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New Ground (episode)

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"New Ground"
TNG, Episode 5x10
Production number: 40275-210
First aired: 6 January 1992
109th of 176 produced in TNG
109th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
217th of 728 released in all
Soliton wave
Teleplay By
Grant Rosenberg

Story By
Sara Charno and Stuart Charno

Directed By
Robert Scheerer
45376.3 (2368)
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Worf's son Alexander comes to live on the Enterprise; the crew helps guide a test vehicle for a revolutionary new form of interstellar travel.

Summary

Teaser

"Captain's log, Stardate 45376.3. We are approaching Bilana III where a new method of propulsion known as the soliton wave is being developed. The Enterprise has been asked to participate in one of the first tests of this new technology."
Bilana III
The Enterprise in orbit of Bilana III

Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge is visibly excited about the history-making events about to transpire. He likens it to being present to see Chuck Yeager break the sound barrier or Zefram Cochrane engage the first warp drive. Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Worf don't share his enthusiasm. La Forge leaves them to talk with crewman Donaldson who may be more receptive.

Worf receives a subspace communication from the transport ship Milan. It is Worf's mother, Helena Rozhenko, who has brought with her, Worf's son, Alexander to visit. Worf makes arrangements for them to come aboard.

In the transporter room, Worf greets his mother and son stiffly and asks "How long can you stay?", to which Alexander replies, "I'm not going back."

Act One

Worf and his mother enter Ten Forward and sit at a table. Helena explains to Worf that she and Worf's father are getting older and cannot take proper care of Alexander anymore and that Alexander needs to be with his father. Worf protests that it is "not possible" and that they must find another option. Helena says that Alexander "needs his father" and that Alexander has been having difficulties with his behavior, even lying. She insists that he needs his father for guidance.

Kyle, teacher
Miss Kyle

Afterward, Worf and Alexander are walking to visit the Enterprise's primary school teacher, Miss Kyle. Worf is stiffly asking questions of Alexander who is giving one-word answers. When they arrive and are introduced, Miss Kyle asks Alexander to spell his last name for her. He isn't paying attention and the teacher moves on to another question, Alexander's date of birth. Worf doesn't know the answer and Alexander is clearly disappointed and answers, "The forty-third day of Maktag, Stardate 43205" When Kyle asks Worf how long Alexander will be on board, he replies that it hasn't been determined. Alexander looks crushed.

Captain Picard is waiting in his ready room somewhat annoyed. Worf enters and Picard mildly upbraids him for being late then begins speaking about new security officers coming on duty when they are interrupted by a call from Miss Kyle asking about scheduling placement tests for Alexander. Worf cuts her off and says he will speak to her at another time. Picard continues, only to be interrupted again by Doctor Crusher calling Worf from sickbay to ask about scheduling a physical examination of Alexander. Worf asks her if they can discuss it later and apologizes to Picard for the interruptions. Picard tells Worf to take care of his son and that the security matters can wait. He seems mildly amused as Worf leaves.

Doctor Ja'Dar is briefing the senior staff about the upcoming experiment. He says that there are 23 field coils on the planet working in concert to generate the soliton wave. The test ship will be towed to a position approximately two million kilometers from the planet. The plan is for the wave to envelop the ship and push it into warp. Picard comments, "Warp without warp drive," and Commander Riker jokes that this could put La Forge out of a job. Data asks how closely the Enterprise will need to follow the test vehicle and Ja'Dar responds that the soliton emits a great deal of subspace radio interference so they must remain within 20 kilometers in order to receive telemetry. Picard asks how the experiment will be terminated and is told that the wave is being directed at the planet Lemma II, about three light years away where their sister facility will generate a scattering field to dissipate the wave and bring the ship out of warp. The briefing ends and the staff leaves.

On the bridge, counselor Deanna Troi approaches Worf and informs him that she has spoken with Mrs. Kyle about Alexander being enrolled in the ship's primary school. She asks if Worf is planning to attend the father and son field trip scheduled for later in the afternoon. Worf replies that he has a personnel review scheduled for 1300 hours. Deanna replies that it would be a good opportunity for him to get to know the other students and parents. Worf decides to reschedule the review so they can attend.

