Captain's log, star date 45761.3.
In an effort to end their centuries-long war,
Krios and Valt Minor have agreed to a reconciliation
to be held aboard the Enterprise between their two systems.
I apologize for the delay, Ambassador Briam.
We had to pick up a group of stranded miners.
Please, we are grateful
the Federation has taken an interest in the matter.
Did Cmdr La Forge provide the cargo-handling provisions?
However, until we reach the rendezvous with the Valtese,
may the cargo bay be off limits to all but essential personnel?
I trust that this cargo is not dangerous.
No, nothing of the sort. It's quite fragile.
- And quite irreplaceable. - Bridge to Picard.
Go ahead.
We picked up a distress call from a Ferengi shuttle.
- Set a course to intercept. - Aye, sir.
Captain, the timing of our ceremony is critical.
It cannot be delayed.
We'll be on schedule, don't worry. Excuse me.
The Ferengi containment field is collapsing.
- Within visual range. - On screen.
Their reactor core is unstable.
- How many on board? - Two, sir.
Bridge to transporter room three.
Boost your output and lock on.
We may need a long-range transport.
Standing by.
Got them, sir.
Mr. Worf, escort our guests to quarters, not too close to mine.
Unless you can arrange transport,
you have to remain on board until we complete our mission.
- No problem. - We are in no hurry.
We look forward to enjoying the comforts of your fine ship.
Quite acceptable.
It's not what we're used to, you understand, but it will do.
Perhaps your Captain would invite us to dinner this evening?
The Captain dines alone.
A pity.
That was too easy.
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.
We worked from your drawings. I hope we're in the ballpark.
- Ballpark? - That's an old human expression.
Mr. La Forge hopes we're close to achieving what you want.
Computer, run holodeck program Krios One.
Enter when ready.
It is the ancient Temple of Akadar.
It is this temple that bonds Krios and Valt, gentlemen.
Two brothers ruled a vast empire from this site,
until they were torn apart by their love for an extraordinary woman.
This is where the wars began.
And this is where they shall end.
There are some details to be added.
Cmdr La Forge is at your disposal.
- Let me know what you need. - Of course.
I must consult several historical volumes.
- Perhaps we can reconvene later. - Excuse me!
Is it true? Is a Kriosian ambassador aboard this vessel?
Yes. Can I help you?
The Ambassador's busy.
Do you schedule his appointments?
I'm the Captain. What do you want?
Allow me to present myself.
Par Lenor of the Ferengi trade mission.
We are pleased you're here,
that you have at last negotiated peace with the Valtese.
Peace is good for trade, unless you're an arms merchant.
Excuse us.
Arms merchant!
In exchange for exclusive rights to transport all Kriosian products
to the Valt system...
May I suggest that you meet after the ceremony?
- Perhaps that would be best. - Listen!
Have you seen the dolphins yet?
Deck seven.
- Picard to Worf. - Worf here.
A Ferengi just waylaid Ambassador Briam.
Keep them under a tight leash.
Don't let them disrupt the conference.
Aye, sir.
Security to cargo bay one.
- Lieutenant? - One of the Ferengi.
Riker to Capt Picard.
What are you doing?
This is a misunderstanding. I was looking for a barber.
- I made an incorrect turn. - Mr. Worf?
Get him out of here.
Confine them both to quarters. Put a guard on their door.
- What is happening? - Emergence.
I am for you, Alrik of Valt.
No, Kamala. This is not Alrik.
This is Capt Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise.
That's why you don't look like your holographs.
I apologize. As an empath, I sensed your authority.
I assumed you were Chancellor Alrik.
I require an explanation.
As do l. Why have I been brought out of stasis?
An accident. This is quite complicated.
- Perhaps you and l... - It is not complicated.
The Captain has no tolerance for prevarication.
I'm a gift. To Alrik of Valt.
You're using this ship to transport a sentient being as property?
Not as property. As a gift.
I was concerned that you might not understand.
Your concern was well justified.
You're angry. Why?
There is a provision in the Federation Constitution
that protects an individual's rights.
- Once aboard... - You're coming to my rescue.
What a kind and generous purpose.
But I do not need to be rescued.
Kamala is the key to peace between our worlds.
In our history, the woman Garuth was loved by Krios and Valt
with such passion that an empire fell.
The wars began when Krios took her to our planet.
Like her, I'm an empathic metamorph.
The first female metamorph in my world for 100 years.
A metamorph?
A mutant. A biological curiosity, if you will.
With the ability to sense what a potential mate wants.
What he needs. What gives the greatest pleasure.
And then to become that.
You change for the man you're with?
Until I reach final bonding,
when I imprint upon myself the requirements of one man.
To serve as his perfect partner in life.
You see, male metamorphs are somewhat common,
but females are born only once in seven generations.
Obviously, they are greatly sought after as mates.
