Captain's log, star date 45614.6.
We have been contacted by an androgynous race, the J'naii,
to investigate the mysterious disappearance
of one of their shuttlecraft.
Captain, we are approaching the designated coordinates.
Long-range scan, Mr. Data.
The sensors find no evidence of the shuttle in the system.
It couldn't have travelled outside the system.
Reconfigure high-resolution sweep. Check for any debris.
Scans find no debris in that radius.
I don't understand. A shuttle doesn't simply vanish.
There has to be an explanation.
Captain, I'm detecting an unusual reading,
a neutrino emission with no visible source.
- Explanation? - I have none, sir.
I recommend we launch a probe.
Make it so.
Probe is launched.
Sensors show no evidence of any unusual phenomenon.
Probe is no longer transmitting.
Where did it go?
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.
The disappearance of our probe suggests that we may have found
the first instance of null space.
an anomaly which until now had been theoretical.
Cmdr Riker has been working with J'naii specialists,
to formalize this hypothesis.
During the creation of a star system,
when clouds of interstellar dust and gas coalesce,
turbulent magnetic and gravitational fields may develop.
In certain conditions, these condense into abnormal pockets of space.
We think your system contains one of these pockets.
The pocket absorbs electromagnetic energy
from anything entering it.
- Like a shuttle. - Or probe. Making them powerless.
But outside the pocket, the energy is bent around it,
making it naturally cloaked.
That's why we cannot see it, and our sensors cannot read it.
- Is the shuttle still there? - We think so.
It couldn't sustain its energy, but it wouldn't be damaged.
Since our shuttles carry plestorene backup systems,
we think life support would sustain for as long as ten days.
Perhaps our crew survived?
We can send in one of our shuttles, but its energy would be absorbed.
We're working on maintaining reserves long enough to rescue your crew.
Commander, we're grateful for your help.
Whatever resources we can provide are yours.
I've been thinking.
When the time comes, I want to pilot the shuttle.
It's a Starfleet craft.
I cannot ask you to put yourself in danger for our crew.
You can't pilot a shuttle you don't know.
I happen to be a good pilot.
I happen to be a good pilot, too. And I know my way around the shuttle.
What if we team up?
When can we go over the flight operations?
Is this the one?
This is it. Short-range craft, two 1250-millicochrane warp engines.
- Microfusion thrusters? - Right.
- Armament? - None usually.
But this has two type-four phaser emitters, to chart the null space.
Mr. La Forge thinks the energy absorption is linked to its size.
I'm not sure how we'd map something we can't see.
With the emitters.
Shoot photon pulses into the pocket and chart where they disappear.
- That should give us an outline. - Let's look at the controls.
Later we'll do a flight simulation. Let's do a systems review.
- I'll talk you through it. - Propulsion, transfer conduits.
Where's the schematic reactor-assembly?
There it is.
There's nothing here that's unfamiliar.
Navigational deflector, polarity-source generators.
It's like you grew up in a shuttle.
I did. My parents were pilots. I was flying with them before I could walk.
Then I entered flight school. Krite was my instructor.
He had a good student.
"He"? There are no "hes" or "shes" in a species without gender.
OK, for two days I've tried to form sentences without personal pronouns.
Now I give up. What should I use? "It"? To us, that's rude.
We use a pronoun that is neutral.
I do not think there is a translation.
I'll muddle through. Forgive me if a "he" or "she" slips by, OK?
Well, if that's the systems review, I don't see any problem. What's next?
- What is it? - Split-pea soup.
It's my father's recipe. I had it programmed into the replicators.
Unusual. But I think I like it.
It's very healthy. Helps to keep you warm on cold Alaskan nights.
We prefer to stay warm by sleeping with a friend.
Not to mate.
Just to sleep together for warmth.
Still sounds better than pea soup.
- We are puzzling to you, aren't we? - A little.
It's hard to grasp the idea of no gender.
It is just as hard for us to understand
the strange division in your species,...
..males and females.
You are male.
Tell me about males. What is it makes you different from females?
