Voyager: Dissonance

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

STORY BY CHARLYNN SCHMIEDT & TRISTAN RIDDELL

SCREENPLAY (DRAFT #1) BY PHILLIP GILFUS

DISSONANCE – Teaser:

FADE IN:

INT: SHIP CORRIDOR

CHAKOTAY is walking down the corridor with TUVOK. The security chief escorts the first officer to his new office.

CHAKOTAY Thanks for the ship tour, lieutenant, but I'm sure I could have figured it out myself.

TUVOK It is vital for a first officer to have clearance to all ship systems. I wished to ensure that all areas of Voyager were easily accessible to your new command codes.

CHAKOTAY I appreciate the due diligence but this isn't my first starship assignment. I don't need any handholding.

TUVOK It is not my intention to offend you, commander. I am merely doing my duty. You will find that I do not ... handhold. ... sir.

CHAKOTAY and TUVOK reach the door to CHAKOTAY's office.

TUVOK (indicates with his gaze that they have arrived) This is the office assigned to the ship's first officer. I have taken the liberty of clearing out Commander Cavit's personal belongings that were in here and placing them in storage until...

(TUVOK pauses a moment to reflect on their situation)

TUVOK(cont'd) ... our return to a Starfleet facility. His family will undoubtedly wish to have them.

CHAKOTAY That's considerate of you, Tuvok. We took too many losses on both of our ships when the Caretaker pulled us out of the Alpha Quadrant.

(takes this as a moment to express sympathy)

I'm sorry I never got a chance to know Commander Cavit. I'm sure he was a good man.

TUVOK (slight bristle at the emotional moment) He was a capable officer and will be missed by those who served with him.

(He gestures at the door) I believe you will find two crewmembers inside who wished to discuss a personnel matter with you.

CHAKOTAY (chuckle) The Maquis usually solved our “personnel matters” with a good right hook.

TUVOK This is not a Maquis ship, commander. You are no longer leading a terrorist ship fighting Cardassians.

CHAKOTAY I'm aware of that, lieutenant. I was just making a joke.

TUVOK As you say. ... if you'll excuse me, sir.

CHAKOTAY (nods) By all means.

TUVOK exits, toward camera.

CHAKOTAY pauses before entering the room, taking a moment to reflect on his new duties. He then enters.

INT: CHAKOTAY'S OFFICE

Close up: SESKA and RILEY (mid-20s human female, science branch, Starfleet crewman) are in a heated argument, shouting insults at each other. They are almost eye to eye to each other and look like they could start fighting at any moment.

CHAKOTAY enters the room hesitantly. SESKA and RILEY both turn their heads, at the same time, to see him enter. They instantly stop yelling.

SESKA & RILEY (in unison, shouting at CHAKOTAY) I want a new roommate!

CHAKOTAY (to himself) I think I preferred the Cardassians.

SHOW TITLES

ACT ONE

INT: CHAKOTAY'S OFFICE SCENE 1

SESKA and RILEY are shouting at CHAKOTAY, both trying to explain to CHAKOTAY why the other one is a horrible roommate.

SESKA ...she keeps me up all night with her incessant chattering...

RILEY ...the environmental controls are almost at Class L planet levels...

SESKA .. I haven't had a decent night's sleep in two days...

RILEY ..I have to defrost most the meals I eat there...

CHAKOTAY steps between the two crewmen and puts up his hands to silence them both.

CHAKOTAY Stop it! Now someone explain to me what's going on before I throw you both in the brig!

RILEY She cannot be allowed to spend another night assigned to my quarters! She doesn't leave the environmental controls at normal humanoid levels. She's better off sleeping in the medical cryogenic bay!

SESKA Me? She's the completely crazy one, Chakotay! She spends every off-duty hour composing long letters to all her family members. I don't think she even stops to take a breath when she's in our quarters. I have to deal with the most homesick Starfleet-er who wouldn't last one day onboard a Maquis ship.

RILEY I'm sorry that I actually have a family who is wondering what happened to me!

SESKA Why you little Kheet'agh...!

CHAKOTAY Enough! (looks at Riley and points at

nearby couch) You, over there! (grabs Seska by the shoulders and spins her around to face a chair on the other side of the room) You, in

that corner! (to both) Now do we want to try discussing this like adults or should I tell the captain that I have two science specialists that can't seem to share one room together like a couple of moody teenagers?!

RILEY and SESKA sulk into their respective seats. They are silent.

CHAKOTAY (to both) I'll assume by your silence that you've chosen to act like

professionals. (to RILEY) Okay, Crewman Riley, you say Seska keeps your room too cold?

SESKA (starts to stand up, to Chakotay) That's not...

CHAKOTAY (to Seska, pointedly) I said quiet!

Seska sits back down, seems to pout.

(to RILEY) I'll tell Ensign Kim to ensure the temperature in your quarters can only be set within the confines of accepted human and Bajoran tolerance.

RILEY But..!

CHAKOTAY (to Riley) And if that isn't enough, I suggest you start to take up knitting and make yourself a sweater. (to Seska) And she's keeping you awake with her letter writing? Then I'll change the duty roster so you are at your station when she's off- duty.

SESKA That's not fair...!

CHAKOTAY Otherwise, you can go to sickbay and

start stocking up on sedatives! (to both) Anything else?! From either of you?!

SESKA and RILEY look at each other, both still looking angry, then they look at Chakotay and react to his sternness.

RILEY No, sir.

SESKA No.

CLOSE UP on CHAKOTAY's reaction of having to deal with these issues instead of being a Maquis.

EXT. SHOT: CAPTAIN'S LOG

VOYAGER travels at impulse/sub-light, surrounded by a dozen smaller alien (Tequani) vessels (NOTE: ships are slightly larger than Federation runabouts for scale)

JANEWAY (V.O.) Captain's Log, Stardate 48452.4: Voyager has encountered a friendly alien race, the Tequani, a unique people who live entirely on ships. They helped us repair our navigational array which had unexpectedly malfunctioned. I look forward to forming a trading pact with their leader, Zoo'lin.

INT: SHIP'S CONFERENCE ROOM SCENE 2

JANEWAY, CHAKOTAY, NEELIX, PARIS, and ZOO'LIN (a unique Delta Quadrant alien, should look entirely different from either the Kazon, Ocampa, and Talaxians) are standing around the table, having had a great conversation about their respective cultures and are getting along well. NEELIX stands between the officers and the alien ZOO'LIN, acting as “host.” All are smiling, enjoying interacting with a friendly species.

