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Star Trek: Voyager episode
"Equinox"
Equinox (ST- VOY).jpg
Episode no. 120 & 121
Prod. code 220 & 221
Airdate May 26, 1999
September 22, 1999
Writer(s) Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky
Director David Livingston
Guest star(s) John Savage as Captain Rudy Ransom
Year 2375
Stardate Unknown
Episode chronology
Previous "Warhead"
Next "Survival Instinct"

"Equinox" is a two-part episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the cliffhanger between the fifth and sixth seasons. Each half has an average rating of 4.6/5 on the official Star Trek website as of September, 2009.

Contents

Plot

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Part 1

Voyager receives a hail from the Federation Starship USS Equinox, and Janeway immediately decides to go investigate. When Voyager reaches the Equinox they find it in bad shape, and a hail from the ship’s captain, Rudy Ransom, pleads with them to extend their shields around his ship. Upon accomplishing this, Janeway goes on an away mission with Seven of Nine and a few others to find out how and why another Federation ship ended up in the Delta Quadrant. When they beam aboard the Equinox, they find it in pretty poor shape. A scan of one of the corpses on the bridge reveals that they were attacked by some entity that was able to affect them on a cellular level. After searching the Equinox further, they find a few survivors as well as a heavily modified ship’s engine. The battered crew of the Equinox are surprised that there are other Starfleet officers in the Delta Quadrant, having thought themselves to be the only ones in that region of space.

Following a funeral held on Voyager for those who died on the Equinox, Janeway announces that the Equinox’s crew will be joining Voyager, at least until repairs on the Equinox can be completed. The new members of Voyager acquaint themselves with the Equinox and its crew, and start the process of attempting to repair the Equinox, which Chakotay estimates will take a few weeks.

Scans by Seven of Nine reveal that the aliens that had attacked the Equinox are weakening Voyager’s shield. Estimates point out that Voyager’s shields will run out in under two days, so Janeway and the others begin to plot an offensive tactic to scare off the nucleogenic lifeforms. Janeway and Ransom discuss personal leadership styles – ranging from maintaining protocol to willingness to break the Prime Directive.

The nucleogenic lifeforms begin attacking a single portion of Voyager’s shields, and consequently break through the shields far earlier than expected. In a staff meeting, Seven of Nine and Janeway reveal that they have found a way to protect the ship against the aliens, having created a technology that will instantly trap them. Janeway and the other captain have a confrontation over whether or not the Equinox’s crew should abandon their ship and defensive efforts be focused solely on Voyager. Chakotay and Harry Kim set about the process of stripping Equinox of anything useful and with the help of the Equinox’s crew, begin to compile a list of useful materials. Meanwhile, the members of the Equinox have a secret meeting, during which it becomes clear that they plan to steal Voyager’s technology, return to the Equinox, and leave Voyager behind. Seven of Nine discovers that the crew of the Equinox are intentionally preventing access to a particular part of the ship, so Janeway opts to send in the Doctor to investigate.

The Doctor finds that the crew of the Equinox were actually harvesting the aliens that had been attacking the ship in order to convert them into a source of power. Meanwhile the crew of the Equinox begin final preparations for taking Voyager’s technology when they are apprehended by Voyager security forces. In an exchange between Janeway and the other captain, it is revealed that he and his crew killed dozens of different aliens in order to harvest energy, and would need to harvest 63 more to get home to the Alpha Quadrant. Janeway relieves the other captain of his position and confines all four crewmen to their quarters. Janeway attempts to make peace with the alien life forms by taking the Equinox’s engines offline. The Doctor heads to the Equinox’s medical bay and after finding himself unable to decrypt a particular file, activates the Equinox’s EMH. The EMH announces that he knew all about the crews actions because he designed them. Before the Doctor can react, he removes the mobile holo emitter from the Doctor.

While the aliens step up their attacks on Voyager, the EMH from the Equinox impersonates the Doctor and sneaks two phasers to the Equinox crew. The Equinox crew breaks free and transports to the Equinox’s bridge. With time running out for Voyager, Janeway makes a plea to the Equinox and its crew to stop and threatens to open fire. The Equinox crew uses their transporter to steal Voyager’s shield generator, protecting the Equinox while exposing Voyager to the alien attacks.

Part 2

Voyager takes heavy damage and suffers two fatalities (unnamed crewmembers are reported dead) in the first wave of the alien’s attack. The Equinox, with the knowledge that Voyager is under attack, continues its course back to the Alpha Quadrant. While recovering from the first wave, it becomes clear that the EMH from the Equinox is still aboard Voyager. He attempts to blend in and starts to tend to the wounded. On the Equinox, the captain attempts to convince Seven of Nine to join his crew, but she is unwilling to join. They begin to treat Seven’s injuries and find the Doctor in the medical bay, who is informed that he too is a captive. When the Equinox attempts to bring its enhanced warp drives online, they find the drive has been encoded. Following Seven’s unwillingness to divulge the codes, the crew of the Equinox deletes the Doctor’s ethical subroutines so that he will probe Seven’s mind for the answers.

Janeway attempts to convince the aliens that Voyager is not a threat, but the aliens either do not understand or do not care. Chakotay questions Janeway’s desire to hunt down the Equinox, and she announces that she will do whatever it takes to bring the captain of the Equinox to justice. The Equinox hides in a region of space in which it will be harder to find them. The Doctor, now a bona fide psychopath, begins to probe Seven’s mind for the codes, but is going to destroy her mind in the process. The captain makes an impassioned plea for Seven to divulge the codes of her own volition, but she is again unwilling to do so.

Janeway begins her search for the Equinox and studies the captain’s biography to discern what his next course of action will be. They find the Equinox, and after taking out the away team, the EMH on Voyager warns his captain that Janeway has discovered them, and both sides prepare for battle. They do a fair amount of damage to each other before Voyager completely disables the Equinox’s weaponry. They flee and Voyager follows, but must ultimately break off their pursuit. While the Equinox jumps to warp, Voyager must stop to make repairs. Janeway begins a somewhat questionable interrogation of the captured Equinox crewman. Chakotay objects and rescues the crewman – which deeply affects their relationship. Janeway temporarily relieves him of duty and continues in her efforts to find the Equinox via the aliens that initially introduced the Equinox to the nucleogenic lifeforms. When they are finally able to establish communication with the aliens, Janeway eventually convinces them to stop attacking Voyager if she will give them the Equinox – she agrees.

The Doctor continues in his dissection of Seven’s brain, and the stress of killing begins to take its toll on the Equinox’s captain. The captain decides that it is time to give themselves up, but his first officer sets a mutiny in motion and prepares to attack Voyager. The first officer contacts the EMH to sabotage Voyager from within. The now deposed captain contacts Voyager and transports most of the crew to Voyager. The Doctor comes back to Voyager’s medical bay and deletes the rogue EMH and informs the Equinox that they will no longer have help. The Equinox’s captain disables shields and the nucleogenic lifeforms move in for the kill. To protect Voyager from the Equinox’s explosion, the captain pilots it alone to a safe distance. Janeway reinstates Chakotay to second in command and the Doctor confirms that no permanent damage was done to Seven, who harbors no ill will towards him. Seven comments she will help The Doctor to establish security codes to prevent deletion of his ethical sub-routines in the future. Janeway strips the rank of all the former members of Equinox, but integrates them into her crew, although with severe restrictions.

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