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Caretaker (episode)

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Real World article
(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
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 168 released in VOY Remastered  
343rd of 728 released in all
USS Voyager departing Deep Space 9
A feature-length episode

Teleplay By
Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor

Story By
Rick Berman & Michael Piller & Jeri Taylor

Directed By
Winrich Kolbe
48315.6 (2371)
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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)

Summary Edit

Harry Kim and Quark

Harry Kim and Quark

Unhappy with a new treaty, Federation Colonists along the Cardassian border have banded together.
Calling themselves "The Maquis," they continue to fight the Cardassians.
Some consider them heroes, but to the governments of the Federation and Cardassia, they are outlaws.

Teaser Edit

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, 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

Caretakers array

The USS Voyager dwarfed by the Caretaker's array

As the crew begins to make repairs, Janeway orders Kim to try and hail both the Maquis ship and the enormous array in front of Voyager. 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. She also orders 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 to 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 in 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. 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. Soon after, the crew is subjected to painful genetic testing, alongside the missing Maquis crew.

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, chief 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. 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.

Janeway, along with Chakotay and Paris return to the so called farm 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.

File:B'elanna and Harry K.jpg

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 them both.

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 called the Baxial, 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 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 away team

An away team from Voyager arrives on Ocampa

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

Kazon fighters bearing down on the USS Voyager and Val Jean

Kazon fighters bearing down on the Val Jean and Voyager

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. 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 ship intensifies. Eventually, in order to take some of the pressure off Voyager, Chakotay rams the Val Jean into the main Kazon ship, 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 though 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. Janeway then orders Tuvok to fire and the tricobalt devices destroy the array, leaving no debris.

Caretaker array destroyed

Voyager destroys the array

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 and will be a professional chef in the kitchen at the mess hall. 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 maintains that, even though the return trip would take 75 years at maximum speeds, Voyager will get home eventually. They hopefully will find anomalies, wormholes, or spatial rifts 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

"Damage report!"

- 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?"
"Wrong tribe."
"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

Distinguishing Voyager Edit

  • Despite the general prosperity of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Paramount pressured Rick Berman for yet another Star Trek television series. Although it was decided very early on that the new series would be set aboard a starship once again, it was important for the writers to vary the series from Star Trek: The Next Generation in other ways. Berman stated, "When Voyager came around and we knew we were going to place the next series back on a starship we wanted to do it in a way that was not going to be that redundant when it came to The Next Generation. So we had a certain amount of conflict on the ship because of the Maquis. We had a different dynamic because we were not speaking everyday to Starfleet and because we had a female captain. Those were the major differences that set this show apart from the others... It had the core belief of what Star Trek was all about, both in terms of the excitement and the action and in terms of the provocative elements of ideas that Star Trek has always been known to present to the audience." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
  • The series' premise of being lost in deep space was itself a variation on a theme explored in The Next Generation. Michael Piller explained, "We remembered the episodes, many episodes, where Q would show up and throw one of our ships or one of our people off to a 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 [...] we started to talk about what would happen if we didn't get home. That appealed to us a great deal [....] You have to understand that Rick, Jeri and I had no interest in simply putting a bunch of people on another ship and sending them out to explore the universe. We wanted to bring something new to the Gene Roddenberry universe. The fans would have been the first people to criticize us if we had not brought something new to it. But everything new, everything was... a challenge, in the early stages of development of Voyager." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD)
  • Similarly, Jeri Taylor stated, "We felt a need to create an avenue for new and fresh storytelling. We are forced into creating a new universe. We have to come up with new aliens, we have to come up with new situations." Taylor also recalled, "We knew we were taking some risks. We decided, in a very calculated way, to cut our ties with everything that was familiar. This is a dangerous thing to do. There is no more Starfleet, there are no more admirals to tell us what we can and cannot do, there are no Romulans, there are no Klingons, there are no Ferengi, no Cardassians. All those wonderful array of villains that the audience has come to love and hate at the same time will no longer be there. This is a tricky thing to do." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD)
  • Of the development of Captain Janeway, Rick Berman stated, "When it came time for Voyager [...] we knew we had to do something differently. The decision was to develop a show that had a female captain." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD) Berman also recounted, "The feeling was that... the best direction for us to go - in terms of trying new things, being socially responsible, which Star Trek has always been - was to go for a female captain." ("The First Captain: Bujold", VOY Season 1 DVD) Looking for the right actress to play Janeway was an arduous process, however, due to the untried nature of the female character. Jeri Taylor commented, "The search for the captain was a long and difficult one. This is the person that gets the white-hot glare of publicity as the first female ever to head one of the Star Trek series and she had to be just right." Shortly after casting the role, Taylor remarked, "We are going to see that she interacts much more easily on a social level with the crew in a way that Picard never did." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages) Similarly, Rick Berman later recalled, "We didn't want to just create a captain and cast it with a female. We wanted to create a female captain who was a captain that was somewhat more nurturing and a little bit less swashbuckling than someone like Captain Kirk, a little bit less sullen than someone like Captain Sisko, and a little bit more approachable than Captain Picard. And Kate, I think, remarkably deliver[ed] a feminine nurturing side and at the same time, a sense of strength and confidence. And that's just what we were looking for and I think that we've gotten it in spades." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion)
  • Differentiating the new series from what had gone before hardened the challenge of inventing the rest of the series' main characters. Jeri Taylor recounted, "It took a long, long time, it took us weeks and weeks and weeks, even to come up with a cast of characters, because we found that so many wonderful characters had already been done and we didn't want to exactly repeat ourselves. We'd come up with an idea then say, 'No, that's too much like Data,' or, 'That's too much like Odo,' or, 'That's too much like Worf.' So to try to find the right balance of characters, in terms of gender and alien species and that kind of thing, really took a long time." ("Braving the Unknown: Season 1", VOY Season 1 DVD)
  • The efforts to vary the new series from past Star Trek productions also had a direct influence on this episode in particular. Michael Piller stated, "When we started the pilot, I felt that with all the psychological stuff we had done on Deep Space Nine we could let loose and have a wild ride and adventure. My push in 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)

