(written from a Production point of view)
Most of the Voyager crew is kidnapped and forced to labor in a massive industrial work force.
At a large industrial complex, workers are going about their everyday jobs. Kathryn Janeway asks a worker where she can find the supervisor, to which he replies by pointing the supervisor out to her. When she reaches the supervisor, he asks for her authorization and licenses. Janeway gives them to him. He inspects them, discovering that Janeway has a level 6 in thermal dynamics and quantum fusion, which impresses him. He states that he is lucky to have her working for him, but embarrasses her by informing her that she is late. Janeway apologizes, saying that she boarded the wrong transport, ending up in the atmosphere filtration facility, and promises that she won't be late again. The supervisor sympathizes, saying that it is easy for newcomers to get disoriented, and that even he gets lost on occasion. He then goes on to inform Janeway of her designated job, which is to monitor the primary reactor coils, which process more than 8,000 metric tons of tylium per second at 94% thermal efficiency. The supervisor asks that if she has any problems that she inform him.
A worker delivers some specifications to Janeway, which she then inputs into the computer. However, the computer sounds an alarm, stating that Janeway has committed Input Error 415 and Command Code Violation 2308. Janeway whispers to the computer, saying that if it stops the alarm then she promises to never violate it again. The computer continues, but just as she finishes whispering, a hand appears and inputs something into her control panel. This stops the alarm. He states that she almost started a core overload. He comments on Janeway's "unique" way of communicating to the computer. She states that it is an old habit. The man introduces himself as Jaffen, and says that he works close by. Seven of Nine interrupts, telling Jaffen and Janeway (employee 1326 and 8584) that labor protocols dictate that fraternizing is not permitted during work hours. Jaffen asks for her number, or name, and she introduces herself as Annika Hansen, the station's new efficiency monitor. She tells Jaffen to get back to his station, but Janeway interrupts, informing Annika that Jaffen was just assisting her with an input error, and that they were almost finished. Annika leaves, and Jaffen asks Janeway if she would like to go out for a meal, but Janeway rejects the offer, stating that she has little time to socialize with her new job.
Tom Paris is talking to a bar manager about working in a bar. She is not very willing to hire him at first, and tells him that the power distribution plant is always looking for workers. Paris replies by saying that he did work there before, but didn't like it. The manager is slightly suspicious, stating that they treat their employees well. The manager asks how long he worked there, and after some convincing, he reveals that he was only there for approximately half a day, by which the manager is shocked. Paris says that he doesn't belong behind a console, and that he heard workers talking about her great bar. She is surprised that he was terminated during a labor shortage, and asks him why, to which he replies that he had a disagreement with the new efficiency monitor. After some convincing, and begging, she hires him, and tells him to get to work.
Jaffen shares a humorous anecdote with some colleagues, about how a man was trying to insult him about his father, with the punchline being that he was Norvalian, and so doesn't have a father. Tuvok, laughing heartily, turns around and starts analyzing the joke. Janeway enters the bar, and Jaffen asks her why she is here, when earlier she said she had little time to socialize. She says she is reviewing manuals while eating, not socializing. Jaffen joins her. Jaffen and Janeway walk home together after a long night out reviewing manuals. Janeway tells him about her home planet, Earth, describing it as overpopulated, polluted, and with few jobs. Jaffen invites her to his home, but Janeway refuses, saying that she must get to sleep.
An alarm in Janeway's workplace sounds briefly. She tells Jaffen that it wasn't her, but Jaffen tells her that it is not an overload, but just time for inoculations, courtesy of the employer. Janeway asks what they are for, and Jaffen tells her that it is to protect against ambient radiation. Janeway was unaware of that problem, but doesn't question it. As Tuvok is about to be inoculated, he backs away from the hypospray, apologizing and telling the nurse that he is afraid of injections. While being injected, he flashes back to a traumatic experience. Two Quarren guards are restraining him, whilst he is unwillingly injected by a Quarren doctor. He returns back to work, confused and disturbed.
