Tattoo (episode) | Memory Alpha | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Posted in Tattoo Nightmares on Mar 09, 2019

Real World article(written from a Production point of view)"Tattoo"

Chakotay investigates mysterious symbols and visions that are remarkably similar to one of his childhood experiences.

Chakotay, Neelix and Tuvok examine an ancient symbol

Commander Chakotay and an away team are investigating some polyferranide deposits on an uninhabited moon when Tuvok discovers an unusual symbol in the remains of a long-dead campfire. This symbol sparks a flashback in Chakotay, returning him to a memory of a childhood camping trip in Central America with his father, Kolopak. The young Chakotay sees the same symbol carved into a fallen tree trunk. His father calls the symbol a CHAH-mooz-ee and explains to him that the local tribe are descendants of the ancient Rubber Tree People, just as they themselves are, and left it as a blessing to the land after cutting down the tree for firewood. Unlike their own tribe, the local tribe never left the jungles, living as the Rubber Tree People did and are the closest thing to the ancient tribe in the modern era. As they discuss their ancestral traditions, Chakotay displays unconcern and dislike for his father's insistence on following traditional beliefs. His father attempts to teach Chakotay about the Sky Spirits and their role in Indian history, but Chakotay remains skeptical. As the scene reverts to the present, Chakotay tells the others that the symbol is "a blessing to the land, for damaging it with the campfire." Tuvok is skeptical, and Chakotay plays down his knowledge of the rituals.

Back on USS Voyager, Ensign Wildman is in sickbay, complaining of a "shooting" pain in her lower back. The Doctor informs her that the baby is fine, it is just pressing against a nerve in her back. Kes wants to relieve Wildman of duty for a couple of days, but The Doctor refuses, telling her that she'd just have to "learn to live with" the discomforts surrounding pregnancy, and schedules her for a follow-up appointment. After she leaves, Kes lectures The Doctor about showing compassion for his patients, and he replies by stating that Voyager is crewed by adults, and that he would not "coddle them." As Kes leaves, The Doctor refutes her arguments (to himself) by proclaiming that he doesn't have a life, only a program.

In the meantime, Chakotay and Captain Janeway are discussing Chakotay's flashback on the surface of the moon as they walk into his quarters. He reveals that he'd hated the expedition, expressing his dislike for being away from home and friends near the Cardassian border for an expedition in the jungle, seeking the closest descendants of the ancient Rubber Tree People. Chakotay shows the captain a picture of the pattern he found; set against the ceremonial stone from his medicine bundle, the designs are nearly identical. Chakotay can offer only one explanation, citing an ancient myth that claims that a group of "Sky Spirits" created the Rubber Tree People and led them to a "sacred land" where they could live eternal lives. Janeway points out that he doesn't seem to believe the myth, and Chakotay counters by bringing up the story of Adam and Eve, comparing that belief to his. The captain reveals that B'Elanna Torres has detected a warp trail leading away from the moon, and asks Chakotay if he thinks they should follow it. He claims to not want to put his interests ahead of the ship's, while Janeway counters by claiming that the race that left the trail might have the polyferranide the crew needs. Chakotay agrees with her logic.

The crew tracks the warp signature to an M-class planet, but sensors can't find any life signs on the surface. They do, however, discover some unusually elevated EM readings, which are too high to be natural. Chakotay believes it is some sort of cloaking device, and Janeway orders Ensign Kim to transmit a continuous identification message. Lieutenant Torres then calls to inform the captain that they've discovered large deposits of polyferranide some ten kilometers underground. The captain orders an away mission to survey the deposit, and Chakotay, Torres, Tuvok, and Neelix prepare to transport to the surface.

In the transporter room, however, problems arise. Torres and the transporter chief have tried seven sets of beam-down coordinates, but each time they lock on, a mysterious thunderstorm develops which blocks transport. Tuvok speculates that the transporter beam is causing electrostatic discharges in the atmosphere, and the team decides to proceed in a shuttle.

As the shuttle enters the planet's atmosphere, another mysterious storm develops, sparking another of Chakotay's excursions into memories of similar times long ago. As they were waiting out a downpour in the rainforest, young Chakotay and his father had another disagreement about the nature and intentions of the Sky Spirits, and Chakotay still seems skeptical of their existence. Outside of the shuttle, Chakotay sees a man's face in the flashes of lightning.

