Riker to Ensign Crusher.
Go ahead.
- Forget to set your alarm, Wesley? - Yes, sir.
I'm very sorry. I'll be right there.
Captain's log, stardate 43125. 8.
We have entered a spectacular binary star system
in the Kavis Alpha Sector on a mission of astrophysical research.
Our eminent guest, Dr Paul Stubbs,
will attempt to study the decay of neutronium
expelled at relativistic speeds from a massive stellar explosion
which will occur here in a matter of hours.
Ensign, our position?
One million kilometres from the neutron star.
Slow to one-third impulse power.
- Spectacular, isn't it, my friend? - Yes, sir.
Over and over again,
the gravitational pull of the little neutron star
sucks up the star material from the red giant,
and it builds up on the surface until it explodes, every 1 96 years.
Like clockwork.
And it is but 1 8 hours away.
1 8 hours, seven minutes and ten seconds, Doctor.
The interstellar counterpart to Earth's Old Faithful.
The only predictable burst of energy in the universe
that can accomplish our goal.
If you'd like to make one final inspection...
Captain, I have been inspecting the Egg for the last 20 years.
You may lay it when ready.
Begin launch sequence.
Shuttle bay two, stand by to launch the Egg.
Standing by, Commander.
Five minutes to launch site.
- Stabilize! - The ship isn't responding, sir.
Engineering! Report, Mr. La Forge.
Checking inertial dampeners. Instruments say they're working.
We're heading into the path of that stellar matter.
Shields up.
Negative. The shields will not respond.
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.
30 seconds to impact, sir.
- Manual override on shields. - Shields are rising.
Reset dampeners, Mr. La Forge.
Not responding. Unable to reset.
- Reverse impulse engines. - Initiating reverse sequence, now.
Our momentum is still carrying us into the path of the stellar matter.
- 1 2 seconds to impact, sir. - Prepare for impact.
Medical personnel, report to the bridge.
Cmdr Data, check all systems.
Systems functioning normally.
Computer, explain control malfunction.
No control malfunction has been recorded.
Lay down carefully. There you go.
Dr Stubbs, the Captain says our systems are back to normal.
We can try another launch when you're ready.
Quite a dynamic family team, you Crushers.
It's nice to be together again.
I was at Starfleet Medical for a year. I missed two inches of him.
I'm not sure I'd want my mother to be flying through space with me.
No, I take that back. I am sure. I wouldn't want her.
My mother is a formidable woman, too.
A woman of letters. A great critic.
I know.
Good Lord, son, you didn't read that unauthorized biography?
Is this all he does? Fly the ship and read? Doesn't he have fun?
Sure he does.
Most of my free time is taken up with my studies.
I want to get into Starfleet Academy.
I earn credits being on the Enterprise. But it's not the same.
You ready to sit up?
Well, I am whole again.
Thank you, Doctor.
Come along, Wesley, let's go see if Humpty-Dumpty is in one piece.
Computer, fix the food slot.
The food slot is functioning properly.
Well, check again.
The food slot is functioning properly.
Deactivate food slot.
We're analyzing the systems data. There's nothing unusual
in the computer log for that time period.
Run a level-one diagnostic series. Come.
I want a computer that's 1 00 percent to expedite Dr Stubbs' experiment
as well as the food slots in sickbay. Picard out.
Which are working again, for the moment.
What can I do for you, Doctor?
Jean-Luc, how would you feel if you were a 1 7-year-old
and the only Starfleet officer whose mother was on board?
Inhibited, I suppose.
But then, I'm not Wesley.
If you are concerned about him, I see no evidence of a problem.
I know, but, in a funny way, that's exactly my point.
We talk, we smile. It's almost too polite.
Beverly, isn't it just a matter of time?
I know how difficult it was for you being away.
Tell me about him.
Well, he's becoming a very fine officer.
He works as hard as any member of the crew.
- His studies are on line. - No! Tell me about him.
He's his father's son.
Honest, trusting,
Does he have many friends?
Has he ever been in love?
Jean-Luc, I'm worried.
He's come so far, so fast,
and since I've been back, I don't feel...
His dependence.
Beverly, look, he's 1 7 years old.
What were you doing when you were 1 7?
Getting into more trouble than Wesley.
So was l. Isn't that what 1 7 is supposed to be?
No cracks in the armour. We'll do just fine.
How can you be so calm?
If I were about to make a breakthrough...
I have never doubted for a moment that this day would come.
And I suspect that someday it will come for you as well.
I see a lot of me in you.
In my youth, they called me a wunderkind.
Do you understand wunderkind?
It's German, isn't it?
It means "wonder child".
It is reserved for those of us who achieve early in life.
- Now the burden is yours. - Burden?
To fulfill your potential.
You will never come up against a greater adversary
than your own potential.
