The Protostar team attempts a simulation of leaving the Neutral Zone on the holodeck. They fail for the eighty-sixth time and are feeling defeated. Gwyn suggests they stop trying to go to Starfleet. Dal, frustrated, agrees. Hologram Janeway enters and suggests they get some rest. Pog suggests they eat ice cream to drown their sorrows.
After the ice cream pity party, everyone returns to their quarters.
Dal asks for the computer to turn everything off, but music continues to play. Gwyn’s working out before bed and sees a random stranger walking around the ship. Pog sees a strange creature in the corridor. Rok identifies it as a glitter-smooch, a creature she takes care of in her holo-sim, “Delta Heart, Magical Veterinarian.”
The crew gather in the corridor and hypothesize that something is wrong with the holo emitters. As Zero tries to reason things out, they realize the crew never left the holodeck after their failed Neutral Zone simulation.
Dal isn’t able to end the program or summon the arch. He’s able to contact Hologram Janeway. She tells them she’s working on getting them out. Zero recognizes their setting as one of their programs and invites them to enter and enjoy it.
Zero’s program is a mystery simulation, located at the headquarters of the Cellar Door Society. Jankom isn’t enthusiastic about solving a mystery, but Zero points out that whenever they solve their mystery, the arch reappears.
The simulation begins and the crew are tasked with finding a lost skeleton key. Gwyn notices a light from the door, and Dal hears new music. They go out the door and find a motorcycle gang of Tellarites in the alley, looking for a fight. Jankom Pog realizes they’re in his program now.
Zero expresses concern that the separate holoprograms have merged. Jankom jumps into the fight. He realizes that the safety protocols have been shut off.
Dal calls to Hologram Janeway for help and gives her his command code to access the system.
Rok pounds the ground, causing all but one biker to disappear. The remaining one has a key tattooed onto his torso. He runs and they chase him.
Rok grabs him and slams him to the ground. When they wonder why the arch hasn’t reappeared, the biker mutters they’ll never escape and disappears right after they see that his tattoo has the words “The Key Club” entwined in it.
It begins to rain and the scene turns black and white. Looking up, they hear jazz music and see The Key Club, a nightclub of some sort.
It turns out this is Murf’s program, where he is a star crooner. He gets up on stage and sings and dances while the others look for the key or a way out.
Gwyn discovers the bartender is The Diviner, a crossover of her program.
Zero and Rok discuss why the holodeck has trapped them. Rok notices the piano accompanying Murf sounds off, like it’s missing a key. They realize the way out is through the piano.
They emerge on the deck of a pirate ship. This is one of Dal’s programs, where he goes when he wants a crew that respects him. He orders them to find the key and they scramble to look for it. The ship is attacked by a monster, which turns out to be another one of Rok’s patients.
Rok feeds it fruit via a cannon and it leaves, but the ship is damaged and taking on water. Murf arrives with a new clue, pointing them to another destination. Jankom despairs that the game will never end. This triggers a thought in Zero who recommends they all stop playing because the game is a distraction to keep them in the holodeck.
Zero talks through an exposition, solving the mystery of why they’re trapped. Zero has figured out who trapped them.
As the ship sinks, the simulation disappears and Hologram Janeway enters the holodeck.
Gwyn asks Hologram Janeway if she locked them in the holodeck. Hologram Janeway denies it, but Zero calls up the computer surveillance recording and they see that Hologram Janeway’s programming was overridden when the crew decided to stop trying to go to Starfleet.
When Dal gave her his command codes, she used them to take control of the ship and chart a course to the heart of Federation space. She has no memory of doing any of it.
An alarm goes off. They rush to the bridge and find they’ve left the Neutral Zone and are locked out of the controls. The Dauntless looms in front of them.