(written from a Production point of view)
The discovery of a compromised Borg vinculum causes Seven to develop multiple personality disorder.
But then a loud, echoing cacophony of voices is heard. Seven awakens, the computer warning her that her regeneration cycle is incomplete. She glances about suspiciously and steps down from the alcove, ignoring the computer's warning that the regeneration cycle is incomplete. She stalks about the room in a manner most unlike her.
She leaves, careful not to let anyone see her, and makes her way to the mess hall. There she inspects and tosses aside bowls of fruit and vegetables on the kitchen counter, with an angry growl. Going further in, she suddenly smells something that interests her, coming from the fridge. She throws the doors open and rummages around inside, making a mess on the floor, until she finds it: a large chunk of meat, which she immediately tears into. Seven's reflection on the inside of one of the doors is that of a Klingon male, ravenously tearing into the meat.
The next morning, Ensign Kim presents a report on a strange detection on the overnight sensor logs: a huge debris field, 120 km wide. Present is the senior staff: Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Lt. Torres, Neelix… and Seven of Nine. Kim reports that he found a residual warp signature in the field. Seven is able to identify the field as the remains of a Borg cube. Chakotay inquires as to what destroyed it. Seven responds only a close-up scan would yield the answer. Kim says they will soon have the chance: the field is right ahead.
But Janeway has no intention of allowing curiosity to be satisfied here, as the Borg are known to investigate and salvage any of their vessels should they be damaged or destroyed. She orders a course alteration to steer clear of the field. The meeting is ended and all rise to leave.
But then Neelix stops them with another problem: the raid on the kitchen that occurred the night before, the latest in several such incidents. He names this time's loss, the meat Seven wolfed down — a leg of Kelaran wildebeest he'd prepared for an Ensign's birthday. He asks and obtains Janeway's permission to replicate locks for the fridge doors, as Tuvok has been unable to find any suspects to the crime. The meeting ends.
As Seven walks through the corridors, she is followed by young Naomi Wildman. The child is careful not to be seen, and Seven is seemingly unaware of her. Seven stops at a Jefferies tube, opens it, and takes some readings while Naomi hides, watching her and making notes on a PADD. Seven finishes and continues on round a corner.
Naomi steps out and rounds the same corner, her attention on her PADD… and gets a total, shocking surprise as she runs into Seven, standing waiting for her, looking down at her in disapproval. She was entirely aware of Naomi's presence. She commands the child to state her intentions. Naomi, stunned, stutters, her mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. Seven wheels round and continues on, intending to report her to the Captain.
Naomi hurries to catch up to her and begs her not to; she was just observing her. She explains that she is studying Seven, who is the model of efficiency; Seven tries to be perfect, even after leaving the Borg. Naomi explains that she hopes emulating Seven's dedication to her job will impress Captain Janeway enough to make her the Captain's Bridge Assistant. Seven reminds her that there is no such position. Naomi explains that there isn't yet, which is why she is studying to be efficient. Seven is impressed, telling Naomi that the rest of the crew could benefit for her goal, but tells the child she is too underdeveloped to follow her example. She starts to make a suggestion when she suddenly stops walking as the crowd of voices is heard again.
In a second, Seven's entire demeanor changes. A huge, sunny smile suffuses her face as she turns to Naomi and greets her brightly, as if she has never met her. Naomi, slightly confused but not alarmed, returns the greeting. Seven complains of boredom and suggests they go swimming. However, Naomi responds that she is not allowed to without her mother. Seven pouts disappointedly, acting exactly like a child of Naomi's age. But then she brightens and suggests kadis-kot, a game which Naomi loves. Naomi happily agrees and the go running off together, giggling.
In the Wildman quarters, Seven and Naomi play kadis-kot. Seven wins, impressing Naomi. But as she resets the board, both their reflections are seen in its surface. Naomi's is normal, but Seven's is that of a little girl, like with the fridge door. They continue to play and talk. Then Lt. Torres hails Seven from Engineering, asking her to come there. Seven acts as if she does not hear it. Torres repeats the hail, annoyed at Seven's failure to respond.
Suddenly Seven looks as if she has woken up in a place she has no idea how she got to. She responds to the hail and, in her normal demeanor, asks Naomi uncertainly what she, Seven, is doing there. Her reflection in the board is again her. Naomi responds with the obvious: playing kadis-kot. Seven shakily rises and leaves for Engineering, ignoring Naomi's questioning look. Naomi, again confused but not alarmed, starts packing up the board.
In Engineering, Torres shows Seven a subspace frequency she has detected; it looks Borg, and she wants Seven to confirm if it is. Seven does so, and names it as a Borg neural interlink frequency, used to integrate the minds of Borg drones together. She tries to find its origin. Torres comments on her unsettled appearance. Seven confirms that she is not feeling well and tells Torres of her memory lapse. Torres suggests she go to the Sickbay but Seven refuses, intent on tracking the source of the signal as the lapse's possible cause.
