(written from a Production point of view)
After the rest of the crew is placed in suspended animation to protect them from dangerous radiation, the immune Seven, with only The Doctor for company, is placed in control of the ship.
Seven of Nine stands apprehensively in Voyager's mess hall, watching other crewmembers as they sit, eat and interact. She approaches a table, at which Lieutenant jg B'Elanna Torres and Ensign Harry Kim are sitting. She begins to engage them in conversation but all she does is confuse Kim and antagonize Torres. Her manner is brusque, her questions demanding personal information instead of asking, and she does not wait for the answers.
The Doctor says "freeze program." The interaction had been a holographic exercise designed to teach the former Borg drone social skills. Annoyed, he discusses with Seven her conduct which, far from making friends, would alienate a lot of people. Seven is very uncomfortable with the exercise and, against his wishes, leaves the holosuite, demanding that the doctor perform his weekly physical examination.
On the bridge, Captain Kathryn Janeway and the bridge officers watch the viewscreen, looking at a Mutara class nebula. The nebula is so large that long-range sensors cannot see beyond it and they can only see a distance of several light years ahead. Going around the nebula will take far too long, therefore Janeway orders a course through it. Soon everyone on the bridge begins to wince with pain, then convulse in agony as burns and sores appear on their faces, necks and hands.
Janeway, fighting intense pain, orders Lt. Tom Paris to reverse course out of the nebula immediately. Paris tries but collapses before he can. Lieutenant Commander Tuvok manages to get to the helm and execute the order. Janeway calls sickbay for emergency medical help. The Doctor is there with Seven, dealing with a barrage of crew-members who are in the same state as the bridge officers. However, he and Seven are unaffected. He dispatches Seven to the bridge with dermal regenerators.
Seconds later, as Voyager moves away from the nebula, the agony suddenly stops. Seven arrives and administers aid with the regenerators. It is too late for one officer though as his face was burned beyond recognition.
Janeway, after having ordered all-stop, meets with Seven in the astrometrics lab, where Seven brings up a sensor scan of the nebula, showing Voyager's position outside of it. She reports that the nebula is at least one hundred and ten light years wide. It will take Voyager over a month to travel through, a trip the crew would certainly not survive. Janeway realizes that going around the nebula would add a year onto their journey, which is not a welcome idea. Janeway is determined that, after all the crew and ship have been through and traveling 15,000 light-years, this nebula won't stop them.
She speaks to The Doctor in sickbay about the effects the nebula had on them. He has found that it has massive amounts of subnucleonic radiation which caused the burns and agonizing pain. He tells her there is no way to inoculate against the effects. Janeway asks how then they can protect themselves and he suggests putting the crew into stasis for the duration of the flight through the nebula while he remains online to monitor everyone. Janeway questions this course of action but The Doctor responds that he has looked at all options and this is the only way. Janeway asks him who will monitor the ship's systems and make necessary course adjustments while all of the crew is put in stasis. The Doctor promises Janeway that he is capable of keeping on top of everything, but she assures him it is not a question of trust; they have no idea what effect the radiation will have on his holomatrix, so he needs a backup in case he goes off-line. The Doctor reminds her of only one other crewmember that was unaffected, Seven of Nine.
Janeway goes to speak to Seven and finds her in Cargo Bay 2. Janeway explains to Seven what The Doctor has told her, stressing the seriousness of the task as the lives of the crew will be in her hands. Seven assures her that she is fully capable of this responsibility. Janeway however, still has doubts as most Humans do not react well to long-term isolation. Janeway does acknowledge that, as a former drone, this must be even more difficult for her. She wonders if she could handle it if The Doctor goes offline due to a malfunction. Seven looks rather uncertain but insists she can do it. Janeway accepts her assessment but stresses that The Doctor is in command of the ship. She leaves to inform the senior staff of her decision.
In the briefing room, Janeway outlines the plan to the senior officers. The officers are uneasy about this but Janeway gives the crew The Doctor's assurances that it is quite safe to be put into stasis, pointing out that he and Seven will monitor their vital signs several times every day. They will go into stasis and when they wake up, they will be on the other side of the nebula feeling like they had just taken a quick nap. Everyone has concerns, Janeway included, but she reminds them that crews have been in stasis a lot longer than month and knows they can make it. She dismisses them until 1700 hours, at which time they will be put into stasis and prepares to make a ship-wide announcement. Commander Chakotay remains behind to discuss his own concerns... not with the plan itself, but with the fact it will be Seven who is left in charge. He reminds Janeway of Seven's insubordinate and rebellious track record ever since she came to Voyager, how she has openly disagreed and argued with her decisions at times and even disobeyed direct orders. Janeway understands his concerns but points out that not only do they not have any other choice but that she also really believes that, in spite of her insolence, Seven really wants to do well and prove herself to the crew.
