Thank you.
Oh, you look like a man who could use more coffee.
Keep it coming.
l'm working on my monthly ops report.
So much has happened in the last few weeks on this ship,
l'm going to be up all night.
This firenut blend should keep your eyes open.
Potent stuff. Thanks.
- Neelix. - Yes.
l know you have your hands full this evening,
but l could use your help.
At your service, Commander.
We're approaching a class- 1 nebula.
Sensors are picking up traces of protomatter inside.
l understand you've dealt with it before.
Absolutely, when l was making my living as a trader.
Protomatter's one of the most sought- after commodities.
lt's the best energy source in the Quadrant.
Well, we could use
your expertise in collecting a sample.
We're leaving at 1400.
See you in the shuttle bay?
l'll be there, sir.
These nutritional supplements are unacceptable.
What's wrong?
They are pungent.
That's the whole idea.
l've been adding Talaxian spices
to broaden your palate.
My palate is sufficiently broad.
Why settle for"sufficient"?
The Doctor tells me
you have a full complement of taste buds.
You've hardly begun to use them.
Come by the Mess Hall Thursday night.
lt's the first day of Prixin.
We'll have an impressive array of exotic cuisine.
The Talaxian celebration of family.
We observe it every year on Voyager.
Now that you're part of the family...
What should l do to prepare?
lt's not a mission, Seven.
lt's a party!
Ensign Wildman to Neelix.
Uh, Neelix here.
l hate to bother you,
but Naomi's having trouble getting to sleep again.
Would you mind?
No bother at all. l'm on my way.
lf you'll excuse me, duty calls.
"Naomi"-- l don't recall that designation
on the crew manifest.
That's because she's not a member of the crew.
Naomi was the first child born on Voyager.
l'm her godfather
and the only one that can get her to sleep lately.
Bon appetit.
No monsters here.
Check the replicator.
Naomi, maybe Neelix should check your room
so you can go to bed.
ln there.
Nobody here.
Ah, there's not a monster in sight.
Can you stay longer?
l'm afraid to go to sleep.
Honey, Neelix has to go to work.
Oh, it's all right.
You know what l think about when l'm afraid to go to sleep?
No. What?
The Great Forest.
What's that?
lt's a place my people believe
we're all going to go to someday.
lt's a beautiful, beautiful forest filled with sunlight
and all the people who ever loved me are gathered there
to watch over me as l sleep, to protect me.
Mm- hmm, and when l think about that forest and those people,
l'm not afraid to sleep anymore.
Do you think those people watch over me, too?
l know they do.
Now, l'm going to be away for the next couple of days,
so if you're afraid to sleep,
l want you to think of that Great Forest.
All right.
Pleasant dreams.
Night, Neelix.
Thank you.
l didn't realize you were home.
l was regenerating.
l see.
Do you require assistance?
No, no, no, l have a small
containment cylinder stored here.
l'll just be a minute.
Little cylinder, where are you?
Cylinder, you were here a month ago.
Now, l know you didn't just roll
out of the airlock all by yourself.
Now, where are you?
l'm sorry.
l'm talking to myself.
lt's my way of remembering things.
You are a peculiar creature, Neelix.
l think.
Ah! Here it is.
Oh, this will be perfect
for containing a small amount of protomatter.
Last time l used this little wonder,
l nearly lost it to the Kazon.
The Kazon-- Species 329.
You're familiar with them.
The Borg encountered a Kazon colony
in the Gand sector.
Grid 6920.
Were they assimilated?
Their biological and technological distinctiveness
was unremarkable.
They were unworthy of assimilation.
l didn't realize the Borg were so discriminating.
Why assimilate a species
that would detract from perfection?
Good point.
Well, um, if you'll excuse me, l'm needed in the shuttle bay.
One day a week-- that's all l ask.
How hard can it be?
Harder than you think.
Neelix, it's pizza!
Bread, tomatoes, cheese.
The cheese alone would take days.
Separating curds and whey from synthesized milk--
it's a delicate process.
So replicate the cheese!
Since it means so much to you, l'll see what l can do.
There's a concentration of protomatter directly ahead.
Set the transporter for 10, 000 AMUs.
Not a particle more.