She is going to another console when the voices are again heard. Her reflection this time as she turns back to face Torres is that of the Klingon man. Naked lust on her face, she introduces herself to the dumbfounded Torres as the 'son of K'Vok', in a deep, masculine voice. She walks around Torres as if checking her out sexually.Torres, thinking that this is perhaps a joke that Lt. Paris, her boyfriend, put Seven up to, is not in the least amused. She goes to another console and starts working, her back to Seven. Seven slinks up behind her, sniffing her in much the same way a Klingon man sniffs a Klingon woman in mating. "Come, warrior. Let me look at you," she says huskily. Torres angrily warns her to stop.
Suddenly Seven seizes her and bites her cheek, another Klingon mating practice. Yelping in pain, Torres throws her off and retreats to a corner. She urgently hails Security. Grinning lustfully, Seven cages her, voicing her approval of her as a potential mate. Torres grabs a heavy object and warns her in no uncertain terms to keep away. Seven slaps her chest, approving of how Torres wants to 'prove herself in battle', as two Security officers enter. They move to collar Seven, but she bulldozes past them and dashes out the doors, leaving Torres to gaze after her in blank bewilderment.
On the bridge, Captain Janeway emerges from her ready room and orders a report on what is happening. Chakotay reports Seven's attack on Torres and reports her position, provided by the command console. Janeway orders Ensign Kim to deploy force fields to contain her. "Don't tell me those two have come to blows," she tells Chakotay, speaking of the dislike the hot-tempered Torres has for the former drone.
Meanwhile, a security officer is seen thrown hard into a corner. He stays down, unconscious, courtesy Seven. She picks up his phaser and tries to run. But she cannot leave the immediate area because of the force fields that now block her way. Tuvok, head of Security, closes on her position with another of his officers, both armed with phasers.
They come upon her, but find her, instead of angry or defiant, crouched against a wall near to the downed officer, like a frightened child. In a tiny, scared voice, she tells Tuvok, "Someone's hurt and he needs help," referring to the downed officer. Seeing Tuvok's stern expression, she fearfully asks him if she "did something bad".
Tuvok realizes this is not the "Seven of Nine" the crew knows. "Who are you?" he asks. She identifies herself as 'Maryl'. Tuvok has the computer drop the force field separating them. He and the officer carefully enter the space, and he has her give him the phaser.
Then the voices are again heard. As he signals the officer to assist the downed one, Seven rises and, in a Vulcan-like manner, comments that the logical action would be to take the officer to the infirmary. She certainly does not sound like a child any longer. Now she identifies herself as Subaltern Lorot of the Vulcan High Command.
It is absolutely clear to Tuvok now that Seven is in severe need of medical help. She asks how she may be of assistance; he asks her to please go with him to the Sickbay. She agrees cordially, and walks ahead of him.
But then the voices are again heard. She stops dead, her manner becoming dark and angry; the Klingon is back. She curses and threatens him, and he orders her to keep moving, his phaser on her. She wheels and lunges at him with an angry bellow. He stuns her and collects her as she falls unconscious.
Seven awakens in the Sickbay two hours later, with a cortical inhibitor on her neck. Captain Janeway and Tuvok are present, while The Doctor examines her. Seven asks Janeway nervously why she, Seven, is there. Janeway explains. The voices are again heard, but this time, Seven speaks of them; it is now clear that only she can hear them.
On The Doctor's instruction, she describes them as angry and chaotic. A nightmarish montage is seen, of Humans and aliens in Borg alcoves, one after the other, screaming in terror. They get louder and louder, until Seven suddenly sits up in pain and fear, gasping, "Too many voices!" The Doctor adjusts the inhibitor, which causes the voices to fade and cease. Seven is grateful. But she is very shaken to hear of her activities, which she remembers nothing of: playing with Naomi Wildman and trying to mate with Lt. Torres.
The Doctor calls them all to a console to show them Seven's neural pattern. He explains that he has found 13 other neural patterns in her brain along with her own. They belong to individuals assimilated by the Borg during her 18 years as a drone. They, like the neural patterns of all who are assimilated, are incorporated into the Borg hive mind, stored in the cortical implants of all drones, including Seven, when she was one. They are supposed to be dormant. But they are now very active in Seven and are manifesting themselves randomly, causing Seven to randomly mentally become that person.
Seven informs them of the Borg interlink frequency Torres had found. Tuvok further informs them of its apparent origin: the remains of the Borg cube they had found. Janeway suggests getting far away from it quickly, getting out of range. But Seven responds that this is impossible; the signal permeates subspace. The only way to stop it is to shut it off. Janeway orders Tuvok to have the ship return to the field, and orders The Doctor to keep an eye on Seven.
