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*In the novel ''[[Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume 2|Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume 2, Trill & Bajor]]'' by [[Andy Mangels]] and [[Michael A. Martin]], the parasites are revealed to actually be genetically modified Trill symbionts, created on the remote Trill colony of [[Kurl]]. A deadly plague had been killing symbionts, and the experiments were intended to develop a cure. However, the experiment failed, and the symbionts so affected became violent and xenophobic - the parasites - and swore revenge on Trill society for this disaster.
 
*In the novel ''[[Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume 2|Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume 2, Trill & Bajor]]'' by [[Andy Mangels]] and [[Michael A. Martin]], the parasites are revealed to actually be genetically modified Trill symbionts, created on the remote Trill colony of [[Kurl]]. A deadly plague had been killing symbionts, and the experiments were intended to develop a cure. However, the experiment failed, and the symbionts so affected became violent and xenophobic - the parasites - and swore revenge on Trill society for this disaster.
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According to [[Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion]], the aliens and the homing signal the began were originally supposed to lead in to what would become the [[borg]], who would be an insectoid race and the parasites be a first wave, but budgetary reasons made them into cyborgs instead.
   
 
==Links and References==
 
==Links and References==

Revision as of 13:49, August 24, 2006

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The Enterprise-D finds Starfleet Command acting erratically, with key officers under the control of alien neural parasites.

Synopsis

While en route to Pacifica, Picard receives a code 47 message from Walker Keel, an old friend who is captain of the Horatio. Keel asks Picard for a secret rendezvous on the abandoned mining colony Dytalix B. Picard meets with Walker and two other captains, Tryla Scott and Rixx, who, after confirming Picard's identity with a series of questions about his past, tell him about their suspicions of a conspiracy of some sort reaching up to the highest levels of Starfleet Command. Picard looks into the matter, having Data to review Starfleet directives of the past six months. While Data is reviewing the records, the Enterprise encounters the debris of Keel's ship.

In light of Keel's death, Picard tells Riker about the suspicions Keel voiced. During their conversation, Data enters and tells them what he has found: during the past six months there has been a great deal of "uncustomary reshuffling of personnel — usually in the command areas", and the new officers have had a great deal of contact with the highest levels of command. Data hypothesizes that the reorganizations are an attempt by a hostile force or individual to control important sectors of Federation territory. Faced with this information, the Enterprise returns to Earth.

Upon entering orbit, the Enterprise is contacted by three admirals from Starfleet Command, requesting an explanation for their return. Picard states that he would prefer a discussion of that sort occur in private; the three admirals convene for a moment, then invite Picard and Riker to dinner at Starfleet Headquarters for the discussion to take place. Rear Admiral Gregory Quinn says that he will not be able to attend the dinner, but that he would like to see the Enterprise again. Just before he beams up, he looks at a scorpion-like creature he has in a case.

When Quinn is onboard the Enterprise, he bluffs his way through references to old times, and states that his earlier perception of a threat to the Federation was merely a metaphor for the "tumultuous process" of assimilating new races into the Federation. Picard realizes that Admiral Quinn is an impostor of some sort and tells Riker to observe Quinn closely and have Dr. Crusher give him a medical examination under false pretenses; after Riker reaches his conclusions he is to join Picard on Earth. Picard then beams down and meets with Rear Admiral Savar and Vice Admiral Aaron, as well as Dexter Remmick.

On the ship in the guest quarters, Quinn offers to show Riker the creature and tells him about it. It was discovered by a Starfleet survey team on an uncharted planet, and Quinn refers to it as "a superior form of life". When Riker says he'll get his science officer, Quinn grabs his arm very strongly, saying the creature will only like Riker. After a brief scuffle, in which Quinn displays amazing strength, Riker is knocked unconscious. When Security arrives, Quinn says that Riker slipped and hit his head, and then announces his departure. When Worf and La Forge try to detain him, he throws La Forge through a door and similarly beats Worf before being blasted unconscious by Dr. Crusher. In sickbay Crusher's scans show that Quinn really is Quinn, but she discovers a bizarre appendage sticking out of the back of his neck.

On Earth, the two admirals try to subtly persuade Picard that there is in fact no conspiracy. Dinner is announced, so Picard takes a moment to contact Riker. Crusher answers on Riker's communicator, as Riker is unconscious. Crusher informs Picard that a parasitic creature of some sort has taken control of Quinn and all his brain functions. The spike at the back of Quinn's neck appears to be a gill, which is a helpful indicator of those who have been taken over by one of the creatures. Crusher states her doubts about removing the creature, believing it would kill Quinn. She instructs Picard to set his phaser on kill rather than stun, which has little effect on the creature or its host; Picard, however, has no phaser with him at all.

