It's been five months since Marc's accident.
I haven't missed a single hour of my duties.
I volunteered for extra time in the nursery.
My language studies are better than they've ever been.
Somebody else might've given in, but I didn't.
- Given in to what? - Death is a normal part of life.
Maybe some of us are better at facing that than others.
Maybe some of us aren't facing it at all.
- What do you mean? - Recovery from a great loss
involves a great deal of pain.
If we try to avoid that pain, we make it harder in the long run.
But I feel fine.
Today would have been your husband's 38th birthday.
You keep excellent records, Deanna.
Last night... I dreamt Marc was with me, celebrating.
I was so glad that this nonsense was finally over.
Then I woke up.
And I knew that he was dead.
For the first time, I knew it.
I looked around for anything that belonged to him. Anything.
I forgot that after the funeral I told them to take it all away.
What in the world was I thinking?
They didn't take everything away.
How did you know?
An ancient trail along the Kabul river in the Himalayas.
Wonderful program. It would do you good to have some fresh holodeck air.
My horsemanship is a little rusty for the Himalayas. Thanks anyway.
Nonsense. We programme an appropriately docile steed...
Captain, sensors indicate a vast field of...
- Of what, Lieutenant? - It's gone.
But something did appear in our path.
Shields are not reporting excessive interstellar matter.
- A sensor echo, Data? - Uncertain.
I have no unusual readings.
I promise I'll come by and see you tomorrow.
- Are you alright? - What?
- What? - You faded out there for a second.
No, no, I'm fine. I'm just very tired, that's all.
Will I see you tomorrow?
Thank you.
An aggregate field of plane-polarized objects has just appeared.
And disappeared.
Recommend we run a diagnostic on the forward sensor.
We don't want a ghost tailing us all the way to T'lli Beta.
I'm not convinced it is a ghost. There may be something there.
- Ensign Allenby, full stop. - Aye, sir.
Let's investigate both possibilities.
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, star date 44356.9.
Sensor diagnostics were completed and indicate all systems are normal.
There remains no explanation for the images which appeared in our path.
I have completed another full scan, sir.
There is no further indication of the anomaly.
Ensign, prepare to resume course for T'lli Beta.
Mr. Data, what velocity would put us back on schedule?
Resuming course at warp six will place us in the T'lli Beta system
in 6 days, 13 hours, 47 minutes.
What, no seconds?
I have discovered a certain impatience
when I calculate a lengthy time interval to the nearest second.
- However, if you wish... - No, no. Minutes is fine.
- Stand ready at warp six, Ensign. - Aye, sir.
Geordi, what the hell happened?
The field collapsed before we could enter warp. Recommend full stop.
Back to all stop, Ensign.
Decks report minor injuries only.
- Damage? - None.
- Weapons and shields normal. - Go to yellow alert.
Captain, we've started moving again. Something is pulling us.
- Troi to Dr Crusher. - Yes, Deanna?
Beverly, I'm feeling very dizzy.
Did you hit your head?
I'm not sure. I'm not sure what happened.
Lie down and stay calm.
I'm getting calls from all over. I'll come as fast as I can.
New heading confirmed: 025.273. Speed holding at one-tenth impulse.
Whatever's pulling us isn't in a hurry.
Mr. La Forge, if your engines are functioning we'll try to break free.
Everything down here seems normal,
but I suggest we take it a bit slower this time.
Ensign, bring us around 90 degrees to starboard.
New course laid in.
- One quarter impulse, engage. - Aye sir.
Nothing, Captain. Speed and course are unaffected.
One-half impulse.
No change.
Full impulse. Rotate heading five degrees at a time.
Aye, sir.
La Forge?
There's nothing wrong down here. The engines are fine.
Integrity-field stress 82 million kilodynes.
Recommend immediate shutdown.
Make it so, Ensign.
All engines down.
We're still being pulled. Same heading, same speed.
I got here as quickly as I could.
Sickbay's filled with headaches. How are you?
When I first called you, I was feeling intense pain.
Now it's gone, but I'm feeling a bit foggy.
I'd like to run an inner nuncial series on you. Can you walk?
All senior staff to the observation lounge.
- Are you up to that? - I think so.
What is it?
