Hunters
Stardate: 51501.4
Original Airdate: 11 February 1998

[Bridge]

(A very garbled message is being sent across the galaxy.)
VOICE [OC]: USS Voyager. If you are receiving this message, please study it carefully. We have information
JANEWAY: What happened?
KIM: I'm not sure. The transmission just stopped.
JANEWAY: Locate the source. See if you can get it back.
KIM: It looks like. Captain, the transmission was sent along the same network of alien relay stations we used to send the Doctor to the Alpha Quadrant.
CHAKOTAY: Starfleet Command must be using them just like we did.
JANEWAY: Harry, can you clear the interference from that message?
KIM: Yes ma'am.
PARIS: They said they wouldn't stop until they found a way to get us home.
TUVOK: Nonetheless, we can't assume they've been able to devise a plan this quickly.
JANEWAY: They're communicating with us. That's a big step.
KIM: Okay, I've reprocessed everything we've received. I've cleared out most of the interference. Here it is.
VOICE [OC] This is Starfleet Command to the USS Voyager. If you are receiving this message, please study it carefully. We have information that
KIM: That's all we got. It looks like the bulk of the transmission is lodged in one of the relay stations.
JANEWAY: Can you tell which one?
Kim: It's about three point eight light years from us on a heading of two seven four mark one three.
JANEWAY: Set a course, Tom.
CHAKOTAY: Last time we used one of those stations the people who build it weren't too happy.
JANEWAY: We'll deal with that if we have to, but I'm not going to lose this opportunity. We're going to find out what the rest of that message says.

[Hirogen ship]

(Skulls of various lifeforms adorn the wall.)
VOICE [OC] This is Starfleet Command to the USS Voyager. If you are receiving this message please study it carefully.
ALPHA: Who sent this message?
BETA: Unknown. It comes from across the galaxy.
ALPHA: Locate the ship receiving it.
BETA: It's on a course to one of our modules.
ALPHA: Intercept.

[Bridge]

KIM: Maybe they've figured out a way to get us home.
PARIS: How can they get us home from sixty thousand light years away?
KIM: Who knows what technological advances Starfleet has come up with since we've been gone. They might have developed a whole new way of travelling through space.
TUVOK: Since it was technology that brought us to the Delta Quadrant in the first place, it's a reasonable assumption. Technology could bring us back again.
CHAKOTAY: Starfleet found a stable wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant. Maybe they've discovered one that leads here.
JANEWAY: This kind of speculation can be intriguing, but be careful about setting yourselves up to be disappointed.
KIM: I'm just happy my folks know I'm alive.
JANEWAY: I imagine there were quite a few celebrations when people got the news.
CHAKOTAY: Probably. But I can see where it might make things more difficult for some. I'd guess a lot of people had given up on us, done their mourning, gone on with their lives, found some kind of resolution. Now they get word that we're alive, but so far away that we might as well be dead.
KIM: Some people might feel that way, but not my mom and dad.
JANEWAY: At the very least, we know the relay stations extend almost all the way to the Alpha Quadrant. If Starfleet has found a way to use them to transmit messages, we'll be able to stay in constant contact with people at home. That has to be comforting.
KIM: I'm sure it is, but I think it's more comforting to think that Starfleet is going to get us home. If no one objects, that's what I'm going to do.

[Astrometrics lab]

EMH: You were supposed to report to Sickbay this morning for your weekly check-up. Where have you been?
SEVEN: Here, doing my job.
EMH: And just what is this pressing task?
SEVEN: I'm trying to retrieve more of the message transmitted from Starfleet Command.
EMH: Your devotion to duty is admirable, but you must remember that your implants have to be monitored regularly.
SEVEN: I'm fine.
EMH: No, you're not. I'm detecting reduced levels of erythrocytes in your blood. How long has it been since you regenerated?
SEVEN: Fifty eight hours
EMH: Well, that explains it. We've discussed this before, Seven. You must regenerate in your alcove for at least three hours a day.
SEVEN: I have gone as long as two hundred hours without regenerating
EMH: That was when you were a Borg. You seem to forget you're a good deal more human now.
SEVEN: I assure you, I have not forgotten. Another one.
EMH: I beg your pardon?
SEVEN: I have retrieved another word of text. That makes six.
EMH: Six words in fifty eight hours? Wouldn't it be more efficient just to wait until we arrive at the relay station?
SEVEN: This message is important to the captain
EMH: I'm aware of that. In fact, if it weren't for me, this transmission wouldn't have been possible in the first place. I was the one who risked my matrix in order to go to the Alpha Quadrant. If we ever get home, I expect I'll become quite the hero. Emergency Medical Hologram instrumental in the return of Voyager crew. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
SEVEN: On the other hand, it is entirely possible that your programme will be deleted and you'll be upgraded to conform to the most recent standards.
EMH: Unlikely. I've accomplished things no EMH ever has. In fact, most likely I'll become an object of intense study and discussion. Possibly even veneration. What's that?
(Voyager is shaking.)

