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Alternate Universe Episodes

Auto Immune Defense (Scorpion II)
Grifone — 24 May 1997

OK, I'll give it a shot. Bearing in mind that I've only seen the episode once (so far) and my mind tends to, um, "wander" during the technobabble dissertations, so I probably got the whole tech part of this wrong...

If Braga & Menosky are writing the actual SCORPION - Part II, then I'm sure the resolution to the cliffhanger will involve (1) a quantum singularity (2) big lizards (3) the number 47.

I'll try a different approach, here goes:

The most important thing I want to see in SCORPION - II is the survival of the Voyager and her crew. (Okay, a few ensigns can bite the dust, but no more than the standard number). Since the show has been picked up for next season and everyone's contract has been renewed (more or less; cf Kes) I'll take their survival as a given.

The character development, more than the action stuff, is what really impressed me about this episode. So of course my resolution to the cliffhanger focuses on the ramifications of the bonding/conflict between Janeway and Chakotay. However VOYAGER gets out of this jam, it should be in a way that *neither* Janeway nor Chakotay had anticipated. In other words, I don't want her to save the day after taking such a huge risk (shades of James T. Kirk!), and come back to the ship with an "I told you so, you wimp" look at Chakotay. And of course, I don't want Chakotay to look around as the Voyager is destroyed, and think "Darn you Kathryn, didn't I warn you this would happen?"

So, working backwards from this desired result, here's what happens:

We pick up where we left off. The anorexic Gumby aliens [sorry I can't remember their number altho I know it has the magic "47" in the middle] are rolling the Borg Cube with all the panache of a Vegas regular. The Spokesborg of the cube that Janeway is on (in?) naturally has little time for diplomatic niceties. [Not that either of those words have ever been assimilated by the Borg...]

In fact, the SpokesBorg decides to assimilate the VOYAGER *now* so they'll have more Borg in the front line against the Gumbies. [The Borg haven't yet learned that resistance is, well, futile, against the Gumbies.]

Betrayal. Nice try, Kathryn, but you know what they say about scorpions...

Naturally, VOYAGER can't transport her back to the ship. (As I recall, it didn't transport her *to* the cube -- it looked to me like the Borg did that all by themselves.)

She orders the Voyager to warp out of harms way; Chakotay dithers "Not without you!" "That's a direct order, Commander." (etc.) (I know, he probably wouldn't dither, Chakotay is a good commander and will focus on getting the crew to relative safety, if possible.)

But they can't break out of impulse power. Assimilation is imminent. Everyone kiss your ids and egos goodbye and prepare to become a cybernetic drone in a hive (which is about to be destroyed anyway by the Gumbies).

Captain Kate makes one last attempt to "reason" with the SpokesBorg -- explaining again that they won't be able to access the techno defense system because the info is stored in a non-assimilateable (sic) entity. [Here's where I'm puzzled, because I thought the Borg could access computers no problem. But I'm not up on the Rules of Borg, so I'll take the facts as she presented them in the show...]

"Nyah, nyah," says the SpokesBorg (maybe not, but wouldn't you love to hear it?) "We've figured that out already, your pitiful ploys are no match for us."

Those are his last words, as the Gumby aliens have boarded (infested? glommed onto?) the cube and their ganglionic tentacles are squirming everywhere and the Borg units are crashing like Windows '97.

And the Captain is stung by an alien tentacle, and drops -- hope gone, death imminent, and despairing in the knowledge that her risky plan has probably killed her crew.

BUT...a Borg appears and stands over her, then reaches out and instead of assimilating, picks her up and [SPECIAL EFFECT] beams her onto a different Borg Cube.

Who is the helpful Borg? Why, our old friend Riley, the yellow rose of Texas! Yeah, turns out hooking up the colony of Borg survivors into a collective wasn't such a great idea after all -- everyone got peaceful and huggy for a while, but then the Big Bad Borg Collective reached out and touched them from light years away, and sent a new cube to go and gather up the colony to replenish their forces. [Ok, I don't know how far away the UNITY colony was, but the show only aired a couple of months ago, and VOYAGER doesn't travel very fast, and the Borg do. So there.]