Seven and The Doctor head for Seven's Cargo Bay 2 quarters. On the way, The Doctor inquires if any Borg drone ever experienced anything like this. Seven unnervedly responds that the Collective would immediately destroy any such drone; it has no tolerance for 'imperfection'.
As they walk, they are joined by Neelix. The Talaxian, in his office of 'morale officer', has heard she is not well, and has come to cheer her up. Seven's entire body language and demeanor make it very clear that she wants him to go away, but he persists, offering to finish assignments for her, prepare for her one of his 'wonderful medicinal teas', or prepare one her favorite 'meal in a glass' nutritional supplements.
Finally Seven tells him in no uncertain terms: "Your concern has been noted. The Doctor will inform you when I am functional again." He does not take it personally and withdraws, but not before giving her a gift from Naomi: a crayon drawing she has made. This touches Seven and she tells him to convey her thanks to the child.
In Cargo Bay 2, The Doctor checks Seven's regeneration logs. He finds several interruptions which, along with recorded spikes in her brain activity, finally reveal her as the kitchen's night raider; she did it while sleepwalking under the influence of one of the foreign neural patterns.
Seven then finds a data file she does not remember making. She plays it. It is an audio recording of her making a log entry as if she was a young Starfleet officer on her first starship assignment, the USS Tombaugh, under Captain Blackwood. Seven tells The Doctor that the Borg assimilated that ship and its crew 13 years prior. Seven had apparently personally assimilated this officer; she calls her one of her victims. Another data file is found, this one a recording of Seven speaking as alien female dictating a message to her romantic partner.
The Doctor inquires who she was. This is extremely uncomfortable for Seven, confronted with stark reminders of the atrocities she committed as a drone. These were people with lives, families, before she condemned them to living death as Borg abominations. She all but runs out of the room, angrily and ashamedly telling The Doctor she does not remember the names of each of the thousands she helped assimilate. The Doctor stops her and gently tells her this is only a bump in the road back to her Humanity; they'll get past it.
Then Chakotay hails her from the bridge; they have arrived at the debris field. She acknowledges the First Officer and heads for the bridge.
On the bridge, Tuvok and Lt. Paris inform Janeway and Chakotay that no drones have survived and no Borg ships are about. Ensign Kim finds the source of the Borg frequency. Janeway orders it shown on the viewscreen, magnified.
A strange object is seen, parts of it glowing with Borg-green light. Seven identifies it as a Borg vinculum; a central processor found in every Borg ship, which interconnects the minds of drones and purges all individuality from them. This one has apparently identified her as an errant drone and is trying to reintegrate her into the collective. But the commands it is sending her Borg implants are erratic and conflicted. She asks Janeway's permission to beam it aboard to study it and shut it down.
Janeway, however is very loath to do this; it is the heart of a Borg cube; she would much prefer not to have it on the ship. But Seven insists that to try to disable it remotely could permanently damage her systems. Janeway thinks it over, then reluctantly agrees. She orders Tuvok to beam it to Engineering.
But she tells him to lock it down under a level 10 force field and constant surveillance; it is to put back into space the moment it poses a threat. To Paris, she issues an order to remove them from the area at warp 9 as soon as the vinculum is aboard. She quietly assures Seven she will try to help her any way she can, but the safety of the crew comes first; they have not had the best of luck with the Borg. Seven responds that she has not either.
With the vinculum aboard, Paris engages warp 9 as per Janeway's order. Voyager is seen flying past streaking lines of stars at very high speed. Meanwhile, Seven and The Doctor enter Engineering to study the vinculum. Her proximity to it increases its signal's effect on her, so that she hears the voices despite her cortical inhibitor. The Doctor adjusts it to compensate. Lt. Torres comes down from room's upper level, but stops in her tracks when she sees Seven and eyes her warily. Seven assures her the 'son of K'Vok' will not be joining them.
Reassured, Torres joins her and The Doctor at a console. Seven attempts to hack into the vinculum, but, in the process, finds what appears to be a virus in it. Amazed, The Doctor identifies it as a synthetic pathogen designed to attack technology as a normal virus attacks living cells. Seven calls up log information contained in the vinculum; it shows that the cube had assimilated a shuttlecraft 3 days prior. They were the cube's last contact. Logically, then, the vinculum's infection had come from them; as The Doctor puts it, they were the Typhoid Mary.
