Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Posted by motoman 03/23/2009 @ 15:13

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Star Trek: The Next Generation

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Star Trek: The Next Generation is a science fiction TV show created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Set in the 24th century, about 70 years after the original Star Trek, the program features a new crew and a new starship Enterprise. It premiered the week of September 28, 1987 to some 27 million viewers with the two-hour pilot "Encounter at Farpoint". With 178 episodes spread over seven seasons, it ran longer than any other Star Trek series, ending with the finale "All Good Things..." the week of May 23, 1994.

The series was broadcast in first-run syndication, with dates and times varying among individual television stations. The show gained a considerable following during its run and, like its predecessor, remains popular in syndicated reruns. It was the first of several series (the others being Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise) that kept new Star Trek episodes airing until 2005. Star Trek: The Next Generation won 18 Emmy Awards and, in its seventh season, became the first syndicated television show to be nominated for the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series. It was nominated for three Hugo Awards and won two, becoming the first television series since the original Star Trek to be recognized. The first-season episode "The Big Goodbye" also won the Peabody Award for excellence in television programming. The series formed the basis of the seventh through tenth Star Trek films.

After the box-office success of the Harve Bennett-produced Star Trek-based movies, Paramount decided to create a new Star Trek series in 1986. Roddenberry initially declined to be involved but came on board as creator after being unhappy with early conceptual work. The creation of Star Trek: The Next Generation was announced on October 10, 1986. The show was, unusually, broadcast in first-run syndication rather than running on a major network, with Paramount and the local stations splitting advertising time between them.

Roddenberry hired a number of Star Trek veterans, including Bob Justman, D. C. Fontana, Eddie Milkis, and David Gerrold. Paramount executive Rick Berman was assigned to the show at Roddenberry's request.

The Next Generation was shot on 35mm film, and was one of the first television shows with sound recorded in Dolby Surround. The filming negatives were scanned in a straight-to-video device.

The first season was marked by a "revolving door" of writers, with Gerrold and Fontana quitting after disputes with Roddenberry.

Mark Bourne of The DVD Journal wrote of season one: "A typical episode relied on trite plot points, clumsy allegories, dry and stilted dialogue, or characterization that was taking too long to feel relaxed and natural." Other targets of criticism include poor special effects and plots being resolved by the deus ex machina of Wesley Crusher saving the ship. However, Patrick Stewart's acting skills won praise and critics have noted that characters were given greater potential for development than those of the original series.

While the events of most episodes of season one were self-contained, many developments important to the show as a whole occurred during the season. The recurring nemesis Q was introduced in the pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint", the alien Ferengi first appeared in "The Last Outpost", the capabilities of the holodeck were explored, and the history between Will Riker and Deanna Troi was investigated.

Later season one episodes set the stage for serial plots. The episode "Datalore" introduced Data's evil twin brother Lore, who made several more appearances in later episodes. "Coming of Age" dealt with Wesley Crusher's efforts to get into Starfleet Academy while also hinting at the threat to Starfleet later faced in "Conspiracy". "Heart of Glory" explored Worf's character, Klingon culture, and the uneasy truce between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, three themes that would play a major role in later episodes. Tasha Yar left the show in "Skin of Evil", and the season finale, "The Neutral Zone", established the presence of two of TNG's most enduring villains: the Romulans, making their first appearance since the Original Series, and, through foreshadowing, the Borg.

The series premiere became the first television show to be nominated for a Hugo Award since 1972. Six first-season episodes were each nominated for an Emmy Award; "11001001" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series, "The Big Goodbye" won for Outstanding Costume Design for a Series, and "Conspiracy" won for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.