At 1700 hours, on Deck 14, one-by-one, all crewmembers are put into stasis chambers. Paris is the most agitated of all but The Doctor assures him that all will be well. Should an emergency occur in which he revives and needs to get out, Janeway informs him, he can unlock the unit from the inside. Still very nervous, he goes in. Janeway, as captain, is the last to be put into stasis.
Voyager is ten days into its journey through the nebula. Seven has created an efficient routine that sees her performing duties of maintenance, monitoring the crew and regenerating at specific times. She enters the dark, empty mess hall, where she has the computer replicate one of her preferred nutritional supplements, which she sits and drinks. She then goes to the bridge and makes a course adjustment. Walking down a corridor, she finds Paris on the floor, unconscious. Apparently, he let himself out of his stasis unit. She calls The Doctor who checks out his vital signs and returns him to his stasis chamber.
But the isolation is wearing on both of them. After eating cheese, they begin to bicker. The Doctor insists they go to the holodeck for another social lesson but Seven angrily insists she has no time for frivolous pursuits. They continue to argue about the other becoming increasingly irritating. The Doctor finally orders Seven to follow him to the holodeck to continue her social lessons.
During the lesson, Seven is much more successful at maintaining a "normal" conversation, but, to The Doctor, her approach is no more than a cop-out. Instead of "mixing" and mingling with her fellow crewmembers, she engages in a discussion about warp theory, using the captain and others to find a way to fix technical issues The Doctor and Seven are experiencing during their time in the nebula. This annoys The Doctor yet again, leading to more bickering.
Then the computer sounds a warning about an emergency problem with the antimatter, which could lead to a warp core breach. They rush to engineering but find it is a false alarm. The subnucleonic radiation from the nebula has begun to affect the bio-neural gel packs that comprise the computer's processing circuitry. As a result, the computer is detecting false signals relating to the warp core.
They enter the Jefferies tube system and investigate the extent of the affected gel packs. When they find one, they remove it and The Doctor prepares to take it to sickbay for study. Then, to his horror, his signal begins to cut in and out: the radiation is affecting his mobile emitter. He tells Seven they need to return to sickbay immediately, as if the emitter goes offline while The Doctor is outside sickbay his program may be deleted. He and Seven race back there and fortunately make it back before the mobile emitter goes offline. The Doctor is saved but Seven confirms that the emitter has been damaged by the nebula in the same way as the gel packs. The Doctor can no longer leave sickbay and so it will be up to Seven to take care of everything on the ship, as they must make sure Voyager is able to get through the nebula in one piece without being crippled by the radiation. Seven is visibly disturbed by the prospect of being by herself almost all of the time, but resolutely promises The Doctor she will continue on alone if she must.
Twenty-nine days into the nebula, Seven, now working by herself, continues her daily routine. However, she is now clearly showing the effects of her prolonged isolation. Meanwhile, the ship's systems are requiring more and more maintenance to ensure they don't break down completely. On the bridge, she tries to have the computer make a course correction, but now even the sound of the computer's voice, which she had depended on for company, seems ready to fail. The computer takes several seconds to respond, then, when it does, the voice is slow and eventually cuts out altogether. The computer tries to make the correction but fails. Seven does it manually, then has the computer diagnose itself. It reports that one third of the gel pack relays are non-functional. She has it perform a rerouting of processor signals to bypass the affected gel packs. Then she finds that they still have about six days and five hours to go through the nebula. She takes heart because this does not seem too long. While on her way to engineering, she hears anguished cries from Paris, who seems to have escaped his stasis chamber again but when she goes to Deck 14, she notices that all is as it should be.
Shortly after, she receives a proximity alert informing her of an approaching ship. The pilot introduces himself as Trajis Lo-Tarik, stating that he is in need of a microfusion chamber, asking her whether she would consider a trade. He says he is trying to cross the nebula as well. Seven is reluctant but he does have liquid helium which she needs, therefore, she agrees to meet for an exchange. She meets him in one of the cargo bays where he expresses curiosity about her name. She explains that it was her Borg designation. The visitor states that he has never heard of the Borg and asks if she is alone on this ship. Seven explains the situation and that everyone has been put into stasis. He makes small talk, which, despite her professed disdain for such, she is glad to respond to. He is alone on his ship and he, just like Seven, is resistant to the radiation; the radiation has forced him to rebuild his engines twice to keep going, but he is determined to be the first of his kind to get through it. He tells her that given that she has been going through the nebula for over three weeks, she is doing quite fine because no one has ever managed to cross the nebula. He then goes on to ask her how she is handling the loneliness, the isolation in this vast space because he has heard that the drones can't stand being alone, severed from the Collective. This alerts Seven because he had just told her that he never heard of the Borg before. She asks him to leave and when he becomes pushy, asking to get something to eat, she ensures him that he will not be accommodated, pointing a phaser at him. He keeps harassing her and frightening her about the consequences of loneliness. While escorting him to the transporter room, she hears Paris again. She looks around, but sees nobody. Then she turns to Lo-Tarik who is gone. She runs in the direction he may have headed and sees a shadow moving. She calls The Doctor and informs him about an intruder.
