Stranded by the Kazon on a desolate planet ravaged by earthquakes and vicious cave creatures, the crew seeks food and shelter. At the same time, Paris, who managed to flee Voyager in a shuttle before the Kazon seized the ship, solicits help from the Talaxians.Review
On Voyager, the Doctor surprises Seska when he reveals that her newborn baby isn't Chakotay's child after all - he's Culluh's. After she leaves, the Doctor discovers that he's not the only member of the crew left on the ship; Ensign Suder, the violent sociopath whom Tuvok has been attempting to rehabilitate, is still aboard. They join forces against the Kazon, but as they plot strategy, Suder expresses regret over the fact that he will probably need to kill Kazon to wrest control of Voyager.
On the planet, Kes and Neelix are kidnapped by the primitive humanoid natives. Chakotay and a rescue party free them, but during their getaway, they're all forced to take cover in one of the dangerous caves. They manage to elude the enormous eel-like creature that lives inside, and seal off the opening as they exit.
As Paris heads back to Voyager with reinforcements, he sends a message to the Doctor, asking him to disable the secondary phaser couplings. Suder has been sabotaging Voyager's systems from within, using an old Maquis trick to avoid detection. But former Maquis Seska figures out that there's a saboteur aboard and confronts the Doctor. He claims that he's the only saboteur and Seska disables his program before he can disable the back-up couplings. That leaves Suder as the crew's last hope, and he heroically disables the phasers before being killed by a Kazon.
Paris knocks out Voyager's main phasers, and when Culluh tries to use the back-up system, Seska and many of the others on the Bridge are mortally wounded. She dies as Paris and the Talaxians board Voyager, and Culluh takes the baby with him when he abandons the ship. Paris takes control of the starship and goes back for the crew. Later, Tuvok offers a Vulcan prayer of peace over Suder's body as Janeway sets a course for home.
As the U.S.S. Voyager approaches a nebula rich in sirillium, Tuvok is plagued by flashbacks of himself as a boy, trying to rescue a girl who's falling from a cliff. The Doctor suspects Tuvok is experiencing a repressed memory, which can cause permanent brain damage in a Vulcan. Vulcan healing techniques call for the patient to mind-meld with someone he trusts, so that together, the two can bring the memory into the Vulcan's conscious mind. Because of their long-standing friendship, Janeway agrees to meld with Tuvok.Review
The meld takes Tuvok and Janeway back 80 years to the Vulcan's first assignment on the starship U.S.S. Excelsior, commanded by Hikaru Sulu. Sulu served under the legendary Captain James T. Kirk for many years, so his crew isn't surprised when he disobeys Starfleet orders to try and help Kirk and another old shipmate, Dr. McCoy, who are being held for the murder of the Klingon Chancellor. On the way, the Excelsior passes through a nebula that is similar to the one Voyager spotted prior to Tuvok's first flashback. Once again, Tuvok experiences the memory of the little girl falling, but this time he goes into convulsions.
On Voyager, the Doctor revives Tuvok, and Janeway wonders what the little girl had to do with this period on the Excelsior. All Tuvok can recall is that the Klingons ambushed the starship in the nebula, forcing Sulu to abort the rescue mission.
Reforming the mind-meld, Tuvok relives the Klingon attack. He recalls that during the battle, he aided an injured crewman named Valtane, who died in Tuvok's arms. As he goes through this again, the Doctor notices that the Vulcan is again experiencing erratic brain patterns. Unable to break the mind-meld between Tuvok and Janeway, the Doctor exposes Tuvok's brain to bursts of thoron radiation and in doing so, inadvertently discovers the truth. When Valtane died, a strange alien virus that he'd been carrying in his brain migrated to Tuvok's brain, camouflaging itself as a repressed memory. The Doctor increases the intensity of the radiation and is at last able to destroy the peculiar virus, leaving the mind of Tuvok healthy and Janeway nostalgic for the "old days" when space was still a wild frontier.
During shore leave on Akritiri, Paris and Kim are falsely accused of a terrorist bombing and sent to prison. Paris is already in the nightmarish alien jail when Kim arrives via a long metal chute. As if confinement in the brutal hellhole weren't bad enough, Paris shows Kim the "clamp" that every prisoner wears; it seems to affect the wearer's nervous system and it can't be removed.Review
On Voyager, Janeway is informed by Liria, the Akritirian Ambassador, that Paris and Kim have been imprisoned for a bombing that killed 47 people. The "proof" is traces of trilithium found on their clothes. Although trilithium can be made from the dilithium Voyager uses to power its engines, Janeway emphatically denies that her people were involved. She leaves, determined to find the real bombers.
Back in the prison, Paris and Kim plot how to escape through the chute, which is protected by a deadly forcefield. But before they can, Paris is stabbed by a brutal inmate. With no medical assistance available, Kim makes a deal with another inmate, Zio; he'll take Zio with him when he disables the forcefield in exchange for some supplies to clean up Paris's wound.
Back at the prison, Kim and Zio climb to the top of the chute, where they find that the opening is actually a docking port leading into space; what they'd thought was an underground jail is actually a large isolated satellite. With Paris getting closer to death, Kim tries to talk some of the inmates into cooperating in a prison break, but the idea seems so outlandish, they jeer at him. Later, when a delirious Paris disables the tool that Kim had used to neutralize the forcefield, Kim comes close to killing his friend. He regains his senses just in time.
Janeway tracks down and captures the real bombers, a young brother and sister, but she is shocked when Liria refuses to trade them for her people; he never reverses a conviction. Now the Captain is willing to deal with the bombers. In exchange for their freedom, the pair lead Tuvok and Janeway to the prison, where they extricate their officers and escape.
Paris and Torres are confronted by aliens who materialize on their shuttle, fire a weapon at the pair and disappear as quickly as they'd appeared. Although Paris sustains serious injuries from the charge, Torres recovers sufficiently to get them back to Voyager. Neelix tells Janeway that he doesn't know these aliens by name, only by reputation. They attack any outsider who dares to enter their territory, swarming in mass like angry insects. Unfortunately, charting a route around their huge territory isn't feasible, so Janeway opts to stay on course.Review
In Sickbay, the Doctor can't remember how to complete an operation; the Emergency Medical Hologram's memory circuits seem to be degrading. The only way to help him is to reinitialize his program, but Torres reveals that if she does that, all of the memories the Doctor has acquired in the past two years would be lost, along with much of his personality. Torres transfers the Doctor's program to a holodeck recreation of Jupiter Station, where his database originally had been written. There, they meet a holographic recreation of Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, creator of the EMH. "Zimmerman" explains the Doctor's "meltdown" is understandable, since his program was designed to run for only 1,500 hours.
