Star Trek: Voyager

Episode #102

“Favors”

 

fade in

 

ext space

 

Voyager flies slowly through space; far off in the distance, we can see one star that’s slightly brighter than anything else in the sky.

 

We see that Voyager still bears the scars of her battle with the Kazon in the previous episode; one of the nacelles is twisted off-center, and there are several ugly scorch marks and small rips in the hull.

 

janeway (vo)

Captain’s log.  It’s been almost two months since our battle with the Kazon.  We haven’t encountered a single ship in that time, haven’t made contact with anyone.  We’ve been heading for the Gorki system, and it’s been a difficult trip…

 

int voyager – engineering

 

Main Engineering is full of crewmembers tending to the damaged warp engines.  We see that some of the damage from the Kazon battle is still unrepaired.

 

janeway (vo)

With the damage the Kazon did, Voyager is limited to just Warp One point Five, and it’s a credit to our engineering teams that we’ve been able to keep that speed up as long as we have.

 

We can see that all the crewmembers look nearly dead on their feet; both B’Elanna and Joe Carey look like they haven’t slept in days.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway’s in the center seat; Harry, Tom, Tuvok, Chakotay, Neelix and seska are all here as well.

 

harry

Captain, I’m picking up comm traffic from the fourth planet. 

 

janeway

Record everything you can. 

 

harry

I’m getting a lot here on the subspace frequencies…most of it’s encrypted.

 

tuvok

Confirmed.  I will attempt to decode the transmissions.

 

On the viewscreen, we see that the Gorki system’s sun is slowly growing larger.

 

Tom

At least we know they have interstellar communications.  That’s the first good news we’ve had in a while.

 

tuvok

The encryption on these transmissions is quite primitive by our standards.  Decoding now…

 

janeway

Put it on the speaker…

 

Everyone’s ears perk up; they’re curious to hear something about the planet they’ve spent the last two months flying to…

 

…and the first voice we hear is that of an alien called Zarmon, and we hear him in mid-conversation with someone:

 

zarmon (vo)

…I don’t expect you to send me a dozen starships, Shanor!  But I do expect a minimal amount of support.  My position depends on being able to keep the Gorks under control, you know that.  If I have to waste all my time hunting these stupid dirtlickers out of their nests, I can’t make money.  And if I can’t make money, I can’t help you with…oh, your little Vidiian problem, can I?

 

Janeway’s heard enough; she kills the channel.  Neelix looks sick to his stomach.

 

neelix

It’s Zarmon.  That was Zarmon.  Captain, we shouldn’t approach any closer to this system.

 

janeway

Who is Zarmon?

 

neelix

He’s…the last I heard, he was about to be made a High Patron in the Kentrala Syndicate. 

 

harry

Why do I not like the sound of that?

 

chakotay

Just like the Orions, probably. 

 

janeway

Yes, but this Zarmon sounds like he’s in control of the entire planet…the Orions don’t have that kind of power back home.

 

seska

Not in your happy and peaceful core sectors, no…

 

neelix

I don’t know about your Orions, Captain, but Kentrala is a huge organization.  In some sectors they’re only a small problem, but out here, they run whole star systems.  There isn’t any law, nobody to challenge them…and every story I heard about Zarmon, he was a fast climber…do you have any idea what kind of person you have to be to get ahead in the Syndicate?

 

janeway

I think I’m beginning to get an idea, yes…

 

int voyager – briefing room

 

The bridge crew is here, as well as B’Elanna, Joe Carey, and Kes.  Janeway’s at one of the wall-screens.

 

janeway

…the nearest system is here…ten light years away.  Lieutenant, is there any chance of getting our speed above Warp One point Five?

 

carey

None, Captain. 

 

b’elanna

He’s right.  I don’t even know how long we’ll be able to maintain that…

 

janeway

Even if we can, it’s more than three years, and we have no idea if we’ll find help there anyway.  Does anyone here believe we’ll make it?

 

There’s no response from anyone…all the answer Janeway needs…

 

janeway

That’s it, then.  Gorki may be run by criminals, but it’s the only choice we’ve got. 

 

tom

At our current speed, we’ll make orbit of the fourth planet on twenty hours.

 

janeway

We’ve all got jobs to do, let’s get to it…

 

ext space

 

We’re close in, looking into the briefing room, and then our view pulls back, and we see Voyager making its way towards Gorki, and on that image, we cut to commercial…

 

Act One

 

ext space – orbiting gorki four

 

Voyager has entered a high orbit over Gorki Four.  As the planet slowly rotates below us, we can see that it hasn’t fared well under the governance of the Kentrala Syndicate – we see that nearly one entire continent has been strip-mined, and there are ugly black streaks all through the atmosphere.

 

In orbit, we see a pair of large structures: one is the primary docking station, and the other is the orbital repair yard.  There are also dozens of small craft and satellites, all bristling with weapons.

 

janeway (vo)

…I repeat, we only need temporary docking clearance, so we can begin repairs on our ship.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway’s in the center seat, and she’s very stressed out.  She’s obviously been having this conversation far too long…

 

gorki traffic controller (vo)

Understood, Captain.  But the situation hasn’t changed since the last three times you requested clearance.  Docking space is at a premium…

 

We can see the docking station on the viewscreen, and out of two dozen berths, only two are currently occupied.

 

gorki traffic controller (vo)

…and every ship entering our space must pay a docking fee.  There are no exceptions.  We have to charge these fees so we can maintain our facilities in a manner acceptable to travelers like yourself.

 

janeway

I appreciate that, but this is not a merchant ship.

 

gorki traffic controller (vo)

Understood, but that really isn’t our concern, Captain.  The docking fee is 12,000 vhatas, or the equivalent in acceptable trade goods.  You have one hour to make payment arrangements or leave our space.  Traffic control out.

 

janeway

Wonderful.  Mr. Neelix, what would they consider acceptable trade goods?

 

Everyone on the Bridge – Tom, Harry, Tuvok, Seska and Chakotay – turns to look at Neelix.

