Neelix's efforts to assist the crew wind up involving him in a deadly narcotics ring.
Neelix thinks he may be at the end of his usefulness to the crew when the U.S.S. Voyager comes upon the Nekrit Expanse, a vast region of space that he knows little about. Since he is their supposed expert on the Delta Quadrant, Neelix is determined to find a detailed map of the area. He suggests they stop at a space station located near the edge of the Expanse, where Janeway, Chakotay and Paris negotiate for supplies. At the same time, Neelix reunites with Wixiban, an old Talaxian friend who went to prison for a crime that he and Neelix participated in years earlier.
Wix offers to help Neelix secure a map and pergium, a rare commodity required by Engineering. The items can be attained by trading some supplies that Wix has access to. Neelix borrows one of Voyager's shuttles to deliver Wix's supplies, but when they arrive at the exchange site, a fight breaks out, and Wix kills his contact, Sutok, with a Starfleet phaser from the shuttle.
Fleeing, Neelix realizes that Wix used him to carry out a narcotics deal. But because he feels he "owes" Wix for the prison time his friend did, Neelix agrees to keep quiet about the murder. When Bahrat, the station manager, tells Janeway that a Federation weapon was involved in the slaying, an investigation is launched. Neelix's troubles deepen when Wix insists Neelix must steal warp plasma from Voyager to pay off the drug dealers, whose narcotics were stolen by Sutok's gang during the fight.
Later, Neelix meets with Wix and admits that he couldn't bring himself to steal from Voyager. At the same time, Bahrat arrests Paris and Chakotay for Sutok's murder. Unwilling to see his friends pay the price for a crime they didn't commit, Neelix convinces Wix to come clean with Bahrat. After hearing the confession, Bahrat allows Wix and Neelix to set a trap for the top narcotics dealer, Tosin. The ploy works and Tosin is arrested. Although Janeway is furious with Neelix for getting the crew involved in illicit activities, she understands that he was motivated by a misguided attempt to help them. Rather than putting him off the ship, she sentences him to two weeks scrubbing the exhaust manifolds.
By alethea on 01 Apr 2003 00:49:17 This episode is notably slow and lacks any real excitement. Still, it expresses Neelix's personality well and sets the stage for future episodes to contain more unexpected surprises for the Voyager crew.