- Forward tubes armed and ready. - Fire.
- A direct hit. - The asteroid has been shattered.
But the core is on a collision course with Tessen III.
- Is it a threat? - Yes.
- It will cause planet-wide damage. - Time to impact?
It will reach the atmosphere in 44 seconds and impact 11 seconds later.
- Ready torpedoes. - Aye, sir.
Sir, it is unlikely another photon torpedo will be of any effect.
- Mr. Worf, prepare a tractor beam. - Aye, sir.
30 seconds to impact.
I am unable to get a lock with the tractor beam.
There is magnetic-field interference emanating from the core materials.
Activate a deflector. If we send a particle beam,
we may produce a disruptive nuclear effect.
- Aye, sir. - Impact in 17 seconds.
Beam activated.
The target has been destroyed.
The remaining debris is of no threat to the planet, sir.
Well done, everyone.
Ensign, put us back on course. Warp four when we clear the debris field.
Aye, sir.
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.
- My instructions were clear. - They were not!
Before play, he was to put his soiled clothing in the garment reprocessor.
- I was not! - I sense a touch of hostility here.
- You were specifically told that. - You told me yesterday, not today.
- If I may suggest... - The same rule applies today that...
Why not simply draw up a contract
which clearly defines the duties of each family member?
You mean he tells me what he wants and I do it?
No. I mean you both agree to your responsibilities.
When you do what you've agreed to do,
you've earned the privilege to do what you want to do.
When he's cleaned his room, perhaps he can visit the holodeck
to fight his alien monsters.
You suggest bribery.
I suggest working out an equitable system with the rules spelled out.
For the child and the parent.
You must list your responsibilities, too.
What would you like your father to promise, Alexander?
- No yelling. - I do... ! I do not yell.
You should have no trouble with that part.
Why not go back to your quarters and talk this thing over?
Decide on which points each of you wants in the contract.
Very well.
One day, you'll be glad your father cared enough about you to make rules.
It may be hard to imagine right now,
but eventually, most children come to appreciate their parents.
Riker to Counsellor Troi. Your mother's just come aboard.
On the other hand...
Deanna, my dear! It's Mother!
I've got deliciously exciting news! You'll be absolutely thrilled.
I'm getting married.
You know, with just a bit of redecorating here and there,
this ten-forward room should make a very nice wedding hall.
I beg your pardon?
Where else, my little one,
but here amongst my friends and in the presence of my adored daughter?
Mother, where did you...
When did you meet this man? Who is he?
I mean, marriage? When did all this happen?
My poor, plodding little Deanna with her questions, questions, questions!
Wherever did you inherit such pedestrian genes?
What matters is that your mother's happy.
Mother, if you're happy, then I'm happy for you.
I only asked who he is and where you met him.
Those are not unusual questions.
He's a wonderful man with such good breeding. He's absolute perfection.
- Who is he? - He is Campio.
Third Minister to the Conference of Judges from Kostolain. Royalty.
I didn't know you'd been to Kostolain.
Or was he on some diplomatic mission to Betazed?
Well, neither, actually.
You see, we haven't exactly met yet, really.
But the profiles we've exchanged!
They were in such accord that you could weep.
You would weep at the harmony between us.
Mother, don't you think it would be a good idea if you met the man
before spending the rest of your life with him?
I love you, but you do make everything sound like an epitaph.
I don't want to agree!
You have to. That is what an agreement is.
Excuse the intrusion,
but we're having some difficulty drawing up our contract.
Mrs. Troi.
- He's not fair! - The boy is unreasonable.
Well, of course he's unreasonable. He's a child.
And such a child.
Making little boys reasonable only gives them pimples.
- Alexander, this is my mother. - Alexander?
What a wonderful name!
You know, I once knew a tall, handsome warrior named Alexander.
He utterly adored me. We went everywhere.
Simply everywhere!
Have you been anywhere...? Contract? What contract?
Between father and son.
A fair and balanced way to achieve a mutual sense of order.
How ghastly for you.
And you are doing this to your own child, Mr. Woof?
- Mother... ! - It is Worf, madam.
Contracts are between people who don't trust one another.
A child who is trusted becomes worthy of that trust.
