|USA||December 11, 1998|
|Canada||December 11, 1998|
|Germany||December 31, 1998|
|Australia||December 31, 1998|
|UK||January 1, 1999|
|Denmark||January 15, 1999|
|Finland||February 2, 1999|
The Son'a are humanoid, but their faces are freaky-looking--stretched like rubberbands about to snap, they look like victims of too many facelifts. GALLATIN, a Son'a in his sixties, is about to relay a message to the Starfleet Admiral in command, when a weapons blast echoes through the hills--the observers and the Ba'ku react . . . broken messages from one of the field operatives mention something about an android. Gallatin moves to the window and sees the source of the commotion . . . in the distance, a figure in an isolation suit is running out of the foothills. Two other cloaked figures are after him, firing weapons--Ba'ku children are all around but can't see them, just the bolts of plasma coming out of nowhere. The kids panic and run to the village. Gallatin orders his men to hold their fire, as Starfleet Lieutenant CURTIS in the duckblind tries to communicate with Data. In reply, Data is muttering incoherently (a systems report on himself) . . . he's disoriented, stumbling about. He starts pulling at his headgear; Gallatin orders his men to intercept but Data tosses them aside with ease. The Ba'ku people are greeting their children back, happy they're safe . . . when Artim turns to see the floating head of Data decloaking in midair . . . the boy yells, the Ba'ku scatter, Sojef yanking Artim to safety. We see a wound on Data's neck as he keeps fighting unseen forces--a ripping crunch as a Son'a man partially decloaks and is slammed to the ground. Data strips off the rest of his suit as he slams invisible men into the market stands . . . he picks up a weapon from the unconscious Son'a, aims it at the rockface--the people behind the duck-blind dive for cover, but Data doesn't fire at them--but at the generators, disabling the holoemitters, revealing the duckblind, causing all the isolation suits to decloak. The Ba'ku are in shock, as Data stands alone, satisfied with his mysterious work.
Jean-Luc Picard, in his quarters, is being helped into a dress uniform (and its rather tight collar) by Beverly Crusher, as Troi is briefing him from a PADD. One matter of importance is an alien greeting Picard must master, "yaw-cheen chef-faw." New uniform, or a new neck, is what Picard needs, Crusher remarks . . . Although Picard insists that his collar size is the same as it was in the Academy. "Sure it is. And your hair is still chestnut brown," Crusher says dryly. More Enterprise family fun as Riker comes in and leads the group out the door through the corridor. Ensign PERIM, the young Trill helmswoman of the Enterprise-E, reminds Picard that the Enterprise is to mediate a territorial dispute in the Eikon system, though this means that Picard's going to miss out on an archaeological expedition to the Oklast system (the Diplomatic Corps, which would have been assigned to do the mediating, is busy with negotiations with the Dominion).
The big to-do, we find out, is a ceremony making a certain planet an official Federation protectorate. Picard bumps into Worf--he was installing a defense perimeter at a planet in a nearby sector, and dropped in to visit. "How's your bride?" "A challenge." "The greatest compliment a Klingon can pay his wife." LaForge relays a message to Riker that doesn't quite reach Picard yet . . . it's from Admiral Dougherty, about Data.
In a banquet room, Picard meets Regent CUZAR and representatives of her race of extremely short aliens as they do their traditional alien welcome stuff. As Picard turns to Troi to wonder how, with such an awkward height difference, he's supposed to dance with Cuzar later ("Her head will be in my . . . "), LaForge interrupts, in person, with Dougherty's message . . . Dougherty's aboard a Son'a ship in Sector 316, requesting Data's schematics. Troi and Picard are concerned . . . Picard goes to an anteroom to the banquet hall, where Geordi's set up a secured comlink. Here we first see Admiral MATTHEW DOUGHERTY, pushing 70, confident, charismatic. Dougherty says Data's holding his people and the Son'a hostage on the Ba'ku planet. Picard wants to get there right quick, but Dougherty reminds him that the planet's in an area dubbed the Briar Patch, full of unusual anomalies that might affect, in unknown ways, ships not equipped with the proper shielding. Dougherty wants just Data's schematics, to find a way to shut him down.
Picard tells LaForge to comply . . . and makes quiet plans to get the ceremony over with as quickly as etiquette allows . . . so the Enterprise can head to Sector 316.
The lead Son'a ship moves towards the ringed Ba'ku planet . . . the Briar Patch is a colorful part of space, lots of plasma stuff. nebulae, etcetera. The leader of the Son'a, Ru'afo, is voicing his dissatisfaction to Dougherty--following Federation procedures has made the mission more difficult than it needed to be. Suddenly, the ship is hit by a blast from someone hiding in one of the nebula clusters . . . the ship gets seriously pounded, when they finally get visual contact--emerging from a gas cloud is a Federation Scout Ship--small but impressive, with windows in the forward cockpit. Dougherty is stunned . . . we see through the cockpit, firing one last blast before heading back to the planet, Data in the pilot's chair.
Picard is very busy in his quarters . . . stacks of PADDs, graphs, charts he's looking over, plus he's trying to polish off a salad and, of course, a spot of Earl Grey Tea. He reaches over for a chart, yanking with it his salad plate, spilling gorgonzola dressing on his jacket, just as Riker chimes and enters. Picard shows him the chart of the Briar Patch. "It's full of supernova remnants, false vacuum fluctuations--" says Picard. Riker points out, " . . . and gorgonzola cheese." (har har). "We won't be able to go faster than one-third impulse in that." (har har har--wait, no, he’s serious about that). Anyway, Riker points out that much of the stuff in there is nothing that the Enterprise's shields couldn't handle . . . except for the unusual "metaphasic radiation" found in the dust in the region. The Enterprise enters Sector 316 . . .
Picard makes sure they've downloaded all the files they need from Starfleet Command, because their communications with Starfleet will be cut off once they're in the Briar Patch. Picard assigns Riker and Troi to learn as much as they can from Starfleet records about the mission and those involved. Picard and Worf (who's stuck around) in the meantime will be trying to find a way to safely recapture Data . . . Worf's already come up with a way to modify a tricorder to shut off Data from as far as seven feet away.
