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While a group of technologically advanced aliens board the Enterprise to update the ship's computer systems, Riker discovers just how real a holodeck character can be.



USS Enterprise-D approaches a Spacedock type station

The Enterprise-D approaching Starbase 74

The USS Enterprise-D has arrived and is preparing to dock at Starbase 74, in orbit around the planet Tarsas III, for a maintenance check and upgrades. The ship docks, and Captain Picard and Commander Riker go to meet the maintenance crews. The crews' leader, Commander Quinteros, greets them and tells them he was in charge of the team who constructed the Enterprise. Also with him are the Bynars, two aliens named One Zero and Zero One who work as a unified pair – neither male nor female. They have recently completed a successful upgrade to the computer aboard the USS Wellington, and will be upgrading the computers on the Enterprise, as well as making repairs to the holodeck.

William T

"You've got the bridge. Keep your eye on them."

Riker and Picard discuss the Bynars on the way to the bridge. Apparently, over time they have become so interconnected with the master computer on their home planet that their thought patterns are as close to binary code as is possible. On their way back to the bridge, the two discuss their plans for the downtime. Picard plans to relax with an old novel in his quarters, but Riker hasn't decided yet, as he doesn't manage his time off very well. "Something'll turn up. It always does", he tells Picard. On the bridge, Wesley Crusher is watching the Bynars work. They have been joined by two more of their species. Picard goes to his ready room, and Riker tells Wesley to keep an eye on the Bynars, as he doesn't altogether trust them. He then leaves to take a walk around the ship.

Act One[]

Parrises squares uniforms

Yar and Worf in Parrises squares uniforms

Riker is walking the decks. He meets Worf, Natasha Yar, and two other crewmembers on their way to play a game of Parrises squares with some of the starbase maintenance crew. They invite Riker to join, but he declines; they already have the requisite team of four, and switching off mid-game disrupts a team's rhythm. Instead, he wishes them luck and jokingly tells them that the reputation of the Enterprise is at stake. However, Worf's reply seems too forceful, and Riker tells him to simply enjoy himself and the friendly competition. Worf asks him that if winning is not important, then why keep score? Taking Riker aside, Yar assures him that Worf is probably just joking; he is picking up a sense of humor. As they leave, the lights dim in the corridor. Inquiring at a wall interface, Riker learns from the computer that uninhabited sections of the ship are being selectively shut down to free computer resources and facilitate the systems upgrade.

Satisfied with the explanation, he next drops in on Data, who, with the help of Geordi La Forge, is exploring his creativity by trying to paint a creative picture of zylo eggs in the observation lounge. Riker amusingly tells the two to take notes; a blind man teaching an android how to paint is bound to be of scientific significance someday.

Bourbon Street Barn

Riker's recreation of a New Orleans jazz bar circa 1958

Riker then visits sickbay, where Dr. Beverly Crusher is getting ready to meet Professor Terence Epstein, the leading mind in cybernetics who had lectured at her medical school. She is highly excited with the chance to meet such an expert, mentioning the disaster at Micromius as when she started working on an approach that combines cybernetics and regeneration. She keeps talking about him with Riker even as she heads for the turbolift.

Finally, Riker approaches holodeck four, where two of the Bynars are working. They tell him the holodeck is repaired, enhanced, and ready for use, so he creates a jazz club, the Bourbon Street Barn, in New Orleans, circa 1958, a trombone, a trio accompaniment, and a one-woman audience. He experiments with various looks and hair colors for his female companion until he finally gets what he wants: a brunette who is more alluring and realistic than anything he has ever seen on a holodeck. He starts to chat with her and her name is Minuet.

Act Two[]

Minuet not at all what Riker expected

Minuet is not at all what Riker expected

On the bridge, Wes asks the Bynars how they can process information so fast. They tell him they store information in buffers and save it until they need it. Picard emerges from the ready room. Upon learning that Riker is on the holodeck, he decides to join him there.

Riker is playing the trombone with a backing group. He tells Minuet he has to leave and get back to his duties, but she asks him to dance with her. He still can't get over how realistic she is. She asks him why his work "consumes and enthralls" him. He tells her that his posting is a dream come true, and starts to kiss her passionately when Picard walks in. On hearing his name, Minuet speaks to him in French. They ask him to join them, and Minuet praises him, telling him Riker is a credit to his captain. Picard is also highly impressed with the program, commenting how it adapted to speak French to him.

