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Picard takes a much-needed vacation on Risa, but unwelcome events keep interfering with his rest.



Vorgons computer interface on Risa

The aliens access the resort's computer

Two aliens, a male and a female, beam to a resort on the surface of the planet Risa. The female queries the resort's computer about the location of Jean-Luc Picard's room, only to be informed that he hasn't arrived yet. When asked when he will arrive, the computer states it has no reservation on file under that name. While the male wonders about the situation, the female simply states, "He will come."

Elsewhere, the USS Enterprise-D is returning from a two-week mission on Gemaris V, where Picard mediated a commercial treaty between two very stubborn participants, the Gemarians and the Dachlyds. Counselor Troi was with him, and tells Commander Riker how difficult it was for the captain to come up with the agreement. Picard arrives on the bridge, orders the ship to Starbase 12, and then goes to his ready room. Picard doesn't show any joy when Riker congratulates him on negotiating the treaty, so Troi suggests to Riker that what their captain really needs is a vacation.

Act One[]

Troi cheers, 2366

Troi cheers

Doctor Crusher enters Picard's ready room as he is working with a stack of PADDs on his desk. She tells him that a crew member is working himself too hard and starts listing the symptoms that this crew member is manifesting. As Picard rubs his neck, Crusher mentions that one of the symptoms is muscle spasms, and Picard clues in to what she's doing; she ends up advising him to take a week off. Crusher says she could order Picard to take a vacation, but Picard replies that he knows she won't. He defends himself by saying that during the week-long starship maintenance on Starbase 12 he will make use of all the entertainment facilities available there. The doctor is not appeased and tells him instead to go to somewhere nice.

Riker smiling at Troi

"He's gonna have a great time."

In the turbolift, Riker hints to Picard that he should take a holiday, but Picard brushes him off. Upon arriving on the bridge, Troi mentions that when the Enterprise arrives at Starbase 12, her mother will be present and is looking forward to catching up with Riker and Picard. Picard asks to speak to Riker privately in his ready room, drawing a brief cheer from Troi; and asks if everyone on the ship is conspiring together to get him to go on vacation. Riker concedes but notes that two ensigns on deck 39 may not know about the plan. Picard finally gives in and starts planning to vacation somewhere Riker suggested: Risa. In his quarters, Riker notices that Picard is bringing with him to Risa some "light" reading, such as Ulysses by James Joyce and Ethics, Sophistry and the Alternate Universe by Ving Kuda. Just before Picard leaves, Riker asks him to bring back a local souvenir called a Horga'hn.

Vash distracts Picard with a kiss

Vash kisses Picard

Picard beams down to Risa and is immediately kissed by Vash, a woman he's never met before. She is eying a Ferengi across the lobby. She claims to have mistaken Picard for someone else and walks off. "A simple handshake would've sufficed", Picard quietly notes. As he walks across the lobby, the two aliens who inquired about Picard staying on Risa earlier watch him intently.

Act Two[]

Joval talks to Picard, 2366

Joval is baffled by Picard's behavior

Picard is reading a book on a deck chair in a public place. A local female valet, Joval, interrupts him while playing hoverball, asking if she could do something for him. Picard, annoyed, replies she is the fifth woman to ask the very same thing that day and tells her that he wants to be left alone. Joval is baffled by Picard's behavior as he says to be left alone, yet is also showing the Horga'hn. Once Picard understands the symbolic implications of the Horga'hn, Joval walks away, and Picard is quick to hide the Horga'hn under a towel to avoid further hassles.

The same Ferengi from the lobby covertly approaches Picard, telling him it is a big mistake to work with "her" and to ask "her" to return his disk immediately. Picard says that there has to be a mistake because he doesn't know what the Ferengi is talking about. The Ferengi orders Picard to talk about the business with him, and Picard replies that a Ferengi order doesn't count for him. When the Ferengi angrily replies, Picard stands up and tries to make himself clear to the Ferengi by stating again that he doesn't know this woman or about the disk, and he is on Risa only for vacation. The Ferengi goes away after declaring the disk is his.

Vorgon scan

The Vorgons scan Picard's room

As Picard returns on the deck chair, Vash arrives. As Vash talks about his encounter with the Ferengi Picard realizes that she is the woman the Ferengi was referring to, and he leaves looking for tranquility. At this very moment the Ferengi returns. Picard starts to move away towards his room, and Vash stealthily hides a disk inside his pocket.

When Picard returns in his room he finds the two aliens who were waiting for him before. They tell him they are Vorgons, and they claim to be a security team from the 27th century.