Nothing. Nothing, I'm fine.
Could it be some sort of tractor beam?
No other ship is indicated.
Mr. Worf, what is your analysis?
Sensor readings are indeterminate.
They don't even give us enough for a guess.
Yet our sensors are operating properly.
Can there be an intelligence at work here?
Counsellor, do you sense a life form out there?
No, I don't think so.
No. There's nothing.
Nothing! I sense nothing.
It's alright. Perhaps there's nothing out there to sense.
Many races are not empathically detectable.
The Breen, the Ferengi...
No. You don't understand.
I don't sense anything.
Not out there, not in here.
All of you, you're all blank to me.
No indication of a concussion or a blow to the head.
Just a pattern of unresponsive neural cells
in the cerebellum and cerebral cortex.
There's brain damage. How serious, I can't tell yet.
But I feel perfectly fine otherwise.
- Can you treat it? - I'm not sure.
I have to review the database on Betazoid neurophysiology.
The Betazoid brain has a remarkable ability to heal itself.
This condition could reverse itself in time.
It might. But you are half-human. That changes the map a little.
I don't want to offer you any false hopes.
It's just hope, Beverly. Not false hope.
What would cause this?
It started when we encountered the anomaly.
There may be a connection. I don't know.
If you were anyone else, you know what I'd do?
- I'd send you to Counsellor Troi. - Then I have an advantage, don't l?
I see her quite often.
Deanna, it's no different than one of us suddenly going blind.
No need to tell me. I understand the psychology.
You may, but you've never had to live with it.
- I may be perfectly fine tomorrow. - And you may not.
I'll do my homework. I'll see what I can do to regenerate those cells.
In the meantime, I want you to talk with someone.
There are several people on board who are qualified therapists.
OK, fine. If I need to.
Right now, I just want to go back to work.
If there are no medical objections?
- No medical objections. - Thank you, Beverly. Will.
Come in.
I don't have a psychology degree, but if you want to talk...
You know what the worst part of this is?
I've seen it happen to so many patients.
- What? - The way other people change.
How they start to treat you differently.
They walk on eggshells around you.
Sometimes they avoid you altogether.
Sometimes they become overbearing,
reach out a helping hand to the blind woman!
- I'm sorry if l... - I will not be treated that way!
- I'm sorry. - Oh, please!
Deanna, I've never seen you quite so scared.
I'm fine.
If I get better, I get better. If I don't, I'll adapt. Life goes on.
I really have to finish this. I have some appointments this afternoon.
Probe launch successful.
Transmissions are being received.
Let's see what we've got.
Nothing unusual here. The same reading as the ship's sensors.
Expanding analysis parameters.
Including Bayesian functions,...
..broad EM and subspace spectrum polling.
No change.
I am adding virtual particle trajectories.
What... is that?
I am attempting to analyze motion pattern.
Results still inconclusive.
Last time I saw anything like that
I was skin-diving off the reefs at Bracas V.
You said you woke up a new woman this morning.
- That's how I feel. - Tell me about her, this new woman.
She's... not holding anything back any more.
- She's not? - I let it all out last night.
I cried for two hours.
I realized I had never accepted the loss of my husband.
I worked hard, I kept busy,
I did everything to pretend it never happened.
- And you feel different now? - Completely.
Can I share something important with you?
Of course.
I have temporarily lost my empathic sense.
It's like having one hand tied behind your back.
I am so sorry. Do you want me to come back?
No, no, I'm fine.
It's just... before we continue, it's important that you know that, OK?
Because I can't tell how you're feeling this morning.
But it seems to me,
one night of crying can't make up for months of denial.
No. You're wrong. I feel better today than I have in ages.
You're absolutely wrong, Deanna.
The probe reveals that the objects
exist entirely in two dimensions, on a single plane.
They have length and width, but not height. Virtually flat.
That is why the ship's sensors did not detect them initially.
We were looking along their edge. There was no surface.
I will illustrate.
Are they a life form?
The movement pattern is not a naturally occurring phenomenon
in the Newtonian sense.
They appear to be alive.
Do you know why they're pulling us along with them?
Somehow they can polarize the graviton field.
- We're caught in the wake. - How do we get out?
We could overload the warp drive and jump directly to warp six.
