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Star Trek Voy - Season 4 - Episode 21

Star Trek Voy - 4x21 - The Omega Directive

Originally Aired: 1998-4-15

Synopsis:
A space phenomenon must be destroyed. [DVD]

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.7

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 25 1 3 0 15 5 6 11 23 15 16

Problems
- Seven claims the Stardate is 15781.2 when it should be 51781.2.

Factoids
- The Borg managed to stabilize a molecule of Omega for one trillionth of a nanosecond before it destabilized and destroyed 29 vessels and 600,000 drones.
- A single Omega molecule contains the same energy as a warp core.
- Omega was discovered "over 100 years ago" by a Starfleet physicist named Cataract. He was trying to develop an inexhaustible power source.
- The Borg discovered Omega 229 years ago. They designated it particle 010. Their collective knowledge of it required the assimilation of 13 alien species.
- Borg species designation: 262, name unknown. A primitive species whose oral history referred to a substance which could "burn the sky." The Borg were intrigued.
- Borg species designation: 263, name unknown. A primitive species who believed Omega was a "drop of blood from their creator."
- Janeway states that some Federation scientists believe that Omega was the primary source of energy for the Big Bang, the explosion which created our universe.

Remarkable Scenes
- Seven: "Daily log, Seven of Nine, stardate 15781.2. Today, Ensign Kim and I will conduct a comprehensive diagnostic of the aft sensor array. I have allocated three hours, twenty minutes for the task and an additional seventeen minutes for Ensign Kim's usual conversational digressions. I am scheduled to take a nutritional supplement at 15:00 hours, engage in one hour of cardiovascular activity, then I intend to review a text the doctor recommended entitled A Christmas Carol. He believes it will have educational value. End log."
- Seven of Nine defeating Tuvok at Kalto.
- The doctor regarding Janeway's medical requests for her away mission: "What are you planning to do? Stroll through a supernova?" Janeway: "Something like that."
- Harry: "This looks like enough for a 50 isoton explosion." Tuvok: "54, to be exact." Harry: "What are we planning to do? Blow up a small planet?"
- Janeway: "The final frontier has some boundaries that shouldn't be crossed."
- Omega spontaneously stabilizing.
- Janeway: "Master Da Vinci doesn't like visitors past midnight." Seven: "He protested. I deactivated him."
- Seven: "For 3.2 seconds, I saw perfection."

My Review
This episode is a "holy grail" of factoids, tidbits, and general fanboyish trivia. Introducing Omega: the most powerful substance in the universe. Some of the technobabble surrounding its existence is shady, such as the repeated designation of Omega as being a "molecule." If Omega is the most potent source of energy in the universe and it must be synthesized, one would imagine the chemical reaction involved in the synthesis of that molecule would require just as much energy as is gained when the molecule is harnessed or is used in an Omega explosion. A literal interpretation of the technobabble suggests that Omega is merely an atomic structure that requires painstaking preparation, but incurs natural properties that can result in perpetual energy. Obviously this is impossible as per the law of conservation of energy, but when taken in context that Omega is the substance which supposedly gives birth to entire universes, it would seem to make sense. Ignoring the bad parts of the technobabble, the rest is pretty good and the episode is exciting. My only other complaint would then be the fear surrounding Omega. I find it a shame that Voyager has to destroy it. While this time I do mostly agree with Janeway's decisions, I think Omega would be an interesting concept for the Federation to further explore. As such, I found the "destroy it at all costs" policy somewhat distasteful. In the end, this episode opens the door for a possible distant-future series in which a more advanced Federation is better equipped to experiment with Omega, like the Borg have been attempting to. Who knows. Maybe one day the Borg and the Federation will have an Omega arms race? A Trek fan can dream...

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From EKH on 2007-12-05 at 2:32am:
    So why did they rematerialize Omega?
  • From Thomas on 2009-10-08 at 6:35pm:
    Wasn't that a bit unfair to the species which is doomed after their meeting with Voyager?
  • From packman_jon on 2012-07-06 at 12:32am:
    Not the most entertaining, but this episode brings up a few thoughts, like the practical application of the Prime Directive. I don't get why the episode is getting a lot of low ratings - it's a fairly decent one
  • From TheAnt on 2013-09-25 at 7:14pm:
    If you who read this have a 101 on science, or do wish that a story should be made believable as the actors at least appear to talk about actual science.
    Then ... stay clear of this episode and pretend it never happened.