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Report.
KIM: We're encountering some kind of gravimetric forces.
CHAKOTAY: Source?
KIM: Looks like it's coming from the relay station we're heading for.
JANEWAY: That station is still two light years away. How could it project a gravimetric field this far?
CHAKOTAY: It would have to have an incredibly powerful energy source.
KIM: I've compensated for the disturbance. We should be all right. At least until we get closer.
TUVOK: I'm detecting a ship, Captain. Eight hundred thousand kilometres off the port bow.
JANEWAY: On screen.
TUVOK: It's adrift, no propulsion systems, no weapons, no life support.
KIM: I'm picking up one male humanoid aboard. He's dead.
JANEWAY: As soon as we're close enough, beam the body to Sickbay. I want to know how he died.

[Sickbay]

(A sack of skin is on the biobed.)
JANEWAY: What's happened to him?
EMH: He appears to have suffered a complete osteotomy. He's been gutted. Apparently some kind of surgical procedure was used to remove the entire skeleton, as well as the musculature, the ligaments and tendons, and the internal organs.
JANEWAY: How long ago did this happen?
EMH: It's difficult to say. Somewhere between a week and a month.
SEVEN: I've seen this before. The Borg encountered a small ship of species five one seven four. They were also destroyed in this fashion.
EMH: Did you ever determine who did it, and why?
SEVEN: No. It was irrelevant.
JANEWAY: Return the body to his ship. His people may be able to retrieve him.
EMH: Very well.
JANEWAY: When we get closer to the station, we can use the data processors in Astrometrics to download the message.
SEVEN: Yes, Captain.

Captain's log, stardate 51501.4. After two days at high warp, we're close enough to the relay station to see it on long range visual sensors.

[Bridge]

PARIS: Not exactly what I expected. It looks ancient.
KIM: Radiometric decay rations indicate it's at least one hundred thousand years old.
CHAKOTAY: Scan for lifeforms.
KIM: Negative, sir. Looks like there's nobody home.
CHAKOTAY: Oh, that's good news.
(The shaking starts.)
CHAKOTAY: Here we go again.
TUVOK: The gravimetric field.
KIM: Commander, if my sensors are right, that station is using a quantum singularity as a power source.
PARIS: A black hole?
KIM: It's a tiny one, probably about a centimetre in diameter, but it's putting out almost four terawatts of energy.
CHAKOTAY: That someone's managed to contain a singularity and construct a space station around it and tap it's power. That's fascinating.
PARIS: Can we take the ship any closer?
KIM: I wouldn't recommend it. Voyager would take a beating from the gravimetric eddies.
CHAKOTAY: All right, Tom, back us off.
PARIS: Aye, sir.
CHAKOTAY: Bridge to Janeway.
JANEWAY [OC]: Go ahead.
CHAKOTAY: We're as close as we're going to be able to get.
JANEWAY [OC]: Okay.

[Astrometrics lab]

JANEWAY: We'll see if we can download the message from here.
SEVEN: The datastream degraded during transmission. Elements have been dislocated, rearranged. It's going to require some time to decompress the message and rearrange it in the proper sequence.
JANEWAY: Don't worry about the sequence. Get it out in bits and pieces if you have to. We can put it together later.
SEVEN: I've accessed a block of data. I'm downloading the text.
JANEWAY: How much we miss you. We talk about you often. Wondering about your day. Sounds awfully personal from Starfleet Command. The children have grown so much you wouldn't. These are letters. These are letters from home.
(Later, Janeway hands some PADDs to Neelix.)
JANEWAY: You'll be the official mail carrier, Neelix. We'll get you the letters as quickly as we can download them.
NEELIX: A task I'm happy to perform, Captain. I can tell you, I've never seen the crew this excited.
JANEWAY: This is the closest they've come to their families in almost four years.
NEELIX: I promise to treat these like gemstones.
JANEWAY: By the time you've delivered them, we should have more.
SEVEN: Captain. I've discovered something odd. There seems to be more here than just letters.
JANEWAY: What do you mean?
SEVEN: There's a latent datastream buried under the message. It's heavily encrypted.
JANEWAY: Encrypted?
SEVEN: It appears to contain a large block of text and what may be maps
JANEWAY: Can you retrieve any of it?
SEVEN: Not immediately. When more of the letters have been cleared out, I should be able to access the coded message.
JANEWAY: Well, I might just hope that it contains a plan for bringing us back to the Alpha Quadrant. I'm curious, Seven. What do you think about all this? Messages, the possibility of getting home?
SEVEN: It lacks any emotional resonance for me. I've never even been to Earth.
JANEWAY: You realise you may have family there?
SEVEN: That had not occurred to me.
JANEWAY: You could have cousins, grandparents. There might be more emotional resonance than you think.

