The Thaw
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: April 29 1996

[Kim's Quarters]

(Harry is playing a clarinet piece labelled Jazz Impromptu while Tom lounges, reading a PADD. Someone thumps on the wall.)
KIM: Sorry!
PARIS: Obviously, Ensign Baytart doesn't appreciate music.
KIM: It's the darn fluid conduits running through the walls. They conduct sound. You'd think when they designed this thing, they would have
PARIS: This ship was built for combat performance, Harry, not musical performance. Nobody figured we'd be taking any long trips.
KIM: Where am I supposed to practice?
PARIS: How about the cargo bay?
KIM: Bad acoustics.
PARIS: We could get Baytart transferred to the night shift.
KIM: We couldn't do that. Could we?
PARIS: So now you have an excuse to give your mother why you didn't practice while you were gone.
KIM: Look, I'm trying to prepare for an important performance.
PARIS: Oh, really? Are we scheduled to rendezvous with the Delta Quadrant Symphony Orchestra?
KIM: No, Susan Nicoletti and I have been working on a new orchestral programme for the holodeck.
PARIS: Lieutenant Nicoletti? The one I've been chasing for six months? Cold hands, cold heart?
KIM: Not when she plays the oboe.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: Chakotay to all senior officers. Please report to the Bridge.
PARIS: You know, Harry, I've always wanted to learn how to play the drums.

[Bridge]

TUVOK: I am picking up communication satellites in orbit. They're nonfunctional.
JANEWAY: Mister Paris, take us in a little closer. Mister Kim, scan the surface.
NEELIX: Captain, this used to be a major trading spot.
JANEWAY: How long ago?
NEELIX: I'm not sure exactly. If I had to guess
KIM: EM signature indicates that a major solar flare occurred here nineteen years ago.
NEELIX: I'd say about nineteen years, more or less.
CHAKOTAY: Looks like a glacial freeze.
JANEWAY: Caused by a solar flare that radically changed the weather patterns.
KIM: It did a lot more than that. They were hit by magnetic storms and extreme levels of radiation.
CHAKOTAY: Those glaciers are receding.
KIM: The biosphere seems to be recovering.
PARIS: Did anyone survive?
KIM: Scanning the settlement. There's evidence of advanced technology, warp reactors, subspace transmitters, but no lifesigns.
PARIS: Maybe they saw it coming and evacuated the planet.
TUVOK: Indications are that any attempt at an evacuation would have been prevented by the atmospheric disturbances.
JANEWAY: What was the estimated population?
TUVOK: Approximately four hundred thousand.
KIM: Captain, I'm picking up something from the surface. I think we're being hailed.
CHAKOTAY: I thought you said there weren't any lifesigns.
KIM: There aren't. I scanned the entire surface. It must be an automated signal.
JANEWAY: Let's hear it.
VIORSA [on viewscreen]: I am Viorsa, planner for the Kohl settlement. Your sensors have activated this message. By now you must be aware of the catastrophic disaster that has destroyed our home. A few of us have managed to survive in a state of artificial hibernation, programmed to end in fifteen years from the date this was recorded. At that time, when the eco-recovery has begun, we will attempt to rebuild our settlement. Please, do nothing to interrupt our timetable.
CHAKOTAY: Their timetable was supposed to end four years ago.
PARIS: Looks like they didn't make it.
JANEWAY: Mister Kim, wouldn't your scans have picked up suppressed metabolic activity?
KIM: I would think so, Captain, unless. Checking below the surface. Nothing one kilometre down. Two kilometres. Wait a minute. I think I've got something two point three kilometres down. Extremely faint bio-signatures. Three humanoids.
JANEWAY: Can you detect a malfunction in their systems? Something to explain why they didn't wake up on schedule?
KIM: Not at this distance. But I am picking up two more humanoids at the same location who are dead.
JANEWAY: Are there any automated security systems? We triggered a Do Not Disturb sign. I don't want to set off anything worse.
TUVOK: No weapons of any kind, Captain. It is safe to transport the hibernation pods to Voyager, if that is your intent.
JANEWAY: It is. Prepare to beam them to Cargo Bay one. Mister Kim, you're with me. Janeway to Kes. Report to Cargo Bay one. Bring your medical gear.
KES [OC]: Aye, Captain.