In the sickbay, The Doctor informs Seven that he has scanned for but found no alien lifeform aboard or the apparent ship he came from. He still cannot leave sickbay and instructs her to arm herself and track Lo-Tarik down by herself. She looks uncertain, but when The Doctor asks her compassionately if she is frightened, she grits her teeth and calls upon her Borg heritage for Borg do not know fear.
She moves cautiously through the corridors, armed with a phaser rifle. She hears the echoing voices of crew-members calling for help. She also hears Lo-Tarik call her over the comm, taunting her, asking again about her unusual name. When she does not answer, he mockingly makes her race to Engineering by threatening to collapse the structural integrity around the warp coils. In Engineering, he informs her of his location: the bridge, where he can do just about anything over there. She hallucinates, seeing Paris and Kim crawling in agony, then going up in flames. When she rushes to them, they vanish. Lo-Tarik continues to taunt her. But she turns the tables on him, cutting off oxygen to the bridge. She listens with satisfaction as he gasps for oxygen, then goes silent. She informs The Doctor, who congratulates her. He has fixed his mobile emitter, and is marching briskly to engineering to join her.
The doors open, but to her surprise, in steps an unharmed Lo-Tarik. She fires at him but he is unaffected, merely stepping forward, mocking her as a weak former Borg drone whose days of power are long gone; someone who thought she could be Human but failed at it miserably. He tells her that she is Borg, that this is what she was meant to be: one of many. But now she is alone, weak, pathetic. The Doctor approaches her who appears to be talking to empty space. She tells him about Lo-Tarik but The Doctor assures her that no one is there and that she is hallucinating. That is when she realizes that she was imagining Lo-Tarik just as she has been imagining Paris and the others crying for help. The Doctor has an explanation from his examination of the radiation-affected gel packs: they degraded the packs' synaptic relays; the radiation is doing the same to her Borg implants, altering the neurotransmitter level in her sensory nodes. The Doctor offers to try to modify her implants to stop the hallucinations. She agrees, remembering a time as a drone when she was cut off from the Borg Collective for several hours, and the fear she had felt; the same fear and panic she is experiencing now.
Then suddenly, the primary EPS conduits overload and The Doctor again begins to malfunction, since his mobile emitter is tied to the EPS conduits. The computer warns that secondary systems are failing and The Doctor tells Seven that she has to repair the EPS conduits and that everything depends on her now. She frantically states that she cannot function alone, but The Doctor says that she has to. He will not be damaged, but he will go offline and will remain off until they are out of the nebula. The Doctor stresses that everyone is depending on Seven to survive, before his program finally fails. Terror-stricken and shaken to the core, Seven is now truly alone on Voyager.
Days pass. Seven, despite her terror, continues to work, keeping the power on and the ship moving. Her only company now is her hallucinations; hallucinations which echo her own fears about being Human. Now with only seventeen hours before Voyager clears the nebula, she works in Astrometrics and is joined by an imagined, radiation-burned Ensign Kim, who mocks her efforts.
She heads for the bridge, but she sees corridors lit Borg-green, and a Borg drone following her, coldly berating her for leaving the Collective. It tells her that her decision to leave the Collective was foolish because now she is alone, only one, Human, weak, pathetic – part of an imperfect Human race; that she will and cannot survive without the Collective. She says that she will adapt as an individual but the Borg keeps repeating that she is only one, alone, pathetic, one among many, weak for a Borg cannot be one, she will die as one, detached, isolated. She insists that she is an individual and finally escapes the Borg who keeps repeating to her that she will die alone. In a turbolift, Lo-Tarik appears and urges her to go back to the Collective, stating that the Borg drone just now was right about her. She sees the doors open to the inside of a Borg vessel. She hears the echoing, multi-track resonant voice of the Collective, telling her that resistance is futile. She resolutely ignores it all and continues to the bridge.
On the bridge, she hallucinates Captain Janeway and several senior officers, all burned from radiation, talking to her, mocking her, putting her down as she attempts to keep things together. She will never hold up, they say; the crew will die because of her failure, she will fall apart before they leave the nebula they say. Janeway takes the blame sardonically: she trusted her, she says, but she should have known better.
