Captain's log, stardate 46461.3.
We are at a communication station near the Klingon border,
where we are meant to deliver supplies.
However, the station has not responded to repeated hails.
- What's that noise? - They left a monitoring system on.
We're hearing thousands of subspace messages. I'll try and shut it off.
- Geordi, what's that? - Sounds like a loose panel.
I think it's coming from this service duct over here.
Here's your loose panel.
Hey, pooch. Come on out of there. Come on!
Hey, pooch! What are you doing in there?
Commander, the shuttlecraft is gone. There is no one on board.
- What is it? - Cellular residue.
I believe these are the remains of one of our lieutenants.
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.
All the blood traces I've found match those of Lt Aquiel Uhnari.
I take it those are her remains, but I'll check the deck plate to be sure.
It would take a powerful weapon to do that.
- I'll have a better idea soon. - If that is Uhnari, where's Rocha?
The station shuttle's gone. Maybe he took it.
Before Uhnari died or after?
We're ready, Commander.
- Any luck downloading the logs? - I can't pass the security.
I think I know why.
Encrypted messages are sent through this channel.
Take a look at this signal notation.
- It's out of sequence. - Someone tried to bypass protocols
and break into the coded messages. That froze the security locks.
- Any messages missing? - I'll know once I'm in the files.
- Looks like you've made a friend! - Yep!
Tell me when you have something.
I'm going to try accessing the logs from another console.
What's going on here?
Well, we can start with repolarising the interface.
What is it, pup?
What's the matter?
Something over here?
This doesn't look like it belongs to you.
This is what you want, huh?
There you go!
Computer, run station logs in sequence.
Station log, stardate 46458.3.
Today we configured the relay-controller grid.
It was the last system we had to overhaul.
We are scheduled to align antenna systems in the next three days.
Computer, access visual output.
Sent third request for a message delay buffer.
Until it arrives, we have rigged a memory module to compensate.
It better work, or a half-million subspace messages
are going to end up drifting through space.
Computer, open Uhnari correspondence file.
Computer, access correspondence files, Lt Aquiel Uhnari.
Hello, Shiana. Sorry it's been a while.
I've been dealing with the new Lieutenant, Rocha.
He's arrogant and condescending, and he's only been here two days.
This might be a long year.
C'mon, Lieutenant. Stick with me.
I had the dream again. Mother's calling out my name.
She's in the house. I get to the top of the hill but the house is slanted.
I'm still walking uphill. I can't find her.
Doors everywhere and they all look the same.
The cellular residue is completely fused to the deck plate.
We're trying to micro-vaporise the metal to get a clear DNA sample.
Do you have any idea what killed her?
Well, this is just a guess, but from the molecules of the plating
I'd say it was caused by a high-level phaser blast.
- A Klingon disruptor? - Possibly.
The messages have been tampered with. And we are close to Klingon space.
There hasn't been a Klingon raid against us for more than seven years.
We can't risk a diplomatic incident without more evidence.
And there's still the question of what happened to Lt Rocha.
Get Rocha's file from Starfleet Command
and ask Starbase 212 to help us find the shuttle.
Keep me apprised, Doctor.
Alright, let's try this again.
Come on, this should be working! The phase inducers are aligned.
Come on, Lieutenant. I know you're in here somewhere.
Computer, run me a subsystems diagnostic
with a frequency range of 10 to 100MHz.
Diagnostic cycle will be complete in 20 seconds.
What is it, girl?
- Hello, Shiana. - There!
By the time you get this, the Batarael will be over.
It's the first time I haven't been there.
I've been wondering, who's singing the Harath in my place?
I had that dream again, the one where Mother is screaming.
I climb the hill to our house, but I can't get to her.
Shiana, this time I ran away.
I was so scared, I ran back down the hill.
I think I know why I've been having the dreams about danger.
It's because of what's been happening with that Klingon.
He's getting more aggressive all the time.
Not just the usual threat.
