Twisted
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: Oct 2 1995

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

(Kes enters. It is dark and quiet.)
KES: Hello? Anybody here? Neelix?
(The lights come on.)
ALL: Surprise!
NEELIX: Surprise! Happy birthday, my sweet.
JANEWAY: Happy birthday, Kes.
NEELIX: Imagine, two years old today. If you ask me, you don't look a day over one.
KES: Why was everyone hiding?
PARIS: Oh, it's an old Earth custom called a surprise party.
JANEWAY: Sorry if we startled you.
KES: No, I liked it. It was very exhilarating.
NEELIX: Now, how about a glass of my special birthday punch? Garçon?
(The bartender is the EMH, in beret and smock.)
EMH: On the rocks or straight up?
KES: Doctor! I'm so glad you're here.
(Sandrine drapes herself over the EMH's shoulders.)
SANDRINE: My new bartender. Handsome, isn't he?
EMH: I'm here in an official capacity, of course. In case of a medical emergency.
KES: Emergency?
EMH: Surprises have been known to cause acute hyperventilation, oesophageal spasms and in extreme cases, even coronary arrest. One can never be too careful.

[Bridge]

KIM: I've completed the sensor diagnostic, Lieutenant. All systems are fully operational.
TUVOK: Very good, Ensign.
KIM: And I've recalibrated the accelerometer relays.
TUVOK: Acknowledged.
KIM: Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?
TUVOK: I presume this notable impatience is due to your desire to attend the festivities in Holodeck two.
KIM: Yes, sir.
TUVOK: May I remind you that your duty shift does not officially terminate for another thirty four minutes? However, I believe the holodeck power conduits would benefit from a routine inspection.
KIM: Yes, sir! I'll get right on it.
TUVOK: All stop. Mister Kim.
(There is something fuzzy on the viewscreen.)
KIM: What is that?
TUVOK: Magnify. I am afraid that holodeck inspection will have to wait, Ensign.

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

NEELIX: Wait till you taste this cake. Seven layers of Jibelian fudge, and the icing is made from pureed l'maki nuts, Kes's favourite.
JANEWAY: Now make a wish and blow out the candles.
KES: What do I wish for?
SANDRINE: Anything your petit coeur desires, ma cherie. And with a figure like hers, she'll probably get it too.
KES: Okay, I wish for
TORRES: Don't tell us! The wish has to be a secret if it's going to come true.
(Kes blows out her two candles and everyone applauds.)
GAUNT GARY: I hate to interrupt this tender little moment, Tommy boy, but don't you think it's about time we shot a rack?
PARIS: In a minute. Birthday gifts are also an Earth tradition.
KES: Oh, thank you, Tom. You didn't have to.
PARIS: Hey, who am I to fly in the face of tradition?
(It is a pendant.)
KES: Tom, it's beautiful. It must have cost you a week's worth of replicator rations.
PARIS: Two weeks actually, but who's counting? I'm just glad you like it.
JANEWAY: May I? Oh, that's lovely. You see, it's a locket. You put little photographs in here. It keeps the people you love close to your heart.
(Chakotay gets a glass of punch at the bar.)
CHAKOTAY: Thank you.
NEELIX: Did you see that?
CHAKOTAY: See what?
NEELIX: He. He. He did a lovely wrapping job, don't you think?
TUVOK [OC]: Bridge to Janeway.
JANEWAY: Go ahead, Lieutenant.
TUVOK [OC]: Captain, we have encountered an unusual phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon. Phenomenon.
(Tuvok's voice continues to echo around the holodeck.)
JANEWAY: What is going on, Lieutenant?
TORRES: It might simply be a localised malfunction, but I've never heard anything like it. My guess is
(Peace is restored.)
TORRES: It's a problem with the comm. system itself.
JANEWAY: Janeway to Bridge. Get down to Engineering and run a diagnostic. I'm afraid we're going to have to cut your party short, Kes. Stations, everyone. Let's move.
NEELIX: But, but, what about the Jibelian fudge cake?
JANEWAY: Save me a slice, won't you?

