L’Entité de cristal
Question de temps
Le Culte du héros
La Société modèle
Rapports de force
Causes et effets
At the close of last season, Worf resigned his Starfleet commission to join the Klingon Council army as civil war divided his people. Despite his sympathy for Worf, Picard refused to involve the U.S.S. Enterprise in the internal Klingon struggle. Yet fearing that the Romulans are secretly supporting the subversive Duras family in hopes of destroying the Klingon alliance with the Federation, Picard convinces the head of Starfleet to initiate a blockade against the Romulan Empire. He immediately assigns his crew members to posts on Starfleet ships and dispatches the fleet to the Romulan-Klingon border, where they hope to prevent the flow of supplies and equipment from the Romulans to the Duras family.
As dissension spreads in the Klingon Home World, Worf is kidnapped by unknown Klingon assailants. Meanwhile, the Duras sisters, Lursa and B'Etor, continue to meet with a mysterious woman, a Romulan commander named Sela who bears more than a slight resemblance to the late Starfleet officer Tasha Yar. The group discusses their plans to gain control of the Empire, but are upset to learn of the pending intervention of the Federation fleet.
Hoping to convince Picard to disengage in the war, Sela pays a surprise visit to the captain. Picard is shocked when Sela claims to be the daughter of Tasha Yar, but Guinan later convinces him that the young woman's claims may be true. Guinan insists that she somehow remembers Picard sending Tasha to a previous U.S.S. Enterprise 23 years earlier from the future. Because of this, Guinan points out, Picard is indirectly responsible for Sela's conception.
Picard calls for a meeting with Sela, who presses him for information about Starfleet strategy and gives him a fourteen-hour deadline to either retreat or prepare to be attacked by Romulan forces. Picard reveals nothing and instead focuses the questioning on her heritage. When Sela corroborates Guinan's story, Picard realizes that the young woman is really Tasha's daughter. Meanwhile, Worf's kidnappers deliver him to the sisters of Duras, who try to convince the Klingon to join their side of the battle by marrying one of them. Worf, naturally, refuses the offer.
With time running out, Picard decides the only way to avoid all-out war with the Romulans is to expose their involvement in the Klingon civil war. He convinces Gowron to launch a massive attack, causing the sisters of Duras to call for supplies from the Romulans, which in turn forces the Romulans to run the blockade. When the Romulans are discovered, Sela orders them to turn back, leaving the sisters of Duras without help. The subversives accept defeat, and Gowron is reinstated as leader of the High Council, while an injured Worf escapes his captors and returns to duty aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
The U.S.S. Enterprise receives a signal from "The Children of Tama," an alien race that has no history of violence, but whose language has been deemed "incomprehensible" to humans. Hovering above an uninhabited planet, Picard and the crew hope to establish relations with the Tamarians. But while he and Dathon, the Tamarian captain, make several attempts to communicate over their viewscreens, neither can understand the other. Suddenly Dathon turns to him, armed with two daggers, and both captains dematerialize and are transported to the surface of the planet below.
Riker and the crew are dismayed to find all access to Picard is blocked by a field set up by the Tamarians. On the planet's surface, Dathon continues to offer Picard one of his daggers, but Picard refuses on the grounds that this could be an act of war. Dathon is friendly, however, and offers Picard fire against the evening's chill, allowing Picard to sleep. Hours later, Picard wakes up to find Dathon missing. He looks through his personal belongings to get some clue as to what makes the alien tick, but is interrupted by Dathon's voice and the roar of an animal.
Pursued by a large, shimmering beast, Dathon again offers Picard his dagger and this time Picard accepts. As the two captains struggle to communicate in order to fight effectively, Picard hypothesizes that the Tamarians communicate by example, and the proper names and places they cite are references to situations in their history. Picard is then able to begin to communicate with Dathon, and the alien responds enthusiastically to his efforts.
When Riker dispatches a shuttlecraft to the planet's surface to retrieve Picard, the Tamarians stop it by firing their weapons. Meanwhile, Picard and Dathon set about fighting the creature, but their efforts are interrupted by the U.S.S. Enterprise's continuing quest to transport Picard back on board. He momentarily dematerializes, and Dathon is struck by the beast. As the alien lies dying, Picard realizes that the situation of two leaders joining to fight a common enemy is part of Tamarian mythology, and suddenly understands that Dathon brought him to the planet specifically to fight the beast with him and begin relations between their societies.
The crew finally transports Picard back aboard, and he avoids war with the angry Tamarians by using what he has learned to communicate with them. In their own language, he tells them how their captain died and expresses his admiration for the man. The adventure behind him, Picard is left to wonder if he, too, would sacrifice his own life simply for the hope of communication with other beings.
After a terrorist attack on a Federation colony on Solarion IV, the U.S.S. Enterprise crew receives a message from a man claiming to represent the Bajora — a race which has been fighting to regain its home planet after being chased off by the Cardassians. The man takes responsibility for the terrorist attack.
Immediately, Picard confers with Starfleet Admiral Kennelly to discuss the Bajoran terrorist attack. The admiral orders Picard to find Orta, the militant leader of the Bajora, and offer him Federation amnesty, in return for negotiating peace with the Cardassians.
To Picard's surprise, Kennelly also orders the arrival of a new officer — Ensign Ro Laren — to assist Picard in his delicate mission. The crew warily welcomes Ro, a strong-willed Bajoran whom Kennelly released from prison to help with the crisis.
With Ro's help, Picard meets with Keeve, a member of the Bajoran resistance movement, who reveals Orta's whereabouts to the captain. But before the crew can meet with the rebel leader, they discover that Ro has mysteriously disappeared.
Tracing her to Orta's hideout, Picard and the Away Team are taken prisoner by Orta's men. Upon meeting Orta, the crew is stunned to find Ro, who pleads that she was only trying to help with the negotiations. Although Picard is furious with Ro for leaving the ship without permission, he is surprised when Orta announces that the Bajora did not attack Solarion IV. Orta also hints that Picard is being used by someone intent on eliminating the Bajora.
Upon returning to the U.S.S. Enterprise, Ro confides to Picard that Admiral Kennelly is using her as part of a plan to offer weapons to the Bajora in exchange for an end to terrorist activities. In return, Kennelly promised to keep Ro out of prison, where she'd been serving time after a court-martial.
Convinced that the U.S.S. Enterprise is embroiled in a conspiracy, Picard and Ro come up with a counter-plan. Picard informs Kennelly that the starship will escort two Bajoran carriers, containing Orta and his people, to their camp. The Cardassians, threatening to destroy the ships, demand that the U.S.S. Enterprise withdraw within one hour.
Captain Picard then confronts Kennelly, charging that the admiral used the U.S.S. Enterprise to smoke out Orta and the Bajoran terrorists. Kennelly orders Picard to withdraw, at which point the Cardassians promptly destroy the Bajoran ships. Believing that Orta is dead, Kennelly is shocked to learn that the destroyed ships were decoys. Picard informs Kennelly that the Cardassians staged the terrorist attack on Solarion IV, then used the admiral in the hopes of eliminating the Bajora once and for all.
After commending Ro on a successful mission, Picard invites her to remain in Starfleet. Ro accepts, beaming back aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise with her new commanding officer.
While surveying land on a Federation colony known as Melona IV, Riker, Data and Dr. Crusher are suddenly interrupted by the appearance of a massive, crystal-like structure which begins to descend toward the planet. Riker recognizes the object as the Crystalline Entity, and immediately begins herding the colonists together to search for shelter. The group watches in horror as the entity destroys the countryside with brilliant beams of light. All but two survive to find shelter inside a small cave — but the cave has a limited air supply. Riker tries to contact the U.S.S. Enterprise, but ultimately fails. Meanwhile, on board the Enterprise, the rest of the crew grow increasingly concerned over the violent disturbances detected near Melona IV.
