Captain's log, stardate 42494.8.
The Enterprise is bound for Star Station India,
to rendezvous with a Starfleet medical courier.
We've been told only that our presence is imperative.
Hopefully it will give me further opportunities
to assess the performance of our new Chief Medical Officer.
- You wanted to see me, Captain? - Yes, Counsellor.
Come, sit down.
Counsellor, ... you've had the opportunity
to observe Dr Pulaski for some time now.
How would you evaluate her as a Chief Medical Officer?
I've never met a more dedicated physician.
I would say she has a passion for her work.
Yes, of course.
I entirely agree.
Is it possible that such consuming dedication
could interfere with her judgement?
I feel your concern, Captain, but I don't share it.
Perhaps because I've been able to spend more time with her,
and get to know her better.
Yes, perhaps you're right.
Captain, we're picking up a faint distress signal
on an open subspace frequency.
It appears to be from an adjacent sector.
Respond on the same frequency.
- Are we locked on? - Aye, sir.
A voice transmission from the USS Lantree, a Federation supply ship.
USS Lantree, this is Picard of the Enterprise.
What is your emergency?
Can't hold out any more...
People dying... Too many to help...
Still receiving their signal, but there is no message.
Lantree, are you under attack?
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.
USS Lantree, this is the Enterprise.
Come in, Lantree.
Replay that last transmission.
Can't hold out any more... People dying... Too many to help...
Have we a fix on her?
2.2 milli-parsecs, bearing 3-0 at 145 degrees, sir.
We'd better take a look. What kind of vessel is she?
A class-6 Federation supply ship, assigned to the Gamma 7 Sector.
Capt LI Telaka commanding. Normal complement, 26 officers and crew.
- Armed? - Class-3, defensive only.
- Is she still underway? - Aye, sir.
Adjust course to intercept. Warp seven.
Adjusting course to intercept. Warp seven, sir.
Engineering, transfer to bridge.
Closing on the Lantree, Captain.
Take us out of warp. Establish parallel course. Match speed.
- Hailing frequencies. - Open.
Lantree, this is the Enterprise.
Capt Telaka, this is Picard of the Enterprise. Do you read me?
No life signs, Captain.
- Counsellor? - Nothing, Captain.
What else have we got nearby?
No other vessels of any kind within two parsecs.
No battle damage.
All systems seem functional, sir. Everything is in perfect order.
- We have to board her, Captain. - Possibly, Mr Worf. Number One?
If we gain control of her remotely,
we could activate the view screen and at least look at the bridge.
Computer, security override request.
Picard, Jean-Luc. Captain, USS Enterprise.
Request control access Starfleet ship USS Lantree,
Isao Telaka commanding.
Enter access code.
Omicron omicron alpha yellow daystar 2-7. Enable.
I have verified receipt of the Lantree's access codes.
Grand. Commence operations.
- First, shut down the engines. - Standing by.
The Lantree computer reports access codes received and accepted, sir.
- Sickbay on alert, Captain. - The Lantree is responding, sir.
We have override control of her bridge, Captain.
Alright. Let's have a look.
Lantree bridge monitor engaging.
Read anything, Doctor?
Still no signs of life, Captain.
That must be Capt Telaka on the left. Let's look at him.
Looks like they had a battle with time.
Heart, lungs, liver... Everything.
- What is it? - They died of natural causes.
Natural causes? What in nature could cause that?
For the record, they died of old age.
We've downloaded the Lantree's log, sir.
Play back the Captain's last entry.
Captain's log, stardate 42493. 1. There are only six of us left.
We've set course for the nearest Federation outpost,
but I'm afraid it's too late.
Attempts to analyze what is happening have failed.
In the last few hours I've watched friends grow old and die,
and it's happening to me.
Capt LI Telaka, USS Lantree...
Capt Telaka was my age, sir.
Every member of the Lantree crew had a complete examination
eight weeks ago. They were in perfect health.
Nothing else since?
A single medical entry
noting that the first officer had Thelusian flu five days ago.
An exotic but harmless rhinal virus. It couldn't have caused this.