It's because of what's been happening with that Klingon.
He's getting more aggressive all the time.
Not just the usual threat.
Morag actually locked his disruptors to the station this time.
I don't think there'll be any trouble.
It just... brings up those feelings of... panic,
of wanting to run, wanting to get away from danger.
Shiana, I couldn't say this to anyone but you, but the panic...
It's the same thing I used to feel whenever Father got angry,
when I knew he was going to punish me.
Only now, I'm out here in space.
And there's nowhere to run.
Three times she refers to Cmdr Morag, a Klingon who patrols this section.
Apparently he passed by the station every few days and harassed them.
Perhaps this Morag was interested in obtaining the encrypted messages.
She didn't say but I do have several more days of logs to watch.
- I'm hoping to learn more. - Very well.
In the meantime I'll speak with the Klingon governor about Cmdr Morag.
Are you saying we attacked your outpost?
I'm merely saying I'm following up on evidence discovered on board.
Evidence. So you are making an accusation?
The Klingon Empire will not stand for these kinds of lies.
Governor Torak, I apologize.
I see that you honestly didn't know what happened aboard the station.
I will just have to take this up with Gowron. I'm sorry we bothered you.
Gowron won't bother with such a minor incident.
Ordinarily he wouldn't but I was his arbiter of succession.
I'm sure he will be happy to come and investigate this.
You needn't worry about it any longer.
- Gowron will come here? - Oh, yes.
So once again, thank you for your help.
I will be sure to mention your name to Gowron when I speak to him.
I will investigate this further, Picard.
You need not bother Gowron with this matter.
That's very kind.
- Qapla'! - Qapla'!
Computer, access the personal logs of Aquiel Uhnari.
- Logs accessed. - Begin playback.
Shiana, you always said I'd look great in a wig.
So here it is. What do you think?
Definitely not you.
OK. Maybe I'm getting a little crazy.
You would, too, stuck on a relay station in the middle of nowhere
with no one for company except an egomaniac like Keith Rocha.
I took a big risk today. I countermanded an order he gave.
I agreed to handle the comm traffic for Relay Station 194
while they shut down for maintenance.
Rocha said we couldn't handle the extra signal load
but I think he's wrong.
When he finds out, he'll be furious.
It's days like this I wish I was home.
You know what I miss most? Muskan seed punch.
Real muskan seed punch.
The replicator has it but it's not the same.
I'd give anything for the punch Mother used to make,
with chunks of the seed still in it.
Keith, is that you?
There are DNA traces here. Klingon.
- So Klingons did board the station? - Yes.
But I only found DNA from one Klingon so far.
I will continue to scan.
How could she read this stuff?
How's it going?
I've accessed all Lt Uhnari's logs. I'm still looking for Lt Rocha's.
Whatever happened to the encrypted messages affected the whole system.
I can't find his files anywhere. I'm running a diagnostic now.
Maybe Rocha didn't make the logs. That could have been Uhnari's job.
I don't think so. Aquiel was the junior officer.
Lt Uhnari. I've been up all night watching her.
I'm starting to feel I know her.
What was she like?
Well, she was Haliian. She had one sister named Shiana.
She drank muskan seed punch.
She... had a quirky sense of humour.
She liked to sing. She... had questionable taste in literature.
- Enterprise to Cmdr Riker. - Riker here.
The Klingon ship Qu'Vat has arrived with Governor Torak.
Report to the observation lounge.
We're on our way.
Governor Torak, sir.
Do not bore me with your human pleasantries.
I told you we did not kill the woman.
Now I will prove it to you.
This is Lt Aquiel Uhnari.
We were running a diagnostic of the message buffer. Nothing special.
Rocha had been on edge all morning.
But he'd constantly been irritable so I didn't think anything of it.
We were halfway through the procedure when suddenly he... attacked me.
He threw me against a bulkhead.
I yelled at him to stop but he wouldn't listen.
