There you are.
- What's wrong? - Something jabbed me in the calf.
O'Brien, Cmdr Riker's injured. Bring him up.
- Geordi... - It's just a scratch? Right. Sorry.
We're the first team on this planet. We don't know what the risks are.
O'Brien, what's the hold-up?
The transporter shows unidentified microbes in Cmdr Riker.
- Can't the biofilter screen 'em out? - No. Dr Pulaski has been notified.
- Acknowledged. - I wasn't ready to leave anyway.
Here's the biofilter analysis of the microbes.
Not much to go on.
I can override and beam Cmdr Riker aboard.
No. I'd better go down and make an evaluation there.
I hope these are the right coordinates.
Just kidding. I know you love the transporter.
About as much as I love comical transporter chiefs.
Over here, Doctor.
Fill me in.
I was walking along doing a simple geological sweep.
Something stuck me in the leg.
- Any pain? - No. It's just a little numb.
- Do you know what stuck you? - We've looked. No luck.
Whatever it is, it left something behind. I'll take you up to sickbay.
O'Brien, this is Dr Pulaski. Medical override is authorized.
This is the strangest feeling. My leg just went dead.
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, stardate 42976. 1.
During a survey on Surata IV,
Cmdr Riker has become infected by an unidentified microbe.
- Number One. - Captain.
Put your foot where it didn't belong?
The Doctor was bored so I gave her a challenge.
That you did.
Cmdr Riker's nervous system has been invaded by an unknown microorganism.
Not a bacteria, not a virus, but with elements of both.
There's the point of entry.
The microbes are infecting the great sciatic nerve,
and they are multiplying at an incredible rate. There.
- Can you remove it? - Not surgically.
The organisms fuse to the nerve, intertwining at the molecular level.
That's why the transporter's biofilters couldn't extract it.
There's no evidence of nerve damage
but the organisms are impeding nervous function.
- My leg's still asleep. - Prognosis?
The infection is spreading. It will eventually reach the brain.
And if it interfered with neural activity?
Cmdr Riker could die.
How can I help?
I need to know more about its composition.
- For that you need a sample. - Exactly.
Cmdr Data, Mr La Forge, prepare to beam down to the planet.
I must reiterate, it would be better if I went alone.
Don't like my company?
Your company is not at issue. Your vulnerability is.
I'll watch my step. Besides, this bug may prefer androids to humans.
Possible, but highly unlikely. In any event, why risk both of us?
Because I know where he was when it happened.
Mr O'Brien, ... energize.
He was right over here.
I am detecting no animal life forms within 50 kilometers.
However, I am reading extensive animal remains, mostly fossilized.
I do not know.
Look at this.
The structure is rhizomatous.
- Careful. - I'm always careful.
It appears to be dead.
I'm not so sure. I'm seeing thermal variations.
Let it go. Let's try something. Maybe it likes humans over androids.
If so, you could be placing yourself in danger.
I know. I'm counting on those great android... reflexes of yours.
That must be what we're looking for.
I tend to agree.
Stand by, O'Brien.
Got it. Energize!
Thanks, O'Brien. Another minute and we'd have been fossils, too.
Not precisely. True fossilization requires several millennia.
- Here's your sample. - Get it to sickbay right away.
Captain, Cmdr Riker's injury was not accidental.
Certain vines seek warm-blooded beings and deliberately infect them.
To what end?
Unknown, sir. There might be a symbiotic relationship involved.
There are many animal remains around,
leading me to hypothesize that the vines could be predatory.
Vines infect animals in order to kill them?
It is possible.
For Cmdr Riker's sake, I hope my hypothesis is in error.
Unfortunately, Cmdr Data, your hypotheses rarely are.
Is there nothing to cure this infection?
This microorganism is very mysterious.
I can't even figure out what's keeping it alive.
- Or how to kill it? - I can kill it.
But not without destroying the nerves it's inhabiting.
I know you're doing your best.
My best may not be good enough.
Why wouldn't I be? They wait on me hand and foot.
I just hope they don't find out that I'm faking it.
I wish you were faking it.
- I've seen the thorn. - Yes. So have I. It looks harmless.
Well, these things happen.
When least expected.
I'm surprised they don't happen more often. We are exploring the unknown.
And the unknown can be benign...
One of the things I've learned on these voyages, and from you,
is that most life forms act out of an instinct for survival, not malice.
It's an important lesson,
and I admire your lack of resentment, Number One.
If you drop a hammer on your foot,
there's no use getting mad at the hammer.
- Anything? - Not yet.
What can I do?
You can get out of my hair.
Aye aye, Doctor.
The bug is persistent, I admit.
But I'm not worried. We Rikers are ornery too.
My great-grandfather once got bit by a rattlesnake.
After three days of intense pain, the snake died.
You're a very entertaining patient.
- You're trying hard to be cheerful. - You, of all people, should know.
