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Edited Length: 45:00
U.S. Airdate: April 18, 1993
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [12.2/2]
Special Guest Star
Wendy Hughes: [Lt. Cmdr. Nella Darren]
Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Line Producer: Merri D. Howard
Producer: Peter Lauritson
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Co-Executive Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written By: Ronald Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias
Directed By: Robert Wiemer
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Story Editor: Brannon Braga
Story Editor: René Echevarria
Majel Barrett: Computer Voice
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Picard goes to meet the new head of Stellar Sciences, Lt. Commander Nella Darrin. Although he is initially gruff about having his work interrupted by the drain on resources she had caused, they seem to recognize kindred spirits in one another. Their relationship takes a stronger turn, however, after a concert in Ten- Forward in which Darrin displays a great gift for music. When he expresses his admiration and wonders about a particular improvisation she'd done on the piece, Darrin feeds him back his own earlier words, telling him to "expect the unexpected."
The next day, Darrin goes to visit Picard after a singularly unsuccessful plea to Riker for more sensor time. She finds Picard listening to music and holding his flute. She remarks on its unusual nature and asks to try to play it, but fails. She quickly suggests a duet, having brought something serving as a piano (but that can be carried under her arm) for herself. Picard initially falters, but then learns through Darrin's tutelage how to improvise based on someone else's melody. The results are impressive, and leave him very pleased.
Later, after Picard invites Riker to fence and Beverly tells Darrin (in for a strained arm from all the duets) that Picard, although private, is not isolated, Darrin leads Picard into a Jeffries tube, which she claims is the most acoustically perfect location on the ship. There, Picard plays the folk melody he learned on Kataan, and after marveling at its beauty, Darrin begins accompanying it. Geordi, in Engineering, begins looking for the source of the strange music he hears, but then it stops - and we see Picard and Darrin embracing.
Some time later, Picard turns from casual conversation to stiff formality when another crewmember enters the turbolift, leaving Darrin feeling somewhat brushed-off. As the Enterprise heads to Versalis Three to investigate some unusually early firestorms, Picard talks to Troi about his feelings for Darrin and his worries that they may impair his judgement. Troi reassures him, and gives implicit (or perhaps explicit) permission. Picard immediately finds Darrin and apologizes to her, and asks her to come back to his quarters where he can tell her something.
There, he tells her all about his experiences on Kataan, noting that his life there was real - and that when it ended, the only trace he had of that life was the flute he now plays. Darrin is moved, but curious about why he would tell her such a thing. "Because I want you to understand how much my music means to me - and what it means for me to be able to share it with someone."
Riker, however, becomes uncomfortable with their newfound relationship when he interprets Darrin's forcefulness about a transfer request as a demand for special treatment. However, Picard clears things up with Riker and then notes to Darrin that, while neither of them should compromise themselves, both Picard and Darrin need to be aware of perceptions. They begin to plan the rest of their evening, but are interrupted by further developments on the Versalin firestorms.
The storms are stronger and faster then usual, and threaten the Federation outpost on the planet. The colony needs to be evacuated before the storm hits, and there isn't time unless it is somehow given extra protection. Darrin suggests building a "firewall" of sorts using cross-connected thermal deflectors. With luck, the wall will deflect enough of the heat to allow the colonists to be saved - and once it's set up, the teams should be able to transport out in safety. Picard agrees, but privately suggests to Darrin that someone other than her should run the deployment. Darrin reassures him that she'll be all right, however, and Picard watches her beam down with a heavy heart.
The deployment runs into problems, however, and the teams are forced to act alone. The initial report suggests that although the colonists were saved, two of the six teams were lost, including Darrin's team. Picard goes to his quarters, and sits there in shock. He goes to his flute, and promptly locks it away in its case. Just then, however, Worf reports that survivors are being beamed aboard, one of which is Darrin.
Some time later, Picard and Darrin talk, and realize that although Picard never again wants to put her in danger, he might have to if she remains aboard. Darrin decides to put in for a transfer - and although both talk of seeing each other long-distance and planning for the future, she at least seems to recognize the unlikeliness of this. With a last kiss and a request that Picard never give up his music, she is gone.
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