(written from a Production point of view)
Seven's life is put in danger when a crucial Borg implant malfunctions.
- "Captain's log, stardate 54129.4. It's a bittersweet day for the crew of USS Voyager. We've finally found a home for some of our most precious cargo."
Voyager has encountered a ship from the Wysanti, Azan and Rebi's species, and the twins have decided to return to their people while Mezoti has also decided to join them. The three children say their goodbyes to Captain Janeway, Seven and Icheb before leaving. Later Seven tells Icheb to shut down the three's Borg alcoves. Icheb doesn't want to since he believes it is too soon, but Seven tells him he is simply responding emotionally to the children's departure and he should be happy for them, but as she says this a tear rolls down her cheek which Icheb notices.
Seven sees The Doctor about her crying. He says it is merely natural given what's happened, but she claims she was in a perfect emotional state. The Doctor scans her and finds that Seven is correct; the tear wasn't natural but was caused by a malfunction with her cortical node and asks if she's been suffering other symptoms. Seven admits she's had an occasional headache, but requests that The Doctor not tell Captain Janeway. The Doctor, bound by doctor-patient confidentiality, agrees but schedules follow-up tests.
Seven meets Icheb in astrometrics, where he says that he wants to take the Starfleet Academy entrance exam since he would be able to submit the application in the next datastream to Earth and he could take classes from Tuvok (who was an instructor). Seven endorses the idea (although stops short at taking the classes herself) and promises to talk to Captain Janeway about getting a letter of recommendation from her since Icheb is from a non-Federation species. Suddenly Seven notices her skin convulsing and leaves without mentioning it to Icheb.
In Cargo Bay 2, Seven attempts to regenerate but the computer tells her that she is no longer compatible with the alcove. A diagnostic of the alcove confirms it is in working order; her inability to regenerate is because of the malfunctioning node. Neelix sees her in the mess hall drinking nutritional stimulants and attempts to help, but Seven refuses. Suddenly, she faints and goes into convulsions.
In sickbay, The Doctor wakes up Seven and Captain Janeway tells her what happened. Apparently, Seven's body is rejecting her Borg implants which in turn are shutting down one by one, including ones that maintain vital functions. Seven insists that her Borg parts would adapt but The Doctor and Janeway aren't so sure. Janeway decides to search a Borg cube debris field to find a replacement for Seven's cortical node. On her way to the Delta Flyer, Icheb talks to Janeway regarding his request to join Starfleet Academy and take the appropriate exams. She tells him what has happened to Seven, and Icheb offers to come along, though Janeway refuses. Icheb goes to sickbay to talk to Seven where she grows angry. The Doctor tells Icheb that her anger is natural given her situation.
Janeway, Tuvok, and Tom Paris arrive at the Borg debris field and find that a part of the cube still has atmosphere. Janeway and Tuvok board the vessel in search of an intact cortical node. They find a dead Borg drone and remove the node. Paris hails them and says that they have company. Three unidentified humanoids arrive and declare that the debris field belongs to them.
The two groups get into a scuffle, but Paris manages to beam them out in the nick of time. In sickbay, Neelix arrives with flowers for Seven and wishes to keep her company. The Doctor then tricks her into playing a game of kadis-kot with Neelix by claiming that she wouldn't stand a chance against him in her weakened state. Janeway arrives with the cortical node and The Doctor attempts to replace it. Seven's body is rejecting the new node and she dies; however, it was only a simulation. After twelve attempts, she still dies in every simulation. The node has been inactive too long. Janeway then states that they must find a living drone and use its node. Of course, this presents two issues: the difficulty of capturing a live drone and also the ethical implications of killing it to save Seven. While Seven is awaiting news on the simulation, she beats Neelix at kadis-kot. The Doctor comes to tell her the bad news.
Seven, who seems to be accepting her situation, wants to return to duty but neither The Doctor nor Janeway will let her. Icheb arrives with her work so she can work in sickbay, but Seven is gone after having deactivated The Doctor and left her combadge there. Lieutenant Torres finds Seven in engineering and the two begin talking about death. Seven tells her that when a drone dies, their memory lives on; as long as the collective exists, every drone will live on. As her link to the collective has been severed for several years now, she fears to fade into meaninglessness. Torres, however, assures her that she has made an impact on each member of Voyager's crew and her fear is therefore without reason. The Doctor finds the two and attempts to get Seven back to sickbay or else her condition will deteriorate faster, but lets her stay as long as she wears a cortical monitor. Seven finds Icheb in their cargo bay and tells him that Janeway approved his request and will administer the entrance exam before the next data stream and provides a list of those who can help him study. But Icheb wants Seven to help him with astrometrics. He is upset and angered because Seven has apparently given up on herself.