In the Enterprise Library (a redress of Voyager's Engineering Set, complete with some real books, mostly computer stations, and a prune-faced old librarian), Troi and Riker go over some exposition . . . the Son'a discovered the Ba'ku planet six months ago . . . it's in Federation space, so they came to Starfleet and arranged a joint sociological study of the inhabitants. Data was assigned to the mission because his android characteristics would render him safe from the metaphasic radiation and therefore useful in many of the tasks required. Riker is puzzled at why the Son'a would be interested in sociology--they're largely a hedonistic race (Troi tosses a paper ball at him when he's not looking, and when he turns, looks innocently at her screen. Riker's about to retaliate with a paper ball of his own, but he sees the librarian staring at him and he sheepishly backs down). Troi brings up reports that the Son'a might have some shady dealings--rumors that the Son'a are producing ketracel white (apparently a narcotic to races other than the Jem'Hadar), equipping their ships with outlawed subspace weapons. (Troi walks over to Riker's station, leans by him to look at the console, her breast resting gently on his upper arm--he's deeply aware of this . . . ). The Son'a are nomadic, and they have no children--it's rumored that some sort of genetic damage is preventing them from procreating (major flirtation going on now). Another ball of paper hits Riker, this time from an alien ensign now looking too innocently at his computer. The librarian glares at Riker and Troi. Troi points to Riker--"He started it." (har, har).
Worf oversleeps and is woken by Picard's com voice. "I don't know how they do it on Deep Space Nine, but on the Enterprise, we still report for duty on time" (har har). Worf gets up, bumps his head (har har har).
The bridge, Picard in command, LaForge at Ops, Perim at conn, a male Bajoran, Lt. NARA, at Tactical. Cute moment as Picard hears something the others don't . . . and figures out the "torque sensors" are out of alignment. LaForge confirms. Picard brags about how good his hearing was when he was an ensign. The Enterprise gets to be in comm range of Ru'afo's ship, and Nara hails Dougherty just as a disheveled Worf relieves Nara at Tactical. Dougherty is surprised, and relays the bad news of Data attacking them. Ru'afo and Dougherty decided to send an assault team to take care of Data, and Ru'afo wants Data terminated, but Picard asks for one chance to try and rescue the android. Dougherty considers, but Ru'afo wants none of Picard. Dougherty allots Picard twelve hours to pull it off; in the meantime, Dougherty and Ru'afo are going to head for the perimeter of the Briar Patch to get Son'a reinforcements in case Picard fails.
Picard and Worf leave the Enterprise in a shuttle and head to the Ba'ku planet, trying to send signals to lure Data out of hiding . . . metaphasic radiation from the planet's rings are in extreme flux and dangerous, so Worf steers clear. Soon enough, a blast hits the shuttle from a nearby gas cloud. Picard tries to communicate to Data. Data, in his ship in the gas cloud, ignores him and continues to fire. Worf triangulates Data's position below them, and Picard maneuvers the shuttle to intercept. Worf suggests firing tachyon bursts than would make Data have to reset shield harmonics, during which process he could be beamed out. A firefight chase between Picard's shuttle and Data's scout in the planet's atmosphere (oooh aaah). Finally, one of Worf's tachyon bursts hits the scout . . . Data resets his harmonics . . . Worf tries to beam him out, but to no avail. Data's got a transport inhibitor device. Data launches torpedoes at them . . . one hits the shuttle's shields, throwing the shuttle briefly out of control . . . the shuttle's fritzed, you know, smoke and gas shooting out of the ceiling. Picard sees the scout zooming past, so close he gets eye contact with data. Picard thinks this one out. He can fly a ship, perform strategic maneuvers--his brain is obviously functioning, so Picard tries a different approach. "Data . . . Two women in Miami Beach. One says to the other, 'That's a lovely diamond you're wearing, Mrs. Hoffman.' The other says, 'Thank you, it's the famous Hoffman Diamond, but it comes with a curse . . . '" Data pauses from his attack to listen as Picard continues the setup, and, says the punchline to himself at the same time Picard says over the com. ("Mister Hoffman!" har har). Then Data clicks back to the fight, and starts firing again. The shuttle's hit again. Picard tells Worf that's one of Data's favorite jokes. Picard tries another tactic . . . it seems Data was rehearsing for a part in HMS Pinafore before he went on the mission . . . so Picard starts singing over the com! "A British tar is a soaring soul . . . " In the scout, Data hears the song, and something is triggered in his damaged brain . . . he starts to sing along. Picard, through what I guess would be called a Karaoke subroutine on the shuttle's computers, gets Worf to join in (har har har). Picard notices Data's stopped firing . . . suddenly, Data's com voice cuts in . . . he's still singing, mesmerized by the song! Picard sings along as he stealthily moves the shuttle towards Data's ship. As the boarding clamps engage, Data returns to defense mode and starts shaking the scout to try and shake off the shuttle.. Picard and Worf hang on for dear life, as the shaking threatens to destroy both ships . . . Picard refuses to release the scout, as the two ships, still joined, start falling toward the planet . . . at the last possible moment, Picard manages to pull the shuttle and scout out of their death spiral, a few yards above the planet's surface. Worf blows the hatch and boards the scout, tries his "remote control" . . . nothing. Data lunges at him . . . Worf extends his arm, presses the button again, and Data shuts off, falling motionless just inches from Worf.
Ru'afo's ship, followed by two Son'a warships and a Son'a science ship, head back into the Briar Patch. Ru'afo and Dougherty look over a computer simulation of some sort of "collector" that would have something to do with the rings of the planet . . . when they are told that Data's been recaptured, and Picard's going down to the planet to free the hostages. Ru'afo is uneasy about this . . . he wants Picard out. Dougherty doesn't want to raise suspicion by ordering Picard to leave before freeing the hostages, but assures Ru'afo that he'll kick Picard out of the Briar Patch as soon as that's done.