Later, in Astrometrics, Seven briefs The Doctor and Captain Janeway about the aliens whose assimilation infected the cube's vinculum with the pathogen. They were members of a species the Borg designated 6339. This race's first contact with the Borg had occurred 4 years prior. Since that time, nearly the entire species was assimilated; over 11 billion people. The Collective had detected one of their last surviving shuttlecraft and a cube intercepted it.
The Doctor and Seven believe the aliens aboard carried the virus in their bodies. It infected the vinculum upon their assimilation. Seven muses that the drones aboard undoubtedly experienced the same effect the vinculum's signal is having on her, leading them to eventually destroy themselves and the cube. Janeway decides that they should try to find other members of the species in the hope they could help Seven. She orders Seven to start scanning for them on long-range scanners.
Seven starts saying she already has, but then the voices are heard. She stares at the viewscreen and, in the manner of a Ferengi, waddles up to it, comments exaggeratedly on its size and offers Janeway 20 latinum bars for it. She introduces herself as DaiMon Torrot, a Ferengi title and name. Janeway and The Doctor know they need to get her back to the Sickbay immediately. The Doctor convinces her to accompany them by telling her she has the Ankaran flu; treatment is free of charge. She goes with them, loudly complaining about how the Ferengi Health Commission is trying to revoke her trading license.
In the Sickbay, Janeway and The Doctor manage to get Seven near a bio-bed so that she can be contained by a force field. As she loudly protests being "kidnapped", The Doctor concernedly tells Janeway the inhibitor is no longer restraining the foreign neural patterns. Seven's own neural pattern is destabilizing; it could soon be lost, taking Seven's sanity with it.
Then Seven gets their attention again when her voice suddenly changes to that of a pleading, frightened woman. She asks Janeway for help in finding her son, Lt. Gregory Bergan. He was serving on the USS Melbourne, one of the fleet of 39 starships that was obliterated by a single Borg cube in the Battle of Wolf 359. She begs Janeway's help in trying to find him, saying that her own ship, a civilian transport, was caught in the battle and they had to leave in escape pods.
Of course, the fact that Seven is manifesting her neural pattern means that she was, in fact, captured and assimilated. Then the voices sound again and Seven returns to normal.
But the experience is beginning to break her spirit. She is anguished and very afraid; she does not know how much longer she can bear this. Janeway has the computer drop the force field. She goes to Seven's side and tells the former drone that her job is to hold on, even when she thinks she cannot, and leave the rest to her and the crew.
An hour later, Janeway returns to the bridge, worn out from dealing with Seven's multiple personalities. 12 personalities manifested themselves in that time; Seven's state became so bad she had to be sedated. Janeway confides in Chakotay her thoughts that Chakotay had been right; perhaps bringing Seven back to Humanity is indeed impossible; her Borg part would always cause problems and complications.
Chakotay assures her he no longer thinks this; he did not believe she would last a day, but here she is, still there after one year, a valued crew member. Torres then calls from Engineering; she and Tuvok have set up to begin taking the vinculum offline, and are ready to start. Janeway gives the go-ahead.
Torres and Tuvok begin. At first all goes well; in the Sickbay, The Doctor reports that Seven's neural pattern is stabilizing. But then it goes horribly wrong. The vinculum, in the way of the Borg, adapts, its signal becoming even stronger. Seven's condition rapidly degenerates. The voices become deafening as the many foreign neural patterns clash with each other for dominance. Her mind begins to break down as she thrashes about in pain, screaming for help.
The Doctor frantically shouts at Torres and Tuvok to abort the procedure. Torres tries to change tactics to stop the vinculum's adaptation, but Tuvok stops her, seeing that it would not succeed. He informs Janeway of their failure. Janeway commands The Doctor to report on Seven's condition.
Seven is seen lying unconscious. A somber Doctor tells Janeway her neural pattern is completely gone; the others have fully taken over. She is lost. Janeway stares forward in horror.
In the briefing room, The Doctor and Tuvok give their bleak reports to Janeway personally about Seven and the vinculum. The Doctor agitatedly reports that he has stabilized her brain functions, but it is no longer Seven of Nine who lies in the Sickbay. The foreign neural patterns now flit through rapid-fire like a strobe light. A new one manifests itself every few seconds; she can no longer even finish a sentence now before another takes over. It is severely straining her brain's cerebral cortex; if the vinculum is not soon deactivated they may never recover her. He has tried every medical treatment in his database, and has run out of options.
Tuvok then suggests an alternative; a mind meld. The Doctor is horrified at the suggestion. Tuvok elucidates: Seven's own neural pattern is in chaos, her sense of self is drowning, under the sea of the other patterns. He will attempt to enter her mind, reach her true self, and bring it back to the surface. The Doctor insists that this is too risky, and Janeway herself wonders if he will be able to deal with the multitude of personalities in Seven's mind without losing his own.