The show underwent significant changes during its second season. Beverly Crusher was replaced as chief medical officer during the season by Katherine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur who had been a guest star in "Return to Tomorrow" and "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" two episodes from the original Star Trek. The show's recreational area, Ten-Forward, and its mysterious bartender/advisor, Guinan, played by Whoopi Goldberg, appeared for the first time in season two. Owing to the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike, the number of episodes produced was cut from 26 to 22 and the start of the season was delayed. Because of the strike, the opening episode, "The Child", was based on a script originally written for Star Trek: Phase II, a previous attempt to create a new weekly Star Trek series, while the season finale, "Shades of Gray" was a clip show. Both episodes were critically panned.

Nevertheless, season two as a whole was widely regarded as significantly better than season one. The plots became more sophisticated, and began to mix drama with comic relief. Its focus on character development received special praise. Co-executive producer Maurice Hurley has stated that his primary goal for the season was to plan and execute season-long story arcs and character arcs. Hurley wrote the acclaimed episode "Q Who?", which featured the first on-screen appearance of TNG's most popular villain, the Borg. Season two focused on developing the character Data, and two highly-regarded episodes from the season, "Elementary, Dear Data" and "The Measure of a Man" featured him prominently. Miles O'Brien also became a more prominent character during the second season, while Geordi La Forge found a position as chief engineer. In fact, many critics of the first season panned the Engineering department for not having a stay-in Chief Engineer, as a result, many guest stars were for the Chief Engineer. Klingon issues continued to be explored in well-regarded episodes such as "A Matter of Honor" and "The Emissary", which introduced Worf's lover K'Ehleyr. Five second-season episodes were nominated for six Emmys; "Q Who?" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.

Prior to the production of the third season in the summer of 1989, some personnel changes were made. Head writer Maurice Hurley was let go and Michael Piller took over for the rest of the series. Creator and executive producer Gene Roddenberry took less of an active role due to his declining health (Roddenberry passed away on October 24, 1991). Roddenberry gave Piller and Berman the executive producer jobs, and they remained in that position for the rest of the series' run. Doctor Crusher came back to replace Doctor Pulaski who was always noted as a guest star in the second season. Ronald D. Moore joined the show after submitting a spec script that became "The Bonding"; he became the franchise's "Klingon guru", meaning that he wrote most TNG episodes dealing with the Klingon Empire (though he wrote some Romulan stories as well). Six third-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys; "Yesterday's Enterprise" won for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series and "Sins of the Father" won for Best Art Direction for a Series.

Brannon Braga and Jeri Taylor joined the show in its fourth season. Seven fourth-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys; "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" won for both Outstanding Sound Editing in a Series and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Series.

The fifth season's "Unification" opens with a dedication to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. He was still credited as "Executive Producer," even after his death. He was no longer credited in that title after the fifth season finale "Time's Arrow, Part I." Seven fifth-season episodes were nominated for eight Emmys; "Cost of Living" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series and there was a tie between "A Matter of Time" and "Conundrum" for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects. In addition, "The Inner Light" became the first television episode since the 1968 original series Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" to win a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

The sixth season brought aboard a new set of changes. Now the writing staff was split between the newly-created Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation. Despite this, many writers wrote for both. Three sixth-season episodes were nominated for Emmys; "Time's Arrow, Part II" won for both Outstanding Individual Achievement in Costume Design for a Series and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series and "A Fistful of Datas" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.

The seventh season was The Next Generation's last. The finale, "All Good Things...", was a double-length episode (separated into two parts for reruns) aired the week of May 19, 1994, revisiting the events of the pilot and providing a bookend to the series. Toronto's SkyDome, which was renamed 'Rogers Centre' in 2005, played host to a massive CITY-TV-sponsored event for the series finale. Thousands of people packed the stadium to watch the final episode on the stadium's Jumbotron. Five seventh-season episodes were nominated for nine Emmys, and the series as a whole was the first syndicated television series nomination for Outstanding Drama Series. To this day, The Next Generation is the only syndicated drama to be nominated in this category. It didn't win the coveted award, however. "All Good Things..." won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects and "Genesis" won for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series. "All Good Things..." also won the second of the series' two Hugo Awards.

