All hands, this is the Captain.
The sun in the Delos system is undergoing large-scale
magnetic field changes, producing violent, gigantic flares.
We shall study this star at close range.
Even though we'll have full deflectors,
the closeness of this event and its severity will create problems.
Intense magnetic fields
have a disruptive effect on electrical systems.
We can expect communication interruptions
and temporary loss of other systems.
As a precaution, we're going to yellow alert. Stay sharp, everyone.
Attention all decks. Yellow alert.
Engineering, this is Lt. Cmdr Data.
Bring all systems on line and direct power to the shields.
- All sections secure. - Lt. La Forge?
- Course is set. - Half impulse?
- Aye, sir, one half impulse. - On main viewer.
Mask out the photosphere.
Magnify. Quadrant 07.
Magnification, factor 12.
I've never seen anything like this before.
The violence of those eruptions is awesome.
I'm reading an unusual number of sunspots and eruptive prominences.
The magnetic field is extremely... irregular.
Captain, deflectors are being hit by huge bursts of X-rays.
My console seems to be overloading.
The X-ray burst is disrupting systems.
I'm adjusting deflectors to compensate.
Engineering, increase power to forward shields.
Forward deflectors on line, sir.
All systems operational, sir.
Captain, the level of tension on the ship is mounting.
If we are to investigate, we must get closer.
- Move us in closer. - Aye, sir.
This is the Captain. We will be pushing the shields to the limit,
but we are getting a splendid view of this phenomenon.
Captain, I've intercepted what appears to be a distress signal.
Let me hear it.
This is T'Jon.
I'm on the Ornaran freighter. We have a serious problem we can't fix.
We need help.
The transmission is coming from a freighter
in orbit around the fourth planet in the system.
However, the receiving station is on the third planet.
- Open hailing frequencies. - Hailing frequencies open.
Unidentified freighter, this is the USS Enterprise.
May we be of assistance?
Whoever you are, yes. I'm having trouble navigating.
We can't maintain a steady course. Please help us.
- Can't you enhance the frequency? - Too much interference.
Set course to intercept with the freighter. Warp two.
Maintain yellow alert.
I can't control the helm any longer. I'm losing orbit.
We're heading into the atmosphere. Please do something!
We're going to burn up! We haven't much time...
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.
It is a freighter, very old.
Captain, our sensors are being affected by the sun flares.
Take us as close as possible to the freighter's orbit.
- Moving in. - There are six life forms aboard.
The freighter's orbit is decaying.
How long before it loses integrity?
A matter of minutes.
Unidentified freighter, this is the USS Enterprise.
This is the Ornaran freighter Sanction.
Put this on the main viewer.
The visual transmission is still breaking up.
Sanction, this is the Enterprise.
- What is your situation? - Not so good.
What is the problem?
This is the Enterprise. With all this interference,
it is difficult to copy your transmission.
If you all talk at once, it is impossible.
Now, please say again, what is your situation?
I am T'Jon, Captain of the Sanction.
At last. How can we help?
We've lost... I don't know... something.
I am not able maintain this orbit,
nor can I use the main thrusters.
It's all, you know, dead, I guess.
It's all... shut down?
Well, that is a little vague. What is the computer analysis?
Our computer's not working very well.
Data, can you tap into their computer and clarify this?
I will attempt it, sir.
Captain, the tractor beam is available if you want it.
We could pull them out of orbit before they enter the atmosphere.
Freighter, we're going to pull you out of orbit.
Hey, that's great.
Captain, the freighter's orbit continues to deteriorate.
The solar flares are interfering with the tractor beam.
We're unable to attach the tractor beam because of the solar activity.
I understand. Thanks for trying.
I have determined what is malfunctioning on the freighter.
- We have analyzed your problem. - Great.
Your ship uses an electromagnetic coil
to constrict the exhaust flow.
- This coil is misaligned. - Really?
- Do you have tools to realign it? - I don't think so.
We can provide them with a temporary substitute.
Our ship's stores contain a coil.
- Can we beam one over? - Yes.
Captain, we're beaming over a replacement coil.
That's great. And that'll fix us up?
Yes, once it's installed.
And how do we do that?
What is the matter with these people?
How can he be Captain and not understand?
Captain, how long have you been in command?
Seven years. This is my 26th voyage to Brekka.
You don't know how to align a control coil?
It's never come up.
