Why potatoes?
Their first idea was to clone Naomi,
but l suggested they start with something smaller.
Quite a feat of engineering.
lt's a Teirenian ant colony.
l infused the soil with a blue ion dye,
so it'd be easier to see the insects.
They're luminescent.
The drones produce
a fluorescent enzyme that's activated
by the queen.
Drones and queens?
l thought we were trying to get these children away
from the Borg.
The project was Mezoti's idea.
l didn't want to discourage her individuality.
l like bugs.
Well done.
Let me know before you take up beekeeping.
What have we got here?
lt's Kataris.
Your father's planet.
l've been learning all about it.
Naomi programmed
the geophysical and atmospheric conditions.
There's quite a storm in those mountains.
The Arpasian range
is known for high winds and hail.
l'll remember to bring my coat.
Now, this looks impressive.
lt's a high-resolution
gravimetric sensor array.
lt'll augment
our ability to scan for the neutrino flux
associated with wormholes.
lt could help Voyager
find a faster way home.
The engineering principles are sound.
l expected these projects to be interesting,
but this is truly exceptional.
Thank you, Captain.
l am very interested in astrophysics.
Well, you've obviously got a knack for it.
Well done.
How did you think of scanning for neutrino fluctuations?
l've been studying Starfleet records.
He's a remarkable young man.
He hopes to earn a permanent posting
in Astrometrics one day.
l'm afraid that won't be possible.
Captain, the boy has a unique talent.
lt's not a question of merit.
We've made contact with his parents,
and l've set a course for their planet.
My scanner is calibrated to pick up changes
in neutrino trajectories.
That's good news.
You've exceeded your scheduled time here by one hour.
l am almost finished.
Your work will have to wait.
There's something we need to discuss.
Look at this.
lt's a star forming in the Orpisay nebula.
The Orpisay nebula is out of range
of our sensors.
l increased the resolution of the long-range scanners.
When l was on the cube,
l never thought about what was outside--
but here in this lab,
l feel like l can see the entire galaxy.
What did you want to talk to me about?
You said there was something
we needed to discuss.
Yes. That's correct.
lt's time for you to regenerate.
Come in.
l'd like the data you've collected
on lcheb's species
so l can prepare him for reassimilation.
Maybe we could refer to it
as ''getting reacquainted with his family.''
lf you prefer.
l'll transfer the files to Astrometrics.
Thank you.
How'd he take the news?
You haven't told him.
Why not?
lt won't be easy for him to accept.
He's adapted to life on Voyager.
And you've adapted to having him here.
My feelings are irrelevant.
Are they?
Would you like me to tell him?
lt's my responsibility...
but l am uncertain how to proceed.
Well, you've already helped him make
one difficult transition.
How did you do that?
By giving him the benefit of my own experiences,
encouraging him to be resilient in the face of obstacles.
Sounds like a good strategy.
ls your alcove malfunctioning?
l'm calculating neutrino trajectories.
You need to regenerate.
Very well.
We've located your parents.
Voyager is due to arrive at their planet
Do l have to stay with them?
They're your parents.
l don't remember them.
After my parents were assimilated,
l never saw them again.
You're fortunate to have this chance.
What about the others?
We haven't been able
to locate their families yet.
That's not what l mean.
What will happen to them if l leave?
They depend on me.
They'll adapt.
l'll never see you again?
l've been studying Brunali culture.
lt's very different
from what you've become accustomed to on Voyager.
ln what way?
They're an agrarian society.
Their technological resources are limited.
Are they capable of space travel?
Yes, but most of their vessels
were destroyed by the Borg.
How will l continue my studies?
l don't know.
l'm detecting scattered enclaves
on the northern continent--
all with populations
of fewer than 10,000.
Judging from the residual gamma radiation,
it appears they've suffered
numerous Borg attacks over the past decade.
That's not surprising.
There's a Borg transwarp conduit less than a light-year away.
Not exactly prime real estate.
Tuvok, run continuous scans for Borg activity.
Tom, put us into synchronous orbit.
Yes, ma'am.
Seven, you'd better get lcheb.
According to these scans, you're in perfect health.
Then why does my stomach feel so strange?
Oh, l should have known.
