(written from a Production point of view)
Starfleet Command sends Voyager on a special mission to retrieve a 21st century Earth probe which is believed lost in the Delta Quadrant.
- "We, the people of Earth, greet you in a spirit of peace and humility. As we venture out of our solar system, we hope to earn the trust and friendship of other worlds."
In a small control room on an alien planet, two people are desperately working to identify the craft. It begins transmitting a musical composition, The Four Seasons. They try to locate its position, as they realize it has just begun entering their atmosphere.
In astrometrics, Captain Janeway is talking to Starfleet Vice Admiral Hendricks about the various species of the Delta Quadrant, particulary the Voth. He instructs her to retrieve the Friendship 1 probe, which Starfleet believes to be in the Delta Quadrant. She convenes a meeting in the briefing room with her senior officers. They discuss the probe's programming, and intent.
- "Captain's Log, Stardate 54775.4. We've been searching for five days without any sign of the probe. But we're not about to disappoint Starfleet on our first official assignment in seven years."
On the bridge, Harry Kim reports that there are no signs of Friendship 1 in the current search grid. Kim requests to move the search to grid 310 as he has compensated for several solar winds and local anomalies that would have adjusted the probe's trajectory in the quadrant. They locate a titanium signal in the northern subcontinent of a planet in that grid, just 2 light years away. In astrometrics, they are unable to localize the probe as there is a large amount of antimatter radiation. Captain Janeway sends an away team to retrieve the probe. She assigns Chakotay, Tom Paris, Harry Kim, Joe Carey, and Neelix. They must all get inoculations in sickbay first. B'Elanna Torres wants to go on the trip as well, but Paris talks her out of it because she is six months pregnant and she and the baby would be breathing a toxic atmosphere. Torres only agrees after Paris agrees to carry the next baby.
On the Delta Flyer, the away team is headed through the upper atmosphere of the planet, where they encounter severe turbulence. When they come through the cloud deck, they notice the planet was inhabited at one point, but it looked as though it was in the midst of a nuclear winter. As the ship sets down, a man in a suit scans the ship from rocks in the distance.
On the planet, the away team are in EVA suits. Chakotay and Kim discover antimatter missile silos, while inside a cave Paris, Neelix, and Carey find remnants of the probe. Neelix hears something, but Carey can't read any life signs on his tricorder. Just then, Paris, Neelix and Carey are ambushed and captured by the planet's natives. Chakotay and Kim return to the Flyer, where Kim is attacked by one of the natives who was searching the ship. After he stuns the intruder, the Flyer comes under attack from antimatter weapons. Chakotay has no choice but to fly the ship back to Voyager, leaving their three crewmates behind. Paris, Neelix and Carey are taken prisoner and injured by the natives until their leader tells them to stop. The leader then asks who they are, what they have, and why they are here. Paris tells them that they are from Voyager and that they came to retrieve the probe. The leader responds they should have come sooner, that it would have spared his people the suffering it caused.
Janeway is receiving an update from Chakotay when Tuvok contacts her from the bridge. Tuvok says that they are receiving a subspace transmission from the surface. A man named Verin tells a confused Janeway that she will pay for what Earth did to the planet's people. Verin wants Janeway to take him and his people off the planet to a new home or he will kill the away team. He gives Janeway three hours to begin the evacuation.
Janeway tells Tuvok to scan for M-class planets, as just an option. Janeway and Chakotay head to sickbay where they talk to the native they stunned on the Delta Flyer. The man, Otrin, a scientist, says that he was attempting to get information from the Flyer's computers that could undo the damage Earth caused. Janeway asks the scientist to explain how they are responsible for his world's destruction. The scientist says that a containment failure in their antimatter power grid destroyed their planet. But until the Friendship One probe arrived, the natives had never conceived of antimatter. His feeling was that Earth's intent was to have their planet adapt to using antimatter technology in the hopes that their civilization would destroy itself. Otrin thinks Voyager is there to conquer their planet. Janeway assures him that Voyager is not here to conquer his world.
Back on the planet, Carey is feared to have a concussion and Paris asks to treat him. A pregnant woman refuses to allow Paris to use his equipment. During the ensuing conversation, Paris deduces that she is pregnant and tells her how his wife is expecting a baby girl. Paris also finds that the woman has had two boys and a girl, but they were all stillborn. Paris says that the best doctor in the quadrant is on Voyager, but she stops talking to him.
