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The Price (episode)

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"The Price"
TNG, Episode 3x08
Production number: 40273-156
First aired: 13 November 1989
55th of 176 produced in TNG
55th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
162nd of 728 released in all
Barzan Wormhole from Ten Forward
Written By
Hannah Louise Shearer

Directed By
Robert Scheerer
43385.6 (2366)
  Arc: Arridor and Kol (1 of 2)
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The Enterprise hosts negotiations for possession of the only known stable wormhole.

Summary

Teaser

Counselor Troi enters her quarters after what appears to be an exhausting day. She begins to read some mail from her mother, ignoring a research inquiry originating in Canada from the Manitoba Journal of Interplanetary Psychology, when she is called by Captain Picard to attend a reception in Ten Forward for delegates negotiating for the rights to the Barzan wormhole, which is about to appear visibly. After attempting to beg off, she reluctantly heads to Ten Forward, muttering sarcastically to herself about not wanting to miss seeing a wormhole.

Once arriving, Picard introduces her to Premier Bhavani of Barzan II and two of the negotiators: Seth Mendoza of the Federation and Leyor of the Caldonians. Then the third negotiator, Devinoni Ral, a Human representing the Chrysalians, introduces himself. Troi seems immediately drawn to Ral, who has an attractive female companion on his arm. Those gathered then turn their attention out the forward windows, where the Barzan wormhole makes itself visible, as it does every 233 minutes. Troi then turns to Ral, who is looking at her with interest.

Act One

Ral gets frisky

...awkward

The opening of the negotiations begins for the Barzan wormhole, the only known stable wormhole, which apparently exits into the Gamma Quadrant. The Barzans don't have the means to administer the wormhole's use, so they are negotiating that right to interested spacefaring races and groups. Just as they start, Riker informs them that a Ferengi delegation wants to be included in the talks. Bhavani doesn't want to initiate any ill will, so Picard has the Ferengi party beamed directly to the conference room. Their leader, DaiMon Goss, is welcomed to the negotiations. But his two consuls, Arridor and Kol, must leave; they are given accommodations on the USS Enterprise-D. Goss takes his seat (formerly Picard's), and begins bidding immediately.

Back in her office, Troi is researching Ral. She discovers that he was born on Earth, but moved to Hurkos III when he was 19. Her door chime sounds, and Ral enters. He begins a flirtatious conversation with Troi, during which he informs her that his traveling companion is now "traveling." He then begins rather forwardly stroking Troi's hair, removing the hair clip she had in it. She protests slightly, but Ral silences her and then invites her to dinner at 8:00.

Act Two

Picard, Riker, Data, and Mendoza discuss the Barzans' data from their unmanned probe of the wormhole. Their readings indicate that the other end of the wormhole is in the Gamma Quadrant. Data argues that a manned exploration would gather more meaningful information. Picard agrees, and orders Data and La Forge to explore the wormhole the next day, after taking more readings on the Barzan side of the wormhole.

Poison handshake

"It is time to extend the hand of the Ferengi."

In the Ferengis' quarters, Arridor is helping Goss set up a "poison handshake" that will make whoever he grasps have a severe allergic reaction, albeit non-fatal, in order to remove the competition in the negotiations. They cackle at their ingenuity.

At 8:00, Ral arrives at Troi's quarters. She invites him in for a drink, but he steals a kiss before she can order. She turns away, unsure of why she's so drawn to him and what she may do. She then orders champagne from the replicator; Ral appends the order "for two." Troi then admits that she's been constantly thinking of Ral, and steps forward and kisses him deeply. Troi breaks the kiss, stating that they'll be late for dinner. Ral then lifts her into his arms and states, "very late."

Mendoza is staggering down the hallway, obviously a victim of Goss' handshake. He stumbles into sickbay, and collapses. Dr. Crusher rushes forward to help him.

Ral carries Troi

"I haven't been able to stop thinking about you all day."