You feel what anyone in your position would feel.
As the First Officer on this ship, I have to set an example.
- Even now? - Now more than ever.
Deanna, facing death is the ultimate test of character.
I don't want to die, but if I have to, I hope to do it with some pride.
And a lot of impudence.
Dying's bad enough, but to lose my sense of humour? Forget it.
I haven't given up yet.
It's spread to the spinal column.
It's weakening his autonomic nervous system.
Judging by its present rate of growth and its infiltration pattern,
the infection will spread to the brain within an hour.
Medical log, stardate 42976.3.
I can't keep the alien infection from spreading to Riker's brain.
Once there, it will kill him by dampening neural impulses.
I can only keep him alive by forcing the neurons to stay active,
by stimulating them directly with electrical impulses.
Stand by with five milligrams of tricordrazine in case of seizure.
We have stimulated random activity but the patterns are erratic.
Hang on, Will. Hang on.
The wave patterns are still too irregular.
Why won't they stabilize?
Wait. I've found the right amplitude.
The patterns are steadier.
Is it preventing the infection from taking hold?
The vertex waves show a K-complex corresponding to an REM state.
Marvellous. How easily humans do that.
I still need much practice.
There are some puzzles down on...
..the planet that the Captain wants answered.
He suggests you for my away team.
I shall endeavour to function adequately.
When the Captain suggested you, I looked up your record.
A wise procedure.
Your rank of Lieutenant Commander is honorary?
Starfleet class of '78. Honours in probability mechanics and exobiology.
- But the file says you're a... - Machine. Does that trouble you?
To be honest, yes.
Understood, sir. Prejudice is very human.
That troubles me. Do you consider yourself superior?
I am superior, in many ways. But I'd gladly give it up to be human.
Nice to meet you, ... Pinocchio.
You'll be an interesting companion.
What should I say? How do I act? What do I do?
Guinan, I need your help. Step over here.
Sounds simple enough.
Now, first words are important. You may want to start like this.
You are the most beautiful woman in the galaxy.
But that might not work.
Yes. It would.
I've so wanted to say that.
- But you were afraid? - Yes.
- Of me? - Of us, what we might become.
- That you might think it was a line. - Maybe I do think it's a line.
- You think I'm not sincere? - I didn't say that.
What's wrong with a line? It's like a knock at the door.
- You're inviting me in? - I'm not sending you away.
- It's more than I expected. - Is it what you hoped?
To hope is to recognize the possibility. I had only dreams.
- Dreams can be dangerous. - Not these.
I dream of a galaxy where your eyes are the stars
and the universe worships the night.
Careful. Putting me up so high, you may not be able to reach me.
Then I'll learn how to fly.
You're the heart in my day and the soul in my night.
This isn't my style.
Shut up, kid.
Tell me more about... my eyes.
I couldn't go without saying goodbye.
I don't like goodbyes. How about "Until next time"?
How about "Until next time"?
It's been a pleasure working with you, Commander.
The feeling is mutual, ... Counsellor.
I'm supposed to know how everyone feels, but...
..I can't read you right now.
Perhaps your own feelings are getting in the way.
My job is to help others with their emotions.
My own feelings are beside the point.
Not to me. Our feelings are what make us all human.
Are you feeling sad?
Yes, I am.
So am I.
Experiencing feelings of... warmth and friendship.
He's reliving memories. It's a side effect of neural stimulation.
Look at this. The organism's metabolism has changed.
Perhaps the stimulation is affecting them.
I'm going to refocus the impulse pattern on the interpretative cortex.
- To intensify his memories? - Exactly.
We'll see if that affects the microbes.
Everyone, we've brought the visitors.
Please, enjoy what we have.
Gentlemen, if this is what you call enhancement, ...
..you've got a gift for understatement.
What's a knockout like you
doing in a computer-generated gin joint like this?
- Waiting for you. - Waiting for me?
- You can't be serious. - Yes, Will.
I've never been more serious in my life.
No. It's just that Cmdr Riker's emotions are... rather passionate.
- As in erotic? - Very much so.
A dream? Is that what this is? Is that what I am?
I know you're a computer-generated image, but...
..your smell, ... your touch, the way you feel, ...
..even the things you say and think seem so real.
How far can this relationship go?
I mean, how real are you?
As real as you need me to be.
You resist. Don't you find me attractive?
Yes, I find you very attractive.
You attract me like no man has.
It's not my function to seduce or be seduced
by the leader of another world.
- It's not the reason. - No.
But will you still respect me tomorrow?
I hope so.
- William, is something wrong? - What do you mean?
Do you not like girls?
Of course I do.
Is there a special technique to this foot washing?
You generally start at the top and work your way down.
I think I can handle that.
I was hoping you might.
The organisms responded alright. Their growth rate has doubled.
Then all we've done is make things worse.