Just as Beverly insists that the cave be opened to let in more air, Worf appears at the entrance, much to everyone's relief. The crew and colonists are transported back to the U.S.S. Enterprise, where they are greeted by scientist Kila Marr, who has spent her life studying the Crystalline Entity. Picard suggests that Data aid Marr in her investigation. Marr, however, opposes the idea, reminding Picard that Data's brother Lore lured the Crystalline Entity to the planet Omicron Theta where it ruthlessly killed every living thing. Picard, however, insists on Data's inclusion. Later, when the unhappy partners begin their investigation on Melona IV, Marr accuses Data of collaborating with the Entity as his brother did. She also tells Data that her son was among those killed on Omicron Theta.
Back on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Marr begins to relax as Data uncovers information that is invaluable to their investigation. However, she becomes even more upset when she learns that Picard intends not to destroy the Entity, but to communicate with it. Later, knowing that Data carries specific information regarding the events on Omicron Theta, Marr asks him to access her son's daily journals. Through Data, she learns her son did not blame her for the disaster on the planet. Her joy, however, is interrupted by a distress call from a ship being pursued by the Crystalline Entity.
The crew sets a course for the ship and discovers that there are no survivors. At this point even Riker wonders if perhaps the Entity should be destroyed, but Picard does not flinch. Meanwhile, Data keeps up his desperate attempts to communicate with the Entity before it kills again.
The crew manages to lure the Entity toward the ship, and the being seems to respond to their attempts to reach it. But at the same time, Marr begins trying to destroy it by sending harmful transmissions. Although the crew notices a change in the Entity and realizes what Dr. Marr is doing, they are ultimately unable to save the Entity. The being explodes into space, leaving Dr. Marr to wonder if revenge was worth the price of her career as a scientist.
During a brief respite from duty, the U.S.S. Enterprise plays host to three young winners of a primary school science contest. Just as Picard begins to take them on their promised tour of the ship, the craft is struck by a quantum filament that shakes it violently and causes power failures to occur throughout. Communication between different areas of the ship is cut off and crew members are trapped. Picard and the kids are caught in the Turbolift; Beverly Crusher and Geordi are stuck in the Cargo Bay where they are threatened by the combination of a radioactive fire and containers of hazardous materials; while Riker, Worf, Data and O'Brien's pregnant wife Keiko treat the injured in the Ten-Forward. Meanwhile, Troi, the highest ranking officer remaining on the Bridge, finds herself acting as a reluctant ship's captain.
Riker and Data devise a plan to reach Engineering and restore power, leaving Worf to care for the injured. But before they reach their destination, they end up trapped in a narrow crawlspace by an electrical current. On the Bridge, Troi turns to O'Brien and Ro for the technical knowledge that she desperately needs to make decisions, only to find that the two disagree on strategy. Both agree, however, that the ship is in immediate danger of exploding.
Unable to find anything strong enough to stop the flow of energy that stands between them and Engineering, Data offers to use his body. The android assures Riker that he can shield his brain from the energy's effects and emerge with his "mental capacity" intact. Realizing that they have no choice, Riker gives Data the go-ahead. While his body is destroyed, Data's head survives as promised, and Riker removes It. Meanwhile, an injured Picard organizes the frightened children in an effort to escape through a hatch in the turbolift, but their efforts are continually thwarted. In the cargo bay, Beverly and Geordi decide their only hope is to open an external door that might blow the containers of hazardous materials into space and put out the fire. And back in the Ten-Forward, Keiko shocks an unprepared Worf by going into labor.
On the Bridge, Ro and O'Brien clash over Ro's insistence that the only way to prevent an explosion is to separate the Bridge from Engineering, casting that portion of the ship into space. Ro is sure there are no survivors in Engineering, but O'Brien counters that they have no real way of knowing since the area is without power. Forced to make a decision, Troi chooses not to separate the ship and to divert power to Engineering to help anyone who may be trapped there. Ro reminds her that this could mean the destruction of the entire ship, but Troi stands firm. Meanwhile, Geordi and Beverly successfully execute their plan to put out the fire. Upon reaching the door to Engineering, Riker attaches Data's head to the control panel, using the power in his battery to open the door. He and Data are surprised to see the area has power and quickly revive the broken generator, restoring power to the entire ship. Picard and the children are freed from the Turbolift, and Keiko gives birth, with Worf's help, to a baby girl.
During a romantic respite on Risa, Riker's lady friend Etana Jol gives him an interesting present. She introduces him to an electronic mind game that rewards the player with a pleasurable sensation when he achieves his goal. Eager to share his discovery, Riker passes the game on to Troi when he returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise. At the same time, the crew happily welcomes Wesley Crusher, who is on vacation from Starfleet Academy, with a surprise party. Troi introduces Beverly to the game, while Wesley meets a young ensign named Robin Lefler. He feels an immediate chemistry with the attractive young woman, and Robin is also drawn to Wesley. Soon, the two young people make plans to meet for dinner. A short time later, Beverly summons Data to Sickbay to help with a problem. But when the android arrives, Beverly, Riker and Troi inexplicably attack and deactivate him, laying him on an examination table.
Beverly asks Picard and La Forge to come to Sickbay, ostensibly to help with Data. But when they arrive, she, Riker and Troi lie about what happened, claiming that the android just collapsed. Picard leaves Data in the group's hands, and Riker is able to convince Geordi that Dr. Crusher can take care of Data. He then introduces Geordi to the game. Afterwards, Wesley goes to meet his mother in her quarters and finds her engrossed in the game. She invites him to play, and when he refuses, she becomes more insistent. He and Robin talk about it at dinner, and Robin tells him that the game's popularity is increasing. She and Wesley decide to find out what all the fuss is about by hooking the game up to a computer. After disassembling its parts, they are shocked to discover that the game has chemical affects on the brain that cause the player to become physiologically addicted and interrupts higher reasoning processes. Wesley rushes to fill Picard in on his discovery, unaware that the Captain has already fallen victim.
Wesley and Robin soon realize that Data's malfunction coincided with the game's introduction. They examine the android, discover that he has been tampered with and attempt to repair him. Wesley tells Robin that Beverly and Geordi are the only crew members who know enough about Data to have damaged him in this way. Since Data is the only crew member immune to the game's affects, they begin to wonder if Data was deactivated for a reason, and if the game has a purpose other than fun. With horror, they realize that they may be the only people on the board who aren't already addicted. They decide to pretend to play the game in order to fool the rest of the crew.
Back on the bridge, Picard and the crew meet with Etana, the alien woman who first gave Riker the game. She instructs them to distribute the game to another vessel, and the crew readily agrees with her plan to take over the Federation. Soon afterward, Wesley barely escapes when Riker and Worf try to force him to play the game. He goes into hiding, but Robin is not so lucky, and after being forced to play the game, helps the rest of the crew locate Wesley. Just as they force him to play, Data appears and reverses the game's affect on the crew. With the Enterprise out of danger, Wesley bids his friends farewell and returns to the Academy.
Captain Picard is disturbed to learn that the legendary Vulcan, Mr. Spock, has gone on an unauthorized mission to the planet Romulus. He immediately travels to Vulcan to speak with Spock's father Sarek, a close friend with whom he shared a mind meld the year before. Sarek's wife, Perrin, informs Picard that her husband is gravely ill, and confides to Picard the details of the strained relationship between Spock and his father. Despite Sarek's illness, Picard is able to see him, and the Vulcan tells Picard that his son may be in touch with the Romulan senator Pardek. He also asks Picard to convey his love to his son. Back on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, Riker and La Forge inspect several metal fragments, identified as Vulcan, recovered from a downed Ferengi ship. When the Vulcans claim to know nothing about the materials, Riker and Geordi assume the Ferengi have stolen them.
