Captain's log, star date 41386.4.
We're in pursuit of a starship of Ferengi design.
Our mission is to recover a T-9 energy converter
which the Ferengi stole from an unmanned post on Gamma Tauri IV.
A theft which scanners recorded, providing us with the opportunity
to make close contact with a Ferengi vessel. If we succeed, it will be Starfleet's first look at a life form
which, discounting rumour, we know almost nothing about.
There she is.
What is their course?
They're angling through that solar system.
Listed as Delphi Ardu, sir. 11 planets. Unexplored.
Stay with them, La Forge.
Power surge from their last manoeuvre.
They are dropping to sub warp speed.
Reduce to impulse power.
Fluctuations in energy readings from it, Captain.
Possibility, a malfunction in their engines.
- Breaks my heart. - In visual range, Captain.
Fully enlarge.
Hello, stranger.
- Very impressive design. - Anything on that design, Data?
Nothing specific, sir.
Ferengi technology is estimated to be equal to our own.
But that does not mean identical, however.
Correct. We will be advanced in some areas, they in others.
Another power surge, sir.
They are firing on us.
- Damage report? - Shields holding.
Mostly electromagnetic. Fusion generator down by 30 percent.
- Our impulse engines are surging. - They're firing again.
Deflector-shield power weakening.
Phasers ready. Photon torpedoes ready.
Do we return their fire, sir?
Negative. They're just responding to our close pursuit.
Fall back a bit, but stay with them.
They're slowing.
They may be turning to fight.
Open hailing... Why are we gaining on them? Don't anticipate.
I'm not, sir.
Something is dragging us forward.
I read that, too. Lt. Yar, what do your sensors show?
Not certain, sir. I'm getting very confusing readings.
Captain, this shouldn't be. Our power systems are failing.
Deflector shield failing. Phasers going inoperative.
Something is completely immobilizing us.
Immobilized by the damn Ferengi.
We need more information. What the hell are they using?
Obviously, we underestimated their technology.
The Ferengi have us right where they want us. In their sights.
Space, the final frontier.
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Its continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds,... seek out new life and new civilizations,... boldly go where no one has gone before.
Are you searching all frequencies? Any message?
Negative, sir.
Weapons report.
Phasers and torpedoes are armed,
but I show insufficient power to fire them.
Engineering, give me status on power recovery.
Engineering, come in.
Why aren't they answering?
La Forge, get a report from Engineering.
Aye, sir.
It's impossible they could be draining all power from all systems.
- Counsellor? - I'm sensing nothing from them, sir.
It could mean they can shield their thoughts and emotions from others.
So it's our move.
They may know as little about us as we do about them.
They know they've got us in deep trouble.
If so, then what do they do with that knowledge?
Data, do you have any information on this on any file?
None. Only hearsay and third-hand reports, most of which conflict.
Which reports do not conflict?
That the Ferengi are... The best description may be traders.
What kind of traders?
Scholars of Earth history liken the Ferengi
to the ocean-going Yankee traders of 18th- and 19th-century America.
From the history of my forebears. Yankee traders.
Who search the galaxy for mercantile and territorial opportunity.
Are scholars saying that the Ferengi may be like us?
Hardly, sir. The analogy refers to the worst quality of capitalists.
The Ferengi conduct their affairs of commerce
on the ancient principle caveat emptor.
"Let the buyer beware."
Yankee traders. I like that.
Well, I doubt they wear red, white and blue, or look like Uncle Sam.
Engineering? Join La Forge in Engineering, Number One.
Aye, sir.
Without warp capacity, we're just a floating target.
Uncle who?
What have primary colours got to do with it?
I understand the allusion.
Colours representing countries at a time when they competed.
Red, white and blue for the United States.
Whereas the French more properly used the same colours
in the order blue, white and red.
The Germans, red, black and gold.
- The Italians, green, white and red. - That's enough, Data.
- It was you who... - We were discussing the Ferengi.
I wish I had a clue what they will do next.
Given what is happening to our ship,
their weapons could be vastly superior to ours.
