Scientific Method
Stardate: 51244.3
Original Airdate:29 October 1997

[Jefferies tube]

(Torres opens a hatch to find someone else in her workspace.)
TORRES: Sorry. I didn't realise that you'd been assigned here today.
SEVEN: I wasn't. This space was unoccupied so I came here to work.
TORRES: On what?
SEVEN: I'm reconfiguring the power couplings in this section.
TORRES: Why?
SEVEN: The Astrometrics lab requires additional energy.
TORRES: I see. So you're rerouting power from other locations, like Engineering?
SEVEN: They are minor adjustments. Primary systems will not be affected.
TORRES: Unless, of course, someone is trying to do a warp core diagnostic, which my crew has been trying to do all morning. We have lost hours of work because of this.
SEVEN: There is no need for anger. I had no intention of causing a problem.
TORRES: What, sorry isn't in the Borg vocabulary? You need to check with me before you touch the power systems. Understood?
SEVEN: Understood.
(Seven moves aside for Torres.)
SEVEN: I am unaccustomed to working in a hierarchy. In the Collective there was no need to ask permission.
TORRES: If you're going to be a member of this crew, get used to it. Procedures exist for a reason. We've got to work together. Follow the same set of rules
SEVEN: Lieutenant?
TORRES: I was given that lecture once, by Captain Janeway when I first joined this crew. If I could adjust to Starfleet life, so can you.
SEVEN: Of course. I am sorry for the inconvenience.

[Doctor's office]

PARIS: Doc, I've got to go run a few errands, I'll be back soon.
EMH: Not so fast, Mister Paris. Can't these errands wait until the end of your duty shift?
PARIS: Well, it's my conn report, actually. I just realised I forgot to turn it in, and Chakotay gives me a hard time when it's late.
EMH: You've been here all afternoon. Didn't this occur to you before?
PARIS: Well, we've been so busy that I guess it just slipped my mind.
(The Sickbay is empty.)
EMH: I see. Well, since it's an emergency, don't let me stand in your way.
PARIS: Thanks.

[Corridor]

(Paris smiles at a crewwoman as he passes.)
CREWWOMAN: Sir.

[Science lab]

PARIS: Computer, lock onto these coordinates. I need a site to site transport. No, wait. Access the central replicator files first. Ah, perfect.

[Jefferies tube]

(Paris beams into the junction above where Torres is now working, holding a bunch of flowers.)
TORRES: Are those supposed to make up for cancelling on me last night?
PARIS: I got stuck with an extra shift on the bridge. What could I say? Sorry, Captain, I've got a date with B'Elanna?
TORRES: And what about right now? Aren't you supposed to be working in Sickbay?
PARIS: I said I had to go deliver a conn report.
TORRES: Not bad, but he'll be expecting you back.
PARIS: He can wait.
(As they kiss, we are treated to a view of their skeletons and musculature. Torres gasps.)
PARIS: What is it?
TORRES: I just had the feeling that somebody was watching us. I must be completely paranoid about getting caught in a compromising position.
PARIS: Kind of exciting, isn't it?

[Sickbay]

(Janeway is recieving a vigourous massage from the EMH.)
EMH: Your trapezius is hard as a rock. You haven't been following the relaxation regimen I prescribed for you.
JANEWAY: I've been too busy.
EMH: The usual story. Have you been getting enough sleep?
JANEWAY: More or less. Mostly less.
EMH: Mmm hmm. And have your headaches been getting any worse?
JANEWAY: No, but they're not getting any better either. They're like hot needles driving into my skull.
EMH: These symptoms are hardly surprising, Captain. You work absurdly long hours under constant stress, eating on the run, without sufficient exercise or rest. Your body is crying out for mercy.
JANEWAY: It certainly is right now, There must be some easier way to do this, Doctor. A hypospray, maybe?
EMH: Always looking for the simple fix. Sometimes there's no substitute for intensive osteopathic pressure therapy. You're fortunate to have a masseur who can work all day without tiring.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: Bridge to the Captain.
EMH: Commander, unless this is an emergency, my patient is unavailable.
JANEWAY: I'm here, Chakotay. What is it?
CHAKOTAY [OC]: We've reached the source of those energy readings and I thought you'd like to see what we've found.
JANEWAY: On my way.
(Janeway gets off the massage table, holding a large towel around herself.)
EMH: Captain!
JANEWAY: I know what you're going to say, Doctor, but I can't neglect my responsibilities.
EMH: Actually I was going to suggest a change of outfit.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: Binary pulsars. The gravitational forces between them are so intense that everything within fifty million kilometres is getting pulled in.
PARIS: Don't worry. We're well out of range.
CHAKOTAY: Gamma radiation levels are high, but as long as we're careful I think we can collect some invaluable data. Captain, am I boring you?
JANEWAY: Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I'm a little too tired to concentrate on stellar phenomenon right now. I'll leave this project in your capable hands.

