Real Life
Stardate: 50836.2
Original Airdate: 23 April, 1997

[Holodeck - Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho]

(A house with a large living area, and a fire burning in a hearth set into the corner.)
CHARLENE: Jeffrey, Belle, you're going to be late if you don't hurry. Come on now. Line up next to the door, children. Your father's ready to leave for work. All right, show me your fingernails. Very nicely done. Are your shoes polished? Perfect. I'm very pleased, children, and I'm sure your father will be too.
(How very idealistic 1950s USA.)
BELLE: I want to be first to say goodbye to daddy. Jeffrey always goes first.
JEFFREY: You were first yesterday.
CHARLENE: Now, children, little birds in their nest get along.
JEFFREY: You're right, mother. I'm sorry, Belle, you can go first.
BELLE: No, it's really your turn. I did go first yesterday.
JEFFREY: Here he comes.
CHARLENE: All right, now. Bright, happy faces.
EMH: The coffee was quite good this morning.
CHARLENE: I'm so glad you like it. I replicated a new blend from Paxau three.
EMH: I'll be home at the usual time.
CHARLENE: Now don't let them overwork you. You should save yourself for the important things. Others can do the busy work.
EMH: I couldn't agree more.
JEFFREY: I hope you have a good day, Father. I'll have my homework finished by the time you get back.
EMH: I'll look forward to reviewing it, Jeffrey. And is my little angel going to get an A on her history exam today?
BELLE: Of course I will, daddy, and can we do some algebra problems when you get home?
EMH: Gladly.
CHARLENE: And don't forget, you're going to ask some of your friends from work to have dinner with us. I'd like to meet them.
EMH: I haven't forgotten. Well, goodbye all.
ALL: Goodbye, daddy.

[Sickbay]

KES: How's the new holo-family, Doctor?
EMH: They're everything I could have hoped for.

Captain's log, stardate 50836.2. We've had long range communications with a seemingly friendly race known as the Vostigye. We'll be rendezvousing within the hour at one of their space stations.

[Bridge]

TUVOK: Ensign Kim, perhaps you could direct your attention to the sensors, and tell us if we're nearing the Vostigye space station?
KIM: We should be getting close. That's funny, I'm not detecting it.
JANEWAY: You've checked the coordinates they sent us?
KIM: Yes, and. Hold on. Now I'm getting something. It's debris.
CHAKOTAY: Debris?
TUVOK: Confirmed. I am reading a debris field encompassing nearly eighty cubic kilometres.
JANEWAY: What's the composition of the debris?
KIM: Boronite, sarium, carbon 60 composites.
PARIS: Sounds like it could have been a space station.
JANEWAY: On screen. What happened to it?
CHAKOTAY: Something ripped it apart, and from the energy decay readings I'd say it was no more than an hour ago.
KIM: I'm not picking up any lifesigns, Captain. There don't appear to be any survivors.
JANEWAY: There were sixty Vostigye scientists on that station.
TUVOK: I don't read any recognisable weapons signatures.
PARIS: Maybe somebody in this part of space has weapons that don't leave a traditional signature.
JANEWAY: I'd like to know who they are, and why they'd annihilate a science station.
KIM: Maybe we can find out, Captain. There's a strange pattern that seems to be emanating from subspace. Looks like some kind of plasma particles.
CHAKOTAY: I've got it too. It's like a wake, leading away from the debris field.
JANEWAY: From a ship?
CHAKOTAY: I can't tell.
JANEWAY: Set a course to follow it, Tom.
PARIS: Yes, ma'am.

[Sickbay]

(Fashion note - Torres is sporting a single small plait by the left side of her face for this episode.)
TORRES: Optical processors, imaging array, they all check out. Doctor, you are in perfect health.
EMH: I'm sure I could have told you that.
TORRES: Yes, I'm sure you could have, but with all the tinkering you've been doing with your programme lately, I feel better giving you these little tune-ups on a regular basis.
EMH: The tinkering you speak of has been for the sole purpose of improving my performance as a physician. I can hardly be faulted for that.
TORRES: I'm not faulting you for your intentions, Doctor. I think it's rather commendable that you want to improve yourself.
EMH: That's why I've created a family.
TORRES: A family?
EMH: I've listened to enough patients talk about their families to realise how meaningful they are to biological beings.
TORRES: Well, for better or worse, yes.
KES: The Doctor has created a holographic wife and two children so that he can experience family life for himself.
TORRES: Interesting. And how's it going so far?
EMH: Splendidly. From what I heard, I thought it would be difficult, but I'm enjoying the experience.
TORRES: You are? Funny, I never thought of you as a family man, Doc. I'd like to meet them.
EMH: As a matter of fact, the little woman has been asking me to bring some of my colleagues home for dinner. Perhaps you and Kes would care to join us tonight? Charlene is a wonderful cook.
KES: I'd like to meet them too.
TORRES: Well, Doc, tell your wife to haul out the good china. You're having company.

