La Pierre de Gol [1/2]
La Pierre de Gol [2/2]
Quand la nature reprend ses droits
L'Œil de l'admirateur
In the aftermath of Data's desertion to join the Borg, Beverly Crusher commands a skeleton crew aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise while most of the ship's crew, led by Picard, search a remote planet for their comrade. Upon sighting the Borg ship, Beverly retrieves as many crew members as she can and escapes, leaving Riker and Worf behind to search for Picard's group. Meanwhile, Picard, Troi, and Geordi are held prisoner by Data's evil brother, Lore, who assumed leadership of a group of Borg that includes Hugh, the young Borg who spent time on the Enterprise. Lore took charge of the Borg on Hugh's vessel after Hugh's new sense of individuality nearly destroyed his shipmates by disrupting their sense of shared identity. Lore says he provides the Borg with leadership, while the Borg regard Lore and Data as superior beings because they are fully artificial life forms. Picard attempts to communicate with Data, but his former crewmate barely acknowledges him and instead imprisons them in a cell. Troi points out that the only emotions Data feels are anger and hate, but Data is unmoved by her concern, and instead takes away Geordi's VISOR.
Later, Lore tells Data of his plan to conduct dangerous, possibly deadly experiments on Geordi. Meanwhile, Geordi, Picard, and Troi converse quietly in their cell, where Geordi theorizes that Lore is controlling Data by transmitting the negative part of his emotional program to his brother. He also believes Data's ethical program has been dismantled, and that if he can find a way to generate a kedion pulse, that program might be reactivated. Riker and Worf, still trying to locate the others, are captured by a group of Borg, and are surprised to see that Hugh is among them.
Hugh is bitter and angry. He blames the Enterprise crew for destroying the Borg, but does not support Lore. The only warm feelings he has are for Geordi, who befriended him on the Enterprise. Riker tells him he thinks Geordi has been captured, and Hugh agrees to show them into the compound. Inside, Data subjects Geordi to the deadly neurological experiments.
While this goes on, Picard and Troi steal part of a transceiver and, when a groggy Geordi returns, they modify it to emit a kedion pulse, restoring Data's ethics. Data tells Lore that he feels conflicted about hurting his friends, and Lore responds by cutting down on the flow of emotions to Data's brain. Like an addict, Data begs for more, and Lore responds by flooding him with negative feelings. As Data walks off, Lore tells his Borg henchman, Crosis, that he no longer trusts his brother.
Lore announces ominously that Picard is about to take part in an important "ceremony." Lore also announces that Data must prove his loyalty by killing Picard. Data refuses, and Lore sadly tells Data that he must then die as well. But at the moment he is about to murder his brother, Hugh steps forward from the crowd of Borg and knocks Lore's weapon away. Riker and Worf arrive at the same time with phasers blasting. Data follows Lore, who tries to escape to the lab, and Data is ultimately forced to fire on, and then deactivate, his brother. Later, Data reunites with his friends and they prepare to leave, while Hugh assumes the position of leader of this Borg group.
The U.S.S. Enterprise welcomes two Iyaaran ambassadors, Loquel and Byleth, who are visiting the ship as part of a "cultural exchange" that will also send Picard to their planet. Before Picard departs, he assigns Troi to act as Loquel's liaison and asks Riker to do the same for Byleth. But Byleth has other ideas, and instead demands that Worf serve as his shipboard guide. Soon afterward, Picard departs for the Iyaaran homeworld with Voval, the Iyaaran shuttle pilot, who is gruff and uncommunicative. Their awkward silence is disrupted by a malfunction aboard their ship. Crashing on an unknown planet, Voval receives a concussion, but Picard is seemingly unhurt. He decides to seek help outside, but falls to the ground trying to traverse the planet's stormy surface. While he lies unconscious, someone silently drags him away.
Picard awakens on the distant planet in a small, dimly-lit cargo cabin. He is approached by a solemn, attractive human woman who informs him that Voval did not survive the crash. Picard learns that the woman's name is Anna and that she is the sole survivor of a Terellian cargo freighter crash that occurred seven years before. After Anna tells him that he has three broken ribs, he sends her to retrieve the shuttlecraft's com panel to send a distress signal, but she accidentally destroys the transmitter module while removing it. Picard is then shocked when Anna suddenly kisses him and tells him she loves him.
Back on the Enterprise, Worf has had about all he can take of his abrasive, demanding guest. Riker decides that the tension might be eased by a "friendly" game of poker. The game is anything but "friendly," and Worf realizes that Byleth is stealing chips. Before long, Worf loses control and, despite Riker's insistence that he calm down, attacks his guest. But instead of getting angry, Byleth is pleased. He expresses admiration for Worf's display of anger and politely excuses himself to document the experience, leaving everyone confused.
Meanwhile, Picard becomes enraged at Anna when he realizes that his ribs are not really broken, and the woman, who continues to beg for his love, is actually holding him captive. He angrily alerts Anna to his discovery, at which point she becomes distraught over failing to gain his affection and rushes out the door, breaking off her necklace. Picard runs out to find her, only to encounter Voval, who is very much alive.
Voval explains that he only appeared to be dead because, when Lyaarans are injured, their metabolic rates slow down in order to promote healing. He and Picard set off in search of Anna, eventually separating. Picard finds her at the edge of a cliff, threatening to commit suicide if he does not tell her he loves her. When he notices that Anna is again wearing her necklace and that Voval has again disappeared, Picard senses that something strange is going on and tells Anna to go ahead and jump. At that moment, she transforms herself back into Voval, who explains that he is not really a pilot, but an Iyaaran ambassador. He staged the crash in order to study the emotion of love, non-existent on the Iyaaran homeworld, by using Picard as a subject. Similarly, Loquel and Byleth were sent to experience pleasure and antagonism. Picard is taken aback at first, but upon returning to the Enterprise, joins Worf and Troi in deeming the experience a worthwhile one.
Picard assigns Geordi to use his new capability of using his VISOR as a link between his brain and a mechanical probe to rescue the science vessel U.S.S. Raman, which has become trapped inside the turbulent atmosphere of an unusual gaseous planet. While Geordi prepares for his mission, Picard receives distressing news from Admiral Holt. The U.S.S. Hera, which is commanded by Geordi's mother, has disappeared without a trace, and has essentially been given up for lost.
Picard breaks the news to Geordi, and Riker volunteers to take over the Raman mission to allow him time to grieve. But Geordi refuses to give up hope that the Hera will be located. He insists on handling the mission himself, reminding Riker that the device is specifically designed to work with his VISOR inputs. Soon, via the probe, Geordi is inside the Raman, where he discovers the bodies of seven crew members. Then, suddenly, flames flash in front of him and he cries out in pain, prompting Data to quickly disconnect him from the interface. When Geordi is examined, everyone is shocked to discover that his hand has been seriously burned.
Back in Sickbay, Beverly deduces that Geordi was injured because the neural tolerance levels established between Geordi and the probe were too high. His response to the input created a feedback loop, which caused the burns. Despite the realization that the technology is not foolproof, Geordi is still eager to return to the Raman and salvage the science vessel's data. Before he returns to the Raman, Geordi speaks with his father, who provides details about his mother's funeral service. Dr. La Forge's words agitate Geordi, who tells his father he still believes his mother will be found. Later, he returns to the Raman through the probe. As his eyes adjust to the light, he is shocked to see his mother, Silva La Forge, standing in front of him.
First, Silva is confused, not realizing the metal probe she is looking at is her son. However, once Geordi explains the situation, their relationship is established and Silva begs her son to take the ship down to the planet's surface, because her friends are dying. As mother and son approach each other, a sudden and violent shock surges through Geordi, and the interface deactivates. However, Picard is unwilling to risk Geordi's life for a mission he doesn't believe has a real purpose, and refuses to allow another interface. Frustrated, Geordi decides to defy orders and go it alone, and Data chooses to help him despite the trouble they will certainly meet.
Geordi's mother tells him her ship is trapped in a warp funnel — corroborating Geordi's own theory. Meanwhile, Picard and Beverly hurry to the lab, where Picard insists that Geordi stop. Geordi refuses and presses on, but is surprised to encounter no ship or warp funnel. His mother reaches out for him, and he is racked by sudden, burning shocks that only end when she is pushed away as if by an unseen force. With the danger to Geordi's life increasing, the crew prepares to disconnect him. But before they can, Geordi makes a surprising request to take the Raman further down, telling them that it was not his mother speaking, but a member of a group of lifeforms who have been trapped on the Raman and will die if they are not returned to the planet's lower atmosphere. He continues to descend as the ship is rocked by turbulence, until the alien posing as his mother reverts to its true appearance as a flame, states they are now safe and says goodbye. Geordi is revived after the Raman explodes to face an angry Picard, who soon softens and expresses sorrow that Geordi didn't find his mother. Geordi thanks him and replies that, in a way, his experience helped him to say goodbye.
After Picard disappears during an archeological trip, the crew is told that the captain was vaporized by a group of mercenaries who attacked him in a bar on Dessica II. While the Enterprise-D crew prepares for a memorial service, Riker — now acting captain — asks for and receives permission from Admiral Chekote to investigate Picard's death. Riker learns from an Yridian trader named Yranac, a witness to the crime, that the alleged murderers have moved on to the Barradas system, so he takes the Enterprise-D there and finds one M-Class planet. Over Data's objections, Riker leads an away team to the surface where they find ruins of an ancient Debrune outpost. The team is attacked by the mercenaries, who take Riker captive and beam away with him.