[Engineering]

PARIS: You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?
TORRES: Yes. I'm trying to increase the efficiency of the impulse drive, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn't compromising helm control.
PARIS: A sensible precaution. I'd be glad to help.
TORRES: Good. All of the specs are at my upper workstation.
PARIS: Then let's get started.

[Engineering - upper level]

(Their passionate embrace pushes Torres back onto a console, which starts beeping. They fumble to turn it off.)
TORRES: Did you hear something?
PARIS: You always think you hear something.
(A door opens.)
PARIS: Commander.
TUVOK: Lieutenant. Here is the power usage data you requested.
TORRES: Right. Of course. I didn't expect it quite so promptly. Which I guess I should have, er, coming from you. I, I mean I'm grateful that you got the data to me so quickly. Thanks.

[Corridor]

PARIS: Tuvok. Tuvok, I guess that was kind of embarrassing.
TUVOK: I don't experience embarrassment.
PARIS: Right. Well, then I guess there's no harm done. It's not like there was a security violation or anything.
TUVOK: None that I am aware of.
PARIS: So, I guess there's nothing that would have to go on any kind of report.
TUVOK: You want me to conceal what I've observed of your relationship with Lieutenant Torres.
PARIS: Well, I'd certainly never ask you to be dishonest.
TUVOK: Certainly not.

[Outside Turbolift]

TORRES: Do you think he'll say anything to the captain?
PARIS: I don't know.
TORRES: Well how did he sound? Annoyed? Amused?
PARIS: He sounded Vulcan. What more can I tell you.

[Turbolift]

PARIS: Deck one.
TORRES: We've got to be more careful with appearances. We shouldn't go into the briefing at the same time.
PARIS: Good idea. Okay, you go in first, I'll come in a minute later.
TORRES: No, that'll look even more suspicious.
PARIS: Listen to us. We're acting like criminals when we haven't done anything wrong.
TORRES: Well, I'm not saying that we have. I just thought that we wanted to keep this relationship to ourselves. We do, right?
PARIS: Do you?
TORRES: If you do.
PARIS: Computer, halt turbolift. Let's figure out how we can handle this.
TORRES: Well, I don't think that it's anybody else's business how we feel about each other.
PARIS: Neither do I.
TORRES: Right, then we're agreed. Just a little more careful in public and we don't say anything to anybody.
PARIS: At least for now.
TORRES: Now? Sounds like you see a future in this.
PARIS: I would never be so presumptuous.
TORRES: Smooth recovery, Lieutenant.
PARIS: I thought so. Computer, resume.
TORRES: So I'll go first and you follow.
PARIS: Right.

[Briefing room]

CHAKOTAY: Here's the plan. We'll circle the pulsars at a distance of eighty million kilometres.
KIM: That might not be far enough. We've been detecting some random proton bursts. A strong one could knock out our shields.
CHAKOTAY: Tom, go to ninety. Keep a safe distance.
PARIS: Yes, sir.
CHAKOTAY: Tuvok, keep our shields at maximum strength. Divert auxiliary power if you need it. I want to take every precaution on this survey. Report any problems immediately, no matter how small.
JANEWAY: Dismissed. Lieutenants Paris and Torres, I'd like to speak with you for a moment.
(Tuvok walks past Paris.)
PARIS: (sotto) Thanks.
JANEWAY: I don't usually pry into the personal lives of my crew, but in this case I have to question your recent conduct.
PARIS: I guess Tuvok
JANEWAY: Tuvok? I haven't heard a word from Tuvok. You two have been making enough of a public display that half the ship is gossiping about it.
TORRES: Believe me, that wasn't our intention.
JANEWAY: You are senior officers and I expect you to maintain the standard for the rest of the crew, but this adolescent behaviour makes me question my faith in you both. If you choose to pursue a relationship that's your business. But you consider yourselves under orders to use better judgment about it. Is that understood?
PARIS: Yes, ma'am.
TORRES: Yes, Captain.
JANEWAY: Dismissed.

