Once Upon A Time
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: 11 November 1998

[Holodeck - Forest of Forever]

(Birds singing, brightly covered moss on the trees. Precocious Miss Wildman hurries through her holonovel to a raised pond with crazy paving surround and throws a pebble in amongst the water lilies.)
FLOTTER [OC]: Ouch!
NAOMI: Wake up.
FLOTTER [OC}: Who's there?
NAOMI: Naomi.
FLOTTER [OC]: Come back later.
NAOMI: You know what I think? I think you're scared of the tree monster.
(A fountain appears, and solidifies into a blue person with scales on his body.)
FLOTTER: I'm not scared of any tree monster, Miss Wildman, but, as you know, I need my beauty sleep.
NAOMI: Sorry I woke you, but we have a mission.
FLOTTER: You and your missions. Lucky for you, your old pal Flotter has everything ready. Follow me. I've laid a trap. When he climbs this tree, he'll trip the alarm. Tree monsters are terrified of high-pitched noises.
NAOMI: I never heard that.
FLOTTER: Oh, it's a well known fact. The bell will scare him high into those branches where counterweights will bend the treetop till it springs back, catapulting him pond-ward and, splash! He'll sink like a log.
NAOMI: But Flotter, logs float.
FLOTTER: Details, details.
(The bark-skinned tree monster looks down at them.)
TREVIS: That is a terrible plan.
NAOMI: It's him!
TREVIS: The name's Trevis. And you are?
FLOTTER: Flotter. Flotter T. Water III.
TREVIS: Well, of course you are, drippy. You.
NAOMI: Naomi Wildman, but my friends call me Naomi.
TREVIS: I don't recognise your element. You're not earth or water or plasma.
NAOMI: I'm human.
TREVIS: Where do you live?
NAOMI: In space.
TREVIS: Nobody lives in space.
FLOTTER: She does. On a starship called Voyager.
NAOMI: I'm an explorer.
TREVIS: Really? An explorer. Timber. (he drops to the ground.) What's that like? 
NAOMI: Well, you know, space battles with aliens, strange anomalies.
TREVIS: May I visit your starship?
NAOMI: Well, I'll have to ask my mom.
FLOTTER: You know, for a monster, you're very polite.
TREVIS: That's because I'm not a monster. (He pulls Flotter's bell rope.)
TREVIS: You see that? I'm not scared one bit. My bark is worse than my bite.
NAOMI: Maybe we jumped to conclusions about him.
FLOTTER: Well, he may not be a monster, but he is stealing my water with his roots.
TREVIS: Stealing? Absurd. Why, I ought to dry you up.
FLOTTER: And I ought to chop you down!
TREVIS: You want a piece of me?
NAOMI: Excuse me! It sounds like you two need each other. I mean, think about it. Flotter, your water helps his trees grow, and Trevis, your branches shade his pond from the sun. It's a well-known fact that the sun makes water evaporate.
FLOTTER: She's got a point.
TREVIS: The girl's a thinker.
NAOMI: Now, shake hands and make up.
(They do. Neither likes the feel of the other's skin.)  
TREVIS: Urgh. Moist palms.
FLOTTER: Urgh, sappy fingers.
NEELIX [OC]: Neelix to Holodeck two.
NAOMI: Naomi here.
NEELIX [OC]: It's bedtime.
NAOMI: Can't I stay a little longer?
NEELIX [OC]: You know the rules.

[Mess hall]

NEELIX: Besides, someone special wants to say good night.

[Holodeck - Forest of Forever]

NAOMI: Mom! Computer, end programme.

[Wildman's Quarters]

WILDMAN [on monitor]: And how's Flotter?
NAOMI: Grouchy as ever, but we made a new friend today named Trevis. I'll introduce him to you tomorrow as soon as you get home.
(The signal is not good.)
WILDMAN [on monitor]: I'm afraid the away mission may take a few more days, sweetheart.
NAOMI: Days?
WILDMAN [on monitor]: Yes, but I'm bringing you back some beautiful sillinite crystals and lots of holo-pictures for your data album. Now be a good girl and get ready for bed while I talk to Neelix.
NAOMI: All right.
WILDMAN [on monitor]: Sweet dreams.
(Naomi goes to her bedroom.)
NEELIX: Samantha?
WILDMAN [on monitor]: We ran into an ion storm.
NEELIX: How bad is it?
WILDMAN [on monitor]: We took a real beating. We're trying to make repairs, but there's another storm on the way. Better go. Say goodnight for me

[Delta Flyer]

WILDMAN: I've lost the comm. signal.
TUVOK: A level seven ionic front is closing aft at thirty three thousand kph.
PARIS: I need more power to the thrusters If I'm going to outrun it.
WILDMAN: I'll see what I can do.
TUVOK: The leading edge is approaching.
WILDMAN: I've given you all the power I can spare, Tom.
PARIS: It's not enough. I can't keep ahead of this thing. Brace for impact!