Snips and snails and puppy dog tails?
- You have a dog's tail? - It's an old nursery rhyme.
Girls are made from sugar and spice, boys are made from snips and snails.
It sounds better to be female.
It's an old-fashioned way of looking at the sexes.
Not to say there's no real difference between them.
Physically men are bigger, stronger. We have different sexual organs.
Men can't bear young.
What about feelings or emotional attitudes? Are they different?
Most people think so.
But that kind of question would take a lifetime to answer.
Let me ask you, what's it like on a planet where people have no gender?
I'm afraid I don't understand.
Who leads when you dance? lf you dance.
We do. And whoever's taller leads.
Without the battle of the sexes, you probably don't argue as much.
Because we don't have gender doesn't mean we don't have conflicts.
We're strong-minded, we love a good fight.
There's not much difference between our species.
What kind of woman do you find attractive?
I like one who's intelligent and sure of herself,
who I can talk with and get something back.
But the most important thing of all? She has to laugh at my jokes.
Tell me, is that the kind of woman that all human males prefer?
Not at all.
Some like quiet, demure women.
Others prefer a lot of energy.
Some only respond to physical attractiveness.
Others couldn't care less. There are no rules.
You make it sound very complex.
Believe me, it is.
Well, perhaps it is that complexity...
..which makes the differences in the sexes so interesting.
- Good evening, Commander. - Good evening.
Please take my place, Krite. I have to be going.
Thank you for going over the flight protocols. It was very helpful.
Captain's log, supplemental. Riker and the J'naii pilot
will chart the null-space pocket.
If they are successful, we can proceed with the rescue attempt.
I've illuminated Delta four grid map. We'll start there and expand.
Stand by. Forward phaser array.
Pulse vanished at Delta 4.2 by .3.
Firing second burst.
- Delta 4.4 by .5. - This is working.
Initiating computer task hand-off.
Commander, tell me about your sexual organs.
Is that an uncomfortable subject?
No, but it doesn't tend to be a topic of casual conversation.
I'm interested in your mating practices.
What is involved with two sexes?
Correcting course. 021, mark zero.
Right. It's pretty simple. Men inseminate the women.
The women carry the baby.
Our foetuses are incubated in fibrous husks, which the parents inseminate.
From what we know of other species,
our method is less risky and less painful.
- And less enjoyable. - Less enjoyable?
For humans, the sexual act brings a closeness and intimacy.
It can be a very pleasurable experience.
Inseminating a husk...
That's just the last step.
Mating is a long ritual for us, full of variety and adventure,
and I assure you, it is extremely pleasurable.
I'm picking up a neutrino emission from within the null space.
That may be from our shuttle. I'll note these coordinates.
- I wonder... - What?
If a human and a J'naii would be sexually compatible.
I don't know.
- But it would never be permitted. - Why not?
The idea of gender, it is offensive to my people.
You see, long ago, we had two sexes, as you do.
But we evolved into a higher form.
I don't mean to sound insulting,
but on my planet we have been taught that gender is primitive.
- Primitive? - Less evolved.
Maybe so. But sometimes, there's a lot to be said
for an experience that's primitive.
Delta five grid map is fully plotted.
Adjusting course. 029, mark zero.
- The port engine's down! - Reducing power.
Not enough. Activate manoeuvring thrusters.
Thrusters aren't responding.
I'll reroute the firing sequence.
Inertial dampeners failing! Hang on!
- Shuttle, do you read me? - Affirmative. We've lost an engine.
We'll try a tractor beam.
The sooner the better. We have an injury.
- Transport Soren to sickbay! - Right away.
It's just a minor concussion. You're going to be fine.
This will reduce the inflammation.
Doctor, you are female.
Forgive me, I do not mean to be rude, but I'm curious.
What is it like?
Well, it's... It's just the way I am.
I've never thought about what it's like.
I notice you tend to have longer hair,
and you arrange it more elaborately.
- You apply colour to your bodies. - Colour?
You put colour on your mouths.
And your eyes, your cheeks, your fingernails.