In the Ba'ku village, the hostages aren't being treated as hostages after all--the Starfleet people are dining with the Ba'ku, the Son'a keeping to themselves but still unharmed. The Ba'ku kids are playing some sort of game that requires superhuman coordination. Picard, Troi and Crusher arrive (phasers drawn)--it almost seems that the hostages are sorry to see they're being rescued. Gallatin and Curtis go to Picard and introduce themselves. Troi notices and indicates to Picard the kids' remarkable game. Sojef and another village leader, TOURNEL, come up and introduce themselves, too, and ask them to holster their phasers. Picard remarks that he thought the hostages were being held against their will. Anij chimes in . . . they're not used to having guests at all, let alone hold anyone against their will. Sojef tells Picard that the "artificial lifeform" didn't allow the hostages to leave, and told the Ba'ku that the hostages were their enemies, and more would follow. Anij, strongwilled though not harsh, asks, "Are *you* our enemy?" Picard spouts the Prime Directive. Anij remarks dryly (but with a smile) that the PD apparently doesn't include spying on other cultures. Picard explains Data . . . when Tournel chimes in about an irreparable phase variance that they found in Data's positronic matrix. Picard is surprised that a simple people would know this stuff. Turns out that the Ba'ku are indeed an advanced race with advanced knowledge--they just choose to live simply. They have warp capability, but don't need it--who'd want to live anywhere else? Picard takes in the paradise surrounding him, and understands.
Back on the Enterprise, Picard gives Dougherty the lowdown, and Dougherty wants to meet up with them just long enough to trade paperwork and transfer the rescued "hostages" so Picard can get out. Picard glances at all the paperwork in front of him, then is drawn to the window, to the view of the warm inviting planet below.
Riker enters Troi's office for "counseling." "First time for everything . . . do I lie down or what?" Troi consents . . . and he lies down, head on her lap looking up at her. Banter. He sits up, stealing a kiss along the way. She's shocked but not upset. Banter. He approaches her, she backs off a bit, but eventually allows him to catch her. More banter. "Counselor, do you think it's possible for two people to go back in time to fix a mistake they've made?" "On this ship, anything can happen. And usually does." Big kiss. Troi: "Augh." Riker: "Augh?" Troi: "I never kissed you with a beard before." She pushes him out the door ("I kiss you and you say 'augh'?!") . . . the door closes in his face . . . but a tiny grin comes to her face . . .
Engineering corridor. LaForge has a headache he's trying to work through; he shows Picard several burned components from Data's head . . . memory units, damaged by a Son'a weapon . . . that's why Data malfunctioned . . . the Son'a were lying about not firing until after Data went nuts. All LaForge can determine was that he was okay until he was shot . . . then a fail-safe system was activated, where only his moral and ethical subroutines took over his basic functions--the system is designed to protect him against anyone who might try to take advantage of his memory loss. Picard is puzzled . . . if Data knew right from wrong, why attack Starfleet, and tell the Ba'ku that they were a threat?
LaForge and Picard wind up in a high-security cubicle where Data's dormant, mounted on the wall in a diagnostic device. Picard notices that LaForge's implants seem to be irritating him, but LaForge says it's just because he's tired. LaForge activates Data. They tell Data he's had a malfunction, and is back aboard the Enterprise. "I seem to be missing several memory engrams." LaForge holds up the components. "Yes . . . that looks like them" (har har). Data's last memory (aside from "Two women in Miami Beach") is of getting physiometric data on the Ba'ku children, following a boy into the hills . . .
Back on the planet, Sojef, Picard, and Data talk to Artim to try and reconstruct the chain of events. Artim puts away his "palm-pet" (think caterpillar meets jellyfish) and tells them that he had gone to the hills, by a dam, on that day; Artim leads the others toward the place. Along the way, Anij appears, moves over to Picard, asks why he's still here. Picard: "I don't like to leave questions unanswered." Anij: "Then you must spend your life answering questions." Artim is still afraid of Data, though Data assures him he's better now. Picard reminds Data that it's probably nothing personal--the Ba'ku have rejected technology, and it's only reasonable that some might fear him, the personification of everything they've rejected. It bothers Data to be the object of fear. The group continues to the rocky foothills . . . Picard is enchanted by the natural beauty . . . Artim hops from rock to rock across a brook on one foot, and Picard does the same thing without thinking--then notices a curious look from Data that makes him compose himself. The others walk across in "adult" fashion. They come to a small lake, a dam on the far end.
Riker's quarters. A female hand with a straight razor . . . moving to Riker's face, his chin and cheeks lathered with shaving cream . . . the hand is Troi's and they're in the bathtub together in a bubble bath. As she shaves Riker expertly, a com from Worf alerts Riker to a communication from Dougherty. The communication is patched through (audio only, of course). Dougherty (Ru'afo in the background, where a Son'a physician is draining green scum from subcutaneous boils beneath his neck) asks why they haven't left yet. Riker tells him Picard's looking for answers. Dougherty reiterates that the twelve hours are up. The Son'a doctor notes that Ru'afo's body is producing too many toxins--they've reached the limit of genetic manipulation. Ru'afo says he won't need any more manipulation if his Federation friend would help him complete the mission. (He glares at Dougherty).
Picard, Data and the Ba'ku are now at the dam . . . tricorder isn't working perfectly, thanks to kelbonite deposits, but a scan detects neutrino emissions from the lake. Data follows the tricorder to the edge of the lake. Steps to the lake up to his ankles. Pauses again to look at the tricorder . . . then walks straight into the lake until he disappears under the water . . . to the surprise/amusement of the others (including the audience, I suppose). Cute optical shot of Data still examining his tricorder, fish swimming around him.
Data emerges from the lake with the answer . . . he turns a wheel that opens the floodgates of the dam . . . the group reacts as they see a strange displacement of water in the lake as it drains partway. Something CLOAKED is sitting there. A ship. A Federation ship. Sojef discourages Artim from following Picard and Data, who are about to take a rowboat to the ship, ("We are not interested in such things") but not Anij, who hops in the rowboat . . . "If one of your ships has been hidden here, I want to know why." The rowboat reaches the ship . . . Data uses the tricorder to open a hatch . . . he and Picard draw phasers, and climb in . . . to find themselves in an identical image of the Ba'ku village! It's a holographic projection! Picard and Data piece it together . . . Someone was planning to move the Ba'ku off the planet--in their sleep, take them to the holographic village, where they wouldn't know any better as the flying holodeck relocated them to a similar planet. Data wonders why the Feds or Son'a would want to move the Ba'ku out, Picard doesn't know . . . we may notice Anij knows, but isn't saying.
Out of nowhere, a plasma charge is fired at the three, and another and another--the shots ricochet off the walls of the holodeck, revealing portions of the hologrid. Data fires back, Picard shoves Anij outside, where she falls into the water. Picard joins the fray, more firefighting, and finally a Son'a officer falls off the roof of a holo-building, unconscious. Picard ends the holoprogram and decloaks the ship. Picard and Data stick their heads out of the hatch to discover Anij can't swim. They jump in to save her. Data: "In the event of a water landing, I have been designed to serve as a flotation device." (har har har) He jiggles his neck some way and suddenly, he's floating, and Anij grabs onto him as Picard retrieves the rowboat.
