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Two Eagles are sent out to investigate an object approaching the Moon just beyond sensor range. As it gets closer, Computer identifies it as a powered craft. Alan's Eagle detects a signal being transmitted by the approaching vessel. Koenig has him relay it to Alpha. When they respond to the ship's
signal it identifies itself as Voyager 1, declaring that it is unmanned, unarmed and comes in peace. Koenig immediately orders Carter and Abrams to get away from it. Alan manages to pull away, but Steve Abrams' Eagle begins to break apart from the forces generated by the Voyager craft, and is
unable to. In Main Mission, they watch helplessly as Abrams' Eagle explodes, while listening to Voyager 1 broadcast cheerful greetings from the people of planet Earth. Alan contacts Alpha and asks what hit them. Koenig tells him it was the Queller Drive, and orders him back to base. Koenig
explains that Voyager 1 was equipped with the Queller drive enabling it to move across space at incredible speeds. Paul elaborates, stating that it achieves these speeds by spewing out fast neutrons which annihilate anything in their path. Victor prints out information about Voyager and it's mission.
It was launched in 1985 "to probe the galaxy for signs of intelligent life, find habitable solar systems, and make man's presence known in the galaxy". Victor is giddy with the idea of the data Voyager has collected. But Paul and Helena are more concerned about the imminent danger that Voyager 1 poses to
Alpha. John brings Victor and Helena into his office to discuss the matter further. After establishing that Voyager 1 has chemical rockets, as well as the Queller drive; and that there is some chance of safely landing the ship and saving the valuable information on board, John decides they have to try. 
Word spreads through the base that a Voyager ship is approaching, and that there is an attempt to try to land it. Jim Haines passes this information on to his mentor, Dr. Ernst Linden, who reacts with dismay, and immediately leaves saying "They can't do that." to himself. He arrives in Main Mission,
where they are having no success in overriding Voyager's command codes. As Victor is stymied for an answer, Dr. Linden steps forward, and states that there is a way to do just that. But if the command is not preceded by the most precise signal the ship may self destruct. When Koenig asks how he
knows this, Dr. Linden tells the Commander that if he checks his personnel file, he will see that his name was once Queller. He was the man who designed the Queller drive on the Voyager ship approaching Alpha. Koenig has a command conference to decide how to proceed. When Linden's real identity is
revealed, there is shock and outrage among the members of the conference. Alan, because Steve Abrams died due to the Queller drive on Voyager 1. Paul, even more so, because his father was one of 200 hundred people, who died fifteen years ago when Voyager 2 launched, and the Queller
drive cut in too early. Despite all of this, Koenig decides to talk to Linden to see if he will be able to bring in Voyager 1 safely. Linden is brought in, and asked if he can override Voyager's onboard computer, and shut down the Queller drive with the materials available to him on Alpha, within
the time (9hrs 10 mins) left before Voyager 1 gets close enough to become a threat, and has to be shot down. Linden replies that it is possible. When Koenig tries to get a definite "yes or no" from him, Linden tells him that 20 years ago he would've given his guarantee, but now, he can only say that he will do his
best. Linden is excused, and Koenig decides to give him the chance. Paul is instructed to keep Linden's identity secret, even from Jim Haines, who lost both his parents to the Queller drive. Work begins, and Linden tells Victor that for years he has thought about why the Queller drive did not disengage near
populated areas, and must proceed from the assumption that his theories are right. Several hours later Koenig checks on Linden's progress. Linden is certain that he will be able to accomplish his task. Meanwhile, Alan has prepared a back up plan to have three Eagles standing by to shoot down Voyager
should Linden fail. Those Eagles lift off to designated coordinates to await Voyager. With one hour left, Linden and Jim Haines have recreated the circuit which will override Voyager's computer. When Jim realizes that only one man had the knowledge to do this, he confronts, and attacks Queller, damaging
