Now these are delicious.
Uh, leave some for the rest of us.
Hey, l'm eating for two.
Great party, Neelix.
Everybody seems to be enjoying it.
Yeah, except the Doc.
Those are for eating, not scanning.
What exactly are they?
Cheese pirogies.
Zefram Cochrane's favorite.
They have absolutely no nutritional value.
This is a party, Doctor.
Sometimes you have to forget about nutrition.
You could include a vitamin supplement
when you replicate.
Replicate? l made them myself.
You two have outdone yourselves.
l've never seen First Contact Day celebrated quite like this.
When l was your age, all it meant was a day off
from school.
Well, Neelix and l thought we should make it more fun.
Well, you certainly succeeded.
When is Commander Tuvok making his presentation?
Well, now's as good a time as any.
Uh, may l have everyone's attention, please?
ln honor of the 315th
anniversary of his ancestors' arrival on Earth,
l've asked Mr. Tuvok to recite the first words
spoken to humans by a Vulcan.
ls this really necessary?
You promised.
Very well.
Live long and prosper.
And now, for some more
of Zefram Cochrane's favorite music.
Hey, come on, Mr. Vulcan.
Vulcans do not dance.
But it's tradition.
There is no tradition, Mr. Neelix.
This ceremony is entirely your invention.
This is an official ship function, Commander.
Don't make me order you to dance.
Sorry to interrupt,
but l've got some interesting news.
Neelix, you might want to hear this.
Long-range sensors have detected several hundred life signs
approximately 4.9 light-years away.
They're Talaxian.
Are we there yet?
Not exactly.
The life signs appear to be coming from inside
that asteroid field.
From a ship?
We are not detecting any vessels.
No response from hails?
Not yet.
l hope they're all right.
There's a lot of interference.
Maybe they haven't received our transmissions.
Can we move in any closer?
Voyager is too big to maneuver safely in there.
We could take the Flyer.
lt wouldn't have hurt you to do a few steps.
l am trying to concentrate on the shields, Mr. Neelix.
l think you were just afraid.
That's absurd.
lt's understandable.
There were a lot of people watching.
Vulcans don't experience fear.
l'm going to make it my personal mission
to get you to dance at least once
before we reach Earth.
Then l suggest you find a more productive hobby.
lf you two don't stop it, l'm going
to come back there and separate you.
l've localized the life signs.
Bearing 108 mark 26.
They appear to be inside a large asteroid.
What was that?
A thermalyte explosive.
30.6 kilometers to port.
l'm detecting another projectile,
heading directly toward us.
Evasive maneuvers.
We've lost shields.
Main propulsion is off-line.
We're going to have to make an emergency landing.
The Talaxians' asteroid is the closest.
The surface is covered with craters, ice fields.
We don't have a choice.
Hold on.
We've lost contact with the away team.
l also detected some unusual energy discharges
in the asteroid field.
What kind of discharges?
lt's difficult to tell
because of the interference, but they appear
to be thermalytic explosions.
l believe several of them were in close
proximity to the Flyer.
We'll need to send a rescue team.
Work with B'Elanna.
Try to modify the shields on one of the shuttles
to withstand these explosions.
Stay still.
Don't worry. lt's not serious.
Am l inside the asteroid?
This is my home.
Where are my friends?
lf you mean the aliens
who were on the ship with you, they're safe.
l'd like to see them.
You need to rest.
What were you doing in the asteroid field?
Looking for you.
Well, not you s-specifically,
but my ship detected Talaxians.
l haven't come across any in years, so...
l'm sorry.
l'm Neelix.
l had an uncle named Neelix.
Are there other Talaxians on your ship?
l'm the only one.
Why are you living with aliens?
They're my friends.
Did you receive our hails?
Why didn't you respond?
We avoid contact with outsiders.
We were attacked.
There were explosions.
Did you...?
We're not violent.
Who fired at us?
No one fired at you.
There are miners who use explosive charges
to break apart the asteroids,
so they can collect minerals from the debris.
l wish we'd known.
Why were you carrying weapons?
lt's standard procedure for an away mission.
What's your name?
What's yours?
l told you not to come in here.
l just wanted to see him.