On board the mercenary ship, Riker is greeted by the group's leader, Arctus Baran, who implants the prisoner with a neural servo capable of inflicting great pain. Riker is astounded to discover that Picard is aboard the ship, alive and well, posing as a smuggler named Galen. Seizing an opportunity to talk alone, Picard explains to Riker that while on an expedition, he found that a site had been looted and practically destroyed, so he wanted to search out who was responsible. He tracked down the mercenaries to the bar on Dessica II, asked too many questions and was taken captive. Rather than being "vaporized," Picard was actually beamed away by weapons that activate their transporter. He then convinced his captors that he was a smuggler who was an expert on appraising relics, so that he could stay on board and learn why they are stealing Romulan artifacts. Believing that Baran is looking for something specific that he's keeping to himself, Picard tells Riker to get close to Baran and gain his confidence.
Meanwhile on the Enterprise, Data surmises that the next target for a mercenary raid will be Calder II, which has a small Federation outpost with limited defenses, so as acting captain he sets a course for that planet. Picard learns that Baran's next objective is indeed the Sakethan burial mounds on Calder II, and points out that it's defended by Starfleet. Baran expects they can destroy the outpost, but Picard convinces him to avoid violence by using Riker to help them get through Federation controls. When the mercenary ship reaches Calder II, they encounter problems with their raid, so Baran orders the Starfleet outpost destroyed. But the Enterprise arrives on the scene and fires upon them. Baran prepares to engage in combat with the starship.
The U.S.S. Enterprise is hit with a barrage of fire from the mercenary vessel where Riker is being held prisoner. The Enterprise fires back, forcing the mercenary ship to withdraw. Data orders the crew to let the ship go, assuming that this is what Riker wants. Later, on the mercenary ship, Riker and Picard stage a heated argument. Their acrimonious relationship arouses Tallera's suspicions, and she later interrogates Picard. Her questions stop when Picard's tests reveal that they have found one of the artifacts they are looking for. They immediately notify Baran, who is being fooled by Riker's portrayal of a less-than-ideal Starfleet officer. Baran says he might like to continue to work with Riker, and tells him to kill Picard.
Alone with Picard in his quarters, Riker fills him in on Baran's plan, including the fact that he is supposed to kill Picard after the authenticity of the final artifact is confirmed. Riker reveals that they are headed to the Hyralan sector to pick up the artifact, which will be Romulan in origin, from a Klingon transport ship. Picard, however, states that the artifacts are actually all Vulcan in origin. Tallera bursts in and pulls a phaser on Picard, demanding to be told his true identity. Tallera reveals that she is a Vulcan officer on a mission of her own. The artifacts being sought are fragments of the mythical Stone of Gol, a powerful weapon she believes is being sought by a Vulcan isolationist group. She explains that the stone is a psionic resonator, a device that focuses and amplifies telepathic energy. If the stone were reassembled and used by a trained telepath, the weapon could eliminate the entire Vulcan council with a single thought.
Meanwhile, in the Hyralan sector, the Enterprise is surprised to encounter a Klingon ship. Suspicious, Data commands the right to inspect the vessel. When the mercenaries learn what has happened, Baran orders Riker and Picard to invade the Enterprise and retrieve the artifact, then secretly tells Riker that he expects him to kill Picard after the raid.
Picard, Riker, and Narik materialize onto the Enterprise and look for Koral, the Klingon pilot who possesses the artifact. Once Picard identifies it as the item they are seeking, Riker pulls a phaser on him. However, Picard is faster and instead shoots Riker, apparently killing him. Picard and Narik then return to the mercenary ship, and Riker, who was really only stunned, regains consciousness and explains the situation to the Enterprise crew. Back on the mercenary ship, Picard attempts to lead a mutiny, but Baran reaches for the control device connected to the patch in Picard's neck and activates the device, killing himself instead of Picard. Picard then explains that he switched the transponder codes. Next he orders the crew to deliver the artifacts as planned.
On the Enterprise, Riker notifies Vulcan security that their operative is on her way, and learns that the Vulcans have no one stationed on any mercenary ship. Meanwhile, Picard realizes that Tallera is hiding two resonator pieces. Picard stops her as she prepares to go, ordering her to leave one piece behind. They find the third resonator piece in a cave, where Tallera uses the now-completed device to kill Narik and Vekor. She turns on Picard just as Riker, Worf and two security guards materialize in the cave. Picard orders them to drop their weapons and to clear their minds of aggressive thoughts, realizing from the images on the resonator that it can be stopped with peace. The plan works, and Tallera drops the now-useless weapon. She is taken into custody, and the resonator is finally completely destroyed.
Data is disturbed by his first nightmare, in which a group of workmen attack and destroy him. He tells Geordi about the dream while the pair work to install the ship's new warp core, and Geordi points out that he has probably reached a new level in his dream program. Soon, Picard and Riker interrupt to try out the new warp core. But when they attempt to engage the drive, it fails, and the lights on the Enterprise shut off. Disappointed, Geordi says that he will have to reconfigure the plasma conduit. That evening, Troi pays a visit to Data in his quarters, having been alerted to his nightmare. Data tells her that he is afraid to activate his dream sequence again, but she encourages him to keep at it. Data is soon asleep and dreaming, this time seeing Worf eating a piece of "cellular peptide cake," which is really Troi, who has taken the form of a half-woman, half-cake. He awakens surrounded by a concerned Troi, Worf, and Geordi, who inform him that his chronometer failed and he has overslept for the first time.
Data meets with Troi again and tells her that, although he has run three complete self-diagnostics, he has found no explanation for his nightmares. Troi suggests to Data he could actually be developing a neurosis. Data follows Troi into the Turbolift, where he inexplicably stabs her in the shoulder with a coil brace.
Seconds later, Riker and Worf enter the Turbolift to find Data and the bleeding, unconscious Troi. Data immediately attacks Riker, but suddenly realizes what he is doing and stops. Later, he tells Picard and the crew that he had an uncontrollable urge to eliminate the image of a mouth that he saw on Troi's shoulder — an image first seen in his dream program. Since the dream program has been turned off, no one understands why these images are still appearing, so Geordi suggests taking time to conduct a sub-polymer scan of Data. In the meantime, Picard orders him confined to quarters. Meanwhile, in Sickbay, Beverly discovers a strange interphasic rash on Troi's shoulder near her stab wound. She brings Picard in to see the rash, which is quickly getting worse, and upon examining Troi with an interphasic scanner, realizes that she — and most of the rest of the crew — are covered with leech-like creatures.
Soon afterward, Beverly grimly reports that the creatures are extracting their cellular peptides and will eventually destroy them if they are not stopped. Unfortunately, stopping them is impossible since the organisms exist only in an interphasic state beyond normal vision or sensor acuity. Everyone is at a loss, until Picard realizes that the images Data has been seeing in his nightmares, like the "mouth" on Troi's shoulder, correspond with the actual locations of the creatures. He decides to link Data's neural net to the Holodeck so they can observe his dream images. Geordi hooks Data up and Data activates his dream program, and Picard and Geordi then enter his dream. They see the "Troi cake," meet Sigmund Freud and encounter the workmen, who reveal the warp plasma conduit. The workmen attack Picard and Geordi, and Data makes a shrieking noise that causes them pain. The dream somehow makes sense to Data, and he wakes up and he Instructs Geordi to adjust his positronic subprocessor to emit an interphasic pulse, theorizing that the high frequency pulse will eliminate the creatures. The plan successfully drives away the creatures, who were also disrupting the warp drive, leaving Data with an increased appreciation for his "human" gifts.
The U.S.S. Enterprise welcomes a delegation of the Cairn, a telepathic species that has no concept of spoken language. Since an interpreter with strong telepathic ability is needed, Troi's Betazoid mother, Lwaxana, is recruited for the job, and immediately sets about trying to start a romance between her daughter and Maques, the visiting group's senior diplomat. Troi's initial anger turns to concern when, after confronting Lwaxana, her mother bursts into tears. Later, Maques apologizes to Troi for their awkward first meeting, and also tells her that he has sensed that a part of Lwaxana's mind is hidden and dark. Troi is shaken up the next day when Lwaxana angrily admonishes Riker for touching Troi. The counselor takes her mother to see Beverly, who finds that Lwaxana is low on psilosynine, a neurotransmitter involved in telepathy. Lwaxana is ordered to refrain from using telepathy, and Troi offers to help in her work with the Cairn. However, no sooner are they back on the job than Lwaxana defies her doctor's orders and communicates with Maques, collapsing soon afterward.
In Sickbay, Beverly sadly tells Troi that her mother's brain has shut down. Picard and Troi approach Maques for help, and he relays his complicated thoughts to Troi telepathically, telling her that Lwaxana may have suffered some emotional event in the past that her meta-conscious mind, the system Betazoids use to protect themselves from psychic trauma, can't tolerate. Troi tries to reach Lwaxana telepathically, but hears only a faint cry for help. She falls asleep at her mother's bedside, and awakens to find Maques standing above Lwaxana's bed, engaged in an attempt to reach her.
Maques explains that he was trying to help Lwaxana, who he feels has retreated into her meta-conscious mind. He offers to help Troi search for the trauma that has damaged Lwaxana by providing a telepathic "bridges that will allow Troi to access and interpret the images in her mother's psyche and hopefully learn what caused its collapse. She reaches Lwaxana, who is standing with Hedril, a young Cairn girl who is part of the visiting delegation. The procedure then ends abruptly when Lwaxana angrily orders Troi to go away.
Realizing that the girl may hold the key to Lwaxana's problem, Troi meets with Hedril, who says she knows she makes Lwaxana sad. Troi, Beverly, Picard, and Data discuss the images Troi saw in her mother's psyche, but are unable to determine what they mean or what she may be hiding. Troi then turns to her mother's recent journal entries for answers, but is interrupted by Picard, who warns her that Lwaxana is deteriorating. Together, they look back at entries beginning the year of Lwaxana's wedding, and are shocked to discover that she deleted seven years of entries that began shortly after her marriage and ended soon after Troi's birth. Sure that this is a clue, Troi decides to enter her mother's mind again.