Production Information Edit

  • Director Winrich Kolbe was selected by Rick Berman to direct this episode. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 10) Earlier, James L. Conway was asked by Berman to direct but he was unavailable. [1]
  • 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 would 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; Star Trek Magazine issue 152)
  • 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 would 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 surface shots of the Ocampa homeworld were filmed at the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed over two days, including 27 September 1994. (Star Trek Magazine issue 152) This same lake bed was also used for the surface of the moon Lambda Paz where Jean-Luc Picard, Dirgo, and Wesley Crusher crashed in TNG: "Final Mission".
  • The underground Ocampa city was filmed at the Los Angeles Convention Center. [2]
  • 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 December 5, 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)
  • Also by early December 1994, much of the motion-control filming for this episode was being done at Image G, with such models as that of the Deep Space 9 station along with Voyager, and the Maquis raider. Footage of the Voyager model, captured at this time, would also later be used as stock footage in subsequent episodes. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager)
Wang, Kolbe

Garrett Wang with director Winrich Kolbe shooting "Caretaker" on location at the El Mirage Dry Lake Bed

  • 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.
  • The episode starts with scrolling text to set up the first scene; this technique was originally used in the first episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • 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.
  • 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)

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.
    • Snippits 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.

Continuity Edit

Awards Edit

  • 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.

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.

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest stars Edit


Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

References Edit

47; A Christmas Carol;Al-Batani, USS; Alpha Quadrant; angla'bosque; Arias Expedition; Badlands; Bajoran system; Baxial; Betazoid; bio-neural circuitry; Bolian tomato soup; Caldik Prime; Cardassians; Caretaker; Caretaker's array; Christmas; clarinet; Class M; cobalt; combadge; compression phaser rifle; 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; science officer; security anklet; sickbay; sporocystian lifeform; Starfleet Academy; sugar cookie; survival strategies; Talaxian; Terikof belt; tetryon; The Warming; tomato soup; trianoline; tri-cobalt device; tricorder; type 6 shuttlecraft; Val Jean; Vetar; Volnar colony; Voyager, USS; warp core; water; Zakarian

External links Edit

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Star Trek: Voyager
Season 1
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cs:Caretaker de:Der Fürsorger, Teil I es:Caretaker fr:Caretaker ja:VOY:遥かなる地球へ nl:Caretaker (aflevering) pl:Caretaker (odcinek) pt:Caretaker (episódio) ru:Опекун (эпизод)

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