JANEWAY Any star charts you could spare about this sector would help us tremendously on our journey.

ZOO'LIN Of course, captain. Your story intrigues me and all of my people. We too know what it means to be a “lost people.”

PARIS So your entire race lives on space vessels? No one lives on a planet at all?

ZOO'LIN Yes, each family unit lives on their own ship, obviously very small ones by the standards of your wondrous vessel. The location of our actual home world is lost among the ages. We have all always known space, and that is all where we care to live.

NEELIX Captain, the Tequani are known for being among the best pilots, engineers, and traders known to this region of space. Though I was just telling Zoo'lin here about the time I had to maneuver a 20-year-old shuttle with a leaking impulse manifold through the Maztar asteroid belt...

JANEWAY (waves away with one hand what should be another long Neelix tale) (to Neelix) I'm just glad we've gotten a chance to make new friends. (to Zoo'lin, joking) After our encounter with the Kazon-Ogla, I was beginning to fear we would have to spend the rest of the voyage home at red alert.

ZOO'LIN (laughs) Yes, captain, I'm not sure the Kazon sects are exactly the best ambassadors for our quadrant. But I believe you will find the Tequani are more than happy to trade with any species, especially one as technologically superior as yours.

JANEWAY And we are happy to get a chance to trade and learn more about your people. That's Starfleet's mission. (to PARIS) Mr. Paris, if you could escort Zoo'lin and Neelix to cargo bay one, they can examine our ship needs, and what spare parts we are in a position to barter with.

PARIS Aye, captain. If you will follow me, gentlemen.

PARIS exits the Conference Room, followed by ZOO'LIN and NEELIX.

JANEWAY (to Chakotay)If I didn't know better, I'd say Voyager has a guardian angel. The Tequani show up right when our navigational array stops operating.

CHAKOTAY Something tells me if might be awhile before we realize how many of your... (he pauses, looks at JANEWAY and smiles) our ship's systems were damaged by the Caretaker bringing us here. Let's just be glad they happen to have all the compatible spare parts we needed to get going again.

JANEWAY (she nods and leads him out of the conference room to the bridge) Just imagine it, Chakotay...

INT: BRIDGE

All primary bridge crew are at their stations, except PARIS. A Starfleet ensign sits at that station. JANEWAY leads CHAKOTAY to the command deck

JANEWAY ...an entire species that refuses to live on any planet and whose entire lifespans, from birth to death, are on the same ship. Never knowing what it's like to gaze up at the clouds, feel the wind, or see a sunset.

CHAKOTAY My people believe that land, on any planet, is sacred and serves as a vital connection to the people on it. But, life in space seems to agree with the Tequani.

Both JANEWAY and CHAKOTAY sit in their respective seats on the command deck. JANEWAY continues the conversation, leaning toward CHAKOTAY.

JANEWAY (in a almost conspiratorial whisper) I think we can learn a lot from them. Who knows how long we'll find ourselves living on this ship. (She is lost in though for a moment, but then smiles at CHAKOTAY) But I haven't given up Earth yet. Before we left Deep Space Nine, I made reservations for an exploration dive at the Great Barrier Reef. (she pauses) I intend to keep that date.

INT: MESS HALL Scene 2

Various crewmembers are at tables, eating a light meal of emergency rations. Most of them don't look too happy to be eating rations for the X week since they left the Alpha Quadrant. It's quiet, almost like a library. RILEY sits alone looking miserable. KES enters carrying a salad bowl she has created from her hydroponics bay. (NOTE: Salad should look alien, but still look like edible green vegetables) KES spots RILEY and decides she needs someone to try out her creation before giving it out to the rest of the crew.

KES walks to RILEY, smiling, and it takes a moment for RILEY to notice KES standing there.

RILEY Oh...hi. Can I help you with something?

KES (smiling) Yes, I hope so. (she sits) The captain gave me permission to set up a hydroponics bay a few weeks ago, and this is my first creation. I was hoping someone

would give it a taste. (somewhat embarrassed at her naivety) I'm...I'm sorry, but I'm not sure if humans and the other species on Voyager would like it. For all I know, Ocampan salads might be a unique taste.

RILEY (looks at bowl with extreme hesitation) You grew all of that? It's been years since I've had any food not from a replicator. (looks at her rations with even more disgust) Until now. I think these emergency rations get worse every meal.

KES Well, give it a try! My name is Kes by the way. I'm still getting to know everyone.

RILEY Crewman Riley. But, well, I guess you can call me Lara. (shows some courage) I guess I could try just a bite. (she uses her fork, has a bite. Her expression shows that it's the best thing she has tasted since leaving the Alpha Quadrant) Oh my goodness. (she takes another forkful) This is great! Thanks, Kes.

KES I'm glad you like it.

RILEY Maybe I can go to the hydroponics bay for my next meal, save you the trip over here. Anything beats eating in my quarters.

KES Why, what's wrong with your quarters? Mine are the biggest room I've ever had to myself.

RILEY Oh, it's not the place, it's the person in it. I have this bunkmate named Seska. She's one of ... (looks around the mess hall and leans in)

...them.

KES Them?

RILEY Yeah, you know. The Maquis. I tried going to Chakotay to get a new bunkmate. That was a mistake since he's one of them too. I don't know what I'm going to do.

KES What's wrong with this Seska?

RILEY She's Maquis?! You know! ...oh, that's right. You're not from our part of space. The Maquis are a bunch of terrorists that the Federation has been fighting. We've had to protect our citizens from their destructive actions for years.

KES And this Seska has been mean to you?

RILEY Well...I mean...no, not exactly.

KES The captain told Neelix and me about the Maquis and Starfleet. I don't pretend to understand it all, but it seems like it's going to be a long voyage home. Don't both of you have to find a way to get along?

RILEY Kes, you're sweet, really, but you

don't understand. (deep sigh) Thanks for the salad,

though. I owe you one.

RILEY gets up in frustration and exits the mess hall.

INT: The ship corridor outside of the mess hall. Scene 3

RILEY seems to have a funk about her, passing other crew walking the corridors.