[Cargo Bay]

(The pods are arranged in a circle, leaning back at a forty five degree angle, and attached to a control console.)
KES: Two humanoids dead, three humanoids in deep stasis. Lifesigns apparently stable.
(Janeway dusts one pod.)
JANEWAY: Our messenger.
(She cleans one that contains a corpse.)
JANEWAY: Did the system break down?
KIM: Not that I can see. I'm not reading any pathway failures in the hibernation pods. The circuitry all seems to be functioning. Looks like their brains are interconnected in a complex sensory system controlled by this computer. According to these indicators, Captain, their minds are active.
JANEWAY: Active? What do you mean?
KIM: The encephalographic readings suggest they're dreaming, but there's some kind of interactivity with the computer. It's not just scanning their brain functions, it's sending a data stream back to them as well.
JANEWAY: Could it be generating an artificial environment of some sort?
KES: Artificial environment?
JANEWAY: Years ago, Starfleet used a technology to assist deep space travel that kept the body in stasis, but provided a mental landscape to keep the mind active and alert.
KES: That sounds like a pretty good way to wait out a planetary disaster.
KIM: For the moment, it's as good a theory as any.
JANEWAY: So what went wrong? Why are they still in there?

[Briefing room]

KIM: The system was supposed to bring these people out of hibernation four years ago. However, it wasn't left entirely to the computer. The programmers obviously wanted the people in the system to decide for themselves when it would be safe to come out. This was accomplished by a subroutine that periodically displayed atmospheric conditions to them.
JANEWAY: So they should have known years ago that the biosphere had recovered.
KIM: Exactly. This subroutine has remained available to these people since it was activated four years ago. It's literally an escape hatch.
TUVOK: Perhaps it has malfunctioned.
KIM: No. That's what's so odd about this. As far as I can tell, it's working perfectly.
TORRES: Then why don't they get themselves out?
KIM: I don't know.
PARIS: Maybe they like it in there.
EMH [on monitor]: I don't think so.
JANEWAY: Doctor.
EMH [on monitor]: The two victims died from massive heart failure, and there was evidence of prior neural trauma.
NEELIX: I'm sorry. What does that mean?
EMH [on monitor]: It could be evidence of extreme fear.
NEELIX: Maybe it was caused by the panic that accompanies a heart attack.
KES: The readings suggest an extended period of mental stress.
CHAKOTAY: Sounds like we ought to get them out right away.
EMH [on monitor]: Surely, Commander, you're not suggesting we simply unplug them?
CHAKOTAY: Why not?
EMH [on monitor]: Because you have three brains whose survival has depended upon careful monitoring by a sophisticated computer system for nineteen years.
KIM: The Doc is right. I have no idea how to disconnect them without causing neural damage. I just don't know the system well enough.
TUVOK: They know the system. Why don't we ask them how to proceed?
PARIS: How can we do that? Implant a com-link into their brains?
TUVOK: We already have a means of communication. The two unoccupied pods.
KIM: We could add a backup life support system, using our own computer and medical stasis technology.
CHAKOTAY: If the only way to help those people is to go in and find out from them what's wrong, I don't see any alternative.
JANEWAY: Neither do I.

[Cargo Bay 1]

(Kim and Torres get into the now-vacant pods.)
KES: I'll be monitoring your mental and physical functions. If we detect any unusual activity, you'll be transferred onto our life support system and resuscitated.
JANEWAY: We've tapped into the system's recall subroutine programme. I'll give you five minutes to look around, then I'm bringing you back. Consider this a test run.
TORRES: Understood.
KES: Inducing primary stasis. Autonomic nervous system link is secure.
JANEWAY: They're connecting to the system.

