In which if there’s an opposite of a clip show, this is it.
Man, that LCARS interface is on just straight-up everything. Icheb and Naomi are working on a puzzle which is clearly just built on a screenshot of some DNA. Chakotay wanders in to grab some booze from his secret stash. Icheb suggests moving it to where Neelix never searches and gets an unofficial commendation. Janeway’s been busy fixing her replicator. Harry, on the bridge, has run the ship into some gravity turbulence. Evidently, the first officer goes to Engineering in these circumstances, where his command experience may help anticipate Janeway’s orders before she gives them. Instead, however, Chakotay stays near the warp core after Torres orders everyone out and gets zapped by the space wedgie of the week. It leaves him with something of a glow about him, and half his face super old.
Chakotay wakes up and seems to be fine after being transported to sick bay with acute Temporal Flux that aged all his organs in differing amounts and degrees. The Doctor put some chronitons into a cocktail and fed it to Chakotay to stabilize him, and he’s also not overly curious as to why nobody on the bridge has been responsive. And he can’t go check because, of course, the Doctor can’t travel outside Sick Bay. He’s never heard of the Mobile Emitter. Chakotay heads up to the bridge, and on the way his medkit disappears as the turbolift passes through some sort of field. When he gets there, Harry doesn’t know him and Janeway’s hair is in a bun and orders him arrested. This is before Voyager is abducted by Caretaker from the Badlands, and Janeway suspects the problems they’re having are Maquis sabotage. On the way to the brig, of course, his security detail vanishes and he rerouts to Engineering to find it being taken over by Seska and some Kazon, during that time they took over Voyager. Chakotay bluffs for access to a console and makes his escape, then dives through a temporal distortion where he can see them but they can’t see him.
Chakotay eventually makes it back to Sick Bay where he pegs the Doctor’s timeline as a year before he gets the Emitter. And Chakotay, thanks to the serum, is the only one who can make it across the thresholds. Everyone else, presumably, just continues existing in their own time frames, and as long as Chakotay doesn’t beef the timelines too badly they should be able to get the ship moving eventually… unless there are further complications. To guard against such, Chakotay asks the Doctor to make a temporally-portable hypospray he can take with him in case he needs to mess up the timeline worse. He goes back to the Bridge to explain things to Janeway, using knowledge he’s gotten from Janeway over the course of seven years.
Janeway doesn’t quite believe Chakotay, but as it turns out she’s had some issues – her helmsman vanished walking down a corridor, so the barriers are problematic for others. Janeway doesn’t buy it, so Chakotay has to take her hostage and inject her, then step back through a barrier where they can see the old time but can’t be seen by those in it. The relationship is still a bit adversarial, but he’s got a point that she needs a guide for her future and he’s it. First stop, the Astrometrics lab that the greenie Harry Kim will design using Borg technology to create temporal sensors. All of which is very shocking, and which Janeway refuses to hear about.
Astrometrics is not in good shape – they’re in the middle of one of the times the whole ship was attacked by telepathic assault. Evidently it’s neither, though – A grown-up Naomi Wildman is running Astrometrics, along with Icheb, 17 years after both Janeway and Chakotay died. And seventeen years of sensor upgrades (which doesn’t bode well for Janeway and Chakotay surviving this) show them that the ship is in 37 different Time Zones. It’s hard to say what’s happened since – both of the kids are treating the issue like it’s been an ongoing phenomenon for years – the corpses outside are fresh, and the area that was the focal point of the temporal shatter was ‘obliterated’ according to the Temporal Sensors. Seven is also missing, so they go looking for her in the Cargo Bay, which is a bustling hive of Borg activity during the alliance period, and Seven is still (re-?) Borgified. Now, something I’d love to see is just any jargon word using ‘neuro’ that even makes an attempt at explaining how each location just happens to be the most Questy version of itself possible. Or Q. If Q shows up with a bucket of popcorn I’d accept that too.
Seven explains why the Borg have temporal technology – the transwarp conduits subject ships to temporal stress, so they have chroniton generators and the technology to monitor them. This, in turn, explains how the borg detatchment that made it to Earth just happened to be equipped to go back in time. Using this borg technology, they can reintegrate the ship around the initial shatter, and give Chakotay six seconds to fix things. Janeway also comes up with a way to get the conduits through the ship – injecting the bioneural gel packs with chronoton elixer. Seven also offers to assimilate them both to make things run quicker, but they pass, oddly enough.
The Doctor outfits Janeway and Chakotay with hypospray bandoliers and some unintentional information about the future. They head out and run into a sort of… whatever the opposite of a ‘greatest hits’ tour is. From the macrovirii to Chaotica (complete with musical sting) to just after the crew consolidation, Janeway keeps getting glimpses of the future of her disaster-mission and gets to watch Tuvok die, which means she’s going to refuse, however briefly, to let the timeline go right. Fortunately, that doesn’t last long, and they move on to Seska’s domain in engineering, which also goes far more smoothly than expected until it immediately doesn’t – Seska does what Janeway was reasoned out of and recalibrates the pulse to focus Voyager on the time when she’s in charge. Of course, since Janeway was not present for this negotiation, she’s able to come to his rescue, with Tom and Harry and Icheb and Naomi, none of whom are armed. Oh, it’s the whole cross-temporal gang. Including Seven, just in case of hostage situation.
If Chakotay is successful, nobody will have any memories that could inadvertently alter the timeline, with the possible exception of Seven and Icheb via their borgy-stuff. The modifications knock out the deflector, but the ship survives the single lightning strike, and Chakotay covers for Torres making the modifications with an enigmatic smile and the words “temporal prime directive” which, if I was on a starship, would definitely be a thing I say to get out of trouble for filling everyone’s bathtubs with pudding. Janeway agrees.