[Briefing room]

TUVOK [OC]: Mayday, Mayday. Delta Flyer to Voyager. Need assistance. Warp drive is. Impulse power is down. Thrusters only. The ion storms damaged the primary systems. Life support is failing. Searching for an emergency landing site. Require immediate assistance.
CHAKOTAY: That was their last transmission. We haven't been able to raise them since.
TORRES: If they're looking for a place to land, they must be in pretty bad shape.
JANEWAY: Anything on long range sensors?
KIM: We lost their signature when the second ion storm hit, but we've triangulated the co-ordinates of the distress call. They've entered a planetary system about point six light years from here.
TORRES: The problem is there's another ion storm, a level five, blocking our path.
JANEWAY: Level five? We've been through worse. Let's just batten down the hatches and reinforce the shields. We're not going to let a little bad weather stand in our way.
NEELIX: What about Naomi?
CHAKOTAY: I guess somebody's going to have to explain why her mother's not back.
NEELIX: Maybe we shouldn't tell her anything.
JANEWAY: Why not?
NEELIX: She's a very sensitive girl. I don't want to alarm her unnecessarily. With any luck, we'll have her mother back before she starts to worry.
JANEWAY: Well, you're closer to her than anyone. I'm inclined to let you take the lead on this.
NEELIX: Thanks, Captain.
JANEWAY: All right. Consider it your mission to keep her occupied.
NEELIX: Aye, Captain.
JANEWAY: Dismissed.

[Mess hall]

NAOMI: I was thinking.
NEELIX: Oh?
NAOMI: It's time I carried my weight around here.
NEELIX: Ah. They could use a hand in the Airponics bay.
NAOMI: I was thinking more of the bridge.
NEELIX: Captain's assistant.
NAOMI: Would I get to fly the ship?
NEELIX: Well, we'd have to take it up with the Captain.
(Seven enters with Kim and a crewwoman.)
SEVEN: Need to check the internal sensors.
NAOMI: Neelix, don't move.
NEELIX: What's wrong?
NAOMI: The Borg lady.
NEELIX: She has a name, you know.
NAOMI: Seven of Nine, tertiary adjunct of Unimatrix zero one. Don't look! She'll assimilate you.
NEELIX: Naomi, Seven is a nice person, and she's a valuable member of this crew.
NAOMI: I don't want to be in her Collective.
NEELIX: I don't think there's much danger of that.
KIM: Hey, Neelix. Hey, Naomi. Neelix, can I talk with you?
NEELIX: Yes. I'll be right back.
KIM: Sickbay's running short on emergency medkits. We're going to need a few more if we send another away team after the shuttle.
NEELIX: I've got half a dozen stockpiled in Cargo Bay two.
KIM: How is she?
NEELIX: On the Naomi anxiety Scale of one to ten, where one is a touch of insomnia and ten is a panic attack? About five.
SEVEN: Is this chair occupied? Yes or no would suffice.
NAOMI: No. I mean, yes.
SEVEN: Explain.
NAOMI: You can't sit here. Somebody else is sitting here.
SEVEN: Very well.
(Seven walks away, and Neelix returns to his seat.)
NEELIX: So, I thought we'd pay another visit to Sickbay. The Doctor says he has time to give you a botany lesson. What's wrong?
NAOMI: I am Borg.
NEELIX: No, you're not.
NAOMI: Can we go to the holodeck first? I want to play another Flotter story.
NEELIX: Well, the Doctor's expecting you.
NAOMI: I don't like Sickbay.
NEELIX: Why not?
NAOMI: It's full of creepy things. Alien organs and hyposprays.
NEELIX: Well, that's not true.
NAOMI: And the Doctor talks too much.
NEELIX: Well, that's his way.
NAOMI: Can't you reprogramme him or something?
NEELIX: Oh, I don't think he'd like that very much. Come on.

