The Haunting of Deck Twelve
Stardate: Unknown
Original Airdate: 17 May 2000

[Mess hall]

(Neelix turns down the flames under a pan and goes into the mess hall proper. It is deserted.)
NEELIX: Computer, deactivate mess hall lights.
 (He turns to leave, the doors open and he almost bumps into Seven walking in.)
NEELIX: Oh! You scared me.
SEVEN: That wasn't my intention.
NEELIX: No, of course not. I guess I'm just a little jumpy, especially after what happened the last time.
SEVEN: That's why I'm here.
NEELIX: Oh?
SEVEN: We'll be shutting down main power soon. The children's regeneration cycle will be interrupted. They'll require supervision.
NEELIX: Well, I'm happy to help. To tell you the truth, I'd be grateful for the distraction.
SEVEN: The procedure could take several hours.
NEELIX: How much do they know about what's happening?
SEVEN: Nothing. The children have overactive imaginations. I don't want to alarm them unnecessarily.
NEELIX: What if they start asking questions? I can't just lie to them.
SEVEN: You have considerable childcare experience. I'm sure you'll manage.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: That's close enough. Let our momentum carry us in.
PARIS: Cutting engines.
(A nebula is dead ahead.)
PARIS: There's a creepy image. Reminds me of something out of Edgar Allan Poe.
KIM: Looks like a vampire bat. You can make out the wings, even the ears. What do you see, Tuvok?
TUVOK: Two Starfleet officers with juvenile imaginations.
PARIS: Come on, Tuvok. Haven't you ever looked up at the clouds and seen an animal?
TUVOK: I will never understand the human need to find imagery in something as innocuous as a cloud.
JANEWAY: Harry, are we ready?
KIM: Yes, ma'am.
JANEWAY: Then let's do it. All hands. initiate shutdown sequence.
(All the lights go out. They turn on emergency lanterns. Crew still walking the corridors use their wrist beacons to see where they are going.) 

[Sickbay]

EMH: Computer, deactivate EMH.

[Cargo Bay two]

(The alcoves turn off, the children awake, then the lights go out.)
NEELIX: Everything's all right. We've just had to shut down main power temporarily. Nothing to be concerned about.

[Engineering]

TORRES: Three, two, one, mark.
(The warp core is deactivated.)

[Bridge]

KIM: All decks report shutdown complete, Captain.
JANEWAY: Janeway to Seven of Nine. We're ready.
SEVEN [OC]: Acknowledged.
(Voyager glides into the purple fog.)

[Cargo Bay two]

ICHEB: Why did they shut down main power?
NEELIX: It's simply a precaution. We've entered a class J nebula and the Captain wants to make sure that we don't attract any, er, residual EM. radiation.
(Neelix puts a lantern on a table.)
ICHEB: Our shields provide sufficient protection against nebula discharge.
NEELIX: Is that so? I'm afraid that gaseous anomalies were never really my specialty. Come on, gather round. I've brought toys and stories and games and I thought that later we might even have a little sing-along.
ICHEB: I should go to Astrometrics. Seven may need my help.
NEELIX: I'm afraid that Astrometrics is shut down, too.
MEZOTI: If we're not analysing the nebula, why did we enter it?
NEELIX: Oh, that is a long and dull story, and not nearly as interesting as Flotter Meets the Invincible Invertebrates.
MEZOTI: Is Voyager in danger?
NEELIX: Mezoti, there's really no need to leap to those kinds of conclusions.
ICHEB: Maybe if you explained what's happening in more detail, we wouldn't have to guess.
MEZOTI: This has something to do with deck twelve, doesn't it?
NEELIX: Well, what makes you say that?
ICHEB: Deck twelve section forty two is off limits to everyone but senior officers with a level six security clearance.
MEZOTI: That's because it's haunted, isn't it?
NEELIX: Who told you that?
MEZOTI: Naomi.
ICHEB: She was just trying to frighten you.
NEELIX: I'll have to have a talk with that girl.
AZAN: Is it true?
REBI: Does a ghost live there?
NEELIX: You're really too old to believe in such silly things.
MEZOTI: If it's not a ghost, what is it?
ICHEB: We deserve an explanation.
NEELIX: I don't think that Seven would be too happy if you all started waking up with nightmares.
AZAN: Tell us.
REBI: Please?
NEELIX: All right. Gather round. But I'm warning you, this is not a tale for the faint of heart.
MEZOTI: We're not faint of heart.
ICHEB: Our cardiopulmonary systems are reinforced.
MEZOTI: So don't leave anything out.
NEELIX: All right. But remember, I warned you. It all began several months ago, before you joined Voyager. We were exploring a dark nebula, just gathering deuterium. We had no idea what was in store for us.