    To hear the recurring term 'molecule' is annoying, since what it is referred to either have to be one elementary particle - or a super heavy element.

    Sp sadly it is one of the episodes where using the wrong term make me bite my nails up to my elbows.
    A 'molecule' is a compound of two or several elements. As such it could provide chemical energy - which falls far short of nuclear energy.

    This is completely inconsistent with the claims

    of the Borg who are said to have studied one Omega for a trillionth of a nanosecond. The short lifetime suggest Omega is either a super heavy element or one rare elementary particle.

    Then the storytelling make an even deeper plunge into pure nonsense when we get to learn that Omega were a primary source of energy for the Big bang. Matter in any form, elementary particles, super heavy element even less molecules cannot exist before the Big bang, so how the heck could Omega have been powering it?

    Sadly it's just one example where the scriptwriters failed to come up with a believable story, and just a short reading on some wild speculations in theoretical physics could have provided some really good alternatives to use.
    Such as 'quagma' which is a quark-gluon plasma which could have such dangerous properties as is described here.


  • From L on 2013-12-28 at 8:54pm:
    If it existed for a fraction of a second and then obliterated the research station where it was discovered, how do they know what was responsible, as surely all the data of the experiment would have been destroyed? There would have been absolutely nothing to indicate what was responsible, it may as well have been spontaneous combustion or act of god.
    I suppose this means experimental data records are streamed live to remote servers, and they are capable of recording things that happen in fractions of fractions of a second.

    And one trillionth of a nano-second is not 'stabilised' by any stretch of the imagination.
    Unless they want us to believe its 'natural' existence is even less than that.
    Really just an excuse for a cool line that shows how insane this 'molecule' is, nevermind the logic.

    Whatever, I guess it's a fun premise for an episode, if implausible.
  • From L on 2013-12-28 at 9:56pm:
    This made me interested in how we detect short-lived particles, so my lack of knowledge about this subject may have led to misguided incredulity on some details.

    http://www.phy.duke.edu/~kolena/modern/roesle.html

    "Almost all known particles are unstable, from the neutron with an average lifetime of fifteen minutes to the pi meson which lasts less than a tenth of a microsecond. There is strong experimental evidence, however, that there are many more particles that have lifetimes of less than ten to the minus twenty-third seconds. These particles are called resonance particles because of one of the methods used to detect their presence. Their average lifetimes are so short that normal methods, such as bubble chambers, can not be used to detect them.

    Particles are usually detected by using some means of making them leave trails in some medium. Particles in bubble chambers leave bubbles in a superheated liquid, particles in cloud chambers leave trails of fog in supercooled gas, and particles in spark chambers leave a trail of sparks behind them between electrically charged plates. However, a particle lasting less than an attosecond will move less than a third of a nanometer, even when traveling at nearly the speed of light. Most resonance particles have lives much shorter than a whole attosecond. That distance is much too small to cause any trail or spark to form in any particle detector.

    A resonance particle can be detected in particle decays when the sum of the energies of some of the resulting particles tend towards certain values. When the total energy (meaning kinetic energy as well as rest mass energy) of a group of resulting particles tends to be a certain value, it is said to be because the result of the decay producing those particles actually produced an ultra-short-lived particle, which then broke down into those more long-lived particles. Their total energy adds up to the energy of the intermediate particle, which is constant."
  • From Mike on 2017-05-29 at 8:29pm:
    The physics and the reference to Omega being a "molecule" are excusable to me. Then again, I'm a doctor, not a physicist. And by doctor, I mean my character in the Star Wars online game was a Jedi healer :)

    Anyway, what bugs me most about this is that it focuses too much on Seven's near-worship of the particle and less on the aliens who were working to synthesize it in the first place. We don't know much about them and we're robbed of the chance for any more interaction beyond Seven's sickbay scene with the lead scientist. Their wounded are returned and they quietly exit the stage.

    Wouldn't they just try this whole thing all over again? Probably. Was an agreement reached with them that they'd abandon their research? Doubtful, given how things ended. Did they have any further grievance with the Federation for swooping in and destroying what was apparently going to be their sole energy source? Did they forgive Voyager for that or are they at war? Does Janeway ever try to inform Starfleet that there is a species which has successfully synthesized something considered so dangerous by the Federation that destroying it was to trump any starship's deep space mission?

    All of these questions are unanswered and it drove me nuts about this episode. But, I guess it's cool that Seven had some kind of spiritual moment of clarity. So while the premise is intriguing, the loose ends are too much for me to call this one of the best.

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