(written from a Production point of view)
Torres is stranded on a pre-industrial planet where she becomes the inspiration for a local poet.
In an open-air theater, a Greek-style Chorus recites a "Captain's log entry" outlining an away mission by "B'Elanna Torres" and "Harry Kim" to search for "Dilithium". Kelis the poet appears and describes the journey as though it were that of a sailing ship: the ship is struck by "a wave as high as a mountain"; Harry ejects in an escape pod, and B'Elanna is "thrown against the rocks". The play ends and the patron of the theater applauds enthusiastically. He demands to see another play in the series about the "Voyager Eternals" in one week's time. Kelis brings the good news to his troupe, and declares there will be another Voyager play "as soon as [he] can write it". One of the actresses, Layna, asks Kelis flirtatiously if he wants to celebrate their good fortune, but Kelis declines, saying that he has very little time. She is clearly unhappy. Later, in the wreckage of the Delta Flyer, which has crashed on a mountainside, Kelis introduces himself to an injured B'Elanna and declares that he is "her servant".
B'Elanna is injured and feverish, and Kelis has been treating her with bloodletting. He has also tied her to her seat so that she will not "fly from him, as inspiration always does". She convinces him to treat her with a dermal regenerator from a medkit. Kelis expects similar great miracles from B'Elanna since she is an "Eternal". He tells her he was inspired to write an epic play from the recordings of logs and communications he was able to play back. She convinces him to release her, then threatens him with a phaser and tells him to leave and never return.
The next day, B'Elanna is trying to bring communications online, but the Delta Flyer lacks the power to do so. Kelis returns with food, and asks her to tell him about Earth and Voyager and how it got lost. She gives a vague description of a beautiful blue and green island, and an Eternal called the Caretaker. Kelis hits an obviously raw nerve when he asks her if she is in love with Tom Paris. Using the ship's database, she shows Kelis a picture of dilithium, which he recognizes as "Winter's tears" and tells her that the only deposit he knows of is on the hunting grounds of his patron. She asks him to bring her some. He tells her that the Nobles of his civilization are constantly fighting with each other, and that she doesn't want to get involved. She tells him no dilithium, no more stories about Voyager. A conveniently timed thunderclap emphasizes her demand.
Kelis returns, drenched, but bearing the dilithium she needs. She tells him she has an idea for his next play. Kelis tells his troupe he has been visited by inspiration herself, and that they will perform a new play, "The Rescue of B'Elanna Torres", in one week.
On USS Voyager a meeting in the briefing room ends with a very unhappy Tom Paris wanting to take a shuttle himself to look for Harry and B'Elanna. Captain Janeway does not allow the request, telling him that their efforts will be more effective if they coordinate them from the ship.
Back on the planet, the troupe is rehearsing the play. Layna, the actress playing "Seven" is depicted as being romantically involved with "Tom Paris". Back in the Flyer, Kelis expresses his bewilderment as to how Vulcans can have no emotions. B'Elanna manages to get power restored to the ship temporarily, but then it overloads when she tries to get communications on line. She asks Kelis to bring her a piece of metal--"three parts tin, five parts bronze, one side coated with gold"—to use to fix communications. He agrees even though it will be prohibitively expensive, but demands a description of the Vulcans in exchange.
On Voyager, Tuvok is working on a PADD in the mess hall. Neelix brings him some tea, and observes that Tuvok has been awake for ten days straight. Neelix comments that the ship is lonely without Harry and B'Elanna. Tuvok asks him to leave him alone so that he might be able to find them.
On the planet, the actor playing "Tuvok" starts getting emotional while rehearsing his part. Kelis berates him, telling him "Logical 'Tuvok' doesn't cry!" Kelis then tells him that the "Land of Vulcan" has no laughter, and no tears; it is a very quiet place, just like "Tuvok". "Tuvok" declares that the audience will think that either "Tuvok" is an unfeeling monster or that he is a bad actor, or both, but Kelis assures him that the audience will realize that underneath "Tuvok's" calm exterior is a heart that is breaking silently, and in more pain than anyone can imagine. Suddenly, another actor runs in and tells Kelis that another war is about to start between his Patron and another noble to the north. Kelis realizes his only chance to stop it is with his new play.
On the Flyer, Kelis begs B'Elanna to help him write the perfect play that can stop the war, and gives her the metal she requested. She tells him the "Eternals" aren't supposed to take sides. After scanning it, B'Elanna finds that the metal has too many impurities and is useless. Kelis tells her that if the war starts, she could be discovered by scouting parties moving through the mountains. This convinces her to return with him to the theater, and he introduces her as a fellow poet from across the eastern sea while Layna storms off in a jealous rage.