[Mess hall]

NEELIX [OC]: But when the turbulence started getting rough, we should have seen that as an omen.
NEELIX: How goes the particle collecting, Commander?
TUVOK: We've got enough deuterium to power the warp engines for another thousand light years.
NEELIX: Excellent.
TUVOK: Is something wrong?
NEELIX: Now that you mention it, there is something that I feel compelled to share with you in my capacity as morale officer. The crew seem a little on edge.
TUVOK: Oh? They don't appear particularly anxious to me.
NEELIX: They're very good at hiding their fears. Starfleet training. I was wondering how soon we might be leaving this nebula. Knowing could help me assure them.
TUVOK: It's difficult to say. The Bussard Collectors are running at maximum, but it's a slow process. We could be here for several more days.
(Shudder.)
NEELIX: Days?
TUVOK: Mister Neelix, are you certain it's not you who is on edge?
NEELIX: You know me too well, Mister Vulcan.
TUVOK: I can assure you, a J class nebula is no cause for alarm.
NEELIX: I know it's illogical, but staring into this murky cloud for hours on end can be a little unsettling. When I was a child, an immense plasma drift passed through the Talaxian system. The stars and the moons were blotted out for months. From horizon to horizon all you could see was this enormous, menacing cloud. Ever since then I've found it a little disturbing to be in nebulas.
TUVOK: Perhaps the Captain might give you permission to install curtains.
NEELIX: That's an excellent idea. And I have just the right material.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Report.
KIM: The nebula's beginning to destabilise.
JANEWAY: Cause.
KIM: I'm not sure. It could have something to do with the nadion emissions being produced by the Bussard Collectors.

[Cargo Bay two]

ICHEB: You're not remembering correctly.
NEELIX: I beg your pardon?
ICHEB: The Bussard Collectors don't produce nadion emissions.
NEELIX: Well, the technical details don't matter. What's important is that Voyager's presence was destabilising the nebula

[Bridge]

NEELIX [OC]: And the crew wasn't interested in taking any chances.
CHAKOTAY: We've got eighty percent of the deuterium we wanted. Maybe we shouldn't push our luck.
JANEWAY: Agreed. Bridge to Engineering.
TORRES [OC]: Go ahead.
JANEWAY: We're suspending the dilithium intake.  
(Oops, a slip of the tongue there from Kate.)
TORRES [OC]: Acknowledged.
JANEWAY: Tom, take us out.
PARIS: Aye.
NEELIX [OC]: But at that exact moment, in the fraction of a second before Tom could engage the engines, zap! We were hit.

[Cargo Bay two]

MEZOTI: What was it?
AZAN: The ghost?
REBI: Shush. Let him finish.
NEELIX: Whatever it was, it shook the ship hard.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: An EM discharge penetrated the hull. Deck seven, section ten.
KIM: Increasing power to structural integrity.
PARIS: We're clear.
JANEWAY: Damage?
CHAKOTAY: Power outages on three decks. Auxiliary subprocessors are offline. No injuries reported.
JANEWAY: Assign repair teams. Resume course.
NEELIX [OC]: We'd taken some minor damage, but for the most part everything was fine. Or so we thought.
(We are treated to a view of something sparkling attached to the hull.)

[Cargo Bay two]

NEELIX: What none of us knew was that a mysterious stowaway had come aboard Voyager.
MEZOTI: What kind of stowaway?
ICHEB: It was obviously a space-dwelling lifeform.
NEELIX: Yes, but we didn't know that, not at that point.
MEZOTI: Was it non-corporeal?
NEELIX: In a manner of speaking
REBI: Hostile?
NEELIX: Well, I'm getting to that.
AZAN: Species 5973?
NEELIX: Who are they?
ICHEB: The Borg encountered them in galactic cluster eight. They're multi-spectrum particle lifeforms.
NEELIX: No, that's not what this was.
MEZOTI: Maybe it was an inter-phasic species.
NEELIX: We can either debate comparative xenobiology or I can continue with the story. Now it's up to you.
ICHEB: Continue the story.
NEELIX: Somehow I thought you'd say that. Now, where was I? Oh, ah, yes. Life aboard Voyager would have been more or less back to normal if it weren't for a few strange malfunctions.