The computer warns that propulsion is going offline. The mocking crew turns to her again, wondering if she can do it. The computer tells her that they have another forty-one minutes to go until the ship clears the nebula. Janeway says that it is too long and that she won't make it. Seven tries rerouting power from every non-essential system and environmental controls to the engines, but to it doesn't help and the propulsion systems fail leaving Voyager dead in space. Desperate to get the ship moving again, she has an idea. The hallucinated officers discuss it in mocking tones: she is going to have to reroute power from the stasis chambers to the engines. But, they sneer, that will kill some of the crew, although they doubt that this would bother her too much, after all, she has already killed a few million, would a few more matter? Seven has the computer reroute power from ten of the stasis units to the propulsion system and resume course. This works and the engines come back online. The crew laugh at her, because now the crew members she disconnected will die, but they all knew it anyway, they knew she didn't care about them.
Then she races to Deck 14. A "Janeway" hallucination meets her there, mocking her decision. She sees the ten affected chambers, smoking, their occupants writhing in death-throes. "Janeway" taunts her to save them, if she can. With only eleven minutes until Voyager clears the nebula, Seven orders the computer to cut life support on all decks and reroute available power to the affected units. The computer acknowledges and the stasis units reactivate. "Janeway" taunts her with the fact that Seven has now ensured her own death: no oxygen, no heat. Finally, as heat and oxygen rapidly vanish, Seven sinks down in a corner, defiantly saying that she is Seven of Nine, that she is alone, but that she will adapt. She passes out.
A flash of white light.
She awakens to find herself surrounded by The Doctor, Captain Janeway and Chakotay; not hallucinations this time but real and smiling at her, informing her that she was successful in getting the ship through the nebula. Chakotay tells her that she is the one they nearly lost. When they left the nebula, The Doctor came back online and found her, restarted life support and woke the crew. A very pleased Doctor tells her she did well and that he is proud of her. She whispers that she is glad she was able to help.
Later, when things are back to normal again, Seven enters the mess hall and looks around as crew-members sit, eat and interact. Not a simulation but real this time. She sees B'Elanna, Tom, and Harry sitting together and asks whether she may join them. Her social lessons with The Doctor bear fruit. She tells them that she felt the need for companionship. Paris jokes that after a month with only The Doctor for company he can understand that. She tells Kim and Torres about how The Doctor had to put Paris back in his stasis unit four times after he got out. They laugh and rib him good-naturedly. He responds that he has never liked closed spaces and Seven, her own experience still fresh in her mind, notes that maybe he just disliked being alone.
- "Personal log, Seven of Nine, stardate 51929.3. This is the tenth day of our journey through the Mutara Nebula. I've created an efficient daily routine."
- "Personal log, Seven of Nine, stardate 51932.4. The twenty-ninth day in the Mutara Nebula. I believe I'm beginning to feel the effects of this prolonged isolation. My dreams have been... disturbing, but I'm determined to fulfill my responsibilities. With The Doctor confined to sickbay, I have taken on increasing duties. Ship's systems are beginning to require constant maintenance in order to avert disaster. This morning I must... purge the auxiliary plasma vents. End log."
"Describe the nature of your sexual relationship with Lieutenant Paris!"
- - Seven of Nine to the holographic simulation of B'Elanna Torres, trying to improve her social skills.
"We've come 15,000 light years. We haven't been stopped by temporal anomalies, warp core breaches, or hostile aliens. And I'll be damned if we're going to be stopped by a nebula."
- - Captain Janeway
"The Doctor will be in command. You will follow his instructions just as you would follow mine."
"Follow the orders of a hologram?"
- - Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine
"Look at the fact that here's someone who's butted horns with you from the moment she came on board; who disregards authority and actively disobeys orders when she doesn't agree with them."
"And this is the person I'm giving responsibility for the lives of this entire crew. I suppose you want me to tell you I'm not crazy."
"In a nutshell."
- - Commander Chakotay and Captain Janeway
"Holodecks are a pointless endeavor, fulfilling some Human need to fantasize. I have no such need."
"What you need is some editorial skill in your self-expression. Between impulse and action there´s a realm of good taste begging for your acquaintance."
"I find your self-expression ponderous."
"And I can't put up with this for another month!"
- - Seven of Nine and The Doctor, bickering
"Come on, Tom. Sleepy time."
"What if we... had to get out in a hurry?"
"You can unlock the unit from inside, Tom."
"Do I detect a hint of claustrophobia, lieutenant?"
- - Harry Kim, Tom Paris, Captain Janeway and The Doctor
"Why do they have to design these things like coffins?"
