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Edited Length: 45:30
U.S. Airdate: June 9, 1991
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [10.1/3]
Larry Dobkin: [Ambassador Kell]
John Fleck: [Taibak]
Colm Meaney: [O'Brien]
Edward Wiley: [Governor Vagh]
Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Line Producer: Merri Howard
Producer: David Livingston
Supervising Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Teleplay by: René Echevarria
Story by: Ken Schafer and René Echevarria
Directed by: David Livingston
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Associate Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Story Editor: Ronald D. Moore
Executive Story Editor: Joe Menosky
Story Editors: David Bennett Carren & J. Larry Carroll
Majel Barrett: Computer Voice
Currently, this feature is disabled... Sorry.
Geordi's en route to Risa for an artificial intelligence conference and some general R&R. He tries to get comfortable on the shuttle, selecting some appropriate music and playing games with the computer. Suddenly, this idyllic setting is spoiled, when a Romulan Warbird decloaks right off the shuttle's bow. Geordi puts up shields and tries to call for help-but his communications are jammed, and his shields quickly fail. A Romulan transporter beam yanks him off the shuttle...
Several days later. (Geordi's supposed to be gone for quite some time, so there's no concern about where he is.) The Enterprise is heading for the Kriosian system with Klingon Special Emissary Kell. Krios, an outlying Klingon world, is fighting for independence, and there are "enough problems on the home planet" that the Klingons don't want to divert resources to such a trivial rebellion. Why is the Enterprise wanted? Well, the Governor of Krios is claiming that the Federation is arming the rebels, and Kell is heading to look at the proof. It was Kell's idea to bring along the Enterprise, primarily because of the help Picard has lent to the Klingons in the past. Picard assigns Worf to keep Kell briefed, despite Kell's objections that Worf's discommendation make the situation "awkward."
Meanwhile, Geordi is being broken by the Romulans. Sub-Commander Taibak [note: the rank is a guess, but since the superior is a Commander, it makes sense], with a shadowy partner, welcomes the captive and bound Geordi. After a double for Geordi (not an exact duplicate, but one looking fairly similar) heads off to Risa with instructions not to enjoy himself too much, Taibak removes Geordi's visor and hooks a machine directly to Geordi's visual cortex. The result of this is that Taibak can beam images directly to Geordi's brain, with all the attendant effects on Geordi's body and psyche. First he is shown suffering, then relief, then suffering again: "When our work is done, LaForge will act normally, totally unaware of his conditioning-a perfect tool for our purpose," says Taibak-and there will be no physical evidence of their work at all. Geordi howls in agony as Taibak alters the settings once more...
Kell and Worf examine the details of the rebellion. Two neutral freighters have been attacked (one Ferengi, one Cardassian), and the pattern would suggest the rebels are hiding in a nearby asteroid belt, which shields them from sensors. After Worf bristles at a suggestion that the Federation may be helping them, Kell apologizes. He then thanks Worf on behalf of "some members of the High Council," for killing Duras. He dismisses the fact that Worf did so for personal reasons, not political ones: "What matters is that you acted on that day-as a true Klingon."
Geordi then passes his first test, and kills a fake Chief O'Brien in a Romulan mock-up of 10- Forward. Although he eventually does so, he hesitates enough that Taibak orders another session.
Days later, the Enterprise is at Krios, and Geordi has just returned, ostensibly from Risa. He banters with Data a bit (chuckling when Data, true to form, completely misses a joke), and reports back to Picard on the bridge, where Picard tells him they'll need his help shortly in analyzing whatever evidence Governor Vagh comes up with. Picard and Kell leave to beam down, and Data detects a brief "blip" of E-band radiation, which is rare enough that Riker orders him to check it out before Riker too leaves for beam-down.
Governor Vagh is not a happy Klingon. He tells Picard, Riker and Kell that Federation medical supplies have been found in rebel strongholds. Riker points out that the Federation has never restricted access to their medical supplies-and Vagh responds by asking about their weapons and tossing a phaser rifle to Picard. It appears to be legitimate Federation issue, and after Vagh agrees to let them take it up to the ship to examine it ("I have hundreds more," he says), he angrily points out that the Federation has much to gain by Kriosian independence, for Krios is the only colony close to the Federation/Klingon border, and would thus be a valuable buffer zone in case of attack. After he accuses Picard of "speaking the lies of a tar-kekh!" and Picard responds in kind, Picard, Riker, and Kell beam up.
Geordi, meanwhile, gets back to Engineering. Everything's running smoothly, so he leaves to "take care of something." That something, as it turns out, is to go to 10-Forward, where he walks up to O'Brien and spills a drink on him. He apologizes, and O'Brien dismisses it with a smile and goes off to change.
Later, Geordi and Data test the phaser rifle. Everything looks legitimate on the first test, but the energy output of the crystal is too efficient. They check the waveform pattern, and conclude that the rifle was charged via forced pulse, which is not Federation standard. There are 327 systems known that use that method, but Geordi knocks that down with a little common sense. "Who has the most to gain from a conflict between the Federation and the Klingon Empire?"
