Captain's log, star date 45397.3.
Two days ago, Star base 514 lost contact with the research vessel Vico
which was sent to explore the Black Cluster.
We are en route to investigate.
Captain, we're entering Sector 97.
I am picking up gravitational fluctuations.
- Take us out of warp, Ensign. - Yes, sir.
The Black Cluster is within visual range.
- On screen. - Aye, sir.
Let's find that ship. Full sensor sweep.
Aye, sir.
What a sight.
One of the most ancient formations in the galaxy.
I have located the Vico. It appears to be adrift.
Let's see it.
- Life signs? - Nothing, Commander.
Damage report, Mr. Data?
Outer and inner hulls have been breached.
Decks seven to 12 are exposed to space.
Set up a translink to their computer core.
I cannot. The emergency bulkheads are in place.
Our signal cannot penetrate them.
Structural status?
Stress readings indicate pressure on the transfer supports.
Stable enough for an away team?
Yes, sir, but the risk of collapse is high.
Have transporter room one maintain a lock on the away team.
Take us to 15,000 metres. Data, you're with me.
This station is inoperable, sir.
- This one is stuck in a loop. - Tap into the computer.
The ODN junction is down here.
Core transfer is engaged.
Exchange protocol verified.
The files are intact. At least, some of them.
Stay here, Geordi. Data.
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.
Captain's log, supplemental.
A young boy, shielded from sensor scans,
has been discovered pinned beneath a fallen beam.
The damage to the Vico is making rescue difficult.
Transporter room one,
can you transport him directly to sickbay?
I'll try, Captain. But there's a lot of shielding.
Acknowledged. Picard to Crusher.
Sickbay here, Captain.
- Prepare for emergency transport. - Yes, sir.
- Crusher out. - Picard to Riker.
Is the boy ready?
- Ready, sir. - It's your signal.
Aye, Captain.
It's going to be OK.
Here we go.
- Ensign, do we have him? - The lock is holding.
I just can't resolve the matter stream,
not with all that victurium alloy.
Cmdr Riker, get him into the corridor.
I could move the beam.
But it may initiate the collapse of the supports.
I recommend you and Geordi return.
Agreed. La Forge.
I'm locked onto them.
I'll energize once they clear the bulkheads.
- Whenever you're ready. - Yes, sir.
Are you gonna lift that?
Yes. Then I will take you to the corridor.
We will transport to the Enterprise from there.
- How can you pick that up? - I am an android.
My strength is many times that of a human.
It is going to be OK.
I will count to three. One, two, three.
Don't be afraid.
Captain's log, supplemental.
A search of the Vico has revealed no additional survivors.
We have begun counselling the boy about the tragedy.
We were in the Black Cluster.
I don't know where they came from.
They had a big ship.
They kept shooting at us.
Then they beamed over.
They had purple helmets on and phaser rifles.
I saw them. They didn't see me.
You're safe now, Timothy.
I'm sorry for what happened. It's gonna be alright.
I bet you're hungry. Would you like something to eat?
I must join La Forge in Engineering.
If you will excuse me.
Timothy, would you like Data to stay a little longer?
Sections of the primary and secondary hulls were torn off.
The shearing planes are here, here and here.
How much longer till we can access their logs?
Almost an hour.
The boy was here.
The hallway outside the computer core.
His mother was the systems engineer.
The second away team found her body inside the core.
- And his father? - Ship's second officer.
He was most likely on the bridge when it was exposed to space.
Most likely.
He'll sleep for a few hours at least.
I don't need to keep him here but I need to see him tomorrow.
You've got your work cut out for you.
His world is gone. We have to help him build a new one.
This is not good. Whatever hit the Vico
set up an EM pulse that flashed through their computer banks.
Nearly 83 percent of their records have been lost.
All their sensor logs.
Let's use what we got from our own sensors.
I'll call up the structural analysis and the surface scans.
Geordi, as a child, did you ever experience a traumatic event?
- You're wondering about Timothy? - Yes.
I was caught in a fire once.
I must have been, I don't know, about five, I guess.
It was before I got the first visor.
And it was only a couple of minutes before my parents pulled me out.
And nobody got hurt, but I tell you,...
..that was the longest couple of minutes of my life.
It was a while before I could let my parents get out of earshot.
It was like I absolutely needed to know that they were there,
you know?
Timothy no longer has that support.
"Dara and her brother found themselves in Tagas,
where the ruler, Elamos the Magnificent, proclaimed as law,
'No children will be tolerated within the great kingdom."'