The laws of a three-dimensional universe allow it.
But in a two-dimensional universe...
Fascinating. So many questions.
How can a two-dimensional entity have access to our universe?
And are they aware of us?
Number One, if we can put off the T'lli Betans,
I would like to investigate this as soon as we escape the graviton field.
It's a shame we can't tell if they're sentient.
What do you mean by that?
- I'm doing the best that I can. - No one suggested otherwise.
Mr. Data, try to isolate any signal patterns from the cluster.
Perhaps we can communicate.
Mr. La Forge, we'll attempt your warp jump. That'll be all.
- How are you feeling? - Beverly, I can't do my job.
I'm absolutely lost. You have to do something.
I cross-referenced your scan results with the baseline files.
Nothing helpful has turned up. And so far the lab work is inconclusive.
What does that mean?
It means there is nothing I can do now. I am still trying.
How do you people live like this?
We get by pretty well, actually. And so will you, in time.
You have no idea!
No idea. How can you know what it's like to lose something you never had?
- I don't claim to. - Yet you tell me to get used to it.
In my position, what would you tell me?
In your position, I wouldn't have been in here treating skinned elbows
while you were passed out on your office floor.
I'd have been here sooner.
Perhaps in time to prevent this from happening!
I have been working with Ensign Brooks since her husband's death.
She's avoided the reality of what happened, denied it to herself.
I realize I've been doing the same thing about my condition.
- It's perfectly understandable. - It's time I accept the truth...
..and resign as ship's counsellor.
- Resign? - I can't fulfil my obligations.
What other option is there?
I've been fortunate to have use of your Betazoid abilities.
Most starship captains have to be content with a human counsellor.
Empathic awareness is not a requirement of your position.
It is for me.
I'm sure that you'll be able to adjust.
They say when one loses a sense,
the other senses become stronger to compensate.
A blind man develops better hearing.
With all due respect, Captain,
you don't know what you're talking about.
That is a common belief with no scientific basis,
no doubt created by normal people
who felt uncomfortable around the disabled.
I am disabled, and I'm telling you I cannot perform my duties.
A teacher of mine had been confined to a wheelchair from birth...
Captain, spare me the inspirational anecdote.
And just accept my resignation.
Come in.
I really would rather be alone right now.
Too bad.
Is this how you handle all your personnel problems?
Sure. You'd be surprised how far a hug goes with Geordi. Or Worf!
Will, I don't know what to do.
So you resign?
You walk away from all the people who care about you?
I look around me and all I see are surfaces without depth.
Colourless. Hollow.
Nothing seems real.
- I'm real. - No, you're not.
You're a projection,
with no more substance to me than a character on the holodeck.
I don't believe that.
You have no idea how frightening it is
to... to just be here without sensing you,
without sharing your feelings.
That's it, isn't it?
- We're on equal footing now. - What?
You always had an advantage. A bit of control of every situation.
That must have been a very safe position to be in.
To be honest...
I always thought there was something too...
aristocratic about your Betazoid heritage.
As if your human side wasn't quite good enough for you.
- That isn't true. - Isn't it?
- La Forge to Riker. - Go ahead, Geordi.
We are ready to attempt a controlled overload jump to warp six.
Acknowledged. I'm on my way to the bridge.
I'll check in on you later.
Really, you don't have to.
I will check in on you later.
Setting new course at optimal shearing angle. Bearing 217.203.
Engaging impulse engines... now.
- Mr. La Forge, go to warp. - Aye, sir.
- Status? - Unchanged.
We have not shaken off the graviton field.
Integrity-field pressure has increased by 217 percent.
Warning. Differential stress will exceed upper limit
- in 15 seconds. - Disengage all engines.
Engines disengaged, sir.
The energy for the nacelles
was absorbed by the graviton wake.
It set up a wave that rebounded back to the ship.
We're lucky we're still in one piece.
This little nuisance is losing its fascination.
During our attempt to break away,
I recorded a change in the movement pattern within the cluster.
Think we got their attention?
Perhaps, but just for an instant.
The pattern immediately returned to its previous dynamic.
Follow up on it, Mr. Data.
Input that into the universal translator.
Perhaps these movements themselves are an attempt at communication.