Kelis outlines what he has written so far about "The rescue of B'Elanna Torres" while Layna continues to glare at them jealously. Kelis asks her where they can put in the plot twists and reversals that will make the play interesting. An older actor encourages him to put aside the tricks and find the truth of his story. Here, he says, poets have become lazy, relying on manipulation to move the audience. Kelis says that such an idea is old-fashioned, and that audiences want excitement and passion. To demonstrate, Kelis shows her a rehearsal where "Janeway" is shown making romantic advances to "Chakotay". B'Elanna looks on, stunned.
On Voyager, the real Chakotay informs the Captain that an alien transport vessel detected the Flyer's distress call stating that the Flyer was heavily damaged and headed for an L-Class planet and that B'Elanna ordered Harry into an escape pod. Captain Janeway is clearly distressed by the news.
Back on the Planet, the final rehearsal has ended, but the play still has no ending. B'Elanna is dismayed by all the romantic scenes she has seen. She tells Kelis that lives can't be changed with a few lines of dialogue. He tells her she is wrong, declaring that it's been done before. He then tells her that the theater they are in what was a temple 100 years ago where a victim would be ritually sacrificed every year in honor of winter, but then one year, no one knows when or why, a play took the place of the sacrifice. He hopes that his play will prevent the coming war before it starts. B'Elanna tells him that when war is looming, the last thing on anyone's mind is romance. He asks her to tell him more about the Borg. Her description reminds him of insect colonies. She tells him that Captain Janeway is a Starfleet officer, who would make peace with the Borg if she could. Kelis tells her that that could be the sudden reversal--"Janeway", after defeating the "Borg Queen" could offer her peace instead of destroying her. This could inspire his patron to stop the impending war. "Much better than all that kissing", B'Elanna says. Kelis wants her to stay and help him write the ending, but she declines. He threatens to kill off her character. "You wouldn't dare", she replies.
Back on the Flyer, Layna has followed B'Elanna, expecting to find a love nest. Instead, she finds B'Elanna's secret. B'Elanna tries to convince her that there is nothing between her and Kelis, but the woman doesn't believe her and tearfully threatens to expose B'Elanna if she doesn't leave. After she leaves, Harry appears outside the broken viewport, having walked (at night) the 200 kilometers from his location to hers, and she discovers he is carrying the exact part B'Elanna needs to fix the communications system.
An agitated Kelis is trying to figure out the ending to his play. Layna and another actor come in and tell him his collaborator is probably long gone. Kelis is worried.
On the Flyer, Harry and B'Elanna, having apparently worked all night, manage to get the communications system back on line. They send a communication to Voyager.
Later that night, at the theater, the play is about to start, and the troupe is very disappointed by the ending that Kelis has written. He sends one of the copy writers to run to the Flyer with a message for B'Elanna.
On Voyager, Tom Paris is at the helm when he hears loud snoring. He turns and sees Tuvok in the command chair, sound asleep. Tom wakes him, and Tuvok contacts Chakotay and requests relief. At that moment, they receive the transmission from B'Elanna. They set a course for the planet at maximum warp.
In the theater, "Captain Janeway" and "Seven of Nine" are talking. They have found the "Delta Flyer", wrecked on a faraway shore. "Janeway" tells "Seven" that she is the only one who can find "B'Elanna". "Seven" then reveals to the audience that she is the "Borg Queen", and tells them to say nothing. "Janeway", then reveals to the audience that she knows "Seven" is the queen, and also tells them to say nothing.
On the Flyer, Harry and B'Elanna have re-established communications with Voyager and report their status, then are surprised by the copy writer. He hands her Kelis's message, threatening "B'Elanna" with death. She realizes that this means that Kelis still hasn't figured out an ending. B'Elanna, realizing just how much she has inspired Kelis and now very involved with the play, realizes that she has to help him. She beams herself to the theater, after telling Harry to wait for her signal.
On the stage, "Janeway" has "Seven" on the ground held at spearpoint. "Seven" tells "Janeway" that even if "Janeway" kills her, more "Borg" will rise to take her place and destroy "Janeway". "Janeway" then throws her spear aside, telling "Seven" that if they continue to war, their races will both be destroyed and all that will be left is their hatred.
An actor tells Kelis that the final scene will ruin everything, then B'Elanna appears. She goes onstage to say that Kelis must say goodbye to the "Eternal" B'Elanna Torres, as she must return to the "Eternals" "right here before your eyes". Layna runs out into the audience to reveal B'Elanna's real identity to the patron, but the other actors quickly improvise and make it part of the play. B'Elanna then says goodbye to Kelis and Kelis says she will inspire him every time he thinks of her. B'Elanna then signals Voyager and asks to "Ascend to the Heavens". B'Elanna is beamed up in front of a shocked audience. The chorus ends the play, and Kelis tells his patron that he will continue to tell the stories of the "Voyager Eternals" as long as they have the breath to tell them and as long as their patrons remain wise and compassionate, and that Voyager will continue her journey to "the gleaming cities of Earth" where hatred has no home.
