First Officer's log, star date 41775.5.
We are en route to the ocean world of Pacifica.
While our mission is scientific,
we look forward to the blue waters and fine beaches
that make Pacifica a jewel of the galaxy.
So the guy staggers to his feet and goes back to the girl.
She smiles, looks him straight in the eye and says,
"Just try that in hyperspace!"
I see. So the difficulty in attaining such complex positioning
in zero gravity
and the effect it would have on a human male's psychological wellbeing,
is what makes this anecdote so amusing.
Yes, very humorous indeed.
Hysterical, in fact.
What is our ETA at Pacifica, Mr. La Forge?
22 hours, 14 minutes, sir.
- Increase to warp six. - Aye, sir. Full impulse.
Would anyone object to our arriving ahead of schedule?
I know I won't. I've been really looking forward to a nice swim.
The holodeck can be programmed to recreate an oceanic environment.
Data, it's just not the same.
Have you ever been for a real moonlight swim?
One can swim in moonlight?
How about you, Mr. Worf?
Swimming is too much like... bathing.
Cmdr Riker.
- I'm receiving a Code 47. - Verify.
It is Code 47, sir. Starfleet emergency frequency.
Code 47. Captain's eyes only.
Captain, I'm sorry to disturb you.
Yes, what is it?
An incoming message. Code 47, sir.
Pipe it through.
This is an emergency communiqué.
It is not to be discussed with fellow officers
unless deemed absolutely necessary.
There will be no computer record of said transmission.
Proceed with voiceprint identification.
Picard, Jean-Luc. Captain, USS Enterprise.
Voiceprint verified.
Hello. It's been a long time.
Too long, old friend. Why are you contacting me on this frequency?
It was a difficult decision. I felt it was worth the risk.
- Risk? - It's about Starfleet.
About something we've always considered impossible.
I don't understand.
I can't explain it now. We need to talk face to face.
You're using a Code 47. I have to know what all this is about.
Not over subspace, no.
For God's sake, this is a secured channel.
I want you to meet me on Dytallix B.
- When? - Immediately.
- We're expected at Pacifica. - That can wait.
You owe me. And you owe it to yourself to hear what I have to say.
Something is beginning.
Don't trust anyone. Remember that, Jean-Luc.
Don't take anything for granted.
- Walker. - Dytallix B. We'll be waiting.
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.
Data, are you familiar with Dytallix B?
It is an uninhabited planet,
mined for the Federation
by the Dytallix Mining Company. It is in the nearby Mira system.
Mr. La Forge, chart a course for it. Warp seven.
There will be no records or logs mentioning this diversion.
Captain, they're expecting us at Pacifica.
- Shouldn't we let them know? - Negative.
Nothing goes out without specific orders from me.
Hopefully, the delay... will be minimal.
I have the read-out on Dytallix B.
What have you got?
Dytallix B is the fifth of six planets circling the red giant, Mira.
One side always faces the sun. Temperatures reach 180 degrees.
The mines line the temperate zone between the day and night sides,
but they are deserted.
Why the devil are we going to this planet?
Are there any miners or indigenous life forms there?
The answer to both questions is no, sir.
It is nothing but a lifeless hunk of rock,
a useless ball of mud, a worthless chunk...
Thank you, Data, I get the idea.
Captain, we are approaching Dytallix B.
Very good, Number One. I'm on my way.
Captain, sensors are detecting three Federation starships
- already in orbit around the planet. - Identify.
Two are frigates. The Renegade, commanded by Tryla Scott,
and the Thomas Paine, Capt Rixx commanding.
The third is coming into range now, sir.
It is Ambassador-class heavy cruiser USS Horatio.
Horatio? Isn't that Walker Keel's ship?
Attempts at communication have been ignored by all three.
Make no further attempts, Mr. Worf.
Any life-form readings on the surface?
Three, sir. All gathered inside what appears to be
the entrance to a mining tunnel.
Very well.
