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Scorpion, Part II (episode)

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"Scorpion, Part II"
VOY, Episode 4x01
Production number: 169
First aired: 3 September 1997
68th of 168 produced in VOY
68th of 168 released in VOY
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 168 released in VOY Remastered  
476th of 728 released in all
Borg 8472 battle
Written By
Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky

Directed By
Winrich Kolbe
51003.7 (2374)
Arc: Scorpion (2 of 2)  
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  Arc: {{{wsArc4Desc}}} ({{{nArc4PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc4PartCount}}})  

Captain Janeway forges a shaky alliance with the Borg Collective to defeat Species 8472, leading to a new potential crewmember coming aboard.

Summary

Teaser

JanewayCollectiveAlliance

Janeway tells her crew she has forged an alliance with the Borg

The Borg cube races away from the destruction wrought upon the assimilated system by Species 8472, still with USS Voyager in the grip of its tractor beam.

On the bridge, with Captain Kathryn Janeway on the cube, Commander Chakotay is in command. Lieutenant jg B'Elanna Torres, standing in at operations for the incapacitated Ensign Harry Kim, reports that the cube's shields are down; she has a transporter lock on the captain. Chakotay orders her to beam her back and break them free of the tractor beam. To Tuvok he orders weapons be made ready. However, Torres is unable to beam Janeway back to Voyager as the cube adapts to the transport attempts. Tuvok reports a hail from the cube. Chakotay orders it be put on screen.

Captain Janeway's face appears. She orders Chakotay to cease the transporter attempts. She then announces that she has made the deal with the collective. Lt. jg Tom Paris confirms that the cube has altered course for the Alpha Quadrant. Janeway says this is part of the accord, they will work on the weapon en route. Chakotay dubiously inquires as to how this arrangement is going to begin. Janeway responds that she will work with the Borg on the cube, since they have technology that will make the job progress faster. Chakotay strongly suggests she return to Voyager.

But Janeway is adamant that she will work on the cube, as the accord dictates. Chakotay then suggests that at least the cube can release them as Voyager can keep up with it without a leash. Janeway says she will propose it and then orders Tuvok to join her. With a final, firm look at Chakotay, she insists to him they will make this work and the communication ends.

Act One

In sickbay, The Doctor has finished preparing the treatment for Ensign Kim. He shows Chakotay ten million Borg nanoprobes he has modified to destroy the Species 8472 cells. With Chakotay looking on, he injects them into Kim. They are immediately successful; the area around the injection site turns from the horrid, deformed mass that covers the rest of Kim's face, neck and shoulders to mottled Borg-gray as the nanoprobes spread out, and finally reverts to normal Human skin. Chakotay, Kes and the Doctor are quietly elated.

Chakotay congratulates The Doctor and instructs that he be informed when Kim is fit for duty. As he moves to leave, however, the Doctor stops him and voices his concern about the alliance; a medical treatment is a long way from a weapon of war. Chakotay makes no display of his opinion, simply telling him to "leave it to the Captain", and reminds him to keep all the information about the nanoprobes in his holo-matrix.

Returning to the bridge, Chakotay gets a status report from Torres: Tuvok has transported onto the cube, the cube's tractor beam still has them, and its shields are regenerating. Chakotay orders constant transporter locks on the Captain and Tuvok. Torres begins to respond that she cannot do so, as the Borg will just match their frequencies, but Chakotay angrily cuts her off, snapping at her not to tell him what cannot be done. "Just find a way to get our people out of there if we have to," he orders sharply. She blanches and redoubles her efforts. The ship is suddenly shaken, and Paris reports the cube's tractor beam has been cut. He comments that the Borg, unbelievably, are actually honoring the accord.

Kes8472Watching

Kes tells the Doctor Species 8472 is watching them

In sickbay, Kes is standing at a wall console, working. Suddenly she thinks she sees something. Wheeling round, she stares round at the empty room and takes a few tentative steps forward. Then she sees an 8472 charging directly at her. She screams, a high, keening cry that brings The Doctor running out from his office. He finds her crouched against a wall, shivering in terror. He immediately scrunches at her side, hands protectively on her shoulder, asking her what is wrong. She stares at him wide-eyed. "They're watching us," she gasps.

On the cube, Janeway and Tuvok are led, rather roughly, to an area at the cube's center. Tuvok shows her information on the 8472 vessel they had encountered back in the carnage of Borg cubes. A cross-reference with the Doctor's research makes it clear that the aliens and their ships are made of the same biological material. They arrive at their destination and a drone blocks them from going any further. The Collective orders them to proceed. Janeway reveals the information given to her by Tuvok, and suggests that this means the alien ships would be susceptible to the Doctor's modified nanoprobes.

Seven of Nine speaks for the Borg

"I speak for the Borg."

She is suggesting, as a course of action, the development of a delivery system for the nanoprobes against the aliens' ships when, suddenly, two drones force them to their knees and proceed to attach devices to their necks. They demand to know what the drones are doing. The Collective tells them they will receive temporary neural transceivers, so that they can work with it as one mind. Janeway fervently disagrees with the idea. But the collective is not interested in her approval; it calls their "primitive method of communication" (speaking) "inefficient." Janeway suggests it choose a representative to speak for it, as it once chose Jean-Luc Picard to speak for it as Locutus. In fact, she does more than suggest; she demands it accept the idea or she will terminate the accord.

It considers and does accept. A door opens, leading to a short, dimly-lit corridor. At the end, a drone disconnects from its alcove. It walks purposefully to the door and steps out, into the room. It gazes at them coldly.

"I speak for the Borg." it announces.

Act Two

SevenofNineCube

Voyager follows the Borg cube

The drone was obviously, from its facial structure and body shape, a Human female before assimilation. The two officers introduce themselves. It haughtily responds that they are aware of their designations. Janeway asks the drone for its designation. It responds: "Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One." But, it adds, they may call it 'Seven of Nine'. It concurs with her proposal of a large-scale weapon. Tuvok suggests installing the nanoprobes in Voyager's photon torpedoes, essentially creating 'biomolecular warheads', but the drone responds that their torpedoes are inadequate, lacking the necessary range and force. Janeway ask it if it has a better suggestion. It crisply responds, "We are Borg," and turns away to go to a console. The officers look at each other and follow.

At the console, it brings up a schematic of a device, which it presents as the Collective's idea of a more suitable weapon: a multikinetic neutronic mine with a five million isoton yield. Tuvok notes that this would affect an entire star system. Janeway strongly objects; this is a weapon of mass destruction; it would put innocent lives at risk. But such considerations are irrelevant to the Collective. "It would be efficient," Seven of Nine responds, walking away. The officers press their objection; Tuvok states that it would take weeks to produce enough modified nanoprobes for such a weapon; weeks that the Borg cannot afford to spare. Janeway adds that their enemy currently thinks itself invulnerable; a few smaller weapons would show them otherwise and possibly cause them to give up and withdraw.

Seven of Nine's response is to look at them with disdain and scornfully call them individuals; small, thinking in small terms. But then it falls silent as the collective gives it instructions. It immediately walks back to them, saying that the current situation demands consideration of their plan (the Collective's instructions, obviously, were to go along with the idea). Returning to the console, it calls up Voyager's weapons inventory, specifically their photon torpedo specifications. The thunderstruck officers ask it how the Borg acquired this information. It responds again: "We are Borg." The officers look on silently as it begins to work on modifying their torpedo designs to accommodate the proposed nanoprobe warheads.

