Think Tank
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: 31 March 1999

[Think Tank]

(A blue-skinned reptiloid enters nervously.)
SAOWIN: Hello? Hello? I'm here! Hello?
(He passes a vertical tank containing a giant sea-slug. Another being touches his shoulder.)
SAOWIN: I'm here to see Mister Kurros. Could you?
(This being is brown and makes unintelligible noises before walking away.)
SAOWIN: Could you tell me where to find Mister Kurros?
(A sleek machine beeps at him.)
SAOWIN: Wait!
(The place shudders slightly as a giant water-dweller moves in his tank beyond the wall. A small humanoid in a long gown speaks gently.)
KURROS: Do not mind Bevvox. He can be grouchy in the morning. Welcome aboard.
SAOWIN: Thank you.
KURROS: You seem tense.
SAOWIN: No.
KURROS: This is a time for celebration. The geostability of your world has been restored, your people saved. And all because you had the wisdom to accept our help.
SAOWIN: You accomplished in days what our scientists failed to achieve in decades.
KURROS: That it not to say it was not a challenge. Finding the precise harmonic for a planetary containment field did put my colleague here to the test.
(Kurros turns to the sea-slug.)
KURROS: But in the end, she prevailed.
SAOWIN: We owe you our lives.
KURROS: Solving problems is what we do. And seeing the look of gratitude in your eyes is almost reward enough. Almost.
SAOWIN: I have some bad news. Our bernicium mines were destroyed in the last series of quakes. The ore's buried under sixty gigatons of rock. We can't get to it. We hoped you'd accept this instead. A rubidium geode. Priceless. The only one ever found on our planet.
KURROS: It is rare, but hardly unique. And it is not what we agreed upon.
SAOWIN: I'm sorry, this is all we can offer you.
KURROS: You are lying. The mines collapsed, but before they did you transferred the ore to a shielded storage facility. Needless to say, we detected it.
SAOWIN: Please, we need the ore to repair our replicator systems. Without it, we'll be unable to feed our people.
KURROS: Get it to us now, or I will deactivate the containment field. Have you ever experienced a level twelve seismic event? Most violent. Quite unnerving.
SAOWIN: No! I'll have the ore transported at once. This, this was all a misunderstanding.
KURROS: Of course. It is already forgotten, my friend. Perhaps we will do business again someday.
SAOWIN: Yes.
KURROS: Show our friend back to his shuttle. I would hate for him to get lost in such an unfamiliar place.
(Saowin bows himself out, bumping into the sea-slug's tank.)
SAOWIN: Oh! Pardon me.

[Ready room]

JANEWAY: Yes?
SEVEN: Captain, long range scans have detected.
JANEWAY: One second. I've wasted two hours on this thing and I'm no closer to solving it.
(It is a large object with at least six hexagonal sides and a couple of squares. The hexagons have a honeycomb of lights on them. Like a complicated Rubik's cube, I suppose.)
SEVEN: You can thank Ensign Paris for introducing the artefact to the ship.
JANEWAY: He was behind the last ship wide craze, too. Yo-yos. Now it's Sheer Lunacy. Another hour and I'll go insane.
SEVEN: The solution is quite simple. If you align
JANEWAY: No, I want to figure this out myself. (But she only gets some of the lights to work.)
JANEWAY: You said something about long range scans?
SEVEN: They've revealed a planetoid with high concentrations of dilithium crystals.
JANEWAY: Let's take a look.

[Bridge]

