Captain's log, star date 41255.6.
After delivering Earth colonists to the Strnab solar system,
we have discovered another Class-M planet in the Rubicun star system.
We are now in orbit there.
It is inhabited and unusually lovely.
An away team has gone down to make contact.
They are returning to the ship.
Riker says the planet's life forms are almost identical to us.
- He's enthusiastic. - Captain? Sorry, Troi.
The Doctor has something important to tell you.
You've talked about it for days. Shore leave for the crew.
Establishing this colony has been exhausting for the crew.
We're not a supply vessel.
Settling all those people has been a strain. I'm tired myself.
Is it as good as your report suggests?
As per report. Class-M, Earth-like, beautiful. It will startle you.
Sounds wonderful for the children.
The holodecks are marvellous,
but there's nothing like open spaces and fresh air.
I've listed my report on their customs and laws.
Simple, common-sense things.
They're wild, but also puritanical.
They're neat as pins, ultra lawful, and make love at the drop of a hat.
Any hat.
But the happiest report has its negatives. Let's have them.
There are none that we could find.
- But there is a problem here. - That faulty reading, sir.
I'm reading something off the starboard bow,
but there is nothing there.
Sensor technicians are working on it, sir. A glitch in the system.
I take it you find no glitch at all in this planet, however?
No, sir.
If you approve shore leave, we could start with a small group.
Of course. Wesley? lf we go down, I'd like you to join the away team
to evaluate this planet as a place for young people to relax.
Yes, sir.
If our scans and observations confirm the report,
of course I'll approve it.
Let's just hope it's not too good to be true.
Space, the final frontier.
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.
Its continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds,...
..to seek out new life and new civilizations,...
..to boldly go where no one has gone before.
Captain's log, supplemental. We are in orbit of Rubicun Ill,
the home of a life form who call themselves the Edo.
Our away team, including Wesley Crusher,
has beamed down to make arrangements
concerning some well-earned recreation.
- Careful, sir. - It's alright.
Those are the Edo we met before.
- They certainly are fit. - They certainly are.
- Health and happiness. - A pleasant day to you.
You did return, as promised.
Rivan, Liator.
Also from our vessel, Troi and...
Slowly, slowly. I must welcome this lovely one.
Nice to see you again.
My pleasure.
Healthy sensuality, sir. I feel friendship and... happiness.
And I welcome this huge one.
Oh, yes...
Nice planet.
But you are a young one. I do not know your love customs.
I guess...
..whatever you usually do.
Others would like to visit. Is there a limit on numbers?
Whatever pleases you. We'll discuss it at the Council Chambers.
Shall we go there now, or remain in play?
- Play? - At love.
Unless you don't enjoy that.
Perhaps you do.
And you...
- Yes, I can see that you do. - Maybe I should just go on ahead.
This is unfair to him. We'll go to the Council Chambers.
- There are people your age there. - Well, I can't make any promises.
You don't have to. Our rules are simple.
No one does anything uncomfortable to them.
Come! Our people will want to know you.
Rivan, perhaps they can't run.
Can't run? Of course we can run. Right, Commander?
That's the custom here, running. Lead the way.
- When in Rome... - When in where, sir?
- Good health to you. - Happiness to you.
It's like an Eden here.
Good health. I thought you'd be out of breath.
- We may surprise you. - Children, meet your new friend.
- Well, hello! Join us. - Yes, please.
- Come on. - This way.
And now you must meet some new friends.
Everyone! We've brought the visitors.
Please. Enjoy what we have.
I've traced it through our sensor channel, sir. It is not a glitch.
It's confirmed by my readings. It's a... shadow something.
Exactly. As if it were neither in or out of our dimension.
- What is, Commander? - Whatever is evading our alarm, sir.
Centre main viewer on that area.
I see nothing, Commander.
Enterprise to object off our starboard bow. Identify yourself.
Shields and deflectors up full, sir. Main phaser banks ready.
Any reply?
It was unintelligible. Running it through language circuits.
- Geordi, have a real look. - Aye, sir.
Sir, my sensors read it. It's half there.
It looks as if it were partly transparent.
Data, what the hell is it?
- Lt. La Forge to Captain. - Go ahead. What can you make out?
I've never seen this before, sir. After a spectral analysis,
it's... as if it's not really there.
I don't understand it.
I've got its first transmission, sir. It translates as...
.."stand by".
Sir, something's coming out of that ship.
Verified, sir. It's very small.
What is it?!
Intruder alert, sir. No location.
The away team! We've lost contact with our people.
- The relays do show something. - Why is everything a "something"?
State... the... purpose.
State the purpose of what you have done.
I'm Capt Picard... commanding this Federation starship.
State the purpose of your visit here.
We have sent down our away team to make peaceful contact here.
Do you plan to leave life forms here?
No. We are merely visiting here.