On the field trip, Miss Kyle is showing her class a pair of animals from Corvan II in a cage while Alexander is looking at some small animal models on a table. She explains that the animals are called gilvos and that their eating habits are similar to that of Earth's draco lizard, which went extinct more than 300 years ago. She goes on to say there are only fourteen of the animals left on Corvan II, so the Enterprise is transplanting this pair to the protected planet Brentalia. After her lecture, Miss Kyle gently confronts Alexander about taking a model lizard from the table, trying to make it out to be a misunderstanding. Worf is angry at even the hint of an accusation and asks his son if he took the model. He looks directly at Worf and denies it. Miss Kyle insists that she saw Alexander put the model into his jacket. Worf, reaches into Alexander's pocket and removes the lizard model; Alexander has lied to Worf's face.

Act Two

"Lieutenant Worf, personal log, stardate 45376.8. Alexander has acted shamefully and as his father, I must now deal with him. But I find that I would rather fight ten armed Balduk warriors than face one small child."
Kahless and Morath statue
Kahless and Morath fight

Worf is pacing and lecturing Alexander who is seated and staring at the floor. He is telling his son about honor and how "a Klingon's word is his bond, without it he is nothing." Alexander doesn't know why he stole or lied and this infuriates Worf who quickly calms down and takes Alexander into the next room and sits down with him on a couch. He points out a stature of two figures locked in hand-to-hand combat. He asks Alexander if he knows who they are. Alexander knows that one of them is Kahless, and Worf tells him that the other one is Kahless' brother, Morath. They are fighting because Morath told a lie and brought shame to their family. They fought for twelve days and nights. Worf explains to Alexander that when he lies, he is dishonoring his own family in the same way, and that he is dishonoring Worf. Alexander promises never to lie again.

Soliton wave rider
The soliton wave rider test ship.

In the corridor, Troi asks Worf about the field trip. As they enter the turbolift en route to the bridge, Worf recounts the incident with the model and the lie. Troi offers to help if there are any further problems, but Worf is confident that Alexander will not repeat the behavior.

On the bridge, the Enterprise is linked telemetrically to the test ship and Dr. Ja'Dar begins the launch sequence for the soliton wave. The wave rockets from the surface of the planet and envelops the test ship which successfully enters warp. The Enterprise follows and moves to within twenty kilometers. La Forge reports that the ship's speed is warp 2.35, slightly faster than they expected. Picard asks if the wave is affecting the Enterprise's warp drive, but Data replies that it is not. La Forge reports that the power efficiency of the wave is 98 percent. Data remarks that is 450 percent more efficient than their own warp engines. Suddenly, the wave's power signature fluctuates and efficiency drops to 73 percent. Then a subspace distortion is detected and hits the Enterprise. La Forge is unable to compensate and Picard is forced to order all stop on the engines just as the test ship explodes.

Act Three

JaDar
Dr. Ja'Dar

Sensors and warp drive are off-line and deflectors are at fifteen percent. Dr. Ja'Dar sends a message from the surface of Bilana III asking if everyone is all right. He speculates that there was a transient power imbalance and La Forge confirms this as consistent with the telemetry readings from the ship before it exploded. Though the experiment wasn't entirely successful, La Forge congratulates Ja'Dar for achieving warp without warp drive.

Worf meets with Miss Kyle to discuss Alexander. She is concerned with his demeanor in class. Worf dismisses it as typical Klingon child behavior and suggests that Kyle use a "firm hand." She reports that Alexander is still stealing and lying and that perhaps they should meet with counselor Troi. Worf interrupts her, stands and inquires of the ship's computer the whereabouts of his son. The computer reports that he is on holodeck four. Worf turns as he leaves and tells Miss Kyle that he will "handle this."

