Star Trek: Voyager

Episode #101

“How You Play the Game”

 

fade in

 

Teaser

 

ext space

 

An empty starfield; hundreds of dots of light in the far distance.  Quiet, serene, peaceful…for a moment.  And then, blasting into the screen, straight towards us, is the Federation starship Voyager.  The ship comes at us head on, and then she’s past, and as she goes by, deadly yellow beams of energy flash all around her.

 

Almost immediately, we see the source of the beams: three Kazon battlecruisers.  One is directly behind the Voyager, while the other two angle in from either side as they pursue the fleeing starship.

 

Our view changes; now we see both Voyager and all three Kazon craft in frame.  The Kazon continue to fire their disruptor arrays; a few blasts hit home, and Voyager’s shields flicker with each impact.

 

The chase goes on, and we CUT TO:

 

int voyager - bridge

 

Voyager’s on Red Alert; the bridge lighting is dimmed and every station is manned.  Captain Janeway’s in the big chair, with Chakotay right next to her.  Harry Kim’s at the science station, with Seska working right next to him.  Tuvok’s at Tactical, and Tom Paris is at the helm.  Everyone – including Chakotay and Seska – is in Starfleet uniform.

 

The ship is hit again by Kazon disruptors, and the bridge shudders; a couple of panels blow out in a shower of sparks. 

 

tuvok

Shields are down to 24 percent.  Another direct hit will collapse them.

 

Janeway grimaces at this news.

 

janeway

(softly)

Mr. Paris, evasive pattern Delta-Five.

 

 

We close in on Tom Paris; he nods in recognition, and we watch him inputting an evasive course into the helm.  As he does, the ship shudders again.

 

Everyone, except for Tom, turns to Tuvok: why aren’t they dead with that last hit?

 

tuvok

It was only a glancing hit.  Shields down to 16 percent.

 

janeway

(louder; speaking to everyone)

I need options!

 

We move towards Harry, tapping madly at the Science station.  We see images zoom past on his display; stars, nebulae, other phenomena.  The display freezes on a picture of a multicolored nebula.  Seska looks over at Harry’s discovery, checking up on the young Engisn’s work.

 

kim

I’ve got something!  There’s a Class Eighteen nebula only one point three lightyears away.  It should block their sensors, we could hide inside as long as we need to.

 

Janeway brightens at this development.  She turns briefly to Chakotay to see his opinion.  In turn, he looks back to Seska and Harry.  Seska meets his stare, nods her approval

 

Chakotay turns back to Janeway, sighs, then:

 

  chakotay

Any port in a storm.

 

janeway

My sentiments exactly.  Mr. Paris, get us there.  Maximum warp.

 

On Janeway’s order, we CUT TO:

 

ext space

 

Voyager performs a sharp turn and accelerates away at her best speed. All three Kazon ships pursue; they come straight toward us, and as the lead Kazon ship fills the screen, we CUT TO:

 

main credits

 

Act One:

 

ext nebula

 

Voyager is at rest inside the nebula; all around, pockets of multicolored gas swirl about. 

 

janeway (vo)

Captain’s Log, stardate 50102.8.  We’ve come under attack by three Kazon warships.  We’ve taken refuge in nebula Delta-359, shielded from the sensors of our pursuers.  With any luck, we’ll have enough time to make repairs and come up with some peaceful resolution to our problem.

 

Int voyager - janeway’s ready room

 

Captain Janeway stares out her window at the gas clouds floating by.  Her reverie is interrupted by the chime of her door.

 

janeway

Come.

 

We’re still on Janeway and we hear the door slide open and footsteps behind her.

 

chakotay

Captain.

 

Now she turns to face her first officer.  He’s no longer in uniform; he’s dressed in his “Maquis clothes” now.

 

janeway

Commander.  I thought you were off duty.

 

chakotay

Technically yes.  But I wanted to discuss our situation, and I thought it would be more appropriate to do that in private.

 

  Janeway’s not sure what to make of that. 

 

janeway

(very deliberately)

I see.  Your discretion is appreciated.  Would you sit down?

 

Janeway sits on her couch.  Chakotay doesn’t move.

 

chakotay

I prefer to stand, Captain.

 

Janeway stares at him, but she doesn’t ask again.  She remains seated.

 

Janeway

What in particular did you want to discuss, Commander?

 

Janeway puts a particular emphasis on the last word.  Chakotay lets it pass.

 

chakotay

Our strategy.  How do you intend to deal with those Kazon ships?

 

janeway

I intend to negotiate with them.  I’m going to enlist Neelix’s aid.  He’s dealt with them in the past.  I’m sure with his help we can reach some sort of understanding with the Kazon.

 

Chakotay rolls his eyes.

 

chakotay

With all due respect, Captain, I think you’re wrong.  They’re not interested in negotiations.  They’re only interested in taking Voyager apart for our technology.

 

janeway

Also with all due respect, I am the Captain of this ship, and it’s my decision to attempt peaceful contact.

 

chakotay

I may be a little out of touch with Starfleet procedures, Captain, but I do remember that the first officer’s job is to bring alternatives to the Captain, and to speak up when he believes…

(beat; he’s speaking very carefully here)

…that her judgements might not be entirely well founded.

 

A flicker of anger passes over Janeway’s face, but she holds her temper.

 

janeway

I do appreciate that, Commander.  You’re exactly right about the first officer’s role.  My role is to listen to your alternatives, evaluate them, and then make my decision.  And I’ve done that.  We will negotiate with the Kazon in peace. 

(beat)

Was there anything else, Commander?