The crew adjusts Voyager's shields so that the ship can slip through the aliens' sensor net without being spotted. But as Voyager proceeds, one of the tiny alien ships fires a polaron burst that makes the starship once again visible on their sensors. The "swarm" begins to pursue Voyager and the crew assumes battle stations. The small ships attach themselves to the ship and begin draining its energy. Realizing that every vessel in the swarm is connected at some quantum level, the crew is able to create an explosive chain reaction that drives them off long enough for the ship to get through their territory.
With the Doctor's memory degradation becoming worse every minute, Kes convinces the Zimmerman program to graft his matrix onto the Doctor's. The procedure works, although it will be a matter of time before they know if the Doctor retained all of his memories.
After detecting evidence of an unstable wormhole in a nearby solar system, Voyager's sensors find something even more unusual: evidence that a replicator from the Alpha Quadrant is in use on one of the planets. Janeway sends Paris and Chakotay down to the planet Takar to investigate, and they find a pair of Ferengi being worshiped as gods by the locals because of their advanced technology.Review
When they return to the ship, Paris and Chakotay learn that the Ferengi con artists, Kol and Arridor, arrived in the Delta Quadrant seven years earlier, victims of an attempt to lay claim to an unreliable wormhole. With no way to return home, they settled on the primitive planet and took advantage of a local myth predicting the arrival of "holy sages." Unhappy about the exploitation of the unsophisticated people, Janeway beams the Ferengi aboard Voyager. However, she reluctantly releases the pair after they persuade her that the sudden disappearance of Takar's "gods" would cause turmoil on the planet.
Resorting to trickery, Janeway sends Neelix to the planet disguised as a Ferengi to inform the pair that they're being recalled by their leader, the Grand Nagus. The plan backfires when the Ferengi decide they'd rather kill Neelix than give up their profits. To save himself, Neelix confesses his true identity. Once again, it appears the Ferengi have triumphed.
The crew has one more card up its sleeve. Drawing from mythic prophecies that the gods will leave on "wings of fire" following the arrival of a holy pilgrim, Neelix proclaims himself to be that pilgrim. The crew fires off three photon bursts to fulfill a line in the prophecy that says the gods will depart when three new stars appear in the sky.
Just as the crew's efforts to "attract" the wandering wormhole pay off, Voyager beams Kol and Arridor aboard. But before the ship can pass through it into the Alpha Quadrant, the Ferengi steal a shuttle and are pulled into the tunnel in space, destabilizing the phenomenon before Voyager can follow. Janeway and her crew saved the Takarians, but lost another chance to get home quickly.
As Voyager transports a group of Enarans to their homeworld, Torres begins having intense dreams. Every night, she envisions herself as Korenna, an Enaran woman who's in love with a man named Dathan, much to the chagrin of "Korenna's" father Jareth, a military leader.Review
Torres shares her unsettling visions with Chakotay, noting that each new dream seems to advance Korenna's story. Chakotay wonders if there might be a connection between the dreams and the presence of the telepathic Enarans. Later, Torres passes out after having a waking vision of Korenna's life.
When she awakens in Sickbay, the Doctor tells Torres that she isn't dreaming; she's experiencing memories that have been specifically implanted in her mind. In her next vision, Korenna realizes that her father is forcibly "resettling" people like Dathan, who are known as Regressives because they reject modern technology. Korenna's face is accidentally scarred by a Regressive attempting to flee Jareth's soldiers. When Torres awakens, she goes to the quarters of an old Enaran woman named Mirell, who has a scar like the one Torres saw in the dream. Mirell admits she is Korenna, and that she planted her memories in Torres's mind so the truth about the fate of the Regressives won't be forgotten when she dies.
Mirell telepathically gives Torres the last part of the story: the night Dathan told Korenna that Jareth was killing the Regressives, not relocating them. Dathan urges Korenna to run away with him, but Jareth tells Korenna that Dathan's lying to her. Convinced that Dathan doesn't really love her, Korenna betrays her lover, and Jareth has him executed as Korenna joins the cheering Enaran mob. When Torres wakes up, Korenna Mirell is dead.
As the Enarans prepare a farewell toast to the crew, Torres bursts in and calls the group murderers. She accuses the Enarans of whitewashing their past, but none of them are willing to listen to her. Finally, a young Enaran woman that Torres had befriended during the trip offers to telepathically link with Torres to receive Korenna's memories. Torres gratefully accepts, knowing that what happened to the Regressives will live on in the Enarans' memories.
While visiting the Nechani homeworld, Kes ventures into a shrine of the Nechisti Order and is struck by a mysterious energy burst, rendering her comatose. Unfortunately, when back on the ship, the Doctor can't help Kes because he doesn't understand her condition. The local magistrate tells Janeway that Kes violated a holy place that only monks may enter - and only after they have undergone a purification ritual to protect them from the energy field. Later, Neelix uncovers an ancient story of a king who went through the ritual to save his comatose son's life. Janeway requests permission to do the same.Review
The Nechisti Council approves Janeway's petition and the Doctor implants a subdermal bioprobe to monitor her physical condition during the ritual. A guide meets Janeway at the sanctuary and leads her to a room where three old people claim they are also waiting for the ritual to start, and have been there for as long as they can remember.
With Kes' life in the balance, Janeway impatiently demands that the ritual begin. The Guide hands the Captain a rock, and asks her what she sees. Janeway says she sees a stone, and is told to keep looking. The Guide takes her through a series of challenges, and hours later, an exhausted Janeway is told to put her hand in a basket, and an unseen creature called a "nesset" bites her. Janeway collapses, and the Guide puts her in an underground chamber.