This time, Troi encounters Hedril a second time and chases her, but the girl suddenly vanishes. Troi ends up in the arboretum, watching her mother, her father, Hedril and herself as an infant during an outing. Lwaxana refers to Hedril as Kestra, and through their interaction, Troi realizes that this girl who she has never heard of must be her sister. Lwaxana's pain increases as Troi presses her to continue, but with her daughter's encouragement, she is finally able to reveal that Kestra died that day in an accident — an accident for which Lwaxana blames herself. Troi is able to help her mother say goodbye to Kestra and let go of her guilt. Later, after the "dream" is over, she lovingly gives her mother a picture of Kestra, baby Deanna, and her father so that Lwaxana can always remember them.
Picard and Beverly prepare to look into a diplomatic request from the Kes, one of the planet Kesprytt's two societies, who wants entrance into the Federation. This is unprecedented because the planet's other society, the Prytt, has no contact with its neighbors or anyone else. Worf attempts to transport Beverly and Picard to the Kes, but they do not arrive there. Instead, they end up in a Prytt prison cell, where they realize they both have strange electronic devices implanted in their necks. Minister Lorin of the Prytt informs Picard and Beverly that they are being held because of suspected conspiracy with the Kes, and that the devices in their necks will soon reveal the truth. Back on the U.S.S. Enterprise, Riker sets up a meeting with Kes Ambassador Mauric to address the abduction. Meanwhile, Beverly mysteriously receives her tricorder hidden in a tray of food. She notices that a map has been added to her directory and, sensing it may come from the Kes, she and Picard use it to make their escape.
Riker, Worf, and Troi meet with Ambassador Mauric, who tells them that since they have no formal relations with the Prytt, their best option is to insert a rescue team into the Prytt capital city. Riker first wants to try a friendlier method, but he allows Mauric to set up operations on the Enterprise. Meanwhile, Picard and Beverly follow the tricorder map through a maze of caverns where fireballs explode around them. They manage to elude the assault and continue through the caves.
Back on the Bridge, Riker is contacted by Lorin, who refuses to discuss Picard and Beverly and threatens an attack if Riker does not cease communications with the Prytt. Riker is at a loss until Mauric informs him that Picard and Beverly have been released by a Kes operative and are on their way to the Kes border. Riker is disturbed that the rendezvous will happen in a public place, but Mauric reassures him. Meanwhile, Picard and Beverly, who are still following the map, realize that the implants in their necks allow them to read each other's thoughts — whether they want to or not. When they separate to regain a little privacy, both are hit with a wave of nausea that renders them incapable of being apart.
The next day, Picard and Beverly continue their trek, reading each other's thoughts the whole way. When two Prytt troopers suddenly appear in their path, they decide to backtrack to ensure their safety. Mauric soon learns that the pair have not arrived at their destination, and summons Riker and Worf to angrily accuse them of conspiring with the Prytt. Riker assures him that this is not the case, but Mauric insists on leaving the Enterprise. Later, Picard and Beverly stop to rest for the night. Still able to hear each other's thoughts, they realize that there is not only a strong attraction between them — but Picard was once in love with Beverly.
Determined to prove Mauric wrong and save his crewmates, Riker transports Minister Lorin aboard the ship against her will. He then sits down with Mauric and Lorin, but neither seems to care about Picard and Beverly. Instead, each of his "guests" is suspicious of the other, sure that the enemy society is banding with the Federation against them. Disgusted, Riker tells Mauric that, based on what he has seen, the Kes will be denied entrance into the Federation. He then tells Lorin that if Picard and Beverly are not returned, her insular society will be invaded by Starfleet investigators. At that moment, Picard and Beverly arrive at the Kes border and, while Picard makes it across, Beverly is caught by Prytt security forces. Her captors hail Lorin, who orders both Beverly and Picard to be transported back to the Enterprise. Safe at home, Picard and Beverly have the implants removed and share a dinner without reading each other's minds. Picard suggests that, given what they know, they should pursue their relationship. But Beverly tells him she is not yet ready, and the two agree to remain friends — at least for now.
The U.S.S. Enterprise learns of the disappearance of a medical transport ship, the U.S.S. Fleming, which vanished in the Hekaras Corridor, the only safe route through an area of space filled with tetryon particles, which pose a navigation hazard to warp-driven vessels. When they discover that a Ferengi ship was also spotted in the area, Beverly Crusher suggests the Ferengi may have hijacked the Fleming to steal its supply of valuable bio-mimetic gel. All agree that this is a possibility and set course for the area. The Enterprise locates the Ferengi ship, and the crew is surprised to discover the ship's field coils have been overloaded and it is operating at very low power. The Ferengi vessel does not respond to the Enterprise's hails, but suddenly regains power and fires on the starship.
The Enterprise returns fire and disables the Ferengi vessel's weapons system, after which Picard contacts the Ferengi commander, DaiMon Prak. Prak meets with Picard and Riker and tells them that his ship encountered what appeared to be a Federation signal buoy, but it suddenly emitted a verteron pulse that caused it to lose power. While Prak admits to having seen the Fleming, he refuses to help the Enterprise locate it unless their engineers help him repair his vessel. This is agreed to, and the Enterprise soon sets course after the Fleming, tracing it to a debris field. They enter the field and encounter a small object that emits a verteron pulse. Suddenly, their subspace systems are disabled — just like on the Ferengi ship — then two aliens board the Enterprise uninvited.
The Hekaran brother and sister, Rabal and Serova, claim that according to their research, the use of warp fields in the area is destroying their planet and will soon render it uninhabitable. They have been disabling offending ships in hopes of forcing Starfleet to investigate. They explain to Geordi that the use of warp drive is so harmful to their system that they are willing to give it up — a move that will effectively isolate their planet from the rest of the Federation. Data finds that their theory could be valid and asks Picard to summon the Science Council for a more thorough investigation. However, this does not satisfy Serova, who dismisses it as a stalling tactic. She suddenly takes off in her ship and creates a warp breach, sacrificing her life to prove her theory by creating a dangerous rift in space.
Data learns that the Fleming is trapped in the rift, which emits high-energy distortion waves that rock the Enterprise. Picard orders Data, Geordi and Rabal to find a way to get the Fleming out without using warp drive, and Data suggests they coast into the rift after initiating one brief warp pulse. The crew puts the plan into effect, and Geordi, realizing he has been unwilling to consider the dangers of a technology he is so close to, apologizes to Rabal for his loss. They then coast into the rift as planned, but the Fleming activates its warp drive and makes the rift even larger, severely damaging their ship in the process.
Left without enough momentum to leave the rift, Geordi suggests the Enterprise "ride" a distortion wave out after the evacuation of the Fleming is complete. After several aborted attempts, he manages to "catch" a wave and the Enterprise escapes the rift. Once things get back to normal, the crew meets with Rabal, who shows them the possible effects of continuing warp damage. Based on the Enterprise's reports, the Federation Council issues a new directive limiting all Federation vessels to a speed of warp five, except in extreme emergency. Later, Picard sadly tells Geordi how, by exploring the universe he loves, he may have inadvertently been destroying it. Geordi is reassuring, reminding the Captain that now that they are aware, they can work to help the universe rather than harm it.
The U.S.S. Enterprise travels to the planet Atrea IV in order to avert an impending natural disaster. Husband-and-wife scientists Pran and Juliana Tainer explain that Atrea's molten core is solidifying, a condition that will eventually render their planet uninhabitable. Data suggests re-liquefying the core by injecting plasma directly into the planet's center, and Pran and Juliana agree to try. After the meeting, Juliana approaches Data with some surprising news — she was once married to Dr. Soong and is, in effect, his mother. She explains that Data doesn't remember her because his memory was erased shortly before the Crystalline entity's attack on Omicron Theta. Soong intended to reactivate Data, but he and Juliana were forced to flee without him. Data breaks the news that Dr. Soong is dead, and Juliana is clearly shaken. She tells Data she hopes to spend time with him, but he is disturbed by the fact that he has no memory of her.
Later, Data confides to Troi that he is confused as to how his own mother could never attempt to contact him, and Troi encourages him to confront Juliana. The next day, Juliana fills Data in on his childhood while they prepare to fire the first phaser blast to enter the magma pockets. The process goes smoothly, and Data takes Juliana back to his quarters, where he plays the violin for her. She is impressed with his talent, and is also interested in his paintings, particularly one of his late daughter, Lal. When he tells Juliana that he hopes to have another child, she admits that she was against her husband creating Data because of the way Lore turned out. She also reveals the painful truth that she and Soong left him on Omicron Theta not because they had to, but because she feared that If he were reactivated, he would become evil, like Lore.
Data, Pran, and Juliana travel to Atrea to set up the plasma infusion units in the magma pockets. Pran notices the tension between Data and his wife, and Data asks Juliana if she would have left him behind if he were her biological child. Juliana explains that while she loved him as if she gave birth to him, she could not bear the thought of being forced to dismantle him like she was with Lore. Data accepts this and relaxes, but almost immediately afterward, begins to sense something "strange" about his mother. He begins to check her medical records but is summoned to Transporter Room Two — one of the magma pockets on Atrea has caved-in.
Since Pran Is injured in the cave-in, Juliana returns with Data to finish the work before the pocket collapses. They are able to complete the job, but a series of severe tremors changes the landscape and renders their beam-out point unreachable. They must jump off a 30-foot cliff to reach safety, and Data insists that Juliana make the jump. She lands hard and is knocked unconscious, and her arm is ripped off, revealing that she is an android.