The cast underwent several changes through the series' run. Denise Crosby chose to leave the show shortly before the first season ended. Michael Dorn's Worf replaced Tasha Yar as security chief and tactical officer. Crosby returned to portray Yar in alternate timelines in "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "All Good Things...". Crosby also played Yar's half-Romulan daughter, Sela.

Gates McFadden, as Beverly Crusher, was replaced after the first season by Katherine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur, during the second season. Muldaur never received billing in the opening credits, and instead was listed as a special guest star in the credits shown during the first act. Pulaski proved unpopular with viewers and was dropped at the end of the second season; McFadden returned for seasons 3-7 and reprised her role as Crusher.

Wesley Crusher was also written out of the show. According to actor Wil Wheaton's website, he wanted to leave the show because he was frustrated by having to fit other roles around his Trek schedule despite his character's decreasing role in the series. Wesley Crusher reappears in several later episodes.

The episodes follow the adventures of the crew of the Galaxy-class USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. As the United Federation of Planets flagship, the Enterprise is designed for both exploration and diplomacy but is also formidable in combat situations if necessary.

The Enterprise's crew contact and discover many races and species with whom they interact as a means of exploring the "human" condition. Dramatic devices such as time travel or temporal loops, natural disasters, holodeck malfunctions, and other internal and external conflicts often occur without alien encounters, though these, too, are used to explore issues of humanity.

The show's theme combines the fanfare from the original series theme by Alexander Courage with Jerry Goldsmith's theme for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

The Next Generation has other similarities to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, itself spun from the plans for Star Trek: Phase II. The movie's Willard Decker and Ilia bear similarities to The Next Generation's Will Riker and Deanna Troi. The series' second-season premiere was based on a Phase II script, as was the courtroom drama "Devil's Due".

Some sets used in the Original Series-era films were redressed for The Next Generation, and in turn used for subsequent Original Series films. Part of the transporter room set in The Next Generation was used in the original Star Trek's transporter set.

Variants of Enterprise's LCARS computer interface appear in the Deep Space Nine and Voyager spinoffs and the Next Generation-era films. The series also established the five-number stardate, with the second digit corresponding to the season; Deep Space Nine's opening stardate of 46379 aligns with The Next Generation's sixth season, and Voyager's 48315 places it in what would have been The Next Generation's eighth season.

Three original Star Trek main actors appear as their original series characters in The Next Generation: DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy in "Encounter at Farpoint", Leonard Nimoy as Spock in both halves of "Unification", and James Doohan as Montgomery Scott in "Relics". Mark Lenard played Sarek for both "Sarek" and "Unification, Part I", and Majel Barrett reprised her role of voicing the Enterprise's computer, as well as playing Deanna's mother, Lwaxana Troi. A script that reportedly featured the character of Harry Mudd, a recurring criminal in Star Trek, was cancelled when Roger C. Carmel died. The Romulans reprise their antagonistic role in The Next Generation, although the Klingons reappear as Federation allies.

The Next Generation introduces two characters who would later have lead roles in Deep Space Nine: Miles O'Brien (played by Colm Meaney) and Worf. The character who eventually became Kira Nerys was initially intended to be a reprisal of Michelle Forbes' Next Generation character, Ro Laren. Additional Next Generation characters who appear in Deep Space Nine include Q, the Duras sisters, Klingon Chancellor Gowron, Klingon Kurn (Worf's brother), Alexander Rozhenko (Worf's son), Keiko O'Brien (Miles' wife), Molly O'Brien (Miles' daughter), Lwaxana Troi, Thomas Riker, Vash and Gul Evek.

Reginald Barclay, Deanna Troi, Q, William Riker and LaForge appear in Voyager. Tom Paris, a main character in Voyager, was based on the Next Generation character Nicholas Locarno; Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Locarno, went on to play Paris.

