Captain's log, star date 44614.6.
We are approaching Star base 313 to pick up scientific equipment
for transport to an outpost in the Guernica system.
During the journey we will be hosting a special guest.
- You wanted to see me, Captain? - Yes, Mr. La Forge.
The exemplary nature of your work
has caught the eye of Starfleet Command.
In fact, someone is coming on board
just to see the engine modifications you've made.
The senior design engineer at the propulsion group. Dr Leah Brahms.
Leah is coming here?
- This is terrific! - It is?
Well, I mean I've studied her... schematics for years.
She did a lot of the engine design on the Enterprise.
Then it should be an enjoyable visit. She'll come aboard at the star base.
Would you like to greet her on our behalf?
I would love to, Captain. Thank you.
If you keep picking at that uniform, you'll wear it out.
I guess I am a little nervous.
It's not every day a man gets to face his dream.
Remember about a year ago when we were caught in that booby trap?
OK. While we tried to escape,
I went to the holodeck to study an engine prototype
made when the Enterprise was designed.
And the computer, it gave me an image of the engine,
but it also created this hologram of the designer, Dr Leah Brahms.
So you met a computer-simulated female?
Yeah, but not an ordinary computer-simulated female.
I mean, she was brilliant, of course, but...
..warm, you know? Friendly.
It was like we worked as one. I would start a sentence, she'd finish it.
What I didn't think of, she did. It was just... so comfortable.
OK, I know it was just an image,
but the computer incorporated personality traits
from her Starfleet record.
Everybody falls in love with a fantasy every now and then.
No, no, you've got it all wrong.
I'm not necessarily expecting anything romantic.
It's just... I know whatever, Leah Brahms and I will be good friends.
Dr Brahms is ready to transport, sir.
OK, bring her over.
I mean... welcome aboard, Dr Brahms.
I'm Lt Cmdr Geordi La Forge, Chief Engineer.
So you're the one who's fouled up my engine designs.
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.
The matter-antimatter ratio has changed.
The mixture isn't as rich as it should be.
Experience shows too high a ratio diminishes efficiency.
I worked with the mixture until I found a balance.
The plasma transfer doesn't correspond to recommended specs.
Again, I adjusted the flow.
Things happen differently here than they do on a drawing board.
Is that a criticism?
No, of course not! It's just a well-known fact.
There's theory and application. They don't always jive.
You've charted a completely new schedule for part replacement.
You bet! Starfleet estimates for the MTBF units were unrealistic.
I simply determined my own schedule based on observation and experience.
Is that going to be your only defence, that same tired rhetoric?
"Out here we learn things designers can't understand."
First, I'm not aware of needing any defence. Second, if you want to be...
Dr Brahms, you have an incoming message on subspace.
I'd like to hear it privately.
- In my office. Be my guest. - Thank you.
Commander, I am picking up unusual readings
in the Alpha Omicron system.
At this range all I can discern is an asymmetrical field of intense energy.
What type of radiation signature?
Unknown, sir. The Alpha Omicron system is yet to be charted.
I recommend we take this chance for further research.
Well, we're way ahead of schedule.
Alter course for Alpha Omicron.
Dr Brahms, there's no reason to argue.
- We're on the same side here. - I'm aware of that.
Why don't I take you on a tour, show you the adjustments I've made,
why I think they work, and we can begin pulling together on this?
Then why not start with the dilithium chamber?
- OK? - OK.
The anomaly is orbiting the seventh planet.
It is a mass of plasma energy held within discrete boundaries
by a covering of silicates, actonides and carbonaceous chondrites.
- Is it a ship? - It is not of any known design.
Any similar phenomena in Starfleet listings?
No, sir. This has never been seen before.
Ensign Rager, ahead one-quarter impulse.
- Aye, sir. - Orbit the seventh planet.
Keep us at a distance of 10 km from the object.
Alert science stations.
- Tell them to coordinate with Data. - Aye, sir.
What happened here? Who did this?
You. Remember? You adjusted the direction of the lattice structure.
Remember? Why would I remember?
Right. Why would you?
Well, the ship was having some difficulty.
We made this adjustment hoping that it would work, and it did.