"Should we replicate you a teddy bear?"
- - Tom Paris and Harry Kim
"Seven of Nine to The Doctor."
"Lieutenant Paris has left his stasis unit and is unconscious."
"I'll be right there. Apparently, he's more claustrophobic than I thought."
- - Seven of Nine and The Doctor
"If you had even the slightest sense of humor, you'd realize I was making a small joke."
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine
"It's not unheard of for people to come out of stasis and start wandering. Leave it to Mr. Paris to be just as much trouble now as when he's awake."
- - The Doctor
"These tubes certainly weren't designed with creature comfort in mind."
- - The Doctor while crawling through a Jefferies tube
"I can complain if I want to, it's comforting."
"Well, this journey certainly has not lacked excitement. I can´t complain about being bored."
"Since you find it comforting, you´ll undoubtedly find something else to complain about."
"No doubt, you really should try it."
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine, more bickering
"Seven, are you... frightened?"
"I am Borg."
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine
(Doctor's program flickers, begins to degrade) "I have to get back to sickbay!" (program flickers again) "Hurry!"
"I am hurrying."
"If the mobile emitter goes off-line while I'm out of sickbay my program may be irretrievable!"
"Don't panic. It's counterproductive."
"That's easy for you to say. You're not facing cybernetic oblivion!" (program flickers yet again) "If that happens again, I'm a goner!"
- - The Doctor and Seven of Nine
(The Doctor gives a sigh of relief) "Home, sweet sickbay, I never thought I'd be so happy to see these walls."
- - The Doctor, after reaching sickbay when his mobile emitter started to fail
- - Seven of Nine, after The Doctor goes off-line.
"I am Seven of Nine, I am alone. But I will adapt, I will..."
- - Seven of Nine, before passing out
(The computer's voice slows and deepens, returns to normal, then deepens again) "Warning. Deuterium tank levels are fluctuating beyond acceptable tolerances."
"The computer sounds like it needs a stimulant."
- - The Computer and The Doctor, after Seven neglected to perform her maintenance duties
"I hope you're not afraid of the dark."
- - Tragis to Seven of Nine
"Neelix, this soup is great. What is it?"
"It's my secret recipe. I've never told anyone what's in it."
"Why does that make me nervous?"
"Oh, come on, Tom. Where's your sense of adventure?"
"Not in my stomach."
- - Harry Kim, Neelix, Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres
"I... felt the need for companionship."
"Well, after a month with only the Doc for company, I can understand that."
- - Seven of Nine and Tom Paris
Story and script
- The original pitch for this episode came from James Swallow, who was given the opportunity to pitch for Star Trek: Voyager after having submitted numerous unsuccessful story ideas to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17) The unauthorized reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 319), incorrectly suggests Swallow's work on this installment was rooted in an idea by John Devins.
- The pitch that eventually became this episode had the working title "Perchance to Dream" and primarily featured The Doctor. It was jokingly compared, by staff writer Bryan Fuller, to the horror film The Shining. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17) Fuller was actually the person who bought the pitch. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 18) He recalled, "Some responses [to the plot idea] were 'Uhhh... Okay', until I said 'But! You can do this....! We can have scenes with creepy corridors, spooky hallucinations!'" Co-executive producer Brannon Braga was another writing staffer who instantly recognized that the story had potential. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 19)
- At the end of January 1998, James Swallow received a telephone call from pre-production coordinator Lolita Fatjo, who notified him of the purchase of one of his pitches. "Just like that, the words I had been waiting to hear for years came beaming across the world to me from California," Swallow reminisced. "The dulcet tones of Lolita Fatjo [...] told me, 'Congratulations, Jim! We want to buy your story!' [...] I, after almost a decade of dogged struggle, had finally achieved a personal goal – to help create a little piece of the Star Trek universe." Also, Swallow was the first British writer to sell a story to Star Trek, a fact that Fatjo later informed him of. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17)
- Voyager's writing staff decided to do a different take on the story and chose to alter the episode's protagonist to Seven of Nine. Bryan Fuller related, "We saw how much more interesting it would be to have somebody who was part of a collective with millions of voices in her head every day, taken down to abruptly having no voices in her head and surrounded by a hundred-odd crewmen, and then to only be with one other crewman, and then finally to be on her own. How frightening would that be?" The writers additionally came up with the idea of Seven having fearsome hallucinations due to her mental state in such isolation. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 19) The change of lead character to being Seven had taken place by two months after the pitch's conception. Another development that occurred by the same time was that the submitted plot idea had become the basis of a story entitled "One", assigned to be scripted by executive producer Jeri Taylor. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17)
- The ultimately-used title of this episode was previously a working title for the second season outing "Tuvix". 