Yes, Data, that is a natural assumption.
- Bottom line? - Not good, sir.
Their force field compensates almost as fast as we can increase power.
There's a 0.372 millisecond delay between the use of our power
and the counter force of the Ferengi.
See, we push and they push back with equal force, sir.
What's our delay between slow-reverse impulse and top warp speed?
That's 0.300 milliseconds. There's...
I see where you're going.
We shift down, then kick hard into warp nine. Come back fighting!
- Can we do it? - Ask me after it's done, sir.
I want a slow reverse into drop-off over five minutes.
We'll show 'em, sir.
- Give me everything you've got. - Aye-aye, sir.
In an abrupt power surge to high warp speed,
we may be able to break loose from that Ferengi force field.
I wish I knew what they were thinking.
They're wondering what we'll do next.
I say fight. There's no shame in falling before a superior enemy.
And no shame in a strategic retreat either.
All systems ready. Communication is restored to Engineering.
Excellent, La Forge.
Now, let's... throw them off guard.
Lt. Yar, open hailing frequencies.
Hailing frequencies open, sir.
At least we won't begin with weakness.
Attention, Ferengi starship.
This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise.
In the name of the Federation,
I demand that you return the T-9 energy convertor
you removed from Gamma Tauri IV.
Send that in all language forms.
All language forms, sir.
Sometimes, the best way to fight is not to be there.
Yes, sir.
"He will triumph who knows when to fight and when not to fight."
I'm glad the Academy still teaches the strategies of Sun Tzu.
This delay had better prove out.
0.300 milliseconds, sir.
Let's blast full power into warp nine. Ready?
On your command, Captain.
On the count of three. Stand by on phasers.
One, set warp to nine.
Two, divert shield power to main engines.
Shields up.
Captain, I think you had better see this.
What's wrong?
Someone is reading every file in the Enterprise memory banks.
- They can do that? - And more, perhaps.
Captain, if I may recommend...?
With our attention on the Ferengi vessel, we have ignored the planet.
Data, consult the charts on this planet. See what we've got on it.
Conference evaluation.
So, it's time for difficult decisions. Opinions, please.
I say put all power into a combined phaser and torpedo salvo.
Destroy their ability to sustain this force field.
Yes, hit them hard, and hit them fast.
Impractical... and provocative.
Even assuming we have power to sustain such a tactic.
But firing on us is an act of war.
The facts are, the Ferengis did fire on us, but we were chasing them.
Since then, all they've done
is search our computers to learn what we are.
- Your point? - Let's talk to them.
It's been tried. No response.
But did we tell them anything they wanted to hear?
Other opinions? Thank you for your advice.
Will? I haven't had your assessment.
I believe we've covered every available option, Captain.
Are there other options you want to analyze?
The only one left is the one that needs no conversation.
- The one we must avoid. - Sir?
The one that leads to total annihilation.
- Open hailing frequencies. - Open, sir.
Attention, Ferengi starship. This is Captain Picard.
It is obvious that we are in a situation which needs resolving.
We are willing to do whatever is... required,
whatever is necessary.
I would like...
I would request... that you present your terms to us.
Captain's log, star date 41386.5.
It is with a heavy heart that I have offered to meet any reasonable terms
demanded by the Ferengi.
I fear for my people and vessel
in the event that the unknown Ferengi ask the unreasonable.
How can I oppose even unreasonable demands?
It's moving, sir.
We ask to surrender. Now they fire on us?
Ready torpedoes. We have enough power for a few.
Ready, but hold on ready.
- Open hailing frequencies. - Hailing frequencies open, sir.
Ferengi vessel, we await your response.
Suggest first strike, sir.
Our shields now only have 63 seconds of power left.
If their sensors can read us,
they will wait until we are most vulnerable.
- I agree. They have not responded. - Wait a bit more.
50 seconds.
The quicker we can come to terms, the better, NCC-17O1D.
Who is speaking?
I am Tarr, DaiMon of the Ferengi.
You wish to discuss surrender, Capt Picard?