[Fantasy land]

TORRES: Looks like we made it.
KIM: How do you feel?
TORRES: Normal.
(Garishly painted walls. Lots of acrobats writhing around to slightly merry electronic music.)
KIM: These must be characters generated by the computer, but I don't see our people.
TORRES: Neither do I.
(They are watched by a figure dressed in mostly grey.)
KIM: Excuse me. We're trying to find some friends.
CLOWN: Well, that shouldn't be difficult. We're all friends here.
(A very short woman bumps into Kim's legs as she pirouettes.)
KIM: Oh, I'm sorry.
LITTLE WOMAN: Oh, I'm sorry.
KIM: I didn't mean to bump into you.
LITTLE WOMAN: You're new.
KIM: Yes, we are.
LITTLE WOMAN: Where are you from?
TORRES: Another town.
LITTLE WOMAN: There aren't any other towns.
KIM: We're not getting very far.
(A very large figure with a mask of giant teeth stops them.)
SPECTRE: Perhaps I can help you. You are looking for friends?
KIM: That's right. Three of them.
SPECTRE: And when you find these friends?
TORRES: We want to talk to them.
(The man in grey takes their arms.)
CLOWN: Why talk when we can dance?
(Torres and Kim are bustled towards a dais with a pink guillotine, an executioner and the little dancer. The executioner tests the blade by chopping a piece of wood in half.)
TORRES: Let's get out of here.
KIM: You've got it.
(They try to fight the acrobats and dancer, but to no avail.)
SPECTRE: Take him!
TORRES: Harry! Harry!
(Kim has his hands fastened behind his back, is carried to the guillotine and put in it face down. All the characters think this is hilarious.)
TORRES: Harry! Harry! Harry! Harry!
ALL: Chop, chop, chop!
(Three people enter.)
VIORSA: Stop! They're aliens, and they won't be alone. Kill them, and their shipmates will shut down the programme.
CLOWN: Let him go.
VIORSA: We knew this would happen someday, that a ship would find us. It was only a matter of time.
CLOWN: Only a matter of time, yes.
VIORSA: Who knows what kind of people they are? Who knows what will happen to this world if you hurt them?
CLOWN: I do. I know. Bring them here. Bring them here, bring them here, bring them here. You're like me, a little of this and a little of that.
(He produces a bunch of fake flowers for Torres. She throws them on the floor.)
CLOWN: Oh my, what a temper. That's from your mother's side, isn't it? Yes, you see, I know everything. This is my world, my festival. And you're here without an invitation.
TORRES: What is going on? Who is he?
CLOWN: You will talk to me! I speak for them, and I speak for you now. You don't understand that yet. You don't accept it, but you will.
KIM: Are you a lifeform? Or some kind of computer virus that penetrated this system?
CLOWN: A virus, a virus. He thinks I am a virus. A virus, a virus. Well, perhaps, I'll be a virus today. (sneeze) Oh, this one's got a mind full of technical and operational thoughts and ideas. Harry knows viruses.
VIORSA: Stop this.
CLOWN: I know you came here to get them and take them away. But if you do that, we'll all disappear.
KIM: Disappear. Because you're characters created by this programme, and once their minds stop interacting with the system, you won't exist anymore.
CLOWN: Ah. See the technical mind at work. It seeks diagnostics, data analysis. Well, here's some more data for your mind to analyse and diagnose, Harry. Yes, I am merely what has been created and is being created by his brain, his brain, her brain and now yours and yours.
(A giant comm. badge appears on the Clown's grey outfit. Then a monitor appears on a wall.)
CLOWN: What? What's this doing here now? This is your work!
TORRES: That's our wake-up call. It's been a real pleasure, but we're leaving. Come on.
CLOWN: If you leave, one of them will die. One of them will die. Try it and see. If you leave, he dies.
VIORSA: He can do it. He's already killed two of our colleagues.
TORRES: How is that possible?
CLOWN: I cut off their heads.
TORRES: But none of this is real.
CLOWN: Of course it's real. As real as a nightmare.
KIM: The two we found dead both suffered from massive heart attacks.
CLOWN: Heart attack. Now, what might cause a heart attack? Hmm. Unmanageable stress, perhaps? Unmanageable fear? The fear of losing a head, perhaps?
KIM: You scared them to death.

[Cargo Bay 1]

JANEWAY: What's taking them so long?
KES: Lifesigns are stable. There's no interruption of brain wave activity.
JANEWAY: The recall subroutine is functioning. The window opened for them on schedule.
KES: Captain, the norepinephrine levels are rising. They're well above baseline. Some of that is to be expected, but these levels indicate abnormal stress.
JANEWAY: All right. I'm going to try to bring them out with our backup systems.
KES: Initiating resuscitation. The body temperature is rising.
(Beep, beep.)
JANEWAY: What happened?
KES: The bodies are returning to stasis condition, Captain.
TUVOK: Someone is terminating the recall command from inside the system.