"When Dara saw the proclamation, she laughed and said,
'How magnificent a ruler, to be frightened by us!"'
- We're done with sculpture. - It's not finished.
We'll come back to it. Why not pick up your mythology book?
But it's not finished.
Magnetic analysis confirms the Vico was definitely attacked
inside the Black Cluster.
Graviton wave fronts pushed it to where we found it.
- No signs of phaser burns? - No, sir.
Torsional-stress levels point to a disruptor-style weapon.
Fracture points indicate a range of less than 3,000 metres.
That's a strategy consistent with a cloaked vessel.
Or Klingon. But we're a distance from their territories.
The Breen have outposts in this sector.
The attack is consistent with their battle tactics and their technology.
Thank you.
But what would the Breen be doing inside the Black Cluster?
The boy described a boarding party with helmets and phaser rifles.
Boarding party? I don't think that's likely, sir.
There was no evidence of anyone coming aboard the Vico.
We'd have a transporter-field trace.
Or in the entry ports,
we would have found an electrostatic differential, and we didn't.
Could Timothy have imagined that?
Or could he be lying?
If he's lying, I haven't sensed it.
Perhaps his emotional-trauma level is too high.
Why wouldn't he tell the truth?
He's in shock. It's hard to know what's going on in his mind.
I'll check the readings again, but we won't find anything.
- Thank you, Geordi. - Data.
Captain, we should ask Data to spend time with him.
- I do not understand. - I'm worried about his behaviour.
What I just heard doesn't make me feel better.
You're the only one he's reached out to. You rescued him.
We can use your relationship to help him.
Would Timothy be inclined to tell Data the truth?
It's a possibility.
Proceed with Timothy as the Counsellor suggests.
Aye, sir.
Counsellor, exactly how shall I proceed?
Just be with him.
Your presence he trusts. That's what he needs most now.
Hello, Timothy. May I enter?
You are attempting to recreate...
..the Dokkaran temple of Kural-Hanesh?
Isn't it great?
There's the big hallway the teacher told us about.
That's where everybody came in.
That's where they stood. That's where the altar was.
What do you think?
Do you wish a frank evaluation?
It lacks the harmony of the temple, and Dokkaran culture in general.
- You hate it. - No. I am not capable of hatred.
I can't do anything right.
You are making an unwarranted extrapolation.
I was offering an aesthetic analysis of this model.
The base appears quite sturdy.
I told you!
May I suggest a different approach?
You were constructing the upper level before the supports were in place.
La Forge to Data.
Data here.
I need help with the modulators.
I will join you in a moment.
Lt La Forge requires my assistance.
How come you can do that?
I am designed to exceed human capacity, mentally and physically.
Androids are better than humans?
"Better" is a highly subjective term.
I do not possess the ability to experience emotion as humans do.
No emotions?
You mean, you can't be happy or sad?
- That is correct. - Why not?
My positronic brain is not able to generate those conditions.
Can we build something else later?
That would be acceptable.
I am designed to exceed human capacity.
That is correct.
The Black Cluster was formed nine billion years ago
when hundreds of protostars collapsed in close proximity.
The gravitational forces are both violent and unpredictable.
To get near the centre,
we have to push through the graviton wave fronts.
I've adjusted our shields.
The gravitational forces will affect sensor accuracy.
Detecting an enemy vessel will be difficult.
Maybe the Vico didn't see anything until it was too late.
Counsellor, has the boy volunteered any information?
No, but I do have an appointment with him.
If there's a possibility of getting more from him, pursue it.
But we need to continue our investigation.
We'll enter the Black Cluster at 0700 hours tomorrow.
Hello, Timothy. Are you ready to go?
- Yes. I am ready. - How are you feeling?
I am functioning within established parameters.
Established parameters? You sound like Data.
I am an android.
I see. Well, let's go for our walk, shall we?
That would be acceptable.
So, what would you like?
Androids do not need to eat or drink.
However, we sometimes like to taste things.
A Tamarian frost, please. Would you like anything?
- No, I'm fine, thank you. - As you wish.
So, you're no longer human?
- I'm an android. - When did this happen?
I've always been an android.
What's it like, being an android?
I am designed to exceed human capacity,
both mentally and physically.
- But I do not experience emotions. - You don't? No emotion at all?
That is correct.
- An android? - I know it sounds unusual.
But it is understandable.