- So, it was your idea? - Not exclusively, no.
It's curious. This modification was due to be introduced...
..in the next-class starship.
- How did you know that? - I didn't.
I mean... It's the next logical step, right?
Listen, we fly by the seat of our pants out here.
Once in a while we'll come up with the same solutions you do.
I've got a personnel review in about five minutes.
I know you've had a long day.
Why don't we get together later?
Sort of... plan out our agenda for the next day or two?
What it is we want to accomplish,
how we might go about that, maybe get to know each other.
It might make this easier.
- Maybe you're right. - OK, great.
How about... my quarters?
Maybe even have a bite to eat? I make a great fungilli.
I love fungilli.
Is that right?
Sensors are having trouble penetrating the interior.
But the radiated output suggests a coherent system
of energy storage and utilization.
Then it was constructed by someone?
Possibly. However, the data gathered thus far
suggests a natural phenomenon with biological properties.
- A life form. - Yes, Captain.
Mr. Worf, begin compiling readings to transmit to Starfleet headquarters.
Data, launch three level-five probes. Ensign, aft thrusters.
Standard observational posture.
Level-five probe sequence ready for launch, Commander. On your mark.
- Stand by, Mr. Data. - Aye, sir.
What would it be like?
No ship, no bulky spacesuit.
Just to live between the stars, have the entire galaxy as a home.
Captain, we are being probed. Recommend we raise shields.
Negative, Mr. Worf.
If we are curious about it, it has a perfect right to be curious about us.
Change in reading. It has increased energy output by 50 percent.
- It is moving toward us. - Reverse course, Ensign.
- 300 kph. - Aye, sir.
Easy. We don't want to alarm or provoke it.
We are caught in an energy-damping field.
No effect, Captain.
- Reverse power. Full impulse. - Impulse engines at full power.
- No change in position, sir. - Red alert.
Mr. La Forge, prepare to initiate warp drive.
There's too much interference to form a warp field.
Warning: radiation at 65 millirads per minute and rising.
- Riker to Dr Crusher. - Go ahead, Commander.
- Prepare for radiation protocol. - Acknowledged. Crusher out.
Warning: radiation levels rising. Lethal exposure in one minute.
Mr. Worf, ready phasers. Minimum power.
Radiation levels dropping to normal.
Energy patterns are breaking down, sir.
The radiation signature is no longer stable.
Energy output is negligible.
Radiation patterns no longer coherent.
I believe it is dead, sir.
We're out here to explore,
to make contact with other life forms,
to establish peaceful relations, but not to interfere.
And absolutely not to destroy.
Yet look at what we have just done.
Captain, everything you did was consistent with Starfleet procedures.
Number One, you have the bridge.
Sensors are picking up a new energy reading from the life form.
There is a new concentration of radiation
growing in the centre of its body.
..perhaps it's still alive.
Computer, subdued light.
No, that's too much. I don't want it dark, I want it cosy.
Please state your request in precise candlepower.
It's not a matter of precision, Computer, it's a matter of mood.
Brighter than this.
A little more.
Hold! Right there. Perfect.
Now, some... some music.
Maybe a little soft jazz.
No, that's not right. Let me think here.
I got it!
A piano étude.
Nah, that's... that's too corny.
Probably everybody thinks of that.
Just give me some guitar. Classical guitar. Doesn't matter who.
Yes. Thank you.
Come on in.
- You've changed. - Yeah.
The uniforms are so... formal.
You're less formal than any Starfleet officer I've ever met, Commander.
Am l? I really just wanted to make you feel more comfortable.
I'm fine. Thank you.
I'm sorry. Come in and... have a seat.
- Can I get you a drink? - No, thank you.
You know, your hair. It's...
Different than a few hours ago?
No, I mean it's different than I expected.
Different from your records.
- Oh, yes. I used to wear it up. - Yeah.
Why would you need to see my files?
Standard procedure when guests come on board. Protocol.
I mean, it was nothing specific. Just... you know.
Cmdr La Forge...
If I seem to be somewhat unyielding in my views,
it's because I care so very much about my work.
Oh, I know.
To be honest, people find me
cold, cerebral, lacking in humour.
But they're wrong, I assure you.