Minuet Picard Riker

Picard and Riker charmed by Minuet

On the bridge, Wesley calls Data and tells him that there is a problem in engineering. The magnetic containment field that holds the antimatter is reporting difficulties. Data and La Forge rush down to engineering and learn that the containment field is deteriorating; a containment breach will destroy the ship. Data initiates a red alert while La Forge tries to determine the source of the problem, but he can't halt the collapse. They quickly learn that they have only four minutes until the antimatter is released. Unable to reach Picard, Data makes an emergency command decision and broadcasts an "all hands" message ordering everyone on board to abandon ship.

Act Three[]

Instructions are broadcast through the ship instructing people to appropriate transporter rooms for beam-off to the starbase; Wes is among the first to leave this way. Others leave via the gangway. The commotion attracts Yar and Worf at the starbase who are quickly filled in. On the bridge, Data and La Forge set the autopilot to put the maximum distance possible between the Enterprise and any inhabited area. Though the computer reports they are the last two aboard, Data is concerned for Picard since, as captain, he is usually the last to leave, but there is no time to search for him.

They beam onto the starbase, and are told by Yar, Worf, and Dr. Crusher, who had been on the starbase since before the emergency, that Picard and Riker aren't there either. Data wants to return for him, but there's no time. As the Enterprise starts to move out of the starbase, the magnetic field suddenly restores itself. The ship, no longer in danger, clears the starbase and jumps to warp.

Minuet nervous

Minuet gets nervous when Picard wants to leave the holodeck

Picard and Riker, unknowing of what has been going on this entire time, are still in the holodeck, amazed at how intuitive the program is. When Picard tries to leave, however, Minuet becomes nervous and goes to great lengths to make him stay. He gets suspicious and orders the holodeck exit to show. Upon the emergence of the holodeck arch and the opening of the doors, he and Riker discover the red alert, learning there is no one on the bridge. Picard consults the computer and learns the details of the situation. They come to a conclusion; the Bynars have stolen the Enterprise for some reason. The ship is on a heading for Bynaus in the Beta Magellan system. They question Minuet, who tells them she was programmed by the Bynars to keep Riker busy. Picard's presence was just a lucky coincidence. She is not able to tell them what the Bynars want with the ship.

On Starbase 74, Data asks what the nearest Starfleet ship is. When told it is the USS Trieste, he dismisses it as too small and too slow, to which Commander Quinteros replies that even if it is the ship closest to the starbase, it is still too far away. Then Data notices that the Bynars are missing and deduces that they stole the ship. He also guesses their most likely course: their homeworld, Bynaus.

Back on the Enterprise, Picard and Riker enter the weapons room to obtain phasers. It is now up to them to retake the ship.

Act Four[]

Auto-destruct countdown, 2364

Counting down

Riker follows Picard into main engineering. Facing an unknown opposition, they must assume the worst, so they activate the one function of the ship that requires both of them to consent: the auto-destruct sequence. Riker is concerned they'll only have five minutes once the auto-destruct is activated, but should they retake the ship, they can stop the countdown at the bridge. As they leave, Picard notices that huge amounts of information are being stored in the ship's computer. Finding access to the turbolift blocked, they decide to use the transporter room.

La Forge tells the others that there is no response from the Enterprise, and Worf states that someone else must be in control of the ship. Data blames himself for what happened, claiming that he was negligent of his duty since he doesn't require rest or recreation and thus theoretically can be on duty constantly, but the others console him by saying that the incident could have occurred even if he was present on the bridge. The ship nearest to readiness in the starbase is the USS Melbourne, but it's still eighteen hours from being ready. Quinteros tells them that there is simply nothing they can do at present.

Using a timed delay, Picard and Riker both beam onto the bridge at the same time and in different locations in order to give themselves a better chance of retaking the ship should they meet resistance. Upon arriving, they find the four Bynars, collapsed near the entrance to the observation lounge. Two of them ask for help before they pass out.

Act Five[]

11001001 file

Riker finds the file

With the bridge under their control again, Picard and Riker deactivate the auto-destruct sequence and find that they're in orbit around Bynaus. All the equipment on Bynaus is inert, and no one is responding; they reason they're probably dying like the ones on board. Another look at their computer shows it completely packed with data – a core dump from the main computer on Bynaus – but they cannot access it.