 

Chakotay doesn’t meet her eyes.

 

chakotay

(very quietly)

No, Captain.  Nothing at all.

 

Chakotay turns to leave, and we CUT TO:

 

INT voyager - Engineering

 

Main Engineering is buzzing with activity.  20 crewmembers are at work everywhere in this huge space; several of them are working inside opened access panels; we can only see their legs sticking out.  B’Elanna works by herself at one of the workstations ringing the warp core.  Lt. Carey is two workstations down from her.  Without warning, B’Elanna slams her fist down on her workstation and lets out a blood-curdling shout; it’s not the first time today she’s done this, none of the other crew even takes notice.

 

b’elanna

(to Carey)

You set the intermix ratio wrong AGAIN!  I already told you, one point eight to one!  One point eight!

 

Carey mutters to himself, but doesn’t otherwise respond to B’Elanna.  He continues to work.

 

B’Elanna

(to herself, but just loud enough to be overheard)

It’s not enough I’m 70,000 lightyears from home.  It’s not enough that my ship was destroyed, and most of my friends are dead.  No.  On top of all that I have to work with…

 

A shadow falls over B’Elanna.  She doesn’t notice, but it’s Chakotay.  He interrupts her diatribe:

 

chakotay

Work with who, Lieutenant?

 

B’Elanna turns, and immediately blushes when she sees Chakotay.

 

b’elanna

I was just talking to myself, Chak – Commander.

 

Chakotay smiles.

 

Chakotay

If you were really taking to yourself, I wouldn’t have heard you. 

(beat)

No matter.  Can you spare a moment?  I need to speak to you privately.

 

B’Elanna clearly doesn’t like it; she’s expecting to be chewed out, but she shrugs and walks with Chakotay to a quiet corner of the Engineering deck.

 

b’elanna

Get on with it.

 

chakotay

With what?

 

b’elanna

You’re going to lecture me on decorum and proper Starfleet behavior and getting along with my fellow officers, aren’t you?

 

chakotay

No, I wasn’t.  If you think it’s necessary, I can schedule a lecture.  I’m free at 1900 hours, I’ll make a note of it.  But I do have something more pressing just now. 

 

B’Elanna’s confused; she stares at Chakotay, trying to puzzle out what he wants.

 

chakotay

I need some information.  What’s the status on shields and weapons?

 

B’Elanna lightens up a bit; she’s on more solid ground with this kind of thing.

 

b’elanna

The shields are fully restored.  They won’t work properly in this nebula, of course, but they’ll be at 100% once we get outside.

 

chakotay

Good.  And the weapons?

 

b’elanna

Phasers are working, and one of our forward torpedo launchers is back on-line.  The other one’s going to take a lot more work.  At least 24 hours.  But that doesn’t matter, we’ve only got 27 quantum torpedoes to last us the next 70 years anyway. 

 

Chakotay puts his arm around B’Elanna. 

 

chakotay

I suppose that’ll have to do.  One more thing…can you work without anyone else…without any of the Starfleet crew knowing what you’re doing?

 

b’elanna

Why?

 

chakotay

Can you?

 

b’elanna

Yes.

 

chakotay

Our Captain is planning to go out and negotiate with the Kazon.  I believe that she’ll take us out of the nebula with shields down and weapons deactivated.

 

b’elanna

That’s insane!

 

chakotay

Yes, it is.  So what I need you to do is to set up a protocol to raise the shields and arm weapons on my command…and without anyone else knowing about it until we need to use it.

 

b’elanna

I can do that.

 

chakotay

I also want you to analyze the last Kazon attack and come up with something to disrupt their weapons, confuse their sensors, anything to even the odds a bit.

 

b’elanna

I can’t promise anything.  But I’ll do everything I can.  How long do we have?

 

chakotay

Twelve hours.  No more than that.  So you need to get to work.

 

Chakotay walks B’Elanna back to her station.  When they’re in earshot of the rest of the engineering crew, he gives her a quick wink, then backs off a couple of steps.  Then:

 

chakotay

(loudly and angry)

So no more arguing.  Are we clear, Lieutenant?

 

b’elanna

(playing along)

Very clear, Commander.

 

Chakotay leaves, and B’Elanna gets back to work.  We CUT TO:

 

int voyager - sickbay

 

Ensign Samantha Wildman enters sickbay, supported by an older, blonde woman, Ensign Christa Warren.  Samantha looks very, very sick.

 

christa

Computer, activate the Emergency Medical Hologram.

 

The Doctor zaps into life.

 

the doctor

Please state the nature of the medical emergency.

 

samantha

It’s not an emergency really…

 

the doctor

Then you can deactivate me.

 

christa

No, Samantha.  You look terrible.  Sit down here…

 

Samantha sits on a bio-bed.

 

the doctor

What are your symptoms?

 

samantha

It’s not that bad, I’ve just been a little nauseous, and more tired than usual.

 

The Doctor grabs a tricorder and scans Samantha.

 

the doctor

You are pregnant.  I will access the appropriate files…

 

The Doctor flickers for just a moment, and then is solid again.

 

the doctor

Lie down.  I must examine your fetus.

 

Samantha’s completely stunned; Christa is smiling, happy for her friend.

 

christa

Congratulations!  You and Raybor have been trying for so long…

(it hits her; Raybor is 70,000 light years away)

Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking.  But don’t let it worry you, I’m sure the Captain will have us home in plenty of time for you to have the baby back on Earth…

 

And on that optimistic and sadly deluded note, we cut to commercial…

 

Act Two

 

ext nebula

 

Voyager hangs motionless among the multicolored swirls of gas and dust.