[Holodeck - Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho]

CHARLENE: Please, have some more wild mushroom pilaf, B'Elanna.
TORRES: Thanks, I've had two helpings already. It's delicious.
CHARLENE: Well, I took a course in continental cuisine so I could replicate interesting meals for Kenneth.
KES: Kenneth?
CHARLENE: My husband. What do you call him?
KES: Oh, we call him Doctor.
CHARLENE: Oh, of course. Anyway, he works terribly hard and he's under such great stress, I want this home to be a sanctuary, the place he can come and have all the cares of the day disappear.
TORRES: How nice for him.
BELLE: My daddy's a very important man. He's the best doctor there ever was, and he saves people's lives all the time.
EMH: A slight exaggeration.
BELLE: It is not. You said
EMH: Belle, eat your dinner. They're well aware of my talents. Jeffrey, why don't you tell our guests about your new project at school.
JEFFREY: I've designed a microfilter implant which will make it possible to cleanse blood of harmful micro-organisms too small to stimulate an immune response.
EMH: Jeffrey is extremely bright. He's in the accelerated physical sciences programme at school.
TORRES: A regular chip off the old block, right?
CHARLENE: And don't forget about our little Belle. She's already studying algebra and trigonometry, and she's quite the budding athlete.
KES: You must be very proud of your family, Doctor.
EMH: Oh.
CHARLENE: Well, we're proud of him too. In fact, we think we have just about the most wonderful husband and father in the quadrant, don't we
TORRES: Computer, freeze programme.
CHILDREN: Yes, we do
EMH: Lieutenant, what are you doing?
TORRES: I am stopping this before my blood sugar levels overload. Doctor.
EMH: Yes?
TORRES: If you think that this is giving you an accurate impression of being in a family, you are sadly mistaken.
EMH: I don't understand.
KES: They're kind of perfect.
TORRES: They are ridiculously perfect. No one has a family like this. This is a fantasy. You're not going to learn anything being with these lollipops.
EMH: I provided the computer with my requirements for a mate and children. If I were to choose a real wife, my tastes would be the same. Intelligence, education, organisational skills.
TORRES: There is nothing wrong with your premise, Doctor, it just needs a little tweaking to bring it closer to real life. I can help, if you'd like.

[Bridge]

PARIS: Captain, the particle wave we've been following is beginning to thin out.
JANEWAY: Is there any indication what caused it?
TUVOK: I am detecting no ships, no structures, no weapons signatures.
KIM: Wait a minute. Something.
CHAKOTAY: I see it too. A subspace disruption.
JANEWAY: What's causing it?
KIM: Can't tell, but it's getting more intense.
(The ship starts shaking.)
JANEWAY: Shields up. Red Alert. Tom, back us off.
KIM: Something's coming out of subspace.
(It is big, bright, and wormhole like.)
JANEWAY: Tom, move us away.
PARIS: I don't have engines.
KIM: Propulsion is offline, so is navigational control.
JANEWAY: Bridge to Engineering. We need power.
TORRES [OC]: I'm on it, Captain.
TUVOK: The anomaly is bearing down on us, heading zero four seven mark one nine.
CHAKOTAY: Brace for impact!
KIM: It hit our starboard shields.
TUVOK: There's damage on deck three.
JANEWAY: Ready weapons. We're going to disperse it.
TUVOK: Phasers online.
PARIS: Wait a minute.
(The anomaly passes.)
CHAKOTAY: I'm not afraid to say it. I've never seen anything like that before.
JANEWAY: Damage report.
TUVOK: Twenty percent loss of the starboard dorsal shields, and minor buckling of the hull on deck three.
KIM: No indication of casualties.
PARIS: We've got propulsion systems back online. I think I can put some distance between us and whatever that was.
JANEWAY: Maybe we don't want to. We've just witnessed a phenomenon none of us has ever heard of before, much less experienced. On a purely scientific level, I think we owe it to ourselves to investigate.
CHAKOTAY: I'm looking at the telemetry we've collected. It was an astral eddy that seems to have formed at the confluence of space and subspace.
KIM: It's highly charged with plasma. That explains the particle wake.
CHAKOTAY: If we could harness some of that energy, we could go off replicator rations for a while.
KIM: Captain, we don't have any idea what caused that phenomenon, or what made it dissipate. So how do we investigate it if it's gone?
JANEWAY: I suspect there are conditions in this part of space that lend themselves to the formation of those eddies. Set sensors for continuous scans of subspace. Maybe we can anticipate the next one.
(Janeway's eyes light up. There's coffee in that eddy.)