- "First officer's log, Stardate 54584.3. Ensign Kim, Mr. Neelix, and I are returning to Voyager after five days of trading with the Nar Shaddan."
Ensign Kim is ill after being infected with alien parasites, after drinking falah nectar, a delicacy. Kim is angry at Neelix for making him drink it, and asks why he didn't make Commander Chakotay drink it. Neelix explains that Chakotay is a vegetarian; Kim is dismayed to realize the drink was made from meat ("more like a meat byproduct," notes Neelix). Neelix gives him a remedy, Leola bark tea, to help stop his queasy stomach, but as it smells really bad Kim decides to wait to see The Doctor. Chakotay summons the two to the bridge of the Delta Flyer II, and tells them that they are at the rendezvous coordinates, but there is no sign of Voyager, and they are not responding to hails. He orders them to start scanning on all frequencies.
Meanwhile, in a nebula, The Doctor is having problems repairing Voyager's systems. As he stands, his uniform is clearly command red instead of science blue. He commands the computer to reinitialize the subspace transponder, to which it replies that the main computer is failing. He tells it to switch to backup processors, which stabilizes the main computer. The Doctor reorders the computer to reinitialize the subspace transponder, but there is insufficient power. The Doctor tells the computer to reroute power from the replicator system, but the computer is unable to do so because the relays to the transponder have been fused. Extremely aggravated by the computer's apparent difficulty, he asks the computer what he can do. He asks if the relays can be bypassed, but they cannot, so he decides that he must replace them. Just as he is about to do so, the intruder alert activates, detecting two humanoids in the bridge; identification is not possible as sensor resolution is below 20%. The Doctor goes to the bridge, and finds two humanoids in environmental suits. He orders them stop their activities and to turn around, but quickly identifies them as Harry Kim and Chakotay. He greets them warmly, and apologizes for the lack of life support, but he wasn't expecting anyone soon. Chakotay asks what happened, and The Doctor informs them that about twelve hours after the Delta Flyer left on its away mission, things started to go wrong.
Voyager hit some sort of subspace mine, and The Doctor was forced to quickly transfer his program to the mobile emitter due to a systems failure in sickbay. After a few minutes, he was inundated with casualties of tetryon radiation poisoning. The captain asked him if he could treat his patients, to which he answered that he could only stabilize them, since they were still being exposed to the radiation. The captain ordered the patients and the crew to the escape pods, but ordered The Doctor to stay. Janeway then activated the ECH, engaging the emergency command subroutines in The Doctor's program and transferring all command codes to him. She said that he should vent the radiation from the ship, and that until he could, the crew would abandon the ship and the contaminated area around it, and head for the nearest habitable planet, attempting to compensate for professional medical care with med-kits, or the goodwill of nearby ships. As the ECH was about to start repairs, Voyager was locked onto with a tractor beam by an alien ship. The ECH hailed the ship, identifying himself and the ship, and told its captain to release Voyager. The captain refused to do so, and so The Doctor told Voyager to fire phasers at the alien ship's tractor emitter. The emitter was successfully destroyed and Voyager was released. Just as Voyager was about to escape at warp, its warp engines were disabled. The Doctor managed to disable the alien ship's engines with a phaser beam, avoiding pursuit. Another two incoming ships were detected, but The Doctor managed to evade them, hid in the nebula, and vented the radiation. Harry Kim comments on how hard it was to pick up his homing signal, and The Doctor says that he had to encrypt it because of the increasing number of ships he detected every time he attempted to leave the nebula. The Doctor says that he has no idea who the aliens were, but he does know that their weapons signatures match those of the mine, telling him that the mine was deployed by the aliens as a part of a trap. The rest of the crew has not been heard from since.