Picard (still wet and angry) and Data beam up to the Enterprise, where Worf greets them, a big Klingon zit on his nose. Picard: "Oh . . . well it's hardly . . . noticeable." (har har) Riker, clean-shaven, meets them at the corridor. "Smooth as an android's bottom, eh Data?" Data is confused by this, and observes Riker's chin through this whole sequence. Riker tells Picard of Dougherty's message, but Picard's not planning on going anywhere. Worf tells Picard that Crusher wants to talk to him. Picard comes to Sickbay, where Crusher's examining Geordi's eyes; Beverly relays her findings . . . the Son'a hostages refused to be examined, but the Starfleet hostages are fine, better than fine . . . elevated endorphins, increased metabolism, improved muscle tone. As Picard leaves the group to enter his quarters, he instructs them not to release the Son'a until he's met with Ru'afo. At this point Data runs his finger along Riker's chin. "No, sir. It is not."
Picard goes to his quarters, turns on the music--but not his usual chamber music; he requests Louis Armstrong instead. He moves to the bathroom to towel himself dry . . . he glances at the mirror, and notices that the hair around his head is now predominantly chestnut brown . . . .He adds everything up.
It's night in the village, and Picard knocks on a door--it's opened by Anij, and the first thing out of Picard's mouth: "How old are you?"
Later, in Anij's house, they are joined by Sojef, Tournel and Artim. They've decided to tell him what no other offworlder knows . . . because he may be their only hope. Sojef tells the story of the Ba'ku: They came to the planet from a solar system on the verge of self-destruction--powerful weapons, advanced technology. A small group of their race set off and founded the village on the planet, isolated from the threats of technology and other worlds . . . three hundred years ago. And not only have they not aged a day since then, Sojef and some others actually became more youthful. The metaphasic radiation surrounding the planet rejuvenates its inhabitants. (Artim, however, is really twelve. The metaphasic radiation doesn't affect them until maturity). Picard realizes that many offworlders would consider this planet very valuable, and it's why someone's trying to take it away from them. The Ba'ku realized that Data was indeed trying to protect them . . . if not for him, they'd probably have been relocated by now. However, Sojef does not want the Ba'ku to defend themselves with violence. Picard assures them that it may not come to that . . . he's not going to let the enemy try to pull this off without Starfleet Command knowing about it.
Picard and Anij take a predawn stroll at the village. Anij tells of how the Ba'ku's isolationism was necessary, but hard to maintain, since many of the younger once are fascinated with stories of a faster pace of life; Picard remarks that many of his people would sell their souls for a simpler, more peaceful lifestyle . . . and how some of the darkest events in his world's history have involved the forced relocation of a small group of people to satisfy the desires of a more powerful group. We learn more about the Ba'ku life . . . since they live longer, they have the time to perfect their trades, their art, their mental acuity. Picard is ever curious, but Anij tells him that given time, even he would slow down his pace of life on the planet. Anij: "have you ever experienced a perfect moment in time . . . when time seemed to stop . . . and you could almost lived in that moment . . . " Her race has discovered that a single moment in time can be "a universe in itself." Most people aren't aware enough of the "now" to experience the fullness, the power of the moment. And it took the Ba'ku centuries to learn that it doesn't have to take centuries to learn . . . a tender moment as Picard lets Anij go back to her home . . . he takes in the dawn and the rising sun that's soon to come . . . and reacts as he sees LaForge out there, also staring at the horizon . . . with REAL EYES, not the implants. The cells around his optic nerve had regenerated . . . "It may not last after we leave. If not, I just wanted, before we go . . . I've never actually seen a sunrise." A poignant montage as the sun rises . . . Picard's face looking younger, contented in the new sun . . . and a tear rolls down Geordi's cheek . . .
Later, the four Son'a ships dwarf the Enterprise in orbit. Dougherty and Ru'afo enter Picard's ready room. Ru'afo is furious that Picard's not releasing the Son'a who were rescued. Picard brings up his case--he was attacked by a Son'a on the planet . . . they've determined Data was attacked by one as well, when he discovered the holo-ship. That stops Ru'afo, who looks to Dougherty with concern. Dougherty tries to calm him down, but Ru'afo's so ticked . . . his face is so tight it seems it's going to break . . . and it does . . . a crack opens up from forehead to chin and blood dribbles out. He threatens to destroy the Enterprise if they don't return his men; he storms out. Dougherty grants that Picard's conclusions are accurate . . . but defends the Son'a by saying they had merely overreacted. Picard accuses him of participating in the theft of a world . . . threatens to go to the Federation Council, but Dougherty stuns him by saying that he's doing this on orders from the Council. The Prime Directive doesn't apply; the Ba'ku are warp capable, they're not indigenous to the planet . . . they were never meant to be immortal; evacuating them would restore them to their natural evolution. Picard angrily retorts: "Who are we to decide the next course of evolution for these people." Dougherty tries to make him see his perspective--it's 600 Ba'ku, as opposed to billions of others who could benefit from the metaphasic regeneration. The Son'a have been working on a special collector to drain the metaphasic particles from the planet's rings, and have agreed to split the benefits with the Federation fifty-fifty. Dougherty points out LaForge . . . "would you take his sight away from him?" Picard wants alternatives . . . but the admiral says even after the best Federation minds put their heads together, the only way that would work is the Son'a's plan . . . the collector will inject something into the planets rings that would cause a reaction that would drain the metaphasic radiation into the collector. After the process is done, the planet will be unlivable for generations. Establishing a separate colony on the planet on the Son'a won't work . . . the process would work too slowly to help the Son'a, and "no-one wants to live in the middle of the Briar Patch . . . who would?" "The Ba'ku," Picard replies. Centuries of metaphasic exposure make it hard to predict what would happen to the Ba'ku if they're relocated. Dougherty brings up options--bio-domes to recreate the planet's conditions. But Picard is dead set against relocating these people, and considers this a betrayal of the principles on which the Federation was founded, the very soul of the Federation . . . the destruction of an entire race of people. "Six hundred people, Jean-Luc," Dougherty points out. But Picard replies, "How many people would it take before it becomes wrong?"
