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PLOT: Aliens attack a Federation vessel (USS Equinox) causing many deaths and damage to the warp drive and shields. The remaining survivors prepare for the worst but send a distress signal to any ships in the area. Voyager, upon hearing the calls for help, races to the scene and extends its shields around the damaged vessel. Unfortunately there are just four survivors. While surveying the damage, B'Elanna notices that its warp drive has been re-configured.

Aboard Voyager, the crew holds a memorial service and Janeway offers any assistance the USS Equinox crew may need. Max (the first officer from the Equinox) greets B’Elanna and as it turns out, they had a relationship, many years earlier at the Academy – which subsequently makes Paris jealous. Janeway and Ransom discuss their experiences in the Delta Quadrant and it soon becomes apparent the two share different ideals for coming with their respective situations. Sometime later, Ransom and Max meet in the empty mess hall and make secret plans. Meanwhile, the crew of Voyager is working diligently to protect both ships from more attacks by the aliens. Janeway decides that the best course of action is to salvage any functioning technology from the USS Equinox and get out of the area as fast as possible but the crew of the Equinox oppose the idea – forcing our favourite redhead to pull rank and tell Ransom to abandon his vessel. The disagreement with Janeway forces the crew to speed their secret plans – to steal the shield generator from USS Voyager.

Seven detects weird radiation emitting from the Equinox and the Doctor is sent to investigate. He finds evidence that the Equinox crew has been capturing some of the alien creatures and using their bodies as fuel for the Equinox warp drive. The Doctor subsequently discovers that meticulous and brutal experiments were performed on the aliens to perfect the conversion of the creatures into fuel – which explains why the aliens are attacking.

As Ransom and Max are about to transport Voyager's shield generator over to the Equinox they are stopped by Voyager security teams and brought to Janeway. Captain Ransom tries to justify their actions but Janeway imprisons them. Sometime later, while Janeway tries to make contact with the aliens, the Doctor returns to Equinox to get more information on the aliens and activates the EMH. He is surprised to find that his alter ego was the one who designed the cruel experiments used by the Equinox's crew on the aliens. The EMH explains that Captain Ransom deleted his morality program and then proceeds to deactivate Doc –stealing his portable holo-emitter and posing as the good Doctor. While this is taking place Seven continues her salvage operation in engineering aboard the Equinox.

Aboard Voyager, the EMH rescues the Equinox crew and transport back to their vessel – beaming over the Voyager shield generator and knocking Seven of Nine unconscious in the process. The Equinox crew then proceeds to warp out of the area. Alone in space again, the crew of Voyager discovers to their horror that the aliens have breached their security and that they are defenceless..

REVIEW: I can't believe the Voyager writers actually managed to tell a decent, interesting story without tripping over themselves and falling flat on their own faces in the end. I found the story about this "second" lost ship in the Delta quadrant a little odd though -- given how "new" it appeared how could it have possibly been swept into the Delta quadrant by the caretaker array when Voyager destroyed said array over four years ago? If I'm not mistaken, TNG was still on (or had just gone off) the air and the Enterprise-D was still intact. These new star ship designs didn't start showing up until First Contact when new ships were apparently designed solely to do thirty seconds of battle with the Borg cube that attacked Earth. Even then (and let us not get started on the "Nova class") that captain had to have been killing a lot of creatures to get himself to the point that his ship was 30,000 light years from the Alpha quadrant and considering the energy boost barely gets them into Warp 9 - how is it that Equinox and Voyager encountered one another at all? Assuming one arrived earlier than the other, that particular meeting should never have happened -- that they should just happen to bump into each other when Equinox was seconds away from destruction is a little too coincidental for comfort and smacks of deux ex machina. Other than the logistics, something one has to look beyond with this show seeing as how the writers don't seem to be too adept with numbers, it was a decent season finale. I'd be happier if they were doing shows like this three or four years ago but better late than never. Nothing like the BOBW cliffhanger though (from STNG) -- I don't think there have been any season-ending cliffhangers comparable to this shocker yet. 7/10