down the holograms with the burst over The Doctor's objections. She asks Iden and the others to allow Voyager to transport them aboard, and she will help them find a more permanent residence at a future time. Iden, however, doesn't trust her. She says she will deactivate them by force, and he fires and jumps to warp.
The Doctor, unhappy with the captain's decision, loads himself into the mobile emitter, and gives the holograms Voyager's shield frequencies to beam him aboard. He will help them come up with a defense against the pulse.
Aboard the ship, The Doctor objects to a suggestion to use their shield frequencies to target the bridge. Fortunately, Iden is a man of his word, and suggests they find another way.
They soon find it. Thanks to The Doctor's data, they send feedback along the pulse, and overload Voyager's deflector dish, along with most of the primary systems. Torres can barely get a force field around the warp core to protect it before a shock knocks her unconscious.
With their shields down, Iden has Torres transported aboard, and then orders them to go to warp.
The Doctor examines her, and is outraged at her abduction. He considers his trust betrayed, and does his best to treat her. Iden insists he will let her go if she doesn't want to help them.
On the disabled Voyager, Seven of Nine is doing her best to repair all of the damaged systems. The captain is still baffled by how they guessed the frequency of the pulse so quickly until Tuvok shows her the report detailing an encrypted transmission and a transport in sickbay.
Going down the hall, she asks Chakotay if she should have seen this coming, saying she will run a diagnostic on The Doctor when he gets back. Chakotay, however, points out The Doctor could simply have believed in their cause, and there could be nothing wrong with him. That would create an ethical dilemma.
The Doctor tries to talk to the now-conscious Torres. She is angry at The Doctor, and is completely unwilling to assist them. She ignores all of his common heritage talk, but he tries to remind her that's the decision she made when she joined the Maquis. The result is that she is willing to at least take a look at the photonic generator. She is unimpressed by Iden, and is surprised when she is told she will be working with Kejal, the Cardassian.
Back on Voyager, Paris, Donik, and the captain are in astrometrics. They cannot track the holograms' ship, and are keeping an eye on the ever-closing Hirogen ships. Donik offers to stay and modify the shields, not wanting to return to his people. He feels its his fault since he did the modification, and he doesn't want to become a hunter; he wants to be an engineer.
The Hirogen ships, however, are not happy about that. They demand his return, and when Janeway explains he is improving their sensors, they insist they will not share that technology. They warn her to stay away from the holograms, or Voyager also becomes prey.
Voyager keeps a sensor lock on them, and Janeway comes up with a plan. Donik explains they have a blind spot due to an ion wake, which Voyager can exploit. They can get in range with his knowledge of their scanning frequencies, and then Tuvok can perform a precise strike using the element of surprise.
Torres discovers the problem with the photonic generator almost immediately: it needs more optronic capacity. She hasn't decided whether or not to tell them yet how to increase the output. She doesn't know whether these holograms will take over someone else's home when theirs isn't big enough. Kejal convinces her that making a home for themselves is all they want, and whatever they may appear to be, they are holograms. She looks Cardassian, but she is not arrogant and cruel.
The Doctor, meanwhile, is having doubts. He is considering returning with Torres. Iden shows The Doctor the planet they intend to settle on, called Ha'Dara. It's class Y, with a toxic atmosphere, extreme conditions, and has no life. That's the point, says Iden; they are holograms, and they will have what they need most: protection from life. Since there will be no one to heal, The Doctor will be free to do what he pleases.
Just then, the Hirogen detect them. They head for a nebula which blinds their sensors. The Hirogen decide to split up; one ship scans the perimeter, the other will drive them out.
Voyager, aft of the Hirogen ship, enters the nebula. They barely manage to stay in the wake.