[Chakotay's quarters]

(Chakotay leans back in his chair.)
CHAKOTAY: Computer, hot coffee, black.
(As he drinks it, we are 'treated' to a view of his skeleton and internal organs. He is suddenly struck with pain in his hands, and drops the cup. He puts them in cold water and bathes his face. As he runs his fingers through his hair, it falls out.)

[Sickbay]

EMH: Commander Chakotay is suffering bone decalcification, tissue necrosis, decreased visual acuity. All classic signs of aging, but they've developed within hours.
(Chakotay is an wrinkled, bald old man with lots of liver spots on his skin.)
CHAKOTAY: Any theories?
EMH: There's a rare genetic disorder called progeria which causes children to age prematurely. But there's never been an adult case and it was supposedly eradicated two centuries ago. Even so, I took a close look at your DNA. These segments regulate your body's metabolism. My scans indicate that they've been hyper-stimulated somehow.
JANEWAY: What's the prognosis?
EMH: I can't speculate on that until I've identified the cause. There's no sign of an infectious agent.
JANEWAY: We spent several hours near a binary pulsar that was emitting intense gamma radiation.
CHAKOTAY: Our shields were operating. I don't see how I could have been exposed to it.
JANEWAY: At this point we can't rule out anything. I'm going to take a closer look at the data we collected.
CHAKOTAY: You should also run scans of my quarters, as well as my office and the bridge. Everywhere I've been today.
EMH: I'm not prepared to send you back on duty yet, Commander.
CHAKOTAY: I may look pretty strange, but my mind is perfectly clear. I'd rather stay busy than just sit here.
EMH: I have no idea how your symptoms will progress. You should remain in Sickbay for observation.
JANEWAY: He's right, Chakotay. I'll keep you informed.
EMH: Whatever's affecting the Commander's DNA is working at a sub-molecular level. I'd like to set up an electron resonance scanner in the science lab to get a closer look.
JANEWAY: Use whatever you need, and ask B'Elanna to give you a hand.
EMH: Still having headaches, Captain?
JANEWAY: I don't need any more lectures about working too hard, Doctor. Chakotay's the one who needs your attention right now.
EMH: I'll get to work on the scanner right away.

[Mess hall]

KIM: Under orders to use better judgment? oh, that's pretty harsh.
PARIS: I hope I can manage it.
KIM: Well, she does have a point. You could have been more discreet.
PARIS: Oh, I forgot I was talking to the most upstanding Ensign in Starfleet.
NEELIX: Good morning.
PARIS: Neelix.
NEELIX: I was just about to whip up a fresh batch of scrambled eggs. Would you like some?
KIM: Actually I was hoping you might have some leftover Pleeka rind casserole from last night.
PARIS: For breakfast?
KIM: I like it.
NEELIX: I'm sure I can find some for you.
KIM: So, I guess your relationship isn't exactly a secret anymore.
PARIS: Do you think anybody on this ship can keep a secret? (There is a crash and groan from the galley.)

[Galley]

(Neelix is on the floor, curled up and twitching.)
PARIS: Neelix!
NEELIX: What's, what's happening?
PARIS: Paris to the Doctor. I'm bringing Neelix to Sickbay. It's an emergency.

[Sickbay]

(Neelix is covered in his Talaxian spots.)
EMH: Now pay attention, Mister Paris. These scans should indicate whether. Hmm.
NEELIX: What is it?
EMH: It seems that your DNA has been hyper-stimulated, just like Commander Chakotay's.
PARIS: But Neelix doesn't seem to be aging.
EMH: No, the effects are quite different.
NEELIX: If anything, I look like a Mylean. They occupy a region of space near Talax.
EMH: Interesting. Do Talaxians and Myleans share a common ancestry?
NEELIX: Not that I know of.
EMH: Do the two races ever intermarry?
NEELIX: Yes. As a matter of fact, my great grandfather was Mylean.
EMH: Then one eighth of your genetic material was inherited from him. Those must be the genes which have become stimulated.
NEELIX: Too bad my great grandfather wasn't a little better looking.
EMH: Hmm. As far as I can tell, his condition seems stable. I'm going to leave you in charge of Sickbay so I can continue the DNA analysis.
PARIS: If anyone else comes in I'll run a cellular scan. Is there anything else I can do?
EMH: Do your best to keep them comfortable. Until we have more information, that's the best either of us can do.
(Later, Paris is working in the Doctor's office. Neelix walks stiff-legged to where Chakotay is sitting on a biobed, carrying a glass of water.)
NEELIX: I thought you might be thirsty.
CHAKOTAY: Thanks. Do you smell something strange?
NEELIX: I, I'm afraid that's me. I seem to be developing Mylean sweat glands. Sorry.
CHAKOTAY: It's not so bad.
NEELIX: Well, whatever happens, I try to keep in mind things could be worse.
(Neelix sits next to Chakotay, with a grunt.)
NEELIX: I still have my home here on Voyager, my friends.
CHAKOTAY: Your hair.
NEELIX: True. But I'd gladly lose it if I could have my taste buds back.
CHAKOTAY: At least you're not losing your eyesight. See that display over there? It's nothing but a blur.
NEELIX: You think that's bad? The Doctor tells me my pupils have dilated sixty percent. I can't even look at that display, it's so bright.
CHAKOTAY: Yeah? Well I've got chronic arthritis in my fingers. I could barely keep this glass steady.
NEELIX: Well, that's nothing. My spinal column is fusing together. In a matter of days I won't be able to walk.
CHAKOTAY: Got you beat. I can barely walk now.
(A crewman brings a woman in with scars on her face.)
NEELIX: Lieutenant, can we help?
PARIS: I don't think so. I'm releasing you both back to your quarters. I've just gotten reports of more patients on the way. It's going to get crowded in here.