The Lantree's last port of call
was the Darwin Genetic Research Station on Gagarin IV,
three days ago.
It could be something the crew had or it could've come from Gagarin.
At the very least, the people from Darwin Station deserve a warning.
We may have to consider quarantine.
- We should quarantine the Lantree. - Absolutely.
Lieutenant, initiate the Lantree's quarantine transmitters,
and activate marker beacons. We'll need to find her again.
Quarantine warnings active on all frequencies, Captain.
USS Lantree is a quarantined vessel by order of Starfleet Command.
Set course for Gagarin IV. Warp seven.
Course and speed set, sir.
Captain's log, supplemental.
We're en route to the Federation Research Station on Gagarin IV.
The mere thought of a connection between the Lantree tragedy
and a genetic-research facility fills me with great apprehension.
- Approaching Gagarin IV, sir. - Standard orbit.
- Hailing frequencies. - Open.
Darwin, this is Capt Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise.
Enterprise, this is Darwin Station. I'm Dr Kingsley.
We've just declared a medical emergency. We need your help.
Dr Kingsley, what is the nature of your emergency?
- To whom am I speaking, please? - Dr Pulaski, Chief Medical Officer.
Katherine Pulaski, author of "Models of Viral Propagation"?
- That was long ago. - But still the standard.
I can't think of anyone better to deal with.
We're experiencing the rapid onset of geriatric phenomena.
The first symptom is sudden, acute arthritic inflammation.
Then the ageing process accelerates.
Dr Pulaski, I celebrated my 35th birthday a week ago.
We know Darwin Station is involved in genetic research.
Is there a possible connection?
Our research is on human genetics.
This is not something that got away from us.
We believe we were infected by a supply ship three days ago.
If you're speaking of the Lantree, we encountered it a few hours ago.
All the crew were dead.
Which would confirm our suspicion.
Could you establish a pathology, Doctor?
Doctor, did you hear me? All the 26 men and women aboard were dead.
I heard you, Captain. The prognosis is alarming,
but my concern is our children.
They represent years of genetic research. You must evacuate them.
I'm sorry, but until we know what's going on,
I'm imposing a full quarantine on Darwin Station.
But the children have been in protective isolation.
They show no symptoms. You cannot leave them to die.
Doctor, our options in a quarantine situation are very limited.
We will consider the possibilities. I suggest you do the same.
I recommend against contact.
I have to agree. The risk is too great.
If the children are free of disease, they should be evacuated.
I'd like to bring one aboard in a force field for an examination.
Counsellor, do you sense anything?
Dr Kingsley sincerely believes the children are not a threat.
But she's not telling the whole truth. I recommend caution.
We have only Dr Kingsley's assurance that the children are not infected,
whereas we have seen the results of this disease first-hand.
In a case like this, I think we should err on the side of caution.
We could beam up one child encased in styrolite in suspended animation.
That way I could scan for possible infection
without danger to ourselves or the child.
- We don't know what to look for. - Exactly.
And we won't until we start gathering data.
- Captain, that's worth some risk. - There's always risk, Doctor.
Undertake an examination. But I shall need positive proof
that these children are harmless before I place my crew in jeopardy.
- The force field's ready, Captain. - Activate it.
This is Chief O'Brien, sir. Almost ready.
- Is there a problem? - It's the styrolite.
I'm altering the delta-T so it materializes two microseconds ahead.
- It has to be right. - Take your time.
Entering corrections now.
Dr Kingsley, are you ready to transport?
You have the coordinates. We have a 12-year-old male in styrolite.
Transporter, ... energize.
- A trick! - Reverse...
One moment. He's still in stasis.
The styrolite is intact, Captain.
Force field down.
Captain, there's a definite presence, a distinct personality.
Even in stasis it's quite strong. The child is certainly telepathic.
A child this mature?
We could be looking at the future of humanity.
At least Dr Kingsley's vision of it.
He's in better health than we are.
His immune system is so advanced he may be unable to contract disease.
I want to free him from the styrolite.
That seems rather risky.