 

tom

(muttering)

Probably some of the crew…

 

neelix

I shudder to think about it, but you’re right.  Especially some of the more exotic crew…Lieutenant Torres…Ensign Wildman…probably you, Mr. Tuvok…they’d love to have a telepath.

 

janeway

(trying to hold her anger)

What ELSE would they accept?

 

neelix

We don’t have much cargo…maybe some of the harder to find spare parts we’re carrying?  One of the spare dilithium crystals, probably.  That’s your best choice, I think.

 

janeway

We’ve only got two spare crystals…we’re going to need them for the journey home.

 

chakotay

We have to solve one problem at a time, Captain.  If we don’t get the ship repaired, there won’t be a journey home.

 

tuvok

Logic dictates that their price will only rise for each new item or service we require.  If we give them a dilithium crystal merely to be allowed to dock, what will they require for our actual repairs? 

 

chakotay

Our only other choice is to leave now.  I think we’ve been over that one already.

 

janeway

Agreed.  Mr. Neelix, I’d appreciate it if you made the arrangements with them…I don’t think I made the best first impression.

 

neelix

Of course, Captain.

 

ext space – orbiting gorki four

 

Voyager is moving slowly towards the large docking structure.

 

int voyager – janeway’s ready room

 

Janeway is at her desk.  The door chimes.

 

janeway

Come.

 

Neelix enters.

 

neelix

Captain, I’ve made a deal with them.  We only had to give up the one dilithium crystal, and we’ve got a meeting with someone named Ralan…I gathered that he’s a low level operator in Zarmon’s organization. 

 

janeway

You think he can get us the parts we need?

 

neelix

No, but we can get to Zarmon through him.  He’s running the planet, we’re going to have to talk to him eventually no matter what we do.

 

janeway

I’ll trust your judgment.  I’d like you to go down and meet with this Ralan, then.  You should have some backup, though…

(louder)

Lieutenant Paris, Ensign Kim, please report to my ready room.

 

int voyager – transporter room

 

Neelix, Harry and Tom are on the pads.  Tuvok and Janeway are at the controls.

 

tuvok

It appears that most of the structures on the planet have a shielding grid built into their structure.  We can only transport you to very specific coordinates.  And we will not be able to retrieve you if you are inside a building.

 

harry

I thought most of the races in this Quadrant didn’t have transporters?

 

neelix

They don’t.  But they know about them, and they can shield against them.  The Kentrala is definitely thorough.

 

janeway

So it seems. 

(beat)

We’re not going to get Voyager repaired standing here.  Are you ready?

 

neelix

Yes.

 

tom

Let’s go!

 

harry

Ready, Captain.

 

Tuvok taps at the controls, and the away team disappears with the shimmer of the transporter effect.

 

ext gorki capital city – recepton area

 

We’re in an open-air receiving center; all around us, the capital city of the planet looms large.  The buildings we see are all big and gray and ugly – it’s somewhat reminiscent of East Germany during the Cold War in terms of style.  The sky is hazy and dark with smog. 

 

Standing here waiting is Ralan – he’s a Talaxian like Neelix, but taller and a little bit slimmer.  As he taps his foot impatiently, we see and hear the transporter effect, and Neelix, Tom and Harry appear.

 

ralan

It’s about time.

 

Neelix approaches Ralan, smiling.

 

neelix

I didn’t know there were any of our people here!

 

ralan

I’m not one of your people.  Don’t think just because we have some genetic ancestors in common that it means anything.

 

tom

It’s nice to meet you, too.

 

ralan

What are those?

 

neelix

They’re called humans.  They’re not from this part of space.

 

ralan

(bored)

Obviously.  Are they your…what, pets?  No, the tall one spoke…slaves, I suppose.

 

harry

We’re not anyone’s slaves!

 

neelix

No, they’re my shipmates. 

 

ralan

Under the skin we’re all the same, blah, blah, blah…you’re one of THOSE, aren’t you?  I’d have thought after what happened to the homeworld, people like you would have grown up a little.

 

tom

Look, friend, there’s no reason for the hostility.  We’re here…

 

ralan

I’m not your friend, human.  And you’re here because your stupid little friend here gave the impression that there would be some profit to be made in dealing with you.  I suggest you get to it, before I get tired of you.  Oh, wait, I already am.

 

Tom looks like he’s ready to respond, but Neelix waves him off, gets in Ralan’s face.

 

neelix

I know your kind, Mr. Ralan.  You’re from one of the Habitats, aren’t you?  Baachak, I’d bet.  Floating out there in deep space, looking down on us…dirtsiders, right?  Isn’t that what you always called us?  I know all about you…

 

Neelix shoves Ralan against a wall.

 

neelix

And do you know what else I know?  I know that your kind loves to make threats, but you don’t have the vetlas for a real fight.  You’re just a bunch of cowards, aren’t you?

(Neelix grabs Ralan’s throat)

Aren’t you?

 

ralan

(gasping)

Yes!  Yes, we are!  Just don’t kill me!

 

Neelix backs off a step or two.

 

neelix

Good.  Now that we have that worked out, we can get down to business.  You’re going to take us somewhere comfortable where we can relax and have a decent meal, and then you’re going to arrange a meeting with Zarmon. 

 

ralan

That will take some time.

 

neelix

Then you’d better get started right away, shouldn’t you?

 

Harry and Tom stare at Neelix – Harry with a bit of unease, Tom with admiration - and on Neelix’s tough words, we cut to:

 

int restaurant

 

Tom, Harry and Neelix are sitting at a large table at a restaurant somewhere in the Gorki capital city.  Despite the gray misery outside, the restaurant is quite bright and lively.  Lots of neon, and bubbly, barely-dressed waitresses of various humanoid species.  We see off in one corner a small dance floor, and right now there’s what looks very much like a Green Orion Slave Girl performing her act to a rhythmic, techno-style song, with incomprehensible alien lyrics.

 

tom

Harry, look over there…

(pointing at the dance floor)

Is that what I think it is?

 

harry

It can’t be!

 

tom

She sure looks Orion to me. 

 

neelix

You said the Orions are a criminal group in your Quadrant.

 

tom

They are.  And one of the things they’re known for are their slave girls…their green-skinned slave girls.  I saw one once, on Canopus Prime, and I swear she looked just like that one up there.