[Science Lab]

EMH: How's the scanner?
TORRES: Almost ready.
EMH: Good. This disorder seems to be spreading rapidly among the crew.
TORRES: Does that mean we'll all be affected?
EMH: Right now it only means that we need to find some answers as quickly as possible.
TORRES: All right, give the scanner a try.
EMH: I'll start with Commander Chakotay.
TORRES: How's the resolution?
EMH: Very nice. Now, let's focus in on the hyper-stimulated segments of this DNA. Can you give me more magnification?
TORRES: Coming up.
(One of the molecules has a marking on it.)
EMH: That's odd.
TORRES: What is?
EMH: There seems to be some kind of contaminant on the base pair sequence. It didn't show up on the first scan. I need a closer look.
TORRES: I'm going to maximum magnification. What do you see?
(An alien bar code.)
EMH: I'm not exactly sure.
TORRES: Well, what does it look like?
EMH: See for yourself.
TORRES: I'm no microbiologist, but that doesn't look like it belongs there.
EMH: Believe me, it doesn't. I've never seen it. This level of sub-molecular technology is well beyond anything Starfleet has developed.
TORRES: What are those markings? Some kind of alien writing?
EMH: I wish I knew. They might help us determine where it came from.
TORRES: Who could have put this into Chakotay's cells without his knowledge? Let me try a compositional analysis.
(While Torres works at a circular free-standing console, the EMH puts another slide under the microscope.)
EMH: It's in Mister Neelix's DNA as well.
TORRES: Is this what's causing the mutations?
EMH: A good scientist never jumps to conclusions, Lieutenant, but I'd say it's a distinct possibility.
TORRES: I'm having trouble getting a clear reading from the sample. It looks almost like the er, whatever it is could be slightly out of phase.
EMH: That must be why my initial scans didn't reveal it.
TORRES: I'm compensating for the phase variance. You're not going to believe this, but I'm picking up an energy signature. This thing is transmitting some kind of a signal.
EMH: To where?
TORRES: I don't know. It's too weak to travel very far. Access the internal sensors and set them to a phase variance of point one five.
EMH: Right.
(He goes to console and flickers.)
EMH: Lieutenant.
(She checks his mobile emitter.)
TORRES: Your programme is being deleted.
EMH: How?
TORRES: I don't know. I'm transferring you back to Sickbay. (Then she is struck by a severe pain in the chest, and passes out.)
EMH: B'Elanna! Science lab to bridge. This is the Doctor.
(He flickers, and transfers himself somewhere.)

[Sickbay]

PARIS: In the last hour three more patients have come in with genetic mutations. The effects are starting to become life threatening.
JANEWAY: What happened to B'Elanna?
PARIS: The alveoli in her lungs suddenly stopped processing oxygen. I've got her on respiratory support. She almost died.
JANEWAY: What about the Doctor?
KIM: The computer logs in the science lab show that he was trying to transfer himself to Sickbay. Something must have gone wrong while he was in transit.
PARIS: Could the Doctor have returned to the mobile emitter?
EMH [OC]: Seven of Nine, this is the Doctor. Can you hear me? It's me, the Doctor. I've tapped into your audio implants so only you can hear me. It's imperative that you tell no one. Make any excuse to get out of there and report to holodeck two. I'm hiding in the da Vinci simulation. I'll explain everything when you get here.
[underneath the EMH's speech - KIM: We checked, but he never made it back there either. We do have a backup of his programme available.
JANEWAY: We'll only activate that as a last resort. I want to ...(inaudible)]
KIM: Seven was checking it.
JANEWAY: Seven? Seven?
KIM: About the Doctor's research.
SEVEN: Yes. I examined their work area. There was no record of any findings. The electron resonance scanner appeared to be malfunctioning. I could return to the science lab and attempt to repair it.
JANEWAY: Keep me informed.