On Voyager, The Doctor updates Chakotay on Kes' visions. They are increasing in frequency and intensity, and have become more than simple communications; now it is as if the aliens were in the same room with her. He reports that certain regions of her brain are hyper-stimulated every time she has a vision, specifically those centers dealing with memory and perception. The inference is disturbing: they are accessing her memories, finding out about them and what their intentions are, and using her eyes to see what they are doing. In short, they are learning their plans and using her to mount surveillance on them.

Thus, they may already know about the nanoprobes...

On the cube, Janeway attempts to learn more about Seven of Nine's past; about the Human it had once been. She learns from it that its Human body was assimilated eighteen years prior, ceasing to be Human at that time, becoming a new Borg drone. Janeway attempts to learn more, asking it that Human's name; it is obvious she is trying to contact that Human part of it. But it cuts her off, snapping at her not to attempt to "engage us in further irrelevant discourse."

A hail then comes in from Voyager. Chakotay informs Janeway that the 8472s are accessing Kes' memory. Knowing what that means, Janeway recommends to Seven of Nine that they change course. It silently consults with the collective, which agrees and communicates the course change to the drones on the cube. The cube changes course accordingly. Seven of Nine informs Janeway and Janeway orders Chakotay to adjust Voyager's course to match. She further orders him to keep her abreast of developments regarding Kes. Chakotay acknowledges and the communication ends.

7of9Janeway500Drones

"Do you think you could offer sufficient resistance?"

Seven of Nine then demands one of Voyager's torpedoes, as well as some of the modified nanoprobes. Janeway flatly refuses. The drone presses her, stating that the situation has changed; the risk of attack has increased, and therefore a prototype must be tested immediately. But Janeway does not budge, responding that the nanoprobes are their only guarantee against assimilation. Seven of Nine attempts to force her with threats. In a soft, dangerous voice, it asks her if they are willing to risk a direct confrontation with them, and if she thought the crew could resist a contingent of 500 drones if they were to board their vessel. Janeway simply responds that she, and her crew, would die trying.

Janeway7of9NotIntimidated

"We'd die trying."

Seven of Nine goes silent again as the collective instructs it (its obvious instructions: "Stop pushing!"). "That won't be necessary," it relents, and returns to work on the torpedo designs.

On Voyager, Ensign Kim, fully recovered, returns to duty at the bridge's operations station, happily greeted by Chakotay and the other bridge officers. Torres teases him by saying, "You've still got a tendril up your nose." The moment of levity ends quickly, however, when Lt. Paris reports a singularity opening nearby. Chakotay immediately orders shields raised and a transporter lock on Tuvok and Janeway. An 8472 vessel emerges and makes straight for the cube and Voyager. But this time the target is not the cube, but Voyager. The aliens indeed have learned of the nanoprobes from their probes of Kes' memory, and are bent on destroying them and their creators.

The ship opens fire on Voyager. The cube attempts to protect Voyager, firing on the alien ship, but, unsurprisingly, its weapons are completely ineffective. On the cube, Tuvok, Janeway and Seven of Nine monitor Voyager's condition, the two officers noting tensely that it is taking heavy damage, and is unlikely to survive the assault. The cube moves between Voyager and the 8472 vessel, shielding Voyager and taking the 8472 ship's fire, as Voyager dashes clear.

Explosions rock the cube; within, drones are blown from their alcoves that explode from energy discharges and overloads. One such explosion catches Janeway, knocking her unconscious and severely injuring her. On Voyager, Chakotay and the bridge officers watch the viewscreen in horror as the cube suddenly slows, causing the 8472 ship to crash into it. A massive explosion ensues.

BorgCubeSacrifice

Seven of Nine's cube sacrifices itself to save Voyager

Chakotay demands a report of the cube's condition. Paris bleakly reports the horrific truth: it was destroyed, along with the 8472 ship, and, it seems, Captain Janeway and Tuvok. But then a hail comes from Cargo Bay 2. It is Tuvok, barely conscious. He reports that the Borg beamed him, the Captain and a small number of drones over, just before the cube's destruction. He asks for medical assistance before going silent. Chakotay gives Paris the bridge, orders the entire deck on which Cargo Bay 2 is located sealed and Security to meet him outside the cargo bay, as he heads for the turbolift.

Chakotay and two security officers enter the cargo bay, armed with phaser rifles. They find Janeway and Tuvok, unconscious. The Captain has a deep, bloody gash along her face. Chakotay and the officers search for the drones. Suddenly an exo-plating-armored arm extends and the index finger of the hand attached to that arm points at them. A commanding voice tells them to lower their weapons, and Seven of Nine steps forward. It tells Chakotay they are here with the Captain's consent, further stating that the cube sacrificed itself to protect Voyager. Chakotay and the security officers stare at it, making no move to lower their weapons. It walks slowly up to Chakotay and reminds him of the alliance. Their weapons drop, slowly.

Act Three

Janeway and Tuvok are treated in sickbay; The Doctor attends to Janeway and Kes treats Tuvok. Tuvok, despite his appearance when found, has suffered no serious injuries, and has quickly recovered. Tuvok then asks Kes how she is doing with regards to her visions. She says that they have stopped for the time being. Janeway, however, is in extremely serious condition. The Doctor informs Tuvok and Chakotay that her neural pathways are disrupted; he will have to induce coma in her to facilitate her recovery, but he has no idea if she will recover. He tells Chakotay that she wants to speak with him, but warns him to be brief.

Chakotay orders Tuvok to supervise security regarding the drones; an extremely severe security risk, they are not to be allowed out of cargo bay 2. He goes to Janeway's side. Weakly, but very determinedly, she hands command to him. She tells him the Borg will push and threaten him, but have no choice but to honor the accord; their survival depends on it. She exhorts him to make the alliance work and get the crew home, as if these are her last words, before The Doctor comes and says he needs to induce the coma now. Chakotay clasps her hand and lays it at her side as she loses consciousness.

Accompanied by two armed security officers, Chakotay goes to cargo bay 2. The bay has been assimilated by the drones. Seven of Nine meets him and demands to speak with Janeway. Chakotay responds that she is recovering from her injuries; it will now be dealing with him. The drone tells him the loss of their vessel requires a change in the accord. Chakotay responds that he is willing to let the accord stand: they will work on the weapon, and, once Voyager is safely past Borg space, the nanoprobes will be given to them and they will depart.

Seven of Nine calls this insufficient; projections show they will have lost the war by then. It accesses a Borg console and shows him the position of another cube, forty light years from Voyager. "You will reverse course and take us to it," it commands. Chakotay refuses; the cube is five days away and, more importantly, in the wrong direction, further into Borg space. He insists that he will honor the original agreement but they will not go back; it is too dangerous. Seven of Nine responds, in a threatening tone, that denying their request is also dangerous. Chakotay promises to "think about it". "Think quickly," it responds dangerously, and walks away.

ChakotayEndsAlliance

Chakotay tells the senior staff he is ending the alliance with the Borg

Chakotay calls a meeting of all senior staff. Kes attends for the Doctor, who is fully occupied treating Captain Janeway. Chakotay explains the situation to them: the Borg want them to rendezvous with another cube, but doing so is far too risky, as the 8472s are now after Voyager specifically. Therefore, he intends to end the alliance.

The officers are surprised; as unlikely as it has been, the Borg have kept their end of the bargain. Chakotay explains that he plans to drop the drones off on an uninhabited planet with the nanoprobes and they will continue on their way; he is in command and must do what he believes is best for the ship and crew. He orders Lt. Paris to find such a planet. Tuvok warns him that the Borg will not go quietly. He orders that "that female drone" be brought to him.