 

int voyager - mess hall

 

The mess hall is moderately crowded, about 12 or so crew are here.  We see right away that Maquis crew and the Starfleeters are distancing themselves.  At one table, Chakotay is dining with Seska, Lon Suder, Michael Jonas and a Benzite, Crewman Kimble Barraman.  Across the room, Harry Kim is sitting with Ensign Vorik, Christa Warren, and an Andorian named Galev.

 

Tom Paris enters the mess hall, and strides up to Neelix.

 

neelix

Our valiant helmsman!  I have a treat for you tonight!

 

Neelix ladles a large helping of something that’s blue and gelatinous onto a plate.

 

tom

That looks like the coolant gel we use for the impulse engines!

 

neelix

Scoff all you like, my friend.  Once you taste it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.  Marakian liver pudding is a rare delicacy…why, I remember…

 

tom

(incredulous)

Liver pudding?

 

Harry Kim turns to look at Tom.

 

harry

It’s really good…

 

tom

You’re still used to the food at the Academy.  Compared to that, the coolant gel would be an improvement…but…liver pudding?

 

Chakotay chimes in from across the room.

 

chakotay

I’m sure Mr. Neelix worked very hard on it, Lieutenant.  It would be rude not to try it.

 

We can see that Chakotay hasn’t actually touched his meal yet, and after he speaks, he eyes his food warily.

 

neelix

Thank you, Commander!

 

Tom gives up and looks for a place to sit.  He looks to the Maquis table, and back to the Starfleet table, and we can see in his expression that he doesn’t really expect to be welcomed at either, so he sits at a table by himself instead.

 

Just as Tom sits down, B’Elanna enters, and heads straight for Chakotay.

 

neelix

Lieutenant…

 

b’elanna

(not turning around to face Neelix)

In a minute…

(to Chakotay)

I hate double shifts!

 

chakotay

It’s an occupational hazard, B’Elanna.  You ought to be used to them by now.  Did you get everything back on-line?

 

b’elanna

Yes…the gods know if any of it will work properly, but it’s all done.  I hope you appreciate it…

 

chakotay

I hope I won’t have to…

 

Seska watches this exchange with interest.

 

seska

Personally, I hope both of you know what you’re doing…

 

chakotay

What are you talking about, Seska?  I am the First Officer, I need to keep up with the repairs.

 

seska

Of course you do.  So why don’t you tell all of use about it?

 

chakotay

I will, when the time and place are more appropriate.  And anyway, as I said, with luck this whole conversation will be moot.

(to B’Elanna)

I’d ask you to eat with us, but I don’t think any of us are brave enough to actually try the liver pudding…

 

int voyager - janeway’s ready room

 

The Captain is going through a stack of PADDs when her door chimes.

 

janeway

Come.

 

It’s Neelix.

 

neelix

Captain, you wanted to see me?

 

janeway

Yes.  Please sit down.  Can I offer you some coffee? 

(beat)

On second thought, we don’t know how caffeine will affect your system.  Have you had a physical yet?  You should have the Doctor examine you – oh, and Kes too.  At least we’ll know what you can or can’t eat and all that.

 

neelix

Once we get this little problem with the Kazon sorted out, I’ll take care of that right away, Captain.

 

janeway

That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.  You know them.  I hope that you can help us resolve the situation with them.

 

neelix

Of course, Captain, I’m at your service.  But I don’t think we’ll be able to settle it peacefully.  It’s the Nistrum sect out there.  They’re the most violent and reckless of all the sects in this region.

 

janeway

Violent and reckless.  Perhaps that’s because no one’s tried any other approach with them. 

 

neelix

It’s been tried.  My people have sent several missions to them, and…well, a few were lucky enough to return with at least some of their crews in one piece.  If we were dealing with the Raknor sect, or the Bevlak, or even the Ogla, negotiation might work.  But the Nistrum…

 

janeway

With all due respect to your people, Mr. Neelix, I think we’re in a stronger position…the Kazon out there know we have technology that’s far ahead of theirs.  If we can just get them talking…

 

neelix

Captain, I admire your principles.  You were willing to risk being stranded here just to help people you didn’t even know.  Believe me, I respect that.  And I’ll help you however I can.  But I just don’t think the Nistrum will be receptive.  I hope I’m wrong…

 

janeway

Your help is appreciated, Mr. Neelix.  I need to know everything I can about these particular Kazon…

 

And as Neelix begins to brief Janeway, we cut to:

 

int voyager - chakotay’s quarters

 

Unlike Janeway’s quarters, Chakotay’s rooms are very Spartan.  He hasn’t unpacked the few things he managed to save from the Maquis ship.

 

We see him writing with a pen or pencil in a real, paper book.  The door chimes.

 

chakotay

Enter.

 

It’s B’Elanna.  Chakotay puts down pen and paper.

 

b’elanna

Commander.

 

chakotay

Lieutenant.  Please, come in.  Sit down.

 

B’Elanna looks around.

 

b’elanna

I like what you haven’t done with the place.

 

chakotay

It’s temporary.  Isn’t that what everyone’s saying?  We’ll find a wormhole, or another Caretaker, or something, and we’ll be home just like that.  Right?

 

b’elanna

I think everyone wants to believe that.  But I think if they do, they’re fools.

 

chakotay

Well, for once we agree on something. 

 

b’elanna

As I recall, we had a few months there where we could agree on quite a bit…

 

B’Elanna walks over to Chakotay; she’s staring into his eyes all the way.