You've got butterflies in there.
l never assimilated butterflies.
lt's an expression used
to describe anxiety or apprehension,
both of which are perfectly natural reactions
for someone about to meet his long-lost parents.
lf it's any comfort,
l'm sure they're just as nervous about meeting you.
Parents are irrelevant.
Do you think Naomi's mother is irrelevant to her?
l have Seven of Nine to assist me in my education.
l have you to care for my medical needs.
Your parents can nurture you in ways this crew can't.
They can explain the Brunali culture,
share their experiences with you.
You didn't have parents.
No, but...
You adapted to serve a vital function
aboard this vessel,
forged relationships with its crew--
all without the benefit of parents.
l had my programming to fall back on.
And how would your programming respond
if you were asked to live with strangers?
Are you damaged?
He's fine.
l was just giving him a last-minute checkup.
lt's time.
The ''butterflies'' will go away.
l'm Captain Janeway.
You've... grown.
He spent several months in a Borg
maturation chamber.
This is Seven of Nine.
That's a Borg designation, isn't it?
Like your son, l was liberated from the collective.
Seven has been instrumental in helping lcheb
make his transition.
Then we're very grateful
to you.
l'm Leucon, lcheb's father.
This is his mother, Yifay.
How are you?
Do these hurt you?
We're very happy to have you back with us.
Mala, Remi,
Welcome home, lcheb.
l would like
to return to Voyager now.
Thank you for coming.
Where's lcheb?
l thought it might be better
if we talked ourselves first.
What exactly is there to discuss?
How to make this transition easier for your son.
Please, sit down.
lt won't be easy for him
to give up the luxuries of your ship.
lt's more than a question of luxuries.
lcheb has special medical needs.
We have a physician in our settlement.
We should arrange for him to consult with our Doctor.
He also requires
daily regeneration.
l'm sure you can adapt some of our technology
to make that possible.
What about his educational needs?
Our children go to school.
Well he be able to continue his studies
in astrometrics and spatial harmonics?
lf lcheb has an aptitude for science,
l'm sure he'll find
that we have a great deal to teach him.
For example?
We've developed sophisticated
techniques in agricultural genetics,
which allow us to grow crops in an inhospitable environment.
lcheb has expressed no interest
in agriculture.
l'm sure, once he's been exposed to the subject,
he'll find it quite challenging.
There's still the issue of his safety.
We're perfectly capable of protecting our son.
Your proximity to a Borg conduit
makes you extremely vulnerable.
l'm curious if you've ever considered relocating.
lt's all right, Captain.
This planet is our home.
We will never leave it.
We will defend it against the Borg,
or anyone else who threatens us.
Your courage is admirable but unrealistic.
Wait for me in my ready room.
Captain... Now.
l apologize for her behavior.
She and lcheb have grown very close,
but that's no excuse for rudeness.
We'd like to see our son now.
Please be patient.
lf we rush things, your next encounter with him
may not go any better than the last.
Stay aboard Voyager for a while.
lt'll give lcheb a chance to get to know you
in an environment that's familiar to him.
l'll have Neelix do everything he can
to make you comfortable while you're here.
Your attitude is making a difficult situation worse.
l was simply attempting to ensure
lcheb's well-being.
By insulting his parents?
Those issues needed to be discussed.
You could've done it with a little more tact.
Perhaps. But that doesn't alter the fact
that those individuals may not be suitable guardians.
Those individuals are his mother and father.
Which is no guarantee
that they'll be able to care for him.
He's far more likely to flourish
if he remains on Voyager.
That's not an option, Seven.
Are you ordering him off the ship...
That's not what l said... that he can be assimilated again?
What makes you so sure that's going to happen?
They shouldn't remain on that planet.
lt's their home.
lt's not worth protecting.
Who are you to decide that?
Anyone who values their own goals
over the safety of their children is irresponsible.
Are we talking about lcheb's parents or yours?
lt's not like you to admit to something like that.
lt would be naive for me to claim objectivity in this case,
but l'm not prepared to return lcheb to parents
who may be as careless as my own.
l know what it's like to feel protective
towards someone you've helped through a difficult period.
But lcheb is an individual now.
