Michael Jonas was a Maquis fighter who served on the raider Val Jean under Chakotay until 2371, when Jonas and the rest of the Maquis crew became stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Thereafter, he and his former Maquis shipmates served alongside a Starfleet crew aboard the USS Voyager, which had also become marooned in that quadrant. However, Jonas betrayed his co-workers on the starship and covertly spied on Voyager for the Kazon, though he was ultimately killed aboard the vessel.
In 2372, the death of fellow Maquis Kurt Bendera, in battle with the Kazon, caused Jonas to question Captain Kathryn Janeway's policies, regarding giving technology to other races in exchange for their assistance and protection. After witnessing his friend Hogan attempt to convince Voyager chief engineer B'Elanna Torres to contact Seska, who had defected to the Kazon-Nistrim, Jonas, behind the captain's back, secretly opened communications with Culluh's aide Rettik, intending to negotiate on his own terms with Seska. (VOY: "Alliances")
When Tom Paris successfully crossed the transwarp threshold, achieving warp ten, Jonas transmitted details of Voyager's new technology to Rettik. (VOY: "Threshold") Jonas also informed the Kazon-Nistrim, this time via a new contact named Lorrum, when Voyager encountered Dreadnought, a Cardassian missile. (VOY: "Dreadnought") Shortly after, Jonas informed Lorrum of what he thought was growing dissent among Voyager's crew. When he was asked to sabotage the ship's warp coils, though, Jonas declined and said that Seska has to contact him personally if Culluh has a problem with that. (VOY: "Lifesigns")
Jonas' transmissions were sent via Voyager's power grid; the messages were encoded in waste energy from the ship's propulsion systems, making the covert reports almost indistinguishable from galactic background noise. Fortunately for the spacecraft's crew in general, Voyager Chief of Security Tuvok detected the transmissions, but was unable to locate the source. He reported this to Janeway and, together, they assembled a plan to expose the traitor. They secretly recruited Tom Paris to act as an agent provocateur, he pretending to be dissatisfied with life aboard Voyager. Paris' act was convincing, and he even struck Chakotay, while on the bridge.
In mid-2372, Seska ordered Jonas to sabotage Voyager's magnetic constrictors, so that the vessel's crew would be forced to head to the Hemikek system and land on a planet there, in order to seek materials to complete repairs. Kazon-Nistrim forces would then storm the ship, on the ground. Around this time, Paris asked to be put off the ship and signed up with a Talaxian convoy as a pilot. Neelix became suspicious, not believing the reasons for Paris' departure. Janeway and Tuvok quickly acted to stop him from exposing their deception, bringing him into the plan, and asked him to announce that they had found Paris to be the traitor. Jonas fell for the ruse and contacted Seska about these events. Kazon-Nistrim forces attacked the convoy and kidnapped Paris. Recognizing Paris' value, Seska tried to convince him to join them. Instead, Paris broke into their computers, learned the identity of the traitor, and then escaped. He was able to transmit the information to Voyager, just as Jonas was preparing to sabotage the ship. Neelix continued his own investigation and also discovered Jonas' treachery. A struggle ensued when Neelix was trapped in main engineering with Jonas and attempted to prevent the sabotage. It was after struggling with Neelix that Jonas was killed, as he fell into a plasma fire near Voyager's warp core. (VOY: "Investigations")
Background information Edit
Michael Jonas was usually played by Raphael Sbarge. Although he had watched both TOS and TNG, he nearly turned the role of Jonas down, due to there initially not being much to the character. Despite being very interested in appearing on Star Trek, Sbarge at first wanted to take a chance by waiting and finding out if a more substantial part would be offered to him. "My agent said, 'No, no, no. They're developing this guy and want to do something with him,'" the actor recalled. "I said, 'OK, it'll really be a kick to be on the show' [....] After I got the part I wrote the casting director a letter and said, 'You know, you get a lot of jobs in your life, but how many people can say that they've worked on Star Trek? What a wonderful opportunity to have this type of experience.' I really meant that and was looking forward to working on the series." (TV Zone, Special #29, pp. 24-25)
Portraying Jonas involved some difficulties for Raphael Sbarge (such as accidentally hurting himself, multiple times, while filming "Investigations"). "The most difficult thing about the part [...] is the technobabble," he noted. Sbarge nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed playing the role and making Jonas a recurring character. "They developed Jonas for a while and were trying to figure out exactly which way they wanted to go and how to expose him," Sbarge explained. "Apparently, it's unusual to develop a character like this over five episodes because of how things work in syndication." (TV Zone, Special #29, pp. 25 & 26)
Raphael Sbarge had some of his own ideas about Jonas. Concerning the character's motives, Sbarge reckoned, "He clearly saw that Voyager was going into some very dangerous territory without any sort of help. I think he began to feel that they were surrounded by the Kazon and would eventually be blown to bits unless they made some genuine and serious moves towards making peace or creating a balance with them. In his own way, at least initially, I think he did what he did from a sort of benevolent point of view. It wasn't completely good for everyone because it was really self-motivated but I don't think he intended for it to get as bad as it did. He eventually got himself in a position where Seska was blackmailing him and then he was stuck. When you lie you have to cover your lies. One lie leads to another lie and that's what happened to Jonas. He got in too deep." Regarding Jonas' familiarity with Seska, Sbarge reckoned, "My sense was that they probably knew each other when they were young and maybe there was even a romantic thing that went on there. That was my thought. Whether that is what was in the producers' minds, I don't know," he laughed. (TV Zone, Special #29, p. 24)
Raphael Sbarge also found the character of Jonas was popular with fans. In a 1998 interview, he noted, "I just received a whole bunch of fan mail from viewers who saw the episodes I was in." (TV Zone, Special #29, p. 27)