``The Inner Light''
Stardate: 45944.1
Rating: *****

Edited Length: 45:28
U.S. Airdate: June 14, 1992
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [11.1/2]

This Episode was Nominated for Emmy(s)!

Guest Stars
Margot Rose: [Eline]
Richard Riehle: [Batai]
Scott Jaeck: [Administrator]
Jennifer Nash: [Meribor]
Patti Yasutake: [Nurse Alyssa Ogawa]

Co-Producer: Joe Menosky
Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Co-Producer: Peter Lauritson
Producer: David Livingston
Supervising Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Teleplay by: Morgan Gendel & Peter Allan Fields
Story by: Morgan Gendel
Directed by: Peter Lauritson

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

[closing credits]
Associate Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Script Consultant: Peter Allan Fields

Daniel Stewart: Young Batai


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

The Enterprise encounters an object: a probe of unknown and fairly primitive design, which quickly begins matching their course and speed. It initially seems nonthreatening, but soon emits a beam of nucleons. The shields go up, but it manages to break through the shields in a very narrow region, and Picard suddenly faints. He blearily sees Riker holding him...and then Riker dissolves into a youngish woman with a careworn look on her face, who asks Picard if he's feeling better, referring to him as "Kamin". Picard initially believes he's stuck in a holodeck program and attempts to leave, but to no avail. Feeling trapped, he paces. "What is this place?" "This...is your home, of course."

Picard is taken aback; is he a prisoner? Of course he's not, as she makes clear; he's been feverish for over a week. She says he's still very weak and asks him not to go outside, which he promptly does. He finds himself in the middle of a small village, where a large and happy man has just finished planting a sapling in the courtyard, as an "affirmation of life" and a symbol of hope, despite the devastating drought. As the crowd moves on, Picard accosts this man, who also welcomes "Kamin" back to the land of the fit. Upon hearing Picard's questions, however, he comes to believe that Picard has amnesia. Picard, realizing he needs answers, decides to play along with this. He discovers that his name is Kamin; that the man with him is his friend and Council leader Batai; that the woman is his wife Eline; and that they're in the community of Ressic on the planet Kataan. He takes a walk, to "reacquaint himself with the surroundings", and wanders for hours, seeing a gleaming city far away.

He returns home to Eline, who tells him she's been worried sick. As she gets him some dinner ("It's delicious." "You always say that."), he asks her a number of questions. First, he intends to send a message the next day, though he's not sure to where. Then, with a little prompting, he begins asking about them. "We're...married?" "Three years ago. The happiest day of my life was the day we got married." He discovers that he's an ironweaver, though he prefers to play his flute (poorly). He thanks her for her help, and she takes his hand and asks him to come to bed. He demurs and attempts to make excuses, but she is insistent. He begins to rise, and then sees the charm she wears, which is identical in shape to the probe they encountered. When he demands to know where she got it, however, he discovers that it's the first gift he ever gave her. He watches it twirl...and Riker, on the bridge, calls to Sickbay for help, as Picard's body slips into a coma.

Bev arrives and does some scans, finding incredible neurotransmitter activity. They reason that the probe has somehow connected itself to him like a tether, and find that the beam is nigh unto unblockable at present. They can destroy the probe, but Bev strongly urges against that. They wait.

Five years pass on Kataan. Picard is looking through a telescope of his own construction, charting the sun's path to attempt to find the cause of the drought. Eline, however, believes he's still looking for that ship of his, and hurtly upbraids him for not paying attention to the life he has now. When, she asks, will she get him back? When will they start a family?

Batai interrupts to take "Kamin" to the Administrator's visit. The Administrator is somewhat unsympathetic and unctuous, but Picard seems to impress him somewhat. Regardless, his idea to build atmospheric condensers is quickly dismissed as costly and unworkable, and the Administrator leaves with no firm plan of action in hand (or even in mind). Picard broods, but Batai notes that it's the first time in years he's heard "Kamin" speak like a true member of the community again. They return to Picard's house for dinner.

Later that evening, Picard and Batai sit while Picard plays the flute. Eline gently tells Batai that it's time he went home, and then chides "Kamin" about leaving his shoes everywhere. The conversation quickly turns more serious, with Picard acknowledging her points of that day and apologizing for not being a better husband to her. He asks her permission to build something else. She points out that he didn't need her permission to build the telescope, or the laboratory, and he doesn't need it now, but he insists. He wants to build a nursery. "Really?" "Unless, of course, if you would prefer a porch; it would be much easier to build, and I could start on it right away-" He gets no further.

