Prime Factors

Star Trek: Voyager

Series 1, episode 10
"Voyager encounters an alien race who are friendly but refuse to share technology that could get them 40,000 light years closer to home."
Episode Guide - Quotes - Analysis - Notes

Episode Guide

In the mess hall B’Elanna checks out Ensign Murphy. B’Elanna is told Harry has hucked up with the Delanny Sisters on the Holodeck. Janeway tells Tuvok the crews are finally starting to bond. They are called to the bridge as a vessel hails them and tells them they sent out a distress call because Voyager is in distress.

The leader of the alien vessel asks to come aboard and says he has gifts and a proposal for them. Once aboard, Janeway talks him down to the mess hall. They agree that Voyager should head to their planet to give the crew some shore leave.

Harry tells Eudana, one of the aliens, the story of how they were stranded in the Delta Quadrant. She asks for permission to share the story as stories are important to people. Harry says he has more stories and she says they should go somewhere quite. They step onto a pad and it takes them to a planet almost 40,000 light years away.

Harry tells Janeway about the device. Janeway asks the leader, Gath, says he cannot let Voyager use it to get home as its part of their laws that they do not share their technology as once its in alien hands it can be abused.

Janeway notices that they are on the other side of the fence – normally its them denying aliens because of the Prime Directive. But here the aliens are denying them because of their laws. The senior officers meet and in the end decide to attempt to trade their stories for passage home. B’Elanna says she will try and work out how the device works but Janeway says there are going to do this fairly.

Later Janeway talks to Gath and offers him the Federation literature. B’Elanna starts theorising about how they could use the device and the other crewmen in engineering back her up. They begin running simulations.

Eudana takes Harry to see Gath’s assistant. He tells Harry that he is willing to trade the technology for the literature. Harry tells them Gath is going to see the magistrates but they tell him he has no plans in helping them get home. In the mess hall, Harry tells Tom and B’Elanna.

Harry goes and tells Janeway and Tuvok. He leaves and Janeway talks to Tuvok. He tells her that is she deals with Jaret it is his laws that are being broken and not theirs. But if she can get it from Gath then she should take that course of action. Janeway tells Gath they want to get home but Gath is offended. Janeway tells them this is all about having pleasure and Voyager was just the latest novelty. She beams up.

Tuvok asks Janeway if she is now considering Jaret’s offer. She says she wishes she could but she could not. B’Elanna’s officers convince her to attempt to make the transaction with Jaret. They head into the transporter room but are caught by Tuvok. Tuvok tells them he got onto their plan when he tried to download the Federation library.

Tuvok says he will make the exchange. Later Voyager is ready for orbit. Tuvok returns and gives it to B’Elanna. He tells them not to use it until she has spoken to Janeway. However when Tuvok leaves they discover that they cannot make the transport once they leave orbit.

They activate the matrix but it overheats and they head towards a warp core breach. They manage to stabilise it but the plan has failed. B’Elanna says it could never have worked and that they must tell the truth. Her marquee officer tells her she has changed but B’Elanna says she takes it as a compliment.

B’Elanna tells Janeway what happened. Tuvok admits to his part. She tells B’Elanna she is very disappointed and that there must be no more transgressions. She dismisses her to deal with Tuvok. Tuvok tells her she did it because she could not. Tuvok says he expects to lose his commission. Janeway tells him she relies on him for moral council.

Janeway tells him never to go behind her back again.


Janeway: “Sounds like this would increase efficiently and maximize productivity, wouldn’t you say Tuvok?”
Tuvok: “Indeed”

Janeway: “Let’s start with the scarf”

B’Elanna: “You looked a million light years away”

Gath: “Why are you so consumed with this desire to get home?”
Janeway: “Home is home”

B’Elanna: “If that’s true. I take it as a compliment.”

Janeway: “You can use logic to justify almost anything. That’s its power. And its flaw.”

Tuvok: “My logic was not in error. But I was.”


This episode was quite entertaining although I found it quite sad. It seemed Tuvok's actions has ruined a relationship that has been forged from years of work. He should have known Klingon's were too rebelious to resist.


Set in stardate 48642.5, the original airdate was 03.20.1995.