Will you stay out of this?
If he does not perform his contractual duties,
I assume he will be chastised?
He will be sanctioned, yes.
If you fail to perform your duties, what can the child do about it?
- Will you please... - I? Not perform my duty?
Now, life's true gift is the capacity to enjoy enjoyment.
Have I arrived too late, or can you still smile?
She's getting married?
Yes. We should rendezvous with her intended in 31 hours.
I will not have her using us for her convenience
simply because her daughter is one of my officers.
Apparently Deanna being on board is only one reason.
The other reason being?
She thinks the honour of giving away the bride should fall on you.
Permission for an on-board wedding is granted.
Nothing would please me more than to give away Mrs. Troi.
My little warrior! And how are you this morning?
I see. Being punished for something, are we?
It's just my regular time to meet Counsellor Troi. She's not here yet.
Then you're early. That's very responsible of you.
No, I just wanted to be out of my room before...
Before what?
Now, if we're to be real friends, we've got to share only the truth.
For one thing, it's easier.
When you tell the truth, you never have to remember what you lied about.
But mostly, a true friend is a person
you can always tell the truth to without worrying about it.
I wanted to leave before my father got back.
I hate him.
I wish my mother were here.
She died.
It's not very fair, is it?
All he cares about are rules.
I'm supposed to do everything right all the time.
I don't know how.
To tell you the truth, little warrior, neither do l.
But, I do know one marvellous thing we can do with rules.
- I'm meant to see Counsellor Troi. - Exactly.
Ever been to a colony of free spirits?
- What do they do there? - Whatever they want.
Artists, philosophers, freethinkers,
and people who don't quite fit other people's rules.
Personally, I come for the mud baths. You're going to adore the mud baths!
Computer, I'm assuming that you have the Parallax Colony on Shiralea VI?
- That program is available. - Good!
Then run it for us, dear.
- What's that? - A wind dancer!
He stands guard. Only those whose hearts are joyous may enter.
Come on.
Fire sculptor. We'll chat later
if you're not wearing anything flammable.
Hello. A few of us are just gathering for our laughing hour.
Would you care to come laugh with us?
Actually, we were about to experience a mud bath.
Were you? What an idea.
We will join you. One can always laugh in the bath.
- Do you ever drop one? - No! These are my worlds.
I protect them. I am a master of worlds.
And they fly only as I wish.
We're having guests for laughing hour. Care to join us?
- We'd love to. - No, thank you.
- Yes. - No.
Why do you always say no when I say yes?
- I don't. - You just did.
- There you go again. - Why are they arguing?
They're friends. They love contradiction.
They thrive on challenge. They flourish in conflict.
- Then why are they friends? - Who else can you fight with?
What is the lesson for today?
Damned if we know. We're just here for some fun and a mud bath.
Every moment requires a purpose.
- No, it doesn't. - Every purpose requires a plan.
He does this every day,
usually while everyone's food is getting cold.
- It's rather boring. - The higher,...
..the fewer.
That's a conversation stopper if I ever heard one.
- You're being stubborn. - I am not.
- You are. - I am not!
- Yes, you are. - I am not.
Excuse me. If you're gonna argue, you should remember,
the higher, the fewer.
So, my little warrior wants to see more out of life than just fighting?
The mind opens, and in creeps wisdom.
"Be patient," she says.
I can't believe this.
Isn't Alexander with you?
He didn't show up for his appointment.
Computer, what is the location of Alexander Rozhenko?
Alexander Rozhenko is on holodeck two.
Is he there alone?
He is with Lwaxana Troi.
To all the creatures within us!
"To all the creatures within us"?
Of course.
Every one of us has a thousand different little people inside of us.
And some of them want to get out and be wild,
and some want to be sad or happy or inventive, or just go dancing.
That's why we all have different urges at different times.
And all those different little people inside of us,
we must never be afraid to take them with us wherever we go.
Who knows when we may need one of them
to pop up and rescue us from ourselves?
Variety, my little Alex.
The great secret is not the variety of life.
- It's the variety of us. - Are we ready for the entertainment?
Yes! Bring on the entertainment.
Little one! Mr. Woof!
Come, join us.
