Captain's log, stardate 46731.5.
We are in the Volterra Nebula, a stellar nursery.
Our mission is a routine analysis
of proto-stars in various stages of development.
Captain, I have completed the evaluation of the outer shell.
Our survey is complete.
Continue to the next one. Three-quarters impulse.
- Riker to Capt Picard. - Go ahead.
May I see you in the observation lounge, sir?
I'll be right there.
Then you can identify that object, Mr. Picard?
- Professor Galen? - Computer, lights up.
I suppose I should say Captain Picard.
The Professor contacted me. He suggested we surprise you.
To clarify, I insisted.
Your first officer kindly accommodated me.
I trust I'm not being overly presumptuous,
now that my star pupil is master of the stars.
No one could be more welcome on the Enterprise.
I never thought I would see a Kurlan naiskos.
- Fifth dynasty? - Is that your conclusion, Mr. Picard?
Forgive me, I should say... Captain?
Please, Mister will do fine.
The overall impression is certainly fifth dynasty.
- The... surface ornamentation... - Yes?
Green polychrome over the eyes and the eyes themselves are closed.
This is third dynasty.
From the workshop of the master of Tarquin Hill!
Will, the master of Tarquin Hill designed ceramic objects
300 years ahead of their time.
All we know of him is the work. His name was never discovered.
This object is... over 12,000 years old.
The planet Kurl? It's a long way outside Federation territory.
Yes, I thought your study of Kurlan artefacts was done.
I was in the neighbourhood last summer. I couldn't resist.
You mean it's complete?
The Kurlan civilization believed
that an individual was a community of individuals.
Inside us are...
each with its own desires, style and view of the world.
The Kurlan civilization died out long ago.
It is extraordinarily rare to find a figurine intact.
- This is an incredible find. - It's yours, Jean-Luc.
- How can I accept this? - Graciously, Mr. Picard.
You could accept it graciously!
How long can you stay? So much to say.
The Professor meets a Vulcan ship in two days.
- Two days? That's not enough time! - We may have much more.
- I don't understand. - I'm on an expedition.
A journey into an unexplored and historical territory,
and I intend to take you with me.
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.
It's 30 years since I saw my archaeology professor.
His presence has taken me back to a time
when I had considered a different career.
- May I ask you a frank question? - Please.
Your published writings have been sporadic for the past decade.
Your appearance at symposia has been rare,
or scheduled, then cancelled at the last moment.
Our finest archaeologist
is now shrouded with a cloak of mystery.
As a result my reputation has no doubt grown!
I've never heard of anyone who didn't love a good mystery.
The Satarran of Sothis III disdained them,
but as a general idea your statement holds.
So, what have you been doing for the past decade?
Do you know micropalaeontology?
Yes. It's the study of fossil records at a microscopic level.
I read your papers on the subject, but...
that was years ago.
It seemed as though the work had stopped.
No. The work continued.
I made a discovery so profound in its implications
that silence seemed the wisest course.
This work has occupied my every waking thought,
it's intruded on my dreams, it's become my life.
When finished and I announce my findings,
it'll be heard halfway across the galaxy.
- Tell me. - I cannot, Mr. Picard.
That information comes with a price: your agreement to join me
on the final leg of this expedition.
- For how long? - Three months. Perhaps a year.
If I had complete diplomatic access, and a starship, it'd be a few weeks.
As it is, we'll only have my shuttle
and whatever arrangement we can make with transports.
Combined with our talents.
Why do you need my help in this?
I'm not a young man.
There will be hazards along the way.
I don't want my inadequacies
to jeopardise the completion of this work.
I am deeply honoured that you should think of me, but...
- I have responsibilities. - To history!
To Schliemann who discovered Troy
and M'Tell when she first stepped on Ya'Seem.
How can anything compare?
- May I sleep on it? - Dream not of today, Mr. Picard.
"Dream not of today..." The night blessing of the Yash-EI.
As I recall, you missed that question on your final exam.
I've had a few years to look it up.
The Enterprise is yours for as long as you're here.
Dream not of today.
Looks like you've been up for a while.
Let's hear it.
I had a long talk with Professor Galen last night.
