``Descent, Part II''
Stardate: 47025.4
Rating: *** 1/2

Edited Length: 45:02
U.S. Airdate: October 3, 1993
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [13.0/2]

Guest Stars
Jonathan Del Arco: [Hugh]
Alex Datcher: [Taitt]
James Horan: [Barnaby]
Brian Cousins: [Crosis]

Co-Producer: Brannon Braga
Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Line Producer: Merri D. Howard
Producer: Peter Lauritson
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Executive Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written By: René Echevarria
Directed By: Alexander Singer

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Rick Berman

[closing credits]
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Story Editor: René Echevarria
Story Editor: Naren Shankar

Benito Martinez: Salazar
Michael Reilly Burke: Goval


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

Lore boasts to his captives about his new followers (the Borg) and about the emotional awareness he's managed to give to Data in return for loyalty. He says that after finding these Borg wrecked by their new individuality, "I know now why I was created." He plans to make them completely artificial life-forms, much as he and Data are, to complete the Borg's sense of purpose. "The age of biological life-forms is coming to an end. You, Picard, and those like you - are obsolete."

Meanwhile, Dr. Crusher commands a skeleton crew on board the Enterprise. Riker reports that the ground teams have lost track of Picard's group after Picard reported the existence of the Borg "castle". A search from orbit proves no more fruitful, and then Ensign Taitt, currently at tactical, spots the arrival of the Borg ship. Crusher begins beaming up as many personnel as possible, but both Riker and Worf insist on remaining below. At the last second, the Enterprise raises shields and flees - without pursuit, but also with 47 of its crew still on the planet.

Back on the planet, Data leads Picard, Troi and Geordi to their cell. Telling them that "my life aboard the Enterprise was a waste," and that the actions Lore is taking will involve "sacrifices" for the greater good, he takes their communicators and Geordi's VISOR. When asked if he's felt any emotions beyond anger and hatred, he responds brutally, "There are no other emotions..."

The Enterprise reaches the transwarp conduit established by the Borg, but only sends a buoy through with emergency information, with Bev instead deciding to return to the planet. Taitt is relieved by Lt. Barnaby at Tactical, but remains at a science station to help. To gain enough time to potentially beam up all remaining away team members, Barnaby suggests staying in warp until the last possible second. Despite the dangers of such a move, voiced strongly by Taitt, Bev orders it done.

Lore receives the VISOR from Data and suggests that Geordi might make an excellent test subject for his experiments. Data demurs slightly, noting that the tests have caused brain damage on most of the Borg tested, and that it might well kill Geordi. Lore, however, comforts him by pointing out that the test may prevent future Borg deaths. As Data agrees to this, Lore speaks to a Borg who had severed his link to Crosis, Lore's aide-de-camp. Lore tells this Borg that his doubts could be overwhelming him, and that he should stay connected to Crosis and the others to let their strength ease the burden.

In the cell, Geordi notes that before the VISOR was taken, he saw that Lore was using a carrier wave to manipulate Data. The feeding of negative emotions cannot easily be stopped, but it might be possible to reactivate Data's ethical program and give him a line of defense. A "phased cadion pulse" would do the trick - now, the real trick is simply to find a way of making one. Before they can do more than give it a moment's thought, however, Data arrives to take Geordi away.

Riker and Worf, having tracked Picard's team, finally see the Borg castle, but are quickly captured by a group of Borg on patrol. They are led to an underground catacomb, where they find this group's leader - Hugh. "Why are you here, Commander Riker? Hasn't the crew of the Enterprise done enough damage already?"

Hugh tells Riker and Worf angrily that it was his encounter with the Enterprise that left the Borg vulnerable to Lore's manipulations. Wracked by doubt and confusion after becoming individuals, they would listen to anyone who came and promised change. At first, they followed Lore's promises of a glorious future gladly - but then, when Lore had no way of fulfilling his promises, he talked of sacrifice instead. Hugh leads them to the result - brain-damaged, pitiable Borg quivering on the floor of the shelter. Despite his continued friendship with Geordi, Hugh nevertheless refuses to help them rescue him - but he does consent to show them a way into the compound.