[Delta Flyer]

PARIS: Rumour has it there's a planetoid around here.
WILDMAN: Sorry, Tom. The storm is throwing off my readings. There's definitely a big rock nearby, I just can't find it.
TUVOK: The wave front is accelerating.
PARIS: How long till it hits us?
TUVOK: Less than two minutes.
PARIS: Gives me thirty seconds to land this thing. Samantha, I don't mean to rush you.
WILDMAN: Got it. Class M atmosphere, nickel-iron core, bemonite mantle.
PARIS: Bemonite. I want to land this shuttle, not bury it.
WILDMAN: Seventy three thousand kilometres, bearing zero mark four.
TUVOK: We've entered the upper atmosphere.
WILDMAN: Nothing but impact craters, volcanoes. We can't land here.
TUVOK: The storm is closing. Increasing shields to maximum.
PARIS: Just keep us away from the volcanoes and we'll be okay.
WILDMAN: I've got a big meteor crater, five hundred kilometres across, three point seven deep.
PARIS: I'll take it.
TUVOK: Starboard thrusters are down.
PARIS: Tuvok, if you don't have something positive to say.
WILDMAN: We're coming in too fast!
PARIS: Hang on!
(Bang, thump, crunch!)
PARIS: The Flyer has landed.
(Tuvok is tending to an unconscious Wildman.)
TUVOK: She needs immediate medical assistance.
(Later -)
WILDMAN: What happened?
PARIS: We made it.
WILDMAN: Delta Flyer's first landing. Where?
PARIS: About three kilometres beneath the surface. At least our primary hull's still in one piece.
WILDMAN: Wish I felt the same.
PARIS: You'll be all right. Minor concussion, a few fractures. Nothing I can't handle.
WILDMAN: You're a great nurse, but you're a lousy liar.
PARIS: You've got a punctured kidney, and you're bleeding internally. You need surgery.
WILDMAN: Voyager?
TUVOK: I've transmitted another distress call. No response.
PARIS: It's all this rock.
WILDMAN: I've got to talk to Naomi. Let her know we're okay.
TUVOK: Conserve your strength, Ensign. Mister Paris and I have the situation under control.
PARIS: Nice bedside manner, Tuvok. Sam, I'm going to give you a mild sedative and something for the pain. Any chance we could abandon the shuttle, make our way on foot?
TUVOK: Unlikely. Not only are we buried under several kilotons of rock, but the atmosphere in this cavern is flooded with fluorine gas.
PARIS: Nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the view.

Captain's log, supplemental. We've weathered the ion storm and tracked the Delta Flyer to an M-class planetoid.

[Bridge]

KIM: I'm detecting a residual impulse signature in the upper atmosphere.
CHAKOTAY: Try to pinpoint their location.
JANEWAY: How's our littlest crew member?
NEELIX: She misses her mother, but I don't think she suspects anything. I was just about to take her to the holodeck for some more storytelling.
JANEWAY: Call me an optimist, Neelix, but I'm still counting on a happy ending.
NEELIX: Me, too.
KIM: Got it. The impulse wake leads to the northern hemisphere. Coordinates one twenty one mark sixteen.
JANEWAY: Any sign of them?
KIM: Plasma fires, hull fragments. Either they vaporised on impact or they're buried beneath the surface.
NEELIX: Any life signs? Maybe they beamed out before the crash.
JANEWAY: Harry, anything?
KIM: Nothing.
JANEWAY: We built the Delta Flyer to take a lot of punishment. I'm betting it held together. Commander, take rescue teams down to that crater. If sensors can't find them, we'll have to do it the hard way.
CHAKOTAY: Harry.

[Sickbay]

EMH: Now, see the organelle just over there? The one that looks like a little bitty potato?
NAOMI: The mitochondria?
EMH: Yes.
NAOMI: Mitochondria. The warp core of the cell.
EMH: Exactly. Now what if I told you that this fellow was invited to dinner, but never got around to leaving?
NAOMI: What do you mean?
EMH: Well, turn back the clock a few billion years to when cells first evolved. These early cells had no mitochondria. They struggled along without them, making do with whatever energy sources they could find. Then, one day a mitochondrial ancestor arrived, broke though the cell wall, and made himself at home.
NAOMI: They became friends?
EMH: The correct term is symbiosis.
NAOMI: Friends.
EMH: Friends.
NAOMI: My mom says cooperation is more important than competition.
EMH: Mmm hmm.
NAOMI: She was supposed to call me today.
EMH: Well, she's probably just a little busy. Now, let's have a look at the cell wall. It looks simple enough, but believe you me there's more here than meets the eye.
NAOMI: Can we try to call her?
(Neelix enters.)
EMH: Neelix, what a pleasure to see you!
NEELIX: How was school today?
NAOMI: Good.
NEELIX: There's a time for school, and there's a time for
NAOMI: Flotter!  
(Naomi runs for the door.)
NEELIX: Aren't you forgetting something?
NAOMI: Oh. Thank you, Doctor.
EMH: You're quite welcome, Miss Wildman.