The Ferengi, conceived but panned as The Next Generation's recurring antagonists, appear in subsequent Star Trek spin-offs. The Next Generation also introduces the Borg, Cardassian, Trill and Bajoran species, along with the Maquis resistance group, all of which play a part in both Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

Deep Space Nine's Julian Bashir, played by Alexander Siddig, appears in The Next Generation's "Birthright, Part I", and Armin Shimerman played Quark for "Firstborn".

The following Next Generation cast members have appeared as various other characters in other Star Trek productions.

The following actors from other Star Trek productions have appeared in guest spots on The Next Generation as other characters.

The series has also inspired numerous novels, analytical books, websites, and works of fan fiction.

On October 7, 2006, one of the three original filming models of the USS Enterprise-D used on the show sold at a Christie's auction for USD $576,000, making it the highest-selling item at the event.

The series' first season was released on DVD in March 2002. Throughout the year the next six seasons were released at various times on DVD, with the seventh season being released in December 2002. To commemorate the series 20th anniversary, CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment released Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete Series on October 2, 2007. The DVD box set contains 49 discs.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation (pinball)

Missions shown on the Starship Enterprise in attract mode

Star Trek: The Next Generation is a widebody pinball game, designed by Steve Ritchie and released in November 1993 by Williams Electronics. It was part of WMS' SuperPin series (see also The Twilight Zone and Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure), and was based on the TV series. It is the only pinball machine that features three separate highscore-lists. Apart from the regular highscore-list and the buy-in-list, it also features a reminiscence to The Machine: Bride of Pin*Bot billionaires club.

According to an interview, Steve Ritchie, a longtime Star Trek fan, stated that getting the license was a challenge, due to Paramount insisting that they don't want to put any violence in the game; however, he told them that he would never violate the Prime Directive.

Originally, the game was supposed to be based on the 1992 film, Under Siege.

The game includes voice clips recorded by cast members Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Commander William Riker), Brent Spiner (Lieutenant Commander Data), Levar Burton (Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Deanna Troi), Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Worf) and John de Lancie (Q). With the DCS Sound System, the quality of the voices is very good.

When a new ball is launched into the plunger, you are given one of five launch awards, which is selected when the ball is fired. Unless otherwise noted, the ball is launched through the spiral ramp and into the lock hole (above the pop bumpers). Another ball is popped from the left scoop and onto the left inlanes.

There are various marked targets around the playfield with the Star Trek insignia. Different combinations of these are lit for different modes, indicating which shots the player needs to make. These modes are not stackable, meaning the player must complete one mission before starting another. There is a hole in the center at the top of the playfield labelled "Start Mission" which will start a mission at anytime if the player makes the shot. In addition, hitting the lit "Command Decision" Target allows the player to select which mission to attempt, including already attempted missions (marked as "rerun" missions; varies from no allowable "reruns" to unlimited "reruns", depending on the machine's settings).

Each Mission can award one or more "Artifacts", which add to the value and bonuses of the "Final Frontier" Mission. (Artifacts can also be earned during Warp Mode--see "Warp Factors" below.) These Artifacts are, in award order, Dilithium Crystals, an Isolinear Chip, a Duranium Sphere, and a Singing Stone. Once all four Artifacts are awarded, the order starts again with the Dilithium Crystals. Thus, multiples of each Artifact can be awarded.

All the signature targets are lit and worth 10 million points. Hitting the Time Rift targets to the left cause the count down timer to add time and the bonus amount to increase by 5 million. Both the time increases and the bonus amount top out once the bonus reaches 25 million; further hits add no extra time or score. Each time the target is hit, a different character speaks. One Artifact is awarded after hitting any 4 Rift Markers (duplicates count).