[Doctor's office]

EMH: I thought for a long time about what Lieutenant Torres said, and I finally concluded she was right. If I'm going to have the experience of a family, it should be as authentic as possible.
KES: What changes have you asked her to make in the programme?
EMH: Oh, she's already made them. She's simply added some randomised behavioural algorithms to the programme I constructed.
KES: How will it affect your family?
EMH: Events will simply unfold as a matter of natural evolution of probabilities within the programme, but there's no way to predict what those might be.
KES: That could mean a few surprises. Are you sure you've ready for this?
EMH: My database contains everything there is to know about paediatric care and childhood development. I can't imagine a parenting problem I couldn't handle.
KES: Your wife will have changed too.
EMH: Well, I have had some experience with romantic relationships. I don't anticipate any problems there.
KES: Sounds like you have it all worked out. When do you plan on meeting this new, improved family?
EMH: Right now. I'm due home for dinner. Computer, initiate Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho and transfer the EMH to holodeck two.

[Holodeck - Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho]

EMH: Hello, I'm
(Raucous noise is emanating from somewhere. My guess? Jeffrey's room.)
EMH: Home.
CHARLENE: There you are. I thought you'd never get here.
(The living room is not spick and span.)
EMH: It was a busy day. I was quite challenged by the task of preparing a DNA probe to test Ensign Parson's glial cells. It seems he has a microbial infection. Rather unusual.
CHARLENE: Tell me about it when I get home. I'm late already.
EMH: Late?
CHARLENE: It's Wednesday, remember? I'm speaking at the Bolian embassy.
EMH: Ah. Right. Is dinner ready?
CHARLENE: It's your night to cook.
BELLE [OC]: Mom! l can't find my ion mallet.
CHARLENE: If you cleaned your room you'd have better luck.
EMH: What is that noise?
CHARLENE: I've had to listen to it all day. Maybe you can do something about it.
BELLE: Oh Daddy, you've got to help me. I'll be late for practice. Coach Morgan'll be furious if I'm late again.
EMH: If you put your mallet in your closet when you were done with it, you'd know where it was.
BELLE: I know that, Daddy. Oh, tell Jeffrey to turn that off. It makes my eyes hurt!
EMH: Mine too. Jeffrey? Jeffrey?
JEFFREY: What?
(Jeffery is a sullen, rebellious teenager.)
EMH: What is that music?
JEFFREY: Klingon.
EMH: Well, turn it down. You can't do your homework with that noise.
BELLE: Daddy, I can't find your mallet!
EMH: I know that, Belle.
BELLE: They're going to send me down to the second team!
EMH: Well, perhaps that will teach you a lesson.
BELLE: You don't understand anything!
EMH: Belle, you have to realise
(Someone hammers at the door. Two Klingon teenagers are there.)
LARG: Where's Jeffery?
EMH: Who are you?
LARG: Friends.
EMH: Do you have names?
LARG: Larg.
K'KATH: K'kath.
EMH: Well, Larg and K'kath, you'll have to come back later. Jeffrey's doing his homework.
LARG: He invited us.
BELLE: Daddy! I need my iron mallet!
EMH: I! Just a minute. I'm sorry, but Jeffrey can't see friends until he has finished his homework.
JEFFREY: Dad, I asked them to come.
BELLE: Daddy!
EMH: Jeffery, this is unacceptable.
JEFFREY: It'll only take a minute. We have some business we have to do.
EMH: Business?
JEFFREY: HIquoS, pos'tach.
LARG: NuqneH.
BELLE: Where's my mallet? I need it now!
EMH: Young man!
BELLE: You're mean! I want my mommy here! She'd help me find my mallet! I want mommy! I want mommy! I want mommy! I want mommy!