- A preliminary beat sheet for this installment was written by Jeri Taylor while the episode was in development. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 18) The beat sheet had the episode's first scene taking place in sickbay, rather than on one of Voyager's holodecks, and the only characters said to be involved in the scene were The Doctor and Seven of Nine. The Mutura-class nebula was not present in the story yet, with the topic of banter on the bridge (during the teaser) having not been decided either. Instead, the cause of the crew's maladies was said to be "a vast bio-degenerative field, which was undetected because of TBD." The effects on the bridge crew started with an extreme headache suffered by Tom Paris, not by Harry Kim. In the beat sheet's version of the first act, Paris' pained effort to operate the controls needed to back Voyager away was successful, so Tuvok was uninvolved in trying to guide the ship out of the nebula. Sickened junior officers crawled into sickbay but, in the episode itself, they are already there when they are first seen. Voyager was then to be shown, turning in the opposite direction of its original heading, though the episode establishes the course change without directly showing it happening. Seven's subsequent arrival on the bridge was not in the beat sheet and, instead, Janeway began to investigate why exactly the crew had suffered, a scene whose equivalent in the episode is apparently the discussion between her and Seven in astrometics. Once the cause of the illnesses was determined on the bridge, a meeting of the senior staff was held in the briefing room and their discussion included dialogue much like some of the conversation that, in the episode, The Doctor and Janeway have in sickbay; for example, The Doctor suggested that the entire crew be put into stasis and that Seven join him, the same advice that he gives Janeway in the episode. The beat sheet continued with a concerned Janeway making her way to Deck Fourteen, where Seven assured the captain that she herself would be fine and that she wouldn't suffer from cabin fever. Typically, a similar conversation is in the episode, even though the captain's journey to Seven's domain is omitted. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17)
- This episode's final draft script was submitted on 13 February 1998.  The teleplay continued to be revised thereafter, with one of the script revisions being made on 10 March 1998. A page that was revised on that date was the first of the script, detailing the start of the episode's teaser. This part of the teleplay underwent no further changes. The page included Harry Kim stating that his birthplace was New Mexico, although this was ultimately changed to South Carolina. (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17)
- Robert Picardo contributed some dialogue that his character of The Doctor says to Seven of Nine in one of their arguments here. "I asked to add the lines, 'What you need is some editorial skill in your self-expression,'" remembered Picardo. "'Between impulse and action, there is a realm of good taste begging for your acquaintance' [...] They put that in, because the lines that I had, I wasn't enjoying." Another reason why Picardo suggested the dialogue was because he imagined that, while The Doctor was criticizing Seven for lacking certain social graces, the holographic character would probably use a selection of well-chosen words to demonstrate what he was trying to communicate to her. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, pp. 84-85)
Cast and characters
- Seven of Nine actress Jeri Ryan enjoyed performing in this installment, despite being sick during the episode's production. She was also attracted to its plot, later referring to it as "an interesting story." Concerning Seven's plight of aloneness here, Ryan stated, "It was a neat concept for an episode." (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 19)
- Director Kenneth Biller was pleased to collaborate on this installment with Jeri Ryan, who Biller described as "great to work with." He recognized, however, that the episode was challenging for Ryan. Biller commented, "It was basically her all day, every day [...] [with] grueling hours. She was very present and very there the whole time. This was a very difficult show emotionally for her, where she has to slowly come unraveled." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 110)
- Bryan Fuller was highly satisfied with Jeri Ryan's work here, referring to it as "amazing." (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 19)
- Ken Biller observed that, by this point in the series, Torres actress Roxann Dawson had more-or-less recovered from having been pregnant, earlier in the fourth season. "By the time I was directing ['One'], she'd already had the baby, and she was raring to go and ready to get back to work," noted Biller. "So as a director I really didn't have the problem of having to shoot around her belly." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, pp. 91 & 95)
- Robert Picardo was delighted with the dialogue that he himself added to the episode. "I thought [it] was a pretty funny Doctor dress-down," he enthused. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 84)
- In this episode, the stasis room was a redress of the Voyager cargo bay set and the stasis units were reused from the second season episode "The Thaw". (Star Trek: Voyager Companion, p. 246) According to the unofficial reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 245), the stasis units were also previously used in "Resolutions", an episode that is slightly later in Star Trek: Voyager's second season than "The Thaw".
- This was the second of two Star Trek episodes directed by Ken Biller, who normally operated as a member of Star Trek: Voyager's writing team. He previously helmed the earlier fourth season outing "Revulsion".