 

harry

How could they get here?

 

tom

Well, if this Zarmon ever shows up, I guess we can ask him…

 

As Tom speaks, a tall, light gray-skinned humanioid with four arms walks up behind him.  This is Zarmon – he’s a Traven, a species with slight facial ridges and the aforementioned four arms.

 

zarmon

What did you want to ask me?

 

Tom, Harry and Neelix are all startled.  Neelix stands up to greed Zarmon, and Tom and Harry belatedly follow his lead.

 

neelix

Mr. Zarmon.  I’m honored by your presence.

 

zarmon

(sitting down at the table)

Of course, of course – but will you sit down?  There’s no need to make a commotion here.

(to Tom)

Now, what was your question, Mr…?

 

tom

Paris.  Lieutenant Tom Paris.  I was just curious about the dancer…can you tell me where she’s from?

 

zarmon

Oh, Zeela?  She’s an Orion, I think they’re called.  The Syndicate owns a whole breeding colony of them…they come from the other side of the galaxy originally…as you do, I believe.

 

tom

Yes.  But how’d they get here?

 

zarmon

I have no idea.  But enough about that.  I understand you have some business to discuss with me?

 

neelix

Yes.  Our ship is damaged, and we came to this system in hopes of obtaining parts and some time in a repair yard.

 

zarmon

You’re a Talaxian…what are you doing with them?

 

harry

He’s part of our crew.

 

zarmon

I wasn’t addressing you, was I?  Learn some manners and keep quiet until you’re spoken to.  Now, Mr…Neelix, was it?  How do you come to be traveling with these poor lost souls?

 

Harry’s angry, but Tom motions for him to stay calm.

 

neelix

My friend was correct, I’ve joined their crew.  They needed a guide through this region of space…

 

zarmon

And you and your precious little Ocampa girlfriend needed protection from the Kazon, yes?

 

neelix

How did you…?

 

zarmon

Knowledge is power, Mr. Neelix.  Consider that free advice.  Now let’s talk about things that aren’t going to be free.  You want…what, spare parts, and dock space, and I assume trained work crews, yes?

 

neelix

Yes.

 

As they talk, through the big window, we see a small group of Gorki natives talking and pointing into the restaurant.  The Gorkis are stocky humanoids, with lightly blue skin. 

 

Tom notices the Gorki activity outside, and as we and he watch them, one of the natives places some sort of device and then the whole group starts to move off.

 

Neither Harry, Neelix or Zarmon noticed any of this.  Tom is watching intently, however, and now they Gorkis are running away…

 

tom

Get down!  There’s a bomb!

 

There’s a moment of frozen confusion.  Tom quickly looks around…

 

harry

What?

 

tom

Down!  Now!

 

The closest person to Tom is Zarmon, and, without really thinking about it, Tom leaps out of his seat, and falls onto Zarmon, throwing the alien onto the floor.  An instant later, both Harry and Neelix duck down and take cover…

 

And then there’s a massive, deafening blast just outside, and the whole street outside goes up in a ball of flame, and the window shatters, showering the restaurant with shards of glass…and on that image, we cut to commercial…

 

Act Two

 

ext space – orbiting gorki four

 

Voyager is now nestled into one of the berths on the giant docking station.

 

int voyager – sickbay

 

Zarmon lies on a bio-bed, with the Doctor standing over him, performing a medical scan.  Janeway and Neelix stand off to the side, watching.

 

the doctor

You will fully recover, Mr. Zarmon.  I’ve repaired your broken ribs, and the cuts on your arms should heal with no scarring.

 

zarmon

(to Janeway)

Your electronic Doctor is quite efficient.  I could make good use of it.

 

janeway

The Doctor isn’t for sale.  Anyway, he’s integrated into the sickbay.  We can’t just separate him out.

 

zarmon

Of course.  I was just thinking out loud…a bad habit, I suppose.  In any event, I have your operatives to thank for my safety.  I’d have preferred it if your Lieutenant hadn’t broken four of my ribs, but as I’d probably be dead if he hadn’t, I should be grateful.

 

janeway

I’m glad to hear that.  I was hoping – if you’re feeling up to it – that we could talk about getting my ship repaired.

 

zarmon

If I let every little problem stop me from doing business, I’d never have gotten where I am…

 

the doctor

I suppose I’m no longer needed…?

 

janeway

Computer, de-activate EMH program.

 

The Doctor vanishes.

 

zarmon

If only I could do that with some of my employees…

 

As he speaks, there’s a beep over the Sickbay speaker and then a call from the Bridge:

 

Jenny Delaney (vo)

Captain, this is Lieutenant Delaney.  We’re receiving a transmission for Mr. Zarmon up here…

 

janeway

Would you like some privacy?

 

zarmon

Oh, don’t bother.  We’re all friends here…

 

janeway

Put it through to Sickbay, Lieutenant.

 

jenny delaney (vo)

Yes, sir…

 

We next hear the voice of Trask, one of Zarmon’s many operatives.  Zarmon sits up on the bio-bed to answer the call.

 

trask (vo)

Patron, I apologize for disturbing you…

 

zarmon

Of course you do.  I hope it’s important…

 

trask (vo)

There’s been another work stoppage in the Tretla work camp.  It’s affecting the Bangor and Mishlak mines.

 

zarmon

(angry)

Idiots!  Will they never learn? 

(beat; much calmer)

Apparently not, I suppose.  There’s nothing for it, then.  Standard procedure.  Destroy the Tretla camp.  It’s not too big, I think a hundred kiloton antimatter warhead ought to do the job.  And broadcast it on the news comms.  Maybe some of the Gorks will get the message this time.

 

Janeway is utterly appalled at this, while Neelix isn’t at all surprised.

 

trask (vo)

Immediately, Patron.

 

The channel closes. 

 

 janeway

(shakily)

How many people are at that camp?