I'm trying to help the boy learn the value of responsibility.
You're not helping by giving him mixed messages.
I exposed you to all sorts of mixed messages. You still turned out dull.
What are you so worried about?
Among other things, his relationship with his father.
No more holodeck, Mother. Please.
Why aren't you making wedding plans? It's only three days away.
I'm letting Mr. Homn handle all the mundane details. He knows my tastes.
There's absolutely nothing to do, you nosy little girl!
Campio's sent his mother's wedding gown, which Mr. Homn is altering.
There isn't anything else...
Wedding gown? Mother, stop.
You're not going to be naked at your own wedding?
Campio's planet has different traditions.
He would not approve of a traditional Betazoid wedding,
so I am happily adapting! Simple as that.
I need some tea.
I can't believe I'm hearing
this from the heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed,
holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx.
Why can't I ever work this replicator?
I think it's time to talk about this mysterious marriage
to a man you've never met.
Computer, some Jestral tea, please.
Why shouldn't I get married if I choose to?
You make everything into a mystery. There is no mystery, Deanna!
Except about this Petrokian sausage.
The tea. All I wanted was a cup of tea.
Oh, dear, I think your replicator's having a nervous collapse.
A diagnostic of the food-replication systems
has failed to detect any faults in the terminals.
But we've still had over 200 reports of malfunctioning replicators.
An energy fluctuation in a utility-access corridor.
Well, we'd better look into it before the Captain orders dinner.
Yeah. Dash 64. Here we are.
Some kind of intermittent EM-field pattern.
Gimme a hand with that, will you?
There's no plasma leakage. Just a little negative-ion charging.
Bad enough having to wear anything at all to my own wedding, but this?
Perhaps if we lower the bodice...
Raise the hemline, then?
What a constant joy you are!
Mr. Homn?
Alexander! My little warrior.
Come here. Come on.
Give me a great big hug!
Now, you're not escaping another appointment, are you?
No, ma'am.
Well, I suppose eventually we all have to live up to our obligations.
Well, now.
Tell me, what brings you here to brighten my day?
I wanted to say I'm sorry if I got you in any trouble.
That's very sweet, dear, but I really wasn't in any trouble.
Until I saw this dress!
- Ugly, isn't it? - What's it for?
- I'm getting married. - Why?
Are you sure my daughter didn't send you?
Just a joke. People get married
because they want to spend their lives with someone.
Their whole life?
They must like that person a lot.
Well, if you're young and lucky, it'll be someone you like a lot, yes.
And if you're older...
Are you very old?
I'm alone, Alex.
And when you do get older,...
..and can no longer pick and choose from whatever may come your way,...
..then you do what we call compromise.
Keeps you from being afraid.
We traced the failure to an interface
which routes replicator selections to the correct subprocessors.
The interface had been transformed into a gelatinous material
we haven't been able to identify.
We have an intermittent failure of the inertial-damping system.
Take us out of warp.
Primary attitude control has failed. Going to secondary.
We have lost helm control.
Try a manual bypass of the damping systems.
- Backup generators. - Coming on line now.
How long before we regain control?
Almost there.
Ensign, put us back on course. Stay at impulse for now.
- Did something hit us, Mr. Worf? - Negative, sir.
The automatic bypass should have kicked in.
I want to know what went wrong. Analysis in 30 minutes.
What happened to the replicator happened to the stabilizer.
The transfers in both systems turned into this.
- Some sort of corrosion? - We do not yet know what it is.
There's a conversion process turning the metal into gelatinous residue.
The cause is a mystery.
Replicators and stabilizers are totally unrelated.
And we still don't know why the sensors didn't pick up the problems.
Let's run a mass spectrometer analysis and find out what it is.
Transporter room one to Capt Picard. Minister Campio is beaming on board.
I'll be right there. The bridegroom.
My dear, your compatibility profile doesn't do you justice.
I am Lwaxana, and any introductory compliment will be happily received.
Indeed, Mrs. Troi, you are even lovelier in person.
Now, that worked just fine.
Now, now, we don't wish to be too familiar at this early juncture.
Forgive this tardiness. Ship's business.
Minister Campio, Capt Picard. Welcome aboard.