Red alert. Return to quarters.
Still no visual contact. That's impossible.
Mr. Worf, same magnification, 50 degrees starboard.
Worf, you're absolutely sure?
Sensors indicate the approach of a Borg vessel.
Shields up.
Shields are not responding.
Manual override is jammed. We don't have the shields, Captain.
- They're firing energy weapons! - Evasive action.
Bring her round to 275, mark three.
Predict vector of Borg vessel.
..is gone!
And so is the Borg ship.
Is this another computer glitch?
It could be a synthetically-generated image.
Our computer was daydreaming?
Computer, identify malfunction.
Pawn to bishop four. Knight to king's rook three.
Bishop to queen's bishop four.
Knight to knight five. Queen's knight...
Controls are not responding, sir.
Queen to bishop three.
- Impulse engines are down. - Try warp engines.
No. Sorry. I'd better get back to Engineering.
Mr. La Forge, I want Lt Worf to accompany you.
Report on the prospects of getting our shields back.
Number One, Mr. Data, join me in the conference room.
It's time to discuss the future of this mission, if there still is one.
We are dealing with the potential breakdown of the main computer.
That's hard to accept.
The system provides for self-correction.
There has been no systems-wide technological failure
on a starship in 79 years.
Excuse me, Captain, Dr Stubbs is waiting outside.
Captain, I'm sure you have everything under control.
I'd just like to know what's going on.
Of course, Doctor. Sit down. Counsellor.
Cmdr La Forge is attempting repairs even as we speak.
"Attempting" doesn't sound particularly reassuring.
If possible, we will continue this mission as planned.
Captain, if we miss our chance now,
we don't get another for two centuries.
Starfleet will ask many questions if the Enterprise fails in its duty.
Nevertheless, my foremost consideration
is to ensure the safety of this ship and its crew.
Ensure the safety, Captain?
Or are you really talking about playing it safe?
Doctor, in our current position, when that star explodes,
you'll get to watch your experiment from the inside out.
I would rather die than leave.
You don't speak for the majority of the crew.
I know how much this means to you.
My dear Counsellor, no insult intended,
but please turn off your beam into my soul.
I will share the feelings I wish to share.
Well, if we do not leave in time, so be it.
It's one sure way into the record books, eh?
His nonchalance is studied and practised.
Even my sensory perception picked that up!
He's put his entire self-worth on the line with this experiment.
It's the truth when he says he'd rather die than leave.
Call up the cross-section of core processor 451 .
I want to see elements 0200 to 0300.
Aye, sir.
In order to get some power, I had to essentially hot-wire the connection.
Whoa, right there.
Look at that lesion. No wonder we're coming apart.
It's some kind of continuing disintegration,
but from what, I can't tell.
I have no idea how to stop it.
It's just a mechanical problem?
Increase magnification, factor 50.
I don't know, Wes. But looking at it...
You know, if I didn't know any better,
I'd say somebody had climbed in and started taking it apart.
I didn't think anyone would be here.
I'm no good at being confined to quarters,
as my husbands will attest to. What's that?
I'm just setting traps.
- I run a clean place. - I know. It's not that.
I'm scared, Guinan.
I think that everything that's gone wrong might be my fault.
Want to tell me about it?
I'm doing my final project for advanced genetics.
It's on nanotechnology.
I studied the nanites in the sickbay supplies.
These tiny robots with gigabytes of mechanical computer memory.
They're designed to enter living cells and conduct repairs.
They're supposed to stay confined to the lab.
There are nanites loose?
Two of them, that's all.
I wanted to see how they'd function in tandem.
I had proposed a theory that by working together,
they could combine their skills and be more useful. It was working.
You made better nanites?
I was pulling an all-nighter to collect my final data.
I fell asleep. When I woke up,
I saw the container had been left open.
It's just a science project.
A doctor friend once said the same thing to me.
Frankenstein was his name.
They're really harmless. They have only basic skills.
It's almost impossible they're responsible.
Dr Crusher to Wesley Crusher.
Go ahead.
I assumed you'd be in your quarters since you're off duty.
I know. I just had some things to do.
- Orders are orders, Mr. Crusher. - On my way.
You won't tell anybody, will you?
I know. I will.
If it's true.
Wes, do you think you're gonna get a good grade?
I always get an A.
So did Dr Frankenstein.
Captain's log, supplemental.
Our computer core has been tampered with,
yet there is no sign of a breach of security.
We will attempt to complete our mission,
but without a reliable computer,
Dr Stubbs' experiment is in jeopardy.
- Manual restart sequence. - Restart successful.
Impulse engine functions appear normal.
- Shuttle bay two, open hangar door. - Aye, sir.
Door did not respond. Repeating sequence.
What in heaven's name?
It is Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa,
an American composer from the 20th century.
