(written from a Production point of view)
|VOY, Episode 1x01|
Production number: 101 (721)
First aired: 16 January 1995
|1st of 168 produced in VOY||→|
|1st of 168 released in VOY||→|
|←||343rd of 728 released in all||→|
|A feature-length episode|
Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor
Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor
The newly commissioned starship Voyager and a Maquis raider are flung into the remote Delta Quadrant by a powerful entity known as the Caretaker. (Series Premiere)
- Some consider them heroes, but to the governments of the Federation and Cardassia, they are outlaws.
Weapons fire streaks through space as a Cardassian warship attacks a much smaller vessel with phasers. Piloting the small vessel, Maquis leader Chakotay is desperately trying to hold his ship together and get the impulse engines power steady. Chakotay asks his half-Klingon half-Human engineer, B'Elanna Torres, to be creative; Torres replies that it is hard to be creative with 39-year-old rebuilt engines. The Cardassian commander, Gul Evek, hails the ship, telling them to stand down. Chakotay ignores him and tells Torres that if she can keep his engines going for thirty more seconds at full impulse, he will get them into the Badlands. Torres says that she can get enough power to the engines if they shut down the weapons systems. Tuvok, a Vulcan officer, advises against that, but Torres retorts that their weapons are having no effect on the warship's shields. Chakotay concurs with his engineer. Tuvok shuts down the phasers and Chakotay orders the last photon torpedoes fired so that they can use the power from that system. The Maquis vessel soars into the plasma storms with the Cardassian warship in close pursuit. Chakotay's piloting skills are sufficient to avoid the funnels of energy in the Badlands; however, the Cardassian ship is less lucky and is severely damaged. Tuvok informs Chakotay that the Cardassian ship is sending out a distress call on all Cardassian frequencies. Chakotay relaxes and sets a course for a planet where they can make repairs when a bright flash erupts through the ship. Tuvok reports that they passed through a coherent tetryon beam from an unknown source and that a massive displacement wave is rapidly approaching. Chakotay tries to maneuver his ship away from the wave, asking Torres if there is anything left in the impulse engines. The Maquis ship begins to move away, but the displacement wave impacts the ship.
Act One Edit
In the Federation Penal Settlement in New Zealand on Earth, several inmates wearing ankle monitors are performing labor. One man's work is interrupted when an authoritative-looking woman approaches him and asks, "Tom Paris?" The man glances up at her and she introduces herself as Kathryn Janeway. She states that she served with his father on the Al-Batani and that she would like to speak with him about a job she wants him to do. He sarcastically replies that he is already doing a job for the Federation, but Janeway says that the Rehab Commission is very pleased with his work and has given her permission to discuss the matter with him. He replies, "Well, then I guess I'm yours."
As they walk together, Janeway informs Paris that she was his father's science officer on the Arias Expedition. Paris comments that she must be good, as his father only accepts the best and brightest. Janeway tells him that her mission is to track down a Maquis vessel that vanished in the Badlands a week previous. Paris advises against it, having never seen a Federation starship that could maneuver through the plasma storms; Janeway retorts by saying that he has never seen USS Voyager.
Paris infers that Janeway's motive is to have him lead the Federation to his former Maquis colleagues. Paris reminds Janeway that because he was only with them a few weeks, he didn't know many of their hiding places. Janeway replies that he knows the territory better than anyone in the Federation. Janeway informs Paris that her chief of security had infiltrated a Maquis ship and had not reported in some time. Paris muses that perhaps it was only the chief of security that disappeared. Janeway reveals that the ship was under the command of Chakotay, a former Starfleet officer.
Paris acknowledges that he knew Chakotay and that the two never got along. Paris says that the point of disagreement was that Chakotay left Starfleet "on principle," to defend his home colony, but he considered Paris a mercenary who joined "whoever would pay [his] bar bills," an accusation to which Paris admits. Paris concludes that he will help track down the Maquis, but asks what he has to gain from the venture. Janeway says that the Federation will help him at his next parole review. Janeway informs him that officially, he'd be a Starfleet observer, to which Paris replies that he's the best pilot Janeway could have. Janeway is firm about Paris' role and once the mission is over he'll be 'cut loose', causing Paris to agree with the rejoinder, "Story of my life."
A Betazoid female pilots a shuttle towards Deep Space 9 as Tom Paris, now clad in a fresh Starfleet uniform, walks up to her. Lieutenant Stadi focuses on flying the craft, but she livens up to Paris a little as he turns on the charm. He says that Stadi is changing his mind about Betazoids, because he always thought that they were warm and sensual. Stadi says that she can be warm and sensual, but Paris replies that she can, but just not to him. The conversation shifts as a sleek vessel comes into view at one of DS9's docking pylons. Stadi identifies it as their ship, the USS Voyager. She states that the ship is of the Intrepid-class, has a new variable warp nacelle configuration, giving it a sustainable cruising speed of warp 9.975; it has fifteen decks and a crew complement of 141. It is equipped with bio-neural circuitry. Paris inquires as to the circuitry, and as she flies around Voyager towards the shuttlebay, she informs Paris that the bio-neural circuitry speeds up response time in the computer.
On board Deep Space 9, Quark is trying to sell bright, rare crystals to a young Starfleet ensign. He tries to politely tell Quark he is not interested and says cadets were warned about Ferengi at the Academy. Upon hearing this, Quark starts to get upset that the Federation is spreading lies about the Ferengi and that he will make a formal protest to the Federation Council. Quark asks for the young ensign's name for the report, to which he replies, "Kim, Harry Kim." Ensign Kim offers to buy the whole tray of crystals in an effort to smooth things over. As Quark, who was faking his protest to make a sale, brings over the crystals and begins to negotiate, Paris interrupts and tells Ensign Kim that the crystals Quark is trying to sell him can be found on virtually any planet in the system and can be bought for little or nothing. Now knowing that Quark was trying to rip him off, Ensign Kim leaves with Tom Paris who says, "Didn't they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?"
Paris and Kim enter sickbay aboard Voyager and report to the chief medical officer. When Paris identifies himself, the doctor comments, "Ah, yes. The observer." When Paris comments that he seems to be observing some kind of problem now, the doctor says that he was a surgeon on Caldik Prime when Paris was stationed there, though they never met. He says his medical records have arrived and that the captain had asked if he were on board, saying that he should check in with her. Kim, sensing a tense situation, says that he hasn't yet paid his respects to the captain, either. The doctor says that perhaps it would be a good thing for a new operations officer to do. After they leave sickbay, Kim asks Paris what the story is between him and the CMO. Paris responds that he's gotten tired of telling it and that he's sure someone will be happy to tell him.
Meanwhile, Captain Janeway is in her ready room talking to her fiancé, Mark Johnson, on her LCARS terminal about her dog, who turns out to be pregnant. Janeway insists that the dog stays with him, leading him to reply, "Is this another 'love me, love my dog' demand?", to which Janeway quickly replies, "Yes." Janeway says they will be leaving as soon as she approves the system status reports. Johnson says he won't bother her anymore, leading Janeway to get on her knees in front of the terminal and says, "You never bother me, except the way I love to be bothered. Understand?" Saying that she'll see him in a few weeks, Janeway quickly asks Johnson to pick up her dog's doggie bed, which Johnson then says he already did – an hour ago.
After the connection closes, the door chimes. Paris and Kim enter. Janeway welcomes them aboard Voyager, to which Kim replies with a stiff, "Thank you, sir," standing at full attention, causing Paris to look at him curiously. Telling the nervous ensign to stand "at ease, before you sprain something," she lets him know that protocol aside, she doesn't like being addressed as "sir," to which Kim responds, "I'm sorry... ma'am." Janeway smiles and says that ma'am is acceptable in a crunch, but that she prefers "captain." She tells them they are getting ready to leave and she shows them to the bridge. Walking out onto the bridge, she introduces them to her first officer, Lieutenant Commander Cavit, who exchanges a hearty handshake with Kim and one with Paris reluctantly and only after Paris extends his hand first. Janeway shows Kim to the operations station and asks if he would like to take over. Kim responds, "Yes, ma'am," to which she replies, "It's not crunch time yet, Mr. Kim. I'll let you know when."
At a nod from Janeway, the first officer instructs Lt. Stadi to lay in their course and clear departure with Operations. After Stadi confirms this, they complete the pre-launch sequence and prepare for launch, which Janeway orders with "Engage." The dorsal light of the ship comes on, illuminating the ship's registration, and the ship departs.
Act Two Edit
With the ship under way, Paris heads down to the mess hall for some hot tomato soup. As he is ordering the soup from the replicator, he notices that Voyager's chief medical officer and Commander Cavit are looking at him with judgmental eyes, while talking to Kim. As Paris makes his way over to Kim's table, Cavit and the CMO make a hasty departure. When Paris finally sits down, he says to Kim, "There. You see, I told you it wouldn't take long." Paris then begins to tell Kim that it was true that he caused an accident which led to the deaths of three Starfleet officers and that he falsified reports. What led him to turn himself in and tell the truth despite the fact that he would have got away with it otherwise, Paris sarcastically remarks that it took "the three dead officers to come in the middle of the night and (teach) me the true meaning of Christmas.". Paris therefore confessed everything, and was promptly discharged from service... upon which he joined the Maquis, looking for a fight and yet he was arrested during his first assignment for them. Paris gets up to leave and says that he knows that Cavit and the CMO told him to stay away from him and that he should listen to them. As Paris walks away, Kim replies "I don't need anyone to choose my friends for me." Just then, Captain Janeway summons Paris and Kim to the bridge to inform them that the ship has reached the Badlands.
Voyager enters the volatile region. Janeway, Cavit, and Ensign Rollins are crowded around the tactical station trying to ascertain where the Maquis ship would be. With some assistance from Paris, the ship begins to head in. Shortly after, Ensign Kim's sensors read that a coherent tetryon beam is scanning the ship. Janeway asks Kim if he can identify the source of the beam, but he cannot. The sensors then find out that a displacement wave is quickly moving towards the ship. Cavit suggests that they may be able to disperse the wave with a graviton particle field. Janeway orders that it be done. It is later found that the field had no effect on the wave. Janeway orders Stadi to move the ship away from the wave at full impulse. However, the ship is unable to outrun it and the wave collides with Voyager.
After the ship has been released from the wave, it has suffered heavy damage. Janeway comes to and checks Cavit's pulse, only to find that he is dead. Stadi also did not survive. Janeway asks where they are. Harry Kim replies that if his sensors are working perfectly, they are 70,000 light years from the Badlands... Voyager has been transported to the Delta Quadrant, the other side of the galaxy.