[Bridge]

KIM: These readings indicate the space ahead of us is literally changing shape. My best guess is it's some type of spatial distortion wave.
TUVOK: Is the anomaly responsible for the comm. system malfunction?
KIM: I think so. It's generating intense pulses of EM radiation, and if we don't get out of its way, it's going to intercept us in less than ten minutes.
TUVOK: Acknowledged. Full reverse, Ensign.
CREWWOMAN: Aye, sir.
KIM: We can't go backwards either, Mister Tuvok. The distortion has completely surrounded us like a ring.
TUVOK: If we can not go around it, then we will have to go through it.
KIM: There's no telling what that will do to the ship.
TUVOK: From what you have told me, Ensign, the distortion ring will make contact with us momentarily whether we attempt to pass through it or not. I prefer to minimise the amount of time that contact lasts. Shields at maximum. Warp three. Engage.
KIM: The distortion ring has collapsed the warp field. Engines are offline.
TUVOK: Find the Captain and inform her of our status.
KIM: Yes, sir.

[Corridor]

BAXTER: Ensign Kim, I've been trying to report a problem in the gym, but the comm. system seems to be down.
KIM: We've encountered a spatial distortion. It's knocked out several systems.
BAXTER: Maybe that explains why the gym got so cold.
KIM: Cold?
BAXTER: I didn't notice it at first. I was working out so hard. Then I realised it was under ten degrees C. The environmental controls didn't respond to my commands and neither did the comm. system.
KIM: Engines are offline too. I'm looking for the Captain to let her know what's going on.
BAXTER: Should I report to my duty station?
KIM: It might not be a bad idea. Until we find out exactly what's going on, everybody should be on standby.
BAXTER: I'll round up my security team.

[Turbolift]

JANEWAY: The first thing I want to do when we get to the Bridge is establish a remote comm. link to Engineering. I want to know exactly what's going on.
CHAKOTAY: Aye, Captain.
JANEWAY: Where are we?
PARIS: Deck four.
CHAKOTAY: If the comm. system's malfunctioning, the computer could be misreading our voice commands.
PARIS: That might explain why it took us here instead of the Bridge.
JANEWAY: We'd better try setting the controls manually.

[Corridor]

NEELIX: Did you enjoy your first surprise party, sweeting?
KES: It was wonderful. Thank you.
NEELIX: I thought you'd like it. The cake, the presents. What was your favourite part?
KES: I suppose what I liked best was that all my friends were there.
NEELIX: Ah, that was nice, wasn't it? And don't forget that beautiful necklace Tom Paris gave you.
KES: Do you really like it?
NEELIX: Oh, why wouldn't I like it? Paris obviously has excellent taste.
KES: I was afraid you might be a little jealous.
NEELIX: Who, me? Don't be silly.
KES: Are you sure?
NEELIX: You, my dearest, have seen the last of that green-eyed pus hog called jealousy.
KES: I'm glad.
NEELIX: Of course, Paris did replicate that locket, whereas I baked the Jibelian fudge cake from scratch.
KES: These aren't my quarters. Did we take a wrong turn somewhere?
NEELIX: I was just following you.

[Mess hall]

(Torres marches in and stops dead.)
CREWMAN: Is everything all right, Lieutenant?
TORRES: This isn't Engineering.

[Turbolift]

JANEWAY: And have someone take a look at the turbolift voice receptors, Commander.
CHAKOTAY: Aye, Captain.
JANEWAY: This is Engineering. What's going on here?
CHAKOTAY: It looks like we're dealing with more than just a comm. system malfunction.
JANEWAY: Computer, Bridge.

[Transporter room]

(All these ship's corridors look alike.)
TORRES: Baxter, what are you doing here?
BAXTER: I wish I knew. I'm trying to get to the cargo bay.
TORRES: And I'm trying to get to Engineering.
BAXTER: I can't find the cargo bay, and I can't find my security team. I've been wandering around for about ten minutes.
TORRES: Well, at least I know I'm not crazy. Unless we both are.
BAXTER: No, something very strange is going on. Ensign Kim said we'd encountered a spatial distortion.
TORRES: Did he say what kind?
BAXTER: No, he went to find the Captain.
TORRES: The Captain is on her way to the Bridge. But if she's having the same trouble we are, who knows if she can get there. I'm going to keep trying to get to Engineering.
BAXTER: Good luck.