[Holodeck two - da Vinci's workshop]

(The EMH is in period costume, and sketching a young model. Other holograms are doing the same.)
EMH: Hold your head this way, Carlotta. I can only conclude that someone has implanted these microscopic tags in the DNA of the crew to cause genetic mutations.
SEVEN: For what purpose?
EMH: I don't know. And I get the feeling they don't want us to find out.
SEVEN: Explain.
EMH: When Lieutenant Torres and I started making progress in our investigation we were both incapacitated. Call me paranoid, but I don't think that is a coincidence.
SEVEN: If you are correct, perhaps our actions are being monitored.
EMH: That's why I couldn't risk contacting anyone over the comm. system.
SEVEN: Our first course of action should be to collect more information.
EMH: My thinking exactly. B'Elanna wanted to adjust the ship's internal sensors to a phase variance of point one five. I'd like to do the same to your Borg sensory nodes.
(The holodeck computer access is inside a lecturn.)
SEVEN: Proceed.
EMH: Computer, give me a type four micro-inducer.
(The item appears in a bucket hanging from a hook on the side of the lecturn. The EMH waves it over Seven's cortical implant and her vision goes slightly fuzzy. Object have a rainbow surround now.)
EMH: Hmm. Now, take a look around and tell me what you see. Do you see anything unusual? Energy signatures? Or perhaps something that might be transmitting a signal?
SEVEN: No.
EMH: That's one room down, two hundred and fifty six to go. I suggest a deck by deck survey. If you need to contact me, use comm. frequency epsilon two. I've isolated it from the rest of the system.
SEVEN: Understood.
EMH: And be careful. Someone out there could be watching.
(Seven walks the corridors. She sees a crewman come out of a turbolift. To her eyes, he has a metal device strapped to his head with tubes running up his nostrils. An alien walks around the corner. Seven follows.)

[Turbolift]

SEVEN: Deck five.
(The alien steps into the turbolift before the doors close. He walks around her, then sticks a sort of probe into her chest. The turbolift doors open and he leaves. Seven follows.)

[Galley]

(In the Mess hall, she sees several crew with devices, and aliens monitoring them. She goes into the galley to get a drink and use her comm. badge.)
SEVEN: Computer, frequency epsilon two. Doctor, the aliens are here on the ship. I can see them everywhere.
EMH [OC]: This is worse than I imagined. You've got to let the captain know.

[Ready room]

(Doorbell.)
JANEWAY: Yes. Yes!
TUVOK: Good morning, Captain.
JANEWAY: That's a matter of opinion. What is it?
TUVOK: Internal scans haven't revealed anything about the genetic mutations.
JANEWAY: The Doctor?
TUVOK: Still offline. We are investigating the possibility
JANEWAY: Inform me of any progress.
TUVOK: Understood.
JANEWAY: There's one more thing. The incident with Tom and B'Elanna's started me thinking about ship's protocol, or lack thereof.
TUVOK: Captain.
JANEWAY: It seems to me that people have been getting a little too comfortable around here lately. They're late for their duty shifts, taking mess hall privileges during non-designated hours. And a lot of people are spending more time on the holodeck than they are at their posts. You are Security chief. Don't thirteen department heads report to you every day?
TUVOK: Yes.
JANEWAY: Well, straighten them out.
TUVOK: Shall I flog them as well?
JANEWAY: Maybe the Doctor was right. I think I do need a vacation.
TUVOK: You do seem unsettled.
JANEWAY: Crazed is more like it. I haven't felt this anxious since my first day of command. (doorbell) Remind me to lower the volume on that door. Come in.
SEVEN: Captain, I wish to speak with you about (Seven sees Janeway with large needles sticking into her head and two aliens monitoring her.)
JANEWAY: What's wrong?
SEVEN: My attempts to repair the resonance scanner have failed. I require assistance.
JANEWAY: Ask Ensign Kim to lend you a hand.
(The aliens twist the needles in Janeway's head.)
SEVEN: Yes, Captain.
(Seven leaves.)
JANEWAY: Is that all? When this mutation crisis is over, I think I'll spend a few days in renaissance Tuscany. There's a little inn outside Siena I've been wanting to try.
TUVOK: I will join you for a glass of wine.