Act Three Edit
As the crew begins to make repairs, Voyager finds the Maquis ship as well as an enormous array. Scans show that there is nobody aboard the Maquis ship and attempts to hail the array are unsuccessful. Just then, engineering contacts the bridge and informs Janeway that the chief engineer was also killed and that the ship is facing a possible warp core breach. Janeway heads down to engineering to help and orders Kim to see what the situation is in sickbay leaving Rollins to assume command of the bridge. Paris heads down with Kim as well. Adding to the list of casualties, Paris sees that the CMO and the entire medical staff were killed. Janeway makes it to engineering and finds out that there is a microfracture in the warp core and that a breach is imminent. In order to save the ship, Janeway orders the lock down of the magnetic constrictor and Lieutenant Joseph Carey warns Janeway that they may not be able to initialize the dilithium reaction and that it would make warp drive impossible. Janeway sees that there are not many other alternatives and orders that it be done. At the same time, Harry Kim orders the computer to "activate Emergency Medical Holographic Program" a holographic doctor designed as a supplement to the medical staff. The EMH appears, giving his default statement: "Please state the nature of the medical emergency." Kim replies that the ship's doctor is dead and that the hologram is the only medical officer on board the ship since the entire medical staff was killed too. The Doctor informs Kim and Paris that, as he is only intended to be used on a short-term basis, a replacement will be needed as soon as possible. Paris then informs the EMH that he will be stuck with them for a while.
Meanwhile, down in engineering, the warp core breach appears to have been averted. Janeway then orders that the magnetic constrictor be engaged. The pressure begins to stabilize. Just then, the ship is being scanned and people begin to disappear. Eventually, everyone disappears with the exception of The Doctor. Strangely enough, the crew finds themselves on a farm, with wheat and cattle. Soon after, a middle aged woman emerges from the farmhouse named "Aunt Adah" and asks the crew to come up to the house for some lemonade and sugar cookies. Janeway says that the crew shouldn't be fooled, since they have only been transported a hundred kilometers from Voyager and that they are actually inside the array with Ensign Kim confirming that everything around them are holograms. The crew is greeted by holographic projections of lively southerners.
Act Four Edit
Janeway orders that Kim and Paris find the holographic projector. As Kim scans with his tricorder, he finds strange readings coming from a barn.
A holographic projection of an attractive southern girl tries to pull Kim and Paris away from the barn, but is unsuccessful. Kim finds Vulcan and Human bio-signs in an unknown location. The southerners get a lot less friendly and start to attack Kim and Paris due to their curiosity. Janeway gets Kim's signal from his combadge and takes the crew she has with her to the barn. They arrive, to find Paris and Kim being threatened with a pitchfork by Aunt Adah. She says that she hoped the crew would do things the easy way but she sees that that will not work. A giant door opens to reveal the missing Maquis crew, all unconscious and restrained. The Voyager crew are soon subjected to the same painful genetic tests.
Three days later the Voyager crew is returned to their ship, as well as with the Maquis on the Val Jean. When Tom Paris emerges in sickbay after being returned, he notices that Harry Kim did not return with them. Janeway calls up the computer to search for Kim, but it confirms he is not on board and is the only crewmember missing. Janeway asks Rollins to hail the Val Jean to see if Kim was accidentally transported there, but Chakotay says that he was not and that they also are missing a crewman of their own, their engineer B'Elanna Torres. Janeway asks that Chakotay beam aboard the Voyager so they can discuss what to do. Chakotay turns to Tuvok and agrees. Moments later, Chakotay, Tuvok, and Maquis security guard Ayala beam on board. Janeway then reveals that Tuvok is a Federation undercover operative, and Tuvok confirms that his mission was to gain intelligence on Maquis activity before delivering the crew of the Val Jean to Starfleet. Chakotay is at once angry about this, but then he sees that Tom Paris is on the bridge. After remarking that, while Tuvok was doing his duty as a Starfleet officer, Paris only does things that benefit himself, he is ready to attack him, but Janeway asks him to treat Paris as he would with any other member of her crew. Though reluctant to do so, Chakotay agrees with her. Tuvok explains that he believes there is only a single lifeform on the array, and the testing they all went through was an examination. Janeway decides to lead a team over to the array in order to retrieve their missing people and be returned to the Alpha Quadrant.
Janeway, along with Chakotay and Paris return to the so called farm (this time armed with phaser rifles) and demand answers about their missing crewmen who are no longer on the array. The only person there is the old man playing the banjo. The man says that Janeway and the rest of the crew don't have what he needs, but Janeway isn't the least concerned about this but wants the missing officers returned and for both crews to be returned to the Alpha Quadrant. The man refuses to tell her what he's done with the crew, and although he understands why they're angry and sympathizes, he tells them that Kim and Torres might have what he needs, as he must "honor a debt that can never be repaid" but his search has not been going well. Janeway then offers to help, but the old man tells her she can't, and that there's not enough time left before he suddenly returns everyone to Voyager.
Kim and Torres awaken in what appears to be a hospital room and notice growths on their arms and neck. Torres tries to escape, but two doctors come in and sedate her.
The crew determines that the energy pulses that the array is firing towards the fifth planet of a nearby system might have been used to transport Kim and Torres there so they set a course. Tuvok later reports to Janeway in her ready room that the pulses emitted from the ray have been steadily getting faster. Meanwhile, Janeway has been studying the planet where the Array's pulses are being sent: while it meets all the other requirements of an M Class planet there are no nucleogenic particles in the atmosphere, meaning it is incapable of producing rain and has left the planet as a desert. Tuvok tells Janeway that she needs rest, conveys his gratitude at being rescued, and Janeway promises she'll get Kim and Torres back and get everyone home.
Act Five Edit
While on the way to the fifth planet in the system where the energy pulses are being sent, Voyager encounters a small cargo ship inside a debris field, commanded by a Talaxian named Neelix. At first, Neelix thinks that Voyager might be wanting to take a piece of the debris field, but Captain Janeway assures him that they will do nothing of the sort. Janeway then asks if he knows where the missing officers of Voyager and the Val Jean might have gone. Neelix suspects that they may have been taken to the Ocampan homeworld, to a city located deep beneath the planet's surface. Neelix offers to guide Voyager to the planet in exchange for water and Janeway agrees. Neelix is beamed aboard; Tuvok greets him and is embraced by the irrepressible Talaxian.
Torres and Kim awaken once more and are greeted by an Ocampan doctor who tells them that they were sent here to protect their own people from their "illness". He takes them to the food dispensers, which are provided by the Caretaker, who built their entire underground construct when the surface of their planet turned into a desert. He also reveals that, unfortunately, other aliens with this "disease" that were brought to the Ocampa did not survive.
Act Six Edit
Voyager finally makes its way to the planet. Janeway, Paris, Chakotay, Neelix, and Tuvok beam down and are immediately captured by a group of Kazon-Ogla, a rogue faction in the Delta Quadrant.
For some assistance and since the Kazon desperately need water, Janeway arranges for huge canisters of water to be beamed down in exchange for some answers. She asks where those Ocampa might be, and the Kazon leader, Jabin points to a battered Ocampan woman and says, "she is an Ocampa." As Jabin continues, he explains that the array is used by the Caretaker who provides the Ocampa with everything they need. He has been torturing Kes to find a way into the Ocampan underground complex, but she does not give an answer. Around this time Neelix tries to barter with Jabin for the release of Kes in exchange for the water as well. Jabin refuses and Neelix grabs him and warns the surrounding Kazon to drop their weapons or he will kill him. The rest of the crew gets their weapons back and shoot at the enormous water containers. With the Kazon distracted with the water spilling out onto the ground quickly, Janeway contacts Voyager to beam them up. Soon after, the crew realizes that Neelix and Kes are lovers.
Meanwhile, Torres and Kim are being held against their will by the Ocampa. They try to devise a way out when a young Ocampa nurse comes up to them and tells them about secret passageways to the surface. But, she says that there are meters of solid rock to get through and even with the proper tools, it may take days or even weeks to get through. Ever determined, Kim and Torres ask for her help.
While Kes is being tended to by The Doctor, Janeway asks if there is any way to get to their crew members. Kes replies that she escaped through a tunnel underground, but now, the passageway she came out of is sealed by solid rock and they won't be able to get through. Janeway assures they will be able to with their transporter technology. Kes then says that there are breaches in the tunnels which will help them get through. They beam to the surface where Kes reunites with her people, who are telepathic, but she defies them by helping the crew rescue their friends.
Act Seven Edit
Kim and Torres manage to escape, meanwhile the pulses from the array stop and the array re-positions itself and begins firing weapons at the surface in order to seal the conduits leading down to the facility. This action allows Tuvok to come to a conclusion for what is going on... the Caretaker is dying. Asked to explain his reasoning, Tuvok explains that the Caretaker has given the Ocampa enough energy to last for five years before sealing the conduits meaning he will no longer be continuing as Caretaker. Chakotay suggests that he may not be dying, but just leaving but Tuvok counters this by explaining that it's doubtful the Caretaker would just leave after providing for the Ocampa for a thousand years... the "debt that can never be repaid" is a debt to them. Also his references to "not enough time" meant that he knew he was going to die. Janeway realizes that if the Caretaker dies, the crew may be stranded in the Delta Quadrant. The crew decide they need to find Torres and Kim and splits up.
Soon after, Tom Paris, Neelix and Kes find Kim and Torres. They are immediately beamed back up to Voyager, with Paris and Neelix looking for Janeway, Tuvok, and Chakotay before the tunnel completely collapses. They find them, but Chakotay nearly dies when the metal staircase he is on breaks apart. Paris goes back for him and saves his life, thus proving Paris' loyalty. Later, the crew is all beamed aboard and Janeway sets a course back to the array.
Act Eight Edit
As the Kazon arrive at the array intending to take control, Janeway (who allows Paris to take the helm) and Tuvok beam over and come to realize the old man playing the banjo is, in fact, the Caretaker. The Caretaker explains that he can't send the crew home as he barely has the strength to complete his work... sealing the conduits before he dies. He knows that he has to in order to stop the Kazon from stealing the Ocampa's water and killing them. However, the Caretaker regretfully states that in a few years it won't matter as when the energy runs out the Ocampa will be forced to surface where they'll die anyway. Janeway realizes that something the Caretaker did turned the planet into a desert... that is the debt that can never be repaid. The Caretaker explains that his species were explorers from another galaxy, however their technology destroyed the Ocampa's atmosphere. In order to right this wrong, the Caretaker remained behind with a female counterpart, who abandoned her post in order to explore the galaxy. Before his death, he wanted to find someone who could take over from him, hence why he that he has been abducting ships from across the galaxy in order to find someone he could procreate with so the Ocampa would be taken care of. Janeway reassures him that, as explorers too, they've met species who have managed to overcome all kinds of adversity without a Caretaker; the Ocampa will manage to somehow survive without him. The Caretaker reveals that, in order to stop the Kazon from taking the array, he has activated the self-destruct despite the fact this will leave the crew stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
Meanwhile, the battle between the Kazon and the two Alpha Quadrant ships intensifies. Eventually, in order to take some of the pressure off Voyager, Chakotay transports his crew to the Starfleet vessel. He then pilots the Val Jean to ram into the main Kazon ship just before transporting to Voyager himself, destroying the fighter and sending the Kazon crashing into the array, damaging it.
Inside the array, the holographic simulation fails revealing the array's true layout. The Caretaker, now in his natural form, tells Janeway that the self-destruct system was damaged so now the array won't be destroyed. The Caretaker then finally dies, and in his final words states that if Kazon take the array, they will annihilate the Ocampa.