When Worf arrives at holodeck four, he discovers that Alexander is running his calisthenics program – at the novice level. Worf enters the holodeck and finds Alexander fighting a skeleton-headed holographic adversary. Alexander wins the battle and Worf freezes the program. Alexander has taken Worf's bat'leth and used the holodeck without permission. Worf confronts Alexander about his disobedience to Miss Kyle. He denies doing it and Worf orders him back to their quarters, lamenting his own failure in his fatherly duties. Alexander doesn't leave and argues with his father. Worf decides to send him to a Klingon school and Alexander shouts that he "won't go." With that, Worf demands that he return to quarters and remain there.

Back on the bridge, Riker is informed by La Forge that it will be another hour until engines are back online. Sensors come back up and Data determines that the soliton wave is still on course for the Lemma II colony, and that the wave has increased velocity to warp 4.1. Riker repeats these findings to Dr. Ja'Dar and Data adds that the energy level of the wave has increased 12 times and will increase by a factor of 200 by the time it reaches Lemma II. Ja'Dar announces that at such a power level, not only will the colony be destroyed, but most of the planet as well.

Act Four

Worf and Troi are meeting to discuss his decision to send Alexander away to a Klingon school. Troi asks Worf many questions that Worf seems to have difficulty answering. She also mentions Alexander's mother, K'Ehleyr, who was killed by an enemy of Worf's while they were visiting him. It was at this time that Worf sent Alexander to live with the Rozhenkos on Earth. Troi opines that for Alexander, this was like losing both parents at the same time.

Worf listens, then tells Troi about the last time he spoke to K'Ehleyr. They argued about how K'Ehleyr kept her pregnancy and Alexander's birth a secret from Worf. Troi helps Worf deal with his anger over the episode and suggests that he and Alexander should work together on healing.

When Worf returns to his quarters, Alexander is packing a suitcase. He believes that Worf is ashamed of him and is sending him away for that reason. Worf tries to explain the reason for sending him away, but Alexander doesn't understand. Worf is called to the observation lounge by Commander Riker, but before he leaves, he instructs Alexander to remain in their quarters.

Picard enters the observation lounge where La Forge and Data are waiting. La Forge begins speaking as soon as the captain is seated when Worf comes in, interrupting him. La Forge continues to explain that the wave's energy level has increased by a factor of 96 and will hit the planet within a couple hours. Picard asks how they can stop it and La Forge replies that there are two options. The first is to use the Enterprise's warp engines to create an inverse resonance wave, but since the soliton wave is constantly changing its frequency and amplitude, it would be very difficult to match it. The second option is to set off an explosion just in front of the wave which would cause it to dissipate. The wave is now traveling at warp 6.37 according to Data, and the Enterprise must get in front of it to set off the explosion. Due to the size of the wave, it is no longer possible to circumnavigate it; they have to go through it. Picard orders a course to be set to intercept the soliton wave. They leave the observation lounge for the bridge.

Picard orders Ensign Felton to increase speed and hold relative position 23 kilometers in front of the wave. She increases speed to warp 7.21. As they approach the wave, Riker orders red alert and torpedo bays to be loaded with warheads set to level 16. The Enterprise increases speed to warp 7.3 and everyone braces for impact.

Alexander has disobeyed his father and is in the biolab. He switches on the light in the gilvos' cage when the ship is jolted by the wave, knocking him to the floor.

Soliton wave
The soliton wave

The Enterprise has encountered the soliton wave and has passed through it, but it has been a rough ride. They take position in front of it and Worf reports that there are fluctuations in several warp transfer conduits and that deflector strength is down to twelve percent. Riker reports gaps in the aft shields and recommends that they evacuate sections 24 through 47, decks 35 through 38 to avoid exposing the crew in these areas to ion radiation. Worf suddenly reports that there is a fire in Biolab 4 and that fire-suppression systems are not working. Data reports that there are lifeforms in the biolab and that one is humanoid. The computer identifies the occupant of the biolab as Alexander Rozhenko.

Act Five

Captain Picard tries to contact Alexander, but there is no response. Internal sensors show that he is alive, but may be hurt. Felton announces that warp power is dropping and the ship is losing speed. Riker contacts La Forge in engineering for an explanation. He is told that they lost four warp plasma conduits and can't maintain current speed much longer. Data offers that they are four minutes and thirty seconds in front of the wave as Worf asks permission to leave the bridge to rescue Alexander. Picard grants it and sends Riker along to help. Data says that Biolab 4 is one of the areas that will be flooded with ion radiation when the torpedoes explode. Picard gives Worf and Riker "three minutes, not one second more."