Relay those coordinates to the transporter room. I'm beaming down.
- Alone, Captain? - Alone, Number One.
Thanks for coming.
This is some greeting, old friend.
Tell me, Jean-Luc,... where did we first meet?
Answer the question.
Tau Ceti III.
It was a bar. Quite an exotic one as I remember. What do I win?
Do you recall the night you introduced Jack Crusher to Beverly?
You know that I hadn't met Beverly then. You introduced them.
- My brother introduced them. - You don't have one.
Two sisters, Ann and Melissa. What the hell is this about?
Apologies, Captain. We had to be sure you were really you.
Walker, what is going on?
Capt Picard, meet Capt Rixx.
I believe we've met. The Altarian Conference.
And Capt Scott.
Tryla Scott.
You made Captain faster than anyone in Starfleet history,
present company included. Are you that good?
Yes, I am.
Starfleet's finest. Fancy meeting you here.
We all came secretly, Picard, to discuss the threat.
What threat?
Have you noticed anything unusual about Starfleet Command lately?
No. But we've been on the outer rim for a while.
We haven't had much contact with them.
Some of us have seen... strange patterns emerging.
Unusual orders, officials backing irrational proposals.
Star base 12 was completely evacuated for two full days.
No explanation given.
And what about the deaths?
McKinney, Ryan Sipe, Onna Karapleedeez.
- All dead? - A series of accidents.
Or so they say. It's hard to be certain of anything.
Interfleet communications are at a minimum.
But something is happening.
We expect the Enterprise to be targeted soon.
- Targeted for what? By whom? - We're not sure yet.
Jean-Luc, some of Starfleet's top Command people are changing.
This could affect the core of our organization.
Officers I've known for years bluff their way through talk of old times.
That's their weakness, a lack of memory.
He doesn't believe us.
- He thinks we're crazy. - You give me nothing to believe in.
Just vague talk about strange patterns, irrational proposals.
Who's behind this, and to what purpose?
How are people being changed?
I can't say, exactly, but I think it's spread to my own ship.
My First Officer hasn't been the same since we stopped off at Earth.
Our Medical Officer says he's normal, but I don't trust him.
We know we don't have all the answers.
All we ask is that you keep your eyes open.
That's sound advice at any time.
Stay in touch with us... covertly.
This meeting never took place as far as Starfleet is concerned.
Please,... I'm asking this as a personal favour.
I'm glad, Jean-Luc. I'm glad you're still one of us.
Tell Beverly l... said hello.
And watch your back, Picard.
Close friends are few and far between.
Two of the oldest and closest
are Jack Crusher, may he rest in peace, and Walker Keel.
Before various missions split us up, we were virtually inseparable.
I trust Keel. If he had to violate regulations,
he must have had a good reason.
But you're putting your career at risk for him.
Friendship must dare to risk, Counsellor, or it's not friendship.
They illicitly used the emergency channel.
Then they asked you to keep secrets from your superiors,
effectively to disobey Starfleet regulations.
The people involved are of the highest caliber.
I believe in their loyalty.
Shouldn't you tell the crew?
No. I don't want to risk implicating them.
Not until I have solid evidence that something really is wrong.
- Take us out of orbit, Mr. La Forge. - Aye, sir.
Head for Pacifica, warp eight.
Aye, sir.
We should arrive 9.63 hours behind the original schedule, sir.
Good. I have an assignment specifically suited to your talents.
Computer, this is Lt. Cmdr Data.
Please access all Starfleet Command orders
to starships, star bases and colonies for the last six months.
The Horatio was seen in orbit around Dytallix.
- Did you see Walker? - No.
I would have loved to have seen him.
- It wasn't possible. - Captain.
I'm picking up an unusual disturbance in a nearby quadrant.
Confirmed, sir. Sector 63.
Specify. What kind of disturbance?
Hard to say at this distance, sir.
I guess the trip to Pacifica will have to wait.
Let's investigate.
Maintain speed. Alter course.