[Mess hall]

NEELIX: Nothing striking your fancy, Lieutenant?
PARIS: Isn't this the fourth day in a row we've had the same casserole?
NEELIX: Pleeka rinds and grub meal. Very tasty, if I do say so myself.
PARIS: Well, you did a great job with it, no question. It's just be nice to have a little variety.
NEELIX: Well you're perfectly free to use the replicators.
PARIS: Ah. I'm out of rations.
NEELIX: Then, enjoy the casserole.
(Torres is sitting, reading a PADD and sipping a drink.)
PARIS: A beautiful woman should never have to eat alone. What are you reading?
TORRES: It's nothing important.
PARIS: Women Warriors at the River of Blood?
TORRES: It's just escapist reading.
PARIS: Rork turned his fierce eye upon her, and B'Neah felt her heart begin to quicken, even as her hand went to her dagger. She had intended to plunge it into his throat, but something about him made her hesitate. B'Elanna, is this a Klingon Romance novel?
TORRES: Klingons do have what you might call a romantic side. It's a bit more vigorous than most.
PARIS: I think I'll read it. Maybe it'll give me some ideas how to make your heart quicken.
TORRES: It's not a technical manual, Tom.
PARIS: Well, that depends what you mean by technical.
TORRES: To an engineer, that means specialising in particular systems.
PARIS: I think that definition works.
TORRES: But I can't promise I won't put a dagger in your throat. Have you heard about the Doctor's new family?
PARIS: How's it going?
TORRES: I think he was a little overwhelmed at first, but I have to give him credit. He's sticking with it.
PARIS: It's hard to imagine the Doctor with children.
(The ship shakes.)
TORRES: What?
(An eddy appears.)
JANEWAY [OC]: Senior staff to the bridge immediately.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Tom. I want to send a probe into that anomaly. Can you hold position close enough for us to get accurate telemetry?
PARIS: I can try.
CHAKOTAY: Be ready to move away quickly if it starts moving towards us.
PARIS: Sorry about that. Just trying to find a way to ride the graviton waves it's throwing off. There, that's a little better. We're in as good a position as we're going to be.
JANEWAY: Tuvok?
TUVOK: The probe has been launched.
PARIS: Actually, this is kind of fun.
(Torres picks herself up off the deck.)
TORRES: Speak for yourself.
KIM: We're starting to receive telemetry. Captain, this is one weird disturbance. I'm reading a temperature gradient of nine million Kelvin's, massive discharges of plasmatic energy, and there's a perfectly calm eye at the centre.
TUVOK: Apparently some of the matter inside it is being exchanged between space and subspace.
CHAKOTAY: What about the plasma? Is there anyway we can transfer some of it to Voyager?
TORRES: I don't see how. We can't transport with this kind of turbulence.
JANEWAY: Maybe we can try a
(The eddy vanishes.)
PARIS: We lost it.
CHAKOTAY: Where's the probe?
KIM: It's disappeared. It's still transmitting, but there's a lot of interference.
TORRES: I'm detecting some kind of unstable interfold layer, not in space or subspace. It could be where the eddies originate, and where the probe is now.
CHAKOTAY: We've got another particle wake. Since we can't get plasma directly from the eddies, maybe we can collect some from their wakes.
TUVOK: The Bussard collectors could be modified to gather plasma particles.
TORRES: We could do that, but Voyager's energy emissions are so high they'd corrupt the particles. I'm not sure the plasma would be much use to us.
PARIS: What if I took a shuttle out? The energy emissions would be a lot lower.
JANEWAY: That sounds like it's worth a try.
TORRES: You'd be exposing yourself to radiation poisoning.
JANEWAY: Check with the Doctor. Maybe he can give you some kind of protection.
PARIS: Yes, ma'am. I'll head to the shuttlebay as soon as I'm done.