7of9ChakotayNoGreatness

"You lack harmony. Cohesion. Greatness. It will be your undoing."

Seven of Nine is brought by armed security to Chakotay in the Captain's ready room. He outlines his plan to it to drop it and the other drones off with the nanoprobes, suggesting they "part ways amicably". Seven of Nine begins to object, but Chakotay cuts it off; his decision is final. Seven of Nine threatens assimilation of Voyager. Chakotay responds that if a single drone leaves the cargo bay he will have the whole deck decompressed and thus, they will not be much of a threat floating in space.

Seven of Nine fixes him with a cold stare and responds that they had suspected an agreement with Humans could not be maintained. "You are erratic," it tells him. "Conflicted; disorganized. Every decision is debated, every action questioned. Every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony; cohesion; greatness. It will be your undoing." Chakotay has no answer. He orders it taken back to the cargo bay.

In sickbay, Chakotay quietly speaks to the comatose Captain Janeway. Though she cannot hear him, he tells her the action he has taken, and fervently hopes for her understanding and forgiveness.

Act Four

As Seven of Nine and the other drones work in cargo bay 2, the Collective updates them on the status of the war. The Borg are steadily being moved further and further toward extermination. It lists the casualties of the last battle, occurring in an area of their space designated as Matrix 010, Grid 19. Eight planets destroyed. 312 vessels disabled. Four million, six hundred and twenty one drones killed. Time is fast running out. It instructs them to force the Humans' hand by seizing control of their vessel and take it into the alien realm. Seven of Nine acknowledges. Two drones open a Jefferies tube hatch, and Seven of Nine crawls in.

Voyager arrives at an uninhabited moon. Chakotay orders Lt. Paris to move the ship into orbit, and orders Tuvok to prepare to beam the drones directly to the surface. Then Ensign Kim reports that the drones have accessed their deflector controls. Chakotay orders him to shut them out. Kim tries, but to no avail. Lt. Torres reports that a quantum singularity is forming; the drones are using the deflector to open it. Chakotay hails the cargo bay and warns them that if they do not stop he will have the bay decompressed. They do not respond. He gives the order to Tuvok.

ExplosiveDecompressionVoyager

The drones aboard Voyager are removed... all but one

Tuvok opens the outer doors to the bay, after deactivating the force field that normally contains the atmosphere when the outer doors are open. The atmosphere within rushes out in a powerful blast, taking the drones with it. However, Seven of Nine holds on tenaciously to the ridges in the Jefferies tube it has entered, anchoring itself firmly. It remains there until the doors close.

On the bridge, Tuvok reports that the cargo bay has been completely decompressed, but one drone is still aboard. Then the pull of the singularity seizes the ship. There is nothing they can do; they are drawn in as a vacuum draws in debris. They find themselves in an environment unlike anything they have ever experienced, or imagined. There are no stars or planets; in fact, there is no space; just, as Torres reports, fluidic matter. Seven of Nine, having emerged from the Jefferies tube, and able to survive in a vacuum for a limited time as Borg drones are capable of doing, hails Chakotay and informs him of where they are: in the fluidic realm of Species 8472. Chakotay orders the re-pressurization of the bay. He then gives the bridge to Paris and heads for the turbolift, taking Tuvok with him.

VoyagerFluidicSpace

Voyager flies through the fluidic realm of Species 8472

Chakotay and Tuvok arrive at the cargo bay. Seven of Nine tells them that their arrival has been noted, and that 8472 vessels will be at their position in three hours, seventeen minutes. The exact time frame the drone states, down to the minute, strikes Chakotay as odd; he comments that it seems to know a lot about this place, as if it has been here previously.

He asks it if this is so. It ignores him, insisting that they must prepare for the aliens' arrival by building the nanoprobe-warhead torpedoes. Chakotay, however, presses the matter. And then the epiphany hits him; it has been here previously. In fact, the Borg have been here previously; they invaded the aliens' realm and attempted to assimilate them, thus starting the war. They never considered that this species may be more powerful than they; that it could resist them; that they could fight back.

Chakotay accusingly tells this to Seven of Nine. The drone does not deny it, responding that the species was "more resistant than we had anticipated", and that their technology is superior to anything they had previously encountered. Tuvok adds to the accusation, telling it that this is precisely why the Borg wanted them. It explains that the species is the apex of biological evolution; their assimilation would have greatly added to Borg 'perfection'.

"So instead of assimilating these aliens," Tuvok responds, "You opened a door for them into our galaxy." His inference is clear: all life in the galaxy is now poised to pay for Borg aggression. Seven of Nine insists that the only course of action is therefore to destroy the aliens first. It tells them its link to the collective is not strong enough for communication there. It thus cannot call for help; they are alone. It again presses for immediate construction of the nanoprobe torpedoes. Just then, the Doctor hails Chakotay. He acknowledges and heads for the Sickbay.

He arrives to find Captain Janeway fully recovered and on her feet, but intensely angry. She asks the Doctor to excuse them for a moment. The Doctor acquiesces and turns himself off. Janeway sharply tells Chakotay the Doctor has informed her of all that has happened, and demands his explanation for why he disobeyed her. Chakotay defensively responds that the Borg wanted him to go further back into Borg space. He asks her what she would have done. She responds that she would have changed course and maintained the accord for as long as possible. She cuttingly accuses him of waiting for a chance to circumvent her orders, never trusting her to make the alliance work.

He protests that he made a tactical decision, and tells her his newly acquired information that the Borg are simply using them to save their skins from the consequences of their aggression, having started the war with Species 8472. This mollifies Janeway, somewhat. He informs her that there is only one drone left, and urges her to attempt to disable it and use the deflector to open another singularity to return to the Delta Quadrant. But she flatly refuses; she intends to reinstate the accord and fight the aliens alongside the Borg. Chakotay heatedly responds that the Borg cannot be trusted. He knows them, he insists, having been part of a mini-collective of former drones once (VOY: "Unity").

They pace up and down silently, frustrated. It is clear to them that they can continue the argument ad infinitum without a consensus. They see how little use their continued squabbling is. It is Janeway who makes the first step toward reconciliation, telling him that they need to stop fighting each other in order to get though this. Chakotay agrees, telling her what Seven of Nine said about their lack of cohesion being their undoing. They agree to put their difference of opinion aside, and work together, as they should be doing.

Seven of Nine steps out from the turbolift onto the bridge, meeting Janeway there. She tells the drone that Chakotay is confined to the brig for disobeying her, and orders Tuvok to give it the nanoprobes and work with it to modify the torpedoes to deliver them. She then addresses the bridge officers: they are going to engage the enemy right there in their own realm. If the nanoprobes work, and the aliens have any sense of self-preservation, they will withdraw from the Delta Quadrant. They have less than two hours to arm and ready themselves before 8472 ships arrive. She strides to her seat and takes her position, her face tight with grim determination. "We're going to war", she says.

Act Five

Two hours later, Voyager is ready. Kes is present on the bridge, sitting in the first officer's seat next to Janeway's. Seven of Nine stands close to Ensign Kim's operations station. Kim reports that modifications the Borg have made to Voyager to give them a better fighting chance are complete. Janeway orders them activated. Voyager's hull, seen from the outside, begins to glow Borg-green in several places. Tuvok reports the nanoprobe weapons are ready: thirteen standard torpedoes and one class 10 high yield torpedo. Janeway informs the crew to stand by. Paris reports four 8472 ships coming in. Janeway orders battle stations. Kim reports that the alien ships are in visual range. Janeway orders an on-screen view. On the viewscreen, the squid-like vessels are seen, closing fast.