Tuvok calmly responds that the risk is his to take. She considers silently, and then agrees. The Doctor tries to persuade her otherwise, but she reminds him of what he himself said: they are out of options. She grants Tuvok the 2 hours he requests to meditate in preparation. Chakotay calls her from the bridge; they have found a Species 6339 ship. She goes onto the bridge, while The Doctor returns to the Sickbay.
On the bridge, Ensign Kim reports that the aliens' vessel is heavily armed: 22 phaser cannons on its aft section alone. Janeway has him hail them. She identifies herself and Voyager, but as she explains the reason for contacting them, one cuts her off, demanding to know if she has the vinculum. She responds affirmatively. "You've made a terrible mistake, Captain." he tells her.
Janeway has the two aliens beamed over. She is seen speaking with them in Engineering, with Chakotay and Torres. The one she spoke to (one may assume he is their Captain), whose name is Ven, explains that the virus in the vinculum is, in fact, a weapon. Ever since the Borg decimated their world they had been seeking ways of retaliation. 13 of their surviving people agreed to allow themselves to be infected with the virus and then be assimilated for the virus to infect the vinculum. He angrily complains that they had the opportunity to infect dozens, even hundreds of Borg vessels until Voyager interfered, and demands an explanation.
Janeway and Chakotay explain about Seven, and Janeway voices her hope they could help treat her. He responds that the virus was created to destroy Borg; a treatment was never considered; Seven will not survive. But he insists that the vinculum must be returned to the debris field before any other Borg ships come to investigate, or the chance to spread the virus to other Borg ships will be lost, and the sacrifice made by those 13 of his people would be in vain.
Janeway agrees to return it, but only after a way is found to counteract its effects to save Seven's life. She has Lt. Torres begin to explain a plan she has formulated to do that, but Ven cuts her off impatiently, saying they have no time for this, and demands the vinculum. Janeway refuses, saying she cannot return it to them yet; Seven must be saved first.
Ven pointedly reminds her of the firepower power of their vessel. Janeway responds that they could severely damage Voyager, but they would also be damaging the vinculum; are they willing to risk this? But Ven dangerously counters that the device already survived the destruction of one vessel, far larger and more powerful than Voyager. Janeway and her officers stare at him, uncomfortably aware of how right he is.
In the Sickbay, The Doctor has managed to temporarily reach Seven's neural pattern. But it will not be long before it is lost again. Seven awakens, restrained on a bio-bed. The Doctor explains that some of her recent 'guests' were violent. She asks about the vinculum. He responds that they have not been able to shut it down; it keeps adapting. The former drone understands this perfectly.
The voices sound again. Seven fearfully informs him. Knowing he is about to lose her again, The Doctor, regardless of his feelings about Tuvok's plan, fulfills his duty of informing her, his patient, about it as a possible treatment option. Seven asks about the risks to Tuvok, more concerned with his safety than hers. The Doctor tells her that his mind could be destroyed, but Tuvok believes the likelihood of that is low. Desperate, Seven agrees to the procedure. She thanks The Doctor for his patience asks him to convey her thanks to the crew for their help, whether she survives or not.
Then the voices rise to a deafening level. She convulses, agonized, straining against the restraints, her screams heart-breaking. The Doctor quickly sedates her.
Tuvok, in his quarters, completes his meditation. His eyes open. The intensity of focus in them is as a Borg cutting beam. He rises and heads for the Sickbay.
Ven and his party return to their ship. Janeway arrives back on the bridge, where Lt. Paris reports that the aliens are charging weapons and coming in for an attack run. Grimly, Janeway orders shields raised.
Tuvok arrives at the Sickbay. The ship shudders under the aliens' fire. The Doctor attaches a cortical inhibitor to his neck and informs him of his intention to break the meld at the first sign of trouble. But Tuvok tells him not to interfere; there will undoubtedly be many 'signs of trouble', and The Doctor must have faith in his ability to endure them. The Doctor uneasily goes to a console to monitor the procedure. Tuvok has the computer drop the force field between him and Seven, and approaches her.
She is again awake, but there is no trace of her, only the foreign personalities; she begs for release as a child, curses and threatens him as a Klingon and offers to buy from him as a Ferengi. He ignores them all as he positions his hand on her head to initiate the meld and begins repeating the meld mantra: "My mind to your mind; your thoughts to my thoughts." More personalities flash through; a Vulcan calmly telling him he will be unsuccessful; a woman screaming frantically that the Borg are assimilating the ship; a terrified child crying for her mother. Tuvok stays focused. Finally, he forms the mental bond.
But it is as a nightmare. He finds himself in a dark, surreal world looking like the inside of a Borg cube. Hundreds of people, Human and alien, young and old, Starfleet and other, press and pull at him, screaming, shouting, violent.