[Sickbay]

EMH: I've given you a combination of hyronalin and lectrazine. That should give you temporary protection, but I can't guarantee it's duration.
PARIS: That's all right, Doc. I don't think I'll be out there too long.
EMH: If I know you, you'll push it to the limit. You enjoy flirting with danger.
PARIS: You know me too well.
EMH: You were undoubtedly one of those children who had to climb the highest tree, scale the tallest cliff.
PARIS: That was me.
EMH: I can only imagine what you must have put your parents through.
PARIS: How's the family, Doc? I hear they're a real handful.
EMH: Indeed. However, I have analysed the situation and come up with a solution. There should be no more problems.
PARIS: You make it sound like you're treating a sick patient. I'm not sure you can diagnose and cure a family.
EMH: We'll see. You're in fine physical shape, Lieutenant. You may go ahead and engage in this reckless activity.
PARIS: Thanks, Doc.

[Holodeck - Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho]

(The place is neat again.)
EMH: Where's Jeffrey?
CHARLENE: He's coming.
EMH: I asked everyone to be here at sixteen hundred hours precisely.
BELLE: Jeffrey was asleep.
EMH: Asleep? In the middle of the afternoon?
(Jeffery enters.)
EMH: Is this true? Were you asleep?
CHARLENE: Are you sick?
JEFFREY: I had a late night.
EMH: That's one of the matters I want to discuss. Thank you all for coming. I thought it would be a good idea if we had a family meeting. In fact, I'd like to do this on a regular basis.
JEFFREY: That's something to look forward to.
EMH: If you have something to say, Jeffrey, say it so everyone can hear.
JEFFREY: Nothing.
EMH: I've been feeling that this family is beginning to spin out of control. As husband and father I believe it is my duty to set some parameters. It's part of good parenting.
BELLE: What are parameters?
EMH: Limits, boundaries. To that end, I have drawn up a revised family schedule and a list of rules and regulations. I'd like you all to study them carefully.
CHARLENE: You've rearranged my lecture nights.
EMH: I had to do that in order to make everything work. Everybody has had to make some sacrifices.
BELLE: Daddy! You changed Pareses Squares from Monday, Wednesday, Friday to Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. That puts me on the second team. I'm good enough to be on the first team.
EMH: You shouldn't be on the first team. You're not old enough. As I said, Belle, we must all make sacrifices.
JEFFREY: What sacrifices did you make?
EMH: I will make dinner on the nights your mother lectures.
BELLE: You do that anyway. That's not a sacrifice.
JEFFREY: What's this about no Klingon friends?
EMH: Exactly that. They're a bad influence on you. They're prone to violence, they keep you out till all hours. Why don't you find some nice Vulcan friends?
JEFFREY: You can't just decide who my friends will be.
CHARLENE: Hold on. Kenneth, that may be a bit unreasonable.
EMH: Charlene? You know very well how important it is to keep a united front. I expect you to support me in these decisions.
CHARLENE: Well, if that's what you expect then maybe you should have asked my opinion before you started unilaterally deciding things. I'm not one of the children, after all. I believe I should have some say in just what rules and regulations are established. And I think it's unfair for you to tell Jeffrey what friends he can and cannot have.
JEFFREY: Right. This whole meeting is a Vulky idea, and you can have it without me.
(Jeffery leaves.)
EMH: Jeffrey, you are not excused!
CHARLENE: You've upset him. Let him go. I don't want to argue this in front of the children. We'll discuss it later.
(Charlene leaves.)
BELLE: You really made a mess of things, didn't you, Daddy?
EMH: Apparently so. Although I fail to understand their reaction. I'm just trying to help the family function better.
BELLE: How does it make the family function better if I go to Pareses Squares Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday?
EMH: Belle, you've been playing with children two and three years older than you. That's much too dangerous.
BELLE: But that's what's fun about it.
EMH: You're not old enough to realise how hazardous that game can be. It's up to me to keep you safe. I'm just trying to be a good father.
BELLE: If it'll help, Daddy, I'll be on the second team.
EMH: Thank you, Belle. That's very grown up of you.
BELLE: And I think you're a very good father.
EMH: Why, thank you.
BELLE: I love you, Daddy, even if you did make a mess of things.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

JANEWAY [OC]: Voyager to Shuttlecraft Cochrane. Do you read?
PARIS: Loud and clear, Captain. I'm about three thousand kilometres from the eddy. As soon as it dissipates

[Bridge]

PARIS [OC]: I'll head for the particle wake.
JANEWAY: If this one follows the pattern of the others, it should begin to collapse within a few seconds.
PARIS [OC]: That's good.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: I'm beginning to wish I hadn't had that second helping of French toast

[Bridge]

PARIS [OC]: This morning.
KIM: Captain, the eddy is starting to dissipate.
JANEWAY: Stand by, Tom.
PARIS [OC]: I'm ready.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: I'm in position, Captain. Activating the Bussard collectors. It's working.