Then Kes begins getting telepathic messages from the aliens. "I can hear them," she tells Janeway. "They say we've contaminated their realm," Janeway, seeking to avoid hostilities if possible, even at this stage, tells Kes to tell them they had no choice; they were only trying to defend themselves. But the aliens retort that Voyager's galaxy is a threat to their genetic integrity. Janeway tells Kes to tell them of the nanoprobe weapons and warn them that these weapons will be used if they do not stop their attacks. The aliens are not intimidated. "Your galaxy will be purged," they insist.

The 8472 ships open fire, strafing Voyager. The ship rocks under their attack. Lt. Paris reports that they are coming around for another run. Janeway orders Tuvok to fire. He does, letting fly four of the modified standard torpedoes, which glow green instead of the usual bright yellow-orange. They strike their targets dead-on.

But they seemingly have no effect. Janeway stares at the viewscreen in horror. Kim tensely reports that the ships are charging weapons. It seems like the end...

NanoprobeTorpedoesEffective

The modified nanoprobes work

And then the ships suddenly stall, crystallize, becoming the same shade of green as the torpedoes, and explode. Tuvok comments that the torpedoes were indeed effective...if not prompt. Janeway, relieved, says that they have made their point, showing the aliens they are no longer invincible. She tells Seven of Nine to open another singularity, allowing them to leave. The drone goes to a console, shoving the bridge officer there out of the way, and proceeds to do so. Janeway eyes it coldly. She now has no illusions about what is going to happen when they get back. It is fortunate that they are prepared...

Voyager emerges back into the Delta Quadrant. It is immediately set upon from aft by several more 8472 vessels. Janeway tells Kes to tell them that if they do not back off, they will deploy the weapon again. Kes does so, but the aliens do not respond. Janeway orders Tuvok to ready the high-yield torpedo, launching it from aft. The aliens start firing on them. Janeway orders Tuvok to fire, which he does. The torpedo, glowing the same green as the four standard ones but much larger, flies straight into the midst of the alien ships and detonates. Voyager is rocked by the shock wave, but is otherwise unharmed, while the alien ships caught in the blast, like the four before them, stall, crystallize green, and explode.

Tuvok reports that thirteen of the ships were destroyed, and the others are retreating. Seven of Nine tells them it is again in contact with the Collective. It inclines its head slightly as the collective communicates with it. It relays what it has said: all 8472 vessels are retreating back into their realm. "The Borg have prevailed," it announces. Janeway rises and, facing the drone, calls upon it to fulfill the Collective's end of the deal, offering it a shuttle to leave for the nearest cube.

ParisCannotStop7of9

Paris tries to stop Seven of Nine and fails

The double-cross then happens. "Unacceptable," Seven of Nine responds. "This alliance is terminated. Your ship and its crew will adapt to service us." It strides toward the helm console. Paris fires a phaser at it. Its personal shield glows green, protecting it completely. Unhindered, it continues to the console, batting Paris aside on arrival. "Resistance is futile," it states coldly.

It stands before the console and plunges its assimilation tubules into it. Kim reports that it is commandeering helm control and accessing their coordinates; its intent is to transmit that information to the Collective, while preventing them from fleeing. They will then have only a short, agonizing wait before one or more cubes descend on them like wolves. Janeway orders him to block its access; he fails of course.

But, as was said, they are prepared. With an icy stare at the drone, Janeway hails Chakotay. She tells him a single word;

"Scorpion."

In cargo bay 2, Chakotay is standing in one of the alcoves that had been beamed over from the borg ship. The Doctor attaches a neural transceiver to his neck. Chakotay then links with Seven of Nine and begins an attempt to reach the Human within the drone, while Lt. Torres works feverishly at a Borg console. The Doctor urges Torres to hurry, telling her the link will not last long. Chakotay continues his attempt, telling the drone he can see its memories; memories of being Human. A happy little Human girl is seen, running through a green, lush field. On the bridge, Seven of Nine distractedly mutters: "We are Borg." Chakotay continues to pull up its pre-assimilation memories, this time of the little girl frolicking happily with her parents in the same lush field.

"Irrelevant," Seven of Nine retorts tightly. "Your appeal to my (it uses the singular, a very significant point) Humanity is pointless." Torres urges him to keep it up just a bit longer; she is almost ready. He makes one final, impassioned appeal, calling the drone by its Human name: Annika. The Doctor frantically tells Torres the link is dropping.

Seven of Nine severed from Collective

Scorpion

But Torres is ready. She initiates the power surge she has set up. On the bridge, Seven of Nine suddenly stands ramrod-straight, a vacant, paralysed expression on its face. The look is replaced by one of sheer agony as it cries out in excruciating pain. It raises a hand to the back of its head as an implant located there sparks with a bright light, overloaded and destroyed by Torres' power surge. It finally sinks down and slumps over the helm console, unconscious. In cargo bay 2, the neural transceiver on Chakotay's neck also sparks, as he gives a short, strangled scream and falls into the same state.

Janeway stares down at the disabled drone. Tuvok reports that its link to the Collective is severed. Janeway orders him to take it to sickbay. He lifts it and heads for the turbolift. Janeway hails The Doctor and orders a report on Chakotay's condition. He responds that Chakotay will be fine, though he may wake up with a bit of a headache. Relieved, Janeway orders Paris to remove them from Borg space at maximum warp. Paris is happy to obey.

Epilogue

Janeway is once again in her Leonardo da Vinci holodeck simulation, writing with a quill pen on paper. Chakotay enters. She tells him she is writing her log, the old-fashioned way. He gives her a report on the ship's condition, telling her it will take at least two weeks to remove all of the Borg modifications. She asks about their passenger. Chakotay responds that the Doctor says it is stabilizing and its Human cells are regenerating. Janeway wonders if the Human female can be recovered from beneath the Borg technology.

Seven of Nine in Sickbay

A drone no longer;
Seven of Nine, severed from the Borg Collective

Realizing that she plans to keep it aboard, Chakotay cautions her on the wisdom of that; she was assimilated at a young age, he tells her. The collective is all she knows; she may want to return to it. Janeway believes she might not; they can offer her friendship, something the Borg could never do. Chakotay moves to another, more difficult subject. He tells her disobeying her was one of the hardest choices he has ever had to make. She assures him she understands and respects his decision, though she does not agree with it. What is important, she stresses, is that they got through it together in the end. She does not want that to change, ever. He agrees. Together they leave the holodeck to return to the bridge.

In the Sickbay, on a bio-bed, the now-former Borg drone Seven of Nine lies unconscious, her link to the collective permanently severed. Already a tinge of normal Caucasian skin tone can be seen beneath the usual drone's mottled Borg-gray as the physiology of the Human, Annika, begins to reassert itself. Only time will tell how much Annika's Humanity can emerge from the living death that was her existence for the last 18 years.

Memorable Quotes

"Don't worry. I'll delete myself at the first sign of trouble. Well, maybe not the first sign."

- The Doctor, about his knowledge of the modified nanoprobes


"I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but it looks like the Borg are cooperating."

- Paris to Chakotay


"You still have a tendril up your nose."

- Torres to Kim, after he returned from sickbay


"I speak for the Borg."

- Seven of Nine to Janeway and Tuvok; also her first words in the series

"Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One. But you may call me Seven of Nine."