KIM: Got it! False alarm.
(Kim is also working on a Sheer Lunacy.)
PARIS: Keep at it, Harry.
SEVEN: We're within visual range.
JANEWAY: On screen.
TUVOK: Initial scans reveal substantial dilithium deposits beneath the planetoid's crust.
CHAKOTAY: Full sensor sweep.
KIM: The deposits are in the upper mantle, about sixty kilometres down.
TUVOK: We'll have to use phasers to cut through the
KIM: Hold on.
JANEWAY: What is it?
KIM: Some kind of resonance wave emanating from the core. It's building fast, Captain.
JANEWAY: Right after we ran our scans? That can't be a coincidence. Back us off, Tom.
SEVEN: The planetoid is destabilising.
CHAKOTAY: Shields.
(The planetoid goes KaBOOM!)
JANEWAY: Report.
CHAKOTAY: We're trapped in a cloud of metreon gas. It's collapsed our warp field and knocked the impulse engines offline.
TUVOK: A heavily armed vessel just dropped out of warp off the port bow.
SEVEN: Captain, I recognise it. It's Hazari. Species four two two eight. Technologically advanced, extremely violent. They make excellent tactical drones.
KIM: What do they want with us?
SEVEN: The Hazari are hired to capture and deliver alien vessels.
PARIS: Bounty hunters.
SEVEN: Yes.
KIM: So who hired them?
CHAKOTAY: The Malon, the Devore? We've made our share of enemies here.
KIM: They're hailing.
(Lots of reptilian descendants in this area of space.)
Y'SEK [on viewscreen]: Surrender. No one need be hurt. My client would prefer your vessel intact.
JANEWAY: Who hired you?
Y'SEK [on viewscreen]: That's not your concern.
JANEWAY: I'm only asking because I'm curious how much they're paying? Maybe we can do better.
Y'SEK [on viewscreen]: Doubtful.
JANEWAY: We're far from defenceless. Why don't you save yourself some trouble.
Y'SEK [on viewscreen]: It's no trouble.
JANEWAY: Charge phaser banks to full power.
Y'SEK [on viewscreen]: Fire and you'll ignite the gas cloud. You'll be destroyed.
JANEWAY: You've left me no choice. I suggest you back off if you want to save your own ship. End transmission.
TUVOK: They are moving closer. They've locked on a tractor beam.
PARIS: Looks like they're calling your bluff, Captain. It was a bluff, wasn't it?
JANEWAY: Seven, do we still have warp power?
SEVEN: Yes, but it's useless while we remain in the gas cloud.
JANEWAY: Maybe not. Reroute every spare gigawatt to the shields. Prepare to fire phasers.
TUVOK: Our target?
JANEWAY: The gas cloud.
SEVEN: Do you believe the impact will throw us clear?
JANEWAY: If our shields hold.
PARIS: That's a big if.
JANEWAY: Go to warp one on my command. Fire.
(The gas cloud ignites, and Voyager rides the wave.)
TUVOK: Shields are holding. We're approaching the perimeter of the gas cloud.
PARIS: We're out.
JANEWAY: Warp speed.
TUVOK: No sign of pursuit.
JANEWAY: They weren't that heavily damaged. Why aren't they following us?

[Astrometrics lab]

CHAKOTAY: There's the reason they didn't come after us. They've got reinforcements throughout the sector.
KIM: Twenty three ships.
CHAKOTAY: And long range scans show more on the way.
KIM: Must be one hell of a reward.
TUVOK: The size of the bounty is immaterial. According to Seven of Nine, the Hazari pride themselves on honouring their agreements.
KIM: Great. Bounty hunters with a work ethic.
CHAKOTAY: There's got to be a way out, something they haven't anticipated. Download the data for the Captain. She wants to see what she can come up with on her own.

[Mess hall]