Picard goes into dinner. The dish being served is a bowl filled with small living worms or caterpillars. Picard is disgusted, and realizes that everyone at the dinner has been infiltrated by the aliens. He gets up to leave, and runs into Riker. Riker has also apparently been taken over by the creature; the gill is in his neck. So too has Captain Scott. The "conspirators" announce that they have known of Picard's intentions the whole time. They talk of their plan to infiltrate the Enterprise. Riker moves to eat, but instead he pulls out his phaser and shoots one of the diners. As Scott and Savar are shot too,Aaron escapes, and Picard and Riker pursue him. Stunning him, he falls to the ground, and the parasite infesting him crawls out of his mouth and under a nearby door. They follow it to find Remmick sitting in a chair. He turns to look at him, and the creature crawls up his body and enters into his mouth. He swallows it, and it begins moving around in his neck. "We mean you no harm," he says, as his neck bulges in and out. "We seek peaceful coexistence." Picard and Riker shoot him with steady phaser blasts. The flesh is vaporized off his face, and then his head explodes. After Picard and Riker let up their phasers, a giant wound forms in Remmick's chest, and the mother creature erupts wailing from the hole. Picard and Riker kill it, and all that is left of Remmick is his sizzling body and several dead creatures strewn about nearby. It is learned that all the creatures died when the mother creature was killed, but that Remmick had sent out a homing beacon shortly before his death.

The main text of this synopsis is based on the corresponding article Conspiracy (Star Trek) at Wikipedia

Background Information

  • This episode is a continuation of plot threads first raised in "Coming of Age", the characters of Quinn and Remmick returning from that episode.
  • The original version of the script did not feature alien parasites; the 'conspiracy' in question was simply a military coup within Starfleet. Gene Roddenberry vehemently opposed such an idea, since he believed Starfleet would never stoop to such methods; thus the alien angle was introduced at his insistence.
  • On its first airing in the UK, the BBC cut several minutes of footage from the episode (most notably the death of Remmick).
  • Although the episode closed on a suspenseful note, no resolution has yet been seen. When the Borg were being created a year later, it was initially suggested that they in fact be the aliens from this episodes, a race of mechanical insectoids.
File:Star-chart alpha-beta quadrant.jpg
Alpha and Beta Quadrant star chart seen behind Remmick
  • A star chart featured in this episode, on the wall behind the chair behind Remmick, was created by the art department and shows several dozen planets and star systems mentioned in TOS and TAS.
  • The events of this episode were referenced later in TNG: "The Drumhead" when it was mentioned that Judicial Admiral Norah Satie had also played a crucial role in investigating and keeping check on the growing conspiracy.
  • This episode is possibly the only time a Tellarite appears on TNG.


Apocrypha

  • The neural parasites never appeared again on-screen, but were shown in a comic book taking control of a spacefaring species called the "Onglaatu" in a DC TNG story entitled "The Broken Moon!".
  • The parasites have also returned in Pocket Books' new DS9 series of novels. Several books in the "Mission: Gamma" series leading up to the novel Unity have revealed that the parasites are closely related to the Trill, and join with a host body in very much the same manner as a Trill symbiont does. They also reveal the Trill symbionts and the neural parasites have been fighting a long secret war, with several species worth of hosts and governments as their weapons against each other. The parasites' latest gambit has been the continued fervor for Bajor to join the Federation, for unknown reasons this would represent a great victory to their secret plan.
  • In the novel Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Volume 2, Trill & Bajor by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin, the parasites are revealed to actually be genetically modified Trill symbionts, created on the remote Trill colony of Kurl. A deadly plague had been killing symbionts, and the experiments were intended to develop a cure. However, the experiment failed, and the symbionts so affected became violent and xenophobic - the parasites - and swore revenge on Trill society for this disaster.

According to Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, the aliens and the homing signal the began were originally supposed to lead in to what would become the borg, who would be an insectoid race and the parasites be a first wave, but budgetary reasons made them into cyborgs instead.

Links and References

Guest Stars

References

47; admiral; Altarian Conference; Ambassador-class; Ambassador, USS; Andonian tea; Bolians; code 47; Crusher, Jack; Delaplane; Dytallix B; Earth; frigate; heavy cruiser; homing beacon; Horatio, USS; Karapleedeez, Onna; Keel, Anne; Keel, Melissa; McKinney; neural parasite; neural parasite (TNG); Pacifica; Renegade, USS; sector 63; shuttlepod (2286); Sipe, Ryan; Starbase 12; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Headquarters; Tau Ceti III; Thomas Paine, USS.

Other references

47 references; Aldebaran; Alfa 177; Alpha Carinae; Alpha Centauri; Alpha Majoris; Altair VI; Andor; Ariannus; Arret; Babel; Benecia; Berengaria VII; Beta Aurigae; Beta Geminorum; Beta Lyrae; Beta Niobe; Beta Portolan; Camus II; Canopus III; Capella; Daran V; Delta Vega; Deneb; Ekos; Eminiar; Fabrina; First Federation; Gamma Canaris IV; Gamma Trianguli; Holberg 917G; Ingraham B; Janus VI; Kling; Kzin; Lactra VII; Makus III; Marcus XII; Marnak IV; Memory Alpha; Mira Antliae; Mira Antliae system; Mudd; Omega IV; Omega Cygni; Organia; Orion; Pallas 14; Phylos; Pollux IV; Psi 2000; Pyris VII; rear admiral; Regulus; Remus; Rigel; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulus; Sarpeid; Sirius; Sol; Starfleet ranks; Talos; Tau Ceti; Theta III; Tholian Assembly; vice admiral; Vulcan; Zeon

Timeline

Early 2364 
The neural parasite conspiracy is suspected by Quinn.
Stardate 41416.2 
Quinn gives Picard a vain warning.



Previous episode:
We'll Always Have Paris
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1
Next episode:
The Neutral Zone

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