Aye, sir. Changing course to 351, mark four.
Approaching Sector 63, sir.
Slow to impulse.
Aye, sir. Going to impulse power... now.
Sensors picking up small objects, sir.
On screen.
It doesn't look natural.
Agreed. Enlarge and identify.
It looks like... debris.
From a space vessel of some kind.
It could be a ship that was orbiting Dytallix.
We are close to that planet.
Identifying marks, Mr. Worf?
Nothing so far. Sensors not detecting any bodies in the flotsam.
But from the amount of wreckage...
I'm sorry, sir. It can only be the Horatio.
From the looks of it, she's been totally destroyed.
Captain's personal log, star date 41776. 1.
The apparent death of Walker Keel has had a powerful impact on me.
I now believe there may be a cancer growing within the Starfleet ranks.
I've alerted my Executive Officer to the suspicions voiced by Keel.
There's no proof.
Admiral Quinn tried to warn me
about a subversion within the Federation.
Then Walker tried. He's dead.
Subversion? Personally, I don't believe this conspiracy theory.
Quite extraordinary, in fact.
Direction unclear. Please repeat request.
That was not a request. I was simply...
..talking to myself.
A human idiosyncrasy,
triggered by a fascination with a set of facts.
Or sometimes brought about by senility.
Or used to weigh information before reaching a conclusion. Or...
Thank you, sir, I comprehend.
Please specify how you would like to proceed, sir.
Please continue with record scan.
We have no facts. We have to assume that the explosion was an accident.
I believe what happened on the Horatio was sabotage.
- But we can't be certain. - Perhaps we can.
I searched for abnormal patterns in Starfleet's directives.
I believe I have found just that.
These are outposts and star bases
where I've detected unusual activity for a few months.
What sort of activity?
An uncustomary reshuffling of personnel, usually in Command areas.
The new officers have frequent contact
with the highest levels of Starfleet.
Why hasn't anyone discovered this before?
The orders were given with great subtlety.
Starfleet's left hand did not know what its right hand was doing.
Can you speculate as to the purpose of these reassignments?
I believe it is a clandestine attempt
to control vital sectors of Federation territory.
This could be a prelude to an invasion.
But who's behind it?
There's insufficient data to make an assessment.
Do you suggest we warp over to HQ
and demand to know what's going on?
- Why not? - Yes, why not?
We're talking about a threat to the future of the Federation.
I don't think any of us can rest easy until we've been to the source.
Captain's personal log, supplemental.
While it is unusual for a starship to return to Earth,
we seem to have no other choice.
I have apprised the remaining bridge crew of our situation.
Approaching Earth.
- Standard orbit, Mr. La Forge. - Standard orbit, sir.
- Any word from Starfleet Command? - Nothing so far, sir.
Captain, I am now receiving a message from Starfleet Command.
On screen.
Greetings, Enterprise. I am Admiral Savar. This is Admiral Aaron.
And I believe you already know Admiral Quinn.
Yes. Good to see you again, Admiral.
And you, Captain.
We are always delighted when the Enterprise returns to the nest.
Yet we are puzzled by the timing of your visit.
Yes, sir, I can imagine that you would be.
Governor Delaplane of Pacifica says you cancelled your stop there.
- Is this true? - Yes, sir, it is.
Explain yourself. Why have you returned to Earth?
I would rather discuss that in person.
Excuse us for one moment.
They seem normal enough.
On the surface. Counsellor, any thoughts?
Hard to say. Someone is hiding something.
But I can't tell who or what.
I'm not overjoyed to see Remmick again.
Their response has been pretty temperate.
I don't like it. You can't trust them.
Forgive the delay, Capt Picard.
We'd be delighted if you and your First Officer
- would join us for dinner. - Delighted.
It would give you an opportunity to expatiate your own viewpoint.
To elaborate upon what is troubling you.
Thank you. We accept your gracious offer.
Excellent. Preparations are already under way.