Upon his return to the Enterprise, Picard summons the help of the Klingons in hopes of receiving an undetectable ship to use to travel to Romulus. After several days, Picard finally reaches Gowron, who provides the vessel after a great deal of prodding. Meanwhile, covert reports from Romulus confirm Spock's meeting with Senator Pardek, who Data learns has been an advocate for peace, and reunification of the Vulcan and Romulan states, for many decades.
Disguised as Romulans, Picard and Data make their way toward the planet in the Klingon ship. At the same time, Riker and Troi work together to find out how the metal material, now identified as a disassembled Vulcan deflector array, ended up in the hands of the Ferengi.
During a difficult night aboard the Klingon ship, Picard is informed that Sarek has died. While investigating the mysterious Vulcan deflector array, the Enterprise encounters an unidentified alien warship. When the ship refuses to answer Riker's hails and prepares to attack, Riker orders Worf to fire a warning shot. Although the firepower used is small, the hostile ship explodes into space.
Picard and Data transport down to Romulus where disguised, they stop at a cafe across from Senator Pardek's office. They see Pardek and begin to move toward him when suddenly they are kidnapped by several Romulan soldiers. Later, however, they are approached by Senator Pardek, who explains that he had them kidnapped for their own protection. As Picard briefs the Senator on the reasons behind his mission, Spock suddenly appears before him.
Picard and Data meet Spock on the planet Romulus. Spock is initially uncooperative when Picard questions him as to the details of his mission. However, the tension is lifted when Picard shares the unhappy news of Spock's father's death and attempts to fulfill his friend's last request by telling Spock of his father's love. Spock then reveals to Picard that the purpose of his mission is to reunify the Romulans and the Vulcans. The revelation shocks Picard, who does not trust the intentions of the Romulan government. After learning this, Data transports back to the disguised Klingon ship that brought him and Picard to Romulus and attempts to access the Romulans' computer system.
Back on the U.S.S. Enterprise, Riker continues to investigate the theft of surplus Vulcan ships and materials. He makes contact with Amarie, the ex-wife of a smuggler killed when the Enterprise destroyed the unmarked enemy warship that interrupted their investigation. Meanwhile, Senator Pardek brings Picard and Spock to meet with Neral, the Romulan Proconsul, who claims to support reunification. However, after Picard and Spock leave, Sela appears in Neral's office. Later, Picard tells Spock that he doesn't trust the fact that Neral has offered his support so quickly, without the support of Romulan traditionalists. Spock also feels skeptical, but decides it is in the Federation's best interest to proceed whether the Romulans have an ulterior motive or not.
Afterwards, on the Klingon vessel, Spock offers Data his help in trying to access the Romulan computer system. At the same time, Amarie puts Riker in touch with a Ferengi arms trader, who, after a threat from Riker, reveals that the Romulans are involved in the theft of Vulcan ships.
Riker immediately contacts Picard with the news, and both wonder how the stolen Vulcan ship fits into the picture. The two agree to meet, and Riker steers the Enterprise towards Romulan territory. Data finally manages to access the Romulan computer system, and he and Picard transport back to the Romulan surface to inform Spock of their findings. Spock immediately deduces that Pardek and Neral have double-crossed him, a fact that becomes even clearer when Sela appears and takes the group prisoner, informing them that she plans to take over Vulcan.
On the Enterprise, Riker worries when he is unable to reach Picard. Meanwhile, Sela declares her plan to force Spock to deliver a speech, in which he will announce the arrival of the stolen Vulcan ships. The ships, disguised as a peace envoy, are actually manned by Romulans and have been dispatched to seize control of the Vulcan government. When Spock refuses to cooperate, Sela shows him a holographic image of himself, Picard and Data, which she will use instead if she is forced to kill them. When Sela leaves the room, Picard and Data work furiously on the computer and provide themselves with an escape route. They also send an emergency signal to the Enterprise, which, already suspecting foul play, intercepts the Romulan "peace envoy" and destroys the ships. Enraged, Sela returns to kill Spock, Picard and Data, but is instead tricked into firing at their holographic images, giving the real Data an opportunity to subdue her with an imitation of Spock's legendary Vulcan nerve pinch. The three escape, and Spock decides to remain on Romulus to continue to work towards peace.
The Enterprise makes way toward a planet known as Penthara IV, where a massive asteroid has struck an unpopulated continent. Fearing that the resulting dust cloud could lead to a devastating nuclear winter like the one that occurred on Earth in the late 21st Century, the crew hopes to find a way to counteract the cloud's effects. As they travel toward the planet, a bright flash appears on the Bridge, and a strange man materializes before the crew. The man reveals that he is a Professor Berlinghoff Rasmussen, an historian from the late 26th Century Earth, who has traveled from the future to study the Enterprise. Although the crew is suspicious of Rasmussen, his presence arouses their interest in the future, but Picard insists they refrain from questioning their guest so they don't end up changing the future.
The Enterprise arrives at Penthara IV and the widespread devastation caused by the asteroid hit becomes apparent. While Geordi La Forge and Data work to save the planet, Rasmussen asks the crew to complete lengthy questionnaires, ostensibly for his research. He also asks to see several pieces of equipment, regarding them as relics of a bygone era. The crew members are nothing but polite, but privately they begin to lose patience with Rasmussen and his methods. Troi is especially wary of the man and what his true intentions might be after picking up a vibration that he is trying to confuse them.
When the crew's initial plan to save Penthara IV backfires, Geordi comes up with an alternative solution that will either completely save the planet or kill every living thing on it. Desperate, Picard asks Rasmussen for advice regarding the plan, but Rasmussen refuses to help him on the grounds that Picard is trying to manipulate the future. Left only with his original choice to act or not to act, Picard goes with his original impulse and orders the crew to implement the risky plan.
The crew's efforts are successful, and Penthara IV is saved. Rasmussen immediately prepares to leave the Enterprise, but Picard and the crew greet him outside his vessel with the announcement that they plan to search his ship for several objects that have mysteriously disappeared during Rasmussen's stay. Rasmussen relents, but insists that only Data be allowed on his vessel since, if so instructed by Picard, he will never divulge what he sees.
Once inside, Rasmussen pulls a phaser on Data, revealing that he is not a 26th-century historian but a 22nd-century inventor. He traveled to the Enterprise to steal technology that he will take credit for creating, and he now plans to take Data with him as well. Luckily, Picard has already deactivated the phaser, and Data is able to outsmart his foe. After disposing of Rasmussen's ship, the crew turns him over to the authorities.
While the U.S.S. Enterprise heads for Bilana III to participate in the testing of a new propulsion method called the Soliton Wave, Worf receives an unexpected visit from his mother Helena and his son Alexander.
The Klingon's surprise turns to shock, however, when Alexander informs Worf that he plans to live on the ship with his father.
That night, Worf discusses the situation with Helena. She reveals that Alexander has been misbehaving and is in desperate need of his father's guidance. Reluctantly, Worf agrees to take custody of the child. But when he discovers that the boy is lying and acting up in school, Worf threatens to send his son to a rigorous Klingon school.
Sensing that there's more to Alexander's behavior than meets the eye, Troi helps Worf realize that the boy's actions may be the result of feeling abandoned by his late mother and his father, who left the child to be raised by his grandparents on Earth. Worf begins to have second thoughts about sending Alexander to the Klingon school.
Meanwhile, feeling unloved by his father, Alexander seeks solace in the Biolab, home to his favorite animals. Just then, the crew discovers that the Soliton Wave test has gone dangerously awry. The wave's power level has increased so drastically that It could destroy a nearby colony. As the crew works frantically to create a backfire effect that could dissipate the wave and save the planet, they learn that Alexander is trapped in the biolab, where a fire has begun.