In astrometrics, Janeway learns the nearest M-class planet is 132 light years away. This would take seventeen trips and nearly three years to complete the relocation of the nearly 5,500 people on the planet. Janeway won't stop her trip back to Earth for that long. Tuvok states that the only other option may be to rescue the hostages by force. Janeway doesn't want to reinforce the thought that Humans are violent unless it's absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, Seven of Nine helps to treat the native scientist by extracting nanoprobes from her bloodstream.
Back on the planet, a girl talks to Neelix and Paris. They want to give the girl a toy they found on the planet. Verin hears the toy and snatches it away, thinking it is a weapon. He tells the child to stay away because they're dangerous. Neelix attempts to negotiate with Verin, asking if he can talk to Janeway on his behalf. He shares that his home, the moon Rinax, was destroyed by the metreon cascade and his family was killed. Verin replies, "I'm sorry about what happened to your family. But don't compare your life to mine," and sends Neelix back to holding.
Janeway attempts to further negotiate with Verin. He discusses an alternative to relocating the entire planet's population. She suggests working together with Otrin to have a shorter-term solution as flying to the other planet would take too long. Verin still doesn't believe Janeway, as she hasn't given him any reason to trust her. She offers to send a supply of food and medicine in exchange for a hostage. Verin agrees and allows Carey to set up the transport enhancers to transport him off the planet, but before the transporter locks on, Verin tells Carey that he's sorry and shoots him with a disruptor, killing him.
Captain Janeway holds her ground on the bridge, telling Verin that killing one of her crewmen will not make them any more receptive to their demands. When Verin threatens to kill the others, Captain Janeway agrees to transport their people, but says she requires time because the transporters weren't designed to handle large groups. Verin gives her one hour and ends the transmission. Janeway calls Chakotay to her ready room to begin a plan, immediately.
Back in sickbay, the first phase of Otrin's nanoprobe treatment is working. Seven tells Otrin that the group on the planet needs a more open-minded leadership.
The pregnant woman on the planet begins having early contractions. Paris offers to help, and she gives birth to a boy. He isn't breathing. Paris revives him using a cortical stimulator. Meanwhile, the Delta Flyer returns to rescue the crew. Verin thinks Tuvok has been captured, but his captor is actually The Doctor. The Doctor hands Tuvok his phaser, and then he stuns everyone with weapons in the room, surprising Neelix and Paris (The Doctor had been dressed as a native, but being a hologram protected him from the effects of the radiation and allowed him to play the part.) Tuvok and The Doctor rescue Neelix and Paris. Before they beam up, Paris convinces the mother to take her son to Voyager because he won't survive for very long in the atmosphere.
The baby is safe in sickbay. Janeway decides to transport him back to the planet along with a set of food and medical supplies. Neelix and Paris plead with Janeway to help the people on the planet to make up for what their ancestors on Earth did. In engineering, Otrin performs a successful experiment to remove the antimatter radiation. Janeway offers a plan to use photon torpedoes to eliminate the radiation in the atmosphere. Voyager will be put at extreme risk because it will require low-altitude detonations of the torpedoes and the reaction would expand exponentially. Janeway orders shield modifications to help the ship survive. The procedure begins, and massive atmospheric explosions rock the surface.
Back underground, Verin is becoming increasingly paranoid that the explosions from the photon torpedoes in the atmosphere will destroy the remaining survivors, rather than clear the pollution, and brings the antimatter warheads on-line to fight back. Otrin attempts to persuade Verin to let Voyager help, but Verin pushes him aside and continues to set the antimatter weapons. That is, until the once-pregnant woman draws an energy rifle on him. Shocked, Verin asks, "What are you doing?" The woman replies, "I won't let you ruin our only chance for survival." He asks if she would kill him just to stop him. The reasoning of the woman is clear: "To save my child, yes." Verin orders her weapon taken away, but one by one, the survivors start to reject Verin's leadership. Trying to recover the power that is quickly slipping through his fingers, he claims "I've kept you alive! ALL OF YOU!" Otrin counters that survival isn't enough to live anymore. Verin tries in vain to regain his leadership, but fails, and the entire group stands behind Otrin in defiance. However, the best news to the group arrives when a child comes in telling everyone to hurry outside. With Verin under guard, the group goes outside the cave to find the sky clearing.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. We've retrieved Friendship 1 and resumed our course for the Alpha Quadrant, but the success of our mission had a very high price."