[Corridor]

NAOMI: In the blink of an eye there was Trevis above us.
NEELIX: Then what happened?
NAOMI: He turned out to be very nice. His bark was worse than his bite.
NEELIX: Where did you learn to make such silly puns?
NAOMI: You.
NEELIX: Oh.
NAOMI: Neelix, did you have a favourite holodeck programme when you were growing up?
NEELIX: Well, we didn't have holodecks on Rinax, but it didn't matter because we had a great big forest right behind my house.
NAOMI: Really?
NEELIX: And my sisters and I would go exploring every day. We'd make up our own stories.

[Turbolift]

NAOMI: Imagination.
NEELIX: Exactly.
NAOMI: Deck six, section nine. Where are your sisters now?
NEELIX: Oh, they're far away from here. I haven't seen them in a very long time.
NAOMI: How long?
NEELIX: Many years.
NAOMI: But you haven't been on Voyager for that long.
NEELIX: True, but before that, my work as a trader kept me away from home.
NAOMI: That's too bad.

[Corridor]

NAOMI: Do your sisters ever call you like my mom does when she's on an away mission?
NEELIX: No.
NAOMI: I bet you miss them.
NEELIX: I do, very much. Here we are. Computer, display chapter headings, The Adventures of Flotter. Let's see. Ah, Flotter and the Tree Monster?
NAOMI: Played that one yesterday.
NEELIX: Okay. Trevis and the Terribly Twisted Trunk.
NAOMI: I promised I'd save that one for mom. It's her favourite.
NEELIX: Flotter, Trevis and the Ogre of Fire.
NAOMI: Yeah, that one.
NEELIX: It sounds a little scary.
NAOMI: It's okay. I won't be scared if you're with me.

[Holodeck - The Forest of Forever]

COMPUTER: Once upon a time in the Forest of Forever, Flotter and Trevis encountered a strange element they'd never seen before.
(Trevis is crying because the tip of his finger is burning.)
NAOMI: Trevis, you're on fire!
FLOTTER: I told him not to touch it, but this blockhead never listens.
(A branch is burning nearby.)
NAOMI: Stop complaining and help him.
FLOTTER: Me?
NAOMI: Water puts out fire.
(Flotter quenches the flame with his hand.)
TREVIS: Oh, thank you!
FLOTTER: Hey, it worked! Watch this.
(Flotter sprays the burning branch with water from his finger, and it goes out.)
NEELIX: Good thinking, Naomi.
FLOTTER: Who's the furball?
NEELIX: The name's Neelix.
NAOMI: What caused the fire?
TREVIS: It came from up there.
FLOTTER: In a flash.
NAOMI: Lightning. But the sky is clear. Doesn't look like a thunderstorm.
NEELIX: What's your theory, Naomi?
NAOMI: There's only one other explanation. The Ogre of Fire.
FLOTTER: The Ogre?
TREVIS: Of Fire.
FLOTTER: Who's he?
(A fireball appears.)
OGRE [OC]: He is me, and I'm going to burn this forest to the ground!  
(Flotter gets caught in the fireball, and vanishes.)
NAOMI: Flotter!  
(Moments later, the forest is charred and smoking.)
NEELIX: Maybe, maybe we should play another programme.
NAOMI: No, we have to find Flotter. Hello, is anyone there?
TREVIS: Over here.
NAOMI: Trevis, are you all right?
TREVIS: Ah hah. A little hot under the bark maybe.
NAOMI: What about Flotter? Is he dead? Neelix?
NEELIX: Well, I, I don't know.
NAOMI: He can't be dead. Flotter!
NEELIX: I think it's your bedtime.
NAOMI: But I want to find Flotter.
NEELIX: Now, don't argue with your godfather. Come on, now.