He grabbed my throat,
I broke free and tried to get to the weapons locker.
I'm not sure what happened next
but somehow I got aboard the shuttle and left.
We found her on our side of the border, heading toward Sector 2520.
She is lucky my patrol ship did not destroy her vessel on sight.
Why didn't you contact Starfleet?
Let them know what had happened at the station.
I don't know, sir. Maybe I passed out.
I'm not even sure how long I was on this shuttle before I was picked up.
46 hours. You've been gone 46 hours.
We presumed you were dead. Your blood was found at the murder scene.
I must have cut my head when he pushed me.
Then the remains we found must be those of Lt Rocha.
I can't confirm that.
Until we separate the cellular residue from the deck plate,
I can't do a clear DNA scan.
You said you were trying to get to the weapons locker.
- Is there a possibility you did? - No, I... didn't.
I don't remember exactly what happened to me after I was attacked.
I'm sorry. It's as if all my memories were drained out of me.
Morag was harassing you. Did you let him or any other Klingon on board?
If that is true,
then Morag or some other Klingon boarded the station after she left.
We found traces of Klingon DNA on the station.
You still try to blame us!
Have the courage to admit your mistakes.
Or are you a Io'Be Vos?
At last I do not wear the uniform of the pahtk!
Governor, we are merely exploring all possibilities.
Lt Uhnari's logs reported that Cmdr Morag had been harassing the station.
He was doing his job.
In that case, I am sure you would not mind if we spoke with him.
Very well. In the interests of diplomacy
I will allow you to speak to Morag.
But my patience has limits.
Lieutenant, I know a friend of yours who's eager to see you.
Come with me.
Maura! Come here, girl! Come on, Maura!
Maura? That's the name, huh?
Yes, it's from Cold Moon Over Black Water. Have you read it?
- I'm not much for Gothic fiction. - Not many people are nowadays.
Yeah, Maura got a little restless.
Shame on you!
That's not like you. What a naughty dog.
Don't worry about it. At least she's chewing them up in pairs.
I'll arrange quarters for you. You'll want some time alone.
Actually, I've been stuck on that station for nine months.
I wouldn't mind somewhere with activity.
I know just the place.
Here you are, sir.
- Thank you. - You're welcome.
- Ever tried muskan seed punch? - It nearly made me sick.
You have to be raised on it. It's nutritious. The taste grows on you.
You speak Haliian!
We travelled a lot when I was a kid. I picked up a couple of languages.
We never travelled.
My family lived in the same house for five generations.
The one on the hill.
How do you know about that?
Well, to be honest, when we thought you were dead,
I needed to review your logs and... personal correspondence
for any possible clues about what happened.
All of it?
Most of it, yeah.
You need to understand, we thought you'd been murdered.
We needed information.
It's just that I tell my sister things I wouldn't tell anyone else.
I guess I was feeling a little... exposed.
I'd feel the same way.
Especially if I had seen you in that wig!
It really wasn't you.
Now that you've met me, am I what you expected?
Actually, I... I'm not sure.
The woman I saw in those logs is complicated.
I think there's more to you than meets the eye.
In what way?
Well, your relationship with Lt Rocha, for example.
He was only there for five days, yet there was plenty of friction.
You seemed to delight in doing things that you knew would upset him.
Why take on extra comm traffic when it would make him angry?
Is this a personal question or part of a murder investigation?
I don't know. Maybe both.
Keith Rocha was obnoxious from the minute he reported to duty.
He treated me as though I was beneath contempt.
I felt like I had to battle him to hold my own.
But I didn't want to see him dead.
Why do you think he attacked you?
I don't know.
Rocha's file is spotless.
Two decorations for valour. Three outstanding commander's evaluations.
Doesn't sound like the same man Lt Uhnari described.
- What did you find out about her? - Her last posting was on Deriben V.
Her commanding officer said she was argumentative,
quick to take offence.
He told me he transferred her to that relay station
because she was "hampering their efforts".
