Voyager receives a hail from the Federation Starship USS Equinox, and Janeway immediately decides to go investigate. When Voyager reaches the Equinox they find it in bad shape, and a hail from the shipâs captain, Rudy Ransom, pleads with them to extend their shields around his ship. Upon accomplishing this, Janeway goes on an away mission with Seven of Nine and a few others to find out how and why another Federation ship ended up in the Delta Quadrant. When they beam aboard the Equinox, they find it in pretty poor shape. A scan of one of the corpses on the bridge reveals that they were attacked by some entity that was able to affect them on a cellular level. After searching the Equinox further, they find a few survivors as well as a heavily modified shipâs engine. The battered crew of the Equinox are surprised that there are other Starfleet officers in the Delta Quadrant, having thought themselves to be the only ones in that region of space.
Following a funeral held on Voyager for those who died on the Equinox, Janeway announces that the Equinoxâs crew will be joining Voyager, at least until repairs on the Equinox can be completed. The new members of Voyager acquaint themselves with the Equinox and its crew, and start the process of attempting to repair the Equinox, which Chakotay estimates will take a few weeks.
Scans by Seven of Nine reveal that the aliens that had attacked the Equinox are weakening Voyagerâs shield. Estimates point out that Voyagerâs shields will run out in under two days, so Janeway and the others begin to plot an offensive tactic to scare off the nucleogenic lifeforms. Janeway and Ransom discuss personal leadership styles â ranging from maintaining protocol to willingness to break the Prime Directive.
The nucleogenic lifeforms begin attacking a single portion of Voyagerâs shields, and consequently break through the shields far earlier than expected. In a staff meeting, Seven of Nine and Janeway reveal that they have found a way to protect the ship against the aliens, having created a technology that will instantly trap them. Janeway and the other captain have a confrontation over whether or not the Equinoxâs crew should abandon their ship and defensive efforts be focused solely on Voyager. Chakotay and Harry Kim set about the process of stripping Equinox of anything useful and with the help of the Equinoxâs crew, begin to compile a list of useful materials. Meanwhile, the members of the Equinox have a secret meeting, during which it becomes clear that they plan to steal Voyagerâs technology, return to the Equinox, and leave Voyager behind. Seven of Nine discovers that the crew of the Equinox are intentionally preventing access to a particular part of the ship, so Janeway opts to send in the Doctor to investigate.
The Doctor finds that the crew of the Equinox were actually harvesting the aliens that had been attacking the ship in order to convert them into a source of power. Meanwhile, the crew of the Equinox begin final preparations for taking Voyagerâs technology when they are apprehended by Voyager security forces. In an exchange between Janeway and the other captain, it is revealed that he and his crew killed dozens of different aliens in order to harvest energy, and would need to harvest 63 more to get home to the Alpha Quadrant. Janeway relieves the other captain of his position and confines all four crewmen to their quarters. Janeway attempts to make peace with the alien life forms by taking the Equinoxâs engines offline. The Doctor heads to the Equinoxâs medical bay and, after finding himself unable to decrypt a particular file, activates the Equinoxâs EMH. The EMH announces that he knew all about the crew's actions because he designed them. Before the Doctor can react, he removes the mobile holo emitter from the Doctor.
While the aliens step up their attacks on Voyager, the EMH from the Equinox impersonates the Doctor and sneaks two phasers to the Equinox crew. The Equinox crew breaks free and transports to the Equinoxâs bridge. With time running out for Voyager, Janeway makes a plea to the Equinox and its crew to stop and threatens to open fire. The Equinox crew uses their transporter to steal Voyagerâs shield generator, protecting the Equinox while exposing Voyager to the alien attacks.