With seconds to spare, Worf and Riker rescue Alexander from the Biolab, while the crew successfully destroys the Soliton Wave. Realizing the loss he would feel if Alexander left the Enterprise, Worf asks his son to remain on the ship permanently.
The U.S.S. Enterprise makes way to a nearby Starbase that has recently lost contact with the Vico, a research vessel sent to explore the interior of a Black Cluster. Upon locating the vessel, Picard sends an Away Team to investigate the situation. Data and Riker are shocked when they discover a little boy trapped in the wreckage of the small ship.
After several unsuccessful attempts, the crew is finally able to rescue and transport the boy back to Sickbay. The youth, Timothy, is immediately drawn to Data. Meanwhile on the Bridge, Picard and Geordi study the details of the events that led to the vessel's explosion. Timothy told the crew that the Vico was attacked by an alien ship. But preliminary research indicates that Timothy lied about what happened on the ship, as the Vico was not boarded by the aliens as he had reported. Troubled by this revelation, Picard and Troi instruct Data to spend more time with the boy in hopes that he will tell Data what really happened.
As Data and Timothy spend more time together, the boy becomes increasingly intrigued by his new friend and his exceptional mental and physical capacities. He soon begins acting and talking like Data, simulating some of his android mannerisms. Later, Troi is troubled when she visits Timothy and finds him dressed in clothing similar to Data's and calling himself an android. Troi discusses her concerns with Picard, advising him that Timothy's behavior is probably the result of the traumatic experience of losing both of his parents in the explosion.
Continuing his investigation, Picard orders the crew to direct the Enterprise into the Black Cluster. Once inside, the ship begins to be hit by shock waves. As the intensity increases, Picard summons Timothy to the Bridge. The boy initially maintains his story that the ship was attacked, but when Data reminds him that androids do not lie, he reveals that he believes he is responsible for the ship's destruction. However, the crew is able to convince him that the ship was destroyed by natural causes. This does not completely ease the boy's mind since the shockwaves hitting the Enterprise begin to increase in intensity. Data is able to guide the ship through the bombardment, indicating where the Vico's crew made the mistake that caused the ship's destruction. Later, out of danger, Timothy is able to resume his life as a normal little boy. However, he and Data agree to remain friends.
The Enterprise makes its way toward Kaldra IV carrying a delegation of Ullians, an alien race of telepathic historians who conduct research by probing their subjects' long-forgotten memories. The head of the delegation, Tarmin, immediately demonstrates this ability when he helps Keiko resolve a repressed childhood memory. However, Picard, Dr. Crusher and the rest of the crew are reluctant to let the Ullians examine them, and Tarmin's son Jev admonishes his father against probing their thoughts without permission. Troi leaves the meeting with Jev, and later that evening, experiences an unexplained flashback of a romantic interlude between herself and Riker. Suddenly, Riker's advances become rough, and Troi discovers that Jev has replaced Riker in her memory. As she struggles against Jev, she falls unconscious.
In Sickbay, Dr. Crusher tries to find an answer to Troi's sudden comatose state. In search of an answer, Riker asks Jev about his visit with Troi the previous evening. Jev is offended when Riker suggests that the Ullians allow Dr. Crusher to examine them for any harmful organisms. Later that day, Riker flashes back to a disaster aboard the Enterprise. When Jev replaces a crew member in his memory, he too falls into a coma.
With two crew members inexplicably unconscious, Dr. Crusher asks Geordi to conduct a ship-wide diagnostic for any agents that could have produced these tragedies. Through further examination, she discovers that Riker and Troi's brain tissue show a similar abnormality in an area associated with memory development. Because of this, she and Picard still suspect the Ullians are somehow responsible for the comas despite the fact that they pass all of her medical tests. Her research ends, however, when she falls into a coma as well.
Data and Geordi pick up where Dr. Crusher left off, examining incidents of comas among other peoples visited by the Ullians. Meanwhile, Picard asks the Ullians to voluntarily quarantine themselves to protect the crew from any further damage. Later, Troi regains consciousness, and despite her discomfort, agrees to allow the Ullians to attempt to clear themselves by having Jev probe her memory of the night she fell unconscious. She begins to experience the same flashback about Riker, but is horrified when he is suddenly replaced by Tarmin.
Believing Tarmin's memory invasion is responsible for the comas, Picard and Jev make plans to prosecute him. However, when Jev visits Troi to say goodbye, she experiences the flashback again and realizes it was Jev, not Tarmin, who replaced Riker before she fell unconscious. Frightened, she tries to escape, but Jev charges toward her. At the same time, Worf and Data discover Jev was the only Ullian present in every instance where a coma occurred during one of his people's visits to another race. They race to Troi's quarters and arrive just in time to save her from Jev.
Picard's efforts to save a genetically engineered society from a natural disaster threaten to destroy it.
The U.S.S. Enterprise moves in to help after detecting a stellar core fragment heading straight for a human colony on what was thought to be a deserted planet. Picard contacts the colony's leader, Aaron Conor, with an offer to evacuate his people. But Conor refuses, telling Picard that evacuation would destroy his genetically engineered society. Instead, he insists on working to find an alternate solution, and reluctantly permits the transport of Riker, Geordi and Troi, the first visitors the colony has ever had, to help. Conor assigns Hannah Bates, a scientist from the colony, to work with Geordi. Riker beams back aboard the Enterprise along with Geordi and Hannah, who leaves the colony for the first time to work to save her home.
Back on board the Enterprise, Hannah is clearly fascinated by the ship's advanced technology. Meanwhile, Troi soothes a testy Picard, stressing the importance of working to preserve the colony's way of life despite the captain's disapproval of genetic engineering. Later, Hannah and Geordi discover that the technology of his VISOR can aid in steering the fragment away from the planet.
Troi returns to the colony and succumbs to her romantic feelings for Conor. The next morning, she sadly bids him goodbye, realizing that her DNA makeup would forever alter the colony's genetic balance. As she prepares to leave, Hannah and Geordi beam back to the planet with the announcement that they must transport fifty people to the planet in order to install the equipment necessary to deflect the approaching fragment. Knowing it is the only way to save his people besides evacuating them, Conor agrees.
With seconds to spare, Hannah and Geordi successfully alter the fragment's course and save the colony. But Hannah is hardly overjoyed by the news. Having encountered and worked with technology superior to her own, she decides she wants to leave the colony. In order to accomplish this, she stages a breach in the biosphere that would cause a necessary evacuation of her people.
Luckily, Geordi realizes what Hannah is doing and is able to avert the impending disaster. When Hannah explains her actions, Conor realizes he can no longer restrain her, and grants Hannah and all others who wish to leave the colony permission to do so. Twenty-three colonists, including Hannah, leave the colony, creating an irreparable balance in the society, and forcing Picard to wonder whether the starship's "help" was ultimately as damaging as a hit from the stellar fragment would have been.
After being scanned by an unidentified alien ship, the entire crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise, even Data, sustains complete memory loss. Strangely, however, while they have forgotten who they are and what they do, they still possess skills that enable them to operate the ship. All outside communication has been disrupted, but the crew assumes they are in battle due to the remains of a small alien ship located outside.
The crew accesses the ship's computer, which provides them with the name, photo and rank of all personnel responsible for primary operation of the ship. Since learning who they are sparks no memories, no one is surprised when an Executive Officer Commander Keiran MacDuff is listed as second-in-command. Later, Geordi and Data discover information regarding their mission — they have been ordered to cross into Lysian territory and destroy its central command center. The information suggests that the Lysians are responsible for the crew's memory loss. The orders also require the Enterprise to maintain absolute radio silence.