He asked me to leave the Enterprise and join him in an expedition
which could last nearly a year.
- That must be tempting. - I couldn't leave.
But the offer raised in me certain feelings of regret.
That you could have been an archaeologist?
No, not really.
I'm not sorry for the path I chose.
But... the professor did not choose this gift at random.
The many voices inside the one.
You see, he knows that the past is a very insistent voice inside me.
This gift is meant to remind me of that.
And the exploration of space? Surely that must count for something?
I wouldn't trade it for anything and I'd still make the same choice.
I just wish I didn't have to say no a second time.
Were you two very close?
I had a father, but he was like a father who understood me.
He had children, but they didn't follow in his footsteps, so...
I was like the son who understood him.
And yet you turned your back on him.
In a way, I wish he'd never come on board the ship.
- Good morning, Mr. Picard. - Professor.
The Vulcan ship will take us to DS4.
An Al-Leyan transporter will arrive three weeks later.
They'll take us to Kea.
We'll use the shuttle to get us to Indri VIII, our first stop.
I'm afraid I won't be going.
The Enterprise isn't something that I can leave and then come back to.
If I go, I go for good.
And it's not something I'm prepared to do.
This is no undergraduate project, but the chance of a lifetime.
Don't make the same mistake twice.
My career in Starfleet hasn't been a mistake.
What are you doing at this very moment? A study mission!
You're like some Roman centurion out patrolling the provinces,
maintaining a dull and bloated Empire.
We both know that's not true.
I know this. As a scholar, you're nothing but a dilettante.
Years ago I gave you the opportunity to become
the foremost archaeologist of your generation.
Your achievements could have outstripped even my own, but no,
you decided to reject a life of profound discovery.
You walked out on me.
I never wanted to become...
Will you come with me?
I'll be going.
You're not scheduled to catch your ship for another two days.
There is nothing for me here. Goodbye, Captain.
Captain's log, supplemental.
We now are en route to a diplomatic conference on Atalia VII.
I must admit I've lost my enthusiasm for those proceedings.
At our present speed, we will arrive at the Atalia system in 37 hours.
Captain, I'm going for a walk in the arboretum.
I wouldn't mind some company.
Captain, a distress call from Dr Galen's shuttle.
Enterprise! I'm being boarded...
- Transmission's blocked. - The shuttle is under attack.
Take us out of warp. On screen.
- A Yridian destroyer. - Battle stations!
- Aye, sir. - Galen is still inside.
- His life signs barely register. - Get him out of there.
The shuttle's enveloped by a tractor beam. We can't penetrate.
- Hail the Yridians. - They're not responding.
Return phaser fire. Disable their offensive systems!
- Worf! - I don't understand, Commander.
Our phaser blast could not have destroyed it.
Transport Professor Galen directly to sickbay.
He took a disruptor hit point blank. There is nothing I can do.
I was too harsh.
Three Yridians boarded Galen's shuttle.
- What did they want? - I'm not sure.
They tried downloading from his computer.
When he was attacked, Dr Galen protected certain files.
We partly reconstructed his computer, so we have some of those files.
We found 19 different blocks of numbers like this one.
- What do they mean? - They could mean anything.
Unless we narrow the search,
it is impossible for the computer to identify the pattern.
We tried every decryption key on record in case he was using code.
Still can't make heads or tails of 'em.
- Did the Yridians get the numbers? - Some of them.
- It's impossible to know how many. - They knew a lot about his work.
- Perhaps what these numbers are. - The information died with them.
Not necessarily. Yridians are information dealers.
They may have been delivering to someone else.
Did they send a signal?
No, sir. We detected no transmissions.
And there were no other ships in the vicinity.
Did the shuttle's logs show Galen's itinerary?
Yes. The logs indicate he visited an unexplored star system, Ruah IV.
- How far from here? - Four days at warp six, sir.
The conference can wait. Set a course for the Ruah System.
- Standard orbit, Ensign. - Ruah IV is a Class-M planet.
67 percent of its surface is covered with water.
Its land mass contains multiple animal species,
Scan for monuments that might indicate a previous civilization.
There is nothing to indicate any former culture, sir.
Then why was our foremost archaeologist here?