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

(The EMH appears.)
EMH: The holodeck again?
SANDRINE: Ah ha!
EMH: This is infuriating.
SANDRINE: Oh, stop playing games, ma cherie. I know why you keep coming back to work, even though your bartending shift is over. It's to see me, of course.
EMH: How many times do I have to tell you, madam? I am a doctor, not a bartender.
SANDRINE: Of course you are.
(Sandrine gets her lips on his, just as Kim enters.)
KIM: Doc?
EMH: Ensign Kim. I was just, er
SANDRINE: Playing doctor. Hi.
EMH: The Captain and the others went to investigate the phenomenon Mister Tuvok reported.
KIM: So all of you heard his report before the comm. system failed?
EMH: Only a fraction of it.
KIM: Well, I'm sure Tuvok's filled them in with the rest by now. What are you still doing on the holodeck, besides playing doctor, that is?
EMH: For your information, I have been attempting to transfer myself back to Sickbay. But each time I try, I reappear here.
KIM: That's strange.
EMH: Not to mention extremely irritating. I can't seem to shut down Mister Paris's holoprogram either.
KIM: Computer, end holodeck programme Paris Three. Computer, arch. Either the holoemitters are malfunctioning or the computer's not accepting voice commands. I'm sorry, Doctor. I don't have time to help you right now.
EMH: Wait just a minute.
KIM: Hmm?
EMH: What do you think you're going.
KIM: I've got to get back to the Bridge. We're in the middle of a crisis.
EMH: All the more reason I should be back in Sickbay. I'm sure that the Captain and the others will be able to do without you for a few more minutes.
KIM: I guess you're right. I'll have a look at the holocontrols.

[Corridor]

(Neelix reads the signs by the doors.)
NEELIX: Kyoto's quarters. Nicoletti. Hargrove. Ayala.
KES: None of those are anywhere near my quarters.
NEELIX: This is deck eight. That's where your quarters are.
KES: But Hargrove and Ayala are on deck seven. Nicoletti is on four and I think Kyoto is on six.
NEELIX: How do you know where everyone's quarters are?
KES: I just remember.
NEELIX: Remember from what? Have you been in all their quarters?
KES: Of course not. The point is, those quarters can't all be on the same deck.
NEELIX: Well, see for yourself.
KES: This can't be.
NEELIX: Perhaps, sweeting, your memory isn't as reliable as you think.
KES: This is impossible. I know Hargrove is on seven.
NEELIX: Why Hargrove?
KES: What?
NEELIX: Why are you so sure about Hargrove's quarters? What makes him so special?
KES: He's not special. I just remember where his quarters are. This way. It has to be this way.

[Outside the holodeck]

(Kim is working on the controls.)
TORRES: Harry.
KIM: B'Elanna, shouldn't you be in Engineering? What are you doing here?
TORRES: Just answer one question, Starfleet. Where is here?
KIM: What?
TORRES: Where am I?
KIM: Outside Holodeck two. Are you feeling okay?
TORRES: I have been walking in circles for the past twenty minutes trying to get to Engineering.
(And around the corner comes -)
NEELIX: Kes, my sweet, you have many wonderful attributes. Your sense of direction is not one of them, because. Oh, er, Harry, B'Elanna. Maybe you can help us. I know you'll find this hard to believe, but we can't seem to find Kes's quarters.
(Janeway, Paris and Chakotay come out of the turbolift.)
PARIS: I don't suppose anyone here knows the way to the Bridge?

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

(The bar is an impromptu briefing room, with Gaunt Gary playing pool and an accordion player making music in the background.)
JANEWAY: Let me get this straight. This distortion ring has completely immobilised us. We have no means of communication with the Bridge or any other part of the ship. And no matter where any of us have tried to go, the Bridge, Engineering, Kes's quarters, we've all eventually ended up here right back at deck six.
KIM: The bridge is on deck one. Engineering is on deck eleven. deck six is halfway in between, right?
CHAKOTAY: So?
KIM: So if we're being surrounded by this ring, maybe it's pushing us all to the centre of the ship.
TORRES: But it's not just that we're being led back here. I mean, rooms are in the wrong place. Is it possible that this distortion ring is somehow changing the layout of the ship?
EMH: There is another possibility. Exposure to some types of EM radiation has been known to cause hallucinations. Perhaps it's not the ship that's undergone changes but rather your perception of it. Unfortunately, without my medical equipment to analyse your optic nerves, there's no way to tell.
JANEWAY: We'll never figure it out sitting here. We need more information about this phenomenon. Sensor readings, computer analyses. We have to find a way back to the Bridge.
TORRES: If we can't get back on foot or on the turbolift, maybe we can rig a site to site transport. Beam ourselves to the Bridge.
CHAKOTAY: We'd have to get to a transporter room first.
TORRES: Or to Engineering, wherever that is.
PARIS: When we tried to go to the Bridge, one of the places the turbolift took us was Engineering. Maybe if we repeated our steps, it'll take us back there.
JANEWAY: It's worth a shot. Lieutenant Paris, you're with Torres.
KIM: Maybe we can get to the Bridge through a Jefferies tube. If I remember my ship specs correctly, there should be an emergency access conduit which leads directly from this deck to deck one right behind the Bridge.
CHAKOTAY: I'd like to keep trying to get to the Bridge on foot. If the ship has been reconfigured somehow, I can get a deck by deck picture of what it looks like as I go.
PARIS: What's going to keep you from getting lost?
CHAKOTAY: I'll get a tricorder from the storage locker, rig it to emit a photoplasmic trail.
JANEWAY: Right. We should all get tricorders. Set them on active scan. Gather as much information as we can about what's happening to the ship.
EMH: May I request that Kes be allowed to stay here with me? Beside helping stave off the predatory advances of that woman, she may be able to help me find a way to transfer myself back to Sickbay.
NEELIX: And, er, I'll assist Commander Chakotay, Captain. As you may have heard, my tracking skills are legendary throughout the quadrant.
JANEWAY: That all right with you, Commander? Mister Kim, I'm with you. Let's do it.
(Neelix kisses Kes.)
KES: Be careful.

