Captain's log, star date 44143.7.
We have moved into Sector 21947
in response to a distress call from a Talarian observation craft.
The alien vessel appears adrift,
and our scans detect a life-threatening radiation leak
within its propulsion system.
- No further response. - Maintain an open channel.
Dr Crusher is in transporter room three.
Sir, during the Galen border conflict,
it was a common tactic of the Talarians
to abandon their craft, rig them to self-destruct...
And issue a general distress call. Yes, I know.
That guerrilla manoeuvre resulted in 219 fatalities in three days.
Can we detect a self-destruct device?
Negative, sir. The Talarians use a subspace proximity detonator.
It is not detectable by our scans.
Or the away team's tricorders. Right.
The Talarian warship, the Q'Maire, is answering the distress call.
- Position? - In the Woden Sector.
It'll take them hours to get here.
There is life on board and it's fading.
Assemble the away team. Prepare for rescue operations.
Yes, sir.
Ancillary power is failing.
They're nothing more than children.
I am Cmdr Riker of the starship Enterprise.
We will evacuate you. You will not be harmed.
Prepping five Talarian males to be transported to sickbay.
Trauma team, stand by.
Radiation burns, possible respiratory distress.
- Transport locked in. - Stand by for my orders.
Captain, this appears to be a basic training ship.
Five boys, all teens, all wearing uniforms.
Proceed with the evacuation.
- No other life signs aboard. - Commander, quickly.
- What is it? - This boy's human.
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, supplemental.
We have completed an evacuation of four Talarians and one human.
How this young man found himself amongst these aliens is a mystery.
It's Jono, right? Is that what I heard them call you?
I'm Dr Crusher. I'm checking for radiation injuries. It won't hurt.
I have a son not much older than you.
Perhaps you'd like to meet him.
Well, Jono, you seem to have escaped radiation damage.
- Pretty lucky. - Dr Crusher.
Now how did this happen?
- What is it? - They're terrified.
They all just started up.
Please may I have your attention?
Please may I have your attention?
Stop that immediately!
Well, that's better. Now, what's your name, young man?
He won't talk, Captain. We haven't been able to get through to him.
I am Jono.
Take me home to my captain.
Take me home to Endar.
He escaped radiation trauma, but the scan shows something else.
Two previously fractured ribs, a broken arm and concussion.
There might be neurological damage. I'd like to examine him further.
The Talarians are known to be ruthless to their enemies.
I think there's a possibility they may have brutalized the child.
Isn't it possible the injuries were caused prior to his captivity?
Not likely. He's been with them a long time.
Long enough to assimilate their cultural traits.
Calcium traces show that the injuries took place in the past seven years.
If they abused him, why would he wish to return to them?
It's not uncommon.
It was identified centuries ago as the Stockholm Syndrome.
Jono! What is it?
I just suggested he take off his gloves. He lost control.
Security, we need assistance.
- Jono! - She wants to dissect me!
- She wants to help you. - I don't want her help!
Send us back to Capt Endar!
Jono, I want you to stop this immediately!
Yes, Captain.
Good. That's better. If we're to accomplish anything...
- Data to Picard. - Go ahead.
We have received a communiqué from Starfleet about the young human.
Very well. Doctor, Counsellor.
Lt Worf, escort this young man to quarters.
He is to be confined until further notice.
Yes, Doctor.
Why are you here, Klingon, with them? Did they capture you, too?
They are not my captors. They are my comrades.
Why do you take orders from a female?
Dr Crusher. She is my superior officer.
Among my people, a female can never outrank a man.
You are human.
Among humans, females can achieve anything the males can.
I am no more human than you are. I am Talarian.
You are confused.
Stop that!
I will make the B'Nar, the mourning, until I am back with my brothers.
By matching DNA gene types,
Starfleet identified the boy as Jeremiah Rossa.
- Rossa? - As in Admiral Rossa?
She is his grandmother.
He was born 14 years ago on the Federation colony Galen IV.
His parents, Connor and Moira, were killed
three years, nine months later, when the Talarians invaded.
I remember. No survivors.
The boy was listed as missing, presumed dead.
Another Rossa died at the Krasner Outpost.
Tragedy follows that family. The Admiral lost both her sons.
Now she has something to celebrate.
If Jeremiah goes to his family in this condition,
it will be a wrenching experience for everyone. Especially him.
He needs to rediscover his identity, connect with his roots.
I agree. Do what you can to accomplish that.
I don't think I can do anything.
- Why not? - Troi is right.
It's clear that the boy does not respond well to women.
The Talarians are a rigidly patriarchal society.
Jeremiah needs to build a relationship with a man,
a father figure with whom he can explore his origins.
I think it should be you, Captain.
No, Counsellor.