The men don't.
Then, it is up to women to attract the men.
No. Men want to be attractive, too, believe me.
They just go about it differently.
- No colour. - No colour.
They pretend they're not doing anything to attract a woman,
even when it's the most important thing on their minds.
This is very confusing.
Then, are women considered more superior or the men?
In the past, women were often considered weak and inferior.
But that hasn't been true for a long time.
Will, your co-pilot is gonna be fine. The injury was minor.
Glad to hear it.
You're not rid of me yet, Commander. I can complete the mission.
- Glad you feel better. - Why did the shuttle go into a spin?
The port nacelle must have nipped the null pocket and shut down.
- Are we still on schedule, then? - That depends on how you're doing.
I'm fine. We should check the port engine.
Whoa! Maybe we should get the Doctor's opinion first.
I don't see any problem.
But if you have headache or dizziness, come back.
You have my word.
Alright. This hand, the game is Federation Day.
What is that?
The Federation was founded in 2161,
so, twos, sixes and aces are wild.
- That is a woman's game. - Why is that?
All those wild cards, they support a weak hand.
A man's game has no wild cards.
So, it's a woman's game because women are weak and need more help?
And only today, I told a J'naii those attitudes were but a distant memory.
The J'naii. They bother me.
- Why, Worf? - They just do.
They're all alike. No males, no females.
I'm sure we're just as strange to them.
One of them is overcoming the differences,
at least in regards to one of us.
- What are you saying, Doctor? - I could be wrong.
But I get the impression that Soren is attracted to Cmdr Riker.
A human and a J'naii? Impossible!
- Why? - Good question. Worf?
All these wild cards. It's difficult to know what is exactly in my hand.
However, I will open with 50.
The transporter array is in. In null space, we'll need to initialize it
before we beam the J'naii crew onto this shuttle.
But there should be power left to beam us to the Enterprise.
Is the buffer-field generator in?
Geordi thinks it'll be ready by 0800 tomorrow.
But before that, we should see if we can balance this engine.
Can you access the starboard manifold thrust?
Set the arc at 6.3. I'll optimize the plasma flow.
Commander, I'd like to tell you something.
Something that's not easy to say.
I find you attractive.
I'm taking a terrible risk telling you that.
It means revealing something to you,
something that, if it were known on my planet, would be dangerous for me.
Occasionally, among my people,...
..there are a few who are born different,...
..who are throwbacks from the era when we all had gender.
Some have strong inclinations to maleness,
and some have urges to be female.
I am one of the latter.
I have to admit I had a feeling you were different.
I was hoping you would.
But in front of the others, I must be careful not to reveal myself.
On our world, these feelings are forbidden.
Those who are discovered are shamed and ridiculed,
and only by undergoing psychotectic therapy and...
..having all elements of gender eliminated,
can they be accepted into society again.
Those of us who have these urges live secret and guarded lives.
We seek each other out,...
..always hiding, always terrified of being discovered.
How long have you known that you were like this?
I've known I was different all my life.
But I did not know how or why until I was older.
And when you realized, what then?
I remember when I was very young,
before I knew what I was,
there was a rumour at my school...
..that one of the students preferred a gender, in that case, male.
The children started making fun of him.
And every day they were more cruel.
They could tell he was afraid, and...
..somehow that seemed to encourage them.
One morning in class, he appeared,
bleeding and in ripped clothes.
He said he had fallen down.
Of course, the school authorities found out and took him away,
and gave him psychotectic treatments.
When he came back,...
..he stood in front of the whole school...
..and told us how happy he was now that he had been cured.
After that, I realized how dangerous it was to be different.
And once I got older, and knew what I was, I was terrified.
I have had to live with that fear ever since.
Do you have relationships with others?
With those who have discovered they are male.
I have had to live a life of pretence and lies.
But with you, I can be honest.
Please, don't say anything.
Just think about it.
That's it, everything checks out. The energy buffer is functioning.
It should reduce the power drain by 40 percent.
How long will we have?
Let's just say, don't waste any time in there.