Geordi La Forge discovers an information chip inside Juliana's "brain," and Data inserts it into the Holodeck. Dr. Soong appears and talks with Data, telling him that Juliana the android was created after his wife, the human Juliana, was mortally wounded in the Crystalline Entity attack. Soong transferred her memories, and when she was activated, she had no idea that she was an android. Later, Troi encourages Data to let her live out her life believing she is human. Her advice touches Data and he keeps the secret, instead talking with his mother about Soong's great love for her. Juliana leaves the Enterprise happy, looking forward to her next visit with her son.
Worf returns victorious from the Bat'leth competition and walks straight into his surprise birthday party. He begins to feel dizzy and disoriented, and is confused when his cake seems to change from chocolate to yellow and an absent Picard seems to appear out of nowhere. Worf is later summoned to Engineering, where Data and Geordi show him how the Argus Array has been reprogrammed to spy on the Federation. Worf spots a Cardassian ship in the Array's imaging logs and prepares to scan the area, but suddenly feels dizzy again, and recovers to see Data and Geordi working on the opposite side of the room. Spooked, he goes to Sickbay to visit Beverly, and she states he is probably reacting to the concussion that cost him the Bat'leth tournament. Shocked, Worf tells her he received no concussion and hurries to his quarters to retrieve his trophy to prove he won the contest. When he gets there, he finds a trophy that reads "Ninth Place."
Beverly tries to ease Worf's worries by assuring him that his memory will return if he slowly settles back into his routine. He gets back to work, and is on the Bridge when he is alerted to an approaching Cardassian ship. Picard speaks with the Captain, Gul Nador, and explains that the Enterprise is in the area to repair the Array. Worf tells Picard that Nador's ship is the same one they saw in the Array's imaging logs, but Picard and the crew are confused — they never suspected the Cardassians of tampering with the Array. Frustrated, Worf fills Troi in on the bizarre turn of events when Geordi arrives and says that the Array's problem was a simple malfunction. Worf starts to protest, but feels dizzy again and notices a painting on his wall has moved and changed appearance. He experiences a wave of dizziness in which Troi's clothing changes, then another that leaves him on the Bridge with the ship at Red Alert and a Cardassian warship on the viewscreen.
Picard orders Worf to raise the shields, but he is too confused to do so before the warship fires. Riker takes over and retaliates, and while the Enterprise escapes, the Cardassians destroy the Array. A disappointed Picard confronts Worf about his failure, and when Worf mentions memory loss, no one knows what he is talking about. Afraid he is losing his mind, he returns to his quarters, and is surprised when Troi arrives and tells him that she is his wife! Telling her he has no recollection of their marriage, he explains what he has been going through and is gratified that at least Troi seems willing to try to help him. Later, in Engineering, Worf explains his experiences to Data, who points out that Geordi was present every time things went awry. They eagerly hurry to talk to Geordi, and are shocked to learn he is dead.
Still looking for clues, Data hooks Geordi's VISOR up to the diagnostic array, and Worf has another dizzy spell. He wakes up to find himself in a commander's uniform, and Data tells Worf that he has detected a quantum flux in his RNA. They report to Riker, who is now Captain, to explain this problem. Data says Worf's RNA indicates that he does not belong in their universe. Data and Wesley Crusher, who is now a part of the crew, discover that a quantum fissure in the space-time continuum is causing this. Hoping to find where Worf belongs, the crew scans the fissure with a subspace differential pulse. While they search, the Enterprise is attacked by a Bajoran ship, and the fissure begins to destabilize. Realities begin to merge into one another, and hundreds of Enterprises appear.
Data realizes the only way to stop this phenomenon is to find Worf's Enterprise and send him back through the fissure to seal it. They manage to locate the right ship, and Worf boards his original shuttlecraft, re-modulated to seal the fissure. Worf soon arrives aboard his Enterprise, happy to finally be home.
Picard and Riker are joined by Admiral Pressman, who was Riker's first commanding officer, for a secret assignment. Riker is shocked to hear that debris from their ship, the U.S.S. Pegasus, which was lost with most of its crew 12 years ago, has been located in the Devolin system by the Romulans. Pressman explains that the Federation must find it first to prevent sensitive technologies from falling into the wrong hands.
The search begins, and the U.S.S. Enterprise is soon confronted by a Romulan warbird that is obviously on a similar mission. Later, Riker and Pressman discuss what happened to the Pegasus, and Riker is clearly disturbed when Pressman reveals that he wants to find the ship in order to try the secret experiment that caused the disaster 12 years earlier. He tells Riker that the Chief of Starfleet Security is behind the mission, and orders Riker to keep the mission's true nature secret from Picard.
The Enterprise continues to search, and Geordi picks up a resonance signature from an asteroid. It seems to be that of the Pegasus, which has apparently been pulled into one of the asteroid's fissures. At that moment, the Warbird reappears, and Riker suggests they destroy the asteroid rather than let the Romulans find the ship. Pressman objects, and Picard suggests that they blanket the asteroid with ionizing radiation to mask any signals the Pegasus may emit.
The plan works, the Warbird moves off, and Picard orders Data to further divert the Romulans by pretending to continue their search. Afterward, Pressman attacks Riker for suggesting they destroy the Pegasus, and Riker indicates that he is uncomfortable lying to the crew. Pressman sympathizes, but stresses the importance of the mission. Later, Riker meets with Picard, who has learned, with some difficulty, that there was a mutiny aboard the Pegasus just prior to its disappearance. He suspects a Starfleet cover-up, and asks Riker for his version of the story. Riker tells him that the crew mutinied because they felt Pressman was jeopardizing the ship, and that he supported his captain out of duty. But when Picard presses Riker for more information, he refuses to comply. Soon afterward, the Enterprise arrives back at the asteroid, and Pressman orders Picard to take the ship inside the fissure. Picard objects to the risky procedure, but the admiral outranks him, so Picard is forced to carry out the orders.
Inside the asteroid, they find the Pegasus fused into the rock. Riker and Pressman transport to the ship's Engineering section where among the bodies of their former crewmates, Pressman discovers the cylindrical device he was looking for. With difficulty, Riker tells Pressman that he cannot let him conduct another experiment with the device, reminding him that many people died because of it. Pressman defends his experiment, which apparently violates a Federation treaty, and reminds Riker that he is under orders not to reveal what he knows. At that moment, the ship begins to shake violently, and Picard transports the pair back to the Enterprise. There, he shares the grim news — the Romulan ship found them and has sealed the Enterprise inside the asteroid.
Seeing no other choice, Riker suggests that they use Pressman's experiment, the secret prototype for a cloaking device that allows ships to travel through solid matter, to escape. Pressman is furious to have his experiment revealed, but Picard is equally furious that the admiral has violated the Federation treaty against developing this type of technology. But despite its dangers, Picard agrees to use it to escape the asteroid, thus revealing the process to the Romulan ship. Afterwards, he places Pressman under arrest for violating Federation law, and when Riker reminds him that he, too, is guilty, Picard grimly arrests his first officer as well.
The U.S.S. Enterprise responds to a distress call from Nikolai Rozhenko, Worf's foster brother, who is stationed as a cultural observer on Boraal II, a planet that is rapidly self-destructing. Since the Boraalans know nothing of space travel, Picard sends Worf to the surface disguised as a Boraalan. He soon finds Nikolai, also disguised, waiting in a cave with a group of villagers. The two beam back to the Enterprise, where Nikolai proposes a plan to save at least some of the Boraalans. Picard refuses on the grounds that any effort to help would violate the Prime Directive. Boraal II is then destroyed, and soon afterward, the ship experiences a power drain, which Worf investigates. His search leads him to the Holodeck, where he is shocked to find Nikolai hiding the Boraalan villagers in a replica of the cave where Worf first located them.
Furious, Worf reprimands Nikolai for disobeying Picard's orders. Picard is also angry, but still listens to Nikolai's plan to find a new M-Class planet to serve as home to the Boraalan colony. Nikolai believes that by using the Holodeck, he can fool the Boraalans into thinking that they are moving to a safer place on their own planet. Picard is skeptical, but he agrees to the plan. However, there is a problem — the Holodeck has been damaged by the energy surges from Boraal II and will eventually break down. Still, Picard sees no choice but to try, and assigns Worf to watch his brother as he prepares the Boraalans for their "journey."
Nikolai and Worf return to the "cave" and tell the group that their village was destroyed and they must travel to a new home. Meanwhile, Data and Beverly find what appears to be a suitable planet, Vacca VI, and Picard orders the crew to set course for the location. Worf announces to the Boraalans that it is time to begin their journey, but one of the men, Vorin, is upset — he has lost part of the written chronicle of the history of their village. He wanders through the Holodeck entrance trying to find it, and strays into the corridor.
The array of species and technology that he has never seen before terrifies Vorin, and although Riker and Troi quickly take charge, it is too late. Beverly is unable to erase Vorin's memory, so Troi and Picard try to gently explain what is really happening. Worf reports this to Nikolai, and tells him the staff will allow Vorin to return to the group if he chooses. Nikolai is upset that Vorin might reveal the truth and ruin everything, and the brothers begin to argue. Worf finally storms off in disgust, only to learn from Geordi that the Holodeck will not hold up much longer. Then, a Boraalan woman named Dobara approaches Worf and asks him to stand by his brother — especially since she is carrying Nikolai's child.