What I said, DaiMon Tarr, is...
Unconditional surrender, I warn you, is totally unacceptable.
We will die to the last one of us before such dishonour.
Hailing frequencies closed.
Something has seized their ship too. They're in the same predicament.
Launch a sensor probe.
Set it to search for whatever it is that is holding both ships.
Go back to hailing frequency, fast.
..and I regret, DaiMon Tarr,
that I can no longer negotiate unless it is conducted visually.
Your complete message not received,
but visual communication is against our custom.
It is against Starfleet orders to accept a surrender otherwise.
Do you withdraw your surrender?
You give us no choice, Enterprise. May we have a visual on you as well?
Agreed, DaiMon Tarr. You should be able to view us now.
Are we on your screen?
Yes. The ugliness of the human was not an exaggeration.
I do not know how you have paralyzed our vessel.
I concede your Enterprise is superior.
We will return your T-9. We offer the lives of our second officers
as required by the Ferengi code.
Fortunately, Starfleet has no such rules for its second officers.
Is this to your satisfaction, Picard?
Your offer may be inadequate, but I will discuss it with my staff.
Stand by for further communication.
Matthew, Pola, you know this area is off limits. Come on.
Boys will be boys.
- Have you launched the probe? - Aye. We'll get the readings soon.
If we're not holding the Ferengi, and they're not holding us, who is?
The probe will give us some answers.
Data, you were going to show us something.
As requested, library computer information on this planet.
It has been charted only from long-range scans.
It is Class-M, but shows no life forms, sentient or otherwise.
However, you may find this of interest.
Resolving it into our language.
The centre of a huge space federation,
a population of trillions.
Trillions? I've never heard the word "Tkon" before.
Understandable. It has been extinct for 600,000 of our...
..of our years.
These planets were once outposts of that empire.
- Data, what are you doing? - Apologies, Captain.
I seem to have reached an odd...
functional impasse.
I am... stuck.
Get unstuck and continue the briefing.
That is what I am trying to do, sir, but the solution eludes me.
My hero!
Continue, Commander.
It des...
It describes the empire as being highly advanced and powerful,
and capable of actually moving stars.
Stars whose planets are their defence system?
Correct, sir. Outposts. The planet below was possibly one of them.
Excuse the interruption, but this is worth it.
We're receiving a signal from the probe.
We'll take it here.
There's our mysterious something. It is a force field of some kind.
Reaching up from the planet surface. Amazing power.
What does the legend say about the end of the Tkon Empire?
- Their sun went supernova. - Could this planet have escaped?
It may have been the most distant outpost,
but it shows no life-form readings.
Let's take a look. Stand by with an away team.
And if the Ferengi realize the field's from the planet?
That's a complication. We should ask them to join us.
Team up with the Ferengi?
We've been ordered to learn about them. Do you know a better way?
Captain's log, supplemental.
In orbit of a planet whose unexplained force field
has seized us with a power almost beyond imagination.
Any solution to this will almost certainly involve
cooperation from the Ferengi.
Ship's power drain is critical.
I must shut down shields to maintain life support.
- Open hailing frequencies. - Hailing frequencies open, sir.
Ferengi vessel from Enterprise, come in.
Your alien images again shock us.
About the surrender, the facts are different.
Our own probe has shown us your trickery, human.
- We withdraw our surrender. - Agreed.
Perhaps you would agree to a more productive relationship?
I'd prefer a more profitable one, human.
- Yankee trader. - Explain what means Yankee traders!
He heard that.
He recognizes your interest in profit. Or is that incorrect?
We seek only what is equitable.
What do you seek? Why did you attack us?
We did not attack. We gave chase to recover a Federation energy device...
Which is ours! Your Federation placed it on one of our planets.
No, Gamma Tauri IV is recognized by all civilized...
The Ferengi are not uncivilized. Are you suggesting otherwise?
All I'm saying is that you removed something
which did not belong to you.
Are you now calling us thieves?
On the contrary, I have no wish to discuss property or territory
while our mutual problem remains.
Like it or not, we are both trapped
by this energy-draining force field from the planet.