- Seven of Nine introduces herself to Janeway and Tuvok.

"Do you have a better idea?"
"We are Borg!"
"I take that as a "Yes"."

- Janeway, Seven of Nine and Tuvok


"We have an alliance, do we not?"

- Seven of Nine to Chakotay


"Species 8472 has penetrated matrix 010 grid 19; eight planets destroyed, 312 vessels disabled, four million 621 Borg eliminated. We must seize control of the Alpha Quadrant vessel and take it into the alien realm."

- The Borg Collective, to Seven of Nine and the other drones aboard Voyager


"What's the matter? Our galaxy wasn't big enough for you? You had to conquer new territory?"

- Chakotay to Seven of Nine


"Bridge to Chakotay: Scorpion!"

- Captain Janeway, as Seven of Nine breaks the alliance and tries to assimilate Voyager


"When your captain first approached us, we suspected that an agreement with Humans would prove impossible to maintain. You are erratic, conflicted, disorganized. Every decision is debated, every action questioned, every individual entitled to their own small opinion. You lack harmony; cohesion; greatness. It will be your undoing."

- Seven of Nine to Chakotay


"It will be your undoing."
"What?"
"Our conflictive nature, our individuality. Seven of Nine said that we lacked the cohesion of a collective mind. That one day it would divide us and destroy us. And here we are proving her point."
"I'll tell you when we lost control of the situation, when we made our mistake. It was the moment we turned away of each other. We don't have to stop being individuals to get through this. We just have to stop fighting each other."

- Chakotay and Janeway


"There are two wars going on, the one out there and the one in here and we're losing both of them."

- Janeway


"They'll push you. They'll threaten you but they need you. They need this alliance"

- Janeway


"This is the plan. We engage the enemy here, in their space. We show them what they're up against. If they have any sense of self-preservation they'll back off. Pull their ships out of the Delta Quadrant."

- Janeway

"Are you willing to risk a direct confrontation with us?"

- Seven of Nine to Janeway


"If we were able to transport 500 drones onto your vessel, do you believe you could offer sufficient resistance?" "We'd die trying."
"That won't be necessary."

- Seven of Nine and Janeway

"We're going to war."

- Janeway

Background

Story and Script

  • The degree of tension between Janeway and Chakotay in this episode was influenced by director Winrich Kolbe. "I pushed for it because I wanted to explore the relationship between a disabled commander and her second in command," he recalled, "and the military perspective of what do you do if your second-in-line disagrees with the first-in-line, and the first-in-line is out, though the orders she left were very clear. We didn't resolve it with a happy ending, and they don't just say, 'Well, our friendship has to survive.' I wanted a real dressing down, wanted to make sure that everybody knew that what Chakotay did was a court-martial offense. I never got that far, but [Janeway actress] Kate [Mulgrew] and I kept pushing [co-writer] Brannon Braga on the idea that we had to show a conflict, and that conflicts don't have to be resolved." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)
  • Brannon Braga initially considered including, in this episode, a reference to an event that takes place in Star Trek: First Contact. At the time, he announced, "I'm planning on saying that one of the things that made the Borg more vulnerable was the fact that the Queen was killed, and we'll learn a little bit about that in Part II." (Star Trek Monthly issue 28, p. 18) This plan never came to fruition, however. Braga remembered, "I realized it was a plot thread that would come off as exposition. The last thing you want to do in a big, sweeping two-parter is to start explaining a movie that half the audience may not have seen. So I dropped it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 15)
  • Nonetheless, the character of the Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact was indeed utilized as one of several points of inspiration for the writing of this installment. Joe Menosky, the episode's other co-writer, explained, "The original inspiration was a couple of things. One was when Picard became the voice of the Collective as Locutus, so there was an individual speaking for the Collective. Another was when the Borg Queen did the same. (Executive producer) Rick Berman was pretty adamant that you get bored with the Collective voice pretty quickly, and someone had better step forward." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 77)
  • Another influence on this episode was the Borg-centric third season installment "Unity". Brannon Braga was watching a televised promotion for that episode when he had the original thought that would ultimately develop into the regular character of Seven of Nine, first introduced here. At the same time, he concluded that the Borg should be featured again on Voyager but more prominently than in that Season 3 episode (a conclusion that would inspire him to write this episode's two-parter). (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 75)
  • Although the idea of Seven of Nine had been conceived by the time the first part of this episode's two-parter had been written, casting considerations influenced the writers to include the character's introduction as a plot element of this episode rather than the previous one. "Seven didn't appear until 'Scorpion, Part II' but we were thinking about her in 'Scorpion I,'" Joe Menosky explained. "You needed an entire summer to cast that role. We had her in mind but because you can't cast in such a short period of time, and we weren't really sure who she was going to be, we pushed off her delivery, her appearance into 'Part II.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 77)
  • Due to the fact that much consideration went into deciding the moniker for the character that would eventually be known as Seven of Nine, this episode was one of a few that were affected by the name changes. Brannon Braga explained, "We struggled for a long time. Initially, we gave her a Human name. She was gonna be named Pera, or Annika, or something [....] We wrote the first couple of scripts with a Human name. And it wasn't until a little later that we thought, 'She shouldn't have a Human name. She should be set apart, in some way.'" (VOY Season 4 DVD easter egg)
  • This episode's final draft script was submitted on 23 May 1997. [1]
  • When Seven of Nine first appears in the shooting script, she is said to be "standing in [her] alcove, like a vampire in her coffin". A subsequent scene description reads:

"The Borg female steps out of her alcove and through the vapor... for the first time we get a clear look at her. She is young, striking, covered with Borg technology, but clearly once human.
"Her demeanor is cold and passionless–even though she speaks in an individual voice, she is still connected to the hive mind. (NOTE: This is a character we will come to know as SEVEN OF NINE.)
"She eyes Janeway and Tuvok with an impassive stare." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)

  • Also notable is the fact that Seven of Nine is additionally described as "incisive, almost arrogant... and she speaks in a precise Borg-like manner," "confident, demanding," and is said to have an "inscrutable face."
  • Apart from in dialogue, this episode's script commonly refers to Species 8472 as either "bio-aliens" or simply, generically "aliens". Similarly, the energy fired by each bio-ship is consistently described as an "energy tendril" and fluidic space is commonly referred to as the "alien realm," although "fluidic space" is also used.
  • The flashback scenes of this episode that feature the young Annika Hansen and her parents were not scripted.