 

chakotay

And then we didn’t…

 

b’elanna

Because you found someone else to…agree with.

 

chakotay

We were done before Seska ever joined us, and you know that!  Do we have to have this argument again?

 

b’elanna

(weakly)

No.  No, I guess we don’t. 

 

chakotay

Good.  This is all difficult enough…

 

b’elanna

Tell me about it.  I just about disembowled Lieutenant Carey at least half a dozen times today. 

 

chakotay

I’ve seen his records, B’Elanna.  He’s a good officer.

 

b’elanna

But he’s so…by-the-book.  This isn’t designed to handle so much power flow, that’s half a percent over the safety limit, and it’s all so stupid.  There’s an art to working with warp engines.  Sometimes you have to throw the rulebook away!

 

chakotay

As I recall, you actually did that with our last ship.

 

B’Elanna laughs at that.

 

b’elanna

And did you ever have a complaint about my engines?

 

chakotay

No.  But we all have to make compromises now.  You can’t disembowel Lieutenant Carey.  You can give me the code to override the weapons and shields, however.

 

b’elanna

(smiling)

Beta Centauri Seven Zero.

 

Chakotay looks vaguely confused.

 

b’elanna

Don’t you dare tell me you don’t remember!

 

Chakotay is obviously racking his brain, but coming up empty.  B’Elanna shakes her head, turns and leaves.  As the door closes behind her, we hear a loud and angry shout, and we cut to:

 

int Voyager - bridge

 

Janeway’s in the center seat, with Chakotay standing just behind her.  Tom is at the help, Harry at Science, and Tuvok at tactical. 

 

janeway

Tuvok, lower the shields and power down the weapons, please.

 

Chakotay grits his teeth, while Tom and Harry look shocked.

 

    janeway

We’re Starfleet, gentlemen.  We may be seventy thousand light years from home, but we’re still Starfleet.  And that means we are peaceful explorers.  Violence must always be our last option. 

 

Harry accepts this and focuses on his station; Tom shakes his head, mutters under his breath, but obeys, and on the viewscreen we see the nebula passing by as Voyager moves through it. 

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The three Kazon ships wait in formation.

 

int kazon ship – bridge

 

The Kazon bridge is cramped and dimly lit, and also very crowded…clearly the Kazon crew is eager to witness their kill.

 

On their viewscreen, we see movement in the nebula.

 

The Kazon commander, Maje Vroka, stands and points at the screen.

 

maje vroka

There!  Target all weapons!

 

One of the officers, Boman, speaks up.

 

boman

Sir!  Their weapons are not active…their shields are down…

 

maje vroka

(curious)

Hold fire. 

(beat)

They know we are here.  They know we will attack.  And they approach us with defenses down.  I do not understand this…

 

A speaker on the Kazon bridge crackles to life…

 

maje Trenn (vo)

Vroka, you haven’t locked weapons on the enemy!

 

maje vroka

And you will not either, until we know what they’re up to. 

 

maje trenn (vo)

It is a trick! 

 

maje vroka

It may be, Trenn.  But that is for me to decide.  If you take any action without my command, I will have you flayed alive!  Is that clear?

 

maje trenn (vo)

(angry)

Absolutely clear, Maje. 

 

Vroka sits back down, and closes the channel.  He still stares out at the nebula, where we can now see Voyager just beginning to emerge.

 

maje vroka

(softly)

What are you planning…?

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

Voyager is now out of the nebula, and we see that it’s flying slowly towards the Kazon ships.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway stares out at the Kazon.

 

janeway

Well, they didn’t fire the moment they saw us.  It’s a good start…

 

Around the bridge, we can see that there’s just a drop less tension in everyone’s face.  Just maybe Janeway was right…

 

tuvok

Their weapons are armed, but I am not detecting any targeting locks. 

 

janeway

So far, so good.  Hail them, Tuvok…the lead ship, I think.

 

As Tuvok moves to obey, Harry’s console beeps.

 

harry

Captain!  We’re being targeted!

 

janeway

Easy.  Take it easy.  Are they all targeting us?

 

harry

(surprised)

No.  Only one of them…and I’m picking up heavy comm traffic between their ships.

 

Chakotay tenses again; as far as he’s concerned, his worst fears have just been confirmed.

 

janeway

Stay calm, Ensign.

 

tuvok

We’re still being targeted by…two of them now, Captain.  The lead ship is not, however.

 

janeway

It seems they’re having a policy dispute over there.

 

Chakotay’s had enough.

 

chakotay

Maybe, Captain, but we can’t sit here and wait to see how they resolve it.  Computer, activate protocol Beta Centauri Seven Zero!

 

The red alert lights flare up all around the Bridge.

 

harry

Our shields are up…weapons are charging!

 

Janeway turns on Chakotay; she looks ready to kill him.

 

tuvok

They are all targeting us now…they are firing…

 

The Bridge shudders.

 

tuvok

Direct hit.  Shields down to eighty one percent.

 

janeway

Damnit!  Evasive action, Mr. Paris!  Tuvok, fire on the two outside ships…don’t target the lead ship.

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

Voyager accelerates and twists away from the Kazon, firing as it does.  It scores solid hits on two of the Kazon ships.  The Kazon continue to fire at Voyager, but mostly they miss, and the couple of shots that do hit seem to glance off the shields.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

chakotay

(softly)

Good work, B’Elanna.

 

tuvok

Our shields are holding…this emission pattern is unfamiliar to me, but it appears to be working.

 

janeway

(bitterly)

I suppose we can thank you for that as well, Commander.