Clunk. Geordi tosses the rifle back onto the table down in Vagh's chambers. "The Romulans." His argument is persuasive, but Vagh is still skeptical, and says that he's going to have his own people check it out. The Enterprise people and Kell beam back up. Data calls Riker over, having detected a second E-band "blip", but with a different intensity, thus ruling out a stationary source. Worried that it may be some form of Romulan communication, Riker has Data retune the scanners to pinpoint a direction next time it occurs.
In cargo bay four, Geordi reprograms some chips, diverts power to the transporters from a secondary system, diverts transporter control to planetary sensors, and beams off a cache of weapons. Once he's ascertained that the computer is erasing all memory of having done this, he leaves-and arrives on the bridge just in time to hear a very angry Vagh accuse Picard of smuggling arms to the rebels. Vagh, understandably, will not listen to Picard's claims of innocence, and orders them not to leave orbit, sending up an attack cruiser and two Birds of Prey to punctuate his point.
Data quickly ascertains that there was an unauthorized transport, but nobody can track it down as of yet. After Kell says he's managed to talk Vagh into checking with the High Council (gaining only a few hours at best), Geordi and Data search through the power systems. They eventually find that the power was diverted from a replicator waveguide, and trace it to the cargo bay.
O'Brien checks out the cargo transporter and finds no evidence of any tampering, thus suggesting that the evidence was erased. Worf asks who might be capable of doing this, and Geordi lists only four names: himself, Lt. Kosta, Data, and O'Brien. Everybody but Geordi has an alibi, though, and Geordi gives his word that he was in his quarters alone. They begin a detailed scan on every chip to try to hunt down a trail.
Geordi and Data brief Picard and Kell a short time later: the chips were programmed to erase all evidence of operator commands shortly after transport. They're working on the tiny residuals left by the chips to track it down. As Data is called away by Riker (a third E-band blip, which Kell asks about with great curiosity), Picard asks Kell to tell Vagh that they're doing all they can-and that if necessary, he will defend his ship. Kell agrees, and suggests inviting Vagh up to observe the investigation firsthand. Picard agrees to that, and bids the ambassador farewell.
Kell is eating in his quarters, when the door sounds. "Come in, Mr. LaForge." Geordi does. "The investigation is moving faster than we expected; you're in danger of being exposed. I will transport to the surface and when I return, I'll have Governor Vagh with me. Your captain and I will bring him to the cargo bay-I want you to kill him there, in front of witnesses. Use a hand phaser. When he is dead, you will claim that you acted on behalf of Starfleet in support of Kriosian independence." "I understand," says Geordi, and leaves Kell to enjoy his meal.
That evening, Geordi wakes from a nightmare and calls O'Brien-but then doesn't understand why he did so and apologizes. He goes to visit Beverly for insomnia problems, but she finds nothing physically wrong (aside from a very slight, not-at-all serious abnormality in the visual cortex) and gives him a somnetic inducer to help in the short term. Kell and Vagh, with two guards, beam up and are escorted to the cargo bay.
Data, meanwhile, has pinpointed the transmissions. The first and third occurrences came from within the Enterprise itself, while the second was planetside. He speculates that it's being used by Romulan agents somehow, but needs more to go on. Is there any match with any Romulan form of communication? Negative. Any match with any known communication? Negative. Any match with anything? Yes-a human brainwave pattern. "What sort of receiver would be capable of processing these signals?" "A system designed to modify the electromagnetic spectrum and carry those messages directly to the human brain," replies the computer.
In a reflection of Geordi's computer console in his quarters, we see Geordi pick up a phaser and leave his quarters.
Data checks Geordi's shuttle-everything seems to be shipshape. Geordi is in the turbolift.
In the cargo bay, O'Brien certifies that that is the only transporter that has been tampered with. Geordi leaves the lift and walks down the corridor to the bay.
Data examines the shuttle more carefully, and finds evidence of microscopic stresses which suggest a tractor beam. Geordi enters the bay, visually follows Vagh, and is interrupted by O'Brien, who asks him for some help.
Data finds that the computer chips in the shuttle have some subtle flaws. "Probable cause?" "Replication." Further, replication with patterns identical to those used by Romulan replicators. O'Brien leaves Geordi, who begins looking over Vagh again.
Data hails Geordi, but gets no response. After determining that Geordi is in the cargo bay, he hails Worf. "Data to Lt. Worf: Priority One." "Go ahead." "Take Commander LaForge into custody immediately." "Sir?" "That is an order."
Worf attempts to do so, but is stopped by Vagh's guards. He calls out a warning, and Picard deflects Geordi's shot just in time. Vagh is shaken, but convinced the Federation is treacherous, until Data arrives to explain that Geordi was acting under Romulan conditioning: the E-band signals were being sent directly to Geordi's brain. When Kell demands to know who was sending these signals to Geordi, Data replies that the signals must be very close-range. Only two people were with Geordi all three times the signals were detected: Picard, and Ambassador Kell. Kell refuses to be searched for a transmitter by anyone on board. Vagh agrees- "We will take the ambassador with us...and search him ourselves." Kell requests asylum, which Picard will be happy to grant-"When you have been absolved of this crime." Kell, Vagh, and the two guards depart.
We close with Geordi and Troi. Geordi is visibly shaken by his experience, in part because he vividly remembers his experiences on Risa. Troi manages to break through the bare surface level of the conditioning, but tells Geordi this will take a long time. But they will reconstruct his memory eventually, together.
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