Camera stays in front of her, showing the struggle on her face of frustration. Crewmen pass her, until RILEY suddenly walks into JANEWAY walking the other way.

RILEY Sorry...oh! Sorry, Captain! I didn't see where I was going.

JANEWAY It's all right, crewman. We all get lost in thought sometimes.

JANEWAY begins to leave, RILEY awkwardly blocks her from leaving.

RILEY Captain, actually, if you don't mind, there was an issue I wanted to talk to you about.

JANEWAY What's the problem?

RILEY It's my bunkmate, captain. I think we have enough room on this ship where I should be able to find another person to share...

JANEWAY (raises her hand) Hold on, crewman. I try to keep an open door for all my crew, but this is an issue for the first officer. I'm sure Commander Chakotay would be more than happy to discuss this matter with you.

RILEY I already went to him, captain. But, I know he's not really the first officer. I figure all Starfleet crew go through you, and they...

JANEWAY (takes a step toward RILEY -- JANEWAY is not amused) Now listen to me, crewman. I assure you Chakotay is the first officer of this ship, do I make myself clear? This is a Starfleet crew. Everyone. If you've already seen the commander, I assume he gave you an answer to your ... issue?

RILEY (almost at a loss of words) Well, I mean, yes, in a way, but not ...

JANEWAY Then unless you're questioning the orders of a superior officer onboard this ship, I'd suggest you follow what he said. Understood?

RILEY (a look of slight fear crosses her face, and she goes to the position of attention under the captain's glare) Yes, ma'am.

JANEWAY nods and exits.

Camera pans to CHAKOTAY standing at the intersecting hallway, showing that he's overheard the entire encounter. He watches an exasperated RILEY exit.

ACT TWO

EXT SHOT: Another space perspective shot of Voyager traveling at impulse/sub-light, surrounded by half a dozen smaller Tequani vessels

INT: Ship corridor Scene 1

TORRES is walking down the corridor, on her way to main engineering. Camera tracks her, when a side door opens and PARIS walks out. He catches up to her.

PARIS Hi there!

TORRES looks at him, slightly shrugs him off, and continues walking. PARIS keeps pace.

PARIS I don't think I got the chance to properly congratulate you on your promotion.

TORRES Promotion?

PARIS Yes. Unless it was another B'Elanna that was recently named chief

engineer? (sarcastic) I understand it can be a common Maquis name...

TORRES (unsure of how to take PARIS) Oh, that. Thanks.

PARIS So what do you think of these Tequani? I can pilot any ship I've met but I'm not sure I'd want to spend the rest of my life in one.

TORRES I thought all you Starfleeters wanted to spend all your waking hours in space.

PARIS Oh, I don't know about that. I'm all about exploring new worlds. Meeting

alien species. (starts to be more obvious) Getting to know them better.

TORRES stops walking, look at PARIS for a moment, then rolls her eyes and walks off briskly to show she's not buying his lines. She goes to the entrance of the engineering door and walks inside.

Camera to PARIS reaction. He can't believe his “magic” isn't working. He follows.

INT. Main engineering.

TORRES is examining various readouts at a station, PARIS follows her. CAREY is at the adjoining station.

PARIS Come on, B'Elanna, I'm just trying to be friendly. We might be stuck here together for a long time.

TORRES Just a warning, flyboy, the last person who tried to get friendly with me like that was a Naussican, and he ended up with a broken arm and a few missing teeth.

PARIS I'm always up to a good challenge.

TORRES The only challenge I have for you is a...

CAREY (to TORRES) Lieutenant, there's something I think you should see.

TORRES moves to CAREY's station.

CAREY We've been keeping an eye on the Tequani fleet's energy output signatures like you wanted, and there's an anomaly we can't explain.

PARIS (to Torres) You're spying on them?

TORRES (defensively) I thought it might tell us if they had any advanced propulsion technology that we weren't familiar with.

PARIS just stares at her, half-accusingly, half in awe.

TORRES Not ... spying, per se. Just ... my way of getting to know an alien species better.

PARIS (very impressed) Uh-huh.

TORRES What did you find, Carey?

CAREY When we scan each ship, their energy signature is just like it would be

for any vessel of their size.

(VFX: Insert Okudagram closeup of the engineering station)

Camera close up of TORRES, PARIS, and CAREY examining Okudagram.

CAREY But when we scan the Tequani fleet as a whole, their combined energy output signatures create an additional quadronic spatial anomaly I can't explain. At first I thought it was a problem with our sensors. But after performing a diagnostic, it's still showing up.

TORRES Could it be a problem with their warp intermix ratio? Some configuration we're not familiar with?

CAREY I don't think so. From what we've learned over the past few days, their dilithium matrix isn't too different from our own. But whatever this artificial anomaly is, it doesn't seem to be harming them. Or us. But

they have to know it's there.

TORRES (points to sensor reading) And something like this should be an easy fix. They would just need to adjust the field outputs on their impulse manifolds and properly realign their deflector array. To create this ... (to CAREY) you think they are doing it on purpose?!

CAREY That's my guess.

TORRES We'll have to keep an eye on it. (to PARIS) You've been hanging out with their leader lately. Zoo'lin, right? You think you can ask him about it?

PARIS Well, I don't know, Torres, I usually don't ask someone about their fleet's strange energy outputs until at least the third date.

TORRES gives him a look to kill.

PARIS (puts his hands up in surrdender)

Fine, fine, I'll ask!

The trio continue to examine the Okudagram.

INT: Ready Room. SCENE 2

JANEWAY is on her couch, examining various PADDs, listing Voyager's needs for her next meeting with ZOO'LIN. She is drinking from her coffee mug.

SFX: Door chime.

JANEWAY Come in.

SFX: Door opens, closes

CHAKOTAY enters and stands before JANEWAY.

JANEWAY (doesn't wait for him to speak) I'm not sure I feel comfortable giving Zoo'lin a list of all our needs. At this point, I think it would be a shorter list to tell him what we don't need. I think it took this opportunity to make each ship department realize we can't just wait until our next resupply at a

Federation starbase.

CHAKOTAY I know, I'm still getting last minute additions to our list of requests. I'll keep forwarding them to you. But when it comes to the Tequani, I suppose it's better to ask for too much than for too little.

JANWAY nods in agreement and continues to read a PADD. Chakotay is still standing before her.