On the Bridge, the crew is uncomfortable with the thought of destroying a small Lysian ship, especially when they discover that the Enterprise is far more powerful than the "enemy" vessel. Picard wants to contact the Federation for verification, but MacDuff insists he cannot, reminding him that their orders state that they are at war with the Lysians and must not contact anyone. Seeing no other choice, Picard fires on and destroys the ship.
Still uneasy, Picard searches for a way to restore the crew's memories. He sends Data and Geordi to access the crew's medical records, but the pair are unable to. They also discover that the mission reports, crew records and personal logs are missing, and are disturbed by the specific nature of the missing information. MacDuff, however, points out that everything that is happening is consistent with their information on the Lysians. Desperate, the crew decides that Dr. Crusher should attempt a dangerous memory-restoring treatment without the benefit of her patients' medical records. MacDuff immediately volunteers for the treatment, during which he appears to suffer a seizure. Afterwards, he tells Dr. Crusher he still remembers nothing.
As Picard prepares to attack the Lysian central command, he learns that the Lysians are so technologically inferior to the Enterprise that they are virtually defenseless. Morally unable to justify the attack, he orders Worf to open the communications channel. MacDuff lunges for tactical control in order to fire on the Lysians, but Riker stuns him with a phaser. The phaser blast reveals that MacDuff is actually an alien. Later, after Dr. Crusher has restored the memories of most of the crew, Picard discovers that MacDuff is a member of a race that has been at war with the Lysians for decades. Although he had the power to manipulate computers and suppress memories, his weapons technology was inferior, so he attempted to use the Enterprise as a puppet.
A subspace distress signal that seems to be emanating from a Starfleet ship lures the U.S.S. Enterprise to a seemingly uninhabited moon. The last recorded Starfleet presence in the area was the disappearance of the U.S.S. Essex two centuries before, but Troi insists she senses life. A fierce storm makes beaming to the surface impossible, so Riker, Troi and Data attempt to land on the moon in a shuttlecraft. The craft crashes, Riker breaks his arm and all communication with the Enterprise is lost. Still, Troi feels something powerful, and she decides it is approaching with a particularly severe-looking storm cloud. Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, O'Brien volunteers to risk his life and transport through the storm to rescue the others. As he attempts to beam them off the moon, the cloud envelops them and strange energy rings appear around the group.
O'Brien is successful, and the Away Team returns. Once back on board however, Data, Troi and O'Brien insist the Enterprise conduct a systematic survey of a polar region of the moon — a notion Riker, Picard and the rest of the crew consider absurd. When Riker questions their reasons, the three stage a violent revolt and take command of the ship.
By holding crew members hostage, Data, Troi and O'Brien are able to force Picard to listen to their demands and change the direction of the ship. Meanwhile, Dr. Crusher and Riker determine that he was not affected because his broken arm somehow repelled whatever force inhabited the other three crew members. Later, the force reveals itself when Troi, the leader of the mutinous trio, identifies herself as Captain Bryce Shumar of the Starship Essex.
Troi explains that the spirits of the Essex crew were trapped in the magnetic currents that surround the moon when the ship disappeared two centuries before. By safely transporting their bones back to earth, Picard will free them from their spiritual imprisonment. But their violent behavior prevents Picard from believing their intentions are as friendly as they say. At the same time, Dr. Crusher decides that delivering a powerful jolt of pain to the bodies of the three may have the same effect that Riker's broken arm did and ward off the forces. Geordi and Ensign Ro work on the computer to deliver a shock to the three, but Data is not hit. The android then threatens to kill everyone in the room, and Picard weakly agrees to take them where they want to go.
As they near the moon's surface again, Riker reminds the trio that the same problems that prevented them from beaming to the surface in the first place still exist. O'Brien says he can successfully reach the moon with a Transporter Pad, and the three take off for a cargo bay with three hostages, including Picard. Once in the cargo bay, Troi reveals that her people are actually condemned spirits, the moon is a condemned penal colony, and she plans to use the bodies of the Enterprise crew members as a means of escape. Picard insists he will open the cargo bay doors and kill himself rather than risk the lives of his crew. With no other choice, the spirits leave the Enterprise for their banishment on the moon, and Troi, Data and O'Brien are returned to normal.
Worf is seriously injured when a support beam breaks and causes a heavy container to fall on him. He awakens in Sickbay to shocking news — he is paralyzed from the waist down. Dr. Crusher informs her patient that she has sent for a specialist, a neuro-geneticist named Dr. Russell, but stresses to Worf that his chances of gaining full recovery of his legs are minimal at best. This news crushes Worf's Klingon pride, and he refuses to allow anyone, including his son Alexander, to see him.
Discussing Worf's case with Dr. Crusher, Dr. Russell suggests implementing a radical medical technique that is still in the experimental stages. Dr. Crusher refuses, unwilling to risk Worf's life when he is in no danger of dying. Worf, however, believes his life Is already over. He asks Riker to assist in his ceremonial suicide, citing the belief that no Klingon should live as an object of pity or shame, but Riker is torn. Later, Dr. Crusher and Dr. Russell visit Worf to discuss his options. They present him with implants designed to partially restore the feeling in his legs, but Worf refuses, telling them he would rather die than be less than the man he was. At this point, Dr. Russell tells Worf about the experimental surgery that could fully restore his mobility.
This move angers Dr. Crusher, who believes Dr. Russell is trying to use Worf as a sort of guinea pig to test her unproven technique. They argue outside Worf's quarters until they are called to assist with the survivors of the crash of another starship. There, Beverly is further angered when Russell's use of another experimental technique leads to the death of a patient. Unable to trust her colleague, she relieves Dr. Russell from duty.
Worf still refuses to consider the implants and insists he wants to die. Because of this, Picard tries to convince Dr. Crusher to let Dr. Russell perform the experimental surgery, but Beverly stands firm. At the same time, Riker confronts Worf, reminding him that Klingon law dictates that it is Worf's son, and not Riker, who is supposed to assist in Worf's death. Unable to deny this, Worf abandons the idea of killing himself, and asks to try Dr. Russell's surgery instead.
Dr. Crusher reluctantly agrees, and together, she and Dr. Russell perform the operation. While the technique initially appears to be a success, Worf suddenly goes into cardiac arrest — and dies on the table. Dr. Crusher tries desperately to revive him, but eventually is forced to acknowledge that he is gone. But thanks to a mysterious Klingon biochemical reaction, Worf suddenly revives a few minutes later and goes on to recover. Dr. Crusher, however, is unable to forgive Dr. Russell for endangering the life of her colleague and friend.
While investigating the disappearance of a J'naii shuttlecraft, the crew finds reason to believe the missing ship is stranded in an abnormal pocket called "null space." Riker and Soren, a member of the J'naii race, begin preparing to rescue the craft, and the two strike up a friendship. Their relationship develops quickly as the pair question each other about mating habits, since the J'naii are androgynous and do not identify themselves as either male or female. Despite this difference, sparks begin to fly between them.
Heading toward the null space in a shuttlecraft, Soren wonders to Riker if a J'naii and a human could be sexually compatible. She then tells him that this would be illegal in her society, where gender-specific relations are strictly forbidden. However, after she is injured during the mission, Soren becomes bolder. She insists on completing the mission, and also insists taking an even greater risk by telling Riker that she is attracted to him.
The following day, Riker and Soren locate the J'naii shuttlecraft and successfully load the injured J'naii onto the ship. Soren's colleague Krite thanks Riker for his help and invites Riker to join them for a celebration that evening. As Soren and Riker say a discreet goodbye, Krite notices the sparks between them. Later that evening, Soren and Riker sneak away from the dinner for a walk in the woods, where, hidden from everyone, they exchange a passionate kiss.