- In the morning of 3 February 1998, a production meeting for this installment was held, attended by Ken Biller. By the time the lunch interval ended on that day, Biller had departed from the meeting and was ready to join the other members of the series' writing staff in a story break session that resumed after lunch, concerning the season finale, ultimately entitled "Hope and Fear". (Star Trek: Action!, pp. 10 & 11)
- One of the sets for this episode was under construction on 9 February 1998, on Paramount Stage 16 (which simultaneously housed Star Trek's permanent cave set as well as a set used for both the Museum of Kyrian Heritage in the earlier fourth season episode "Living Witness" and the Son'a surgical facility in the film Star Trek: Insurrection). (Star Trek: Action!, pp. 13 & 15)
- According to James Swallow, this episode was "shot in the last two weeks of February ." (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17) The episode was in production – on several stages of the Paramount Pictures lot – by 16 February 1998. (Star Trek: Action!, pp. 16 & 20) Ken Biller specified that the scenes of this episode involving Jeri Ryan were filmed over a period of seven days. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 110)
- While the episode was in production, Robert Picardo took some time to be interviewed for Cinefantastique, sitting in the Voyager engineering set. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 84)
- Ken Biller found that the duration in which he directed this episode was "great." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 18, p. 18) He said further, "It was a really good episode to direct because it had some fantasy sequences, and some scary, atmospheric stuff [...] There are significant portions of the episode that don't really have any dialogue, which is always fun for a director, because you try to tell the story through the pictures. That was really a challenge." Some difficulties of the episode's making concerned Biller's direction of Jeri Ryan. "There were moments when we had to make a decision about exactly how vulnerable she was going to be and how much fear she would show," Biller said. "There were times when maybe she wanted to go a little further than I did, and I would have to remind her that we still have to give ourselves some place to go, so that you don't reach your most unraveled state until the end of the picture." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 110)
- The production of the shot in which a regenerating Seven of Nine dreams of being alone in a frozen wasteland involved the use of bluescreen. "We shot Jeri Ryan on a bluescreen stage," visual effects supervisor Mitch Suskin recalled, "and did a dolly-back and a crane-up to pull back and away from her." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 81)
- On the night of 26 February 1998, filming on this episode was ended shortly before midnight. (Star Trek: Action!, p. 28) On the following day (which was scheduled to be the last day of production on the installment), some second unit photography for the episode was filmed on the Voyager bridge set (on Stage 8). This involved some hand-held camera work, usage of bluescreen, low level lighting and special effect smoke, as well as heavy burn make-up for several of the regular cast (specifically, Kate Mulgrew, Robert Duncan McNeill, Robert Beltran, Tim Russ, and Garrett Wang). (Star Trek: Action!, pp. 27 & 28) The footage filmed was both the scene in which Seven is tormented by illusory members of the senior staff on Voyager's bridge and part of the scene before that, with Seven in a turbolift. In the knowledge that "One" had filmed late on the previous night, Winrich Kolbe – who was assigned to direct "Hope and Fear" – was waiting patiently, at 9 am, for a break in the filming of this episode. At 11:30 am, such a break began (as was scheduled), allowing Kolbe a twenty-five-minute meeting with his key department heads. Filming of this installment continued soon thereafter, initiated by a crew call at noon. (Star Trek: Action!, p. 28) Even though unit production manager Brad Yacobian made a "guess-timate" that the season finale would begin shooting at 3:30 pm, the production of this installment continued past that point and finally wrapped at 4:30 pm. (Star Trek: Action!, pp. 28 & 32) The performers who had donned makeup to look incinerated visited the makeup trailer before the next installment entered production. (Star Trek: Action!, p. 28)
- The Borg interior that Seven sees through a pair of turbolift doors was a single frame of a visual effect sequence from Star Trek: First Contact. (Delta Quadrant, p. 245)
- To complete the shot of Seven apparently standing alone in an icy wilderness, the appropriate bluescreen footage of Jeri Ryan was, in Mitch Suskin's words, "match-moved into a 3-D painting element" – specifically, a matte painting done by Eric Chauvin. Snow that covers Seven's feet, in the shot, was actually part of this painted environment. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 81)
- 27 April 1998 was the eighth day in a row in which visual effects supervisor Ronald B. Moore was situated in the compositing bay at visual effects house Digital Magic and was also a day on which he was completing his work on the visual effects shots of this episode. Moore had hopes of completing his work on this installment by the day's end despite repeatedly being interrupted from that work, such as by a ringing telephone. (Star Trek: Action!, p. 85)
- Mitch Suskin was happy that the visual effects work of this episode was somewhat unusual for the series. "Even though the effects we are doing on 'One' are a little bit out of the ordinary," he commented, "it's nice for us to have the difference." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 81)
Continuity and trivia
- A similar storyline to this occurs in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Doctor's Orders", when Doctor Phlox is forced to take control of the ship on his own – to pilot it through a nebula – but begins to hallucinate.