[Engineering]

KIM: Take this to Lieutenant Torres. You'll find the phaser drills in Cargo Bay three.
CREWMAN: Aye, sir.
NEELIX: Are you sure you have time for this? I know you're busy.
KIM: No problem. Glad to be of service.
NEELIX: Maybe a shade bluer. And the head's a little disproportionate don't you think?
KIM: We're not shooting for an exact replica, Neelix. Artistic license.
NEELIX: Sorry. Guess I shouldn't barge into your kitchen and tell you how to cook.
KIM: Flotter. Now there's a name I haven't heard in a while. I used to be nuts about those holostories when I was a kid. Did you see the one where Flotter suspects Trevis to be a rubber tree?
NEELIX: Not yet.
KIM: He keeps trying to trip him to see if he'll bounce. Yeah, those two were a lot of fun.
NEELIX: Actually, the last scenario that Naomi chose was pretty frightening. No fun at all.
KIM: Kids love to be scared.
NEELIX: Not Naomi.
KIM: Computer, transfer the design parameters to the replicator. How's she holding up?
NEELIX: Fine. Right now she's busy with her homework.
KIM: Neelix, what's wrong?
NEELIX: Everything. Everything's wrong! Ion storms, crash landings, alien attacks. A starship's no place for a child.
KIM: I don't know. I'd say Naomi's pretty lucky to be growing up on Voyager.
NEELIX: Lucky?
KIM: Think about it. Think about all the things she's experienced, stars being born, supernovas, lifeforms no one from the Alpha Quadrant has seen before. When I was a kid I would have given anything for a chance like this. Well, here goes.
(The replicator produces a stuffed Flotter doll.)
KIM: Hi, Neelix. Did you miss me? You know, I forgot how ugly this guy was.
NEELIX: Thanks, Ensign.

[Wildman's Quarters - Naomi's Bedroom]

NEELIX: Naomi. Guess who I found in the replicator?
NAOMI: Thanks, but that's not really Flotter.
NEELIX: Flotter's not really Flotter. He's just a holodeck character. What are you working on?
NAOMI: I'm researching the evaporation of water.
NEELIX: Why?
NAOMI: Well, I've been thinking. Water doesn't just disappear when it's heated. It turns into invisible gas. So, if we could get the forest to cool down enough, Flotter might re-liquefy.
NEELIX: Clever.
NAOMI: I miss mom.
NEELIX: I know you do.
NAOMI: When's she coming back?
NEELIX: Soon.
NAOMI: Why hasn't she called?
NEELIX: She must be very busy, cataloguing all the geological specimens she's collected.
NAOMI: Has anybody talked to her?
NEELIX: Well, not in a day or two, but.
NAOMI: Starfleet regulation four seven six dash nine. All away teams must report to the bridge at least once every twenty four hours.
NEELIX: You really are going to make an excellent Captain's Assistant.
NAOMI: Has something bad happened to them?
NEELIX: I'm sure everything's fine. Come on, now. Bed.
NAOMI: Promise to wake me up if mommy calls?
NEELIX: Promise.
NAOMI: Even if it's oh two hundred hours?
NEELIX: Even if it's oh two hundred hours. Sweet dreams.
NAOMI: Neelix?
(She points towards the Flotter doll, which she left by the desk monitor. Neelix takes it to her, to cuddle.)

[Wildman's Quarters - living room]

NEELIX: Computer, access personal database, Neelix. File index two nine one. Hello, Alixia. I'm sorry it's been so many weeks since I've thought about you, but we've been very busy here on Voyager. I miss you. My goddaughter, Naomi, she's in trouble. We're in trouble. She may lose her mother. Alixia, you always knew the right thing to do, the right thing to say. I wish you were here to help me.

[Dream - Forest of Forever]

(Neelix and other Talaxians are running for their lives.)
NEELIX: Come on! Hurry! We're under attack!
(His companions fall.)
NEELIX: Get up! The Metreon cascade! Run!
(Fireballs incinerate his companions. He wakes on the Wildman's couch with a start, then checks that Naomi is sleeping peacefully before leaving.)