CHAKOTAY Captain. There's something I think I need to bring to your attention about the crew.

JANEWAY (she puts down PADD in concern) How are they doing?

CHAKOTAY Not good. Oh, that's to be expected. Who would be good in our position? But I'm talking about some of the disagreements I've been hearing.

JANEWAY What kind of ... disagreements?

CHAKOTAY In the past day, I've had eighteen requests for quarters reassignments, ten requests for transfers to other departments, and someone who refuses to eat at the mess hall at all and wants their emergency rations delivered to them each mealtime.

JANEWAY It's normal for the crew to ... take time making adjustments to our new situation. Being stranded from home is enough to make ...

CHAKOTAY takes a step closer to JANEWAY

CHAKOTAY (voice rising) This isn't just a case of homesickness settling in. This is about two sets of crew who can't get along, and who should never have been put together in the first place.

JANEWAY puts down her coffee mug.

JANEWAY Look, we knew this wouldn't be easy. Starfleet and Maquis forced to work together. But it's the only way I know of to get this crew home.

CHAKOTAY And you're right. But I don't intend to spend the next 75 years refereeing these petty squabbles and disputes.

JANEWAY (takes a comforting tone) The grudging work of the first officer. I think solving “petty squabbles and disputes” should be a required course at command school. Chakotay, I sympathize with you. It can't be easy to be in your position. I've seen officers with decades of experience resign their commissions after one tour of duty as XO of a starship. It's one of the hardest command jobs there is. All the responsibility of running a ship with none of the glory of the captain's chair. To say nothing of the unique situation we're in. But I believe in you.

CHAKOTAY Well, I don't.

He sits down next to JANEWAY

CHAKOTAY You told me that you wanted me to be Voyager's first officer because of my Academy training and Starfleet experience. But I've spent the past few years ... the best years of my life ... leading people into combat in the Maquis. That time I spent in uniform, that isn't who I am anymore.

JANEWAY (balks) Are you saying you don't want to be first officer anymore?

CHAKOTAY No. I want to lead these people. My people and yours. What I'm saying is I'm not qualified to be your first officer. You need a babysitter or an office manager, not a soldier. You want me to lead this crew into battle? I'm your man. But these ... disagreements? This is something you have to deal with.

JANEWAY stands, walks away and stops, her back to CHAKOTAY. She slowly turns around to speak.

JANEWAY (frustration seeps into her voice) Commander, I can't just send a transfer request to Admiral Nakamura and get a new XO sent here next week. If you want to spend the rest of this voyage as an officer on the security team, “training soldiers,” that's your business. But I need your best.

(takes a step closer, collects herself, and tries to counsel him) I've been over your record, Chakotay.

I know you can do this.

CHAKOTAY (stands) Maybe you need to check that record one more time, captain. I think you read it wrong.

JANEWAY I don't think you really feel that way. I've already seen how you lead this crew. And how they look up to you. (tougher) But we don't have the time or luxury of second guessing our duties. This crew needs us to get them home, Chakotay. (pause) We can't afford to doubt ourselves right now. But if I need to reevaluate this ship's leadership structure, I will. You think long and hard about this, commander. You're either a part of this command team or

not. You're dismissed.

CHAKOTAY takes another moment to stare at her, and then he leaves the ready room.

INT: Bridge

Chakotay takes his station. PARIS notices from his conn station that CHAKOTAY looks upset.

PARIS Don't tell me the Captain told you about how Zoo'lin requested the Federation musical database on polka? I have to say, his species may be great engineers, but they seem to have a tin ear.

CHAKOTAY Just mind your station, lieutenant.

PARIS (looks offended, but decides not to press) Yes, sir.

Close-up of Chakotay.

EXT:

Insert same first shot of Voyager traveling with Tequani ships.

INT: Mess hall Scene 3

The crowd at the mess hall is larger than what we saw prior, and the crew seems to be much happier. There is a lot more background conversations going on that when we first saw. KES and RILEY both have arms filled with salad bowls and are handing them out to crewmembers who seem to appreciate having fresh food to eat for a change. Both KES and RILEY are also smiling and are enjoying being harbingers of happiness. The crewmembers thank them as they receive their salad bowls.

KES and RILEY finish their distribution and sit with contented tiredness at a table.

RILEY This is going great. I think you're the most popular person on the ship now, Kes.

KES I'm just glad to be able to contribute something. Everyone has been so gracious to Neelix and me.

RILEY If you ever want to open up a restaurant when we get back home, I'll be the first in line.

KES You must miss being away, Lara.

RILEY (moment of reflection) Yeah, Kes, I do. (beat) I want to apologize for walking away from you earlier. You've been nothing but nice to me. I just ... my bunkmate Seska, the Maquis, everything, it's just been a lot of take in.

KES I can imagine.

RILEY You know, I had this classmate at Starfleet Basic Training, Riddell, he would have loved this. Stranded in the Delta Quadrant, he would have looked at all this as one big adventure. I can just hear him telling me to see each day here as one more day of being in a place where no human has been to before.

KES He sounds like a great person.

RILEY He was. (beat) Riddell died a year ago. He was a warp specialist on the USS Yorktown. He and six others were killed during a Maquis attack on a Cardassian outpost.

KES (pause) I'm sorry.

RILEY (angry) The Maquis had no business being there! The Yorktown was there for diplomatic negotiations when those terrorists came out of nowhere and start shooting up the place. Of course the Yorktown had to defend itself, and good people died. People like Riddell.

A brief pause as the two remain silent at the table.

Camera pans to mess hall entrance as ZOO'LIN and NEELIX enter.

They talk to each other excitedly, sharing stories about great feats of piloting. They turn to go find a place to enjoy the view of the outside stars. They are followed by PARIS and KIM entering the mess hall. PARIS is very intent in sharing his “gossip” with KIM.

PARIS I'm telling you, Harry, he's been in a mood all day. I can't do anything right as far as Chakotay's concerned.

KIM You're imagining things.

PARIS Harry, the man told me to make a course correction of a degree. One degree! It's not like we're traveling at warp 9 here.

KIM He probably just has a lot on his mind with the Tequani.

PARIS I think it's more than that. And I

intend to find out. (sees ZOO'LIN) Speaking of which, why don't you go try out this new hit meal everyone's raving about. I have another investigation to follow up on.