Chakotay enters Carey's quarters and finds Captain Janeway looking at a ship in a bottle model of Voyager. Carey only had one nacelle to go before finishing it. Chakotay and Janeway then have a debate about the moral implications of the launchers of Friendship 1. The benefits of exploration don't justify the loss of lives – whether it's millions or just one.
- - Admiral Hendricks and Captain Janeway
"An inoculation a day keeps the radiation away."
- - Tom Paris
"Any bets on this one?"
"My money's on B'Elanna."
- - Neelix talking with Chakotay on Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres' latest marital argument
"I'm sorry, Mr. Carey."
- - Verin, before murdering Joseph Carey
"From the first time you spoke up in my classroom, I knew you'd go far."
"A little farther than I expected, professor."
- - Admiral Hendricks and Captain Janeway
"Even if I believed you, Verin never would."
"Then your people may need a change of leadership; someone more open to new ideas."
"I'm not a leader."
"But you're a scientist; someone who can see a problem and envision a solution. The same definition could apply to a leader."
- - Otrin and Seven of Nine
"When infiltrating a planet with a toxic environment, it helps to be a hologram."
- - The Doctor, to Paris and Neelix, after single-handedly rescuing the away team.
"When I first met them, I thought they were arrogant and self-righteous."
"I suppose you're going to tell me you've changed your mind."
"Well, not completely."
- - Neelix and Verin, discussing Humans
- - Yun, on finally seeing the sun through the sky of her homeworld
Story and script
- Kenneth Biller had given co-writers Bryan Fuller and Michael Taylor permission to kill a recurring character in the episode. Taylor had advocated for Tal Celes, and though the two also considered Vorik and Samantha Wildman, ended up deciding on Joe Carey after a long and hard debate. "If you haven't seen someone in forever [sic] and all of a sudden you get to learn a lot about who he is, the savvy audience members will say, 'You know, this dude's going to die by the end of Act Three.' He may as well have a bullseye tattooed on his ass, because he's as good as gone." The writers hoped by setting Carey up to be beamed back to the ship, at least half of the audience would think "OK, they're just getting rid of him so that the two main characters can carry out the rest of the drama...." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 2, p. 87)
- The male technician analysing Friendship One's transmission at the beginning of this episode is wearing the same costume used by Cliff deYoung as Croden in DS9: "Vortex".
- Bari Hochwald previously played Elizabeth Lense in DS9: "Explorers".
- Several props, set dressings, and costumes from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including the costume of Earl Maddox. 
- This is the thirteenth time the crew of Voyager discover a direct connection between the Alpha Quadrant and Delta Quadrant, having previously discovered a wormhole connecting the two quadrants ("Eye of the Needle"), descendants of human abductees ("The 37's"), descendants of aliens who have visited Earth ("Tattoo"), a Cardassian weapon ("Dreadnought"), Ferengi ("False Profits"), former Borg that were assimilated in the Alpha Quadrant ("Unity"), descendants of Earth dinosaurs ("Distant Origin") a communications network that extends to the Alpha Quadrant ("Message in a Bottle"), and another Federation starship ("Equinox"), another former Borg that was assimilated in the Alpha Quadrant ("Survival Instinct"), a long-lost Earth spaceship ("One Small Step"), and Klingons ("Prophecy"). In this episode, they discover another long-lost Earth spaceship.
- The real-time conversation between Janeway on Voyager and Professor Hendrick in the Alpha Quadrant is a result of Operation Watson, seen in the previous episode "Author, Author".
- Janeway tells Hendrick "Hadrosaurs, to be precise. Their ancestors settled in the Delta Quadrant twenty million years ago," referring to the Voth which Voyager encountered in "Distant Origin".
- Hendrick tells Janeway "The Voth, the Kobali, the Vaadwaur. You've made first contact with more species than any captain since James Kirk." Voyager encountered the Kobali and Vaadwaur in the sixth-season episodes "Ashes to Ashes" and "Dragon's Teeth" respectively.