Dougherty sees no way of persuading Picard. So he orders him to go to the Eikon system . . . file any protests if he wants to, but this process will be done by the time he does so. He's also ordering the release of the Son'a.
Picard emerges from the ready room, and orders preparations for the Enterprise to depart. He enters the turbolift, and takes in a good long look at the bridge--enough for Riker and Data to notice.
Picard enters his quarters, his table still cluttered with charts and PADDs. Angle on his dresser as, one by one, he takes off his rank pips and places them on top . . .
A brief scene in a Son'a "body sculpture chamber," as an old Son'a's youthful good looks (such as they are) are restored by cosmetic surgery . . . Ru'afo is in another device, his head locked into an apparatus as an attendant gives him a facelift right before our eyes, stretching his skin even tighter . . . Gallatin enters, gives his report, mentioning that it wasn't easy being among the Ba'ku. Ru'afo says, "Just don't forget what they did to us." He plans not to bother with the holo-ship anymore . . . just to round the Ba'ku up and toss them into holding cells.
Picard, out of uniform, is in the captain's yacht, secretly transporting cases of equipment onto the yacht, studying a geology scan of the planet's surface. But he's caught by surprise by Data. And Troi, Crusher, Worf, LaForge, and Riker, all but the last two out of uniform as well. Riker finds out that the cases contain explosives, pulse launchers, disintegrators--heavy duty weaponry. Picard tells them all to return to their quarters . . . "I will not allow you to throw away your careers . . . this is not about loyalty to me." "No," Troi chimes in. "it's about loyalty to the ideals of the Federation." The others add their assent. Data points out that they might be affected by the metaphasic radiation, stimulating rebellious instincts (except for Data himself, of course). Crusher: "What do you think we should do?" Dramatic pause, as Data looks to everyone. He picks up a phaser rifle and activates it. "Saddle up. Lock and load."
Picard points out that the Son'a can't put their plan into motion while the planet is inhabited . . . so their job is to keep the planet inhabited. Riker and LaForge are to take the Enterprise out of the Briar Patch and go to the Federation Council, to make them see what's happening and make them sympathize with the Ba'ku. Cute moment here as Picard tells them that he had left a sentimentally blathery letter that was to come up on their screens in the morning . . . he wants them to delete it, but Riker plans to post it on every monitor on the ship (har har). The non-uniformed officers take their posts, as Troi bids Riker farewell . . . they kiss, and the others react in surprise. Data: "Apparently the environmental anomalies are also stimulating . . . " (Worf shuts him up). The yacht falls away from the Enterprise, the thrusters ignite and they head for the planet.
Gallatin reports to Ru'afo that a craft from the E went down to the surface just as the starship left orbit. Ru'afo plans to shuttle down and get everyone off the surface that night.
In the village, Tournel rings the village bell, calling everyone out of bed and into the village square . . . he orders everyone to take only what they need, and food, and evacuate. Artim looks with wonder at the yacht, and bumps into Data, who's activated the transport inhibitors he's planted in the area. Artim, still scared of Data, runs around the ship, only to bump into Worf (har har). Picard relays his plan to Anij and Sojef . . . their goal is to reach the mountains, protected by transport inhibitors along the way; in the mountains, exotic mineral deposits will make transport virtually impossible. They'd have to send soldiers down to pick them up one by one, and the Ba'ku and the crew can hold them off once they're at the mountains . . . but it won't be easy to get there.
The Son'a shuttlecraft roar overhead . . . their transporters are obviously not functioning . . . the Ba'ku make their way through the fields, guided by the five Starfleet officers, when the Son'a start firing around the Ba'ku. Fear and panic. Worf realizes they're trying to knock out the inhibitors. Worf takes down a Son'a shuttle with a pulse launcher, but another ship manages to knock out one of the inhibitors . . . the gap in the field's enough for the shuttle to scoop up about fifty of the Ba'ku, including Sojef. Artim is nearly trampled as people scramble to the protection of the next inhibitor (nearly loses his palm-pet, too), but is saved by Data.
Up in the lead Son’a ship, Gallatin has figured out what the Ba’ku and Picard are trying to do. Dougherty wants to go down to the planet and talk to Picard . . . much as Ru’afo wants to send an assault team down and take the Ba’ku by force, Dougherty cautions that if anyone gets hurt, they’ll certainly lose the support from the Federation Council. Ru’afo pooh-poohs him . . . the Federation is old, and, in the last two years thanks to the Borg, Klingons, Cardassians, and Dominion, greatly weakened; the reason why the Feds embraced the Son’a’s offer was to breathe new life into the Federation. "How badly do you want it?" Ru’afo asks the admiral. If Riker and the Enterprise gets through the Briar Patch and relays the damaging news to the outside, the rest of the Federation’s going to meddle with the Son’a’s plans, if not put an end to them altogether. Dougherty considers this, but Gallatin, who hates the idea of a violent assault, comes up with a proposition . . . isolinear tags that would help the Son’a transporters lock on to the people--the challenge being that each person to be beamed up has to be individually tagged. Meantime, the Enterprise is less than a day away from reaching Federation communications range. Ru’afo doubts that Riker will obey an order from Dougherty to turn around . . . and suggests that his ships "escort" the Enterprise back--or destroy it. Dougherty finally gives in and crosses his moral line . . . and okays Ru’afo’s plan to intercept the Enterprise.
Back on the planet, the exodus into the mountains continues with the Enterprise crew, the Ba’ku, and the Ba’ku’s beasts of burden. An exchange between Artim and Data . . . how Artim disagrees with his father’s antitechnological ways, how Data could only imagine what it’s like to be a child . . . the two bond; "Do machines ever play?" Artim asks. Data mentions his prowess with the violin and chess, but that’s not what Artim means . . . to demonstrate, he starts a game of tag with Data. "If you want to know what it’s like to be a child," Artim says, "You need to know how to play." The effects of the planet are starting to be more evident . . . accelerated hair growth in Worf, which Worf warns is a symptom of Klingon puberty, usually marked by severe mood swings and unusually aggressive tendencies (even for a Klingon). The group finds a safe place to set up camp. Anij points out that Picard’s hair is starting to grow in, too . . . and she rather likes him bald--none of the Ba’ku, for obvious reasons, are bald. Flirtation, etc. Picard: "I should warn you . . . I’ve always been attracted to older women." They start to caress each other and suddenly, the effect Anij was talking about earlier takes place--a moment that lasts forever; we see a hummingbird (a recurring motif throughout the movie) flap its wings . . . time seems to slow down . . . an altered reality, a heightened state of sensory perception . . . and they kiss . . .