- Can anyone else over there do it? - Hold on. I'll ask.
- Nobody knows anything about it. - I'd better go over with a team.
I strongly recommend against anyone from this ship beaming over.
The solar interference is too great.
It has entered the atmosphere. Disintegration is imminent.
- We're running out of options. - Let's get them off.
T'Jon, stand by to beam over.
If you think that's best...
Unless you have any other options, yes, I think that's best.
Whatever you say.
I can't maintain a positive lock.
Unusual EM burst, sir. Readings off scale.
Sanction, we're having difficulty getting a fix.
Have them go to their transporter room.
Perhaps I can link two transporters and use the increased power.
Worth a try.
Go to your transporter room. Contact me from there.
Right, Enterprise. It's right next door.
But what makes you think our transporter will do the job?
I'm going to interconnect them.
- I didn't know you could do that. - Hurry!
- We're on our way. - They won't make it.
Capt T'Jon doesn't sound like he cares.
- How much time left? - One minute, 28 seconds.
- Capt T'Jon? - We're in the transporter room.
Activate your transporter. Set coordinates 9703, mark 268.
Did you say 286 or 886?
- Mark 268! - Got it.
Sir, the hull temperature of the freighter is passing 3,000 degrees.
What's the hold-up?
We're establishing the link right now.
All six of you, get on the transporter platform.
On my signal, energize.
I've got their signal. Interlock complete.
Energize on my mark. Four, three, two, one. Energize!
Did you get them off?
They stayed in the freighter, but they beamed over their cargo.
Cargo? Are those people crazy? What could be so important?
Sir, the freighter is disintegrating.
Their lives are in danger and they beam over cargo?! I don't understand.
The freighter's hull temperature is approaching critical.
We've got to beam those people over now.
- Beam the cargo to a hold. - Aye, sir.
Sanction, get to your transporter... No, forget that.
Lock on to any life form. Get them here.
- The freighter is going down. - You're out of time.
- Six life forms but no solid lock. - We have no choice. Energize.
- Where are the other two? - The lock didn't hold.
- Re-establish. - It's too late.
Two are lost, sir.
But we saved four.
I'm Cmdr William Riker of the USS Enterprise.
I'm sorry we were unable to rescue the other two.
We did everything we could.
If you had come instead of sending your cargo, you'd have made it.
- The cargo! Where is it? - You did save it?
Yes. It's in one of our cargo holds.
It seems more important to you than your comrades.
The cargo... May we see it?
Thank you. We thought we had lost it.
Careful with your choice of words, T'Jon. It's ours, not yours.
We paid a fair price.
You offered a price. We have not received it.
You accepted our goods in trade!
Then, where are they?
- Tell me. - That's not our problem.
The barrel is not your property.
It's simple. The goods were never delivered.
They were destroyed.
Hence the deal was incomplete. Hence the felicium remains ours.
We need it!
Commander, I request you transport my associate and myself to Brekka
- with our merchandise. - Yes.
Get them out of here. But the barrel stays.
There's no reasoning with you.
Langor, you expect too much from them.
You always have and you've always been disappointed.
You didn't pay for it, therefore it's not yours!
Damn you, Sobi!
Stop this! Now!
Security to cargo bay 11.
Behave yourselves,... gentlemen.
Escort our visitors to the observation lounge.
- A natural electrical charge? - Formidable.
Yes, and a difficult weapon to confiscate.
I have never seen humanoids with that power. I wonder how it evolved.
The strong magnetic field of their sun?
Could be. I wonder how much power they produce.
- Or if they need to recharge. - How do I defend against them?
- They're a threat? - I don't know.
- But I'd better be ready. - Precisely, Lieutenant.
We have to resolve this. There isn't much time.
What can you offer?
Everything we had was on the Sanction.
Then it's going be difficult to accommodate you.
Solar flares increasing. Shields are shaky but they're holding.
- How are our quarrelsome guests? - They're waiting for you, sir.
Data, what information can you give us about the inhabitants?
The only recorded contact with the Delos system was 200 years ago.
A scout ship reported two inhabited planets,
one on the verge of acquiring space travel.
Odd, that in two centuries neither advanced much further.
Sir, I find it strange that none of our visitors feels much remorse
about the two passengers who perished.
Yet that cargo is a source of great anxiety to them.
Yes. Let's pay a call, get some answers. Number One, Mr. Data.
