(written from a Production point of view)
Voyager becomes trapped in an empty region of space where other stranded starships prey on each other to survive.
While traveling through the Delta Quadrant, with the captain and some of her bridge crew being treated to a special dinner put on by Seven of Nine, USS Voyager is sucked into an area of space that is devoid of stars, planets or any other form of energy. Almost immediately on being pulled in, Voyager is attacked by a starship.
In the ensuing fight, Voyager's shields are damaged. This gives the attackers the opportunity to transport away almost 90% of the food supplies aboard Voyager, as well as some of its deuterium stocks. This puzzles the crew, as Paris remarks that deuterium can be found almost anywhere.
However, it soon becomes apparent that deuterium can't be found within this anomaly, along with any other resources a starship would need. General Valen, who had been watching the fight between Voyager and its attacker, tells Captain Janeway that the only way to obtain energy and supplies within The Void is to attack new arrivals. He and his crew have survived for five years in The Void using these tactics. Janeway refuses to consider stealing supplies to survive. Instead she intends to try to escape The Void. Valen tells her that escape is impossible, but Janeway is not deterred.
Using the sensors in astrometrics, Seven of Nine is able to predict when the next funnel, similar to the one that sucked them in, will appear. Voyager flies into the funnel, but is unable to break through to normal space.
Faced with a situation where the ship will run out of energy in a little over a week, Janeway decides to find the supplies that were stolen from Voyager. The ship that attacked them is tracked down, but is adrift, the crew dead, and almost all useful components stripped from the ship. The only useful item left is the casing around the warp core, which Torres beams over. Upon inspecting the casing, she and Seven of Nine find a stowaway hiding inside. His leg is injured, so he is transported to sickbay. He appears unable to talk, but The Doctor determines that his physiology is such that he is able to survive for long periods without oxygen.
Meanwhile, the current holder of Voyager's supplies is tracked down. It turns out to be Valen, who stole the supplies from the ship that attacked Voyager. When he refuses to return them, Janeway knocks out his shields and beams the supplies aboard. Despite retrieving only half the original supplies, she refuses to take any of the other supplies aboard Valen's ship.
Tuvok and Chakotay, as second and first officer, come to her ready room later to ask if the usual operating procedure is going to change due to the extreme circumstances. She replies that she has been consulting the Federation Charter to look for loopholes, but as there are none, she says that they will continue to follow Federation protocols. Instead, she has hit upon the idea of forming an alliance with some of the other ships trapped within The Void.
Voyager contacts some of the other ships, without much success. Janeway tries to convince the captain of a Nygean ship, Garon, to join the alliance, offering him some of their food as a gesture of her goodwill. However, he is skeptical, only saying he'll think about it.
In sickbay, The Doctor, together with Seven, has developed a method of communication with the stowaway, whom he has christened Fantome. Using a system of different musical notes he is able to converse with him.
When a new ship is sucked into The Void, it is attacked by Valen. Voyager comes to its aid, but Valen has a second ship, which puts Voyager in danger. Fortunately, Garon arrives and helps to fight off Valen.
- "Captain's log, Stardate 54562.7. Since Garon and the survey ship became our charter members, finding new allies has gotten a little easier. My latest prospect is Commander Bosaal, whose ship has technology that could help us escape."
With Garon and the new ship, a Hierarchy surveillance ship, and others allies such as the Kraylor, also in the alliance, Voyager is able to attract new members more easily. While the ships share different technologies to conserve power, Voyager is given technology to reduce the power required by its replicators by a significant amount.
The Doctor takes Fantome under his wing, and teaches him various 'words'. However, when a visiting prospective alliance member, Bosaal, sees Fantome, he calls him and his species vermin. Janeway, although put off by this reaction, offers to beam aboard any members of Fantome's species that may be hiding aboard his ship. He agrees to this and decides to join the alliance.
Torres needs to build a polaron modulator in order to escape The Void. Although she works with Garon to build it, Janeway looks for a ship that has one so she can trade for it. Later she discovers that Bosaal has provided a fully compatible modulator. On questioning him, she discovers that he stole it and killed the crew of the ship it belonged to. Enraged, Janeway throws him off the ship and tells him to take the modulator with him.
