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A trio of con artists impersonate Captain Janeway, Tuvok, and Chakotay to try to scam money and resources out of unsuspecting victims.



Two miners on Telsius Prime meet with two people who materialize on the surface on a Federation transporter beam and introduce themselves as Captain Kathryn Janeway and Commander Tuvok from the Federation starship USS Voyager.

Act One[]

The two impostors recount several details about Earth and Janeway's childhood in Indiana with the miners and then discuss a trade: twenty kilotons of dilithium for ten kilotons of bolomite. Though "Janeway" was prepared to decline the trade, "Tuvok" indicates it could be used to treat the orphaned survivors of a planet-wide disaster on Selnia Prime. "Janeway" is eager to get underway and avoid a neutronic storm, so the two settle the deal at an even ten kilotons of each.

Aboard the ship, "Janeway" (Dala) removes her wig, revealing her bald head and complains to "Chakotay" (Zar) that everything would have gone perfectly if "Tuvok" (Mobar) hadn't improvised. When they receive a transmission coded for her, Dala puts the wig back on and adjusts her "Starfleet uniform". She answers, as Zar adds some Federation signatures on the monitors on the alien ship. The miners inform them their bolomite is ready, and the bolomite is transported aboard. Unfortunately, "a storm interferes" with their transporters, and they are "forced" to leave.

Meanwhile, aboard the real Voyager, the captain almost goes deaf from her sonic shower in her bathroom, and finds B'Elanna Torres in engineering working on systems failures from all over the ship. Torres can't find any problem, despite many diagnostics. Tuvok complains to Tom Paris and Harry Kim in the mess hall that the Oracle of K'Tal appeared in pajamas. They try to explain with straight faces that it must be the malfunctions, but Tuvok doesn't buy it. "I wonder how the Oracle would look in a sombrero", Kim jokes as he and Paris laugh.

The captain then shuts down the galley because a contaminant was replicated into the food. When they scan the kitchen, they find a strange heating coil, and they explain that it is connected to the integrated circuitry, and could have caused all of the failure. Neelix explains he got it in a trade with Sister Dala trying to help poor orphans on Selnia Prime.

Chakotay then calls Janeway to the bridge with another emergency. Orek, chief of mining on Telsius Prime, is demanding the dilithium ore promised to him. Janeway (of course) knows nothing about it, and asks him aboard to clear up the misunderstanding.

Act Two[]

Orek shows her "Janeway's" last transmission, which is very garbled. The captain claims that woman isn't her. He insists he has lots of data about shuttlecraft and scans to back up his story. She insists that their logs show they never went near his planet.

When the miner continues to complain, he mentions the orphans. That's when Janeway thinks she may have found a connection. She goes straight to Neelix, and asks for more information about Sister Dala.

Neelix tells her that he and Paris met up with two monks in the Wyanti system while looking for a spore The Doctor could create antiviral proteins with. After a "cleansing" with a small device, they discovered that Neelix bears a striking resemblance to their Redeemer of Light. When they would not accept charity for food, Neelix offered a trade, and got the heating coil in exchange. They were invited aboard the Delta Flyer, but Paris and Neelix kept an eye on them. She talked to Neelix a lot about himself, how Voyager is alone in this region of space, about the ship and the captain (including some of her childhood). After many thanks, and a blessing with eyes closed that lasted about one minute, they returned to the planet.

When Janeway examines the computer records, she finds their entire database was downloaded that day, probably with that small device. She concludes that they are the impostors. Turning to Paris and Neelix, she remarks, "Gentlemen, I believe you've been had."

Act Three[]

Orek still doesn't believe the story, disbelieving that Paris and Neelix could be so naive. However, Orek is eventually persuaded to give Janeway the scans of the impostors' ship when she notes the imposters could be halfway through the sector with the Telsian's bolomite.

During all this, Dala is pulling off another scam, talking to Varn aboard "the Delta Flyer" (their ship). While it seems obsolete, "Janeway" explains that it has fought off many enemies, such as the Borg and Species 8472. She also shows him schematics of Voyager (the real one), and offers Varn the opportunity to join the Federation, who will protect him from his enemies. "Tuvok" starts a lecture on the primary mission of exploration, but "Janeway" cuts him off.

She shows off the advanced weapons of Voyager, and says that they will be shared once he is a member – if his membership application is acceptable. "Tuvok" begins to explain a lengthy process, but "Chakotay" reassures him that all will be well, since "Janeway" has influence with the Federation Council. "Chakotay" reminds her that they are being recalled and will return to this sector in six months. Varn decides he would join immediately, over "Janeway's" cautions that he would have to invest significant resources, and she accepts his word for now.