On Voyager, the Doctor tracks the toxins from the bite as they course through Janeway's bloodstream, theorizing it might be the key to treating Kes. In a vision, Janeway asks the spirits to restore Kes' health, and her Guide cryptically tells the Captain that she already has what she needs to save Kes, and ends the ritual. Janeway returns to Voyager, where the Doctor prepares a cure from the toxins in Janeway's system. Yet when he applies it to Kes, she actually gets worse. Baffled, Janeway confronts the Guide, who sends her back to the waiting room.
The Council Members - the three old people Janeway encountered earlier - chide Janeway for having no faith in the spirits just because she can't scan them with her technology. Janeway realizes that if she's going to save Kes, she has to believe - if not in the spirits, then in her own faith that she can help Kes. Her only option is to take Kes back through the energy field, even though scans show it's deadly. Against Chakotay's and Neelix's advice, Janeway carries Kes into the shrine, and this time - whether it's due to the Captain's altered biochemistry or her newfound irrational faith - the energy field doesn't harm them, and Kes recovers.
The U.S.S. Voyager is fired upon by the 29th-century Federation "Timeship" Aeon commanded by Captain Braxton, who has time-traveled through a spatial rift to destroy Janeway's ship. Braxton claims that Voyager is responsible for a temporal explosion that will obliterate Earth's solar system in his era. Although equipped with only 24th-century technology, the crew manages to deflect Braxton's blasts and damage his ship, but then both the timeship and Voyager get sucked through the rift. The starship winds up in orbit around Earth in 1996.Review
Knowing Braxton's ship holds the key to returning to their own era, the crew begins searching for it, and an Away Team beams down to Los Angeles to investigate subspace readings that seem out of place in the 20th century. Meanwhile, at Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills, astronomer Rain Robinson picks up Voyager's warp emission on her instruments and reports the finding to computer mogul Henry Starling, who funds her lab. Against Starling's instructions, Rain transmits a greeting to Voyager, and the crew tracks her to the Observatory. While Paris and Tuvok head for the site, Chakotay and Janeway identify a homeless man as Captain Braxton. He explains that he emerged from the time rift in 1967 and crash-landed in the desert, where a young Henry Starling found the timeship and utilized its technology to start a high-tech empire. Starling is now planning to use Braxton's vessel to time travel, and, according to Braxton, that will cause the explosion in the future.
Fearing that Rain is a security risk, Starling sends a henchman to kill her. But Paris and Tuvok spirit her away before she can be harmed. When Rain questions what they're up to, Paris tells her that they're secret agents tracking a Soviet KGB spy operation. She sees through his story, though, because the Soviet Union and the KGB no longer exist.
Chakotay and Janeway sneak into Starling's office, where they discover Braxton's timeship just as Starling walks in and confronts them. Janeway warns Starling not to launch the ship, explaining it will unleash disaster. Undaunted, Starling tries to kill Chakotay and Janeway, but they're transported to Voyager in the nick of time. They try to beam up the timeship, but Starling uses their transporter beam to access Voyager's computer and study its systems. Minutes later, the wily Starling steals the Doctor's program from Sickbay. To complicate things even further, Voyager's presence is disclosed on the evening news!
Janeway's attempts to beam up 20th-century computer mogul Henry Starling and the timeship in his possession are stymied because Voyager's long-range transporters aren't working. As a result, brilliant astronomer Rain Robinson lures Starling to a meeting where the crew hopes to hijack him. Starling shows up with the Doctor, whom he's supplied with a 29th-century portable holo-emitter that allows him to exist in environments without standard holographic emitters.Review
Having reconfigured the shields on a shuttlecraft to disguise it from 20th-century radar, Chakotay and Torres try to beam up Starling from the rendezvous. Starling has a device that interferes with the attempt, but Voyager is able to redirect the transporter signal to beam him directly to the starship. Unfortunately, Starling's attempt to disrupt the beam-out damages the shuttle's controls. It goes down in the desert, where Chakotay and Torres are taken hostage by a paramilitary group. Voyager traces the crash site to Arizona, and the Doctor and Tuvok travel there to find them.
On Voyager, Starling admits to Janeway that he wants to travel into the future to steal more advanced technology. Although Janeway thinks she's put an end to those plans, one of Starling's henchmen uses his scavenged 29th-century technology to transport Starling back to his office. Outside Starling's headquarters, Paris spots a truck that appears to be moving the timeship to another location. In Arizona, Tuvok and the Doctor manage to free Chakotay and Torres. Torres repairs the damaged shuttle, which they use to track the truck and destroy it. However, they discover the truck was a ruse; the timeship is back in Starling's office, and he's just launched it.
Retrieving Paris and Tuvok, the shuttle returns to Voyager, where Janeway hails Starling, who refuses to abort his mission. She has no choice but to destroy the timeship. Seconds later, a time rift opens and Braxton appears in his timeship. With his previous timeline altered by the destruction of Starling, this Braxton has come from the future to lead Voyager back to the 24th century, where it belongs. Janeway implores Braxton to place them at Earth, but Braxton cites the Temporal Prime Directive, which Janeway cannot argue with. Back in the Delta Quadrant, the crew finds that they've gained one particular advantage from their journey: the Doctor has retained the 29th-century mobile holo-emitter, freeing him from the confines of Sickbay.
The U.S.S. Voyager beams aboard three people just before their damaged ship explodes: an Ilari female named Nori, her injured spouse Tieran and an Ilari male named Adin. Although the Doctor and Kes try to save him, Tieran dies. Not long after, Neelix is shocked when Kes announces she'd like to spend some time apart from him. When Voyager arrives at Ilari, the local leader, known as "the Autarch," sends a representative to the ship instead of coming himself. Inexplicably, Kes pulls out a phaser, kills the representative and a crewmember, and escapes in a stolen shuttlecraft with Adin and Nori.Review
Kes takes the shuttle to a military encampment and takes command of the waiting troops. In the meantime, Janeway meets with Demmas, the Autarch's oldest son, who explains that Kes' body is now inhabited by Tieran, a former Ilarian ruler who was overthrown by Demmas' ancestor 200 years ago. Since then, Tieran has lived on by transferring his mind to a series of host bodies. Janeway agrees to help Demmas stop Kes/Tieran, but before she can, the tyrant has killed the Autarch in front of Demmas' younger brother, Ameron, and appointed himself the new Autarch.
