The Cloud (Star Trek: Voyager)
|Star Trek: Voyager episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||David Livingston|
|Story by||Brannon Braga|
|Teleplay by||Tom Szollosi
|Featured music||Jay Chattaway|
|Original air date||February 13, 1995|
"The Cloud" is the sixth episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
Captain Janeway's log opens with her stating that several weeks have passed and since Voyager is the only Federation ship in the quadrant, the crew have become more like an "extended family". Neelix has been serving his special recipes to the crew, to help save replicator power, but Janeway has been cut off from her regular coffee and Neelix's alternative is unpalatable. After encountering a strange nebula with signs of omicron particles, which could supplement their rapidly depleting energy reserves, Janeway orders: "Set a new course ... there's coffee in that nebula". En route, Janeway and Chakotay discuss the lack of a ship's counselor and the effect it could have on morale. As the ship goes through the cloud, it attracts gases in the nebula and eventually comes across what appears to be a natural energy barrier keeping them 7000 km from the particles they need. Ensign Kim engages thrusters to breach the barrier, which closes behind them.
Neelix, working in the kitchen with Kes, looks outside and sees the nebula. While he thinks it is a bad idea to go into one, Kes finds it wonderful to seek the unknown. As the ship enters further into the nebula, it encounters trouble: the shields begin to drop in power, reserves begin to fade, and the impulse drive triggers a dangerous reaction. Voyager leaves the nebula immediately, but now must use a photon torpedo to breach the barrier. The ship has sustained damage, and unidentified material from the nebula is attached to the hull. B'Elanna Torres and the Doctor investigate the material: it is organic. They now realize that the nebula isn't really a nebula at all, but a living organism, and that by breaching the barrier, they have injured it.
The crew find a way to heal the nebula; the Doctor points out that it has a regenerative power, so they need only be a helping hand. Janeway takes Voyager back inside to repair the damage done in the first encounter. Torres attempts to modify the engines to produce a suitable beam of energy, though the ship is more depleted than before. As they enter, the natural defenses of the nebula attack the ship more intensely, lodging it deeper and further from the wound. Chakotay finds a flow of energy in the nebula and believes it is a circulatory system. The ship reaches the injury using the flow, initiates the repair, and leaves as it heals.
In side stories, Neelix appoints himself the ship's morale officer; Janeway receives help from Chakotay in finding her "animal guide" from Indian folklore; and Tom Paris takes Kim to "Chez Sandrine", a French bistro with famous pool players, that he has recreated in the holodeck. After the mission, Janeway and other crew members relax at "Chez Sandrine".
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