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Death of a Caretaker

NotesImages
Universe : Prime Timeline

In 2371 Voyager launched on her first mission, an attempt to locate a Maquis Raider which had vanished into the Badlands near Bajor. Captain Janeway's tactical officer, Tuvok, had been operating on a covert mission aboard the ship when it disappeared, and Janeway was eager to locate her missing officer as well as capturing the Raider.1

On entering the Badlands Voyager encountered a displacement wave which flung the ship some 70,000 light years across the galaxy, damaging the ship and killing significant numbers of crew - the same phenomenon had captured the Maquis ship earlier. They found themselves beamed aboard a large alien space station where medical experiments were carried out before the majority of the crew were returned.1

On investigating, Captain Janeway discovered that the array belonged to a being known as "The Caretaker". The Caretaker was a member of an advanced alien race which had been exploring the galaxy many thousands of years ago. His people had accidentally caused an environmental disaster on a planet they were visiting, destroying all nucleogenics in the atmosphere and so preventing any rain from forming. The inhabitants of the planet, known as the Ocampa, faced extinction because of the disaster. A pair of Caretakers chose to remain behind to care for the Ocampa, creating a large underground city for them to live in. The station supplied power to the city so that a defensive field could be maintained to protect the Ocampa from any enemies. Over the years the Kazon took possession of the surface of the planet, but were unable to penetrate the city's defences.1

Over time one of the Caretakers left the station. As the remaining alien aged it decided to attempt to reproduce so that an offspring could continue to care for the Ocampa. It kidnapped ships from all over the galaxy in an attempt to find a compatible species, but failed in this quest. As the Caretaker's death neared, it was faced with the fact that the station would no longer be able to protect the Ocampa. The Kazon, meanwhile, anticipating the technology they would be able to gain from the station, claimed possession of it.1

Captain Janeway was determined to deny the Kazon the use of the station. She joined forces with the Maquis vessel, beaming aboard the station with Tuvok whilst Voyager and the Raider battled the Kazon. Unfortunately the Caretaker was too weakened to be able to return Voyager but Tuvok was able to access the device which had abducted the ship, allowing it to return home.1

The Kazon, meanwhile, brought in heavy reinforcements to attack the Federation ships. With their forces outmatched, Chakotay beamed his crew to Voyager and then set a collision course with the larger Kazon ship, beaming out an instant before his vessel rammed it. The damage caused the Kazon ship to lose flight control and it rammed the array, destroying itself and inflicting significant damage on the station.1

Knowing that to return to the Alpha Quadrant would be to abandon the station to the Kazon and thus ensure the death of the Ocampa, Janeway instead beamed back to Voyager and used a pair of tri-cobalt devices to destroy the Caretaker's array.1

The Caretaker battle was highly significant in a number of ways. Voyager was forced to absorb the Maquis into her own crew, something which prompted occasional tensions amongst the crew. The ship was stranded over 70,000 light years from home, forcing Captain Janeway to lead Voyager on an epic journey across the Delta Quadrant which had a highly significant impact on many species. The Kazon were denied access to the technology of the array, which preserved the Ocampa from destruction and prevented the Kazon from achieving dominance over a large area of the Delta Quadrant, but also made a significant enemy for Voyager which would plague the ship for another two years.2

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation

References

# Series Season Source Comment
1 VOY 1 Caretaker
2 Various Voyager episodes
Series : VOY Season 1 (Disc 1)
Episode : Caretaker
Series : VOY Season (Disc )
Episode : Various Voyager episodes


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