Prey
Stardate: 51652.3
Original Airdate: 18 February 1998

[Hirogen ship]

(For the first time, we see Hirogen without their breathing masks.)
HUNTER: The prey's course has become erratic. I will intercept to kill.
ALPHA: No. Maintain distance. His ship is damaged. He's injured. Let him bleed.
(Does that deep voice sound familiar? It should, because it is Tony Todd.)
HUNTER: This prey is resilient. We will lose the moment.
ALPHA: The way a creature behaves when it is wounded is the key to it's destruction. Maintain distance.
HUNTER: Direct hit. Our hull armour is stable.
ALPHA: His weapons must be weakening.
HUNTER: The prey is heading for an asteroid belt, vector one six eight point nine. We are losing him.
ALPHA: He hasn't come here to hide. He's come to make a final stand.
HUNTER: Tracking. He's holding position above an asteroid and he's left his ship.
ALPHA: Follow him.
(The Beta selects a honking great gun, one that Tyr Anasazi would envy, then puts two white stripes on helmet.)

[Caves]

(The breathing masks are back on.)
HUNTER: The prey is scattering our sensors.
ALPHA: Impressive. He counters out pursuit to the final moment.
HUNTER: Compensating.
ALPHA: No. Disengage sensors.
HUNTER: For what reason?
ALPHA: I want to take him with my own eyes. Follow. I'll draw his attack. Prepare to target his thoracic crest.
(Their prey attacks the Hunter. It is a member of Species 8472. It takes constant fire from both their weapons to kill it.)
ALPHA: A flawless kill.

[Doctor's office]

SEVEN: Please remain still so that I can treat your injuries. Thank you. I'm sorry, did that hurt? I'll try to be more careful. Thanks for being a patient patient. Have a pleasant afternoon. This is absurd.
EMH: Not at all. Keep going, you're doing fine.
SEVEN: This vernacular is not applicable to my duties on Voyager.
EMH: We can tailor the vocabulary to your specific situations a little later. Right now, it's the sentiment that counts.
SEVEN: I don't see the relevance.
EMH: I created these exercises three years ago to familiarise myself with the social graces. I found that if I repeated them several times each day, the words became almost second nature. Let's continue. Exercise two, The Workplace Encounter. Kes used to help me with this one. Now I'll be the nurse, you be the doctor.
SEVEN: Please hand me the hypospray.
EMH: Of course, Doctor, immediately.
SEVEN: Thank you. Looks at instrument.
EMH: No, no, don't read that part, only the dialogue.
SEVEN: Excuse me, nurse. This is the wrong hypospray. Would you mind finding the correct one.
EMH: Not at all.
SEVEN: Thank you. Did I mention you look lovely today?
EMH: Oh, doctor, you're so charming.
SEVEN: This lesson is terminated. 

[Medical lab]

EMH: I know it's awkward. For me, it was even painful, but you'll find the rewards are well worth the effort.
SEVEN: Rewards?
EMH: The ability to put others at ease, make them feel more comfortable around you. You're a lot like me when I was first activated. If I'd had a mentor, things would have gone a lot more smoothly. I'm willing to share my wisdom but, if you're not interested, fine, I'll stick to your physiological maintenance.
SEVEN: I will examine your data.
EMH: Oh, good. Pay special attention to exercise seventeen, Bridge Banter for Beginners.
SEVEN: Have a pleasant day.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Verify.
TUVOK: Monotanium hull plating, dicyclic warp signature. The vessel is definitely Hirogen.
CHAKOTAY: They're moving to intercept.
PARIS: Evasive manoeuvres?
JANEWAY: No. We need to settle our differences here and now. Hard about, full impulse.
CHAKOTAY: Red alert.
KIM: They're in visual range.
JANEWAY: On screen. Hail them.
TUVOK: No response.
PARIS: They're closing. Fifty thousand kilometres, forty five, forty.
JANEWAY: Maintain course, Mister Paris.
TUVOK: Curious. They are not charging weapons.
PARIS: They're slowing, sir.
CHAKOTAY: Lifesigns?
TUVOK: Only one, and it's erratic.
PARIS: They've stopped, Captain. Their engines just went offline.
CHAKOTAY: This could be a trap.
JANEWAY: Harry, run a long range scan. Are there any other Hirogen ships out there?
KIM: None.
JANEWAY: Take us within transporter range.
SEVEN: You intend to board their ship?
JANEWAY: Yes.
SEVEN: The Hirogen vessel is a potential threat. We should destroy it.
JANEWAY: Seven, what you call a threat, I call an opportunity to gain knowledge about this species. And in this case, maybe even show some compassion. There seems to be a wounded pilot over there.
SEVEN: Our experience with the Hirogen indicates that compassion would not be reciprocated.
JANEWAY: And all of my experience says we've got to take that chance anyway. Commander.
CHAKOTAY: Tuvok, Paris, you're with me.