- La Forge, you have the bridge. - Aye, sir.
Captain, may I present Sobi and Langor from the planet Brekka?
- And T'Jon and Romas from Ornara. - Sorry we couldn't save your ship.
Tell me. You could have repaired it?
We have only two left. Neither works properly.
They are critical to our survival. Will you fix them?
Our computer has downloaded the specifications
for the magnetic coils the freighters depend on.
Assuming the malfunction is similar, replacements can be fabricated.
- Instruct Engineering to proceed. - Aye, sir.
Now, as for our cargo...
- Our cargo, Captain. - Wrong, Sobi!
My First Officer has said that ownership is in dispute,
but this must be settled
by whatever legal machinery exists between your societies.
You don't understand. This is a matter of life and death.
Why is that? What is this cargo?
Our planet is in desperate need. People have a lethal plague.
The cargo is the only hope of life for our people.
Is that so?
You must think us heartless, but look at our side of it.
The plant which yields felicium grows only in remote areas of Brekka.
It must be painstakingly cultivated, harvested, purified.
A complex and expensive process.
That single shipment represents an enormous investment.
We can't just give it away.
We paid for it. We ask for only what is ours.
That is your viewpoint. Ours, of course, differs.
You will hold to that position?
I am constrained to abide by the terms of our agreement.
- You condemn us to death! - Romas!
You disgust me! lf you could see the suffering the plague has caused!
Well,... you are going to,...
..when you see what it does to us.
Romas, are you and T'Jon carrying this plague?
Every Ornaran does.
Then you may have brought it aboard.
Was there a medical scan?
Unverified. The solar flares could have caused a malfunction.
Med alert. Dr. Crusher to the observation lounge at once.
You find us well, I trust?
As far as I can tell.
Your physiology is different than I've ever encountered,
but I detect no dangerous virus or bacteria.
I assure you, we're in perfect health.
- We are not. We need our medicine. - Our medicine!
- We paid for it. It's ours now. - Enough!
Of course. You are right, Doctor.
- Could we leave now? - I see no reason why not.
Escort them to their quarters.
- Doctor... - Captain, could I speak with you?
Not right now! Captain...
- What've you learned? - The Brekkians appear uninfected.
The Ornarans show all the symptoms, but I can't find a cause.
Perhaps it was filtered out by the transporter.
There's no record of it, but the flare activity
might have caused a malfunction in the biofilters.
Are they going to die?
I need to check, but my instinct says no.
- Do you think we're in any danger? - Again, I need more time.
There are some missing pieces to this puzzle.
What's missing is some compassion.
Are we losing our professional detachment?
But I'm developing a very active dislike for these Brekkians.
Captain, you must give us back our cargo.
I can't do that.
Why? It belongs to us.
- The Brekkians claim it's theirs. - They lie.
Maybe so, but it is not my decision.
We need some now. I don't care if it's your decision. Get us some.
This is happening to thousands more on Ornara.
Please understand the size of the problem.
You don't need it. The Brekkians don't need it! Our people do!
If you don't give it to us, you will murder not only us
but an entire civilization!
I... I'm sorry. I do not mean to insult you.
I'm feeling very shaky.
We cannot hold out much longer.
They believe it will help. That in itself might control their symptoms.
I'll talk with the Brekkians.
Thank you, Captain. We appreciate anything you can do.
May I say how impressed we are with your ship and all its facilities?
- Thank you. - And its crew.
Everyone is so efficient and professional.
I've come to seek your agreement to an Ornaran request.
- We cannot agree... - Wait.
Let the Captain speak. We want to be reasonable.
The two Ornarans are ill, and insisting they need the felicium.
That is not surprising.
Would you give them enough for their own immediate needs?
Captain, we Brekkians are in business.
We are not in the habit of giving away that which hasn't been paid for.
You'd see them die rather than share it?
We want to be fair.
We agree to permitting them two doses for immediate use.
I'll let my Medical Officer handle it.
You won't mind if we're present while you open the cargo?
What does that device do?
This measures the individual portions.
What's the dosage?
Very potent substance.
We've improved our distillation process over the years.
Years ago, the same amount of felicium
would have filled five rooms this size.
Now, with our improved processes,
this barrel contains over four billion doses.
I estimate four billion, 375 million...
Thank you, Mr. Data.
- How long is the dosage effective? - It varies.