I thank you and greet you with appreciation
for permitting this wedding aboard your fine vessel.
- Not at all, sir. - May I present my daughter?
Deanna Troi, meet your future stepfather, come to think of it.
Yes. If I recall the profile, you are the ship's counsellor?
I am, sir.
And my escort, who need not be addressed, Protocol Master Erko.
Campio? Personally I absolutely adore all the ostentation I can get,
but, Protocol Master?
I would not do you, nor our hosts,
the disservice of failing to ensure that priorities are observed.
Yes. How very thoughtful.
It would be unpardonable simply to abandon ourselves to the moment.
- Would it not? - Unpardonable!
Looks like the only alloy common to both replicator and stabilizer... nitrium.
Computer, analyze the nitrium content of both stabilizer and replicator.
There is no nitrium in the affected stabilizer or replicator.
There is none in the residue either.
The elements in the residue have been broken down into simpler structures.
That suggests the nitrium has been organically metabolized.
Maybe that's it. If a living organism ingested the nitrium...
..this residue would be the waste left behind.
If that's true, something's eating away at the nitrium on this ship.
That means that the dilithium chamber is vulnerable
and the power-transfer conduits. Better get to Engineering.
Eat, son.
What are you doing? What is that noise?
It's my laughing hour.
That is enough, please. It is your dinner hour.
I promised to meet Mrs. Troi for another lesson in happy wisdom.
Will you stop doing that, please?
Alexander, eat your food. Wisdom will wait, I assure you.
I promised. Should I break my promise, Father?
A Klingon never breaks his word.
Where are you going?
You said no Klingon breaks his word.
I did not mean now. Now just sit down and eat.
I don't understand. You're confusing me.
Understand later.
Just eat.
The higher, the fewer.
I don't wish to be authoritative,
but Erko says now is our proper time for discussion of certain details.
I don't want to be considered anti-Erko, dear,
but I did promise Alexander one more holodeck trip.
Come along, my love.
Surely there'll be other occasions for you to spend time with the boy.
My goodness, Campio.
You and I are going to have the rest of our lives.
I tell you what. I'll be back here with you in one hour, alright?
Minister, the woman should not be addressing you in the familiar.
- Mother, we have to talk. - Yes we do, dear, but not just now.
Well, how do I address him?
We've come for Alexander. Forgive the intrusion.
Preferably he should be called by his ministerial title.
I'll remember.
Mr. Homn, you make sure that everyone is comfortable until we get back.
Especially the Minister here.
I'll be back. One hour, darling. See you then.
Mrs. Troi, it is Alexander's dinner hour.
How thoughtless of me!
I guess we'll have to have a picnic before our mud bath.
We have business to deal with here.
Leaving is simply not acceptable.
Well, can't we just pretend it is? We'll be back.
You are missing the point.
Alexander, you will return to our quarters and have dinner.
- But we're going to the holodeck! - You're undermining all our efforts.
Don't be absurd. Don't they let you change those colourless outfits?
It is essential that we discuss the wedding procedures now.
Minister, darling, perhaps you and Jerko can come, too.
Lwaxana, this exceeds all boundaries.
Well, a half-hour, then. No longer, I promise.
Mr. Homn? Your duties.
Counsellor Troi, have you no influence?
Lwaxana, if you will remain, I may allow the boy to stay.
- Definitely not! - Definitely not.
My son is to return to quarters.
Nor may a servant be present during a prenuptial consultation.
Well, sir, I'm afraid even the bride won't be present for this one.
The dilithium chamber shows no anomalous readings.
So far, these transfer conduits are clean, too.
Hold on. I'm getting something here.
There's an energy fluctuation in this panel.
What happened?
Well, I was just juggling and I happened to catch one in my mouth.
It tasted good, so I ate it.
Before I knew it, I'd eaten up every one of my worlds.
It never occurred to me that once they were gone,
I'd have nothing left to juggle.
If you ever have a world, plan ahead. Don't eat it.
Well, now. Almost time to get back.
Are you sad?
Course not. I'm about to be a bride.
You know that man you're marrying?
He would never take a mud bath, would he?
He might.
Probably not.