The containment field is standing by.
We're in range.
What happened?
The transporter beam ignited the protomatter.
Shields are weakening.
Disengage transport.
Shields are down!
l've got the sample, Commander, and it's stable.
Let's get out of...
We're clear of the protomatter.
How's Neelix?
He's dead.
No heartbeat.
No synaptic response.
Extensive cell damage to his brain.
Try a cortical stimulator.
lt won't work.
His neural pathways were disrupted by the protomatter.
Set the stimulator for an autonomic bypass.
At least, we can get his vitals going.
lt's too late for that.
The damage was too severe.
We're running into more protomatter.
l need your help.
Captain's Log, Stardate 51449. 2.
After receiving a distress call from Commander Chakotay,
we've sent a beacon into the nebula
and we're in the process of tracking down the away team.
Captain, l'm detecting a shuttle.
Hail them.
No response.
The shuttle's primary systems are off- line.
Life signs, only two.
Are they within transporter range?
Beam them directly to Sick Bay.
Harry, put a tractor on the shuttlecraft.
Tuvok, you've got the Bridge.
l ran a complete postmortem analysis.
There was nothing you could have done.
l knew we were too close to the protomatter.
l should have said something.
Nobody could have predicted this, Tom.
How shall l...
The Talaxians mourn their dead for a full week
in a specific burial ceremony.
And that's just what we're going to do.
l'll inform the crew.
l'll check Neelix's personal data base--
see what l can find out about the ceremony.
We'll have it in the Mess Hall.
Somehow that feels appropriate.
Neelix is dead.
l'm afraid so.
His neural pathways-- are they intact?
Yes, but there's no metabolic activity.
How long has he been dead?
Seven, l understand...
How long?
lt's been 18 hours.
Then it's not too late to reactivate him.
What are you saying--
that you can bring Neelix back to life?
That's precisely what l'm saying.
The Borg have assimilated species
with far greater medical knowledge than your own.
We are capable of reactivating drones
as much as 73 hours after what you would call"death."
Neelix wasn't a Borg drone.
We will adapt.
What does this"procedure" involve?
Nanoprobes are used to reverse cellular necrosis,
while the cerebral cortex is stimulated
with a neuroelectric iso- pulse.
But there's nothing left to stimulate.
His brain functions are gone.
By your narrow definition perhaps, but not by mine.
You will extract 70 micrograms of nanoprobes
from my bloodstream.
l will modify them
to match his Talaxian physiology.
His function in this crew is diverse.
lf you wish to salvage him, we must proceed immediately.
l say we let her try.
Hold on a minute, Tom, please.
No one's ever been resuscitated after being dead for 18 hours.
lf this procedure does work,
what are the chances that Neelix would come out of it unaffected?
She's right.
The damage to his cerebral cortex was severe.
The nanoprobes will compensate for any cellular degradation.
Captain, a decision has to be made quickly.
Doctor, give Seven whatever assistance she needs.
- Captain... - Do it.
lf there's a chance we can revive Neelix,
we've got to take it.
Keep me informed.
The nanoprobes are ready. We should begin.
Hold on, l want to check his blood viscosity.
The cadaver has been sufficiently prepared.
And they say l have a lousy bedside manner.
Set neuroelectric iso- pulses for one- second intervals.
Neural activity at nine percent...
10 percent...
12 percent.
This is incredible!
His intracerebral blood pressure,
his synaptic responses--
they're all returning to normal.
The alveoli in his lung are regenerating.
They should be functional...
Neural activity at 52 percent and rising.
His neurotransmitter levels are rising too fast.
We must stabilize his motor neurons.
l'm going to try reducing his acetylcholine levels.
lt might be enough to...
What happened?
Why am...
why am l here?
For 18 hours 49 minutes, 13 seconds.
Congratulations, Mr. Neelix.
You've just set a new world record.
That's impossible.
You mean, l lost consciousness.
l- l was, l was in a coma.
You were dead.
l'm stunned. l'm amazed.
l- l'm grateful. Thank you, Doctor.
Actually, you can thank Seven of Nine.
The procedure was her idea.
The Borg assimilated the technique from Species 149.
l simply modified it.
But you are welcome.