Meanwhile, on the bridge, Geordi launches a probe to follow the radioactive traces of the alien probe back to their source. Data has figured out a likely way to disrupt the beam, and despite Bev's misgivings about the idea, Riker decides to do so.

Several years pass on Kataan. Kamin and Eline are holding the naming ceremony for their second child, named Batai for their late friend. After the formalities are concluded, they look at their daughter Meribor and note how fast she's grown. (Eline notes that she's accompanying Kamin all over the place, and is surely her father's daughter.) Kamin remarks that he once thought he never needed children, but that now he can't imagine life without them. Suddenly, he turns pale, shudders, and collapses. Eline calls for the doctor-

-and Bev and Ogawa try frantically to stabilize Picard, but to no avail. With no choice, Data hastily manages to reestablish the beam, and Picard stabilizes.

Ten years or so later on Kataan, Meribor is in her late teens, and is turning into quite the scientist herself. She's continued her father's work on the drought, and has discovered that the soil is simply dead. She tries to voice the unspoken conclusion of her work, but Kamin tries to avoid it and change the subject. Eventually, however, she voices what he already knew: the planet is dying. He is saddened that she must bear this knowledge as well, but she bears it well. "I think I should marry Danek sooner rather than later, don't you?" "Seize the time, Meribor. Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again."

...And on the bridge, Geordi's managed to trace the probe's path back to its origin, a system called Kataan. Unfortunately, there are no inhabited planets there; the sun went nova and all life in that system died roughly a thousand years ago.

Several more years pass on Kataan. Eline comes out to see a very aged Kamin, still working on his telescope, and who urges Eline to lie down after her recent surgery. When they hear Batai playing the flute, she suggests Kamin talk to him, hinting that there are things that need to be said. Batai comes out to talk to them, and tells Kamin that he's leaving school to concentrate on his music. "This is the life I want." Kamin is initially aghast at this, but eventually comes around, telling Batai that they will "discuss" it later. He explains to a surprised Eline that he doesn't think he should stand in his son's way; and besides, he may not have much longer to lead his life anyway. Kamin notes that he'll be talking to the Administrator tomorrow and will possibly be expelled from the Council for his findings.

The next morning, he and the Administrator argue. At first, the Administrator simply refuses to listen, but he eventually tells Kamin in confidence that their scientists found the same conclusions roughly two years ago, but have kept it quiet to avoid starting a panic. A plan is currently underway to save some facet of the civilization, but more cannot be said at this time.

Suddenly, Batai comes running to Kamin; it's Eline. Kamin rushes home, but there's nothing that can be done. She asks Batai for a moment alone with Kamin, and is relieved to hear that he won't be thrown off the Council. "Remember...put your shoes away." "I promise." Eline dies, and a heartsick Kamin grieves over the body.

Years afterward, an extremely old Kamin is chasing after his grandson. Meribor and Batai come to take both of them to see "the launching." Kamin is initially not interested, but is talked into it. They head out to the courtyard, where Kamin sits on a bench at the outskirts. "What is it they're launching?"

"You know it, father. You've already seen it." "Seen it? What are you talking about? I haven't seen any missile." "Yes, you have, old friend. Don't you remember?"

Kamin turns, awestruck, to see his friend Batai again, as hale and hearty as he was in the prime of life.

"You saw it just before you came here. We hoped our probe would encounter someone in the future-someone who could be a teacher, someone who could tell the others about us."

"Oh...oh, it's me...isn't it? I'm the someone. I'm the one it finds. That's what this launching is-a probe that finds me in the future!"

"Yes, my love." This comes from Eline, now alive again and flush with the beauty of youth. "The rest of us have been gone a thousand years. If you remember what we were, and how we lived, then we'll have found life again."

"Eline..." He watches the missile lift off.

"Now, we live in you. Tell them of us...my darling..." Kamin stares...

...and Picard wakes up on the bridge of the Enterprise as the probe breaks contact and shuts down. He's initially very disoriented, but quickly reacquires at least a cursory knowledge of the situation. He discovers that he's only been unconscious for 20 or 25 minutes, and accompanies Bev to sickbay.

Some time later, Riker visits Picard in his ready room. As Picard gets used to the fact that this is once again his home, Riker hands him a small box they found inside the probe after they examined it. He leaves, and Picard opens the box, to find his flute. He cradles it to his breast, then softly plays it, as we see the ship fading off towards the stars.

Highlight Listing:
"The Inner Light" - After a mysterious accident, Picard awakes up living the life of another person on a faraway planet.
Advertising Headline:
DOUBLE LIFE! Knocked unconscious, Picard finds himself living life as another man on another planet!
TV log listing:
Accident transports Picard into another man's life/STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

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Andrew Tong

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