Continuing to work together to remove the J'naii shuttlecraft from the null space, Riker and Soren present a purely professional front to the crew. However, when Riker arrives at Soren's quarters for a pre-arranged meeting, he is informed that she has been taken into custody as a result of their relationship. Riker finally finds Soren in a civic chamber, sitting before a panel of judges. After admitting to her belief of being female, she is taken away by guards to be brainwashed.
Desperate, Riker concocts a plan to rescue Soren and returns to the planet to find her. Unfortunately, when he does locate her, he is too late. Having already undergone psychotectic therapy, Soren no longer has any belief in gender differences or any romantic feelings for Riker. Sadly, Riker returns alone to the U.S.S. Enterprise.
While playing poker with Riker, Data and Worf, a strange feeling of déjà vu helps Dr. Crusher successfully call Riker's bluff. She is then summoned to sickbay to examine a dizzy Geordi, and once again experiences this sensation. When she goes to bed that evening, she is haunted by strange voices in her quarters. The ship continues to chart the Typhon Expanse, a previously unexplored region of space, until the distortion field suddenly fluctuates, the main propulsion systems collapse, and the Enterprise is thrown into red alert on a collision course with an older starship. Riker recommends decompressing the main shuttlebay, but Picard follows Data's advice and uses the tractor beam to alter the other ship's trajectory. Unfortunately, this course fails, the ships collide and the Enterprise explodes and is completely destroyed.
Later, Riker, Data, Worf and Beverly are playing cards again, and both Riker and Beverly realize they know what is coming next. Beverly is again summoned to Sickbay, where she and Geordi both experience feelings of déjà vu. When she hears the voices in her room, she immediately goes to Picard and tells him that something strange is going on. He decides to run a diagnostic. The next morning, while discussing the results of that diagnostic, the older ship mysteriously appears and the Enterprise is again destroyed.
The card game is in full swing again, but this time, all four players realize they know what cards are coming next. Beverly anticipates being called to Sickbay, and when Geordi again shows up feeling dizzy, she goes to Picard and repeats their previous exchange. She hears the voices in her room again, but this time Beverly turns on her tape recorder. The recording is studied, and Data deduces that the strange voices are the voices of the crew.
Beverly and Geordi realize that they are trapped in a causality loop — a time warp that dooms them to endlessly repeat the same fragment of time. This phenomenon is causing Geordi's dizziness, and Data discovers that it also explains the voices on the tape, which are "echoes" from a previous loop. He isolates pieces of dialogue that indicate that the Enterprise collided with another ship, exploded, and got stuck in the time warp. Realizing that whatever they do to avoid the collision will probably be the same thing they have done before, Data decides the only hope is to send a deliberate message into the next loop. They prepare to send the message, the red alert begins again, and the ship is destroyed.
Another card game is in progress, but this time, the cards are different, with everything occurring in threes. Things continue to happen in sets of three, and the number three is seen everywhere for no explicable reason. Other than this difference everything occurs as before. When the red alert begins, Picard again chooses Data's advice over Riker's. At the last minute, however, Data notices the three pips on Riker's uniform and, realizing "three" was the message he planted for himself, takes Riker's advice and leads the ship to safety. The collision avoided, the crew is hailed by the older ship, the U.S.S. Bozeman. The Enterprise contacts Starfleet Command, who reports that they have been caught in a time warp for 17 days, while the other ship has been stuck for 90 years.
While en-route to Starfleet Academy, where Picard is scheduled to deliver the year's commencement address, the crew learns of a devastating in-flight accident involving Wesley Crusher and his squadron. While all five ships involved were destroyed, Wesley, his squadron leader and two other crew members managed to transport to safety. However, the fifth team member, Wesley's good friend Joshua Albert, was killed instantly.
Picard, Dr. Crusher and the rest of the cadets' parents watch as Admiral Brand, the Academy superintendent, begins an investigation, questioning the four surviving cadets about the fatal flight. When the admiral finds discrepancies between their testimony and the flight plan they had filed, the squadron's leader, Nicholas Locarno, steps in. He reluctantly tells the investigating panel that Albert panicked and lost control during the maneuver and caused the accident. Albert's father, a Starfleet officer, is especially devastated by this news.
Because the U.S.S. Enterprise is Wesley's home, Admiral Brand allows Picard and the crew to begin their own, independent investigation of the accident. Meanwhile, Wesley meets with Locarno and the other squadron members to discuss the earlier inquiry. The three cadets are clearly upset with their leader for placing blame on Albert when the accident was not really his fault. Locarno tries to convince them that they aren't lying by omitting crucial details that will explain what really happened, and that they must go along with his plan in order to save their careers. Stressing the importance of working together as a team, he gets his squadron to agree with him. Later, when the hearing resumes, Wesley is questioned about the surviving data from his flight recorder. He and his comrades are shocked when the panel produces evidence that clearly contradicts Wesley's testimony. However, while he appears to be caught in a lie, Wesley refuses to explain.
Shaken by what is happening, Wesley subtly indicates to Beverly that he is lying. She shares her feelings with Picard, and the two join Geordi and Data to try to reach a conclusion. Together, they use all the data they have recovered to conclude that instead of the formation the squadron claimed to be practicing, Wesley and his comrades were working on an extremely dangerous maneuver.
Picard summons Wesley and tells the young man that he and the crew know what is going on. They know Wesley's squadron was working on a spectacular maneuver so dangerous it has been forbidden — a move they planned to perform at Starfleet Academy's commencement ceremony. Had they succeeded, Locarno would have graduated as a living legend. Unfortunately, their failure cost Albert his life. Picard tells Wesley that if he can't tell the truth, Picard himself will. Wesley immediately meets with the rest of his squadron, but Locarno again convinces them to stick together, reminding that Picard has no concrete proof. At the hearing, however, Wesley tells the truth, unable to allow Albert's father to go on believing his son was a coward. Locarno takes the blame and is expelled, while the rest of the squadron are told they must repeat the school year.
After destroying a deadly asteroid in the Pelloris Field, the U.S.S. Enterprise heads toward the Moselina system unaware that a cloud of strange particles have attached themselves to the ship's hull. As they travel, Deanna Troi's mother Lwaxana transports aboard with an unusual announcement — she is planning to get married on the Enterprise to a man that she has never met. Troi finds the news disturbing, but Lwaxana laughs at her "motherly" concern.
Troi has been counseling Worf and his son Alexander, who have been clashing over the boy's responsibilities. Soon, Lwaxana meets Alexander and takes a liking to him. She persuades him to skip his appointment with Troi and accompany her to the holodeck instead. There, she takes him for a visit to a colony of artists, poets and free thinkers, and to a mudbath. Troi and Worf, meanwhile, begin a search for the missing boy that leads them to the holodeck.
An angry Troi asks her mother to stop interfering with Alexander's upbringing. The subject changes to Lwaxana's upcoming wedding, and Troi is shocked to learn that her independent-thinking mother plans to forgo the Betazed custom of getting married in the nude and wear a wedding dress provided by her bridegroom instead. Meanwhile, minor malfunctions begin to occur aboard the ship, and Geordi and Data discover that mechanical parts of the ship are being transformed into a gelatinous substance. As they report their findings to Picard, Riker and Worf, red alert sounds as more crucial systems begin to fail.
Later, Lwaxana's intended, Minister Campio, transports aboard along with his pompous Protocol Master. Lwaxana is a bit taken aback by just how stuffy her husband-to-be is, since the compatibility profile that matched them did not alert her to how major their differences are. She becomes bored with the complicated wedding plans and heads back to the holodeck with Alexander, much to everyone's dismay. Back in engineering, Geordi discovers the strange particles that have attached themselves to the ship and realizes they are at the root of the mechanical problem.