(Janeway has turned a table into her desk, with a computer.)
NEELIX: Should I have the Doctor prepare a hypospray?
JANEWAY: Excuse me?
NEELIX: So you can absorb the caffeine more directly. Save time.
JANEWAY: Point well taken. I'll make this my last cup.
NEELIX: How about trying a sounding board?
JANEWAY: Oh, you don't want that job.
NEELIX: Try me.
JANEWAY: It's these Hazari. They're like jackals, circling, feinting to draw us out while they cut off every route of escape.
NEELIX: You make them sound worse than the Borg.
JANEWAY: At least the Borg come straight at you. The Hazari wait, invite you to make mistakes. They've anticipated almost every move we can make, and the few things they seem to have missed, I'm convinced are traps. You still glad you volunteered?
NEELIX: We've faced tough odds before. You'll get us through. Goodnight.
JANEWAY: Goodnight.
(Neelix leaves. Janeway gets up and stretches.)
KURROS: There is nothing like a good problem to spark the synapses, is there? To open the mind to new possibilities, new ways of seeing things. Of course, one must always confront self- doubt and fear, but that is a small price to pay for the exhilaration of finding the perfect solution.
JANEWAY: Who are you and what do you want?
KURROS: You have a problem, Captain. I am the solution.
JANEWAY: Security to the Mess hall. Intruder alert
KURROS: I've deactivated your communications device, Captain, but do not worry. I am not an intruder. In fact, I am not really here.
JANEWAY: A hologram.
KURROS: Nothing so crude. An isomorphic projection.
(He sips her coffee.)
KURROS: You actually enjoy this?
JANEWAY: It's an acquired taste.
KURROS: It bears a resemblance to an Alkian confection we acquired several years ago.
JANEWAY: We?
KURROS: I am a member of a small group. Explorers, like you. But we seek out challenges, problems to be solved. Technological, biological, social, even artistic.
JANEWAY: A Think Tank.
KURROS: I like that. It's very apt. Our Think Tank is nearby. A modest vessel. I have come to offer our help with your Hazari paradox.
JANEWAY: Paradox?
KURROS: That is right. Is it an escape route or is it a trap? Do they know that you know that they know? It is the best kind of puzzle. Pure tactics, psychology.
JANEWAY: Something tells me your help comes with a price tag.
KURROS: Whatever your culture has to offer that is unique. Technology perhaps, or maybe something you would not even think to value. I would need a closer look at your database.
JANEWAY: And how do I know you aren't an Hazari trap? Maybe they're trying to lure us into an ambush, like before.
KURROS: You are wise to be suspicious, Captain. We have done some preliminary analysis on their manoeuvres. It does suggest some more likely ambushes. I've downloaded the data onto your computer.
JANEWAY: All right. You've got my attention. But I want to meet you face to face. And the rest of your crew.
KURROS: Naturally. Our coordinates are in here, too. But we have our own security concerns, Captain. Please, bring only one crewman and no scanning equipment.
JANEWAY: Fair enough.
KURROS: Then I look forward to meeting you in person.

[Bridge]

TUVOK: We're approaching the coordinates.
JANEWAY: Full stop.
CHAKOTAY: Looks like there's nothing here.
KIM: Maybe they're cloaked.
SEVEN: I'm reading a subspace flux.
(The Think Tank appears, looking like an oversized probe or small spacestation rather than a spaceship.)
TUVOK: The vessel's hull is composed of a neutronium-based alloy.
JANEWAY: Starfleet's theorised about such materials, but we've never come close to producing them.
SEVEN: Neither have the Borg. The Think Tank's technology is advanced.
JANEWAY: Well, you and I will have the chance to evaluate it first hand. Mister Kim, you have the transport coordinates.

[Think Tank]

