Commander, away team reporting in. Lt Worf standing by.
This is Riker. Go ahead, Lieutenant.
The archaeologists have identified these markings.
This planet was once home to a race known as the Koinonians.
What do we know, Data?
The Koinonians were a culture
which became embroiled in a war that lasted generations.
Our evidence indicates they destroyed themselves.
We have completed our survey
and will proceed to the chamber.
Affirmative. Enterprise out.
Destroyed themselves, Data?
According to records,
this will be the first opportunity...
Captain... Beam them up quickly!
Captain. Emergency beam-up. Enterprise. Severe injuries.
Transporter room. Beam them straight to sickbay!
Dr Crusher, incoming wounded!
Away team is on board, Captain.
One dead on arrival.
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.
Captain's log, stardate 43198. 7. The Enterprise remains in orbit
while we investigate the tragedy which has struck the away team.
Lt Marla Aster, ship's archaeologist,
has been killed on a routine mission.
Whatever the explanation,
it will not bring back a valued officer.
We had completed our investigation of the third tunnel.
Our scans indicated no weapons or traps of any kind.
Lt Aster was three metres behind me.
An explosive device went off.
There was no warning.
Lt Aster bore the full brunt of the detonation.
Lt Aster is survived by a son, Jeremy.
1 2 years old.
He's aboard the Enterprise, sir.
- And his father? - He's also deceased.
His only living relatives are an aunt and uncle on Earth.
- Where is he now? - In class. The teacher expects us.
I must accompany you. I commanded the away team.
I appreciate your offer, Lieutenant. This is my responsibility.
Picard to bridge. La Forge will lead another away team.
- I want to know what happened. - Yes, Captain.
I will be with Counsellor Troi and young Jeremy Aster.
I understand. Riker out.
- He had to do this for me. - Do you know Jeremy well?
But I know what this will be like for him.
That's part of life in Starfleet.
I know. They prepare us for anything, but still...
I know.
How do you get used to it? Telling them.
You hope you never do.
I sense the weight of this duty on you, Captain.
I really wonder...
I've always believed that carrying children on a starship... a very questionable policy.
Serving on a starship means accepting certain risks,...
..certain dangers.
Did Jeremy Aster make that choice?
Death and loss are an integral part of life everywhere.
Leaving him on Earth would not protect him.
But the Earth won't be ordered to the Neutral Zone.
My command sent his mother to her death.
She understood her mission and my duty.
Will he?
In time... and with help.
Wesley Crusher does.
He does.
And so will Jeremy.
Jeremy, I have some bad news. There has been an accident.
Your mother... has died.
How, sir?
An explosive device at the mission site.
She died instantly.
I understand.
Jeremy, I know your mother loved you very much.
I am told... that your father is also dead.
Yes, sir.
He died five years ago from a Rushton infection.
I'm all alone now, sir.
Jeremy, on the Starship Enterprise, no one is alone.
No one.
Excuse me, sir. Am I intruding?
No, sit down.
How well did you know Lt Aster?
We spent some time together.
Not very well.
- How well did you know her? - Why do you ask?
- Well, you asked me. - But why ask the question?
Since her death, I have been asked several times
how well I knew Lt Aster.
And I heard you ask Wesley how well he knew Jeremy.
Does the question of familiarity
have some bearing on death?
Do you remember when Tasha died?
I do not sense the same feelings of absence
as with Lt Yar.
Although I cannot say precisely why.
- Just human nature. - Human nature, sir?
We feel a loss more intensely when it's a friend.
But should not the feelings run as deep,
regardless of who has died?
Maybe they should.
Maybe if we felt any loss as keenly as for one close to us,
human history would be less bloody.
- La Forge to Riker. - You're back.
Yes, sir. We've brought back a souvenir.
There are five more, all identical to the one that killed Lt Aster.
They employ a subspace proximity detonator.
A tricorder would never detect it.
How long would they have been there?
It comes from the time of the Koinonian Wars, sir.
- Did you find them all, Geordi? - Yeah, but...
Well, it seemed like they were left to be found.
Left by whom? There are no indications of life.
I don't know, Captain.
But they were recently pulled out of the ground and defused.
I have made my report.