[Astrometrics lab]

SEVEN: Computer, switch to polythermal imaging and enhance resolution. Neelix, do you require assistance?
NEELIX: No. No, I was just passing by. I thought I'd pay you a visit, see how things were going. How are things going?
SEVEN: I'm mapping the caverns surrounding the crash site.
NEELIX: How far do they extend?
SEVEN: Approximately thirty seven kilometres.
NEELIX: What about the search? Anything new?
SEVEN: Every scan reveals something new, but as yet little of relevance.
NEELIX: Seven. Your family, your human family, do you ever think about them?
SEVEN: Infrequently. I was only six years old when I was assimilated.
NEELIX: Not much older than Naomi is now. Do you miss your parents?
SEVEN: I barely remember them.
NEELIX: Maybe that's a blessing.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: Rescue team alpha to Seven of Nine.
SEVEN: Yes, Commander.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: We need that data.
SEVEN: I will meet you at the transporter site. I adapted. The child Naomi will adapt as well.
NEELIX: Borg wisdom.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Lieutenant, get me an update from Beta team. They haven't checking in for over an hour.
NEELIX: Coffee, anyone? Captain?
JANEWAY: No thanks, I've had enough. One more cup and I'll jump to warp.
NEELIX: Any new?
JANEWAY: I'm afraid not.
NEELIX: No debris? No lifesigns?
JANEWAY: We've got three teams beneath the surface. So far, nothing.
NEELIX: So much for that happy ending.
JANEWAY: We'll turn that planetoid inside out if we have to, but I think we have to be prepared for the worst. Maybe it's time you told Naomi.
NEELIX: No, not yet.
JANEWAY: She's an astute girl. She must be aware that something's wrong by now.
NEELIX: She's been asking a lot of tough questions. Why hasn't her mother filed a status report? What if she's in trouble? But I've got a big day planned for her tomorrow. Plenty of distractions. She won't have time to be worried.
JANEWAY: Your mission was to keep her occupied, not to lie to her. First thing in the morning, I want you to explain the situation.
NEELIX: I don't think that's such a good idea.
JANEWAY: Why not?
NEELIX: Like I told you, she's sensitive.
JANEWAY: All the more reason to answer her questions.
NEELIX: With all due respect, Captain, I'm her godfather. I know what's best for her.
JANEWAY: Neelix.

[Ready room]

JANEWAY: I realise you care about Naomi and you are only trying to protect her, but you've got to tell her the truth.
NEELIX: Good morning, Naomi. Would you like some papalla juice with your cereal? And, oh, by the way, your mother is buried under thirty kilotons of rock.
JANEWAY: Neelix.
NEELIX: When we know something for sure. When we find her mother, alive or dead, I'll, I'll tell her then. Not before.
JANEWAY: If you can't do it, I will.
NEELIX: You don't have the right. You don't understand what's at stake here! When you were her age you were safe and sound on Earth with two healthy parents to take care of you. You never had to worry about the possibility of being alone! You take it from me, you wouldn't have liked it.
JANEWAY: Oh, I know. You must identify with Naomi's situation.
NEELIX: When my family was killed, I lost everything. I still have nightmares. It hasn't been easy. I don't want Naomi to go through what I did.
JANEWAY: I understand. And you're right. But this situation is different.
NEELIX: How so?
JANEWAY: Naomi has you. Neelix, she has to be told. But I know she'll be better off having you here to help her through it.
NEELIX: First thing in the morning.
JANEWAY: We've got a few hours until then. Why don't you come back on the bridge, give us a hand.

[Delta Flyer]

PARIS: Ready, Tuvok?
TUVOK: Ready.
PARIS: Cross your fingers. (Paris presses a control in a panel, and a console explodes.)
TUVOK: The magnetic relays have overloaded.
PARIS: Well, we'd better find another way to polarise this hull, or their sensors won't be able to pick us up.
WILDMAN: We're never getting out of here.
TUVOK: Do not give up hope. The probability of our being rescued is low, but not statistically impossible.
PARIS: Comforting.
WILDMAN: Who's going to look after Naomi?
TUVOK: You should not concern yourself with that now.
WILDMAN: How can you say that?
TUVOK: My youngest child has been without a father for four years, yet I am certain of her well-being, that I conveyed my values to her before leaving. And I have confidence in the integrity of those around her. You have been an exemplary mother to Naomi, and she is in the hands of people you trust. She will survive and prosper, no matter what becomes of us.
WILDMAN: Thanks, Tuvok.

[Wildman's quarters]

(Naomi wakes suddenly.)
NAOMI: Mom! Neelix? Computer, locate Neelix.
COMPUTER: Neelix is on the Bridge.
NAOMI: Thanks.

[Corridor]

(Naomi hides in the transporter room.)
TORRES: Strickler, we need three more phaser drills. You two, pattern enhancers and medkits.
CREWMAN: Aye, sir.
TORRES: We're going to have to recalibrate these tricorders.