In Picard's ready room, the Ferengi are arguing with the captain and Riker about their plans to explore the wormhole. Picard offers to share their data, but Goss is skeptical. Riker angrily suggests they send their own probe, which Goss says he will. After the Ferengi storm out, Picard tells Riker to instruct Data and La Forge to stay out of the Ferengis' way on their shared probe mission. As Riker leaves, the doctor calls and asks for the captain to come to sickbay.

The doctor tells Picard that Mendoza is having a histaminic reaction, and won't be able to return to the negotiations for several days. Picard and Riker leave, where Picard tells Riker that he'll have to take over for Mendoza. Riker protests, but Picard points out that his poker skills which Mendoza noted earlier make him the perfect replacement.

Act Three

Shuttles in Barzan Wormhole

Into the wormhole

Data and La Forge ready themselves in a shuttle to enter the wormhole at the same time that Arridor and Kol are doing the same in their pod. The opening of the wormhole appears, and Picard orders them to proceed. The Ferengi follow the shuttle in. Communications are quickly lost between the shuttle and the Enterprise as it travels across the galaxy.

In the conference room, Ral is trying to undermine Riker's confidence as a negotiator, but Riker counters him well. Ral then continues his case for his clients, stating their neutrality as a positive aspect to Bhavani.

Later in Troi's quarters, Ral and Troi are having an intimate discussion about their developing relationship. Ral asks about Riker and Troi, and she admits that although they are friends now, they were once much closer. Troi then presses Ral about himself. Ral admits to her that he is also part Betazoid; he is one-quarter, Troi is one-half. He says this is why he left Earth, because it was difficult having empathic powers while others didn't. He then received training so he could handle them.

Ley

"This is not the Gamma Quadrant!"

At the other opening of the wormhole, the Enterprise's shuttle and the Ferengi pod arrive. La Forge tries to be cordial, but Arridor dismisses him. Data then notices that they are not where the Barzan probe's data indicated. They are two hundred light years away from where the probe emerged, well within the Delta Quadrant, and seventy thousand light years from Barzan II.

Data speculates that this far end of the wormhole is unstable, moving about while the other end is anchored in the Alpha Quadrant. La Forge detects heightened sub-atomic activity with his VISOR in the now-invisible wormhole opening, and Data detects increased gravitational changes.

Act Four

Gymnastics

Girl talk

While preparing for a gymnastics section, Crusher and Troi spend a few minutes giddily discussing Deanna's budding relationship with Ral.

In Ten Forward, Goss is making (unsuccessful) passes at female crew at the bar. Ral is talking with Leyor about his people's motivations for administering the wormhole, since they're usually interested in more scholarly pursuits. Leyor admits that he's uneasy about taking on the responsibility of administering the wormhole. At the next session of the negotiations, Leyor withdraws his people's stake.

Riker immediately asks to negotiate with the Caldonians for their resources to be added onto the Federation's offer. But Leyor reveals that the Caldonians have already negotiated such an arrangement with Ral's clients. Riker voices his suspicions, but Ral coolly says it was just a matter of timing. He then adds the Caldonians' assets to the Chrysalians'.

Arridor and Kol shocked

Left behind

Back in the Delta Quadrant, La Forge is trying to convince Arridor that the wormhole is unstable, and that they should all return immediately. Arridor dismisses him again. La Forge and Data enter the wormhole before it is visible, returning to the Alpha Quadrant. After they leave, Arridor chuckles that they panicked, and the wormhole becomes visible again, right where he predicted. But before they can enter, the wormhole's opening zips away, leaving Arridor and Kol with their mouths agape, stranded in the Delta Quadrant.

That evening, Troi and Ral are having dinner in her quarters. Troi says everyone's talking about Ral's coup. She then accuses him of using his empathic powers to unfairly read his competitors' emotions to gain negotiating advantage. Ral disagrees with her assessment, saying he uses that plus reading body language, just like any other good negotiator. Troi then says that he hides his empathic powers not because they make others uncomfortable, but because they are his secret tool to outmaneuver his opponents. He then storms out.

Act Five

Riker and Ral

"You know, you're very good at this. Very good."