[Bridge]

NEELIX: Ahem. I am happy to announce that I have the first letters from home.
KIM: Who are they for, Neelix?
NEELIX: Ah, this one is addressed to Commander Chakotay. Who's it from, Commander?
CHAKOTAY: An old friend. The person who recruited me into the Maquis. Maybe I'll read this in private. Tom, you have the bridge.
KIM: Neelix, wait a minute. Aren't there any more?
NEELIX: No. No more for the bridge crew. Not yet. Be patient.

[Tuvok's office]

TUVOK: Come in.
NEELIX: Good news, Mister Vulcan. This one's for you.
TUVOK: Thank you, Mister Neelix. You can put it on the desk. Was there something more?
NEELIX: Aren't you going to read it?
TUVOK: Of course.
NEELIX: I, I mean, aren't you going to read it now?
TUVOK: I'm finishing my weekly tactical review. When it's completed, I'll read the message.
NEELIX: You're going to wait until you finish the tactical review?
TUVOK: Do you have any reason to believe the content of the message will change during that time?
NEELIX: That's not the point. It's a letter from your family. Don't you want to know what it says?
TUVOK: I fully intend to find out what it says.
NEELIX: It has some important news.
TUVOK: You mean you've read it?
NEELIX: Well, only the first few lines. When I was seeing who it was addressed to, I, I couldn't help it. Would you like me to read it to you?
TUVOK: Very well.
NEELIX: My husband, we have been given the news that you are alive. Your children and I have asked the priests at the temple of Aymonk to say prayers for your safe return. That's very sweet.
TUVOK: Amonak.
NEELIX: Pardon?
TUVOK: The temple of Amonak. One of the most sacred on Vulcan.
NEELIX: Amonak. Of course. The most significant news is the fact that your first son, Sek, has gone through the Pon Farr. He mated and has become a father. You are now the grandfather of a healthy female who they have named T'Meni, after your mother. You're a grandfather. Isn't that wonderful? Congratulations. What should we call you now? Grandpa? Gramps?
TUVOK: I think Commander Tuvok will suffice. Thank you, Mister Neelix. I'll read the rest to myself.
NEELIX: Just so long as you read it right away. No procrastinating. Who knows what else might be in that letter?
(Neelix leaves. Tuvok returns to his tactical review for a few moments, then picks the letter up and sits by the window to read it.)

[Bridge]

(Janeway enters with a PADD.)
KIM: Is that a letter to you, Captain?
JANEWAY: Yes. Seven just downloaded it. I'll be in my ready room.
PARIS: Yes, ma'am.
(Janeway's letter reads - Kathryn Janeway from Mark Johnson. Dear Kathryn, I was just remembering
about the birth of Mollie's puppies and how long ago that seemed. You should see how big they are now and how well they get along with my new kitten. Things at work are still crazy; the production schedule never seems to let up...however I do need to relate some rather difficult news...since you've been gone, it's been so difficult for me to assume... Janeway starts out smiling, but then it fades.)