(Fennim greets them with his unintelligible noises.)
SEVEN: The universal translator must be inoperative.
JANEWAY: Or his speech patterns are too complex to process.
(They look at the sea-slug's tank.)
JANEWAY: They must be studying it.
KURROS: Actually, she is studying you. Our resident expert on temporal physics. Perhaps the most gifted member of our group. She finds you interesting.
SEVEN: How do you communicate?
JANEWAY: One of my most gifted crewmen, Seven of Nine. 
KURROS: Bionetic implants, neural transceivers? A Borg? I've never seen one outside the Collective.
SEVEN: I am an individual now. You may address your comments to me.
KURROS: Forgive me. I am Kurros, and this is Fennim. In answer to your earlier question, this device allows the members of our group to communicate telepathically.
(A large hemispherical pale blue pulsing device set into a raised section of the floor.)
SEVEN: Impressive.
(The sound of a whale.)
KURROS: It sounds as if another member of our crew is anxious to meet you.
(They go to the viewport into Bevvox's tank.)
SEVEN: A bioplasmic lifeform.
KURROS: His name is Bevvox. He prefers a variable gravity environment.
JANEWAY: What's his specialty?
KURROS: At the moment exo-sociology and quantum mechanics, but his interests vary from time to time. Bevvox founded our group more than one hundred years ago, after wandering the galaxy on his own for a few millennia.
SEVEN: How old is this creature?
KURROS: If you please, that is a sensitive topic with him. And there is one other individual who rounds out our group.
(The mechanoid.)
SEVEN: An artificial intelligence.
KURROS: The mind of mathematician and the soul of an artist. I'm afraid he'd much rather be modelling a fractal sculpture than analysing the data of our latest astronomical scan. And now you have met us all. A small group of minds, but we have helped hundreds of clients. We turned the tide in the war between the Bara Plenum and the Motali Empire. Re-ignited the red giants of the Zai Cluster. Just recently, we found a cure for the Vidiian phage.
JANEWAY: The Vidiians?
KURROS: You would hardly recognise them now. Just last month we helped retrieve a Lyridian child's runaway pet. A subspace mesomorph, I might add. We had to invent a whole new scanning technology just to find it.
JANEWAY: And what did you ask for as compensation?
KURROS: One of their transgalactic star charts. The best map of the known galaxy ever created. When we helped the citizens of Rivos Five resist the Borg, all we asked for was the recipe for their famous zoth-nut soup. Care for a taste?
SEVEN: Another time, perhaps.
JANEWAY: Tell me, is there any job you won't do?
KURROS: What do you mean?
JANEWAY: Well, we have a non-interference protocol, our Prime Directive. I'm curious where you draw the line.
KURROS: As you know, there is no shortage of conflict in what you call the Delta Quadrant. Many of our clients are at war. To be frank, we will assist in the neutralisation of fleets, starbases, even planets. But we will not participate in the decimation of an entire species, nor will we design weapons of mass destruction. My colleague here wishes to speak to Seven of Nine about her bionetic technology. May he interface with you?
(Seven steps up to the mechanoid.)
SEVEN: I am in direct telepathic communication with this individual. It is requesting information about integrating organic components into its technology.
JANEWAY: Feel free to give him some pointers.
(There is a short pause.)
SEVEN: You're welcome.
KURROS: To business, Captain. I believe we can solve the Hazari paradox without firing a single weapon.
JANEWAY: That's just what I'm looking for.
KURROS: Then there is only the matter of payment.
(Janeway hands over a PADD.)
JANEWAY: Voyager's schematics and an overview of its database. Specify what you want and I'll see what I can do. I recommend the replicators. They're very popular this year.
KURROS: I'll contact you with our requests.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: I take it First Contact was a success?
JANEWAY: I have some qualms about their morality, but I believe they can help us.
SEVEN: It was an interesting experience.
CHAKOTAY: Glad to hear it. We don't have much good news of our own. Every escape route we've considered is clearly a trap, and more Hazari ships keep joining the search.
JANEWAY: Then we have no choice. We'll put our own plans on hold and see what the Think Tank comes up with.

[Ready room]

JANEWAY: Come in.
TUVOK: You have a visitor. Mister Kurros has returned in isomorphic form.
JANEWAY: Send him in. Welcome back.
KURROS: Captain, we have compiled a short list of items we would like. It was not easy. Voyager has a great deal to offer.
JANEWAY: Quantum slipstream technology. I should warn you. We never got that to work reliably.
KURROS: It is still intriguing, theoretically.
JANEWAY: Neelix's recipe for Chadre'kab?
KURROS: Yes.
JANEWAY: An ancient Olmec figurine. I guess Commander Chakotay can be persuaded to part with it.
KURROS: I am pleased to hear that.
JANEWAY: You can't be serious.
KURROS: I realise the next item may seem unorthodox, but I believe it can be beneficial to both of us.
JANEWAY: You never mentioned anything about bartering my crew members.
KURROS: She will have an extraordinary opportunity to explore the galaxy as one of us.
JANEWAY: I'm afraid the answer is no.
KURROS: I understand your feelings, Captain, but have you thought to ask Seven of Nine herself?
(So she does.)
SEVEN: A curious proposition.
JANEWAY: To say the least.
SEVEN: How do you wish to proceed?
JANEWAY: I want your opinion.
SEVEN: They are offering us the assistance we require, I am the payment they require. The solution is obvious.
JANEWAY: This isn't a puzzle, Seven. There is no solution. What's at issue here is your future.
SEVEN: The issue is Voyager's survival.
JANEWAY: Sit. Please. While I still question this Think Tank's way of doing things, there is a genuine opportunity for exploration. It could be the chance of a lifetime.
SEVEN: You're saying I should go?
JANEWAY: I don't want you to go, but it's not my right to tell you what to do. Until now, I've kept a close eye on your progress, helped you with decisions but, I think you've learned enough as an individual to make this decision yourself. Would you like to join them?
SEVEN: I am intrigued. They are an unusual Collective with a compelling mission. But I require more data.
JANEWAY: That's why I want you to talk to Kurros yourself. See if he can answer your questions.
SEVEN: Captain, I appreciate your giving me this choice.
JANEWAY: You've earned it. And remember, if you do choose to go, make sure it's what you want, not what you think is best for Voyager. We're getting out of this, with or without the Think Tank's help.