Icheb talks to The Doctor and offers his node to replace Seven's. Naturally The Doctor initially refuses outright, since Icheb giving up his node should kill him. Icheb refutes this, telling The Doctor that as he emerged from his maturation chamber early, his body isn't as dependent on his Borg implants. Plus his younger age and some genetic re-sequencing should allow his body to adapt. The Doctor is still worried that Seven's body may not adapt to Icheb's node so the procedure may end up killing them both, but Icheb is confident in his findings.
In astrometrics, Seven is reviewing places on Earth, such as the Grand Canyon and Janeway's birthplace. Janeway offers to take Seven to Bloomington once they reach Earth, but Seven tells Janeway she has accepted that she won't be making it back with them. Janeway reminds Seven that she's still got a chance, noting that if she'd listened to the odds she'd have settled the crew on the first M-class planet planet they found, yet instead they're now almost half-way home. Seven brings up a casualty list of crew members who have died on the journey home, and states that she believes that Janeway will have a harder time adapting to her death than the people on the list since she never met the captain's expectations in reclaiming her individuality. Seven then says that the failure was not Janeway's but her own, but Janeway emotionally corrects her; Seven didn't meet Janeway's expectations, but exceeded them and assures her that if she is having difficulty accepting what's happening it's because she doesn't want to lose a friend. The two are then summoned by The Doctor.
The Doctor tells Seven and Janeway about Icheb's plan. Seven refuses, saying that any danger to Icheb is too great. Icheb asks Janeway to order Seven to go through with it, but Janeway won't override Seven's wishes.
Back in sickbay, The Doctor offers to bring Seven something from the cargo bay when Icheb summons him there. On the way, he meets Janeway with the two fully expecting him to make another argument in regards to the operation. When they get there they find Icheb convulsing in his alcove as alarms blare. The Doctor checks the displays and found that Icheb has disconnected his cortical node, and Icheb tells Janeway this is the only way to prove the operation will work.
Janeway, Icheb, and The Doctor are immediately transported to sickbay. Neither Seven nor Icheb wants the node so that it can save the other. The Doctor confirms that some of Icheb's implants are adapting but not all. Seven claims that he is acting this way because he relies too much on her, but Icheb claims that she doesn't rely enough on others hence why she's been acting this way. He reminds her that everyone on Voyager will help each other whenever they can, just as Seven would want to help if any of them were in trouble or how the crew helps strangers despite the risks whenever they pick up a distress call. He urges her to accept his help now, and Seven finally agrees to undergo the operation.
Fortunately, the operation turns out to be a success and after six days, Seven wakes up in her alcove. Although Icheb is still recovering, he will be fine. When he regains consciousness, Seven tells him that she expects him to recover since she intends to help him with the astrometrics portion of the entrance exam as tears roll down her face. Icheb worries that her ocular implant is malfunctioning again, but The Doctor reassures him after a quick scan that this time the tears are real.
"Adapting to your absence will be difficult."
"I'll miss you too."
- - Mezoti and Icheb as Mezoti, Azan, and Rebi leave Voyager
"It's not everyday we go looking for the Borg. What's up?"
- - Chakotay, to Janeway
"I want to help Seven as much as anyone, but if we're not careful, we'll all end up with cortical nodes."
- - Chakotay, pointing out the danger of Janeway's decision
"I have isolated a section that contains the bodies of approximately thirty seven drones."
"Thirty seven doesn't sound approximate to me."
- - Tuvok and Tom Paris
"I need you at tactical! When I bring us around, target their engine core."
- - Tom Paris and Captain Janeway
"We difficult patients need to stick together."
- - Torres, after Seven escaped The Doctor
"Icheb to The Doctor, report to cargo bay 2 immediately!"
"Not to worry. I'll make it clear to him that persistence is futile."
- - Icheb, Seven, and The Doctor
"I won't accept the node!"
"And I won't keep it!"
"Someone had better use the damn thing... If it stays disconnected much longer it won't do either of you any good!"
- - Seven, Icheb, and The Doctor
"Your ocular implant; it's malfunctioning again."
"Actually it's functioning perfectly."