You have to give him a chance
to form his own opinions.
lf l do...
and he decides to remain on Voyager...
Then it'll be my problem.
ls your mother pretty?
What are they like?
l'm busy.
l never met my father.
l don't remember ours.
Neither do l.
Are you going to stay with them?
lf you leave,
who is going to help us with our science projects?
lf you don't stop asking questions,
l'm going to put all of you in a cargo container
and transport you back
to the Borg.
Come with me.
To dinner with your parents.
l'm working.
You can continue your work after the meal.
l don't have anything to talk about with them.
Then it will be a very quiet evening.
l'm not going.
Your attendance is not optional.
Enjoy your meal.
Come, sit down.
l prefer to stand.
Mr. Neelix let me use his galley to prepare some poma.
l'm not hungry.
lt was your favorite food when you were little.
l'm not little anymore.
No, you're not.
Your mother worked hard on that meal.
Couldn't you at least try it?
lsn't it?
Nice to see the family back together again,
isn't it?
When you were little, you would only eat...
The Borg didn't leave us much to work with,
but we didn't need much, just a little ingenuity.
Everything you see, we built with our own hands--
our homes, cultivation bays...
What's this?
A genetic resequencer.
We use it to alter the DNA of certain plants
to conform with environmental conditions.
You built this as well.
We adapted parts from damaged vessels.
Nothing's been wasted.
Efficiency's one attribute we share with the Borg.
ln our case, it's a necessity.
l know our settlement seems primitive...
compared to Voyager,
but l promise you, that will change.
What about space travel?
we'll have ships that rival Voyager,
but we need the dedication
of young people like you to help us.
How are you?
Well! Thank you!
Maybe later you can join us up on the field
for a game of pala!
l don't remember how to play!
lt will come back to you!
You used to be quite an athlete.
You can make a difference here, lcheb.
l don't know anything about agriculture...
or genetics.
lt won't take you long to learn,
not with a mind like yours.
lt's time to return to Voyager.
l am staying here tonight.
They don't have a regeneration unit.
We're going to have to install one eventually.
Might as well do it now.
As far as l'm aware,
he hasn't decided to remain here yet.
But he has asked to stay tonight.
Return with me to the ship.
We'll prepare a regeneration unit.
l've adapted this neural transceiver
to interface with the portable regenerator.
lt has enough power to complete one full cycle.
We'll have to devise a way of recharging it.
lf lcheb decides to stay.
My wife and l appreciate
everything you've done for our son.
lt's obvious you care about him.
He's a unique individual.
Yes, he is.
To get him back is... well...
a miracle.
How was he taken?
Since the Borg first attacked us,
we've taken great pains to hide whatever new technology
we develop.
So that passing cubes won't be attracted to your planet.
Unfortunately, we haven't always been successful.
One morning, about four years ago...
lcheb heard me talking
about a new fertilization array
we'd constructed in the lower field.
He wanted to see it.
l told him l'd take him the next day.
But he was impatient, the way boys can be.
l never even realized he'd wandered off
when the alarm sounded.
lt turns out the Borg were just as interested
in our new technology as lcheb was.
They took him...
assimilated everyone
in the area.
Oh. lf only l'd kept a closer eye on him.
lcheb has a mind of his own.
But still...
it's hard not to blame myself.
Your parents must've felt the same way when they lost you.
My parents were with me when the Borg attacked.
l can't imagine what that must've been like for them,
watching their daughter being assimilated...
helpless to defend her?
lt's important that lcheb regenerate for six uninterrupted
l understand.
He may resist.
He doesn't like to waste time.
l have had to contend with his lack of patience as well.
Over there is a star called Kelsin lll,
and to the west is the Orlitus Cluster.
There, just above it,
when you connect those six stars,
they form what we call the Great Horn.
l see it.
You inherited your love
of the stars from your father.
Being on that starship,
you learned much more about astronomy than l have.
Our little window can't compare
to Voyager's Astrometrics Lab.
But it's nice.
You see?
We have everything we need right here--
a warm fire, good food that we grow ourselves,
and people who love us.
lcheb has people on Voyager
who love him, too.
You've grown attached to the crew on that ship,
haven't you?
They've provided for me, given me opportunities.