He begins searching the chaos for Seven.
The alien vessel hammers Voyager. The difference in power is evident; they are untouched, but Voyager's shields are quickly degrading under their assault. The targeting systems are off-line, as are main thrusters. Janeway orders all available power to the shields and has Chakotay, at the Tactical station filling in for Tuvok, manually target their weapons systems. In Engineering, Lt. Torres, having instituted her plan to prevent the vinculum from adapting, hails the bridge and informs Janeway of success; power is being drained from it; it should be off in the next 60 seconds. In the Sickbay, Tuvok wrestles with the personalities of the assimilated in Seven's mind. He hears Seven and sees her some distance from him, being assaulted as he is.
He tries to reach her, but cannot. They continue calling out to each other, as her body thrashes about under the restraints on the bio-bed. Tuvok maintains his hand on her face, breathing hard, eyes shut tight, body swaying slightly. In Engineering, in contact with the bridge, Torres calls out the vinculum's dropping power level percentage from her console.
But then the ship is shaken and sparks fly. She informs Janeway that the emitters of the dampening field that is draining the vinculum's power have gone offline; the vinculum starts to power up again. Janeway responds that they took a hit to the power grid, and has Chakotay switch to emergency power. The emitters start working again. Torres resumes her call-out of the vinculum's dropping level percentage. Its Borg-green lights, which had glowed steadily, begin to flicker, until finally they go dark, as its power level finally drops to zero.
It is done.
In Seven's mind, the violent throngs disappear. Tuvok runs to Seven. She was holding onto a wall to keep herself from getting taken away. But when she feels Tuvok's hands on her shoulders and sees they are now alone, she lets go. They look around, exhausted. Tuvok breaks the meld, nearly collapsing with exhaustion, his face filmed with sweat. Seven opens her eyes, once again alone in her mind. The Doctor hails the bridge and informs Janeway. Janeway has Ensign Kim try to hail the aliens to tell them they are surrendering the vinculum but they do not respond. She angrily orders Chakotay to beam it into space. He does so. The aliens withdraw. She orders Paris to remove them from the area at warp 9.
Seven, after her ordeal, regenerates for nearly a week to recover from the massive strain put on her Borg systems. On awakening, she is checked by The Doctor, with Janeway present. The Doctor happily confirms that she is fully recovered and fit to return to duty. Janeway asks about the other personalities; The Doctor responds that they have returned to their dormant state. Seven concernedly asks him for confirmation that they will not return. He pensively replies that, in actuality, since they are stored dormant in her cortical implants, they will, in fact, always be with her; she will simply not hear them. She knows this and accepts it.She tells Janeway she is uncertain how to reciprocate to the crew for the risks they took to help her. Janeway smiles and suggests she can start by helping Lt. Torres in Engineering recalibrate the warp plasma manifolds. Seven says she will join her shortly; there is someone she must see first, and then leaves. Janeway and The Doctor look at each other, wondering of whom she speaks.
Seven and Naomi Wildman are seen walking along a corridor. Seven gives her PADDs with information for her to study, such as star charts for the next three systems Voyager will pass through, and sociological data on 173 Delta Quadrant species. She instructs her that all of this information will be relevant to her as the Captain's Bridge Assistant. Naomi eagerly agrees to study it all. As they enter the turbolift, Seven gives her one more assignment: she wishes to participate in recreational activities, and wants Naomi to teach her one in particular. "Kadis-kot". Seven tells her. "Instruct me how to play." The words are a command. Her demeanor and tone make it a gentle request. Naomi happily agrees to comply.
- "Personal Log, Ensign Stone, Stardate 52188.7. I just completed my first week of active duty. It was a nightmare. After four years at the Academy I thought I was ready for anything, but Captain Blackwood runs a tight ship and he seems to take special pleasure in tormenting new recruits. The first officer tells me not to take it personally, but it's hard to be objective when…"
- Seven of Nine, as an alternate personality.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. Long range sensors have detected a vessel belonging to Species 6339. We've set a course to intercept them in the hopes they can help us restore Seven of Nine."
- "Captain's log, Stardate 52356.2. After nearly a week of regeneration Seven of Nine has finally recovered from her ordeal."
"Since Mister Tuvok has been unable to round up any suspects, I'd like to ask that stronger measures be taken."
"Perhaps an armed security detail."
- - Neelix and Tuvok, discussing the unknown midnight snacker
"Naomi Wildman, subunit of Ensign Samantha Wildman. State your intentions."
- - Seven of Nine to Naomi, concerning her "investigation".
(to Seven) "I have some wonderful medicinal teas, maybe I can prepare one for you!"
"Talaxian homeopathy? I don't think we're quite that desperate yet."