[Cargo Bay two]

SEVEN: Why me?
KURROS: I admire your humility. The collective knowledge of the Borg contained within a single mind. When we factor in your innate intelligence and the enhancements afforded you by your bionetic implants, we concluded you are an ideal candidate. The first we have recruited in seventeen years.
SEVEN: When did you arrive at this assessment?
KURROS: During your interview.
SEVEN: My dialogue with the artificial intelligence.
KURROS: It was the most efficient way to evaluate your abilities. I am sure you can appreciate that.
SEVEN: How much do you know about me?
KURROS: Enough to know that you are tapping into only a fraction of your potential as a member of Voyager's crew. You were adjusting the deflector array to improve shield harmonics. Do you find such duties challenging?
SEVEN: No.
KURROS: Without problems that test the limits of your abilities, you cannot expand them. Perfection will always be beyond your reach. Seven, you could become one of the greatest intellects in the galaxy, but that will not happen here among these limited lifeforms.
SEVEN: The crew of Voyager has accepted me, integrated me into their Collective.
KURROS: They are your family. It was hard for me to leave my family, too. And I was only a child. Not much older than you when you were first assimilated.
SEVEN: Why did you leave?
KURROS: To help them and my world solve a cataclysmic problem.
SEVEN: The Think Tank requested you as payment.
KURROS: I did not realise it at first. I was too young. But they gave me a remarkable opportunity, and now I am offering the same to you.
SEVEN: Your group can assist many Collectives, and yet you often use that ability as a means of coercion to obtain what you want. How many have suffered because they were unwilling to agree to your conditions?
KURROS: We have a singular mission, to perfect our knowledge. Perfection sometimes necessitates selfishness. It is your life. Not Voyager's, not Captain Janeway's or anyone else's. It is up to you to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
SEVEN: I agree, but I can do that here.
KURROS: Please, take more time to think about this. We will remain nearby in case you change your mind.
SEVEN: I doubt that will happen.
TUVOK [OC]: Seven of Nine, report to the bridge.
SEVEN: Acknowledged.
KURROS: May I accompany you?
SEVEN: As you wish.

[Bridge]

KURROS: Do you have a problem, Captain?
JANEWAY: Two Hazari ships are approaching.  
SEVEN: I have declined their offer.
KURROS: Our first offer.
JANEWAY: Glad you're sticking around. Take your station.
TUVOK: They are dropping out of warp, flanking our position.
(Whumph!)
JANEWAY: Which one fired?
TUVOK: The ship to starboard. Shields down to sixty percent.
CHAKOTAY: Evasive manoeuvres. Target their weapons systems and return fire.
TUVOK: Their shields are holding.
PARIS: I can't get away. They're right on top of us.
KIM: Hull integrity's been compromised on decks seven and twelve.
KURROS: Captain, when the Hazari strike in pairs, one ship always remains behind to reinforce the shields of the attacking vessel.
JANEWAY: So we should target the support ship. How much is this tip going to cost me?
KURROS: This one is free.
JANEWAY: I'll take it. Tuvok.
TUVOK: Retargeting. Firing photon torpedoes. They are disengaging.
JANEWAY: Get us out of here, maximum warp. Thanks for the help.
KURROS: Consider it a friendly gesture of goodwill in the hopes that Seven will change her mind.
SEVEN: I have not.
KURROS: You are making a fatal mistake. We have already analysed hundreds of scenarios. Voyager will not survive without our help.
JANEWAY: Your scenarios, not mine.
KURROS: Your confidence is unfounded, Captain. Reconsider. Order Seven of Nine to join us.
JANEWAY: We have an old expression, Kurros. Don't call us, we'll call you. Remodulate the shields to a phase variance frequency.
(Kurros disappears.)
TUVOK: His ship is vanishing from sensors. It's being absorbed into subspace.
CHAKOTAY: I get the distinct feeling they won't take no for an answer.
JANEWAY: Same here. Looks like we're facing two threats now. The Hazari and our would-be saviours.