More tea?
Didn't mean to startle you.
That's alright. I'm getting used to it.
- May l? - Sure.
Are you really getting used to it?
Do you want to talk about it?
- No. - Good.
I get so tired of people coming in with their problems.
They want a shoulder to cry on. Generally it turns out to be mine.
- You'd make a good counsellor. - I think so, too.
So I'm going to talk to Picard about it.
About what? You becoming Counsellor?
Well, yes. You're leaving.
That means there won't be a counsellor on board.
I suppose I'll have a very long line at that bar.
It would be nice to have a nice office, too.
It's more than just letting them cry on your shoulder.
It takes an enormous commitment.
- I can do that. - Guinan...
People come to talk to you about things they want to reveal.
As Counsellor, you get them to talk about things
they don't want to reveal.
- I could do that, too. - What are you...?
You don't really want to be Ship's Counsellor.
- What would make you say that? - I just know you're not serious.
Have I given you any indication that I might not be serious?
- Not really, but... - Then how do you know?
Are your empathic abilities coming back?
I suppose it's just instinctive.
I get it.
You're trying to make me see that I have other abilities to draw on.
Human intuition, instincts.
Guinan, those skills only develop after years of experience.
- It's not that easy. - No one said it was easy.
It's much harder than you think.
Human intuition and instinct are not always right.
But they do make life interesting.
So I'm discovering.
- Problem, Data? - Yes, Commander.
Sensors are detecting highly accelerated interstellar gases.
- Suggesting? - Uncertain, sir.
- The entity is within visual range. - On screen.
It appears to be a cosmic string fragment.
Only 107km long.
- A cosmic string? - No wider than a proton,
but with gravitational fields as powerful as a black hole.
The two-dimensional beings seem to be caught in its pull.
Their course is taking them directly toward it.
And us right along with it.
Captain's log, star date 44359.5.
What began as an inconvenience has turned into a serious threat.
At current speed the two-dimensional beings and the ship
will be drawn into the cosmic-string fragment in seven hours.
The entities appear to be unaware of the string fragment.
Their course and speed are constant.
Sir, I recommend we fire photon torpedoes into their field.
Must we destroy them to save ourselves?
It is unclear what effect a photon torpedo would have on them, sir.
We wouldn't necessarily have to fire at them.
A few torpedo bursts in their path could make them change course.
Make it so.
Torpedoes armed, fire distribution set.
Detonation at 7km ahead of the cluster.
Launch another probe. Patch the monitor through to the main viewer.
Probe is launched. On screen.
- Proceed, Mr. Worf. - Launching torpedoes.
Detonation in five seconds.
Three... two... one.
There is no change in the graviton field. The torpedoes had no effect.
Fire another volley...
directly into their field, Mr. Worf.
Launching torpedoes.
Detonation in five seconds.
Three... two... one.
Matter-antimatter explosions appear to be ineffective, sir.
Come in.
Janet! Oh, I'm sorry. I meant to cancel your appointment.
Actually, I'm resigning as Ship's Counsellor.
I think it was fairly clear during your last appointment.
It was obviously non-productive.
I couldn't sense what you were feeling.
Deanna, you were right about me.
I had to go back and look at what I was doing,
see why I was trying to convince myself, and you,
that I was a new woman.
You made me realize I was doing exactly the same as I was before.
Trying to hide from the pain.
Maybe you couldn't sense what I was feeling,...
..but you helped.
- You wanted to see me, Captain? - Yes, Counsellor. Sit down, please.
Our situation has become critical. The cluster remains unresponsive.
We cannot alter its course towards the string fragment.
- How much time do we have? - Less than five hours.
- Which is why I have called you. - Sir?
All that remains is the possibility of communication.
There might be a way we can warn them of their impending destruction.
Hasn't Data tried to communicate through the universal translator?
He has tried every technical means at our disposal to reach them.
I wish I knew how to help, but under the circumstances...
If they have a psychology, we must discover it.
If there is an explanation for their behaviour, we must know what it is.
Even in your current condition, you are best qualified to assist.
Data is attempting to devise a strategy. I want you to join him.
We need you.
Supplemental log. If our speed and course remain unchanged,
in one hour the Enterprise will be torn apart
by the gravitational forces of the cosmic-string fragment.