The Enterprise, moving at one-third impulse (must be that gorgonzola cheese area) through the Briar Patch . . . Riker in the Captain’s Chair, Perim at Conn, LaForge at Ops, Nara at Tactical. Perim detects two Son’a warships on an intercept course, moving a lot faster than the Enterprise . . . the E won’t make it out of the Briar Patch before the Son’a intercept. The Son’a fire a warning shot that rocks the Enterprise. Riker orders full impulse, though that would threaten the safety of the Enterprise . . . LaForge goes to Engineering to better handle things, as Riker calls for battlestations . . .
On the trail, Troi and Crusher are sitting down, munching on Starfleet rations . . . Data overhears the conversation . . . "And have you noticed how your boobs have started to firm up?" "Not that we care about such things" (Crusher, dryly). Data then walks over to Worf and repeats the same lines to him (har har). Suddenly, a dozen Son’a shuttles emerge over the horizon, dropping dozens of flying football-sized electronic drones who then fly toward the group. The Ba’ku scatter, as the officers try to shoot some of the drones down . . . the drones fire what seems to be a new kind of weapon, but the projectiles turn out to be the isolinear tags Gallatin spoke of! Many of the Ba’ku are tagged and beamed out, as Picard, Anij, and several of the remaining Ba’ku head for a nearby cavern. Data and the others follow, blasting the drones as they push ahead.
The Enterprise is leaking plasma exhaust, trading fire with the Son’a ships. Riker notices a nearby nebula cluster . . . against the warning of Perim, he orders the ship into the nebula, taking over at conn while Perim moves to Ops. "Time to use the ‘Briar Patch’ like B’rer Rabbit did . . . "
The Ba’ku run inside the cavern, steam coming up from the mineral waters within it . . . our crew continues to blast the swarming drones. Worf’s phaser jams and he starts swinging at the drones with a tree branch, knocking two of them out of the ballpark. "Sir, I am definitely feeling aggressive tendencies," he tells Picard (har har).
Data and Artim are still far from the cave, running down a steep trail . . . in the ridge ahead of them, three Son’a foot soldiers appear . . . Data rushes them and collides, sending them over the ridge falling to almost certain death when Data smartly grabs one of the drones out of the air and aims it at the falling Son’a, who are abruptly tagged and beamed out in mid-fall.
The Enterprise is getting a rough ride . . . not only have the Son’a ships fired torpedoes into the nebula, they’ve used their illegal subspace weapon, creating a subspace tear threatening to engulf the Enterprise. The Enterprise’s only chance for survival is to eject the warp core and detonate it at the tear . . . it works, but the Enterprise takes further beating from the explosion. The tear’s been sealed, but there’s nothing stopping the Son’a from doing it again ("and we’re fresh out of warp cores," Geordi reminds Riker). Riker comes to a decision . . . they’re through running.
Inside the cavern, the Ba’ku make their way through, although they can still hear shooting outside. The last Ba’ku enter, and Data activates a forcefield at the mouth of the cavern that keeps the drones out. Meanwhile, Artim’s palm-pet crawls out . . . the shuttles are now starting to fire torpedoes at the caves, trying to draw the people inside out. Data warns that the cave could collapse . . . Data finds another exit (though it requires a little blasting to make it) . . . the exit leads up to the mountains and the caverns that are there . . . renewed optimism.
The Enterprise is barely functional. Riker notices pockets of metreon gas in the distance, and, against Geordi’s protestations of great danger, plans to collect them in the ramscoops and shove them down the Son’a’s throats. Calling up a manual steering column (glorified joystick), Riker maneuvers the ship straight at the Son’a, then releases the ramscoops and peels away just as the Son’a fire at the scoops and blows them up . . . the Enterprise is sent careening away by the force; one of the Son’a ships is blown to bits, the other is crippled.
Back on the planet . . . the aerial assault continues as the Ba’ku file out the new exit. . . then they get spotted by some Son’a footsoldiers. Picard gets the people moving, while Worf yanks out an isomagnetic disintegrator (boy, these tech people love that iso- prefix)--a bazookalike weapon--and blasts the footsoldiers . . . one tumbles down the hill, landing near the cave. Crusher’s right there to scan him to make sure he’ll live . . . but the surprise is on her as her readings suggest something unbelievable, and she reveals this to Picard. "How can this be possible?" Picard asks. "Maybe we should ask them," Crusher replies, indicating Anij and Tournel, who are helping the last Ba’ku out of the cave.
Anij notices that Artim’s nowhere to be found . . . he went back into the cave to look for his palm-pet. Anij finds Artim and heads back to the exit, where Picard and the others are standing . . . Picard goes in to meet them partway when a Son’a weapon hits the mountainside and the cave ceiling starts to collapse . . . Picard reaches out for Anij just as the whole thing comes down on both of them; he manages to push Artim outside the cave into the arms of Data. Data tells a reluctant Artim to go with Tournel and the rest of the Ba’ku into the mountains. The other Enterprise officers examine the collapsed mouth of the cave . . . Crusher reads two lifesigns, one extremely faint--tons of rock blocking the way--blasting the rocks may cause another cave-in, so they start digging furiously as Tournel takes the rest of the Ba’ku into safety.
Picard is under the rubble . . . Worf manages to raise his commbadge and tell him they’re trying to get to him . . . Picard finds Anij’s motionless body. Picard manages to get out his tricorder and scan her . . . she’s dying. Picard tries to assure her that help is coming . . . but he’s losing her . . . he takes her hand and puts it up to his cheek . . . "Stay with me . . . don’t let go of this moment . . . help me find the power to make you live in this moment . . . " Her eyes weakly open one last time . . . and as their eyes connect . . . once again, the alternate reality, the heightened perception, as time slows . . . the moment seems to last forever . . . he’s thrown her a mystical lifeline that she’s holding on to . . . until at last Crusher breaks through the rocks and gives her a much-needed hypospray to stabilize her.
