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Aquiel (episode)

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(written from a Production point of view)
"Aquiel"
TNG, Episode 6x13
Production number: 40276-239
First aired: 1 February 1993
138th of 176 produced in TNG
138th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
251st of 728 released in all
Aquiel Uhnari
Teleplay By
Brannon Braga & Ronald D. Moore

Story By
Jeri Taylor

Directed By
Cliff Bole
46461.3 (2369)
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Geordi La Forge falls in love with a woman named Aquiel Uhnari, accused of murder in an isolated communication relay station. The Enterprise crew investigates the crime, the only other suspect is a Klingon officer who frequently visited the station.

Summary

Teaser

Relay Station 47

Relay station 47

"Captain's log, stardate 46461.3. We have arrived at a communication relay station near the Klingon border, where we are scheduled to deliver supplies. However, the station has not responded to repeated hails."


The USS Enterprise-D has sent an away team composed of CMO Dr. Crusher, Lt. Cmdr La Forge, Cmdr Riker and Lt. Worf to the Communications Relay Station 47. Upon arriving, they find the station abandoned and the audio monitoring system in disarray. They also find a large, fluffy white dog hiding inside a service duct. The station's shuttlecraft is missing, along with both Starfleet officers, Aquiel Uhnari and Keith Rocha. Doctor Beverly Crusher discovers cellular residue which must be the remains of one of the personnel.

Act One

The blood traces match those of Uhnari, so Crusher assumes the cellular residue is Uhnari's also, but must study it further in her lab to make sure. Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge explains that encrypted subspace messages are all sent through a particular channel, and that someone has tried to bypass the access protocols, perhaps taking or rewriting some of the messages. La Forge accesses the station's logs, but at first can see only a handful of Uhnari's official and personal entries. Returning to her quarters, he peruses the logs accompanied by the dog, which he discovers was Uhnari's pet. Uhnari's personal letters reveal her to be a spirited, romantic Halii woman who was abused by her father, is intensely homesick for the rest of her family and traditions, and has difficulty getting along with "egomaniac" Rocha. At one point she confesses countermanding his orders. In sickbay Dr. Crusher tries to get a clear DNA sample from the metallic plate, she guesses a high-level phaser blast caused the death. It also could have been a Klingon disruptor.

Act Two

Uhnari also mentions that Commander Morag, an aggressive Klingon, has been harassing and threatening the station. Klingon DNA traces are found aboard the station, and when Captain Jean-Luc Picard asks the Klingon governor Torak to investigate. At first, the governor is hesitant to help but Picard uses his influence as Gowron's Arbiter of Succession to convince him to help. Eventually, the governor turns up on the Enterprise along with Uhnari, very much alive.

Act Three

Uhnari claims that Rocha suddenly and irrationally attacked her; she first tried to access the weapons locker, but next remembers escaping in the shuttle; she was picked up by the Klingons. Possibly owing to a head injury, Uhnari's memory for exactly what happened is spotty, and while she tries to remember and the captain waits for Cmdr. Morag to arrive, she and La Forge become friends. La Forge confesses he has read her logs. Dr. Crusher now assumes that the cellular residue is Rocha, but continues to analyze it.

Rocha's log files turn up, showing that he was not as nasty as Uhnari experience him; in fact, he seems to have been a bright and promising officer. Uhnari's duty records, on the other hand, show her to be difficult and argumentative. Circumstantial evidence points to her as possibly having killed Rocha, but she hotly denies this, even after she is found to have established a subspace link with a console on the relay station and deleted a number of Rocha's personal logs, including a letter he was planning to send to Starfleet. Citing her as "belligerent and insubordinate", Rocha had planned to ask for a formal hearing. Knowing her pattern of running away in panic when she is afraid, La Forge advises her to stay and face what has happened, and she agrees.

Act Four

"Captain's log, supplemental. The Qu'Vat has arrived with Commander Morag. We are preparing to question him regarding his involvement in the murder of Lieutenant Rocha."

Cmdr. Morag arrives shortly thereafter. He describes how he investigated the station when they did not answer his hails. He confesses that he was the one who tried to bypass the access protocols and filched a number of priority Starfleet messages, but that while he saw blood and signs of a struggle, he did not kill anyone. Lt. Worf finds a missing phaser from the station in Uhnari's shuttlecraft: it is set on ten instead of one. It becomes more likely Uhnari was the murderer. Dr. Crusher continues to examine the cellular residue, which suddenly, upon contact with her skin, takes the form of her hand.

Act Five

Coalescent organism

A coalescant organism

Crusher explains to Picard that these are not Rocha's remains, but a coalescent organism that feeds off other lifeforms, then assumes their shape. Rocha never worked at the station; it was the shapeshifter who killed him at his last post of duty in the remote Triona system and took his place. Crusher warns that what appears to be Uhnari may actually be the creature, the same applies for Morag. Meanwhile, Uhnari introduces La Forge to a Haliian custom in which their minds can telepathically connect, amplified by a large crystal ornament called a Canar. Riker breaks in and disrupts their session.

While Uhnari is examined, La Forge returns to his quarters, where he's been keeping Uhnari's dog Maura. The dog attacks him; the creature had been the canine, not Uhnari. When it starts morphing again, Geordi shoot at him with his phaser, this has virtually no effect until he ups his phaser and so kill the creature.

In Ten Forward, La Forge tells his theory, that Uhnari's memory loss after the Rocha-like creature attacked her was caused by the beginning coalescing process; which explains her feeling of having her memory drained out. Unhari realizes she may indeed have taken the phaser and shoot. She is grateful to La Forge for his advice and friendship but refuses his offer to recommend her for a post. She knows she is not an ideal Starfleet officer, but tells him she is considering staying in Starfleet and perhaps one day serving aboard the Enterprise.

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Memorable Quotes

"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 lo'Be Vos?"
"At least I do not wear the uniform of the petaQ!"

- Worf and Governor Torak butting heads


"Lieutenant Uhnari's logs reported that Commander Morag had been harassing the station."
"He was doing his job."

- Captain Picard and Governor Torak


"I think you've let your personal feelings cloud your judgment."
"I'm not the one making judgments."

- Riker and La Forge


"Concerned?"

- Counselor Troi - her only line of dialogue

Background Information

Story and production

Continuity

Reception

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Co-stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stand-ins

References

47; Batarael; Canar; coalescent organism; Cold Moon Over Blackwater; Delta Vega sector; Deriben V; disruptors; Epsilon IX station; Federation; Fatal Revenge, The; governor; Halii; Haliian; Haliian language; hearing; Horath; iced coffee; Klingons; Klingon Empire; level 2 diagnostic; level 3 diagnostic; memory module; message delay buffer; micro-vaporize; Muskan seed punch; Pendleton; Personal log, Aquiel Uhnari; Personal log, Keith Rocha; petaQ; phase inducer; phaser, type 2; Qu'Vat, IKS; Relay Station 47; Relay Station 194; Ryan; Saratoga, USS; Sector 2520; Shianna; shuttlecraft; Starbase 12; Starbase 212; Starbase 237; Starfleet Command; subspace relay station; Triona system; type 2 phaser; Verne; wig


Previous episode:
"Ship in a Bottle"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6
Next episode:
"Face of the Enemy"

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