Later that evening in Ten Forward, Ral sits with Riker and compliments him on his negotiation skills. But then he adds that he'll still win, since Riker isn't prepared to make a final offer before the shuttle returns with more data. He then further needles Riker, hinting at his intimacies with Deanna, saying he'll take Troi away from Riker and the Enterprise because Riker was not attentive enough. But Riker counters, saying that if it makes Troi happy, then he's all for it. He then needles back, saying that Deanna is just the woman to bring meaning to Ral's sorry life.

The next day, Ral and Riker are back at the negotiating table, but DaiMon Goss has left the Enterprise. He's gone back to his ship, and complains that the Federation has not acted fairly, that they already have an agreement with the Barzan. Picard denies this, but Goss fires a missile at the wormhole to destroy it (which it wouldn't). Worf destroys it anyway with a quick phaser shot. The Enterprise goes to red alert, drawing Riker out of the negotiations. Ral then takes this opportunity to point out that the Federation-Ferengi power play wouldn't be an issue if his clients were the wormhole administrators.

Troi reveals Ral's secret

"Mister Ral asked me not to tell anyone..."

Goss continues to threaten to destroy the wormhole, but Troi says he's lying, almost unequivocally. Ral and Bhavani then enter the bridge, where Ral offers to quell Goss' anger. He says he's come to an agreement with the Barzan on behalf of the Chrysalians, and that he's willing to allow Ferengi free access to the wormhole if he stands down. Goss does, and Bhavani apologizes to Riker for negotiating behind his back.

Troi, though, sees this arrangement as extremely unfair, as Ral has clearly used his empathic powers to win the negotiations. She confronts Ral, from whom she senses tension. But the tension wasn't from the Ferengi confrontation, it was from her confrontation. She then reveals that he is empathic and has used his powers to manipulate the talks in his favor.

Troi refuses Ral

"I already have a job as counselor."

Wesley Crusher then announces that the shuttle is returning from the wormhole. La Forge hails them, saying he's reporting in, barely. Picard asks where the Ferengi pod is. La Forge informs them that the Ferengi pod is stuck on the other side in the Delta Quadrant. Data explains that the other end of the wormhole shifts, and that eventually the Alpha Quadrant end will shift too. La Forge concludes that the Barzan wormhole is worthless. DaiMon Goss hails, asking where his men are. Picard instructs Worf to tell them to head for the Delta Quadrant, that he'll meet up with them in about 80 years.

Ral makes a final visit to Troi, saying that he's headed to Chrysalia to address his clients' questions about now owning a worthless wormhole. He admits to her that he read Bhavani's desire to contract with the Federation, and had to act on that. She then tells him that she was obligated to let everyone know the nature of his skills once he did that. Ral admits he sees the error of his ways, and he asks Troi to run away with him, to be his conscience. She turns him down, saying she already has a job as a counselor.

Log entries

Memorable Quotes

"We'll need chairs."
"I am captain Picard of the Enterprise. I am serving as host for these proceedings."
"Good, then see to it that we get some chairs."
"Let me explain..."
"Fine, fine! Just have your Klingon servant get us some chairs."
"I'm in charge of security!"
"Then who gets the chairs?"
"DaiMon, due to the delicate nature of these negotiations, all parties have agreed that one representative will suffice. Now, I will be happy to provide your counsels with accommodations, and you may have my chair."

- DaiMon Goss, Picard and Worf


"You must play poker, commander."
"Poker... is that a game of some sort?"
"Commander Riker conducts master classes in poker."

- Seth Mendoza, Riker and Picard


"God forbid I should miss my first look at the wormhole..."

- Troi


"May I escort you, Ms. Troi?"
"Just tell me there's some chocolate here."

- Riker to Troi when she arrives in Ten Forward


"There it is, ladies and gentlemen. The first and only stable wormhole known to exist. It's yours... for the right price."

- Bhavani, on the Barzan wormhole


"Anticipation is fun."

- Troi


"Who needs rational when your toes curl up?!"