[Think Tank]

KURROS: Our offer was denied. How shall we proceed?
FENNIM: We are already proceeding.
ALIEN IN TANK: Our offer was refused. We must let the scenario continue.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Our calculations indicate a ninety six percent chance the Borg will still be ours.
KURROS: Then it is decided. We will wait and let our problem solve itself.

[Hazari vessel]

(There is wreckage orbiting a planet. We can see the deflector array.)
Y'SEK: Duranium hull fragments, a thruster assembly, human organic residue. We were supposed to disable their ship, not destroy it.

[Bridge]

TUVOK: They've entered the debris field.
JANEWAY: Detonate the spatial charges.
(The Hazari vessel gets bounced around.)
TUVOK: Their vessel has taken heavy damage. Shields and weapons are offline.
JANEWAY: Move us into position. Lock on a tractor beam and pull them into the shuttlebay.
PARIS: We're in transporter range.
KIM: I've got a lock. Two lifeforms.
JANEWAY: Energise.

[Hazari vessel]

JANEWAY: Any luck?
CHAKOTAY: I'm still trying to access their primary database.
JANEWAY: Let me guess. They're the strong but silent types.
TUVOK: Very silent.
CHAKOTAY: Did you try a mind meld?
TUVOK: Without success. They are unusually resistant.
JANEWAY: Well, hold off on the torture till we see what we can dig up here.
CHAKOTAY: I've found something. A series of encoded transmissions.
JANEWAY: They've been discussing Voyager. Our coordinates, our defences.
TUVOK: Whoever hired the Hazari know a lot about us.
JANEWAY: Check these sensor logs. See if they had any visitors recently.
CHAKOTAY: I've got some bioreadings, but they're pretty scrambled.
TUVOK: If they are bioreadings, perhaps the Doctor can unscramble them.
JANEWAY: Tell him to give it a try.

[Medical lab]

EMH: I've created a forensic reconstruction from the bioreadings, using the holoemitters. Brace yourselves.
JANEWAY: Malon. Huh, they must really hold a grudge. We haven't run into them for months. I'm sorry, Doctor, something doesn't feel right.
TUVOK: The Malon are economically motivated.
JANEWAY: And there's no profit in revenge. Take a look at this. Isomorphic signatures embedded in the bioreadings. This was no Malon, it was only a projection.
EMH: You mean that's a hologram of a hologram?
TUVOK: In a manner of speaking. I believe I can restore the original biosignal parameters. Brace yourself.
(It is Kurros.)
JANEWAY: Well, it appears our Hazari paradox is more complex than we thought.

[Briefing room]

JANEWAY: I believe we're both being manipulated by the same person. Recognise him?
(She holds up a PADD.)
Y'SEK: No.
JANEWAY: His name is Kurros, The Malon you met with was nothing more than a projection.
Y'SEK: My sensors would have detected a hologram.
JANEWAY: Not this one. Kurros is a member of a Think Tank. They solve problems for a price. Oh, you have heard of them.
Y'SEK: They're notorious in this sector. They've made quite a few enemies.
JANEWAY: Enemies who might be willing to pay a hell of a bounty.
Y'SEK: Their technology is very advanced. It makes them difficult to track.
JANEWAY: Not if we work together. You're the best hunters in the quadrant and we have the perfect lure. All we have to do now is out-think the Think Tank.