[Ready room]

JANEWAY: Come in.
(Janeway gets herself a mug of drink from the replicator.)
CHAKOTAY: I've got reports from repair teams. It looks like that EM discharge did more damage than we thought. Transporter room one is out of commission, half the sonic showers are offline, and we temporarily lost artificial gravity on deck five.
JANEWAY: Any injuries?
CHAKOTAY: Ensign Mulchaey bumped his head on the ceiling.
JANEWAY: Ouch. This is terrible. Computer, another cup of coffee, black.
(This time the liquid materialises before the cup does.)
JANEWAY: You can add replicators to your list. We're getting started on the wrong foot today, my friend.
CHAKOTAY: Captain?
JANEWAY: I'm sorry. I was talking to Voyager.
CHAKOTAY: It's nothing to be embarrassed about. I used to have long conversations with my Maquis ship.
JANEWAY: Really? What did you two talk about?
CHAKOTAY: Oh, I can't tell you that. Captain-starship confidentiality.
JANEWAY: Of course.
CHAKOTAY: If the Doctor heard us he'd probably recommend counselling.
JANEWAY: I won't tell if you won't.
CHAKOTAY: Deal.
JANEWAY: Commander, do you see that?
(A string of glowing objects outside.)
CHAKOTAY: It's a meteorite cluster. I doubt it's anything to worry about.
JANEWAY: I'd tend to agree, if it weren't the same one we passed an hour ago.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Ensign.
(She hands him her coffee mug.)
ENSIGN: Yes, ma'am.
JANEWAY: Are you conducting a survey of meteoroids, Tom?
PARIS: Ma'am?
JANEWAY: Check your sensors. We're travelling in circles.
PARIS: Not according to my readings.
CHAKOTAY: Tuvok, run level four diagnostic on the navigational array.
TUVOK: There is a malfunction in the subprocessors. It appears we're heading back the way we came.
JANEWAY: All stop. Reinitialise your sensors.
PARIS: I'm telling you, we rely too much on twenty fourth century technology, Captain. You give me a window and a sextant and I guarantee I'll get you where you want to go.
TUVOK: We've jumped to warp six.
JANEWAY: Tom?
PARIS: Don't look at me.
JANEWAY: Shut down the warp engines.
PARIS: I can't.
CHAKOTAY: Manual override.
TUVOK: No response.
JANEWAY: Bridge to Engineering.
PARIS: I'm reading all stop.
JANEWAY: Lieutenant Torres, respond.
CHAKOTAY: Computer, locate B'Elanna Torres.
COMPUTER: Lieutenant Torres is in Engineering. Ensign Trumari is on deck four, section thirty. Commander Tuvok is on the bridge.
JANEWAY: Find out what's going on. Harry, pull the speech processors if you have to, but shut that thing off.
COMPUTER: Ensign Vorik is in Engineering, level two.

[Turbolift]

NEELIX [OC]: Meanwhile, Commander Chakotay was headed for Engineering, or so he thought.
 (The turbolift doors open and he steps out by the mess hall. He gets back in.)
CHAKOTAY: Engineering.
(The turbolift doesn't move.)
CHAKOTAY: I bet you wouldn't try to pull this on the Captain. Have it your way. I'll walk.
(The doors shut in his face.)
NEELIX [OC]: The turbolift started to fall

[Cargo Bay two]

NEELIX: Faster and faster! Anybody hungry?
MEZOTI: Neelix!
NEELIX: You haven't touched your snacks
MEZOTI: Snacks are irrelevant. Continue the story.
ICHEB: What happened to Commander Chakotay?
NEELIX: The turbolift plunged eleven decks at high speed. The g forces pinned Commander Chakotay to the ceiling. He knew that at any minute he was going to come crashing down to the bottom of the turbolift and there was nothing that he could do about it. But then the descent stabilisers reactivated.

[Engineering]

NEELIX [OC]: The way B'Elanna tells it, Commander Chakotay was not very happy when he showed up in Engineering that morning.
CHAKOTAY: If I didn't know better I'd say this ship is trying to kill me. Do you have any idea what's going on?
TORRES: Well, I've traced the problem to a series of gel packs on deck thirteen. It looks like they were burned out by an EM discharge from the nebula.
CHAKOTAY: And those gel-packs interface with all the affected systems.
TORRES: I'm on my way to repair it right now. Feel like giving me a hand?
CHAKOTAY: Only if we stay out of the turbolifts. I'll tell you about it on the way.

[Corridor] 

NEELIX [OC]: While Chakotay and B'Elanna headed for deck thirteen, new problems were cropping up all over the ship.
(Celes removes a wall panel.)
SEVEN: Crewman Celes, step away from the control panel.
CELES: Did I do something wrong?
SEVEN: You caused a power failure in Astrometrics.
CELES: I did? How?
SEVEN: That's what I'm attempting to find out.
CELES: I don't see how I could have done anything.
SEVEN: I've located the problem. It appears you inadvertently overloaded a series of EPS conduits while performing your diagnostic.
CELES: But I haven't even started the diagnostic.
SEVEN: Then what were you doing?
CELES: Nothing. I just got here.
(Seven presses some buttons and the lights flicker.)
CELES: I know that wasn't my fault.