[Turbolift]

TORRES: Are you sure this is how you got there before?
PARIS: Relax, will you? So far, we're right on schedule. The next stop should be

[Engineering]

PARIS: Voila! Engineering.
TORRES: Finally! Let's get to work. We've got an emergency situation on board ship. I don't have time to go into details. But you're all to remain at your posts until otherwise notified, whether or not your duty shifts are over. Ensign, prepare to configure transporter systems for a site to site transport. I've got to reset the pattern buffer controls. In the meantime, why don't you check the targeting scanners?
(Torres opens a door and looks at a crewman in his underwear, evidently in the privacy of his own quarters.)
TORRES: Crewman! There's an emergency situation aboard ship. Just stay right where you are. That's an order.
(She closes the door.)
PARIS: I think you handled that very well, Lieutenant.

[Corridor]

NEELIX: Commander, I would imagine you've had some experience with women.
CHAKOTAY: Some.
NEELIX: Oh, come now. Ha! A handsome man like you. I bet women find you irresistible.
CHAKOTAY: Neelix, what's this about?
NEELIX: Er, er, er, have you, er, but have you ever been jealous?
CHAKOTAY: Of course.
NEELIX: You have?
CHAKOTAY: I imagine most people who've been in love have been jealous at one time or another.
NEELIX: I see. It's a perfectly normal response. Then why, why is it so unpleasant?
CHAKOTAY: Jealousy's about the fear of losing someone we love. There's no pain greater than that. Neelix, are you afraid you're going to lose Kes to someone?
NEELIX: No. I mean, I don't think so. At least I certainly hope not. I just can't seem to stop these awful feelings.
CHAKOTAY: Nothing makes us more vulnerable than when we love someone. We can be hurt very easily. But I've always believed that what you get when you love someone is greater than what you risk.
BAXTER: Commander, am I ever glad to see you. Do you have any idea what's going on here?
CHAKOTAY: Not exactly.
BAXTER: Well, I feel like I've been wandering around for hours. I can't find the cargo bay.
CHAKOTAY: Have you seen anyone else? Any more of the crew?
BAXTER: Some people roaming around like me. A couple of times I wound up in the Mess Hall. There were quite a few people there.
CHAKOTAY: I suggest you make your way back. Tell everyone you run into to come with you, and all of you stay put in the Mess Hall. When we figure out what's going on, we'll let you know.
BAXTER: Aye, Commander.
(Baxter goes back the way he came. Neelix and Chakotay carry on.)
TUVOK: Gentlemen.
CHAKOTAY: Tuvok, what are you doing here?
TUVOK: That is an interesting question, Commander. I am not certain how I arrived at this location.
CHAKOTAY: You're lost too.
TUVOK: Indeed. When I received no word from you or the Captain, I left Lieutenant Ayala in command and came to look for you myself.
CHAKOTAY: Can you lead us back to the Bridge?
TUVOK: I do not believe so. When I first realised I was lost, I attempted to retrace my steps only to find myself here.
CHAKOTAY: None of us has been able to reach the Bridge. In fact, Neelix and I can't seem to get off deck six.
TUVOK: Strange, I thought we were on deck three.
CHAKOTAY: What was our status when you left the Bridge?
TUVOK: The ring has penetrated our shields and is now in direct contact with the hull.
CHAKOTAY: Then maybe it is possible the distortions are somehow reconfiguring the ship.
(Neelix wanders off back along the corridor.)
TUVOK: As improbable as it sounds, that would appear to be the case.
CHAKOTAY: Neelix, let's go. Neelix?
(Neelix is nowhere in sight.)