You're supposed to be helping Oxilon.
He doesn't look dangerous to me.
l think you have the wrong idea about us.
l'm not supposed to be talking to you at all.
l'm feeling better.
l-l'd like to see my friends now.
What are you doing?
l've been told not to let you leave.
Still no response to hails.
Janeway to the Shuttle Bay.
Go ahead, Captain.
What's the status of the shield modifications?
Lieutenant Torres and l will be finished in a few minutes.
Take an away team and find them.
Captain, there's a ship approaching from astern.
We're being hailed.
On screen.
ldentify yourselves.
l'm Captain Janeway
of the Federation Starship Voyager.
Commander Nocona.
This is our asteroid field.
We weren't aware of that.
Now you are.
We lost one of our shuttles inside the field.
We're preparing to send a rescue team.
All the resources belong to us.
We're not interested in the resources.
We were only trying to make contact
with the Talaxians.
What's your interest in them?
One of my crewmen is from Talax.
He was eager to meet some of his people.
You should have requested permission
before sending in a shuttle.
We have a mining operation in progress.
Does that explain the explosions we detected?
Mining charges.
We'd appreciate it if you'd stop using them,
until we can get our people out.
l'm sorry.
We're on a strict deadline.
But l'll conduct a search for your crew.
lf they need help, we'll provide it.
That's kind of you.
But we're prepared to go in and get them ourselves.
l cannot guarantee your safety if you enter the asteroid field.
Stay here.
We'll contact you when we find your people.
l don't think you're supposed to be here.
This is my home.
You can't tell me what to do.
No, of course not.
l just don't want you to get in trouble.
ls that a model ship?
What's it called?
How about The Two-Tailed Talchok?
The Fur Fly?.
The ship l come from is called Voyager.
ls it big?
And fast.
Can l see it?
l think it would be a little difficult
to take you there while l'm stuck here.
But if your mother would let me out...
That's her.
You better hide.
You won't tell her l'm here?
No, of course not.
Neelix, this is Oxilon our Council Regent.
l wish l could say it was nice to meet you,
but this wasn't exactly the welcome l was expecting.
You're free to go now.
What about my friends?
We've determined they aren't hostile.
They've been treated for their injuries
and asked to leave.
They're aboard your shuttle making repairs.
l'll take you there.
Well, now that everything has been cleared up,
maybe we could talk...
get to know each other a little?
lf you'd like.
My friends, too?
l'm sorry.
Why not?
We've learned from experience
to keep to ourselves.
Well, if they're not welcome,
l'm not staying, either.
That's your choice.
l know Oxilon seems overly cautious,
but we're not used to having visitors.
How many of you live here?
Close to 500.
All of our homes are connected to the central
cavern by tunnels and lifts.
They allow us to move easily
from one section of the asteroid to another.
lt must have taken years to build all of this.
Almost five.
lt still isn't finished. five, report to the lower level...
Where did the technology come from?
We arrived here with a caravan of six ships.
We disassembled all but one of them
and modified their components.
We converted torpedo launchers to blast away rock
and excavate these tunnels.
These conduits run into the asteroid's core.
We use geothermal energy to melt the ice that covers most
of the outer surface. lt provides us
with oxygen and water.
Who'd have imagined all of this inside an asteroid?
Your son seems like a wonderful boy.
How would you know?
You only met him for a few seconds.
True, but l'm a quick judge of character.
He came to see you while l was out, didn't he?
You can't blame him for being curious.
Hmm. He's a lot like his father--
no fear.
l'd like to meet your husband.
He's dead.
l'm sorry.
l didn't mean to...
lt's... it's all right.
You didn't know.
Are you all right?
l'm fine.
Dexa, this is Lieutenant Paris and Commander Tuvok.
Thanks for bringing him back.
We were getting worried.
lt was nice to meet you.
So, what can l do to help?
Well, you can give me a hand with this plasma manifold.
How did it go?
Well, uh, they didn't exactly
send out a welcoming committee,
but l'm sure they have their reasons.
l guess my expectations were a little high.
l regret that you didn't have a more fulfilling experience.