[Hirogen ship]

(The place is a mess. Electrical circuits are still sparking and flaring.)
PARIS: Looks like there was a fight.
CHAKOTAY: Search for the lifesigns.
(Chakotay sees an alien skeleton hanging in a net, and the wall of trophies and weapons that should remind him of the Kazon. Then he comes upon a large, transparent, bubbling vat.)
TUVOK: Commander.
CHAKOTAY: I'm reading bones, muscle tissue, from at least nine different species. It's all being broken down by some sort of enzyme.
TUVOK: Perhaps this is their method of denaturating their prey.
CHAKOTAY: Either that or it's dinner.
PARIS: Looks like somebody lost their helmet. Urgh!
(Paris has discovered that the helmet is still occupied by the head of the Hunter, and dropped it.)
PARIS: Commander. I'm not picking up any weapon residuals. I'd say he was physically torn apart.
CHAKOTAY: I'm picking up the lifesigns. This way.
(They open a door to discover the Alpha, whimpering and hugging his honking big gun.)
CHAKOTAY: Massive internal bleeding. Let's get him to Sickbay.

[Briefing room]

CHAKOTAY: The data we downloaded from the ship's computer included navigational records. Can you give us a map of this region?
TUVOK: The is the Hirogen vessel's flightpath over the past five years.
JANEWAY: They've certainly covered a lot of space.
TUVOK: This ship alone has visited over ninety star systems in the last year.
CHAKOTAY: I analysed some of their logs. From what I can tell, this is a hunting species. We saw the skeletal remains from dozens of alien races displayed like trophies. There was also evidence they may be using some of their victims for food. The entire culture seems to be based on the hunt. Social rituals, art, religious beliefs. They're nomadic. Their existence is driven by the pursuit of prey and it's carried them across huge distances.
TUVOK: There is no evidence of a home planet. Their ships travel alone or in small groups. On occasion, several will join forces in a multi-pronged attack.
CHAKOTAY: Like wolves.
JANEWAY: How's our wolf in Sickbay?
TUVOK: Still unconscious, behind a level five forcefield
JANEWAY: You were right, Seven. This species is a threat. But despite the risk of sending an away team, we know a lot more about who we're dealing with now.
SEVEN: You were correct, Captain. It was worth the risk. This time.
JANEWAY: So there's one question remaining. Who's hunting the hunters?
(That would be the 8472 currently crawling over Voyager's hull.)

[Sickbay]

(There are armed guards here.)
EMH: I was trying to remove his body armour to treat the internal injuries when he suddenly regained consciousness. Needless to say he's not happy to be here.
JANEWAY: Can you sedate him?
EMH: I've already tried. His immune system neutralises everything. I could synthesise a more potent compound, but that would take hours. He could be dead by then. His wounds are severe.
JANEWAY: Your crewmate is dead, and your ship has been damaged beyond repair. I brought you here to treat your injuries. What happened to your ship? Who attacked you? The first time I met your species it wasn't on the best of terms, but that doesn't mean you and I can't find a way to change that.
ALPHA: Our prey.
JANEWAY: You were on a hunt?
ALPHA: Yes. A formidable alien. We captured it two days ago, but it broke free of its restraints, attacked us. Release me. I must continue the hunt.
JANEWAY: Not without your ship, and not in this condition. You'll die without treatment. Let us help you.
(The Alpha nods.)
JANEWAY: Doctor?
EMH: All right. I'm going to enter the forcefield now and start with a few scans of your midsection. You should know I'm a hologram and can't be bent, spindled or mutilated, so don't bother trying. Please lie down. Or remain standing.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: Captain, we've detected six more Hirogen ships. They're converging on us from all directions.
TUVOK: The one in Sickbay may have sent a distress call from his vessel.
JANEWAY: How long do we have?
CHAKOTAY: The nearest ship is half a light year away. Four hours at most.
JANEWAY: Tom, analyse their approach pattern. Evade them as long as you can.
PARIS: Yes, ma'am.
JANEWAY: I want to buy the Doctor enough time to treat our hunter. If I gain his confidence, he might call off his friends. Good old-fashioned diplomacy could get us out of this yet.
CHAKOTAY: Don't count on it. From what I found in their database, diplomacy isn't a part of their lifestyle. They don't see us as equals. To them, we're simply game.
JANEWAY: It's time we convince them otherwise, or like any other cornered animal, we'll show our teeth.
(Voyager trembles.)
TUVOK: There's been a hull rupture on deck eleven, section three. Damage is minor. It appears a plasma conduit overloaded.
CHAKOTAY: Increase power to the structural integrity field.
TUVOK: A bulkhead has collapsed in Jefferies tube eighty four.
CHAKOTAY: Another overload?
KIM: Negative. The plasma network is stable. This wasn't caused by any power surge or system failure.
JANEWAY: Harry, Tuvok, get to deck eleven and check it out.