 

zarmon

They’re not people, they’re Gorks.  But to answer your question, there are, I don’t know, thirty or thirty-five thousand of them.  They have to learn that their behavior has consequences.  If they behave well, they’re fed, they’re housed, they’re allowed to live their wretched little lives.  If they behave unacceptably, they’re punished…

 

Janeway is speechless; even the Romulans or Cardassians wouldn’t be so casual about wiping out thirty thousand people.

 

zarmon

Captain, don’t be so upset about it.  They’re only Gorks, it’s not as though they matter to anyone.  And duranium ore doesn’t mine itself.  But we were discussing your situation before we were interrupted…

 

Janeway doesn’t look like she’s ready to talk business, and Neelix steps in before she can say anything else about the Gorki natives.

 

neelix

Yes, of course.  I’m sure you’d like to settle business here as quickly as possible so you can get back to your work, Mr. Zarmon?

 

zarmon

Precisely.  As I see it, your operatives performed a very valuable service for me, and therefore, I owe you a…let’s call it a favor.  This is what I’ll do – I’ll provide you with a space in our primary repair yard for as long as necessary to complete your repairs, and I’ll also provide a full crew to assist you.

 

neelix

That’s very generous of you.

 

zarmon

Yes, it is.  Unfortunately, you also need parts, and the parts you do need are quite rare…and expensive.  I can’t simply give them to you.  I will give them to you at cost.

 

janeway

(bitterly)

And what sort of payment do you expect?

 

zarmon

Well, I understand that you don’t have much in the way of useful cargo.  And I suspect I know your policy about trading technology.  I expect that you won’t be willing to sell me any of your crew, either. 

 

janeway

You’ve got that right.

 

zarmon

Well, that leaves us with only one other choice.  I would be willing to provide you with the appropriate parts you need in return for services rendered.  Now, I don’t need the sort of firepower you carry to deal with the Gorks, I can handle them by myself.  But I have no doubt that I will need the sort of force you can provide at some point…and I am a reasonable man…we can make it open-ended.  The parts for one…favor…at some time of my choosing in the future.

 

Again, Neelix jumps in before Janeway can speak.

 

neelix

That’s an excellent proposal! 

 

zarmon

I’m glad you agree.  I need to get back down to Gorki. 

(beat)

So, Captain, I suggest that you send Mr. Neelix here, and the two operatives you sent with him last time, down to my personal residence, and we can work out all the details there. 

 

janeway

Very well.

 

And with that, Zarmon slowly stands up and makes his way out of sickbay, leaving Neelix and Janeway.  The Captain just stares at Neelix for a moment, then:

 

janeway

What were you thinking?

 

neelix

Captain, I understand you don’t like the idea of dealing with Zarmon.  I don’t either, believe me.  But we don’t have a choice.

 

janeway

You want to negotiate with a man who’s just ordered the murder of thirty thousand people!

 

neelix

No, I don’t want to.  But we’re here, and the ship is damaged, and he’s the only one who can help us right now.  Even if we wanted to, he won’t let us leave without some agreement now.  He’d have Voyager destroyed, and kill all of us…if we were lucky. 

(beat)

Captain, I know this isn’t how you’re used to operating.  But you aren’t at home, you have nowhere to go for support.  You have to deal with the people who are here, and a lot of the people in this region are very unpleasant.  It’s just a fact of life.

 

And on that note, we cut to:

 

ext space – orbiting gorki four

 

Voyager is moving again, from the big docking station to the orbital repair yard.

 

Far below, on the planet, we see a bright flash, obviously the detonation of an antimatter weapon on the surface.

 

ext overlooking gorki capitan city

 

We cut to the hills around the capital city of Gorki Four.  There are several sprawling residences in the hills, and one that sits higher and is much larger than all the rest.  Below, we can see the shroud of smog and pollution hanging over the capital city.

 

ext zarmon’s residence – balcony

 

And now we’re at the largest residence – Zarmon’s, of course.  Zarmon, Neelix, Tom and Harry sit in very comfortable-looking chairs on a large balcony overlooking the capital city.

 

zarmon

It is a very pleasant view, isn’t it?

 

harry

It might be nicer without all the pollution.

 

zarmon

Perhaps.  Don’t worry yourself, though.  It’s all filtered out up here.

 

harry

But not down in the city…

 

zarmon

No, why should we bother?  Nobody important lives there, just Gorks.  At any rate, I think it’s time we get down to business.

 

neelix

Of course.  You wanted to discuss an exchange of favors.

 

zarmon

Precisely.  But there is one thing we need to get out of the way first.

(louder)

Trask!

 

Trask appears in the doorway.  He’s a Balaxite, a species we haven’t seen before.  He’s got pale yellowish skin, and is generally humanoid, but with a very large head, and no hair.  Behind Trask are two guards, both of Zarmon’s species (a Traven), dragging a Gorki native who looks very much the worse for wear.

 

trask

Patron.

 

zarmon

This is the Gork who tried to kill me?

 

trask

One of them, Patron.  We’re still trying to find the rest of his group.  We think they’re working for the Betrel Organization.

 

zarmon

I see.  Well, we can’t have that.  Trask, I want every member of this Gork’s family rounded up and executed, and a hundred random Gorks from his work camp as well.  If there’s any resistance, wipe out the entire camp.  Understood?

 

trask

Yes, Patron.

 

zarmon

As for this one, though…it’ll be useful for a little trust building exercise.

(to Neelix)

You understand how important trust is between business partners, don’t you?

 

neelix

Of course.

 

Neelix is relatively calm, while Tom looks somewhat uncomfortable, and Harry looks like he’s about to be sick.

 

zarmon

Good.  Then I’m sure you understand that I need to know I can trust you.  I think it would be an excellent way to show me how much I can trust you, if one of you would do me the favor of executing this Gork here.

 

Zarmon takes a large, vicious-looking pistol from his side and offers it to the Voyager crew.  None of them immediately reach out to take it.  Zarmon frowns.

 

zarmon

Really, I must insist.  Mr. Neelix, I need you or one of your associates to kill the Gork…

 

And on Zarmon’s words, we cut to commercial…

 

Act Three

 

ext zarmon’s residence – balcony

 

We pick up right where we left off…Zarmon’s still holding his gun out to the Voyager crew…

 

neelix

May I have just a moment to discuss this with my shipmates?