Janeway is now left with a difficult decision. Should she use the array to return to the Alpha Quadrant and let it fall into Kazon hands or destroy the array, as the Caretaker wanted at the cost of a way home? Tuvok reminds his captain that any action taken to protect the Ocampa will affect the balance of power in this region of space; they would have to comply with the Prime Directive. But Janeway questions the validity of the Prime Directive in this situation because, regardless of whether they chose to become involved in the affairs of the Ocampa or the Kazon, they are involved nonetheless. She and Tuvok beam back to Voyager when they discover that a Kazon fleet has arrived at the array. Janeway finally makes her decision and asks Tuvok to prepare tricobalt devices to destroy the array. B'Elanna Torres loudly argues that they will never be able to get home, but Chakotay bluntly overrules her, acknowledging Janeway as the Captain. Janeway then orders Tuvok to fire and the tricobalt devices destroy the array, leaving no debris.
After this, Jabin contacts Voyager and tells them that they have made an enemy this day. The Kazon ships withdraw. After this, Neelix and Kes ask Janeway if they could join the crew. After saying that Voyager is not a transport vessel, Neelix convinces Janeway that he will be able to be a guide for the crew through the Delta Quadrant. Kes assures Janeway that they want to be a part of the crew's journey back to Earth. Janeway agrees. The Maquis crew from the Val Jean then join the Voyager crew and don Starfleet uniforms. After bringing the crew together on the bridge, Janeway tells the assembled officers that, as Voyager is the only Federation ship in the Delta Quadrant, they will carry forward Starfleet's mandate of exploring new worlds and meeting new species. However she maintains that, even though the return trip would take 75 years at maximum speeds, Voyager's primary mission is to return to Federation space. They hopefully will find anomalies, wormholes, spatial rifts or technology that will shorten their journey back home to the Alpha Quadrant. With that in place, Captain Janeway orders newly-reinstated helmsman Lieutenant Tom Paris to "set a course... for home." Thus, Voyager's 75-year journey back home to the Alpha Quadrant begins.
Log entries Edit
- "Captain's log, stardate 48315.6. We've traced the energy pulses from the array to the fifth planet of the neighboring system and believe they may have been used in some fashion to transport Kim and Torres to the planet's surface."
- "Captain's log, supplemental. The Maquis ship and Voyager have encountered a debris field where sensors have detected a small vessel. One humanoid lifeform is on board."
Memorable Quotes Edit
- - Chakotay, with the first spoken words of the series
"Set a course, for home."
- - Captain Kathryn Janeway
"See you in a few weeks..."
- - Kathryn Janeway, to Mark Johnson
"You have made an enemy today."
- - Jabin
"Please state the nature of the medical emergency."
- - The Doctor's first line
"A replacement must be requested as soon as possible. I am programmed only as a short term emergency supplement to the medical team."
"Well, we may be stuck with you for a while, Doc."
- - The Doctor and Tom Paris, after Voyager arrives in the Delta Quadrant
"Oh, why have you come back? You don't have what I need!"
- - Caretaker, to the Voyager away team
"Didn't they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?"
- - Tom Paris, after rescuing Kim from Quark's scheme
"At least the Vulcan was doing his duty as a Starfleet officer, but 'you', you betrayed us for what? Freedom from prison? Latinum? What was your price THIS time?!"
- - Chakotay, to Paris
"Who does she think she is to make a decision like that for all of us?"
"She's the captain."
- - Torres and Chakotay
"The Federation is made up of many cultures. I am Vulcan."
"Neelix. Good to meet you!"
- - Tuvok and Neelix, as the former received a bear hug
"Mr. Kim... at ease, before you sprain something."
- - Captain Janeway to Harry Kim
"If I save your butt, your life belongs to me. Isn't that some kind of Indian custom?"
"I don't believe you."
- - Paris and Chakotay
"You'd rather die than let me be the one to rescue you?"
"Fine, be a fool. If I have to die, at least I'll get the pleasure of watching you go with me."
"Isn't there some Indian trick where you can turn yourself into a bird and fly us out of here?"
"You're too heavy."
- - Paris and Chakotay
"Is the crew always this difficult?"
"I don't know, Doc. It's my first mission."
- - The Doctor and Kim
"Did you ever consider allowing the Ocampa to care for themselves?"
"Oh, they're children!"
"Children have to grow up."
- - Janeway and The Caretaker
"Captain, any action we take would affect the balance of power in this system. The Prime Directive would seem to apply."
"Would it? We never asked to be involved, Tuvok. But we are. We are."
- - Tuvok and Janeway
"Oh, well, now. Aren't you contentious for a minor bipedal species?"
"This minor bipedal species doesn't take kindly to being abducted."
- - Caretaker and Janeway
"That would not be an accurate perception, captain. Vulcans do not worry."
"They... miss you."
"As I do them."
- - Tuvok and Janeway
"Since you're not interested in my debris, well I'm delighted to know you!"
- - Neelix
"A very impressive title! I have no idea what it means, but it sounds very impressive."
- - Neelix, in reference to Captain Janeway's credentials
"Is this another 'love me, love my dog' demand?"
- - Mark Johnson and Kathryn Janeway
"Captain, there's something out there!"
"I need a better description than that, Mr. Kim!"
- - Harry Kim and Kathryn Janeway
"Doesn't anyone know how to turn off the program when they leave?"
- - The Doctor
"We'll have to find another way home."
- - Janeway, to Torres, deciding to destroy the Caretaker's array, Voyager's only way home
Background information Edit
- Brannon Braga missed the chance to be involved in the writing of this episode; he was on vacation at the time. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue #5, p. 45)
- This pilot episode was a result of development lunches between Executive Producers Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor about Star Trek: Voyager. The galaxy-crossing leap which the USS Voyager and its crew make in this outing was inspired by certain installments of Star Trek: The Next Generation. "We remembered the episodes, many episodes," said Piller, with a laugh, "where Q would show up and throw one of our ships or one of our people off to some strange part of the universe. And we'd have to figure out why we were there, how we were going to get back, and ultimately – by the end of an episode – we'd get back home. But as we had one of those lunches – the three of us, Jeri, Rick and I – we started to talk about what would happen if... we didn't get home. That appealed to us a great deal." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) The idea also came about as an effort to make the new series extremely different from its predecessors. "That led to the thought about the ship, in the pilot episode, of being tossed into the netherworld, into another quadrant," recalled Berman. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 25) Taylor remembered, "We decided, in a very calculated way, to cut our ties with everything that was familiar." She described doing so as "dangerous" and "tricky." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- However, establishing the journey herein obviously wasn't the only initial goal of this outing. "We had a lot to accomplish," stated Berman. "We had to introduce a whole cast of characters, and get these people over to the other side of the galaxy [....] I had a lot to do with the conception of it." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- Another influence on this episode's conception was the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine pilot episode "Emissary", which Michael Piller had been involved in writing. Whereas "Emissary" concentrates on cerebral matters to a relatively high degree, a primary goal in the writing of this installment was to make it action-packed. Piller stated, "When we started the pilot, I felt that after all the psychological stuff we had done on Deep Space Nine, we could let loose and have a wild ride and adventure with this. My push on the pilot was to let it all hang out in a real old-fashioned adventure story." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 126) Piller believed the audience was ready for a pilot episode which highlighted action-adventure. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 235) He admitted, "As an audience member, I was ready for a real rock-'em, sock-'em adventure and I really wanted to [...] spend all the studio's money in creating a really neat adventure." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) Moreover, Piller was of the opinion that "our ambitions were a little less lofty," in contrast to the ambitions which motivated the writing of "Emissary". (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 235 & 236) Indeed, the other executive producers agreed to this strategy. Taylor remembered, "We had really made the choice to make this an action-adventure kind of romp." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 35)
- The concept of a Starfleet crew hurrying after a group of renegades was thought up because the three executive producers asked themselves what they believed might make an interesting Star Trek crew. "The answer for us was to find ourselves chasing an outlaw group," reflected Piller. "We all get tossed onto the other side of the universe and everybody has to team up in order to survive. That seemed to be an interesting dynamic that would give us plenty of story material." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 200)
- The first substantial evidence of this episode dates from 3 August 1993, in a compilation of notes which Jeri Taylor confidentially wrote for Rick Berman and Michael Piller about their discussions (held secretively, at a time when Star Trek: Voyager was unnamed). In a note regarding the forthcoming show's "premise," Taylor wrote, "Starfleet sends a ship and crew on a dangerous covert mission [...] To accomplish the mission, we must take along someone who has fallen from grace–a former Starfleet officer who may even be in prison. Given a chance to redeem himself, he agrees to help us. During the course of the mission we must find two other nefarious characters; our former officer may have information about them, or know them, or know the area in which they are working. The mission unfolds, and during the course of it – perhaps near the end? – we are somehow zapped to the far reaches of the galaxy, somewhere so far that, by conventional means, it will take ten years or so to get back. The Captain steels herself for this journey, and offers uniforms to the three misfits. Two of them accept and take positions on the bridge; the other won't take the uniform, but agrees to serve in Engineering. The Captain makes clear that the journey home will fulfill their Starfleet job descriptions: they will map and investigate and explore this unknown space. They will get back, and when they do they will have a wealth of information and research to bring to the Federation." Other characteristics of this episode which were included in the notes involve mention of a short-lived alien "Mayfly" "whom we meet after we've been zapped to the ends of the galaxy," and the death of the ship's medical officer during the mission, followed by him being replaced by a self-aware holographic doctor. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 175-176 & 177)
- The story continued its gradual development in the regular talks between the trio of executive producers. Another series of notes written by Jeri Taylor, this time dated 8 August 1993, contained a note on the "story." Taylor simply wrote, "New ship's being commissioned – They take it for mission." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 181 & 186)
- In notes written two days later, the "Badlands" were first posited, along with the notion (established herein) that "some ships have been lost" in the area. The notes went on to say, "It's a hiding place for our bad guys, who think they're invulnerable. We take Locarno [later to be renamed Paris] along, who knows the area, having been with the baddies." Another relevant note in the same document suggested that the aforementioned "Mayfly" was "from a world that has been squatted on." The squatters were conceived as aliens temporarily known, at this early stage of the plot, as "Crips and Bloods," though later to be renamed Kazon. The same notes reiterated too that "the doctor is killed going through the bubble." An ultimately unused story concept in these notes stated, "We may lose an older Mayfly and take the young one with us." A summation of the "story thoughts," up to that point, was also provided in the document. It said, "Probably 30 minutes setting up, getting Tactical [Officer Locarno] on Board, going into Badlands to chase the other two [officers, a Conn Officer and an Assistant Engineer who were intended to later join the new Starfleet ship's crew, as 'misfits']; we get caught in the phenomenon while tractored to the baddy ship, when we come through on the other side, we're still tethered but something weird has happened to the other ship–it's empty, it's six days older, it's a derelict." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 186-187, 176 & 177)
- Jeri Taylor included more "story thoughts" in another summary of notes, dated 16 August 1993 and detailing the warring alien gangs. This document included the note, "The two baddies we've been hunting for are captured by the Crips and taken to the Mayfly planet." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 187) Featuring the alien planet as a setting of the story allowed for not only the introduction of a new alien species, in the form of one of the gangs, but also some location filming. (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) Another story possibility was presented in the same document, which suggested, "We make amends with one of the gangs–but not the other, making us enemies of that gang." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 188)
- In a considerably long summary of notes dated 17 August 1993, Jeri Taylor pondered, "What is the moral issue which will be addressed in the pilot? Is it the decision to behave as Starfleet people, even though there is 'no more' Starfleet as far as our situation is concerned? Perhaps there are temptations to settle on a planet... to make a new life in this unknown territory... but ultimately we realize we have to head for home, exploring and gathering information, because that's what we, as Starfleet, do. This means there has to be conflict–those who want to remain. Who might that be? [....] It might come from the baddies, who will ultimately be redeemed and come to realize that being Starfleet is the way to go (except the assistant engineer)." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 188) In a subsection called "what we know of the story," the document explained,
"There is an area of space that is like the Bermuda Triangle: ships tend to disappear there, for unknown reasons. But we learn that it's being used as the 'Badlands' – a hiding place for daring bad guys. We are sent in to capture a ship of these bad guys. To that end, we procure the services of a former, fallen Starfleet officer who jumps at the chance to redeem himself and who is made the Tactical Officer of the ship.