But you did more at the world you just left.
Why have you left your own life forms there?
The colony we just planted, sir.
That world was uninhabited.
The life forms we left there had... had sought the challenge...
At least, that is the basic reason.
..had sought the challenge of creating a new lifestyle,
a new society there.
Life on our world is driven to protect itself
by seeding itself as widely as possible.
Do not interfere with my children below.
Captain, I do not understand how, but it is asking me
if I was constructed for information exchange.
If there is any way of finding out whatever it is out there, Data...
Watch. I bet you can't do this.
Watch this.
I want to do something, too. With you.
- What? - It's something you can teach me.
- Will you? - Well...
Actually, there are some games I don't quite know yet.
It's playing ball. Will you teach me?
Sure! lf you have a bat, I can show you my favourite.
A bat?
A stick or a branch. Erm... about this long, this thick.
In the gardens. Come on.
- This will please you. Join us. - Thanks. Another time.
- Joy and happiness. - It certainly is.
- The good life, Worf. - I am not concerned with pleasure.
- I am a warrior. - Even Klingons need love.
For love, sir, I would need a Klingon woman.
What about plain old basic sex? No need for that?
Of course. But with the females available to me, Earth females,
I must restrain myself too much.
They are quite fragile, sir.
Worf, if anyone else said that, I'd suspect he was bragging.
- Bragging, sir? - I'll pass on that.
I'd better check in. Enterprise, come in.
Captain, do you read me?
This may be nothing, but let's move our people together.
Including Wesley, the boy? He's outside.
- Is there a problem? - We've lost contact with our ship.
It's nothing these people have done. I'm certain. Their minds are open.
Help me locate Wes. He's wandered off.
That is extraordinary.
- One moment, Lieutenant? - Yes, but you've got to hear this.
You're saying there's no crime here? No one breaks any laws?
Once, long, long ago, there was much disorder. But not now.
But I see no sign of police.
- Those who enforce laws? - We have very few.
Mediators. They are needed only in one place each day.
The punishment zone. A selected area.
A completely random selection?
Only our mediators know where or for how long.
We're proud of the wisdom of our ancestors.
No one knows where or when a zone will be.
- And so no one risks death. - Death?
By breaking any law.
- Explain this. - Only one punishment for any crime.
Anyone who commits any crime in the punishment zone dies?
The law is the law. Our peace is built on that.
Even for ignoring a rule like "keep off the grass"?
Then no one breaks that rule. Who would risk execution?
A white wall or fence reminds anyone of a forbidden area.
And just who tells visitors about these rules?
We'd better find Wesley.
Here! Alright! Over here!
Yeah, go back. Alright!
You're very clever at this.
At home, we play a lot. Toss the ball ahead of me.
- No! - It's forbidden to disturb plants.
Couldn't you see the fence? Don't ever go past a white marker!
It's OK.
- I'm fine. - No! Please, no!
- Speak the truth. We are mediators. - I said I was fine.
- He doesn't know. - How very sad.
- This zone has been selected. - But he doesn't understand.
It's always sad. Now, doubly so.
I was chasing a ball and I fell into that. I'm really sorry.
- You admit you did that, freely? - I'm with Starfleet. We don't lie.
It won't happen again. We apologize.
We're sorry, too. But that changes nothing.
Careful, they've got some strange laws here.
- You reviewed their laws. - There was nothing about punishment.
One moment. Is there a witness to this transgression?
It was my fault. I threw the ball past him.
We have a visible transgression, witnesses and an admission of guilt.
Though it pains us deeply to do it, we must.
- Are you prepared for punishment? - Punishment?
If you mean what they told us about...
- What punishment? - Death. Don't make it difficult.
Drop it!
Drop it now.
It's a kind of syringe.
What is this? Is this poison?
Of course. Completely painless. The boy would have felt nothing.
- Now you've frightened him. - He was going to kill me?
And if this zone was still in effect, you would all die.
They said you came as friends. Is this how friends act?
Enterprise, from away team. Come in.
Are you receiving us, Enterprise?
- Condition? - No sign of consciousness.
But the readings are normal for him.
This must be some form of information exchange with whatever is out there.
- I hope it is. - Any news from the away team?
Something's blocking communication.
Security. Urgent! Enterprise from away team.
- Lieutenant, we're receiving you. - Urgent call for Capt Picard.
We have serious trouble with... a member of the team
and an unusual law they have here.
Riker, stand by. Any signs of consciousness?
No. It may be minutes or hours. It's unclear what's happened to him.
Take him to sickbay. Anything new on that thing over there?
Negative, sir.
Captain to First Officer. I'm beaming down.
Would you care to comment privately on how you read any of this?
Unnecessary. These people are honest, almost to a fault.
And they have great pride in their ways.
You're the Captain. We're ready. This way, please.