Beverly, Worf, Troi, Data, and Picard (carrying Anij) start to cross over to safety when they stop dead in their tracks--five drones hovering menacingly between them and the caverns beyond . . . an OK Corral moment. Picard gently puts Anij down and gets a phaser rifle from Worf. The drones open fire . . . our people react and evade the tags fired at them, and fire back; the only one still in the same spot is Picard, protecting Anij. Four drones are destroyed, but the fifth fires, tagging Anij; Picard reaches for her tag, but suddenly he gets tagged, too . . . the two dematerialize . . .
Ru’afo’s ship, in orbit of the Ba’ku planet . . . Ru’afo enters an enormous brig filled with almost a hundred Ba’ku . . . he sees Picard, tending to Anij with Sojef. Ru’afo gloats and offers to release him if he orders his crew to surrender. Picard gives him the silent treatment. Ru’afo then threatens Anij’s life. Dougherty steps in, unwilling to see any prisoner come to harm, but Ru’afo’s had enough of him. Ru’afo reminds Dougherty that he’s on a Son’a ship, and Picard’s committed terrorist acts, but in that regard, Dougherty wants Picard to have a Federation trial. Gallatin apprises Ru’afo of the defeat of their two warships. Picard says that the Enterprise would fire only in self defense, that Ru’afo must have ordered an attack, and Dougherty must have consented. Dougherty has lost his dignity . . . he knows the accusations are true. Ru’afo finally gives up on the entire process, and plans to launch the injector into the rings, even if it kills everyone on the planet. Gallatin reacts to that--Picard notices. "You would kill your own people?" Picard tells Ru’afo. Dougherty is puzzled. "Didn’t you know, Admiral? The Ba’ku and the Son’a are the same race."
The big picture is revealed . . . a century before, a group of Ba’ku wanted to follow the ways of the offworlders . . . they tried to take over the colony, but failed; in punishment, they were exiled. Anij and Sojef realize that they know Ru’afo and Gallatin, under other names, from the past. Picard points out to Dougherty that the Federation’s actually been drawn into a blood feud. "The children have returned to expel their elders . . . just as they were once expelled. Except Ru’afo’s need for revenge has now escalated to parricide." Dougherty is a lost man, realizing his tragic errors. "It was for the Federation . . . it was all for the Federation."
Ru’afo returns to the body sculpture chamber for another treatment. Dougherty wants to call everything off, but Ru’afo has stopped taking orders from him--just so the Federation will never find out what’s happening there, he pushes the Admiral into one of the devices in the chamber and facelifts him to death.
Ru’afo meets up with Gallatin and the other Son’a on the bridge of his ship, and orders Gallatin to deploy the metaphasic collector. Gallatin protests . . . he doesn’t want to kill the Ba’ku . . . but Ru’afo points out that no one hated the Ba’ku more than Gallatin himself . . . this is the moment the two of them have been waiting for. Ru’afo orders Gallatin to put the captured Starfleet personnel to a cargo hold where they’d be unprotected from the reaction from the collector, and be killed as a result.
Huge hatches open on the Son’a science vessel and the collector extends out from it . . . the science vessel is an Astrodome-sized chamber of technodoodads stretching outward as the collector expands . . . solar sails unfurling toward the planet’s rings.
Gallatin goes to the brig to personally escort Picard to the cargo hold. Along the way, Picard is very cordial considering the circumstances . . . he needles away at Gallatin, pointing out how it must have been painful to see the Ba’ku again . . . how the Son’a’s bitterness has changed Ru’afo, and turned Gallatin into "a coward, a man who ignores his conscience." Eventually Picard gets to Gallatin, who warns that the crew is loyal to Ru’afo. Gallatin does know how to disable the injector, but he’d need some time on the bridge to pull it off . . . if they could lure Ru’afo from the bridge somehow--a seemingly impossible task, but Picard gets a rainstorm . . . he asks to communicate with Data on the surface.
The collector is fully extended now, and Ru’afo calls for the launch sequence that would activate the injection reaction . . . it’s T minus 7 minutes (I hope they don’t use Arabic numerals for an alien countdown . . . ) before the injector fires, causing the cascade reaction that would allow the collector to drain the metaphasic radiation from the rings, and kill everyone on the planet and around who are unprotected from the radiation. Suddenly . . . boom . . . the ship is rocked by small blasts . . . tachyon bursts from the captain’s yacht, flown by Data. Ru’afo dismisses the puny attack. Data keeps firing at Ru’afo’s shield grid, as per Picard’s orders, while Worf is "in position," ready for the simultaneous transport. T minus 3 minutes. Ru’afo is told that Data’s blasts are disrupting the shields, increasing their chances of being negatively affected by the radiation. Ru’afo, irritated, orders the destruction of the yacht and a reset of the shield harmonics. The yacht is hit and spins out of control . . . Data tries to head back to the planet safely . . . an extended optical flash on the Son’a bridge, but nothing seems to be affected . . . T minus fifteen seconds . . . ten (the injector assembly is launched into the rings) and at T-minus zero, we see through the Son’a viewscreen the injector doing its thing, emanating particles that cause the reaction . . . the nature of the rings changes before our eyes . . . Ru’afo’s plan is coming to pass. But there’s no change in the readings for metaphasic flux, when they should be increasing exponentially . . . something’s wrong . . . all ship functions are offline . . . but the viewscreen’s working, artificial grav is stable, life support is okay . . . Ru’afo scrutinizes the walls of the bridge, and then opens fire on the walls with his plasma weapon . . . his crew is on the holoship! He blasts enough of the hologrid to reveal a short flight of stairs to the holo-ship’s bridge. His own ship is right there in front of him . . . Once the shield harmonics were reset, he and the bridge crew were beamed on board the holoship by Worf (who simultaneously beamed onto Ru’afo’s bridge) . . . his success was just an illusion. The injector assembly has been deactivated . . . the real countdown has been frozen at T minus two minutes or so. Meantime, Data’s careening towards the planet, the yacht threatening to burn up in re-entry--in fact, the roof breaks off and Data himself is heating up . . . Data beams out just in time as the yacht disintegrates.
Ru’afo checks the status of the holo-ship--the fourteen long-range transporters (intended to be used to beam the Ba’ku aboard in the original plan) are locked and useless, but Ru’afo orders his men to get one working . . . though he doesn’t plan to beam back into his own ship.