On that matter there can be no argument.
I would like to propose a swap.
- And what is a swap? - It's a trade, an exchange.
Yes, trade, human. What do you offer?
We will tell you what we know about the planet.
In trade, you give us your information.
How do we know you will not withhold information?
- We must trust each other, Tarr. - Amusing, human. Trust each other?
I propose that we test this relationship
by cooperating in a joint exploration of the planet's surface.
And what profit is in this?
The profit, DaiMon Tarr, of saving all our lives.
We will agree, no doubt foolishly,
but any trickery on your part will meet with no mercy.
Agreed. If you care to join us, our transporter device...
We have a device of our own.
We will beam a science team of three to coordinates you can propose.
We will transmit the information shortly.
- Enterprise out. - Hailing frequencies off.
I would log that agreement as promising, at least.
I wonder, Captain.
I don't usually distrust on sight, but this is an exception.
Especially in view of the fact that his transmission was distorted.
I sensed the same thing, Captain. He's hiding something.
With the power drain, we can't delay.
I'd like additional help. Can you spare Worf?
Take him. And... be careful, Number One.
With the power drain, communication may be hard.
Understood. Anything else?
The force field means we cannot beam back.
- You had to ask. - Understood. Energize.
- What are you doing up there? - Most intriguing, sir.
I assume inaccurately transmitted coordinates
due to the force field around the ship, sir.
Are we alone, sir?
Unfortunately. Let's find the others.
What do you make of these?
Crystalline. Mostly inert. Nothing to write home about.
- Excuse me? - Slang, sir.
I did use it correctly, did I not?
They have to be around here somewhere.
- What's that? - What?
- Are you conscious? - Do I look conscious?
- What are you doing? - Resting, sir!
My foot's stuck. Up there.
I materialized upside down above the planet's surface.
Tricorder's useless. Communication's gone too.
- Fortunately, you did not break... - Data, who's that?
Who are you?
Captain's log, supplemental.
It is six hours since our away team beamed down to the planet.
On the Enterprise, our condition is rapidly worsening.
Ordinarily, with reserve power,
we could maintain life support for several months.
But the force holding us has closed down all engines
and is draining our reserve power, too.
It's getting colder, sir. How far down is it likely to go?
A lot. Even in orbital space it'll get below minus 200 degrees.
You won't have to worry much past minus 70 or so.
Feels like that now. Good. Thank you.
If he moves, kill him.
Letek, we have broken our agreement with their captain.
We will accuse the humans of preparing to ambush us.
It will be our word against theirs.
And who is more trustworthy, Mordoc?
It looks like gold.
- Tastes like gold. - It is gold.
Accursed planet!
It's nothing to what our Captain will do for breaking our agreement.
What part of the agreement? You appeared and attacked us.
Are you one of their assassins?
I'm Cmdr William Riker, First Officer of the USS Enterprise.
You have a lot to learn.
I got this one!
Careful, they are much stronger than...
Pygmy cretins!
- Kill them! Hideous monsters! - No!
Good. You've heard of phasers.
Now, over there.
- Is this a female? - A human female, Letek?
Yes, it is true.
You work with your females, arm them
and force them to wear clothing.
I've diverted the reserve power to the family decks.
They'll last longest.
Is there anything else we can do, Doctor?
Where's Wesley?
He's in our quarters.
- I considered giving him a sedative. - You shouldn't.
I know, but he's my son. I love him.
He has the right to meet death awake.
Is that a male perspective?
Hold it right there!
- Phasers on stun. - Already set.
What's going on?
What is this?
We can deduce that these crystalline tree shapes
are actually energy collectors.
On the same principle as that which is draining energy from our ships.
The Ferengi whips were working earlier.
So something new has happened.
I'm beginning to understand what my eyes are showing me.
It's patterns of force everywhere.
This entire planet has been turned into a power accumulator.
These are the point of this place.
I can see power emanating...
Be you barbarians? Speak!
Who meets the challenge?
Who will it be?
You have awakened Portal 63. Do you petition to enter the Empire?