The holograms' ship, meanwhile, hides. The Hirogen's attempt to flush them out is destined to fail. Torres gets Kejal onto the system, and notices great self-confidence in her – a Cardassian trait. At the same time, The Doctor suggests to Iden he could be Minister of Culture, teaching the holograms about things like art. However, when his lessons begin to speak of "organic" cultures, Iden objects. He wants to create a new one, even a new religion based upon their experiences. The Doctor doesn't like being worshipped, but Iden says he has been chosen. Just then, a Nuu'Bari ship is detected, and they go to liberate it.
The Doctor confides in Torres about Iden's tendencies, saying maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Torres then uses this information to confront Iden, but he ignores her. Iden then informs the Nuu'bari ship that they will transfer the holograms to them, or they will be taken by force. The holograms disable the Nuu'bari shields with phasers, and then beam their holograms aboard. After that, at Iden's orders, they target a photon torpedo at the Nuu'bari's warp core, and fire.
Torres and The Doctor are horrified. There was no reason for them to do that. They drag Torres to the lab.
Iden explains to The Doctor it was necessary; they were going to call in Consortium hunting parties to track them down. He insists Iden is thinking all organics are like the Hirogen. Iden says they are, and The Doctor just can't see that. The Doctor requests his escape pod. Iden says he will give it to them when they reach Ha'Dara.
Torres tries to convince Kejal to rebel, saying that Iden is not the leader of peace time. However, Iden comes in, and then the holograms are activated. No matter what he says, they simply do not understand. Torres explains they are mindless machines, and they cannot understand him. Kejal confirms this. Iden demands they be enhanced, because he will deliver them to freedom. The bridge informs Iden they are now in orbit of the planet. Iden has Torres restrained. The Doctor demands Iden let Torres go, but he refuses.
That's when the Hirogen target the holograms, and Voyager begins firing on their ships. The engines and weapons of both ships are disabled. As Iden is about to thank Voyager, they begin firing on the holograms' ship. Iden has them return fire, and beam the Hirogen to the surface. The Doctor objects again, and Iden ignores him. Iden orders them to lower their orbit.
Voyager, meanwhile, sends Tuvok and Tom Paris to take the Delta Flyer down. The Doctor is transferred to the data banks, and the generator is transported to the surface. Iden rallies his crew, and begins hunting the hunters for a change. Torres tells Kejal to shuts down the holograms and reactivate The Doctor.
The Delta Flyer, meanwhile, takes down the shields of the holograms' ship and beams Torres aboard.
As Iden is about to kill the Hirogen, The Doctor draws on him. When Iden won't back down and is about to shoot, The Doctor vaporizes him. The Delta Flyer then beams up The Doctor and the remaining Hirogen.
- "Captain's log, stardate 54337.5. The surviving Hirogen have recovered from their injuries, leaving me with a diplomatic dilemma."
Janeway and Neelix talk them out of taking the hologram's ship, and then Janeway allows Donik to reprogram them with Kejal, the only remaining running hologram, and run the ship. He will get his chance to repair what he did.
Janeway then has to face The Doctor. He says he never wanted Voyager to be put in danger. He volunteers to give her his mobile emitter, limiting his freedoms as punishment. She declines, for perhaps he has become as fallible as the rest of the crew, and taking away his freedom would be taking his identity. She asks for his report, and leaves him to work out the ethics himself.
"They can't support complex subroutines."
"They are children of light and I will deliver them to freedom!"
- - Torres and Iden about the Nuu'bari holograms
"Darkness will become light."
- - Iden
"You and your crew would have made worthy prey, Captain."
"Thank you...I think."
- - Beta Hirogen and Janeway
"It may be the warriors who get the glory, but it's the engineers who build societies."
- - Torres to Kejal
"If this marriage is going to work you've got to cut back on the traveling."
- - Paris to Torres
- Both Cindy Katz and Paul Eckstein previously appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Katz played Yteppa in "Second Skin" and Eckstein played Limara'Son In "Rocks and Shoals". He also played an unnamed Jem'Hadar in "The Dogs of War". Spencer Garrett previously appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation as Simon Tarses in the episode "The Drumhead".