Act Three[]

Picard data disk 2366

Picard holds the disk

The Vorgons are looking for the Tox Uthat, an artifact built in the 27th century by a scientist named Kal Dano that is sought after by criminals and was hidden somewhere nearby in this time. Picard says he knows about the legend, and the Vorgons respond that history in the future indicates that Picard will find the Tox Uthat while he is on the planet. Picard says that he hasn't found the artifact yet, and the Vorgons want to know what will happen if he does. Picard simply states that he knows it belongs in the future, and the Vorgons transport out of his room. Just as the Vorgons leave Picard reaches into his pocket and finds the disk.

Vash annoyed

"Did Sovak tell you that?"

Picard arrives at Vash's door while she's cleaning up a huge mess in her room. She says that Sovak, the Ferengi, has taken to rifling through her room looking for the disk every once in a while. Picard shows her the disk and speculates it has something to do with the Tox Uthat. She is surprised, replying that the last thing she needs is a business partner. She tells Picard that she was an assistant to the late professor Samuel Estragon for the last 5 years. He was a researcher who spent half his life looking for the Tox Uthat. The disk contains new data and maps on the Tox Uthat's position. She admits that the Ferengi also sometimes worked with the professor, and now it is difficult for her to search for the artifact without Sovak noticing. Picard proposes to go after the Tox Uthat, but she wants to come as only she knows how do decode data on the disk. Picard accepts the proposal.

Sovak with gun 2366

Sovak threatens Vash and Picard

Sovak, brandishing a pistol, stops Picard and Vash just as they're leaving the hotel. Picard asks whether he is aware that weapons are prohibited on Risa, but Sovak just demands the disk again and threatens to kill Picard. Sovak reveals that he paid Vash to steal the disk but she betrayed him and used his money to travel to Risa. Vash denies this and Sovak calls her a "perfect mate for a Ferengi" – greedy and unscrupulous. Picard declares himself quite annoyed, and Sovak says if that is so, he might as well kill Picard and then take the disk. Vash objects, saying she'll give him what he wants, and throws her large pack into Sovak's arms. While Sovak is off balance, Picard seizes the pistol and knocks him out with a punch in the face. Vash remarks to Picard that she knew they would be a wonderful team together. Picard reminds her they have a lot of ground to cover, so they leave the resort.

Act Four[]

Vorgons watch Vash and Picard, 2366

The Vorgons keep an eye on Vash and Picard

Vash and Picard enter the cave that Vash says is the place they've been looking for. Halfway into the journey, they decide to camp for the night. Vash reveals she hasn't been completely truthful with him, which doesn't come as a surprise to Picard. Sovak indeed paid her for the disk and she used his money to reach Risa. Picard notices how a woman who beats a Ferengi at his own game bears watching. Vash states that this adventure is more suitable for Picard than the boring vacation he had originally planned. He does admit that he is enjoying this. After talking about how the two met and how they are similar they exchange a kiss. Vash asks if he still thinks she is trouble and he replies that she surely is.

The next day Vash and Picard arrive where the Tox Uthat is hidden. Due to the composition of the rock in the cave Vash can't get a good reading on her tricorder. Picard pulls two shovels out of his pack and advises Vash to start digging. As they prepare to begin digging the Vorgons materialize on a ledge above the pit saying they just want to watch Picard discover the Uthat. Vash is furious that Picard didn't tell her about them. Immediately after that Sovak appears with a rifle. He followed Vash and Picard thanks to a half burned copy of the disk found in Vash's room. Sovak orders Picard and Vash to start digging.


The Tox Uthat inside a Horga'hn

Picard and Vash dig a large pit. Eventually, Picard throws down his shovel and gives up after it becomes apparent that there is nothing there. Vash notes that they should have found the Tox Uthat hours ago. It seems to Picard that the professor was wrong with his data, even if he did seem to have incontrovertible evidence. The Vorgons notice that this is very strange and they disappear. Sovak, panicked, hurries to dig himself as Picard and Vash exit the cave.

Upon returning to the resort, Vash tells Picard that she wants to be alone for some time. Picard returns to his room and Riker contacts him. He advises the captain that the Enterprise is in orbit and ready to beam him back at his convenience. Picard asks him to wait a little while but stand ready to activate Transporter Code 14. Riker asks Picard again for confirmation of code 14 and Picard sternly responds that Riker heard him correctly the first time.