"We enter the Badlands and find the bad guy ship. During our efforts to tractor it, something happens in the anomaly, and we are ﬂung through an incredible array of effects and come out of it in deep deep deep space. We are still tethered to the bad guy ship–but something's weird about it. It's empty, or aged, or shot up. How did that happen? And where's the crew?
"We soon realize that we're so far from Federation space that it would take fifty years or so to fly back. What are we to do? Search for a world where we might assimilate? Keep chasing the bad guys? Why? Our orders are somewhat meaningless – there's no more 'Starfleet' as far as we're concerned. We can't even send messages. Why bother?
"Our first instinct is to try to find out how we got flung out here, and if we can get flung back again. But there's no information, no clues – except the bad guy ship, strangely deserted. We investigate it, and decide we'd better find those two guys. They might, through their experience in coming through, have some idea what's happened and how to get back.
"We're able to track them to the planet of the Mayflys, and find they've been taken prisoner by the Crips – a gang which, in conflict with two other gangs, competes for territory in this region of space. During this time we encounter our Mayfly and another of her species – an older one, near the end of a brief life span.
"Our adventure allows us to rescue the bad guys from the Crips, and we end up with them, and the Mayfly, on board. But the rescue has incurred the wrath of the Crips and we must extricate ourselves from them. One possibility: we forge a truce, or understanding with them – only to learn that in doing so we have ensured the enmity of the Bloods, who swear to eliminate us.
"Ultimately, we make the decision to head home. Some may never get there... but it's the journey, the decision, which matters. During this time the two bad guys will have shown themselves to be helpful, and are offered uniforms and positions on the ship. The Science Officer accepts; the Assistant Engineer refuses to don a uniform, but reluctantly accepts a job rather than be bored to death.
"We will continue to do what Starfleet does – explore and investigate – and whoever makes it back will arrive with a wealth of knowledge to enrich the cultural coffers of the Federation. We will live responsibly, living up to expectations, even though no one's there to make sure we do, because it's the right thing." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 190-191)
- The plot point about the Caretaker having a partner who had left him was inspired by concerns which Paramount studio chief Kerry McCluggage voiced to Rick Berman regarding the slowly evolving series' premise, as presented in the 17 August 1993 document. Berman remembered, "Frankly we made a concession to finally finish the sales job... we put the one-armed man out there – which is the other entity that we met in the pilot." The existence of the missing Caretaker's partner was conceived as a viable "out," meant as potentially a convenient method of returning USS Voyager's crew home, if viewer response indicated the series had to make a fundamental shift in its premise and setting. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 191-192)
- The evolution of the narrative proceeded through September 1993. This episode was influenced by the fact that, as September began, the development talks started including more staff members, including Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach. One topic the pair was tasked with devising was finding a technical rationale for Voyager ending up in the Delta Quadrant. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 181 & 198)
- Plot ideas for this episode continued being discussed by the three executive producers personally and in notes written by Jeri Taylor. One of these, dated 9 September 1993, regarded "Version Two: Procreation" and read, "We are the match he's looking for in DNA; he needs pieces of a strand to build a new Mayfly. 'Give me a child.' After sampling us, he discards us." The same document reveals it was about this time that the creative trio began thinking of the male alien as a deity who felt it was essential for him to continue acting as parent to the Mayfly. Wrote Taylor, "We're able to say to him, 'Let go. Your children are stronger than you think.'" In a note dated the next day, Taylor stated, "The dying goo-man is the protector of the Mayflys – sees the fragile balance of their society cracking. If it does, they'll be overrun by the Crips and Bloods. She's a curious, eager person – breaking from her culture, wanting adventure, unwilling to settle for what everyone else has settled for. The Bloods and Crips have taken over the Mayfly planet, and they are now a third world culture. Everything is given them, they're taken care of. Our girl is a heretic because she wants to work – till the land, become self-sufficient. 'Our people are stronger than he thinks.' But goo-man feels they'll be 'run into the sea' when he dies, by the Blood [sic] and Crips. At the end, there's a standoff to hold the B's and C's back; so we have to go to the array to use it (to get back) but end up destroying it to keep the B's and C's from taking control of it." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 204-205) Taylor later explained, "We were thinking as speaking to our children and saying you must learn to take responsibility for yourselves. If we do too much for you, this does not prepare you to go forth into the world." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- The developing of the story progressed concurrently with conceptual refinements of the relationship between the rebels, namely the Maquis, and the Starfleet officers. Another of Jeri Taylor's notes, dated 15 September 1993, included her specifying, "Michael [Piller] introduced the notion of a 'joined by necessity' move at the end of the story, in which the raiders and SF join forces in order to survive, and the raider captain negotiates for his people to have certain key positions on the ship." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 205) With hindsight, Rick Berman explained, "We wanted to get the Maquis into Starfleet uniforms, with a captain who had to pull together diverse groups of people into a functioning, solid, effective unit." The actual reason the Maquis are incorporated into the Starfleet crew, by the end of this episode, was that Berman felt having tension between the two groups in every episode of the subsequent series "would get pretty irritating, and cumbersome." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 181, 198, 202) He and his two producing collaborators wanted to avoid this installment having some burdensome backstory for the Maquis, so the trio opted to conceptually establish the group in TNG and DS9 beforehand. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 28, p. 12) Michael Piller was grateful for this, believing a "necessary evil" of pilot episodes is exposition. He expressed, "Thankfully [...] we didn't have to do a lot of work in that regard." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133)
- Neither the story nor script for this episode was planned to be written by committee. The task of writing a draft of both fell to Michael Piller. Jeri Taylor and Rick Berman were then to give notes, either written or verbal, after which Piller would include their suggestions in the next drafts. The story and script would be based on the series bible for Star Trek: Voyager, so it made sense for that to be written first. The initial draft of the bible contained a page-and-a-half story summary for this episode. After writing the first-draft bible, Piller set to work with expanding on the story synopsis, as the next step was to write a draft of the pilot story, though it was far too early to initiate work on the script for this outing. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 206 & 208)
- As Michael Piller started drafting the story, he was in his office on the first floor of Paramount's Hart Building. Piller wasn't writing in a vacuum, influenced by the busy environment he was in, the experience of having worked as a writer on DS9: "Emissary", and focus groups who strongly suggested viewers wanted a female captain as the central character of the new series. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 209, 214-215)
- The trio of executive producers wanted the narrative of this pilot episode to be told from a rather fresh perspective, employing an approach not previously used. "This is a story of how the family comes together," said Michael Piller. "We decided to tell it in a unique way... from the point of view – at least in the beginning – of one of the lesser-ranking officers, Paris, which we felt would make it different from all other Star Trek pilots. Because all the others had taken the captain's point-of-view – starting from the center [or focus, of all the cast members]. So we thought it would be interesting to introduce our captain through the eyes of one of the other characters, and we follow his development." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 218)
- Since the three executive producers had decided that Paris' character arc was to be one of The Fall and eventually Redemption, Michael Piller had to, in telling the story about the formation of a family of characters, weave in the character arc for Paris. During early October 1993, Piller was struggling with this aspect of the plot. He began a memo to Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor, dated 6 October, with the statement, "The good news is that I think once we complete Paris's arc in the second hour, most everything else will fall into place. The bad news is I still don't see the arc and that's we need to talk about today." As the memo went on, Piller described his progress with writing the character arc, though also detailed his uncertainties and questions. "We've now set up a quest for redemption," he wrote, "for rebirth in traditional Joseph Campbell terms [...] and it seems to me we will somehow need new plot elements in part two to force Paris to confront his demons and conquer them. But I'm not living well inside this character yet and I'm not sure I understand what those demons are." In a later paragraph of the memo, Piller related, "Some of the turns that pass through my mind that don't quite seem to work at first glance include: in the array, Paris doesn't follow orders and that's why we're recaptured so he ultimately blames himself for Osaka's fate... or maybe it's too early, maybe he does something the second time they go to the array that gets him in trouble with the Captain or maybe even all the way down on the planet... somewhere maybe Janeway busts him and conﬁnes him to quarters for the rest of the mission and something happens which he alone has to act upon in order to salvage their hopes of getting home or getting Osaka back. In his old pattern, he would turn his back and not take responsibility (do you sense my struggle for the character's identity? That doesn't feel right as I write it). Or is he locked in the brig and fools the holographic doctor so he can escape and do whatever he has to do? (I like that)." Berman and Taylor met with Piller later the same day, 6 October 1993, and the three talked about the points Piller was struggling with. These issues were ultimately resolved and the process continued. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 218-220)
- Michael Piller delivered his first draft of this episode's story, which was planned to undergo multiple revisions and rewrites, on 18 October 1993 or thereabouts. It ran thirty-six pages and was read by Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor, who each made many notes on it, with comments and suggestions. They next met and spoke with Piller, who made notes of his own. He subsequently began the second draft, which was submitted about two weeks later, on 1 November 1993. After more notes were made on the story, a third draft was completed by Piller, four days later. The meetings, notes and revisions continued until February 1994, with one draft dated 15 February and another submitted on the following day. Throughout these drafts, the names of the main characters changed, as did Chakotay's tribal affiliation. Although the 16 February draft was considered complete, it underwent additional changes well into March 1994. With the story drafts having finally been completed, it was now time to tackle the challenge of drafting the installment's script. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 221-222)
Beat outline and script Edit
- Michael Piller was ready to start trying to draft the script for this pilot episode by early March 1994. Though hectically busy at the time, Piller, Rick Berman, and Jeri Taylor knew this episode had to be a spectacularly high quality production. If it wasn't, it was hard to imagine how the series and the new network UPN, which was depending on Star Trek: Voyager being a success, could recover. The fact that none of the previous Star Trek pilot episodes had been weak put extra pressure on the makers of this episode, especially Piller. It was in this environment that he started writing the script for the installment, which was still untitled. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 223 & 228)
- Before a complete draft of the script could be written, the producers had to structure this feature-length episode into ten separate acts, before delineating the main scenes in each act. Breaking this story into its constituent parts involved multiple lengthy meetings over a long process which proceeded through March 1994 and into the next month. By mid-April, the consequently produced "beat outline" was more-or-less fixed. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 229) As of 13 April, the first three acts of the outline read;
"1. INT. MAQUIS SHIP
- "On the run from Cardassians. Est. Chakotay B'Elanna and Tuvok – they proceed into Badlands. Run into strange beam – white out.
