Stardate: 46982.1
Rating: **** 1/2

Edited Length: 45:02
U.S. Airdate: July 4, 1993
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [11.7/2]

Guest Stars
John Neville: [Isaac Newton]
Jim Norton: [Albert Einstein]
Natalija Nogulich: [Admiral Nechayev]
Brian J. Cousins: [Crosis]

Professor Stephen Hawking: Himself

Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Line Producer: Merri D. Howard
Producer: Peter Lauritson
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Co-Executive Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Teleplay By: Ronald D. More
Story By: Jeri Taylor
Directed By: Alexander Singer

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Rick Berman

[closing credits]
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Story Editor: Brannon Braga
Story Editor: René Echevarria

Richard Gilbert-Hill: Bosus
Stephen James Carver: Tayar


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

Data is called away by a red alert and must shut down a poker game with simulations of three of physics's most gifted minds: Newton, Einstein, and Hawking. The alert has been sounded because the Ohniaka Three outpost has reported coming under attack, although no signals are coming from the outpost now. The Enterprise reaches the system, and sees a gigantic ship that they don't recognize looming over the planet below. There is lots of EM interference, preventing good scanning, but they manage to beam down a team of Riker, Data, Worf, and a security member.

On the outpost, the team initially finds nothing but bodies, with wounds considered brutal even by Ferengi standards, and caused by plasma weapons similar to Ferengi phasers. With scanning still difficult, they begin a room-by- room search for survivors - but the very next room holds a surprise. As Data forces the manual controls to open the door, a Borg is revealed in wait just behind it.

The Borg attacks viciously, with many of its fellows coming to join it. They seem somewhat different from past encounters. For one thing, they are using energy weapons, which they never have in the past. They also show concern for their fellows; when Riker manages to fell one of them, a fellow Borg responds with "I will make you suffer for [the killing]!" The security member is killed, and the others are under heavy fire.

Data, under physical assault by one of the Borg, suddenly becomes enraged and throws the Borg away from him like a rag doll. As he stands over it, the surviving Borg leave after identifying Data.

The Borg ship, having fired once at the Enterprise, now turns to leave. The Enterprise quickly pursues - but before they get far, the Borg ship vanishes in a flash, its destination and mode of travel unknown. The Enterprise returns to Ohniaka Three to pick up the away team, where Data is realizing that he just got angry...

Later, with Data having voluntarily relieved himself from duty to investigate this new development in himself, the rest of the senior officers (excepting Geordi) gather to discuss the change in the Borg. Riker refers to them as vicious, saying that it was almost akin to fighting Klingons. More disturbing, however, is the suggestion that these Borg are now acting as individuals rather than as part of a collective - with no interest in assimilation, they may simply be out to destroy. What's worse, since the only Borg known to have an individual name before now was Hugh, everyone wonders if their act of kindness a year earlier might have led to this new, brutal change in the Borg. Picard sets to work, ordering Riker to begin analyzing the data on the subspace anomaly the Borg disappeared, and Worf to begin a security alert, while Picard informs Starfleet.

Meanwhile, Data and Geordi find no traces of error in Data's systems. Data concludes that he may well have experienced his first emotion, though he grants Geordi's point that he has no frame of reference to define what an emotion is. Regardless, he suggests that he may now be able to reach for emotional awareness - but Geordi hopes that he's capable of feeling more than just anger.

A few days later, there have been no new attacks, but Admiral Nechayev is preparing to take command of the sector. After giving Picard details about the task force he is to command, Nechayev asks him about the details of the incident involving Hugh, expressing amazement that Picard could have simply let Hugh go. Picard explains his reasons of conscience, but Nechayev will have none of it. "Your priority is to safeguard the lives of Federation citizens, not to wrestle with your conscience." She directly orders that if he has another opportunity to destroy the Borg for good, he is to take it, period.

Data starts conferring with Troi about his situation - he's tried to provoke various emotions with a variety of methods, but to no avail. When Troi asks why he's avoiding provoking anger, he says that anger is a negative emotion, and despite Troi's protestations to the contrary, worries that if he's only capable of emotions such as anger, jealousy, hatred, and so forth, he may become a "bad person." Troi reassures him that based on how well she knows him over the last six years, he will never be a bad person - but Data then reveals that he may have felt another emotion. After he killed the Borg and stood over the body, he felt another sensation. "I believe it was ... pleasure." Troi is taken aback.

Some time later, the Enterprise is en route to battle at New Berlin, when the alert is revealed to be a false alarm. With tensions running high, Picard snaps at Riker when the analysis of the Borg's travel method proves inadequate. He then apologizes, citing worries about Hugh. Although Riker commends his choice to let Hugh go as a good and moral one, Picard wonders this time if the moral thing wasn't the same as the right thing to do.