That's nice of you to say, Commander,
but it wasn't a complete waste of time.
l got to meet some of my people again...
even if it was a short visit.
Who knows?
lt's probably the last time l'll ever see another Talaxian.
Good work.
Now we need to run a systems...
lntruder alert.
At least we know internal sensors are working.
You know him?
We're old friends.
You said you'd take me to see Voyager.
l don't think your mother would approve.
You won't tell her l was here, will you?
Why, l have no idea what you're talking about.
l'll be right back.
Three days isn't nearly enough time for us
to dismantle all our equipment.
You should have begun the first time we asked.
We can't wait any longer.
Demolition of the asteroid is going to start
whether you're here or not.
You'd kill us?
We don't want to hurt anyone.
But our patience has run out.
We've only got one ship.
There won't be enough room for any of our belongings.
lt's not our fault
you took apart your other vessels.
You can't do this.
Dex, don't provoke him.
Where are we supposed to go?
l'm sure you'll find a home somewhere.
This is our home!
You have no right to make us go.
Leave her alone!
Bring him here!
Don't touch him!
Are you going to stop me?
You've said what you've come to say, and now,
l suggest you leave.
You have three days to evacuate.
You can see now why we're suspicious of outsiders.
Thank you for protecting the boy,
but l'm afraid your actions might make things worse.
How could they get any worse?
Fighting back has never done anything
but cause us more trouble.
And what has running away ever done for us?
-lt's kept us alive. -Maybe it's time
we stayed and defended ourselves.
Will you help us?
l agree with Oxilon.
Fighting isn't the answer...
but l'll try to help.
Well, uh...
we could talk to my Captain,
and maybe she can negotiate with the miners,
uh, get them to agree to let you stay.
Your Captain would be willing to do that?
The best thing would be for you to come to Voyager--
talk to her yourself.
l want to go, too.
Shh, Brax.
Why don't you both come?
l've seen your home.
l'd like you to see mine.
Commander Chakotay.
l'd like you to meet Dexa... and Brax.
Welcome to the Bridge.
And this is Ensign Kim.
What's this?
This... is an engineering station.
And over there is Tactical.
And down there is the Helm.
And this... is the Captain's chair.
Which station is yours?
Well, actually, l don't have
a specific... See, l'm-l'm
more of a, uh...
Neelix does too many things to have just one station.
He's our... Ambassador,
-Morale Officer. -Trade Negotiator.
Without a doubt,
he's the most versatile member of our crew.
As you can see, our sensors are extremely precise.
We can scan for life signs light-years away.
That's how we found you.
l have something else that may interest you.
What is it?
You can scan that far away?
No. This image is from our database.
lt's as beautiful as l remember.
There's the Godo Mountain Range.
And the Axiana Lakes.
That was always one of my favorite places.
Mine, too.
Why don't we just go back to Talax?
We could live there.
lt's still controlled by the Haakonians.
They don't treat Talaxians very well.
That's why we left.
Maybe Neelix could go with us,
and we could fight them.
Take the planet back.
lf tomorrow's negotiations go well,
you won't have to go anywhere.
Next stop... Engineering.
The warp core.
l'm sorry.
l forgot all about our Kadis-Kot game.
That's all right. l know you're busy.
l just wanted to meet your friends.
Of course. Dexa, Brax...
this is my goddaughter, Naomi.
You live on a beautiful ship.
Maybe Brax would like to go to the holodeck.
That's a great idea.
Lieutenant Paris has a new program.
''lnvaders from the Ninth Dimension.''
Sounds scary.
What's a holodeck?
Neelix is right.
Might be too scary for you.
l'm not afraid.
Can l?
You're lucky to have found these people.
They obviously think a great deal of you.
The feeling's mutual.
To the Axiana Lakes.
lt really is delicious.
l've been saving it for 15 years.
l wasn't sure l'd ever open it.
But tonight...
seemed like the right occasion.
Would you like some more...
taga cake?
A-A little, please.
l haven't had this in years.
l'm glad you like it.
lt's a family recipe.
You're a good cook.
l haven't seen Brax
this happy since his father was alive.
How did he...?
l'm sorry.
You probably don't want to talk about it.
l don't mind.
