Several stories in the franchise have to do with a species being in awe of the Federation's technology or a member of the crew. On The Next Generation it was Data for being an android or Counselor Deanna Troi for her empathic abilities that intrigued outsiders. The ship Voyager itself was the bases of several plots to be taken from its' crew just because the Federation technology was so much better then others in the Delta Quadrant. But Seven of Nine with her Borg technology and return to individuality has made her an extra sweet treat for these civilizations. This time it was a whole civilization of Chair that depended solely on nanites for almost every aspect of their daily lives and needs such as clothing or discipline. Seven was a temptation to their sweet tooth. The opportunity was too much of a temptation that they took it too far in their fascination with her nanoprobes.
The Voyager ship rescues an Engineer Zedrel Vu from an ion storm and deliver him back to this home world of Chiar. Despite their ability to space travel and all their nanotechnology, this is a first contact with an outside alien race. This was to be their first warp attempt, but instead it was also changed around a bit to include a first contact for them. A first contact and their successful attempt at warp drive have made this day a one to put in the books of the Chair history. The stir the Voyager crew has caused calls for celebrations and an away team that Captain Kathryn Janeway is only happy to provide. The crew finds a race that still believes in servants or thralls as they call them and control them by the nanites. This is a world where programs are bought instead of goods.
Seven of Nine takes some of the free time she has with this first contact to explore the childhood she missed on the holodeck. After some difficulty with a bully, Seven leaves the project. Commander Chakotay won't get the chance to change her mind though because a civil conflict finds her kidnapped along with Chief Helmsman Tom Paris. Tom becomes a personal slave without a memory for the scientist Zedrel while the Chi unleashes a Borg virus by using Seven's technology. Now in the amidst of missing their own of missing their own Janeway finds herself in the personal matters of a government that is suffering an internal dispute, but now they have to stop a Borg virus before the Chi are completely assimilated or gather a signal strong enough to call the real Borg into the system.
I liked this story a lot and the personal effects really added to the story. As a Tom Paris fan, his stunt as Zedrel's rebellious thrall amuse me and angers me at the same time. That is the writing of a good Star Trek story of any kind. It hits the heartstrings of any passionate fan while still hanging on to that scientific edge. The story however dragged out a little too long for me and that's what took any some of the enjoyment of reading it. I feel too much time was spent on the opening storylines before you even started the main conflicts. Piziks takes his time on this one, but it's solid all the way through. Don't avoid this one though; just make sure your vacation is long enough.