Data begins his experiments, implanting fibers into Geordi's brain that should mimic neural function - if it works after the existing brain cells are destroyed, then it should replace the brain. Geordi tries to reason with Data, but cannot. Troi and Picard, meanwhile, trick a Borg guard into entering their cell. They then incapacitate the Borg and prepare to flee, only to be caught by Data as he brings back Geordi. Picard, however, managed to keep a small piece of the Borg he disabled, which Geordi says can be modified to make a cadion pulse. Picard begins working under Geordi's guidance.

The Enterprise, meanwhile, drops out of warp virtually into orbit and gets everyone back from the planet that they can find (not, unfortunately, including Picard's or Riker's teams). However, the Borg get in one successful hit before shields go back up, and warp drive is lost. They evade on full impulse, and with nowhere else to turn, head for the sun and prepare to implement a "metaphasic shield" technique that Geordi had been putting together. Although it's untested on this ship and untried beyond the basic theory, they try it - and it works. The Enterprise hides in the sun's corona, with the Borg lying in wait outside.

Picard finally gets the cadion pulse ready and activates it in the cell's forcescreen. Data, preparing to destroy Geordi's brain, claims anomalous readings and postpones the test. He lies to Lore about the encounter, and then expresses some regret over what has happened, saying that he has betrayed his crewmates. Lore maintains Data's loyalty for the time being by threatening to cut off Data's supply of emotions, but worries publicly to Crosis that Data may not want to join them on their great journey.

Back in the sun, the Enterprise's shields are failing. With only a few minutes left, Taitt suggests inducing a solar prominence to engulf and destroy the Borg ship. Despite the dangers of such a move, voiced strongly by Barnaby, Bev orders it done. It works, and the Borg ship is destroyed. The Enterprise heads back to the planet.

Data returns to the cell, but this time takes Picard with him rather than Geordi. Picard attempts to argue with him about wrong actions leading to an alleged "greater good", but Lore appears in the audience chamber before he can get very far beyond convincing Data to access his ethical program. As Riker and Worf prepare their attack, Lore tells Data to "close the door on the past" and prove his loyalty by killing Picard. Data prepares to, then refuses.

Lore says, sadly, that he didn't think Data would be able to do it, after so many years among humans. He addresses the assembled Borg, including a secretly-arrived Hugh. He tells them that although he has asked sacrifices of them, he too will make a great sacrifice - that of his own, "dear brother." Hugh, however, shouts defiance and prevents Lore from firing. An all-out battle commences between Lore's Borg, some of Hugh's Borg, and Riker and Worf. Lore flees, with Data in pursuit.

Data finds Lore planning an escape. Lore offers to forgive and forget, and take Data with him - "just the two of us." He even offers Data the emotion chip Soong made, but it quickly is revealed as a ruse, as Lore removes all emotions from Data. Lore tries to pounce as Data reacts, but Data reacts faster and shoots Lore down.

Dispassionately, Data proceeds. "Lore, I must deactivate you now."

"Without me, you will never feel emotion again."

"I know - but you leave me no other choice." Data begins deactivating Lore, who says only "I ... love you ... brother." Data responds with a simple "Goodbye, Lore."

In the aftermath of the battle, Geordi and Troi are returned to the Enterprise, and after Data reports on Lore's fate, Hugh wonders what will become of them. "We can't go back to the Borg collective - and we no longer have a leader here." Picard, however, is not so sure, and wishes them well.

A long time later, the Enterprise is back in Federation space. Geordi, still recovering, goes to see Data, who is examining the emotion chip.

"Does it work?"

"No. I am pleased to say it was damaged when I was forced to fire on Lore."

Geordi is surprised. "Pleased? Data, you've wanted emotions your whole life."

"Yes - but emotions are responsible for what I did to you. I would never risk letting that happen again. My friendship with you is too important to me."

Data prepares to fire on the chip, but Geordi stops him. "Data, I wouldn't be very much of a friend if I let you give up on a lifelong dream, now would I? Maybe ... someday, when you're ready..."

And as the remainder of the thought goes unspoken, the Enterprise heads for home.

Highlight Listing:
"Descent, Part II" - Picard, Troi, and Geordi are help prisoner by Data, who has left the Enterprise to join his evil brother Lore as leaders of the Borg.
Advertising Headline:
DATA TURNS TRAITOR! Will he and the Borg cause the Federation's ultimate destruction?
TV log listing:
Data turns against his friends on the Season Premiere of 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