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Kate Mulgrew ........................................ Captain Kathryn Janeway Robert Beltran ...................................... Chakotay Roxann Biggs-Dawson ................................. B'Ellana Torres Jennifer Lien ....................................... Kes Robert Duncan McNeill ............................... Lt. Tom Paris Robert Picardo ...................................... Doc Zimmerman Ethan Phillips ...................................... Neelix Tim Russ ............................................ Tuvok Jeri Ryan ........................................... Seven of Nine Garrett Wang ........................................ Harry Kim
ACT 1: Captain Elizabeth Janeway of the USS Voyager, NCC-74656, pays a visit to a Federation rehab colony, where she speaks to Tom Paris. She reveals to him that Tuvok is her security chief and was on an undercover mission to infiltrate the Maquis when his ship disappeared. She needs Tom's help to locate the Maquis, because he was briefly one of them after he was kicked out of Starfleet for causing the deaths of 3 officers and lying about it. She offers to get Tom released if he helps on this mission, and he agrees, though she says that he is only an observer on the mission, and will be cut loose when it's over. The Betazoid pilot of the Voyager (named Stadi) ferries Tom to DS9 where the Voyager is prepping for the mission. Tom hits on Stadi the whole journey, pretty much unsuccessfully. Tom visits Quark's Bar, where he finds Quark trying to cheat a wet-behind-the-ears, fresh-from-the-Academy Asian Ensign named Harry Kim into buying some junk baubles for a premium price. Tom foils the scam, and seems to make a friend in Harry Kim. They report to the Voyager, where the doctor is very cold to Tom, knowing of his past. Tom won't tell Harry about it, saying that someone will tell him everything soon enough. Janeway says goodbye to her boyfriend before leaving for this mission via subspace radio from her Ready Room. Tom and Harry report to her, and Harry is really stiff and full of military protocol. She welcomes them aboard, and the ship departs from DS9.
ACT 2: As Tom predicted, Harry got the scoop from the doctor, who told him to stay away from Tom. But Harry said he picks his own friends. As they enter the Badlands, Tom tells where the Maquis would most likely fly to after the battle with the Cardi's. Just as they head in that direction, the energy wave appears again, and the Voyager vanishes. The Voyager suffers much damage, and several crewpersons are killed, including Stadi. They are more than 70,000 light years from where they were, on the other side of the galaxy.
ACT 3: They find themselves next to a giant alien space array, next to the Maquis ship. The array is sending out energy pulses, with a data feed toward a nearby star system. They read no life signs on the Maquis ship, and sensors cannot penetrate the array. Janeway sends Harry to sickbay to help, and Tom follows him, though he was conspicuously not given any orders (remember, he's an observer, not an officer). Janeway goes to engineering where the chief engineer is dead, and a warp core breach is imminent. She moved up through the ranks as a science officer, and comes up with a solution to the problem. Tom and Harry find that the doctor and nurse are both dead. They activate the emergency medical holograph, known as Doc Zimmerman. Doc has no personality and an atrocious bedside manner, but efficiently treats the patients. A beam sweeps through the ship and everyone is transported away, except for Doc. They find themselves in a farmyard, being served lemonade and cookies by a nice old lady. Many other farm folk show up, including a banjo-playing old man, and seem to be interested in wasting the time of the officers. They find that they are inside the array, and the farm setting is a holographic projection.
ACT 4: They sense Sporocystian life form readings from the barn and go to investigate. Several holograms try to prevent them from going there. A fight ensues, and a wall of the barn disappears, revealing a large chamber with the crew of the Maquis in stasis. The officers are all captured and stuck in the chest with big needles before they pass out. They awaken to find themselves back on the Voyager, in the same locations they were beamed from. The Maquis are also returned to their vessel. But two people remain missing: Harry Kim from Voyager, and B'Elanna Torres from the Maquis. Janeway speaks to Chakotay and they agree to work together to find the missing people and a way out of all this. Tuvok is revealed to be a Starfleet officer, infuriating Chakotay, who is also ticked to see Tom Paris helping Starfleet find them. Janeway decides to beam to the array to find the missing people. Tom volunteers to go, to help his new friend Harry.
ACT 5: They find no humanoid lifeforms in the array, and no farm folk, either. Only the old banjoman remains. He says that he means them no harm, and that he had no alternatives to bringing them across the galaxy and kidnapping their friends. He says he must "honor the debt that can never be repaid", and that his search has not gone well. This confuses our people. The old man says he has no time for this and beams them all back to their ships. We finally see Harry and B'Elanna, waking up in a hospital with tumorous growths on their bodies. They are treated rather kindly by telepathic medical personnel. The Voyager traces the energy/data pulses from the array and theorize that the missing personnel were transported along that beam. The planet it's beamed at has no water, though it's the perfect distance from it's star to have oceans. They theorize that some disaster destroyed all the water. Janeway grudgingly provides the Maquis with torpedoes for defense and they both head for the planet. She finally recogizes Tom's value to the mission, and asks him to take the Conn position, that Stadi had once filled.