- Who asks the question? - A guardian of the Tkon Empire.
Biped. Excellent.
Why would we petition to enter... an empire that no longer exists?
Why do you attempt this deception? The Empire is forever.
Your empire fell prey to a supernova.
We are forever.
Data, please repeat the file.
It is a matter of record.
In the Age of Makto, the central star of the Tkon Empire destabilized.
There has never been an Age of Makto.
In fact, many ages have come and passed since Makto.
- It is the Age of Bastu. - I'm afraid not.
According to the Tkon use of the galactic motionary star time charts,
after Bastu came Cimi, Xora, Makto...
Enough! Absurdities.
You must have been asleep for hundreds of thousands of our years.
Deception is the way of the human.
We Ferengi will gladly make a petition.
We invite your petition.
We wish to offer our services
to serve the Tkon Empire at no profit.
Return control of our starship to us
and we will happily destroy the human criminals
and their vessel which attacked us without provocation.
They came to loot your empire,
but we intercepted them.
You are accused of deceit and treachery.
Do you give yourself up for judgement?
Yes. If you believe these accusations, then act on them.
And there is even more.
We can prove that the humans are destroyers of legal commerce,
and that they withhold vital technology from backward worlds.
And necessary defensive weapons, too.
We Ferengi now challenge this human madness!
I admit, we withheld modern technologies from some worlds.
You see? They are demented. Their values are insane.
They have destroyed business opportunities.
Proof of their barbarism!
They adorn themselves with gold, a despicable use of a valuable metal.
And they shamelessly clothe their females,
inviting others to unclothe them, the very depth of perversion.
Paws off, Ferengi!
No female, human or Ferengi, can order Mordoc around.
- Just try it, shorty. - At ease, Lieutenant.
And we still have more faults.
Starfleet has permitted several civilizations to fall.
We have allowed the strong to overcome the weak.
They admit their crimes. Hear them!
They admit the evil that they do.
- Barbarian! - Yes, you show wisdom.
Barbarians all! But this one first... the fashion the Empire has always challenged savages.
- No! For battle, come to me! - No! That's an order.
You have a single chance for life. One only.
What is the answer to my challenge?
I offer a thought.
"He will triumph who knows when to fight and when not to fight."
You are being tested, Riker. What is the answer?
How do you know my name?
You are facing fate with composure.
But what is the answer to my challenge?
Fear is the true enemy, the only enemy.
Unlike these little ones who close their minds,
your mind holds interesting thoughts.
"Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will always be victorious."
Why that thought? And who is this Sun Tzu you revere?
An old Chinese philosopher from ancient Earth history.
Tell me more of this wisdom, so much like our own.
Gladly, but first our starship. Can you release it?
It is released. All power is restored.
Not a moment too soon, Jean.
I mean, Captain.
I had my doubts as your ships battled each other,
in acts of belligerence.
Normally I would destroy all of you, and your ships.
- But something confused me. - Which was?
First, you wanted to destroy each other.
Then you agreed to assist each other.
What of our vessel? We knew the same answer.
The truth is, I gave those words to this human.
What of them? Shall I destroy them?
Then they would learn nothing.
A most interesting conclusion.
But what if they never learn, Riker?
Is this a test also?
In life, one is always tested.
I see them much as we were several hundred years ago,
but possessing the technology they now have, they are dangerous.
Untrue. We seek friendship with you.
But we can hardly hate what we once were. They may grow and learn.
And learn ways to destroy you.
Our values require us to face that possibility.
What of you, with your empire gone?
The universe exists to me to create life.
I shall sleep,... until needed again.
Compliments, Lieutenant. Lt. Worf.
- You've done well. - Something to write home about.
"Something to write home about"? That's very human.
The T-9 has been beamed aboard securely.
The Ferengi complained, but one final roar from Portal convinced them.
- I commend your performance. - One final request, sir.
Permission to beam a box of Data's Chinese finger puzzles
over to the Ferengi.
A thank you for all they tried to do.
Make it so.
Set course, La Forge.

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