|Story by:||Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga|
|Directed by:||Winrich Kolbe|
Picard is mysteriously travelling back and forth through through time, thanks to Q, and he is unwittingly to blame for the destruction of humanity. (Series Finale, feature-length)
Following an evening date at the holodeck, Worf and Troi walk back towards Troi's quarters. When Worf is about to kiss her goodnight, Captain Picard, dressed in his bathrobe, walks out of the turbolift, disoriented. Upon asking which date it is, he tells them he is moving back and forth through time.
Discussing the situation with Counselor Troi, Picard suddenly finds himself 25 years in the future, at his vineyard. After a short moment of disorientation, he goes on tying the vines. A pleasant surprise, Geordi decided to pay him a visit, coming all the way from Rigel III. He admits Leah told him of Picard's Irumodic Syndrome, and Picard tell him it takes years for the Syndrome to run it's course. On their way to the house, they start talking. Picard tells Geordi he read his last novel, feeling the protagonist to be a little too flamboyant. Picard suddenly sees a group of people yelling at him. He then finds himself in the past, on a shuttlecraft with Tasha Yar, seeing the Enterprise for the first time. Yar notices Picard staring at her, and behaving very oddly. Then suddenly, he is again back in the present with Troi.
In Sickbay, Doctor Crusher reports she found nothing which could cause hallucinations or psychogenic reaction on Picard's neurographic scan. Since temporal displacement leaves traces of tryptamine, and none were found on Picard, he also didn't tavel through time. There were no strange oxygen isotopes in his lungs, which would indicate that Picard hadn't left the ship in weeks. Doctor Crusher also confirms Picard has a small structural defect in his parietal lobe that could lead to a number of neurological disorders, including Irumodic syndrome. The defect is so small it only showed up on a level-4 neurographic scan. Riker comes in and reports that Worf's security scans turned up negative, and they were still checking the sensor logs. Picard receives a priority 1 message from Starfleet Command; Admiral Nakamura informs him he has put out a fleet wide yellow alert since 30 Romulan warbirds are headed for the Romulan border. Romulan and Federation sensors have picked up some sort of spatial anomaly in the Devron System, in the Romulan Neutral Zone. Nakamura has ordered 15 starships to assemble along the Federation side of the zone and wants Picard to go there as well, to investigate the anomaly.
Once again in the future, Picard tries to explain the situation to Geordi. He decides to see Data, who now teaches at Cambridge University. Again, he sees the strange people in his vineyard upon leaving.
They find Data at the Lucasian Chair residence in Cambridge, with his numerous cats, grey hair over half his head, and a maid called Jessel, who makes him laugh. Data admits he is skeptical of Picard's story, but agrees to help him, starting with a full series of neurographic scans in the University's biometrics lab.
Suddenly, Picard is again in the past. He is about to take command of the Enterprise, but again sees the strange people yelling at him. He manages to finish reading out his orders, before being overcome by the strange events and ordering the ship to be put on Red Alert.
In his personal log, which he records under security lockout omega 327, Picard tells of the strange events. He decides not to inform his crew about his shifting through time, as this could adversly affect the timeline. Nothing unusual has been detected on the ship, and Counselor Troi reports sensing nothing unusual. Nonetheless, Picard orders security alert 2, first mistaking Worf to be the Chief of Security, when lieutenant Yar is. They then receive word of a spatial anomaly in the Devron system, and Starfleet orders the Enterprise to investigate, cancelling their mission to Farpoint. Picard, however says the ship will proceed to Farpoint as planned. Picard leaves with Miles O'Brien to repair the warp plasma inducers. He shows an indepth understanding of engineering and O'Brien himself which catches the chief off-guard. Picard also meets Data for the first time, again. He tells him he can use his help on the infuser array, and Data diagnoses the conduit will need a completely new field induction subprocessor.
Back in the present, Doctor Crusher scans Picard's temporal lobe, and reports a 13% increase of the acetycholine level in his hippocampus, indicating he has accumulated two days worth of memories within a matter of minutes. Picard admits he is retaining more memories of the different times with each shift. Discussing the events in the conference lounge, Data realizes the events of one time period have no effect on the others. Since both time periods show an anomaly in the Devron system, Geordi speculates it could be a temporal disturbance, and Riker suggests the same anomaly could be present in the future.