[Jefferies tube 84]

(They crawl along and open a hatch to see the end of the tube open to space, with a forcefield in place.)
KIM: This was no overload.
TUVOK: Indeed.
KIM: Commander.
(There is some residue on the deck plating.)
TUVOK: It's a dense mixture of DNA and polyfluidic compounds. Tuvok to bridge.
JANEWAY [OC]: Go ahead.
TUVOK: We may have an intruder aboard.

[Bridge]

TUVOK [OC]: I'm analysing what could be a sample of its blood. The readings are consistent with species 8472.
JANEWAY: Intruder alert. Bridge to Security, seal off decks ten through twelve.
CHAKOTAY: Internal sensors aren't detecting any intruders.
JANEWAY: The last time we ran into this species, it was impervious to our scanners. We'll have to track it visually.
PARIS: How did it get past our shields?
JANEWAY: We'll worry about that later. You have the bridge, Commander. I'll be on deck eleven.

[Engineering]

SEVEN: I've erected a level ten forcefield around Engineering.
TORRES: Good. (to other crew) Set up secondary forcefields around every hatch, Jefferies tube and conduit leading into this room. I want every one of these consoles secured. Authorised command codes only. I'm going to lock down the warp core. Ensign, realign the dilithium matrix to a frequency of three point six nine
(Torres hears something and looks up. 8472 drops down from the top of the warp core onto her. Moments later, it has gone.)
JANEWAY: Report.
SEVEN: Four crewmembers are wounded, two seriously.
JANEWAY: Get them to Sickbay.
SEVEN: Species 8472 accessed engineering through the antimatter injector port. Our phaser fire was insufficient. It attacked us then escaped through Jefferies tube seventeen alpha.
JANEWAY: Janeway to Tuvok.
TUVOK [OC]: Tuvok here.
JANEWAY: The intruder just left Engineering. Seal off the area.
TUVOK [OC]: Understood.
JANEWAY: Secure the warp core.
CREWWOMAN: Yes, Captain.
JANEWAY: Seven.

[Corridor]

JANEWAY: It would seem that the Hirogen underestimated their latest prey.
SEVEN: You believe they were hunting the creature?
JANEWAY: Yes. When the Borg were fighting Species 8472, did they ever engage in physical combat?
SEVEN: On many occasions.
JANEWAY: Can you recall anything that might help us here?
SEVEN: Each time they boarded a Borg vessel, they went directly to the central power matrix and disabled it.
JANEWAY: The creature was just in Engineering. Didn't touch any of our power systems.
SEVEN: It's obviously adjusted its strategy. Species 8472 is devious and highly intelligent. It will seek the most efficient means of destroying us.
JANEWAY: Let's get to Sickbay.