[Transporter room]

TORRES: Put us with the alpha team.
CREWWOMAN: Setting coordinates.
TORRES: Energise.

[Turbolift]

NAOMI: Deck one bridge.

[Planetoid - cavern]

CHAKOTAY: Chakotay to Voyager. We've found what looks like a piece of the starboard nacelle.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Any sign of the shuttle itself?
CHAKOTAY [OC]: Not yet.
(Unseen, Naomi steps off the turbolift.)
SEVEN [OC]: Captain, the cavern has collapsed ahead of us. However, I am reading a hull signature behind the debris.
JANEWAY: The Flyer?
SEVEN [OC]: I'll need to take a closer reading.
JANEWAY: Do it. I want Alpha and Beta teams to search for survivors. Tell sickbay to stand by for heavy casualties.
NEELIX: Naomi. Naomi?
(Naomi runs back into the turbolift.)

[Corridor]

NEELIX: Naomi! Computer, locate Naomi Wildman.
COMPUTER: Naomi Wildman is in her quarters.

[Wildman's quarters - Naomi's bedroom]

(Toy Flotter is wearing her comm badge.)
NEELIX: Clever.

[outside the Holodeck]

NAOMI: Computer, resume programme, Flotter, Trevis and the Ogre of Fire.
COMPUTER: Programme activated.

[Planetoid - cavern]

SEVEN: Commander, I'm reading duranium alloys. I believe it is the shuttle. Approximately eighty metres beneath this rubble.
CHAKOTAY: Lifesigns?
SEVEN: None. Commander, without lifesigns to lock onto we cannot beam the crew out.
CHAKOTAY: Maybe we can transport the entire ship to the shuttle bay.
SEVEN: Through fifty kilotons of bemonite?
CHAKOTAY: Chakotay to Voyager.
JANEWAY [OC]: Janeway here.
CHAKOTAY: We think we've found the shuttle, but we need to dig it out.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY [OC]: Have all teams rendezvous at my coordinates.
JANEWAY: Acknowledged.

[Planetoid - cavern]

CHAKOTAY: Phaser drills here and here.

[Delta Flyer]

(Paris is recording a personal message.)
PARIS: But hey, B'Elanna, look on the bright side. No more day-old pizza laying around, and you'll never have to watch another chapter of Captain Proton again.
COMPUTER: Warning. Life support has fallen to critical levels.
PARIS: Don't mind the computer. She's just jealous that I'm spending my last few minutes talking to you. So long.
(Recording ends.)
PARIS: Sam, it's your turn.
WILDMAN: I haven't thought what to say yet. Tuvok, why don't you go next?
TUVOK: I prefer to make my farewells in written form.
(Paris helps Wildman to the pilot's seat.)
WILDMAN: Computer, begin recording. Encode message for delivery to Naomi Wildman.
COMPUTER: Acknowledged.
WILDMAN: Hi, honey. I know you're feeling sad right now but, I want you to listen to me very carefully, okay? First of all, I love you. Second, I want you to know that I'm proud of you. How smart you are, how funny, how kind you are to other people, and I know that you are going to grow up to do extraordinary things. Last, and I know this is a hard one, try not to be scared.
COMPUTER: Warning. Oxygen depletion in ten minutes.
WILDMAN: Listen to Neelix. He'll be taking care of you now. Bye, honey.

[Holodeck - Forest of Forever]