PARIS walks over to ZOO'LIN and NEELIX who are standing next to the window in conversation. PARIS stands between the two of them, trying to insert himself into the conversation.

NEELIX ...and so once I saw that their thrusters were operating at 75 percent, I took my ship to their starboard side, executed a 90 degree turn at full burn and WHAM! I think it rattled their ships so much that all two are their heads started banging into each other! (starts laughing)

ZOO'LIN (joins in laughter) Typical Char- rali! Worst pilots I've ever seen. But ...(leans in conspiratorially) their women ...

Both ZOO'LIN and NEELIX “hoo hoo” laugh. PARIS smiles and pretends to get the joke.

PARIS I can see I've found a pair of seasoned pilots here. Speaking of which, Zoo'lin, do you find any differences in your ships' energy operations when they maneuver together as a fleet versus individually?

ZOO'LIN Now, now, Mr. Paris, don't tell me you've been hiding some of your engineering credentials from me?

ZOO'LIN gives PARIS a slight poke in the ribs with his elbow and looks at NEELIX. Both ZOO'LIN and NEELIX laugh. PARIS gives a weak laugh.

PARIS Well, I've been known to read a tech manual or two now and then to get to sleep. I was just interested in the energy output of your ships when they fly together and ...

ZOO'LIN (suddenly serious) If I didn't know better, Mr. Paris, I would think you were spying on me.

PARIS (looks shocked) No, no, no, it's not that, I only meant ...

ZOO'LIN starts laughing again, gives Paris a harder poke, NEELIX joins in. PARIS sees he's the butt of the joke.

PARIS Oh, I see, yes. Ha. No, I was only curious...

ZOO'LIN Your vessel is the most technologically advanced vessel my people have ever seen. From what your Mr. Neelix has shown me, there is a lot that your people need from us, and a lot that our people wish to acquire from you. I'm sure any technical questions you have can be easily answered.

NEELIX (jokes) Hopefully the answers to those questions will be free and not part of our final bill?

ZOO'LIN (to Neelix) Ha, ha, no. Those will be

free of charge. (to Paris) I do have to say that the Talaxian gift of negotiation is certainly alive and well with Mr. Neelix. Speaking of trade, you wouldn't be interested in a ship of your own, would you, Mr. Paris? We always have a few spare ships flying in our fleet for interested buyers. A fine pilot like yourself sure would want a ship of his own to fly, no??

PARIS (hurriedly) No, thanks. But if I could look at the readouts from...

ZOO'LIN Really, my boy, I'm sure we can get you all the information you want as soon as we finish our trade pact. Just meet me in your cargo bay tomorrow evening, and I'll answer any questions you have.

PARIS (relieved at finally getting a straight answer) That would be great.

ZOO'LIN (to Neelix) However I won't answer any questions about the time I found myself alone in a Char-rali harem as a young man ...

ZOO'LIN pokes PARIS a third time, he and NEELIX both laugh, and walk away to share more stories.

PARIS rubs his now sore ribs. He gazes at ZOO'LIN, as he walks away, with extreme suspicion.

Act Three: B'Elanna and Seska

INT: CHAKOTAY'S office

Scene 1

Chakotay stands in the middle of the still bare office.

SFX: Door chime.

CHAKOTAY Enter.

SFX: Doors open and close.

TORRES comes in, looking around as she approaches CHAKOTAY.

TORRES It's a little bare in here, even for Starfleet standards.

CHAKOTAY Yeah. I haven't really moved in yet. (jokes) You know any good decorators?

TORRES Well, if you ever want to trade offices, let me know. I can't move an elbow in mine without hitting five other people. (smiles) If I had known about the fringe benefits involved, maybe I should have tried for first officer with Janeway first.

CHAKOTAY (attempts a joking tone) So you want to change jobs? Now, that's a trade I would be interested in.

TORRES gives him a look because she detects a note of seriousness. CHAKOTAY detects her scrutiny and moves to grab a PADD from the table to break the tension.

CHAKOTAY I need to get your approval on this final list of spare parts the captain wants to barter with. We can't exactly afford to lose anything at this point, but we've got to make some tough decisions to get as much as we can from the Tequani.

TORRES takes PADD, gives it a cursory glance.

TORRES I'll have it to you in half an hour. (gives CHAKOTAY a glance) Okay, what's going on? The last time I saw you with that look was when we lost 47 crates of medical supplies to Ktarian pirates.

CHAKOTAY takes a seat on a couch.

CHAKOTAY Maybe it's because I'm having second thoughts.

TORRES About our trading list? I can always make sure ...

CHAKOTAY No, about this (pulls on his uniform). What the hell am I doing wearing this thing? I swore five years ago that I would never put this on again until all of our homes were free of the Cardassians. I look in the mirror ... and all I see is that broken promise.

TORRES runs and towers over him in a huff.

TORRES Oh no, Chakotay, you are not doing this to me! You're the one who convinced me that it was the right decision to join with Janeway and her crew. You were the one who made me chief engineer. You're the one who said we had a role here!

CHAKOTAY (stands and looks her in the eye) That's because you're a damn good engineer, and you belong where you are. And me ... what's my role here? Janeway doesn't need a first officer. I'd be just as useful to this crew if I was out on my own, scouting for supplies and look for new allies like the old days.

TORRES Are you kidding?! You'd abandon us?

CHAKOTAY (suddenly) Not if you came with me. And the others.

TORRES (incredulous) But I was just starting to think of this ship as our new

home. You're a part of that!

CHAKOTAY remains silent. He then stands and looks out window. When he turns around, he's all smiles.

CHAKOTAY Got'cha.

TORRES (throws a PADD at him) You baktag! You were scaring me there for a second.

CHAKOTAY You make it too easy, B'Elanna. C'mon, I have to find some way to have fun.

TORRES You'd better find another target next time, or else I'll have to send a damage control team to mend a hull breach when I throw you through the nearest bulkhead.

CHAKOTAY picks up the thrown PADD, hands it back to TORRES, and laughs.

CHAKOTAY I'll keep that in mind. Let me know when you're done with this.

TORRES Will do.

She exits.

As soon as TORRES leaves, CHAKOTAY's smile instantly vanishes.

INT. Main bridge.