Tuvok is watching Kathryn Janeway work from afar. He flashes back again. This time, Janeway has just been rescued from her escape pod and is being treated by a Quarren doctor. He gives her an anti-radiation serum, and then starts to operate on her. Tuvok, who is in the same room as Janeway, lying on a sickbed, sees what the doctor is doing and asks why he is doing it. The doctor says that Janeway is suffering from Dysphoria Syndrome, which he assures Tuvok is perfectly treatable. Tuvok does not accept this explanation, and attempts to stop him from operating, but the Quarren doctor orders two guards to restrain him, and then sedates Tuvok. Back in the present, Tuvok walks up to Janeway, telling her that he believes they know each other. Janeway recognizes him as Tuvok, whom she met at the shift briefing a week ago. Tuvok talks about knowing her from before then, from the hospital, but Janeway does not know what he is talking about, and assumes that he is talking about someone else. Tuvok is, however, relentless, and asks her to try to remember the hospital, at which point, Jaffen interrupts and asks if something is wrong. Afraid that he may be deemed insane, or perhaps genuinely wrong, Tuvok stops persisting and apologizes. Jaffen asks Janeway if she would like to have dinner together again, but Janeway so far has not been impressed with his cooking skills. She compromises, and agrees to have dinner, as long as she can cook this time.
Tom Paris asks B'Elanna Torres, a customer in the bar, if she would like anything else, to which she replies no. Paris states that he hasn't seen Torres in the bar before, and she comments that he obviously isn't very observant, as she has been going there the same time every day for the two previous weeks. Paris explains to her that this is because he usually works nights. Torres replies that she does too, and Paris adds that she works at the Power Distribution facility, showing that he is observant. The bar manager summons Paris, and he replies that he will be there shortly. Paris, continuing his conversation with Torres, says that she should come back in on her next night off, as it is more fun when there is a crowd. Torres says that she doesn't like crowds. Paris then asks if she would like to go for a walk by the lake. Torres dislikes the idea, and Paris asks her why, stating that he is a very interesting conversationalist. As he says this, Torres stands up, displaying the fact that she is pregnant. She asks Paris if he would still like to go out with her. Paris asks if she is married, and she replies that she is not. Torres walks out, unhindered by Paris.
- "First officer's log, Stardate 54597.9. After restoring primary systems, we have left the nebulae to try and find the crew. Although there is still a lot of damage, we have been able to reconfigure our sensors to detect subspace mines. Ensign Kim has been running continuous scans, but there is still no sign of our people. On the bright side, the ships that were searching for us seem to have given up. With only four people on board, repairs are going slowly."
The Doctor manages to restore power to the secondary propulsion systems, when Harry Kim summons him to the astrometrics lab. The Doctor asks if he has had any luck in finding the crew. Kim informs him that he has scanned ships and planets in 83 systems, with no sign of Humans, Bolians, or Vulcans. The Doctor suggests that Kim increase the sensor range by tying them in with the main deflector, but Kim informs him that he has already done that. As The Doctor is about to give another suggestion, Kim interrupts him, and says that the reason he summoned him was to stop his queasiness, caused by the falah nectar. The Doctor says that he treated him days ago, but Kim tells him that whatever he did hasn't quite worked.
On the bridge, The Doctor informs Chakotay of his completed duties: repairing the deuterium injectors, restoring the secondary propulsion systems and soothing Harry Kim's upset tummy. Chakotay congratulates him, and then asks him to repair the ruptured plasma relays on deck 10, which The Doctor is reluctant to do. Chakotay asks him why, and the ECH says that he is the Emergency Command Hologram and therefore should be in the command center of Voyager, the bridge. Chakotay tells The Doctor that they must prioritize. Harry Kim interrupts, informing them that he has found the crew on an M-class planet that is within a three-day journey at maximum warp. Chakotay goes to visit astrometrics, giving The Doctor the command center.
Back on Quarra, Janeway is cooking dinner for Jaffen, saying that her food is only burnt on the outside, and that after cutting off the charred bits, it should taste fine. She adds that his cooking console (food replicator) is a little temperamental, and Jaffen wittingly asks if she tried talking to it. Jaffen gently lets down Janeway, telling her that her food is not that good. Janeway says that they should go out for food, but neither of them are hungry, and so stay in.