Vorgons stun Vash

Boratus stuns Vash

Vash is about to leave when Picard calls to her from a table. She claims to be on her way to say goodbye to Picard. Picard asks where she's hidden the Tox Uthat. Picard tells her that if she really wanted to keep Sovak from finding the cave she would have completely destroyed the duplicate disk. He tells her she wanted Sovak to follow them to convince him that the Tox Uthat could not be found. In reality, she recovered the Tox Uthat as soon as she arrived on Risa. Vash concedes that this is true, and opens the head of a Horga'hn she's carrying to reveal a large gemstone. As Picard picks it up the Vorgons appear. Vash claims that the professor's notes stated that two Vorgons initially tried to steal the Tox Uthat. Picard asks the Vorgons to prove their identity, and one of them draws a pistol. Vash tries to take the Tox Uthat and the Vorgon stuns her. Picard then tells the Enterprise to initiate code 14 with a two-second delay, then drops the Tox Uthat and runs. The Tox Uthat explodes, and the Vorgons say that Picard's real destiny was to destroy it; a destiny he has now fulfilled. They transport away, and Picard seems to take care of Vash.

Act Five[]

Risa in 2366

The Enterprise orbits Risa

Picard prepares to leave the planet. Vash asks if there might be an available position for an archeologist on the Enterprise. Picard thinks for a moment, and then comments that he doesn't believe that life on a starship would suit Vash. Vash then says she next plans to explore ruins on Sarthong V, and Picard angrily reminds her what the inhabitants (Sarthongians) do to trespassers. She claims his outburst means that he does care about her, and they share a kiss. Picard says that since the Vorgons now know where and when to look for the Uthat they may have to meet and do this all over again.

Picard, now back in uniform, returns to the Enterprise's bridge and is welcomed back by Riker, who informs him that the repairs have been made and that the ship is now in a splendid condition. Picard tells Riker he will extend his compliments to the crew and that they need to have a chat about the Horga'hn. Troi asks him whether he had a good time on Risa. Picard turns, thinks for a moment, smiles slightly and says "uh-huh." Riker grins and says "I knew he'd have a great time!".

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Our captain needs a vacation."

- Troi

"So, have you decided where you're going yet?"
"Yes, I have, Number One. Bridge!"

- Riker and Picard, in the turbolift

"The place is called Risa and believe me, captain, it is a paradise. Warm tropical breezes, exotic foods, nothing to do but sit around all day, enjoy the quiet and then…"
(Together) "the women."

- Riker, selling the captain on Risa, while Picard knows where it's going

"Have I mentioned how 'imaginative' the Risian women are, captain?"
"Too often, commander."

- Riker and Troi, discussing Risa with Picard

"The horga'hn' is the Risian symbol of sexuality. To own one is to call forth its powers. To display it is to announce you are seeking jamaharon."
"Do you seek jamaharon?"
"I don't even know what it means."

- Joval and Picard, who was tricked into purchasing a horga'hn by his first officer

"From the moment I met you, I knew you were going to be trouble."
"You look like a man who could handle trouble."

- Picard and Vash

"The more difficult the task, the sweeter the victory."

- Riker

"A simple handshake would have sufficed."

- Picard, after being kissed by Vash on Risa

"So! The betrayer is herself betrayed!"

- Sovak

"You're becoming quite annoying, Sovak."

- Picard

"Look, I don't mean to appear rude, but I am not seeking jamaharon."
"All right. But you really should try it some time."
"If I 'try it', it will be at a time of my own choosing."
"Fair enough. It's not like I was going to help you find it."

- Picard and Vash

"I prefer to be acquainted with the women that I kiss."

- Picard

"The horga'hn is for a friend."
"I see. Someone close to you."
"That's right."
"Someone you love."
"I wouldn't go that far."

- Joval and Picard, on his feelings for Riker

"What are your plans?"
"Well I might explore the ruins on Sarthong V."
"Oh! Unbelievable! You are, out of your mind! The Sarthongians are merciless to trespassers!"

- Picard and Vash

"Was it a relaxing trip, captain?"
(Picard stops and turns to face Troi with a smile)

"I knew he'd have a great time."