[Holodeck two - da Vinci programme]

(The life study class is still in progress. The EMH and Seven go up into the gallery.)
EMH: How many?
SEVEN: I've observed fifty six of the aliens. There could be more.
EMH: Have you seen any pattern to their behaviour? Any hint as to what they're trying to accomplish?
SEVEN: They seem to be conducting experiments on the crew and monitoring the results.
EMH: As if Voyager were one big petri dish.
SEVEN: I may be among them. In the turbolift one of them probed me with a medical instrument.
EMH: We cannot allow them to continue.
SEVEN: I've been analysing their energy signatures. I believe there's a way to make them visible to everyone.
EMH: How?
SEVEN: Using a precisely modulated phaser beam. If we expose them the crew may be able to fight back.
EMH: But what if the aliens retaliate by inflicting lethal mutations on everyone? It's too risky.
SEVEN: What do you suggest?
EMH: The key to the aliens' control is the genetic tags. I believe a neuraleptic shock would disable them. Unfortunately, it would be rather painful.
SEVEN: Will the crew recover?
EMH: Yes, they will. The hard part will be administering the shock to everyone simultaneously.
SEVEN: The power relays could be reconfigured to do it.
EMH: Good. I assume you know how to do that?
SEVEN: You assume correctly. But I will have to bypass several safeguards. It will take time.
EMH: Then you'd better get started.
(Seven goes to Engineering and does so. One monitor displays Safety Protocol Override command code HB-88.)

[Bridge]

TUVOK: Tuvok to Seven of Nine.
SEVEN [OC]: Yes.
TUVOK: Why have you accessed the EPS relay system?

[Engineering]

SEVEN: There is a malfunction. I'm attempting to repair it.

[Bridge]

TUVOK: Perhaps you should leave that to the engineering crew.
SEVEN [OC]: Normally I would.

[Engineering]

SEVEN: However, they are all occupied with other tasks.

[Bridge]

TUVOK: You're compromising the power safety protocols. Stop what you're doing at once.
SEVEN [OC]: I assure you there is no cause for concern.

[Engineering]

(Seven moves to Torres' office and opens a drawer of isolinear chips. She starts rearranging them.)
TUVOK: Move away from the console.
SEVEN: As I told you, I am conducting repairs.
TUVOK: You're attempting to deceive me. Why?
(Three aliens come to listen to them.)
SEVEN: (sotto) I can't explain what I'm doing but you must allow me to continue.
TUVOK: Your actions could result in an energy discharge which would be harmful to the crew.
SEVEN: I realise that.
(One of the aliens steps forward. Seven pushes Tuvok aside, grabbing his phaser. She adjusts it and fires at the alien, bringing him into normal view. Then she takes her as a shield and points the phaser at the other two aliens.)
SEVEN: Don't move. If your people attempt to incapacitate me I will kill you.
ALZEN: I believe you. What do you intend to do now?
SEVEN: You will come with me to speak to the captain. I am certain she will have questions for you.

[Brig]