- Welcome to our world, Captain. - Thank you.
We regret that our system of justice is troubling you.
The boy, Wesley Crusher, where is he, please?
I've allowed them to hold him pending the outcome of this.
He is safe and unharmed. We promise that.
Captain, I do not know how you Earth people conduct law and justice,
even if you respect such things.
- We do. - Good. So do we.
Our precepts have been handed down from long ago.
The tranquillity you see has been made possible by our laws.
We are a people of law. They sometimes bring us sadness,
but we have adjusted to that. Perhaps your laws work as well.
They haven't always. Now, they do.
- Do you execute criminals? - No. Not any longer.
- But you did once. - Unfortunately. But since then...
But when you did, was it believed necessary to do so?
Some people felt so. Now, we detect the seeds of criminal behaviour.
Capital punishment is no longer considered a justifiable deterrent.
So, we are not yet as advanced as they are.
And since you are advanced in other ways,
I suggest you use your superior powers to rescue the Wesley boy.
We will record him as a convicted criminal, an advanced person
who luckily escaped the barbarism of this backward little world.
Unfortunately, we have a law known as the Prime Directive.
Riker has explained it.
Is the boy in any danger from you at this moment?
Until sundown?
Because you are strangers, we are delaying enforcement of the law,
but we must act by sundown.
Then I have another question. While orbiting,
while circling high above your world, as we do,
we have encountered a strange object. A vessel, perhaps.
Have you any idea what it is? It's not entirely real.
At least, it's not... completely solid.
- Do you mean God? - God?
God is said to be somewhere up there, protecting us.
Exactly... how would you describe God?
As you just did. As existing both here, and in another place also.
But when God wants to show its power,
it can make itself felt most fully.
Captain, come in, please.
- Picard here. - CMO Crusher, sir.
Cmdr Data has regained consciousness.
- What condition? Can he talk? - He insists on it, sir. Urgently.
Stand by. Picard out.
I want to speak to her personally about her son.
You promise that Wesley Crusher is safe until sundown?
You have our word.
Then, will one of you return with me to our ship?
Of course. I'll go as a hostage for the boy's safety.
No. I want you to identify something for me, if you can.
Transporter room, three to beam up.
- I'm frightened. - There's no reason to be.
Transporter room, energize.
But this is a city. A great city.
- Captain, what's this about Wesley? - In a moment, Doctor.
- In a moment? - Exactly! In a moment.
You were about to say?
With such power, why be concerned about our laws?
You could take the boy from us.
It's not that simple.
From the starboard lounge, you can see whatever is outside this vessel.
You mean my world? We're high above it.
And something else circling your world.
It's important to us, and perhaps to you, to know what it is.
I'm sorry, but it was necessary. Do you know what that is?
- Can you tell us what it is? - Is it God?
It's very important that you answer something.
How do you recognize what it is?
Nothing will harm you. I promise. Just tell us how you recognize it.
It has appeared before.
Can you speak to it? Does it speak to you?
Return my child.
- Return? - It's coming towards us.
Picard to transporter room, come in.
- Yes, but hurry! - It's still coming towards us.
Transporter Chief to Captain.
One to beam down to away team location. Hurry! Engage!
Urgent! Engage!
It seems the Edo's god is very protective of its children.
I had no choice but to learn about that thing from her.
I'm sorry I had to. She was so frightened.
It's understandable. Orbiting with God is no small experience.
Let's go see your patient, Doctor.
What do you intend to do about my son?
He's being held safely until sundown.
When he faces execution!
He's committed no crime any sane and reasonable person...
You saw what that thing was about to do.
I apologize, sir. But this is very difficult for me.
If he were your son you'd be as frightened...
But I am.
Data's in sickbay here. You'll find him able to talk to you.
- He's checking out fine. - Thank you. Finish it later, please.
I was an excellent choice. They were able to communicate quite...
I was about to say easily, but there was nothing easy about it.
They were about to overload my circuitry.
You say "they". So it is a vessel of some sort?
It's not a single entity, sir. They know the Edo worship them as a god.
They know?
They recognize it is expected at the Edo stage of evolution.
What sort of vessel?
It's perhaps not what we would call a vessel, sir.
The dimensions it occupies allow them to be... in several places at once.
They consider this entire star cluster is theirs.
It was probably unwise of us to place a human colony in this area.
Of course, there are 3,004 other planets we could colonize.
- The largest... - Data, don't babble.
Babble, sir? I'm not aware that I ever babble, sir.
I sometimes have considerable information to communicate,
and you may question the way I organize it...
Please, organize it into brief answers to my questions.
We have little time.
Do they accept our presence at this planet?
Undecided, sir.
Data, please, feel free to volunteer any important information.
I volunteer that they are now observing us, sir.
- To judge what we are like? - No. It is more curiosity.
