Blink of an Eye
Caption: The Cleric and the Protector
Caption: Janeway and Neelix
Caption: Voyager pulled toward the planet
Caption: A primitive culture
Caption: Questioning the "groundshaker"
Caption: The "skyship" departs
Caption: Voyager gets a boost
Season: 6 Ep. 12
Air Date: 01/19/2000
As the U.S.S. Voyager approaches a planet with extremely high revolutions, the ship enters a gravometric gradient, pulling it into orbit. A tachyon core has created a space-time differential, meaning that a second on Voyager is a day on the planet. On the planet, much time has already passed since the initial sighting of the "star" which was believed to be a deity.
When Seven of Nine receives a transmission from the planet, the message, now centuries old, tells the crew they have insinuated themselves into the planet's mythology. For centuries, this pre-warp society has endured ground shaking brought about by this "sky ship." Unwilling to throw their civilization's belief system into chaos by making first contact, Captain Janeway sends the Doctor on an undercover mission to gather clues that may help Voyager break orbit. His holomatrix will be unaffected by the differential. As Janeway prepares to beam him back, she loses his signal.
Once they recover the Doctor, three years have passed on the planet. He alerts Janeway that Voyager has encouraged much invention through the centuries. The inhabitants are in a space race to make contact. Using the Doctor's data to realign thrusters, the crew attempts to break orbit, but stops when it increases seismic activity. A shuttle from the planet docks on Voyager, and the visitors find the crew in what appears to be a metabolic stasis. Because of the time differential, they are seeing less than a second on board the ship, causing them to think the crew is not moving. When Janeway resumes motion, the visitors have collapsed on the bridge.
The surviving pilot explains that he has grown up in awe of the "sky ship," even praying to it as a child. Although any time he spends on Voyager means losing years of his life at home, he agrees to help them interpret the Doctor's data and find a way to break out of orbit. As Seven scans the planet's surface, she detects that they are now experimenting with warp technology. Soon, Voyager is under attack from antimatter torpedoes.
Janeway sends the pilot back to his planet with Voyager's specifications, hoping that he can convince his people to find a way to help them break orbit. After several more attacks, but more than a year since the pilot returned to his planet, two ships materialize next to Voyager and use a tractor beam to pull it out of orbit. Using a temporal compensator his planet has devised, the pilot returns to Voyager one more time to say goodbye before the "sky ship" is gone forever.