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The Pathfinder Project makes contact with Voyager again… and this time they transmit a hologram of Reginald Barclay to interact with the crew. However a certain group of aliens have seen a way to make a tidy profit.



"Captain's log, stardate 54208.3. Last month's data stream from Starfleet never arrived, so the crew is looking forward to this one with even more anticipation than usual. We could all use some news from home."

Walking through a corridor on USS Voyager, Tom Paris asks Harry Kim about the status of the latest Starfleet data stream. Kim says he's working on it, but Paris reminds him that he failed to recover last month's stream. Kim protests that that wasn't his fault.

Arriving in astrometrics, Kim finds Seven of Nine, who announces that she's discovered why they have been unable to get any data from the stream: a hologram is encoded in the stream. Over Seven's protests, Kim burns out several relays when he transfers the stream to a holodeck.

Later in the holodeck, Captain Kathryn Janeway is on hand for the big moment when they initiate the hologram Starfleet sent them. It's Reginald Barclay – or at least, a holographic simulation of him.

Act One[]

The Barclay hologram explains that he's there to execute a plan that will return Voyager to the Alpha Quadrant within three days. It involves simultaneously shooting a verteron beam into two red giant stars, one nearby, and one in Federation space. This will create a geodesic fold in space that Voyager can travel through. A combination of modifications to Voyager's shields and inoculations for the crew will prevent harmful radiation from killing everyone on board. Janeway says they had considered something similar and determined it wouldn't work, but Reg has a different plan endorsed by Starfleet.

The Doctor is pleased to lend the Barclay hologram his mobile emitter so that he can supervise in engineering. The hologram gets to work, handing out assignments to the bridge crew and explaining the high-level plan. He also convinces Seven that millions of people back home are excited to greet her, who represents hope that those lost to the Borg aren't lost forever. The hologram expertly handles questions and interactions with the crew.

At the Pathfinder Project at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, the real Reginald Barclay is working on a problem. Neither of his last two attempts to transmit the Barclay hologram to Voyager has succeeded. Both times, the data stream ended at the same location, but long range sensors detect nothing out of the ordinary at that location. Barclay wants to send a ship to investigate, but his supervisor, Commander Pete Harkins, thinks the simpler and more likely answer is that the datastream was too complex, and intends to go back to regular transmissions.

Act Two[]

After that, Barclay becomes obsessed, and seems, at least to Harkins, paranoid. Barclay interrupts a school tour of the lab that Harkins is conducting when he finds that a Borg ship may have been responsible. Harkins tries to tell him it's the wrong time, but Barclay is insistent. After letting him go on for a bit, he strongly suggests that Barclay take a week off. Barclay realizes he won't get anywhere and agrees.

On Voyager, The Doctor doesn't believe that the inoculations will protect the crew as they're supposed to, but the hologram reassures The Doctor that they will work in combination with the shields. The hologram politely tries to leave while The Doctor proposes playing a round of golf, to which he agrees if the day goes smoothly.

The Barclay hologram heads to astrometrics to ask the crew to include a report on his progress in the reply to the latest data stream. It is added and sent. However, the reply is intercepted by a Ferengi ship. They play the hologram's message, which informs them that their scheme is going forward as planned. The Ferengi are delighted to learn that there are twenty percent more nanoprobes coming to them than they expected.

Act Three[]

The real Barclay approaches Counselor Deanna Troi, who is vacationing on a beach somewhere. At first she is alarmed that a patient has violated her privacy, but she soon realizes that Barclay needs help. She discovers that Barclay suspects that his ex-girlfriend, who recently dumped him and disappeared, may have compromised Pathfinder security. He used to tell her everything about the project.

"Captain's log, supplemental. With the help of the Barclay hologram, we've nearly completed the modifications to Voyager. As for Reg, he's becoming extremely popular with the crew."

Meanwhile, the Barclay hologram gets on well with the crew, performing impressions of Janeway and Tuvok. Afterwards, he's called to the holodeck by The Doctor, who is expecting a game of golf. He politely tries to leave, but The Doctor insists, prompting an unexpected violent response and immediate apology. The Doctor is now growing suspicious of the Barclay hologram.

On Earth, Starfleet has detained Barclay's ex-girlfriend, Leosa, who is in fact a dabo girl, and not a teacher as she had told Barclay. She doesn't admit wrongdoing, so Troi talks to Leosa herself. After threatening to have her held indefinitely for psychiatric review, Troi manages to find out that she is employed by a Ferengi named Nunk.

Act Four[]

At Pathfinder, Nunk's Marauder is detected in the vicinity of a star in the same sector the message was lost. The admiral and Harkins communicate with a nearby starship, the USS Carolina, while Barclay asks Leosa if it all was fake. He also asks what a broken heart is worth these days. Leosa tells him ten percent of the value of the Borg nanoprobes, which are worth two billion times their weight in latinum.