He left the Enterprise in a Vulcan ship for Deep Space 4,
and then, an Al-Leyan transport to Kea.
And then the shuttle to Indri VIII. What do we know about Indri VIII?
The Indri system was identified by Federation vessels
nearly 60 years ago. The eighth planet is L-Class,
covered with deciduous vegetation, unexplored,
with no evidence of any civilizations.
The planet possesses no animal life.
Number One, we will proceed to Indri VIII.
With all due respect, we've already run into a dead end.
Indri VIII doesn't seem promising.
- And we're late for the conference. - I'm aware of that.
Galen visited here, then was on his way to Indri VIII when he died.
There's a connection. I'm going to find it.
Lay a course for Indri VIII, warp seven.
How's it going?
I thought if I stared at these number blocks long enough,
then I would begin to see some kind of pattern.
I meant, how's it going with you?
If I had gone with him...
Captain, you can't start thinking like that.
You didn't abandon him.
You chose not to abandon a life-long career.
It was the right decision, and not responsible for his death.
I realize that.
I know how much the professor meant to you
and how much you want to find out what happened.
But staring at these numbers isn't going to bring him back.
The conference has been scheduled for six months.
Starfleet is relying on your mediation...
Counsellor, this is not simply some wild-goose chase
to purge myself of guilt and remorse.
I will not let Galen's death be in vain.
If that means inconveniencing a few squabbling delegates for a few days,
then so be it! I will take full responsibility.
Entering the Indri system, sir.
Capt Picard, approaching Indri VIII.
On my way.
Sensors are picking up severe atmospheric fluctuations.
Assume a high orbit.
On screen, Mr. Worf.
A plasma reaction is consuming the lower atmosphere.
- Can we stop it? - No, sir. The reaction is global.
All life on the planet is being destroyed, sir.
Why would anyone destroy all life
on an uninhabited, neutral planet with no strategic importance?
All the life...?
Perhaps the number blocks relate to organic matter!
If we narrow the search to the biological database,
it'll increase the chances of finding a match.
I'll be in the lab.
Pattern match found.
The numbers represent
fragments of deoxyribonucleic-acid strands.
Each a different life form from 19 different worlds!
These planets are scattered.
No wonder it took Galen so long to collect them. But why?
Wait a minute...
These fragments seem to have similar protein configurations.
- They're chemically compatible. - Not possible.
Different species. There should be no compatibility.
I know, but the base-pair combinations are uniform.
If I'm right...
Computer, connect the DNA according to protein-link compatibility.
What is it?
I have no idea.
This is not part of a natural design, Captain.
It's an algorithm, at the molecular level.
These DNA fragments are part of a computer program?
I know how it sounds, but this can't be random.
This is from a program.
This fragment's been in every DNA strand on Earth since life began.
The others are just as old.
Someone wrote this over four billion years ago.
So, four billion years ago,
someone scattered this genetic material
into the primordial soup of at least 19 planets in the galaxy?
Genetic information was incorporated into early life forms
and passed down for generations.
- Why would anyone do this? - What is this program designed for?
We couldn't know till we ran it.
We tried all DNA in the Federation computer
but we can't find compatible configurations.
So it's from outside the Federation.
Data, how many on board are non-Federation?
This is a long shot,
but we should check these 17 people for this protein configuration.
I'll collect DNA samples now.
I've been thinking. Someone else must know about this program.
I bet one fragment was on Indri VIII. That's why it was destroyed.
To stop us finding that piece of the puzzle.
It's four billion years old.
A computer program from a highly advanced civilization,
hidden in the very fabric of life itself.
Whatever information this program contains
could be the most profound discovery of our time.
Or the most dangerous.
And the Professor knew that.
They all came up negative.
I have scoured every page of the Professor's writings
for a clue as to where to go next. So far, nothing.
We've been at this too long.
Why don't we get some sleep and start again tomorrow morning?
"I was in the neighbourhood."
When I asked the professor why he went all the way to Kurl, he said,
"I was in the neighbourhood."
- Doing what? - Collecting DNA samples.
Only one Kurlan planet is capable of supporting life. Loren III.
No. No Loren III sample from the data downloaded from the shuttle.