- Dr. Crusher


"You know if this doesn't work, the thought of spending the rest of my life in here is none too appealing."
"There is a bright side, Geordi. You will have me to talk to."

- La Forge and Data, just before entering the Barzan wormhole in a shuttlepod


"May I join you, commander?"
"Bought out the Ferengi yet, Ral?"

- Ral and Riker in Ten Forward


"I'm taking us in, Data...with or without them."
"Thrusters at half power. Three quarters."
"Entering outer event horizon."

- Geordi La Forge and Data


"But I was tense! I was ready to blow it up! I strongly protest!"
"Screen off!"

- DaiMon Goss and Picard


"Captain, DaiMon Goss is demanding to know where his men are."
"Tell him to set his course for the Delta Quadrant. He may run into them in... eighty years or so."

- Worf and Picard


"I'm very grateful for what you did, in a way. It's made me take a hard look at who I am. I don't like what I see. I once asked you to run away with me, and now I'm asking again. I need you. You could help me change, you could be my conscience!"
"I already have a job as counselor."

- Ral and Troi

Background Information

Story and script

Production

Gymnastics

Crusher and Troi in the exercise room

Reception

Continuity

  • This episode was the first to firmly establish that the galaxy is divided into the current four quadrant system.
  • This episode marks the first of two appearance of the Barzan wormhole, the next being in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "False Profits", in which the USS Voyager subsequently encounters one of its exits in the Delta Quadrant in 2373. Arridor and Kol were found posing as gods on Takar II.
  • The counselor's office is seen for the second time. The room was modified extensively after "The Icarus Factor" and looks very close to the final appearance first seen in "The Loss".
  • This is also the first time the Ferengi pod is seen and that Counselor Troi's love for chocolate is revealed.
  • This episode marks one of the few times when the inside of the corridor connecting the main bridge and the observation lounge is seen.
  • Because they are represented here by a Human who is one-quarter Betazoid, no one knows what a Chrysalian looks like.
  • As of this episode, the Ferengi are still under the mistaken impression that gold has a high value in the galaxy at large as they seem to think offering an apparently small amount of it will tip the scales in their favor. However, the shape of the "gold" the Ferengi offer is very similar to that of gold-pressed latinum later seen frequently in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • It is established in TNG: "Ménage à Troi" that the Ferengi brain cannot be telepathically read by Betazoids. However, in this episode, Counselor Troi declares that she can "sense DaiMon Goss' deception."
  • This episode featured two of what would become major plot points for subsequent series. As in DS9 a wormhole was discovered (albeit stable). Similarly, as in Voyager, a ship became lost in the Delta Quadrant.
  • First UK airdate: 4th December 1991.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

Guest stars

Uncredited co-stars

Stand-ins

References

2166; 2325; 2344; 2346; accretion disk; allergy; Bachelor of Arts; Barzan; Barzan II; Barzan probe; Barzan wormhole; Barzanian Planetary Republic; Betazoid; blood; Brussels; Caldonia; Caldonian; carbon; chair; champagne; chocolate; chocolate sundae; Chrysalian; contract; counselor; counselor's office; Cygnus Sector; Crusher, Jack; DaiMon; Delta Quadrant; Denkiri Arm; D'Kora-class; Earth; empathic; ethics; European Alliance; event horizon; exercise room; Federation; Federation credit; fee; Ferengi; Ferengi pod; Gamma Quadrant; gold; Goss' Marauder; histamine; Hurkos III; ice cream; lemon; lepton; Ley; main shuttlebay; Manitoba Journal of Interplanetary Psychology; marathon; meson; mile; missile; missile launcher; negotiator; Oneamisu Campus; Orion University; poker; Premier; pyrocyte; radiation; Romulan; Sector 3556; syringe; three-dimensional chess; thruster; trillium 323; Triplanetary Development Corporation; type 15 shuttlepod; Troi, Lwaxana; University of Hurkos; VISOR; whipped cream; wormhole; Yuri vector field control


Previous episode:
"The Enemy"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3
Next episode:
"The Vengeance Factor"

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