- I'm having trouble believing her. - Why?
I sent Worf to check the weapons locker. There's a phaser missing.
- You think that she lied? - Lied, conveniently forgot...
I'm not sure. It's something we have to consider.
As of now, we don't have sufficient evidence either way.
I want you to examine her shuttle.
You might find something to shed some light on her story.
How much longer will the investigation take?
Three, maybe four days. It's tough to tell.
I know I'm a suspect in the murder. But let me ask you something.
You've watched my logs. You know me better than anyone here.
Do I seem like a person who would murder someone?
No, you don't.
I don't think I realized how much I needed to hear that.
Look, Aquiel, it's been a rough couple of days. You need some sleep.
You called me complicated. You're right.
I don't make friends easily.
It is set to kill.
We found this phaser in your craft. It was taken from the weapons locker.
I don't remember what happened! Maybe I did make it to the weapons locker.
It was set to level ten!
Phasers are always set at level one when they're put in storage.
That means that somebody deliberately changed the setting.
Then there's your conflict with Lt Rocha.
Rocha and I had our disagreements. That does not mean I would kill him.
Have you been able to remember what happened?
I suppose maybe in self-defence I...
To inflict the type of molecular damage found in Rocha's remains,
it would take a sustained phaser discharge of 30 to 40 seconds.
- It doesn't sound like self-defence. - Now wait a minute.
We don't even know this phaser is the murder weapon.
And even at level ten I don't see how it could have done that damage.
A Klingon weapon, maybe...
We're not making accusations. We want to find out what happened.
Cmdr Morag is on his way.
- Let's hear his story. - Fine.
In the meantime, I'd like to try to access Rocha's personal logs again.
Geordi? Wait a second.
- Thank you, Mr. Worf. - Aye, sir.
This is off the record, said as a friend, not a superior officer.
It would be best if you weren't so personally involved with Aquiel.
- There's a lot we don't know. - There's a lot I do know.
And if she's innocent, I want to help her prove it.
I think you've let your personal feelings cloud your judgement.
I'm not the one making judgements.
Computer, display the records of Lt Rocha from star dates 46455 to 46460.
Computer, what happened to the log entries for stardate 46459?
The logs have been deleted.
- Who deleted them? - Unknown.
Captain's log, supplemental.
The Qu'Vat has arrived with Cmdr Morag.
We're preparing to question him regarding the murder of Lt Rocha.
I killed no one!
We found your DNA on the bulkheads and the console.
- We know you were there! - Answer their questions.
Yes. Yes, I was there.
My route takes me near the station every six days.
Three days ago, I hailed them. There was no response.
I was... concerned.
- Concerned? - Yes.
I went aboard to see what had happened.
There was no one there, so I left.
- Is that all? - That's all.
Cmdr Morag, we found the encrypted message bank has been tampered with.
Analysis indicates that 27 priority Starfleet messages are missing.
What of it?
Your DNA was found on the message-control module.
This is outrageous! We will not tolerate these accusations.
This is a diplomatic matter, Morag!
Do not make me search your ship.
I did take the messages.
- Did you kill Lt Rocha? - No! I killed no one.
There was no one there.
I took the codes but I killed no one.
Governor, we would like Cmdr Morag to remain on board
until this investigation is completed.
Last night, after I dropped you off,
you established a subspace link with this console.
You deleted some of Rocha's files, didn't you?
- Yes, I did. - Why?
I found a letter Rocha planned to send to Starfleet Command about me.
It said I had become belligerent and insubordinate.
He was going to ask for a formal hearing.
- Geordi, I know how this looks. - Yeah, it looks bad.
You've erased a letter containing a possible motivation for murder?
- I didn't kill him. - Then explain this!
I was afraid if they found the letter they'd blame me for the murder.
I'm not a model officer. I realize that.
Sometimes I act on impulse instead of thinking things through.
Aquiel, this really complicates things.
- What are you doing? - Getting out of here.