[Engineering]

CHAKOTAY: Have you gotten a letter yet?
TORRES: Don't expect one.
CHAKOTAY: Do you remember Sveta?
TORRES: Of course.
CHAKOTAY: I got one from her.
TORRES: Why would she be writing you? Chakotay, what is it?
CHAKOTAY: Something terrible has happened. I read that letter for an hour before I could accept it. Now I have to tell everyone else and I'm not sure how to do it. It's over, B'Elanna. There are no more Maquis.
(For details, click the link to read DS9 Blaze of Glory)
TORRES: What are you saying? There are thousands of us.
CHAKOTAY: All wiped out. It seems the Cardassians have an ally, a species from the Gamma Quadrant who supplied them with ships and weapons.
TORRES: K'Tarra? Roberto? Everyone except us is dead?
CHAKOTAY: Just about. Sveta and a few lucky ones are in prison.
TORRES: No.
CHAKOTAY: B'Elanna.
TORRES: Don't! Don't try to console me. I don't want to be comforted. Those were our friends, good people willing to put their lives on the line for something they believed in and now you're telling me that they are gone, that they are slaughtered.
CHAKOTAY: Those are the risks we all took. We all knew where it could lead.
TORRES: It's not right and you know it. I will make someone pay, I swear I will. If we ever get back.

[Mess hall]

KIM: Tom, I heard there are at least thirty more letters that have been downloaded.
PARIS: Oh yeah?
KIM: Neelix is supposed to on his way here now.
PARIS: What do you suppose this is, anyway?
KIM: What was is?
PARIS: This mystery dish. It tastes vaguely like chicken, but it has the consistency of corn husks.
KIM: Is that all you can think about? What you're eating?
PARIS: Well, I don't like guessing at what I put in my stomach
KIM: Tom, we're getting letters from home. Doesn't that mean anything to you?
PARIS: Not particularly.
KIM: I don't believe you.
PARIS: You know, it's really not that bad.
KIM: Here he comes.
NEELIX: Good news. Seven has been able to download some more letters. This one is for Susan Nicoletti. Is she here?
NICOLETTI: Oh! Yeah.
NEELIX: Fitzpatrick?
FITZPATRICK: Right here.
NICOLETTI: Thank you.
NEELIX: Kyoto? Golwat? (The Bolian woman.) Ashmore? Dorado?
DORADO: I'm here.
KIM: There's not going to be one for me
PARIS: He's not done yet. Hang on.
NEELIX: And finally, Parsons. I'm sorry if your name hasn't come up, but Seven is still working.
KIM: Neelix. I thought you had over thirty letters.
NEELIX: Thirty? Where did you hear that?
KIM: That's what was going around.
NEELIX: Don't pay any attention to rumours.
(Neelix leaves.)
KIM: Right.
PARIS: Aren't you going to eat your lunch?
KIM: I'm not hungry
PARIS: You shouldn't get your hopes up, Harry. No hopes, no disappointments.
KIM: I'm not you.

[Ready room]

JANEWAY: Come in.
SEVEN: Captain, I'm beginning to have trouble accessing the datastream. The longer it remains lodged in the relay station, the more it degrades.
JANEWAY: If we could get near enough we could try to stabilise the containment field. But I can't risk taking the ship in any closer.
SEVEN: A shuttle could withstand the gravimetric eddies more easily than Voyager. I'd like to try it.
JANEWAY: I'd want Commander Tuvok to go with you.
SEVEN: For what reason?
JANEWAY: It isn't my custom to send an away team of one.
SEVEN: As you wish.

[Astrometrics lab]

TORRES: Hi.
KIM: Hi. I thought Seven was working in here.
TORRES: She's gone with Tuvok to shore up the station's confinement field. I've taken over for her. Disappointed?
KIM: Of course not. Would you stop that? I've told you, there's nothing between us.
TORRES: I know there's nothing between you. It's purely a one way attraction.
KIM: Very funny.
TORRES: Harry, you might as well wear a big sign that says, I'm in love. Everyone sees it.
KIM: Look, I'll admit that for a while. Well, she's a very attractive woman, but I've gotten over that.
TORRES: Okay.
KIM: Fine. Believe whatever you want.
TORRES: If you didn't come down here to see her, why did you?
KIM: I wanted to know if I'd gotten a letter yet.
TORRES: Sorry. I haven't seen anything so far.
KIM: Do you think there's going to be one for everybody?
TORRES: I'm sure that Starfleet contacted the families and friends of everyone on the ship. They know how important that would be.
KIM: I hope so.
TORRES: Harry, you'll get one. Try to be patient.