If he had one, it must have been taken by the Yridians.
Mr. Data, set a course for Loren III. Maximum warp.
- We are entering the Loren system. - Orbit the third planet.
Our competition may be there before us.
- Battle stations, Mr. Worf. - Aye.
- We are now in orbit. - On screen.
You're right. We've got company. Cardassians.
- They're hailing us. - On screen.
I am Gul Ocett. Identify yourself and state your business here.
I am Capt Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise
and I see no reason why I should answer to you.
- Cardassians have no claims here. - I suppose not.
But my, admittedly hasty, estimate shows one Federation starship
and two Cardassian war vessels.
- Perhaps I have miscounted. - Not at all.
We are on a scientific mission. You have no reason to interfere with us.
And you have nothing to lose by delaying for a few days.
I invite you to withdraw.
Captain, Klingon attack cruiser decloaking. They are hailing us.
This is the Klingon vessel Maht-H'a. What are you doing here?
Captain's log, supplemental.
We have two competitors as we try to complete the Professor's puzzle.
I have asked the Cardassian and Klingon captains to meet with me.
We all know why we're here. If we can admit that, we can move forward.
We're scouting the planet for possible colonization.
A ridiculous story!
- Why are you here, then? - Scientific research.
Look, if we try to deceive one another, we shall get nowhere.
I think we all know about Professor Galen's research.
And about the computer program composed of DNA fragments.
I will take your silence as confirmation.
None of us has the DNA fragments necessary to complete the program.
You were the first to arrive in this system.
Do you have a sample from the planet below?
Yes. And I will fire on anyone who attempts to obtain another one.
As if we fear Cardassian threats!
I believe one of you has a fragment from Indri VIII.
Yes. And there will be no other samples from Indri VIII.
What does that mean?
He destroyed the biosphere after he got a sample.
Typical Klingon thinking. Take what you want and destroy the rest.
We're all missing some fragments, not necessarily the same ones.
Unless we combine them, we will never learn the secret.
There is no secret! It's an ancient weapon design of incredible power.
The Klingon Empire will not let it fall into an enemy's hands.
- Or even a friend's. - A weapon?
The Yridians claim the program leads to an unlimited power source.
Until we assemble it, we will never know its purpose.
It could be a recipe for biscuits.
Biscuits! If that is what you believe, go back to Cardassia.
- I will send you my mother's recipe. - How dare you!
Enough! Without cooperation, we will get nowhere.
What do you propose?
If you bring your samples on board, I will combine them with ours.
We will all observe the results, giving no one the advantage.
And if we refuse?
Then this endeavour dies here, in this room.
- Still one missing piece. - We gave ours up for nothing!
You are very short-sighted, Nu'Daq. We are closer than we were.
We may be very much closer indeed.
We have no idea where to look for the missing DNA fragment.
This is a jigsaw puzzle scattered across the galaxy.
Shouldn't we assume the designers want us to find it?
Why else put the pieces in our DNA?
Wouldn't that suggest they'd make it easy for us to find the pieces,
that there's a pattern to their distribution?
The computer might find that pattern.
Doctor, program the computer to analyze what we have,
correcting for changes in star configurations.
- Extrapolate for the missing piece. - That will take hours. Excuse me.
- Stay on board while we wait. - I intend to.
- Good evening, Commander Data! - Captain.
- Any word on the missing fragment? - The computer is working on it.
It will let me know shortly.
Commander, your reputation for physical strength
is known even in the Klingon Empire.
Do you know the B'aht Qul challenge?
I am familiar with the B'aht Qul.
My spinal support is a poly-alloy designed to withstand extreme stress.
My skull is composed of cortonide and uranium.
I understand your intellectual prowess
is equally impressive.
If I were to learn the result of the computer search before the rest,
the Klingon Empire would have a strategic advantage.
A being of your abilities would go far in the Empire.
- You are attempting to bribe me. - Not at all.
You suggested a plan to your advantage, one I could execute.
You then implied a reward.
Commander... never mind.
What the hell...?
Computer, run a diagnostic on the primary defensive systems.
- La Forge to Capt Picard. - What is it?
I've found something I think you should see.
The analysis is complete.