ACT 6: As they approach the planet, they come across a garbage dump in space. Picking through the detritus, they find a short plump alien scavenger named Neelix. Neelix knows their story before they tell it, regarding being brought here against their will and missing some crewpersons. The Caretaker's been doing this sort of thing for months. At Janeway's confusion about the "Caretaker", Neelix explains that the Ocampa, who live on this planet, call the being in the array ``Caretaker'', because he protects them. Neelix doesn't know why the Caretaker is stealing people, but he does know that they are sent to the Ocampa. He offers to help them in their search in exchange for water, which is a valuable commodity in these parts. They beam him aboard, a technology that amazes him. Tuvok greets him in the transporter room, and notices that he smells really bad. He takes him to quarters, and suggests a bath. Harry and B'Elanna finally get a chance to talk to each other privately. She doesn't like him because she knows he was on a mission to arrest the Maquis. She almost goes berserk trying to get out of their room, and apologizes, saying that it's her Klingon blood. The doctor enters and tells them that they are not prisoners, but guests, since the Caretaker has sent them. He reveals that the tumors on them are a strain of sporocystian tumor, and Harry remembers the sporocystian lifeform readings on the array. The doctor takes them for a walk to a cafe, where they find out that all of the Ocampa have lived underground for more than 500 generations. The Caretaker opened the subterranean chasm and led their ancestors to it. The Caretaker provides them with energy, food, and intellectual stimulation (science, medicine, history, math,...), but never communicates with them directly. They must interpret his wishes as best they can. The doctor believes that the Caretaker has separated Harry and B'Elanna from their people to prevent the spread of their disease. The Ocampa think the disease is contagious, but they're immune. The doctor reveals that there have been other patients sent to them, but all of them eventually died from the disease.
ACT 7: In orbit of the planet, Tuvok goes to get Neelix, and finds him exalting in the bathtub. Apparently nobody in these parts ever is near enough water to immerse themselves. Replicator technology amazes Neelix also, having tried many different foods. Neelix tells them where an encampment can be found on the surface, and to get containers of water ready for bartering. Janeway, Chakotay, Paris, Tuvok, and Neelix beam down, where they see great craters in the surface, down which the beams from the array travel. Tuvok points out that the pulses are increasing in frequency. They move on to the Gazon encampment. Neelix tells them that this planet is of strategic importance, and the Gazon control it. Neelix walks into the Gazon encampment, as if they're long-standing friends, and the Gazon prepare to lynch him. He tells them he's brought water to replace that which he "borrowed", and that the Voyager can make water "out of thin air". This really interests the Gazon leader, Jabin. Two large vats of water are beamed down. Janeway asks about the Ocampa, and Jabin says there is only one Ocampa among them, the prisoner Kes. Neelix says the Starfleet people need Kes to guide them to the Ocampa to retrieve their lost people. The Gazon have no love for the Caretaker, since he takes care of the Ocampa, and does nothing for the Gazon. Kes tells Chakotay telepathically that the Gazon are not to be trusted. Jabin decides to keep Kes and all of the landing party. Neelix draws a phaser and threatens Jabin, phasering the vats of water as a show of strength. Janeway orders an emergency beam-up while the Gazon rush to save the precious water. Neelix grabs Kes and she beams away with them. As they dematerialize, Neelix says to her, "My dearest -- didn't I promise I'd save you?!" He hasn't been totally upfront with them.
ACT 8: A young Ocampa nurse brings Harry and B'Elanna some fruit, having noticed that they didn't like the Caretaker's "puppy chow". They ask her to help them escape. She says that the Caretaker has been acting strangely, abducting people, increasing the power supply... but the elders blindly believe in him. The increased energy he's sent has been stored, and they have enough to run the city for 100 generations, but nobody knows why. She tells them how Kes escaped to the surface through an access tunnel near an energy conduit, that has since been sealed. She agrees to get them some cutting tools and help them escape. Janeway interrogates Kes and Neelix, and finds out that since The Warming, when the surface of the planet became a desert, the Ocampa have lived underground and the Caretaker has provided for them. She can tell them where to beam to find Harry and B'Elanna. Neelix wants to take Kes and leave, but she feels indebted to her rescuers, and agrees to go with them and help. Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, Paris, Kes and Neelix beam down to the underground city. A group of Kes' acquaintances come to speak with her, and an elder admonishes her for leaving and bringing back others against the will of the Caretaker. She tells him that the Ocampa have lost free will by accepting the Caretaker's gifts.
