A top secret Starfleet initiative affects the crew of Voyager in the episode that originally aired on April 15, 1998. This is The Omega Directive.
Captain’s Log Confidential: Stardate 51781.2 The Omega Directive
We have found the Omega Particle. Everything else is above top secret.
After the ship is hit by a shockwave, all systems lock down showing only the greek ‘omega’ letter. Knowing what this is, Janeway informs the crew to stand down and she will provide further instructions as soon as she can. Retiring to her ready room, Janeway sees that the ship has detected the Omega Phenomenon not far off and she is to suspend all current directives including the Prime Directive, in order to investigate. Maintaining her high level of secrecy, Janeway begins send orders out to the crew without any context as to what they are working toward. From installing multiphasic shielding around the warp core to preparing high yield weapons and even developing medical protection from radiation, rumors begin to spread around the ship as to what is going on. Soon Seven is summoned to Janeway’s office where the former drone learns that the ship has detected the Omega Particle. Having been involved with the assimilation of Star Fleet Captains in the past, Seven is the only other person aboard who can understand the significance of this and Janeway’s mission to destroy this particle. Although Seven agrees to keep the Captain’s confidentiality, Seven refuses to destroy the particle as she believes it should be utilized instead.
Seven soon explains that the Borg have also experimented with this Particle and see it as the epitome of perfection. Seven wishes to see this particle for herself first hand as, by doing so, it would almost be like having a religious experience. The two agree to work together in attempting to contain this anomaly.
As the rumors begin to get out of hand, Janeway informs Chakotay that she and Seven will be departing the next morning and, if the ship detects a large subspace explosion, they are to leave no questions asks. Not happy with this, Chakotay begs Janeway to let the crew assist her in whatever threat they are facing. Janeway is reluctant but soon gives in calling the senior staff together.
Holding a classified meeting with her senior staff, Janeway explains the situation. The ship has detected an Omega Particle, a particle that is the single most powerful substance known in the universe. With the power of a warp engine, a single particle exploding could decimate the ability to use warp technology in an entire quadrant. In fact, the discovery of this particle did this to the Lantaru sector over several light years making it impossible for any ship to generate a warp field. Knowing that this could decimate the entirety of the Federation and beyond, if discovered, it is the duty of every Star Fleet Captain to destroy the particle by any means necessary, even if it means violating the Prime Directive. Janeway warns the crew that, if this particle were to explode, it would prevent Voyager from ever getting home and whoever is experimenting on it must be stopped immediately.
Arriving at the site of the explosion, Janeway and Seven begin finalizing a chamber that will dissolve the Omega molecules on the sub-atomic level. Returning to the bridge, Janeway finds that the explosion came from a prewarp facility on a nearby moon. Beaming down after being inoculated against the dangerous radiation, Janeway and team begin to search the facility for the Omega Particles. Questioning some of the wounded scientists, they soon find where the particle is located and begin their attempt at retrieving it.
On Voyager, The Doctor finds himself treating some of the wounded aliens when Seven arrives asking to speak to one of them. Despite the Doctor’s insistence that the alien is not well enough to talk, Seven speaks to the alien named Allos and learns that they were able to create two hundred million omega molecules but have not been able to stabilize them. Soon learning that Seven has no intention on saving the molecules, Allos is upset and threatens that Voyager will be stopped when their friend arrive.
Back on the moon, Janeway discovers there are enough Omega Molecules to effectively destroy subspace for much of the Delta Quadrant. Knowing that this presents too big of a danger to everyone, she orders the molecules to be beamed up in groups to be destroyed. Back on Voyager Seven pleads with Chakotay to be allowed to stabilize the molecules instead of destroying them. She explains that the Omega Molecule, known as Particle 101 to the Borg, represents the highest form of perfection. Although she had never seen it, it was instilled in her to seek out this perfection at all costs. Chakotay agrees to discuss the matter with Janeway but to continue the Captain’s orders until Seven is told otherwise.