Kes/Tieran tries to poison Ameron's thoughts against Demmas and urges him to cooperate with the new regime. In the meantime, the Doctor designs a synaptic stimulator that will remove Tieran's neural pattern from Kes - if they can get close enough to use it. Tuvok beams into the Autarch's palace, but is caught and imprisoned before he can succeed in the attempt. When Kes/Tieran interrogates Tuvok, the Vulcan is able to initiate a mind-meld and speak directly to Kes, who tells Tuvok she is fighting Tieran for control.
Kes/Tieran orders Voyager to leave orbit, but the stress of the mental battle between Kes and Tieran results in a paranoid Kes/Tieran killing Adin. To Nori's chagrin, Kes/Tieran announces she's marrying Ameron. Moments later, a coalition of Voyager's crew and Demmas' forces bursts into the palace. Paris releases Tuvok, while Neelix places the synaptic stimulator on Kes/Tieran. Tieran jumps to a new host body - Ameron - but Kes places the device on him and Tieran is finally destroyed. Demmas, the rightful heir, becomes Autarch.
After the Voyager crew is treated to the rare sight of a supernova, Q shows up in Janeway's quarters with a proposition: he'd like the Captain to bear his baby. Janeway flatly refuses, but Q is persistent. He reappears several more times, and although Janeway admits she'd like to have a child someday, she's not going to mate with Q - much to the relief of a jealous female Q who shows up on the ship.Review
After the crew witnesses the third supernova in as many days, they suspect that Q may be behind the explosions. The shockwaves from the cosmic phenomena could damage Voyager, so Janeway urges Q to do something. In response, Q transports Janeway to the Q Continuum, which now resembles Earth's old antebellum South - an apropos setting, because the Q are in the middle of a civil war.
It all started with the death of Quinn, the Q that Voyager had assisted a year earlier. His suicide caused chaos in the Continuum. Now the status quo among the Q are fighting a violent battle against those Q who, like Quinn, believe in individualism. One of the repercussions of the conflict is the unusual frequency of supernovas, caused by spatial disruptions within the Continuum. To end the war, Q has decided to create a new breed of Q, with qualities that are "the best humanity has to offer" - hence, Q's proposition.
Back on Voyager, Chakotay questions the female Q about the war and they agree to join forces. She helps Voyager enter the Continuum, where Janeway encourages Q to mate with the female Q. While he considers the idea, Janeway visits the enemy camp to discuss a cease-fire. She offers a truce on Q's behalf, but the opposing Colonel decides to end the war by executing Q - and by sentencing Janeway to death for collaborating with the enemy.
Facing a firing squad, Q proclaims Janeway's innocence and asks the Colonel to set her free. The Colonel disregards the plea, but the "calvary," in the form of the Voyager crew and the female Q, comes to the rescue. Q decides Janeway is right and asks the female Q to conceive a child with him. They touch their fingertips together and peace again reigns in the Continuum. Later, Q visits Janeway with his son, and asks the Captain to be the boy's godmother.
Returning from a trade mission with the Tak Tak, Janeway and Neelix are perplexed to find Voyager adrift in space. After landing their craft in the Shuttlebay, the pair notes there are no crewmembers in sight and that many of the ship's systems are off-line. While investigating the seemingly empty ship, their turbolift is halted by several lifeforms, one of which pokes a hole in the door with a large stinger. The stinger sprays Neelix with slime, but the pair is able to escape. Not long after, Neelix falls ill and Janeway goes to find an emergency kit. When she returns, he's gone.Review
Now on her own, Janeway arms herself with weapons and goes to the Bridge, where she is stung by one of the bizarre lifeforms. In the Mess Hall, she discovers unresponsive, ailing crewmembers and a giant flying creature, which tries to attack Janeway.
Fleeing to Sickbay, Janeway finds the Doctor holed up with a phaser. He reports that the ship is infected by a strange alien macrovirus. He explains that while Janeway and Neelix were away from the ship, Voyager responded to a medical distress call from a mining colony stricken by a virus. A few of the "bugs" migrated back to the ship when the Doctor returned, and since then, they've spread throughout the ship's systems, and ultimately to the crew. The Doctor has come up with an antigen but he hasn't had the chance to test it, since the huge, mature versions of the virus - such as the one that came after Janeway - have prevented him from leaving Sickbay. Now infected herself, Janeway volunteers to test the antigen and is cured. But there's still the problem of distributing the antigen to the ailing crew.
Janeway comes up with the idea of distributing the cure in gaseous form through the ship's environmental system. Using her arsenal, she blasts her way through the ship until she reaches the controls. But before she can disperse the antigen, Voyager is fired upon by the Tak Tak, who want to exterminate the virus by destroying the ship. Janeway tells them about the cure and asks them to stop shooting long enough for her to treat the crew. They give her an hour. Unfortunately, the environmental controls have been damaged, but Janeway figures out how to put together an antigen bomb, which destroys the virulent invaders.
Neelix thinks he may be at the end of his usefulness to the crew when the U.S.S. Voyager comes upon the Nekrit Expanse, a vast region of space that he knows little about. Since he is their supposed expert on the Delta Quadrant, Neelix is determined to find a detailed map of the area. He suggests they stop at a space station located near the edge of the Expanse, where Janeway, Chakotay and Paris negotiate for supplies. At the same time, Neelix reunites with Wixiban, an old Talaxian friend who went to prison for a crime that he and Neelix participated in years earlier.Review
Wix offers to help Neelix secure a map and pergium, a rare commodity required by Engineering. The items can be attained by trading some supplies that Wix has access to. Neelix borrows one of Voyager's shuttles to deliver Wix's supplies, but when they arrive at the exchange site, a fight breaks out, and Wix kills his contact, Sutok, with a Starfleet phaser from the shuttle.
Fleeing, Neelix realizes that Wix used him to carry out a narcotics deal. But because he feels he "owes" Wix for the prison time his friend did, Neelix agrees to keep quiet about the murder. When Bahrat, the station manager, tells Janeway that a Federation weapon was involved in the slaying, an investigation is launched. Neelix's troubles deepen when Wix insists Neelix must steal warp plasma from Voyager to pay off the drug dealers, whose narcotics were stolen by Sutok's gang during the fight.