[Sickbay]

(The EMH scans Torres on the biobed.)
EMH: She's going to be just fine, Captain.
JANEWAY: Is it alone? Have you seen any others like it?
ALPHA: Why?
CHAKOTAY: Six months ago, this species invaded our galaxy with thousands of ships. We were barely able to fight them off.
JANEWAY: Your prey could indicate another invasion. If it does, we're all in trouble. How many ships have you seen?
ALPHA: Only one. Damaged. We tracked it across fifty light years. We thought that we had killed the creature, but this prey is unlike any other. It has many lives. Lower the forcefield and I will finish the hunt.
SEVEN: Your attempt to destroy it will fail. Species 8472 is highly resistant to all technology. All but one. Borg nanoprobes.
ALPHA: Nanoprobes?
CHAKOTAY: Microscopic weapons that can attack the species on a cellular level. We've tried it before and it worked.
SEVEN: I'll modify the phaser rifles to fire nanoprobe discharges.
JANEWAY: I want you to incapacitate the creature, not kill it. Can you make that modification?
SEVEN: Yes, but it would require additional time. We must stop it as soon as possible.
ALPHA: She's right.
JANEWAY: Not until we know why it returned.
SEVEN: You will be exposing this crew to unnecessary risk.
JANEWAY: I disagree.
SEVEN: Captain.
JANEWAY: You have your orders, Seven. Six of your vessels will be here in under four hours. I hope you'll let them know that we saved your life and that we want to avoid any further conflict with your people.
ALPHA: Let me resume the hunt, and I will grant your request.
CHAKOTAY: We have enough problems on this ship as it is without him running around.
ALPHA: I spent six months studying this prey's behaviour. I know how to track him. Let me continue, or I will have the others destroy you.  
(Rumble.)
TUVOK [OC]: Tuvok to Janeway.
JANEWAY: Go ahead.

[Deck 11]

TUVOK: We're holding position in section ninety four, but the creature has accessed the environmental controls. Deck eleven is losing life support. Artificial gravity has also been compromised.
(Tuvok floats upwards.)
JANEWAY [OC]: Evacuate the deck.

[Sickbay]

JANEWAY: Regroup on deck ten.
TUVOK [OC]: Aye, Captain.
ALPHA: He's trying to barricade himself. He did the same thing to us.
JANEWAY: You want to be part of the hunt? Now's your chance. He'll be under your supervision, Commander. If he steps out of line, shoot him.
(Janeway leaves. Chakotay lowers the surgical bay forcefield.)
ALPHA: My weapon.

[Corridor]

(In environmental suits.)
CHAKOTAY: Temperature gradient.
PARIS: Affirmative.
CHAKOTAY: Atmospheric recyclers.
PARIS: Engaged.
CHAKOTAY: Is your body armour designed to handle rapid pressure fluctuations?
ALPHA: It can defeat most hostile environments. I once tracked a silicon-based lifeform through the neutronium mantle of a collapsed star.
PARIS: I once tracked a mouse through Jefferies tube thirty two.
CHAKOTAY: Chakotay to Tuvok. We're ready to go.

[Another corridor]

TUVOK: As are we.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: Proceed to deck eleven, Keep you comm. links open.
TUVOK: Understood. Activate the nanoprobe charges.
SEVEN: Level five should be sufficient to stun the creature.

[Corridor]

CHAKOTAY: Depressurising hatch. Magnetise.

[Corridor - Deck 11]

(The two groups clomp along in their magnetic boots. The Hirogen moves ahead of Chakotay and Paris.)
CHAKOTAY: Maintain your position.
ALPHA: He's here.
CHAKOTAY: I said maintain your position. This is my hunt. I'm at point.
ALPHA: My knowledge of this prey is superior you yours.
CHAKOTAY: But you're on unfamiliar terrain. I know this ship, you don't.
ALPHA: The prey will likely attack the man at point. You would not survive.
CHAKOTAY: I'll take that chance. Now fall back.
(The Hirogen steps back behind Chakotay and looks at Paris.)
PARIS: No problem. I'll take up the rear.
(In another part of the deck, Seven shoots at something. A PADD is floating in mid-air.)
TUVOK: You missed. Since species 8472 invaded the ship, you've become increasingly agitated.
SEVEN: They were the only species to offer true resistance to the Borg. They destroyed millions of drones, hundreds of our worlds. I have reason to be agitated.
(Back with group one. There are globules floating ahead of them.)
PARIS: What is it?
ALPHA: It's blood. The prey is wounded.
CHAKOTAY: This corridor ends about twenty metres ahead.
PARIS: The only thing down there is Deflector Control. It's got nowhere to run.
ALPHA: He's not planning to run. He's waiting. He'll attempt to slip around us, attack from behind.
CHAKOTAY: Chakotay to Tuvok.
TUVOK [OC]: Tuvok here.
CHAKOTAY: We've cornered the intruder in section fifty nine.
TUVOK: On our way.
(8472 is floating in the middle of the corridor.)
CHAKOTAY: It's hurt.
ALPHA: This prey is resilient. He will strike with his dying breath. We must kill him now.
CHAKOTAY: That may not be necessary. Hold your fire. I said, lower your weapon.
(The Hirogen attacks Chakotay and shoots Paris, then starts on the 8472 until he gets shot in the back by Tuvok.)