On Voyager, The Doctor convinces Janeway to perform a diagnostic on the hologram. Janeway goes to astrometrics where the Barclay Hologram is and convinces him to undergo the diagnostic with the argument that his program has been running non-stop since his arrival in the Delta Quadrant.

Geodesic fold graphic

"Would someone care to tell me what that is?"

At Pathfinder, Barclay works in secret to foil the Ferengi's plans. Troi, finding him, learns what he knows and encourages him to share it with his commanders, but he is convinced he needs time to identify what the plan was exactly and prove it. However, they learn soon enough through sensors that the ship is initiating a geodesic fold. It is all now apparent to Barclay.

Reg attacks Seven

Reg attacks Seven

The Barclay hologram easily passes his diagnostic, and he and The Doctor make amends. The project is about to start. In astrometrics, however, Seven discovers three different types of radiation that were not accounted for and begins to doubt that the shield modifications will protect the crew, but the Barclay hologram says that they will work in combination with the inoculations. When she calls the bridge to convey her concerns, the hologram reaches inside her head which causes her to fall unconscious. When the bridge replies, the hologram says, in Seven's voice, that there was a problem, but that it's corrected now.

Act Five[]

Geodesic fold, Delta Quadrant

The fold forms in the Delta Quadrant

At Pathfinder, they figure out that somehow Voyager is headed to the geodesic fold but there's nothing they can do to stop the fold, nor can they warn Voyager to not enter it. Barclay and Troi try to brainstorm for a solution.

On the Ferengi ship, Nunk receives a transmission. It seems to be from the Barclay hologram, and he's telling them to abort the plan. Voyager is on to them, has found a solution to the radiation problem, and will destroy whatever ship they find on the Ferengi's side of the geodesic fold. When the Ferengi con men don't completely believe him Barclay begins to make up different imaginary forms of Delta Quadrant technology such as Borg interquadrantal warp drives, Hirogen hunting sensors, and Vidiian phage torpedos and the only solution is to cut off the beam, unfolding the fold. And they do it.

On Earth, the real Barclay ends the transmission, and the holographic simulation of Voyager's engineering. His plan worked.

Ferengi plot foiled

Reginald Barclay, Deanna Troi, and Owen Paris revel in the foiling of Nunk's plot to steal Seven of Nine's nanoprobes.

Escape pod heads for the fold

The hologram heads for the fold

On Voyager they see the fold closing. The Barclay hologram entreats Janeway to continue, but she demurs – it is too dangerous. The hologram beams to an escape pod with the unconscious Seven and launches the pod toward the collapsing geodesic fold. Janeway orders Kim to beam them out of there.

On the Ferengi ship, sensors pick up the escape pod. The Ferengi are excited. Perhaps their hologram has brought the ex-Borg woman to them in the pod. But sensors pick up nothing on board. Their plan has failed, which means no profits for them.

"Captain's log, supplemental. Seven of Nine has recovered from her injuries and Reg has been deactivated. Until we finish analyzing his program, his motivations remain a mystery."

In the mess hall, Torres and Paris try to cheer Kim up as the ensign sits with a slice of homemade apple pie before him, gathering up the courage to taste it and then afterward saying that it would taste better in San Francisco.

Back in San Francisco, Barclay is working on adding more security features to his hologram when Troi stops by. She insists that he go out on a double date with her, William T. Riker, and a friend of his, a teacher named Maril. At first he says no, but Troi convinces him that he's got to get out of the office and experience life again. He agrees.

Memorable quotes[]

"You overloaded the transceiver."
"But I saved the hologram!"

- Seven of Nine and Harry Kim

"I wouldn't want to be a third nacelle."

- Reginald Barclay

"If you think my participation in the… "hoopla"… would be beneficial to others, then I'll comply."

- Seven, to Barclay hologram when he tells her that she's an inspiration

"I left Reg for one simple reason: he's boring. Don't tell me you never noticed!"

- Leosa, in front of Barclay

"Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Lieutenant Paris had eaten all the scrambled eggs. It was pure, unadulterated gluttony. Gastronomic conduct unbecoming a Starfleet officer. He knows it's my favorite breakfast, but he ate them anyway. We have an egg-mergency here, people! I want to know what you plan to do about it!"
(Laughing hard) "Maybe I can replicate some more, "Captain"."
"Do it!"

- Reginald Barclay Hologram and Neelix, as the hologram imitates Janeway's voice and manner, to everyone's amusement

"Your pessimism is illogical."

- Barclay Hologram imitating Tuvok

"Captain Janeway knows better than to take her ship into such a dangerous anomaly!"