We'd settled on a planet called Phanos.
There was a lot of unoccupied territory,
but the government restricted us to a very small area.
They said it was a quarantine,
to protect the population from ''alien diseases.''
But it was just an excuse.
We were outsiders.
They didn't want us mixing with their people.
lt wasn't long before we realized
we didn't have enough land
to grow what we needed to feed ourselves.
Oxilon said we'd just have to conserve our resources,
but my husband was tired of being told what to do.
So, he started farming outside the restricted zone.
They didn't like that.
A security patrol confronted him.
He told them he had to provide for his family,
that he wasn't afraid of them.
There was a fight; he was killed.
l'm sorry.
After that, we came here.
We thought we'd finally found a place
where no one would bother us.
Maybe this time it'll be different.
But even if it isn't...
thank you for trying.
l should get a good night's sleep,
if l'm going to be my best at the negotiations tomorrow.
Uh, Neelix?
lt's been a wonderful day.
lsn't there enough to mine here, without destroying their home?
Their home contains more than 30 percent
of the field's ore.
Without that asteroid...
the operation isn't worth the expense.
Would you be open to some kind of compensation?
All we want are the minerals.
And you'd kill us to get them.
The Talaxians have found a way
to produce a lot of geothermal energy.
Maybe they could share it with you.
What do you mean ''share''?
You could convert it into fuel to power your ships.
The energy they generate isn't compatible with our technology.
We'd be willing to help you make the modifications.
We have quotas to meet.
We don't have time for that.
the future of more than 500 people is at stake here.
And once, there was a transporter accident.
Neelix and Commander Tuvok got combined
to make a completely different person.
You don't think l could make up a story like that, do you?
Hello, Neelix.
Do you want to play Kadis-Kot?
Maybe later.
l knew it wouldn't work.
We did get them to make a small concession.
They've extended the deadline.
You'll have enough time to dismantle your equipment.
Thanks, but there's too much to take with us.
Captain Janeway has agreed to ferry all of you
and your supplies to the nearest M-Class planet.
Come on, Brax. We're going home.
We have to pack.
Come on.
You said you were gonna help us.
You wanted to see me?
l've detected five warp-capable species
within two light-years of the planet
where we're taking the Talaxians.
l'm worried they might be vulnerable to attack.
They would be vulnerable anywhere.
l thought maybe you could help me
devise some defense strategies for their new home.
Frankly, Mr. Neelix,
they don't seem inclined to defend themselves.
No, l-l suppose not...
But if they were going to make a stand,
their emotional attachment to their present home
might be an asset.
Are you saying they should stay?
l'm speaking hypothetically.
if they wanted to defend the asteroid,
how would they do it?
To begin with,
they would need to establish some kind of perimeter.
You mean shields?
The miners are monitoring the asteroid.
lf they detected the Talaxians erecting a shield,
they would attempt to stop them.
l suppose so.
Your people
would need competent leadership to defend against
a preemptive attack.
lf you had the Captain's permission,
would you be willing to provide that leadership?
Certainly not.
lt would be a violation of the Prime Directive.
And even if it weren't,
l don't believe that l am the person most qualified
to assume that role.
You mean me?
l am merely speaking hypothetically.
l couldn't lead those people, Mr. Tuvok.
l'm not a fighter.
l'm just a cook...
who sometimes imagines himself to be a diplomat.
On the contrary, Mr. Neelix...
you are much more than that.
You are perhaps the most resourceful individual
l have ever known.
l always thought you just tolerated me.
You do have some annoying habits.
However, during your time on Voyager,
you've developed many valuable skills--
skills that would
serve you well if you ever decided
to assume a leadership role.
You really think so?
Let me be clear.
l'm not urging you to do anything.
l am simply telling you
that l believe that you are more than capable.
Going somewhere, Mr. Neelix?
Just to see my friends.
Chakotay tells me you're using your own ship.
Why not have Tom take you in the Flyer?.
l didn't want to bother anyone.
You wouldn't be planning anything foolish, would you?
Whatever l do, l promise it won't involve Voyager.
That wasn't my question.
l know you have Prime Directive issues,
but l'm not officially part of your crew,
so l don't have the same constraints.