Malfunctions interrupt Lwaxana and Alexander's holodeck visit, and she calmly leads the boy out of danger. Meanwhile, Geordi and Data tell Picard that the particles that are destroying the ship are parasites that turned to the Enterprise after the asteroid they fed on was destroyed. They must return to the Pelloris Field in order to get rid of the particles, but time is running out. The parasites quickly overtake the life support systems, and the entire crew, with the exception of Data, loses consciousness as the oxygen runs out. Racing against the clock, Data reaches the Pelloris Field and beams the particles toward a new asteroid. With everything back to normal, Lwaxana's nuptials begin. They come to an abrupt halt, however, when she walks down the aisle naked according to her traditions, sending her stuffy bridegroom and his Protocol Master scurrying for home. Troi is pleased that her mother stuck to her guns, and later brings Worf to join Lwaxana and Alexander for a last trip to the mudbath.
The battle between the Krios and Valt Minor Systems is set to end aboard the neutral ground of the U.S.S. Enterprise in a Ceremony of Reconciliation. The Kriosian Ambassador Briam arrives first with a gift for the Valtese leader Alrik, a fragile and irreplaceable item he asks to have declared off-limits. While on course to meet Alrik, the Enterprise is summoned to aid a Ferengi shuttle and beams aboard its two passengers. Picard and the crew learn their arrival was no coincidence when one of the Ferengi is caught trying to steal the gift. After being bumped by the Ferengi, the cocoon-like structure that houses the gift dissolves, revealing an exotic and beautiful woman.
The woman, Kamala, explains that she is an empathic metamorph, a rare creature born with the ability to sense what her mate desires and become what he wants her to be. From birth, she has been raised to be a gift to Alrik, whom she will imprint herself to as a token of peace. However, since her seal was broken prematurely, she is in a vulnerable state, sending out powerful sexual signals to every man she comes in contact with. Briam requests that she be confined to her room until Alrik arrives, but this horrifies Beverly Crusher, who tells Picard that he is helping to transport Kamala into a life of virtual prostitution. She convinces him to talk to the woman and release her from her quarters.
Picard has a difficult time resisting his attraction to Kamala, so he assigns Data, who will be immune to the woman's charms, to act as her escort. Data brings Kamala to the bar, where every man in sight is drawn to her. Kamala realizes she is creating havoc and volunteers to return to her quarters. Meanwhile, as Picard and Geordi help prepare for the upcoming ceremony, the Ferengis try to bribe Briam for Kamala. When he refuses to accept the bribe, he is knocked unconscious.
With Briam unable to perform his duty, Picard is asked to step in for him during the peace negotiations. Unfortunately, the captain knows little of the customs and rituals of the Kriosian people, and must turn to Kamala for help. As they work together, Picard finds it difficult to resist his attraction for her. Kamala confesses that she is also struggling, and finds it ironic to have met a man like Picard the day before she is to meet the man she must spend the rest of her life with.
Alrik arrives, and Picard is called upon to hand Kamala to her new mate in the Ceremony of Reconciliation. However, when he arrives in her room, she tells Picard that she is in love with him and has already imprinted herself to him. He asks her if she plans to go through with the ceremony anyway, and she tells him she must put her duty to her fellow man ahead of her own desires.
After learning from a young Enterprise resident named Clara that she has an "Invisible friend," Troi reassures the girl's father, Daniel Sutter, that the practice is normal. Since Clara has been moved from starship to starship, Troi explains that her imaginary friend "Isabella" provides her with a constant companion. Meanwhile, the Enterprise investigates a rare nebula that has formed around a neutron star. As the exploration proceeds, a strange energy source makes its way onto the ship and begins to conduct an exploration of its own. The being discovers Clara playing in the Arboretum, and immediately materializes into the image of her friend Isabella.
Clara is astonished to see her imaginary friend come to life. Isabella convinces the girl to take her on a tour of the ship, concentrating on forbidden areas like Engineering, the Bridge and the Ten-Forward. The crew is shocked to see Clara popping up in such unexpected places, especially when she blames her "companion" Isabella, whom none of the adults can see. At the same time, Picard and the crew are troubled by mysterious energy strands which have surrounded the ship like a web and are causing it to lose power.
Troi decides Clara should meet some other children, and arranges for her to attend a ceramics class. The girl immediately hits it off with Worf's son Alexander, that is, until Isabella arrives and destroys one of Alexander's creations. Since Alexander can't see Isabella, he blames Clara. Later, a tearful Clara confronts Isabella, asking why she has been so mean to her. Isabella coldly replies that when the "others" come, Clara and everyone else on the ship will die.
Terrified, Clara confesses to her father that she is afraid of Isabella. Sutter calls Troi in, and the counselor accompanies the little girl back to her room to assure her that she is safe. She looks under the bed and in the bathroom in an effort to prove to Clara that nothing is lurking in the shadows. However, when she opens the door to Clara's closet, Isabella appears before her and knocks Troi unconscious with a strand of red energy.
Making a connection between Isabella and the beings that are draining the ship's energy, Picard begins a search for the girl. He finds her with Clara's help, and she tells them that she was on board to assess the ship's energy sources. When Picard tells her there are ways of providing her race with energy without destroying the ship, she replies that she plans to destroy it anyway. But when Clara asks her to spare them, Isabella changes her mind. She dematerializes, and moments later, the energy strands vanish. Picard orders Geordi to drive the warp engines to full power and direct the energy into the nebula, providing the aliens with the needed nourishment. Later, Isabella says goodbye to Clara in her quarters, and the two pledge to always remain friends.
Picard sends an Away Team to investigate the wreckage of a small craft, where they find the only survivor is an adolescent Borg. The Captain initially shows no sign of wanting to help, however, Dr. Crusher eventually persuades to beam the creature aboard in spite of the fact that his presence on the ship could alert the rest of his race. Back on board the Enterprise, Beverly disconnects the command center that allows the Borg to communicate with the rest of his race. Troi senses anger in Picard, who was kidnapped by the Borg, but he refuses to discuss his feelings. However, those feelings become apparent when Beverly discovers that her new patient's brain implants have been damaged and asks Picard if Geordi can construct new ones. Picard realizes that if Geordi can tamper with the command structure of this Borg's brain, he can destroy the entire race through their interconnected network.
Beverly is shocked that Picard would use the creature she is trying to heal to kill. However, the rest of the crew agrees with the Captain, citing the race's history of warlike activity against the Federation. Later, the Borg wakes up confused and disoriented after being disconnected from the collective whole.
In the science lab, Geordi and a reluctant Beverly attempt to communicate with the Borg so that Geordi can learn more about the command pathways in his brain. As they talk, they find this Borg is harmless and innocent — unlike the other Borg they have met. They name him Hugh, and Geordi begins having second thoughts about programming the creature to destroy his race. When he tells this to Guinan, she reacts with fear and anger. Later, Picard and Riker discover that a Borg rescue vessel is headed their way.
Guinan visits Hugh and angrily tells him how the Borg destroyed her race, but the creature actually shows sympathy toward her plight. Later, Geordi tells Picard he is having second thoughts about using Hugh to destroy the Borg, but Picard will have none of it — until Guinan convinces him to talk with Hugh himself. Hugh immediately recognizes Picard as Locutus, the creature Picard became when the Borg kidnapped and tried to assimilate him. However, Picard is surprised to discover that unlike the rest of the Borg, Hugh is exhibiting human emotions.
Persuaded by his encounter with Hugh, Picard abandons his plan to destroy the Borg. Instead, he offers Hugh the choice of either returning to the crash site to be rescued or remaining on board the Enterprise permanently. Hugh is tempted by the offer to stay with his new friends, but opts to be returned to the crash site to ensure the safety of the Enterprise. He exchanges sad goodbyes with the crew before Geordi returns with him to the crash site. There, he tells Geordi he does not want to forget his experiences through re-assimilation. As Geordi watches the Borg rescue party reclaiming their lost brother, Hugh meets his eyes, offering hope that he will remember their friendship.