[Jefferies tube]

KIM: I don't understand it. We should have found the hatch to the Bridge ten minutes ago. I feel like we're crawling in circles.
JANEWAY: But we haven't, at least not according to this tricorder. Odd.
KIM: What is it?
JANEWAY: A very faint electromagnetic reading. Now it's gone. There it is from another direction.
KIM: Yeah, I'm getting it too.
JANEWAY: It comes and goes, jumps from place to place.
KIM: Could it be evidence of the ship's reconfiguration?
JANEWAY: Possibly. We'll have to compare this data with readings the others get. Harry?
KIM: Yes, ma'am.
JANEWAY: I just want you to know you've been one of the bright spots of this whole mission. You've exceeded any expectations I might have had of you.
KIM: Thank you, Captain. I appreciate that. Wait a minute. Down there. I think that's the conduit leading to the Bridge.
JANEWAY: Good work. Maybe now we'll get some answers.
KIM: That's the hatch, Captain. This should let us out in the cargo hold directly behind the Bridge.
JANEWAY: It's not working.
KIM: We better try it manually.
(Janeway can't open the hatch.)
JANEWAY: It's stuck.
(The hatch flies open and Janeway's arm goes through.)
KIM: Captain!
(The Jefferies tube beyond and Janeway's arm are distorted and twisting. It is clearly uncomfortable. Kim tries to pull her back.)
JANEWAY: I can't get my arm out!
(Kim manages to heave her back, then shuts the hatch.)
JANEWAY: I think I'm okay.
KIM: I'm reading an intense electromagnetic charge on the other side of that hatch. That must have been what was pulling you in.
JANEWAY: It's as if everything on the other side is in a state of structural flux. The walls, the atmosphere.
KIM: And the sequence of those fluctuations matches the readings from the distortion ring. This phenomenon isn't just occurring in space. It's definitely inside the ship as well.
JANEWAY: We're going to have to regroup and come up with a plan for combating this thing.
KIM: Captain, what's wrong?
JANEWAY: I don't know. Oh! Oh, my eyes!
KIM: Captain? Captain!

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

GAUNT GARY: Come on, pal. One lousy game. Spot you six balls.
EMH: I'm not programmed to play games.
SANDRINE: If he won't play pool with you and he won't make love to me, then as far as I'm concerned, he can mop the floor.
EMH: You see these hands? These are surgeon's hands, created by the most sophisticated computer imaging technology available. They do not play games, and they do not mop floors.
SANDRINE: Then you are fired. I will find a new bartender.
EMH: I really wish you would.
(Kes runs in.)
KES: Doctor!
EMH: Oh, please tell me you've had some success in reinitialising the holoemitters.
KES: I did exactly what you told me, but it didn't work.
EMH: Of course not.
KES: I'm starting to get worried about Neelix. What's taking them so long?
SANDRINE: Ah, trust me, cherie. You are better off without him. All men are alike. In the end, they always break your heart.
KIM: Can I get some help here?
(Kim carries Janeway in.)
EMH: What happened to her?
KIM: She came into contact with the spatial distortions in the Jefferies Tube. She seemed fine for a couple of minutes, but then she started to fade in and out of consciousness.

[Corridor]

TUVOK: I believe we should go this way, Commander.
CHAKOTAY: What makes you say that?
TUVOK: If we are indeed trapped in some sort of labyrinth, then the logical course is to systematically eliminate all routes which do not lead us to our desired destination. The route that remains will be the correct one. Since we have been making a series of right turns, we should continue to do so, until we are certain this path is not the proper one.
CHAKOTAY: There's a flaw in your logic.
TUVOK: How so, Commander?
CHAKOTAY: You're assuming there's a logical pattern to this maze we're caught in, but so far I haven't seen any evidence of that.
TUVOK: Even within chaotic systems, there is a pattern of limited predictability.
CHAKOTAY: By the time we figure that pattern out, these distortions may have completely overrun the ship.
TUVOK: That is a possibility.
CHAKOTAY: The important thing is for at least one of us to make it back to the Bridge. So why don't you go your way and I'll go mine? That way we'll increase the chances that one of us will be successful.
TUVOK: As you wish, Commander.
(They head in opposite directions, and meet again at the next intersection.)
CHAKOTAY: Tell me something, Tuvok. What does your logic tell you about navigating a maze that's constantly changing shape?

