While Voyager must run without power in a blackout for several hours, Neelix tells the Borg children a ghost story of the events that lead up to it.
In the mess hall, Neelix shuts off his burners and turns the lights out in the empty room. A little unsettled, he walks through the doors as Seven of Nine walks right up to him, and he jumps. Seven apologizes, not intending to scare him. She asks him to watch the Borg children while Voyager must shut down main power.
Across the ship, panels and lights shut down. In sickbay the Doctor enters one final note into a PADD before deactivating his program. In engineering, the entire staff works to safely shut down the warp core. Once Seven confirms to Janeway that main power is off, the only light left is from the SIMs beacons and portable light beacons.
In cargo bay 2, Neelix explains to the children why the power had to go out. The children are all suspicious of the real reason, since Neelix's story has several plot holes, until Mezoti brings up "deck 12." They believe it is haunted, but Neelix tells him there's no such thing as ghosts, so he agrees to tell them the real story of the ghost on deck 12.
Several months earlier, the ship was gathering deuterium in a nebula. Neelix, in the mess hall at the time, was startled as the ship jolted just as Tuvok walked in. Neelix sat down with Tuvok, discussing when they would leave the nebula, as it was causing him to remember a horrible time when a plasma drift entered the Talaxian system. Then the ship jolted again, and the bridge crew realized their presence was destabilizing the nebula. They decided to leave, but as they were leaving, some kind of electrical "stow-away" had already entered the ship.
In the cargo bay, the Borg children try to guess which species the creature was, but Neelix convinces them to allow him to continue the story.
Chakotay recites the damage report to the Captain, which apparently includes replicators since Janeway fails to produce even a good cup of black coffee. She looks out the window to see a meteoroid cluster and then goes to the bridge. The ship has been traveling in circles due to a malfunction in the subprocessors, trying to bring the ship back to the nebula. But before anyone can do anything, the ship jumps to warp on its own. Janeway tries to contact engineering, only to get more technical malfunctions as the computer lists the location of numerous crewman.
Chakotay tries to get to engineering, but the turbolift also malfunctions, dropping him several decks. Luckily, the descent stabilizers reactivate, and he makes it to engineering safely. B'Elanna Torres says she's going to repair the bio-neural gel packs, which she believes are causing the malfunctions, but Chakotay says "only if we don't use the turbolifts" and walks off.
More malfunctions arise as Seven stops Tal Celes from beginning her diagnostic. Strangely, the gel packs that seemed to be malfunctioning are now perfectly fine; in fact, the problem has moved.
Seven works on the problem in the cargo bay, unaware that the creature has gotten in. The creature taps into environmental controls, and begins filling the bay with nebular gas and sealing Seven in a force field, knocking her unconscious.
Back in the cargo bay, the power cell to the light goes out; Neelix replaces it, momentarily scaring the children, and continues the story.
After Chakotay and Torres rescue Seven from the force field, power begins fluctuating on all decks and communications go out. Ensign Kim tells Neelix to stay in the mess hall in case anyone needs him there, and then heads out into the dark corridors alone.
On the bridge, the extreme heat affects everyone (excluding Tuvok) as they try to repair various systems. Janeway tries bribing Voyager, and it works; the conn comes back online. But just before Paris can bring engines back online, he is shocked with an EM surge. The computer then begins venting breathable gas from the bridge, and the crew evacuates to deck 5.
In sickbay, the Doctor is treating several wounded including Seven. Janeway assists Paris in, but before the Doctor can treat him, the computer destabilizes his program and he goes offline before he can transfer himself to the mobile emitter. Captain Janeway begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and speculates that an intelligence is behind everything. Several crew were shocked when they tried to vent the nebula gas from cargo bay 2, and Paris was shocked when he tried to change course.
Harry Kim wanders the dark corridors, looking for any crew. As he turns a corner, Crewman Celes hits him in the stomach with a cargo container. Worried about "hostile aliens roaming the corridors", Celes asks to stay with Kim as they head towards engineering.
Neelix, alone in the dark mess hall, begins hearing noises. He goes into the hall to find the turbolift doors are opening and closing on their own; he turns around and Tuvok startles him. Relieved to see someone, they both head through the Jefferies tubes to engineering.
Neelix goes on with his story: Neelix and Tuvok continued through the Jefferies tubes, as Neelix tells Tuvok about the Salvoxia, but he is not enthusiastic. More than half way to engineering, they encounter a shaft filling with nebular gas. Tuvok wants to vent it, so they must stay put.