The Enterprise-E, bloody but unbowed, returns to within sensor range of Ru’afo’s ship . . . their mission was a success, the Federation Council’s ordered a halt on the Ba’ku relocation. Suddenly, the countdown on Ru’afo’s bridge starts again . . . someone’s transferred control to the collector device itself . . . Ru’afo’s beamed aboard, and has established a security field around himself so he can’t be beamed off. Gallatin shows Picard what he has to do to defeat the injector--beam onboard the collector and pull out a special circuit that’s attached to the ignition matrix. Worf volunteers, but Picard has "no intention of informing your bride that you’re not coming home." Picard takes it upon himself to do the task.
The Collector is now a cavernous room, now that the sails are unfurled . . . a hollow cobweb of pipes and conduits. The injector’s in its prelaunch stages. Ru’afo is working the controls. Picard materializes onto a plank near the injector far above . . . the area’s not designed for manned operation, so he has to do an awkward crawl onto a grille under the injector himself. In time he works his way to the matrix--the time is now T minus 1:20. He works to open the matrix . . . but an alarm goes off on Ru’afo’s console. Ru’afo switches off the forcefield and looks up, sees Picard . . . draws his weapon, fires, misses, but Picard’s still running out of time. T minus 1:10. Ru’afo climbs toward him. Picard tries to pull out a circuit--no good; there’s a forcefield protecting it--he works on disabling the forcefield. Ru’afo’s now on the plank where Picard had originally arrived . . . their eyes connect. Picard disables the forcefield at last . . . T minus 47 . . . he reaches for the circuit but Ru’afo gets there first, lunges at Picard.. the two grapple across the grille, Picard slips, falls, but Picard grabs hold of the grille and saves himself from the long, deadly fall. Ru’afo works to uncurl Picard’s fingers from the grille to make him let go . . . T minus 20 . . . the ignition matrix engages and the nitrogen flow throws Ru’afo off-balance . . . it’s now or never as Picard reaches through the grille, grabs Ru’afo by the neck and yanks his head down against the grille, stunning him.. Picard pulls himself up and dives into the nitro smoke towards the detonation circuit . . . Ru’afo recovers, comes back at him again . . . T minus 10 . . . Ru’afo grabs Picard, yanks him away from the matrix . . . T minus 5 . . . Picard breaks free and jumps onto the plank a short distance away . . . Ru’afo looks at the ignition matrix . . . the detonation circuit’s gone!
Ru’afo reacts, looks at Picard, who’s on the plank, holding up the circuit for him to see . . . "Looking for this?" Picard’s on the plank, Ru’afo’s on the grille . . . only about a foot apart . . . but an instant later, Ru’afo slides away with the injector as it’s launched . . . a forcefield zaps into place as the injector enters space . . . Picard watches as it heads for the rings. From the injector, we burst into the bright colorful metaphasic dust and gases of the rings . . . as Ru’afo begins to change . . . growing younger and younger . . . facelift turns into middle age then through young adulthood then adolescence then childhood . . . fade to white.
The Ba’ku village. Troi waves from a distance as the Ba’ku return from the hills. Riker’s standing with Worf. Worf: "Have I mentioned the unanticipated rewards I’ve discovered in a permanent relationship?" Riker: "Permanent . . . that sounds like a long time." Worf: "Life is short, Commander."
Worf leaves Riker to ponder on that as we follow the Klingon . . . he takes us past Gallatin, who is watching with longing the children playing tag in the grass. Picard, Anij and Sojef observing the elderly Son’a. Sojef is pessimistic about a reconciliation between the Ba’ku and the Son’a . . . but they notice Crusher in the distance accompanying a young Ba’ku woman, taking her to Gallatin . . . the woman embraces Gallatin as a mother embraces a lost son. Anij realizes the woman is Gallatin’s mother . . . the reunion, arranged by Picard to begin the healing process. Sojef shakes Picard’s hand in an unstated but deep appreciation for all he’s done . . . goes off to join Gallatin and his mother. Anij looks to Picard with love. "What am I going to do without you?" She’s anticipated before he does that he has to leave. He explains that these are perilous times for the Federation . . . he can’t abandon it to people who would threaten everything that it stands for . . . but he has three hundred or so days of vacation time due him, and he plans on using them someday . . . on the planet with Anij.
Worf informs them that another Starfleet ship’s arrived to tie up the loose ends, and that the Enterprise is still needed to mediate that little dispute in the other system. Picard says they’ll have to wait a little longer . . . he plans to go back to Earth . . . and "slow things down" a little for the Federation Council. "Worf!" a familiar voice rings offscreen . . . it’s Quark, accompanied by two Dabo girls. He’s here with plans to build "the greatest spa in the galaxy." Picard firmly states that there will be no spas built here . . . the Ba’ku planet will be made a Federation Protectorate, to save it from exploitation by people like Quark. Picard orders the uninvited alien and his entourage beamed back on the Enterprise, to be deposited back at DS9 when they drop Worf off. Worf takes Quark away. Anij wonders whether the Federation would really be interested in protecting 600 people. "The ‘mighty’ Federation could learn a few things from this village," Picard replies . . . and kisses her. The signature hummingbird appears, hovering briefly in front of them . . . and as he takes her hand to his cheek . . . the hummingbird once again slows . . . its wing movements fluid and gentle as the moment extends . . .
Data plays a last game of tag with Artim and the kids before saying his good-byes. Artim reminds him, "You’ve got to play a little bit every day." "Good advice," says Riker, as he takes Troi’s hand, suggesting perhaps a new permanent commitment. Picard moves to join the others, presses his commbadge, orders the beamup, and exchanges a final look with Anij as they dematerialize.
The Enterprise leaves orbit, and moves into space . . .
|Patrick Stewart ....||Captain Jean-Luc Picard|
|Jonathan Frakes ....||Commander Riker|
|Michael Dorn ....||Worf|
|Brent Spiner ....||Data|
|Gates McFadden ....||Dr. Beverly Crusher|
|Marina Sirtis ....||Counselor Deanna Troi|
|LeVar Burton ....||Geordi LaForge|
|Donna Murphy ....||Anij|
|F. Murray Abraham ....||Ru'afo|
|Anthony Zerbe ....||Admiral Dougherty|
|Armin Shimerman ....||Quark|
|Max Grodenchick ....||a Bak'u Security Officer|
Unit Production Manager
Special Effects Supervisor
Junie Lowry Johnson
Star Trek - Insurrection is a trademark of
Synopsis by Ed © 1998
Paramount Pictures © 1998
Synopsis by Ed © 1998