NEELIX: Naomi?
TREVIS: Go away!
NEELIX: Where is she?
TREVIS: She doesn't want to talk to you.
FLOTTER: You lied.
NEELIX: I thought you vaporised.
FLOTTER: Naomi re-liquefied me. Now leave.
NEELIX: Computer, delete characters.
COMPUTER: Unable to comply. Holodeck controls have been encoded.
TREVIS: Delete us?
FLOTTER: I wonder if this liar can swim?
TREVIS: We can always hang him from one of my branches.
NEELIX: Naomi, please let me talk to you.
NAOMI: It's okay.
TREVIS: You be nice.
FLOTTER: No more lying.
NEELIX: Hey there.
NAOMI: Is my mother dead?
NEELIX: We don't know.
NAOMI: What happened?
NEELIX: The away team was trying to avoid an ion storm. They had to land on a planet.
NAOMI: I saw that crater. Something was burning.
NEELIX: Plasma fires, pieces of debris, but not the hull. Until we know for sure what's happened, no one's giving up on the rescue attempt.
NAOMI: You really think they might find her?
NEELIX: Yes.
NAOMI: How do I know you're telling me the truth this time?
NEELIX: I never told you this before, but when I was much younger I lost my mom in a terrible war. My father and my sisters too. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Always wondering, how did they die? Were they worried about me? Could they still be alive? I thought if I could just keep you from wondering, you wouldn't have to feel what I did.
NAOMI: You were pretending that nothing was wrong. That nothing bad happened. Do you ever pretend that nothing bad happened to your family?
NEELIX: Sometimes.
NAOMI: Does it help?
NEELIX: Not really.
NAOMI: Don't be sad, Neelix.
JANEWAY [OC]: All hands to emergency stations. We've got a level eight ion storm approaching.
FLOTTER: Ion storm? What's that?
TREVIS: Ogre of Fire! He's attacking us again.
NEELIX: You'd better get back to your quarters.
FLOTTER: Naomi, don't leave us.
NAOMI: I'll be back, I promise.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Voyager to Chakotay.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: Go ahead.
JANEWAY: We've got another ion storm approaching. When it hits the planetoid, your entire cavern is going to destabilise.

[Planetoid - cavern]

CHAKOTAY: Just a few more metres and we'll be close enough to beam out the shuttle. How long before the storm hits?
JANEWAY [OC]: Six minutes.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Make the most of it. It's all you've got.
(Minutes later.)
KIM: The storm's moving in. Shields down to eighty six percent.
JANEWAY: Keep the transporter lock on the away team. Give them to the last second. Helm, lay in a course out of here. Stand by to engage at warp two.
CREWWOMAN: Aye, sir.

[Delta Flyer]

COMPUTER: Warning. Oxygen depletion in two minutes.
PARIS: I never thought it would come down to this. Suffocating beneath kilotons of rock on some nameless planetoid.
TUVOK: Did you envision a more heroic death?
PARIS: I didn't envision dying at all.
TUVOK: In accepting the inevitable, one finds peace.
PARIS: If that's another Vulcan saying, Tuvok, I'll stick with live long and prosper.
(They hear the sound of the laser drills. Paris thumps on the hull.)
PARIS: We're here. We're here!

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY [OC]: Chakotay to Voyager.
JANEWAY: Yes, Commander.
CHAKOTAY [OC]: Pattern enhancers are in place. We're ready to transport the Flyer.
KIM: Locking on. They're in the shuttlebay.
JANEWAY: Helm, engage.

[Sickbay]

(Neelix enters with a delighted Naomi.)
WILDMAN: Thank you.

Captain's log, supplemental. Ensign Wildman has recovered from her injuries, and the Delta Flyer, though battered, is intact.

[Holodeck - Forest of Forever]

(The Forest has been restored to its colourful state. Naomi and her mother are walking along the path.)
FLOTTER: And how are you today, Mister Trevis?
TREVIS: Feeling a little stiff, my slippery friend. And you?
FLOTTER: Now that you mention it, I'm feeling a little washed out.
TREVIS: Well, it's about time you showed up. The tea is getting cold.
(Neelix is with the two characters.)
FLOTTER: Samantha? Is it really you?
WILDMAN: Long time no see.
FLOTTER: You're all grown up.
WILDMAN: I'm an Ensign now.
FLOTTER: I've missed you.
WILDMAN: Likewise.
NEELIX: Well, now that you're all reacquainted, I think you're all eager for a new adventure.
FLOTTER: Now that you mention it, there is a castle that I've been meaning to explore.
NAOMI: Castle?
FLOTTER: I hear a giant beetle lives there.
NAOMI: Come on, Neelix.
NEELIX: You go ahead.
WILDMAN: See you later.
(They all run off and leave Neelix.)
JANEWAY: Here's to happy endings.
NEELIX: Captain!
JANEWAY: Just checking on my future Captain's Assistant.
NEELIX: Right now, she's off to conquer a giant beetle.
JANEWAY: Oh, sounds like a dangerous mission.
NEELIX: She can handle it.
JANEWAY: She's a courageous girl. Did I ever tell you about the time I flooded this entire forest? I was six years old. Flotter claimed we were in for a dry spell so I came up with the obvious solution. Why not just divert the river? This entire forest was a swamp by the time we were done. At which point, Stinger was born.
NEELIX: Stinger?
JANEWAY: The biggest mosquito.

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