"1. EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE–PENAL COLONY
- "Paris is working as carpenter. Sex beat [i.e., a scene containing sexual overtones] with supervisor. Janeway arrives – she makes offer.
"2. EXT. PARK
- "Janeway lays out deal. Some back story on Paris he accepts.
"3. EXT. SPACE
- "Shuttle approaches DS9.
"4. INT. SHUTTLE
- "Paris and pilot see Voyager for the first time.
"5. INT. DS9
- "Paris enters Quark's – see Kim being scammed by Quark. Rescues him.
"6. INT. DS9 AIRLOCK CORRIDOR
- "Paris and Kim exit turbolift chatting about Kim's first posting, but he knows all about this class ship.
"7. INT. VOYAGER–CORRIDOR
- "Kim directs Paris.
"8. INT. SICKBAY
- "Kim and Paris meet the doctor – has attitude toward Paris.
"9. INT. READY ROOM
- "Janeway talks to boyfriend on monitor. Paris and Kim enter – she takes them to...
"10. INT. BRIDGE
- "She assigns Kim to Ops. Set a course.
"11. EXT. SPACE
- "Voyager departs.
"1. INT. PARIS' QUARTERS
- "He chats with father – exits to...
"2. INT. OFFICER'S MESS
- "Paris enters, sees Kim with doctor and others. They leave. Paris tells Kim backstory. Kim says, 'I choose my own friends.' Call from the bridge – approaching Badlands.
"3. INT. BRIDGE
- "They enter Badlands. Follow trace of Maquis – maneuver through holes. Get swept up by ion beam.
"4. EXT. SPACE
- "Big optical effect.
"5. INT. BRIDGE
- "Lots of dead and wounded – Where are we? Reveal array on viewscreen.
"6. EXT. SPACE
- "Voyager array and Maquis ship.
"1. INT. BRIDGE
- "Est. edge of galaxy. Maquis ship dead in space. Some TECH about array – call from engineering - chief dead. Core breach in progress. No response in sickbay. Paris and Kim go there to assist. Janeway heads for engineering.
"2. INT. ENGINEERING
- "Janeway coping with crisis.
"3. INT. SICKBAY
- "Paris and Kim overwhelmed – doctor is dead. They summon EMP Zimmerman [i.e., The Doctor]. As crisis ends, optical effect wipes sets. All disappear except Zimmerman.
"4. INT. ARRAY–ISOLATION CELLS
- "Old man arrives chatting greetings. Janeway demands explanation – he ignores her." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 230-232)
- In the writing of the pilot script, Michael Piller wrote, Jeri Taylor rewrote, and Rick Berman, the busiest of them all, gave notes when he had time. All three regularly met, conversed with each other and made even more notes before Piller returned to his computer. Between early April 1994 and mid-May of the same year, the teleplay went through four drafts, with the episode's name eventually chosen to be "Caretaker". In general, the script seemed to be developing well. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 232-233) Berman said, "The writing of it was mostly done by Michael and Jeri, but I was very involved in that process [too]." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- While he was scripting the episode, however, Michael Piller became bothered by something about the script. It took him a while to figure out what he felt was wrong with the story. When in bed very late at night on 23 May 1994, Piller realized that the element he thought was missing was a mysterious, surreal environment such as had been in every Star Trek pilot up to that point (for example, an illusory version of Mojave in TOS: "The Cage", Q's courtroom in TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint" and the realm of the Prophets in DS9: "Emissary"). Piller laid out his thoughts in a memo to Jeri Taylor and Rick Berman, dated 24 May 1994 and titled "The Missing Link on Voyager". The memo included Piller stating;
"Our story works, I believe, but it is all real in 24th Century terms – it never leaves the baseline universe as we know it. In fact, it never goes into the UNKNOWN. The fix may be simple. Here's the idea I came up with: what if the inside of the Array isn't test tubes and probes. What if, when we're transported off Voyager, we find ourselves suddenly on the Heather on the Hill from Brigadoon, beautiful people coming to greet us, embrace us... or on the beach of Bora Bora with naked Polynesians coming to greet us... or it's the Orientals from Shogun... or some other earth-like metaphor for voyagers who've landed on strange shores. If the entity can create himself as an old man and a bagpipe, he can create an entire environment from his data bank scans, can't he? So, it seems briefly like an idyllic environment we've come to... the entity in some appropriate guise, tells us relax, I don't mean you any harm, but Janeway knows better not to trust what she sees... Tuvok says it's a hologram... The Polynesian natives, if we go that way, are putting leis around our neck, dancing the dances to the drums and it's hard not to get caught up in this if you're Kim or Paris. It's almost like we were in an old 19th Century whaling ship thrown off course by a hurricane, says Kim. But quickly, the idyllic setting becomes dangerous... not exactly sure how... but instead of probes, some optical zapping might occur, (looking for something more subtle, indigenous to test for this DNA particle)... then one laughing native girl pulls Kim into the bushes as native girls are wont to do... but as he expects carnal delights, he winds up being grabbed by an optical beast and disappears.
"Problems occur: how do we show the entire crew of Voyager has been taken to this wondrous environment... (yes, Captain, the rest of them are just over the ridge) (matte shot on the beach maybe?) (a cast of hundreds?) How do we ﬁnd the Maquis? Maybe we never get to the test for the DNA particle in this sequence – maybe Tuvok uses a tricorder to track down the source of the holographic generator, stumbles into the real world where the Maquis are on ice... which sets off a melee and we're all zapped into unconsciousness right there on the beach. And when we wake up we're back on the ship, more confused than ever. So, the result is – we will never actually see the interior of the Array except for that Maquis on ice moment which might be a matte shot with a few close-ups of the Maquis we know. Every time we go to the Array, we go to this environment. We'd have to lose the tubes... well, let me take that back... maybe they reveal in the very last sequence as he's dying, the signal that he's dead, is the dissolution of the fantasy environment and they reveal that he's an ooze monster. This probably only adds another million to the budget. But it only affects about twenty pages or so – maybe only ten in a substantial way. Anything here, guys?" (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 233-235)
- The basic concept outlined in Michael Piller's memo became the setting of an illusory farmyard and the scene which introduces the alien Caretaker into the story, a scene that is key to the plot. The questions and difficulties Piller mentioned in the document were eventually dealt with, either by being resolved or simply going away. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 235)
- The first draft of this episode's script was submitted on 8 June 1994.
- In drafting the script, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor struggled with various issues, such as trying to make the viewers invest in the main characters and the plot. Explained Piller, "The second hour always seemed to dog us. The biggest danger in the pilot was in creating a story that nobody cared about." Because the decision had been made to try to imbue a palpable sense of action-adventure in the episode, the writers spent minimal time on any single character in particular, apart from Paris. Piller believed writing more character material into the installment would, in a way, have been easier to write, as writing about characters was far more comfortable to him than writing about events or technology. "Instead we played the adventure off the family. So the only true character arc in this show is Paris's [...] When we got to that second hour and we started to get into the mystery of this underground planet and the Array, there was a little question mark in our minds about how to do it in such a way that the audience would care." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 235) Additionally, Piller commented, "I remember feeling that ['Caretaker'] was passionless [....] When it was over a couple of people said, 'You know, it's got the kitchen sink in it but no heart', so we really had to get the audience to care about these people and Janeway's plight. I think the hardest part of the process was making anyone care about Neelix, so we had to rely a great deal on the character of Kes to make us care about him." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) The episode involved many rewrites while Taylor and Piller were trying to fix those problems. In fact, even after principal photography began, the script for this episode kept changing. In the end, Piller suspected the ambitions which drove the writing of this outing, as opposed to DS9 pilot "Emissary", would perhaps "be a little more popular." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 235, 222 & 236)
- The final draft of the "Caretaker" script was dated 1 September 1994, with a revision the next day. ("The Sky's the Limit, The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part One: Umbra", TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features) The teleplay's final revision was on 20 September 1994.  "The script as written didn't quite 'flesh out' to a book-length manuscript," stated Julia and Karen Rose. (Voyages of Imagination, p. 325) It was only after the script was written, by Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor, that Brannon Braga got involved in the series. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, issue #5, p. 45) He remembered, "Me and Ron [Moore] and René [Echevarria] and the other young writers, we were as curious to see that script as anyone else. In fact [...] I think we snuck into Jeri Taylor's office and stole a copy out of the drawer and read it, because it was top secret." ("The Sky's the Limit, The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part One: Umbra", TNG Season 7 Blu-ray special features)
Cast and characters Edit
- Two scenes which were used as audition material for the role of Janeway were the intimate discussion between her and Tuvok as well as Janeway's lengthy speech from the end of the installment. ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- Kate Mulgrew described the footage in which Janeway leads Paris and Kim onto Voyager's bridge and introduces them to Commander Cavit as "a nice panning shot." Mulgrew referred to the scene featuring a conversation between Janeway and Tuvok as "a very comfortable, familiar scene, which I liked very much." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) The actress also referred to the same scene as "marvelous" and containing "great sadness." She went on to say, "I expose myself, I reveal myself completely to him, as a Human being, and they permit that, in its fullness, instead of having to kinda shuffle and pretend I'm not [...] I think that that only sharpens her, in a way, because in the next scene, you see her taking complete control of the bridge, as the Kazon ships are coming and the plasma field is exploding." (VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Additionally, Mulgrew described the episode-ending monologue as "wonderful." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The executive producers were delighted with how the main cast members seemed to gel immediately, in this episode. Taylor opined, "They stepped into these characters like comfortable slippers. They just seemed to know who they were and they bonded with each other and played in an ensemble way as if it were a seventh season. They felt like a family, and I think that in the pilot it looked like a show that had been on the air a lot longer [...] The actors walked into that pilot as though they had been living the lives of their characters for years." In fact, Taylor also thought a facet which was obvious "from the first day" was that Kate Mulgrew set an extremely high standard, setting the caliber of work for everyone else in the main cast. "The moment she walked out on that bridge the first day, she owned it," Taylor said of Mulgrew. Michael Piller noted, "I think we learned from our mistakes on Deep Space Nine and, to a lesser extent, on Next Generation that we needed to immediately find these people as individuals and as a crew [....] The cast came together remarkably well." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 130, 124 & 133) Rick Berman, who was "very involved" in the casting for this episode, opined, "I think Kate did a terrific job [in 'Caretaker']." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- This episode's portrayal of Chakotay especially pleased Jeri Taylor. "He was wonderful in the pilot," she commented. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 128)
- When this episode was shot, Torres actress Roxann Dawson was not yet sure how to portray her role. "'I was basically just kind of jabbing in the dark and hoping I was in the right ballpark," she said. "I was just kind of praying that when the thing finally aired and I saw it up on the screen that I would see a character. I still had no idea how to work my face under that rubber and I really wasn't sure who [Torres] was at the time, so I was just taking some jabs, and some of them were right and some of them weren't." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 135)
- Tuvok actor Tim Russ was generally satisfied with this outing. "'It was such a great thing to see some of the other players do the scenes they did, not knowing how they did them or what they did at the time. It was such a great surprise to see some very fine performances and scenes come to life that I had only read in the script. Some of the opticals and special effects were very impressive. I watched the show a couple of times through and what I do notice and what I think has gotten better since the pilot is a sense of pace and story detail." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 135)