[Engineering]

PARIS: Scanners check out.
TORRES: Then we're ready to give it a try. Activate the auxiliary pattern buffers.
PARIS: Pattern buffers activated.
TORRES: Targeting the Bridge coordinates. Scanners locked. Energise.

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

(Paris and Torres beam onto the pool table. Chakotay and Tuvok are also there.)
GAUNT GARY: Would you mind moving your foot, Tommy boy? It's blocking my shot.
CHAKOTAY: Tell me you already made it to the Bridge, and you've come back here to give us a status report.
TORRES: We locked onto the Bridge coordinates, but this is where we ended up. None of you had any luck either?
TUVOK: Not only has no one been able to reach the Bridge, but the Captain came into contact with the spatial distortion and is now unconscious.
CHAKOTAY: That's not all. We lost Neelix too.
PARIS: Lost him?
CHAKOTAY: He turned a corner, and he was just gone. We think the spatial distortions are continuously changing the configuration of the corridors.
TORRES: Kes must be worried sick.
KIM: And it isn't just Neelix who's missing. Where's the rest of the crew?
TUVOK: It is likely that they too are trapped in other parts of the ship, cut off from communication and unable to find their way out.
PARIS: So what do we do now?
CHAKOTAY: This wave is obviously causing some kind of radical reconfiguration of the ship. We've got to try to reverse it. If not, we may never be able to get to the Bridge.
TORRES: How are we supposed to reverse something we don't understand? No matter where we go, we end up here. Corridors are realigning. Rooms are in the wrong place. What's the pattern?
TUVOK: We would certainly benefit from having an accurate picture of what the ship currently looks like. That way we would have a better chance of getting where we want to go.
KIM: Maybe we could make a map.
CHAKOTAY: Ensign?
KIM: One good thing about all the wandering we've been doing is that we've been collecting a lot of tricorder data about the structural changes that have been taking place.
TORRES: And if we fed all that information into the central database, the computer might be able to extrapolate a schematic of the ship as it's configured now.
CHAKOTAY: What are we waiting for?

[Outside the holodeck]

(Vessel status 0553 is on the control panel.)
KIM: The computer has analysed all our tricorder data, so this ought to be pretty close to what it looks like now.
PARIS: It's as if the entire ship is being compressed and twisted.
TORRES: My guess is it's more than just a distortion ring. It looks like some sort of spatial implosion that's slowly crushing us.
CHAKOTAY: Look, this part of the ship seems unaffected.
KIM: That's deck six where we are.
TUVOK: Correct, Ensign. However, the area we occupying will not remain unaffected indefinitely.
CHAKOTAY: How long?
TUVOK: Based on the rate of implosion thus far, I estimate the ring will crush deck six in approximately sixty eight minutes.

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

PARIS: Is this implosion ring some kind of weapon? Are we under attack?
KIM: Who'd want to attack us and why?
TUVOK: There is no clear evidence of an intelligence behind the phenomenon. It is still possible we are dealing with a naturally occurring anomaly which does not conform to the known laws of physics.
TORRES: Don't you think it's a little late to be speculating on who or what this thing is? The important thing now is that we find out some way of stopping it.
CHAKOTAY: B'Elanna's right. It seems to me we've got two options. One, we find a way to get ourselves out of this implosion ring, or two, we find some way of reversing it.
KIM: Invert the effect. Turn the implosion into an explosion.
CHAKOTAY: Exactly.
TORRES: If I can get back to Engineering, I may be able to generate a shock pulse strong enough to do just that. Of course, I'd have to raise the pressure in the warp core to near critical.
KIM: A shock pulse of that magnitude would create a subatomic particle shower all over the ship.
TUVOK: Which could set off a chain reaction that would cause not only the ring to explode outward but Voyager along with it.
TORRES: Not if I can precisely tune the shock pulse to the distortion frequency of the ring.
TUVOK: That would be exceptionally difficult.
TORRES: If we don't give this a try, we're going to get crushed anyway. Personally, I'd rather go down fighting.
TUVOK: I must remind you that with the comm. system down, we will have no effective means of alerting the rest of the crew to a potentially lethal particle shower.
CHAKOTAY: Do you have another suggestion, Mister Tuvok?
TUVOK: I believe it would be safer to attempt to access the navigational array and from there engage thrusters to steer us out of the ring.
KIM: Can't we try both?
TORRES: It's much too dangerous to have someone working at the navigational array during a shock pulse.
PARIS: Besides, this ship is so contorted, there's no reason to expect we'd have any navigational control.
CHAKOTAY: All right, B'Elanna. Let's give your plan a shot. You
TUVOK: Commander Chakotay?
CHAKOTAY: Yes, Lieutenant?
TUVOK: I feel compelled to point out that in my many years of experience as Captain Janeway's tactical officer, she often demonstrated a tendency to follow my
CHAKOTAY: In case you haven't noticed, Captain Janeway's not in any condition to make decisions. I'm in command. Is that understood?
TUVOK: Yes, sir.
CHAKOTAY: Good. B'Elanna, you and Harry get down to Engineering. Evacuate whoever's on duty, then initiate the warp pulse. Move it.