[Mess hall]

TUVOK: Mister Neelix, I must ask you to exchange your spatula for a phaser rifle.
NEELIX: Sure.
TUVOK: We have two intruders on board and six Hirogen vessels on the way. I need additional security personnel.
NEELIX: Right away, sir. What's my assignment?
TUVOK: Join the security detail on deck ten, section twelve. You'll receive further instructions then. I'll expect tactical updates every twenty minutes.
(Tuvok gets a flash of 8472.)
NEELIX: Lieutenant? Are you all right?
TUVOK: You have your orders.

[Deck 11]

(Out of the environmental suits, so presumably environmental controls are back online.)
JANEWAY: Report.
CHAKOTAY: The Hirogen's back in Sickbay, within a forcefield.
JANEWAY: And Species 8472?
CHAKOTAY: We've established a security perimeter. Basically, we've turned this entire section into a brig.
JANEWAY: As an added precaution, have B'Elanna start working on a way to lock onto the creature, in case we have to beam it off the ship. You mentioned it was injured. In what way?
EMH: I wish I could tell you for certain. It's body is generating some sort of bioelectric field making it impossible to scan, so I could only make a visual diagnosis. It's conscious but immobile. Its epidermis displays any number of injuries, punctures, energy burns. And its demeanour is that of a wounded animal.
JANEWAY: The Hirogen said they've been chasing it for several months. Is there anything you can do?
EMH: I don't know enough about it's physiognomy to treat it's surface wounds, let alone any internal damage. Frankly, I'm at a loss.
PARIS: Captain, just before we cornered it, Species 8472 accessed Deflector Control from this panel.
SEVEN: I've analysed the transmission protocols. It was attempting to open a singularity into it's realm, but it failed.
JANEWAY: It was trying to get home.
PARIS: That's what it looks like.
(They walk on to where 8472 is slumped against the wall.)
JANEWAY: Tuvok?
TUVOK: The creature initiated telepathic contact with me.
JANEWAY: What's it saying?
TUVOK: It's ship was damaged during the conflict with the Borg. When the other members of its species retreated into fluidic space, it was left behind. It has been trapped in the Delta Quadrant ever since. Alone, pursued by Hirogen hunting parties. It has no desire for further conflict. It only wants to return to its domain. It is dying, Captain.
JANEWAY: You have nothing to be afraid of. We're going to help you get back to your realm. Does it understand?
TUVOK: It does.
JANEWAY: It will take time to open a singularity and we have no way of treating your injuries, but if there's anything you can tell us about your
(8472 collapses.)
TUVOK: It has lost consciousness. Our telepathic link has been severed.

[Sickbay]

(The Hirogen is in the surgical bay behind the forcefield and under armed guard. Note - the biobed is missing.)
ALPHA: Where is my prey?
JANEWAY: Lying at the end of a corridor on deck eleven. Nearly dead, thanks to you.
ALPHA: Take me to it.
JANEWAY: No.
ALPHA: Take me to it!
JANEWAY: In less than three hours, your ships will arrive. By that time, Species 8472 will no longer be on Voyager.
ALPHA: What do you mean?
JANEWAY: I'm sending it back where it came from.
ALPHA: Surrender the creature to me and you will not be harmed.
JANEWAY: This isn't a hunt, it's a slaughter, and I'm calling it off right now.
ALPHA: We will not be denied our prey. Give us the creature, or your crew will take its place.
JANEWAY: Tuvok.

[Corridor]

JANEWAY: Have Seven of Nine report to my ready room.
TUVOK: You intend to ask her to open a rift into 8472's realm.
JANEWAY: She's the only one on board who knows how.
TUVOK: Given her feelings towards the species, she may not want to cooperate.
JANEWAY: We'll see.