JANEWAY: Keep on trying to disable the tags. Let me know when you're ready.
SEVEN: Understood.
TUVOK: I'ill attempt to modify the internal sensors to detect the aliens.
JANEWAY: Good. Keep me informed. (Tuvok and Seven leave.)
JANEWAY: Who are you? And what the hell are you doing to my crew?
ALZEN: My team has been observing you and conducting tests.
JANEWAY: Tests? I'd call them mutilations.
ALZEN: I can understand why you're angry. I don't like causing people to suffer, but sometimes it's a necessary part of my work.
JANEWAY: What kind of work is that?
ALZEN: Medical research. We're scientists, like you.
JANEWAY: From where I stand you're a hostile invasion force. I want to know how long you've been here and exactly what you've been doing to us.
ALZEN: I can't answer those questions. It's a breach of protocol for me to be speaking to you at all.
JANEWAY: Oh, how convenient. That way you never have to face your victims.
ALZEN: Captain, please. You're exaggerating the situation. Our techniques are as benign as we can make them.
JANEWAY: What I've been through for the last few days certainly hasn't felt benign.
ALZEN: Please understand that there's a purpose to our actions. The data we gather from you may help us cure physical and psychological disorders that afflict millions. Isn't that worth some discomfort?
JANEWAY: I'm sure you'd see things differently if your people were the ones being subjected to these experiments.
ALZEN: Just as your perspective would change if your people were the ones to live longer and healthier lives as a result. Don't forget, we've been observing you, Captain. I know the most important thing to you is the welfare of your crew. You'd even kill to protect them.
JANEWAY: If necessary.
ALZEN: Of course you would. You take care of your own, just as we do. We're really more similar than you care to admit.
JANEWAY: That's where you're wrong.
(Janeway lowers the forcefield and steps into the cell.)
JANEWAY: What you're doing isn't self-defence. It's the exploitation of another species for your own benefit. My people decided a long time ago that that was unacceptable, even in the name of scientific progress.
ALZEN: You're a remarkably strong-willed individual. I've been very impressed by your self-control over the past several weeks. We've been increasing your dopamine levels, stimulating various aggressive impulses to test your behavioural restraints. There's been a great difference of opinion about how much more strain you can bear.
(Janeway slams Alzen against the wall.)
JANEWAY: Not much.
ALZEN: I'd hoped you'd be more cooperative once you realised the importance of our work.
JANEWAY: Sorry. These lab rats are fighting back.
ALZEN: I'm afraid that would be pointless. We're monitoring your attempts to break our control over you. You won't succeed.
JANEWAY: You may find that you've underestimated us.
ALZEN: Consider what's in the best interests of your crew. We will be continuing our research. If you make no further attempts to interfere, I assure you that the fatality rate will be minimal, though there may be some deformities. And I would be willing to share our final data with you.
JANEWAY: You can't possibly expect me to accept that.
ALZEN: If you don't, then the entire experiment and its subjects will be terminated.

[Ready room]

JANEWAY: Are you telling me there is no way to disable the tags?
SEVEN: My attempts to use the EPS relays to induce neuraleptic shock have failed. The aliens may be responsible.
TUVOK: I've encountered similar difficulties in my efforts to modify the internal sensors. They appear to have gained access to our key systems.
JANEWAY: They can't be everywhere all the time. We have got to find an advantage.
EMH: We'd better find one soon. Sickbay is being filled with new patients with increasingly severe symptoms.
SEVEN: We have the ability to make them visible. If we could modify enough sensors we could resist them.
TUVOK: They are capable of manipulating our DNA. A direct conflict would be inadvisable.
CREWMAN [OC]: Bridge to Doctor. Medical emergency.

[Bridge]

(A crewwoman is on the deck. Veins are standing out all over her face.)
EMH: She's in hypertensive shock. Twenty milligrams lectrazine. Her blood pressure is three sixty over one twenty five.
JANEWAY: How is that possible?
EMH: Severe adrenal stress. No effect.
(The crewwoman stops convulsing.)
EMH: Her arterial pathways are rupturing. She's in cardiac arrest. We're losing her.
(Janeway tries CPR.)
EMH: Captain, I'm afraid that won't help. There's too much internal bleeding.
JANEWAY: Then try something else. We'll transport her to Sickbay.
EMH: Her entire circulatory system has collapsed. There's no way to repair that kind of damage. Brain death has occurred. I'm sorry, there was nothing more we could have done.
JANEWAY: This ends right now. (to helmswoman) You're relieved.
TUVOK: Captain, what are you doing?
JANEWAY: I'm running a little experiment of my own. Red alert!
(She flies Voyager towards the twin pulsars.)
SEVEN: Captain, one of the aliens has entered the bridge.
JANEWAY: Understood.
TUVOK: We're less than a million kilometres from the pulsars. We must change course immediately to avoid being caught in their gravity.
JANEWAY: No. Keep going.
TUVOK: This is a far more reckless course of action than I've come to expect from you, Captain.
JANEWAY: It certainly is.
TUVOK: Hull stress is at thirty teradynes and rising.
KIM: I'm transferring more power to the structural integrity field, but I don't know how long it can hold.
(An alien female becomes visible.)
TAKAR: What do you hope to accomplish by this?
JANEWAY: Flying into a binary pulsar? It seems like I'm trying to crush this ship like a tin can.
TAKAR: It's more likely that you're trying to intimidate us.
JANEWAY: You're welcome to stick around and find out.
TUVOK: Hull stress is at forty five teradynes.
(Takar tries to use the helm controls.)
JANEWAY: Our course is locked in. Only my authorisation can release it.
TAKAR: You're not behaving very rationally.
JANEWAY: That's what you are trying to accomplish, wasn't it? Hmm? Pumping up my dopamine levels to push me to the edge? Keeping me awake for four days straight with the constant pain of your devices drilling into my skull? Well, this is the culmination of your work, and guess what? You're going to be right here to collect the final data.
KIM: Shields have failed. Structural integrity is down to twenty percent.
TAKAR: Enter the authorisation code and change course immediately.
JANEWAY: I don't think you realise that you are not in control here anymore.
TAKAR: I can kill you and your crew in an instant.
JANEWAY: Go ahead. Without us, you won't be able to prevent this ship from being torn apart by the pulsars. And even with my crew working together, I'd say the odds of us getting through this are, what, one in ten?
TUVOK: One in twenty at best, Captain.
JANEWAY: I'm willing to take that chance. Are you?
(Takar disappears.)
TUVOK: Outer hull temperature has reached nine thousand degrees.
KIM: The hull is beginning to buckle.
SEVEN: Two alien vessels are attempting to disengage from Voyager.
(One makes it, the other is ripped apart by the pulsar's gravity.)
JANEWAY: I can't break us free of the gravitational forces.
KIM: Then let's divert all power to the shields.
JANEWAY: No. If we go in, we go in full throttle.
KIM: Captain?
JANEWAY: Assuming we survive we'll need all the momentum we can get to reach escape velocity on the other side. Everyone hang on. I hope you were exaggerating about those odds, Tuvok.
TUVOK: I was not. Hull stress has exceeded maximum tolerance.
(Things start to go bang.)
SEVEN: There are breaches on decks four, seven, eight and twelve.
KIM: Emergency forcefields are holding.
JANEWAY: I've lost helm control.
TUVOK: Main power is offline.
JANEWAY: Well, let's hope we've got enough speed.
(Voyager whooshes out the other side and into clear space.)
KIM: I don't believe it. We're alive.
JANEWAY: I never realised you thought of me as reckless, Tuvok.
TUVOK: A poor choice of words. It was clearly an understatement.

