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The fourth series in the Star Trek saga, Voyager was set in the same time period as Deep Space Nine and charted the return of Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) and her starship crew from the dangerous Delta Quadrant on the far side of the galaxy, a projected 75-year journey during which they stopped off frequently to enjoy the sights.
With a crew of only 150, the USS Voyager (NCC-7465) was smaller than other United Star Ships and could land on most of the planets it encountered en route.
This was a mixed blessing. It saved time because the ship did not have to go into orbit around a planet and then beam its crew down to the surface. Conversely, it often delivered the whole mission straight into alien clutches.
Amongst the crew were Chakotay (Robert Beltran), a stolid Native American whom Janeway appointed First Officer; Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), an outgoing former fighter pilot with a zest for life and a tendency to get into trouble; Kim (Garrett Wang), a rookie out of Starfleet Academy not sure of his ability to live up to his own expectations; Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson), a moody, half-Klingon half-human who preferred her human side; and Security Chief Tuvok (Tim Russ), a Vulcan who was the keeper of the peace.
Since the ship’s medical officer had died in the pilot episode, Voyager‘s medical needs were met by Doc (Robert Picardo), an Emergency Medical Hologram generated by the ship’s computer that was, through holographic projection, able to assume a solid physical form to treat the injured and sick.
Despite being a computer program, Doc had a personality – albeit one of cynicism and impatience with the shortcomings of the crew’s biological members.
Neelix (Ethan Phillips), one of the first aliens encountered by Voyager in this uncharted part of the galaxy, was a charming character looking for adventure who joined the crew as a chef, handyman. Morale Officer and resident philosopher.
With Neelix came Kes (Jennifer Lien), his beautiful Ocampan lover, who worked with Doc to learn medical techniques. Since Voyager was so far from home, almost every race and entity its crew encountered was new, avoiding the familiar faces from the earlier Star Trek series.
Seska (Martha Hackett) was a member of the crew who, a couple of months into the series, turned out to be a surgically altered Kazon, a warrior race. She returned to her people, and early in 1996 another member of the crew, Jonas (Raphael Sbarge), began sending information to the Kazons via subspace communications, preparatory to an attack on Voyager, but he died in a fight with Neelix while trying to disable the ship’s weapons systems.
In the season finale, the crew went into Kazon space, tricked into a trap set by Seska.
While under attack, they lost contact with Tom, who was away in a shuttlecraft. The Kazons took control of Voyager and dumped the crew on a hostile planet, similar to prehistoric Earth, without equipment or supplies.
With the help of Doc and a lone crewman still on the ship – and the Talaxians Tom had recruited – the Kazons were defeated (Seska perishing during the fight) and the crew beamed back aboard Voyager in the first episode that fall.
The 1997-1998 season premiere saw Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan), a Borg, added to Voyager‘s crew when they managed to disengage her from the Borg Collective.
Originally a human child named Anneka Hansen, who had been taken by the Borg almost two decades before, her human cells started to reassert themselves. She found it difficult adjusting to life as an individual and, despite a very sexy body, often acted more like a machine than a person.
A week later Kes metamorphosed into a powerful energy being and, as a parting gift to the Voyager crew, gave the ship a huge shove, moving it 9,500 light-years closer to the Alpha Quadrant.
In the spring, while they were stranded outside the ship, B’Elanna told Tom she loved him, and they began a serious relationship. Tom was demoted to Ensign in December 1998 after disobeying an order during what he considered a humanitarian mission to help an alien race. B’Elanna and Tom got married in March 1999.
The following February, in a special two-hour episode, Seven of Nine was almost reassimilated by the Borg Collective but, with Janeway’s help, was rescued.
In April 2000, with the help of Reg Barkley (Dwight Shultz), an inter-galactic communications link was established that enabled the crew to communicate with Starfleet Command in the Alpha Quadrant – but only for 11 minutes a day.
In May 2001, Neelix was reunited with fellow Talaxians who were living on an asteroid. He helped them save their homes from miners and decided to stay with them as Starfleet ambassador to the Delta Quadrant.
The series finale opened on the 10th anniversary of Voyager‘s return after 23 years in transit back from the Delta Quadrant. Harry was now a captain; Tom was a writer of holo-novels; the daughter Tom had with B’Elanna was a Starfleet officer; Janeway was an admiral and Tuvok was ailing. Doc, who had taken the name Joe, had married a younger woman.
Janeway stole a Klingon device that enabled her to travel back in time through a wormhole in a quest to help her earlier self get Voyager back to Earth quicker and alter the future suffering that had originally beset the crew – Seven of Nine, who would marry Chakotay, would die from injuries suffered on an away mission, 23 other crew members would die, and Tuvok would suffer from a degenerative neurological condition that would not be curable when Voyager originally got back to the Alpha Quadrant.
The admiral sacrificed herself to the Borg queen (Alice Krige) in a complicated plot that enabled Voyager to get back to Earth while simultaneously disrupting the ability of the Borg to assimilate other species.
Captain Kathryn Janeway
First Officer Chakotay
Seven of Nine
Security Chief Tuvok
Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres
Lt. Tom Paris
Robert Duncan McNeill
Ensign Harry Kim