- This episode also has many similarities to two other Voyager episodes – "Persistence of Vision" in season 2, and "Bliss" in season 5 – which feature The Doctor working closely with another crew member (Kes in the former, Seven once again in the latter) while most of the crew is incapacitated in some way.
- The death of a bridge crew member from radiation marks the 19th confirmed death of Voyager crew since the pilot episode "Caretaker", the previous deaths having occurred in the Kyrian encounter depicted in "Living Witness". This would put the crew complement as of the end of this episode at 140, given the crew complement of 148 that was most recently established in "Distant Origin" and "Displaced", and the deaths that have occurred since.
- Janeway remarks in this episode that Voyager has traveled a total of 15,000 light years toward home since being stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
- Seven mentions having been temporarily disconnected from the Collective for two hours. Flashback scenes in "Survival Instinct" may also refer to this same event.
- The Doctor continues wearing the mobile emitter despite being on the holodeck. Previous episodes have shown that he can be transferred to the holodeck without issue. However, The Doctor has previously mentioned, in "Revulsion", that he is free to "take a stroll", and may have simply preferred to walk to the holodeck, using his emitter to navigate the ship's corridors.
- This episode marks the final appearance of the type 3 phaser on Star Trek: Voyager, a form of rifle that was introduced in Star Trek: First Contact. All phaser rifles subsequently shown on the series are the compression phaser rifle.
- Bio-neural gelpacks make an appearance in this episode for the first time since the third-season episode "Macrocosm".
- At one point, Seven reads Paris' body temperature as 97.6. This is a rare use of the Fahrenheit scale.
- In the atlas Star Trek: Star Charts, the Mutara-class nebula of this episode has been named the Swallow Nebula in James Swallow's honor.
- Torres (albeit, a holographic version) mentions at the beginning of this episode that she joined the Maquis after Chakotay saved her life. This was previously established in Jeri Taylor's book Pathways and marks the only mention in the series of Torres' motivations for joining the group.
- Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, and Garrett Wang all play three versions of their respective characters in this episode: the "real" one, a holodeck recreation, and an illusion in Seven of Nine's mind.
- This episode's title, at three letters, beat the record for the shortest in Star Trek history held by "Miri" for nearly 32 years. It held the record for just three years, when it was beaten by "Q2", which also held it for three years before it was beaten in turn by "E²".
- The way Seven of Nine criticizes Doctor's small joke closely resembles a dialog between Pavel Chekov and Spock in "The Trouble with Tribbles".
- After Seven of Nine says "I am Borg", a few notes from Scorpion's music (Jay Chattaway) play.
Reception and aftermath
- Both James Swallow and Bryan Fuller liked how this episode ultimately turned out. Swallow referred to the final version of the installment's teleplay as "a dynamic and taut script." (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 17) Fuller remarked, "What we got was a great episode [...] I think it's one of the strongest episodes of the [fourth] season." (Star Trek Monthly issue 42, p. 19)
- One story possibility that was temporarily considered for the following episode, the fourth season finale "Hope and Fear", was discarded precisely because it was thought to be too close to the plot of this episode, especially this installment's plot point about the crew being vulnerable to the nebula. (Star Trek: Action!, p. 6)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 3.9 million homes, and a 6% share.
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 3 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 109)
- Star Trek Monthly issue 47, p. 62 scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars.
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 247) gives the installment a rating of 7 out of 10.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 4.13, catalog number VHR 4634, 28 December 1998
- As part of the VOY Season 4 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
14 Beta 7; ability; antipsychotic; bio-neural circuitry; bio-neural gel pack; blood pressure; body temperature; Borg; Borg Collective; Borg drone; cardiopulmonary system; cargo bay; Chi 14; claustrophobia; closet; cloaking device; coffin; command processor; dermal regenerator; electro-optic modulator; EM stress parameters; EPS conduit; Federation; force field; game; gestation; gesture; headache; heart; helium; holodeck; inoculation; Jefferies tube; level 4 diagnostic; Maquis; maintenance duty; microfusion chamber; mobile emitter; Mutara class; nanoprobe; nebula; neurode; oxygen; parisses squares; phaser rifle; photon torpedo; plasma conduit; plasma vent; potato salad; pulse; radiation burn; self-expression; sensory nodes; sexual relationship; South Carolina; stasis chamber; stimulant; subnucleonic radiation; subspace field matrix; suspended animation; tennis; turbolift; volleyball; warp core breach; warp field
- "One" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "One" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "One" at Wikipedia
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"Hope and Fear"