[Deck thirteen]

CHAKOTAY: These gel packs aren't burned out.
TORRES: There's no trace of any EM discharge.
CHAKOTAY: Could it have dissipated this quickly?
TORRES: No, it moved.
CHAKOTAY: Moved?
TORRES: The discharge seems to be travelling through the bio-neural circuitry, jumping from system to system.
CHAKOTAY: Can you isolate it?
TORRES: It's in a series of gel packs that interface with the environmental controls outside Cargo Bay two.
CHAKOTAY: Let's try to get there before it jumps again.

[Cargo Bay two - then]

NEELIX [OC]: By then Seven of Nine was in Cargo Bay two to run diagnostics but, because the comm. system was down they couldn't warn her, and she had no idea that something was in the room with her.
(Blue lightning is creeping across the deck.)

[Cargo Bay two - now]

AZAN: Here?
REBI: In this cargo bay?
MEZOTI: Then what happened?

[Cargo Bay two - then]

NEELIX [OC]: The creature was clinging to the circuits and bulkheads using them to move about the room. It was getting closer and closer.
(The blue lightning climbs into a console, shutting it down, then purple-red gas comes out of wall vents.)
SEVEN: Seven of Nine to the bridge. Bridge, acknowledge.
NEELIX [OC]: But of course, there was no answer.

[Cargo Bay two - now]

ICHEB: Why didn't she remodulate her neural transceiver and send a message that way?
NEELIX: That's an interesting question. You'll have to ask her.
MEZOTI: Stop interrupting.

[Cargo Bay two - then]

NEELIX [OC]: Seven tried to get out but she was trapped.
(Seven manually opens the doors, walks into the corridor and encounters forcefields either side of the entrance to the cargo bay. The area fills with gas and sizzling energy, and she collapses. Her cortical implant sizzles.)

[Cargo Bay two - now]

REBI: What happened to Seven?
MEZOTI: The entity must have infiltrated her cybernetic systems and turned her against the rest of the crew.
NEELIX: It most certainly did not. You're letting your imagination run away with you.
REBI: What happened?
AZAN: Why did the light go out?
NEELIX: It's all right. I just have to replace the power cell. It'll only take a moment. Nothing to be frightened about.
MEZOTI: I'm not frightened, but Azan is.
AZAN: I am not.
NEELIX: There. Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Seven was trapped by the forcefields, but fortunately for her

[Corridor]

NEELIX [OC]: Help was on the way.
(Torres and Chakotay come out of a Jefferies tube.)
CHAKOTAY: Computer, deactivate this forcefield. We'll have to cut power to the field generators.
TORRES: The computer's not accepting my command codes.
CHAKOTAY: Stand back.
(Chakotay phasers the wall panel.)
TORRES: The forcefield's down.
CHAKOTAY: Let's get her to Sickbay.

[Mess hall]

NEELIX [OC]: Now, most of us were just going about our business oblivious to what was happening, but that was about to change.
(The lights start flickering.)
KIM: Kim to Engineering.
NEELIX: Neelix to the bridge.
KIM: I want everyone to report to their stations until we figure out what's going on.
CREWMAN: Aye, sir.
NEELIX: Er, Ensign, maybe I should come with you. The captain might need me.
KIM: This is your post. You may be needed here.
NEELIX: Oh, of course. If you need anything, anything at all, you know where to find me.
NEELIX [OC]: So there I was. The only thing I could do was wait, alone.
(The mess hall lights go out.)
NEELIX [OC]: In the dark.

[Bridge]

NEELIX [OC]: Voyager was dead in space. System after system was failing, including the environmental controls. Ensign Paris told me it was hotter than the Tarkanian Desert on the bridge.
PARIS: Don't you ever sweat?
TUVOK: Not unless the temperature reaches three hundred fifty degrees Kelvin, with a humidity factor at approximately
PARIS: Forget I asked.
TUVOK: Very well.
JANEWAY: (sotto) I'll make you a deal, Voyager. The next M class planetoid we find, we'll set down and I'll give you a nice maintenance overhaul. What do you say? Tom, check the conn.
PARIS: I don't know what you did, Captain, but I've got helm control back.
JANEWAY: (sotto) Thanks, my friend.
PARIS: I'm going to try to get thrusters and impulse engines back online.
JANEWAY: Tom, I'm reading an EM surge in your console. Get away from there.
(Paris screams as energy envelops him.)
JANEWAY: Bridge to Sickbay. Medical emergency. Can we transport him?
TUVOK: Transporters are offline.
JANEWAY: Why am I not surprised. Now what?
COMPUTER: Warning, oxygen depletion in progress.
TUVOK: Breathable air is being sucked out of the bridge.
JANEWAY: Reroute emergency power to environmental controls.
TUVOK: No effect.
JANEWAY: Everyone out of here now.