I can do no further tests until he's out.
But what if you're wrong? You saw what happened on the Lantree.
- I know I'm right. - I can't expose us.
Not till we know more about the disease.
Naturally, we'll establish a force-field containment.
But if we lose the force field, we lose the ship.
- Force fields can fail and... - We don't have much time.
The children can't survive in the lab once their parents die.
Look at him, Captain.
He's a human being who needs help.
- But the risk is... - Minimal!
If you can show that he's biologically harmless,
without risk to the crew, I'll do everything in my power to assist.
And, Doctor, God knows, I'm not one to discourage input,
but I would appreciate it if you let me finish my sentences occasionally.
Deanna, do you have a minute?
You've known the Captain for some time. I need some advice.
- I don't deal with him well. - Meaning?
My arguments don't have any effect. We just end up quoting regulations.
He has such a dedication to his ship,
he doesn't seem able to see the human side of things.
What's the matter?
Kate, I don't think he'd be where he is
if he couldn't see the human side.
- Perhaps the two of you are similar. - What do you mean?
Let's just say, you both have well-established personalities.
Dr Kingsley, this is Kate Pulaski.
Do you have a decision?
- I'm afraid it's bad news. - How can that be?
The risk is too great.
Until we know the cause of the disease...
The children are harmless.
Every test on them has been negative.
I demand that you do something to save them. Please, Doctor.
For God's sake, we haven't got much time.
Stand by. I'll get back to you.
Geordi, I need your help.
What is it?
I need to prove the children are harmless in a fail-safe environment.
There's no area of the ship that can be sealed off with certainty.
Sickbay has an isolated system.
But it's not possible to totally cut it off.
The only independent environment would be, say, a shuttlecraft.
A shuttlecraft. Why didn't you say so?
Captain, I'd like permission to put the boy in a shuttlecraft.
I can study him there without risk to anyone.
- What about you? - I'll take that risk.
Someone has to breathe the same air he breathes, to touch him.
I'm volunteering to make that test myself.
Doctor, you have a responsibility to this ship which...
I also have a responsibility to humanity.
The guidelines about contact with quarantined...
You don't have to quote the rule book.
You were saying...?
Captain, you said if I...
I recognize that you're trying to satisfy my condition.
- You sent for me? - I did.
You're qualified to pilot this shuttlecraft?
Certainly. I had training in auxiliary space vessels
at Starfleet Academy. I received...
A more than passing grade, no doubt. Come aboard. We don't have much time.
Shuttle bay three force field activated.
The Captain definitely approved this?
You'll take us a few hundred meters out and hold position.
Begin shuttlecraft launch sequence.
Good luck, Doctor.
We are in position, Doctor.
It's the only way to prove they're harmless.
And if they are not?
I hate to keep reminding you, but you are a machine. You'll be safe.
That is by no means certain, but I was referring to you.
Medical research is sometimes a risky business.
It's all part of being human. Shall we proceed?
Ready to transport.
You have the coordinates, Chief O'Brien.
- Maintain position. Stand by. - Standing by.
- Control, what's our status? - We have a green panel.
- Stand by to transport. - Aye, sir.
Yes... I do.
I understand you perfectly.
How could you, Doctor? He has not said anything.
Yes, he has. Troi is right. He's telepathic.
- Time? - 0322 ex actly.
She's been in direct contact with the boy for 18 minutes.
All systems functioning within normal specifications.
The manufacturer will be pleased.
I appreciate your help, but your bedside manner needs work.
Doctor, I don't understand. What has happened?
There was no warning.
- Explain. - Arthritic inflammation.
The first symptom of the disease.
- What can we do? - Return the boy.
Apparently the children are carriers.
Chief O'Brien, are you ready?
I have the coordinates of the isolation lab.
- Quickly. - Shuttle One, hold position.
Stand by to transport.
It wasn't your fault.
Tell us what you need, Doctor.
There's nothing you can do.
I won't make myself an exception to the Darwin quarantine.
Shuttle One out.
- What is your condition, Doctor? - Not exactly up to factory specs.