Well, I try not to be that way, but when it comes to my designs,
my engines, especially the ones on the Enterprise...
..they're your children.
So naturally you're a little possessive about them.
- You understand that? - Yes, I do. You see...
I feel the same way.
That's amazing. I don't think anyone has ever...
Sometimes I feel more comfortable with engine schematics than people.
Well, maybe you just haven't met the right... people.
You hungry? I'm hungry. Why don't I just... start dinner? OK?
- Commander... - Please, call me Geordi.
I'm sorry. I hope I didn't put you to a lot of trouble but I can't stay.
I just don't think it's appropriate.
I'll meet with you at 0800 tomorrow.
I'm preparing a list of discrepancies I've identified in the modifications.
I hope, now that we've reached an understanding,
that you'll be prepared to discuss them in a more objective fashion.
Thank you. Good night, Commander.
This new concentration of energy was detected
only after the surrounding material became inert.
Could this be tissue regeneration?
The radiation resembles the original but with significant differences.
Some kind of reaction to our phaser fire perhaps.
I believe it is self-contained within the body of the dead life form.
- Another entity. - Yes, sir.
It appears to be a less-developed version of the original creature.
No wonder it attacked us. It was about to give birth.
It's dangerous to generalize about new life forms.
But based on my experience with other beings who bear young in this manner,
I'd say the offspring is still premature.
Otherwise, it would break through the body shell of the parent.
Will it be able to survive on its own, without the parent?
There's no way to tell.
We don't have enough on the bio-functions of the adult,
much less the child.
Is there any way we can help?
If we were in sickbay I'd try a Caesarean section.
The first priority is to free it from the body of the parent.
We could use our phasers as a scalpel.
Yes, that might work.
I advise against this. The parent was a threat to the ship.
We do not know how the offspring will react.
Objection noted, Mr. Worf.
But we are directly responsible for the death of the parent.
We cannot simply wash our hands of it now.
Doctor, we will proceed at your discretion.
- Good morning. - Good morning.
I'd like to inspect the power-transfer conduits.
You realize the only way to inspect them is to crawl inside?
I designed them, Commander. I know what's involved.
Here we go.
Power taps. Watch yourself!
The acoustic signature doesn't sound right.
You're the only other person in the galaxy who could pick that up.
- What's causing it? - It's right up here.
I've never seen anything like this before. What is it?
It's a mid-range phase adjuster.
Re-phases the plasma after inertial distortion.
This has never been done before.
I don't think it's ever even been conceived of before.
You should write a paper.
Uh-uh, Doctor. No! Writing is not one of my strong suits.
But this kind of refinement should be shared.
And you deserve the credit.
Well, maybe we could... collaborate. Writing is one of your strong points.
Cmdr La Forge, ever since I came on board
there seems to be something peculiar about your attitude.
You seem to know things about me, even though we've never met.
To tell you the truth...
I've studied you. Your writings, your Starfleet file.
I've admired you. You know, your work.
- Well, I'm flattered, but... - And...
Well, I really...
I wanted to meet you for a long time.
And... I'd like to think that... we could become friends.
Maybe good friends.
I thought you knew.
You know everything else about me.
But, Commander, if I'm hearing what I think I'm hearing,...
..then you should know
that I'm married.
Set phaser power to three percent, narrow beam.
Alright. Here we go.
First incision complete.
Ideally it should be able to push through the outer shell by itself.
- I think it needs more help. - We've done all we can.
I don't want to risk killing it by accident.
Come on. You can do it.
Captain, I'd like to announce the birth of a large baby... something.
Well done, Doctor.
How could it have been so far off?
It was based on every piece of information on record about her.
OK, with a margin for error,
but this is an error that's about a light year wide.
Not what you hoped for, huh?
Guinan, the woman is about as friendly as a Circassian plague cat,
only cares about her work, hates what I've done to her engines...
And, to top it all off, she's married.
Computer never even told me she was married.
- Computer glitch? - Must have been.
Maybe it was your old visor.
What are you talking about?
The one you wore on the holodeck with her.
Guinan, it's the same visor.
I figured it was the one that lets you see what you want to see.
What's that supposed to mean?
