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Edited Length: 45:01
U.S. Airdate: November 21, 1993
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [12.1/3]
Robin Gammell: [Mauric]
Lenore Kasdorf: [Lorin]
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
Written By: Nicholas Sagan
Directed By: Jonathan Frakes
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Story Editor: René Echevarria
Story Editor: Naren Shankar
J.C. Stevens: Kes Aide
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The Enterprise is visiting Kesprytt Three to evaluate the Kes for possible Federation membership. Unfortunately, Picard and Dr. Crusher's transporter beam is diverted, sending them to a prison run by the more isolationist Prytt race. The Prytt accuse them of conspiring to form a military alliance with the Kes, and say they'll get all the information they need from the neural implants in both Picard and Bev. Before long, however, the pair escape the cell with the help of a nervous Kes spy.
On the Enterprise, meanwhile, the Kes ambassador, Mauric, apologizes deeply for not preventing the abduction and begins planning a rescue mission. Riker hedges, however, preferring to try a diplomatic solution first, despite Mauric's insistence that the Prytt absolutely cannot be reasoned with. Mauric asks to set up a "safe" base of operations on the Enterprise, and reveals himself to be very security-conscious once he reaches his quarters.
As Picard and Bev continue their escape (narrowly avoiding plumes of flaming gas), Riker manages to establish a link with the Prytt. However, the connection is immediately broken, because the contact was not authorized. Loren, representing the Prytt Security Ministry immediately calls back, livid, and threatens the ship if they don't stop their hails. Mauric, hearing about this from Riker, attempts to cheer him up by saying that his agents have freed Picard and Bev. They adjourn to his quarters to discuss the details, which involve quite a bit of cloak-and-dagger intrigue.
Picard and Bev, meanwhile, discover while traveling that the neural implants are allowing them to read each others thoughts and emotions, at least on a surface level. The experience is unsettling for both of them: stray, uncontrolled thoughts lead to tension until they each realize that the other cannot be held responsible for stray thoughts. What's more, when they attempt to separate and weaken the psychic link, they find that they become uncontrollably nauseous when too far apart. They continue their travels, and the connection between them strengthens as they begin to find out more about each other's hidden thoughts and fears. The situation changes, however, when they spot a Prytt guard standing watch by the path they mean to take. They decide to take an alternate route to the Kes border.
Riker and Worf go to talk to Mauric, who is very upset that Picard and Bev have not shown up on schedule to the rendezvous. He accuses the Federation of secretly allying itself with the Prytt, and insists on leaving the ship.
That night, Picard and Bev sit by a campfire, not far from the border. They talk, slightly ill at ease by the other's proximity, but all is well. At least, all is well until Beverly mentions Jack, at which point she picks up a wave of emotion from Picard. She is taken aback - while she'd always realized there was an attraction between the two of them, she didn't realize its extent. Picard, for his part, confesses that he never intended to let anyone know of his one-time love for Beverly; after all, "you were married to my best friend." He admits that these feelings were the reason he didn't want her on the ship seven years before; he didn't know how he would react. Now, though, they agree that all is well - he doesn't have those feelings any more. They try to settle down and get some sleep before the final run for the border.
As the dawn breaks on the planet, Riker takes decisive action, beaming Lorin up without permission and insisting that she, Riker and Mauric talk about the missing officers. As Picard and Bev near the border, with Prytt guards in pursuit, Riker blows his top, telling both in no uncertain terms that first, the Kes are far too paranoid and suspicious to be granted Federation membership, and second, that if Lorin doesn't help him now, the Federation investigation into the missing people will widen to an extent that would drive the Prytt government crazy. She agrees, and just as Bev is caught after pushing Picard through a hole in the force-field, Lorin orders them both returned to the Enterprise.
Some time later, after the implants have been removed, Picard asks Beverly what they should do about their new understanding of each other. Now that they've realized these feelings, he suggests, perhaps they should "not be afraid" to explore them. Beverly leans in and gently kisses him, but then responds, "Or perhaps we should be afraid. [...] I think I should be going now." They part, and Jean-Luc broods over the wash of empty space.
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