- - Icheb and The Doctor, on Seven with tears in her eyes
"You're acting like a child."
"I'm trying to save your life."
"Only because you've grown too dependent on me."
"So you think I need to learn to rely on other people?"
"What about you? You've refused to rely on a single member of this crew. You hid your condition from the rest of us. You deactivated the Doctor, and now you're rejecting my help. You're the one who needs to rely on others. [to Janeway] Isn't that what people on this ship do? They help each other?"
"Whenever we can."
"[to Seven] If the Captain were dying, you'd risk your life to save her, wouldn't you? [to Janeway] And when you respond to a distress call, you're risking the life of everyone on this ship to respond to the aid of strangers."
"Captain, he's just a child."
"I don't think he is. Not anymore."
"Don't look at me."
"Please. Just let us help you."
- - Seven, Icheb, and Janeway
- Filming for this episode began on 5 July 2000 on Paramount Stage 9 and finished on 13 July 2000 .
- This episode featured an okudagram computer display of a casualty listing of all the crewpersons lost to Voyager by this point. Several names were in-jokes referring to characters from the television series The West Wing. See casualty report for more information.
- This episode was originally supposed to air after "Drive", and a few errors exist due to the switch. First of all, the new Delta Flyer is present, whereas it was properly introduced in "Drive", but most importantly, during the operation on Seven of Nine, Tom Paris is clearly seen wearing a wedding ring. Also, the stardates indicate that this episode takes place after "Repression" as well.
- Icheb is without a combadge for the entire episode. He is one of the only recurring Voyager characters that do not receive combadges (apart from the alternate future timeline witnessed in "Shattered" in which he is commissioned officer). He gains a combadge by "Q2" when he becomes a Starfleet Cadet.
- In 2011, Manu Intiraymi (Icheb) named this episode his favorite from his eleven appearances on Star Trek: Voyager. 
Continuity and trivia
- This episode marks the final appearances of Marley S. McClean as Mezoti, Kurt Wetherill as Azan and Cody Wetherill as Rebi on the series. The Borg baby featured in "Collective" was originally going to be seen accompanying the Borg children to the planet.
- This episode marks a few, if the only episode in the series, where Captain Janeway is manning a tactical station. During the episode, she mans the tactical Station, when the Delta Flyer is attacked by an alien vessel.
- During the escape from the Borg debris field Janeway refers to Paris as 'Sir'. This is a rare if not unique event.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 7.1, 19 March 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
- Michael McFall as Salvage Alien #1
- Debbie Grattan as Wysanti
- Kurt Wetherill as Azan
- Cody Wetherill as Rebi
- Majel Barrett as Computer Voice
- Elle Alexander as Salvage alien #2
- David Keith Anderson as Ashmore
- Michael Bailous as operations officer
- Patrick Barnitt as dead Borg
- Stan G. Clayton as Salvage alien #3
- Carter Edwards as command officer
- Nichole McAuley as sciences officer
- Erin Price as Renlay Sharr
- Linnea Soohoo as sciences officer
- Unknown actress as operations officer
- Dana Hee as stunt double for Jeri Ryan
- Wayne King, Jr. as stunt double for Michael McFall
- Unknown stuntwoman as stunt double for Kate Mulgrew
2377; airponics bay; Alcove 01; anaphylactic shock; assimilation; autonomy protocol; Azan; Ballard, Lyndsay; Bartlett, J.; Bloomington; Borg alcove; Borg Collective; Craig, Claudia; cortical node; crying (aka sobbed); Delta Flyer; dizziness; DNA resequencing; doctor-patient confidentiality; Earth; emotional response; emotional subroutine; filing; fugitive; gladiola; Grand Canyon; green; heart; holodeck; Icheb; Indiana; Janeway; kadis-kot; Kaplan, Marie; Lang, Timothy; letter of recommendation; Lyman, J.; McGarry, L.; Mezoti; millijoule; nebula; neurocortical monitor; ocular implant; Puccini; pupil; quantum theory; regeneration cycle; rim; Salvage Aliens' vessel; Seaborn, S.; Sector 949; sentence (linguistics); Starfleet Academy; suicide note; Talaxian omelette; Tarcanian wildflower; Tosca; tweezers; warp mechanics; Wysanti; Wysanti (planet); Wysanti starship; Yontasa Expanse; Young, Charles; Ziegler, T.
- "Imperfection" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Imperfection" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Imperfection" at Wikipedia
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