The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Maneuvers

When Voyager picks up a signal from a Federation beacon, the crew becomes hopeful that this means Starfleet is looking for them. Their hopes are soon dashed, however, when the signal turns out to be the first move in a daring Kazon raid to steal a transporter module. With former crew member Seska taking credit for orchestrating the entire plan, Chakotay decides that it’s up to him to recover Voyager’s lost technology.

If this episode teaches us anything, it’s that Starfleet’s cavalier attitude to security is still alive and well. Seska’s plan only really works because no one on Voyager thought to change any of the ship’s passwords after she left, leading the cynical viewer to conclude that they probably got what they deserved.

But what of the characterisation? It’s just two episodes after Tattoo, but already Chakotay is in the spotlight again, this time going off on his own because he feels responsible for Seska’s betrayal. Seska, for her part, is delightfully manipulative, but her obsession with Chakotay is, I feel, a detriment to the character. What is she actually trying to achieve? At one time, she seemed keen to make strong allies, but is hanging out with a misogynistic race in the Delta Quadrant really better than doing her utmost to get home? Or, like so many villainous women as portrayed in media, is she just obsessed with making life difficult for the men in her life? Bitches, eh?

Kazon Factbox
This episode marks the first appearances of several new sects: the Relora (mentioned in Initiations), the Hopii, the Mostral and the Oglamar (as distinct from the Ogla). The Relora and Ogla are described as the strongest sects, whilst the Nistrim have become much weaker since the time of Culluh’s grandfather.

Other points
• Why did no one on Voyager think to change access codes after Seska left? Similarly, once Chakotay was captured, shouldn’t it be standard procedure to invalidate his command codes?
• Seska claims to be in the process of restoring her Cardassian appearance; indeed, when I first watched Voyager, I thought she would look more and more Cardassian each time she appeared. In fact, her appearance does not further change after this episode. Maybe her pregnancy meant she couldn’t get further surgery.
• Despite her claims, and perhaps even her hopes, it is Culluh and not Chakotay who fathered her child. Of course, it’s pretty amazing if she knows she’s definitely pregnant with Chakotay’s child a mere day or so after impregnating herself with his genetic material. Maybe she had already collected some of her eggs for just such an eventuality, and had performed IVF, subsequently attempting to implant the fertilised egg without realising she was already pregnant by Culluh. Or the egg didn’t implant, and she subsequently got pregnant by Culluh as she had stopped bothering with contraception.
• The Relora maje is one of the few people to ever say “the Voyager”.
• Why did Tuvok trus what was essentially a false Federation public certificate? Don’t they have any kind of trust infrastructure in Starfleet?
• Why does Tuvok need to be present at every security incident? Can’t he dispatch minions to deal with the immediate threat before showing up himself?
• Would wiping the shuttle’s computer core really protect all the technology within? Surely there still exist transtators and other hardware to be analysed.

Lost shuttlecraft running total: 4
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 3

Summary – Maneuvers: In which Chakotay has just the one problem.

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