[Shuttlecraft]

SEVEN: Commander, am I correct in assuming that Vulcans are incapable of lying?
TUVOK: We are capable of telling lies. However, I have never found it prudent or necessary to do so.
SEVEN: You have never lied?
TUVOK: Only under orders from a superior officer.
SEVEN: Then I must ask you something. Is it the captain's custom to send at least two people on an away mission?
TUVOK: It's not only her custom, it's recommended Starfleet protocol.
SEVEN: I see.
TUVOK: Is there a purpose to your question?
SEVEN: I am wondering if the captain still doesn't trust me. If she feels I require supervision.
TUVOK: I am not certain how the captain regards you, but her decision to have me accompany you on this mission shouldn't be taken as evidence of any particular attitude.
SEVEN: I believe we are close enough to emit a polaron pulse.
TUVOK: Bring the main deflector online.
SEVEN: Ready.
TUVOK: The variance in the containment field is now at point two nine.
SEVEN: That should prevent further degradation of the signal.
TUVOK: Let me ask you a question, Seven. Is the captain's opinion important to you?
SEVEN: My understanding of the hierarchy on Voyager is that the captain's opinion is important to every member of the crew.
(Whumph!)
SEVEN: What's happened?
TUVOK: We have just been scanned by a sub-neucleonic beam of some kind.
SEVEN: The navigational sensors have been disrupted.
TUVOK: We must get Voyager to send out a directional beacon to guide us back. Tuvok to Voyager. Voyager, please respond.
SEVEN: Commander, we've lost other systems as well. We have no communications, no warp engines and no weapons.
TUVOK: I suspect this was done intentionally by the ship that's approaching rapidly off out port stern.
(It is Hirogen, and they start firing.)
SEVEN: They're at fifty thousand kilometres and closing.
TUVOK: Our shields are losing integrity.
SEVEN: I'll try to get at least one phaser array back online. Commander, one more hit and we'll be susceptible to a hull breach.
TUVOK: That ship is larger than ours. If we lure it closer to the station, it will be far more vulnerable to the gravitational eddies than we are. A tractor beam. We are being pulled toward the ship.
SEVEN: I'll try to disrupt it. Unsuccessful.
TUVOK: Launching a distress beacon.
(A beam from the Hirogen ship knocks them out.)

[Astrometrics lab]

TORRES: Torres to the bridge.
JANEWAY [OC]: Go ahead.
TORRES: Captain, could Lieutenant Paris come

[Bridge]

TORRES [OC]: Down here? I think I've got something he'd want to see.
JANEWAY: He's on his way.

[Astrometrics lab]

TORRES: It's a letter for you. It's coming through right now.
PARIS: For me?
TORRES: It's right here.
PARIS: Who's it from?
TORRES: I can't tell yet.
PARIS: Maybe it's from the rehab colony, telling me I've violated probation.
TORRES: Why are you acting like this?
PARIS: I just want to know who the letter's from, okay?
TORRES: You should know in a minute.
PARIS: I'll be on the bridge.
TORRES: What, you're not going to wait?
PARIS: I'm on duty.
TORRES: Voyager is hanging in space. There's not a lot to do at the helm.
PARIS: I just thought that I should be at my post.
TORRES: You may be able to fool someone else with that ploy, but you're talking to me, Tom.
PARIS: Just download the letter, okay?
TORRES: A little more has come in. It's from Starfleet. From an Admiral Owen. Do you know him?
PARIS: Admiral Owen Paris. It's my father.
TORRES: That's wonderful.
PARIS: Yeah. Maybe. I don't know exactly why, but the more everybody gets excited about these letters from home, the more I don't want any part of it. Maybe because what I have on Voyager is so much better than anything I ever had back there. I just don't want the reminder.
TORRES: You're not the same person you were four years ago. What makes you think he is?
PARIS: No, you don't know him.
TORRES: At least give him a chance. He's obviously reaching out.
PARIS: When he forms an opinion about something, nothing can change his mind.
TORRES: Fine. Excuse me if I can't feel terribly sorry for you. I learned this morning that a lot of my friends are dead. And I've gone from being so angry that I wanted to kill someone to crying for an hour. And now I'm just trying to, to accept it and move on.
PARIS: B'Elanna, that's awful. I am so sorry. And here I am going on about something that doesn't even matter anymore.
(Paris hugs Torres.)
TORRES: No, I'm sorry. It obviously does. You care what he thinks about you.
PARIS: Yeah. Yeah, I guess I still do.
TORRES: I'll let you know when I get the whole letter.