- Armin Shimerman was thrilled by how this episode involves his character of Quark. The actor recalled, "I was very honored by having that appearance [....] I took the baton of Deep Space Nine and handed it on to Voyager." ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- While Michael Piller worked on the script for this episode, Voyager's staff and filming crew were beginning to form. Their preproduction efforts for this installment were tied up with those for the series at large. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 229, 232-233) Principal photography was scheduled to start on 15 August 1994 and the episode was originally budgeted at around US$6,000,000. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 229 & 233)
- The distribution of the installment's completed draft script to all department heads and key staff members automatically initiated complex systems of production. Because most of the people involved had worked with one another and with Star Trek for many years, receiving the script was enough to let them immediately proceed with their work, as they knew what to do next. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 237)
- Originally, the only full-time member of Production Designer Richard James' art department was Andy Neskoromny, who would be art director for this episode. James and his staff were challenged by the fact that the episode's script called for the creation of many new environments. Apart from the USS Voyager's interiors, the new sets which needed to be designed and built included the underground Ocampa enclave, the Kazon settlement, a farmyard, Maquis and Kazon ship interiors and the inside of a shuttlecraft. In addition, the episode required lots of props. The installment's requirements therefore resulted in a heavy workload for the art department. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 238 & 257) Concerning the set for Ocampa's underground, Robert Picardo commented, "Once again, the producers had to search for a very large and unique location, to double for this futuristic environment." (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- In or about June 1994, Robert Blackman began sketching costume designs for the Maquis, Neelix, and Kes. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 232) Other concept sketches involved the exterior of the Caretaker's Array, which was illustrated in at least two series of drawings, one by Jim Martin and the other by Dan Curry. The interior of the Array was also colorfully drawn by Martin and a foamcore mock-up of the interior was created, based on blueprints. (The Art of Star Trek, pp. 144-147)
- Early in his search for someone to direct this pilot episode, Rick Berman called James L. Conway and asked him to helm the installment. However, Conway was unavailable, so had to turn the opportunity down.  Director Winrich Kolbe, who directed many previous episodes of Star Trek, was thereafter selected by Berman to direct this outing. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 10) Berman chose Kolbe on the basis of his previous Star Trek work and contacted him a few weeks prior to 27 June 1994. Although the director was busy on a late-night shoot in Georgia when Berman initially called, Kolbe called him back later that night, while Berman was making his way home from the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. They were each using a mobile phone to call one another. "When we finally spoke, and it wasn't a good connection, he said I would not be doing any Deep Space Nines for a long while," Kolbe recollected. "I said, 'What?!' He said, 'We want you to do the Voyager pilot for us.' That was very nice and, obviously, I remember that moment very well." (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, p. 57)
- By 27 June 1994, Winrich Kolbe was involved in the preproduction for this episode. At that point, he, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor were hard at work on preparing to film the installment. "We were starting Voyager from scratch. The producers and writers were living with this project much longer than I have been," said Kolbe, "so they had their ideas on the characters and I had my own ideas." The preproduction stage was complicated by the fact that this episode had to establish the new series' many main characters and regular cast members. "To get that all in line, to be in sync from the first day of shooting so that I was giving the producers what they wanted, took some time," Kolbe recalled. "Then, there were the logistics of this show, working on new sets, finding places to put the camera for the first time, working with a new cast, some of whom hadn't done anything like this before and were asking, 'Where am I looking?' or 'What do I press?' or 'When you say 'Shake!' do you mean me or the cameraman?'" (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine, pp. 57-58) Berman added, "It was a very ambitious, big production, and the studio gave us a lot more money than they probably should have to do a pilot of a UPN spin-off." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- Choosing the site in which to film the surface shots of the Ocampa homeworld was a subject of some debate. David Livingston wanted to shoot the scenes in Soledad Canyon, a rock quarry which was north of Los Angeles and had been used in the filming of DS9 Season 2 premiere "The Homecoming". Winrich Kolbe preferred to film at the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, which had been used for the surface of the moon Lambda Paz, where Jean-Luc Picard, Dirgo and Wesley Crusher crash in TNG: "Final Mission". "I thought it was nuts to go all the way out there," David Livingston recalled, "but Rick [Kolbe] totally insisted." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- Upon walking onto the bridge set for the first time, the main cast members were awed by the environment. ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- Expecting Geneviève Bujold wouldn't be able to handle the rigors of episodic television, Rick Berman took her out to lunch and tried to impress on her how difficult the associated pressures would be, even when producing this episode. "I explained, 'Because of the push calls, by Thursday and Friday you'll be here until two or three in the morning,'" Berman related. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 25)
- Filming for the episode (and the series) began on 6 September 1994; the first scene to be shot was the "tomato soup" scene with Paris and Kim. Genevieve Bujold began filming on 8 September 1994, but departed two days later. Kate Mulgrew did not start filming until 19 September 1994. The first few days of filming saw Mulgrew with her natural hairstyle; however, when watching back the first edits, producers noticed that the stage lighting was making Mulgrew's fine hair-type appear thin and see-through. The more severe bun was then used, requiring reshoots on a number of scenes, including those at the Ocampa city (which required rebooking the venue). (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future (citation needed • edit); Star Trek Magazine issue 152; Star Trek: Voyager Companion, p. 12; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) Remembered Michael Piller, "We had to go back and reshoot major footage. I can honestly say this is probably the only Star Trek pilot in which the hairdressing cost more than the special effects." (VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The beginning of production in September 1994 was delayed several days, while the producers debated with Paramount executives over whether the USS Voyager' captain should be male or female. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, pp. 104-105) The episode's making was marked by the arrival and swift departure of actress Genevieve Bujold, who was originally cast as Captain Janeway. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 124) Wardrobe fittings, makeup tests and two days of filming ensued. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 105) Scenes which were shot with Bujold included Janeway's first bridge scene, footage from the bridge set for the scene wherein Voyager is propelled to the Delta Quadrant, and the scene in which Janeway and Tuvok have a personal discussion. Stated Rick Berman, "There was enough going on, in that first day or two, that we realized that, for everybody's sake, that it was best to go in another direction." ("The First Captain: Bujold", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Berman elaborated, "On either day one or day two, I'm not sure which, the whole deck of cards fell apart. She [Bujold] was in her trailer. She wouldn't come out. She was all upset about something. Rick Kolbe was directing. I went into her trailer and I talked to her. She said, 'There are people touching my hair who I don't know. I have all these pages. I can't discuss every line with the director and they're asking me to do things at a certain speed. I just...' And it was like every single thing I'd said to her when I gave her the darkest impression of what this would all be like, it all came to a head on that first or second day." Berman expressed his concerns to Kerry McCluggage. "We stopped production, which was very expensive," said Berman. (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, pp. 26 & 27) Bujold's exit was obviously somewhat regrettable. "Of course, when that didn't work out it was distressing for everybody," Jeri Taylor remembered. "I am deeply grateful to her that she did this after a day and a half instead of after six weeks or two months, because that would have destroyed us." The fact filming was already under way meant that finding a long-term replacement for Bujold had to be done quickly. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133) Berman referred to the duration between production pausing and the filming resuming, with Kate Mulgrew in the role of Captain Janeway, as "within a week or so." ("The First Captain: Bujold", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Mulgrew herself specified that there was a weekend between the day she was cast, which was a Friday, and the day she was to begin shooting, a Monday. ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Even following the casting of Mulgrew, bitter emotions remained for a short time. "There was a little bit of ugliness," explained Berman, "between the studio and Genevieve's management, I'm not sure who, because of all the expense involved in her realizing, after so many people had given her warning, that she couldn't do this. But it all went away and everything was fine." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- Kate Mulgrew's first day involved the scene wherein Janeway walks onto Voyager's bridge, makes a few introductions, assumes the command chair and orders, "Engage." During the filming of the scene, multiple executives were observing. "All the suits were down here, everybody was here," Mulgrew recalled, "and my heart was in my throat." She further explained, "It was with no little trepidation, I can assure you, that I walked onto the set of that bridge, the first day, because they were all watching. They weren't a bit sure, having suffered what they did with Miss Bujold, that a woman could constitutionally handle the part [...] The director, Rick Kolbe, said to me, offstage, 'The bridge is your living room, so treat it accordingly; you're the boss.' I thought, 'What the hell. Here we go.'" Mulgrew determined, right then and there, to commit herself to the role. "It began probably the most extraordinary chapter of my life," she reflected. In retrospect, she admitted she would "never forget" Kolbe's advice and concluded about the entire experience, "I have to say, the first day [...] [is] etched indelibly in my soul and in my brain, the first time I walked on the bridge." ("Voyager Time Capsule: Kathryn Janeway", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The start of Robert Beltran's participation in this episode was marked with fan mail. "I hadn't done any work at all [on] the pilot. We were just beginning to shoot the pilot. I reported to work the first day and there were, like, two boxes of fan mail. People writing, saying, 'Welcome to the Star Trek family,' and, 'Welcome. We're really looking forward to the Voyager.' I was amazed that there was that much anticipation for a show." ("Cast Reflections: Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) Beltran said of how he took part in this episode's production, "It was a short, grueling pilot schedule, but it was fun [....] I didn't start work until after the first week, so the whole Genevieve Bujold fiasco had passed by already. The feature quality of [the premiere] was evident." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 124 & 135)
- Contrastingly, Ethan Phillips reflected, "They really took their time with the pilot and treated it like a feature. There was never a sense that you were rushing." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 124)
- For the scene showing Neelix enjoying a bath, Ethan Phillips wore a prosthetic chest, with a "Y"-shaped ridge over the front. (Delta Quadrant, p. 9)
- After it was decided to change Janeway's hairstyle, numerous styles were tested. Throughout the course of the episode, Janeway's hairstyle and hair color changes several times, which caused minor continuity issues. At several points, her hair is ginger in color, styled in a curly loose bun. At other points, her hair is brown and styled in the tighter bun she went on to wear for the rest of the first season.
- After principal production was finished, a quick scene was filmed of Janeway running down a corridor to engineering while fixing her hair. This was done to fix a continuity error when, after Voyager is thrown into the Delta Quadrant, Janeway leaves the bridge with her hair down and out of place, but when she arrives in engineering, her hair is up again.