Explains the Ferengis' interest.
This mating with Alrik was arranged since her birth
by the leaders of both worlds, in the hopes of restoring peace.
You do this of your own accord?
It is my sole purpose in life.
Cmdr Riker, escort her to quarters.
There's no need for you to travel in the cargo bay.
Kamala, remain in your room. I will speak with you shortly.
Why were you in stasis?
Metamorphs have a long and complex sexual-maturing process.
I'm in the Finiis'ral, the third and final stage.
It can be uncomfortable, not only for me but for the men around me.
In what way?
My body is producing an unusually elevated level of pheromones.
The effect can be provocative. Perhaps you sense it?
Unfortunately, I'm not an empath.
I think you're more empathic than you admit.
At least when it comes to women.
I think you have me at a disadvantage.
This is the comm panel, the replicator.
You can lower the lights. Any questions, ask the computer.
I'm beginning to sense the elevated pheromones you referred to.
You were curious, weren't you?
Curious isn't exactly how I'd describe it.
You know what's remarkable about metamorphs?
There's something more remarkable about you?
We learn so quickly what stimulates a man
that the second time's even better.
This has been very educational,
but I never open another man's gift.
I know my role in history, Commander.
But it's gonna be a long voyage.
It certainly is.
We'll try to make you as comfortable as possible.
Riker to bridge. If you need me, I'll be in holodeck four.
How can you deliver her into a life of virtual prostitution?
Beverly! Arranged marriages have been the basis of many cultures.
- I'm surprised at you. - She knows what she's doing.
She has been conditioned since birth to exist only to please men.
She was born for this.
And bred to seal a treaty with a seductive coup de gráce.
Alright! Let's throw the Prime Directive to the winds.
Let's detain her against her will. Let's destroy any chance of peace.
Let's interfere in their society, their customs.
That slave-trader who calls himself an ambassador
has her confined to quarters. She is a virtual prisoner in there.
I didn't know that.
Well, it is your ship. Maybe you should find out.
- I'll talk to her about it. - Good.
- Lovely breakfast. - Indeed.
Come in.
Capt Picard, what a delightful surprise. Come in.
Thank you.
Are you comfortable?
Reasonably, under the circumstances.
It was brought to my attention that you were told to remain in here.
- That's true, I'm afraid. - Against your wishes.
At the request of the Ambassador
who believes I might be disruptive to your crew.
The performance of my crew is not his business.
You care about my well-being. Thank you, Captain.
I care about...
I care about what happens on board my ship.
Yes, I know. This ship is very important to you.
Yes, it is.
Are all captains' lives so solitary?
Or just yours?
Don't do this. This... you do with men.
I'm afraid my premature emergence has left me a little vulnerable
to desires I sense from men.
Nevertheless, this is who I am, Captain.
You might as well ask a Vulcan to forego logic,
or a Klingon to be non-violent.
I cannot change.
And I don't want to until I bond with my permanent mate.
Why does it bother you?
Frankly, it's difficult for many of us to accept
that a sentient being can live
only to be what someone else wants.
But that's what gives a metamorph pleasure.
But what about your wishes? Your needs?
They are fulfilled by what I give to others.
But what about when there are no others?
When you're alone?
I'm incomplete.
What curious questions, Captain.
Under the circumstances,
I thought that it would help if I learned more about you.
But you know me better than you realize.
I'm independent, forceful, brilliant
and adventurous.
Exactly as you would have me be.
I'll speak to the Ambassador about easing your restrictions.
Thank you, Captain.
Captain's log, star date 45766. 1.
We have reached the designated coordinates
and await the arrival of Chancellor Alrik.
- I forbid it. - Forbid it?
It's too dangerous. She must remain in her quarters.
You cannot confine her against her will on this ship.
She requests freedom of movement. I will give it.
She is still in the Finiis'ral, the height of her sexual allure.
Every man on this ship will be fighting over her.
Not every man.
A chaperone?
I would be pleased to escort you.
But I hoped we might spend more time together.
I shall be busy with the conference.
I'm knowledgeable about Valt. I could be helpful.
I think you should enjoy our hospitality.
Mr. Data will see to your every comfort.
The reason your powers do not perceive anything
is because, as an android, I have no emotion.
I can understand why Capt Picard chose you to be my chaperone.
I'll check in with you later.
Excuse me, but I'm certain that we met at Paloris Colony.
- I've never been there. - Neither have l.
Why don't we find out what else we have in common?
Extremely rude behaviour.
He's just being playful.
- Something to drink? - What are you having, boys?
- Aldorian ale's our drink. - Then it's mine, too.
- Bartender. - They have a minor problem.
- They could use a hand. - Excuse me.
- I believe I will stay. - Mr. Data's protecting me.
- Protecting you? From what? - From you.
I told the Captain not to worry.
