Prime Factors

The crew beams aboard Gath Labin, a representative from Sikaris, a planet known for its outstanding hospitality. Gath invites the weary travelers to take a break from their duties on his homeworld. Knowing shore leave would do the crew good, Janeway orders Voyager to follow Gath back to Sikaris, where residents welcome them with open arms.

The Sikarians love to hear stories of other places and travels from visitors, and following Gath and Janeway's lead, the groups begin mixing. Kim is soon telling the Voyager story to a young woman named Eudana, who suggests they go somewhere else to be alone. Little does he realize she means a planet more than 40,000 light years away, thanks to the Sikarians' spatial trajector — technology which can "fold" space to allow long-distance travel in an instant.

The Voyager crew are overjoyed, but then learn the Sikarians have their own prime directive which prevents them from sharing their technology with less advanced races. One Sikarian, Jaret Otel, offers Kim the technology in exchange for more Voyager "stories." But Janeway feels it's unethical to accept the technology from anyone other than Gath, the Sikarian leader. She decides to ask him to send Voyager as far as he can in exchange for the "stories." He refuses but invites Janeway and the crew to stay on his planet instead. The meeting ends on a sour note, and Janeway realizes they are no longer welcome.

After that, B'Elanna, Carey and Seska conspire to ignore Janeway's orders and take Jaret's offer — and are shocked when Tuvok shows up to make the exchange and sacrifice his career if caught. The gamble is for naught when they find the trajector is incompatible with Federation technology. Janeway finds herself reprimanding not only her new hot-headed Engineer but her old and logical friend Tuvok. The Vulcan explains he sacrificed his own career so the crew could get home without Janeway compromising her ethics, but she rejects that "logic" and asks her confidant to never let her down again.

 

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