Riker and Worf arrive at the biolab, but can't open the doors because the primary control is shorted out. Worf rips off an access panel and is able to open the doors. Flames burst into the corridor and the two enter the smoke-filled room. They call out for Alexander but there is no response. On the bridge, Data announces that the soliton wave has closed to 10 kilometers. Torpedoes are at standby as Worf finds Alexander unconscious under a fallen beam. He is still alive, but Riker and Worf cannot move the beam that has fallen on his leg. Alexander regains consciousness and tells Worf that his leg hurts and that he's scared. Worf summons strength from this and struggles to lift the beam himself. He does so and throws it aside just as Riker is returning with a lever. They move more debris and Worf takes Alexander into his arms. Alexander pleads with Riker to save the gilvos. Riker does so as the wave closes to one kilometer. Picard has run out of time and orders the torpedoes launched.

Worf and Riker exit the burning biolab carrying Alexander and the gilvos as the torpedoes explode, successfully disrupting the soliton wave. Riker reports to Picard that they made it out and that the boy will be fine.

Later, Worf and Alexander are in sickbay with Dr. Crusher who finds that Alexander has suffered some minor smoke inhalation and has a hairline fracture of the tibia. She wants to keep him overnight but announces that he will be fine. After she leaves, Alexander is worried that he is in trouble, to which Worf responds, "yes." Alexander apologizes and promises to be good at the Klingon school. Worf explains how difficult and demanding the Klingon school is, but that if Alexander would like an even greater challenge, he can stay on the Enterprise with Worf and they can face the difficulties together. Alexander replies, "I accept your challenge, father. I will stay." Worf replies, "I believe your mother would be pleased."

Memorable Quotes

"Mr. Worf, I thought our meeting was scheduled for eleven hundred hours."
"I apologize for being late, captain, I was detained in school."

- Jean-Luc Picard and Worf


"Warp without warp drive."
"They're gonna put you out of a job, Geordi."

- Picard and Riker, on the experimental use of a soliton wave


"You don't care about me!"
"That's not true!"
"All you care about is your honor."

- Alexander and Worf

Background Information

Story and production

Sets and props

Cast

Brian Bonsall during New Ground
Brian Bonsall goofs off between takes

Effects

Continuity

Reception

  • A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 20, pp. 8-11.
  • Director Robert Scheerer remembers, "The father/son angle did that for me. Michael's normally in the position of having to feed lines to others on the bridge, and he doesn't get to do many things, so it's always a pleasure when he gets something with body to it. It's all emotion; it doesn't matter how they look. A director does his best work when an actor is willing to listen, try things and be brave. The little boy [Alexander, played by Brian Bonsall), was wonderful. He was the kid from Family Ties. Boy, did he love his character! He had more fun on this show with the makeup, putting it on and wearing it. On the first day, Brian was a little nervous, and it showed in his work. But from the second day on, he was a real pro. Michael is big and hulking, but he's also a very sensitive guy. Talk to him on the basis of a father's love and he understood it - all the frustrations a father has to deal with. He was excellent." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 20, p. 34)

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Co-stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stand-ins

References

Balduk; bat'leth; beard; Bilana III; biolab; Brentalia; calisthenics program; Cochrane, Zefram; Corvan gilvo; Corvan II; draco lizard; Earth; field coil; field generator; field trip; fire-suppression system; gamma emission; honor; inverse-resonance wave; ion radiation; K'Ehleyr; Kahless the Unforgettable; Komodo dragon; Lapling; Lapsang suchong tea; Lemma II; Maktag; Milan; model; Morath; photon torpedo; prototype; radiation; rainforest; red alert; Rozhenko, Sergey; soliton wave; soliton wave rider; subspace radio; tibia; turbolift; warp drive; warp-transfer conduit; white rhinoceros; Yeager, Chuck

External link


Previous episode:
"A Matter of Time"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5
Next episode:
"Hero Worship"
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