I'm more interested in how you feel about what happened.
I sense great anger.
I cannot seek revenge against an enemy
who's turned to dust centuries ago.
Her death was senseless!
The last victim of a forgotten war!
Go on.
There's nothing more to be said.
A person died under your command. It may happen again.
If you can't learn to release the anger and guilt, to talk...
A leader must stand alone.
- As Capt Picard does. - Capt Picard talks to me.
may I seek counsel on my plan to make R'uustai with the boy?
- The Bonding? - It is my right.
It's very generous, Worf, but... he's not a Klingon child.
He has different sensibilities.
He is an orphan. I am an orphan. He will understand.
Right now there isn't much he can understand.
He is holding all his feelings inside.
Children often feel they must be true to the memory of a lost parent.
If you offer affection too soon,
they can feel guilty returning that affection,
as if they're betraying the love of the parent.
I only wish to honour his mother.
I know and I understand this means a great deal to you.
But you must be prepared.
He's very angry, too, but his anger is deep inside him.
When he touches it, it will strike out in many directions,
including yours.
Be with him.
Talk to him, but don't rush this.
When he's ready, we'll know.
Capt Patches, an alien ship! What shall we do?
Oh, no! We've been hit! We're going down.
That was great! Get a shot of Mom.
What are you doing? I'll turn your lens to shards!
Go away! Go away! Over there!
Capt Patches is landing on the sofa!
Oh, no! He's gonna crash!
Jeremy Aster? I'm Lt Worf. May I enter?
You were in command.
Yes. I was with Lt Aster,...
..your mother, when she died.
- You're a Klingon, aren't you? - Yes.
We studied about Klingons in school.
- What did they teach you? - You used to be our enemies.
Did they teach you that we hope to die in the line of duty?
In my tradition, we do not grieve the loss of the body.
We celebrate the releasing of the spirit.
I understand death. They teach us all about it.
Jeremy Aster,
we both understand. But we must bring meaning into your mother's death.
Perhaps we can do it together.
Counsellor, how's the boy?
- He's being very brave. - Good.
No, he has to get past brave.
He's very angry and he has to express that anger
before he can say goodbye to his mother.
How can we help?
Well, I've asked Beverly to get Wesley
to talk to Jeremy about his father's death.
The one unusual element is Worf.
In many ways, he is suffering as badly as the boy.
He wishes to involve Jeremy in a Klingon ceremony
called R'uustai, the Bonding.
I know of that. Perhaps it would help them.
I don't think Jeremy's ready for Worf now. Perhaps later.
It will have to be handled delicately.
As you always do. I break the unpleasant news
and there my responsibility ends. But you...
You have to stay with them through the grieving process.
We deal with our pain in many different ways.
Over the years, I've discovered it's in joy
that the uniqueness of each individual is revealed.
If I can help a person back to joy,...
..well, my role has its rewards.
Captain, we're picking up energy on the planet's surface.
Two kilometres north of the away team's beam-down point.
Full scan.
- Inconclusive, Captain. - Sir,
I'm sensing a presence on the planet.
- Very vague. - Life form?
I can't be sure. The emotions of the crew are so strong now,
it's difficult to filter them out.
Data, scan analysis on main viewer.
Troi stopped by.
She was wondering if you'd talk to Jeremy Aster.
- What for? - About your dad.
What will I tell him?
It would help to talk to someone who's been through this.
We had each other. He doesn't have anyone right now.
He might be more comfortable with someone who's not so much older.
OK, I'll think about it.
- Do you think about him, Mom? - Your father?
Sure I do.
..l can't even remember what his face looks like. It scares me.
It happens to all of us, Wes.
..l can't get his face out of my mind.
Today it's like
I can see it all as if it were yesterday.
I can remember the way Dad looked when he hugged me goodbye,
Capt Picard's eyes when he came to tell us...
Data, run comparison of known phenomena.
The pattern has no match in Federation records.
- Is it alive? - A possibility.
I'm getting an unusual magnetic-flux reading from the pods.
My God...
Wait a minute.
You've got ten seconds more, Mom. No peeking.
Come on, Patches, in here. OK, Mom, we're ready!
Jeremy? I'm getting closer!