I just want to have a good time like anybody else.
Come down to deck seven for a good time.
Get rid of the android. We'll have some fun.
- Is there a problem here? - No, sir.
- No problem. - Thank you, Lieutenant.
The crowd seemed a bit too ebullient.
Perhaps you would enjoy a visit to the arboretum?
Perhaps the Ambassador is right.
I should remain in my quarters.
I have confidence in the self-control of my crew,
but there are guests and civilians on board.
I understand.
I will volunteer to stay in my quarters on one condition.
That you visit me.
- There it is again. - What?
The wall you put between us.
Kamala, you are one day away from an arranged mating.
Why would you want me to visit you in your quarters?
I said a visit. I didn't ask you to make love to me.
Ventanian thimble. Early Lapeongical period, isn't it?
Yes, it is.
Have you seen the woven art from the fourth colony dig?
Woven art? Recovered intact?
They say the colours are remarkably vibrant.
I've read about them, but no one expected to find any preserved.
How do you know about them?
I stay informed on a wide variety of subjects.
One never knows when conversation might turn to Ventanian archaeology.
Or to the dark woman of raven brows and mournful eyes
in Shakespeare's sonnets.
Or to the gardens of Les Eyries near the village where you grew up.
Your empathic powers told you all this about me?
Not quite that much. Mr. Data helped a little.
I see.
My empathic powers can only sense
a man of deep passion and conviction.
So controlled. So disciplined.
I'm simply curious to know what lies beneath.
Nothing lies beneath.
I'm really quite dull.
I fall asleep each night with an old book in my hands.
When a metamorph finds you interesting, do not take it lightly.
I'm not taking it lightly. I'm just trying... be as dull as possible.
Will you visit me?
It would be inappropriate.
Is that a yes or a no?
I'm sorry.
Even the walls of Jericho fell, Captain.
Why are you doing this?
There can be only one reason.
Some part of you wants me to.
What is the meaning of this?
I see you got our message.
Is this some sort of bribe? I am not amused.
No. Your attitude is quite understandable.
This is just a sample.
The bribe is 10,000 more.
Ludugial gold. The purest in the galaxy.
We know the lifestyle of a Kriosian ambassador
is far from comfortable.
You deserve to live a life of luxury.
- How dare you suggest... ! - Our money!
You drive a hard bargain.
20,000, but not an ingot more.
We must have the metamorph.
She is the answer to a Ferengi prayer.
We have a ship rendezvousing in three hours.
We can all transport off together.
Thank you for sharing that information.
I shall tell Capt Picard.
- You can't do that. - Stop!
Let go of me.
Captain's log, supplemental.
The Ferengi have been dispatched to Star base 117.
What charges will be brought
depends on whether Ambassador Briam recovers.
We've stabilized his condition.
If we're lucky, he'll regain consciousness in a few days.
Set up a level-one craniosacral display.
I'll inform the Valtese delegation
that the conference has to be postponed.
That won't be possible.
My ability to imprint on a mate lasts a matter of hours
after the completion of the Finiis'ral.
If I hadn't been removed from stasis,
a delay might have been possible.
But now I have to bond with Alrik within two days.
There are points in the negotiation that Briam has to address.
You are familiar with the issues.
Familiar, yes. But...
..l can't represent your people's interests.
You can represent the interests of peace.
My people will agree, I'm certain of it.
But there are customs of which I have no experience.
I told you, I'm extremely knowledgeable about Valt.
I will help you prepare.
That's right.
I'm reminded of piano lessons when I was a child.
Preparing for some dreaded recital.
- You still play? - No.
I regret that I gave it up. It pleased my mother.
But I didn't like performing in front of an audience.
No. Just not very good.
Thank you.
For letting down your guard, if only for a moment.
You will have to help me in the pronunciation of this scroll.
What is it about me you fear?
- Kamala... - Do you find me unattractive?
I find you unavailable.
I'm being terribly selfish. I apologize.
We have something in common.
When I was a child, I took music lessons.
- Really? What instrument? - All of them.
The entire orchestra?
Plus Valtese horns that sound like braying Targhee moonbeasts.
They are said to soothe the nerves of Valtese men.
My mother never even heard me play.
I was taken when I was four and sequestered in a royal village,
where I was prepared for my destiny.
It sounds a very lonely time for you.
On the contrary.
I had servants and tutors at my side constantly.
You once asked what I'm like when I'm alone.
I've never been. There was always somebody there
to educate me in literature, history, art, sex.
But I've been alone on this journey
and I find myself thinking about the curious questions you asked.
You wanted to know who I am.
And as I ask myself, the only answer that comes is,
"I am for you, Alrik of Valt."
Because that's the truth.
In a day, I will bond with a man I've never met.
I will turn myself into what he wants me to be,
for the rest of my life.
I also once asked you
if you were doing this of your own accord.
