Star Trek: Voyager (1997): S03E23 – Distant Origin


Introduction

“Distant Origin” is the 65th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the 23rd episode of the third season.

Voyager encounters an alien race, but runs afoul of their principles. The Voth are sort of humanoid lizards, and the plot revolves around one particular scientist that has taken an interest in studying Voth origins.

This episode is noted for featuring one of the largest fictional spacecraft of the Star Trek franchise.

Outline

On the planet where Voyager’s crew had previously been marooned, Professor Gegen and his assistant Veer, two palaeontologists of a space-faring saurian species known as the Voth, discover the skeletal remains of a human, most likely Lt. Hogan. They are fascinated by the similarity of its genome to their own species, and Gegen suggests that this supports the highly controversial Distant Origin theory, that the Voth had originated on a far-distant planet instead of the current area of space from which they rule their empire. Proof of the theory has been sought by other Voth scientists, but the heretical theory has often led to their exile.

To confirm their proof, Gegen and Veer track down the origin of the skeleton, learning of Voyager’s presence in the Delta Quadrant. They locate the ship and transport aboard while cloaked, observing the mostly human crew in the setting. Voyager’s sensors detect their presence, and the crew reveals the two Voth. Veer responds instinctively by releasing sedative-tipped needles that strike Chakotay; Gegen grabs the human and transports him aboard his ship, fleeing from Voyager. The Doctor examines Veer and identifies the similar genetic structure; he and Captain Janeway use simulations to determine that the Voths descended from a species of dinosaur known as the hadrosaurs, probably of genus Parasaurolophus.

Gegen wakes Chakotay, and explains the situation, requesting Chakotay accompany him when he presents his evidence to the Voth elders; meanwhile, Voyager is captured by the Voth. Gegen is put on trial for heresy, and it soon becomes clear that he has been pre-judged guilty and the “trial” is only an opportunity for him to recant and reduce his punishment. Veer, recovered from Voyager, is coerced to act as a witness against Gegen by Minister Odala. Chakotay attempts to argue for Gegen, noting that the Voth theory of origins has changed so much to fit what the Voth wish to believe and not reality. Odala rejects this, sentencing Gegen to a prison colony unless he recants. When he still refuses, she then orders Voyager destroyed and its entire crew, the evidence for his theory, also sent to the prison colony. Gegen, unwilling to see them destroyed, realises he has no choice but to recant.

Odala assigns Gegen a new job, and orders Voyager to leave Voth space forever. Before departing, Chakotay gives Gegen a globe of the Earth, which Gegen acknowledges that someday, the Voth will accept as their home world.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): David Livingston.
  • Writer(s): Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky.
  • Release Date: 30 April 1997.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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