``Pen Pals''
Stardate: 42695.3
Rating: * 1/2

Edited Length: 45:23
U.S. Airdate: May 14, 1989
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [9.7/4]

Special Appearance By
Diana Muldaur: Doctor [Cmdr. Katherine "Kate"] Pulaski

Guest Stars
Nicholas Cascone: [Davies]
Nikki Cox: [Sarjenka]
Ann H. Gillespie: [Hildebrant]
Colm Meaney: [Chief O'Brien]
Whitney Rydbeck: [Alans]

Line Producer: David Livingston
Producer: Robert L. McCullough
Co-Executive Producer: Maurice Hurley
Co-Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Teleplay By: Melinda M. Snodgrass
Story By: Hannah Louise Shearer
Directed By: Winrich Kolbe

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry

[closing credits]
Associate Producer: Peter Lauritson
Executive Script Consultants: Hans Beimler & Richard Manning
Story Editor: Melinda M. Snodgrass
Creative Consultant: Tracy Tormé


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Extended Synopsis (by Tim Lynch) ------------------------------------

The Enterprise is investigating unusual geologic activity in several planetary systems. Riker, wanting to give Wes a taste of command, puts him in charge of the planetary mineral surveys and tells him to assemble his team. Wes quickly becomes intimidated by how much older and more experienced all of his team are. Meanwhile, while Data conducts an experiment to boost sensor output, he picks up a faint RF signal, which translates to "Is anybody out there?"

Eight weeks later, Wes is having problems with Ensign Davies, one of his team members. Davies thinks running an icospectrogram on the samples they've obtained would be a waste of effort, and badgers Wes into agreeing with him. Then, we see Data talking to Picard on the holodeck. He tells Picard that he answered the call, that it was from a young child, and that her species does not yet know of extraterrestrial cultures. Picard, understandably, quietly says, "Oops." Data is worried that Sarjenka is in trouble from the increasing geologic instability of her planet, but realizes that saving her is a flagrant violation of the Prime Directive. Picard decides to call a conference to decide what to do, but orders Data in the meantime to cease all conversation with her.

The next day, after a pep talk from Riker, Wes loses some of his uncertainty, and simply orders Davies to run the icogram. Then, at the staff meeting, opinions on what's to be done run the gamut of possibilities. Picard eventually orders Data to sever all contact with Sarjenka, but when Data calls up her voice one last time (ostensibly to isolate the signal), Picard changes his mind, saying that the "voice from the darkness" has now become a plea.

As the Enterprise orbits Selcundi Drema Four, Sarjenka's world, Wes tells Picard that he and his team have found the reason for the instability, but that they need more time to find a solution. As they work on finding one, Data asks to convey Sarjenka to a safer location. His request is granted, but then he finds he cannot get a message through to her, because of the atmospheric interference. He then asks Picard for permission to beam down to the planet, saying that his message has not yet been delivered. Picard grumbles extensively about Data's "in for a penny, in for a pound" attitude, but eventually allows it.

Data beams down and finds Sarjenka, but her family has already left for a safer location-she remained behind to wait for his call. Judging that she can not long survive in the rapidly worsening environment, Data has O'Brien beam them both up. Data comes onto the bridge to assist in Wesley's solution to Drema's instability, with Sarjenka firmly in tow, who refuses to leave Data, and is too scared to be forced to. The planet quickly quiets, and Picard orders Data to take Sarjenka to sickbay, where Pulaski will remove her memories of Data and of the Enterprise. Data, somewhat distraught, allows this, but when he returns her to the planet, he leaves her with a souvenir from the Enterprise.

Highlight Listing:
"Pen Pals" - Data races against time to save the life a little alien girl on a planet doomed for destruction.
Advertising Headline:
PLANET OF DOOM! Data desperately tries to save his friend before her planet self-destructs.
TV log listing:
Data fights to save a dying planet on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

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Andrew Tong

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: November 09, 2010