 

zarmon

I suppose.  But be quick about it.

 

Neelix, Tom and Harry huddle together away from Zarmon.

 

harry

We can’t do this!

 

tom

I agree with Harry.  This is insane.  We can’t just murder people.

 

neelix

Well, you’d better get over your scruples, Tom.  If we don’t do this, we won’t be leaving here, you can bet on that.

 

harry

You can’t just kill someone because it makes you life more convenient!

 

neelix

He’s dead no matter what we do.  You think they’ll just pat him on the head and let him go?

 

harry

No, but…

 

neelix

But nothing.  We have to do this, or we die, he dies anyway, and Voyager never leaves this system again.  If your ethics won’t let you do it, then I will.

 

Neelix turns his back on Tom and Harry, walks up to Zarmon, takes the pistol and levels it at the Gorki.

 

Tom and Harry watch in horror…Neelix’s finger closes on the trigger…

 

zarmon

Stop!

 

tom

(stunned)

What?

 

Neelix lowers the pistol.  Zarmon comes up to him, takes it out of Neelix’s hand.

 

zarmon

As I said, it was a trust-building exercise, and I’ve seen what I need.  Besides, I have no intention of letting this…creature…die so quickly and easily.  It’ll be begging me to let it die before I’m through with it. 

(to Trask)

Take it away.  I’ll be down in a couple of hours to supervise the proceedings myself, but until then, the guards can have some fun with it.  Be sure they don’t damage it TOO much, though, I want it to be conscious when I work on it…

 

trask

Yes, Patron.

 

Motioning for the two guards to follow him, Trask leaves.  The guards drag the unfortunate Gorki with them as they follow.

 

zarmon

Now that’s out of the way, we can get down to the real business at hand.  I understand that your ship is already in the repair yard. 

 

tom

We just need the parts to get to work.

 

zarmon

Of course.  And as I told your Captain, I’m more than happy to provide them.  I just need a commitment from you in return.

 

neelix

A favor.

 

harry

What kind of favor?

 

zarmon

Nothing you need to concern yourself with…this conversation is between the adults, you can just be silent until we’re done.

 

Harry’s face is torn between anger and shame, and Tom’s just about ready to attack Zarmon, but Neelix puts his hand on Tom’s shoulder.

 

neelix

(whispering)

Not now.

(louder now)

Please excuse my companions.  Now, we were talking about a favor.

 

zarmon

One favor, specifically.  I think it’s a fair price.  At a time of my choosing.

 

neelix

You are aware that we’re heading out of this part of the galaxy.

 

zarmon

Of course.  But you’ll be well within Kentrala’s sphere of influence for a good long while.  I’m not concerned about that. 

 

neelix

I see.  I would like to specify the nature of this favor we’d perform for you.

 

zarmon

Oh, I couldn’t say, really.  The use of your firepower when I need it, is that good enough for you?  I do have enemies, outside of Kentrala, and within it as well, and who knows when I’ll need to deal with them?

 

neelix

Of course.  Weak and jealous people always envy powerful men like yourself.  I can see where you’d have to make an example every so often to keep them in line.

 

zarmon

Precisely.  So we’re agreed?

 

neelix

I believe so.  Tom?

 

tom

Yes.  I think we can live with that.

 

zarmon

Excellent.  I’ll have the necessary repair parts sent up to you directly.  The work crews should already be there.  I’m sure we’ll speak again before you leave Gorki…

 

Zarmon stands; clearly this is the crew’s cue to leave, and we cut to:

 

ext space – orbital repair yard

 

We’re close in on the orbital repair yard.  Voyager is nestled snugly into a berth, and the starship is surrounded by workpods and spacesuited workers.

 

As we watch, a group of workers is fitting an armor plate over one of the many small hull breaches; we can see that a couple of other such plates have already been fitted, and they don’t match the paint and color scheme of the rest of the ship.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway sits in the center chair, with Chakotay at her side.  Also on the bridge are Tuvok, Seska and Jenny Delaney.

 

chakotay

The repairs seem to be progressing fairly well.

 

janeway

Maybe so, but I don’t trust anything about this situation.  Just about every single Security officer we’ve got is watching the repair crews, and I’m not sure that’s enough.

 

chakotay

Captain, nothing is ever completely safe.  I don’t trust these people either, but sometimes you have to work with people you can’t trust.  If I refused to deal with people who weren’t on the straight and narrow, well…

 

janeway

You WERE the ones who weren’t on the straight and narrow.

 

Seska, watching this conversation with amusement, pipes up:

 

seska

Oh, Captain!  If you think this is bad, you should have seen some of the places Chakotay took us for repairs or supplies. 

 

chakotay

Thank you, Lieutenant.  That’ll be quite enough.

 

janeway

No, no…I think that’s interesting.  I’d love to hear more about your…adventures…with the Maquis.

 

Chakotay’s clearly uncomfortable with this.

 

chakotay

Some other time.  Right now, let’s concentrate on our repairs.

(louder; into his communicator)

Engineering, this is the Bridge.  B’Elanna, how are things going down there?

 

int voyager – main engineering

 

B’Elanna and Joe Carey are supervising a crew of about a dozen Gorkis who are working on the warp core. 

 

b’elanna

We’ve got the locals doing all the heavy physical work.  There’ll be a lot of fine tuning to do after they’re done, but I think they’re doing…

 

B’Elanna spies one of the Gorkis mishandling something…

 

b’elanna

No!  That doesn’t go there!

(to Chakotay)

Excuse me, Commander!

(to the Gorki)

No, no, no!

 

And B’Elanna runs over to make sure the Gorki doesn’t do any damage.

 

joe carey

Commander, this is Lieutenant Carey.  I agree with Lieutenant Torres, the aliens are mostly doing a good job.  If we keep a close watch on them, we should be fine.

 

As Carey says this, we can see that one of the Gorkis, whom no one is looking at, is busy removing small components from the panel he’s working on…

 

chakotay (vo)

Good.  Make sure you do keep a close eye on them.  Bridge out.