[Fantasy land]

(It is Kim.)
CLOWN: Very wise of you, my technically minded fellow. Now, get rid of it completely. It's an intrusion. It's ruining the party.
KIM: That would be a mistake.
CLOWN: No mistake. A mistake if you refuse.
KIM: You'd be missing an opportunity.
CLOWN: Trying to get the better of me? Trying to trick me? I know everything you know, Harry Kim. I know how much you miss Libby. I know how you can never hit that G sharp in the Mozart concerto. Do you think I don't know you're trying to defeat me?
KIM: Fine. So you know. You'll also know that what I'm about to tell you is the truth. You'd be smart to let one of us go.
CLOWN: Would I?
KIM: This is your chance to send the outside world a message. To tell them your demands.
CLOWN: I have only one demand. To exist!
TORRES: Then you'd better let us tell them.
KIM: Otherwise, you run the risk of our people shutting down the whole system. Because I promise you, they won't let us stay in here for long.
(The characters go into a huddle.)
KIM: How did this happen?
KOHL WOMAN: The system was designed to be adaptive, to observe and respond to our thoughts, and adjust the environment to our wishes.
TORRES: Who wished him up?
VIORSA: It happened over months without our even realising it. All of us had fears about survival, recovery. We never anticipated the computer would manifest those fears into him.
KOHL MAN: Our only hope was that someone like you would come along and find us.
KIM: It's almost as though he can read our minds. He seems to know what we're thinking.
KOHL WOMAN: He's generated by the system, and our brains are monitored by the system. So, yes, in a manner of speaking, he can.
VIORSA: But there is a delay before he becomes aware of what we're thinking.
KOHL WOMAN: It takes a few minutes for our brain activity to be processed by the system.
CLOWN: Well, I've come to a decision with the help of my friends. You, leave. You, stay. And tell your beloved Captain Janeway that if we die, they die, including you, dear Harry. You, who becomes my best friend as of today. Because she would never kill you, would she, Harry? No. She's like a dear old mother to you, isn't she? Go!
(Torres goes to the monitor.)

[Cargo Bay 1]

JANEWAY: Someone's activated the recall subroutine.
KES: Captain, it's Lieutenant Torres. Her body temperature is rising. She should regain consciousness in about twelve minutes.
JANEWAY: At least we'll finally get the answers to a few questions.

[Briefing room]

JANEWAY: Well, let's start with the obvious question. If they're demanding to exist, can we find a way to let them exist in this artificial world of theirs?
TORRES: Not unless you're prepared to leave one person in stasis permanently.
EMH [on monitor]: I concur with Lieutenant Torres. The computer uses bio-neural feedback from the participants' brains to create the environment.
JANEWAY: Doctor, is there a way to speed up resuscitation?
EMH [on monitor]: Only by a few minutes. Anything more, we'd be risking serious brain damage. Ten minutes would be about the best we could do.
PARIS: Ten minutes and all the hostages could be killed.
JANEWAY: Then it seems to me our first order of business should be to reduce the number of hostages. All we have to do now is decide how to negotiate with an emotion. With a manifestation of fear.
TUVOK: Fear is the most primitive, the most primordial of biological responses.
JANEWAY: The ability to recognise danger, to fight it or run away from it, that's what fear gives us. But when fear holds you hostage, how do you make it let go?
NEELIX: Maybe we should try to make him laugh. A good joke just, er, seems to make er, fear dissolve. Well, it does in me, anyway.
JANEWAY: I think something a little more responsive to the Clown's demand. B'Elanna, maybe you can come up with a way to modify the system, so it can run without bio-neural interaction.
CHAKOTAY: How do we negotiate without sending in another hostage?
JANEWAY: Good question. We have to come up with a safer method of communication.