The Doctor sneezes after having infected himself with a holo virus

Arriving for duty in sickbay, Kes activates the Doctor who responds with his standard greeting. Kes is confused as she thought the Doctor had removed it from his programming, only for him to explain that he restored it after he was struggling to find new ways to introduce himself before sneezing. The Doctor has "infected" himself with the symptoms of the 29-hour Levodian flu following Kes's worry he is unable to feel compassion for the patients he treats. He explains that he intends for it to be a learning experience but not for himself; he intends to show the crew that a simple illness doesn't give one an excuse to complain or not go about their usual routine. Meanwhile on the planet, the away team searches a jungle. Chakotay spots a rare flower which appears identical to one he saw during the camping trip with his father. While Torres discovers a possible lead on the mineral, Chakotay is distracted by a hawk. He remembers telling his father his plans to leave the tribe to join Starfleet. His father has mixed emotions: he recognizes his son's desire to explore the universe, but is worried that if young Chakotay leaves the tribe now he will forever be caught between worlds. Amid their conflict, they discover a primitive structure.

Back in the present, Neelix has apparently been attacked by the same hawk Chakotay saw. While trying to fight the hawk off, Chakotay again sees a brief flash of a face. As Neelix beams out, Tuvok discovers an alien structure which amazingly resembles the primitive structure from Chakotay's past; while this structure obviously consists of materials from a high tech society, the way they used them is in nearly the exact same manner.

The Doctor treats Neelix, pointing out that he is twenty hours into his sickness and still does not require compassion.

After examining the structure and surrounding area, the Away team reports that while there was a civilization nearby but it left quickly, just before their arrival on the surface. Chakotay believes that with no evidence to the contrary that the beings are hiding nearby and orders the team to lay down their weapons, as his father had on the journey in his past. On that trip, after laying down their weapons to show that they posed no threat, the primitive descendants of the Rubber Tree People from which Chakotay's tribe also descends appeared from the brush to make friendly contact.

A severe storm strikes up very quickly, causing the away team to try to get back to their shuttle. Chakotay sees an alien figure running through the brush and is separated when a tree is blown over, knocking him to the ground and knocking off his combadge. Thus when Tuvok calls for an emergency beam out, Chakotay is left behind.

Paris scans the ground and finds no trace of the shuttle. Janeway prepares to return to the surface to find the commander but is interrupted by the EMH his 29-hour flu has lasted thirty hours, causing him to panic. Kes admits she added two hours to the illness The Doctor programmed, to teach him a lesson.

Chakotay awakens and returns to the structure. He attempts once again to address the aliens, telling them they have nothing to fear from him. He remembers his earlier experience: the Rubber Tree People stripped their clothes off and drew the tattoo symbol on his father's forehead. Chakotay strips down and dons a robe he finds in the structure.

When it becomes clear that weather prevents any attempt to beam down to the surface, Tuvok postulates that someone is controlling the climate to prevent visitors. Left with no other choice, Janeway decides to prepare Voyager to land on the surface to search for the missing commander. However the landing goes wrong and Voyager gets caught in a cyclone when the weather's severity suddenly increases.

Paris fights with the controls while Torres down in engineering squeezes out every bit of power she can for the engines, but it's not enough and Voyager is in danger of crashing on the surface.

"My people called you the Sky Spirits."

Chakotay takes shelter from the intense weather in a cave where he once more tries to communicate with the aliens. This time he is apparently successful: several armed humanoid aliens appear, each with a tattoo similar to his own. They however only speak in the tribal language of the Rubber Tree People and Chakotay's tribe, which he admits he never learned. He does however recognize the lead alien saying the same words as the lead tribesman did to his father. Chakotay can only repeat "CHAH-mooz-ee"; the lead alien walks up to him and sees his tattoo. The lead alien puts a device in his hands, which turns out to be a universal translator. The alien is shocked to learn that he is Human, and calls him a descendant of "The Inheritors"; they had been taught that Chakotay's more recent ancestors had been annihilated, and Earth ravaged by others with no respect for the land or other living creatures. Chakotay states that is no longer true, but admits that he has no memory of Inheritors. As a descendant, Chakotay is supposed to have the memory as one of their gifts, but the alien accepts that perhaps it has been lost over time; the previous flashes of the man's face in Chakotay's mind is all he has received. Touching Chakotay's collarbone, he shows him the memory

Forty-five thousand years previously, the alien's people visited Earth and ran across a small group of primitive nomadic hunters, who had no spoken language and no culture other than fire and stone tools. Deeply impressed by their respect for the land and other living creatures, the beings gifted the people with an inheritance, a genetic bonding, in the exact same way that the alien is touching Chakotay now, so the hunters might thrive and protect their world.