- "First officer's log, Stardate 54608.6. We've traced the crew's lifesigns to a large city on a planet called Quarra. Unfortunately, the local officials aren't being very cooperative."
An official tells Chakotay that after interviewing some of his so-called crewmembers, none of them remember a Chakotay or a Voyager. Chakotay asks if he can talk to the crewmembers himself, but the official states that the workers are protected by the laws on Quarra, apparently from unscrupulous individuals attempting to acquire skilled laborers. After some resistance, Chakotay ceases his attempt at negotiation, and asks Harry Kim to take Voyager out of orbit of Quarra. The Doctor says that they can't just leave them there, and Chakotay says that they won't, but that he wants the Quarrens to think they are.
Back on Quarra, Janeway and Jaffen are starting to realize their affection for one another. Paris and Torres are also forming a friendship, based around Torres' unborn baby. Torres says that she isn't looking for a romantic relationship, so Paris instead becomes her friend.
Neelix informs Chakotay and The Doctor that the eight captains that have left Quarra in the previous two weeks knew nothing about the previous Voyager crew, but all of the captains asked him if he was looking for employment, because of an apparent labor shortage in the system. Chakotay adds that the official said that most of the crew had jobs in the main power facility, and asks Neelix if he can find a job for them in the same facility. After The Doctor adds that reentering orbit may arouse suspicion, it is decided that they should take Neelix's ship instead. The Doctor also adds that Chakotay may be recognized, but Chakotay finds a way around that problem too: reconstructive surgery.
After some surgery to disguise his face, Neelix says that Chakotay should have posed as a Talaxian, as he thinks they would have made a striking pair, but apparently whiskers make him itch. Chakotay asks how the interview went, and Neelix says that they have been eagerly employed. Harry Kim hands a subdermal transponder to The Doctor, which he injects under Neelix's hand, allowing Voyager to keep an open comm link to him, which will also allow them to transport him through the shield grid if an emergency arises. Chakotay order Ensign Kim to hold position at maximum transporter range, and The Doctor questions Chakotay why he is leaving Kim in charge, because "an Emergency Command Hologram programmed with over 2,000,000 tactical subroutines outranks an ensign", to which Kim replies that "with a few words to the computer, this ensign can delete those subroutines". After some more quibbling, Chakotay orders the two of them to "work it out". Chakotay and Neelix depart for their new jobs on Quarra.
Meanwhile, on Quarra, the efficiency monitor, Annika Hansen, confronts employee 8583, Tuvok, asking him why he has neglected to report for his last three inoculations. After refusing to respond, she orders him to report to the infirmary. Tuvok, barely able to speak and sweating, says to Annika "Seven of Nine". She is confused, and Tuvok says that it is her designation. She is about to state her employee designation, but before she can finish, Tuvok initiates a Vulcan mind meld. Annika screams and struggles, and just before the guards can pull Tuvok away from her, she has a vision of herself stepping out of an alcove just after regeneration. Tuvok is dragged off, shouting: "I don't believe you are who you think you are. WE DON'T BELONG HERE! WE DON'T BELONG HERE! THIS ISN'T RIGHT! WE DON'T BELONG HERE!"