I'm sorry. The pain is tolerable, thank you.
Shall I set course for Darwin?
We're already under quarantine. What do we have to lose?
The Darwin Station crisis is no longer our most immediate concern,
although Dr Pulaski's condition is linked with that emergency.
Her safe return and that of Cmdr Data must take priority, please.
Shouldn't Dr Pulaski be involved in this?
Dr Pulaski may not have time to help herself.
I suggest we beam them both back here.
Cmdr Data is most likely immune, and surely the biofilter will...
The biofilter won't protect us.
The boy was transported twice, and still infected Dr Pulaski.
Couldn't we adjust the biofilter?
Alter it to screen out the cause of the disease?
But we don't know the cause.
We can't protect ourselves against the unknown.
We need a filter that doesn't depend on known biological factors.
- We might try the trace. - The transporter trace?
The transporter keeps a record of all transmissions, a pattern.
Usually it's stored for security purposes.
But if we use the trace to control the reconstitution process...
I don't think it's been tried before, but... theoretically it is possible.
It means extensive modifications.
- Do it. There's no alternative. - Where do we get the trace pattern?
- She's never used our transporter. - Never?
No, she's a woman of very strongly held opinions.
- What was her previous assignment? - Her ship was the Repulse.
Contact the USS Repulse using subspace captain's priority channel.
Dr Pulaski. I can only tell you
how much I regret the burden we've imposed on you. On both of you.
Cmdr Data is an android. He's unaffected.
As for me, I chose this. I was convinced the children were safe.
I still can't believe one of our children infected you.
The evidence is fairly conclusive.
But they were designed to resist disease.
I think it's time we talked about that.
Let me show you.
Our ultimate achievement.
The oldest is 12, and all are telekinetic. Watch.
Not engineered, created. Perfect in every way.
Their body structure, their musculature, their minds.
You were telling me about their immune system.
That was our masterpiece.
We gave these children an aggressive immunity.
We others were infected by the supply ship, but they were protected.
The Lantree logs show only one crewman had any illness
prior to arrival here.
The First Officer had a mild Thelusian flu.
Yes, he was one who came into contact with us.
The Thelusian flu would have no effect on you,
but tell me, how would they react?
Their immune systems would release an antibody to attack the virus.
Even at a distance?
Their immune systems don't wait for a disease's attack.
It seeks out a virus and destroys it.
Destroy it? How exactly?
The antibody would adapt itself
to alter the genetic code of the virus.
Commander, I want an analysis
of the interaction between the Thelusian flu and the children.
On a molecular genetic level?
We don't have time for that. Genetic analysis could take months.
Not necessarily. Cmdr Data has a way with computers.
Sorry, Picard, we erased Dr Pulaski's transporter pattern.
She never used the transporter much. She preferred shuttles.
I'd have given her a shuttle to keep her.
If she served you as well as you say, why did you let her go?
You haven't run into her stubborn streak yet.
She found out about an opening on the Enterprise,
and requested a transfer.
Knew your service record backward and forward.
Apparently she's been an admirer of yours for some time.
Commander, what have you got?
The answer, I believe, Doctor.
The Lantree was not the source of the disease, but the trigger.
The Lantree exposed your children to Thelusian flu for the first time.
Their active immune systems set out to attack the virus.
Once it was triggered, it kept going.
The antibody created an unexpected side-effect.
It alters the genetic make-up of normal humans.
This is a comparison of the altered and normal DNA.
These two molecules have been transposed.
And since our DNA is self-replicating, the process...
Judging from what happened on the Lantree,
anyone is a carrier once they're infected.
- Have you made progress, Doctor? - I'm afraid so.
The children don't carry the disease, they cause it.
- How? - Their advanced immune system
has created an antibody that changes normal DNA.
The altered genes are the ones that control ageing.
Why did it attack you more quickly than the others?
The enclosed environment of the shuttle concentrated my exposure.
The Lantree's First Officer carried the antibody onto his ship.
- It then affected his crew. - What's the next step?
The children will survive, but the rest of us are about out of time.
