Blink of an Eye (Star Trek: Voyager)
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|"Blink of an Eye"|
|Star Trek: Voyager episode|
|Directed by||Gabrielle Beaumont|
|Story by||Michael Taylor|
|Featured music||Paul Baillargeon|
|Original air date||January 19, 2000|
"Blink of an Eye" is the 12th episode from the sixth season of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, 130th episode overall. This episode is believed to have been inspired by the 1980 novel Dragon's Egg.
It follows the crew's interaction with a world where time passes rapidly, allowing them to witness most of its inhabitants' history. For the inhabitants, Voyager is fixed in the night sky inspiring them as the eons pass. The science driven aspect of this concept is time dilation which is a real world physical effect that must even be accounted for the time of communications signals from satellites in Earth orbit.
The starship Voyager approaches an alien world which exhibits unique properties. It is discovered that the planet is enveloped in a tachyon field, giving it an odd temporal nature. The crew of Voyager becomes fascinated by the strange world, and in an effort to learn more about it, Captain Kathryn Janeway orders the ship to move closer. However, Voyager is trapped in orbit by a magnetic field from which they cannot escape.
As the crew concocts an escape plan, Seven of Nine surveys the strange planet and discovers that Voyager's presence is causing occasional quakes on the planet. Further scans reveal that time passes at a much more rapid rate on the planet, and it is inhabited by a primitive humanoid race.
As hours on Voyager pass, centuries pass on the planet below and its humanoid inhabitants reach a level of technology similar to the 20th century. As the crew discusses the unusually rapid technological progress of the species, a radio message is broadcast at Voyager. Tom Paris wants to reply, but Tuvok points out that the species has still not developed warp technology and so a reply would be a violation of the Prime Directive. Instead, Janeway suggests a covert one-man mission to the planet.
As he would not be affected by the change in the passage of time because he is a hologram, the Doctor volunteers for the mission - which, due to the time differential, lasts three years from the Doctor's perspective, even though he is only gone from the ship for a few minutes. Upon returning he reports that Voyager, simply by its presence, has encouraged the culture to advance as the humanoids attempt to contact the "sky-ship." While some strive to establish peaceful contact others are developing increasingly powerful weaponry in an attempt to shoot down Voyager.
Meanwhile, the species below develops technology sophisticated enough to send astronauts on a manned mission to make contact with the sky-ship. A capsule is launched and succeeds in docking with Voyager. Its two astronauts, a male and female, begin to explore the ship but fall unconscious from the stress of adjusting to the different space-time. The bodies are found on the bridge and are taken to sickbay. The female's body can't handle the shock and she dies, but the male, Gotana-Retz, is successfully treated whilst Voyager is hit by a bombardment of antimatter artillery.
Janeway urges Gotana-Retz to return to the planet and convince them to cease the attack. Gotana-Retz does so just after Voyager's shields collapse. Suddenly, two starships appear alongside Voyager and, using tractor beams, tow the vessel out of the planet's field. As the crew sigh in relief, Gotana-Retz briefly transports to Voyager, and Janeway thanks him and his people.
On the surface, an elderly Gotana-Retz, long returned from his experience in space, gazes wistfully into the sky as his people's beloved Sky Ship vanishes from the heavens.
- "Blink of an Eye". SFDebris.com.
- Interstellar (film) (2014 Christopher Nolan film that also explores time dilation and space travel)