Am l good as new?
That remains to be seen.
There's no way to tell if your body
will successfully take over the functions
the nanoprobes are serving.
lt was necessary to repair the necrotized tissue.
Until l'm certain the damaged tissue
can function independently, you'll have to be injected
with nanoprobes on a daily basis.
Well, as long as l don't start, uh, assimilating the crew
or sprouting Borg implants...
l'm sure l can live with it.
l'm releasing you to your quarters.
Your body's been through quite a shock
so try to get some rest.
Report to Sick Bay tomorrow morning
at 0800 hours for your next injection.
The shuttle mission-- was it a success?
Did we get the protomatter?
l'm afraid not.
The sample you collected destabilized
before it got back to Voyager.
The containment field needs to be reinforced next time.
lf there is a next time.
l've asked Chakotay to find out exactly
what caused the accident,
and unless we can take additional precautions,
l'm not sending another team into that nebula.
l could help with that investigation.
No. You are taking some time off
and that's an order.
No, Captain, please
l don't need any special treatment.
Neelix, you've just returned from the dead.
Go easy on yourself.
l suppose you're right.
But you can't ask me to cancel the first night of Prixin.
The celebration is in three days.
Oh, l almost forgot.
l've been aging fruit compote in moolt nectar for weeks now.
l- l can't just let it go to waste.
Only if you feel up to it.
But could you not ferment those compotes
so long this time?
Because last year, l got a little light- headed.
l'll make the necessary adjustments.
lt's good to have you back.
lt's good to be back, Captain.
why weren't you there?
Human attitudes toward death are perplexing.
How so?
Too much importance is placed on it.
There seem to be countless rituals and cultural beliefs
designed to alleviate their fear of a simple, biological truth--
all organisms eventually perish.
l take it the Borg have no fear of that biological truth.
None. When a drone is damaged beyond repair, it is discarded,
but its memories continue to exist
in the collective consciousness.
To use a human term, the Borg are"immortal."
You are no longer part of the collective.
You are mortal now, like the rest of us.
Does that disturb you?
My connection to the Borg has been severed,
but the collective still possesses my recollections,
my experiences.
ln a sense, l will always exist.
That must be a great relief.
lt is.
l've sealed the fractures in the shuttle nacelle.
The rest of the repairs should be completed by morning.
Good. How are you coming?
l found a small phase variance in the transporter logs.
l think it was responsible for igniting the protomatter.
l've remodulated the transporter beam to compensate.
Good work.
l'll be in Holodeck 2.
l've created a simulation of the shuttle accident
to see if there's anything we've overlooked.
Commander, l thought you might need
some assistance on the holodeck.
lf you're feeling up to it.
Well, l'm up to anything at this point.
l've been resting for two days straight
and resting makes me feel, well, restless.
l've programmed the simulation
to start when we found the protomatter.
Why don't you monitor the containment field readings?
Computer, display shuttle crew--
excluding myself-- and begin program.
There's a concentration of protomatter directly ahead.
Set the transporter for 10, 000 AMUs.
Not a particle more.
The containment field is standing by.
We're in range.
The transporter beam ignited the protomatter.
Computer, freeze program.
lt looks like there was a problem
with the pattern buffer.
lt might have created a feedback loop
along the transporter beam.
Sounds right.
Let's keep an eye on it.
See what happened at the moment of impact.
Computer, resume program.
Shields are weakening.
Shields are down!
l've got the sample, Commander, and it's stable.
Let's get out of...
Computer, freeze program.
l died, and there was nothing.
There was no one there.
No forest.
The Great Forest.
The afterlife.
l was taught that when l died, my ancestors would be there
waiting for me by the Guiding Tree.
My sisters, my mother and father, my cousins...
everyone who was killed in the war.
l took great comfort
in knowing that we'd all be together again one day,
but it's not true.
Maybe we pulled you back before any of that could happen.
l was dead for 18 hours.
l should have...
experienced something.
l should remember something!
lt's just a story.
A myth.
There is no Guiding Tree.
No gathering of the ancestors.
You can't be certain of that.
Don't throw away a lifetime of faith
because of one anomalous incident.
Death is still the greatest mystery there is.
l was there.
l experienced it.