Doctor, I want you back aboard.
You'll come up in suspended animation. That will buy time.
Thank you, but I got into this by leaping before I looked.
I won't allow you to make the same mistake.
Chief Medical Officer's log.
This will be my final report to the Enterprise.
Just as changes in evolution
are known to be caused by changes in the environment,
we now know the process also works in reverse.
An attempt to control human evolution
has resulted in a new species that's lethal to its predecessors.
The children will be condemned to live out their lives in isolation.
Quarantine of the Darwin Station must be maintained for ever.
- I am sorry I was not more helpful. - You did everything you could.
As androids go, you're in a class by yourself.
Please. Give my best to the Captain.
Enterprise, Cmdr Data. Ready to beam aboard.
Captain, Kate knew what she was doing.
I wish I were sure we'd tried everything.
Cmdr Data is ready to come aboard.
You have the bridge, Number One.
No life forms present, sir.
You may step down, sir.
Data, tell me, if... It's good to see you again.
If the changes in Dr Pulaski's DNA were reversed, is it possible...
It is not reversible, sir. The molecular transposition...
But if it were undone, would she be normal again?
As normal as ever, sir.
The transporter can be modified to filter out changes in Dr Pulaski?
Yes, but we couldn't locate her trace pattern.
Well, what if we used a sample of her DNA,
say from a blood test taken before she was exposed to the disease?
Could that filter the genetic changes?
I'd have to patch in a molecular matrix reader.
That's no problem.
But the waveform modulator will be overloaded without the limiter.
Interesting. But theoretically...
- Can you do it? - I think so.
Then make it so.
You heard. Let's get those panels off.
A blood test, a tissue sample, anything with Dr Pulaski's DNA.
No, sir. Her records were shipped via Starfleet headquarters.
- They've not caught up with us. - Ridiculous.
A cell, a single cell. Let's check her quarters.
Anything. A fingernail, a hair...
It has a follicle, sir. Live cells.
Darwin Station, this is the Enterprise.
Go ahead, Captain. I'm here.
We may have a solution.
We have a sample of your normal DNA
to use as a filter in the transporter.
We think that we can beam you aboard
while filtering out the genetic problems caused by the disease.
Interesting theory, Captain.
If it works, we could use the same technique
to save Dr Kingsley and her colleagues.
I think you should know, this has never been attempted before.
I know one thing.
If I live through this,...
..I’ll have a much better understanding of geriatrics.
- All set, Chief? - Almost ready. Just one thing.
- Yes? - This modification's one way only.
If it fails, we can't transport the Doctor back to the planet.
Then I'll operate the transporter controls myself.
If she's going to be consigned to oblivion, then...
Thank you, sir. I'll be monitoring the medical scans.
You'll be able to tell if it's worked by watching the stack.
Dr Pulaski, are you ready?
I suppose I am, Captain.
Here we go.
It's not working.
- Doctor. - Good to see you.
Welcome back, Doctor... Come.
Captain, if this hadn't worked...
If this hadn't worked,
it would have been necessary to beam your energy into empty space.
And spread my atoms across the galaxy?
Yes. I'm sorry...
No, don't be sorry.
Every time I get into that thing, I'm sure that's what's going to happen.
Chief Medical Officer's log, supplemental.
The adults of Darwin Station have been restored to normal health.
They remain on Gagarin IV to continue their research
in hopes of one day rejoining their children.
There she is, Captain.
Scientists believe no experiment is a failure,
that even a mistake advances the evolution of understanding.
Close to 40 kilometers.
40 kilometers. Aye, sir.
But all achievement has a price.
For one glimpse at the mysterious blueprint of human evolution,
the crew of the USS Lantree paid with their lives.
Their sacrifice is thus noted in this scientist's log.
Lt Worf, arm the photon torpedoes.
Torpedoes ready, Commander.
USS Lantree is a quarantined vessel by order of Starfleet Command.
Do not board.
USS Lantree is a quarantined vessel by order of Starfleet Command.
Do not board.
Set course and speed for Star Station India.
Course and speed set, sir.