[Mess hall]

(Instead of in the briefing room, the brain-storming session is being held here with plenty of coffee.)
JANEWAY: We've got a puzzle and we're not leaving this room until we solve it. The Think Tank is out there somewhere, hiding in subspace. How do we find them? And even if we can, their ship's hull is neutronium-based alloy, impervious to our weapons. How do we capture them?
KIM: What if we send out a multispatial probe?
TORRES: It would take weeks of scanning to find them.
Y'SEK: Weeks? We're not willing to wait that long.
TUVOK: We could use subspatial charges to force them into the open.
CHAKOTAY: Where do we target the charges? We've still got to find them first.
JANEWAY: Maybe we're going about this the wrong way. A direct assault seems unlikely to succeed. Pure tactics, psychology. That's how they solve problems. That's what we have to do. They've created this paradox to manipulate us into giving them Seven of Nine. How do we manipulate them? Think.
(The group breaks into smaller units to discuss ideas. Later -)
NEELIX: I thought we were onto something with B'Elanna's plan
TORRES: Forget it. I was wrong.
PARIS: Let him talk.
EMH: We're talking in circles.
Y'SEK: Enough! Three hours, no progress. I should have contacted my ships by now.
JANEWAY: Maybe we can't out-think them.
CHAKOTAY: Captain?
JANEWAY: We have to assume they've planned for every contingency, including anything we could come up with to undermine their plan. This thing has been driving me crazy. You said you knew the solution. Prove it.
(Janeway hands the Sheer Lunacy to Seven, who presses a few buttons and all the lights go out. She has solved it.)
JANEWAY: Seven, how'd you do that?
SEVEN: I scanned the device. Its mechanism operates on a simple fractal regression.
PARIS: You scanned it? That's cheating.
SEVEN: Cheating is often more efficient.
JANEWAY: If you can't solve a puzzle, cheat. If you can't out-think a Think Tank, don't try.
NEELIX: Are you suggesting we give up?
JANEWAY: Not at all. When you were in contact with the artificial intelligence, you were linked through their internal communications array.
SEVEN: Yes, for several seconds.
JANEWAY: If you were to link with them again, we might be able to disrupt those systems. If they can't communicate, they can't function as a Think Tank. They'd be vulnerable.
EMH: Back to square one. How do we find them?
JANEWAY: Simple. We give them what they want. You're going to join their group willingly.
Y'SEK: They won't believe her.
JANEWAY: We'll have to make them believe. Pull up a chair. We've got some more work to do.

[Think Tank]

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: An Hazari vessel is sending hails into subspace. It's trying to contact us.
KURROS: Put them through.

[Hazari vessel]

HAZARI: They're responding.
KURROS [on monitor]: Hazari vessel, we have received your hails. Can we be of assistance?
Y'SEK: You deceived us.
KURROS [on monitor]: I do not believe we have met.
Y'SEK: Stop the pretence. You wanted us to deliver Voyager. Very well. But only if you triple our bounty.
KURROS [on monitor]: My friend, regardless of the circumstances, we have a contract.
Y'SEK: Pay us, or we let Voyager go.
KURROS [on monitor]: All right, we will triple the bounty. But you must deliver them to us now.
Y'SEK: Agreed. We'll contact the rest of our ships. We'll seize Voyager as planned.

[Bridge]