The left orbit, Beta Quadrant/Shuttle ramp, and Delta Quardant/Worm Hole ramp are lit. The goal is to shoot the Worm Hole ramp. This is facilitated by hitting the Shuttle ramp, which feeds the right flipper to shoot the left orbit, which feeds the upper right flipper to the Worm Hole ramp. Each completed Shuttle ramp shot increases the value of the Worm Hole target by 10 million, as does the left orbit spinner by 1 million per "spin". Failure to hit the Worm Hole ramp before time expires awards a flat 20 million. Completing the Worm Hole awards the accumulated points and an Artifact.

The three ramp targets light up. Riker tells the player to "set course for the Alpha Quadrant." Technically, the targets can be complete in any order, but if done in the order of Alpha, Beta, and Delta, the Neutral Zone target lights up as a fourth target and is considered the "Gamma Quadrant". After completing a target, Riker orders the player to set course for the next target not yet reached. Base award is 5 million; each Quadrant completed adds 10 million times the order hit. Completing the three Ramp Quadrants in any order awards one Artifact; completing in order AND getting the "Gamma Quadrant" awards a second Artifact and 40 million more points.

A ball is loaded up in one of the cannon's and the player must either shoot the Neutral Zone targets/hole or the Start Mission hole. The targets alternate, and if successful, another ball is loaded in the other cannon. If the player misses, then they must hit the ball into either of the targets or the Advance Rank hole in order to have another ball loaded into a cannon. Sometimes you can hit the target of the Neutral Zone, get credit, but not actually sink the ball and have to recover from that. Completing the first 5 "Levels" awards an Artifact. If completed without "losing" the ball to the playfield activates a Level 6 which--if hit--awards an extra ball.

The goal is to rescue 50 Starfleet personal. The Alpha ramp, Start Mission, and shuttle ramp targets light up. Any targets on the playfield that get hit cause personnel to be loaded onto the shuttle. Hitting either the Alpha ramp or the shuttle ramp will rescue the personnel currently loaded. When the player hits the Start Mission target, Riker says, "Five to beam up", and an animated graphic plays showing five personal being rescued. When the player has hit enough targets that there are no more personnel to load, the computer voice instructs the player to board the shuttle at once. Getting 25 personnel to "safety" (either aboard the shuttle OR beamed up) awards one Artifact; saving all 50 awards a second Artifact.

When the mode starts, only the Start Mission target is lit. Picard sees asteroids and asks for suggestions. Mr. Data suggests that "we can destroy the asteroids in our path." A counter shows a value of 20,000,000 starts to count down. When the player hits the initial target, an asteroid blows up, and it sets the value for all the other shots. (If the count down reaches 5 million, the asteroid self-destructs, and all other asteroid hits are set at 5 million.) Then the other targets light up as asteroids to hit. Completing 4 asteroid hits (including the opening "point set" asteroid) awards one Artifact; getting all the asteroids awards a second Artifact.

After completing all the other missions, starting the eighth and final "mission" begins an amazing 6-ball multi-ball mode. First, bonuses of 25 million points are awarded for each Artifact collected. In addition, each full "set" of four Artifacts awards 1 Billion points per set. The number of artifacts also sets the point value of each lit shot for this mode (25 million per Artifact, maxing out at 250 million for 10 or more Artifacts). Two balls are loaded into the cannons, and the player must launch them. The others also enter the playfield. This is considered the "wizard mode" for the player to complete.

As with Borg Multiball (see below), hitting the left orbit Spinner builds the shields back up, thus reincreasing the jackpot amount.

All hits of the upper playfield pop bumpers increase the base "Borg Jackpot" amount awarded in Borg Multiball mode. To start the mode, and thus the battle with the Borg ship, you need to lock three balls. Locks are lit by shooting the right orbit (or selecting "Light Lock" on the start of a ball). Then shoot the right orbit again (or--if either or both are lit--the Delta Quadrant ramp or the Neutral Zone) to lock a ball. After locking the third ball, Multiball will start with one ball placed into the left cannon and the "Start Mission" hole lit. Shooting the hole awards the base Jackpot amount and reloads the cannon. The procedure can be repeated for a Double Jackpot (adding 10 million points to the base Jackpot amount) and Triple Jackpot (adding 20 million to the base Jackpot amount). The full Multiball mode will start as soon as you miss a cannon shot or after you score the Triple Jackpot. During Multiball, "Start Mission" will score cycling Jackpot/Double Jackpot/Triple Jackpot and the left ramp a Triple Jackpot. As the Enterprise is being shot at by the Borg, the "Shields" will drop in strength (from one to three units as with the Cardassian Neutral Zone Mission above). "Start Mission" Jackpots will be unlit as soon as the Shields reach 0%. By hitting the spinner in the left orbit, the shields are rebuilt and the "Start Mission" Jackpot is reactivated.