the equipment, they had just completed. Queller is revived, and despite several cracked ribs, asks if he can try to repair the damage in the 35 minutes left before Voyager is shot down. Koenig gives him the ok, and asks Helena to keep him going. Koenig receives an urgent call to return to
Main Mission. Three ships are following Voyager, and are on a course towards Alpha. Voyager 1 has passed the safety zone, and Alan is waiting for Koenig to give the order for his men to shoot it down. Koenig tells Alan to wait. Queller contacts Main Mission and says that he is ready. Kano links
Queller's command circuit to main computer, which allows Queller to shut down the Queller drive, and land Voyager 1 on launch pad 4. Queller thanks Koenig for giving him the chance. While Main Mission monitors the three approaching ships, Koenig, Helena, Victor, and Queller board Voyager 1.
Queller starts to give them a short tour of Voyager when Koenig receives a message from Paul warning of a magnetic build up on Voyager. The image of an alien appears and introduces himself as Aarchon, the Chief Justifier of the Federated Worlds of Sidon. He asks if they are citizens of Earth. Koenig says
that they are. Aarchon asks if they accept responsibility for Voyager 1. Koenig tells him they do. Aarchon replies that they, along with the rest of Earth, must bear the judgment of Sidon.  He explains that Voyager 1 came proclaiming peace, and was welcomed by his people, but when it came into contact
with two of their populated worlds, it extinguished all life on them. To ensure that this never happens again, three war ships have followed Voyager to find it's planet of origin, and destroy it. Not willing to accept this lying down, Koenig orders Carter to move Eagles 4, 6, and 10 to intercept the
Sidon warships. In Medical Centre, Queller is recovering from his wounds. He tells Helena that he is very upset to find that after years of thinking he had helped to expand the boundaries of man's knowledge, that he is responsible for rendering two planets lifeless. He tells her it is a burden that he must bear
alone. Victor presents John with the memory banks from Voyager 1, but laments that they may never get the chance to use the information. Helena joins them, and asks John what he thinks their chances are. He tells her a thousand to one. Queller dresses and leaves Medical Centre, heading to the
experimental labs. He activates the command circuit, and heads down to the embarkation area. Jim Haines enters the lab, and sees that the command circuit has been switched on. He catches up to Queller just as he is about to enter the travel tube to Voyager 1's launch pad. Queller asks Jim
not to try to stop him. Jim replies that he's going with him. Queller tells Jim that it is something he needs to do alone. Jim silently let's Queller go. Helena realizes that Queller is missing from Medical Centre as he boards Voyager 1. Paul alerts Koenig when he detects Voyager's unauthorized launch.
Queller contacts Main Mission, and tells Koenig to recall the Eagles, and put all Alpha's screens on maximum. Koenig tells him that the Eagles are all that stand between the Sidon ships and Alpha. Queller tells him that the Queller drive is the only effective thing between them. Koenig
realizes this is true, and has Alan recall the Eagles. Aarchon appears on the big screen, and tells him that since they chose not to resist, the manner of their destruction will be merciful. Queller interrupts this message to tell Aarchon that as the designer of the Queller drive he alone should be held
responsible for the damage it has done. He pleads Aarchon not to punish innocent people for his mistakes. When Aarchon dismisses him out of hand, and continues with his plans to destroy Alpha, Queller activates the Queller drive in short bursts. This causes the Sidon ship to weaken, and
when Queller activates Voyager's self destruct mechanism, he takes the Sidon warships with him. Koenig enters the Experimental Lab as Jim Haines destroys the command circuit he and Queller worked on. Jim Haines is upset because he feels he spent so much time getting to know and respect Linden, only to
 find that he didn't know him at all. Koenig tells him that the man was exactly the same. Only his name was different. He says that Queller sacrificed his life to give them a chance. He hands Jim the data bank from Voyager, and tells him that if he respected the man, not to let his sacrifice be in vain.