 

chakotay

We can have this argument later, Captain…right now, I suggest we concentrate on fighting the Kazon.

 

If looks could kill, Chakotay would be dead a dozen times over right about now, but Janeway knows he’s right…

 

janeway

(pointing to the viewscreen)

Concentrate fire on that ship!

 

One of the Kazon ships looms large on the viewscreen, and Voyager unleashes a full phaser barrage at it.  We see explosions blossom all along the hull of the Kazon ship, and then it completely blows apart.

 

Meanwhile, the other two Kazon ships continue their attack, and if the shuddering on the bridge is any indication, they’ve begun to figure out B’Elanna’s trick with the shields.

 

And then a particularly nasty hit throws the crew out of their seats and causes several bridge panels to explode.

 

tom

I guess they’re fast learners…

 

harry

I’m picking up two warp signatures…long range, coming in at Warp Eight…Kazon ships, Captain.

 

Janeway shakes her head; this battle just became unwinnable.

 

janeway

Mr. Paris, take us back into the nebula, maximum impulse.

 

And on her order, Tom taps out the commands…

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

…And Voyager turns tail and runs back into the nebula, the Kazon in hot pursuit…and we cut to commercial…

 

Act Three

 

ext nebula

 

Voyager floats among the gas clouds and swirls.  We can see the marks of damage on the starship’s hull.

 

int voyager – janeway’s ready room

 

Janeway stands at the head of the briefing table, trying to get herself under control, and quite obviously failing; Chakotay sits calmly and watches her.

 

chakotay

Are we going to begin anytime soon, Captain?

 

janeway

Don’t you dare joke, Commander.  What you did was mutiny!  I’ll have you in the brig for the next seventy years.

 

chakotay

I doubt I’d be there seventy minutes.  Do you seriously think you’ll be able to keep my people in line with me in the brig?

(Janeway scoffs)

They are my people.  You need to understand that.

 

janeway

If that’s what you think, you have a lot to learn about Starfleet.

 

chakotay

And you have a lot to learn about command, not to mention real life…Captain.

 

janeway

What is that supposed to mean?

 

chakotay

I’ve read your personnel file.

 

janeway

You…how?

 

chakotay

My people are very resourceful.  And this is your first command.  Your record is commendable, but you have no experience with the hard calls…life and death decisions…

 

janeway

I have my principles.  And Starfleet’s principles.  And that’s good enough.

 

chakotay

No, it’s not!  I went to the Academy just like you did.  I took the same classes, learned the same history.  Captain Kirk…Sulu…Archer…did you learn nothing from studying them?  Out here you have to make difficult decisions.  You have to weigh principle against reality.  Deep space isn’t a kind place, Captain, and you need to remember that.

 

janeway

Very expedient.

 

chakotay

Expedient?  Do you really believe that?  You think I gave up a career on the fast track to a starship command to hide in asteroid belts and miserable little camps for the sake of expediency?  I’ll measure my principles against yours any day, Captain, and right now, the fact is we’re alive because I chose to put our lives ahead of your blind obedience to rules that just don’t apply out here.

 

janeway

You don’t know that!  They hadn’t attacked…they might have negotiated.  Until you went behind my back.

 

chakotay

It was necessary.  I believed that they WERE going to attack, and I have an obligation to my crew.  They’re not Starfleet, Captain, and they’re not yours…they look to me, they trust me with their lives, and if I don’t take care of them, then I’m violating my principles.

 

janeway

So where does that leave us?

 

chakotay

Right where we started.  I want to work with you.  You are smart, you are more than qualified to command, but you have a lot of growing to do.

 

janeway

And you need to learn about working as part of a team.

 

chakotay

Touche.  This isn’t going to be easy.  And I will do anything I feel is necessary to protect my people.  But…

 

janeway

But?

 

chakotay

But, that said, I’ll work with you to try and make them all OUR crew.  As long as you’re willing to do the same. 

 

janeway

I don’t seem to have any choice at the moment.  We need to get out of this mess first.  And then we’ll have this conversation again.  Dismissed, Commander.

 

Chakotay smiles at Janeway, and gets up to leave.  And we cut to:

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

We see that there are now a total of eight Kazon ships surrounding the nebula.

 

int kazon ship – bridge

 

Maje Vroka paces impatiently. 

 

maje vroka

When will the shield adjustments be complete?

 

kazon engineer (vo)

It is difficult work, Maje…

 

maje vroka

Difficult or not, you must complete your work.  If we cannot make the shields work inside the nebula, the Federation ship will cut us apart!  Work quickly!

(he cuts the channel)

Any sign of activity from the Federation ship?

 

boman

No, Maje. 

 

maje vroka

That damned Trenn.  If he hadn’t acted so stupidly, we might be done with this miserable business already.  He’s fortunate he died so quickly, with the rest of his damned crew…

 

int voyager – mess hall

 

The mess hall is mostly empty, only two or three officers are here, and Neelix of course.  Neelix is cleaning up for the night, getting ready to head back to his quarters, when Tom enters.

 

tom

I hope it’s not liver pudding again tonight.

 

neelix

No, no.  I don’t have anything for you at the moment, but I can prepare something, if you’ll just wait…

 

tom

No, that’s fine.  I just wanted some coffee…and some conversation, I guess.

 

neelix

That I can provide.

 

tom

I’m sure you heard what happened.

 

neelix

Oh, yes.  I don’t envy the Captain.

 

tom

I don’t envy any of us.  And I don’t see how it’s going to get any better.  I didn’t agree with her, but she is the Captain…and I’ve never been big on by-the-book thinking, but in battle there has to be a clear chain of command.