But never more than 72 hours.
- And then the symptoms return. - Yes.
There is no cure for the plague.
But felicium inhibits the sickness with total efficiency.
Allowing the Ornarans to lead normal lives.
An unusual disease.
Virulent, extremely persistent, yet I can't isolate it.
The plague has baffled doctors on both planets for 200 years.
We've therefore concentrated on treatment,
finding new ways to improve the potency and purity of felicium.
No doubt you applied technology from other industries
to the refinement of this product.
- We have no other industry. - None at all?
We don't need any. The Ornarans provide us with everything we need
in exchange for this.
Your society is dedicated to the production of a single product.
For which you have no use but which the Ornarans cannot live without.
One of life's little ironies.
But one we'd be fools not to take advantage of. It's...
The Ornarans provide us with the necessities of life
and we provide them with the necessities of living.
It is a fair exchange.
- Interesting relationship. - I'll take that to sickbay.
- Can I help? - No.
- You're feeling better? - Yes, thank you.
I'm fine now.
I may not know felicium's effect on Ornaran physiology
but I know how to interpret physical reaction.
Are the Ornarans recovering?
T'Jon and Romas are feeling fine. In fact, too fine.
Felicium's a narcotic.
Then T'Jon and Romas and everyone on their world...
Is a drug addict.
It's a fascinating tale we've come across.
You've piqued my interest. Please continue.
- Data, what have we got? - Several thousand years ago,
the two planets took different paths.
Ornara became technologically sophisticated, Brekka did not.
200 years ago, Ornara was stricken by a devastating plague.
Their advanced technology could provide no solution.
Somehow, and there is limited information on this point,
a cure was found in a plant indigenous only to Brekka,
which rejected all attempts at cultivation on Ornara.
A trading situation developed which still exists.
- A nice deal for the Brekkians. - And the Ornarans.
- Without the medicine, they'd die. - No, they wouldn't.
Despite what the Ornarans say, it is not a medicine.
It was a medicine, but it cured the plague 200 years ago.
The plague is irrelevant now. It doesn't exist.
Why are they so desperate for felicium?
It's an addiction.
The physiological and psychological need is very real.
- What are you going to do? - There's nothing I can do.
You don't think drug addiction and exploitation
is sufficient cause to do something?
This situation has existed for a long time.
These two societies are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship.
With one society profiting at the expense of the other.
That's how you see it.
I can synthesize a non-addictive substitute
which will ease their withdrawal symptoms.
No, I can't do that either.
You can't let them have the felicium!
Why? Because it offends against our sensibilities?
It is not our mission to impose Federation or Earth values on others.
In this case, Captain, I disagree, 100 percent!
Captain, I'm receiving a call from Ornara.
I think I can put it on the view screen.
Are my people on board your ship?
Some of them, yes.
May I speak to them?
Yes. Lt. Yar, have the Ornarans brought in. No, wait.
I don't want them to have access to the bridge.
We will contact you in a few minutes.
I will continue this in the guest quarters. Commander, Doctor.
Data, I can understand how this could happen to the Ornarans.
What I can't understand
is why anyone would voluntarily become dependent on a chemical.
Addiction to drugs is a recurrent theme in many cultures.
Wesley, no one wants to become dependent. That happens later.
But it does happen, so why do people start?
On my home planet, there was so much poverty and violence,
for some, their escape was through drugs.
How can a chemical substance provide an escape?
It doesn't, but it makes you think it does.
You have to understand, drugs can make you feel good.
You feel on top of the world. You're sure of yourself, in control.
- But it's artificial. - It doesn't feel artificial
until the drug wears off.
Then you pay the price.
Before you know it, you're taking the drug, not to feel good,
but to keep from feeling bad.
And that's the trap?
All you care about is getting your next dosage.
Nothing else matters.
- I guess I just don't understand. - I hope you never do.
Lt. Yar, we're ready in the guest quarters.
T'Jon,... do you have it?
Yes, it is here, but...
You've got to get it to us. T'Jon, please...
We're dying down here. It's worse than it's ever been before.
I'm doing everything I can. You see, what happened was...
Stop! I can't listen any more.
T'Jon, there are so many people here... So much suffering.
We need the medicine. You've got to get it to us. I can't go on.
You will take us to our planet with our medicine or he dies!
I have no choice!
We were sent to bring felicium back.
The suffering on my planet is too great. People are dying.
