The fourth entry in the evergreen Star Trek franchise, the UPN network's Star Trek: Voyager was set during the same timeframe (though definitely not the in same location!) as the syndicated Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Caught in a sudden plasma storm while hunting down a ship full of Maquis terrorists, Starfleet Command's Voyager was thrust some 75,000 light years away from its home base. Now trapped in the Gamma Quadrant with their Maquis quarry, the Voyager crew, headed by Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), was forced to form an alliance with the enemy. As it turned out, both the Voyager and the Maquis vessel had been deliberately relocated to Gamma by a mystical entity known as the Caretaker, who hoped that the combined crews would fulfill his mission to protect a less resourceful race known as the Ocampa -- and to remain eternally vigilant against the evil Kazon, who, during an early skirmish, had killed several members of both Janeway's crew and that of Maquis captain Chakotay (Robert Beltran). Surviving members of the Voyager roster included Lt. Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill), who like Janeway hailed from planet Earth, as did Starfleet Academy rookie Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang). Carryovers from the Maquis vessel included the Native American Chakotay, who became Janeway's first officer; B'Elanna Torres (Roxann Biggs-Dawson), a mercurial half-human, half-Klington who replaced the Voyager's deceased chief engineer (and who later married the headstrong Tom Paris); and the Vulcan Tuvok (Tim Russ), who had infiltrated the Maquis as a Starfleet spy, surviving to become Janeway's security chief.
Others recruited for the Voyager were a pair of aliens from the Gamma Quadrant: Neelix (Ethan Phillips), a Talaxian adventurer who happened to be a master chef and an introspective philosopher, and the Ocampan Kes (Jennifer Lien), Neelix's lover. Kes would become an apprentice to the Voyager's Doctor (Robert Picardo), who despite resembling a human being was actually a holographic projection of the ship's emergency medical program. Kes would morph into a pure energy being in the series' fourth season; at the same time, the ship took on a new crew person, a human female who was once known as Anneka Hansen, but who, since her assimilation into the Borg Collective, had been renamed Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan). Still later, another recurring character appeared: Naomi Wildman, played by Scarlett Pomers. The series' episodes chronicled the efforts by Janeway and her crew to escape the Gamma Quadrant and return safely to Starfleet Command. Along the way, they were helped out by the "energized" Kes, who pushed the vessel some 9,500 light years closer to home, and by intergalactic communications expert "Reg" Barkley (Dwight Schultz, repeating his role from Star Trek: The Next Generation), who established a link between Starfleet and the Voyager, but only for 11 minutes at any given time. At the end of Star Trek: Voyager's seventh and final season, the vessel finally returned whence it came -- but in a series finale set 33 years after that return, it was revealed that several loose plot strands still had to be knotted together before a truly satisfying (or at least satisfactory) conclusion could be reached.