Later, Neelix meets with Wix and admits that he couldn't bring himself to steal from Voyager. At the same time, Bahrat arrests Paris and Chakotay for Sutok's murder. Unwilling to see his friends pay the price for a crime they didn't commit, Neelix convinces Wix to come clean with Bahrat. After hearing the confession, Bahrat allows Wix and Neelix to set a trap for the top narcotics dealer, Tosin. The ploy works and Tosin is arrested. Although Janeway is furious with Neelix for getting the crew involved in illicit activities, she understands that he was motivated by a misguided attempt to help them. Rather than putting him off the ship, she sentences him to two weeks scrubbing the exhaust manifolds.
The crew is mystified by the atypical behavior of an inversion nebula. While they study it, Kim asks for Tuvok's help in suppressing his emotions. The ensign confesses he's fallen in love with a holodeck character named Marayna. Tuvok advises Kim to avoid further contact with her, since it is impossible to have a relationship with a computer subroutine. Kim agrees.Review
On the Bridge, the crew watches as a plasma strand ignites, but fails to create the expected chain reaction throughout the nebula. Sensors show an unknown dampening effect between the strands. That night, despite his vow to avoid Marayna, Kim accompanies Paris to the holodeck. There he sees Marayna in conversation with Tuvok. Troubled, Kim leaves, while Tuvok continues to talk to Marayna. The Vulcan is surprised at the depth of her insight into his nature, and he admits that he understands why Kim finds her so compelling.
When Voyager attempts to resume its course, the propulsion system inexplicably goes off-line. While the engineering group explores the problem, Kim goes to the holodeck and finds Tuvok again visiting Marayna. He accuses the Vulcan of betraying his trust, and Tuvok opts to delete Marayna's program rather than jeopardize his relationship with Kim. He's surprised, therefore, when he finds Marayna in his quarters.
To Marayna's annoyance, Tuvok calls security, but she disappears when they arrive. The crew investigates the holodeck and discovers that someone outside the ship has created an uplink and tapped into its programs. Suddenly, activity in the nebula increases, threatening the safety of the ship.
Tracing the uplink back to its source, Tuvok beams over to a space station located inside the nebula. There he meets the real Marayna, a lonely humanoid alien who controls the plasma activity for the benefit of her home world's inhabitants. She threatens to destroy Voyager if Tuvok doesn't stay with her, but he explains that their relationship would not be what she desires if he stayed only to save his ship. Accepting the logic of the situation, she allows him and Voyager to leave.
After Chakotay and Janeway crash-land their shuttlecraft on a planet, Chakotay guesses they may have been shot down by Vidiians. Sure enough, a group of Vidiians arrives and attacks the pair, killing them. Suddenly, they're back on the shuttlecraft, under attack by Vidiian warships. The shuttle explodes before it can land. Seconds later, they are once again sitting in their shuttle.Review
Believing they're trapped in a time loop, the two officers contact Voyager and elude the Vidiians. However, back on the ship, Chakotay refutes Janeway's claims about the time loop. The Doctor diagnoses Janeway as suffering from the Vidiian phage disease and euthanizes her against her will, after which Janeway finds herself back on the shuttle with Chakotay. As they near a strange phenomenon in space, the shuttle explodes, and the next thing Janeway knows, she's back on the planet, watching Chakotay grieve over her dead body.
Returning to Voyager with Chakotay, Janeway discovers she cannot be seen. In Sickbay, the Doctor's attempts to revive her "corpse" are unsuccessful, but Janeway is able to get Kes to telepathically sense her presence. As the crew wonders if the Captain is lost in an alternate dimension, Janeway is shocked to come face to face with her deceased father. Admiral Janeway tells her that she really did die in the shuttle crash, and tries to convince her she should give in to death. Meanwhile, after days of unsuccessfully trying to reach Janeway, the crew holds a memorial service.
Janeway tells her father that she's not ready to leave the crew yet. Suddenly, she senses that she's still in her corporeal body, and that the Doctor is trying to save her. Her father tells her it's a hallucination and urges her to give up. Janeway knows her real father wouldn't push her in this way, and realizes that an alien has assumed his image to lure her to her death. Indeed, an alien presence has invaded her cerebral cortex, but now that she's aware of it, Janeway regains consciousness on the planet's surface, where she's recovering from injuries sustained during the crash-landing with Chakotay.
Preparing for an Away Team mission to a planet with a large reserve of gallicite, Torres is taken aback when a Vulcan ensign named Vorik asks her to be his mate. She declines, but Vorik grabs hold of her face and she dislocates his jaw. The Doctor explains that Vorik is going through a Vulcan mating ritual known as the pon farr. If he doesn't mate, he may die. Vorik attempts to get through the difficult period by engaging in intensive meditation.Review
The Away Team begins the search for the gallicite, but Torres is strangely aggressive, at one point viciously biting Paris. Tuvok finds out that Vorik touched Torres' face, which initiated a telepathic mating bond between them. Now Torres is also experiencing pon farr. Vorik is half-mad with his desire to mate with Torres, but he's forced to remain on Voyager, where the Doctor tries to help him by programming a holographic Vulcan female.
Back on the planet, Paris, Tuvok and Chakotay locate Torres and explain to her what she's experiencing. As they try to convince her to leave the planet, a group of subterranean aliens surround the Away Team. A scuffle breaks out and the aliens disappear with Chakotay and Tuvok, leaving Paris and Torres alone. While searching for their missing crewmembers, Torres alludes to the idea of Paris mating with her, but he refuses to take advantage of her.
Chakotay and Tuvok convince their alien captors, the Sakari, that they've come in peace. The Sakari explain that they moved underground after their ancestors were attacked by unknown invaders. Chakotay offers to help them protect themselves from future attacks in exchange for some gallicite. Elsewhere, Torres tries to seduce Paris, but he again rejects her advances. Not long after, Tuvok and Chakotay locate the pair.
Suddenly, they're joined by Vorik, who can no longer resist his instincts. He challenges Paris for Torres, but Torres takes up the challenge herself and engages in the ritual battle, overcoming Vorik. The blood fever purged, the Away Team returns to the ship - but not before Chakotay finds evidence of who the invaders were that attacked the Sakari: the Borg!