The Enterprise enters orbit around Vacca VI and Picard tells Vorin that they have reached the planet. Vorin is torn — he wants to rejoin his people, but he does not feel strong enough to hide what he knows, all the while realizing that if he tells them the truth, he will destroy everything they believe. Feeling like he no longer has a place, he commits suicide. Meanwhile, Worf confronts Nikolai about mating with a Boraalan, but their argument is interrupted when the Holodeck begins to collapse. Nikolai is able to convince the group that another storm has come and Worf successfully transports the entire group, including Nikolai and himself, to the surface of Vacca VI before the ruse is exposed. Realizing that his brother has actually enabled the Boraalans to start a new life, Worf finally begins to appreciate Nikolai's unorthodox methods. He leaves his brother to lead this group of people with a newfound understanding of their differences.
Beverly travels to Caldos IV to attend the funeral of her grandmother, Felisa Howard. At the service, Beverly sees a strange young man toss a camellia — Felisa's favorite flower — into the grave and give Beverly a knowing look. Beverly then returns to Felisa's house, and is interrupted by Ned Quint, who has been taking care of the place for five years. Ned insists Beverly throw out a candle that has been in her family for generations, claiming it has brought the Howard women bad luck, but she refuses. Back on the U.S.S. Enterprise, Geordi and Data learn that there has been a power fluctuation in Caldos IV's weather control system, while Beverly reads in her grandmother's journals that Felisa had a young lover named Ronin. That night, Beverly experiences strangely pleasant sensations while sleeping, then is awakened by a man's voice, but finds no one there.
The next day, Beverly visits Felisa's grave, where she again encounters Ned. He tells her Felisa's house is haunted and warns her not to light the candle — it will bring the ghost he believes is responsible for Felisa's death. He leaves, and Beverly notices her grandmother's grave has suddenly been covered with camellias. A severe storm then hits, and Beverly runs inside Felisa's house. She is shocked to see that it has also been filled with camellias.
While searching the house, Beverly hears the man's voice from before. He identifies himself as Ronin, a ghost that has loved the women in Beverly's family for eight hundred years. Ronin tells Beverly he loves her, then she feels the strangely pleasant caresses again, but she somehow finds the composure to ask him to stop. Meanwhile, the power transfer that Data engaged with the planet's weather control cannot be cut off, and is now affecting weather on the Enterprise. Data and Geordi soon discover why — Ned Quint is tearing at a power conduit on the planet's surface, shouting that "he'll kill us all!" Suddenly, a flash of green plasma energy leaps out of the conduit and kills Quint.
Beverly scans Quint's body and discovers that something other than the plasma discharge killed him. She then returns to Felisa's house to see Ronin, who tells Beverly that she can keep him in corporeal form by lighting the candle — something the women in her family have done throughout the centuries. Beverly returns to the Enterprise and lights the candle. Ronin appears, telling her that he can now become part of her forever. Later, Beverly abruptly resigns her post on the Enterprise to remain on Caldos IV and become a healer, like Felisa.
Data informs Picard that energy similar to that which killed Quint is coming from the cemetery. Later, Ronin returns with Beverly to Felisa's house, only to be interrupted by Picard, who questions Ronin about his origins. Data then asks Picard's permission to exhume Felisa's body. This sends Ronin into a panic, and he blasts Picard with green plasma energy. At the gravesite, Felisa's body comes to life, enveloping Data and Geordi with another burst of energy. Beverly arrives, recognizing this is Ronin, and tells him to stop. She then realizes he is not a ghost, but an anaphasic lifeform that has been using the women in her family to stay alive. He asks her again to stay with him, but she destroys the candle and then blasts Ronin with her phaser, killing her "dream lover" forever.
With crew evaluations underway, tension runs high among four junior officers, Alyssa Ogawa, Sam Lavelle, Sito Jaxa and Taurik. Things get worse when a waiter friend, Ben, approaches the group and tells them Sito and Lavelle are up for the same position. This seems to rattle Sito, who later performs poorly during a drill. Over in Engineering, Taurik shows Geordi a new computer simulation he developed, but Geordi seems annoyed rather than impressed with the young Vulcan's skills. Only Ogawa seems to be breezing through the process, as Beverly tells her she will be recommended for promotion. The friends gather to talk about their progress, and Lavelle speculates that Riker dislikes him. Ben suggests that Lavelle try to talk to the officer like a person, but his attempts to make small talk fail miserably.
Suddenly, Worf detects an escape pod just within Cardassian space, and Picard orders the crew to attempt to transport the passenger to the Enterprise. Geordi and Taurik get to work, and finally, the passenger is transported aboard, but only the senior officers are allowed to see the traveler, prompting speculation among the junior group. In the midst of this, Picard summons Sito, and interrogates her about her involvement in a Starfleet Academy cover-up three years earlier — an incident she has been trying desperately to live down. Sito is unable to defend herself, and the captain dismisses her.
Meanwhile, Beverly summons Ogawa to Sickbay, where she reveals that the pod's injured passenger is a Cardassian male. She swears Ogawa to secrecy about what she has seen, and Ogawa manages to keep the secret that night when she joins her fellow junior officers for a poker game. Soon, the group's speculation about their mission changes to speculation about their own chances for promotion. Meanwhile, the senior staff also discusses the candidates, and Riker reveals his misgivings about both Sito and Lavelle.
Later, Worf puts Sito to a martial arts test where he promptly blindfolds her and attacks her. Sito immediately rips off her blindfold and tells him this test is unfair, and a pleased Worf reveals that this was actually a way to encourage Sito to stand up for herself when she is unfairly judged. Empowered, she meets with Picard and expresses her feeling that it is unfair that he judge her on something she did three years ago. Picard reveals that the real purpose of the difficult meeting was to test Sito's readiness for a secret mission, and he asks her to join the senior staff at a briefing, where she meets Joret Dal, the injured Cardassian. Picard reveals that they must get Joret, who is a Federation operative, back to Cardassia. The plan is to have Joret pretend to "hijack" a shuttlecraft and have Sito, a Bajoran, pose as his prisoner to get past the border. After Joret is safe, Sito will return to Federation space in an escape pod. Picard tells Sito that she can turn down the dangerous mission, but she agrees to participate.
Sito and Joret set off on the shuttlecraft, and the other junior officers, knowing only the small bits of information that they do, worry intensely about their friend. On the bridge, Lavelle assists in a search for Sito's missing escape pod. He is shocked and saddened when the remains of the vessel are found, and Picard announces that the brave young ensign was lost in the line of duty. His competition removed, Lavelle wins his promotion, but does so with the sad realization of the price that has been paid.
Data is sent to Barkon IV, a pre-industrial planet, on a routine mission to retrieve some radioactive material from a probe that crashed. Unfortunately, something has gone wrong. Data completely loses his memory and wanders into a village carrying a container full of the radioactive metal. He is soon befriended by Garvin and Gia, a father and his young daughter. Garvin unwittingly opens the container in hopes of finding a clue to Data's identity.
Data is taken to meet Talur, the town healer, who mistakenly deduces that he is one of a race of people rumored to live in the mountains. Gia names him "Jayden," and Garvin takes Data and his metal fragments to Skoran, the town blacksmith. Skoran has no idea what the metal might be, but offers to buy the unique-looking pieces to transform into jewelry. Data sells him half, keeping the rest as clues to his identity.
Unaware that the metal is dangerous, Garvin soon falls ill. As people buy Skoran's jewelry, the mysterious sickness spreads, and Talur, with her primitive knowledge, is unable to find a solution. Sensing that he might be able to solve the problem, Data decides to launch his own investigation, but is interrupted when the frightened townspeople blame him for causing the disease.
Data constructs a primitive lab to study the illness, and Talur offers what tools she has to help him find an explanation. Data searches for a common experience that unites all the sufferers, and stumbles on what could be the answer when Gia falls ill. Noticing that she is wearing a pendant made from his mystery metal, Data realizes that everyone who is sick has had contact with the material, and decides to study it. However, Skoran, who now shows signs of the illness, and two men burst into Data's lab and attack him, tearing away part of the skin from his face. Seeing that Data is made of metal, the horrified men flee.
The men tell Garvin and Gia what they have seen, but once they leave, Data emerges from where he has been hiding and reveals himself to Gia, who still trusts him despite his strange appearance. Having realized the metal is causing the illness, Data continues to work until he has developed a cure, and gives some to Garvin and Gia. He then heads for the town's only well to put the antidote in the water supply, sure that the townspeople will not trust him to cure them. Just as he is pouring in the last of the solution, Data is attacked by Skoran and an angry mob, who apparently kill him. Luckily, however, all of his antidote is deposited into the well.
Later, Beverly and Riker arrive on Barkon IV disguised as townspeople. They meet Gia, who sadly tells them that Data is buried by the well, while the metal that made everyone sick has been deposited in the forest. Data is retrieved and returned to the Enterprise, where he is repaired and reactivated, remembering nothing at all of his experiences.
Soon after a sensor scan of an 87 million-year-old comet commences, alien artifacts begin appearing around the Enterprise, as well as a mysterious compass-design symbol, and sets of alien-looking icons that are grouped together in the same compass formation. The crew investigates, but the ship's computer is unable to identify the icons. Riker and Geordi realize that some kind of alien information has been downloaded into the ship's main computers from within the comet during the sensor scan. They decide to melt the outer shell of the comet to find out what its core contains. Before they do, however, Data realizes that he somehow has the ability to interpret the unusual symbols.
Phasers blast at the comet's outer shell until its contents are revealed — a huge, nearly solid, metallic object covered with the strange icons. Data somehow believes intuitively that the object is an information archives Geordi runs a diagnostic on Data in hopes of finding an explanation for his connection to the archives He is shocked when a web of alien circuitry forms in Data's head, and a compass design appears on his face. Suddenly possessed with a personality entirely unlike himself, Data smiles at Geordi and says "Masaka is waking."