Neelix and Chakotay have started their first day of work at the main power facility on Quarra. The supervisor is not astounded by Chakotay's level 3 aptitude in microkinetics, and says he could work on it, but very impressed by his level 5 in thermionic conversion. The supervisor adds that they lost a thermioncs specialist the previous day. The supervisor is referring to Tuvok, but Chakotay is blind to this. As they walk, Chakotay notices at least one female crewman, but as she looks back at him, it's clear she doesn't recognize him. The supervisor describes the thermionic converters to Chakotay, stating that they run under rotating frequencies, and so have to be closely monitored, and that Chakotay must report his readings to the controller at regular intervals. However, Chakotay is distracted by Janeway returning to her station, and after realizing that Chakotay isn't listening, asks him why he isn't. Chakotay excuses himself by saying he's just excited to be there. Once the supervisor leaves him to his duties, he goes over to Janeway. He whispers to her, and says that it is Chakotay. However, he realizes that Janeway either doesn't know him, or is trying to remain undercover, and so starts to pretend that he is genuinely a new worker in the power facility. He says that the supervisor suggested that if he have any problems then he should speak to her. Janeway asks what he said his name was, and he says it was Chakotay, but that was only his nickname, and his real name was Amal Kotay. Janeway says that she is happy to help in anyway she can.
Meanwhile, in the infirmary, Tuvok is about to be sedated, to be operated again. Kadan, a doctor in the infirmary, tries to convince him that he is experiencing a relapse of Dysphoria Syndrome. Tuvok struggles, but it is all in vain, as he is sedated and operated upon.
In the bar, Paris and Neelix are discussing how lucky Paris was to find this job after losing his position at the power plant. Torres is at the other side of the room talking to the expectant parents that Paris found for her to talk to. Paris is very distracted by this, but continues to talk about how losing that job was the best thing that ever happened to him. He says that there were too many rules and regulations, which Neelix describes like working on a starship. Paris asks if he has ever done that, and Neelix boasts that he used to be the captain of a cargo vessel. Neelix questions Paris as to if he has worked on a starship, but Paris says that space travel makes him sick. Neelix asks if he knows most of the customers, and Paris states that he knows a lot of them, and describes the bar as a great place to work; Neelix answers that it certainly looks that way. Just as he offers to put in a good word for Neelix to his boss for a job, Chakotay walks in. Neelix introduces him to Paris using his alias, Amal Kotay, and introduces Chakotay to "his new friend, Tom Paris". Neelix reports to Chakotay that he has been assigned to the primary fusion chamber, where Ensigns Celes and Mulcahey were also assigned to work. He adds that none of them recognized him. Chakotay, expressing a similar experience, bets that they all really love their jobs. Neelix states that it is like "they've all been programmed to be happy" on Quarra. Chakotay states that it is a safe bet that none of them will go willingly.
Janeway and Jaffen enter and she invites Chakotay and his friend (Neelix) to join them. Chakotay accepts, but Jaffen says to Janeway that he was thinking of eating alone tonight. Chakotay accepts this, and as she walks out, Janeway expresses to Jaffen that what he just did was rude. Jaffen excuses himself, saying that he wanted to talk to her about something. As Torres is about to leave, Tom runs up to her, and asks if he can walk her to the transport. Torres says that she will be fine, and Paris adds that he isn't worried that she won't be fine. Torres reassures him, saying that the baby will be fine too. She gives him a warm smile as she leaves.
Jaffen awkwardly asks Janeway if she would like to move in with him. After some awkward discussion, she agrees.
Torres, walking home alone, starts cautiously looking around; Neelix is stalking her. She looks around instead of watching where she's going and runs into Chakotay, who is walking the other way. After some quick apologies, he calls her by her name, as if she is someone who he met a long time ago, and she is surprised. Torres asks him how he knew her name, and he insinuates that they are old friends. She makes up an excuse about work and tries to leave. Chakotay grabs her and stops her from leaving, and tells Torres that he won't harm her. She manages to loosen his grip, but Neelix comes up behind her and grabs her. She struggles and screams for security to help; Chakotay hails Kim on Voyager and orders him to beam Neelix and Torres up to sickbay as The Doctor head there himself. As the two are being transported, two Quarren security officers arrive and attempt to stop Chakotay.
The security officers chase Chakotay down the street. Chakotay requests an emergency transport, but Harry Kim reports that Voyager is under attack by two Quarren vessels and he had to raise the shields. In sickbay, The Doctor is trying to sedate Torres while Neelix holds her still. After a moment of struggling, the sedative takes effect.