I doubt that they expect us to abide by their value systems.
- Do they know our Prime Directive? - They know everything I know, sir.
And... if we were to violate the Prime Directive...?
- That's not a fair question. - How would they react?
They would judge us by our own rules, sir.
If we violate our own Prime Directive,
they might consider us to be deceitful and untrustworthy.
They did caution us not to interfere with their children below.
- What has happened? - The Edo want to execute my son.
- I will not allow that to happen. - Most interesting, sir.
The emotion of motherhood as compared to others...
Shut up!
You were right, sir. I do tend to babble.
Captain's log, star date 41255.9.
Whatever the object in orbit with us, it hangs there like a Nemesis.
It is one thing to communicate with something mysterious,
but quite another to be silently observed by it.
I am concerned whether it understands the same concept of reason we do.
You sent for me, sir?
Let's have more talk, Data.
Yes, sir.
Sit down.
What level of communication, sir?
Any. My apologies for saying that you babbled.
But I do, sir.
You also see things as we do not, but as they truly are.
I need help, my friend.
I cannot permit that boy or anyone from this vessel to be sacrificed.
The Prime Directive never intended that.
The problem is there. They've learned of the Prime Directive from my mind,
but how will they evaluate it?
How do they reason? What are their values?
- Remember their warning to us. - Exactly!
How do I explain my refusing to obey their laws?
Not permitting the Crusher boy...
..to be executed. And by so doing do I endanger this vessel
and a thousand other lives?
Would you choose one life over one thousand, sir?
I refuse to let arithmetic decide questions like that.
Did you learn of the relationship between that and the Edo?
Why are they so certain it's a god?
Any sufficiently advanced life form appears as that to others, sir.
But when they were probing my thoughts,
I could feel that they once existed in this dimension, just as we do.
Perhaps in the same flesh-and-blood form.
Since then, however, they have evolved considerably.
Their present existence no doubt has advantages we do not understand.
In some earlier flesh-and-blood form they might have shared our values?
We know the Edo share them.
Why would such an advanced thing feel obliged to protect the Edo?
Perhaps the Edo are a child race by comparison.
Possibly a race which those life forms have planted here.
Much as we now plant human colonies on Class-M planets.
Having fulfilled my professional obligations regarding Cmdr Data...
You now request permission to beam down to the planet. Granted.
You can accompany me while I try and resolve this.
Know that whatever the cost, I will not allow them to execute your son.
Thank you, sir.
- Data, take command. - Aye, sir.
It's almost time. I want the boy brought here now.
- I'll go with you. - Of course.
Captain Picard.
I saw you share the sky with God. You must be gods.
No, we are not gods.
I guess you know a lot has happened here.
I know.
Captain Picard,...
..are you going to let them kill me?
No. But I must find some way to prevent it that you understand.
How can we let this happen, Liator? They threaten everything we respect.
Our law, our peace, our tranquillity and order.
You are powerful. But do not do this to us, we beg you!
At least study what we were without law. Hurtful, savage, thieving.
I understand.
Perhaps your system of law is better than any system we once had.
But we do now have a law I must obey.
Part of it says I must protect my people from harm.
We did not ask you to come here.
It has to do with another law that we must obey.
We are all sworn not to interfere with other lives in the galaxy.
If I save this boy, I break that law.
And should be executed if you do.
I may suffer almost as much.
Starfleet takes the Prime Directive seriously.
No, it is God who will punish you.
That has crossed our minds. Your god up there may insist
that we obey our non-interference directive.
Sir, does this mean if you save me then the entire crew could die?
You're not involved in this decision, boy.
I'm sorry, sir, but it seems like I am.
Picard to transporter room, stand by for six to beam up.
Wesley... Lieutenant...
Our laws have been violated. What of justice?
What of justice to Wesley? Does he deserve to die?
I'm truly sorry, but I must have justice for my people too.
Transporter room, energize.
- Transporter room, come in! - We can't energize the beam, sir.
God has prevented your escape.
Then God is unfair. My son had no warning of your laws.
We cannot allow ignorance of the law to become a defence.
I don't know how to communicate this, or even if it's possible.
The question of justice has concerned me greatly of late.
I say to any creature listening, there can be no justice
so long as laws are absolute.
Even life itself is an exercise in exceptions.
When has justice ever been as simple as a rule book?
Seems the Edo lord agrees with you, Number One.
Main viewer on.
- Hailing frequencies. - Open, sir.
To the object in orbit with us.
We will remove the human colonists from the adjoining solar system
if you signal us to do so. Please tell us.
- Is that a signal? - I suppose...
I suppose it must be. I was hoping for more.
More of what, sir? I'm glad it's gone.
Agreed, sir. Short and sweet. God-like efficiency.
I was hoping we might learn more about it.
But since we can't, take us out of here, Number One.
Gladly, sir.

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