 

An don the image of the Gorki stealing parts from Voyager’s engines, we cut to commercial…

 

Act Four

 

ext space – orbital repair yard

 

The work on Voyager is progressing nicely from the outside.  The engine nacelle that was twisted off-center is now straight and true again, and almost all the hull breaches have been patched over.  Some of the ugly carbon scoring on the hull has even been repaired and cleaned.

 

int voyager – main engineering

 

Inside the ship, however, things aren’t going quite as well.

 

b’elanna (vo)

Personal log.  I deserve a medal for the patience I’ve shown these past two weeks.  The alien work crews started off just fine…

 

As B’Elanna narrates her log entry, we see her showing a Gorki worker what she wants him to do, and then yelling at another Gorki, whole Joe Carey does the same on the other side of the giant Engineering space.

 

b’elanna (vo)

But their work has gotten much sloppier.  At this point, I’d really like to strangle most of the workers, and I’m not sure how I’ve managed to keep from doing it this long…

 

Just as B’Elanna finishes berating one worker, another one nearby is banging away at an exposed panel with a large hammer-like tool.  B’Elanna sees this and roughly pulls the Gorki away from the panel.

 

b’elanna

What the hell were you doing?  You could have blown out all the power conduits in Engineering!  Stay away from there!  And stay away…oh, forget it, I want you out of here!  Go back down to the planet, go to hell for all I care, but get out of my engine room!

 

The Gorki silently shuffles out of Engineering.

 

B’Elanna gazes around the room, making sure none of the other Gorkis are doing anything wrong, and as she does, Chakotay enters Engineering.

 

chakotay

B’Elanna!

 

She turns to see him.

 

b’elanna

Chakotay.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to keep these aliens in line?

 

chakotay

That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.  You’ve been working down here for twenty hours straight.

 

b’elanna

Really?

 

chakotay

Yes, really.  I checked.  You need to rest.  Lieutenant Carey can supervise them by himself for a few hours.

 

b’elanna

I’m not sure…it’s been hard enough with both of us, and he’s on a double shift, too.

 

chakotay

But not twenty hours.  This isn’t a request, it’s an order.  Do I have to escort you back to your quarters personally to make sure you go?

 

b’elanna

Any other time, I’d think you had an ulterior motive.

 

chakotay

And maybe you’ be right.  But right now, I need you to get some rest.  OK?

 

b’elanna

OK.

 

B’Elanna heads out to leave Engineering.  Chakotay walks over to Joe Carey.

 

chakotay

Lieutenant, you’ll have to supervise the workers by yourself until B’Elanna returns.  Then you can get some sleep yourself.  Can you handle that?

 

joe carey

Yes, Commander.  No problem at all.

 

chakotay

Good.  Carry on.

 

And with that, Chakotay leaves.

 

Carey walks around, peering at the work each Gorki is doing.  As he makes his rounds, he spots one of the Gorkis removing one of the bio-neural gel packs from a wall console.

 

joe carey

That’s working properly!  Put it back right now!

 

The Gorki doesn’t acknowledge Carey.  Carey approaches the alien.

 

joe carey

I said, put that back!

 

The Gorki drops the gel-pack on the floor, and pulls a knife from his jacket, slashing at Carey.  Carey manages to jump back from the first attack with just a small scratch on the arm, and he looks around for a weapon.  As he does, he shouts out:

 

joe carey

Security to Engineering!  This is an emerg…

 

He’s cut off as the Gorki attacks again, this time grabbing Carey, grappling with thim for a moment, and then stabbing him in the gut…

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway’s still in the center seat, and Zarmon (sitting on his balcony at his residence) is on the main viewscreen.  Janeway is extremely upset.

 

janeway

Your worker attacked one of my crew!  He might not survive.  What kind of people did you send up here?

 

zarmon

I keep telling you, Captain, they aren’t people.  I had thought that all the Gorks I sent to work on your ship were fully domesticated, and I do apologize for my mistake. 

 

janeway

What do you intend to do about it?

 

zarmon

The Gork will be punished, of course.  I’ll be more than happy to send up any body part you like, if you require proof.  Obviously it’s family and acquaintances will be executed as well.  We can’t have this sort of thing going on.  Especially not to valued guests like yourself. 

 

janeway

What about our agreement?

 

zarmon

I’ll send up a new work crew, and I’ll send up one of my personal aides to keep them in line.  Will that be acceptable?

 

janeway

Do I have a choice?

 

zarmon

Not really, Captain.  I’m so glad you understand.  I’m sure we’ll talk again…

 

And Zarmon disappears from the viewscreen.

 

int voyager – sickbay

 

The Doctor is working on Carey.  Kes is also here, assisting where she can.

 

the doctor

Tissue regulator.

 

Kes hands the doctor the requested instrument from a tray of surgical devices.

 

kes

Here…that’s amazing, Doctor.  I didn’t think you’d be able to save him.

 

the doctor

Really.  Does the rest of the crew share your lack of confidence in my abilities?

 

The Doctor continues to work as he talks with Kes.

 

kes

No, that’s not what I meant.  He’d lost so much blood, that’s all, I didn’t think any doctor would be able to help him, even you.

 

the doctor

That’s a little better, I suppose.  It was difficult, I’ll grant you that.  And I must say that your assistance was useful. 

 

kes

Thank you.  I’m just glad I could do something.

 

the doctor

You were helpful during the Kazon attack as well.  Perhaps you should consider assisting me on a permanent basis.  As this ship has no other medical staff, I’m sure the Captain would approve.

 

kes

I’m sure she would.  When we’re finished here…

 

Kes is cut off by a sudden change in Carey’s condition; warnings begin to sound off on the medical monitors.

 

the doctor

His kidney functions are failing!

 

kes

What do we do?

 

The Doctor works quickly, almost frantically.

 

the doctor

I’ll set up a temporary filter to take over until I can surgically repair the kidneys.  I’ll have to insert a probe…there.  Kes, watch this monitor

(he points)

and activate the secondary filter if it goes below point six.

 

kes

Yes, Doctor.

 

the doctor

You’re not going to die on my watch, Lieutenant…

 

As the Doctor struggles to keep Carey alive, we cut to:

 

int voyager – janeway’s quarters

 

Janeway is lounging on her couch.  Her door chimes.