All main bridge cast at bridge stations, minus CHAKOTAY.

SFX: Computer beep.

TUVOK examines the beep at his comm station.

TUVOK Captain, I am receiving a communique from the lead Tequani ship. They are signaling that they will be sending three shuttles to deliver their supplies.

JANEWAY Good. Tell them I prefer any coffee they deliver to be a light roast.

TUVOK (confused) I will recheck the trading manifest, but I do not believe 'coffee' is one of the supplies listed.

JANEWAY (wryly) Just a captain's vain hope, Lieutenant. I'll have Commander Chakotay assemble a team to ensure the Tequani get the supplies we

promised and vice versa. (to PARIS) Tell me, Mr. Paris, you and Neelix spent some time with Zoo'lin. What do you think of them?

PARIS (turns in chair) He certainly seems friendly enough. Reminds me of an uncle of mine. Though, I usually avoided him at family dinners because he always seemed to have a two-hour long story to tell.

JANEWAY (smiles) I know what you mean. But I'd rather encounter species that talk our ear's off rather than ones that want to shoot them off. (to KIM) What about you, ensign? What do you make of our new trading partners?

KIM (shocked that his opinion is being sought) Oh, um, well, captain, they seem to be interesting. I've found their culture and ships to be, um, interesting, and Zoo'lin is, also, well, um...

JANEWAY Let me guess ... interesting? (jokes) I'll be sure to add your

insights in my log, Mr. Kim. Don't worry, ensign, I think during my first away mission, I encountered Yridians, and I...

SFX: Computer alert beep.

KIM manipulates the controls at his aft OPS station that is alerting him.

KIM Captain, one of our auxiliary navigational sensors just failed. I'm patching through to the primaries. It shouldn't be an issue.

JANEWAY Is it one of the sensors the Tequani supplied us with?

KIM No, captain. It's one of ours. The Tequani equipment is working fine.

JANEWAY Strange. Mr. Kim, keep an eye on our navigational array and coordinate with Ms. Torres. The last thing we need is not to be able to find our way around. I have a date at a reef

to keep.

INT. Seska's quarters.

SESKA is at her personal console, looking at old Maquis photos. Her door chimes.

SESKA Come in, unless it's Riley, in which case, you have another ten minutes left on your shift before I leave.

CHAKOTAY enters.

CHAKOTAY For you, I'm counting that greeting as progress.

SESKA You're the one who apparently delights in torturing me and that ... girl by forcing us to live together.

CHAKOTAY Consider it a character building exercises. And I have one more for you. I'm assigning the two of you to help coordinate our supply exchange with the Tequani. Report to cargo bay one with Crewman Riley in an hour.

SESKA You've got to be kidding me.

CHAKOTAY Do I look like I'm kidding?

SESKA (gives a mock salute) Yes, sir. (softens) Come on, Chakotay, you've been riding the crew all week. Relax.

CHAKOTAY I'll relax when we get home.

SESKA (smiles) You know I overheard Zoo'lin talking to Tom Paris. They have some spare ships in their fleet. Maybe we could trade something and get off this Federation ship. What do you say, time to get the crew back together?

CHAKOTAY (gives it some thought and dismisses it) We're one crew now.

SESKA By the Prophets, I was kidding! But you actually thought about it. I could see it in your face.

SESKA gets closer to CHAKOTAY and speaks in a more conspiratorial whisper.

SESKA serious) We could do it, you know. We don't have to tell the Starfleet-ers. Just get a ship or two. Find our own way home.

We see that CHAKOTAY is struggling with what to do.

CHAKOTAY You have your orders, Seska.

SESKA But we could ...

CHAKOTAY gets up to leave.

CHAKOTAY Just leave me be. I'll ... I have a decision to make.

CHAKOTAY walks out.

Act Four Scene One

Note: What follows is a montage of soundless scenes over the voice over of CHAKOTAY'S personal log.

INT. Ship corridors.

CHAKOTAY is walking to the cargo bay, looking resolute.

CHAKOTAY (V.O) First officer's personal log, supplemental. I have decided to follow up on Seska's advice. Or at least make sure my options are open before any final decisions.

Cut to:

INT. Cargo bay.

CHAKOTAY is in discussion with ZOO'LIN about the availability of ships.

CHAKOTAY (V.O.) Zool'in tells me that he is willing to let me purchase one of his spare ships as a sign of goodwill. I feel like there will be more of a cost to this than he's letting on, but he's not the first nefarious trader I've had to deal with.

INT. Cargo bay.

CHAKOTAY is leaving the cargo bay, with ZOO'LIN still inside. CHAKOTAY almost bumps into TUVOK at the entrance. TUVOK sees that ZOO'LIN is alone in the cargo bay, and TUVOK shows that he is interested in what CHAKOTAY and ZOO'LIN were discussing with a raised eyebrow.

CHAKOTAY (V.O.) The hardest part has been hiding my preparations from the crew. After my talks with Torres and Seska, it's evident that if I make the decision to leave ... I'll have to do it alone. Everyone else is comfortable in their new found home here.

INT. CHAKOTAY's quarters.

CHAKOTAY has a large suitcase on his bed that is open. He takes his Maquis uniform that we saw in “Caretaker” from the closet and places it on the bed, pondering whether he's going to literally “pack it in.”

CHAKOTAY (V.O.) I've never run from a fight. But maybe that's what I'm doing here. I want to stay and fight for these people. But this crew needs a first officer who can make this crew come together. I don't think I can do that.

INT. Main Bridge

CHAKOTAY is walking onto the bridge from the turbolift. He walks around slowly, taking in the operations around him, the noises, the people talking to each other. JANEWAY and TUVOK are absent.

CHAKOTAY (V.O.) The captain has asked to see me in her ready room. I'm not sure I'm ready to tell her what I've decided.

INT. Ready room.

CHAKOTAY enters, and sees TUVOK standing in front of JANEWAY's desk. She is sitting and does not appear happy at all.

TUVOK looks at CHAKOTAY and nods.

JANEWAY (to TUVOK) That'll be all.

TUVOK exits the ready room, but not before giving CHAKOTAY a glance.

CHAKOTAY What was that all about?

JANEWAY I think it's time we had a chat.

CHAKOTAY steps towards her, prepared to be questioned.

CHAKOTAY What's the topic?