Returning from a scouting mission, the shuttle manned by Chakotay and Ensign Kaplan picks up a Federation distress call from a planet. Launching a buoy to let Voyager know where they are, they land the craft, but are quickly attacked by a hostile group of humanoids. Kaplan is killed, and Chakotay injured before help arrives in the form of another group, led by a woman named Riley, who gets Chakotay to safety. Riley explains she's part of a cooperative of different species who were kidnapped by aliens and left to fend for themselves. However, not all of them are friendly.Review
Back on Voyager, the crew finds a Borg vessel floating in space. When they board it, they find 1,100 dead Borg. An investigation reveals the ship ceased operation five years earlier.
On the planet, Chakotay is shocked to discover that Riley and the others are all Borg - or, at least, they were. They weren't kidnapped; they were assimilated by the Borg. But five years ago, their ship was damaged by an electro-kinetic storm that severed their link to the Borg Collective. Those who survived settled on the planet, but they quickly began fighting each other for food and supplies. Riley is hoping Chakotay can help them. However, right now it is Chakotay who needs help. His only option is to temporarily join his mind with Riley and the rest of her small "Collective" in a healing link. Afterwards, his injuries are much improved, and he feels far closer to the group, particularly Riley.
Tracking Chakotay's buoy, Voyager locates him and beams the First Officer and Riley up to the ship. Riley asks Janeway to help her use the generator on the dead Borg vessel to re-establish a neural link among all the former Borg on the planet. She believes this will stop the fighting and allow them to work together to build a true community. Janeway refuses, fearing that activating the Borg ship and creating a new Collective could be dangerous to all. Riley returns to the planet, but she and her group use their former link with Chakotay to solicit his help. Chakotay takes a shuttle to the cube and does as they ask. As soon as the link is re-established, the new Collective destroys the Borg cube and releases Chakotay from their link, thanking him and the ship for their coerced help.
When the U.S.S. Voyager visits an outpost of the Mikhal Travellers, they meet a gypsy-like band of space explorers who are willing to share their knowledge of the territory the starship is about to enter. As Kes oversees the transfer of medical supplies to the group, she becomes infatuated with Zahir, a Mikhal pilot.Review
In the meantime, the Doctor is engaged in a new project: adding personality routines of famous historical figures, like Gandhi and Lord Byron, to his own program in order to enhance his performance. Torres expresses concern that the subroutines may interact unpredictably and offers to review his program.
As Kes grows increasingly fond of Zahir, the Doctor points out that she is neglecting her duties in Sickbay. Later, the Ocampan confides in Janeway that Zahir wants Kes to leave Voyager and travel with him. As she ponders her decision, Zahir is seriously injured by a mysterious cloaked figure.
The next day, a distraught Kes recounts Zahir's injuries to the Doctor. They're interrupted by Torres, who has found a potential problem with his program. Later, Tuvok and Janeway find Torres collapsed on the floor of Sickbay. The Doctor blames her condition on something she ate, but after Tuvok and Janeway leave, it becomes clear that he's the one who caused Torres' condition. The Doctor unsuccessfully tries to coerce her into removing his original "bland" personality from his blend of subroutines, which are rapidly destabilizing.
As Tuvok investigates the attack on Zahir, the Doctor kidnaps Kes. The discovery of residual holographic signatures near the attack site alerts the crew that the Doctor is the culprit. As the Doctor drags Kes along the mountain path where he assaulted Zahir, he's apprehended by Tuvok and Chakotay. Refusing to give up, he throws himself and Kes over a cliff. Voyager's transporter beams them up before they hit bottom, and Torres is able to delete the dangerous subroutines, which restores the Doctor to normal. Kes decides to remain on Voyager with her friends.
As Voyager makes a less-than-successful attempt to vaporize asteroids that are assaulting the Nezu homeworld, a message comes from Dr. Vatm, an astrophysicist who has been analyzing the asteroid fragments on the surface below. Vatm wants to talk to the Nezu ambassador, who is currently aboard Voyager.Review
Neelix, Tuvok and a Nezu named Sklar head for the surface, but their shuttle crashes. They find Vatm but have no way to contact Voyager. Neelix suggests they reactivate a carriage that is tethered to an orbital space station. If they can rise above Nezu's atmospheric turbulence, they'll be able to communicate with the ship. But as soon as they make the tether system operational, Vatm tries to leave by himself. He's stopped by Tuvok, and the group begins its ascent.
The upward journey is uncomfortable and dangerous. Vatm refuses to say why he attempted to leave without them and sips at water to ease his discomfort. Later, he becomes delirious and says that something is on the roof of the carriage. Then he has a seizure and dies, the result, Tuvok says, of murder; his water was poisoned.
Neelix insists they find out what's on the roof, and Tuvok reluctantly climbs up. He finds a data storage device that contains information about an alien vessel. Sklar pushes Tuvok off the roof, but the Vulcan survives by clinging to an induction coil on the bottom of the carriage. Neelix helps Tuvok back inside and in the ensuing struggle, Sklar plunges to his death.
Finally, the group is able to contact Voyager and is beamed aboard. The crew has been confronted by a ship from the Etanian Order, which wishes to claim Nezu for itself. The Etanians create "natural" disasters - like meteor showers - on the planets they covet, then take over when the residents evacuate. With the tactical information from the device Tuvok found, Janeway is able to disable the Etanian vessel, which departs. After the fact, the crew figures out that Vatm knew there was a traitor among the Nezu, which turned out to be Sklar. However, he hadn't known whom he could trust. His silence ultimately killed him.
During an encounter between the U.S.S. Voyager and a Nasari ship, Kim announces that the alien ship is going to fire, and he unleashes Voyager's phasers at it, triggering an unwanted battle. As both ships limp away from the confrontation, Janeway grills Kim, who says he just "knew" the Nasari posed a threat, despite their non-aggressive behavior. The Captain suspends Kim from duty until she can investigate his "hunch." That evening, Kim is stunned by the appearance of alien markings on his face.Review
The Doctor can't find a reason for Kim's facial markings or the alteration in his blood chemistry. Tuvok is able to confirm that the Nasari were about to fire on Voyager, and the Captain questions how Kim knew. He isn't sure, but he notes that this area of space seems oddly familiar. Kim leads the crew to the planet Taresia, which has a largely female populace. An official of that planet welcomes Kim "home."