You saw exactly what you wanted to see on the holodeck.
Sure, the computer made it look like her, gave it personality.
But when it came to the relationship, you... filled in the blanks.
And you had a perfectly wonderful, marvellous little fantasy.
Until the real Leah showed up and ruined it.
She's done the most horrific thing one person can do to another:
not lived up to your expectations.
So I'd take a good, long, hard look at her, La Forge.
See her for who she is, not for what you want her to be.
Its patterns are stable. It seems able to withstand solar radiation.
- Good. Head for the Guernica system. - Aye, sir.
- We're not staying? - No.
We've done all we can. It's time to move on.
This creature can continue to exist without further interference from us.
It might be wise to move away before we initiate warp drive.
Very well. 500 kph, Ensign.
Captain, it is following us.
Maintaining a distance of four kilometres, directly astern.
- 17 degrees to port, Ensign. - Aye, sir.
- It is turning with us, sir. - Increase to half impulse.
It is matching our velocity.
It's imprinted on us.
It thinks the Enterprise is its mother.
Change in energy readings, sir. A build-up of gamma particles...
Its velocity is increasing. It is moving toward the ship.
Evasive manoeuvres. Full...
It is now in direct contact with the hull, sir.
Sir, it is draining energy directly from the fusion reactors.
It's feeding off the ship's energy as it would from its mother.
What action should we take, sir?
None at all.
Captain's log, supplemental.
Since the newborn has attached itself to us
it has been making great demands on the ship's energy,
but we have stabilized our power systems temporarily.
How long before the power drain becomes critical?
At this rate, six, maybe seven hours.
We may be able to extend that a little longer.
That would be appreciated.
By then Junior may not need us.
Mr. Data, can we determine what the parent's destination might have been?
I can attempt to extrapolate from the heading it was on.
Perhaps it was on its way to a safe environment for its newborn.
We might be able to deliver it there.
But how do we get Junior off the hull once we get there?
It's almost covering the door of shuttle bay two.
If we open the door and deactivate the force field...
..the pressure from inside the ship might push it away from the hull.
- Make it so. - Sir...
Is the appellation "Junior" to be the life form's official name?
No, it is not!
We can save energy just by improving engine efficiency.
We've had these problems before. It's why I reoriented the crystal.
- And why you added phase adjustors? - Right.
Commander, you've made more modifications than I'm aware of.
- Do you have a file on your work? - It's in the computer.
- Picard to La Forge. - Here.
- I need to see you on the bridge. - On my way, Captain.
You go on ahead. Ensign Pavlick can show you the file on the engine.
"Phase coils upgraded to 55 field densities."
"Plasma inducers interlinked with generator."
Ensign, are there any files with data on the original specifications?
I believe so, Doctor.
This file utilises the prototype engine schematic.
It's a holographic program, set in the drafting room at Utopia Planitia.
I'll run it on holodeck three.
Computer, replay program 9140.
Engine schematic at Utopia Planitia.
Program loaded and ready.
She went where?
Holodeck three. I saw nothing wrong with her seeing the file.
No, of course not. Nothing at all!
I'm with you every day, Geordi.
Every time you look at this engine, you're looking at me.
Every time you touch it, it's me.
Computer, freeze program.
Now I understand.
You don't. It's not the way this may look.
I called up a replay of the program file.
I was ready to compliment you again,
for constructing a program which contained the prototype engine
as a baseline reference for your modifications.
And now I find that it's all about a... fantasy plaything.
- It's not like that, I swear. - I'm outraged by this!
I have been invaded, violated! How dare you use me like this?
How far did it go, anyway? Was it good for you?
Nothing happened. It was a professional collaboration!
I can tell. "Touch the engine and you're touching me."
- Real professional! - Did you watch the whole program?
We were working together to solve a problem in a crisis!
How do I know how far it went? How many programs did you create?
One for every day of the week, one for every mood?
Since you arrived, you've been badgering me. And I've taken it.
I've shown you courtesy and respect and a hell of a lot of patience.
Oh, no. Wait a minute.
I've tried to understand you. I've tried to get on with you.
And in return you've convicted me without even hearing my side of it.
So I'm guilty, OK? But not of what you think!