Meeting with Picard, Data identifies himself as "Ihat" and says that Masaka will bring pain and death to the ship, and they must leave before she finds them. Then Troi enters, and Data cowers in fear, thinking Troi is Masaka. He first assumes the personality of a victim willing to be sacrificed to Masaka, and soon afterward, the persona of a frightened boy. Geordi deduces that the archive is using Data to recreate people from its culture. Then, the ship trembles as the archive sends an energy pulse through a tractor beam. Data, as Ihat, says that Masaka has arrived, and Ten-Forward is transformed into a tropical jungle. A sun icon is prominently displayed, and Picard realizes this must be Masaka's symbol.
Geordi reports that the trees and foliage in Ten-Forward weren't beamed over — the ship is actually being transformed by the archives Picard reluctantly orders the archive destroyed, but Engineering undergoes a transformation before they can act. Apparently, the archive is using the ship to recreate its own culture, so Geordi looks for the archive's transformation program, while Picard speaks with Data's "Ihat" personality, who reveals that Masaka can be summoned by building her temple, but fearfully declares that Masaka has found him and disappears before showing Picard the necessary sign. Ihat is replaced by another personality, Masaka's elderly father, who gives Picard the sign before he, too, vanishes.
Geordi locates the transformation program and inputs the symbol for Masaka, and a temple appears, complete with a throne. Picard and Troi notice a stone column featuring Masaka's sun symbol, along with a horn symbol in the background. Seeing this pairing elsewhere in the temple, Picard deduces that the horn must be Korgano's symbol, and eventually realizes that the relationship between Masaka and Korgano is like that of the sun and the moon, with one always chasing the other. Data then arrives wearing the mask of Masaka, and refuses to listen to Picard. Using the transformation program to replicate Korgano's mask, Picard confronts Data/Masaka and convinces her to give up the chase for the night and to resume it in the morning, just as she has always done. Masaka goes to sleep, the ship returns to normal, and Data returns, now devoid of the entire civilization of personalities that were within him.
The crew is stunned by the suicide of Lieutenant Kwan, who jumps into the plasma stream by his work station in Nacelle Control. Troi and Worf investigate, and they are baffled as to why the seemingly well-adjusted crew member would take his own life. The woman he was dating, Ensign Calloway, is equally shocked, as is Lieutenant Nara, Kwan's supervisor, who remarks that Kwan seemed normal the day he took his life. Troi climbs the ladder toward the catwalk from where Kwan jumped, and is suddenly overwhelmed by a sense of panic and fear.
Since Kwan was a partial empath, Beverly wonders if Troi picked up an empathic echo he left behind before his suicide. She urges Troi to be careful when returning to Kwan's station, and Worf consents to accompany her. As the two work together, hidden feelings hint at surfacing, but both resist. Later, they return to Nacelle Control and Troi climbs the ladder, abruptly finding herself in an unfinished version of the same room. She encounters a terrified woman and comes face-to-face with a strange, staring man before realizing Worf is nowhere to be seen.
Still disoriented, Troi sees the woman again, now embracing another man, and joining him in laughing at Troi. She then finds Worf and returns to reality. When Picard hears the room's description, he suggests that Troi saw something from the time of the ship's construction eight years before — a project in which Lieutenant Kwan participated. Troi feels she may have been seeing something through his eyes, and she and Worf research personnel files from the construction project. Troi recognizes the staring man as Lieutenant Walter Pierce, who currently works in Engineering. She and Worf question Pierce, but he claims not to remember working with Lieutenant Kwan back then. Troi senses Pierce has empathic ability, and that he is hiding something. Later, Worf walks Troi back to her quarters, and they give in to their building feelings and kiss passionately.
After spending the night together, Troi and Worf continue their duties. Beverly administers an empathic inhibitor to Troi, and she returns to Nacelle Control, while Worf stays in Sickbay to work with Calloway. Geordi opens the panel on which Kwan was working the day he died, and Troi suddenly sees the faces of Pierce and the terrified woman. Data and Geordi scan the wall behind the panel, and they find portions of a human skeleton, identified as the remains of the woman Troi saw. Since Lieutenant Kwan didn't start work on the U.S.S. Enterprise until six months after the woman's death, Troi realizes she didn't see the event through Kwan's eyes — she saw it through Pierce's. Worf goes to meet Pierce, while Troi returns to her quarters, and is shocked when Pierce arrives at her door.
Pierce tells Troi that Worf went to Calloway's quarters, and Troi rushes over to find Worf and Calloway embracing, then laughing at her. Overcome with jealousy, Troi grabs Worf's phaser and kills him, then runs to Nacelle Control and prepares to jump into the plasma stream. Suddenly, a hand pulls her back, and she turns to see Worf, alive. Troi notices everything is the same as it was when she and Worf first came to the nacelle tube together, and realizes the entire experience since then occurred in her mind. Later, she learns that Pierce and the laughing couple had died in a plasma discharge eight years before. Troi surmises that Pierce caught the other two having an affair, killed them both, activated the plasma stream to obliterate the evidence, then committed suicide. Because Pierce was part empath, both Kwan and Troi picked up the empathic signature he left behind. Fortunately, in Troi's case, tragedy was averted.
Dr. Crusher prepares a synthetic T-cell for Barclay, the Enterprise's resident hypochondriac, who has come down with a flu for which he has no immunity. Meanwhile, Data gets ready for the impending birth of Spot's kittens, and Nurse Ogawa announces that she is about to become a mother herself. Worf uses the time to test the ship's weapon upgrades, and is upset when one of his torpedoes veers off course. This affords a slightly bored Picard an opportunity to retrieve the missile, and he takes Data with him. Soon after the pair leaves, Worf begins to act increasingly irritable, demonstrating signs of primordial behavior.
Other members of the crew soon begin to exhibit strange symptoms. Barclay becomes more energetic, Troi feels cold, and Riker loses his ability to think. The dramatic changes also continue in Worf, who tracks Troi to her bathtub and tries to force himself on her. When she refuses, he bites her cheek, and they both wind up in Sickbay. There, Worf becomes completely unresponsive until Beverly discovers a venom pouch in his neck. He sprays Beverly with the acidic poison, then disappears into the bowels of the vessel. It is soon discovered that he has been doing this all over the ship. Continuing to investigate, the staff learns that incidents of behavioral changes are occurring all over the Enterprise. However, when Riker tries to alert Starfleet, he is unable to concentrate enough to do so.
Returning to the Enterprise, Picard and Data are surprised when they find the ship adrift in space. They are even more shocked when they board to find computers down, systems off-line, and eerie, animal-like sounds permeating the ship. They find Troi in her quarters, in the process of transforming into some sort of amphibian, and Data discovers that her DNA has been altered, causing her cells to mutate. They proceed to the Bridge, where they find Riker, who has changed into a prehistoric man. Data learns that the entire crew is affected and concludes that the Enterprise's population is de-evolving.
Data explains that a synthetic T-cell has infected the crew and activated their introns —dormant genetic codes held over from earlier evolutionary times. He also points out that Picard has been infected, which gives them only a few hours to get the ship functioning and solve the problem. They return to Data's quarters to work, and notice that while Spot has changed into an iguana, her kittens, who were born in Data's absence, are fine. Realizing something in Spot's womb protected her babies, they track down the transformed Nurse Ogawa and find that her embryo is unaffected because of a similar protective substance in her womb. However, as they prepare to access her amniotic fluid to develop a retro-virus, Picard becomes increasingly nervous, a sign of his impending transformation. Then a huge, terrifying creature pounds outside the locked door, and they realize it is Worf.
Deducing that Worf has come to mate with Troi, who has a Klingon bite on her cheek, they determine that the only way to lure away Worf is to duplicate her pheromones. Since Data must continue developing the retro-virus, Picard, who is beginning to transform, must spread the pheromones himself. He gets Worf's attention by spraying them into the corridor, and the giant creature is soon chasing Picard through the ship. Worf soon realizes he has been fooled, then corners the captain. Thinking quickly, Picard Is able to use a power cable to shock Worf, knocking him unconscious. Data completes the retro-virus, and the crew Is restored to normal. Beverly realizes the virus was created when she used the synthetic T-cell to fight Barclay's flu, and names the strange affliction that plagued the crew after her hypochondriac patient.
Admiral Nechayev informs Picard that a settlement between the Cardassians and the Federation has created new borders between the two powers, placing some Federation colonies in what is now Cardassian territory. Picard is given the assignment of evacuating one of those planets, a 20-year-old enclave of North American Indians located on Dorvan V. He reminds her that the American Indians were once unjustly forced off their land centuries before, but Nechayev stands firm, ordering Picard to remove the settlers "by any means necessary."
Picard and Troi meet with the members of Dorvan V's tribal council, who express their unwillingness to leave. Meanwhile, Wesley Crusher, who is taking a break from Starfleet Academy, confuses everyone with his strangely sullen, moody attitude. A villager named Lakanta, recognizes Wesley, and approaches him saying that he has been waiting for him for two years, and can help Wesley find the answers his troubled spirit seeks.
Wesley goes to the Indian village, but is confused when no clear path presents itself. He talks with Lakanta about his puzzlement. Meanwhile, Picard meets again with the council, and is informed that the group has no intention of leaving. Picard sadly says that he has no choice but to remove them, but one of the leaders, Anthwara, says he does not believe Picard will do this, and reveals that one of Picard's ancestors was involved in a brutal massacre of Indians seven hundred years before. Anthwara states that Picard was somehow chosen to right this wrong. Surprised by this revelation, Picard leaves the meeting, then discovers that three Cardassians have landed on Dorvan V.