 

janeway

Come.

 

It’s Kes.  She looks like hell, but she’s got a smile on her face.

 

kes

Captain.

 

janeway

I take it you have good news?

 

kes

Lieutenant Carey is going to recover.  He’ll be fine in a few days.

 

janeway

The Doctor is very good at his job.  Is that all you came to tell me?

 

kes

No.  I’d like to act as his assistant.  He can teach me as we go along.  I know it won’t be easy, but I think we work well together, and I want to be useful to the ship. 

 

janeway

I think that’s an excellent idea, Kes.  You have my approval. 

 

kes

Captain, it just occurred to me…this may sound stupid, but the Doctor kept asking me to watch monitors and make adjustments for him…

 

janeway

Yes?

 

kes

Well, he’s part of the ship, right?  His program runs from the ship’s computer, so why does he need anyone to look at monitors or control panels for him?

 

janeway

(puzzled; it’s a good question)

I never thought about that.  I’m no engineer…but I suppose that’s just how he’s programmed.  

 

kes

I wonder if he can change his programming…?

 

And on Kes’ musings, we cut to:

 

int voyager – corridor

 

Chakotay and Janeway are walking down to Engineering.  They pass the occasional crewmember in the halls of the ship.

 

janeway

I’m not sure about this, Commander.

 

chakotay

I am.  I know B’Elanna.  She’s more than ready for this.  And it’s only a few days anyway.

 

janeway

Why should I trust you on that, Commander?  You’ve lied to me before.

 

chakotay

(smiling)

With all due respect, Captain, someone who’s gotten herself into bed with a criminal organization that makes the Orions look like model citizens needs to look herself in the mirror before she starts asking anybody else about trust.  Wouldn’t you say?

 

Janeway’s angry for a moment at that comment, but she thinks it through and realizes that maybe he’s got something there…

 

janeway

You might have a point there. 

(sighs)

They didn’t talk much about negotiating with alien criminal syndicates at the Academy, did they?

 

chakotay

(laughing)

Captain, if they did, I missed that class too. 

(more serious now)

And I might have been just a bit harsh there.  We’ve got our differences, and I have no doubt we’ll have a lot more, but this isn’t one of them.  You have my word on B’Elanna.  She can do this, and you can trust your people to her…I’ve been trusting mine with her work for the last two years.

 

Janeway stops, stares Chakotay in the eye, shakes his hand.

 

janeway

Fair enough, Commander.  Let’s go tell her…

 

They’re now at Engineering, and they enter.

 

They see B’Elanna talking to one of Zarmon’s operatives, another Traven just like Zarmon, who in turn is shouting at a group of Gorki workers.

 

chakotay

B’Elanna, we need to speak to you.

 

B’Elanna turns away from the Traven and makes her way to Chakotay and Janeway.

 

b’elanna

Yes?

 

janeway

Lieutenant Carey is recovering from his attack.  He’s going to be fine, but he’ll be out of commission for at least a week.  Until then, you’re Acting Chief Engineer.  We’ll all be relying on you.

 

chakotay

I know you’re up to the job.

 

b’elanna

I do too.  I’ll have these engines back to a hundred percent efficiency in three days, no matter what…

 

B’Elanna turns for a moment to see one of the Gorkis working near the warp core…

 

b’elanna

That doesn’t go there!  Put that down right now!

 

janeway

I think we’ll leave you to work…

 

chakotay

Congratulations, B’Elanna. 

 

B’Elanna’s already halfway to the offending Gorki as Chakotay and Janeway leave.  Focused on that particular alien worker, she doesn’t notice two other Gorkis taking a small, blinking alien device out of a pack and installing it in an open panel on the other side of the warp core, and on that, we cut to commercial…

 

Act Five

 

ext space – orbital repair yard

 

There are now only a couple of workpods toiling away on Voyager, and the starship looks mostly repaired.  The new hull patches are off-color, and there’s still some carbon scoring, but the ship does look a hundred percent better than it did when it first arrived at Gorki.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway’s talking to Zarmon on the viewscreen.

 

zarmon

We just have a few more details to go over.  I want to discuss them in person.

 

janeway

We’ll beam you aboard.  Would an hour from now be convenient?

 

zarmon

Make it two.

 

janeway

Of course.  I’ll be looking forward to it.

 

int voyager – janeway’s ready room

 

Janeway is behind her desk, going over some PADDs.  Her door chimes.

 

janeway

Come.

 

It’s Zarmon, escorted by one of his own guards, and two Voyager security officers.

 

zarmon

Captain.  As always, it’s a pleasure.

 

He waves off his guard, and sits down.

 

janeway

(to her officers)

Wait outside, please.  We’ll be fine.

(to Zarmon)

You must have a different definition of pleasure than I do.

 

zarmon

Captain, please.  I’m just conducting business. 

 

janeway

It’s not business when you slaughter thousands of people on a whim, Mr. Zarmon.

 

zarmon

We’ve been over that, Captain.  Since there’s nothing to be done about it, we’ll have to agree to disagree.  But I am offended at your tone.  I’ve delivered everything I promised, haven’t I?  Your ship is repaired, is it not?

 

janeway

(bleakly)

Yes.

 

zarmon

Good.  So the only matter now is my payment.  I believe that the agreement was for one service to be performed by your starship at a time of my choosing.

 

Janeway just nods.

 

zarmon

I’ll need your communications frequencies, so I can contact you at the appropriate time.

 

janeway

I’ll have them sent to you before we leave.

 

zarmon

Of course you will.  Don’t be so upset, Captain.  I won’t ask anything too difficult from you.  You can rest assured that whoever I require your ship to be used against will be most deserving of such attention.

 

janeway

You’ll forgive me if I don’t stand up and cheer.

 

zarmon

Believe it or not, Captain, you’re fortunate to be dealing with me.  All I want is an orderly sector so I can generate profits.