It doesn't matter whether we're entitled to it. We must have it.
- Let him go. - You will take us there now.
Or give us a shuttle. But we must have the medicine.
If you refuse, this person will die.
I will not be coerced.
I will do it.
I will kill him.
No, you won't. You're not a killer.
Help us, please!
I'm not sure that I can.
My insides are still shaking, but I'm alright.
Capt Picard, could I see you a moment?
I'll stay here.
Come with me, Doctor. This could be interesting.
We have thought about this a great deal.
We both feel deeply about what is happening on Ornara.
And although it will cause hardship to us and to our people,
we have decided to give the felicium to them.
They can pay whenever they are able.
We don't want to be responsible for their suffering.
There goes the other shoe.
- They know. - What do they know?
That Ornarans no longer have the plague,
that felicium is no longer a medicine.
So, of course they are willing to give this shipment.
They don't want the Ornarans to lose their addiction.
They don't want to lose their only customers.
How would they have known all that unless they once had the plague, too?
They were infected. They used the felicium to cure themselves,
but their ancestors realized that it was a narcotic.
They broke the cycle of addiction and never told the Ornarans.
They let them believe that without the felicium they would die.
I think it's worse than that.
I guess this refining process of which you are so proud...
..is only to increase the potency of the felicium and tighten your grip!
- What are you going to do? - Will you tell them?
No. I'm bound by the rules of the United Federation of Planets,
which order me not to interfere with other worlds, other cultures.
If I were to tell them, I'd violate the Prime Directive.
But you are talking to us about it.
This is information you already know. And so nothing has changed.
If you can't interfere, you are going to allow the Ornarans
to have the felicium?
- Yes, I am. - No! Don't do it.
Jean-Luc, this is not a symbiotic relationship.
This is exploitation, pure and simple!
The Brekkians have caused this suffering
only to make their pitiful lives easier!
And all of it based on a lie!
No, deny them this shipment. It is the least we can do.
From the moment they agreed to give the felicium, my hands were tied.
You are absolutely right, Captain. It's not your business.
Are these the spare parts for our freighters?
They look complicated.
Are they already...?
- Aligned? - Right.
You'd have to ask the Captain.
Capt Picard, we've arrived at Ornara and assumed standard orbit.
Acknowledged. Thank you.
Captain, please, my planet is suffering.
We beg you to give us our medicine.
The matter is decided.
You're beaming down to your world, with the felicium.
- I knew it. I knew you'd help us. - We thank you.
Don't thank me. Sobi and Langor decided to let you have it.
We'll discuss the payment terms later.
There's no reason to deprive you of your needed medicine.
I'm sure we can come to a fair deal for payment.
May we beam down with you and discuss it?
- Of course. - You are quite welcome on Ornara.
We appreciate your hospitality.
Captain, we appreciate your gift of the coils.
Once our freighters are fixed, everything will be back to normal.
The coils stay here.
What about our freighters?
You want to repair them, you'll have to do it yourselves.
If you don't help us, our ships will soon be inoperable.
If you withhold the coils,
you'll be disrupting the stability of both our planets.
And interfering with an agreement that has lasted for generations.
What of your Prime Directive?
In this case, the Prime Directive prohibits me from helping.
You did not think so when it favoured you.
- Do you want our world to suffer? - No, I don't want that.
Without the freighters, there will be no more shipments of felicium.
We will die.
You must trust yourselves. There are... other options.
Ensign, prepare to beam our guests and their cargo down to Ornara.
Captain, I hope you realize what you've done to us.
Of that you can be sure.
When the felicium runs out,
the people of Ornara will suffer horrible withdrawal pains.
No doubt, but they will pass.
That seems so cruel. We could have made their burden easier.
Could we have?
Perhaps in the short term.
But to what end?
Beverly, the Prime Directive is not just a set of rules.
It is a philosophy. And a very correct one.
History has proved again and again
that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization,
no matter how well intentioned that may be,
the results are invariably disastrous.
It's hard to be philosophical when faced with suffering.
Believe me, there was only one decision.
- I just hope it was the right one. - And we may never know.
- La Forge, take us out of orbit. - Destination, sir?
I don't care. Get some distance between us and this system.
Course 970, mark 318. Speed, warp three.
Where will that take us?
The Opraline system.
An interesting choice. Why?
Curiosity. We've never been there.