[Ready room]

JANEWAY: Come in.
CHAKOTAY: Looks like Tuvok and Seven pulled it off. The containment field has stabilised quite a bit. B'Elanna says she'd downloading the letters much more easily now.
JANEWAY: That's good news.
CHAKOTAY: We don't have the shuttle on sensors yet, but they should be back soon.
JANEWAY: I've learned a few interesting things about that relay station. It's generating as much energy every minute as a typical star puts out in a year.
CHAKOTAY: It's amazing to me is that someone a hundred thousand years ago was harvesting microsingularities.
JANEWAY: If nobody shows up to protest, I'd like to stay here for a while. Try to find the answers to some of these questions. This is the kind of archaeological puzzle that's always fascinated me. Want a cup?
CHAKOTAY: No, thanks. You haven't mentioned your letter. Who was it from?
JANEWAY: It was from Mark, the man I was engaged to. He told me about the litter of puppies my dog had, and how he found homes for them. How devastated he was when Voyager was lost. How he held out hopes we were alive longer than most people did until he realised that he was clinging to a fantasy. So he began living his life again. Meeting people, letting go of the past. About four months ago, he married a woman who works with him. He's very happy.
CHAKOTAY: How do you feel about that?
JANEWAY: Well, I knew he'd eventually move on with his life. But there was such a finality to that letter.
KIM [OC]: Kim to the captain. Can you come to the bridge?

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: What is it?
KIM: We've picked up an automated distress signal from Tuvok's shuttle. Sensors show there's no one on board.

[Hirogen ship]

(Tuvok wakes up on the deck, arms tied securely behind his back. Seven is nearby, also bound.)
TUVOK: Seven. Seven of Nine.
SEVEN: Where are we?
TUVOK: I assume we're on the alien ship.
SEVEN: This is most uncomfortable. Have you seen anyone?
TUVOK: No. If we can reach one of those blades perhaps we can cut through these bindings.
(An Hirogen enters.)
ALPHA: You were pathetic prey. Easily taken.
(He pulls Tuvok to his feet, then Seven.)
ALPHA: The hunt was not satisfying. I want information. Why do you violate our property? I could snap your puny neck with one twist. Hardly worth taking. Answer me. Why do you use our modules?
TUVOK: We're trying to retrieve important messages from our home. Return us to our ship and we'll be on our way without trespassing again.
ALPHA: I took you in a fair hunt. I claim the relics of the chase.
(He puts a red mark over Seven's right eye.)
ALPHA: Are the others on your ship able to put up more of a fight than you?
SEVEN: You will find our captain a formidable opponent and our ship heavily armed.
ALPHA: Good. Strong prey makes for a better hunt.
(He marks Tuvok.)
TUVOK: Release us now and you'll be safe. Otherwise we will destroy you.
BETA: Pitiful relics.
ALPHA: They 'are the first of their kind. I will be envied.
BETA: I've located their ship. It's four thousand ketriks from the module.
ALPHA: We'll be there within the hour. Go to stalking mode. Why do you hesitate?
BETA: The rest of the group is on its way.
ALPHA: I wanted to claim this prey for myself.
BETA: We may not be able to take them alone. We need the strength of the others.
ALPHA: I won't share prey with the others. These two must be the only relics. Prepare them.

[Bridge]

KIM: Captain, it's tricky to scan through the interference, but I think I'm detecting a ship.
JANEWAY: What kind of ship?
KIM: Let me reconfigure the sensor array. It's Hirogen, and Tuvok and Seven are on it.
JANEWAY: Hail them.
KIM: On screen.
JANEWAY: I'm Captain Janeway of the starship Voyager. You have two of my crew on board.
ALPHA [on viewscreen]: Disconnect your link with our module and leave this space.
JANEWAY: Not without my people.
ALPHA [on viewscreen]: They are my relics.
JANEWAY: I'm prepared to offer you something for their safe return. Surely we can come to an agreement?
ALPHA [on viewscreen]: If the rest of my group arrives, you will be taken as well. I'm giving you a chance to run.
JANEWAY: We don't run.
KIM: Captain, I've got three more ships on sensors, coming towards us at high warp.
ALPHA [on viewscreen]: Don't be foolish. Leave now and save yourselves.
JANEWAY: Give me my people and we'll do just that.
ALPHA [on viewscreen]: They're mine.
JANEWAY: Then get ready for a fight. Red alert.