ACT 9: Harry and B'Elanna find the access shaft and begin to climb, but they are very weak. As they talk, B'Elanna reveals that she had attended the Academy, and they bond a little. The energy pulses increase in a mounting crescendo, and then stop entirely. Voyager informs Janeway that the array has stopped sending out pulses, and is realigning itself. On the surface, the Gazon see it as a weakness, and prepare to attack the array. The array fires a weapon at the surface, sealing the energy conduits. They finally put together that the Caretaker is dying, and has been feeding the Ocampa more energy in anticipation of his death. Now that the time is here, he has sealed the conduits, to protect the Ocampa from the Gazon. They find Harry and B'Elanna, but the array's weapon has irradiated the surface, making the transporter ineffective below ground. They continue up the shaft to the surface. Just as some of them emerge, and prepare to beam up, the shaft collapses, trapping Janeway, Chakotay, and Tuvok. Tom Paris goes down to rescue them, and Neelix offers to help. Kes, Harry, and B'Elanna beam up. Tom and Neelix save the others, Tom risking his life to save Chakotay. He then jokes about the Indian tradition that if someone saves your life, your life belongs to them. Chakotay says "Wrong tribe". They make it out.
ACT 10: The Voyager and the Maquis go to protect the array from the Gazon attack. Neelix and Kes go to quarters for protection. Janeway asks Jabin to cease fire so she can board the array and have it send them home. Jabin sees the array as a great weapon, and refuses to let Janeway take control of it. A battle ensues. Janeway and Tuvok beam into the array, leaving Paris in command, and find the old banjoman. He says that he is dying and now there will be nobody to protect the Ocampa. Janeway asks why it's his responsibility to protect them. He says that his people came from another galaxy to explore and they didn't know their technology would be so destructive, destroying all water on the Ocampa's planet. He and a female of his kind were chosen to stay behind and take care of the Ocampa, but the female tired of the responsibility and left to explore. Janeway asks why he kidnapped and infected people. He did not intend to infect them, he was searching for a replacement, someone with DNA compatible with his own, to create another sporocystic lifeform like himself. He was not successful. Meanwhile, the battle does not go well. The Gazon have gotten reinforcements, most notably one huge battleship. It's obvious that neither Voyager nor the Maquis ship have enough firepower to defeat the battleship, and Chakotay orders a collision course set. The Maquis beam over to Voyager, and Chakotay stays behind to pilot his ship into the collision. They beam him out just before he collides with the Gazon battleship, fatally damaging it. Tuvok tells Janeway that he can figure out the array's controls in several hours, and send them all back home. Janeway asks the Caretaker to help them, and he says he has no time. To keep the array out of the hands of the Gazon, he has started a self destruct sequence. The Gazon battleship crashes into the array, and the Caretaker says that the destruct program has been damaged. As he dies, he pleads with Janeway to prevent the Gazon from taking control of the array, because they will destroy the Ocampa. Tuvok prepares to activate the program that will send them home, but Janeway asks what will happen to the Ocampa when they leave. Tuvok points out that helping them would be a violation of the Prime Directive. She says that they are already involved, and orders a beamout. She orders a tricobalt device, and warns the Gazon off. B'Elanna confronts Janeway, saying that the array is their only way home. Janeway says she is not willing to trade the lives of the Ocampa for the convenience of Voyager and the Maquis. B'Elanna says there is no other way home, and prepares to physically confront Janeway, asking who she is to be making these decisions for all of them. Chakotay stops her and says "She's the captain". They fire the tricobalt device, destroying the array. Jabin hails them, and says they have made an enemy today. Janeway talks to Chakotay, saying that they'll have to work together to find a way home, as one crew. She appoints him First Officer, and restores his commission of Lt.Cdr. She also wants to make Paris a Lt., and asks Chakotay if he objects. He says he should, but unfortunately, his life belongs to Paris. Neelix and Kes come to Janeway and ask to stay aboard, in return for Neelix's service as guide, barterer, and cook. Janeway agrees.
Janeway addresses her newly integrated crew for the first time, saying that they're alone in an uncharted part of the galaxy. They've made some friends, and some enemies. It's 75 years to home at maximum speeds, but she's not willing to settle for that. There's another Caretaker out there somewhere, and they are going to find her. If not, they'll find a wormhole, spatial rift, or some new technology to help them, but they will find a way. She orders Paris to set a course for home.