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Rating: ** 1/2
Edited Length: 45:00
U.S. Airdate: April 10, 1994
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [11.9/2]
Special Appearance By
Wil Wheaton: [Wesley Crusher]
Tom Jackson: [Lakanta]
Natalija Nogulich: [Admiral Necheyev]
Ned Romero: [Anthwara]
George Aguilar: [Wakasa]
Richard Poe: [Gul Evek]
Eric Menyuk: [Traveller]
Doug Wert: [Jack Crusher]
Consulting Producer: Peter Lauritson
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Co-Producer: Brannon Braga
Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Line Producer: Merri D. Howard
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Executive Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written By: Ronald D. Moore
Directed By: Corey Allen
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Executive Story Editor: René Echevarria
Story Editor: Naren Shankar
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The Enterprise is at Starbase 310 to meet with Admiral Nechayev, and also takes on board Wesley Crusher, on leave from the Academy. While Wes quickly proves much more prickly and remote than usual, there are bigger problems afoot: Nechayev tells Picard about the new border arrangements with the Cardassians, and gives him the unenviable task of moving a colony now located in Cardassian space. The colony, on Dorvan Five, is an old American Indian tribe that left Earth to find a home centuries ago - and the historical parallels of uprooting them due to a political decision is not lost on Picard.
Once the ship reaches Dorvan, Picard meets with the tribal council, only to discover that they consider this planet home, for intangible, spiritual reasons far beyond the transient environmental issues. They do not intend to leave, but both sides agree to reconvene the following day and eat dinner at the Enterprise that evening.
After a brief argument between Bev and Wesley (in which Wesley informs Bev that he might just possibly be tired of living up to expectations), the dinner commences. There, Picard talks to Anthwara (the tribe's leader) about the tribe's past and answers questions about his own family, and Wes too has a meeting - with Lakanta, another colonist who tells Wes that he saw him in a "visionquest" two years ago, and knew that Wes would be coming, "to find the answers that you seek."
As Jean-Luc tells Beverly that Wes must work out his problems for himself, Wes follows Lakanta down to the planet and asks Lakanta what to do next. Lakanta talks to him about the sacredness of everything on the planet, including Wes himself, and urges Wes to start treating himself with respect. Wes agrees, and the pair then retire to begin Wes's own visionquest.
Picard and the council have yet to reach an agreement, and despite Picard's own moral objections to his orders, Picard informs them that "no" is not an acceptable answer. Anthwara, however, says that Picard won't use force - in fact, that Picard is here to atone for the crimes of one of his ancestors, a Xavier Maribosa Picard partly responsible for the massacre of hundreds of their tribe nearly seven centuries ago.
As if that weren't enough to drive Picard to distraction, three Cardassians suddenly appear down on the planet. Led by Gul Evek, they are there to do an advance survey of materials left behind, and do not intend to be deterred by a group of colonists that should be gone anyway. Picard allows them to remain, but informs Evek in no uncertain terms that until the border change takes effect, he will protect these people.
In the "habak", the chamber where visionquests occur, Wes and Lakanta talk briefly of spirits that have visited before, and then Wes is instructed to start the fire and sit. Lakanta says that "I can open the door - but only you can go through it," as the quest begins.
Picard's attempt to plead for more time with Starfleet fails, despite Nechayev's sympathies. Wes, meanwhile, continues to stare into the fire, and suddenly sees a vision of his father, who tells him that he's reached the end of this journey, the one he's been on ever since Jack died - and that "now it's time to find a path that is truly yours. Don't follow me any further." Wes wakes and returns to the camp, only to find Worf making surreptitious preparations to beam the entire colony off-planet. Appalled, Wes attempts to put a stop to it the easiest way he can: he informs the colony of Worf's actions, very publicly, and nearly incites a riot as a result.
Picard is, to put it mildly, not pleased at this news, and tells Wes that his actions were completely inexcusable. He tells Wes that the morality judgement was not his to make, and that "while you wear that uniform, you will obey every order you are given." Wes agrees, but promptly removes his combadge and tells Picard he's resigning from the Academy immediately. He later explains this action a bit more to Beverly, who is very upset by it. Wes explains that Starfleet has never really been for him, but it wasn't until recently that he began to realize it - and it wasn't until his vision that he actually accepted it. Bev, keeping in mind the Traveller's promise that Wes has a very different destiny in store for him, accepts this.
Wes returns to the surface, only to find that two of the Cardassians have been taken prisoner by the colonists. With the situation growing more volatile by the minute, Evek (on the Enterprise meeting with Picard) prepares to order troops to beam down, rescue the colonists, and "occupy" the village. Picard protests, threatening a response that would lead to war. A Cardassian tries to break free, and a struggle ensues. Wes screams "NO!" and rushes to help -
- and finds that everything around him is frozen. He stands confused, until Lakanta (very much unfrozen) reassures him that Wes has simply stepped out of time for a moment, beginning a journey very few humans can take. Lakanta now reveals himself to be the Traveller, offering Wesley the chance to explore this new side of himself, with the Traveller as guide. Wes accepts, and the Traveller urges him not to interfere in this current fight, trusting them to work out their own problems. The two walk off, as the fight continues.
At the last moment, Picard manages to convince Evek to avoid a confrontation by beaming up his officers (an action which Picard then repeats for the Enterprise crewmembers). The issue is settled: the tribe renounces its Federation citizenship, allowing them to stay where they are but putting them at risk for Cardassian interference. Evek, however, says that he believes they will be left alone, providing the tribe does the same. Evek leaves, satisfied, and Anthwara thanks Picard for his help, assuring him that he has erased the "stain of blood" that has been on his family for centuries. The Enterprise departs, but not before Picard and Beverly bid fond farewells to Wesley, who has decided to remain behind to learn what he can from these people before continuing his training with the Traveller.
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