- Admiral Paris being unintentionally ironic

Background information[]


  • When reminding Kim of past encounters, Paris asks "Remember Arturis and his quantum slipstream drive?" in a reference to the events of the fourth season episode "Hope and Fear", and follows up with "Or how about the telepathic pitcher plant that made us think we were on our way home right before it tried to eat the ship?" in a reference to the events of the fifth season episode "Bliss".
  • Barclay mentions that the Romulans have "been curious about Voyager for years." This may be a reference to the first season episode "Eye of the Needle", although that episode concludes with evidence that all Romulan knowledge of Voyager from the encounter was lost. It may instead be a reference to the fourth season episode "Message in a Bottle".
  • The Barclay hologram tells the Voyager senior staff "You've evaded the Kazon, the Vidiians, the Hirogen, you've even faced down the Borg." Voyager first encountered the Kazon in the series premiere "Caretaker", the Vidiians in the first-season episode "Phage", the Hirogen in the fourth season episode "Message in a Bottle", and the Borg in the third-season finale "Scorpion".
  • Barclay mentions that one of the uses of Borg nanoprobes is to bring dead tissue back to life. They were used in this way on Neelix in the fourth season episode "Mortal Coil".
  • Of Seven's escape from the Borg and reclamation of her Humanity, the Barclay hologram says "No one's ever done that before." However, Jean-Luc Picard was broken free of the Collective after he was assimilated and became Locutus in TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds".
  • The Iconians and their gateway technology are mentioned for the first time in the series in this episode, when Paris, tricking Kim, says "I was on the bridge this morning when we received a hail from an Iconian scientist. He claims to have a trans-dimensional gateway that can take us anywhere in the galaxy."
  • The geodesic fold represents the fourteenth occasion besides the series premiere (after "Eye of the Needle", "Prime Factors", "The 37's", "Cold Fire", "Threshold", "Death Wish", "False Profits", "Future's End, Part II", "The Q and the Grey", "Timeless", "Dark Frontier", "Equinox", and "Dragon's Teeth") that the Voyager crew is presented with the possibility of returning home much faster than by conventional warp travel. On this occasion, the fold would have provided an instant return, but it transpires that the crew would not have survived the trip, and the attempt is abandoned.
  • The Ferengi make reference to a ship with a metaphasic shield, appropriate given that such technology was developed by a Ferengi, Dr. Reyga, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation sixth season episode "Suspicions".
  • Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #74 "Knowledge equals profit."
  • The red dress worn by Leosa is the same one worn by Fenna in DS9: "Second Sight" and Antonia in Star Trek Generations.
  • When talking to commander Harkins, little girl #2 (who answers "the Ocampa") wears the same dress as Suspiria in "Cold Fire" in the form of a little girl.
  • When reminding the holographic Barclay of their appointment for a game of golf on the holodeck, The Doctor suggests that they play "the back nine on Gedi Prime". This may be a reference to the similarly spelled Giedi Prime, homeworld of the House Harkonnen in Frank Herbert's Dune universe.

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Alpha Quadrant; apartment; Arturis; assimilation; beach beach house; board game; Borg; Borg cube; buyer; Carolina, USS; chocolate passion punch; cyclic pulsar; D'Kora-class; dabo; dabo girl; Data; day; Dear Reg letter; Delta Quadrant; dozen; Dragons; duet; Earth; engineering crew; engineering technician; Enterprise-E, USS; Federation; Ferengi; Ferengi casino ship; forwarding address; furniture; geodesic fold; geodesic radiation; geodesic research; gluttony; golf; Grid 8; Grid 898; guest of honor; handicap; handshake; Harkins' cousin; heart; Hirogen; holobuffer; hour; Iconian; Iconian scientist; interquadrantal warp drive; Kazon; kilometer; La Forge, Geordi; latinum; letter; listener; logic; logic subroutine; magnetic field; mail; Malaysia; Maril; Market Street; medicine; medical order; medical technology; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; "Miracle Ship, The"; multiphasic shield; MIDAS array; mobile emitter; Mom's apple pie; nanocoulomb (nC); nanoprobe; necrosis; Nunk's Marauder; Ocampa; occupation; Pathfinder; Pebble Beach; pennant; Peterson; psychiatric observation; quantum slipstream drive; radiogenic vaccine; red giant; Red Giant 23139; Rules of Acquisition; Riker, William T.; Romulans; San Francisco; scientist; sector; Sector 39542; space; stalking; Starfleet Medical; sunset; synthetic antigen; Talaxians; telepathic pitcher plant; thank you note; therapist; Tiburon; trans-dimensional gateway; transwarp conduit; transwarp probe; Troi's vacation beach; Type 6 shuttlecraft (unnamed); Utopia Planitia; verteron; Vidiians; with my name on it; Yin and yang

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