We'll greet you in the reception area in, say, 20 minutes?
I won't be able to attend dinner, I'm afraid.
But I'd like to see the ship and say hello again.
Of course. We look forward to seeing you.
Enterprise out.
Quinn wants to see us alone.
At least we know he's still on our side.
- Mr. Data, you have the bridge. - Aye, sir.
Are you ready to beam up to the Enterprise, sir?
Yes, Commander, quite ready.
Energize, Mr. Remmick.
- Welcome aboard, Greg. - Good to see you.
- You remember Cmdr Riker. - Hello again.
- You're looking remarkably well. - Never felt better in my life.
When you were here last, you were saying you felt tired.
Tired of life I was, but not any more.
I'm ready for new challenges now.
What about another look at this ship?
Remember what you told me at Relva VII,
about the threat that you perceived to the Federation?
- Is that why you're here? - One of the reasons, yes.
But, Jean-Luc, you took me far too literally.
I was only referring to the problems
in assimilating new races into the Federation.
It's an ongoing, tumultuous process,
which can cause stress and strain on every aspect of our alliance.
I'm sorry, I must have misunderstood.
Don't apologize. If I misled you, I humbly ask your forgiveness.
- Of course. - Now, you have a dinner to attend.
I would like to freshen up before I look around.
- We've arranged your usual rooms. - That's outstanding.
I should be getting down to the planet.
Riker will be available here to show you anything you want to see.
- It's really not necessary. - I insist.
When you've finished showing the Admiral around,
- you can join me down on Earth. - I may want to stay awhile.
Of course. Stay as long as you wish.
It's not Gregory Quinn. It may look like him, but it isn't him.
- Are you absolutely certain? - I'm certain.
I want you to stay close. Keep your eye on his every move.
Have Beverly concoct some reason for giving him a full medical exam.
- How? - I don't know, just do it.
- He's a senior admiral. - It's not him. I know that now.
I have to find out how this happened, and who or what is behind it.
- If you're right... - I'm right.
Should you be beaming down alone, unarmed?
I'll take care. Find out what you can,
then join me, in force if necessary. Energize.
Good luck, sir.
Welcome home, Capt Picard.
Thank you. My First Officer will join us shortly.
Yes, I'm sure he will.
You've met Cmdr Remmick.
Under less-than-ideal circumstances. It's nice to see you again.
We have prepared a special meal in your honour.
Delightful. Why is the corridor so quiet?
The last time I was here, it was bustling.
It usually is. Tonight's a quiet night.
Yes,... a quiet night.
Ready for your tour, Admiral?
- Quite ready, Commander. - What's in the case?
Actually, I brought it for Dr. Crusher.
Perhaps you would like to see it first?
- What is it? - A form of life.
It was discovered accidentally by surveyors on an uncharted planet.
We haven't heard about that.
You will, but there is much scientific study to be done.
After all, it is a superior form of life.
- Superior? - Totally.
- Come, have a look. - I'll summon my Science Officer.
It won't like your Science Officer.
It does like you!
Vitamins. They do wonders for the body.
Riker to Security, guest quarters 17. Emergency!
Let's have some Andonian tea while we wait for Riker.
Then you can tell us what's brought you here.
I see you keep up with our duty roster.
Yes, of course. The Enterprise is very important to us.
Excuse me, gentlemen.
To the Horatio, gentlemen.
What an awful tragedy. Such a terrible loss of life.
Interestingly, the Horatio is one of the subjects I wanted to discuss.
Has the cause of her destruction been ascertained?
Absolutely. Implosion.
Due to the extreme negligence of her Captain.
Enjoy, Picard. I believe you'll find it an excellent aperitif.
It's good you're here. He slipped and hit his head.
Lt. La Forge in guest quarters 17. We have a medical emergency.
Dr. Crusher is most capable. He'll be alright.
If you'll excuse me, my time here is most limited.
Wait till the Doctor gets here.
Now, Klingon, it's between you and me.