- - Neelix and The Doctor, on Seven's situation
"Captain, you can't actually be considering this Vulcan mumbo-jumbo!"
- - The Doctor, speaking about Vulcan mind melds
"Meet anyone interesting?"
- - Chakotay, to Janeway after she speaks with multiple personality ridden Seven of Nine
"Don't worry Lieutenant, the son of K'vok will not be joining us."
"Glad to hear it. Does this qualify as our second date?"
"Just think of me as your chaperon."
- - Seven of Nine, B'Elanna Torres and The Doctor
"With all of these new personalities floating around, it's a shame we can't find one for you."
- - The Doctor to Tuvok before he begins the mind meld with Seven of Nine
"My! My, my, look at the size of that thing! The viewscreen! It's gotta the biggest I've ever seen. I'll give you twenty bars of latinum for it."
(The Doctor to Janeway) "I think the inhibitor's gone offline. (To Seven) Would you come here, please?"
"Be quiet! Can't you see I'm in the middle of a deal?!" (To Janeway) "Name your price… Captain…?"
"Of course I'm Ferengi! Is that some kind of insult about the size of my ears?!"
- - Seven of Nine (as the Ferengi Daimon Torot), The Doctor and Janeway
"This is an impressive ship, Captain. Galaxy class?"
- - Seven of Nine (as the Ferengi Daimon Torot), and Janeway
"Seven of Nine attacked B'Elanna in Engineering. She's on deck nine, section 23."
"Force fields. Don't tell me those two have actually come to blows."
- - Janeway and Chakotay
"Lock onto the damn thing. Beam it into space."
- - Janeway after they have Seven's original personality back
Story and script
- The genesis of this episode concerned the personalities that the Borg Collective had assimilated, though the installment was to have originally featured one of these in particular. Explained producer Kenneth Biller, "The original idea of the episode was that Seven met one person who was trying to pull out of Seven the personality of some loved one who had been assimilated by the Borg. That seemed a little far-fetched, that you could dig out one specific personality out of somebody who was a Borg that had assimilated millions of people." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- This story idea was coupled with the concept of the Borg vinculum, which originated in a completely unrelated story idea that was thought up and pitched by Jimmy Diggs; the suggested plot involved the discovery of a destroyed Borg vessel. Executive producer Brannon Braga was interested in using the concept of the vinculum but initially insisted that the story featuring it would be, in the words of supervising producer Joe Menosky, "a maddening tech story." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- With the two story ideas combined, Robert Doherty wrote the installment's script, with guidance from Ken Biller. The latter writer commented, "My contribution to that episode, other than guiding Rob Doherty through the writing of the script, was to say that this would be a lot more interesting if something weird happens to Seven." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- Challenged with incorporating the technicalities of the vinculum into the script, Brannon Braga did much uncredited rewriting of the teleplay. "That vinculum ended up an albatross around [Brannon Braga's] neck," Joe Menosky recalled. "Brannon paid the price for it, because he had to do a massive amount of rewriting. It was a very difficult script to get in shape." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- The scenes in which the Ferengi persona emerges from Seven of Nine represented four script pages and were written by Brannon Braga. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 28)
Cast and characters
- Largely because she was not entirely familiar with Star Trek, Seven of Nine actress Jeri Ryan struggled with this episode. "'Infinite Regress' was a challenge on a lot of different levels," admitted the actress. "It would have been a challenge anyway if you had two or three weeks to prepare for it. But I didn't. I had no research time […] It was tough. I was really doing it by the seat of my pants, I felt." Ryan, who had never seen a Ferengi or full-blooded Klingon before, was given tapes to watch. "They were throwing tapes at me from episodes of DS9 that had Ferengis in them, so that I could at least watch how they move and how they talk," she said. "They were throwing Klingon tapes at me, because really the only Klingon I had encountered was B'Elanna, and that doesn't count because she is only half-Klingon." Ryan joked, "I was about ready to murder […] Brannon Braga for writing [so many] pages of Ferengi." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 28)
- The difficulties inherent in Jeri Ryan's multi-faceted role here did not inhibit her enjoyment of performing in the episode. She especially found that transitioning her performance from the usually reserved character of Seven of Nine to "the complete opposite extreme" was "so much fun" and thought the episode ultimately "turned out pretty well." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 28)
- The mind meld sequence in which Tuvok tries to rescue Seven of Nine from the assimilated personalities was almost entirely crafted using a variety of unusual camera lenses. The only element that involved visual effects was the large pit in the sequence. Director David Livingston said of the specific lenses used, "We brought in a 'squishy lens.' We used a 'mesmerizer,' which is an anamorphic lens in the front of a regular lens. When you rotate it you get weird spherical effects. We also used this 'pebble lens,' that director of photography Marvin Rush had. We incorporated them all and came up with weird and dramatic effects." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- Tim Russ found the production of the episode's mind meld sequence to be memorable. "That dream sequence was pretty amazing, some pretty remarkable stuff with the camera, so you get the images and the feeling for being in that situation," Russ commented. "That was a lot of work. That was a hard week actually. We were shooting on that stage some pretty long days." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 39)
Reception and aftermath
- Ken Biller liked the final version of this episode. "I thought that was great," he said, "a tour de force for Jeri Ryan." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- David Livingston was proud of the crazed mind meld sequence, which he referred to as "my favorite sequence that I have done for Voyager." He also enthused, "I thought that was a really cool sequence." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- After it had been used in this episode, the prop of the Borg vinculum was put on display at Star Trek: The Exhibition in Las Vegas. (Star Trek Explorer, Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 6)
Continuity and trivia
- Among Seven's personalities is a Krenim scientist, with whom Janeway (at one point) says she has been debating "the finer points of temporal physics." In the Season 4 two-parter "Year of Hell" and "Year of Hell, Part II", the central antagonist is a Krenim military temporal scientist (Annorax).