[Sickbay]

NEELIX [OC]: In Sickbay, the Doctor had his hands full, too.
EMH: You're fortunate. Another few moments and you'd have been asphyxiated. Where do you think you're going?
SEVEN: Lieutenant Torres needs help with the repairs.
(Janeway and Tuvok help Paris get to a biobed.)
JANEWAY: Doctor.
TORRES: What happened?
EMH: An EM. surge. Seven had a similar experience.
SEVEN: The environmental system converted Cargo Bay two into a micronebula.
CHAKOTAY: When Gibson and McMinn tried to vent the gas from deck seven, they were struck by a discharge, too.
JANEWAY: Are we thinking the same thing?
CHAKOTAY: It could be an intelligence at work here.
TORRES: Some kind of electromagnetic lifeform that's using the environmental controls to make the ship more hospitable for itself.
JANEWAY: And attacking anyone who tries to stop it.
EMH: My matrix is destabilising.
JANEWAY: Transfer his programme to the mobile emitter. Quickly.
COMPUTER: Warning. Power failure.
JANEWAY: Let's get the injured out of here.
NEELIX [OC]: Deck by deck, section by section

[Corridor]

NEELIX [OC]: The crew was losing control of Voyager. People were scattered throughout the ship with no idea what was happening.
(Celes hits Kim in the dark.)
KIM: What did you do that for?
CELES: Ensign, I'm so sorry! I, I thought, I thought you were a Hirogen, or a Borg.
KIM: And what gave you that idea?
CELES: It's dark. Your shadow.
KIM: Trust me, there are no aliens roaming the corridors.
CELES: You mean we haven't been boarded?
KIM: It's just a power failure.
CELES: Isn't that what they sometimes do? Cut the power?
KIM: What who sometimes does?
CELES: Hostile aliens. They might be trying to infiltrate the ship.
KIM: How long has it been since you've run into anyone else?
CELES: I don't know, four or five hours. I, I tried Sickbay, but it was deserted. Decks three and four are empty. I, I was on my way to the bridge. You're the first person I've seen.
KIM: Well, there's no one on the bridge either.
CELES: You see? Then maybe I was right. Maybe the reason we can't find anyone is because they've all been assimilated.
KIM: Slow down. There was an environmental failure on the bridge. That's why it's been evacuated. I don't know what happened in Sickbay, or on decks three and four, but I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation. Ah ha. No one's been assimilated.
CELES: Then where are they?
KIM: They've probably set up a temporary command post, most likely in Engineering. That's where I'm going.
CELES: Can I come with you?
KIM: Of course.
CELES: Ensign?
KIM: What?
CELES: Do you think we could stop by a weapons locker on the way?

[Mess hall]

NEELIX [OC]: I still had no idea what was going on. I'd been waiting in the mess hall for more than four hours in the dark, cut off from the rest of the crew.
(He hears the doors open and shut.)
NEELIX: Is somebody there? Hello? Hello? Hello?

[Corridor]

(He forces the mess hall doors open.)
NEELIX: Is somebody out there? Tom, if that's you, this isn't funny.
(The turbolift doors are opening and closing rapidly. Then Neelix's beacon illuminates Tuvok in a breathing mask.)
NEELIX: Argh! Stay away!
TUVOK: Calm yourself, Mister Neelix.
NEELIX: You really shouldn't sneak up on people like that. I could have shot you.
TUVOK: Your restraint is commendable.
NEELIX: Is there a problem with the air supply?
TUVOK: An alien lifeform has seized control of Voyager's primary systems. It's flooded numerous sections with poisonous gas.
NEELIX: Are you saying that this alien lifeform is trying to kill us?
TUVOK: Its intentions aren't clear. However, we should evacuate.
NEELIX: Where to?
TUVOK: The Captain has established a secure command post in Engineering.

[Cargo Bay two]

MEZOTI: Were you scared?
NEELIX: Well, considering that Engineering was eight decks down and the only way to get there was to crawl through pitch-black Jefferies tubes, it's fair to say that I was never more frightened in my life.
ICHEB: You shouldn't have allowed yourself to be afraid.
NEELIX: Is that so.
ICHEB: Fear distracts people from accomplishing their goals.
NEELIX: Well, that's true, I suppose. On the other hand, fear can sometimes be very healthy.
MEZOTI: Explain.
NEELIX: Well, it keeps you alert, keeps you from putting yourself in unnecessary danger.
MEZOTI: I was afraid once.
ICHEB: You've been afraid many times.
NEELIX: Icheb. Do you want to tell us about it?
MEZOTI: It was when we were first disconnected from the hive mind, before Seven rescued us. I couldn't hear anyone else's thoughts anymore. I felt alone.
NEELIX: I can understand why that was frightening. When you're scared, it helps to have someone to talk to, doesn't it?
MEZOTI: Yes.
NEELIX: Of course, in my case, the only one person I had to talk to was Commander Tuvok.

