``A Matter Of Time''
Stardate: 45349.1
Rating: *****

Edited Length: 45:29
U.S. Airdate: December 1, 1991
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [13.9/1]

This Episode was Nominated for Emmy(s)!

Guest Stars
Stefan Gierasch: [Dr. Hal Moseley]

Matt Frewer: [Berlingoff] `Rasmussen'

Co-Producer: Joe Menosky
Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Producer: David Livingston
Supervising Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written by: Rick Berman
Directed by: Paul Lynch

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Executive Producer: Rick Berman

[closing credits]
Associate Producer: Wendy Neuss

Sheila Franklin: Ensign [Felton]
Shay Garner: [Female] Scientist


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

The Enterprise is en route to Penthara Four, where an asteroid impact has caused a dramatic drop in temperature on a global scale. They find a temporal distortion along the way, however, and are greeted by one Professor Berlingoff Rasmussen, a historian from the late 26th century!

While his manner is at times irritating, Rasmussen's credentials are solid enough to Picard that he's willing to grant Rasmussen every courtesy, including filling out the questionnaires Rasmussen intends to distribute among the bridge crew. Rasmussen marvels over everything, from little details in Picard's ready room to Data, "the Model T of androids." However, he refuses to answer any question *about* the future, claiming that he doesn't want to influence the past, which is sensible enough.

As the Enterprise reaches Penthara Four and prepares to trigger a greenhouse effect by drilling down to pockets of carbon dioxide in the crust of the planet, Rasmussen continues his study. Although he still says nothing, he more and more frequently drops hints that something big is going to happen that day-and even more peculiarly, seems to be surreptitiously pocketing items (a scanner, a tricorder, etc.). The phaser drilling begins, and is successful-the planet now has enough time to fix itself. Picard is pleased, and Rasmussen seems almost jubilant.

Rasmussen continues his enquiries, trying to win Troi's trust (an attempt which fails) and trying to romance Beverly (which also fails, when Beverly points out that she could easily be his "great, great, great, great...grandmother"). However, the bridge crew's slight annoyance at Rasmussen's attitude is swept away when a series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions begin rocking the planet below them-and all of them occur exactly where the drills were. Further, the volcanic ash being thrown up is compounding the problem, and before long the sunlight will be completely blocked, plunging the planet into an ice age. After some analysis, Geordi and Data come up with a plan with both good and bad aspects. The good news is that they can, in effect, turn the Enterprise into a "lightning rod" and sweep the dust away with an ionizing phaser blast into the upper atmosphere. The bad news is that the margin of error is very small-and if it isn't done just right, the entire atmosphere will burn off, killing every being on the planet.

Picard, caught in a dilemma, turns to Rasmussen in the hope that he can point Picard the way. Rasmussen refuses, however, since anything he may say or do could end up altering Picard's choice, and thus his own history. Picard tries his best to persuade him otherwise, but to no avail. In the end, he decides to try Geordi's plan-and to his relief, it's successful.

Rasmussen then prepares to leave, but is surprised to find the Enterprise crew blocking his way into his ship. It seems that they've noticed the various missing items, and want a look inside his ship for them. He initially refuses, but after it's pointing out that he'll never get in if they can't, agrees to let Data, and Data only (as Data can be ordered never to reveal any future secrets he sees) come inside to look. Data finds the items, but is threatened with a phaser by Rasmussen, who turns out not to be an historian from the future, but rather a disgruntled inventor from the PAST. He swiped the time pod from the real 26th-century historian who visited him several weeks "ago", and planned to take the items he stole back to his time and "invent" them over a few years. He now intends to take Data as well-but fortunately, the computer picked up the weapon when the door was opened and deactivated it. Data drags Rasmussen back out, and the now- emptied time pod vanishes back to where it came, leaving Rasmussen to the mercy of 24th- century historians who will, no doubt, be very interested in studying him.

Highlight Listing:
"A Matter Of Time" - Picard's quest to save an endangered planet leads him to violate a Prime Directive when he seeks advice from a visitor from the future.
Advertising Headline:
OUT OF TIME! A dying planet. A desperate Picard. Does a man from the future hold the key?
TV log listing:
Man from future can save a planet/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