Note that the scores are awarded only at the bonus count. Advancing Rank while already being ranked "Captain" awards an instant 100 million.

Additional bonuses are available. For details, check out the TNG Pinball Notes link below.

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Tapestry (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

ST-TNG Tapestry.jpg

The episode serves to provide character development of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who is featured in this episode to the general exclusion of the rest of the cast. It is also the penultimate series appearance of Q (John DeLancie). Its primary theme, explored in many other stories (starting with H.G. Wells' The Time Machine), is the effect on the present of changing the past. However, the primary literary theme is the balance of order and chaos within the individual.

To prove that Picard is dead, Q introduces him to people that Picard is aware have died, including Picard's father, and the voices of all persons for whose deaths Picard is responsible. When Picard accuses Q of causing his death, Q reveals that Picard's artificial heart is the cause of his demise - a genuine heart would not have been damaged in the same way by the energy discharge.

It is "revealed" to Q that Picard lost his own heart in a bar brawl with Nausicaans - members of a quick-tempered, bullish race, which resulted in Picard being impaled from the back through his heart. This information was already revealed to Wesley Crusher in a previous episode, but was not generally known to the crew. Picard realizes his regret for his "wild youth" and that it has finally caught up with him. It is revealed that the basis of his current disciplined personality and need for privacy in his personal life is rooted in his regret over his earlier life and a wish to keep it secret.

Realizing Picard's regrets, Q offers to let him go back in time to prevent the injury that resulted in him obtaining an artificial heart. Picard is then whisked back to the day before the injury, meeting up with his friends and academy classmates Corey Zweller and Marta Batanides. To his friends and acquaintances, his "newly changed" personality comes as somewhat an unpleasant surprise, and he quickly alienates everyone around him - the person they knew as fun loving and quick to anger is now staid, slow to anger, and often unintentionally insulting.

Events proceed as they did with Zweller becoming enraged with a group of Nausicaans who cheat him at dom-jot. However, Picard quickly short circuits Zweller's original plan to rig the dom-jot table, enraging his best friend in the process. After a quick intimate encounter with Ensign Batanides that was not part of the original timeline, the Nausicaans appear and start insulting Picard and his friends. Instead of taking on the Nausicaans as he originally did, Picard instead throws Zweller out of the way of the fight. The Nausicaans call the ensigns cowards and leave - as do Zweller and Batanides, since Picard has just completely destroyed his long friendship with them by refusing to stand up for Zweller. Q appears and tells Picard that he has successfully saved his heart, and sends him back to the present.

However, when he arrives, Picard finds that although Q's promise not to otherwise change the timeline has been kept, Picard finds himself on the Enterprise as a Lieutenant junior grade in the astrophysics department. After consulting Riker and Troi, he discovers that his entire career is now a list of routine postings and that he has accomplished little or nothing of consequence. He is described as extremely competent by his superiors, but he fails to show initiative and has never been willing to take the necessary risks in order to have a successful, well-rounded career in Starfleet.

That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is or how important each moment must be, so his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda, going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves. He never led the away team on Milika III to save the ambassador, or took charge of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was killed. And no one ever offered him a command. He learned to play it safe. And he never, ever got noticed by anyone.