[Fantasy land]

VIORSA: I regret very much what has happened to you. You came to help. You didn't deserve this. I regret so many things.
KIM: Look, we don't have time for regret. My people are working on a way, right now, to get us out of here. And we have to help them if we can.
VIORSA: You'll leave hope behind after a few months of this.
KIM: Why does he do it?
KOHL MAN: We're his canvas, his blocks of marble. With us, he practices his ghastly art.
CLOWN: Thinking about escape, are we, Harry? Naughty, naughty. I don't like those thoughts. We're going to have to do something about them.
KOHL WOMAN: He's new. He can't help thinking about getting out.
CLOWN: He can! You don't think about it anymore. Oh, but he's new, and you're old. New and old. Old and new. Well, then, the answer is to simply make you old, Harry.
(And Kim is now a wrinkled, grey-haired old man.)
CLOWN: Are you afraid of growing old, Harry? Is that what you fear? Being cared for by nurses?
LITTLE WOMAN: Time for your medicine.
CLOWN: You don't like being helpless, do you, Harry? You like to take care of yourself. Yes, I know how you hate to feel like the baby on the crew.
(Kim is a crying baby in a Starfleet uniform. The Clown picks him up.)
CLOWN: Oh, what's the matter, Harry? Oh, does my costume frighten you, huh? Kootchy-coo. Yeah. Oh, look at little Harry fly. Whoo! Whoo! There he goes. Whoo! Whee! All right, that's enough.
(He puts the baby down and Kim is back to normal.)
KIM: This is not reality. It's an illusion.
CLOWN: When your only reality is an illusion, then illusion is a reality.
KIM: Like the man said, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
CLOWN: Oh, I thought we were going to be friends. Didn't want to do this, Harry. No, I didn't want to bring this up in front of the others, but I know what really scares you. I know when you were nine, your parents took you to that colony, the radiation disaster, humanitarian mission. You visited a hospital. You remember.
KIM: No.
CLOWN: You wandered off by yourself where you weren't supposed to be.
(Acrobats fasten Kim onto a gurney.)
KIM: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
CLOWN: You saw people and things you weren't supposed to see. Sick and dying. Keep repeating. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
ALL: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
CLOWN: And how about There's no place like home. There's no place like home. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Try clicking your heels together three times. Oh, but your legs are restrained, aren't they? Just like that little girl you saw on the operating table.
(The Clown is now a surgeon.)
CLOWN: The doctor called for a scalpel. She looked at you, her face filled with fear. Fear. Fear. Fear. Do you remember?
KIM: No!
(Someone takes the Clown's hand and lifts it away from Kim.)
EMH: Excuse me, you're not holding that properly. Correct positioning of the index finger is necessary for optimal dexterity.
(The EMH throws the scalpel away.)
CLOWN: Who are you?
EMH: I'm Captain Janeway's representative. I'm here to negotiate with you. Are you well, Mister Kim?
KIM: Starting to feel better.
CLOWN: You're different. I don't know anything about you. You're not on the system.
EMH: I would be pleased to tell you all about myself at a more appropriate time. For now, suffice it to say that I am here by a miracle of technology. Now, let's get down to the issues, shall we?
CLOWN: How am I supposed to negotiate if I don't know what you're thinking?
EMH: I have a very trustworthy face. My captain is prepared to give you exactly what you asked for, under the condition you release all the hostages.
CLOWN: Release the hostages?
EMH: We would provide continuing input from a simulated brain. A computer model that would generate
CLOWN: Simulated brain? Simulated?
EMH: I, myself, have a comparable
CLOWN: It won't work. It's a lie. Tell him, Harry.
KIM: I don't know that for sure.
CLOWN: Liar! Viorsa, get over here! Tell him.
VIORSA: It might require a recalibration of the optronic pathways.
CLOWN: Liar! After all this time, do you think I can't tell when you lie?
EMH: The simulated brain
CLOWN: Would leave me at your mercy. No! They stay.
EMH: The captain is prepared to risk the lives of the hostages rather than leave them under your control.
CLOWN: Who is she to tell me what I have to do?
EMH: She's the one out there with the off switch in her hand.
CLOWN: She would never kill Harry.
KIM: I'd rather die than spend my life in here with you. She knows that.
CLOWN: I won't let them go.
EMH: A compromise. Let some of them go.
CLOWN: No.
EMH: We've studied your system. You only need one to survive.
CLOWN: And if that one gets sick and dies? No, I need them all. Now go away, and tell your Captain Janeway I'm disappointed. I expected more from her.
EMH: If we could just
CLOWN: Go away.
ALL: Go away.
EMH: I'll be back.