Cast

  • Actress Jeri Ryan was cast in the role of Seven of Nine more than two weeks before this episode entered production. Having come to the auditions knowing nothing about Star Trek but been asked to audition by playing Seven of Nine in two scenes set numerous weeks into her transition between Borg and Human, Jeri Ryan was surprised to discover that, for this episode and the following one ("The Gift"), she would be required to play a full Borg. Ryan stated, "It never occurred to me that I would be playing a full Borg [for any substantial period of time], but that's exactly what I did in the first two episodes. All I knew or thought was that, other than the Borg Queen, the Borg hardly speak." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 38) Hence, it hadn't occurred to Ryan that she, like the Borg Queen, would speak while also being a full Borg. "They had given me First Contact to watch but already said to me to ignore what the Borg Queen does in that because Seven is a hybrid," Ryan offered, indirectly referring to the producers. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, p. 24) She had incorrectly assumed that – because Seven would be a drone – the first half of her first episode would show the Borg character "walking around" in the background, before the episode would cut to a later stage in Seven's development and she would speak from then on. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, p. 24; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 38) It was the teleplay of this episode from which Jeri Ryan first learned otherwise. "The script comes out and I'm talking all over the place!" she remembered. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, p. 24)
  • Similarly, even though Ryan's agent had informed her of what the Borg typically look like (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 346), she was initially unaware that her appearance would, at first, match the typical Borg look. "They told me that it was prosthetic makeup," she recalled of the producers. "But of course, you know, they're downplaying it to the nth degree, in the beginning." (Voyager Time Capsule: Seven of Nine, VOY Season 4 DVD)
  • Jeri Ryan was duly concerned. "When the first script came out to me, I just panicked and called the writers and said, 'What is this? I didn't know I'd have to talk!' I was completely at a loss." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 17) She also ran to Rick Berman's office, in a state of panic. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, p. 24; The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 38) "[I] said, 'What am I doing? You've got to give me some sort of clue!'" Ryan remembered. "The answer was, 'We're creating something new. The character is a whole new alien.' She's not really something that has been seen on Star Trek before. She's not the Borg Queen. Rick didn't want [her to be like] the drones from the movie either. So, it was really a matter of finding a happy medium and creating something new." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 38)
  • Subsequently, Jeri Ryan was thankful to be given the chance to play Seven of Nine as a full Borg. "It was exciting to have this new character to play and discover," the actress remarked. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 38) Ryan also commented about Seven, "She doesn't start out Human, you know? She is starting out as a complete blank slate, and that's a very rare opportunity to be given as an actor. So, she started out as a machine, essentially, with no autonomy, no mind of her own, no opinions, no feelings, no emotions, nothing." (Voyager Time Capsule: Seven of Nine, VOY Season 4 DVD)
  • Although Jeri Ryan was excited by her character's newness, the task of acting as a character whose species was largely unfamiliar to her was simultaneously daunting. "It was [...] very stressful for me," she admitted. "Honestly, I had no clue at all as to how to play a Borg. They said, 'Don't do this,' or, 'Ignore that.' We were playing it by ear and trying to create something completely different. So, [initially], I felt like I was floundering around." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #14, p. 38) The actress also recalled, "I really didn't know what I was doing, so I felt I was really flailing around [at first]. I was really panic-stricken." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 17)
  • Other than having watched Star Trek: First Contact, Jeri Ryan additionally viewed some Borg-related outings from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyager, in the lead-up to appearing in this episode. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 38)
  • Jeri Ryan found that, in this installment, Seven's full-on Borg apparel aided her performance. She noted, "The makeup and costume really help find Seven because you need that 'attitude.' When you're that uncomfortable, you get Borg attitude really easily." (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, pp. 24 & 25)
  • According to Jeri Ryan, the breakthrough with her portrayal of Seven of Nine was advice provided to her by Winrich Kolbe. "I managed to find her voice and exactly what it was that makes her tick. It was Rick Kolbe who helped me figure it out," Ryan explained. "He gave me the image of a Prussian general. He said, 'She's not a robot and she's not the Borg Queen. She's not that free. But she has this military bearing and the presence of a Prussian general.' That's the image I had in my head." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #14, pp. 38-39) Ryan also recollected, "The most helpful piece of advice I got to help find Seven of Nine came from [...] Rick Kolbe. He gave me the image of a Prussian general, that military bearing, that strength. Once I heard that, that sort of clicked it in. I felt like I found her." (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, p. 25) The actress also referred to Kolbe's suggestion as "the best piece of advice to find the character as a full Borg" and related, "[It] helped me immensely. It pointed me in the right direction of what Seven's physicality and attitude was, so that's sort of what I folded the character around when she was a Borg." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 17)
  • Jeri Ryan's concerns regarding the episode's dialogue remained. She remembered, "We'd just gotten the script and I was saying [to Kim actor Garrett Wang] how scared I was and I didn't understand all this technical stuff and didn't know how to memorize it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 19) She clarified, "We were talking about the technobabble that I had in the first show and I was stressing about it [....] Garrett's comment was, 'Just be glad you're not an engineer, because they get all the technobabble.'" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, pp. 36 & 37) Ryan stated that Wang had added, "That's the really bad job!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 20)
  • Ultimately, Jeri Ryan found that appearing in this episode, working alongside the cast and crew of Star Trek: Voyager for the first time, was pleasant. "'Scorpion II' [sic] was a good experience," she admitted. "I enjoyed working with all these people." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #14, p. 38)
  • Jeri Taylor was ultimately very pleased with Jeri Ryan's performance in this episode. During production on the installment, Taylor enthused, "She has an amazing strength. She has far exceeded our expectations in the way she has been playing this character. We have a remarkable actress." (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 4)
  • Joe Menosky was of the opinion that Seven of Nine was introduced at the perfect point in the series, working well in sync with the development of Captain Janeway. Menosky noted, "I think when Seven was introduced, it was at a really nice time with respect to Janeway's character [....] [An] arc in our writing of Janeway, and Kate [Mulgrew]'s take on the character, just got hit by Seven at the perfect time." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, pp. 86 & 91)
  • Kate Mulgrew was overjoyed by this episode. She raved, "'Scorpion, Part II' is probably my favorite episode of all time. It's a beautiful episode on almost every conceivable level [....] Everybody had something extremely important to do and the conflicts were rare and intense. The crew's decisions were divided and epic, and the result is, of course, that Janeway is the first captain in the history of Starfleet to actually believe that she can make a connection with the Borg. And she has. I've got this girl [Seven of Nine] on my ship now, so 'Scorpion, Part II' is terrific." (Star Trek Monthly issue 32, p. 8)
  • In a retrospective interview regarding Star Trek: Voyager, Garrett Wang hinted that he had been puzzled upon first learning of Species 8472's home region, which is first established here. "They're from a part of the universe which is, 'fluidic space?!', you know? 'It's all fluid?!'" Wang remembered thinking. He concluded, "They can survive in our space, without any type of life support." (Braving the Unknown: Season 3, VOY Season 3 DVD special features)
  • From this episode onward, the screen credits for the cast were modified to remove the ranks of their characters, except for Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway.
  • Jennifer Lien's name has been removed from the opening credits, to be replaced by Jeri Ryan's. In this episode and the following one ("The Gift"), Lien receives billing under "Also Starring" after the episode title.