The Taresians explain that Kim was conceived on their world, but his embryo was implanted in an Earth woman, to bring an infusion of new genetic material back to their race. As an adult, Taresians like Kim are instinctively drawn back home. The women say the Nasari fired on Voyager because they detected Kim's presence. The Nasari hate Taresians and were trying to stop Kim from going home. Later, Janeway meets with the Nasari, who say they have no quarrel with Voyager - but they'll attack the ship if Kim returns to it.
As Kim attends the wedding of Taymon, another returned male, the Doctor informs Janeway that Kim wasn't born with Taresian DNA; he was deliberately infused with it during an Away Mission. Apparently, the Taresians want to make him feel like he belongs on their world. But Kim has decided he wants to return to his ship. When he tries to leave, the Taresian women try to stop him. He races to Taymon's room, where he's stunned to find the young man's dead body. Kim realizes that Taresian men don't voluntarily leave; they're killed after the women extract enough genetic material to conceive children. The crew is able to beam up Kim and leave the area while the Nasari are busy trading shots with the Taresians.
Kes finds herself in Sickbay, on the verge of death. The Doctor activates something he calls a bio-temporal chamber and Kes experiences a shift in perception. She finds herself with a boy - apparently her grandson Andrew - who gives her a belated birthday gift. The Doctor tells her he's going to put her into the bio-temporal chamber to prolong her life. She's in the Morilogium, the final phase of the Ocampan lifespan. Suddenly Kes . . .Review
. . . awakens in her quarters, where Andrew is still working on the present that he already gave her. Kes meets Linnis, her daughter, who is married to Harry Kim. Linnis' father is Tom Paris, who is also Kes' husband. As Kes tries to take all this in . . .
. . . she finds herself celebrating her ninth birthday with her family and friends. Andrew tells her he hasn't had a chance to begin working on her present. Bewildered, Kes tells the Doctor that she seems to be experiencing life in reverse. Consulting her medical records, Kes learns she suffered from chronoton radiation poisoning when Voyager was under attack by the Krenim. As Kes reasons that the radiation exposure may explain her condition . . .
. . . she experiences another jump. This time she goes immediately to the Doctor, who confirms that the chronoton particles, reactivated in the future by the bio-temporal chamber, are moving her backwards in time. To stop the jumps, they must purge her of the radiation - and the only way to do that is to find out the temporal variance of the Krenim torpedo that contaminated her.
Kes continues jumping back in time . . . to the birth of Linnis . . . and to the Krenim attack, when she was exposed to the radiation. Finding the torpedo, she notes the temporal variance, then jumps again . . . to a year earlier, where she warns Janeway to avoid Krenim space and gives the Doctor the information to program a bio-temporal chamber that will purge her system. As the chronoton count begins to drop, Kes experiences several more jumps . . . eventually arriving at her moment of conception. Just as she ceases to exist, her body is purged and she awakens back in the period in which they were using the chamber to eliminate the chronoton particles, where she happily notes there's no time like the present.
When Voyager comes across a large debris field, the crew concludes that it's all that's left of the alien space station they were approaching. Finding a strange trail of plasma particles at the site, they set course to solve the mystery of what happened to the alien vessel.Review
In the meantime, in an effort to expand the horizons of his program, the Doctor creates a "perfect" holodeck family: a wife named Charlene, teenage son Jeffrey, and a 10-year-old daughter named Belle. After he invites Kes and Torres to dine with his "family," Torres offers to tweak the program to make it more realistic.
As Voyager follows the particle wake, a tornado-like phenomenon rips out of subspace and bears down on them. The ship comes through the anomaly relatively unscathed and Chakotay suggests that the next time an astral eddy appears, they capture some of its highly charged plasma particles. Back in the holodeck, the Doctor is not pleased with Torres' changes; his wife works, his daughter whines and his son hangs out with tough Klingon teens.
Paris suggests that taking a shuttle into the wake of an eddy might offer the best opportunity to capture the valuable plasma particles. When another one forms, Paris attempts the maneuver, only to be caught up in yet another eddy. The crew watches in horror as Paris disappears with the eye of the astral phenomenon.
The Doctor tries to talk things out with his rebellious son. The conversation turns into an argument that's interrupted when word arrives that Belle has been seriously injured in an accident. Realizing she's going to die, he abruptly ends the holodeck program.
Paris learns that he's trapped between space and subspace, in the spawning area of the eddies. The only way out is the way he came in, inside a space tornado. As a huge storm appears in regular space, Voyager manages to beam Paris aboard. In Sickbay, Paris convinces the Doctor to return to his program and face the pain that life sometimes delivers. The Doctor reactivates the program and allows himself to grieve and draw comfort from the new closeness the tragedy brings to the remaining members of his family.
Professor Gegen and his assistant Veer find the remains of a Starfleet officer in a cave on an alien world. Gegen feels the evidence holds the key to the real origins of his race, the Voth, a saurian species that he suspects got its start in a distant part of the galaxy. The "Distant Origin" theory contradicts the doctrine of Chief Minister Odala and the powerful Voth elders, who believe the Voth were the first intelligent beings to evolve in the quadrant. The elders are unreceptive to his claims, but Gegen finds a clue on the deceased's uniform: the name of a ship called "Voyager."Review
Gegen and Veer trace Voyager's path across the Delta Quadrant and finally find the ship itself. Thanks to their sophisticated cloaking technology, the Voth are able to transport onto the ship and observe the crew undetected. Eventually, Voyager's sensors detect the use of cloaking technology on board the ship, and the crew uncloaks Gegen and Veer. Frightened, Veer fires a tranquilizer dart at Chakotay, but is himself incapacitated by a phaser blast. Gegen transports back to his vessel with the unconscious Chakotay.
In Sickbay, Veer goes into protective hibernation. The Doctor discovers that Veer has evolved from Earth's dinosaurs. On the Voth ship, after Chakotay regains consciousness, he and Gegen come to similar conclusions, reasoning that the Voth's ancestors survived extinction, developed space-faring technology and left Earth. Charged with heresy by the Voth elders, Chakotay is the best proof of Gegen's theories. But before he can take Chakotay to his supporters, the U.S.S. Voyager is transported inside a massive Voth city-ship.