 

neelix

I couldn’t agree more.

 

tom

Wonderful.  You know it, I know it.  But nobody else does.  Everyone’s either Maquis or Starfleet, loyal to the Captain or Chakotay but not both.  The only reason anybody is working together at all is that they’ve convinced themselves it’s only temporary.

 

neelix

What do you mean?

 

tom

Talk to anybody.  They all think we’re going to be home in weeks…hell, days.  There’s going to be another Caretaker, or some other magical solution.

 

neelix

Morale is important, Lieutenant.

 

tom

It’s Tom.  Please.  And you’re right.  But what happens when we don’t run into a wormhole or some other shortcut?  What happens when they realize it might actually take seventy years?

 

neelix

I see your point.

 

tom

Of course, none of that matters if the Kazon capture us.

 

neelix

That would be terrible. 

 

tom

Obviously.

 

neelix

Not just for us, Lieu…Tom.  For this whole sector.  If the Nistrum get their hands on your technology…they’ll probably use it to wipe out the other Kazon sects, and then they’ll go after everyone else.

 

tom

Too bad the other sects don’t know what’s going on out here…I doubt they’d care about us…

 

neelix

But they’d definitely try to stop the Nistrum from capturing us.

 

tom

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

 

neelix

What’s that?

 

tom

An old Earth saying.  And there’s another one…Let’s you and him fight.

 

neelix

I think I see where you’re going.  But we’re stuck in here…how could we get word out to the other Kazon sects?

 

tom

We’d have to get someone outside the nebula…your ship isn’t fast enough, we’d have to use a shuttlecraft…but I think it could work…

 

Tom stares outside at the nebula, and on his words, we cut to commercial…

 

Act Four

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

Eight Kazon warships hold formation, waiting for Voyager to attempt an escape.

 

int voyager – briefing room

 

The entire senior staff is here: Janeway, Tuvok, Harry and Lieutenant Carey of the Starfleeters; Chakotay, B’Elanna and Seska for the Maquis, and Tom Paris as well.

 

Tuvok points to one of the wall display screens.

 

tuvok

There are now eight Kazon warships outside the nebula.  We will not be able to overcome all of them in open battle.

 

tom

Maybe we won’t have to.

 

Everyone looks at Tom.

 

janeway

Explain that, Lieutenant.

 

tom

Well, we know from Neelix that all the Kazons don’t get along so well.  And the ones outside, the Nistrum, they’re the most dangerous sect…and the one the other Kazon like the least.  The other sects definitely wouldn’t want the Nistrum to get their hands on our weapons and technology.

 

seska

(almost bored)

That’s all very interesting, but how does it help us?

 

tom

If we could broadcast a message, some of the other sects in this area might hear it…and if we’re lucky, some of them will send ships in to stop the Nistrum.

 

chakotay

If we’re lucky.  That’s a little thin to base a plan on.

 

tom

Do you…

(Tom catches himself)

With all due respect, Commander, nobody’s come up with anything that sounds any better yet.

 

seska

Even assuming we can get a message out of this nebula, why would anyone believe it?

 

tom

Because we’ll use Neelix’s communication protocols to make it sound like a message from a Talaxian trader to one of their colonies…and when the other Kazon intercept it…

 

tuvok

If they intercept it, Lieutenant.  There is no guarantee that your scheme will work as you envision it.

 

janeway

No, there isn’t.  But as the Lieutenant says, no one seems to have any plans that are any better.  I assume this will require someone to fly outside the nebula in order to work?

 

tom

Yes, Captain.  I think a shuttlecraft would work…we’d have to modify the comm system…

 

carey

You’d need to enhance the power flow as well, to send a clear signal out.

 

b’elanna

We’ll have to burn through any subspace interference the Kazon might be using.

 

janeway

That’s a good point.  Lieutenant Carey, you and Lieutenant Torres get to work on the shuttle modifications.

 

B’Elanna looks to Chakotay, who nods.

 

b’elanna

Yes, Captain.

 

carey

Of course, Captain.

 

janeway

We’ll need someone to fly the shuttle…

 

tom

I’ll do it.  It was my idea…and besides, I’m the best pilot on board.

 

chakotay

And modest, too.

 

tom

It’s nice to be modest, but it’s stupid not to tell the truth.  I’m the best man for this mission, and you know it.

 

janeway

I have to agree with that.  As soon as the shuttle is ready, you’ll fly it outside the nebula to send our message.  In the meantime, I’ll work with Mr. Neelix to come up with the perfect words.  Let’s get to work.

 

On Janeway’s order, everyone stands and heads for the door, and we cut to:

 

int voyager – shuttle bay

 

We see that B’Elanna and Carey are hard at work on a shuttle (the John Ross; Voyager’s other shuttles are named the James Cook, the Edmund Halley, and the John Franklin).

 

They’ve got the whole rear of the shuttle opened up, exposing the small warp core and various other complex-looking equipment.

 

B’Elanna’s currently half inside the shuttle, in up to her shoulders.  Carey is scanning the warp core with a tricorder.

 

carey

Look out for the matter flow regulator.

 

b’elanna

(a bit muffled)

I know where…oh! 

 

B’Elanna extracts herself from the shuttle’s engine compartment.

 

b’elanna

(trying to be gracious)

Thanks. 

 

carey

They redesigned the engine layout in all the new shuttlecraft…

(sheepish smile)

First time I worked on one, I almost disconnected the antimatter flow regulator. 

