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Rating: *** 1/2
Edited Length: 45:02
U.S. Airdate: October 24, 1993
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [11.9/2]
Richard Lynch: [Baran]
Robin Curtis: [Tallera]
Caitlin Brown: [Vekor]
Cameron Thor: [Narik]
Alan Altshuld: [Yranac]
Bruce Gray: [Admiral Chekote]
Co-Producer: Brannon Braga
Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Line Producer: Merri D. Howard
Producer: Peter Lauritson
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Executive Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Teleplay By: Naren Shankar
Story By: Christopher Hatton and Naren Shankar
Directed By: Peter Lauritson
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Story Editor: René Echevarria
Story Editor: Naren Shankar
Sabrina LeBeauf: Ensign Giusti
Stephen Lee: Bartender
Derek Webster: Lt. Sanders
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Picard has been missing for weeks, and the search for him leads to a seedy bar on Dessica Two. A combination of reward and intimidation finds them someone who tells them what they need to know - but that fact is bittersweet, as they find that Picard was apparently vaporized in a bar brawl by mercenaries! The mercenaries' base may be located in the Barradas system, and Riker orders the Enterprise there quickly.
When they arrive, there is no immediate sign of a base, but some odd emissions. Riker leads an away team down (over Data's objections that he belongs on the bridge at this time) to investigate. They find signs of a looted archaeological site, but before they can do more than get an initial look, they are brutally attacked. One security officer is killed, and Riker is captured. The Enterprise, with Data commanding, sees a ship break orbit and pursues, but loses them on long-range sensors owing to an "energy sheath" encasing the mercenary ship. They return to the planet.
Meanwhile, on the raider ship, Riker finds himself the topic of debate between Baran, the mercenary leader who wants to keep him around for potential use, and the rest of the crew. Baran appears to be winning, but a voice then tells him that the crew are right. Picard, large as life, turns in his chair. "I say kill him - now."
Picard, using the name "Galen", argues that Riker's usefulness is minimal, citing information that he's insubordinate and likely to be court-martialed soon anyway. Baran is skeptical, but a sudden engine failure forces him to turn to Riker for help anyway - and when Riker manages to save the ship, he keeps Riker confined to quarters rather than imprisoned.
The Enterprise finds a pattern of devastation in many archaeological sites in the sector, all with a common Romulan origin, and Data speculates that the raiders are searching for some Romulan artifact. After inspecting the layout of the sector, the crew reasons that Calder Two is the next likely target, and head there quickly, sending word ahead to stall the raiders until the Enterprise can arrive.
Meanwhile, Picard explains the situation to Riker in private. He sought the raiders out after finding a site he wanted to examine devastated and was caught asking too many questions. Rather than being vaporized, he was hit by a weapon which activated their ship's transporter, thus giving the appearance of being vaporized. He has been masquerading as "Galen", a smuggler, ever since, appraising their loot, and he believes that if Riker acts as Picard's enemy, Riker might be able to gain Baran's confidence and find out what they're truly looking for. Riker agrees, and as Baran enters, "Galen" knocks Riker to the floor rather brutally...
Some time later, "Galen" argues against a frontal attack on the Federation outpost on Calder Two, suggesting instead that they use Riker to talk their way through. Baran agrees, grudgingly. "Galen" then has a long talk with Tallera, the Romulan first officer of the ship, while he appraises artifacts. He gets no information of use from her, but she warns him that he will not be allowed to stand in the way of their mission and suggests he not antagonize Baran so much.
The outpost stalls when Riker orders them to let the ship pass, and eventually Baran realizes it's a trap. "Galen" fires a quick shot to disable the shield generator, allowing them to start beaming up artifacts - but when the shields go back up shortly thereafter, Baran orders the base destroyed. They prepare to fire, but the Enterprise arrives in the nick of time. Baran, convinced that Riker has sent them a message, orders him to order them to leave. He does so, and when they refuse he attempts to disable their shields remotely. He fails, but Data orders the shields down anyway. The raider ship fires, catching the Enterprise square in the warp nacelles...
TO BE CONTINUED...
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