Jeremy? I'm gonna find you!
You must be in here somewhere.
All systems are functioning normally.
Still, there's this fluctuation in the containment field.
- Can't account for it. - Is this related to the planet?
There is a beam of particles emanating from it.
But I cannot pinpoint the location.
Captain, there's a presence on the Enterprise.
- An alien presence? - No intruder on the sensors.
There is a presence.
Security, all decks yellow alert. Possible intruder.
- They said you were dead. - There was a mistake.
It's OK.
But there was an explosion. You were hurt.
I'm fine.
You mustn't think any more about this.
The important thing is I'll never leave you again.
I think somebody needs a hug.
We have to go now.
- Where? - To the planet.
- That's where we're going to live. - Not on the Enterprise?
We're gonna live in a home, just like on Earth.
You'll see. I promise.
Lt Worf!
It was a mistake. She didn't die. She's alive!
- Jeremy, come here! - Lt Worf.
It's alright. I'm here for the boy.
- Lt Worf to Capt Picard. - Go ahead.
Lt Aster is in her quarters.
- Repeat, Worf. - Lt Aster is here.
In her quarters with the boy.
Do not provoke her or interfere in any way. Picard out.
Number One, have Security move in that way
but tell them to keep their distance.
You have the bridge.
Don't worry. I'm going to take care of Jeremy, make him happy.
- It's time to go. - Where are you taking the child?
- To the planet. - Come, Jeremy.
Worf to Picard. They're leaving their quarters.
Captain, we're headed for transporter room three.
We're on our way.
Chief O'Brien, Jeremy and I are going to the surface.
- Who are you? - I'm Marla Aster.
- It's my mother. She's alive. - What do you want?
- To take my child to the planet. - I cannot permit that.
I'm here to care for him.
He needs me. Why do you resist?
Because I don't know who or what you are.
Can't you see, Captain?
She appears to be your mother but she is not.
- What? - You're confusing him.
Hey! Wait! Stop! No!
No! Stop! Mom!
Mom? Wait a minute. Let go of me. She was right there.
- What did you do to her? - That was not your mother.
You saw her. She was here.
Your mother's dead.
But I touched her. She was real.
Why would your real mother take you to a planet of dust and rocks?
It's my house. It's my house on Earth.
Exactly the way it was. Remember, Jeremy?
- How did you do it? - Does it matter?
Yes, it matters.
I am trying to understand your resistance.
You spoke of rocks and dust on the planet.
I decided to show you what awaits us.
Why would you create this fantasy?
It's his home.
It makes you happy, doesn't it?
But it's not real.
Isn't it?
Jeremy, isn't that really Patches?
He knows me. It's him.
- It's real. It's all real. - No, it's not.
Could your real mother just make this appear?
You must not stay here. Come with me.
I can't.
Is the boy in danger?
I don't think so. She seems to want to help him.
By easing his pain.
She's very confused by our resistance, Captain.
Troi, would it be wise to remove Jeremy from his cabin?
He doesn't want to leave. I would not recommend using force.
She offers him everything. All we offer is his mother's death.
What would you choose?
If somebody offered to give you back your mother, father, husband,
would any of us say no so easily?
Counsellor, stay with them in Jeremy's quarters.
We'll try to end this from here.
Data, can you determine that the energy source
is powering this creation?
The beam from the planet is tapping into us.
I'd say they're running her off our energy.
So there are limits to her power.
She needs the transporter to get him back.
How do we cut the puppet's strings?
Match the shield's harmonics to our containment fields.
That should sever the beam.
- Proceed. - Deanna, stand by.
Standing by.
Jeremy, it's time for this to end.
It's not real, and it's over now.
Jeremy, I'm not going to leave you ever again.
I won't trick you or lie.
We'll be happy together...
Antimatter pods reading nominal.
The shield has severed the beam, sir.
The energy field...
Mr. Crusher, take us out.
Alien intruder, transporter room three! Security alert!
- Security to transporter room three! - Cmdr La Forge, Mr. Worf, with me.
Number One, you have the bridge.
Come, Jeremy.
We will not let them separate us again.
We're going home.
Captain, she's trying to take Jeremy off the ship.
Engineering, La Forge. Shut down power to transporters.