[Bridge]

PARIS [OC]: This may save us from Neelix's pleeka rind casserole after all.
JANEWAY: We'll all thank you for that.
KIM: Captain, subspace disruption.
JANEWAY: Is another eddy forming?
KIM: It looks that way.
JANEWAY: Tom, get out of there.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

JANEWAY [OC]: Now.
PARIS: I'm going.
(But the shuttlecraft gets sucked towards the centre of the eddy instead.)

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Harry, can you beam him out?
KIM: Transporters are offline.
TORRES: I'm working on them.
JANEWAY: Tom, are you there? Say again.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: It's pulling me in! I don't have enough power!

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Where are the transporters?
TORRES: I can't access them.
KIM: The shuttle's being drawn inside the eddy.
JANEWAY: Janeway to Paris, do you read me?
TUVOK: Captain, the astral eddy is beginning to dissipate.
(It vanishes.)
JANEWAY: Harry, when the probe disappeared it kept transmitting. What about Tom's shuttle?
KIM: Getting a lot of interference. Can't tell if it's a transmission or not.
JANEWAY: See if you can clean it up.
KIM: I've adjusted the encoding filter. Try it now.
JANEWAY: Voyager to Tom Paris. Can you hear us? Respond. Calibrate to a theta band frequency. Maybe that'll help.
PARIS [OC]: I can't hear you, Captain. There's a lot of plasma interference. I can't clean it up.
JANEWAY: Say again, Tom. You're breaking up. Adjust your transceiver lock and try again.
PARIS [OC]: I can hear you. Is that better?
JANEWAY: Yes, a little. Where are you?

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: Captain, I wish I could tell you.
(It looks like a more benign version of the Badlands.)

[Doctor's office]

KES: Doctor? Can I help you with something?
EMH: Oh, no, no. Perhaps. I've been trying to do an immunogenicity analysis on Ensign Parson's cell culture, and I can't seem to get the measurements right.
KES: I'd be happy to give it a try.
EMH: Thank you, I'd be grateful.

[Sickbay]

EMH: Actually I've been having a few problems at home. I can't seem to stop thinking about them.
KES: Well, there's nothing important going on here. Why don't you take the afternoon off and spend some time with your family.
EMH: I'm not sure they'd appreciate it.
KES: Doctor, you can't just ignore them.
EMH: Computer, initiate Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho and transfer the EMH to Holodeck two.

[Holodeck - Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho]

LARG: Then everything is done exactly
JEFFREY: Dad. What are you doing here?
EMH: I live here, Jeffrey, in case you've forgotten.
JEFFREY: I mean, you're home early.
EMH: Am I interrupting something?
JEFFREY: No, no, just talking with my friends.
EMH: I'd like to get to know your friends. Larg, K'kath, please sit down. What is that?
LARG: What?
EMH: You're holding something.
LARG: This?
EMH: Yes. What is it?
JEFFREY: It's a knife. What does it look like?
EMH: Why do you boys have a knife?
LARG: A d'k tahg knife is an important part of our culture. Every Klingon is given one at preparation for his Rite of Ascension.
EMH: Hmm.
(The EMH holds out his hand, and Larg gives him the knife, hilt first.)
EMH: I happen to know something about Klingon rituals, and I believe this is actually a dagger of kut'luch. Isn't it? Well?
LARG: Yes.
EMH: This dagger is used in a ritual of violence. A first blood-letting in preparation for becoming a warrior. Who's supposed to use this? Well? Is one of you preparing for the kut'luch ceremony? I'm waiting for an answer.
JEFFREY: Dad, you're making something out of nothing.
EMH: I don't think so. I'm going to have to ask you boys to leave.
JEFFREY: Dad.
EMH: And don't bring a weapon into this house again.
LARG: I told you. Humans are weak, cowardly.
JEFFREY: Call me later.
(Larg and K'kath leave.)
JEFFERY: Now look what you've done. You've ruined it!
EMH: What exactly have I ruined?
JEFFREY: Nothing. Never mind.
EMH: You were going to use that knife, weren't you? Did they talk you into some kind of ritual violence?
JEFFREY: They didn't talk me into anything. I asked them. It's an honour to get to perform the kut'luch. They don't just let anybody do it. They trusted me, and now you've made me look like a, like a human.
EMH: You were going to attack someone, draw blood, just so you could appear daring in the eyes of your friends?
JEFFREY: I was doing it to become honourable. Something that you wouldn't understand.
EMH: Jeffrey, how can I make you understand that what you are going to do is wrong.
JEFFREY: It isn't wrong, it's just the custom of another culture! Who are you to say there's something wrong about it.
EMH: I am your father and I expect you to be guided by my ethical standards.
JEFFREY: Well I'm not going to be. Your standards are human standards. They're weak and inferior. Klingon ideals are much nobler, and they are the one's I'm going to follow.
EMH: If you expect to live in this household you will abide by the rules.
JEFFREY: If that's the way you want it, then I won't live here.
EMH: Jeffrey, think about this.
JEFFREY: Oh, I've thought about it. I'm going to become a warrior, and I can't do that if I'm being led around on leash by some bloodless petaQ.
(Jeffery leaves the house. The monitor beeps.)
CHARLENE [on monitor]: Kenneth?
EMH: What is it? What's happened?
CHARLENE [on monitor]: It's Belle, there's been an accident.