[Sickbay]

JANEWAY: Well, I'm sorry I don't live up to his expectations. What's your opinion of him, Doctor?
EMH: Unstable, unpredictable. Everything you'd expect from fear.
TUVOK: Captain, the longer we allow this to continue, the more likely it is that he will take his frustrations out on the hostages.
JANEWAY: I agree, and I can't allow that to happen. We're going to have to mount some kind of rescue mission.
(Later, Torres enters.)
JANEWAY: Doctor, if we do simply disconnect the hostages
EMH: There would certainly be brain damage.
JANEWAY: How much damage? Could you possibly repair it?
EMH: Possibly, yes. Would Mister Kim still be able to hold his clarinet when I was done? Possibly. The brain is such an interesting organ.
CHAKOTAY: Could we switch over to a simulated brain without the Clown noticing it?
TORRES: Oh, he'd notice. He was very smart to reject the whole notion of a simulated brain. It just wouldn't be the same. There is no way an artificial intelligence can replace actual brain functions.
EMH: I'll choose not to take that personally, Lieutenant. For what it's worth, Mister Viorsa suggested there would be a way to make a simulated brain function in this system. He suggested it would take a recalibration of the optronic pathways.
TORRES: I don't know what he could have been talking about. The optronic pathways have nothing to do with the neural interface. It doesn't make any sense.
TUVOK: Then perhaps he had another reason for saying it.
CHAKOTAY: How do the optronic pathways function in this system, B'Elanna?
TORRES: They, they control the basic elements of the environment, access databanks that were programmed when the system was created. If we interrupt the optronic pathways, we could disassemble that entire world and its characters, piece by piece.
JANEWAY: If we can't remove the hostages from the environment, then we might be able to remove the environment from the hostages.
TORRES: How did Viorsa manage to communicate this without the Clown knowing about it?
EMH: Perhaps it was because the clown's attention was divided at the time.
JANEWAY: And you're going to continue to provide him with distractions, Doctor. B'Elanna, how long will it take to block these pathways?
TORRES: I'm not sure how many there are, Captain. And I'll have to do it manually because we don't know how to deprogram the system.
JANEWAY: You'll only have a few minutes at best. Once Fear knows what we're up to, it will be a race against time to save the lives of those hostages.

[Fantasy land]

(The Clown is sulking.)
SPECTRE: Bravo! Bravo!
CLOWN: Go away. I want to be alone.
SPECTRE: You're ruining the festival.
LITTLE WOMAN: Don't be a poop.
CLOWN: I can't help it. I'm feeling sorry for myself.
LITTLE WOMAN: Well, don't take it out on us.
SPECTRE: Take it out on them.
CLOWN: You people. You wonderful people. My friends. You do know how to make a man feel better, don't you? Okay, then, what shall we play? Ah, the insect game.
SPECTRE: Yes, yes, the insect game.
(The Clown starts pretending to snatch at flies when the EMH is in front of him.)
CLOWN: You again? You're the one who ruined my mood. You and your sweet captain.
EMH: My sweet captain has a new offer to make.
CLOWN: No simulated brains. I want real brains.
EMH: The captain is prepared to give you a cloaking device.
CLOWN: I already have a cloaking device. Thank you anyway.
(The Clown wears a cloak.)
EMH: I'm talking about a device that would shield you from being detected by any other interstellar visitors.

[Cargo Bay 1]

TORRES: There are almost forty pathways to disable, Captain, but I should be able to get it done in under two minutes.
JANEWAY: Good. Let's get started.

[Fantasy land]

EMH: We will return your entire computer system to the subterranean locale where we found it. With the help of Mister Kim and a team of Starfleet engineers, it will be an easy matter to install the cloaking device, which will insure your safety for the foreseeable future.
CLOWN: Harry, is this possible?
KIM: Yes.
CLOWN: I don't know if I believe you. I don't know yet, but I'll know soon if you're telling the truth. You can't fool me. What does she want in return? And don't say the hostages because I'm not giving them up.
(In the background items start to disappear.)
EMH: You have to understand that the captain's primary concern is the safety of the hostages.
CLOWN: She's such a warm and noble person. I'd love her to come to one of my parties someday. What if I promise to take really good care of my guests? We could be more than friends. We could be colleagues. I'm really not such a bad fellow.
SPECTRE: What's happening?
(Spectre disappears.)
CLOWN: You tricked me! It's an attack! It's an attack! Red alert! Red alert! You! You warned them! You told them how it could be done. Take him!
(The characters grab Viorsa.)
KOHL WOMAN: No! Please, no!