No, Counsellor. I don't think so.
He needs someone trained in these matters.
You are the only person with whom he has shown any connection.
If he is to find his humanity,
then you are the only one who can help him.
It's up to you, Captain.
Why do you make that noise?
It is our custom when we are in distress.
Isn't it also your custom to listen to your captain?
Then as Captain of the Enterprise, I ask you not to make that sound.
Yes, sir.
Good. Well, now that's cleared up, let's...
Let's get acquainted, shall we?
What do you think of your room? I know it's a little sterile.
But if there's anything you would like...
Pictures, perhaps. Games.
This is a cage. I'm still your captive.
No. Not at all. I thought you'd be comfortable here.
Will you return me to my captain?
We rendezvous with the warship Q'Maire at 0740 hours.
We will transfer the Talarians to Capt Endar.
Including me?
We'll discuss your situation with Capt Endar.
I don't like this place.
We could find other quarters.
I've always lived with my Captain.
Yes, well, that wouldn't work here.
There's nothing here to appeal to a young person.
Put that down, please.
- It's Klingon. - Yes. Would you put it back?
Here we are, eh, Jono?
You haven't taken off your gloves.
- Not here. - Why not?
So that I don't have to touch an alien.
Jono, your captain, Endar...
Has he ever hurt you? Inflicted pain?
Pain is not a consideration.
- Then he has? - I did not say that.
Don't you understand? Pain is not what matters.
Passing the tests is everything.
Is that what they are? Tests of pain?
You understand nothing.
It's true, I don't fully understand Talarians.
But you are not Talarian.
I will not listen to this. I will not listen to your lies.
You wanted to see me?
Yes, Counsellor. Please, sit down.
You're probably not aware of this,
but I've never been comfortable around children.
For some reason, they just don't seem to respond to me.
I see.
Frankly, I think that my time would be best served
doing the duties and responsibilities of a Starfleet captain.
Seldom have I heard an explanation so well-rehearsed.
Look, Counsellor...
I just feel that I am not the right person for this job.
Strange, isn't it?
You'll travel light years,
dodge asteroid storms, brave hostile aliens,
and yet when asked to assume a parental role, you cringe.
- Why do you suppose that is? - I'm not cringing. I'm just...
..acknowledging my limitations.
As a child, did you have any friends?
Other children you played with?
I don't think that this has anything to do with anything.
Well, perhaps it was because...
This is foolish.
What were you going to say?
It's just that... ever since I was a child,
I've known exactly what I wanted to do.
Be a member of Starfleet. Nothing else mattered.
Virtually my entire youth was spent in the pursuit of that goal.
In fact, I probably skipped my childhood altogether.
You know, Captain, almost no one is born being a good parent.
Most people muddle through and do the best that they can.
- That's what I'll have to do? - Yes.
And you might be surprised at just how good you can be.
Computer, turn off that noise!
Computer, what... What was that?
The Alba Ra, a contemporary Talarian musical form.
- Jono, where are you? - You turned off my music.
Yes, I most certainly did. And I expect it to stay turned off.
Would you come down from there?
I see you made yourself at home.
I cannot rest on your beds. They hurt my back.
Come here. There's something I want to show you.
Those are Connor and Moira... Rossa.
They are your parents.
The baby... is you.
Jeremiah Rossa.
My name is Jono.
Well, you were born Jeremiah on Galen IV.
The colony was destroyed later during a border skirmish.
You see? You knew how to laugh once.
Do you remember this? Your parents? Your home?
I know that Endar rescued me. He told me so.
Jono, your parents were killed by the Talarians.
It was war. Death is part of war.
- Captain. - Yes, what is it?
We have visual contact with the warship Q'Maire.
You... stay put.
I'm on my way, Number One.
- Get to cover! - I can't leave you!
Take Jeremiah to the forest. I'll hold them off.
No! Come with us!
Status, Mr. Data?
Q'Maire at station, holding steady at bearing 013, mark 015.
Distance, 506 kilometres.
Are its weapons systems active?
Negative, sir.
Capt Endar requests an open channel.
On screen.
I am Capt Endar of the warship Q'Maire.
To whom am I speaking?
Capt Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise.
We rescued four crew members from your observation craft.
They have had medical attention and are ready for transport.
Your actions are noted. We will forward coordinates for transport.
You're welcome, I'm sure.
One moment, Captain. We have also discovered a human among your crew.
Actually, his name is Jeremiah. Jeremiah Rossa.
What is his condition? Is he injured?
He was not wounded in the mishap,
but as a representative of the Federation, I require an explanation.
Why has this child been held in your custody for so many years?
No explanation is warranted, Captain.
He is my son.
Captain's log, supplemental.
Capt Endar's claim that Jeremiah is his son is unacceptable.