They monitored Chakotay's ancient ancestors with subsequent visits and found that their genetic gift brought about a spirit of curiosity and adventure, which impelled the Humans who received the gift, whom the Spirits referred to as "the Inheritors," to migrate away from their cold climate to the North and South American continents over the course of nearly a thousand generations. Eventually, they numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but thousands of years later they were decimated by invaders from other lands with weapons and disease. Those who survived scattered, many seeking refuge in other societies. When the Sky Spirits eventually returned twelve generations ago, they found no signs of the Inheritors' existence. They are the Sky Spirits Chakotay's people have worshiped for countless generations.

The Sky Spirit goes on to explain that when they received Voyager's message of peace, they were worried they were afraid that Voyager's Human crew, like the Human conquerors generations ago, were dishonest and intended to wipe them out. After Chakotay explains that they've tried to change their ways and they mean no harm, the weather suddenly dissipates, freeing Voyager.

Chakotay is given as much polyferranide as the Sky Spirits are willing to part with, and though they apologize that it is not the full amount Voyager needs, Chakotay is grateful for their generosity. Chakotay tells the lead Sky Spirit about how he joined the Maquis and took the tattoo after his father died defending the colony from the Cardassians, and spoke to him on vision quests, but he never answered until now. Chakotay is located by an away team and says goodbye to the Sky Spirit people. As a hawk flies overhead, he hears his father's voice, "Do you hear him, Chakotay?" "Yes father," Chakotay says aloud, "I finally hear him."

"I don't have a life, I have a program."

"Doc? I don't feel so good.""Neither do I and you don't hear me complaining."

"Choose the word that would best describe your pain; burning, throbbing, piercing, pinching, biting, stinging, shooting"

"The logical course isn't always the right course."

"Sorry, Sky Spirits. I will never make friends with bugs.""Maybe that's why they keep biting you."

"Holographic tissue paper for the holographic runny nose. Don't offer them to patients."

"You're lucky the bird didn't tear your eye from its socket we have no spare Talaxian eyeballs."

"She's far more devious than I ever suspected."

"The Sky Spirits must have taken a wrong turn somewhere."

"Warning, approach vector is too steep. Discontinue landing sequence.""Can somebody turn that off, please?!"

"Can we go to low warp?""The ship might make it without inertial dampeners but we'll all be stains on the back wall."

"We need that extra power, B'Elanna.""Ten minutes. I just need ten minutes."

"Put those away!"

"A lot of things have changed since the last time you stopped by."

astiline; Adam and Eve; alloy-polymer matrix; antithoron; away team; Baldoxic vinegar; botanical surveyor; breeder; Cardassian border; Central America; CHAH-mooz-ee; Chakotay's mother; Chakotay's tribe; cloaking device; combadge; cooking; cyclone; cypripedium; Delta Quadrant; Earth; electrical storm; Emergency medical holographic channel; expedition hat; eyeball; eye socket; faith; fire; flight path; fusion reactor; gale; generation; hawk; horticulture; ignorance; inertial dampener; inheritance; Inheritor; Inheritor (first); kilometer; knot; Levodian flu; lizard; logic; magnesite; meter; migration; Mister Vulcan; monsoon; nose; orchid; Paphiopedilum; polyferranide; red alert; Rubber Tree People; runny nose; salad; sciatic nerve; Sky Spirit; Sky Spirits' homeworld; sponsor; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Sulu; surveyor; Talaxian; tissue paper; towel; transport site; transporter; transporter anomaly; transporter beam; transporter lock; Transporter Room 3; tribe; tricorder; universe; variety; village; Vulcan orchid; warp coil; warp signature

Continued here:
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