I'm honoured to serve my people as an emissary of peace.
But it is ironic that, on the eve of the ceremony
which I've spent my entire life preparing for,
that I should meet a man like you.
- Riker to Picard. - Go ahead, Number One.
The Valtese ship has arrived.
Chancellor Alrik is ready to beam aboard.
Capt Picard.
Chancellor Alrik. Welcome on board the Enterprise.
Your first officer has described the incident with the Ferengis.
How is the Ambassador?
- He is not conscious. - A tragedy.
Your willingness to assist is appreciated by both our peoples.
I'm doing my best,
although I find some of the rituals rather demanding.
Rituals? I'm more concerned about the provisions of the treaty.
The proposed trade agreements are not acceptable.
We must review the uncommitted territories
and discuss the schedule for the exchange of technology.
The Kriosians authorized me to make compromises favourable to you.
Good. Tomorrow, then.
Briam supervised a reproduction of the Temple of Akadar on our holodeck.
Such a sentimental people, these Kriosians.
It's hard to believe we have a common ancestry.
I suppose they've sent the metamorph.
Kamala? Yes. She's looking forward to meeting you.
I'm sure she'll be satisfactory.
Between you and me, Captain,
I am far more interested in the trade agreements.
So tell me quickly. What is he like?
First impressions? He's a thoughtful man. Informed.
- Did he ask about me? - Yes.
What did you tell him?
That you were looking forward to meeting him.
When am I to be presented?
It'll be the first order of business tomorrow. At ten.
Would you like some tea?
Thank you, but I should prepare for the ceremony.
Let me help you with pronunciations.
I can muddle through.
Please don't leave. Talk to me.
I love the sound of your voice.
I'll turn out the lights and just listen.
I don't want to be alone.
The lights stay on.
Earl Grey tea. Hot.
Did you learn that from Data?
I shall have to talk with him.
Now that I know that you're listening to my voice,
I can't think of anything to say.
A starship captain must encounter all sorts of life forms.
Am I one of the most unique you've ever met?
- Please say yes. - Yes.
What a nice thing to say.
Have I not done everything possible to discourage this?
Maybe that's the perfect way to attract a metamorph.
I won't use you as other men do.
But you're not other men. You could never use me.
That's the very reason why I'm with you tonight.
I should go.
And you have an appointment tomorrow morning early.
Light years away.
Quiet this morning.
I'm sorry.
- Penny. - What?
Penny for your thoughts.
Do you have one?
I'm sure the replicator will have one.
Beverly, may I take off the uniform?
- I need to talk to a friend. - Of course.
- Actually, it's all your fault. - Mine?
You insisted that I look into her situation.
The metamorph?
The metamorph. Kamala.
I've spent quite a lot of time with her.
And you're right about several things.
Her entire existence has been orchestrated for this moment,
and she intends to go through with it
to help her people end the war.
You're saying there's nothing you can do about it?
It isn't that simple.
I barely know who she is, and...
And who she is changes the moment the next man comes in.
And I find myself hoping that the next man won't come in.
But, of course, he does.
In a few hours, the ceremony will begin, and she will...
She will mate with a man who cares more about trade agreements
than he cares about her.
I can't help thinking how she will be with him.
How she will change to accommodate him.
I wish I knew how I could help.
Perhaps I just needed a shoulder.
It's there for you, Jean-Luc. It always has been.
Come in.
Is it time?
Do you have any questions about the ceremony?
I will never truly love him.
- You've not even met him. - It no longer matters.
I wish I could convey what it's like to be a metamorph.
To feel the inner strength of someone.
To realize that being with him
is opening your mind and heart to endless new possibilities.
To hear yourself say, "I like myself when I'm with him."
For a metamorph there's no greater pleasure,
and no greater wish than to bond with that kind of mate
as I've bonded with you.
With me?
Who I am today, I will be for ever.
- Data to Capt Picard. - Not now.
But, sir, Chancellor Alrik is waiting to receive you in holodeck seven.
You can't go through with the ceremony.
Would you ask me to stay and ask two armies to keep fighting?
Having bonded with you, I've learnt the meaning of duty.
He'll never know. I'm still empathic.
I will be able to please him.
I only hope he likes Shakespeare.
I am for you, Alrik of Valt.
Your service to both our peoples is appreciated, Captain.
Your preparations made the negotiations simple.
Kamala was able to guide me through the rituals.
- I must admit, I'm curious. - Curious?
I was chosen for this mission for a simple reason.
I'm 200 years old.
The temptations of a beautiful metamorph do not easily reach me.
Yet I would be lying if I were to claim they do not reach me at all.
But you, you worked with her side by side for days.
How could you resist her?
Ambassador, have a safe trip home.

Předcházející epizoda

Seznam epizod páté sezóny

Následující epizoda