However, to avoid escalating tensions,
I have invited the Talarian leader to come aboard
so that we may address the issue face to face.
I was in charge of the force
that repelled the trespassers on Galen IV.
I must say your Federation troops fought tenaciously.
Among them, Connor and Moira Rossa.
I suppose. After the battle, I found a squalling child by the body
of a young woman, his mother presumably.
There was almost no one left alive on Galen IV.
Was I to leave him screaming over her body?
You should have told the Federation.
To conceal him was a violation of our agreement.
I took him in accordance with my people's traditions.
What tradition empowered you to capture a helpless child?
I lost my son at the hands of humans during the conflict over Castal I.
Talarian custom allows me to claim the son of a slain enemy.
Does that custom extend to brutalizing this surrogate son?
What are you talking about?
Our Medical Officer discovered signs of injuries so severe,
they might be considered torture.
Nonsense. I've never harmed Jono.
Explain the fractured ribs, concussion, broken arm.
Broken arm? Youth! Have you ever been a father, Picard?
Have you ever had a son desperately trying
to win your approval, your respect?
Jono broke his ribs riding on a t'stayan.
Six hooves. A very powerful beast.
The arm, in a contest with other youths.
He endured the pain and won the competition.
One day, he will be a great warrior.
Doesn't he deserve to become more than that?
His true heritage is human, Endar.
A heritage long since forgotten.
You are welcome to supervise the return of your crew,
but I cannot allow Jeremiah to be returned to you.
His true family are waiting for him on Earth.
Then under no circumstances
will I allow your ship to leave our territory.
I have reported our position and this violation to Starfleet.
And I have called for reserve forces into this sector.
Are you saying you would go to war over this boy?
Would you not for your only son?
We have been at peace for years. Let us not rush headlong into war.
Then help me to avoid it.
If you will allow me to see Jono,
it will be clear to you I have been a good father.
He's grown up happy in my keeping.
You think it unwise to let Endar see Jono?
It might be dangerous.
Abusers have subtle but powerful influence over their victims.
I'm not convinced the boy has been abused.
I've talked with the father. If I'm any judge of character,
I'd say he cares deeply for the boy's welfare.
I sense awakening memories in the boy.
This is a very fragile time for Jono.
If we send away the man he calls Father
without letting them see each other, how will we ever gain his trust?
Yes. There is something else. We are deep in Talarian territory.
A semblance of diplomacy is needed. I'll agree to the meeting.
All I ask is that the visit be supervised.
- Don't let them be alone together. - Agreed.
Jono, my son.
Have they treated you well?
Yes, Captain. Except...
Except what?
I was forbidden to make the B'Nar.
That's alright. I know you've mourned in your heart.
Well, Jono, what do you think of these humans?
They look like me.
They want to keep you, you know.
Yes, I know.
You've reached the Age of Decision. What is your choice?
Do you want to stay?
- No. Of course not. - Then you shall not.
I'm returning to the Q'Maire. I will give the humans a choice.
If they do not make the one we know is right,
it may lead to war.
You may die.
I am ready to die.
Sensors indicate two warships approaching along the border.
Mr. Data, what's their offensive potential?
Talarian warships have neutral particle weapons,
X-ray lasers and Merculite rockets.
No match for the Enterprise.
I don't want to be forced into destroying their ships.
They won't back off.
They've been willing to fight to the death in past encounters.
The lines are being drawn.
- All this for a chosen son. - Captain.
Is it worth it, to go to war over a child?
You might not ask that if it was your child.
There must be a way to avoid this.
If we can just reach Jono, help him make connections with his origins,
he may choose to come with us.
You think Endar will go along with that?
If Endar respects Talarian custom, he may have to.
According to their tradition,
a male child of 14 has reached the Age of Decision.
He undergoes a ceremony of initiation.
Then he may make his own choices.
Endar's entire claim on Jono is based on Talarian custom.
He'd have a hard time backing away from it now.
There's a communication from Starfleet Command.
- On screen. - Sir.
The message is for Jeremiah Rossa.
Have the boy brought to my ready room.
My name is Connaught Rossa.
I am your father's mother.
I wish we could talk in person but that will have to wait.
When I heard the miracle that you were alive,
I wanted to reach out to you.
I find myself wondering what you look like.
All I can do is imagine your father at your age.
You come from a family that would make you proud.
Many of them have given their lives to bring peace to the galaxy.
You are the last of the Rossas.
I was so very thankful
that you were given back to us to carry on the line.
Your grandfather and I will greet you
with all the love in our hearts.
Have a safe journey home, Jeremiah.
She wears a Starfleet uniform.
- What is her rank? - She's an admiral.
- She outranks you? - Yes.
If I were home now, I'd run along the river as fast as I could!