Screenplay.......................................................................Johnny Byrne

Director..............................................................................Bob Kellett

Guest Stars

Dr. Ernst Linden/ Queller..................................................Jeremy Kemp

Jim Haines........................................................................Barry Stokes

Steve Abrams.............................................................Lawrence Trimble

Aarchon...............................................................................Alex Scott

Voyager's Return is an interesting episode as it depicts the cause and effect (both good and bad), of one man's attempt to expand man's knowledge of the universe. We see the devastation of two people (Paul Morrow and Jim Haines) who lost loved ones to accidents with the Queller drive (not even mentioning the Sidons!), and we also see the positive effect he had mentoring Jim Haines, as well as the wealth of knowledge Voyager collected in it's travels.

 Ernst Queller is the creator of an engine capable of interstellar travel by means of "fast neutrons spewed out into space annihilating everything in their path". Apparently the Queller drive kicked in too early during either a test or the launch of  Voyager 2 killing 200 people. While this is certainly a tragic accident, I am surprised that they treat this man like a Nazi war criminal. There was clearly no malicious intent. We are left to assume that their was some carelessness involved with rushing the project to completion, or some miscalculation in programming the on board systems that slipped through the cracks. The fascinating thing about Queller is that he accepts complete responsibility for his actions, and tries to make amends as much as possible.

Jeremy Kemp does a wonderful job of realizing Queller. We believe that he is both a wide eyed idealist with dreams for making man's presence known in the universe and extending the hand of friendship, and a man who has been tortured by the "fallout" of his mistakes. And through everything, he still struggles to do the right thing. A personal favorite moment is when Koenig asks him if he can definitely shut down the Voyager's Queller drive. When he says that he will do his best, Jeremy Kemp's performance (of the terrifically written dialogue) really conveys that he has learned humility the hard way.

I always thought it was telling that Koenig decided to take a chance on Queller. I think this kind of understanding is indicative of a man who has made mistakes and was either given a chance to redeem himself, or wished he had been (perhaps the Venus expedition in which he was forced to abandon two friends when they contracted a deadly virus?).

I have always questioned the bedside manner of Dr. Russell in this episode. I could never decide whether telling Queller that "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" was supposed to be comforting or not, but I have always liked Queller's response: "...and the road to heaven too, apparently."

I always liked the design of the Voyager ship. It seems very realistic, and like something we would send into space. On the other hand, I have never been fond of the blue glow which doesn't seem to emanate from anywhere in particular. It just never seemed a particularly good way to illustrate the Queller drive. Plus it seems at odds with the close up of the engine presumably "spewing out fast neutrons". Which leads me to one of the little goofs in the episode. The Queller drive is dripping!

While I am picking on effects that I don't care for, I also never liked the zoom in and out effect of the ships affected by the Queller drive. It always gave me a headache. I always thought that just shaking the model or camera would have been a better alternative.

I also like the design of the Sidon warships, but I never thought they looked sufficiently massive to destroy an entire planet. Of course that can always be explained away by assuming they are so technologically advanced that they can do the damage with three smaller ships.

Over all this is quite a good episode with a great story, and strong performances all around.

I can't help but think (with hindsight being 20/20) of the crossover episode that could have been...

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Click here to play sound Alpha receives a message of peace
and good will from an Earth ship...
which destroys Eagle 2.
Click here to play sound The pros and cons of the Queller Drive.
Click here to play sound Koenig begins to formulate a plan
to save the data from Voyager 1.
Click here to play sound Victor can't override Voyager's
command files, but someone steps
forward to offer some guidance.
Click here to play sound Koenig reveals Queller's identity in
 a command meeting to the shock
and anger of certain Alphans.
Click here to play sound Koenig asks Queller if he can
stop Voyager within the time they
have left before it poses a threat.
Click here to play sound Koenig decides to give Queller
a chance, and keep his original
identity a secret.
Click here to play sound Queller tells Victor that he thinks
he knows the reason for Voyager's
malfunctions and can correct it.
Click here to play sound After creating the circuit pattern to
stop Voyager, Jim Haines realizes
that Linden must be Ernst Queller.
Click here to play sound Helena and Bob revive Queller after
Jim Haines' attack. Queller asks Koenig
if he can resume work to save Voyager.
Click here to play sound Three ships are detected...
and they are following
Voyager's flight path.
Click here to play sound Koenig let's Voyager past the safety
zone in an attempt to give Queller
time to shut down the Queller drive.
Click here to play sound The ships approaching Alpha
make contact. Their message is
not one of good will.
Click here to play sound Queller wakes in Medical Centre
feeling terrible, both physically
and emotionally.
Click here to play sound John figures the odds of their
survival against the Sidon warships.
Click here to play sound Jim Haines catches Queller trying
to board Voyager.
Click here to play sound Queller offers Alpha a chance.
Click here to play sound Aarchon dismisses Queller's
plea for justice.
Click here to play sound Jim Haines is given a chance to
honor Queller's memory.
Click here to play sound Background sound.


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