As the U.S.S. Voyager readies for a potentially dangerous encounter with the Botha, the Doctor orders an exhausted Captain Janeway to take some "R&R" in the holodeck. Janeway tries to get into her favorite holonovel, but before long, she is called back to the Bridge for first contact with the Botha. The Bothan representative gives the crew a chilly reception, but sets up a rendezvous to determine whether or not they will allow Voyager to pass through their space.
Later, Janeway thinks she sees Beatrice, the little girl from her holonovel, in one of the ship's corridors. Unable to attribute Beatrice's appearance to experiments the crew is performing on Voyager's imaging systems, Janeway wonders if she's seeing things. But then Kes sees Beatrice, too. Later, after Janeway hears the voice of her fiance Mark, she's attacked with a knife by Mrs. Templeton, another holonovel character. Again, Kes confirms the event.
Janeway puts Chakotay in charge of meeting with the Botha while she undergoes medical testing. Once again, the alien representative is hostile and this time, his ship engages the crew in a battle, leaving Voyager damaged. Leaving Sickbay, Janeway races to the Bridge, where the Bothan is on the viewscreen. She's stunned to see it's Mark.
At least, that's how it looks to her. But on the same viewscreen, Paris sees his disparaging father, Admiral Paris; Kim sees his girlfriend Libby; and Tuvok sees his wife T'Pel. Torres contacts Janeway from Engineering and reports that the crew seems to have fallen under some kind of psychoactive trance, the result of a bio-electric field emanating from the Bothan ship. But even as she begins working on a way to block the field, she falls prey to its spell.
It's up to Kes, whose telepathic abilities allow her to resist the field, and the Doctor to block the mysterious force that's disabling the ship. Kes manages to complete Torres' work and restore the crew to normal. A telepathic Bothan confesses to having caused the disturbance, but he disappears before they can learn any more from him. As they continue on their way, the crew reflects uneasily about what's lurking in the subconscious corridors of their minds.