He'll need continuous readouts on consumption.
The rate may not be constant.
- I understand. - Then that's it.
I'll monitor what I can, but inside the pocket you're on your own.
The crew's condition is unknown, so we'll all beam to sickbay.
I'll tell Dr Crusher to be standing by.
- La Forge to bridge. - Picard here.
Ready to initiate pre-launch sequence.
- Proceed, Mr. Data. - Initiating pre-launch sequence.
Request flight clearance.
Clearance is granted. The shuttle is under way, sir.
- Good hunting, Commander. - Thank you, sir. See you for dinner.
Energy readings normal. Power reserves stabilized at 100 percent.
It's dead ahead, approximately 50 kilometres.
Riker to Enterprise, we're taking her in.
Riker to Enterprise?
Riker to Enterprise.
- Power reserves down to 84 percent. - Look!
Try hailing them.
Calling the Taris Murn, do you read me?
They're unconscious but alive. Stand by. I'm gonna transport them over.
Power reserves at 68 percent and dropping.
The null space is affecting the annular-confinement beam.
We used ten megajoules. We're down to 34 percent of reserves.
We can give it one more try.
Any more, we won't have enough power to get out.
They need attention quickly.
OK. Stand by to transport to the Enterprise. Here we go.
We're down to nine percent. Not enough to get back.
Sitting here, we'll lose all systems in an hour, including life support.
I'll reroute the propulsion system to the transporter.
Rechannel navigation systems. Transfer all the energy we've got.
Sensors, life support. This might give us one last shot.
An energy shift that size will cause an overload. The shuttle...
Will explode! But if we stay, we're dead anyway.
Maximum energy levels, five seconds.
See you in a minute.
They've been oxygen-deprived.
There isn't any significant damage. Prepare some dexalin.
Commander, thank you.
Soren was very helpful.
Would you all join us this evening? We want to express our gratitude.
We'd be happy to.
Noor will be eager for a report. We should return to the surface.
I will see you later, Commander.
There you are. I wondered what had happened to our guest of honour.
I needed some air.
After a while at social functions, I need to breathe a little.
I would think you had attended so many affairs,
that it had become second nature to you.
I was raised outdoors. I've never been comfortable in crowded rooms.
What do you think of our planet? Isn't it beautiful?
Yes, it is. It's beautiful.
We have many varieties of plant life.
Perhaps you would like to inspect some of them?
Yes, I would. I've always been interested in exobotany.
Please, let me take you on a tour.
Thank you. It's kind of you.
One of my favourites is this menellen tree.
The leaves first turn pure white
and then blue, when the weather gets cold.
This is called a falla bush.
It produces a fragrant flower on only one day of the year.
Captain's log, star date 45620.4.
In the hope that a map of null space will prevent losing other ships,
we remain in orbit of J'naii, charting the anomaly.
- What's all this? - Wonderful things!
My mother sent a box that belonged to one of my father's ancestors.
It was stored on Earth and just recently turned up.
You know who any of these people are?
No. Some of the pictures have names on, but most don't.
I look at them and wonder who they are and if they are related to me.
This one looks like you.
Deanna, I have something on my mind.
I had to see you.
Has something happened?
I've met someone. Someone who's becoming important to me.
- Soren. - Yes.
You're my friend, and I thought...
I don't know. I thought I should tell you.
I'm glad you did.
Nothing will change between us, will it?
Of course it will.
Relationships constantly change.
But we'll still be friends, maybe better friends.
You're a part of my life and I'm a part of yours.
That much will always be true.
Hello, I'm here to see Soren.
- We had an appointment to discuss... - I don't think so.
- Excuse me? - We know what you two are doing.
- Where is Soren? - It won't happen again.
Where is Soren?
In custody, and there's nothing you can do.
The hell there isn't.
You are aware of the charges against you?
Do you intend to dispute them?
Well, what is your response?
- These proceedings are closed to... - I just opened them.
This is a private matter.
We are grateful for your help, but that gives you no right to interfere.
I just want you to know what happened. It was all my fault.