Production

  • According to Winrich Kolbe, the production of this episode involved an unusual level of constructive interaction between himself and Brannon Braga. Speaking from his own perspective of director, Kolbe stated, "Very often in television, you never see the writer. And there is an old rivalry. Some writers feel that the director's only desire is to screw up their script. For me, it's very important that I have an open line to the writer. I consider 'Scorpion, Part 2' a good example [....] Everyone including myself worked hard to make [that script] better. I talked with Brannon [Braga] and we agreed on what we wanted to achieve. I remember this more than all the camera moves." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 63)
  • Creating Seven of Nine's full Borg costume required many fittings. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, pp. 24 & 25) When the first of these were done, the suit wasn't intended to extend all the way down Jeri Ryan's entire body. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 76) Ryan began the fittings immediately after she was cast as Seven, which occurred in mid-May. (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 17) She remembered, "You go in for the head cast first, which is a plaster cast of your entire head, and that takes about 15-20 minutes to dry once it's on – it's probably a half-hour process altogether." A casting of her left hand was then taken, for the appropriate Borg appliance. "Then they took me to the special effects lab," Ryan related. This was to have a full body cast made. (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 17) "I kind of had an inkling what I was in for when I went in to have my 'body cast' done, to have the costume made, which is literally a body cast of my entire body!" the actress remarked, with a laugh. "It was quite the process." (Voyager Time Capsule: Seven of Nine, VOY Season 4 DVD) The creation of the full body cast "took well over an hour." Meanwhile, Ryan had been having wardrobe fittings for a spandex body suit – of which Ryan noted, "The Borg suit is built on top of [it]," – and it was after the spandex was fitted to her that she had to have the full body cast made. A fiberglass mold of her body was then created from the cast. "The mold is what they fitted the costume onto and sprayed the latex and rubber on to build the Borg suit," the actress explained. (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 17) Ryan concluded, "Then we went in for more fittings and tweaked and adjusted and fixed things." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 17) In fact, more than half a dozen small adjustments were made, before the costume was finally ready. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, pp. 24 & 25)
  • The makeup involved in Seven of Nine's full Borg appearance was done by makeup artist Scott Wheeler, who previously applied Alice Krige's Borg Queen makeup for Star Trek: First Contact. Jeri Ryan said of Wheeler, "[He] knew exactly what he was doing." The makeup included a full head bald cap that left the wearer's face exposed but covered their entire head and most of their neck. On the first day that Jeri Ryan was in the make-up department, she wore the bald cap and the Borg head appliances were glued onto it by the make-up artists. Ryan noted, "The first day for me [that] took about five and a half hours." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 18)
  • Jeri Ryan found considerable difficulty with donning the Borg appearance. Of the full body cast, for example, she complained, "When it hardens you can't breathe!" (Star Trek: Communicator, issue 115, p. 24) She also said, "It was a lot of makeup. It was a pretty restrictive costume [....] It was very heavy, and very thick, all half-inch rubber and Latex, equipped with the wires for the blinkey lights. So it was rather snug. It was tight around the neck. It was [fitted] to my bare neck, and then once the half-inch-thick latex bald cap was on my neck as well and the costume was zipped up, it pressed on my carotid artery." In fact, Ryan came close to passing out due to the tightness of the costume. "I knew that I couldn't comfortably turn my head out of any position other than straight ahead, because it made me black out. It wasn't a pleasant sensation," the actress reflected. "It was compounded by the fact that we were working in smoke, and getting overheated with the costume because it was rubber, and very thick and heavy. I was trying to be a martyr thinking that I was saving time, by saying, 'Oh no, let's just do another take,' and then I had paramedics to the set." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 76)
  • The gluing of the Borg head apparatus was on the same day as Jeri Ryan was first on the Voyager bridge set. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 36; Star Trek Monthly issue 37) Ryan once specified that the moment when she had the technobabble-related discussion with Garrett Wang was "my first day on the set." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 36) On a separate occasion, she stated that this conversation was "the first day I met Garrett," which she also stated was "the first time I came in to meet with the make-up department and the hair designers and everybody"; she further explained that Wang had meanwhile visited the make-up department for a haircut and that, at the same time, she had also first met Tuvok actor Tim Russ. (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, pp. 19 & 18)
  • The stretch of time in which Jeri Ryan felt that she was "flailing around [...] panic-stricken" was "the first couple of hours on the set." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 17) However, that first day was generally enjoyable for the actress. "Fortunately, my first scene was on the bridge, so everybody was there, and Garrett [Wang] and I were joking around, so they saw I wasn't thin-skinned and that I was going to survive the whole Star Trek experience. The actors are all kidders, and it's so much fun," Ryan said. "The hardest thing about my first day was that every time I smiled or laughed, the laser over my eye popped off. Every time somebody said something, I'd start laughing again, so there was this constant battle with my eye." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 19)
  • The period wherein Jeri Ryan felt as if she was "floundering around" was "for the first few days" of the production period. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 38)
  • During the episode's production, Jeri Ryan endured 4 a.m. makeup calls to get poured into the Borg suit. (Star Trek: Communicator, issue #115, pp. 24 & 25) The makeup she wore for this episode was a lot less of an ordeal, as the Borg head appliances remained glued to the bald cap; it was only the facial appliances that routinely needed individually glued. Consequently, the duration that Jeri Ryan had to sit in the makeup chair, following her first visit to the makeup department, was lessened by approximately three hours. She remarked, "After [the first day], the full Borg make-up took about two and a half hours." (Star Trek Monthly issue 37, p. 18)
  • Also during production, Jeri Taylor talked to Star Trek Monthly not only to discuss Jeri Ryan's progress as Seven of Nine but also to hint at what viewers could expect to see in the upcoming fourth season. (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 4)
  • Kate Mulgrew was delighted by Winrich Kolbe's directing of this installment. "Rick Kolbe directed it splendidly," Mulgrew remarked. (Star Trek Monthly issue 32, p. 12)

Effects

  • The visual effects artists, including CGI Effects Director Ron Thornton and visual effects supervisor Mitch Suskin, were pleased that this episode required a lot from them. "We had a lot to work with in the script," commented Suskin. "It was all CG, as all my shows have been. 'Scorpion Part II' was a lot of fun because there were a tremendous number of [visual effects] shots in the show." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 79) "That was the biggest boost for us," Thornton said of his company, CGI supplier Foundation Imaging, "because as it has been seen many times in the past–and it's not just on Star Trek–part one would be really great and part two would be boring. When we first got the script for 'Scorpion, Part II,' we said, 'Oh my God, they want to put more stuff in than in part one!' That was great. It meant that the fans or viewers in general would not be disappointed." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16)
  • Part of Foundation Imaging's workload for this episode was visualizing Species 8472 for Kes' telepathic visions, as well as the aliens' bioships. Several shots of Species 8472 were newly created for this installment. Mitch Suskin noted, "We did his eyes dilating, and we also did a closeup. It was a story point, that [the writer/producers] wanted to see his brow furrowing, and that he has some expression as he was communicating with Kes." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, pp. 79, 80)
  • A CGI graphic of the multi-kinetic neutronic mine in this episode matches the design of the rogue, unsymmetrical Borg ship that appears in TNG: "Descent" and "Descent, Part II".
  • Many of the battle sequences in this episode were difficult to choreograph. "We spent probably more time than on any other show, working with wire frames and working with roughs to get the choreography of the scenes right," Mitch Suskin observed. "Many of the shots, the position of things really had an impact on the story we were telling, so it was critical." One of these challenging sequences involved Voyager, the Borg cube containing Seven of Nine, Janeway and Tuvok, as well as the attacking bioship that destroys that cube. "Getting the cube between the Species 8472 ship and the Voyager," said Suskin, "and figuring out how all that would work was [...] tricky." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 79)
  • Mitch Suskin was particularly fond of the battle sequence that begins the episode's fourth act, involving fleets of Species 8472 and Borg ships in combat. Commented Suskin, "It was a shot that was actually thrown in at the last minute that Foundation Imaging really wanted to do. It wasn't in our original plan." The shot, including the weaponry shown in it, was entirely done with CGI. Suskin opined, "It's amazing, because of the number of things that are happening in that shot." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, pp. 79 & 80)
  • One of Ron Thornton's personal highlights from this episode was the shot in which several Borg are blasted out of a Voyager airlock into space. "It was absolutely fabulous," he enthused, "and part of what made that shot work so well is that Trevor Pierce, one of our model animators, did an incredible job of building the model for the airlock in the first place, and then Emile Smith, who did the animation, did an amazing finish. He spent quite a while on that shot, but it was important that it look convincing." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #16)
  • Mitch Suskin believed that achieving the look of liquid space was the "most difficult" aspect of creating this episode's visual effects. "That was the thing that we spent the most time designing, redesigning, and playing with, to try to make that credible and different. That we did entirely in the digital effects domain at Foundation Imaging," Suskin remembered. "We went through a number of different iterations. Some of the elements were 3-D, some of them were 2-D, but it was all composited in a 3-D environment with the ships. We put a combination of ripples and bubbles and smoke to give the sense of there not being empty space." Suskin concluded about the environment, "It's like nothing else we've ever really identified on Voyager." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 79)