Maybe this would be a good time
to get one of those little people that live inside you
to come out and tell you what to do, or help you or something.
- What are you talking about? - I'm sorry.
Don't you dare be sorry.
What's wrong?
Come along, Alexander. Let's not leave everyone waiting for us.
Once we saw that photonic trail,
we realized we must be dealing with a metal parasite.
We believe they came through the hull after we destroyed the asteroid.
Do they attack anything other than nitrium?
Not that we can tell, but we've got nitrium everywhere.
Computers, life support, ventilation, engines,
even the dilithium chamber.
The asteroid we destroyed was rich in nitrium.
Aye, sir.
And that asteroid came from the Pelloris Field.
If the field is rich in nitrium, it would be a natural feeding ground.
We should go back.
The parasites could possibly be lured back to the asteroids.
How long to the field?
At warp nine, five hours, 20 minutes.
- Bridge. - Riker here.
Set a course for the Pelloris asteroid field, warp nine.
Captain, with our sensors unable to detect the parasites,
and given how fast they move through the ship...
We may not have five hours, 20 minutes. Can we slow them down?
An exanogen-gas barrier has been known to slow down metal parasites.
They don't like cold? Make it so.
The problem is finding them.
When we spot a fluctuation,
they've already consumed the nitrium and moved on.
Power is going down. I've rerouted to secondary generators.
Inform the bridge. Mr. Data, with me.
Any suggestions as to how to get the parasites to leave the ship
once we reach the Pelloris Field?
If we reconfigure a particle beam with a high concentration of nitrium
and project it at an asteroid...
Then they would follow the beam like a trail of breadcrumbs.
Very well.
- Turbo lift velocity is fluctuating. - Computer, halt at next level.
Computer, acknowledge!
We have reached the bridge, sir.
Report, Number One.
Ventilation and life support are failing.
Captain, we have dropped to warp 5.7.
- Engineering. - La Forge here.
What's happening? We're losing speed.
The parasites must have gotten into the primary warp controllers.
Trying a bypass patch to isolate the backup,
but it looks like warp six is about the best I can do.
At that speed, there won't be a ship left to reach the Pelloris Field.
- Do what you have to. - Working on it, sir.
We are losing life support on decks 11 and 12.
Mr. Worf, have Security evacuate all personnel from those decks.
Engineering to bridge.
We've got warp 6.5, but I don't know how much more we can do here.
We need more speed than that.
Matter/antimatter injectors failing. I'm rerouteing to secondary power.
Watch the antimatter containment for any failure.
Atmospheric systems are down 27 percent.
Below tolerable oxygen limits.
We must evacuate decks 20 to 24.
Make it so. Shut down life support to those decks.
Direct evacuees to decks nine and ten.
Divert emergency life support to those decks.
Time to asteroid field?
If we maintain our current speed, two hours, 23 minutes, sir.
Mr. Data, the rest of us may lose consciousness.
If we do, it will be your job to execute the plan as discussed.
Aye, sir.
Structural integrity of the dilithium chamber is 34 percent.
Estimated breach in one minute.
Computer, transfer power from warp engines to life support.
Transfer complete.
- Activate Bussard collector. - Activated.
Breach of dilithium chamber in 40 seconds.
Reconfigure hydrogen-plasma mixture to include 30 percent nitrium.
Mixture complete.
Project emitter beam, heading 042, mark 021.
Structural integrity of the dilithium chamber is at 28 percent and holding.
- Mr. Data? - The plan was successful, sir.
Well done.
Mr. Worf, coordinate your teams with Dr Crusher and Cmdr La Forge.
- Assess damage and injury. - Aye, sir.
Captain's log, star date 45733.6.
Temporary repairs have been completed.
Our attention now turns to matters of a more festive nature.
This is intolerable.
You'd think she'd get to her own wedding on time.
This is infamous. Infamous! We must leave immediately!
Every pore in my body tingles with contentment.
Isn't it wonderful how things worked out, Alexander?
I wanted to teach you how to grab the joys of living.
And you turned around and taught me to not let go of them.
How very mutual.
We still have to learn how to live in the real world, Mother. All of us.
She's absolutely right, Alexander. But only when necessary.
You're just supposed to sit here?

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