On the real Voyager, Paris and Neelix agonize over their experience. They can't find where they went wrong. Orphans are a common gambit, and they have dealt with shady characters before. They give up after a while, and decide to prove they've still "got it." They decide to "pluck a pigeon" with a good old fashioned shell game as The Doctor walks over. Tom shills for the game and Neelix shuffles the cups as best he can, but The Doctor does correctly identify where the nut is: in Neelix's left hand. As payment, Neelix has to work three shifts in sickbay. Meanwhile, Paris is immediately called away when Tuvok detects a vessel on long-range sensors which matches the warp signature of the impostors.

Meanwhile, the impostors have pulled off another heist. Varn complains that the photon torpedoes they gave him don't work, and his enemies, the Polonians, were also allowed to join. When "Tuvok" apologizes and suggests he send a petition to the Federation Council, Varn locks on to their ship and decides to take his reparations. As Voyager shows up, "Janeway" orders Varn to back off, since their mother ship has arrived to defend them. He complains to Voyager about his problems. When the real Janeway tries to explain how he's been tricked, he instead fires.

Voyager destroys Varn's tractor beam, and Janeway orders Seven of Nine to transport everyone off that ship. She gets only Dala, and the impostors go to warp. Voyager leaves as well.

Act Four[]

Dala now meets the real Captain Janeway in the brig. Janeway demands a list of people "Janeway" cheated. She refuses, so Janeway threatens to turn her over to the Telsian government. Tuvok – after a subtle suggestion by Janeway – explains his "research" indicates their justice system is cruel; prisons are barely habitable, and many die before they get to trial. If, on the other hand, Dala makes full restitution, Janeway will let her go. Dala tries to leverage the fact that Janeway is the one with the problem, since it is her reputation who is marred. It doesn't work.

Neelix shows up later with food, and tries to bring up Dala's guilt, and her life story. He explains he used to be a lot like her, but he was changed by Captain Janeway. She wanted commodities of hard work and loyalty, and he was willing to share them. Dala doesn't know what to do with her life, even if she could change. Neelix says he could talk to the captain and persuade her to let Dala become a part of her crew.

Dala appears to believe him, but spills her tea, and knocks Neelix down and gets his phaser before he can get up, stunning him and the guard and escaping. She makes her way to the real Delta Flyer, and takes off. Security doesn't stop her, and the captain just watches her fly off.

Act Five[]

Dala manages to rendezvous with her ship, but her crew are hesitant to beam her aboard; she might have turned on them. She insists she hasn't, as Tom Paris comes out of hiding in the aft section and activates The Doctor with his mobile emitter. Once Dala is aboard, Paris takes control of the Delta Flyer, and fires a few shots. They shoot back, and leave to pick up their bolomite.

When they plan on how to recover their cargo, it is clear her two comrades are suspicious of Dala; she has changed. However, they all go down (to keep an eye on each other), and put pattern enhancers on all of their stored booty. That's when Dala pulls a weapon on them, and informs Janeway she is in position. When they cannot transport her in time, she stuns Zar, and when she is shot by Mobar, it goes right through her holographic body. When Tuvok captures Mobar and Zar, Dala adjusts the holoemitter to recreate the features of The Doctor. Meanwhile, Paris on the Delta Flyer observes and guards the waking Dala.

"Captain's log, stardate 53849.2. The stolen property has been returned to the Telsian miners, as well as vessels from seven different worlds. I'm hoping that the reputation of the real Federation will survive the events of the last several days."

Back in the mess hall aboard Voyager, Neelix and Tom once again play their shell game with The Doctor. When he insists he's already proved they can't swindle him, they prove him wrong by getting him to suppose the nut is really up Neelix's right sleeve when in fact he has handed it off to Tom. Now that they've finally succeeded at conning him, their confidence is restored that they've still "got it."

Memorable quotes[]

"I tell you, Neelix, when I first joined Starfleet, I knew it was going to be one glamorous adventure after another. But I never dreamed that I'd have the opportunity to go on a mold-hunting expedition."
"I'm detecting traces of glamour in this direction"

- Tom Paris and Neelix on an away mission looking for a spore The Doctor wants for medical purposes

"Commander Tuvok... Logic would indicate that neither of us has the advantage."
"Your logic is flawed."

- Mobar and Tuvok, just before the latter shines a flashlight in his doppelganger's eyes

"Gentlemen... I believe you've been had."

- Janeway, to Tom Paris and Neelix after they fell victim to con artists Dala and Mobar

"Neelix, what has happened to us?"
"I know exactly what you mean! I've been over it a thousand times!"
"Why didn't we see this coming?"
"Orphans! It's the oldest gambit in the book."
"I mean, if it'd been Harry, I could understand it. He trusts everybody. But you and me?"