Are your signals reaching them?
Possibly. However, the beings may perceive them as negligible noise
rather than an attempt at communication.
Is there any evidence they're sentient?
Negative. Their movement suggests a simple order of intelligence.
I'm sorry, Data.
I don't seem to be much help without my empathic abilities.
I just don't know how to draw on my human instinct.
As I do not have human instinct per se, I cannot advise you, Counsellor.
Right now...
I feel as two-dimensional as our friends out there.
In the universe, but barely aware of it.
Just trying to survive...
..on instinct.
Data, what if they're simply acting instinctively?
There are inherent, inborn forces in every species.
What they need, what they fear.
We have to discover what drives this species.
I do not believe there is any way we can know for certain.
We can speculate on the available evidence.
All we have is the brief interruption in their movement pattern
during our last attempt to escape.
Which may suggest some kind of awareness of our presence.
Otherwise their course and speed have been constant.
On a straight line to the cosmic string.
You're sure the string's gravitation is pulling them in?
The cluster is two-dimensional, so I do not have enough direct evidence.
However, it is the most reasonable hypothesis.
I doubt they would intentionally move toward a destructive force.
Moths fly toward a flame. Horses sometimes run into a burning barn.
Data, don't you see? We've been thinking in three dimensions.
We have to get two-dimensional.
Pardon me?
Subspace signals, photon torpedoes. Nothing's had an impact.
It's reasonable to wonder if a gravitational pull,
even as strong as a cosmic string, would affect them.
Please continue.
What if they've chosen a course to the cosmic string?
A case of pure stimulus-response, driven by instinct,
just like the moth to a flame.
If Counsellor Troi's theory is correct, a replica of the string
projected behind the cluster could make them change course,
disrupting them long enough for us to escape.
How do you simulate a cosmic string?
It has the gravitational force of a hundred stars.
I do not suggest simulating the string's gravitational field,
rather its vibration.
We're not talking about a violin, Data!
Data's right. The principle is still the same.
A string emanates characteristic frequencies
as atomic particles decay along its event horizon.
With our parabolic dish, we could reflect them back toward the cluster.
The Enterprise itself would echo the cosmic string.
- How much time do we have, Mr. Worf? - 23 minutes, sir.
Make it so.
- Frequency-scan detectors engaged. - Receiving.
We're picking up frequencies
across the entire electromagnetic and lower-subspace spectrum.
Trying to isolate.
- Can you focus the reflector field? - Stand by.
I am differentiating particle emission-signatures now.
Good. Good, that's doing it. Patterns are converging.
Same course, same speed. No change, sir.
We're encountering the gravitational pull of the string.
Impact is in four minutes.
Sir, turbulence prevents us creating an accurate simulation.
Geordi, fire up the impulse engines. Activate the stabilizers.
Stabilizers on.
Electromagnetic and subspace wave fronts approaching synchronization.
Three minutes to impact.
- Status? - The cluster is unaffected.
Same course, same speed.
Let's try turning up the volume. Increase the intensity, Mr. Data.
Increasing by 50 percent.
- They're slowing. - Graviton-wake field is collapsing.
- Mr. La Forge, get us out of here. - With pleasure, sir.
The beings have resumed their course into the string.
Three seconds to impact.
It's alright. They're home.
We were wrong. The cosmic string was never dangerous to them.
It was the one place in the galaxy they most wanted to be.
I sensed it.
Such overwhelming intensity of emotion.
When we encountered them, it must have been more than I could process.
- A short circuit. - Something like that!
- Oh, Beverly! - Apology accepted.
Therapists are always the worst patients.
Except for doctors, of course.
Come by and see me in my office later, OK?
I was so awful to her.
Well, you were just being human.
I never fully appreciated how difficult, and how rewarding,
it is to be human. But I had a lot of help. Thanks.
Now, is that counsellor position still open aboard ship?
- It's been taken. - Just thought I'd ask. Better hours.
Excuse me.
And you.
Thank you for making me face my other half.
- Frightening, isn't it? - A little!
You were right, though.
There is something to be learned when you're not always in control.
Welcome to the human race.
By the way, the next time you call me aristocratic... !

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