Second Union

Second Union


You eat like you mate?”

It’s very few and far between that we get legitimate science fiction “beasties” on any given episode of Star Trek or the franchise spin-offs. Alien life is viewed as sacred, precious; not to be destroyed or exploited. “Vox Sola” gives us the beastie, but then spins the idea with a thoughtful meditation of diplomacy. This is an episode different in the analysis of alien life-forms than other episodes.

It’s shot almost like a B-movie from the 1950s and 1960s. After a disastrous first contact with an alien race offended by the way humans eat, and just before the airlock doors close, a gooey, slimy collection of tendrils enters the ship and sets up housekeeping in the cargo bay. Our people investigate and before long, they’re sucked up into a web-like creation and rendered passive.

This is happening in the middle of movie night (The Wages of Fear) and beer, snacks, and water polo with Archer and Trip, so communications go bananas. Trip and Archer go down to the cargo bay and check it out. They are also sucked up into the alien webbing. This Ten Little Indians scenario continues until T’Pol (with Hoshi and Dr. Phlox) ascertain this had something to do with the airlock.

They contact the stuck-up aliens they dealt with previously, and get the low-down. T’Pol enlists Hoshi (with whom she shares a strange tension) to learn how to communicate with the aliens. Meanwhile, Reed wants to blow ’em up but good. He’s got a one-track mind. It only occurs to me now that Reed is written to be a less interesting, less appealing version of Worf (with a dainty plum-colored lipstick). He’s obsessed with defense and weaponry, but being human and not Klingon, he comes off as dangerously paranoid. Odo on Deep Space Nine behaved in the same way, but being a changeling, he escapes my prejudice.

There’s another cute little trick these aliens have up their collective sleeve. When it traps prey in the slime, it enables telepathic communication of a sort. This reminds me a little bit of the generic alien creatures from the Independence Day movies. In a way, the prey are like puppets on strings. As in Alien, when the creature is attacked, it tightens the grip on its victims. Hoshi puts together a common language for the creature, which is revealed to be but one small part of a greater whole.

This is my favorite kind of science fiction. The story asks more questions than it answers and leaves us wondering how this creature functions as a sea of tendrils covering a distant planet. This is also an (I hate to use the word) canon example of how communication is vital to exploration, and how important Hoshi was to Enterprise.

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

Related Articles