There was nothing.
Computer, delete characters.
That's what's going to happen to all of us.
Like a hologram-- we just disappear into nothing.
Attention. Attention.
lf l may have everyone's attention.
You might want to try
the old"glass and spoon" approach.
"Glass and spoon"?
Excuse me.
Thank you.
Welcome to the first night of Prixin--
the Talaxian observance of familial allegiance.
This year, Mr. Neelix has requested
that l commence the celebration
with the traditional salutation.
"We do not stand alone.
"We are in the arms of family.
"Father, mother,
"sister, brother,
"father's father,
"father's mother,
"father's brother,
"mother's brother...
Suffice to say, the list is extensive.
"We gather on this day to extol the warmth and joy
"of those unshakable bonds.
"Without them, we could not call ourselves complete.
"On this day, we are thankful to be together.
We do not stand alone."
lndeed, we do not.
Here, here.
A few days ago, we almost lost a member of our family.
l don't know how the rest of you feel,
but it scared the hell out of me.
you still don't know how to make a pizza...
but l'm glad you're here.
So am l.
Here's to you, Neelix.
Thank you, everyone.
Computer, music.
You all right?
Fine, Commander, fine.
l apologize for the other day on the holodeck.
l guess this whole"back from the dead" thing
is hard to get used to.
l'm fine now.
lf you ever want to talk, you know where to find me.
Having fun?
That's probably
because you've been standing here by yourself.
l don't understand the rules and procedures
for this type of... social occasion.
The rules are simple.
Choose a group of people.
Listen to their conversation.
Then when you feel
like you have something to contribute, chime in.
"Chime in"?
You say something.
Join the discussion.
l will try, Captain.
The early stages of Ktarian development
are astounding.
Naomi has grown five centimeters since her last physical
and that was only three weeks ago.
lt seems like every time l turn around,
l'm recycling her clothes back into the replicator.
Children assimilated by the Borg
are placed in maturation chambers
for 17 cycles.
Well, if you'll excuse me, l need to go talk to Neelix.
ln these maturation chambers,
the development of conversational skills
is, l suppose, a low priority?
l'm sorry.
No, no, no, it's all right.
We haven't seen you in a few days.
l've been a little preoccupied.
l understand.
Naomi's been asking about you.
She misses you, and, frankly, so do l.
She's had trouble sleeping every night this week.
"Only Neelix can tuck me in."
"l want Neelix."
lt sounds familiar.
Maybe you could stop by later just to say hello.
Why don't...
why don't l go now?
lt's close to Naomi's bedtime.
Are you sure?
Prixin's your favorite holiday.
Yes, but duty calls.
Attention, all monsters.
Get out of this room!
My bed!
Oh, there's no monsters here.
lt's a monster!
Scared you!
You certainly did.
Pleasant dreams, sweeting.
Can you stay longer?
l want to hear about the Great Forest again.
The Great Forest?
The special place.
The place you think about when you can't sleep.
Are you sure you want to hear about that?
lt's just a silly old story.
it's a beautiful place,
filled with sunlight...
And all the people who ever loved me.
Yes. They've all gathered there...
to watch over you, to protect you while you sleep.
l had a dream about the Great Forest last night.
You did?
There was trees,
and grass,
and animals.
And l saw you and Mommy
and we were all happy.
Sounds like a nice dream.
lt was beautiful.
The Doctor asked me to run a hematological scan.
To regulate the dosage of nanoprobes
for your next injection.
Go ahead.
How much longer will l be needing these injections?
Until your damaged cells can function on their own.
l don't really like the idea of Borg technology
swimming around inside me.
That is irrelevant.
You need the nanoprobes to live.
Oh, is that what l am doing right now, living?
l'm beginning to wonder.
By most definitions, you are alive.
Well, part of me isn't alive.
Which part are you referring to?
l don't know, but something is missing.
l don't feel like Neelix anymore.
Maybe Neelix is gone.
Maybe he died and l'm all that's left.
Stop moving and allow me to complete the scan.
l- l didn't ask to be brought back!
You were dead at the time.
Well, what right did you have to violate me?
You Borg think you can fix anything,
but you didn't fix me!
