Fair Trade (Star Trek: Voyager)
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|Star Trek: Voyager episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Jesús Salvador Treviño|
|Story by||Ronald Wilkerson
Jean Louise Matthias
|Teleplay by||André Bormanis|
|Featured music||David Bell|
|Original air date||January 8, 1997|
Voyager encounters a region of space known as the "Nekrit Expanse", which troubles Neelix as he has not gone any farther and is unfamiliar about the space beyond, which makes him think that his usefulness as a guide will be over and the crew would have little need for him.
Voyager arrives at a nearby space station to take on supplies and information about the Nekrit Expanse, and Neelix meets an old Talaxian friend called Wixiban, who was down on his luck and is stranded on the station. Neelix offers to help and is asked to retrieve medical supplies for a mission of mercy trade. He gladly complies and they take a shuttle to transport to an isolated area of the space station, but not before Wixiban takes a phaser, claiming that it's a precautionary measure. However, the trade actually involved illegal narcotics and the trader reneges on the deal and attempts to kill both Wixibian and Neelix once he receives the goods. Wixiban reacts by shooting and killing the trader and they both beam out to the shuttle and back to Voyager without getting caught, but Neelix is furious at Wixiban for placing him in this situation.
However, Bahrak, the owner of the space station finds out of the incident and discovers that the weapons fire signature was by a phaser from Voyager. An investigation is started and Neelix is questioned by Tuvok, who asks to question Wixiban. Wixiban denies any knowledge of the incident and when Tuvok leaves, Neelix shows his contempt at Wixiban's dishonesty, but Wixiban explains that the drug trade was not his scheme, but he was simply working as an agent to pay off debts he owed to the Colatti, a ruthless group of drug dealers. He asks Neelix to get a sample of Voyager's warp plasma, but Neelix refuses to steal from the crew he considers his friends, although Wixiban uses Neelix's fear of outliving his usefulness by reminding him about his "friends" being prepared to abandon him, so Neelix reluctantly agrees.
While on Voyager, Neelix comes across Tom Paris and asks about how he ended up in prison before joining the crew, and Tom explains that it was because he was dishonest and it cost him dearly. Neelix takes this on board and as he was about to extract a sample of warp plasma, he backs off and goes to Wixiban insisting that they must tell the truth. Wixiban is horrified but Neelix tells of a plan he thought of, however, Bahrak arrives and arrests Tom Paris and Chakotay, accusing them of the murder as they were seen on surveillance talking to the killed trader, which Bahrak considers as satisfactory evidence. Neelix and Wixiban go to see Bahrak and confess to the crime; Bahrak states that they will be charged with the full penalty, but Neelix explains his plan, and despite Bahrak's scepticism of the plan, he agrees to it.
Neelix and Wixiban meet with the Colatti with a container of impure warp plasma provided by Bahrak. When the Colatti leader scans it and finds out, Neelix informs him that it is a set-up and that he is under arrest. The Colatti leader takes out a phaser to kill Neelix, but it turns out that Neelix had disengaged the container's safety nodes and a shot would ignite the leaking plasma particles and cause an explosion. The Colatti leader orders Neelix to re-engage the container nodes but Bahrak arrives to arrest him in the sting operation. One of the Colatti then opens fires and ignites the plasma particles.
Neelix wakes up in sick bay. He learns that the charges have been dropped, the Colatti have been arrested and Wixiban was able to leave. But Captain Janeway confronts him and harshly chastises him for his actions. However, she also states that he is more than just a crew member, but is part of a family. She puts him on punishment duty, but he is immensely relieved.