I was attracted to Soren.
I pursued. I insisted.
I didn't understand your ways until she explained and rejected me.
Nothing happened between us. I ask forgiveness.
I behaved inappropriately.
- Is this true? - No.
I am tired of lies.
I am female.
I was born that way.
I have had those feelings,
those longings, all of my life.
It is not unnatural.
I am not sick because I feel this way.
I do not need to be helped.
I do not need to be cured.
What I need...
..and what all of those who are like me need...
..is your understanding,...
..and your compassion.
We have not injured you in any way.
And yet, we are scorned and attacked.
And all because we are different.
What we do...
..is no different from what you do.
We talk, and laugh.
We complain about work,...
..and we wonder about growing old.
We talk about our families, and we worry about the future.
And we cry with each other when things seem hopeless.
All of the loving things that you do with each other,
that is what we do.
And for that we are called misfits,
and deviants and criminals!
What right do you have to punish us?
What right do you have to change us?
What makes you think you can dictate how people love each other?
I congratulate you, Soren.
Admitting your perversion makes it much more likely we can help you.
Wait. You don't have to do this.
Let her go with me to the Enterprise. We would give her asylum.
You'd never see her again. That would solve it. You'd be rid of her.
She would never influence anyone again.
After Soren's diatribe, you must think us a cruel, repressive people.
Nothing could be more untrue.
I'm looking for a solution for everyone.
We take our obligations to our citizens seriously.
Soren is sick, and sick people want to get well.
What if she wants to stay the way she is?
You don't understand.
We have a very high success rate in treating deviants.
And without exception, they become happier people after treatment,
and grateful that we care enough to cure them.
You see, Commander, on this world, everyone wants to be normal.
Take her away. Treatment will begin tomorrow.
Don't do this! Soren!
No more, Commander!
Riker to Enterprise. One to transport.
I just can't leave her to be given psychotectic treatments.
I don't know what to do!
Well, I could talk to Noor.
Perhaps there's a way to work something out.
Their minds are set. They don't want to hear an alternative.
Then, I'm not sure there's much we can do.
There has to be.
My relationship with Soren is not trivial. She's very important to me.
It's my fault. I have to help her.
If you're here for sanction, I can't give it to you.
I know. But I have to do something.
Interfering with J'naii affairs is against the Prime Directive.
I'm aware of that.
If you violate it, you may jeopardize your career.
Starfleet takes this seriously.
I can't defend you if you go too far. You understand?
You've made yourself clear, sir.
Don't put at risk everything you've worked for.
Thank you. May I be excused now?
- Who is it? - Lt Worf.
I have the plan for deploying warning buoys around the null space.
- Fine. I'll take a look at it later. - Yes, sir.
Commander, I know what transpired on the planet's surface.
Are you, by any chance, considering an unannounced visit?
- I will go with you. - Lieutenant...
Sir, you are my commanding officer. If you order me to stay, I will obey,
but I ask you not to give that order.
A warrior does not let a friend face danger alone.
Something's happening. They're leaving.
Excuse me. I need to speak to her alone for a moment.
Don't worry, we'll be out of here in a minute.
- Please, don't! - Alright, we're almost there.
You cannot do this.
I won't let them hurt you. You'll be safe on the ship.
I am so sorry. It was my fault that you got involved in all this.
Everything's going to be alright.
No, it is not.
What are you talking about?
It was all a mistake.
And I should have realized it from the beginning.
- What? - That I was sick.
I had these terrible urges. That is why I reached out to you.
But it was wrong. And I see that now.
I do not understand how I could have done what I did.
Maybe Dr Crusher can treat you and bring you back to the way you were.
Why would I want that?
I love you.
How long to the Phelan system, Mr. Data?
At warp six, 53 hours, sir.
- Commander. - Captain.
Starfleet is asking us to proceed to the Phelan system
- to negotiate a trade agreement. - Yes, sir.
I didn't know when to tell them we will be there.
Is our business with the J'naii finished?
Take us out of orbit. Set a course for the Phelan system, warp six.