Picard asks the trio's leader, Gul Evek, to leave, reminding him that the Indians have six weeks left to evacuate. Evek, however, is anxious to begin surveying the planet and refuses. Picard reluctantly orders Worf to prepare an evacuation. Meanwhile, Lakanta takes Wesley to the Habak — a traditional ceremonial chamber where he begins his spiritual odyssey. Soon, he finds himself face-to-face with his father, who says Wesley has reached the end of a journey which started after the elder Crusher's death, and must now find his own path. His experience over, Wesley wanders back into the village and finds Worf preparing to remove the Indians by transporter. Deeply affected, Wesley suddenly takes the side of the North American Indians.
Furious, Picard confronts Wesley about his behavior, but Wesley, simply resigns from Starfleet. While packing to leave, he tells Beverly about his vision, realizing his father was telling him not to follow in his Starfleet footsteps. Beverly understands and reminds him about the Traveler, a mysterious alien being that once said her son was destined for something different. Wesley returns to the standoff on Dorvan V, where Lakanta reveals himself to be the Traveler. With the Traveler, Wesley has begun a new journey, which will take him to other planes of existence. Meanwhile, Picard is able to convince Evek to avoid another war with the Federation by allowing the Indians to maintain their colony under Cardassian jurisdiction. The U.S.S. Enterprise then departs, leaving behind Wesley, who will study with the Indians as the next step in his journey.
Worf is excited that his son Alexander has reached the age for the first Rite of Ascension, a ceremony in which a young Klingon declares his intention to become a warrior. However, he is shocked and disappointed to learn that Alexander has no intention of becoming a warrior. Picard suggests it might help if Alexander knew more about his Klingon heritage, then makes arrangements for the ship to stop on Maranga IV so that Worf and his son may attend the festival of Kot'baval. At the festival, they participate in traditional Klingon battle play, and Alexander is enthusiastic. However, the day ends on a frightening note when three unknown, dagger-wielding Klingon assailants suddenly surround the pair.
Before they attack, a strange Klingon appears and fires on one of the group. Alexander runs to safety, and after a brief struggle, the remaining assailants flee. The stranger calls himself K'mtar, a close friend of Worf's family who has been sent to protect them. Markings on a dagger left at the scene then indicate that the would-be assassins were sent by the Duras sisters, a rival Klingon family that may be attempting to take Worf's brother's Council seat. Later, K'mtar questions Worf about the wisdom of raising Alexander far from Klingon culture. Worf confesses that his son shows little interest in becoming a warrior, and K'mtar offers to help. He visits Alexander in his room at bedtime, where the boy admits how frightened he was that Worf would be killed. K'mtar reassures Alexander that if he trains to become a warrior, he will someday be strong enough to protect his father.
Worf and K'mtar begin to teach Alexander to fight by recreating the previous day's assault in the Holodeck. Alexander holds his own at first, but backs off when he has a chance to kill one of the assailants. K'mtar angrily berates him, and the boy runs off. Later, K'mtar privately tells Worf that he thinks Alexander should be sent away to a Klingon training academy. When Worf refuses, K'mtar threatens to invoke ya'nora kor, a bid to take custody of Alexander away from Worf.
Worf asks Troi's advice, and she tells him that Alexander's human side is just as important as his Klingon heritage. Soon afterward, Riker and the crew locate the Duras sisters and demand that they board the U.S.S. Enterprise. The sisters are enraged when they are accused of trying to assassinate Worf, and prove this fact when they point out that one of the markings on the dagger is a symbol for a child who hasn't even been born yet. Worf, hoping K'mtar can explain, is shocked to find him in Alexander's room preparing to kill the boy. Furious, Worf attacks him, after which K'mtar reveals that he is Alexander, and has come from the future.
K'mtar explains that he grew up to be a diplomat instead of a warrior, and became the catalyst for Worf's murder 40 years later. Beside himself with grief, he decided to transport back in time and either change Alexander's ways or kill him. Realizing this really is his son, Worf is overcome with pride, and tells him the only way he can die an honorable death is knowing he allowed Alexander to accept his own destiny. The two embrace, and K'mtar leaves. Later, Worf approaches young Alexander with a new attitude, ready to let his son be who he wants.
Picard receives a disturbing message from DaiMon Bok, the Ferengi whose son Picard killed in battle years before. Bok says he plans to avenge that death by killing Picard's son, Jason Vigo. Picard is unaware he had a son, but did have a relationship with Vigo's mother 24 years earlier. Since Jason is in danger regardless of his parentage, Picard sets course for Camor V, where the young man lives, locates and beams the surprised young man aboard. He is even more surprised when Picard fills him in on the situation, and agrees to take a genetic test, which soon reveals that Picard is Jason's father.
The pair attempt to get to know each other, but the process is awkward, especially since Jason's mother, who Picard only knew for a short while, is dead. Picard apologizes for not being involved in the young man's life, but Jason only wants to escape the uncomfortable situation and return to Camor V. Still, he accepts Picard's request for him to stay until the danger passes. Meanwhile, the crew works to track down DaiMon Bok, setting course for the Xendi Sabu system. That night, Bok suddenly appears at the foot of Picard's bed and again threatens to kill Jason before disappearing while Picard looks away momentarily.
Picard, Geordi, and Worf investigate how Bok could have gotten on board, but find no immediate answers. A security detail is assigned to protect Jason, then Data informs Picard that Jason has a petty criminal record. Picard manages to withhold comment when he tells Jason that Bok has appeared on the ship. Again, he tries to reach out to his son, but Jason coldly informs Picard that he plans to leave as soon as the Bok incident is over and has no interest in continuing their relationship. Later, Bok sends Picard another message, then appears in his Ready Room. Picard tries to talk the Ferengi out of killing Jason, but Bok simply dematerializes again. Meanwhile, in Sickbay, Beverly gets an emergency call — Jason is seriously ill.
Beverly says Jason suffers from a hereditary congenital neurological disorder. Since neither Jason's mother nor Picard had the disease, she investigates other ways Jason could have acquired it. Meanwhile, Geordi and Data realize that Bok has been using a subspace transporter to beam on and off the ship — and that the device could be used to kidnap Jason. Affected by these increased threats to Jason's life, Picard tries again to get to know him. This time, Jason admits to feeling like a disappointment to his father, but Picard assures him that, no matter what, they still have a bond. Their talk is interrupted when Beverly calls Picard away with urgent news about Jason's condition. Once Picard leaves, Bok succeeds in transporting Jason off the ship.
Bok appears on the Bridge viewscreen holding a knife and promising to kill Jason. Data traces the transmission to a ship 300 billion kilometers away. Realizing he only has one way to get there in time, Picard risks a dangerous subspace transport to Bok's ship. He arrives safely and demands that Bok release Jason, then shares some surprising news — Picard knows Jason is not his son. While researching Jason's illness, Beverly discovered that the young man's DNA had been resequenced to match Picard's. The other Ferengis on Bok's ship turn against Bok, and Picard and Jason are able to return to the Enterprise. After Jason's disease is cured, he returns to Camor V, inviting Picard to visit him the next time he's in the area.
Picard and the crew are concerned when an unexplained series of mechanical malfunctions occurs aboard the Enterprise. First, a runaway train suddenly appears in the Holodeck, then the ship takes itself into warp and locks out all propulsion access. Determined to regain control, Picard orders an emergency core shutdown, but before Geordi can carry out the order, the ship takes itself out of warp. An investigation reveals the Enterprise somehow protected itself — it would have exploded just a moment later if it didn't go to warp.
Wondering how the ship was able to do this, Geordi and Data investigate and discover a complex network of nodes and circuitry forming at several points on the ship. When Geordi attempts to examine one of the nodes, it defends itself by emitting a force field. Since the nodes appear to converge in the Holodeck, Riker, Data, and Worf investigate, and are shocked to find several different programs running at once, with characters from all of them riding as passengers on a train. Data attempts to depolarize the power grid, but the characters stop him, then change the train's direction and force Data, Worf, and Riker to leave. At the same time, the Enterprise slips back into warp, and Picard realizes he may not be able to stop it. Data then deduces that the ship is somehow forming its own intelligence.
Data believes that the computer's ability to see, talk, and even reproduce somehow enabled it to go beyond those capacities to learn to think for itself. Since the Holodeck appears to be the focal point, Data and Worf return to the train with Troi. They notice the recurring image of a three-dimensional molecule, and Troi questions a hitman who protects a gold brick and tells her he has to get to Keystone City. The train reaches its destination, and Troi follows him to a brick wall, where he inserts his gold brick and announces that he is laying the foundations. Meanwhile, Picard and Geordi detect strange activity in Cargo Bay Five, where Geordi discovers a glowing shape that looks like the molecule image.
Back on the Holodeck, Data depolarizes the power grid. Suddenly, the ship starts to shake, and Geordi orders Data to stop, then later surmises that the ship is protecting the object being created in the Cargo Bay. Troi adds that the characters in the Holodeck could represent specific aspects of the ship, and Picard encourages her to interact with them again in hopes of gaining control. This time, Troi, Data, and Worf cooperate with the characters, and power and life support systems are immediately restored. Picard and Riker notice that the ship has arrived at a white dwarf star and transports vertion particles back to Cargo Bay Five via a tractor beam. When the supply of particles is exhausted, the "molecule" in the bay goes dark, the Holodeck characters become distraught and the train derails.