They're good people--
people who've experienced hardship themselves.
Seven of Nine
told me about your science project.
She said it might prove very useful.
lt's designed to detect wormholes.
How will that benefit them?
lt may help them find a way back to Earth.
Why is that so important to them?
lt's their home.
lnteresting, isn't it?
With all their technology,
their opportunity to explore the galaxy,
the thing they want most is to get home.
Good morning.
Did you regenerate successfully?
Yes, and l slept...
under the stars.
You should try it.
You weren't in class this morning.
The others missed you.
l was helping my father.
There is something we need to discuss.
What is it?
You've decided to stay with them.
You're certain?
This is my home.
l have a responsibility to help them rebuild it.
l'll inform the Captain.
Thank you.
l'm sure you'll want to say good-bye
to the other children.
lnside, you'll find padds
containing data on a variety of subjects
that will allow you to continue your studies.
l've also included a high-resolution telescope.
lt's a poor substitute for astrometric sensors.
l will use it every day.
Good-bye, lcheb, and good luck.
Thank you, Captain.
l hope you find a way home.
Regeneration cycle incomplete.
What is it?
l can't regenerate.
Regeneration cycle incomplete.
l miss lcheb.
So do l...
but we'll adapt.
Now return to your alcove.
lf you find my parents, will l have to go with them?
We'll discuss that when and if the time comes.
l hope you don't find them.
What if the Borg try to assimilate lcheb again?
His people lack resources.
The Borg have little reason to return to their planet.
What if lcheb's on a ship?
He was on a ship last time.
You're mistaken.
He was on the surface when he was assimilated.
No. He wasn't.
A class-1 transport
was detected in Grid 649...
one life-form...
species: Brunali.
This better be important.
lt is.
Sorry, l don't read Borg.
You'll have to translate.
This is tactical data
from the cube where we found the children.
lt says that lcheb was alone
aboard an unarmed transport vessel
when the Borg took him.
Oh, why are you telling me this
at 0300 hours?
lcheb's father told me the boy was assimilated
on the planet's surface.
ls it possible you misunderstood?
No. He was very specific.
That cube was disabled
by a deadly pathogen.
lt suffered extensive damage.
lsn't it possible these records were corrupted?
Perhaps, but l found another inconsistency
in Leucon's story.
He told me lcheb was assimilated four years ago,
but further analysis indicates
the Borg attacked three times
during the last decade--
nine years ago, six years ago
and again last year.
All right.
Let's assume your information is accurate.
What does it prove?
His father was lying.
Why would he do that?
l'm not certain, but we have
an obligation to find out.
What are you proposing?
That we return to the planet,
demand an explanation.
Those people have been through enough.
Do we really need to interrogate them?
We have a responsibility
to ensure lcheb's safety.
He chose to stay with his parents.
Maybe he didn't have all the information.
Just because they weren't completely candid with you
doesn't mean they're unfit parents.
At some point... you have to let go.
l know what you're thinking--
that l'm having emotional difficulty
accepting my separation from lcheb.
And you're correct,
but if there's a possibility he's in danger,
even a remote one,
l have to do whatever l can to protect him.
lf l don't, l'll be no better than my own parents.
Couldn't we at least wait a few days?
What would that accomplish?
He's just getting settled.
The longer we wait,
the harder it'll be for everyone.
You know that.
Why do it at all?
There's nothing compelling us
to go through with it.
lt's what he was born for.
Hasn't he been through enough?
Why not give him a chance at an ordinary life?
He's not an ordinary child.
No, but he can help us in other ways.
He's bright.
He-he's hardworking...
his return was a gift.
We can't waste it.
l don't want to lose him a second time.
To survive, we all have to make sacrifices.
You taught me that.
We won three games in a row.
Sit down, lcheb.
We need to talk.
You know that you're very important to us.
What you don't know is why.
What do you mean?
What is that?
lf you relax, it won't hurt you.
You'd better hold him.
What are you doing to me?
Prepare the launch.
Hail them.
We didn't expect to see you again, Captain.
We'd like to ask you a few questions,
if you don't mind.
Regarding lcheb
and the circumstances of his assimilation.
We've already discussed that.