There was no alternative.
Just get out.
Just leave me alone!
l said get out!
l would be negligent in my duties if l did that.
l don't care about your duties!
l don't care...
what's happening to me?
Your cells are reverting to a necrotic state.
We must get you to Sick Bay.
His tissue began rejecting the nanoprobes,
causing spontaneous necrosis throughout his body.
We modified the nanoprobes to compensate
and it appears to be working--
Neelix is stable... for now.
How do we know this won't happen again?
We don't. l've designed a monitor for Neelix to wear
that will alert us at the first sign of necrosis
and we'll continue with the daily injections.
Beyond that, l'm afraid it's a...
matter of maintenance.
He may have to live with this condition
for the rest of his life.
He wants to speak with you, Commander. said if l ever needed anything.
You once told me your people had technology
that can induce a deep meditation--
an altered state of consciousness.
The akoonah.
That this device allows you to look inside yourself,
ask questions that you might otherwise be afraid to ask.
That's right.
That's what l need.
l need to look inside myself...
figure out what's happening to me.
l need answers.
Will you help me, Commander?
All right...
but l want you to understand
the vision quest isn't a quick fix.
lt'll take time to interpret the images
and there's no guarantee
you'll find what you're looking for.
l understand.
What should l do to prepare?
You'll need a medicine bundle.
ltems that define you, things that will ground you,
allow you to take the journey into yourself.
l'll get ready.
This belonged to my sister, Alixia.
She made it during our expedition
to the Dunes of Talmouth.
A flower from Kes's garden.
And last, but not least, the Guiding Tree.
lt stands at the center of Talaxian afterlife,
deep inside the Great Forest.
lt's there to help us find our way
when we first arrive.
At least, that's what l used to believe.
Not a very impressive medicine bundle, is it?
lt'll do fine.
Now, place your hand on the akoonah.
Am l doing this right?
Try to relax.
Clear your mind of everything but the objects before you.
Focus on them. Nothing else exists.
Ah- koo- chee- moya.
We are far from the sacred places
of our grandfathers.
We are far from the bones of our people.
We come here seeking guidance.
lt's time, Neelix.
Try to leave this room, this ship...
and go to a place where you were
the most peaceful and content you have ever been.
That's where your journey will begin.
Neelix...good to have you back.
lt's- it's good to be back, Lieutenant.
Alixia, it's me, Neelix!
Over here.
Captain! My sister--
she was just standing here talking to you.
The dead girl.
Oh, yes. Very charming.
l can see the family resemblance.
You will be assimilated.
No time for that now. Maybe later.
Potent stuff.
lt''s beautiful.
Yes. lt's just like you always imagined it would be.
The trees, the sunlight,
and all the people who ever loved you.
When l died, l looked for you, but you weren't there.
Why weren't you there?
Because it's all a lie.
What do you mean?
You've wasted your entire life believing lies.
The"Great Forest."
lt's all created out of your fear of death.
None of it's real.
lf that's true, what's the point of living?
There isn't any.
That's what you're finally starting to realize.
l'm afraid to go to sleep.
Tell me about the Great Forest, Neelix.
Tell me about the trees and the grass
and all the people who loved you.
Why are you saying these things?
Scared you!
You died on that shuttlecraft, Neelix.
They never should have brought you back.
lt was a mistake and you know it.
Now accept it.
You know what you have to do.
lt's all a lie. They lied to you.
You know what you have to do.
We gather on this day to tell Neelix what he must do.
You stand alone.
Life is irrelevant.
Let go.
lt's pointless.
lt's a lie.
You know what you have to do.
Oh, there you are. l didn't see you.
Are you looking for me?
Yes, as a matter of fact, l am.
l hope l'm not disturbing you.
You are not.
l want to apologize for my outburst the other day
in the Mess Hall.
No apology is necessary.
No. No, please, my behavior was uncalled for.
l didn't mean the things l said.
l wasn't myself.
But l feel much better now.
Commander Chakotay has helped me to...
understand a few things.
l want you to know that l don't blame you
for bringing me back.
To life, l mean.
ln fact, what you did was very thoughtful.
l would have done the same for any member of this crew.