[Ready room]

SEVEN: You wish to see me, Captain?
JANEWAY: I've made a decision about Species 8472. I'm going to return it to fluidic space. In order to do that, I need you to open a quantum singularity.
SEVEN: I don't believe that is a prudent course of action.
JANEWAY: I realise it may be difficult for you to help save this creature's life, but part of becoming human is learning to have compassion for those who are suffering, even when they're your bitter enemies.
SEVEN: Why?
JANEWAY: I remember when I was a Lieutenant. It was during a Cardassian border conflict. My away team was cut off while we were defending a Federation outpost. We'd been exchanging phaser fire with a group of Cardassians for about three days. A stalemate. One night, during a break in the fighting, we could hear this low moaning sound coming from somewhere in the brush. We knew that none of our people were out there, so it had to be a wounded Cardassian. You have to understand, we'd been killing each other for weeks on this planet. It was brutal. But our commanding officer decided that we couldn't just sit there and listen to that poor man suffer. So he ordered me and an Ensign to crawl out there and bring that Cardassian back to our camp. I thought he was crazy. He was risking our lives for someone who would have shot us without hesitation. But we did it, and the Cardassian lived. Three days later we secured the outpost. It was a major victory. We were all decorated by Starfleet Command. But in retrospect, the thing I'm most proud of was the night we saved that man's life.
SEVEN: Explain.
JANEWAY: A single act of compassion can put you in touch with your own humanity.
SEVEN: You are trying to justify your present decision.
JANEWAY: No, I'm trying to help you see this as an opportunity to grow. I know you don't want to do it, Seven, but I'm telling you as your Captain, and as your friend, you won't regret it.
SEVEN: No. Your decision is tactically unsound. We will be surrounded by Hirogen ships in approximately two hours. If we do not surrender the creature, they will destroy us. A lesson in compassion will do me little good if I am dead.
JANEWAY: It is wrong to sacrifice another being to save our own lives.
SEVEN: I have observed that you have been willing to sacrifice your own life to save the lives of your crew.
JANEWAY: Yes, but that's different. That was my choice. This creature does not have a choice.
SEVEN: It invaded our ship, put our lives at risk to save its own. In my view, it has already forfeited its freedom.
JANEWAY: I'm giving you an order. Report to Deflector Control and begin working on creating a singularity.
SEVEN: I will not comply. I have agreed to remain on Voyager. I have agreed to function as a member of your crew. But I will not be a willing participant in my own destruction or the destruction of this ship.
JANEWAY: Objection noted. We'll do this without you.
SEVEN: You will fail.
JANEWAY: And you have just crossed the line. End of debate. Report to the Cargo Bay and remain there until this is over. Is that understood?

[Bridge]

(The Hirogen have arrived, shooting.)
KIM: Shields down to eighty four percent.
JANEWAY: Return fire.
PARIS: Three more ships are closing from port and starboard. All escape trajectories have been cut off.
TUVOK: Our weapons are having little effect on their hull plating. I'm scanning for weaknesses in the molecular structure.
KIM: Shields at seventy nine percent.
TUVOK: They are hailing us.
JANEWAY: Better late than never. Open a channel.
HIROGEN [on viewscreen]: You've taken our prey and one of our hunters. Surrender them.
JANEWAY: Call off your attack and we'll return your crewman. As for your prey, it's under our protection now.
HIROGEN: It belongs to us.
JANEWAY: It belongs to no one. Now order your ships to withdraw and this can end peacefully.
(Transmission ends. Whumph!)
TUVOK: All vessels are firing.
CHAKOTAY: Any luck finding a crack in their armour?
TUVOK: Not yet.

[Deck 11]

EMH: Doctor to bridge. Species 8472 appears to be regenerating. I'm no exobiologist, but I'd say this fellow is becoming highly agitated.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: It could be sensing the Hirogen attack.
JANEWAY: Doctor, can you sedate it?
EMH [OC]: I believe so, but I'll need another dose of Borg nanoprobes.
JANEWAY: Stand by. Bridge to Seven of Nine.

[Cargo Bay two]

SEVEN: Yes.
JANEWAY [OC]: Report to deck eleven immediately with a supply of nanoprobes.
SEVEN: Understood.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: B'Elanna, how's it going down there?

