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Reuniting the Band: Valjean

by Nathan Miracle, Second Edition Designer

12th November 2014

“Anyone else here who can run?”

-Kathryn Janeway and Ayala, Basics, Part II

Star Trek: Voyager starts off by showing a small band of Maquis freedom fighters escaping from a Cardassian ship. In the cockpit of the fighter that we now know as the Valjean, we see three of our future main characters, Chakotay, Tuvok and B’Elanna Torres… and one other guy. If Voyager were The Original Series, that guy would be wearing a red shirt and hoping his life insurance policy covers plot-based deaths. Instead, that extra appeared over and over throughout Voyager’s run. It took him until season three to get a line of dialogue, and it took over a decade after the introduction of the Maquis faction in 2E until we finally see him in virtual card form. I’m please to introduce to you: Ayala, Patriot!

Ayala Tarik Ergin portrayed Ayala as a regular extra aboard Voyager. He appeared in 121 episodes, ranging all the way from Caretaker to Endgame. Over the years he served in many positions, usually wearing the yellow Operations uniform which suits his skills of Engineer, Security, and Transporters. But like Chakotay, Freedom Fighter, this version of Ayala comes from the episode Caretaker, before the crew of the Valjean joined with Voyager. With the Maquis fatigues comes a Maquis icon and a distinctly Maquis ability.

Masters of manipulation, the Maquis have been making players put cards on top of their deck ever since they were introduced in Energize. The Federation Maquis Raider, Bajoran Ro Laren, Klingon M’Vil, and non-aligned Kobb can all make your opponent redraw the cards he or she wants to have in hand, and the list only got longer with later sets. But what if there were a way to make your opponent NOT redraw those cards? In steps Ayala. Simply stop him when you suspect your opponent just put their best card (likely their last card) on top of the deck, and you can bury that card all the way at the bottom of the deck. Unless your opponent finds a way to shuffle his or her deck or ends up drawing his or her whole deck, you may never see that card again!

While the Maquis certainly have several ways to take advantage of Ayala’s ability, creative players will find all sorts of other options. My favorite involves using Caretaker’s “Guests” to place a key personnel on top of your opponent’s deck, then Ayala to send that personnel to the bottom of the deck. Since personnel unstop at the end of each turn, you can use Ayala this way even if you used him on your previous turn, and he will be ready for use on your following turn. The fact that we saw Ayala in his Maquis fatigues aboard the Caretaker’s Array makes this combination all the more appropriate. You may also use Ayala’s ability to counteract some of your opponent’s cards, such as Xhosa, Sponsored Transport.

Energize released in 2003, over 11 years ago. It took longer for Ayala to appear in 2E than it did for Voyager to get back from the Delta Quadrant. Now that he is here, how will you use him to expand your power in the universe?

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