Of something much worse.
I'm guilty of reaching out to you.
Of hoping we could connect.
I'm guilty of a terrible crime, Doctor.
I offered you friendship.
Captain, its volume has increased by 8.5 percent in the last three hours.
It is now 46 million cubic metres.
Captain, I have completed the analysis of the parent's course.
It was headed for an asteroid belt.
Ensign Rager, set a course 259 mark 318, half impulse.
Hold a position 500 km from the periphery of the asteroid field.
Difficulty getting a clear sensor reading beyond 4,000 km.
The asteroids contain large quantities of meklonite.
It's interfering with our scanners. I also detect traces of kephneum,
a compound found in the outer shell of the parent being.
It is likely the asteroids provide sustenance for this life form.
We could leave the child here. It would have a food supply.
Agreed. Mr. La Forge, are you ready to separate our guest from the hull?
- Ready, Captain. - Proceed.
I am deactivating the atmospheric force field now.
Power drain just jumped to 93 percent, sir.
The offspring is emitting radio transmissions.
Is it trying to communicate?
Power drain increasing. Approaching auto-shutdown.
Take the engines off line. Use auxiliary power only.
Go to emergency level seven. Life support and critical operations only.
Mr. La Forge, your status?
The bay is completely depressurized, but... it's still hanging on.
I am detecting other radio transmissions.
Movement detected within the asteroid field.
Bearing 257 mark 161.
At their current speed, sir, the entities will intercept us in...
..ten minutes, 31 seconds.
Auxiliary power only. Two seconds' phaser fire available.
Ensign, power readings.
We're on auxiliary generators. Life support functioning. That's about it.
Watch that console.
We've got less than six minutes to get that baby off our back.
Whatever we try, Junior responds by sucking up more energy.
Commander, I have a thought.
If you're interested.
Of course. What is it?
If the baby is nursing, perhaps we need to find a way to sour the milk.
If we contaminate the energy he's feeding on, we could...
..make it unpalatable somehow.
But the emergency generators are all we've got.
- And how do we keep life support? - Exactly.
Well, this is a space baby, right?
These creatures are born, they live and die in interstellar space.
- Apparently. - OK.
All matter in space vibrates in a specific radiation band.
That's good, Commander. That's very good.
If we alter the power frequency
so it's foreign to the life form's natural vibrations...
..it might give us enough to pour vinegar in Baby's milk.
We have to be careful. Upset it and we might lose auxiliary power, too.
If we're gradual enough, hopefully it'll just lose interest.
- La Forge to bridge. - Go ahead.
Captain, Dr Brahms and I have a plan.
Two minutes until the creatures intercept.
Captain, we're ready down here.
Lowering wavelength in the energy system now.
Now at the two-centimetre level.
Any reaction, bridge?
Negative. I detect no reduction in the rate of energy consumption.
One minute 30 seconds to intercept.
Not sour enough.
Leah, take it down further.
I guess it noticed what we're doing.
It is emitting its transmission. Energy consumption is rising, sir.
Captain, the creatures are accelerating their approach.
They are changing colour.
- Mr. La Forge! - Captain, just a little more time.
Leah, nudge it down even further, toward 0.02.
- 30 seconds to intercept. - 0.08.
Now at 0.02 cm.
Auxiliary generators losing power.
The entity has disengaged, sir. Power levels are returning to normal.
Start the engines and take us out of here.
Mr. La Forge, Dr Brahms, congratulations.
You've weaned the baby.
- Good work. - You, too.
Well, yeah, I admit it.
I did get a little attached to that lady in the holodeck.
The computer never said I was married?
I never asked.
And the computer is notorious for not volunteering information.
- I really owe you an apology. - No. No, you don't.
I should have told you.
If you had, I wouldn't have seen the look on your face
when you walked in on me, and me, in the holodeck!
The look on my face? How about the look on your face?
I will remember that for a long, long time.
I wouldn't change a thing.
Except for the way I behaved.
I guess I came here with a set of preconceptions about you.
Well, I guess I'm just glad I got the opportunity to get to know you.
The real you.
Worf to La Forge. There is a message on subspace for Dr Brahms.
Acknowledged, Worf. La Forge out.