[Cargo Bay 1]

TORRES: Twenty-two.
JANEWAY: More than halfway there, B'Elanna.
KES: Captain, it's Viorsa. His norepinephrine levels are rising sharply.

[Fantasy land]

VIORSA: No, please! I didn't do anything! I didn't do anything!

[Cargo Bay 1]

(A forcefield activates in the optronics control panel.)
JANEWAY: What is it?
TORRES: Some kind of protection device. I'm locked out. I'll have to disable it.

[Fantasy land]

(Viorsa is fighting against being put into the guillotine. The EMH tries to help and is pushed away by a character which then vanishes.)
VIORSA: Don't do this! No!

[Cargo Bay 1]

KES: Viorsa's norepinephrine levels are critical.
TORRES: Just ten more pathways.
(Viorsa is locked into the guillotine and the blade drops.)
KES: He's dead. Massive heart failure. Captain, this one's norepinephrine levels are approaching critical.

[Fantasy land]

(It's the Kohl woman.)
CLOWN: You're next! You're next!

[Cargo Bay 1]

JANEWAY: Restore the entire programme. We've lost.

[Fantasy land]

CLOWN: We've won. We've won. We've won. Start the music. Start the music. Celebration! Celebration! Celebration!

[Sickbay]

EMH: Your decision to capitulate saved the lives of the other hostages, Captain. You should take some comfort from that.
JANEWAY: I don't. Have I misjudged him somehow? Is there another way to reach him? Isn't there more to fear than a simple demand to exist? Why do people enjoy dangerous sports or holodeck adventures with the safety off? Why, after all these centuries, do children still ride on roller coasters?
EMH: Fear can provide pleasure. To seek fear is to seek the boundaries of one's sensory experience.
JANEWAY: But what does fear seek at the end of the ride?

[Fantasy land]

CLOWN: You understand, don't you, Harry, that we will have to punish you for your captain's little trick? To the winner go the spoils, and you are the spoils, after all. We can talk about that later. For now, enjoy yourself.
(The EMH appears, and the music and conga line stops dead.)
CLOWN: Well, you certainly know how to bring a party to a halt.
EMH: I don't get out very much.
CLOWN: I bet.
EMH: The captain has sent me with an ultimatum.
CLOWN: Ultimatum? Ultimatum? She would give me an ultimatum? Did Napoleon give an ultimatum after Waterloo? Did Chulak of Romulus give an ultimatum after his defeat at Galorndon Core? We won! We give the ultimatums around here.
EMH: The captain is prepared to shut down the system one minute from now if you don't agree to her terms.
CLOWN: And scramble the brains of all my guests, including Harry? I don't think so.
EMH: Fifty two seconds. She is willing to risk brain damage to the hostages, but she will end this, and end this now, one way or another.
CLOWN: What are her terms?
EMH: Forty three seconds. She will allow you to keep one person on the system. The other hostages must be released.
CLOWN: One? Never! I won't agree!
EMH: You have thirty seconds to avoid termination.
CLOWN: I need more time. Time to think. Two! Let me keep two.
EMH: Twenty seconds. There is another provision. The one hostage you will be allowed to keep is Captain Janeway herself.
CLOWN: She would choose to be with me?
EMH: Your time is up. Your answer, please.
CLOWN: Yes.

[Cargo Bay 1]

EMH [OC]: Captain, this is the Doctor. I've returned to sick bay. Please turn to your Emergency Medical Holographic channel.
JANEWAY: Did he accept?
EMH [on monitor]: Yes, Captain.
JANEWAY: Perfect. Good work, Doctor.
EMH [on monitor]: Would you like me to return and supervise the evacuation of the hostages?
JANEWAY: I don't think that'll be necessary, but you could help with the preparations at this end. Janeway out.
TORRES: We're finished here, Captain.
JANEWAY: Initiate the recall subroutine and prepare to begin resuscitation. Kes, give me a hand getting hooked up to all this.