- Paris states that Friendship One was launched "just four years after Zefram Cochrane tested his first warp engine," referring to the events of Star Trek: First Contact.
- Neelix reminds Paris "I'm Voyager's ambassador, remember?" Neelix's promotion to this position was first hinted at in "Macrocosm" and then confirmed with his first assignment in "Revulsion".
- Neelix tells Verin "my planet was destroyed by a weapon called a Metreon Cascade. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, including my family," referring to moon Rinax and the events detailed in the first-season episode "Jetrel". He then says, "I was on a neighbouring planet when the weapon was detonated," referring to his stationing on Talax.
- The Friendship 1 probe's warp nacelles are reminiscent of those of the Phoenix, and the head of the probe bears a resemblance to the top of the Nomad probe.
- This episode marks the return, and the death, of Lieutenant Joe Carey. This is Carey's first "present" appearance on the series since "State of Flux". He also appeared in "Relativity" and "Fury"; however, his scenes in both of those episodes were based in 2371.
- Joe Carey's death marks the 23rd confirmed death of Voyager crew since the pilot episode "Caretaker", the previous deaths having occurred in the sixth-season premiere "Equinox, Part II". This would put the crew complement as of the end of this episode at 147, given the crew complement of 146 that was most recently established in "Someone to Watch Over Me", and the deaths and crew additions that have happened since.
- In this episode, when the origin of the nanoprobes used to treat him is revealed as being in Seven's bloodstream, Otrin asks if there are others like her in the crew. Seven replies no and that she is unique; however, there is another former Borg drone, Icheb, in the crew.
- Voyager uses at least two photon torpedoes in this episode, three having previously been used in "Human Error". This brings the total number of torpedoes confirmed to have been used by Voyager over the course of the series to 76, a total which exceeds the irreplaceable complement of 38 that had been established by Chakotay in the first-season episode "The Cloud".
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 7.11, 24 December 2001
- As part of the VOY Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Harry Kim
- Ken Land as Verin
- John Prosky as Otrin
- Bari Hochwald as Brin
- Peter Dennis as Hendricks
- Ashley Edner as Yun
- Josh Clark as Joe Carey
- John Ames as alien man
- Pam Blackwell as alien woman
- Bill Blair as alien man
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Tim Gilbert as alien man
- Jim Jouvenat as alien man
- Heather Langone as alien woman
- Lalita Lauren as command officer
- Gerald Lopton as alien boy
- Earl Maddox as alien man
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Unknown performers as
- Bobby Burns as stunt double for John Prosky
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Garrett Wang
- Brita Nowak – stand-in for Jeri Ryan and Bari Hochwald
- Stuart Wong – stand-in for Garrett Wang and Josh Clark
20 million years ago; 2063; 2067; 2248; Alpha Quadrant; antimatter; antimatter missile; antimatter radiation; assimilation; atmospheric processor; Brin's stillborn; Brin's son; cardio-stimulator; Carey's wife; circuit analyzer; Cochrane, Zefram; computer chip; concussion; contraction; data core; Delta Flyer; Delta Quadrant; diagnostic equipment; dinosaur; disulfide; Earth; environmental suit; equipment bag; fatherhood; Federation; fetal resonance scan; Four Seasons, The; Friendship 1; gas giant; genocide; gravimetric shear; Grid 295; Grid 310; hadrosaur; holo-camera; ionic interference; inoculation; isolytic reaction; isorem; kilometer; Kirk, James T.; Klingon; Kobali; leader; leadership; lesion; lining; lung; magnesite; medical care; meter; metreon cascade; metronome; millijoule; missile silo; model; music box; nanoprobe; Neelix' cousin; nuclear winter; nucleonic particle; Otrin's homeworld; Otrin's species; Otrin's wife; particle scanner; photon torpedo; probe; Prime Directive; queasy; radiation; radiation exposure (aka radiation poisoning); reverse engineering; ship in a bottle; shock wave; solar wind; Starfleet Corps of Engineers; stillborn; stratosphere; thermal eddy; third grade; titanium; toy; transceiver; translation matrix; transporter; transport enhancer; tricorder; troposphere; United Earth Space Probe Agency; Vaadwaur; Vivaldi; Voth
- "Friendship One" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Friendship One" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Friendship One" at Wikipedia
|Star Trek: Voyager