The officers continue to chase Chakotay, but he eventually reaches a dead-end, standing on an open platform surrounded by a force field with security guards on their way and nowhere to go.
"Maybe all those command subroutines are compromising your medical abilities."
"Maybe all that sarcasm is compromising your natural charm."
- - Harry Kim and The Doctor
"I've repaired the deuterium injectors, brought secondary propulsion back online, and soothed Ensign Kim's upset tummy."
- - The Doctor and Chakotay
"And a terrible joke teller."
- - Janeway and Jaffen, on Tuvok
"A sick worker is not an efficient worker."
- - Seven of Nine
"I still think you should have posed as a Talaxian, we would have made a striking pair."
"Whiskers make me itch."
- - Neelix and Chakotay
"Seven of Nine."
"Seven of Nine. Your designation."
"My employee number is 8586. Take your hands off me! Call security!"
"I don't believe you are who you think you are! We don't belong here! We don't belong here! This isn't right! We don't belong here!"
- - Tuvok and Seven of Nine
Background information Edit
- Among the aliens on Quarra whom Voyager had met previously were Kraylor, Benkarans, Brunali, and a somewhat more purple species that closely resembled the Benzites.
- Ensign Golwat can be seen several times in this episode, such as when Tom Paris flirts with her in the restaurant, or with Captain Janeway on the elevator in the teaser.
- The Quarren starship's bridge is a minor redress of the Voyager crew quarters set.
- The Quarren vessel that attacks Voyager in this episode is actually a modified re-use of the CGI model of a Breen warship which appeared in various episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- The Doctor becomes the Emergency Command Hologram for the second time in the series. He doesn't have any pips this time.
- For the second time in the series, The Doctor is the only one left on Voyager that can do anything, and other crew members are off-ship. The first time was "Macrocosm" when the crew was incapacitated.
- Several costumes and props from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including eight unused Quarren uniform patches,  a Quarren med tech jacket,  the costume of Ken Gruz,  and a gold two piece jumpsuit. 
- Iona Morris (Umali) previously played an Only girl in TOS: "Miri". She is the elder sister of fellow Voyager guest star Phil Morris.
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 7.8, 1 October 2001
- As part of the VOY Season 7 DVD collection
- This episode was nominated for two Emmy Awards: Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Dramatic Underscore) (Dennis McCarthy) and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series. It lost both to VOY: "Endgame".
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
- Iona Morris as Umali
- Tom Virtue as a Supervisor
- Michael Behrens as Coyote
- Matt Williamson as Security Officer #2
- Akemi Royer as Med Tech
- Robert Mammana as Security Officer #1
- Majel Barrett as the Computer Voice
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- David Keith Anderson as Ashmore
- John Austin as Starfleet officer
- Amy Kate Connolly as female Kaitlen
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Dieter Hornemann as male Kaitlen
- Shauna Kim as patient
- Joyce Lasley as Lydia Anderson
- Deborah Levin as Lang
- Mark Major as alien worker
- James Pearson as alien
- Keith Rayve as a command division officer
- Richard Sarstedt as William McKenzie
- Noriko Suzuki as alien worker
- Unknown performers as
backflip; Baxial; Benkaran; Bolians; Celes, Tal; cooking console; curfew; Delta Flyer II; dermal regenerator; deuterium injector; Dralian; Dysphoria Syndrome; Earth; Emergency Command Hologram; evasive pattern; express lift; falah nectar; Federation; Hazari; intruder alert; itch; Kaitlen; Kotay, Amal; latara broth; leola bark tea; metric ton; microkinetics; Mulcahey; Nar Shaddan; nebula; Norvalian; parasite; plasma conduit; power relay; quantum fusion; Quarra; Quarren; radiation poisoning; reactor coil; subdermal transponder; subspace mine; subspace transponder; Talaxian; tetryon radiation; thermionic converter; thermodynamics; transport; tylium; vegetarian; Vulcans
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"Workforce, Part II"