``Force Of Nature''
Stardate: 47310.2
Rating: **

Edited Length: 45:02
U.S. Airdate: November 28, 1993
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [11.9/3]

Guest Stars
Michael Corbett: [Rabal]
Margaret Reed: [Serova]
Lee Arenberg: [Prak]

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: Naren Shankar
Directed By: Robert Lederman

[end credit]
Executive Producer: Rick Berman

[closing credits]

Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Executive Story Editor: René Echevarria
Story Editor: Naren Shankar

Majel Barrett: Computer Voice


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

The Enterprise is in search of a missing medical transport, the Fleming. They are searching in a region known as the "Hekaras Corridor", the one part of a large area of space free of tetryon fields, which interfere with warp drive. The one inhabited planet in the region hasn't seen the Fleming, but has seen a Ferengi ship, which rouses fears of a hijacking.

However, the reality turns out somewhat different. The Ferengi ship is found, but after an abortive attempt at battle on the Ferengi's part, it becomes clear that the ship was damaged by a "mine" of sorts in the Corridor, which overloaded all subspace-based tools on the ship, warp drive included. After Picard offers to help with repairs, the captain "discovers" that his crew has time to search the ship's records and find the Fleming's last known heading.

The Fleming is traced to a field full of debris (feared to be the wreckage of the Fleming itself). The Enterprise heads in, but finds a probe disguised as a buoy that cripples the Enterprise just as the Ferengi ship was damaged. As they lie defenseless, a small ship approaches, and its two inhabitants, Drs. Rabal and Serova, beam aboard. They say that Serova's research has discovered that warp-fields are very hazardous in that region of space, and will in mere decades cause the formation of many subspace rifts, threatening the habitability of Hekaras Two. In exchange for their assistance in repairing the Enterprise, Picard agrees to have Data re-examine their findings, but sternly cautions that the remainder of the mines are to be deactivated at once. Rabal agrees, over Serova's objections.

From there, however, the situation worsens. Geordi remains strongly skeptical of Rabal's and Serova's claims, alienating Serova in the process. What's more, although both Rabal and Serova say that their planet is willing to give up warp travel altogether (thus isolating themselves from all other worlds), Data's analysis merely leads to a recommendation of more study. Rabal takes this as a positive first step, but Serova is appalled. As the engines are repaired and the Enterprise nears the Fleming, Serova takes her spacecraft and deliberately causes a warp-core breach, destroying herself and creating a rift in the process.

The Fleming is now inside the rift, and Geordi and company must find a way to get the crew out safely without using warp engines in or near the rift. As Geordi, Data and Rabal devise a way to "coast" in and out of the rift using a short-duration warp pulse well outside it, Geordi ponders his resistance to Serova's claims, wondering if he was truly as open-minded as he claimed to be. Rabal reassures him that his reactions were not overly hostile, but also points out that everyone will soon have to reexamine the way they look at space travel.

The mission into the rift begins, but is quickly complicated when the Fleming tries to use its own warp engines to escape. The ensuing distortions damage both ships, the Fleming seriously, and also enlarge the rift enough to make the "coasting" solution impossible. In the end, the Enterprise escapes by "surfing" a distortion wave out of the rift. With studies showing that the entire corridor may become one massive subspace rift within forty years if something is not done, the Federation announces restrictions on warp travel in that region - and the crew of the Enterprise becomes grimly determined not to become part of destroying the things they are so keen to explore.

Highlight Listing:
"Force of Nature" - An alien brother and sister resort to desperate measures to prove their theory that warp drive is destroying the universe.
Advertising Headline:
SAVIOR OR DESTROYER? Picard learns that by exploring the universe the Enterprise may actually be destroying it.
TV log listing:
Is the Enterprise destroying the universe? STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.
Operation SNAFU
In "Phantasms" and several episodes previous, Data's cat, Spot, is referred to as "he". Yet, in this episode, Spot is referred to as "she", and, in "Genesis", is shown having kittens before turning (temporarily), into a Iguana.

[ Mr. Video Productions ]

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