The USS Vortex was a starship that was the primary setting of The Doctor's fictional holonovel Photons Be Free. Though based on USS Voyager, it was much darker than its real counterpart, and was always at red alert.

The Vortex was commanded by the war-like Captain Jenkins and populated by a distorted version of the Voyager crew, whose individual traits – particularly their negative ones – were exaggerated.

The protagonist in Photons Be Free was the Vortex's under-appreciated and abused EMH who was forced to serve as the ship's chief medical officer following the death of the entire medical staff in the incident with the Caretaker. (VOY: "Author, Author")

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