The entire ship shuts down, and Picard and Riker join Geordi in the Cargo Bay. They examine the "molecule" and realize that the Enterprise is attempting to create a lifeform — one that will die if more vertion particles aren't found. Abruptly, the ship starts moving again, this time in the direction of another white dwarf. Unfortunately, the trip will exhaust the ship's oxygen supply, killing everyone unless something is done. Picard realizes their only hope is to create an artificial source of vertion particles. But while Geordi believes this can be done in a nearby nebula, Troi, Worf, and Data must somehow convince the Holodeck characters to change direction. Amazingly, they manage to do so, the particles are created, and the entire scene, including the mysterious new lifeform which has now formed, disappears into space, bringing the U.S.S. Enterprise back to normal.
Ro Laren's "homecoming" is interrupted when Federation ships from the renegade group the Maquis attack a Cardassian vessel near the Demilitarized Zone. The U.S.S. Enterprise crew is able to successfully chase away the vigilantes. However, the Cardassians, led by Gul Evek, are angered by the growing threat posed by the Maquis, and promises Cardassia will take matters into its own hands if the Federation does not force the Maquis to uphold the peace treaty. Admiral Nechayev decides to send Ro Laren into the Maquis community as an undercover operative. Ro is uncomfortable with the assignment since, as a Bajoran, she has spent most of her life fighting the Cardassians, but accepts the mission out of loyalty to Picard.
Ro begins her deception in an alien bar, pretending to be a fugitive accused of killing a Cardassian, and talks with a man named Santos, who stuns her with a phaser. Upon awakening in a Maquis settlement, Ro tells the group who surrounds her that she sympathizes with their cause. The Maquis members check her story and, when they find it to be true, allow her to join the group. Ro soon bonds with an older man named Macias, who takes her under his wing. Later, Ro learns that the Maquis suspect the Cardassians are smuggling biogenic weapons into the Zone. In order to launch a preemptive strike, the group will need extra medical supplies, but has none on hand. Seizing this chance to convince the Maquis of her loyalty, Ro takes along a skeptical member of the group, Kalita, in order to raid the Enterprise for the needed supplies. During the attempt, Picard realizes what Ro is doing and plays along, and as a result, Ro successfully convinces the Maquis that she is truly on the group's side.
Afterward, Ro meets secretly with Picard and tells him about the Maquis' suspicions. Picard sees this as the perfect opportunity to set a trap and lure the entire group into attacking a false target. However, he senses that Ro is growing increasingly uncomfortable with her mission, but she assures him that she will do her duty. She then returns to the colony and starts planting the misinformation needed to lure the Maquis. However, her guilt continues to grow, especially when the group is attacked by a trio of disguised Cardassians. Macias is killed in the attack, and tells Ro with his dying breath that she must take his place in the fight.
Ro meets again with Picard and tries unsuccessfully to lie to him about the Maquis' plans. Unsure of her commitment, Picard has Riker accompany her, posing as her brother. As the Maquis head for the border, the Enterprise waits to ambush the group. But at the last moment, Ro grabs a phaser, points it at Riker, then reveals the Enterprise's location. The Maquis ships retreat, and Ro goes with them, asking Riker to tell Picard she is sorry she let him down.
Picard finds himself traveling between the past, present, and future while attempting to prevent the destruction of humanity... by his own actions.
A panicked Picard bursts off the Turbolift in his bathrobe, declaring that he is inexplicably moving back and forth through time. Shaken, he begins to describe the experience to Troi, but is then transported 25 years into the future, working in the vineyard at his home in France. He is visited by Geordi, who has come because Picard is ill with Irumodic Syndrome, an affliction which causes mental deterioration. Picard is then transported to the past, where he is on a shuttlecraft with Tasha Yar, traveling to the U.S.S. Enterprise for the first time. Moments later, he is back in the present, at which point Troi places an urgent call to Sickbay.
Neither Beverly's tests nor Worf's security scans show any indication that Picard physically left the ship. The investigation is then put on hold by news that several Romulan Warbirds are headed for the Neutral Zone, toward a spatial anomaly in the Devron system. Picard is transported back to the future, where he remembers bits and pieces of what just transpired, then tries to explain this to Geordi, who is unconvinced, blaming it on Picard's disease. Geordi is worried enough to take Picard to Cambridge, where Data is a professor. Data decides to explore the possibilities, but Picard is transported back to the past, arriving at the point of his initial arrival on the Enterprise. Among the crew, he sees a group of scraggly humans laughing at him, a sight he has already encountered twice in the future. This is enough for him to suddenly declare a Red Alert.
Since he has foreknowledge of future events, Picard decides not to tell this crew what is happening. He senses a connection when he is told that several vessels are moving toward an anomaly in the Devron system. Starfleet cancels the ship's mission to Farpoint Station, but Picard insists they go there anyway and refuses to explain his decision to the confused crew. Soon afterward, he finds himself back in the present in Beverly's office. She scans Picard, and learns that he has accumulated over two days worth of memories in just a few minutes — real confirmation to what Picard has been saying.
Still in the present, Picard and the crew ponder the significance of the anomaly, which occurred in both the present and the past. Exhausted, Picard lies down in his Ready Room, then finds himself in the future. He insists in going to the Neutral Zone to find the anomaly, causing Geordi to worry about Picard's sanity. Still, he, Data, and Picard ask Riker, who is now an admiral, for help. However, since the Klingons, who have taken over the Romulan Empire, closed their borders to Federation starships, and now control the area, Riker is unwilling to let them proceed. Data proposes they instead travel on a medical ship, and they wind up on a vessel commanded by Beverly, now Picard's ex-wife. Geordi suggests that Worf, who is a governor in the Klingon Empire, might help them enter the territory. Picard then returns to the past, still on course for Farpoint. Suddenly, he finds himself face-to-face with Q, in the courtroom where they first met seven years ago.
Q offers to answer ten "yes" or "no" questions. Picard learns that his time shifting is connected to the "trail" Q put him through seven years earlier, that the spatial anomaly in the Neutral Zone is involved, and that a verdict has been rendered humanity will be destroyed. However, while Q is causing Picard to shift through time, it is Picard, not Q, who is responsible for the imminent destruction. Picard then wakes up in his Ready Room, in the present, and declares a Red Alert...
After his encounter with Q, Picard assembles the senior staff, and wonders if Q is actually giving him a chance to save humanity by showing him that the spatial anomaly also exists in the past. As they talk, the ship reaches the Neutral Zone, then Picard returns to the future, where Beverly's ship is also on the edge of the Neutral Zone. He convinces a reluctant Worf to accompany the group into Klingon territory, and then travels to the past, where he orders the crew into the Devron system. Finally, he returns to the present, where he is able to get Tomalak, the Romulan Commander on the other side of the border, to agree to entering the Neutral Zone together. Now heading for the anomaly in all three time periods, Picard learns that it exists in the present, and is larger in the past, but does not exist in the future.
Picard cannot understand why the anomaly is missing, and Beverly gives Data six hours to scan for the anomaly using an inverse tachyon pulse, then reminds Picard that this all might be a delusion. She leaves and Q reappears, again saying that it is Picard who destroys humanity. Picard then returns to the present, and suggests using the tachyon pulse to penetrate the anomaly. When Data begins sending the pulse, Geordi's eyes mysteriously start to rejuvenate. Data theorizes that this is because the anomaly is an eruption of "anti-time" — which has collided with normal time to create a rupture in space that is causing people to revert to an earlier stage of development. Picard then returns to the past, and suggests again that Data use a tachyon pulse to scan the anomaly. After this, he returns to the future, where Beverly's ship is attacked by Klingon forces.
The U.S.S. Enterprise, with Riker in command, appears and saves the medical ship, then brings the crew aboard just before the vessel explodes. Picard frantically insists that Riker continue the search. He then returns to the present, where Beverly tells him that the anomaly is affecting the entire crew. Picard orders Data to find a way to collapse the anomaly, at which point Q appears again. He takes Picard back to primordial Earth, where the anomaly fills the entire sky and a pond of amino acids is about to form the first protein. However, when these first building blocks of life fail to coalesce, Picard then realizes that his own actions somehow caused the anomaly, which then prevented the beginning of life on Earth.
In the past, Troi informs Picard that the anomaly is beginning to affect people there. Picard meets with Data and O'Brien, but they are unable to scan the anomaly enough to completely understand it. Returning to the present, Picard has Data change his scanning methods, which allows them to discover that their tachyon pulse is converging with two identical pulses at the center of the anomaly. Picard realizes that these scans must be from the other two Enterprises. He then finds himself back in the future, where he tries to convince his former crew that he is right. Luckily, Data sees the logic in what Picard is saying, and helps him explain that the anomaly could have formed in the future, where they are, then grow larger as it moved backward through time. Theorizing that the convergence of the three pulses ruptured the subspace barrier and caused the anti-time reaction, the group decides to return to the Devron system to see if the anomaly has begun to form.
Back in the Devron system, the crew detects a very small version of the anomaly. Data suggests shutting down the tachyon pulses, then Picard returns to the present and orders their pulse disengaged. The anomaly, however, remains unchanged. Picard then returns to the past, where he again has the pulse shut off. Again, the anomaly is unaffected. Back in the future, Data decides that their only option is to repair the rupture by taking the ship inside the anomaly, using the engines to create a static warp shell which would separate time from anti-time. This must, however, be done in all three time periods in order for the anomaly to collapse — which could quite possibly destroy all three ships. Picard returns to the past and gives the order, then repeats it in the present. Finally, the future Enterprise heads into the anomaly. All three ships reach the center and initiate the warp shells, and the anomaly begins to collapse. As it does, the past and present Enterprises are destroyed, then Q appears with Picard just as the future Enterprise is about to explode. Suddenly, Picard finds himself in the courtroom, facing Q again, who tells Picard he has succeeded in saving humanity. Picard is returned to the moment his adventure began, coming from the Turbolift in his bathrobe. He shares his experience with the crew, using what he has learned about the future to forge a new, closer relationship with his dearest friends.