I can't do the things that calm me here.
You won't let me have my music or make the B'Nar.
I feel if I stay still much longer, I will die!
Let me show you what I do when I have these feelings. Come on.
Now, you can serve from within either of these two sections
by bouncing the ball and hitting it into that top target.
You have to return the ball before it bounces twice. Alright?
Let's try it.
- Not bad. - I win at all the games.
I can believe it.
- You alright? - I'm fine.
- Momma! - Jeremiah!
It's alright. It's alright.
She was all red.
I cried.
She didn't answer me.
She used to sing to me.
I don't remember the melody, just the sound of her voice.
Before I remembered these things, I was strong.
And now...
It's part of being human, Jono.
But as deeply as you feel hurt, you can also feel joy.
I do not think so.
I think I will always feel like this.
- How was the racquetball? - Quite a game for his first time.
- I'm looking forward to next time. - I'm sure you are. Sit down.
What would you like?
What is that?
A banana split, possibly one of the greatest things in the universe.
Here, try some.
That is called a spoon.
Forgive me.
I fail to understand why this is amusing.
Access your data banks under "humour, slapstick".
Comedy stressing farce and horseplay.
This, no doubt, is a variation on "pie in the face"?
- Now do you see why it's funny? - No, sir.
But I will take your word for it. This is very amusing.
Let's try this again.
A fresh banana split and another for my friend.
Right away.
Look at him. He's a different person.
Who would have thought we'd ever see him laugh out loud?
Just half an hour ago, he was crying like a baby.
Single-plane penetration. I need the auto suture.
Yes, Doctor.
The blade hit the sternum and was deflected. It could have been worse.
- Then it wasn't a dream. - I'm afraid not.
No vital organs pierced, no major arteries.
Where is the boy now?
Worf has him in security.
Hold still!
I want to see him. Here. Now.
He'll wait until I'm finished.
Talarian warships converging. Range, 500 kilometres.
On screen.
- Any communication, Lt Worf? - No. We have an open channel.
The warships' velocities are slowing.
Staggered approach vectors bearing zero, 120 and 240 degrees.
- Riker to La Forge. - La Forge here, sir.
The Talarians are in attack posture. Triangular envelopment.
I'll get more power to the shields.
We're ready.
The Captain of the Q'Maire requests communication.
Here we go. On screen.
Capt Picard, have you made your decision?
This is Cmdr Riker. What are your intentions?
- Where is Capt Picard? - He has been injured.
- I am in command now. - Very well.
Please prepare my son for immediate transport.
That won't be possible.
Last night, Jono attacked Capt Picard and tried to murder him.
We're holding him in custody.
If he had been returned to me, this would never have happened.
I hold you responsible for this incident.
He has to come with us now.
Starfleet will decide the consequences.
I do not accept that decision.
I repeat.
You will prepare my son for immediate transport.
If he is not aboard the Q'Maire in five minutes... will suffer the consequences.
Red alert.
Talarians routeing power to rockets.
Ready all weapons, Mr. Worf.
Why did you do it?
That does not matter.
Yes, I think it does. It matters to me.
What matters is that I attacked a captain.
I am ready to be put to death.
You think you are going to be killed?
To attack a superior is the worst offence. I will die at your hands.
Jono, you're not going to die at my hands or anyone else's.
But I committed a terrible crime.
What I want to know is why.
You seemed so happy just a few hours ago.
I was.
But then I thought about my father.
I felt that I had betrayed him.
I'd be throwing away all that he'd given me.
All that I'd learned from him.
My home, running along the river,
playing in the games,...
..sharing victory with my brothers.
All the things that are a part of my life.
As I grew closer and closer to you,...
..l knew that meant leaving more and more of that life behind.
Forgive me, Captain, but I cannot allow myself to do that.
The Q'Maire requests communications.
On screen.
Cmdr Riker, you have failed to transport my son to the Q'Maire.
Our intentions have not changed. He will return to Starfleet.
I regret your stubbornness.
Much will be lost.
One moment, Captain.
Capt Endar.
Last night, Jono... attacked me with a dagger.
Which he could not have done had he been returned.
A crime was committed on board, but it was not Jono's. It was mine.
When we found Jono, it seemed so clear what had to be done.
We knew that if we could only persuade him
to make the decision to stay, then you would most likely let him.
With the best intentions, we tried to convince him,
and in so doing,...
..we thoroughly failed to listen to his feelings, to his needs.
That was the crime. And it has taken a huge toll
on a strong and a very...
..noble young man. And it must be rectified.
He will return home. To the only home he's ever known.
And to the father that he loves. To you, Endar.
Thank you, Captain.
Please transmit coordinates for immediate transport.
Goodbye, Jono.
Goodbye, Captain. Thank you.

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