Even though they need the modulator to escape, she refuses to use it, obtained in the way that it was. This causes some of the other members of the alliance to leave, too. Janeway is annoyed with herself, telling Chakotay she should have trusted her instincts on Bosaal and never let him join in the first place.
Torres finishes building the modulator, but needs time to test it. However, the members of the Hierarchy survey ship, who Chakotay comes across utilizing Voyager's astrometrics lab without permission, are able to spy on other ships within The Void and see Bosaal meeting with Valen, plotting to attack Voyager, of which they show Chakotay. As the alliance ships don't have enough power to fight off the attack, Janeway decides that they'll have to forgo the test and try to escape as soon as possible. Fantome and the three other members of his species offer to help. Another funnel forms and the alliance move towards it.
As the alliance attempts to escape, Valen and Bosaal attack. Voyager manages to weaken their shields and beam Fantome and his friends aboard the two ships. They immediately sabotage the engines of the two ships, giving the alliance a chance to escape. As Fantome's species believe they are native to the void, they choose to remain there. Voyager extends its shield bubble around the other ships and they all manage to escape from the void. Back in normal space, they go their separate ways.
- "Captain's Log, Stardate 54553.4. For the past several days, we've been making every effort to recruit members into an alliance, but it hasn't been easy."
- "Captain's Log, Stardate 54562.7. Since Garon and the survey ship became our charter members, finding new allies has gotten a little easier. My latest prospect is Commander Bosaal, whose ship has technology that could help us escape."
"The vultures are circling."
"Vultures eat the dead, Mister Paris. We're not dead yet."
- - Paris and Janeway
"I'm so glad we taught them the value of cooperation."
- - Janeway
"Preparing meals myself is the best way to ensure quality."
- - Seven of Nine
"Each course has been paired with a specific wine. Substitutions are not recommended."
- - Seven of Nine
"It was almost like being part of a Federation again."
"The real one's only 30,000 light years away."
"Then what are we standing around for?"
- - Janeway and Chakotay on the success of their alliance (last lines)
- When Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay are saying that the Alliance was almost like being part of the Federation again, the original series theme is heard playing in the background.
- During the musical conversation between Fantome and the other members of his species several musical phrases can be heard from Star Trek series' opening theme music.
- Jonathan Del Arco previously played Hugh in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "I Borg" and "Descent, Part II".
- Voyager had previously been stuck in a starless void in "Night".
- This episode contains several links to the television show Babylon 5:
- This episode continues the already established Voyager tradition of darkened or blacked out set pieces, a production tool first used in the season 3 episode "Macrocosm" but continued in "Prey" and "Demon" (both season 4). Of particular note are "Night" (season 5) and "The Haunting of Deck Twelve" (season 6) where a large part of the action takes place in almost complete darkness, creating added atmosphere and tension to events.
- Filming for the episode began on November 29, 2000 on Stages 9 and 16. A working title for the episode was "Federation." (wbm)
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup For A Series.
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 7.8, 1 October 2001
- As part of the VOY Season 7 DVD collection
Links and referencesEdit
Also starring Edit
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Junior Grade 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
- Richard Bishop as an operations division officer
- Jon Bruegl as a Starfleet ensign
- Andrew English as a security officer
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Stephen Pisani as an operations division officer
- Unknown performers as
airponics bay; The Alliance; Annari; Annari warship; apron; Baxial; chadre'kab; Chardonnay; chicken; circumference; cream of leola soup; computer console; deuterium; deuterium tank; evasive pattern; Fantome's species; Federation; Federation Charter; fetran risotto; fractal algorithm; grammar; gourmet cook; graviton; gremlin; Hierarchy species; Hierarchy surveillance ship; intruder alert; Jelinian; Jelinian ale; Jelinian freighter; kilometer; Kinjal; Kinjal frigate; Kraylor; Kraylor starship; logic; loophole; Luhvian quail; lung; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; navigational sensor; nomad; Nygean; Nygean starship; nutritional supplement; Olian guava; oxygen; parasite; peanut butter and jelly sandwich; Phantom of the Opera; phase compensator; photon torpedo; physiology; Pinot noir; plasma; polarity; polaron modulator; red alert; replicator; Rigoletto; salt; sensor array; shields; shield polarity; subspace; syntax; telepathic; tricesium; truffle; United Federation of Planets; The Void; Vaadwaur; Vaadwaur ship; vegetable; vulture; waiter; warp core
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