(Voyager is running from a sustained attack.)
TUVOK: Shields down to thirty percent.
JANEWAY: Return fire.
TUVOK: Our phasers aren't penetrating their shields.
KIM: That last volley took out our shield generators and phaser banks.
TUVOK: Life support's failing, all decks.
KURROS: Let us be honest, Captain. Things do not seem to be going your way.
JANEWAY: Don't count us out just yet.
KURROS: I admit you have been clever. You uncovered our subterfuge, but you failed to factor in all the variables. The greed of the Hazari, for example.
JANEWAY: Photon torpedoes?
TUVOK: Aft launchers are still online.
JANEWAY: Target a full spread at the lead Hazari ship.
KURROS: A few torpedoes will not alter the outcome. If you do not convince Seven of Nine to join us now, the destruction of your ship is ninety nine point eight percent certain.
JANEWAY: Fire.
TUVOK: Direct hit. It's been disabled.  
KURROS: Clinging to that point two percentage? Hazari reinforcements should be here any minute.
PARIS: He's right. Sensors just picked up a half dozen ships on an intercept course.
CHAKOTAY: Captain, I'm detecting an unauthorised shuttle launch. It's Seven of Nine.
JANEWAY: What the hell is she doing?
KURROS: I believe she's saving your ship.
KIM: She's not answering hails. Her shuttle's being pulled into subspace. She's gone.
KURROS: Have a safe journey home, Captain.

[Think Tank]

KURROS: Seven of Nine, welcome.
SEVEN: Your hospitality is irrelevant. I am here because you left me no choice.
KURROS: You gave into your human instincts to save your crew, as we knew you would. Just another factor in our equation.
SEVEN: If Voyager is destroyed, I will not cooperate.
KURROS: Do not worry. The solution to the Hazari paradox is quite simple.

[Hazari vessel]

KURROS [on monitor]: We have what we want. Call off your attack.
Y'SEK: Not until we've been compensated.
KURROS [on monitor]: Fine, but first order your other vessels to stand down.
Y'SEK: Now, or we'll destroy Voyager.

[Think Tank]

KURROS: Why is he in such a hurry?
SEVEN: Comply.
KURROS: If we decloak, we would be vulnerable. The Hazari could make quite a bounty on us. Far more than we are paying them.
SEVEN: Their technology is inferior to yours. They would never attack you directly.
KURROS: I think this is a trap, a new paradox your Captain has created for us. If we call their bluff, the Hazari might destroy Voyager, and we would lose you. If we reveal ourselves, we could be destroyed.
SEVEN: You told me, without problems to test the limits of your ability, you can never expand them.
KURROS: There is one very simple way to narrow the odds. We simply link you to our communications system, allow our artificial intelligence to probe your mind as it did before, and Captain Janeway's plans will be revealed, like a jewel in a bed of fog.

[Medical lab]

(Cortical implant monitor 222 is on the wall monitor.)
EMH: Sickbay to bridge. Seven's neural transceiver has been activated.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Acknowledged. Do it.
TUVOK: I'm transmitting the carrier wave.

[Think Tank]

(Energy plays around the implant's visible part over Seven's eyebrow.)
KURROS: Voyager is sending an interference signal into our systems using her cortical implants as a relay. Disconnect the link.
(Fennim says something.)
KURROS: Disconnect the link.
SEVEN: They can't understand you.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Voyager to Hazari vessels. Their systems are down. Fire the spatial charges.

[Think Tank]

(The Think Tank rocks.)
SEVEN: We seem to be experiencing some turbulence.
KURROS: Primitive spatial charges. I will have the dome back online before they can do any damage.
(An alarm sounds.)
KURROS: We're being pulled out of subspace.

[Bridge]

KIM: I've got a lock on Seven.
JANEWAY: Initiate transport.
(Seven is beamed directly to the bridge.)
TUVOK: The Hazari vessels are converging on the Think Tank.
JANEWAY: Tom.
PARIS: Setting a course.
KURROS: I urge you to reconsider, Captain.
JANEWAY: A good guest knows when he's outstayed his welcome.
KURROS: We can still negotiate a peaceful solution. Do not destroy my faith in diplomacy.
JANEWAY: Your diplomacy could use some polishing.
KURROS: You know you will never be satisfied here among these people. Is this what you really want?
SEVEN: Acquiring knowledge is a worthy objective, but its pursuit has obviously not elevated you.
(Kurros' isomorphic projection flickers.)
JANEWAY: Looks like your ship's having difficulties.
KURROS: A minor problem.
JANEWAY: Oh, I'm sure you'll find a solution. Just give it some thought.
(Kurros disappears. Voyager leaves the Hazari fleet to continue its bombardment of the Think Tank.)

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