- In the mind meld sequence, a Hirogen is seen among the crowd of people. This could be seen as an error given that Seven was unable to identify them in "Message in a Bottle" and implies in "The Killing Game, Part II" that the Borg had not encountered them yet either, so it's unlikely one of her personalities would have been a member of that species. However, it's possible that the Borg had assimilated the Hirogen after Seven's liberation and that some of the figures seen were emanated from the vinculum.
- Another continuity oddity is when Seven identifies the Ferengi as Species 180. All of the other Alpha Quadrant species had four-digit designations, and most of the Delta Quadrant species had three-digit numbers, suggesting the species designations were sequential in order of contact. The designation for Ferengi seems to contradict that.
- On discovery of the pathogen in the vinculum, Torres says with incredulity, "an organism that attacks technology?" In fact, Torres has twice encountered just such a pathogen before on Voyager itself, when the bio-nueral gel packs became infected in "Learning Curve" and in "Macrocosm".
- One of the species that swarm Seven is a bumpy skinned reptilian that first appeared as Venturi (β) in the video game Star Trek: Starfleet Academy.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 5.4, 24 May 1999.
- As part of the VOY Season 5 DVD collection.
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
- David Keith Anderson as Ashmore
- Marvin De Baca as Patrick Gibson
- Maria Dykstra as assimilated Bajoran deputy
- Sylvester Foster as Species 6339 alien
- Irving E. Lewis as security officer
- Mark Major as assimilated Romulan
- William Rizzo as Son of K'Vok
- Brian Simpson as security officer
- Unknown performers as
47; 2362; 2371; ability; active duty; Alpha Quadrant; Ankaran flu; armed security detail; assimilation; asteroid belt; asteroid cluster; Battle of Wolf 359; bearing; Bergan, Gregory; Bergan's mother; Bergan's mother's ship; biological agent; Blackwood; Bolian; Bolian manicurist; Borg; Borg cube; bridge assistant; Boylan; cerebral cortex; chaperone; cortical inhibitor; DaiMon; day; Delta Quadrant; drawing; emergency power; engram; EPS manifold; escape pod; evasive maneuvers; Federation; Ferengi; Ferengi Health Commission; first contact; force field; Galaxy-class; green; heart; Intrepid-class; Grid 124, Octant 22-theta; hive mind; K'Vok; kadis-kot; Kelaran wildebeest; kilometer; Klingon; Krenim; latinum; logic; Lorot; malpractice; manicurist; Maryl; Maryl's brothers; Maryl's mother; maturation chamber; medicinal tea; Melbourne, USS; mess hall; Midnight Snacker; mind meld; month; mumbo jumbo; mutation; multiple personality disorder; nanosecond; neural interlink frequency; neural pattern; neurological disorder; neurotransmitter; nightmare; off switch; power grid; prefrontal synapse; Prime Directive; regeneration cycle; rocking horse; Ryson; self-awareness; sentence (linguistics); serotonin; Shivolian; sleepwalking; Son of K'Vok; Species 180; Species 6339; Species 6339 shuttlecraft; Species 6339 starship; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Headquarters; Stone; strain; subaltern; sue; suspect; swimming; synaptic pathway; synthetic pathogen; Talaxian homeopathy; temporal physics; Terrelian; tetryon; Tombaugh, USS; Tombaugh's first officer; Torrot; trading license; transneural matrix; tricardial diagnostic; Typhoid Mary; vinculum; viral agent; Vulcans; Vulcan High Command; Wildman, Samantha; Wolf 359
- "Infinite Regress" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Infinite Regress" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Infinite Regress" at Wikipedia
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