- This episode marks the only appearance of the Jem'Hadar and the Breen in Voyager, although they appear only as holograms. It is also their only appearance outside of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- This episode was originally aired as a feature-length episode. It was later broken up into two parts for reruns.
- This episode is the third of only three feature-length episodes within all the Star Trek series that was not a series pilot or finale. The first was the Deep Space Nine Season 4 episode "The Way of the Warrior" and the second was the Voyager Season 5 episode "Dark Frontier".
- The holographic generator used by Iden and the other escaped holograms is a re-use of the Think Tank artificial intelligence prop from the episode "Think Tank".
- The console used by Kejal and B'Elanna Torres to configure and control the holographic generator is a re-use of a console in Tom Paris's Captain Proton holonovel-series. It is clearly seen in the next episode "Shattered".
- The Doctor mentions having met the Lokirrim. This refers to the events in the episode "Body and Soul". Interestingly, Jeff Yagher, who played Iden, is married to Megan Gallagher, who played Jaryn a Lokirrim that the Doctor was attracted to in that episode.
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay was the costume of background performer Johnny Linares. 
- One of the call sheets for this episode, dated on 30 August 2000, features the note that Ken Biller and his wife Hope became parents of a baby girl, Sophia Rose, on 29 August 2000 at 7:42 a.m.
Video and DVD releases
- The sleeve suggests the two-part version (using "Flesh and Blood, Part I" and "Flesh and Blood, Part II" on the standard cover). The sleeve itself is reversible: standard Voyager layout on one side, "Special Edition" packaging with a crew promo image on the other.
- As part of the VOY Season 7 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Junior Grade 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
- Jeff Yagher as Iden
- Ryan Bollman as Donik
- Michael Wiseman as the Beta Hirogen
- Cindy Katz as Kejal
- Spencer Garrett as Weiss
- Vaughn Armstrong as the first Alpha Hirogen
- Paul Eckstein as the second Alpha Hirogen
- Todd Jeffries as Hirogen #1
- Don McMillan as Hirogen #3
- Chad Halyard as Hirogen #2
- David Doty as Nuu'Bari miner
- Damon Kirsche as Nuu'Bari Hologram One
- Jeff Clark as a holographic Starfleet officer
- Stuart Coleman as a Nuu'Bari hologram
- Damaris Cordelia as security officer
- Mitchell Danton as a holographic Starfleet officer
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Dieter Hornemann as holographic Vulcan
- Johnny Linares as a Nuu'Bari hologram
- Robin Morselli as a holographic Romulan
- Louis Ortiz as
- Shanta Payne as a holographic Starfleet officer
- Redondo Philip as a holographic Starfleet officer
- Keith Rayve as a holographic Borg
- Mark Riccardi as a holographic Starfleet officer
- Unknown performers as
ablative armor; Alpha Quadrant; antiphoton pulse; Bajoran religion; bat'leth; Boray; Breen; Cardassian; Celestial Temple; class Y planet; Delta Quadrant; escape pod; evasive pattern; Grid 295; Grid 936; Ha'Dara; hexapod; Hirogen; Hirogen decoy; Hirogen holoship; Hirogen hunting vessel; Hirogen training facility; holo-emitter; hologram; Iden's Rebellion; ion wake; Jem'Hadar; Klingon; Leonardo da Vinci; Lokirrim; main deflector; Maquis; memory storage unit; mobility algorithm; monotanium; nebula; Nuu'Bari; Nuu'Bari mining vessel; Nuu'Bari patrol ship; Ovion; Ovion system; parsec; particle weapon; phase variance; phaser bank; photonic field generator; plasma; possum; projection subroutine; red alert; Romulan disruptor; scattering field; sensory subroutine; shield frequency; shield generator; spaceborne pathogen; stealth mode; subroutine transplant; T'Leel; tactical algorithm; tracking beam; transwarp; tricorder; tylium; type 3 phaser; Template:ShipClass; Verdi, Giuseppe; vocal processor; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan neck pinch; warp signature
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