[Engineering]

KIM: Dilithium matrix stable. Matter-antimatter reactor is at eighty percent of critical.
TORRES: Let's keep it that way!
KIM: Warp core pressure is at thirty six megapascals and rising.
TORRES: When it reaches fifty three, it'll trigger the shock pulse. We should get out of here by the time it hits fifty!
KIM: Acknowledged! Pressure at forty one megapascals and rising. I'm reading a microfracture in the dilithium matrix.
TORRES: Attempting to compensate.
KIM: Fracture sealed. Forty four megapascals!

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

(The place is shaking.)
CHAKOTAY: They're heating up the warp core. They must be close to initiating the shock burst. Everybody take cover.

[Engineering]

KIM: Forty seven! Forty eight! Forty nine!
TORRES: Let's move!

[Corridor]

(They run. There is a Whumph! then everything goes still.)
TORRES: Well, in spite of Tuvok's dire predictions, we haven't blown the ship to pieces, have we?
KIM: No, and radiation levels are within acceptable tolerance.
TORRES: Good. Let's get in there and see if we had any luck dispersing this implosion ring.
KIM: Hold it!
TORRES: What?
KIM: I'm reading a massive distortion behind the door.
(The door to Engineering starts to distort.)
TORRES: I don't think it's just behind the door.
KIM: The ring's completely engulfed Engineering.

[Holodeck - Sandrine's]