Minuet after

The "wrong" version of Minuet

They go back to Minuet, who tells them that a star in the Bynaus system went supernova. The electromagnetic pulse was going to knock out the main computer, so the only option was to back up its contents into the only mobile computer large enough: the computer aboard the Enterprise. However, the star went supernova sooner than expected and the Enterprise arrived later than scheduled at the starbase, leaving them no time for consultation and forcing them to resort to their desperate action. Riker and Picard must now restore the computer before it is too late, but not even Minuet knows the means to access it.

They return to the bridge, where Picard contacts Data. Data tells him that the Bynars would want them to access the stored file, which would be called something simple; based on the Bynars' way of thinking, the most likely name is an 8- or 16-character binary string. Riker runs some 8-bit possibilities and they find the file called 11001001. They both have to work together as a pair, as the Bynars do, to access the information. The Bynaus computer reboots and the Bynars awaken. They tell Picard they didn't ask for help because they were afraid that they might be turned down; their situation was too desperate to gamble on such an uncertainty. They trapped Riker because they thought they might need someone to restore the computer for them.

Picard takes the conn, and they return to Starbase 74. The crew comes on board and the Bynars are led off to face a hearing. Riker returns to the holodeck, but the Minuet he knew is gone; in her place is another brunette – similar looking to his, but nowhere near as sultry, enchanting, beautiful, and perceptive. He is unable to get her back. Disappointed, he returns to the bridge. Picard suspects that maybe it was part of the Bynar's programming, stating, however, that "some relationships just can't work." Riker sighs, admitting that she will be difficult to forget.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"If winning is not important, then, Commander, why keep score?"

- Worf, to Riker

"Believe it or not, Worf is developing a sense of humor."

- Tasha Yar, to Riker

"A blind man teaching an android how to paint? That's got to be worth a couple of pages in somebody's book!"

- Riker, finding Data and La Forge's hobby amusing

"Gentlemen, if this is what you call "enhancement," you've got a gift for understatement."

- Riker, regarding the upgrades to the holodeck (and Minuet's appearance) made by the Bynars

"What's your name and tell me you love jazz."
"My name is Minuet and I love all jazz, except Dixieland."
"Why not Dixieland?"
"Because you can't dance to it."
"My girl!"

- Riker, upon meeting Minuet

"What's a knockout like you doing in a computer-generated gin joint like this?"

- Riker, to Minuet in the holodeck after the Bynars' enhancements

"Au fond c'est vrai, nous sommes tous parisiens." (Deep down, it is true: we are all Parisians)

- Minuet, to Captain Picard

"This is Lieutenant Commander Data speaking for the captain. Abandon ship! This is not a drill! All personnel, this is not a drill. I say again, abandon ship! All personnel, this is not a drill. Abandon ship!"

- Data

"Am I to understand that the Bynars have stolen the Enterprise?"
"That information is not available."

- Picard and the computer

"This vessel must not fall into hostile hands."

- Picard, on the importance of arming the auto-destruct

Background information[]

Production history[]

Story and script[]

  • The episode was originally intended to be filmed and aired before "The Big Goodbye", with the latter's holodeck malfunction explained as having been caused by the Bynars' modification. (Star Trek Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., p. 44)
  • According to the script, a working title for this episode was "10101001". [3]
  • The script included a short scene where Terence Epstein and Beverly Crusher are chatting in the starbase lounge, just before the evacuation of the Enterprise-D, making Epstein appear on screen, and establishing him as being only twenty-six years old.



Cast and characters[]