So the growth rate is related to the memories he's experiencing.
Or the emotions they produce.
Different mental processes generate different chemicals.
Perhaps the organisms are sensitive to brain endorphins.
So if some types of endorphins attract them...
Others will repel them.
I'll change the differential current patterns, see what happens.
- We're not going without our crew. - I warn you.
People need attention. We won't hurt you, but we must help them.
The creature attacked. Yar is down.
- It feeds on phaser energy. - We had no effect on it.
What's Lt Yar's condition?
- Dr Crusher, report! - She's dead.
I'm losing life signs.
You must save him.
Growth rate has definitely slowed. What is he feeling? Can you tell?
Which is the opposite of before.
With the opposite effect on the infection.
Then your theory's correct.
The organisms are sensitive to different types of endorphins.
- And negative emotions... - Such as sadness...
..produce endorphins that inhibit the organism's growth.
Then we can repel the infection.
- Assuming we're not too late. - How much time do we have?
I'm not sure. His vital signs are getting weaker.
I can't risk another dose of tricordrazine unless I have to.
I must refocus the pattern again.
We need to isolate memories that generate stronger negative emotions.
I know I can count on every Klingon warrior in this crew
to serve and die in that battle.
So, I ask you again, Cmdr Riker, where are your loyalties?
I've been assigned to serve this ship and to obey your orders
and I will do exactly that.
- You'll take an oath to that effect? - I just did.
This is your Second Officer, Lt Klag.
Is there something you wanted to say?
I do not believe you.
You challenge my authority over you?
And your position on this, Captain?
I would say it is your first command decision.
Ready for your tour, Admiral?
Quite ready, Commander.
- What's in the case? - I brought it for Dr Crusher.
Perhaps you would like to see it?
- What is it? - A form of life.
It was discovered accidentally by a survey team on an uncharted planet.
- Why haven't we heard about it? - You will do shortly.
First, there remains scientific study to be done.
- 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.
We've reduced the growth, but not enough.
His vital signs are deteriorating.
But we've isolated the specific areas to stimulate.
The feelings were... primal.
They must produce an endorphin that poisons the organisms.
Can't you intensify that emotion?
I can refocus the impulse pattern even tighter.
I don't know if he can withstand it. He's extremely weak.
Do we have a choice?
If we don't neutralize the infection, within half an hour he'll be dead.
Medical log, supplemental.
Cmdr Riker's condition is still critical.
I've discovered a way to reverse the infection's growth,
but I may be too late.
He's getting weaker, isn't he?
Respiration shallow, heartbeat irregular, but we can't delay.
Take us home and leave us with our medicine, or he dies.
Don't you see I have no choice? We were sent to bring felicium back.
The suffering on my planet is too great. People are dying.
Whether we are entitled to it or not, 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 man will die. - I will not be coerced.
I will do it... I will kill him.
Who are you?
Data, something's got me!
- Touch him and he dies. - No, don't!
- Armus has enveloped Cmdr Riker. - I'm beaming you up.
If any of you leave now, he dies.
And so do the survivors of the crash.
The growth rate's down to seven percent.
The organisms are still impairing his neural functions.
Respiration erratic, pulse irregular,
blood pressure almost nil. Tricordrazine.
Can we tighten the pattern further?
Recognize Picard, Jean-Luc. Captain.
Recognize Riker, William T. Commander.
Set auto-destruct sequence.
Does the First Officer concur?
Yes. Set auto-destruct sequence. Now.
Auto-destruct will detonate in four minutes and 59 seconds.
- I am Korris. - We'll handle the formalities later.
Right now we have to get off this ship. Any other survivors?
- I have found a quicker way out. - Check him out.
He is alive, but barely.
- Then pick up the body and let's go. - No.
- I will carry him. - As you wish.
C'mon, let's go!
Tasha, go to transporter room three.
- I want you there when they return. - Aye, sir.
Commander, this ship is blowing!
Transporter room, have you got us?
Too much interference. Get away from the engineering section.
The engineering section's critical. Destruction is imminent.
There are no options! Do it! Now!
The growth rate's almost at zero.
That's not good enough.
We seek peaceful coexistence.
Data, something's got me!
Data, something's got me!
- Sickbay to bridge. - Yes, Doctor?
We've eradicated the infection.
I'm on my way.
You're still here?
I could ask you the same question.
How do you feel?
You wouldn't believe my dreams.
Yes, we would.
You'll be pleased to hear we've terminated the infection.
Great work, Doctor. Now, if I can get out of here, I'll return to...
Lie still. I still have a few dozen tests to run.
- Why? I feel fine. - There may be residual memory loss.
I want to be certain you still know who you are.
Of course I know who I am.
I'm Capt Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise.
I'm delighted you're feeling better, ... Captain.
The Admiral and I were worried about you.
Captain, you do not have the authority to promote me to Admiral.