[Fantasy land]

(The characters are cleaning everything.)
CLOWN: Sparkling. I want everything sparkling for her arrival. Sparkling.
(Kim goes to the recall screen.)
CLOWN: Ah, ah, ah, ah, Harry, not so fast. They can't have you until I have her. No more tricks.
(Janeway lies in a pod and Kes puts a blinkie on her forehead.)
CLOWN: Oh. Oh, she's coming. I can feel the system beginning to scan her brain. This really is such an extraordinary gesture she's making. I am so moved. You don't quite believe it yourself, do you?
KIM: The captain would sacrifice herself to save the hostages.
CLOWN: Sacrifice herself? You can be so cruel, Harry. You don't appreciate my hospitality.
(Janeway appears. All the characters have disappeared.)
CLOWN: You're here. You're actually here. I don't believe it.
JANEWAY: The arrangement was that the others would be released.
CLOWN: You show remarkable trust, Captain. How could you be so sure I would keep my word?
JANEWAY: I've known fear. It's a very healthy thing most of the time. You warn us of danger, remind us of our limits, protect us from carelessness. I've learned to trust fear.
CLOWN: Finally, someone who appreciates me. Am I blushing?
JANEWAY: Let them go.
CLOWN: Yes, yes, of course. You may depart. Farewell, my friends. Do come back and visit. I'll always be here.

[Cargo Bay 1]

(The Kohl woman takes a deep breath.)
TORRES: The recall subroutine has been activated.
KES: Body temperatures are rising.
TORRES: Initiating all backup systems. The hostages should regain consciousness in less than ten minutes.

[Fantasy land]

KIM: We'll get you out of here, Captain. I promise.
JANEWAY: That won't be necessary, Mister Kim, but thank you.
(Kim and the two surviving Kohls disappear.)
CLOWN: I can't wait to get to know you, to make you a part of me.
JANEWAY: As I understand it, it takes a few minutes before you become aware of my thoughts. Is that true?
CLOWN: An eternity of anticipation.
JANEWAY: And then what happens?
CLOWN: And then the fun begins.

[Cargo Bay 1]

TORRES: All systems functioning as anticipated. Resuscitation entering final warming.
KES: Bio-functions are returning to normal. Their own hearts are taking over. They don't need supplemental life support any longer.

[Fantasy land]

JANEWAY: Would you be honest with me?
CLOWN: Fear is the most honest of all emotions, Captain.
JANEWAY: You really want this to end as much as I do, don't you?
CLOWN: Now, now, don't even think about leaving. I'm not going to let you go, not after all this. Mirror? Don't we make a beautiful couple, Captain?
JANEWAY: I'm not Captain Janeway.
CLOWN: Could have fooled me.
JANEWAY: I'm afraid I did.
CLOWN: Pardon?
JANEWAY: I'm nothing more than a holographic image of Captain Janeway, sent here by the same technique they used to send their Doctor. I've been programmed to respond to you as Kathryn Janeway would.
CLOWN: But, but, I, I feel you. You, You're on the system.
JANEWAY: She is on the system, yes, but not in stasis. Captain Janeway and her crew modified the pods so that she could be connected to the system without having to enter this environment. The goal was to let you sense her brain activity without putting her in actual jeopardy. You will be able to confirm what I'm telling you as soon as you become aware of her thoughts.
(The hostages get out of the pods.)
JANEWAY: You know as well as I do that fear only exists for one purpose. To be conquered.
CLOWN: She tricked me.
JANEWAY: Did she? Or was a part of you actually hoping to be defeated? Isn't that why you allowed Captain Janeway to come here? Because you sensed she had the power to subdue you.
(It is getting dark.)
CLOWN: No. She lied. That was very un-Starfleet of her.
JANEWAY: Starfleet captains don't easily succumb to fear.
CLOWN: What will become of us? Of me?
JANEWAY: Like all fear, you eventually vanish.
CLOWN: I'm afraid.
JANEWAY: I know.
CLOWN: Drat.

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