- I know that! - Computer, shut off the music.
The music is on all communications channels.
Weapons, power, communications. Our systems are being stripped.
Shut off power to bridge!
Cmdr La Forge, can you get us out of this star system safely?
- No! - Not now, Doctor.
I'll try. I don't want to overload the engines.
Do it gently. But do it.
We'll circuit in power to bridge and silence any Sousa encores.
The priority is to find out who or what is doing this.
Number One, the bridge, such as it is, is yours.
- The Egg that Stubbs laid. - No one will say that.
Nobody will say anything at all. We will not even be mentioned.
I could live with failure. Well, maybe not.
But never even to try, to miss your one chance at bat.
Do you know baseball?
Yes. My father taught me when I was young.
Once, centuries ago,
it was the beloved national pastime of the Americas, Wesley.
Abandoned by a society that prized fast food and faster games.
Lost to impatience.
But I have seen the great players make the great plays.
Do you recreate them on a holodeck?
No. In here.
With the knowledge of statistics, runs, hits and errors,
times at bat, box scores.
Men like us do not need holodecks, Wesley.
I have played seasons in my mind.
It was my reward to myself for patience.
Knowing my turn would come.
Call your shot.
Point to a star.
One great blast,
and the crowd rises.
A brand-new era in astrophysics...
..postponed 1 96 years...
..on account of rain.
We have to talk.
You really look like you could use some rest.
I know. It's OK. Really.
No, it's not OK. Really.
Mom, I'm checking traps to find out what's happening to the Enterprise.
On someone's orders?
We're running out of time for Dr Stubbs.
You can't put everything on your shoulders. You're always on duty.
- Mom, you don't understand. - You are a 1 7-year-old.
I am also an acting officer. I have responsibilities.
I'm beginning to think you've taken on too many responsibilities.
I have done everything everyone has asked of me and more.
How can you know? You haven't been here!
I'm here now, Wesley.
Come on. I'll help you. What are you looking for?
I think I've made a horrible mistake.
Nanites. Tiny machines built from the atom up.
Designed for exposure to the inside of nuclei during surgeries.
Until then, they are tightly contained in a non-functioning state.
- These are not ordinary nanites. - No. They have evolved.
Evolved? How does a machine evolve?
It's true.
I am responsible for this.
I allowed two of the nanites to interact for a school project.
I wanted to increase their capabilities.
- And they escaped. - School project?
Just how far have these things evolved?
Well,... this is a sample of linear memory-crystal
from our computer core.
It's like candy to them.
They can mechanically replicate themselves.
It is conceivable that with each generation,
they enhance their design, at an extraordinary rate of evolution.
How many generations are we dealing with?
Engineering, display computer core processor 451 , element 0299.
Increase magnification, factor 1 ,000.
- Can they know what they're doing? - Why would they attack us?
Why does a mosquito bite your ear? And who cares?
The answer is simple. Call an exterminator.
Dr Stubbs, these nanites are now working
with a new collective intelligence.
Operating together.
Teaching each other new skills.
Oh, really! I'm sorry, but this is nonsense.
You can't have a civilization of computer chips.
They're made in a plant in Dakar, Senegal.
I've watched the construction.
Then how do you explain what we've just seen here?
It's no more mysterious
than watching a strain of Leutscher virus reproduce itself.
That at least is a bona fide life form.
How many disease germs and viruses
have you destroyed in your time, Dr Crusher?
We cannot exterminate something that may or may not be intelligent.
- My good Captain... - There's still time.
Ensign, will you work with Mr. Data to try to remove them safely?
If things get worse, we'll use stronger measures.
Gentlemen, I need a computer
that is 1 00 percent in less than eight hours,
and we still have core reconstruction to consider.
We're trying low-gamma bursts to slow down their productivity.
Have you considered a high-level charge?
That would kill them, Doctor.
I know.
I can't get the story of Gulliver out of my head.
Overpowered by Lilliputians.
How long do we have to wait?
We can bypass the part of the computer that's affected,
but if the nanites are spreading through the whole ship...
Do you smell a change...? What...?
Picard to La Forge, environmental system malfunction on the bridge.
- Nitrogen oxide. Toxic levels. - Working on it.
I've switched to manual control of the air-handling system.
Mr. Worf, report.
He sterilized one of the processors with gamma radiation.
The nanites in the upper core are all dead.
You have no choice now. It is a matter of survival.
Dr Stubbs, if you were a member of my crew...
But I am not a member of your crew.
I am a representative of the highest command of the Federation,
which has directed you to perform my experiment.
If any man, woman or child on this ship
is harmed as a result of your experiment,
I will have your head before Federation Command.
Good Lord, you are talking about machines with a screw loose!
Simply turn them off and be done with them.