You're as much a part of this crew as anyone else.
Are you ordering me not to go?
That depends on what you're going to do.
lt's up to the Talaxians.
Safe journey, Mr. Neelix.
l know from personal experience
that you have force field emitters.
We could use them to establish a shield grid.
We'd need to deploy a series of them
on the asteroid's surface, along bisecting diameters.
16 emitters should be enough to form a grid.
Even if you're right,
it'd take weeks to dig that many tunnels to the surface.
Commander Tuvok suggested
that we could modify the emitters,
so they could be fired from torpedo tubes
on your ship... implanted in the surface.
As soon as the miners
realized what we were doing, they'd attack.
l could provide cover from my ship.
But you're right, we'd have to work quickly.
We could route power to the emitters
directly from the core.
They have a permanent energy supply.
Good idea.
lf we do what you're suggesting, people are going to be hurt.
This is your home.
The miners have no right to force you out.
l agree,
-but fighting? -l don't like it, either,
but at some point you have to stand up for yourselves.
How do you know there won't be someone else
to terrorize you the next place you go?!
You know he's right.
No one has worked harder to build this place than you.
lsn't it worth defending?
Wait for my com call.
As soon as the last emitter's in place,
start routing power to the grid.
You're scared, aren't you?
Be careful.
l will.
Oxilon to Neelix.
The emitters are loaded.
We're ready.
l'll see you soon.
Two more, and we're done.
We're moving into position for the next one.
The miners' ship is on an intercept course.
Evasive maneuvers!
They're targeting our shields.
l'll deal with them.
Just focus on your job.
All right, Mr. Vulcan, let's see if you were right about me.
Neelix, you have to hurry.
Just one more emitter, and you can activate the shield.
Neelix to Oxilon.
My weapons are off-line.
We're not in position yet.
You have to get there.
They're going to launch another charge.
Neelix, what are you doing?
Don't worry about me.
Just get ready to bring the grid on line.
Delta Flyer to Neelix.
Are you all right?
Fine, Captain, but you shouldn't be here.
You're violating the Prime Directive.
We're just helping a friend in distress.
Dexa to Neelix.
The shield's holding.
You did it.
We did it.
Captain's Log, Stardate 54868.6.
Commander Nocona seems to have given up
his attempts to penetrate the Talaxians' shield.
Voyager's ready to get underway,
but we're giving Mr. Neelix time
to say a difficult good-bye to his new friends.
We're grateful for everything you've done.
l'm just happy things worked out.
And l'm glad that l could spend some time here...
with all of you.
l'd better go.
Stay here.
He can't, Brax.
He has responsibilities on Voyager.
l promise l'll stay in touch as long as l can.
Come in.
What are you working on?
A report on proto-humanoid cultures...
for Commander Chakotay's paleontology class.
Need some help?
l'm almost finished.
Do you have time for a game of Kadis-Kot?
l have to get up early.
l guess you'd better get to sleep then.
Do you want me to tuck you in?
Tell you a bedtime story?
You haven't done that in years.
Just think of all the stories you've missed.
Thanks, Neelix, but l can put myself to bed.
l'm not a little girl anymore.
l didn't think anyone else stayed up this late.
Well, l wouldn't want you to have coffee all by yourself.
Have a seat.
l've been thinking about something.
lt's a little hard to put into words.
l haven't really made a decision yet,
and of course,
l would never ignore my responsibilities on Voyager.
Of course not.
l take them very seriously.
l know you do.
l've been thinking about something, too.
Maybe you could help me.
l'd be happy to.
lt's an idea l'd need to talk to Starfleet Command about.
lt must be important.
lt is.
Now that we've established
two-way communication with Earth...
it seems to me Starfleet could use a permanent Ambassador
in the Delta Quadrant.
This ambassador would have to stay
in frequent contact with Voyager.
lt would be difficult for me to run this ship
without you, Neelix.
But that might be a sacrifice l'd be willing to make...
for the greater good of Starfleet.
Of course, the assignment would be entirely voluntary.
You wouldn't be interested, would you?
and good luck, Ambassador.
Mr. Neelix.
Live long and prosper.

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