Yes. l'm sure you would have.
ls there something else?
Seven, l think you've made
a wonderful addition to this crew.
l know it's been difficult for you
making the transition from Borg back to human.
Or half human.
Or whatever it is you've become.
Actually, you're just plain Seven to me.
Your point, Mr. Neelix.
l guess l just want to say...
you're surrounded by people who care about you.
And whether you know it or not,
Voyager is going to be a very good home to you.
lt certainly was to me.
Do you intend to leave?
Leave? No. l'll be around.
good- bye.
Good- bye.
What happened to you this morning?
l'm sorry l had to cancel our little chat,
but l was needed in the Mess Hall.
l've been so busy the last few days
l let things slip around here.
You're not holding up your end of the bargain.
What do you mean?
When you asked me to guide you on a vision quest l agreed,
but l also told you it was part of an ongoing process.
We're supposed to be discussing your progress.
What's left to say?
l've told you--
l saw my sister, the Great Forest.
l feel a sense of peace
l've never felt in my entire life.
lt worked.
You've only lived with the visions
for a couple of days.
That's not enough time to draw any conclusions.
You've got to reflect on the images, examine them.
Allow them to stay alive in your mind.
A vision quest isn't just a dream you dismiss
after your first cup of coffee.
l understand.
l get off duty at 1400 hours.
Meet me in my quarters and we'll begin.
That's an order.
Yes, sir.
Computer, lights off.
And finally, Mr. Tuvok...
l'm grateful for the opportunity l had to win your respect.
Your strength and your wisdom were an inspiration to me
and l can only hope that your memory of me
will serve to inspire you in some way.
lt was an honor to spend my last years on Voyager with this crew.
l want to thank all of you
for your kindness and companionship.
Good- bye.
Computer, end log and code for delivery
to Captain Janeway in one hour.
Captain, someone's trying to initiate
an unauthorized transport.
lt's Neelix.
Where's he going?
Looks like he's trying to beam into the nebula.
Stop him.
Janeway to Neelix.
Neelix, respond.
Neelix, l order you to disengage transport.
He's found a way to block the abort sequence.
Transport's in progress.
Override it! Get him back.
Bridge to Chakotay.
We've blocked his transporter signal.
You can slow me down, but you can't stop me.
What are you trying to do?
l'm going back where l belong.
You belong here, Neelix.
Not anymore.
l died in that nebula.
You should've left me.
- Neelix... - No closer!
l've created a site- to- site transport.
No one can override the signal.
You told me you were at peace.
l will be... as soon as l tap this control.
What really happened in your vision quest?
What did you see?
My sister, the crew, myself.
They all told me the same thing--
there's no point in living, and l agree with them.
l'm sure those were powerful images,
but there are many ways to interpret them.
You may be coming face- to- face with your own fear of death.
Or the manifestation of your emotional crisis.
Your deepest beliefs have been thrown into doubt.
lt's only natural the vision quest would reflect that.
11 years ago, l saw my world in ruins...
my family murdered.
All that's kept me going
is knowing that one day we'd be together again.
That l'd see them again.
But it's not true.
And l can't... live without that hope.
l understand how this
can change the way you look at things,
but it can also lead to an even stronger faith.
You don't know.
You're not there yet.
Ensign Wildman to Neelix.
Answer her!
Neelix, please respond.
You're being called back to your life again, Neelix.
Don't turn your back on it.
We're your family now.
lt's not enough.
lt is for us.
"His function on this crew is diverse."
That's what Seven of Nine said about you.
Even our Borg understands how important
you are on this ship.
lt's not just the duties you perform.
lt's the way you make people feel when you're around.
That Neelix is gone.
l don't think he is.
Why didn't you answer me?
l had to have the computer track you down.
Naomi thought she saw a monster in the replicator.
Neelix, what's going on?
l'm trying to decide some things.
That little girl needs you, Neelix.
Monsters in the replicator?
Who else on this ship can handle that?
Duty calls.
Good night, sir.
He says good night.
Good night, Naomi.
Good night.
What's the matter?
Mommy says you were sick.
l was, but l'm okay now.
Did a monster get you?
Yes, l suppose so.
But l chased him away.
Pleasant dreams.

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