Continuity

  • This time period is referenced in "Shattered", when the ship is fractured through various points in its history; the cargo bay where Seven and the Borg drones were located regresses to this point in history, and it is Seven's suggestion that allows the ship to be brought back into temporal sync.
  • As is twice noted in this episode's script, the neural devices that are temporarily placed on Janeway and Tuvok by the Borg and that Chakotay later uses to distract Seven first appeared in the third season episode "Unity". Chakotay also verbally references "Unity" when he reminds Janeway that he was linked to the Collective and that he had one of the devices embedded in his spine.
  • In this episode, Seven says she was with the Collective for eighteen years. In the episode VOY: "The Raven", she reveals that she was taken by the Collective on her sixth birthday, which would make her approximately twenty-four years old in this episode.
  • This episode is the third (in airing and production order) Star Trek season premiere that concludes a two-parter involving the Borg, the previous such episodes being TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" and TNG: "Descent, Part II". Coincidentally, the former of those two episodes is at the start of TNG's fourth season and involves Captain Picard's separation from the Borg (as Locutus), just as this episode is at the start of Voyager's fourth season and involves the separation of Seven of Nine from the Borg.
  • Prior to Seven of Nine's introduction in this episode, the only other Borg whose voice did not sound electronically modified (while part of the Borg Collective) was the Borg Queen. According to Brannon Braga, the reason why Seven has an unmodified voice is due to her status as a representative of the Borg. Contrasting this with the example of Hugh (a Borg drone who is separated from the Collective and discovered by the crew of the USS Enterprise-D in TNG: "I Borg"), Braga stated, "Seven was immediately kind of detached from the collective consciousness in 'Scorpion, Part II', to be a representative. So she didn't speak like Hugh. If you recall, Hugh spoke like an automaton, and that could get so tiresome. Seven's been disconnected, and she will always have a somewhat formal quality in her voice [...] but it was important to have her be somewhat more conversational than Hugh." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 14)

Reception

  • Ultimately, Winrich Kolbe was very proud of this episode. Kolbe said, "It was an excellent script." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 119, p. 63) He also enthused, "I thought it came out quite well [....] In the end, I think it's a very strong episode." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15) Kolbe was especially proud of the character dynamic that he helped influence – the conflict between Janeway and Chakotay. He related, "I liked the clash between Janeway and Chakotay. I liked that whole concept." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #15)
  • Brannon Braga was also happy with this installment, which he described as "pretty good". (Star Trek Monthly issue 28, p. 18) He elaborated, "'Scorpion' was definitely, for me, a defining moment in the series. That was when Seven of Nine came in, that was our first huge two-parter, where we pulled out all the stops, a two-parter with actually a satisfying ending. And to me, that was a turning point, creatively. The show started to come into its own." (Braving the Unknown: Season Four, VOY Season 4 DVD)
  • Rick Berman was likewise happy with the "Scorpion" two-parter, citing it (in 2003) among his favorites from the entirety of Voyager (along with "Timeless" and "Someone to Watch Over Me"). In regard to the pair of episodes that formed the two-parter, Berman stated, "They introduced us to Seven of Nine. They had great action and great character development. And it was incredibly exciting." (Star Trek Monthly issue 105, p. 18)
  • Another member of the production staff who was satisfied with this episode was Jeri Taylor. She commented, "I was very pleased with the [fourth] season opener [....] It had everything going for it. It had action, it had suspense, it had the conflict between Janeway and Chakotay, and it delivered Seven of Nine." (Star Trek Monthly issue 36, p. 13) Indeed, Taylor particularly liked Seven's character arc in this episode, referring to it as "an incredible story". (Star Trek Monthly issue 31, p. 4)
  • Yet another production staffer for whom this episode was a highlight was visual effects producer Dan Curry. He noted, "'Scorpion, Part II' which opened the season, I liked." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 74)
  • Shortly prior to working on Star Trek: Voyager as a staff writer, Bryan Fuller was amazed by this episode's script – which he was given because his first Voyager episode was scheduled to be one that would centrally feature Seven of Nine – and he was further impressed when he then viewed the first part of this episode's two-parter; Fuller consequently became extremely excited about the prospect of writing for the series. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 67)
  • As Rick Berman had shown executives at both the network UPN and Paramount Pictures the typical look that Seven of Nine would later have in the series, there was some consternation when her look here was revealed. Berman remembered, "It was funny. The network and the studio saw what her eventual look was gonna be and what her costume looked like. Then, we have her in the first episode and she looks like a monster. That was her... you know, where she was completely covered. And we definitely had some pressure off people saying, 'Get her out of that, get her out of that,' but we couldn't do it in the first episode. It took a little bit of time." (Braving the Unknown: Season Four, VOY Season 4 DVD)
  • Conversely, Star Trek fandom generally disapproved of Seven of Nine's typical appearance, during the lead-up to the first airing of this episode. "I was getting hate mail before I hit the air," Jeri Ryan remembered. "People saw the early photos of my cat suit and thought I was dragging Star Trek into the gutter." (TV Week magazine (Canada) of May 8-14, 1999, pp. 6-7, 9 from "Super Moms", an interview by Michael Logan)
  • About a month before this episode first aired – during the second weekend of August, 1997 – Chakotay actor Robert Beltran tried to reassure an audience at the second annual Fantasticon convention that they would like Seven of Nine and that her introduction would be beneficial for the series. (Star Trek Monthly issue 33, p. 9)
  • This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 6.5 million homes, and a 10% share. It was the most watched episode of Star Trek: Voyager's fourth season and was the third most watched season premiere of the entire series, behind both the pilot episode "Caretaker" and the second season opener "The 37's". [2]
  • Quickly after the introduction of Seven of Nine, the character became extremely popular. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 351)
  • Cinefantastique rated this episode 3 and a half out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 75)
  • Star Trek Monthly scored this episode 4 out of 5 stars. (Star Trek Monthly issue 36, p. 60)
  • The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 195) gives this installment a rating of 10 out of 10.
  • The book Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode and the previous part of its two-parter as being, together, one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: Voyager.

Video and DVD releases

The video sleeve design changes from this volume on. As with the Deep Space Nine releases at this point (Season 6), the stardates are omitted; the Voyager releases also drop the tag line "From the makers of The Next Generation".

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

And

Uncredited co-stars

References

Alpha Quadrant; argon; assimilation; bio-molecular warhead; Borg; Borg Collective; Borg cube; Borg drone; brig; cargo bay; carotid artery; deflector dish; Delta Quadrant; explosive decompression; fluidic space; isoton; Larson; Leonardo da Vinci; Locutus of Borg; medical tricorder; Milky Way Galaxy; multi-kinetic neutronic mine; nanoprobes; neural link; neural transceiver; oxygen; phaser rifle; Picard, Jean-Luc; red alert; singularity; Seven of Nine; Species 8472; Species 8472 bioship; tricorder; Unimatrix 01


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"Scorpion"
Star Trek: Voyager
Season 4
Next episode:
"The Gift"

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