Geordi goes to the holodeck to ask Data to return to duty, but finds Data re-enacting the events on Ohniaka Three, trying to rekindle the anger he once felt. Data says he is nearly finished, but asks Geordi to help him authorize removing the safety limits from the holodeck program, since for him to truly relive the events, he must be in the same danger. Geordi refuses to help, and they discuss the issue - but it is left unresolved, as the alert klaxon sounds.

The MS One colony is under attack, and this time it's legitimate. The Enterprise gets there just as the Borg ship prepares to leave, and attempts to intercept, pushing the engines to their limit and beyond. They fail to reach the Borg ship in time to prevent it traveling through the subspace distortion it's created, and instead are dragged in themselves behind it. The ship makes it through the distortion to normal space, though not without damage, and Data attempts to locate where they are.

The Borg ship, however, approaches them and fires once. At the same time, two Borg beam onto the bridge. They kill a security officer, but are quickly subdued. Although the ship took the attack as an opportunity to escape, the dead are left behind - and one of the Borg is even alive!

This Borg is brought to the brig and revived. He calls himself Crosis, saying that he has been given that name by "The One - The one who will destroy you." Upon the mention of assimilation, Crosis all but scoffs, "We do not assimilate inferior biologist organisms - we destroy them." As Picard muses that "the one" may be Hugh, Crosis recites ways to kill particular species such as humans and Klingons, and refuses to answer any more questions. Picard leaves in disgust after ordering an autopsy on the other Borg, and orders Data to scan the Borg and make sure he isn't broadcasting to the others.

Once they are alone, Crosis tells Data that he can be assimilated rather than destroyed, and tells him that "resistance is futile" as he switches on a device on his arm. He begins appealing to Data's quest for emotions, saying that "the one" helped him achieve emotions, and that he can help Data as well. When Data is prompted to speak of his own recent emotional experience, Crosis asked if there was any pleasure in the Borg's death. "It ... would be unethical to take pleasure in another being's death." "You didn't answer my question. Did it feel good to kill?" "... Yes." Crosis pounces, insisting that therefore Data must be unethical, even given Data's insistence that Dr. Soong gave him a conscience. Eventually, Data begins to weaken, admitting that it was a "potent experience", and eventually succumbs, saying that the sway of emotions was so powerful that he would do anything to feel it again - even kill Geordi.

Meanwhile, Geordi has finally figured out how the Borg are disappearing. They appear to be using subspace conduits, rather like wormholes, that they have created to travel from place to place at incredibly rapid speeds. The conduits are triggered by a particular tachyon pulse, which Geordi will attempt to duplicate. At the moment, however, another concern takes precedence, as a shuttle unexpectedly departs from the Enterprise, and triggers a conduit before it can be captured. On the shuttle was Crosis - and Data.

While many begin wondering if Data went as a prisoner or a willing shipmate, Geordi quickly duplicates the tachyon emission sent by the shuttle, and the Enterprise zips 65 light-years away in a few seconds. The shuttle is nowhere to be found, but they locate its energy trace, along with signs that two advanced civilizations in nearby systems may have fallen to the Borg.

The Enterprise tracks the shuttle to a planet, but the interference below is so strong as to make sensors all but worthless, at least so far as looking for life-forms is concerned. Despite the risk, Riker takes down a heavily armed away team. The team encounters no attack, but also sees no sign of Data - the shuttle has been abandoned. When Geordi estimates the maximum distance in which the pair could have traveled, Picard orders a massive number of away teams down to the surface, leaving only a skeleton crew aboard the Enterprise. He commands Dr. Crusher to take the ship back to Federation space at any sign of trouble, then departs himself.

As a team consisting of Picard, Troi, Geordi, and a security officer head across the terrain, Geordi considers and discounts the option of using a high-energy pulse to locate Data, since it would be likely to kill him. Troi spots a structure in the distance, which they head for.

The structure is not scannable with the tricorder, but is apparently not a Borg-built object. The team heads inside, and finds itself in a meeting hall of some sort. It is clearly not abandoned, and is giving off a dampening field as well, rendering their scanning instruments useless. They decide to make a hasty exit -

- but are stopped by Borg entering the room from all sides, virtually snarling. The security officer is killed and the others surrounded. They prepare to fight, but suddenly hear "STOP!" from the sidelines.

They look, and see a familiarly faced android watching over the tableau.

"Data!" breathes Picard. "That's not Data..." answers Troi. "What?"

"You should listen to her, Captain," smirks the android. "She's way ahead of you."


Lore beams. "Right. And I'm not alone..." He beckons, and Data steps out of the shadows, nearly as scornful as Lore. He adds to the worries:

"The sons of Soong have joined together - and together, we will destroy the Federation."


Highlight Listing:
"Descent" - When the Borg return to do battle with the Federation, they boast a new individuality - and tempt Data when they help him feel his first emotion.
Advertising Headline:
WILL DATA BECOME BORG? They're back. They're after Data. And when he feels his first emotion . . . they just might get him!
TV log listing:
The Borg return, and make Data feel emotion 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