- The production shoot was hampered by Winrich Kolbe becoming ill. "He missed a day of shooting, and I got a call the night before saying I may have to come in and fill in for Rick for a day. I had to direct a couple of scenes and I was real concerned he wasn't going to be well enough for the dry lake bed, because there was no way I could shoot that out there. It takes a director a long time to plan out all that stuff, and fortunately he got better." Livingston thought Kolbe's recovery was due to the director having "a lot of intenstinal fortitude" because he had served as a point man in Vietnam. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- The location shoot at El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, posing as the Kazon encampment and surrounding environment, took over two days, including 27 September 1994. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152) While on location, David Livingston noted, "This has been an especially difficult shoot." The reason for the high level of difficulty was that the actors playing Kazon had a number of requirements, for example undergoing application of extensive makeup, hair, and wardrobe. "Then we have to transport them all out here," continued Livingston, "and then we have to keep them comfortable, because of the heat out here. It's a big logistical challenge to get everyone out here on time and to pull it off. And so far, we've made it." (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- In addition to filming on some of the stages on the Paramount lot, the production unit used multiple filming locations, not only the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134) For example, the underground Ocampa city was filmed at the Los Angeles Convention Center. (Star Trek: Voyager Companion, p. 12) "By blending this huge, sterile structure with a few optical effects," explained Robert Picardo, "the producers managed to achieve the look of a real sub-level community." (Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure)
- This episode's farmhouse scenes were shot on location in Norwalk, California. (Delta Quadrant, p. 9; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- The shaft leading from the underground of Ocampa to the planet's surface was represented in a pit built for TNG on Paramount Stage 16. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 135)
- The reshoots – a massive undertaking that involved the complete rebuilding of huge sets that had been filmed and deconstructed two months earlier – were at an inconvenient time for the production crew, as they were ongoing when Rick Berman announced (on 5 December 1994) that the structure of Voyager's regular episodes (including the first four after this pilot, which had already been shot in their entirety) would be changed from a teaser and five acts to a teaser and four acts. The difficulty of production at the time led to various jokes on the set, a favorite of which seemed to be, "I wonder if we'll get this pilot shot before the series is finished." On the same day as the act announcement, Set Property Master Charlie Russo and Second Company Grip Randy Burgess exchanged comments about the reshoots, having heard the related jokes, but both men were unconcerned, due to the normality of television pilots running behind schedule. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager)
- The special feature "On Location with the Kazons" on the Season 1 DVD features interviews from the location shooting with David Livingston and Winrich Kolbe, who said that forty extras were dressed as Kazons.
- Due to the cost of building Voyager's bridge, converting the old TNG sets, reshooting the scenes shot with Geneviève Bujold and the ones after Janeway's hairstyle was altered, some very ambitious special effects scenes and a substantial amount of location filming, this episode had a final budget of US$23 million, making it the most expensive television episode in the history of the Star Trek franchise. When adjusted for inflation, it proved even more expensive than Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and more than twice as expensive as ENT: "Broken Bow", the episode with the next-highest budget. (citation needed • edit) The budget of this episode swelled to over US$8,000,000 by the time it aired. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 233)
Visual effects Edit
- The scope of this episode's visual effects (VFX) was virtually overwhelming. Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry recollected, "The pilot for Star Trek: Voyager was... daunting. It had a large number [of] shots that were really complicated, including creating a computer-generated character of the Caretaker creature. We had large space stations exploding, people doing kamikaze runs into gigantic spaceships, a huge fleet of ships, and the energy wave that transports us into the Delta Quadrant." ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features) As with everything else on the show, all the visuals had to be conceived, designed, built and lighted before filming could begin. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, pp. 58-59) Also prior to that eventuality, Image G, the company tasked with doing all of the installment's motion-control filming, had to successfully run film, lighting, and motion tests on the five-foot USS Voyager studio model. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 251) Meanwhile, there was once again the constant dilemma, common to all Star Trek spin-offs, of retaining a sense of the familiar while establishing a unique identity. Dan Curry was so busy on this installment that he missed the opportunity to work on much of the early episodes in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's third season. In retrospect, Curry likened this pilot's VFX workload to that of Star Trek Generations. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, pp. 58-59)
- The work which went into creating this episode's visual effects was so much that it necessitated a relatively large group of VFX artists. "The whole team, with the exception of Ron Moore who was finishing up the feature at that time, worked with us in the pilot," Dan Curry explained. "Michael Backauskas, Joe Bauer, (former series FX coordinator) Phil Barberio [and] Eddie Williams [contributed to the VFX]." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) As such, the highly collaborative nature of creating visual effects was highlighted by this specific production. For example, to depict Ocampa, Dan Curry did preliminary computer-generated sketches of possible matte painting elements to be added to footage of the planet's surface and Matte Artist Robert Stromberg was involved in painting a view of the underground city, an illustration which was embellished with foreground practical elements. (The Art of Star Trek, pp. 134-135; Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure) Another part of this episode which was rendered as a group effort was the Kazon ship; whereas Curry designed the vessel, a large model of its hull in close-up was constructed by Bauer. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) "David [Stipes] just did endless hours supervising motion control," concluded Curry. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
- This episode's visual effects work began in July 1994. Though this was a full month before the live-action filming began, it seemed – at least to David Stipes – as if the intallment's many models would never be designed, approved and constructed in enough time. Following weeks of test shots involving foam-core miniatures, filming of the USS Voyager model was finally initiated in September. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59) By early December, much of the episode's motion-control filming was being done at Image G, with such models as that of the Deep Space 9 station along with Voyager and the Maquis raider. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager) However, some re-filming was required, partly because the Kazon ship was modified after being shot initially. Also, as had happened in the making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine pilot episode "Emissary", several live-action elements had to be re-shot when they didn't precisely tie in with effects shots that had been filmed weeks previously, in an effort to beat the crush of later work. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
- The different scales of the various spacecrafts challenged the visual effects team. For instance, though Voyager was intended to be tiny in relation to the Caretaker's array, both models were actually the same length: five feet. Consequently, sequences involving these two vessels were agonized over while the footage was being crafted; not only was the Voyager model filmed from about fifty feet away but the shots in which it appeared with the array were the subject of much consideration and struggle in the composite editing bay at Digital Magic, as attempts were made to appropriately shrink Voyager even further in the frame. Another example of the difficulties with scale related to the views of Voyager with the Maquis raider, as the model of the latter ship had to look smaller than it actually was. "So I needed to be in North Hollywood to shoot it!" exclaimed David Stipes. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
- Multiple sequences towards the end of the episode were achieved with models specially built for a particular shot. These included the scene where Chakotay, executing a kamikaze maneuver, plows his shuttle into the larger craft, for which the big model of the Kazon vessel's exterior was built for and used in the foreground. For the same sequence, a team filmed fire from handheld flame throwers being blown throw a full-scale mock-up of the Maquis ship's windshield, breaking the glass from the windshield's frame. Dan Curry directed the footage but, during an interval in the filming, he humbly acknowledged, "It requires the efforts of a lot of dedicated and skilled people to make it happen." The filming allowed the VFX artists to double-expose the effects footage into the shot showing the craft's destruction, compositing the firey glass-smashing together with the mock-up of the Kazon ship's hull and appropriate bluescreen footage of Robert Beltran. Also planned was for the window to digitally be made to seem as if it was buckling. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The subsequent sequence portraying the same Kazon ship plowing into the Caretaker's array made use of another model specially built for the footage. Dan Curry explained, "The destroyed Kazon ship was made out of corrugated cardboard, stacked up in decks. So, we did one motion control move with the actual ship and then we had a matching one, made out of cardboard that was all crumpled up, so that after the explosion took place, we saw fire coming out of it. Then, we shifted to the cardboard one that actually crashed into the station, at the end, and blew up." ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- By the time it came to creating the look of the dying Caretaker alien, the visual effects artists at Paramount were running out of time. As a result, they wound up having multiple CGI vendors devise variations of the creature, from which Dan Curry and his associates selected the one they ultimately used. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The illusion of the Caretaker's array being obliterated was done with yet another specially crafted model. Dan Curry and his co-workers mounted the miniature on the ceiling of one of the Star Trek soundstages at Paramount and filmed its destruction from beneath, using a high-speed camera running at 360 frames per second. ("Red Alert: Visual Effects Season One", VOY Season 1 DVD special features)
- The visual effects work on this episode additionally included revising two standard Star Trek illusions. These were the holodeck "dissolve", to be used for The Doctor, and the transporter "beaming" effect. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
Episode cuts Edit
- This series premiere was initially aired as a single, two-hour long, feature-length episode, the first of four examples of its kind in the series, the second being "Dark Frontier", the third being "Flesh and Blood" and the fourth being "Endgame". In syndication, however, the episode was edited into two one-hour parts. The following scenes were cut for time:
- Paris flirting with Lt. Stadi aboard the shuttle.
- Snippets of the scene of Harry Kim and Quark at the bar.
- Kim being pierced by the needle aboard the Caretaker's array and screaming in pain.
- Kes guiding them through an opening in a dangerous force field
- Jabin's hail to Janeway at the end of the battle.
- The order of certain scenes was changed in order to end Part I at the end of Act Four.
Reception and aftermath Edit
- While the story for this installment was undergoing successive drafts, Paramount formally declared its intent to begin a new Star Trek series, subtitled Voyager, with a pilot episode whose premiere was firmly set for 16 January 1995. Within days of the announcement, it generated a huge amount of publicity and many requests for more information. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, p. 220)
- The timing of this pilot episode's début was threatened with delay by the abrupt departure of Genevieve Bujold. (Star Trek 30 Years, p. 158) A four-sentence-long fax about the matter was sent from Bender, Goldman & Helper (the public relations company representing Star Trek: Voyager) to major media outlets around the United States of America. As well as announcing Bujold's rapid exit, the message declared that this episode's production would continue, throughout the recasting process needed for the role of Captain Janeway, and that the producers "fully expect[ed]" to meet the January 1995 date which had been set for the première. (The fax can be viewed here: )
- During production of the title sequence, Dan Curry suggested omitting the credits for Chakotay, Torres, The Doctor, Neelix, and Kes, and including credits for Cavit, Stadi, and the nameless chief medical officer, so as to surprise viewers when the latter three were killed off. While Rick Berman liked the idea, he reasoned that it would be pointless, since all the regular characters would be featured heavily in the promotional material, meaning that most viewers would know ahead of time that the three would not be regulars. (Star Trek Monthly, November 1997)
- Preproduction coordinator Lolita Fatjo observed that the making of this pilot episode was easier than that of DS9: "Emissary". She recalled, "The pilot experience overall, except for the casting of the captain and all that craziness, for everybody was real smooth compared to the pilot on Deep Space Nine." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 130)
- The creative staff of Star Trek: Voyager had nothing but praise for this pilot episode. They felt it effortlessly established everything it needed to, in launching the series. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133)
- Ultimately, Rick Berman loved this episode. "I was very proud of the pilot," he remarked. "I thought it worked really well [....] I think Rick Kolbe did a terrific job [....] ['Caretaker'] was terrific." (Star Trek Magazine issue 179, p. 27)
- Michael Piller was also very proud of this episode. "It has huge thematic explorations," he commented, "about the welfare state, about religion, and about a variety of other subjects. It works on a lot of levels. I think it's less pretentious than some of our other Star Trek shows." (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 235-236) Regarding the aims of making this pilot episode "a real old-fashioned adventure story", Piller concluded, "I think we accomplished that pretty well [....] I think we accomplished some good stuff right out of the gate." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 133)
- Similarly, Jeri Taylor was extremely pleased with this episode. "I think what we have concocted," she observed, "is a wonderful action/adventure romp [...] It's a true action/adventure [...] It also managed to be about something and delivered the franchise." Additionally, Taylor believed this pilot episode was markedly different from DS9: "Emissary", TNG series finale "All Good Things..." and the film Star Trek Generations. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 345; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 128, 122 & 133)
- Winrich Kolbe didn't see this episode in its entirety (at least not until after the second season of Voyager). "The feedback has been very positive, and everyone is happy with it, so I guess I'll have to check it out one of these days," he reckoned, with a laugh. "I guess I'll have to agree with those who say it's terrific." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- Eventually, David Livingston was happy with the locations used for this installment. Concerning the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed, he conceded, "In hindsight Rick [Kolbe] had a vision and he successfully executed it. It did have a large scope. You really felt that these guys were out in the middle of nowhere." Livingston also termed the Los Angeles Convention Center "pretty good production value." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- Dan Curry was pleased with the efforts that this pilot episode's team of visual effects artists delivered for the installment. "Everybody really came through and did way above and beyond the call," he remarked. "It meant a lot to all of us [....] Everybody really did a magnificent job." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105, p. 59)
- Ronald D. Moore was dissatisfied with the episode's conclusion. "By the end of the pilot, you have the Maquis in those Starfleet uniforms, and – boom – we've begun the grand homogenization," he critiqued. "Now they are any other ship." 