[Jefferies tube]

NEELIX [OC]: I tried passing the time with a little conversation but, as you've probably noticed, he's not exactly what you'd call chatty.
NEELIX: I'll bet Starfleet has specific procedures to deal with these kinds of situations. You know, something like protocol one zero zero five. In the event your starship is invaded by a hostile electromagnetic lifeform. What do you suppose that, er, that protocol might be, exactly?
TUVOK: Rest assured, this crew is doing everything possible to regain control of the ship.
NEELIX: You're right. I'm just being silly.
TUVOK: I concur.
NEELIX: Of course, the crew of the Salvoxia probably thought they were going to regain control of their ship, too. Did I ever tell you about the Salvoxia?
TUVOK: If I say yes, will it prevent you from telling the story?
NEELIX: It was a Talaxian freighter. Horrible tragedy. Happened nearly a century ago. After suffering a cascade failure, it began to lose life support generators, one by one. Pretty soon, there wasn't enough air left to sustain the entire crew so they began to draw lots. Can you imagine? Draw the short straw and you suffocate? Anyway, the air continued to diminish, and they kept drawing lots. The crew got smaller and smaller as they waited for someone to rescue them, but no one ever came. The Salvoxia drifted through space for the next eighty years, until somebody finally found her. Makes me short of breath just thinking about it.
TUVOK: Perhaps you should occupy your mind with pleasant thoughts before you hyperventilate.
NEELIX: Right. Pleasant thoughts. Pleasant thoughts.

[Cargo Bay two]

MEZOTI: What did the bodies like?
NEELIX: I beg your pardon?
MEZOTI: After eighty years. Were they decomposed?
ICHEB: They may have been preserved by the vacuum of space.
NEELIX: I shouldn't have told you that story. It's too gruesome.
ICHEB: I wonder what the crew of the Salvoxia did for food after their emergency rations were gone?
MEZOTI: Maybe they ate each other.
NEELIX: All right, that's enough. Now, where was I? We'd made it more than halfway to Engineering

[Jefferies tube]

NEELIX [OC]: When we ran into an obstacle.
(The next hatch refuses to open it. Tuvok opens it manually and they discover that it is filling with gas.)
NEELIX: Commander!
(Tuvok quickly shuts the hatch.)
NEELIX: What do we do now?
TUVOK: If I can access environmental controls, I may be able to vent the gas.
NEELIX: Is there another way around?
TUVOK: It would take several hours to reach Engineering by an alternate route. There is no guarantee we'd find a clear path.
NEELIX: Pleasant thoughts. Pleasant thoughts.
NEELIX [OC]: While we were in the Jefferies tubes

[Engineering]

NEELIX [OC]: A good number of the crew had gathered in Engineering.
CHAKOTAY: Ninety seven crewmen have been accounted for. They're in secure locations throughout the ship.
KIM: Neelix?
CHAKOTAY: No one's seen him.
KIM: I shouldn't have ordered him to stay in the mess hall.
JANEWAY: You were following procedure.
TORRES: Captain. Bad news. The lifeform's infiltrated the main computer matrix.
SEVEN: As long as it remained in the gel pack, there was a chance to contain it.
TORRES: But we can't purge it from the main computer without crashing the few systems we have left.
NEELIX [OC]: Things were looking grim, but the captain was about to make a breakthrough that would change everything.
COMPUTER: Captain Janeway. Captain Janeway. Captain Janeway is in main Engineering.
KIM: Sorry, Captain, I know it's irritating. I'll try to shut it down.
JANEWAY: Hold on a minute. This is Captain Janeway. Respond.
COMPUTER: Authorisation code required.
JANEWAY: Janeway pi alpha.
CHAKOTAY: Captain?
JANEWAY: It's only a hunch, but I think this lifeform may be trying to communicate.
TORRES: Sounds like a comm. system malfunction to me.
JANEWAY: I'm not so sure. The lifeform's been moving from system to system. If it's intelligent, it may be learning how to use those systems in some rudimentary way. Are you attempting to communicate?
COMPUTER: Unable to comply.
CHAKOTAY: Even if it understands what you're saying, it may not know how to respond.
JANEWAY: B'Elanna, can you call up the comm. system's syntax subroutines?
TORRES: I'll try.
JANEWAY: We're attempting to make it easier for you to speak to us. Try to access the database at engineering station three one.
COMPUTER: Database accessed.
JANEWAY: Why have you come aboard our ship?
COMPUTER: Captain Janeway, report to Astrometrics.
JANEWAY: Why do you want me to go there?
COMPUTER: Captain Janeway, report to Astrometrics.
JANEWAY: I guess I'll find out soon enough.
KIM: Captain, Astrometrics is flooded with nebular gas.
COMPUTER: Astrometrics life-support has been restored.
CHAKOTAY: It could be some kind of trap. This lifeform, whatever it is, has already injured at least eleven crewmen.
JANEWAY: I can try to establish a dialogue or I can let it take over my ship. Seven, you're with me.
SEVEN: Yes, Captain.