The crew is held captive by the Ministry of Elders, who vow to kill them all unless Gegen returns to face them. Gegen agrees to confront his accusers and Chakotay promises to help him. Since their fate is tied to Gegen's, the Voyager crew eagerly awaits the results of his hearing. Odala accuses Gegen of being a destructive influence on Voth society and orders him to disavow his claims. But Gegen refuses to back down until Odala threatens to send the crew to a detention colony. To save them, Gegen retracts his theory, resigning himself to the fact that the Voth's true heritage will remain a secret - for now.
After Janeway and Paris leave on an away mission, Chakotay leads a Maquis takeover of Voyager. With Torres' help, he seizes control of the ship and vows that Federation principles will no longer stand in the way of getting the crew home. Just then, Paris walks in and asks Torres what's going on. Annoyed, Torres freezes the holodeck program she's been running - the whole mutiny scenario was part of a holo-novel she's just discovered.Review
The identity of the holo-novel's author is unknown, but Paris is fascinated by the subject matter. He resets the program and replays the mutiny with slightly different plot twists. Just as the holo-novel appears headed for an explosive climax, the program abruptly stops and Paris learns that the writer never completed the story.
The program is soon the talk of the ship, and Tuvok finally admits he's the author. He wrote it as a tactical training exercise when the Maquis and Federation crews first merged. Since the union went smoothly, Tuvok didn't bother finishing the program. After Paris volunteers to complete the tale, Tuvok decides to collaborate with him. But when they re-open the narrative parameters file to write the final chapter, a holographic version of Seska appears; the real Seska discovered Tuvok's program before she left the ship and decided to finish it the way she thought it should play out. She tells Tuvok that she's sealed the holodeck and deactivated the safety protocols; if she shoots them, they'll die.
Although she gives them a brief head start, Tuvok and Paris find that Seska's scenario is deadly. What's more, Seska has laid booby-trapped subroutines, which means that one wrong move could destroy the ship. Outside the holodeck, the crew discovers Seska's schemes and tries to find a way to help Paris and Tuvok.
As Seska prepares to execute Tuvok and Paris, the real Janeway works furiously to rewrite the program. Her efforts throw Seska off just enough that Tuvok is able to rig a phaser malfunction, which kills Seska, ending the program. Safely back from their ordeal, Tuvok and Paris congratulate Janeway on her literary skills and the crew begins planning a new holo-adventure.
A Nyrian named Dammar suddenly appears on Voyager, asking why he's been abducted. The crew isn't responsible for beaming him aboard, and they soon discover that Kes mysteriously vanished from the ship at the same instant Dammar arrived. Not long after, Kim disappears as another Nyrian turns up. Soon, Tuvok also vanishes. After 22 Nyrians take the place of crewmembers, Janeway realizes that they are replacing her entire staff at nine-minute intervals.Review
Twelve hours later, the bizarre exchange has claimed half the crew. Rislan, a Nyrian astrophysicist, works with Torres to find the cause of the problem. But when Torres catches on to the fact that the Nyrians are responsible, Rislan sends her to an idyllic prison colony, where she finds her fellow crewmembers.
On Voyager, Chakotay comes to the conclusion, too late, that the Nyrians are trying to take control of the ship, and he's transported to the colony. Taleen, a Nyrian spokeswoman, explains that her people steal ships and space stations by gradually replacing their crews; it's less violent than war. The prisoners are then relocated to surroundings that approximate their native environment.
As they try to find a way out, they meet Jarlath, another prisoner, who reveals that different areas of the colony are connected by disguised portals. Torres reconfigures the Doctor's optical sensors so that he can detect the passages. He locates a portal that leads to a network of access tunnels, each, in turn, leading to a different biosphere. Janeway finds a control panel that provides access to the translocation system that brought them to the colony.
The Nyrians detect the crew in the passages and send guards to capture them. Torres and Paris slip into an arctic environment and when the Nyrians, who are highly sensitive to cold, follow them, they're easily incapacitated. Meanwhile, Janeway takes control of the translocation system and beams Dammar and Rislan into the cold environment. Overwhelmed by the freezing temperatures, the Nyrians surrender Voyager. With the ship back in her control, Janeway leaves the Nyrians in a section of their own prison while she helps the other prisoners get back to their own homes.
Realizing they have entered Borg space, the crew attempts to plot a course through a corridor that seems devoid of Borg activity, which they dub "the Northwest Passage." As the Doctor and Kes research methods of fighting off Borg assimilation, Kes is troubled by recurring visions of dead Borg and the destruction of Voyager.Review
Suddenly, the ship is surrounded by an armada of the cube-like Borg vessels. But then the armada mysteriously retreats, leaving Janeway to wonder, what would make the Borg run? Not long after, Tuvok and Kim discover that the power signatures of the Borg cubes, which they've been tracking, have terminated. Tuvok finds an unknown weapons signature in the Borg debris, which raises another question: what could do this to the invincible Borg?
Sensors pick up odd bio-readings from the outer hull of one of the cubes, and Janeway sends an away team to investigate. On the defunct vessel, the team finds a pile of Borg bodies that look the way Kes saw them in a premonition. When Kim senses an alien presence on the ship, Kes "sees" him screaming in agony. Janeway orders them back and the team is transported just as a fierce lifeform attacks Kim. As Voyager races away, Kes informs Janeway that the alien, communicating telepathically, told her "the weak will perish."
In Sickbay, Kim's body is infested with alien cells that entered his body in the attack. The Doctor reprograms Borg nanoprobes in the hope of negating the damage. Meanwhile, Torres discovers the alien lifeform, known to the Borg as "Species 8472," has taken over the Northwest Passage, and Kes senses an invasion is planned. With their former plan no longer an option, Janeway faces a terrible choice: retreat into the Delta Quadrant and forget about getting home, or confront the Borg and risk assimilation.
After considerable thought, Janeway comes up with a third alternative. She will offer the Borg a way to defeat Species 8472 in exchange for safe passage through Borg space. Janeway is beamed aboard one of the cubes, where she presents her proposal. Suddenly, Species 8472's bio-ships begin firing at the Borg cubes, and at Voyager, which is locked in the grip of a Borg tractor beam . . .