Picard realizes that his attempts to suppress and ignore the consequences of his youthful indiscretions has resulted in him losing a part of himself – a part that he does not necessarily like, but is a vital part of him nonetheless.

Q gives Picard the chance to go back again, even though Picard realizes that putting the time line back as it was will result in his death. However, Picard prefers death as the captain of the Enterprise rather than the routine life he has been shown. He goes back to the fight, takes on the Nausicaans, and events unfold as they should, with Picard again being impaled through the heart. Back in the present, however, Dr. Crusher is able to revive him after Picard is hit by the energy discharge.

Back on the Enterprise, Picard recovers from his injuries. He wonders if he really did go back into the past or whether it was merely a hallucination or one of Q's tricks. In either case, he observes that he learned an important lesson, stating, "There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of. There were loose threads - untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads, it unraveled the tapestry of my life." After Riker hears the story, he expresses some difficulty imagining the man he knows taking on two Nausicaans twice his size. At that point, Picard launches into another story about an encounter with Nausicaans in similar circumstances, and the viewer is left with the hope that Picard will open up about his past to his friends and colleagues.

This episode lays all of Picard's secrets bare. Although Picard shows himself as the disciplined intellectual he has become, his academy days were far different. Unlike Captain Kirk, who was a well known 'stiff' at the academy, Picard seems to have been fun loving, promiscuous, and indifferent to his studies except when he was fully engaged with the subject. We did hear hints of this in previous episodes - his reunion with Boothby alluded to an incident that might have resulted in Picard's expulsion.

An interesting twist on canon established in Samaritan Snare is given. In that episode, Picard tells Wesley of the incident, saying that as he looked down at the knife emerging from his chest he laughed; he doesn't say what caused him to laugh.

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Conspiracy (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Overview: The strange behavior of high-ranking officers leads Picard to uncover an alien conspiracy within Starfleet.

On stardate 41775.5, the USS Enterprise is en route to Pacifica when Captain Picard receives a priority transmission from Captain Walker Keel (Jonathan Farwell} of the USS Horatio. Keel tells him they need to talk face-to-face on the planet Dytallix B in the Mira system as soon as possible – and not to trust anyone. The Enterprise arrives at the desolate planet where Worf detects three other Federation starships – the USS Renegade, (commanded by Tryla Scott (Ursaline Bryant)); the USS Thomas Paine, (commanded by Captain Rixx (Michael Berryman)); and the USS Horatio. None of the ships offer greetings and Picard beams to the planet alone.

Picard materializes before a mine entrance where two figures level phasers at him. Captain Keel steps from the shadows and barrages Picard with a series of personal questions to be sure Picard is not an imposter. Keel then introduces Rixx and Scott and gets down to business. The three declare there have been strange patterns emerging within Starfleet – unusual orders, irrational proposals, unexplained deaths and accidents, and together they believe a new threat is emerging within their ranks. Picard is incredulous without proof, but Keel insists those at the top level of command are changing somehow. Keel insists that Picard keep his eyes open and to communicate with him covertly.

Continuing course to Pacifica, Picard has Data review all orders Starfleet has given in the past six months to find any "anomalies". Next, the Enterprise comes upon a debris field which Worf determines to be the wreckage of the USS Horatio. Picard fills Riker in about the secret meeting and explains that during their visit to Relva VII, Admiral Quinn had indicated there was a subversion brewing within Starfleet. He believes Keel was warning of the same thing and destruction of the Horatio must have been sabotage. Data enters and relays his findings of a number of abnormal directives given with subtlety at the highest ranks. He suggests it could be an attempt to control vital areas of Federation space. Riker wonders if it could be a prelude to invasion. Picard boldly decides to go to Earth and find out directly from the top.