"One to beam – to ascend... to the heavens."
- - Torres
"Logical Tuvok does not cry. That's why they call him logical!"
- - Kelis the Poet
"They'll understand that beneath their unfeeling exterior is a heart that's breaking silently and in more pain then any of us could possibly understand. Because that's what it is to be Vulcan."
- - Kelis the Poet
"Harry Kim saves the day. Just the ending I was looking for!"
- - B'Elanna Torres and Harry Kim
"I, Seven of Nine, have no intention of finding B'Elanna Torres. I, Seven of Nine, am Queen of the Borg! Surprised? No one will be more surprised than Janeway when I take my revenge on Voyager. Say nothing or you, too, will be assimilated."
- - Layna as "Seven of Nine"
"I'm an engineer. I fix things."
"From the looks of it, you're not doing so well."
"Are you a poet or a critic?"
- - Torres and Kelis the poet
- During its development, this episode was heavily revised. Actor Joseph Will stated, "I recall that rewrites were happening up until the moment we were to shoot the scenes, which I had never experienced before." (BLANKMANinc.com: The Star Trek Interviews)
- The theatrical style portrayed in this episode appears to be heavily inspired by Ancient Greek drama. See Theatre of ancient Greece for more information.
- The masks the actors use are really made to look like their characters. For instance, you can make out Seven's cranial implant and Chakotay's tattoo.
- Proud of the costumes created for this installment, Costume Designer Robert Blackman felt it was important for Director Mike Vejar to show a lot of the clothing on-screen. "I asked him to help by giving as full a view of the costumes as possible," Blackman recalled. "I said, 'I know that it may not end up in the edit,' but if there's any way that you can start from a knees-up or a full shot and then push into what you need, I would greatly appreciate it.' These things were pretty spectacular from head to toe, so they would only enrich the picture and the story we were trying to tell." Blackman found that Vejar turned out to be "very generous." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 20, p. 69)
- The start of production on this episode was difficult for Joseph Will. "I remember being incredibly nervous the first day of shooting, which was the scene in the Delta Flyer when B'Elanna and Kelis meet," he recalled. However, Will found that Roxann Dawson helped him through his work on this outing. Will reflected, "Roxann was so supportive and professional that it set my mind at ease as we worked several consecutive 14–16 hour days." (BLANKMANinc.com: The Star Trek Interviews)
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Series.
- Robert Blackman was extremely happy not only with the costumes designed for this episode but also this outing itself, referring to the installment as "a wonderful episode [...] which has a lot of really amazing-looking stuff." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 20, p. 69)
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay were Joseph Will's costume,  one of Tony Amendola's costumes,  and the Janeway mask. 
- Torres says to Kelis, "I'm an engineer, I fix things," which is exactly what Scotty says to Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond.
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.
- As part of the VOY Season 6 DVD collection
Links and references
- Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Ensign 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
- Joseph Will as Kelis
- Kellie Waymire as Layna
- Tony Amendola as Chorus #3
- Jack Axelrod as Chorus #1
- Michael Houston King as Jero
- Kathleen Garrett as Tanis
- Stoney Westmoreland as Warlord
- John Austin as operations officer
- Patrick Barnitt as alien spectator
- Bill Blair as alien spectator
- Gabriela Bren as Warlord's wife
- Alexander Fors as apprentice
- Holiday Freeman as alien spectator
- Carissa Hernandez as "Klingon" actress (deleted scene)
- Dieter Hornemann as alien spectator
- Eric Hunter as command officer
- Robin Morselli as alien spectator
- Unknown actors as two guards
alloy; assimilation; autarch; Away Mission of B'Elanna Torres, The; bloodletting; blue; Borg Queen; bride; bronze; Caretaker; chorus; class L; climax; collaborator; Delaney sisters; Delta Flyer; dermal regenerator; dilithium; discovery; Dowry; Earth; Eastern Sea; escape pod; Eternal; F-type star; fear of the future; fever; gold; green; heart; hybrid; Kelis' homeworld; kilometer; kiss; Klingon; land mass; line; logic; medkit; metallurgy; mistaken identity; nest; pain; patron; plasma; Prime Directive; rehearsal; Rescue of B'Elanna Torres, The; reversal (aka sudden reversal); snoring; spatial eddy; storm; subspace transmitter; Sudden Reversal, The; temple; tin; trespassing; tricorder; viper; Vulcan; Vulcan; wedding night; winter's tear
- "Muse" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Muse" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Muse" at Wikipedia
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