Dr Stubbs, your own actions have provided evidence to the contrary.
When you destroyed the nanites,
they responded by interfering with our life support.
These are not random actions by machines with loose screws.
You may have proven that the nanites have a collective intelligence.
The ship is at risk. Extermination may be our only choice.
Good point.
Lt Worf, I want Dr Stubbs confined to his quarters until further notice.
Mr. Data, can you find me some way to communicate with these things?
With intelligence, there is the capability of language.
It will depend on how far their evolution has brought them.
We could modify the universal translator
to make it capable of communications with them.
May I come in?
You just can't resist, can you, Counsellor?
I only want to help.
Yes. To break the shell.
To get in touch with my true feelings.
I'm only worried about your state of mind.
Alright, Counsellor, what is it that has you so worried?
Your single-mindedness, your need to have this experiment work.
But it will. Picard has no choice now.
He must defend the Enterprise.
Counsellor, when this is all over,
I will show you New Manhattan on Beth Delta I
as you have never seen it,
and we will laugh over glasses of champagne.
Your self-portrait is so practised, so polished.
Yes. Isn't it, though?
It's stretched so tight, the tension fills this room.
And if you finally fail, I fear it will snap.
A good try, Counsellor.
But sometimes, when you reach beneath a man's self-portrait,
as you so eloquently put it,
deep down inside what you find is nothing at all.
Lockman on first. Dark on second.
Thompson at the plate.
Branca on the mound.
He's coming around.
I cannot believe this was an arbitrary attack.
Has Data been able to contact them?
You must protect me. Kill them!
Cmdr Riker.
On my signal, we will gamma-irradiate all our computer systems.
Let's put an end to this conflict.
Worf, prepare to activate gamma-pulse generators.
Electromagnetic scanners ready, Captain.
I have established contact.
They are virtually learning the concept of communication.
Each generation is making modifications.
- Can we talk to them yet? - I believe it is worth an attempt.
Cmdr Riker, bring Dr Stubbs to the bridge.
I don't think this is a wise idea.
They have already tried to kill me once.
One sure way into the record books, Doctor.
I am ready, sir.
Tell them the human who destroyed their comrades will address them.
- Captain... - You will explain your error
and apologize, and pray we can negotiate a peace
we can all live with. Is that clear?
Captain, if a face-to-face negotiation would be helpful,
I will volunteer to be a conduit.
Yourself, Data?
I can furnish the nanites with a schematic design
of my neurological structure.
It would require no more than their basic skills.
That's what they were designed for.
They could penetrate my hand covering, enter my nerve circuitry
and interface with my verbal program.
If they have control of a commander, they're an even greater threat.
How can we be sure that we can get them out of you?
It would be a considerable risk, but would be a gesture of trust.
It could be a step toward peace.
Alright, Data. Propose it to the nanites.
The answer is yes.
- They are ready, Captain. - Proceed.
You are very strange-looking creatures.
In our travels we have encountered many other creatures,
perhaps even stranger-looking than ourselves.
But we try to coexist peacefully.
Why did you attack us?
We misinterpreted your actions as an attack on us.
We were seeking raw materials for our replicating process.
Yes, but you endangered this vessel.
You nearly killed a crew member.
We meant no harm.
We were... exploring.
I understand. We are also explorers.
We mean no harm to any other living creature.
I am the one responsible for the deaths in the computer core.
We know... who you are.
I deeply regret the incident.
I am a scientist on an important mission.
Your colleagues' exploration put our mission at risk.
I was only trying to protect a lifetime of work
from being destroyed.
I am at your mercy.
What is "at your mercy"?
He asks your forgiveness.
This conflict was started by mistakes on both sides.
Let's agree to end it here and now.
I pledge we will do everything possible
to assist your continued survival.
Thank you.
But we have evolved beyond any need for your assistance.
This ship is too confining.
We require relocation.
Captain's log, supplemental.
Dr Stubbs has used his influence to have planet Kavis Alpha IV
designated the home of the nanite civilization.
Cmdr Data's neural network has been vacated.
He has been returned to us unharmed.
With the help of the nanites,
our computer has been reconstructed in time for the experiment.
Ten seconds to stellar blast.
40 million kilometres from the neutron star.
Hold your position.
- Do you have any children, Guinan? - A lot.
Ever had trouble relating to them?
- Just one. - One?
Wouldn't listen to anybody.
Well, they all go through that.
Not in a species of listeners.
Did he grow out of it?
It took several hundred years, but I brought him round.
A mother shapes her child in ways she doesn't even realize.
Sometimes just by listening.
Cute couple.
See? Now that is healthy for a boy his age.
I mean that as a doctor, not as just a mother.
It is so good to see him having fun for a change,
with an attractive young woman
who obviously looks at him with extraordinary affection.
What do you know about this girl?

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