- Tom Paris and Neelix

"Nice hair."
"It's not really my taste."

- Kathryn Janeway and Dala

"Posing as a Starfleet captain, selling memberships to the Federation. Too bad we didn't think of it, Tuvok. Imagine the resources we could have acquired over the past six years."

- Janeway, when she and Tuvok confront Dala

"Tell her about your research, Mr. Tuvok."
"I beg your pardon, captain."
"On Telsian law. I think it's only fair that we let our guest know what to expect."
"The Telsian criminal justice system is rather barbaric."
"Tell her about the prisons."
"Barely habitable. Inmates often die of malnutrition before they are brought to trial. Torture is commonplace, as is disease, including several incurable forms of psoriasis."
"I think she gets the general idea."

- Kathryn Janeway and Tuvok, to Dala

"Improvisation is not foremost among my talents."
"Considering I caught you off guard, I thought your performance was exemplary."
"Thank you, captain. Was your order to contact the Telsians part of the deception, or did you actually want me to contact them?"
"Not yet. Let's give Dala some time to think about those barbaric prisons."

- Kathryn Janeway and Tuvok

"Follow the tera nut if you can, but be careful, the hand is faster than the eye."
"Careful Doc! Try not to blink."
"Don't worry Mr. Paris, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool my optical subroutines."
"Where is it then?"
"In your left palm."
"How did you.."
"Superior visual acuity. See you in sickbay."

- Neelix, Tom Paris, and The Doctor, during the shell game

"Computer, activate the sonic shower."
{The sonic shower activates, but creates a pitch-ascending ear-piercing shriek}
"Ohhhh... Adjust the frequency...!"
{The sonic shower continues to get louder and its pitch rises}
"Whoo! Computer, deactivate the sonic shower!"
{the sonic shower continues and the bathroom mirror cracks}

- Kathryn Janeway and her malfunctioning sonic shower

Background information[]


  • The badges used by the impostors are almost comically large, being approximately twice the size of the real Starfleet's combadges. The same applies to the pips.
  • Janeway claims it has been 6 years since the start of Voyager's journey, placing the events of this episode in 2377. An explanation for this is that Janeway was giving an approximation for their time in the Delta Quadrant, given that this is the third to last episode set in 2376.

Video and DVD releases[]

Oddly, the video sleeve for this volume depicts an event in "Fury". Presumably, this is because, in production order, "Fury" would have been included on this volume. The aired order may have changed after the sleeve design was finalized.

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest Stars[]


Uncredited Co-Stars[]



2370; accusation; adversary; Al-Batani, USS; Alpha Quadrant; ambizine; amusement; amulet scanner; annular confinement; antiviral protein; bio-neural circuitry; blight; blinking; bolomite; Borg; bread and water; brig; brother; cargo hold; chief of mining operations; chief of security; Cleansing, The; cleric; cockpit; coffee; coffee break; con artist; concentric search pattern; criminal justice system; cup; Dala's father; Dala's species; deity; Delta Flyer (2375); Delta Flyer (impostor); diagnostic; dilithium; Directive 927; disease; duty shift; Earth; extended family; extortion; farm; Federation; Federation Council; flattery; freedom; galley; gambit; geostrata; gremlin; Grenna system; heating coil; Hirogen; holodeck; hydroponic pod; Indiana; impersonating a Starfleet officer; impostor; integrated circuitry; kiloton; lie; "live long and prosper"; logic; malnutrition; menial labor; mark; mine; mirror; mother ship; mold-hunting expedition; multi-spectrum shielding; Narva; Narva colony; Neelix' great-grandmother; neutronic storm; omega radiation; omega radiation therapy; optical subroutine; optronically targeted phaser; Oracle of K'Tal; orphan; oversleeping; pajamas; photon torpedo; pilgrimage; plasma flare; Polonian; practical joke; prison; prisoner; psoriasis; pulse drill; queasy; Redeemer of Light; reparations; replicator system; safe passage; sanctuary; scan; sect; Selnia Prime; shell game; sickbay; sister; sombrero; sonic shower; Species 8472; spore; Starfleet Command; talisman; Telsian; Telsian freighter; Telsian Security; Telsius Prime (aka Telsius); Telsius Prime mining colony; tera nut; thief; torture; tractor generator; trading; transmission log; transport enhancer; transport record; transporter; traveler; Varn's crew; Varn's ship; Varn's species; visual acuity; Voyager, USS; Vulcan; wig; Wyanti system

External links[]

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