CHAKOTAY: Can I talk to her?
EMH: I can't guarantee she'll hear you, or be able to understand you if she does.
CHAKOTAY: Captain!
(Janeway opens her eyes and speaks.)
JANEWAY: Dark. Gan.
CHAKOTAY: What's wrong with her?
EMH: It's possible the spatial distortions have damaged her speech centre, (Janeway hears gibberish) her neural pathways.
TORRES: Chakotay, it didn't work.
KIM: Instead of forcing the implosion outward, the pulse is drawing it in at a faster rate.
PARIS: You're saying it made things worse?
KIM: I don't think we have more than a few minutes.
TORRES: Paris, we have to get to the navigational array and give Tuvok's plan a try.
TUVOK: I'm afraid there's no longer time for that.
TORRES: Why not?
(The distortion is affecting the holodeck.)
PARIS: We're not going anywhere.
(Tuvok scans the encroaching distortion while Torres and Kim work at the holodeck controls.)
PARIS: Do you really think it's possible to project a stable holographic force field?
TORRES: We've tried everything else. Ready? Here we go.
(A forcefield appears, flickers and disappears.)
TUVOK: The distortion is unaffected by the force field.
TORRES: We've got to figure out a way to generate a stable field.
CHAKOTAY: B'Elanna, this ring has passed through the shields, crushed the hull, twisted the ship. We'll never get enough power from the holoemitters to stop it.
TORRES: What are you saying? We're out of options?
TUVOK: Perhaps not. So far, we have been unsuccessful in all our attempts to either explain or combat this phenomenon. And according to my calculations, the space we are currently occupying will implode in approximately three minutes seventeen seconds.
TORRES: You said there was another option.
TUVOK: We do nothing.
TORRES: Excuse me?
CHAKOTAY: Are you suggesting we just let it crush us?
TUVOK: Precisely.
TORRES: I can't believe I'm hearing this from you.
CHAKOTAY: I agree. It sounds completely illogical.
TUVOK: On the contrary. When every logical course of action is exhausted, the only option that remains is inaction.
TORRES: So we're just supposed to sit here and let this thing kill us?
TUVOK: I must point out that at least one attempt we made to reverse the effect, the shock pulse, only made our predicament worse. If we continue desperately improvising solutions, our own efforts may ultimately kill us. On the other hand, there is no definitive evidence to suggest that doing nothing will result in death.
JANEWAY: Is dogin do be to gandin!
EMH: Captain, please lie down.
TORRES: What about the Captain? She's dying.
TUVOK: We do not know that. At the moment, she is merely delirious.
TORRES: Chakotay, you're in charge here. Don't you agree we've got to keep trying?
CHAKOTAY: Whatever this thing is, B'Elanna, it's bigger and more powerful than we are. Maybe, maybe this is one bear we can't wrestle to the ground. Maybe like Tuvok says there's nothing we can do but let it happen, and hope for the best.
TORRES: Fine. Fine, Chakotay. Have it your way.
TUVOK: Commander Chakotay.
CHAKOTAY: Yes, Mister Tuvok?
TUVOK: I want to thank you for endorsing my recommendation.
CHAKOTAY: You know, Tuvok, I may not get another chance to say this. Sometimes I find you arrogant and irritating, but you're a hell of an officer.
TUVOK: Thank you, sir. And since we are speaking candidly, may I say, sir, that I have not always been particularly partial to your methods either.
CHAKOTAY: I suppose it must have been tough for you to accept my being elevated to first officer over you.
TUVOK: I have always respected Captain Janeway's decisions. However, I suppose that particular decision did put me in a position I am unaccustomed to. If that ever caused me to make things more difficult for you, I must apologise.
(The pool tables goes wibbly. Gaunt Gary backs away.)
KIM: Can I ask you a question?
PARIS: Fire away, Harry.
KIM: Are you afraid?
PARIS: I chose this life. And I guess I always knew it could come to this. But yeah, I'm afraid.
KIM: Me too.
KES: I'm so worried about Neelix. I should be with him.
EMH: As much as he may annoy me at times, Mister Neelix is one of the most resourceful and resilient individuals I know. If anyone can survive this calamity, he can.
(The EMH hugs Kes. Chakotay sits at a table and closes his eyes.)
TORRES: Hi.
CHAKOTAY: Hi.
TORRES: What are you doing?
CHAKOTAY: I'm trying to contact my spirit guide.
TORRES: Why?
CHAKOTAY: Who knows what's going to happen when that ring hits us. We might be in for another long journey.
TORRES: I guess I could use a little spiritual guidance myself right now. Mind if I join you?
CHAKOTAY: I thought you'd never ask.
(Torres sits down, and they hold hands. Paris puts his hand on Kim's shoulder as the distortion passes through Chakotay and Torres. They are next. Tuvok nearly touches Janeway as it heads towards him. Shortly after, everyone is solid again.)
EMH: Captain?
JANEWAY: I'm all right.
EMH: You were delirious.
JANEWAY: It was some sort of message.
CHAKOTAY: What was?
JANEWAY: The spatial distortion. It was trying to communicate with us.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: I want a full systems report. And Mister Kim, Mister Tuvok, I want every iota of information that was recorded regarding that phenomenon.
PARIS: The distortion ring's directly ahead, Captain. It's moving away from us at two thousand kph.
CHAKOTAY: We've got a full crew complement, Captain. No injuries reported.
TORRES: No damage to the hull or ship systems.
JANEWAY: Incredible.
TORRES: You're not going to believe this, Captain, but twenty million gigaquads of new information have been input into the ship's computer.
JANEWAY: Where did it come from?
TORRES: My guess is it came from the distortion ring.
JANEWAY: Somebody's definitely trying to tell us something.
TORRES: That's not all, Captain. Our entire database has been copied and downloaded into somebody else's system.
CHAKOTAY: I guess whoever they were, they want to know everything they can about us too.
JANEWAY: Maybe it was their only way of communicating with us. Maybe they were just trying to say hello.
(Neelix enters.)
NEELIX: Cake, anyone?
KES: Neelix, what happened to you?
NEELIX: Oh, it's a long story. I'll tell you all about it later. Right now, it's time to finish your party.
KES: Neelix, I need a photograph of you.
NEELIX: What for, sweeting?
KES: From now on, even when we're separated, I want to have you where I can keep my eye on you.
NEELIX: Happy birthday, Kes.

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