Technically, it's called enantiodromia,
conversion into the opposite.
Timothy went from human to machine,
from being emotional to being emotionless.
But the underlying trauma is still there.
He's just found a new way to suppress it.
How long will this behaviour last?
As long as he needs it to. Timothy is rebuilding his identity.
The android persona is just one step along the way.
As soon as he feels stronger, it should drop away.
This is not the time to confront him about his ship?
Not yet. The best thing we can do now
is let Timothy take us where he wants to go.
We should support the process, even encourage it.
Data, make Timothy the best android he can possibly be.
Timothy, your head movements are counterproductive.
- Can you be still? - But you do it.
The mechanisms in my neck approximate human movements.
I did not realize the effect was so distracting.
I like it.
Data, are there any other androids in Starfleet?
No, I am the only one.
How come you're not captain?
My service record does not yet warrant such a position.
What's the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
Fear is not a quality that I possess.
- Because it's an emotion? - Correct.
But what if you had a nightmare?
I have never had a nightmare. I do not require sleep.
Are you having disturbing dreams?
I do not require sleep.
Is that satisfactory?
It's perfect.
Transfer circuits are functioning.
- Within established parameters? - Absolutely.
Input processing, pattern recognition,
all within established parameters.
Thank you, Doctor.
- I ran out of red ochre. - You may use mine.
Thank you.
Perhaps you should return to your quarters.
I'm fine.
The mechanisms in my mouth approximate human movements.
That is not bad.
Thank you.
It is very expressive.
Thank you.
Is your painting representative of something?
It's just a painting.
Timothy, you understand that you may speak to me
about anything you wish? Any subject?
I understand.
At times, l, too, find it difficult to share my thoughts with others.
I am not always confident that I express myself
in a manner which humans can comprehend.
But I know...
We are approaching the perimeter. Picking up wave fronts.
Engage forward shields 35 percent.
Shields up.
- Drop to one-quarter impulse. - Yes, sir.
Bridge to Engineering.
Adjusting shield frequencies now.
We'll have this smoothed out in just a second.
- Adjust course for any deviations. - Yes, sir.
- Resume one-third impulse. - Captain.
I am reading something at 400,000 kilometres off starboard.
- Possibly a ship. - Red alert!
- Take us to visual range. - Adjusting course.
Sensor readings have disappeared.
I have another reading at 400,000 kilometres off the port bow.
It's gone. No. It is back to starboard.
The cluster is distorting the sensors.
We are picking up our echoes reflecting off the wave fronts.
Cancel red alert.
Mr. Worf, adjust sensors to compensate.
Sensor difficulties have been reported, but never this extreme.
That formation is seven times more massive
than any explored previously. That could explain the difference.
- Resume previous course. - Yes, sir.
He laughed.
Yes. It's nice to see, isn't it?
It is certainly not consistent with his android persona.
I'd say he's beginning to let go of that fantasy.
Then my work with him is done.
No, I don't think it is, Data.
A laugh is one step in the right direction.
We need to help him take more steps.
How, Counsellor?
I'd like you to talk to him about your fascination with humanity.
If you explain to Timothy the appeal that humanity has for you,
he might find it easier to become a boy again.
This is great. How is yours?
The polysaccharides in reaction with the carbon dioxide
produces an unusual combination of texture and effervescence.
But how does it taste? Is it good?
I am not capable of tasting in the manner you suggest.
However, I can analyze the composition of a dessert
and make comparative conclusions about its effect on the palate.
But I neither like it nor dislike it.
I didn't realize that.
I often wonder what it must be like to have one's mouth water
in anticipation of a confection,
or to feel the pleasure I observe in humans as they consume it.
You sound like you don't want to be an android.
I am an android. That will never change.
But if you could change, would you?
I have often wished to be human.
I study people in order to approximate human behaviour.
Why? We're stronger and smarter than humans.
We can do more.
But I cannot take pride in my abilities.
I cannot take pleasure in my accomplishments.
But we never have to feel bad, either.
I would gladly risk feeling bad at times
if it also meant that I could taste my dessert.
Gravitational-wave front intensity is increasing steadily.
1100 standard G units and rising.
Let's see if anyone's out there.
Mr. Worf, attempt a wide-range sensor sweep.
Aye, sir.
Gravitational distortion is too great.
The scanning signal is again being reflected.
I'm unable to compensate. The sensors are useless.
- Mr. Data to the bridge. - Acknowledged.
Adjust sensors to short range. Attempt a limited positron scan.