 

b’elanna

(laughing)

That’s a mistake you wouldn’t make twice.

 

Carey looks at B’Elanna’s work.

 

carey

That’s…oh, I see.  Where’d you learn to set up a bypass like that?

 

b’elanna

Nelvox Four.  Don’t worry, you’ve never heard of it.  It’s a hellhole.  But I did pick up a few tricks there.

 

carey

It’s really good work…but why didn’t you just use one of the spare regulators?

 

b’elanna

What spare regulators?

 

carey

There’s a full supply of spare parts for the shuttles.

 

b’elanna

(laughing softly)

It didn’t even occur to me.  I’m not used to working with proper tools and parts…

 

As the engineers continue their work, we cut to:

 

int voyager – janeway’s ready room

 

Janeway and Neelix are going over their message.

 

neelix

I think we’ve got it, Captain.

 

janeway

Excellent work, Neelix. 

(tapping her combadge)

Lieutenant Carey, how are the modifications coming?

 

carey (vo)

We’re just finishing up, Captain.  Another minute or two.

 

janeway

Good work. 

 

Neelix gets up to leave.

 

neelix

Sounds like everyone’s ready.

 

janeway

It does indeed.  I just hope this works.  If it doesn’t…

 

neelix

I’m sure it will, Captain.  I’ve got a good feeling about it.

 

janeway

That makes one of us…

 

int voyager – shuttle bay

 

Tom enters the shuttle bay, walks up to the modified craft.  Carey and B’Elanna are just closing up the rear engine compartment.

 

tom

Is she ready?

 

carey

Yes.  There’s just one thing…the modifications are a little bit…complicated.  You’ll need someone who knows what to do with you on this flight.

 

b’elanna

I’ll go.  I have to see the best pilot on the ship in action.

 

carey

(looking a little bit relieved)

If you’re sure…

 

B’Elanna doesn’t answer; she’s already in the co-pilot seat of the shuttle.

 

ext nebula

 

Voyager’s shuttle bay doors open, and we see the shuttle lifting off the deck inside.

 

tom (vo)

This is shuttlecraft John Ross to Voyager.  We are go for launch.

 

janeway (vo)

You are clear for departure.  Good luck.

 

The shuttle slowly floats out of the bay and into space, the doors closing behind it.

 

tom (vo)

We won’t need it, Captain.  Shuttlecraft Ross out.

 

int shuttlecraft

 

Tom maneuvers the shuttle away from Voyager.  He’s clearly enjoying himself; THIS is real flying, with a small, fast, maneuverable craft, not a big and unwieldy starship.

 

b’elanna

We’ll need to be at least a thousand kilometers outside the nebula for this to work.

 

tom

No problem.

 

ext nebula

 

The shuttle zooms away from Voyager and towards the edge of the nebula.

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The Kazon watch and wait.  As they do, we can see a tiny disturbance in the nebula, and the shuttlecraft breaks free.  The Kazon immediately open fire, but the shuttle dodges the Kazon attacks with ease.

 

int shuttlecraft

 

tom

We can run rings around those big tubs out there.  Don’t you worry your pretty head a bit.

 

B’Elanna growls at him.

 

tom

What’d I say?

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The Kazon very quickly reach the same conclusion Tom did, and cease firing.  Instead, they launch smaller craft of their own – fighters.  A dozen Kazon fighters head for the shuttle.

 

int shuttlecraft

 

Tom sees what the Kazon are doing, and he’s not happy.

 

b’elanna

What’s that?

 

tom

Fighters.  Doesn’t matter.  I’ll keep us ahead of them.

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The shuttle flies a looping course away from the nebula.

 

int shuttlecraft

 

tom

A thousand kilometers.  It’s your show!

 

 B’Elanna taps away at her controls.

 

b’elanna

Transmitting now. 

 

The shuttle shakes as the Kazon fighters begin to fire on them.

 

tom

How much longer?

 

b’elanna

Thirty seconds.

 

tom

Great.

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The shuttle twists and turns, trying to shake the Kazon fighters, occasionally firing its own phasers – to little effect.

 

Tom’s manuvering shakes most of the Kazon, but one determined fighter remains on their tail.  It fires, scoring a direct hit.

 

int shuttlecraft

 

Tom and B’Elanna bounce around with that last hit.

 

b’elanna

Five seconds…four…three…

 

The shuttle shakes again.

 

computer (vo)

Shields at twelve percent and dropping.

 

b’elanna

That’s it! 

 

tom

Hang on!

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The shuttle does a tight turn and heads back for the nebula at top speed.  The Kazon pursue, but don’t follow the shuttle inside the nebula.

 

ext nebula

 

Voyager waits inside the nebula.

 

janeway (vo)

Captain’s log.  It’s been eighteen hours since we sent our message out.  The Kazon outside haven’t attacked yet, but it’s only a matter of time.  If we’re lucky, they’ll hold off long enough for their rival sects to hear our message and get here…

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

Weapon ports on two hf the Kazon warships open up and shoot out several tiny missiles.  The missiles zoom off and into the nebula.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

As we watch the viewscreen, somewhere off in the distance, there’s an explosion in the nebula.  And then a closer one, and then one still closer.  And then one right on front of Voyager, causing the Bridge to shake.

 

janeway

Looks like our time is up…

 

And on that, we cut to commercial…

 

Act Five

 

ext nebula

 

As Voyager hangs motionless, we see explosions bloom all around the starship.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway’s picking herself up; the Kazon attacks have been getting steadily closer.