Captain's log, stardate 51244.3. With the aliens gone, the Doctor has been able to remove their devices from the crew and neutralise the genetic tags.

[Paris's quarters]

(Dinner for two. Paris pours the wine.)
TORRES: It was nice you could get the night off.
PARIS: Nice had nothing to do with it. I switched shifts with Ensign Wildman which means tomorrow I'll pull a double duty on the bridge and with the Doc.
TORRES: Well, I appreciate the sacrifice. Tell me about the wine.
PARIS: Ah. Ktarian Merlot, 2282. You might want to let it breathe first.
TORRES: We've got all night to let it breathe,
CREWMAN [OC]: Engineering to Lieutenant Torres.
TORRES: Torres here.
CREWMAN [OC]: We're having a problem with the plasma manifold. I thought you'd want to take a look.
TORRES: I don't. Lock it down for now, I'll deal with it in the morning. Torres out. Sometimes it's nice to be the Chief Engineer.
PARIS: Try the salad, Chief.
TORRES: Hmm. This is really delicious.
PARIS: Oh, thanks. I replicated it myself.
TORRES: Mmm, you're too good for me. (doorbell) Ignore it.
PARIS: Right. (doorbell) I'll get rid of them.
KIM: Oh, hi, er, sorry to interrupt. Hi, B'Elanna.
PARIS: Harry, I'm not home.
KIM: I just wanted to return this.
(Kim hands over a PADD.)
PARIS: Thanks.
KIM: Smells good.
(Paris shuts the door in his face.)
PARIS: That's it. No more interruptions.
(He takes off his comm. badge. Torres does the same.)
TORRES: You know, I've been thinking about what the captain said.
PARIS: Thinking maybe she was right? Me, too.
TORRES: We have been a little out of control lately.
PARIS: Do you think we really were?
TORRES: What?
PARIS: Out of control. Those aliens could have just been messing around with our hormones just to see what would happen.
TORRES: You're right, they could have. And we don't know how long they were on board. They could have been tampering with us for months.
PARIS: Well, when you think about it you did have a pretty abrupt change of heart a couple of weeks ago. What made you realise that you love me all of a sudden?
TORRES: Just a feeling. So our whole relationship might be based on some alien experiment.
PARIS: You never know.
TORRES: Well, I think that explains it.
PARIS: I guess we should just call it off, then.
TORRES: I think so.
PARIS: Thank God we found out in time.
TORRES: Thank God.
(They kiss.)
PARIS: I don't know about you, but I'm curious to see how this experiment turns out.

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