[Holodeck - hospital room]

(Belle is lying very still in bed.)
CHARLENE: How is she?
EMH: Doctor Findlay and I operated on her for three hours. We've tried everything. We shut down one haemorrhage and another starts.
CHARLENE: I don't understand. She just hit her head on the corner of the court. How could that have injured her so badly?
EMH: She suffered severe cranial trauma. It's compromised her brain stem and motor cortex. No matter how we try to control the vascular injuries, blood clots keep forming. The haemorrhaging is intractable.
CHARLENE: Then what do you do? What's the treatment?
EMH: Unfortunately, the brain is still a somewhat mysterious organ.
CHARLENE: What does that mean? What's going to happen to her?
EMH: There's nothing more to be done. Nothing medical, anyway.
CHARLENE: But there has to be. Kenneth, you can do something. You have to. You can't just let her. No. No, I won't accept it. I'm going to talk to Doctor Findlay.
(Charlene leaves. The EMH sits in a chair in the shadows.)
EMH: Belle.
BELLE: Daddy?
(He hurries to her bedside.)
EMH: Yes, I'm here.
BELLE: Everything's all blurry. What's the matter?
EMH: You took a tumble, hit your head.
BELLE: It doesn't hurt.
EMH: No, because we gave you some medicine.
BELLE: Is that why I can't feel my legs?
EMH: Yes.
BELLE: What's going to happen? When will I be able to see again?
EMH: Computer, end programme!

[Sickbay]

(Kes enters.)
KES: Oh, you're back.
EMH: Yes.
KES: Did you find the culture I did on Ensign Parson's glial cells?
EMH: I did, thank you. Good job.

[Doctor's office]

KES: How's the family?
EMH: I suppose they're fine. I've actually finished the programme.
KES: Finished? Already?
EMH: Well, I got what I needed from the experience. It was thoroughly pleasurable, of course, but to continue would be a waste of time.
KES: I was hoping to visit them again. I really enjoyed our dinner together.
EMH: Well, if I ever create a new family, I'll be sure to invite you.

[Bridge]

TORRES: The communications bandwidth is as wide as I can get it.
JANEWAY: Janeway to Paris. How's the transmission now?
PARIS [OC]: Loud and clear, Captain.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: I've been analysing the shuttle's sensor readings, and as nearly as I can figure, I'm in the interfold layer that we talked about

[Bridge]

PARIS [OC]: Somewhere between space and subspace.
JANEWAY: That's why we can't find you on any of our scans.
PARIS [OC]: Harry was right.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: This looks like the spawning ground for the astral eddies.

[Bridge]

PARIS [OC]: There are thousands of baby ones in here.
JANEWAY: That's very interesting, Tom, but it doesn't address the problem of how to get you out of there.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: Well, I've been giving that some careful thought, Captain, and it seems to me the only way to get out is the same way that I got in.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Inside one of the eddies?
PARIS [OC]: Exactly.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: I've been watching one that seems about ready to erupt into normal space.