Do Klingons fear death as much as humans?
I could snap your neck in a second, but it wouldn't be as much fun.
- Are you alright? - If I could see, I'd see stars.
What is he?
Let's find out.
Retinal scans are an exact match. It really is Quinn.
How can that be? He picked me up like a rag doll.
I'll have to do a complete internal scan.
Keep me posted. I'll be on the bridge.
What is that?!
What do you know of conspiracies?
- Not nearly enough. - That's their charm.
When a machination is real, no one knows about it.
And when it's suspected, it's almost never real.
Except in paranoid delusions for those who believe.
Sorry to interrupt. Dinner is served.
Wonderful. This banter has given me an appetite.
I need to contact my ship to let Riker know we're about to sit down.
Of course. We'll wait for you at the table.
- Picard to Riker. - Dr. Crusher here.
May I speak freely?
I have little choice. Where's Riker?
He was attacked by Quinn, or what we thought was Quinn.
Specify, Doctor.
A parasitic being has invaded Quinn's body.
It has complete control over all brain functions.
It seems to breathe through a small gill
protruding from Quinn's neck.
Look for this, Captain.
I believe it will be visible on anyone who has been compromised.
Any idea what it is or where it came from?
Negative. I've never seen anything like it.
Lt. Worf, if the situation is under control,
- please report to the bridge. - Doctor?
It's OK. He won't be waking up for a long time.
- Continue, Doctor. - By the placement of the tendrils,
the parasite appears to stimulate the victim's adrenal glands,
generating great strength and resistance...
Ignore the details. Can you remove it?
I don't think so.
Not without killing the patient.
You must set your phaser on kill. Stun has little effect.
Doctor, one does not beam down to Starfleet Headquarters armed.
Your food is getting cold.
I'm going in to dinner now, Doctor.
Tell Cmdr Riker to join me as soon as he's ready.
Picard out.
Please, sit down. We've been waiting.
Go ahead and start. We don't stand on ceremony here.
Do eat up, Picard!
Raise your hand if you want seconds.
Riker! Thank God!
We're leaving.
You're not going anywhere.
You'll be one of us soon.
You were meant for the Doctor.
It couldn't be helped. Riker walked in on us unexpectedly.
No matter. The Doctor will be joining us soon.
All in good time.
Well... Capt Scott, good.
Now, the setting is complete.
You don't think we were in the dark about your intentions?
Patience is one of our virtues, Captain.
We didn't go after you, we allowed you to come after us.
More dramatic that way, don't you think?
Yes, the one thing both races share is a love of theatre.
And you've put on a fine show.
What race are you? Where are you from?
It's not important. Let us just say we've come a long way to join you.
It's a perfect match. We're the brains, you're the brawn.
You'll understand soon.
Indeed. We've been moving cautiously for many months now,
careful to cover our tracks, careful not to arouse suspicion,
until it's too late.
Now, it's too late. For you, that is.
Well said, brother.
Picard and Riker control the Enterprise,
which means we control the Enterprise.
Eat hearty, brother.
Relish your new body.
Can I help you, gentlemen?
Is there any trouble here?
Perhaps if you tell me what it is.
No, Will.
You don't understand.
We mean you no harm.
We seek peaceful coexistence!
Captain's log, star date 41780.2.
How difficult after years of learning to respect life
to be forced to destroy it.
But there seems to be no alternative.
Quinn is expected to recover fully.
There is no trace of the parasite which took control of him.
We'll never know how many of these life forms infiltrated Starfleet,
but it seems they could not survive without the mother creature
which had taken over Cmdr Remmick.
It was Dr. Crusher's idea to simulate the gill.
It had to fool everyone, including you.
That it did, rest assured.
Captain, I have attempted to trace the message Remmick was sending.
I believe it was aimed at an unexplored sector of our galaxy.
Any idea what the message was?
- I believe it was a beacon. - A beacon?
Yes, sir. A homing beacon sent from Earth.

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