I am almost through the whole of Voyager and there is this one trope that is very prevalent in this series: (Almost) every time there is a distress call and the crew moves in to help, it is either too late (everyone's dead already) or the people they help later turn out to be evil.

I actually can't remember any time where they responded to a distress call where the people who sent the call actually turned out to be good and turned out to be what they appeared to be in the first place.

So my question is, did that ever happen?

So, TLDR: Did Voyager ever help people who fit this pattern:

  • They attracted Voyager's attention using a distress call
  • They turned out to be good (meaning, not an antagonist to Voyager, and conforming to Starfleet values)
  • They were who they appeared to be in the first place (no hidden identity/occupation/...)
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    Don't forget the trope where the antagonists aren't really bad, they have good intentions but are going about things to the wrong way to save their planet, and Voyager must show them the error of their ways. Nov 2, 2018 at 12:45
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    Why must alien races conform to your Federation principles, you specist scum?!?
    – Omegacron
    Nov 2, 2018 at 20:50
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    @Omegacron I guess, everything that is not Starfleet must certainly be bad, otherwise it would be Starfleet! Isn't that how it works?
    – Dakkaron
    Nov 2, 2018 at 22:01
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    What about "help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope?" Doesn't that count as a distress call from someone good? Or am I getting confused again. Nov 2, 2018 at 22:22
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    We viewers suffer from narrative selection bias: uninteresting eventless rescues happen very often in Star Treck, but only the interesting ones get an episode filmed about them. The interesting ones tend to include fake distress calls or so dangerous situations that rescue can't arrive on time.
    – Pere
    Nov 3, 2018 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


In VOY: Prime Factors the crew answer a distress call from the Sikarians. They turn out to be extremely friendly, bordering on Risian.

In VOY: The 37's the crew answer a distress call and find various preserved humans. Despite a slight misunderstanding with the planet's inhabitants, they turn out to be entirely friendly.

In VOY: Lifesigns the crew answered a distress call from a Vidiian scientist. She turns out to be benign and doesn't attempt to steal their organs.

In VOY: Macrocosm the crew answer a distress call from a Garan mining colony regarding a medical emergency. When they arrive, the find that they're actually suffering a medical emergency.

In VOY: Unimatrix Zero a group of Borg drones request that the Voyager render them assistance (via Seven-of-Nine). They don't seem to have any ulterior motive other than wanting freedom from slavery.

In VOY: Nothing Human the ship responds to a distress signal from a wounded alien. Although it appears to have attacked Torres, it turns out that its unaware of the damage it's causing to her. "Federation values" is a tricky one with this one since we don't really learn anything about the alien but its comrades seem benign.

In VOY: Juggernaut the crew render assistance to a Nalon freighter. Although the crew have essentially brought it on themselves by dumping waste without a permit, they ultimately accept that they've done wrong and embrace Federation values of tolerance.

  • 82
    While I know full well the background, the comment that they found a scientist that explicitly doesn't attempt to steal their organs is still hilariously funny to me. "Captain's log! We met a vidiian scientist who was totally nice and didn't try to steal our organs, Faith in the galaxy restored!" Nov 2, 2018 at 12:21
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    VOY: The Void they assist nice people (mostly), though no explicit distress call was involved. Does VOY: Unimatrix Zero count? In VOY: Warhead the machine wasn't entirely evil, either...just "conflicted".
    – Bobby
    Nov 2, 2018 at 14:06
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    In Prime Factors, the Sikarians had a hidden agenda in that they were bringing in the Voyager to entertain them.
    – kingledion
    Nov 2, 2018 at 16:28
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    @kingledion - Yeah, but this seems to be a cultural misunderstanding. They felt that the Voyager was in distress and they wished to alleviate it. There was no ulterior motive
    – Valorum
    Nov 2, 2018 at 16:31
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    It's amazing how many times you go to rescue someone and they don't try to steal your organs. It's practically a trope. Although once when I was rescuing, I came fairly close to stealing a harpsichord. Nov 2, 2018 at 17:17

The telepathic people from Counterpoint come to mind.

Although it isn't said how they came in contact with them, they were good people with no hidden motives.

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    I've reluctantly downvoted. These poor unfortunates don't conform to the question asked "attracted Voyager's attention using a distress call"
    – Valorum
    Nov 2, 2018 at 11:11
  • It's alright, it is true that we've no idea how they attracted Voyager's attention.
    – Sava
    Nov 2, 2018 at 11:15
  • This is what Neelix said in the episode to Janeway:
    – Deks
    Nov 3, 2018 at 2:25
  • NEELIX: Oh, fine, more or less. They don't understand what all the fuss is about, but they're telepaths, Captain. If the parents are concerned or fearful the children feel it, too. You did the right thing. If we hadn't taken them off that freighter, they'd be in a detention centre by now. This implies Voyager found the freighter and rescued the telepaths which were clearly in distress. I don't think 'distress call' is needed as aliens in dangerous situations were previously classed as SF ships as 'distress'.
    – Deks
    Nov 3, 2018 at 3:00
  • @Deks - Offering to render assistance and answering a distress call are two different things
    – Valorum
    Nov 3, 2018 at 13:26

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