Shifting again to the future, he convinces Geordi and Data they need to go to the Devron system. Now-Admiral Riker at Starbase 247 refuses to help, as the Klingons now control this territory. He promises to have the Yorktown run some long-range scans, but that is all. Data suggests they seek passage aboard a medical vessel - there has recently been an outbreak of Terellian plague on Romulus, and such vessels can cross the border, despite the current frosty relationship between the two powers. Picard recommends the USS Pasteur, as he has some "pull" with the captain. Beverly Picard, who kept his name after they separated. Onboard the Pasteur in Earth orbti, Crusher welcomes her ex-husband with a certain amount of reticence, and remarks they will need clearance to cross the border. Geordi suggests that Worf may also be able to help them. He was a member of the Klingon High Council, and now a governor of H'atoria, a small Klingon colony near the border.
Back in the past, the Enterprise has arrived at the coordinates where the Enterprise first encountered Q's plasma field. However, the field does not show up on Data's scans. Picard calls for Q, but he does not appear, and Troi does not feel any alien presence.
Picard then finds himself in the courtroom he first stood in during the events of the Farpoint mission, filled with the people shouting at him he had seen before, finding Q is responsible for all this. Q claims the trial of seven years ago never ended, there a verdict was never reached. He informs Picard that the Continuum has found humanity guilty of being an inferior species, and humanity will be destroyed. However, it is Picard who will be responsible for the destruction of mankind.
Coming to in the present, Picard orders Red Alert, noting "We have a bigger problem than I thought..."
Back in the present, he discusses the situation with his senior staff. Picard thinks Q is giving him a chance to save humanity. They arrive at the Romulan Neutral Zone, and find four Romulan Warbirds at the other side. The USS Bozeman and USS Concord are holding position on the Federation side. Before Picard can talk to the Romulan lead ship, he is suddenly in the future.
Picard convinces Worf to allow them passage, who agrees, but only if he comes with them. Once aboard, they head for the Devron system. In the past, Picard orders the Enterprise to the Devron system as maximum warp.
Back in the present, Picard talks to the Romulan leader Tomalak, and they agree to send both their ships in to the Zone, providing no other ships enter. The Enterprise finds the anomaly. The Enterprise from the past also arrives at the location, but finds the anomaly to be much larger. The Pasteur in the future reaches the Devron system as well, but finds nothing. Captain Crusher agrees to stay and investigate, using an inverse tachyon pulse to scan beyond the subspace barrier, but only for six more hours. After that, they will head back to Federation space.
In the present, Data has finished his scans of the anomaly. It is approximately 200 milion kilometers in diameter, and it is a highly focused energy source, which is sending out about the same ammount of energy as 10 G-type stars. Yhe Enterprise modifies its main deflector to emit the inverse tachyon pulse to scan the interior of the anomaly. Initiating the pulse, Geordi's eyes begin to regenerate. Data reports the anomaly is a multiphasic temporal convergence in the spacetime continuum. Data theorizes the anomaly is an eruption of anti-time, the temporal equivalent of anti-matter. In the past, Picard orders the pulse to be initiated also. In this period, the anomaly is approximately 400 million kilometers in diameter.
In the future, the Pasteur finds itself under attack by Klingon cruisers. Future-Enterprise, under the command of Admiral Riker, declocks and rescues them. It chases off the remaining Klingon vessels, but the Pasteur is destroyed, the crew being transported aboard the Enterprise. Despite Picard's objections, Riker orders them back to Federation space.
In the present, Dr Crusher reports that the phenomenon causing Geordi's eyes to regenerate will eventually kill all of them. Picard, investigating the consequences of the temporal energy being sent out by the anomaly, orders to contact Starbase 23, the nearest Federation outpost, and have its crew check for symptoms. Q appears, and takes Picard back to France, Earth, in the time first life on the planet emerged, 3.5 billion years ago. The anomaly is so large that it spans the entire Alpha Quadrant and reaches all the way to Earth. Q shows Picard a pond of amino acids, where the first protein is about to form. However, nothing happens; the anomaly prevented life from ever beginning.