[Cargo Bay two]

NEELIX: While Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine headed to Astrometrics, Tuvok was trying to ease my fears by guiding me through a meditation.

[Jefferies tube]

TUVOK: Concentrate on the rhythm of your breathing. Envision your lungs filled with light. Follow it back in time to a moment when you felt no fear. A moment of happiness, serenity.
NEELIX: My birthday dinner.
TUVOK: Describe it.

[Neelix's memory - Mess hall]

NEELIX [OC]: I was surrounded by all my friends. They'd gotten together to cook me dinner. They prepared all my favourites. Steamed chadre kab, terra nut soufflé. I felt loved, appreciated, safe.
(Neelix removes the lid from the plate Janeway has carried out of the galley. Nebula gas flows out, forming eyes and a mouth full of sharp teeth.)

[Cargo Bay]

MEZOTI: Captain Janeway served you nebular gas?
NEELIX: No, of course not. It was just my imagination playing tricks on me during the meditation. My head was too full of scary images for me to relax. The captain, on the other hand, seemed to be getting things under control.

[Astrometrics lab]

(Janeway and Seven enter wearing breathing apparatus.)
COMPUTER: Review of navigational logs in progress.
JANEWAY: Are you searching for something?
COMPUTER: Affirmative.
JANEWAY: The nebula.
COMPUTER: Manual helm control enabled.
JANEWAY: You're returning control of the ship?
COMPUTER: Affirmative.
JANEWAY: You want me to take you back to the nebula?
COMPUTER: Affirmative.
JANEWAY: Well, why didn't you just say so in the first place?
SEVEN: Returning to the nebula is too dangerous. We'd risk invasion by other lifeforms.
JANEWAY: I'm beginning to think this was all an accident, not an invasion.
SEVEN: Captain?
JANEWAY: Think about it. The EM surge didn't hit us until our Bussard Collectors destabilised the nebula, and then what happened?
SEVEN: The ship began experiencing random malfunctions.
JANEWAY: I'm not so sure they were random. Navigational sensors were fooling us into heading back toward the nebula and then, when Tom tried to resume course, he was attacked. This lifeform isn't trying to hurt us, it's trying to get home. Can you give us access to the bridge?
COMPUTER: Life support on the bridge has been restored. Level ten authorisation required.
SEVEN: Level ten?
JANEWAY: Captain's eyes only. It wants me to go alone.

[Bridge]

NEELIX [OC]: The Captain and the lifeform had begun to establish a rapport, but the relationship was fragile.
JANEWAY: Is the viewscreen functioning normally?
COMPUTER: Affirmative.
JANEWAY: I'm sorry to tell you this, but your nebula is gone.
COMPUTER: Clarify.
JANEWAY: The gases must have continued to dissipate after we left.
COMPUTER: Warning, Life support failure on all decks. Abandon ship. Abandon.

[Cargo Bay two]

NEELIX: Ship. Abandon ship.
MEZOTI: The creature was that angry?
ICHEB: Its home had been destroyed.
NEELIX: The lifeform wanted Voyager for itself, and it was going to kill anyone who remained on board. Captain Janeway's only chance of saving her crew was to try to reason with the creature.

[Bridge]

JANEWAY: Listen to me. I can still help you.
COMPUTER: Abandon ship.
JANEWAY: There are other class J nebulas. I'll find you one.
COMPUTER: Unable to comply.
JANEWAY: I'd be able to comply if you gave me access to Astrometrics.
COMPUTER: Warning, oxygen depletion in progress.
(Janeway puts her mask back on.)
JANEWAY: Give me back helm control.
COMPUTER: Warning, helm circuits are overloading.
(The conn explodes.)
COMPUTER: Abandon ship.
JANEWAY: At least give me access to the comm. so I can warn my crew.
COMPUTER: Unable to comply.
NEELIX [OC]: As the captain was facing one of her worst fears, losing her ship

[Jefferies tube]

NEELIX [OC]: I was with Tuvok and about to face one of mine.
(Tuvok is zapped by energy.)
NEELIX: Tuvok! Lie still. I'll try to
(Purple-red gas enters the tube.)
TUVOK: Mister Neelix. Proceed without me.
NEELIX: I'm not leaving you here.
TUVOK: I am injured. Logic dictates that you take the mask and proceed to Engineering.
NEELIX: I don't care what logic dictates. This isn't the Salvoxia. We're not drawing lots.
TUVOK: I am giving you an order.
NEELIX: And I'm disobeying it. You're coming with me if I have to drag you by your pointy little ears.
NEELIX [OC]: I had no choice. I had to control my fear.
(Neelix sees the evil face in the gas.)
NEELIX: Pleasant thoughts, pleasant thoughts.
(The face disappears. Neelix takes a breath from the mask then gives it back to Tuvok.)
NEELIX [OC]: While we made our way to Engineering,

