Prodigy episode 15
The crew grows to like Okona, causing Dal to become jealous of him. In need of repair and spare parts, Okana suggests the planet Noble Isle, which is where he was supposed to go to deliver his now confiscated cargo anyway. Okana introduces them to Dr. Jago, a genetic scientist. She's angry that Okona lost her shipment, but is pleased to see he brought her an interesting specimen... Dal. Turns out Dal is the product of "artificial hybrid speciation". She presumes human DNA was used as a basis, but was augmented with DNA from 25 other species, but claims the work was sloppy. She offers to make him better by activating his dormant genes, which he initially declines, but after the others leave, Dal accepts her offer.
Meanwhile, the Dauntless is still stuck at the border of the Neutral Zone facing off with two Romulan Warbirds. Janeway requests permission to enter the Neutral Zone from Admiral Jellico (Ronny Cox reprising the role), but he denies her request given how close they are to a peace agreement with the Romulans, and orders her to destroy the Protostar if the Romulans attempt to steal it. Ensign Asencia request permission to sneak into the Neutral Zone, which Janeway denies, but this makes them realize the Romulans must be planning to do the same thing...
Sure enough, the kids are attacked by a group of Tal Shiar agents (with uniforms and weapons like seen in season 1 of Picard). Okona ditches the kids, so using his new genetic implant, Dal activates more of his dormant genes and easily takes out the Romulans, but shortly begins to mutate uncontrollably. Making a run for it, they end up battling the Romulans on a orbital elevator. Admiral Janeway fires on the Protostar, but aborts the photons when they detect that the kids have defeated the Romulans, thanks to Murf's new fighting skills with his new humanoid form. The kids begin repairs to the Protostar's engines, and remove Dal's genetic implant, restoring him back to normal.
Meanwhile, back on the Dauntless, Ensign Asencia reveals to the Diviner that he wasn't the only Vau N'Akat sent back in time to capture the Protostar. She is using a genetic implant to disguise herself as a Trill and has a Drednok robot as well, disguised as a table.
Nice to finally get some explanation for Dal's origins, and why the comm relay station computer simply said to report him to Starfleet command when it scanned his DNA.
Dr. Jago says Dal's the product of techniques based on the research of Dr. Arik Soong and his protegees... but I don't see how she could possibly know that. After all, Arik Soong would have died about 200 years ago. His work would be antiquated by the 24th century and I have to doubt would be well known among alien cultures, considering his work was outlawed on Earth as it is. Not to mention, Soong's work was all about augmenting the human genome, not splicing it with other species. Wouldn't there be any contemporary geneticists Dr. Jago would be familiar with?
At any rate, this opens up some new questions about Dal's origins... Who created him and why? And we still don't know why he ended up at Tars Lamora. Dal seems to assume he's a failed experiment, but I doubt that's the case.
I liked that Okona references TNG episode he was in. He tells the kids about it. He's in this episode more than the previous episode, but I still wish he'd done more. He helps facilitate the plot, suggesting the kids go to Noble Isle to make repairs and introducing them to Dr. Jago... But it doesn't capture the same loveable scoundrel motif that the character had in TNG since he, nor the kids, run into any trouble because of his actions.
Not sure how the Dauntless is able to tell exactly what's going on on Noble Isle. I'm guessing the planet is fairly close to the Federation side of the Neutral Zone if the Protostar could get there without warp drive.... but I don't think long range sensors would be able to make out this level of detail from that range. Not to mention, the planet has constant ion storms that prevents beaming and communication. And he Dauntless is also able to fire at the Protostar from that far as well? I mean, I don't know what range a photon torpedo has exactly, but Star Trek generally shows weapons range to be relatively close (edit, looked it up and TNG established a range of about 300,000 kilometers, for reference the distance between Earth and the moon is on average around 384,400 km. So yeah, those torpedoes shouldn't have made it to the planet).
The revelation that Ensign Asencia wasn't a Trill but another Vau N'Akat was surprising. I wondered why they seemed to be paying special attention to this Ensign out of the rest of Admiral Janeway's crew. She's had more screen time than the rest of her crew, but I wasn't expecting this.
Overall, despite a few plot conveniences, this was a really good episode. Cool cameo, and some surprising revelations.