In engineering, the computer continues on its downward spiral. But the computer begins speaking strangely: "Captain Janeway. Captain Janeway. Captain Janeway is in Main Engineering." The Captain thinks this may be the life form trying to communicate. When the computer shows signs that it is the lifeform, Janeway agrees to go to astrometrics.
Back in the Jefferies tubes, Neelix tries a Vulcan meditation. He remembers his last birthday dinner, and that he felt loved. But upon opening a plate in his flashback, a monster made of the nebula gas attacks him, and he drops out of his meditation.
In the astrometrics lab, the lifeform is going through Voyager's navigational database, until it finally comes across the nebula. Janeway and Seven begin realizing this was all an accident, and the creature isn't trying to kill them, it is trying to get home.
On the bridge, Janeway pilots the ship back to the nebula, only to find that it continued to destabilize after Voyager left, and is gone. The creature then causes life support to fail on all decks, warning everyone to abandon ship.
The Captain tries to convince the creature to let them find it a new nebula, or at least give her back control of the comm to warn her crew. As the lifeform causes the helm to explode, Janeway heads to engineering.
In the Jefferies tube, the creature uses an EM surge to shock Tuvok. Neelix, swearing not to let the events of the Salvoxia repeat themselves, vows to carry Tuvok on even if he "has to drag him by his pointy little ears."
Janeway finally makes it to engineering and tells the crew to abandon ship, just as Neelix and Tuvok make it in. The Delta Flyer, the shuttles, and all but one escape pod are launched. Chakotay and the Captain are the last to leave, but as the Captain is about to walk through the door, they shut abruptly.
The creature confirms the Captain's belief that the computer will fail without a crew. It tells her to get to engineering, to begin repairs for it. She refuses, and the creature fills the halls with nebula gas. The Captain would rather die than help the creature, and as she's on her last breath, the creature agrees, and vents the gas.
Back in the cargo bay, Neelix explains to the children that it took almost two days to retrieve all of the shuttles and escape pods. Just then the ship shudders, and main power comes back online. Neelix decides to tell them that he made the whole story up, so that they don't have nightmares, and they enter their alcoves.
On the bridge, Neelix asks if everything went all right. The Captain happily confirms that it did, and has Kim show him a view just before they jump to warp, back on their journey home.
"Gather round, but I'm warning you: this is not a tale for the faint of heart."
"We are not faint of heart."
"Our cardiopulmonary systems are reinforced."
- - Neelix, Mezoti, and Icheb
"Did I ever tell you about the Salvoxia?"
"If I say yes, will it prevent you from telling the story?"
- - Neelix and Tuvok, while crawling through the Jefferies tubes right before the story is told
- During Tuvok's meditation exercises, he mistakenly says to Neelix "Imagine your lungs filling with oxygen." Tuvok apparently didn't recall that Neelix only has one lung, donated to him by Kes after both of his own lungs were stolen in "Phage."
- In this episode Neelix claims to prepare to be installing curtains, and even carries the fabric at one point. He has claimed that he intended to put up curtains several times, but he never did.
- Some rarely seen, unique visual effects include: looking out the viewscreen as the ship jumps to warp, the replicator replicating the coffee before replicating the mug, and a look at the insides of the turboshaft.
- Icheb's nitpicking that "the bussard collectors don't produce nadion emissions" may be a reference to Trekkies constant nitpicking of minor technical details.
- The special effects used to illustrate the ghost on Deck Twelve are the same exact graphics used in "Macrocosm" when Janeway throws the antidote bomb in the holodeck after luring the macro viruses there. The smoke is colored orange here instead of the green color used in the season 3 episode.
Links and References
- Manu Intiraymi as Icheb
- Marley McClean as Mezoti
- Zoe McLellan as Tal Celes
- Kurt Wetherill as Azan
- Cody Wetherill as Rebi
- Majel Barrett as Computer Voice
Bussard collector; chadre'kab; class J nebula; class M; coffee; dark nebula; deuterium; Edgar Allan Poe; Class J nebula lifeform; Flotter; Galactic Cluster 8; Gibson (Crewman); McMann; meteorite; Mother Goose; Mulcahey; nadion; neural transceiver; plasma drift; Salvoxia; SIMs beacons; species 5973; Talaxian; Talaxian system; Tarkanian desert; Tera nut soufflé; Trumari; vampire bat; Vorik
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Unimatrix Zero, Part I