Janeway, Neelix and B’Ellana have met a new telepathic species on a planet and are trading goods and merchandise with them. Tuvok and Nimira, the constable for the Mari people, are discussing how they have virtually eliminated all crime on the planet. Tuvok agrees to allow her to tour Voyager, in order to give her a better idea of their own legal system. Back on the planet, a man bumps into B’Ellana, and a few moments later loses control and assaults another person in the square.
As they are touring the ship Nimira tells Tuvok that she finds the idea of isolation barbaric. Completely cut off from all interaction deters personal growth, not enhances it. He replies that it has only been used roughly 1% of their voyage, which is interesting, because other than Suitor and his murder, who else has committed an act that has warranted the brig? Over ~3.5 years, that’s still about a hundred days of brig time.
When the assault is reported, Neelix, B’Ellana and Janeway are interrogated, which involves reading their thoughts. After the interview, it is determined that B’Ellana’s thoughts instigated the assault, as it had been passed onto the telepath assailant. She is sentenced to an engram wipe, which is a dangerous procedure. (I haven’t decided if it was clever or cliché to personify the term ‘thought police’…)
Tuvok investigates, and during the investigation, a second assault occurs. This time, an elderly woman kills the girl that Neelix was going on a date with. With the previous assailant and B’Ellana already under arrest, Tuvok realizes that there must be a separate cause of the attacks. He mind melds with B’Ellana, and finds that when she was bumped, the merchant she was with probed her thoughts in the moments directly afterwards. Tuvok seeks him out, and after initially giving him the brush-off, finds him dealing illegal thoughts. The violence prohibition has opened up a lucrative market in violence, and the merchant offers to deal with Tuvok for his. Tuvok threatens to take him in, so the merchant and his friends overpower him and try to probe his mind. Tuvok offers them willingly if they will mind meld, but then psychologically tortures the man. Tuvok brings him into custody right as constable Nimira has started B’Ellana’s engram purge.
The last scene is Seven barging in on Captain Janeway without knocking. She argues that trying to reach home and meeting new species are incompatible goals. Janeway replies that it’s the foundation of humans (and Starfleet) as a people, and to simply miss the opportunity they have would defeat their mission as a culture. Seven leaves with no ado, and Janeway is left a look that says she’s going to soon readdress Seven’s understanding of protocol.
Favorite Part: I like the idea of a prohibition style black market for thought; it says something about human nature.
Least favorite part: Nimira, she seemed quite unconcerned for the law as a woman of the law. She seemed more pissed off that she had to do work then she was over the beating or homicide. Also, Janeway looked a bit rough this episode.