- Although it wasn't expected, this episode was criticized for apparently sympathising with some of the Republican politics of Newt Gingrich, who was advocating welfare reform in the United States of America – proposing it in such ways as in a document called the Contract with America – and had recently argued for the idea of systematically moving welfare children to orphanages. The scene most notable for seeming to align with this notion was the one in which Janeway advises the Caretaker that the Ocampa no longer need to be looked after and should be left to fend for themselves. Responding to the criticism, Jeri Taylor commented, "I think that we were certainly cognizant of the issue of taking responsibility for oneself. It was after the whole Newt Gingrich Contract with America issue came along, and, unfortunately, in my mind they have been lumped together. I think we weren't talking about anything as drastic and draconian as he seems to be [...] Now, of course, many people assume that we are part of the New Right, which is anything but the truth." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 134)
- This episode was nominated for four Emmy Awards, a distinction it shares with only three other episodes. It won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects. (It beat DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", which was nominated in the same category.) It was also nominated for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series (Robert Blackman), Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore) (Jay Chattaway), and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series.
- In Cinefantastique (Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 34), reviewer Dale Kutzera rated this episode 3 and a half out of 4 stars. He commented, "This two-hour premiere episode skillfully weaves together an action-packed story and the introduction of the nine regular cast members – no small feat. As if that's not enough, 'The Caretaker' [sic] also introduces a handful of alien species, including the Ocampa and the Kazon. It is in this central portion of the show that the story lags somewhat, as Ensign Kim and B'Elanna Torres find themselves in the idyllic Ocampa underworld, afflicted with a terrible disease. You can't knock the climax, however, as the visual effects team [...] pulls out all the stops [...] I can only imagine, however, that other possible solutions to the predicament [than destroying the Caretaker's array to prevent the Kazon from capturing it] could have been devised by the crew given their circumstances [...] Couldn't a time-delayed explosive have been used, set to blow after the Voyager was sent home? Quibbles aside, 'The Caretaker' [sic] is by far the most captivating Trek pilot since 'The Cage' and 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' of the original series."
- The reference book A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager (p. 235) states that the farmyard scene in which the Caretaker alien is originally established "works wonderfully well, thematically as well as dramatically."
- The special edition magazine Star Trek 30 Years (p. 158) cited this episode as being among the magazine's favorite five episodes in Star Trek: Voyager's first two seasons. The same publication called the episode "explosive," with The Doctor's irritable attitude "perfectly executed" by Robert Picardo and the installment ending with "one of Star Trek's best climax scenes."
- In the reference books Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages (p. 345) and Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages (p. 122), writers Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman posit, "If Deep Space Nine's premiere could be likened to the cerebral original Trek pilot, 'The Cage,' then 'Caretaker' could be considered more akin to the action/adventure of 'Where No Man Has Gone Before,' Star Trek's second pilot [....] 'Caretaker' efficiently set up the premise of [Voyager]."
- Footage of the USS Voyager studio model, captured at Image G during the making of this episode, was also later used as stock footage in subsequent episodes. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager)
- Numerous costumes and props from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. Among them was an unfinished costume for background actress Cindy Bohling. 
- The episode starts with scrolling text to set up the first scene; this technique was originally used in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Emissary".
- The events of "Caretaker" were revisited in several episodes, including VOY: "Projections", "Cold Fire", "Before and After", "Night", "The Voyager Conspiracy" and "Shattered".
- At least twelve USS Voyager crew members died during the first week in the Delta Quadrant, including Lieutenant Commander Cavit, Lt. Stadi, the unnamed chief engineer, the unnamed chief medical officer, and the unnamed Vulcanoid nurse; regarding senior staff, the ship lost its first officer, helmsman, chief engineer, and chief medical officer – nearly half the bridge officers. (VOY: "Nightingale")
- Jeff McCarthy, who appeared as the USS Voyager's chief medical officer that dies during this episode, also guest-starred five years earlier as the soldier Roga Danar in TNG: "The Hunted".
- As of this episode, Armin Shimerman (Quark), Richard Poe (Gul Evek) and Mark Allen Shepherd (Morn) played the same character on three different live-action Star Trek series. The only other actors to do so are Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi), John de Lancie (Q), and Michael Ansara (Kang).
- Both Morn and Broik are seen (as usual) in Quark's. This is Morn's second and final appearance outside of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the first being in TNG: "Birthright, Part I".
- Mary Meinel-Newport is seen playing two apparently different Bolian females. One is her "regular" DS9 persona (possibly Lysia Arlin), seen in Quark's, the other is a Bolian crew member seen in Voyager's mess hall early in the episode.
- Tarik Ergin (Ayala) is the only actor, besides the regulars, to appear in both this episode and the finale "Endgame".
- One of the first questions Neelix asks Tuvok is if a replicator will make him a gold operations uniform, to which Tuvok replies, "It most certainly will not." In later episodes and seasons, Neelix dons the gold uniform in times of crisis.
- For the only time in the series, Tuvok addresses Neelix as "Sir," when asking for directions once Voyager has arrived at Ocampa.
- During Janeway's speech, right after she has stated that Voyager's directive will be "to seek out new worlds and explore space", a part of the Star Trek: The Original Series main title theme's introductory fanfare can be heard for a few seconds.
- Lieutenant Tuvok wears the insignia of a lieutenant commander throughout most of season one in an apparent costuming error. It will not be until the season four episode VOY: "Revulsion" that he is actually promoted to lieutenant commander.
- The shuttle that takes Tom Paris to Deep Space 9 changes its registry number; it initially reads "71325", then changes to "1701-D", and finally to "74656".
- Janeway repeats her last sentence in this episode ("Set a course, for home" – with "home" now on the viewscreen instead of across the galaxy) at the end of the series finale "Endgame".
- Janeway is seen drinking coffee with creamer, going against her usual order of "Coffee, black."
- In "Before and After", as a result of her consciousness moving back through time after being placed in a bio-temporal chamber in an alternate timeline in 2379, Kes relives the scene in Captain Janeway's ready room in which she and Neelix persuade the captain to allow them to remain on board as members of the crew. Kes attempts to explain what is happening to her but before she can do so, she is sent several months further back in time to Ocampa, where she meets her father, Benaren.
- After TNG: "Birthright, Part I", this is the second and final appearance of Deep Space 9 outside of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Video and DVD releases Edit
- The catalogue number for this volume is out of sync with the rest of season 1, likely because of its special nature as the pilot episode.
- As part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek - 30th Anniversary Trial Pack: 2 January 1996
- UK special edition VHS: 9 December 1996
- As part of the VOY Season 1 DVD collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Robert Beltran as Chakotay
- Roxann Biggs-Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Harry Kim
Guest stars Edit
- Alicia Coppola as Lieutenant Stadi
- Bruce French as the Ocampa Doctor
- Jennifer Parsons as the Ocampa Nurse
- David Selburg as Toscat
- Jeff McCarthy as the Human Doctor
- Stan Ivar as Mark
- Scott MacDonald as Rollins
- Josh Clark as Carey
- Richard Poe as Gul Evek
- Keely Sims as the Farmer's Daughter
- Eric David Johnson as Daggin
- Majel Barrett as the Computer Voice
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Kathleen Demor as a New Zealand prisoner
- Margaret Blanchard as an Ocampa
- Cindy Bohling as an Ocampa
- Randall Bosley as an Ocampa
- Cullen Chambers as an Ocampa
- Mitchell Danton as Ocampa guard
- Scott DeRoy as an Ocampa
- Pablo Espinosa as an Ocampa
- Heather Ferguson as an Ocampa
- Tracee Cocco as Kobheerian
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Terrell Clayton as Andrews
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Sue Henley as Brooks
- Scott Jaeck as Cavit
- Kerry Hoyt as
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
- Julie Jiang as an operations division lieutenant
- Dennis Madalone as an Command officer/ science officer/ operations officer
- Coleman McClary as a Starfleet engineer
- Mary Meinel-Newport as
- T. Peterson as Vulcanoid Voyager nurse
- Jerry Quinn as
- Simon Stotler as an operations division ensign
- J. Suzanne Rampe as
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Lou Slaughter as an Ocampa
- Eric Whitmore as an Ocampa
- Unknown performers as
Stunt doubles Edit
- Christopher Doyle as stunt double for Bruce French
- Unknown stunt performers as
47; A Christmas Carol;Al-Batani, USS; Alpha Quadrant; angla'bosque; Arias Expedition; Badlands; Bajoran system; bar bill; Baxial; Betazoid; bio-neural circuitry; Bolian tomato soup; Caldik Prime; Cardassians; Caretaker; Caretaker's array; Christmas; clarinet; Class M; cobalt; combadge; compression phaser rifle; concussion; cormaline; corn; Deep Space 9; Delta Quadrant; deviled egg; dilithium; displacement wave; Earth; Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH); Federation Council; Ferengi; food service; Fourth Order; G-type star; Galor-class; graviton; horse; Intrepid-class; Juilliard Youth Symphony; Kazon; Kazon carrier vessel; Kazon Collective; Kazon-Ogla; Kim, John; Kim, Mary; Klingon; Koladan diamond; lek; lemonade; Lobi crystal; logic; magnetic constrictor; Maquis; Maquis raider; medical tricorder; microfracture; Mollie; Moriya system; NCC-71325; NCC-71325 shuttlecraft; Nacene; New Zealand; New Zealand Penal Settlement; nucleogenic particle; Observer; Ocampa; Ocampa (planet); onion; operations officer; Paris, Owen; phaser type-1; pitchfork; plasma column; plasma storm; potato; Prime Directive; Quark's; root cellar; science officer; security anklet; sickbay; sporocystian lifeform; Starfleet Academy; sugar cookie; survival strategies; Talaxian; Terikof belt; tetryon; The Warming; tomato soup; towel; trianoline; tri-cobalt device; tricorder; type 6 shuttlecraft; Val Jean; Vetar; Volnar colony; Voyager, USS; warp core; water; Zakarian
- Caretaker, Part I at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- Caretaker, Part II at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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