The computer found this geometric pattern based on the fragments.
Computer, highlight the section of the missing pattern.
The missing DNA fragment should be in this system.
The star is in the Rahm-lzad system.
Direct hit on our port nacelle.
They are powering up for another volley.
Make it look good. Release the dampers.
They are firing.
Report, Number One.
We used the inertial dampers to simulate complete shield failure.
Good thing you discovered Gul Ocett tampering with your defences.
Minor damage to starboard nacelle. We will be operational in one hour.
What?! You incompetent top'a! You were supposed to be prepared.
The Cardassians have set a course for Rahm-lzad.
They'll soon realize Rahm-lzad is the wrong planet.
Captain, you're very welcome to join us.
I... will go with you.
Set in a course for the Vilmoran system, warp nine. Engage!
I am scanning all seven planets. None supports life.
- How can that be? - Correction.
One shows evidence of an ancient ocean, now dry.
- It once supported life. - Yes. And it still may.
In a limited fashion, not detectable by sensors.
Lay on a course, Ensign. Riker to transporter room one.
We've located a planet that may still support life.
- Any sign of the Cardassians? - Not yet.
I detect vegetative life,
a primitive lichen in a fossilized sea bed.
Transporter room one, stand by.
We have company. I'm ready to pull you out.
Wait for my order.
You dishonourable top'a!
Perhaps we could exchange insults some other time.
- It was quite a chase, wasn't it? - How...?
We intercepted communiqués between the Yridians and Cardassia.
We were watching when Professor Galen was attacked.
And you have been shadowing us ever since.
And now the reward. Step clear, please.
I shall destroy the entire rock face and every trace of DNA with it.
You'll go to Romulus empty-handed. Your superiors will be pleased.
Perhaps we could compromise? You give us the gene code...
The sea bed may be only partially fossilized.
It could still contain organic material.
Which would still contain the DNA.
- I will not be eliminated now. - You can be, by a disruptor.
What about my offer?
How can I be sure you won't kill me?
- I've given you my word. - Etched in stone. No deals!
There will be no deals as long as I am alive.
Do not press me, Klingon. I don't care whether you live or die.
If you fire, others will die.
The program has been activated. It's reconfiguring the tricorder.
We will die together, brother.
It's modifying the diode emitter to project something.
You're wondering who we are, why we have done this,
how it is come that I stand before you,
the image of a being from so long ago.
Life evolved on my planet
before all others in this part of the galaxy.
We left our world, explored the stars
and found none like ourselves.
Our civilization thrived for ages,
but what is the life of one race
compared to the vast stretches of cosmic time?
We knew that one day we would be gone,
that nothing of us would survive.
So, we left you.
Our scientists seeded the primordial oceans of many worlds
where life was in its infancy.
The seed codes directed your evolution
toward a physical form resembling ours.
This body you see before you
which is, of course, shaped as yours is shaped,
for you are the end result.
The seed codes also contain this message,
which we scattered on many different worlds.
It was our hope that you would have to come together
in fellowship and companionship to hear this message.
And if you can see and hear me, our hope has been fulfilled.
You are a monument,
not to our greatness, but to our existence.
That was our wish...
that you, too, would know life
and would keep alive our memory.
There is something of us in each of you
and so, something of you in each other. Remember us.
That's all?! If she were not dead, I would kill her!
The very notion that a Cardassian
could have anything in common with a Klingon turns my stomach.
- Picard to Enterprise. - Standing by.
Captain's log, stardate 46735.2.
Use of high warp has over-extended the propulsion systems.
We are finishing repairs before returning to Federation territory.
It's sad Professor Galen didn't see the end of his study.
No one would have appreciated it more.
If it hadn't been for you, his dream would never have been realized.
You left him a wonderful legacy.
A more fitting message if it had not fallen on such deaf ears.
You never know!
Well, I have to get this day started.
- Both of us! - See you this afternoon.
Riker to Capt Picard.
- Transmission from the Romulans. - Put it through.
Captain, my ships are leaving orbit for Romulan space.
Until our next encounter.
It would seem that we are not completely dissimilar after all.
In our hopes, or in our fears...
- Yes. - Well, then.