- I'm on my way. - Aye-aye, sir.
Lt Worf, to transporter room three.
Bridge, seal off deck eight, corridors A and B.
Engaging force fields, Captain.
Transporters down.
Energy force has left transporter room three. Security alert!
La Forge, it may try to reinstate transporters.
Bridge, release security force field 8B.
Hello, Jeremy.
How are you? Are you frightened?
- Well, a little, sir. - Of course.
These are frightening things that are happening.
But we won't let anyone harm you.
Counsellor, take the boy to my quarters.
It's looking over everything, Commander, going to school.
Let's hope it doesn't blow us up
while figuring out how to blow us up.
Power's back in transporter room three.
Bypassing the manual override, shutting it down.
Transporter is down again.
- Keep it down. - Understood, Commander.
It is only a matter of time before we can power the transporters.
We? For whom else do you speak?
The accident on the surface was caused
by a remnant of an ancient and tragic era.
Two species once shared this world.
One of energy and one of matter.
The physical beings you call Koinonians
destroyed themselves in unending, bitter wars.
The surviving life forms
will not tolerate any further suffering
as a result of that dishonourable past.
So... they have made this possible.
They have made me possible.
I appreciate your motives.
But... his mother is dead.
- He must live with that. - I will be every bit his mother!
But not his mother!
- Picard to Lt Worf. - Go ahead, Captain.
Will you escort Ensign Crusher to the Aster quarters?
- Yes, sir. - Picard out.
Your philosophy is curious, Captain.
What is so noble about sorrow?
I can provide him an existence where he will feel no anguish.
It is at the heart of our nature to feel pain... and joy.
It is an essential part of what makes us what we are.
He is alone now in your world. A child!
How can you know he won't be happier with me?
For a brief moment in time, he surely would be.
Any of us in his place would be.
What would Jeremy do for friends?
He will have friends.
And will you provide for his education, his health,
his growth,
a career, a wife?
Yes, it's quite an undertaking you're proposing, isn't it?
It is our duty to make him happy.
Do you honestly believe he would be happy in...
..this total fiction which you wish to create?
What reason would he have to live?
What you offer him is a memory, something to cherish, not to live in.
It is part of our life cycle that we accept the death of those we love.
Jeremy must come to terms with his grief, not cover it.
You see, we are mortal. Our time in this universe is finite.
That is one of the truths that all humans must learn.
Acting Ensign Crusher, reporting as ordered.
Come in, Wesley. Please stay, Lieutenant.
Wesley's father died on a Starfleet mission...
..when he was younger than you are.
Wes, your mother told me
you were finding it difficult to talk to Jeremy. Why is that?
I don't know.
I don't want to think about it.
All this has reminded me so much of that day.
The day I told you your father had been killed. As I recall,
you took it very well.
My parents had told me about Starfleet missions.
- I knew what could happen. - You were prepared?
No. I wasn't prepared at all.
How can anyone be prepared to hear that a parent is never coming home?
I tried to be what everyone expected of me.
Brave and mature.
Wesley, are you saying that you didn't want anybody
to see what you were feeling?
What were you feeling?
Like... somebody had kicked me in the head.
Go on. You've wanted to tell him for a long time.
I was angry... at you!
Why were you angry at me, Wesley?
Were you angry because I told you your father was dead?
- No. - Then why?
Because you led the mission.
You came home and my father didn't.
- How long were you angry, Wes? - For a long time.
But not any more, sir.
Not even a little.
So, Jeremy, you must be very angry at Lieutenant Worf.
He was in charge of your mother's mission just like Capt Picard,
when Wesley's father was killed. Isn't that right?
Worf came back. Your mother didn't.
Why? Why weren't you the one who died? Why did it have to be her?
He can't answer that. None of us can.
Lt Worf also lost his parents.
They were killed when I was six. When I was alone, humans helped me.
Let me help you.
The Marla Aster I knew and honoured is not in this room.
Nor does she await you on the planet.
She now only lives here...
..and here.
Join me in the R'uustai, the Bonding.
You will become part of my family for all time.
We will be brothers.
What does that mean?
It honours the memory of our mothers.
We have bonded and our families are stronger.

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