- The distortion is still in effect. - Better jacket the scanning beam.
The secondary beam is being distorted as well.
Mr. Data, our sensors are rendered ineffective by the distortion.
I want your analysis.
Mr. Worf.
Fire phasers, maximum intensity, limited spectrum.
001, mark 045.
- An experiment, Captain? - Exactly, Number One.
Firing phasers.
Explanation, Mr. Data?
Phaser energy was reflected by the wave fronts.
It is similar to the phenomenon distorting our sensors.
Phasers and sensors both useless?
Mr. Data, this reflection phenomenon,
would it have the same effect on a disruptor?
Yes. Disruptors would be ineffective.
- The ship's cloaking field? - Difficult to maintain, sir.
Mr. Data, is it likely that the Vico was attacked inside the cluster?
Given these effects, the probability is exceedingly remote, sir.
- Picard to Counsellor Troi. - Yes, Captain?
Counsellor, bring Timothy to my ready room.
Can you tell us what happened to your ship?
I did tell you!
- Tell us again. - We were attacked.
That is highly unlikely. Our investigations...
We were attacked!
Androids do not lie.
It was me.
Please explain.
It was me.
I did it.
I killed them all.
Everything was shaking.
I lost my balance.
I was just trying to hold on to something.
I didn't mean to do it.
What didn't you mean to do?
My arm hit the computer panel.
That's what destroyed the ship.
The ship was damaged when your arm hit the computer panel?
Timothy, listen to me.
The damage to your ship
might have occurred at the same time your arm touched the panel.
But it was only a coincidence.
This wasn't your fault.
- Yes, it was! - It is not possible.
The on-board control systems for every starship
require a user-code clearance.
You could not inadvertently affect the Vico's systems.
Your computer had safety precautions.
There is nothing you touched that would damage your ship.
You're not responsible for what happened to your parents.
But if it wasn't me...
We are trying to determine what happened right now.
If there is anything you can remember that might assist...
That's just how it was when it started on the Vico.
Wave front intensity has increased.
- Increase shields to 75 percent. - Aye, sir.
- Damage, Worf? - Minimal. Shields are holding.
Ensign, full about. Go to warp two.
The gravitational distortion is too high.
We can't maintain a warp field.
- Full shields. - Aye.
Captain, impulse power has been disrupted.
The helm won't respond.
We couldn't get out either.
Timothy, perhaps we should go below, out of the way.
- No! - La Forge.
- More power to the shields. - Stand by.
That's what they kept saying. "More shields."
- "More shields." - Timothy, accompany me, please.
Recall everything said aboard the Vico before it was destroyed.
I don't know. Just "more shields".
Captain, I've transferred fusion reactors into the shield array.
That doubles shield strength.
Wave front intensity has increased by an order of magnitude.
Impact in three, two, one.
Wave front intensity is increasing.
Structural over-pressure exceeding 180 percent.
- La Forge? - I don't understand.
We could run it off the warp drive.
Go ahead.
Initiating warp-transfer pathways now.
Diverting warp power to the shields.
Warp power to the shields. They said that, too. I'm positive.
Wave front intensity has increased by a factor of ten.
Contact in 31 seconds.
Without more power to the shields, the hull will not hold.
- La Forge! - Transfer to the shields complete.
That's as strong as they'll get.
Impact in 15 seconds.
- Sir, drop the shields. - That's suicide, Data!
Captain, drop the shields.
- Make it so! - Aye.
Our shields caused the increases in the wave fronts.
We experienced a harmonic-amplification effect.
The more energy to the shield, the worse the impact.
Precisely. That is also what destroyed the Vico.
When Timothy remembered similar procedures on his ship,
I analyzed shield output to wave front amplification
and discovered a correlation.
If we had transferred all that power, it would have torn the ship apart.
- Navigation is back on line. - Full about.
One-quarter impulse. Take us out of here.
Timothy is a boy feeling great pain.
But he is a boy again.
Is this difficult for you, Data?
To watch him moving away from being like you?
That would require an emotional context which I cannot provide.
OK, everybody, let's go. Come on.
Hello, Timothy.
Hi, Data. How are you?
I am operating within established parameters. How are you?
I miss my parents.
But, I'm OK.
I guess you thought I was silly when I had my hair like yours.
I have been told that imitation is the highest flattery.
Can we still do things, even if I'm not really an android?
I have many human friends.
I would be pleased to count you among them.
That would be...

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