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Edited Length: 45:28
U.S. Airdate: Febuary 23, 1992
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [12.0/3]
John Synder: [Aaron Conor]
Dey Young: [Hannah Bates]
Ron Canada: [Marcus Benbeck]
Co-Producer: Joe Menosky
Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Producer: David Livingston
Producer: Herbert J. Wright
Supervising Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Teleplay by: Adam Belanoff and Michael Piller
Story by: James Kahn and Adam Belanoff
Directed by: Winrich Kolbe
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Associate Producer: Wendy Neuss
Sheila Franklin: Ensign [Felton]
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The Enterprise is investigating the effect of a runaway "stellar core fragment" on nearby planetary systems when it finds out one of them is, unfortunately, inhabited. The leader, Aaron Conor, only consents to talk to them after Picard makes it clear just how much danger they're in. He allows them to come down to their sealed biosphere (initially intrigued by their transporter) to talk over alternatives to evacuation.
The problem soon becomes apparent. The colony here on Moab Four is a genetically engineered one, apparently superior to normal humanity. It is completely in tune with its surroundings, and to uproot it would be disastrous for the social fabric of the colony. [Conor was bred to be the leader of the colony, and has never been anything but contented in his role-everyone is perfectly content there.] Geordi gets to work with Hannah Bates, a brilliant theoretical physicist, while Troi stays to visit the colony, fascinated by this culture. Geordi and Hannah hit upon a possibility (a multi-phase, much strengthened tractor beam), but need to adjourn to the Enterprise to work further. With much concern over Hannah's temporary departure, Aaron allows her to leave.
Three days later [with about three remaining until the core passes by], no real progress has been made. Troi, on Picard's orders, works on making sure Aaron can understand the consequences of whatever decision he chooses to make. Meanwhile, as Hannah and Geordi take a break and discuss Geordi's VISOR, Geordi gets the revelation that the data-compression feature of the VISOR could solve the technical problems they're experiencing-and notes the irony that the solution to the problem came from something built for a man who wouldn't even exist in Hannah's culture. Meanwhile, Troi finds herself warming to Aaron's charms, and against her better judgement is seduced by him.
The tractor beam will work to a fault, it turns out, but the Biosphere shield will also need to be strengthened, which will require approximately fifty people from Engineering down on the surface. Aaron, recently taken aback by Troi's sudden iciness [she realizes she's made a vast mistake in contaminating their culture], rather numbly agrees to the plan, seeing no other choices. With everything ready, the solution is implemented-and with no leeway left over, manages to work. Everyone is relieved-but Hannah seems pensive about returning to the colony.
Hannah fakes a breach in the Biosphere in an attempt to force the colonists to evacuate anyway. When that fails, she simply decides to tell Geordi outright that her culture is, in her opinion, sitting in the Dark Ages, with no progress, no drive, and no innovation. She requests asylum on the Enterprise-and she's not alone. Picard is taken aback by this [the gaps caused by these colonists' departure could destroy the fabric of the colony], and confers with Aaron. He tells Aaron that he will speak to them and urge them not to make rash decisions, but also says that if they finally decide to leave, he can't turn them away. Aaron asks Hannah for six months to show her how they can adjust, but Hannah and the others will hear none of it; the damage is already done, and the perfect society is already dead. They leave with the Enterprise- and Picard wonders whether the literal saving of the colony was worth the damage the Enterprise inadvertently caused.
Technical design, graphic design, interactive features, HTML & CGI programming by Andrew Tong. || All materials Copyright © 1987-1995 by their respective authors. || Document created: January 28, 1995 || Last Modified: July 12, 1999