 

janeway

Don’t even bother.  If it weren’t so undiplomatic, I’d tell you where you can stick your profits.  We made a deal with you, and I’ll honor it, but I don’t have to like it, and I don’t need to sit here and listen to you try and justify yourself…

 

Zarmon seems amused by Janeway’s tirade, and on his smile, we cut to:

 

int voyager – corridor

 

We’re near the main transporter room.  Harry and Tom are walking together…

 

harry

Thanks.

 

tom

Anytime, Ensign – sorry, Harry.  Well, anytime we can use the holodecks again.

 

harry

If we can use the holodecks again.  Once we’re on our own power, who knows when we’ll be able to run them.

 

As they walk and talk, we see approaching them a procession of Gorki workers, with their Traven supervisor ahead of them.

 

Tom and Harry stop to watch the Gorkis go by, and Tom stares closely at them.

 

harry

What’s wrong?

 

tom

(whispering)

That one…one from the back…he was outside the restaurant when the bomb went off…

 

It’s hard to be sure; the Gorkis do look a lot alike, but Tom is clearly convinced.  They wait until the Gorkis are out of earshot, and then Harry taps a panel on the nearest wall.

 

harry

Bridge, this is Ensign Kim.  We have a problem here on Deck Six!

 

int voyager – briefing room

 

Janeway is here, along with Tom, Harry, Neelix and Zarmon.  They’re all looking intently at one of the wall screens, which is showing pictures of Gorki workers.  Two or three go past, and then…

 

tom

Him!

 

janeway

Are you sure?

 

zarmon

Does it matter which one it is?  I’ll just have them all killed.

 

Neelix

Didn’t you say that the one you caught at your residence was working for…Betrel, was it?  If one of them was up here working in Engineering…

 

harry

Could they have sabotaged our engines?

 

janeway

Engineering, this is the Captain!

 

b’elanna (vo)

Yes, Captain.

 

janeway

One of the alien workers may have left us an unpleasant surprise.

 

b’elanna

Oh, God.  Captain, I’m going to need at least fifteen extra people down here to do a thorough search!

 

janeway

Anyone you need, Lieutenant.  If there’s anything down there, I want it found as soon as possible…

 

int voyager – main engineering

 

B’Elanna is searching methodically, but also as fast as she can, and ten other officers are working with her.  As she works, three more crew enter Engineering: Megan Delaney, Mike Jonas and Christa Warren, and without breaking stride, B’Elanna puts them to work:

 

b’elanna

(shouting)

Delaney, over there, start with the coolant assembly!  You’re looking for anything that isn’t Starfleet issue.  Jonas, you check the impulse drivers!  And you…blondie…

 

christa warren

Lieutenant Warren…

 

b’elanna

Whatever!  You start with the deuterium storage tanks…

 

The search goes on, with seemingly half of Engineering in pieces, when one of the searchers, Ensign Vorik, finds something.

 

vorik

Lieutenant!

 

B’Elanna runs over to Vorik, pushes him out of the way.  She sees a pair of triangular, blinking alien devices set a few feet from the warp core.

 

b’elanna

They did it just right…

(louder)

Bridge, this is Engineering!

 

janeway (vo)

You’ve found something?

 

b’elanna

They set charges near the primary power relays to the core.  The moment we activated the warp core, the relays would have overloaded, and passed the charge through to the core, and the ship would blow up…along with this whole spacedock.

 

int voyager – bridge

 

There’s shock all around at B’Elanna’s news, except for Zarmon, who takes it in stride.

 

janeway

Can you disarm them?

 

b’elanna (vo)

Already done.  I’m going to go through the rest of Engineering inch by inch, just to make sure there isn’t anything else, but I think we’re out of trouble.

 

janeway

Excellent work, Lieutenant.

 

There’s relief now on everyone’s face.

 

zarmon

Problem solved, Captain.  I am curious whether they expected me to be on board, or if this was just done out of spite.

 

janeway

Why do you care?  You’ll just bomb a few thousand more of them regardless, won’t you?

 

zarmon

Oh, certainly.  Behavior has consequences.  The Gorks will learn that eventually. 

 

janeway

And if they don’t?

 

zarmon

Well, then I’ll bring in a bio-engineering team to breed something up to wipe out the lot of them, and import more docile workers.  I’d rather not, because that would cut into profits, but if I have to…

 

janeway

You never cease to surprise me, Mr. Zarmon.

 

zarmon

I’m sure I don’t, Captain.  But that is your problem, not mine.  And this little incident changes nothing.  You are still indebted to me, and you can be sure that I will collect on that.

 

Zarmon heads for the turbolift.

 

janeway

Of course.  Goodbye, Mr. Zarmon.  I hope we don’t meet again.

 

zarmon

We’ll see.  For now, I do wish you a pleasant journey, Captain.  Farewell.

 

And with that, Zarmon exits the Bridge, and we cut to:

 

ext space – orbital repair yard

 

Voyager moves, oh-so-slowly, out of the repair yard and into open space. 

 

int voyager – bridge

 

Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, Tom, Harry and Seska are on the Bridge.

 

janeway

Mr. Paris, set a course out of the system.

 

tom

Yes, sir.

 

janeway

Engineering, this is the Bridge. 

 

b’elanna (vo)

Yes?

 

janeway

Is warp speed ready?

 

b’elanna (vo)

Whenever you want it.

 

janeway

Excellent.  As soon as we’re clear of the system, Mr. Paris, take us to Warp Six.  I want to put Gorki far, far behind us.

 

harry

Amen to that!

 

tuvok

I must agree.  This has been a most unpleasant and illogical experience.

 

chakotay

I have a feeling it won’t be our only one.  It seems that the Delta Quadrant isn’t a place for the faint of heart.

 

janeway

It most certainly is not.  We’ve only been here two and a half months, and I feel like we’ve sold our souls already.

 

seska

Mortgaged them.  We haven’t even begun to pay the price yet. 

 

janeway

With any luck we’ll leave Zarmon’s syndicate well behind.

 

chakotay

Do you think we’ll be so lucky?

 

janeway

Even after all this, I guess you can call me an optimist.  Mr. Paris, set our course for the Alpha Quadrant…

 

ext space

 

Voyager cruises away from Gorki Four, and on that image, we Fade Out…

 

The End