Riley can't help but do things the Borg way now, but there's still enough individuality left in her to let her recognize and remember the Captain. So she helps.

Even though she is also the ultimate instrument of their destruction (as she helpfully explains to the dying Janeway). Because she is how the Borg are going to get the secret weapon information.

Riley beams over to the VOYAGER bridge and before Chakotay can say, "You again!" immediately does a link-up with Chakotay [he's still got the appropriate command protocols lodged in his brain somewhere] and mind-controls him to order Doc to download the scoop on the nanotechnology. [No one can stop her/him because she's accompanied by her Borg colony-mates, who take out a few Ensigns just to remind us that this is *really* dangerous stuff. And the Doc follows the orders because he thinks it's just Chakotay acting on his own, OR because Chakotay overrides the Doc's "self-control" controls.]

So Riley is able to channel VOYAGER's one bargaining chip to the Borg cubes in the vicinity. And then she tells Chakotay that assimilation isn't so bad, they can be "together" again. (Yippee.)

Damn! So now they're going to be assimilated, and the Borg have the secret weapon vs. the Gumbies, and it was all for nought.

The Borg download the info, and replicate millions of the little nanotech thingies and "vaccinate" all the Borg with it. And when the next Gumby attacks the next Cube, the vaccine does its job -- the Borg try to assimilate, the Gumby immune system resists, and encounters the nanotech, and the tentacles shrivel up and blister and pus and do all sorts of gross organic things indicating "bad news."

BUT, as the Doc had pointed out to the Captain (with unusual modesty) in SCORPION - I, the nanotech was not, after all, perfected. And start hypereplication on their own, and start chewing up their hosts (the Borg). (The way white blood cells can go out of whack and after fighting off an infection, turn on the healthy red blood cells. Or something like that.)

Well, with the Borg and the Gumbies both preoccupied by their falling ranks, Tom Paris has his moment of derring-do and is able to sneak a shuttle close enough to the Cube to lock onto the Captain and beam her to safety. Safe but ugly -- she got a more powerful dose of Gumby-infection than Harry did, and it's progressed more rapidly. She does not Pass Go, but goes directly to SickBay. She may have been saved only to die on her ship. The nanotech "vaccine" starts fighting off the Gumby infection, but unless the Holodoc can refine the effects, it will turn on her system (and Kim's too -- he's still in Sick Bay) the way it turned on the Borg.

Chakotay looks grim when he hears this report, but he has more immediate problems. The VOYAGER crew is battling Riley's Borg which are still aboard, and the ship is struggling to break free of the tractor beam that locks it to the Borg cube. But the bigger battle rages between the Gumby and the Borg. And when the Gumby erupt an energy burst, it nearly consumes the Borg cube, and...

...the shock wave hurls the VOYAGER far far away, to drift in space like so much flotsam.

Well, they're out of the path of the Borg and the Gumbies for now. But where are they?

Back at the site of the Array! No, no, *just kidding*! They're Somewhere Else in the Delta Quadrant, but have no idea where and neither will we until next week.

And Riley's still with them, and we won't know how *that* plays out until next week.

Oh, and the Doctor does of course figure out something that modifies the vaccine's effect to keep Kim and Janeway alive. But this is all experimental, and there will be side effects he doesn't know about...and neither will we until (you guessed it) next week.

Chakotay and Janeway have a heart-to-heart, where they both get to say "I told you so" and they both *also* get to say "See I was right." The Borg did betray them, as Chakotay predicted. But the risk did get them past the Borg threat (for now) as Janeway had hoped. She reaffirms her trust in him -- even if hurt by his disagreement, she depends on his honesty and support. She admits she never felt so alone as when she was dying on the Borg cube. He reaffirms his devotion and says she'll never be alone as long as he's around, and that if she had died part of him would have as well <sniff> (I'd like them to share a kiss here, but the Macagers would have a fit, so long meaningful gazes will have to suffice).

OK, that's it. Probably wouldn't work because I may have the technobabble all wrong, but it's the best I could do off the top of my head.

The End