JANEWAY Your dealings with Zoo'lin.

CHAKOTAY (annoyed) I thought Tuvok was only spying on me when he was pretending to be a Maquis. Don't tell me I have to deal with it on this ship too?

JANEWAY rises from her chair, slowly approaches CHAKOTAY.

JANEWAY This is not about Tuvok. This is not about Zoo'lin, this is not about anyone else but you and me, commander.

CHAKOTAY Captain, you asked me about my decision earlier. Here it is, I ...

SFX: Comm badge

JANEWAY's comm badge activates.

NEELIX (V.O.) Neelix to the captain.

JANEWAY (keeps a stern gaze on CHAKOTAY as she speaks to NEELIX on the comm badge) Janeway here.

NEELIX (V.O.) Zoo'lin and his compatriots are arriving on their shuttles to transfer their goods.

JANEWAY (to Neelix) I'm sending Commander Chakotay down to the cargo bay to complete our trade. Please send Zoo'lin my best wishes.

NEELIX (V.O.) Yes, captain. I think you'll be very happy with our exchange. Neelix out.

JANEWAY takes a moment to compose herself and transitions to giving orders.

JANEWAY One of the duties of this ship's first officer is to oversee

logistical coordination.

JANEWAY lets the unspoken “do I have a first officer?” hang in the air.

CHAKOTAY (after a pause) Well, then. I should

go see to it.

CHAKOTAY seems angry as he exits, but he pauses before reaching the door. He turns around, softens, and looks at JANEWAY with respect.

CHAKOTAY (nods at JANEWAY) Captain.

JANEWAY examines CHAKOTAY and gets his message that he looks up to her as captain. She nods at him in dismissal.

INT. Main Engineering. Scene 2

TORRES is standing in front of the warp core. PARIS enters main engineering from behind.

PARIS A darsek for your thoughts?

TORRES (turns to PARIS) What?

PARIS Nothing. I thought you might be interested to know I've set up a meeting with Zoo'lin. I'm meeting him in an hour in the cargo bay.

TORRES Alone?

PARIS Well, um. (sudden worry) I guess I didn't think about that.

TORRES I'm finding it harder to believe you even lasted a week in the Maquis.

PARIS Hey, I'll have you know that I have many qualities that make me a fantastic freedom fighter. I buck authority constantly. I can pilot any ship. I can take care of myself. I (pauses to think) ... um ... look good in dark clothing.

TORRES Keep telling yourself that,

Starfleet.

TORRES walks over to a display panel and starts to work. PARIS follows.

PARIS So do you think we really need to worry about them? The Tequani? Sure they seem to be the most capable space-faring species we've met so far, but I'm still sure we can outgun and outrun them.

TORRES Paris, maybe if you lasted in the Maquis, you would have learned something. It's not the ship with the biggest phaser banks that always wins the fight. Look here.

TORRES manipulates engineering display.

VFX: Tactical display featuring Voyager and Tequani ships appears.

TORRES You see how all of their smaller ships are surrounding us? You notice anything strange about it?

PARIS (looks) It doesn't look like any attack pattern I'm familiar with. They aren't near any vital systems like the shield generators or the ...

TORRES (does a countdown) In 3...2...

PARIS (realization) Our navigational sensors! (he points at the display) All of their ships are deployed equidistant from our fore and aft navigational sensors, and the bulk of their fleet is group near the main

deflector.

TORRES manipulates controls.

TORRES Now, it could just be a wild coincidence. But ... wait a minute, if that quadranic spatial anomaly they created was directed at our main deflector, it would overload our navigational array. We would be at a

deadstop. (realization) Exactly what happened to us earlier.

PARIS So they somehow found a way to cripple our navigational capabilities. But for what purpose? They are here to trade supplies.

TORRES Or to create the perfect opportunity to take over our ship! Come on, Paris, think like a Maquis again! This whole ... negotiation is just an opportunity for them to get us with our shields down and arms open in true Federation fashion. Then if they cripple us again ...

PARIS I think it's time we told the captain.

INT. Cargo bay. Scene 3.

SESKA and RILEY are walking around various cargo containers, using PADDs to verify contents. NEELIX is walking around nervously, making sure all the final preparations are perfect. CHAKOTAY enters the cargo bay, escorting ZOOLIN and three other Tequani(TEQUANI #1, #2, and #3).

CHAKOTAY I hope this isn't the last we hear from you. That captain wants you to know that this should just be a first step for our two people.

ZOO'LIN Do not worry, commander, I believe that this will be just the start of a very prosperous relationship.

TEQUANI #1, #2, and #3 take posts near the cargo bay door. ZOO'LIN and CHAKOTAY walk to NEELIX.

NEELIX (to ZOO'LIN) I think you'll find all of the items listed on our ledger are here. We'll just need to inventory your items too, merely just as a

precaution, of course. (jokes) Not unless you're trying to cheat us!

ZOO'LIN laughs.

ZOO'LIN No, we wouldn't dream of it. However, there are a few items I think you left off, Neelix.

NEELIX (distressed) Which ones? I double- checked the list myself.

ZOO'LIN Your ship.

NEELIX What?

ZOO'LIN pulls out a blaster-type pistol from inside his coat, grabs NEELIX, and puts the pistol against NEELIX's head.

ZOO'LIN (to CHAKOTAY) Now, commander, to complete this trading pact, I need your captain to surrender your ship and evacuate your crew to a nearby moon. If this doesn't happen in the next thirty minutes, not only will your resident Talaxian have a hole in his head but ...

TEQUANI #1, #2, and #3 have also produced pistols, and place them behind the backs of SESKA, RILEY, and CHAKOTAY and respectively.

ZOO'LIN ... your captain will also be, oh let's say, 'missing' a few of her officers. She'll also find that her ship has suddenly developed an inability to

move.

CHAKOTAY Zoo'lin, this doesn't have to happen. Let's talk. Just let Neelix go, and we can see what it is you're interested in.

ZOO'LIN I don't think so. The Kazon-Ogla were quite right about how magnificent your vessel is. We were only too happy to find a way to lure you into our waiting hands. There are so many things we can do with this ship. The Tequani will again be feared and respected. We will no longer be just a refugee race without a home.

NEELIX This whole thing was trap all along?!

ZOO'LIN Quite right, Talaxian.