[Hirogen ship]

ALPHA: Are they prepared?
BETA: Yes. But now is not the time for it. We should wait until the others arrive and take the ship.
ALPHA: I want to make the first kill. You will verify it.
BETA: If there's a battle, we must join it.
ALPHA: The others can wage the battle.
BETA: Perhaps you are more interested in collecting relics. Perhaps your judgment is clouded.
ALPHA: Don't question me again. We do it now.
TUVOK: I suggest you think carefully about your decision. If you kill us, our captain will hunt you down and show no mercy.
ALPHA: I'm not concerned. Lower the harness. A long, coiled intestine. An interesting trophy.
SEVEN: What possible use could you make of my intestines?
ALPHA: Unusual relics are prized. Yours will make me envied by men and pursued by women.
SEVEN: You are a crude species. Only your size makes you formidable.
ALPHA: Your insults are as pitiful as your efforts to escape. This one first. I want the female to witness what will happen to her. Their bone structure makes cutting through the back difficult. This will take time.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Bridge to Torres.
TORRES [OC]: Torres here, Captain.
JANEWAY: How much longer?

[Astrometrics lab]

TORRES: I'm getting out piece by piece. At least another half hour.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: How are you coming?
KIM: The ship has some kind of monotanium armour plating. It's scattering the targeting beam.
CHAKOTAY: The other three ships are closing. They're within six thousand kilometres.
PARIS: Captain, those ships have massive weapons. They've definitely got us outgunned.
JANEWAY: Harry, let me see those ships in relation to the relay station.
KIM: Yes ma'am.
JANEWAY: Maybe we can use that quantum singularity to our advantage.
KIM: How?
JANEWAY: If we can boost the effect of the singularity, increase the gravitational pull, we might be able to stop them.
KIM: The pull would increase if we could weaken the station's containment field. An antithoron burst might do it.
PARIS: If we're not careful we might be pulled in as well.
JANEWAY: Don't worry, we're going to be ready for it. Harry, create a low level warp field around Voyager. Sublight energy level. That should help counteract the gravitational pull.
CHAKOTAY: If the field is too strong, we won't be able to beam Tuvok and Seven aboard.
JANEWAY: Then you'll have to find the right balance, won't you, Harry?
KIM: Yes, ma'am.
JANEWAY: On my mark, direct a level eight antithoron burst towards the station. Have thrusters ready for full reverse, Mister Paris.
PARIS: Understood.
KIM: I've established a low level warp field, Captain.
CHAKOTAY: Antithoron system is online.
PARIS: I'm ready with thrusters.
JANEWAY: Do it.
CHAKOTAY: It's working.
JANEWAY: Try the transporter lock again, Harry.

[Hirogen ship]

(Alarm are blaring.)
ALPHA: Stabilise the ship.
BETA: I can't. The gravity well is pulling us in.
(Tuvok grabs the blade and slashes the Beta across the throat, then attacks the Alpha. He throws Tuvok into the bulkhead.)
BETA: That vessel is weakening the module's containment field.
ALPHA: Ready weapons. Signal the others to attack/

[Astrometrics lab]

TORRES: Torres to the bridge.
JANEWAY [OC]: Go ahead.
TORRES: The antithoron burst collapsed

[Bridge]

TORRES [OC]: The signal. I've gotten as much of the message as I'm going to get.
JANEWAY: Acknowledged. Hail those ships.
KIM: Channel open.
JANEWAY: This is Captain Janeway. Agree to retreat, and we'll restore the containment field.
PARIS: Captain, they're firing.
(Things go bang.)
CHAKOTAY: Their weapons are destabilising the containment field.
JANEWAY: This is Janeway. Stop firing. You're putting yourselves in grave danger.
KIM: The field is going. The singularity is about to be exposed.
(The array implodes into a black hole, pulling Hirogen ships into itself.)
CHAKOTAY: Captain, the ship with Tuvok and Seven is still being pulled in.
JANEWAY: Get a tractor beam on it.
KIM: I have Tuvok and Seven targeted, but if we try to transport them now the gravity well could scatter their patterns.
CHAKOTAY: The tractor beam is weakening. We're going to lose them.
JANEWAY: Harry, we have to risk it.
KIM: Activating the transporter.