Soon the alien rescue ships arrive forcing Voyager to beam all of the particles back in a risky move. Escaping the aliens with the Molecules, Janeway returns to Seven to discuss the Molecules and the Borg Drone’s desire to stabilize them. After a brief confront Seven reluctantly agrees to destroy the remaining particles but it will take hours to do so. Janeway assures Seven that the Captain has no intention to prevent the former Drone from finding perfection, Janeway just can not take a risk that could effectively destroy an entire quadrant of space. Seven agrees but Janeway needs the particles destroyed faster and begins to increase the frequency. After a large percentage of the molecules are destroyed, something strange begins to happen…they begin to naturally stabilize. Janeway orders Seven to retreat so that they can finish the destruction of the Molecule but Seven is transfixed on the sight of the Omega Molecule reaching perfection. Just as Seven sees the molecule achieve perfection she is pulled away by Janeway just as the chamber is blown into space to be destroyed by a torpedo. The resulting explosion begins to shred subspace as Paris takes the ship to warp to escape the blast.
On the Holodeck Janeway finds Seven in the da Vinci program studying religious elements in an attempt to find an explanation as to what she felt when she witnessed the molecule stabilizing. After listening to Seven explain her feelings about the Omega Particle, Janeway notes that Seven may have had her first spiritual experience.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
I always enjoyed this episode, not for the story per say but for the implications it presents. The Omega Directive is a story that serves a major purpose in the continuity of Star Trek itself, it confirms the existence of ultra secret protocols that are known only to a limited number of people. In fact, this very episode helps to canonize the existence of USS Discovery itself by establishing the fact that Starfleet does, in fact, keep very deep rooted secrets even from their own people. While this should come as no surprise to anyone, such an event is rare and, really establishes a cool continuity outside that of the Omega Directive itself.
The other thing this episode establishes is that, sometimes, Star Fleet is willing to sacrifice even their most basic principles for the greater good. This shows that, while such regulations like the Prime Directive are vital to the continuation of the Star Fleet and the Federation itself, there is an acceptance that these principles can be placed on hold. In fact, this idea is the very premise of another organization within Star Fleet itself, Section 31. I have to wonder, what does Section 31 know about Omega and is it really as dangerous as they claim…or is it something more sinister? There is no way to know, of course, but I would love for this to be explored further in future series….heck maybe even Discovery since they are jumping way into the future for season three.
Story wise, this is a cool one. Even without the threat that Omega provides, the near religious experience that Seven of Nine has near the end as she witnesses the perfection of Omega in the last moments is riveting. This single moment really shows how far Seven has come in her short time on the ship. The Seven of Nine we saw at the start of this season would have had a vastly different reaction to the Omega Particle than her current iteration did. In fact, there is no way the original version of Seven would have complied with Janeway’s orders to destroy the Omega Particle resulting in what could only have been a catastrophe for the crew and the entire quadrant itself. What does this establish though? Simple, Seven has come to admire and respect Janeway, if not the Captain herself then Janeway’s position on the ship. The admiration for the Captain stems from Janeway’s consistent attempts to make sure Seven is not only welcome on board but that she is continuously moving from her Borg nature and toward her human heritage. This evolution has been quite prevalent this season and will continue to be a major focal point for much of the series but you have to appreciate the shear amount of character development Seven has had since she joined the crew. That being said, with all the focus on Seven, it is kinda sad that the writers pretty much relegate the rest of the crew to the sidelines giving Seven most of the development but still, she is a really solid character.
One thing I found interesting is the exclusion of a specific character at a key moment in the episode. When Janeway gives her briefing on the Omega Particle to the crew there is one very obvious omission to the group…Neelix. While Neelix has become a trusted member of the crew since he joined four years prior, it seems this trust only goes so far. His exclusion from this meeting shows that, while he is indeed a valued member of the crew, he is not as fully trusted as a member of the Star Fleet crew maintaining that Neelix will always be an outsider no matter how much Janeway or the others claim otherwise.
Overall, this is an excellent episode and one that I do hope is revisited in future series. Especially now that we have Seven as a part of the Picard series, we could have some fascinating stories involving the Omega Particle and what it really means to the universe as a whole. I imagine there is more to the story of it’s original discovery and that story is likely one buried deep in the secret files of Star Fleet itself.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 1 photon torpedoes fired, 19 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -1 remaining
- We see the return of the Vulcan game Kal-Toh and it seems Harry is still trying to beat Tuvok…
- There is mention that the race who made the Omega Molecules were prewarp but they have starships. While it never establishes what kind of engines their ships have it is clear that, with the explosion of the molecules this race will likely never achieve warp drive. Yes, it is a violation of the Prime Directive but, as Janeway states, even the Prime Directive was placed on hold.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review:Unforgettable
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Late To The Game 10/21/2020
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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