[Corridor]

NEELIX [OC]: Captain Janeway tried to make the creature reconsider what it was doing.
JANEWAY: You're going to kill everyone on this ship. Do you understand what that means?
COMPUTER: To deprive of life. Extinguish.
JANEWAY: Yes, and if you extinguish us, you'll be extinguishing yourself. You need this crew.
COMPUTER: Clarify.
JANEWAY: The technology you're using needs to be maintained. Who do you think is going to do that when we are gone? Voyager's secondary systems have already begun to fail. In a few weeks, primary systems will start to go offline.
COMPUTER: Unable to confirm.
JANEWAY: Access the internal sensors. Run a ship-wide diagnostic. See for yourself.
COMPUTER: Abandon ship.
NEELIX [OC]: The captain's rapport with the creature seemed to be breaking down

[Engineering]

NEELIX [OC]: And she couldn't afford to wait any longer.
JANEWAY: I need everyone's attention. We're abandoning ship. Get to the escape pods.
TORRES: We may not be able to eject the pods.
JANEWAY: We'll push them out if we have to.
(Neelix and Tuvok enter from the Jefferies tube.)
NEELIX: He needs medical attention.
KIM: He'll have to wait. We're abandoning ship.

[Corridor]

NEELIX [OC]: The entire crew had to evacuate. The Delta Flyer and the shuttles were launched, followed by all but one of the escape pods.
CHAKOTAY: That's everyone but the Captain and First Officer.
JANEWAY: After you.
(Chakotay gets into the escape pod, and the door shuts in her face.)
JANEWAY: I did what you asked, we're abandoning ship. What more do you want?
COMPUTER: Diagnostic completed. Secondary systems are offline. Primary systems at thirty two percent. Estimated time to failure, six days thirteen hours.
JANEWAY: That sounds about right.
COMPUTER: Captain Janeway, report to Engineering.
JANEWAY: Like hell I will.
(She bumps into a forcefield.)
JANEWAY: I won't be your prisoner. You'll have to kill me.
COMPUTER: Acknowledged.
(Gas begins to pour in.)
COMPUTER: Captain Janeway, report to Engineering.
JANEWAY: Not until you restore life-support and give me back control of my ship.
COMPUTER: Unable to comply.
JANEWAY: Then we'll die here together. I'm guessing I've got about two more minutes and then you're on your own.
COMPUTER: Captain Janeway, report to Engineering.
JANEWAY: I told you. The only way I'm helping is if you return control of my ship.

[Cargo Bay two]

NEELIX: It looked like the creature was calling the captain's bluff. She was down to her last breath, but at the last moment

[Corridor]

(The gas is sucked out of the area and the forcefield is lowered.)
COMPUTER: Access to all systems has been restored.

[Cargo Bay two]

NEELIX: It took almost two days for the crew to return to the ship. Eventually, an artificial environment was created in an isolated section of deck twelve. The creature's been living there ever since.
MEZOTI: I told you there was a monster on deck twelve.
ICHEB: Haven't you been listening? It's not a monster, it's an alien lifeform.
(Shudder.)
ICHEB:
What was that?
MEZOTI: Maybe it's the alien lifeform coming to get us.
NEELIX: Haven't you learned anything about letting your imagination get the best of you?
(Power is restored.)
NEELIX: There. That little jolt was probably nothing more than our friend leaving the ship to go to a new home that the captain found for him. Time to regenerate.
REBI: What if the lifeform didn't leave?.
AZAN: What if it wants revenge?
NEELIX: What if I told you I made up the whole thing?
MEZOTI: Naomi told me you always exaggerate.
ICHEB: I knew the story wasn't true, the moment you said the Bussard Collectors produced nadion emissions.
NEELIX: I should have known better than to try fooling the four of you. All right, in you go. Pleasant dreams.

[Bridge]

CHAKOTAY: How are the children?
NEELIX: Tucked into their alcoves, safe and sound.
JANEWAY: I hope they weren't frightened.
NEELIX: Oh, why would they be frightened, Captain?
JANEWAY: They were in the dark for three hours.
NEELIX: Oh no, not to worry. I told them a story to pass the time.
PARIS: Let me guess. Mother Goose.
NEELIX: Certainly not. Some of those fairy tales can be frightening. Ogres and child eating monsters. Speaking of which, is everything okay?
JANEWAY: We're just taking some final readings before we resume course. Show him, Harry.
(The nebula is lit up with energy in some parts.)
NEELIX: Well, I hope it lives happily ever after.

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