The Bynars
  • The Bynars seen in this episode are somewhat similar to the Talosian species from TOS: "The Cage": they were androgynous aliens with male-sounding voices and played by females. In both cases, the effect suggests an alien gender (or non-gender) to the viewer.
  • The Bynars make reference to the "probe" which had caused the problems in the holodeck Picard mentions in the captain's log, referring to the Jaradan probe that disrupted the holodeck in TNG: "The Big Goodbye".
  • The species is mentioned again in ENT: "Regeneration" and LD: "We'll Always Have Tom Paris", and Bynars appear again in LD: "A Few Badgeys More".
  • This is the first appearance of the holodeck character Minuet.
  • Minuet was originally the name for the female android Starfleet officer in the original story for "Datalore". (Creating the Next Generation, p. 53)
  • Several years later, in "Future Imperfect", an alien named Barash manufactured a visual record – derived solely from Riker's own memories – depicting Minuet as both Barash's mother and Riker's wife.
  • The binary sequence 11001001 can be interpreted in various ways:
    • When converting from base 2, additional factors like sign interpretation might apply:
      • In decimal (base 10) – 201 when interpreted as an unsigned integer (or −55 as a signed 8-bit integer)
      • In octal (base 8) – 311 when unsigned (or −67 as a signed 8-bit integer)
      • In hexadecimal (base 16) – C9 when unsigned (or −37 as a signed 8-bit integer)
    • Countless standards exist for character codes. 201 (C9 in hex) can be interpreted as:
      • I – in IBM's early EBCDIC
      • RET – Unconditional Return Opcode for an Intel 8080 CPU (copied in the Z80 CPU)
      • – a box-drawing character in MS-DOS
      • É – in Unicode, ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1), and Windows-1252 character sets
      • In Unicode the episode's working title "10101001" is translated as the copyright symbol "©".
    • The two 4-bit nybbles (1100 and 1001) correspond to the combined names of each pair of Bynars who come aboard the Enterprise: 11 with 00 and 10 with 01.
      • Additionally, the name of each Bynar represents one of the four possible bit pairs.
  • Commander Quinteros remarks that the USS Enterprise-D was expected at Starbase 74 a week earlier, a delay which Riker claims is due to an unexpected stop at Omicron Pascal. At the end of TNG: "Datalore" (which aired two weeks before this episode), Picard informs Riker that the ship is due for a computer refit which is what happens in this episode, however, the Enterprise-D would carry out an unexpected mission to Angel I and an outpost near the Romulan Neutral Zone in TNG: "Angel One" (which aired a week later) in-between. It is possible that the outpost was Omicron Pascal and would account for the one week delay.
  • Modified effect shots of the spacedock from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock are used to represent Starbase 74. The most noticeable difference is the Enterprise-D added in place of the original USS Enterprise. The aspect ratio has been cropped from the theatrical 2.39:1 to television's 1.33:1. Stock footage from this episode was reused later in "Remember Me", "Ensign Ro", and "Phantasms" to represent other starbases.
  • Data claims he is familiar with the USS Trieste. In TNG: "Clues", it is followed up on as Data claims he served aboard the vessel.
  • When Data orders the crew to abandon ship, one of the crewmembers is looking at the "Holodeck 4-J" display from TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint".
  • Also during Data's command to abandon ship, a crewmember listens from a station in engineering (the blue glow from the warp core is visibly reflected in the window), though engineering was empty when the announcement was given, save for himself and La Forge. The reason for this is that it's actually a recycled shot from "Where No One Has Gone Before" (see above).
  • Picard describes the holodeck with references to previous episodes, telling Minuet that it "has given us woodlands," ("Encounter at Farpoint") "ski slopes," ("Angel One") "figures that fight," ("Code of Honor") and "fictional characters with whom we can interact." ("The Big Goodbye")
  • This episode is the first of only three occasions in the series in which Picard takes the conn of the Enterprise-D. The other times are in "Booby Trap" and "Conundrum".
  • Near the end of the episode, Minuet reveals that her purpose was to keep Riker on the ship so he could access the files needed to reboot the Bynars' central computer. She specifically says that Picard staying behind was a "fortunate happenstance," meaning that the Bynars likely had an alternate crewmember in mind for the second person. As Picard later points out, the files required two people to access them.
  • This is one of the very few instances where a performer (an unidentified male) other than Majel Barrett-Roddenberry voices the Enterprise-D computer, though her voice is heard as well.
  • At the end of Act Two, when antimatter containment appears to be failing, Data is in engineering and gives three orders to Wesley on the bridge: (1) Tell Starbase 74 we are abandoning ship; (2) begin automated departure sequence; and (3) set a course and speed. Wes listens while standing in front of the bridge's aft stations. Data then orders the crew to abandon ship. The camera cuts to Wes, who has not moved from his position on the bridge. The inference is that he has not carried out Data's three orders. But he does leave the bridge to abandon ship. At the beginning of Act Three, Data and La Forge are on the bridge entering commands into the ops and conn stations, respectively. The inference here is that they are carrying out Data's original orders to Wes, thus negating Data's purpose for having issued them.
  • As Data and La Forge leave the bridge, they don't take note as to the current location of the Bynars in which during Act Two, they were standing next to Wes at one of the bridge's aft stations when the evacuation order was given and didn't leave the bridge when Wes did. It isn't until much later, when Picard and Riker beamed on to the bridge, Riker finds them collapsed on the floor near the entrance to the observation lounge.


Video and DVD releases[]

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Also starring[]

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