 

janeway

We have to do something now.  Mr. Paris, lay in a course out of the nebula…directly towards their lead ship.  If we have to fight…

 

chakotay

…Then we aim for the head.  Good thinking, Captain.

 

Tom enters the new course, and we see the view change as the starship begins to move.  As it dies, there’s a violent shake, and we can hear explosions from somewhere far away in the ship.

 

b’elanna (vo)

Whatever they hit us with, it ruptured a power conduit!  The warp core is damaged!

 

janeway

Do whatever you have to, Lieutenant.  We’re going to need warp speed in another minute or so!

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

We see a disturbance in the Nebula as Voyager exits.  The Kazon immediately begin to move towards the starship.

 

tucok (vo)

Detecting several contacts…approaching at high warp.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

We see the Kazon warships closing in on the viewscreen.

 

harry

Ten…no, twelve ships, Captain.  All Kazon.  Coming out of warp…now!

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

A dozen Kazon warships pop out of warp just behind the Kazon-Nistrum ships that were already here.  We can see that they’re designed slightly differently, and have different colors and designs painted on them.

 

The newly arrived ships immediately begin firing on the Nistrum ships.

 

int kazon ship – bridge

 

Maje Vroka is nearly speechless with rage.  He looks around his bridge as it shudders with enemy weapons fire.

 

maje vroka

Boman, order our ships to withdraw!

 

boman

Withdraw?

 

maje vroka

We’ve been betrayed!  We cannot win this battle, and exchanging our lives for these vermin will not benefit the Nistrum.  We will have our vengeance…not today, but we will have it!

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The Kazon-Nistrum ships begin to turn, trying to disengage from the battle.  The other Kazon pursue them.  As the battle goes on, a couple of the Kazon ships take potshots at Voyager, just for good measure.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

There’s relief all around the Bridge – the plan actually worked!

 

janeway

Mr. Paris, get us out of here, Warp Eight.

 

carey (vo)

Captain, this is Engineering.  That last hit damaged our coolant tanks.  If we go to warp, we’ve got a good chance of burning out the core and the warp field generators.

 

b’elanna (vo)

Captain, we can do it!  I can get us out of here.  I just need thirty seconds!

 

janeway

Mr. Carey?

 

carey (vo)

She’s right…but it’ll still burn out the core, and we won’t be able to repair it without two weeks in a spacedock.

 

janeway

We need to get out of here.  Do it!

 

ext space – outside the nebula

 

The Kazon battle is still going on; the Nistrum ships are getting away, but at a heavy cost; one’s been destroyed, two are on fire, and another is spewing out atmosphere from various hull breaches. 

 

And while all that’s going on, Voyager enters warp and speeds away from the scene of battle.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

On the viewscreen, we see the familiar streaming starfield effect of warp speed.

 

janeway

How far are we from them?

 

tom

Six light years, Captain.

 

janeway

Good enough for now.  Take us out of warp.

 

int voyager – engineering

 

Just as Tom executes the order and brings the ship out of warp, there’s a blinding flash of light from the warp core.  When it fades, we can see that the warp core is no longer pulsing, and there are parts of it that are blackened and charred.  We also see three engineering crew down on the deck, unconscious or dead, there’s no way to tell.

 

int voyager – sickbay

 

The Doctor and Kes are scurrying around, treating a sickbay full of patients.  Kes looks ready to drop, but she somehow finds the energy to keep going.  We see that Neelix and Tom are also helping out, as well as two other crewmembers.  We can also see that both B’Elanna and Joe Carey are patients. 

 

The Doctor examines one patient, and then covers him with a sheet…not everyone could be saved.

 

janeway (vo)

Captain’s log.  We got away from the Kazon, but the cost was far higher than any of us imagined.  Ensign Melanie Reed was killed, and Ensign Ballard lost her left arm during the attacks.  Several other crew are still in sickbay, and I think all of us are still in shock.

 

int voyager – engineering

 

janeway (vo)

Besides the human cost, the ship was damaged severely…

 

Janeway is inspecting the warp core with Tuvok and another engineering officer, Lieutenant Jenny Delaney.

 

jenny delaney

Lieutenant Carey was right, Captain.  We’re not going to be able to repair this without access to a shipyard.  The core itself might be doable, but the field generators…and the support pylons…no way.

 

janeway

Do we have any warp capability at all?

 

jenny delaney

Maybe Warp One point Five.  Maybe.  But I wouldn’t even want to promise you that for sure…

 

ext space

 

We can see that one of Voyager’s nacelles is slightly off-center, and the pylon is twisted.

 

int voyager – janeway’s ready room

 

Janeway is here, along with Neelix and Chakotay.

 

chakotay

Well, Captain?  Now what?

 

janeway

We try to find somewhere to make repairs.

 

chakotay

At Warp One point Five? 

 

neelix

One point Five…let me think…the Gorki system…at that speed, it’s about six…maybe seven weeks away.  I’ve never been there myself, but from what I’ve heard, it is inhabited, they’ve got spaceflight technology…although I don’t know how advanced it is…

 

janeway

Are they friendly?

 

neelix

I’ve never been there…I couldn’t say.  It’s pretty far off the usual routes, I only know what I’ve heard about it.  But that’s it for at least ten light years.

 

chakotay

We’d better hope they can help us…ten light years at Warp One point Five, that’s three and a half years…we’ll all kill each other long before that…

 

janeway

I don’t see that we have any alternatives.  Gorki it is…let’s just pray that we can get what we need there…

 

ext space

 

And on Janeway’s desperate words, we watch as the Voyager limps off at very low warp towards the Gorki system, and we fade out…

 

The End