The story you told me was inconsistent with our data.
We don't owe you any explanations.
ln that case, l'd like to talk to lcheb.
He's not here.
Where is he?
That's not your concern.
Scan for his bio-signs.
He is not in the settlement.
l'm detecting a Brunali transport vessel.
Distance: nine million kilometers.
lt's heading for the coordinates of the transwarp conduit.
According to these readings,
that ship is traveling at warp 9.8.
lt only looks that way.
lt's been designed to emit a false warp signature--
strong enough to penetrate subspace.
They're using it as bait to attract the Borg.
lcheb's on that vessel, isn't he?
He's fighting for his people.
Alone, on an unarmed transport.
We don't have particle weapons
or powerful starships at our disposal.
We're forced to use the only resource we have.
Your children?
Our genetic expertise.
lcheb's not bait.
He's a weapon.
The first cube that captured him
was infected by a pathogen.
lcheb was the carrier, wasn't he?
Every time we try to rebuild, begin to make progress,
the Borg come and take it away from us.
Tom, set a course for that transport vessel,
full impulse.
Aye, Captain.
You have no right to interfere.
We're trying to save our civilization.
By taking away lcheb's future.
lf we don't stop the Borg,
the Brunali have no future.
Captain, a Borg ship
will emerge from that conduit at any moment.
You'll be destroyed.
We'll take our chances.
End transmission.
Red Alert. Battle stations.
We're coming within range, Captain.
l'm picking up
lcheb's life-signs.
Bio-scans indicate he's unconscious.
Transport him to Sick Bay.
l can't. There's some kind of interference.
lt's the conduit.
By my estimate, a Borg vessel will emerge
in less than 40 seconds.
Transfer auxiliary power to the transporters.
l still can't establish a lock, not at this distance.
30 seconds.
Tom, get us closer to that ship.
Yes, ma'am.
The conduit's opening. 20 seconds.
Still out of range.
You heard her, Tom.
When that Borg ship comes through,
l'm going to have a hell of a time getting away from it.
One problem at a time.
Ten seconds...
nine... eight...
l've got a lock.
Transport in progress.
-...five... four... -He's in Sick Bay.
Get us out of here, maximum...
Target their tractor beam generator.
Phasers targeted.
No effect.
We are the Borg.
You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.
Perhaps not.
There is a way to get a weapon through their shields.
l'm listening.
Transport a photon torpedo to the Brunali vessel.
Set it to detonate as soon as it's inside the sphere.
That will occur in approximately 20 seconds.
However, Voyager will be inside less than three seconds later.
Tom, full reverse thrusters.
lt might buy us a couple more seconds.
Do it.
Transport complete.
Detonation in ten, nine...
...five... four...
Tom, go to warp on my mark.
Three, two...
All hands, brace for impact.
Now, Mr. Paris!
The Borg vessel has taken
heavy damage.
They are not pursuing.
Are you saying his parents reinfected him?
No. They merely sedated him.
l don't understand.
He was genetically engineered
to produce the pathogen... from birth.
Bred to kill Borg.
ls he in danger?
l can suppress the pathogen.
He'll be fine... physically.
He's going to need help
coming to terms with what's happened.
Captain, l...
Use your maternal instincts.
They worked before.
l thought you were studying
spatial harmonics.
My parents suggested l might have an aptitude
for genetics as well.
l see.
What have you learned?
This is the genome of a typical Brunali male...
and this is my DNA.
They're nearly identical,
but do you notice the differences
in the third, 13th and 17th chromosomes?
My parents made microgenetic alterations
so l would produce the pathogen.
Quite ingenious.
lt's also barbaric.
They were trying to defend themselves...
their way of life...
preserve their species.
l know how difficult it is
to acknowledge your parents' faults,
but what they did was wrong.
You don't have to forgive them.
Do you think they will ever forgive me?
For what?
l could have destroyed that sphere.
l failed them.
You would have been reassimilated.
l know, but...
But what?
Maybe it was my destiny.
ln the future, you may choose to fight the Borg,
but you'll do it in your own way.
You're an individual,
and you have the right to determine your own destiny.
lt's time to regenerate.
And if l prefer to continue studying?
lt's your decision.

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