[Bridge]

PARIS [OC]: If I can position the shuttle on it's leading edge I should be able to ride it back.
JANEWAY: If I had another idea I'd suggest it, but I don't. It's your call, Tom.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: I don't see that there's much choice. So far so good, Captain. I'm almost inside the eye. I think this one is just about big enough to enter normal space.

[Bridge]

KIM: Here he comes.
PARIS [OC]: Captain?
JANEWAY: Yes, Tom.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: I think you should get Voyager away from here.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: What's wrong?
PARIS [OC]: This one's turning out

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: To be a whopper. The biggest one we've seen by far. I don't think you should put the ship in danger.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: I'm not leaving, Tom. We've got to stay in close if we're going to beam you out.
TUVOK: The eddy is moving towards us at a velocity of three hundred kilometres per second.
JANEWAY: Chakotay, take the conn. Keep us ahead of it, but stay within transporter range.
CHAKOTAY: Right.

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: I'm going to try to get out of this.
(Instead, the console explodes and Paris is thrown to the deck.)

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Harry, can you get a lock on him?
KIM: Not yet. Everything's too unstable.
JANEWAY: Tom, how much longer before you clear the eddy?

[Shuttlecraft Cochrane]

PARIS: It'd better be soon. The hull is beginning to buckle.

[Bridge]

TORRES: I've got the shuttle on sensors. The hull is breaching.
JANEWAY: Harry, can you get a lock on him yet?
KIM: I'm trying. Hang on. Got it! The shuttle's aboard, Captain. One life sign.
TORRES: He's injured.
JANEWAY: Beam him to Sickbay. Chakotay, move us away.
CHAKOTAY: Yes, ma'am.

[Sickbay]

EMH: Your hard head has protected you again, Lieutenant. It was only a mild concussion.
PARIS: It was worth it, though. That was one wild ride.
EMH: I'm sure it was. And it's a wonder you're not dead. People like you who court danger should be thrown into the brig.
PARIS: Doc.
EMH: You never think of the consequences of your actions, the effect they might have on others. Oh, no, live for the moment, take risks you shouldn't. I'm sorry.
PARIS: Are you all right?
EMH: I. It's my family. My daughter Belle had an accident. She's a child who tends to take risks. She's going to die.
PARIS: I'm so sorry.
EMH: I'll be all right. I shut down the programme. I'm not going back.
PARIS: Maybe you should think about that, Doc.
EMH: I couldn't begin to face it. It was too difficult.
PARIS: I guess all of us would avoid that kind of pain if we could, but most people don't have that choice.
EMH: Well, fortunately, I do.
PARIS: Is it so fortunate? You created that programme so you could experience what it's like to have a family. The good times and the bad. You can't have one without the other.
EMH: I fail to see why not.
PARIS: Well, think about what's happened to us here on Voyager. Everyone left people behind, and everyone suffered a loss, but look how it's brought us all closer together. We found support here, and friendship, and we've become a family in part because of the pain we shared. If you turn your back on this programme, you'll always be stuck at this point. You'll never have the chance to say goodbye to your daughter, or to be there for your wife and son when they need you. And you'll be cheating yourself of the chance to have their love and support. In the long run, you'll miss the whole point of what it means to have a family.

[Holodeck]

EMH: Computer, continue Doctor's Family Programme Beta-Rho, from the last point of deactivation.

[Holodeck - hospital room]

(Holding Belle's hand.)
BELLE: Daddy, what's going to happen to me? When will I be able to see again?
EMH: I'm not sure. You're a very sick girl.
BELLE: Am I going to die?
EMH: You, you're too sick to get better.
BELLE: So I'm going to die?
EMH: Yes.
BELLE: If you'll stay with me, I won't be afraid.
EMH: I'll stay right here, I promise.
(Charlene and Jeffery enter.)
JEFFREY: Dad.
(The EMH and Jeffery hug while Charlene holds Belle's hand.)
JEFFERY: Here you go, shorty. It's your blanket.
CHARLENE: We're here, Belle. We're all here.
BELLE: It's getting darker. I'm sleepy.
EMH: It's all right. Go to sleep. We're all right here.
(Belle dies. Charlene, Jeffery and the EMH hug each other and weep.)

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