“Fair Trade” is the 55th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the 13th episode of the third season. This is a science fiction television show, and in this episode it focuses on the character Neelix. The Federation starship USS Voyager has reached a trade outpost station at the edge of a new region of space. Neelix, a Delta quadrant native that has been working as a guide and liaison for the spaceship, is concerned he has outlived his usefulness aboard the ship, the new region is as far as he has traveled. James Nardini guest stars as the character Wixiban.
This television episode was aired on UPN on January 8, 1997.
It is also the first episode of Star Trek: Voyager to air following the introduction of the new film style Starfleet uniform from Star Trek: First Contact in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, “Rapture“. The crew on Star Trek: Voyager continued to use the original DS9 uniforms, as they are stuck in the Delta Quadrant.
The episode won one Emmy award.
Voyager encounters a region of space known as the “Nekrit Expanse“. Neelix is unfamiliar with the space beyond, which worries him that he will be of no more use as a guide. Voyager docks at a nearby space station to take on supplies and information, where Neelix meets an old Talaxian friend called Wixiban. Neelix offers to help Wixiban retrieve medical supplies in exchange for a map of the Expanse. However, the trade actually involves illegal narcotics. The trader reneges on the deal and attempts to kill them once he receives the goods, but Wixiban shoots and kills the trader. The Talaxians both escape undetected, but Neelix is furious.
Bahrat, the owner of the space station, investigates the incident and discovers that the murder weapon was a phaser from Voyager. Neelix and Wixiban are questioned by Tuvok; Wixiban denies any knowledge of the incident. When Tuvok leaves, Wixiban explains that the drug trade was not his scheme, but he was simply working as an agent to pay off debts he owed to the Colatti, a ruthless group of drug dealers. He asks Neelix to steal a sample of Voyager‘s warp plasma for the Colatti, reminding him that Voyager is prepared to abandon him.
While on Voyager, Neelix comes across Tom Paris and asks about how he ended up in prison before joining the crew, and Tom explains that it was because he was dishonest and it cost him dearly. Just as Neelix is about to extract a sample of warp plasma, he backs off and goes to Wixiban, insisting that they must tell the truth. Moments later, Bahrat arrives and arrests Tom Paris and Chakotay, accusing them of the murder as they were seen on surveillance talking to the killed trader. Neelix and Wixiban go to Bahrat and confess to the crime, but offer to expose the Colatti if Bahrat does not charge them. A set-up is arranged but ultimately goes wrong, resulting in an explosion.
Neelix wakes up in sick bay. He learns that the charges have been dropped, the Colatti have been arrested, and Wixiban was able to leave. Captain Janeway confronts him and harshly chastises him for his actions, but adds that he is more than just a crewman, but is part of a family. She puts him on punishment duty, but he is immensely relieved.
In 2021, The Digital Fix felt this was an attempt to develop the character of Neelix, who they said has a “crisis of purpose” in the wilds of the Delta quadrant.
This episode won an Emmy award for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series.
- TV.com. “Star Trek: Voyager: Fair Trade”. TV.com.
- Baz Greenland (2020-07-09). “Star Trek: Voyager Revisited – Season Three”. The Digital Fix. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
- Tony Ruiz; Daniel Montgomery (2020-05-04). “All 28 classic ‘Star Trek’ episodes that won Emmys: From ‘The Next Generation’ to ‘Discovery‘“. GoldDerby. Retrieved 2021-04-21.