The Enterprise heads at maximum warp to Earth and upon approach, is greeted by three senior officers – the Vulcan Admiral Savar (Henry Darrow), Admiral Arron (Ray Reinhardt), and the familiar Admiral Quinn (Ward Costello). In the background is Lt. Commander Dexter Remmick (Robert Schenkkan). Savar inquires about the unscheduled visit and Picard requests a meeting. Savar tells Picard and Riker to join them for dinner in 20 minutes. Quinn mentions he'd like to pay a visit to the Enterprise instead and beams aboard. To Picard's discouragement, Quinn says he doesn't recall the matter he discussed on Relva and states Picard must have misunderstood their discussion of Starfleet's problems with integration of new alien races. Picard excuses himself for the dinner engagement, but as Quinn heads off, Picard takes Riker aside to tell him Quinn is an imposter. Riker is skeptical, but Picard tells him to keep an eye on him.

After Picard departs, Riker enters Quinn's quarters and finds the man staring into a metal case. Quinn explains it's a new life form discovered during a survey mission and reveals a squirming, bug-like creature with a nasty set of pincers. Quinn claims it to be "a superior form of life" leaving Riker puzzled. Riker suggest letting a science officer see it, but Quinn coldly replies, "It won't like your science officer. It does like you." With surprisingly superior strength, Quinn grabs Riker's arm. When Riker tries to pull away, Quinn attacks him, and throws him across the room when Riker calls for help.

Meanwhile on Earth, Picard tries to explain his visit to the Admirals. When Admiral Arron offers a toast to the Horatio, Picard asks about the cause of the ship's destruction. Savar states it was negligence on the part of her captain.

Back on the Enterprise, Worf and Geordi run to Quinn's room and find Riker on the floor. Quinn calmly tries to leave, but La Forge blocks the door. Quinn takes a swing at Geordi who fires his phaser, but the Admiral absorbs the beam and quickly recovers. Quinn then throws La Forge through the doors and out into the corridor. Worf takes a defensive stance and strikes Quinn, who isn't fazed. He tries to throw Worf as well, but Dr. Crusher enters and hits Quinn with multiple phaser blasts to floor him.

While examining Admiral Quinn in sickbay, Dr. Crusher notices a thornlike protrusion on the back of his neck which squirms when disturbed. Alarmed, she begins a cranial scan. Picard contacts the Enterprise for an update and Dr. Crusher informs him of the events involving Admiral Quinn. She explains that he has some kind of parasite attached to his brain, explaining the odd behavior and incredible strength. They cannot be removed without killing the host. She tells him other infected people will have a gill protrusion on the back of the neck and that phaser stun has little effect against them.

Picard arrives for dinner only to discover squirming larvae being served as the main course. The others gulp them down, and Picard tries to escape but finds Riker blocking his path. Admiral Arron checks Riker's neck which is revealed to have the parasite gill protruding from it.

Picard demands to know who and what they are. Savar states they have come a long way to join humanity, serving as the brains while the human body will be the brawn. He indicates they will soon control everything, especially now that they have the Enterprise.

Picard watches Riker grab a handful of maggots. While the others grin with sinister delight, Riker prepares to put the squirming larvae in his mouth, but he suddenly draws his phaser and blasts a guard. Tryla draws her weapon, but Riker cuts her down. Picard acquires the fallen guard's weapon and together he and Riker take down the remaining officers. As Arron slumps to the floor a parasite crawls from his mouth and scuttles under a nearby door.

With their phasers at maximum setting, Picard and Riker simultaneously fire at Remmick, whose head and upper torso explode. Dozens of dead alien bugs fall from the corpse, then a large creature rises from the remains of Remmick's lower torso and shrieks in anger. Riker and Picard fire until it disintegrates.

Picard and Riker return to the ship. Dr. Crusher reports the parasite inside Quinn has dwindled to nothingness. Apparently, they cannot survive without the mother creature that was inside Remmick. The lingering question is what those creatures are and where they come from. Data indicates that before Remmick was killed, he was sending a signal toward a distant quadrant of the galaxy. It appears to be a homing beacon, perhaps to guide something to Earth.

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Source : Wikipedia