[Hirogen ship]

ALPHA: Full reverse. Increase power to the engine.
BETA: No response.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Do you have them?
KIM: Not yet. Their patterns are distorting.
JANEWAY: Narrow the annular confinement beam.
CHAKOTAY: Tractor beam's almost gone, Captain. We're losing this tug of war.
JANEWAY: Reroute all secondary power to the tractor emitters.
CHAKOTAY: The tractor beam collapsed. That ship is headed into the black hole.
KIM: I'm realigning the pattern buffer. I've got one more shot at it. I got them. They're in transporter room two.
PARIS: I need more power. We're being pulled in.
JANEWAY: Transfer all available power to the engines.
PARIS: It's not enough.
JANEWAY: Shut down life support.
CHAKOTAY: Structural integrity's failing. The hull is starting to buckle.
PARIS: We're going in.
JANEWAY: Open the antimatter injectors to one hundred twenty percent.
KIM: Captain, that could breach the core.
JANEWAY: So will that black hole. Now just do it.
KIM: Yes, ma'am.
(Voyager stops shaking.)
PARIS: We're free.
JANEWAY: Resume course. I'll be in Astrometrics.

[Astrometrics lab]

TORRES: Captain, look at this. The energy released from the singularity created a massive discharge along the relay network. It disabled every one of the stations.
JANEWAY: How much of the message were you able to get?
TORRES: I got most of the encrypted Starfleet text and a few more personal letters.
JANEWAY: How soon can we see what Starfleet had to say?
TORRES: It'll take some time to decode. Harry should probably work on it. If you'll excuse me, I have a few letters to deliver.
JANEWAY: Neelix can do that.
TORRES: No need. Anyway, there's one that I want to do personally.

[Bridge]

TORRES: Good news, Harry. I got this at the last minute.
KIM: It's from my folks. Thanks.
TORRES: I'm sorry, Tom. I wasn't able to download yours in time.
PARIS: Just when I was getting eager to read it.
TORRES: You could assume that he said he loves you, and that he's proud of you.
PARIS: I think I will.

Captain's log, supplemental. Seven of Nine and Commander Tuvok suffered no serious physical damage after their encounter on the alien ship. I've been eager to hear Tuvok's impressions of the species who took them hostage.

[Ready room]

TUVOK: I learned very little about them, but I believe we should consider them extremely dangerous. They seem to lack any moral centre.
JANEWAY: Do you know why the relay network was so important to them?
TUVOK: No. I assume they used it for communications, as we did.
JANEWAY: Well, they won't be using it any more.
TUVOK: They won't be pleased about that, Captain. I doubt we've seen the last of them.  
(Doorbell.)
JANEWAY: Come in.
(Chakotay enters.)
TUVOK: If you'll excuse me. Commander.
(Tuvok leaves.)
CHAKOTAY: Repair teams have inspected the ship from stem to stern. Except for some maintenance that's needed on the warp coils, everything seems fine.
JANEWAY: I suppose so. Want some coffee?
CHAKOTAY: Thanks.
JANEWAY: Cream and sugar, huh?
CHAKOTAY: Two sugars.
JANEWAY: Oh, two sugars?
CHAKOTAY: You know, you drink too much of that stuff.
JANEWAY: Really?
CHAKOTAY: If I'm not mistaken that's your third cup this morning.
JANEWAY: Fourth. And on a day like today, it won't be my last. Coffee - the finest organic suspension ever devised. It's got me through the worst of the last three years. I beat the Borg with it. Oh, I'm sure Voyager will be fine, but I'm worried that the crew might be a different story. I think they were hoping mail call would become a regular part of their day.
CHAKOTAY: Neelix is putting together an impromptu party. He thought it might cheer them up.
JANEWAY: Good idea. When will it be?
CHAKOTAY: As soon as he can get people together.
JANEWAY: Leave it to Neelix to come up with the right idea at the right time.
CHAKOTAY: How are you doing?
JANEWAY: Me? I'm fine.
CHAKOTAY: You'd say that if you'd just had your legs torn off by a Traykan Beast. Look what you've been through in the last few days. We finally make a connection with home and then it's ripped away from us. We manage to make another enemy who's going to try and hunt us down and destroy us, and on top of that
JANEWAY: It's all right. You can say it. On top of all that, I got a Dear John letter. It wasn't really a surprise. I guess I didn't really expect him to wait for me considering the circumstances. It made me realise that I was using him as a safety net, you know, as a way to avoid becoming involved with someone else.
CHAKOTAY: You don't have that safety net any more.
JANEWAY: That's right. Then again, my life is far from uneventful here in the Delta Quadrant. It's not like I would have had a chance to pursue a relationship, even if I had realised I was alone.
CHAKOTAY: You're hardly alone, and to my way of thinking, there's still plenty of time.
JANEWAY: Plenty of time.
NEELIX: Neelix to the ready room. The party's about to begin and there are only two people missing.
JANEWAY: We're on our way.
(Chakotay offers Janeway his arm, and they leave together.)

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