[Engineering]

TORRES: Transporters are ready. I can establish a lock on the creature at any time, but I still haven't duplicated the deflector protocols to open a singularity.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: How long?
TORRES: I need another hour, maybe two.

[Bridge]

PARIS: Captain, we can outmanoeuvre the Hirogen ships for a few more minutes, but beyond that
(Big Bang!)
KIM: Direct hit to the EPS manifold. Main power just went down.
TUVOK: Forcefields on all decks are offline.
CHAKOTAY: Switch to auxiliary power.
KIM: Done. Forcefields have been restored but I don't know how long they'll hold.
JANEWAY: Bridge to Doctor. Report.

[Deck 11]

EMH: It's all right, Captain. The creature is contained.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: Bridge to Sickbay. Security, respond.
(The Alpha takes a phaser rifle from the unconsious security guard.)
CHAKOTAY: Security, dispatch teams to deck five. The Hirogen may be loose.
PARIS: Direct hit to our port nacelle. Now they've taken out our starboard nacelle.
JANEWAY: They've crippled us. Tuvok, divert warp power to the phaser banks. Maybe that'll help us penetrate their hull plating.

[Deck 11]

(Seven arrives with a phaser rifle.)
EMH: The nanoprobes?
SEVEN: Armed and ready.
EMH: Not a moment too soon.
(The Hirogen shoots the guards just behind them.)
ALPHA: Give me the prey.
SEVEN: Lower your weapon or I will destroy you.
ALPHA: I don't think you will. You want me to destroy this creature. I saw it on your face earlier in the medical bay. It's a look I've seen a thousand times. Stand aside.
(Another Hirogen weapons hit makes the forcefield fluctuate. 8472 gets through and attacks the Alpha. Seven opens a panel in the wall and works quickly while they fight.)
EMH: What are you doing?

[Bridge]

KIM: Captain, someone's accessing the transporter system from deck five.
JANEWAY: Lock them out.
KIM: I can't. They're overriding my commands with Borg encryption codes.
(The Alpha and 8472 are beamed away.)
JANEWAY: Report, Mister Kim.
KIM: 8472 and the Hirogen, they've been beamed to one of the attacking ships.
TUVOK: All six vessels are moving away at high warp.
JANEWAY: Tom, can we pursue?
PARIS: I'm sorry, Captain. Warp engines are still offline.
JANEWAY: Resume our previous course, full impulse.
CHAKOTAY: Seven of Nine.
JANEWAY: Seven of Nine.

Captain's log, stardate 51652.3. It's been twelve hours, and our sensors show no sign of any Hirogen vessels. But their people are scattered throughout this region, and something tells me that the hunt for Voyager is far from over.

[Cargo Bay two]

(Seven is regenerating. Janeway enters and turns off her alcove.)
SEVEN: Captain.
JANEWAY: Step down, please. Seven, you disobeyed my direct orders, and as a result you condemned a sentient being to its death.
SEVEN: By doing so, I also diverted the Hirogen attack. An attack which would have destroyed us.
JANEWAY: Maybe not. In any case, the decision wasn't yours to make.
SEVEN: The creature broke through the forcefield. I had no choice.
JANEWAY: I didn't come here to debate your decision. I came here to inform you of the consequences. When you first came to Voyager, I decided to grant you the same liberties and freedoms of any crew member, because I wanted you to be a part of this family. And I've been willing to accommodate your unique way of doing things, even when you rubbed somebody the wrong way or violated protocol. But this time, I can't accommodate you. From this point forward, you will no longer have access to any primary systems on this ship. Not without my direct authorisation. If you attempt to circumvent me, I'll throw you in the Brig. I still need your expertise in the Astrometrics lab if you're willing. If not, you can spend your time here in the Cargo Bay. Is that understood?
SEVEN: Yes.
(Janeway turns to leave.)
SEVEN: It is puzzling.
JANEWAY: What's that?
SEVEN: You made me into an individual. You encouraged me to stop thinking like a member of the Collective, to cultivate my independence and my humanity. But when I try to assert that independence I am punished.
JANEWAY: Individuality has its limits, especially on a starship where there's a command structure.
SEVEN: I believe that you are punishing me because I do not think the way you do. Because I am not becoming more like you. You claim to respect my individuality, but in fact you are frightened by it.
JANEWAY: As you were.

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