CHAKOTAY Let him go!

ZOO'LIN pulls Neelix with him as he approaches CHAKOTAY.

ZOO'LIN Come now. I don't understand why you wouldn't jump at this chance. Based on our ... earlier discussion ... this is your perfect opportunity to venture out.

CHAKOTAY looks around, trapped. He looks at RILEY, then looks at SESKA. He takes a moment looking at her, then gives a quick tic of his head at her. He looks back to ZOO'LIN.

CHAKOTAY You know, Zoo'lin, I have to say I'm not really surprised. You remind me a lot of a Ferengi trader I met once. His name was Shrum. He like to wave a gun around a lot too. But he wasn't smart enough to realize when he was outnumbered in a fight.

We see that SESKA has a moment of recognition at the name “Shrum.”

ZOO'LIN Maybe you Federation types count differently than we do, commander, but I count four without weapons against four with weapons.

CHAKOTAY Really? I just see four without weapons against another four without weapons. (to SESKA) Now!

CHAKOTAY grabs NEELIX and pulls him down on the ground. SESKA grabs TEQAUNI #1's arm behind her, which is holding the pistol, aims it at a container across the cargo bay, and has him fire at the container. Red/purple smoke starts pouring out of the container.

TEQUANI #2 grabs RILEY from behind and puts his pistol to her head. TEQUANI #3 picks up CHAKOTAY, who is bleeding from his lip. ZOO'LIN recovers from the surprise and aims his pistol at NEELIX who is still down on the ground. Smoke continues to billow around the cargo bay.

ZOO'LIN A futile attempt, commander. Now, either contact your captain or Mr. Neelix dies.

CHAKOTAY smiles.

ZOO'LIN Did I say something amusing? I don't remember doing so.

CHAKOTAY (wipes the blood off his mouth with his uniform sleeve) You know, Xeroxin is a great chemical for purifying environmental systems. And we had plenty to spare to give to you. But it does quite a number on energy weapons in its gaseous form.

ZOO'LIN looks around at the gas. As a look of fear comes on his face, he aims his pistol at CHAKOTAY and fires. Nothing happens.

ZOO'LIN But ...

CHAKOTAY Just as a reference to any future negotiations with us, Zoo'lin, I want you to know ... I don't like anyone wasting supplies on my ship.

CHAKOTAY rams a fist into TEQUANI #3's face behind him, knocking him down. ZOO'LIN looks on in surprise. CHAKOTAY then smacks away ZOO'LIN's pistol and headbutts him. ZOO'LIN falls down.

Camera then goes to TEQUANI #1 who has dropped his pistol and produced a dagger from his boot. SESKA doesn't see him. As he's about to stab her, he is pushed down by RILEY who barrels into him from behind. They struggle for the knife. As TEQUANI #2 goes to help, SESKA flips him onto the ground.

TEQUANI #1 and RILEY roll around the deck. He eventually gets on top of her, and they both are holding the knife. He is able to push the knife toward her throat. Just as it is getting too close for comfort, SESKA kicks him in the head, knocking him out.

SESKA (to knocked out TEQUANI #1) No one messes with my bunkmate!

RILEY looks up in SESKA in surprise. Then she smiles. RILEY puts out her hand, and SESKA grabs it, pulling her up.

The cargo bay doors open to reveal TUVOK and a security team rushing in, carrying phasers. TUVOK looks around the scene, surveys the unconscious Tequani, then looks at CHAKOTAY.

TUVOK The captain was alerted to the Tequani scheme, so we were coming to your rescue, commander.

TUVOK looks down at ZOO'LIN, who is moaning in his knocked out state. TUVOK holsters his phaser.

TUVOK Consider yourself 'rescued,' commander.

CHAKOTAY (smiles and puts his hand on TUVOK's shoulder) Thanks. I'll try to leave some for you in the future

EXT.

VFX: Voyager now travels alone, at warp.

INT. Mess hall. Scene 3

Members of the crew are again digging in happily into KES' salad.

Camera on - KES is seated at a table, flanked by SESKA and RILEY. They are excitedly eating and SESKA and RILEY take turns telling KES about the events that just occurred.

JANEWAY (V.O.) Captain's log, supplemental. Thanks to the work of Chief Engineer Torres, Voyager was able to counteract the effects of the Tequani weapon. After removing Zool'lin and his soldiers from our ship, we have resumed our course home.

Camera on. Over at another table, NEELIX is standing over KIM, PARIS, and TORRES, reenacting the same events, choking himself with his own arm, using his other arm to be the pistol. KIM, PARIS, and TORRES are laughing at the display.

JANEWAY (V.O.) Our voyage home not only has 70 lights years to overcome but a lot of distrust between the two crews. But something tells me that our common goal of reaching home will integrate this crew in ways even they cannot imagine yet.

INT. Ship corridor.

JANEWAY and CHAKOTAY walk together.

CHAKOTAY Other than the container that was destroyed, I don't think we're any worse for wear. Of course, we still need to look for replacement parts. Hopefully the next species we encounter is just happy with a simple trade instead of the whole ship and crew. You think that guardian angel of yours can get on that?

JANEWAY Neelix says there's a Class M planet four light years away that may have

some promise.

They walk in silence for a moment.

JANEWAY Commander, I think we need to finish our conversation...

CHAKOTAY (interrupting) I've gotten seven more requests from Starfleet and Maquis crewmembers about new room assignments. Seska and Riley seem to be getting along, but there's still a lot more work for me to do solving these disagreements. I don't suppose the first officer position has any bonus shore leave days attached to it?

JANEWAY (beat) Depends, do I still have a first officer?

CHAKOTAY (he gestures at a door they are approaching) I think the answer is right here. Now, if you'll excuse me, captain, there's something I've been putting off for awhile.

Janeway nods in dismissal.

The doors open, and CHAKOTAY disappears inside. JANEWAY looks at the door.

Close up: It has the label, “OFFICE, FIRST OFFICER, CHAKOTAY.”

Pan to JANEWAY. She gives a determined smile, continues walking down the corridor.

INT. Chakotay's office.

CHAKOTAY stands in front of a blank wall. He then reaches down to pick up a piece of Native American art. He places it on the wall, as Native American flute music plays.

He takes a step back, and looks at it in approval. He's home.

FADE OUT.

CREDITS.

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