Upon receiving a distress signal from a Romulan science ship, Picard surprises some crew members by sending an Away Team to help. The Romulan officers are also surprised, but are also relieved to be rescued. During the mission, Geordi discovers that one of the ship's generators needs replacement, so he and Ro prepare to beam back to the U.S.S. Enterprise to replicate the part. However, something goes wrong during the transport. After dematerializing from the Romulan ship, the pair fail to reappear on the Enterprise. After several failed attempts to bring them back, Picard and the crew are forced to accept the fact that their comrades are dead. Later, Ro mysteriously appears in Sickbay, where Picard and Dr. Crusher are signing her death certificate. She tries to talk to them to tell them she is alive, but they don't hear her. She stands in front of them, but they don't see her. In fact, Picard actually walks right through her. Because of this, Ro concludes she must be dead.
Ro eventually runs into Geordi, who has been having the same strange experiences. Although the pair can hear, see and touch each other, they seem to be removed from the rest of the ship. Ro tells Geordi she believes this means that they are dead, and have returned to the ship as spirits. Geordi, however, refuses to accept her explanation and sets about trying to find a solution.
Data takes on the dual task of planning a memorial service for his fallen crewmates and investigating the mishap that caused their deaths. Geordi is present when Data surmises that the accident had something to do with the accident that occurred aboard the Romulan ship. He and Worf return to the ship to investigate, with the invisible Geordi and Ro secretly tagging along. Once on the ship, the Romulans act very secretive when Data asks to scan their engine room. However, they talk freely once Data leaves the room, unaware that Geordi and Ro can hear everything they say. The invisible pair soon learn that the Romulans are testing a new cloaking device that hides things by dematerializing them. They realize that they are not dead — just accidentally cloaked.
Unfortunately, the pair must find a way to get uncloaked before the Enterprise leaves the Romulan ship's area or they really will be dead. Geordi finds a way back on the Enterprise, when Data notices a high level of chroniton fields on the ship. Geordi realizes that he and Ro create these fields by making contact with objects aboard the ship. He is further encouraged when Data sprays the contaminated areas with a substance that gives Ro and Geordi back some of their substance. They realize they must work to create as many chroniton fields as possible so that Data will spray enough of the chemical to force them to rematerialize. The pair implement their plan at their memorial service, which is more like a huge party. They create a large number of chroniton fields, forcing Data to use an large amount of spray to eliminate them. When he does, their images reappear — but only for a brief moment. Luckily, both Data and Picard see the pair and realize what has happened. They flood the room with the anti-chroniton chemical and Geordi and Ro rematerialize, turning the memorial observance into a celebration of life.
An unsophisticated alien probe assumes a relative position, holding steady with the U.S.S. Enterprise, and releases a nucleonic particle stream that penetrates the ship's shields. Focusing solely on Picard, the beam knocks him unconscious. When he wakes up, Picard finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings, being cared for by an attractive woman. The woman, Eline, tells him his name is "Kamin," and he is her husband of three years. She also tells him that he has been sick and must be experiencing a memory loss. Picard soon learns that he lives on the planet Kataan, where he works as a simple iron weaver. His confusion is compounded when he notices that Eline wears an exact replica of the alien probe as jewelry. She tells Picard he gave her the necklace as a gift.
On the Enterprise, the crew is unable to revive Picard. Realizing the particle emission that has attached itself to him may control his life, they are afraid to destroy the beam. Only a few moments have passed, but on Kataan, it is already five years later, and Picard is settling into his life. He comes up with a solution to the drought that is destroying the planet, but his advanced ideas are laughed at by leaders of the primitive society. However, his life is not without its pleasures. Picard kisses Eline, an act that causes his pulse to rise back on the Enterprise. Worf insists they must destroy the beam since their Captain is under attack.
They do so, and Picard's pulse drops dramatically. On Kataan, where seven more years have passed, he falls to the floor. Acting quickly, the crew restores the beam. Back on Kataan, another 12 years have passed, and Picard has two children. The drought continues to worsen, and Picard's teenage daughter, Meribor, realizes their planet is doomed. At the same time, Geordi and Data are able to chart the probe's radiation to Kataan, a planet that was destroyed in a supernova explosion over a thousand years ago.
On Kataan, the years continue to fly by. Picard continues his quest to get something done about the drought, but his suggestions fall on deaf ears. Later, Eline dies, as does Picard's best friend Batai, and his first grandchild is born.
The elapsed time on the Enterprise is still only a few minutes. However, Dr. Crusher becomes alarmed when she realizes that Picard's metabolic rates match those of an 80-year-old man. In fact, Picard is actually 85 years old on Kataan, where the drought has almost completely destroyed the planet. His children and grandchild convince the unwilling old man to accompany them to a missile launching — an event they are all very excited about. Picard doesn't understand the point, knowing the missile will do nothing to save the planet or its people. However, as the missile takes off, his family, with the help of Eline's spirit, explain to Picard that they are launching a probe into the future to find a person who will bring them immortality by telling others about their planet after it is destroyed. Picard realizes the missile is actually the probe that brought him to Kataan over 30 years ago. As this happens, he wakes up aboard the Enterprise and is amazed to learn he has only been unconscious for 25 minutes, in which time he lived a third of a lifetime.
Picard and the crew are summoned to San Francisco to evaluate a discovery of extra-terrestrial life on Earth that dates back to the late 19th century. Triolic waves, a rare energy source employed by very few species, have been detected around the city. The Captain wonders why his crew has been summoned instead of one of Earth's more qualified scientists. He is shocked to learn that the U.S.S. Enterprise has been included because Data's head, old, dusty and dead, was found among the ruins of some 19th-century artifacts. The crew finds it hard to accept Data's supposed death, but Data is typically matter-of-fact, explaining that at a future date he will transport back to 19th-century Earth, where his death will occur. Meanwhile, Geordi concludes that the only species that uses triolic rays and is capable of assuming human form on earth exists solely on the planet Devidia II. The Enterprise immediately sets course.
Upon their arrival, Picard sends an Away Team to investigate, but insists Data stay aboard ship. Troi senses human lifeforms, but no one is physically present. The crew concludes that the lifeforms are a fraction of a second out of phase with them. Since Data is the only hope for manipulating the distortion in timing, he beams down, and immediately sets up a forcefield. He soon disappears inside the field, but communicates with the rest of the Away Team, describing the unusual alien lifeforms he sees. Suddenly, an explosion occurs, and Data is gone. Lost from Devidia II, he reappears in San Francisco, circa the late 1800s.
The stranded Data quickly adapts to his surroundings. He wins needed funds in a barroom poker game, gets a hotel room and sets out to build a communications device to get back in touch with the Enterprise.
Back on the Enterprise, the crew concludes that the aliens pose a real threat to 19th-century Earth. They realize they must join Data there in trying to stop them, even if they, like Data, are doomed to die. Geordi begins work on a copy of the device that created Data's force field, hoping to make it large enough to transport an entire Away Team. Later, in Ten-Forward, Picard is unnerved by a conversation with Guinan, who insists he break with tradition and accompany the Away Team back to the 19th century. Although she can give him no explanation, he realizes she knows something. At the same time, back on Earth, Data is surprised to see a picture of Guinan in the local newspaper.
Assuming she has joined him from the future, Data tracks Guinan down at a literary reception where she is playing hostess. Guinan fails to recognize Data, but she is not shocked when he tells her that they serve together on the same starship in the 24th century. She listens with great concern to his story, subtly revealing that she, too, is not from Earth. Unfortunately, Mark Twain, the honored guest at Guinan's reception, overhears their entire conversation. Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Geordi is able to complete his device, and an Away Team led by Captain Picard transports to the 19th century.