In the past, Data theorizes that a tomographic imagings scanner capable of multiphasic resolution could scan the interior of the anomaly, but the device is being developed at the Daystrom Institute, and is not yet completed. Shifting to the present, Picard learns the Enterprise now does have the equipment aboard, and orders Data to use it. Data finds that three tachyon pulses are converging at the centre of the anomaly, all three originating from the Enterprise.
- Data says the three tachyon pulses all have the same configuration and are all generated by the Enterprise, but in fact one of them is generated by the Pasteur.
Waking up in the future, a haggard Picard makes his way to Ten-Forward tries to convince everyone else to head back for the Devron system. Data realizes his former captain is describing a paradox, and in theory, the convergionce of three tachyon pulses could rupture the subspace barrier and start an anti-time reaction.This would mean that if they were to go back to the Devron system, it is possible they might find the anomaly in its early stages of formation. They head back, and find a small anti-time eruption.
- The anti-time reaction didn't form until after the scans in the future, while they should really be getting smaller and smaller untill the pulse is activated, and it dissappeared, seeing as how it acts opposite to normal time. The Pasteur should have detected the anomaly, and the anomaly found by the Enterprise later on shouldn't be there.
At Data's suggestion, Picard has the tachyon pulses in the past and present shut off, but nothing happens. Geordi realizes they must repair the rupture at the focal point by taking all three ships into the centre of the anomaly, using the warp engines to create a static warp shell, which would act as an artificial subspace barrier, separating time and anti-time. Picard remarks that the anomaly is so much larger in the other two time periods that it may be dangerous to make the attempt. Midway through, he shifts to 2364, and must explain to an increasingly sceptical senior staff that what he is doing is right. He asks for a leap of faith, and the crew respond, making preparations for entering the anomaly.
Returning to the present, Data suddenly comes to the same conclusion his future self had done, causing Picard to remark "...you're a clever man, in any time period." As the other two Enterprises head in, Riker orders his vessel into the maw.
All three vessels reach the centre of the anomaly, their warp shells causing the the anomaly to begin its collapse. Present and Past Enterprise are destroyed as their antimatter containment fields degrade, leaving only the Future vessel to complete the job. Q appears, taunting Picard, who remains unbowed. He remarks that "all good things must come to an end". The Enterprise's containment field is at critical, as the anomaly collapses around the ship, and a flash of light drowns out everything.
Picard finds himself back in Q's courtroom, now empty except for Q himself. Q tells Picard the Continuum didn't think he had it in him, but that Q knew he did. He also tells Picard that in the brief moment Picard realized the paradox, he expanded his mind to consider things he had never considered before. He informs Picard that this is the exploration that awaits humanity. He also tells Picard that the trial will never end, and humanity and Picard are still charched with being inferior. He then returns Picard to the present Enterprise, the only one with any knowledge of what has happenned. Picard joins his senior officers' poker game for the first time, telling them it is something he should have done a long time ago...
"Oh, you'd like me to connect the dots for you, lead you from A to B to C, so that your puny mind could comprehend. How boring."
"It's time to put an end to your Trek through the Stars."
"Q's interest in you has always been very similar to that of a master and his beloved pet."
- Data to Picard
"Goodbye, Jean-Luc. I'm gonna miss you... you had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end.."
"For that one fraction of a second, you had open to you options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae... but charting the unknown possibilities... of existence."
"Q, what is it you're trying to tell me?"
"You'll find out. In any case, I'll be watching. And if you're very lucky, I'll drop by to say hello... from time to time. See you, out there."
- Q, Picard
This episode was the last in the series. In first-run, it was feature-length, later cut into two for syndication. Several scenes from the original version were cut for time.
- John de Lancie as Q
- Denise Crosby as Lieutenant Tasha Yar
- Colm Meaney as Miles O'Brien
- Andreas Katsulas as Commander Tomalak
- Clyde Kusatsu as Admiral Nakamura
- Patti Yasutake as Alyssa Ogawa
- Pamela Kosh as Jessel
- Tim Kelleher as Lieutenant Gaines
- Alison Brooks as Nell Chilton
- Stephen Matthew Garvey as Ensign
ADD REFERENCES NOT FOUND IN SUMMARY TEXT
|Episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation||Series finale|