Running won't prove your innocence. Facing this will.
- I'm scared, Geordi! - Look.
We'll get through this. I promise you, OK?
Then you believe me?
Yes, I do.
Medical Officer's log. I've isolated the cellular residue from the deck,
but the DNA has destabilized. I'm attempting to reform it.
Alright, initiate the resonance frequency burst.
I'm beginning to get a stable DNA scan.
This is odd.
The nucleotide sequences are beginning to fluctuate.
The DNA is becoming mobile.
Let's try another frequency burst. Increase the resonance level by 20%.
I haven't been this close to someone in a long time.
I don't want to let go of it.
Neither do I but we've got 600 logs to go through.
Alright. But first there's something I want to share with you.
A way that we can become more intimate.
My people are partially telepathic.
We use something called the Canar to help focus our thoughts.
We also use the Canar for a stronger emotional link
I was wondering what that was for.
Do both of us have to be telepathic for it to work?
Let's find out.
Think of me.
An exact reproduction of my hand, right down to the DNA structure.
This was formed from the organic matter taken from the deck plates?
When I infused it with a resonance-frequency burst
it activated its DNA.
Then it touched my hand and it began to mimic my cellular structure.
What exactly is this?
This sounds far-fetched, but have you ever heard of a coalescent organism?
They're microscopic life forms which absorb other organisms to survive.
That in itself isn't so unusual,
but coalescents become the organisms, right down to the cellular level.
Is this what happened with your hand?
There have been reports that these organisms can be quite large.
What happened to my hand seems to support that.
Was Rocha killed by one of these organisms?
It's possible that something happened to him before he reported for duty.
- I do not understand. - I've checked the records.
Before he was posted to the station, Rocha served in the Triona system.
That is a remote sector.
Maybe he was absorbed by a coalescent on that mission.
So, there could have been an organism that looked and acted like Lt Rocha?
How often do they have to change bodies?
The microscopic organisms have a cycle of no more than ten seconds.
We can only assume that a larger, more complex coalescent
would have a cycle of days, even weeks.
If that's true, then Rocha attacked Lt Uhnari to find a new body.
- Right. - That means Uhnari is a coalescent.
There was one other person on the station. Morag.
It is possible he was the one who was... absorbed.
Computer, locate Cmdr Morag and Lt Uhnari.
Cmdr Morag is in his quarters. Lt Uhnari is not on the Enterprise.
Where did she go?
Lt Uhnari transported to Relay Station 47 at 1830 hours.
- Get Morag. I'll go to the station. - Aye, sir.
- Geordi? - I can see you!
And I can feel you.
Do not move!
- What is this? - You will come with me.
You've never been as close to someone as you are about to be.
Think of me.
Step away from him, Lieutenant.
- What are you doing, Commander? - That may not be Lt Uhnari.
- What? - What are you saying?
Step away, now.
Medical Officer's log.
Cmdr Morag and Lt Uhnari are being kept under close observation.
So far no sign of coalescent behaviour has surfaced.
Aquiel and Morag will be transferred to a secure hospital on Starbase 12.
- We'll know more once we're there. - Yeah? Right.
It could be Morag. We don't know for sure.
Get some rest. You've had a rough couple of days.
Display the Engineering duty roster for the next three days.
I said, not now.
Give me a break here! Go lay down!
Maybe the reason you don't remember anything
is that the coalescing process had begun.
You said you felt your memories had been drained out of you.
That's probably exactly what was going on.
Maybe I did take the phaser.
Whatever happened, at least you got away before the process took hold.
- So he turned on Maura. - Right.
Well, ... what now?
I guess I'll be going to Starbase 212 for reassignment.
I had a talk with Chief Pendleton in Communications.
There's an opening for a level-two specialist.
With the waiting list, I'd be grey before I got here.
I could put in a good word.
It's an appealing offer, but I think I'd rather get here on my own merits.
Don't be surprised if you see my name on that list.