- Riker, remarking on Picard's vacation (last lines)

Background information[]

Production history[]

Story and script[]

  • Although Ira Steven Behr had heretofore collaborated on "Yesterday's Enterprise" with the TNG writing staff, this episode represented his first opportunity to write an episode of the show himself. "When I finally got a script of my own to write," he recalled, "I came up with this idea of this pleasure planet." (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)
  • The original version of the story, which Ira Steven Behr wrote with some input from Ronald D. Moore, was very different to the finished episode. Risa was only featured as a framing device, with Picard finding a sideshow attraction which showed visitors their greatest fears, and showed Picard a future in which he was now an admiral with a dull desk job, with Captain Riker now in charge of the Enterprise. While Michael Piller liked this idea, Gene Roddenberry vetoed it on the grounds that such fears about one's age and future were not in keeping with his ideal of 24th-century Humanity. However, Roddenberry did like the concept of Risa, and encouraged Behr to come up with another story that could use the location. Elements of the original storyline would later find their way into the following season's "Future Imperfect". (TNG Season 3 Blu-ray, "Technological Distinctiveness")
  • The storyline that this episode ultimately went with grew out of Patrick Stewart's desire for more "sex and shooting" for Picard. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 121) Ira Steven Behr recollected, "Patrick kept saying that the trouble with the show is there's not enough f-ing and f-ing: fighting and fornicating." (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)
  • Michael Piller recalled, "Originally it was a Maltese Falcon kind of story where an old, rare thing had been lost and a bunch of people are looking for it on this island…It was originally a good script, but it could have been Magnum. Ron [Moore] was in here with the staff and said, 'Instead of it being from the past, couldn't it be from the future?' And I said, 'Which also means that the guys who are chasing it are from the future,' and that started putting a whole new spin on it." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, pp. 194–195)
  • An early version of the script ended with a repeat of the opening scene in Act Two, implying that, eventually, the Vorgons will be successful in obtaining the device. (Star Trek Chronology? ed., p. ?) According to Piller, "We thought it was a little confusing and we cut it. It was sort of a Twilight Zone ending and it didn't quite work." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 195)
  • Patrick Stewart took credit for having thought up the idea of Vash. "I said I've got a feeling our audience might like to see the captain just getting blown away by meeting somebody new," he stated. (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge) According to Ira Steven Behr, using this episode to introduce the Vash character "was an attempt to bring in a ballsy woman who's not your typical Star Trek woman, a clear thinker both in terms of what she did in her own life and sex and the whole bit." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 17)
  • At first, the TNG writers were very excited by this episode, though the installment still had to be approved by Gene Roddenberry. "Rick [Berman] says, 'You've got to go in to see Gene'," Ira Steven Behr continued. "So I go in and he's very nice." Despite liking the inclusion of the pleasure planet, something Roddenberry was keen to see in the episode, however, was copious amounts of erotic activity taking place in the background of the scenes set on Risa, particularly between same-sex partners. Remembered Behr, "He says, 'I like the idea of the pleasure planet and I want it to be a place where you see women fondling and kissing other women, and men hugging and holding hands and kissing, and we can imply that they're having sex in the background.' Huh, really?!" Behr was briefly flummoxed on how to politely tell Roddenberry that such scenes would never make it past network censors. "I'm going, 'Oh, man, I'm in the freakin' Twilight Zone.' I go back to Rick. He goes, 'Pft, pay no attention to that, just get the captain laid.'" (William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge)


Jerry Quist

Makeup Artist Jerry Quist working on pasties for the semi-nude actresses, with fellow make-up artist Doug Drexler taking his picture

  • This is the first episode directed by Chip Chalmers, one of the series' two rotating first assistant directors. He helmed several more Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes. Chalmers recalled that he suffered a severe fever during filming of the scenes on Risa on Paramount Stage 16, and was confined to a cot. "We'd come out, rehearse, I'd muster up as much energy as I could while they were lighting, I would go lay down on my cot and pass out for 15 or 20 minutes while they set up. I'd go out, say action, shoot and we made it through those two days with everybody rallying around." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 195)
  • The large land mass visible in the planet view shown immediately before Picard beams down to Risa is Australia. Adelaide is situated in the middle of the bottom edge on the shores of the smaller of the two gulfs, and the nearby island is Kangaroo Island. The Gulf of Carpentaria appears next to the port side nacelle.

Cast and characters[]



  • Director Chip Chalmers remarked, "'Captain's Holiday' is one of my favorites because it was the first. This episode was also terrific because Patrick is such a wonderful actor. The other thing for me is that I got a wonderful actress, Jennifer Hetrick, and we had such a good time working on the show…I can look back at that show and smile for a lot of reasons, but certainly the happiest result is that we proved Patrick Stewart is extremely funny." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 195)
  • Guest star Jennifer Hetrick commented, "It seemed like a Romancing the Stone/Raiders of the Lost Ark-type story. I did use that as an example, but not specifically for my character. I just used my own imagination and what I know of myself and found her very adventurous and conniving to a degree, but also vulnerable and committed. I loved the Ferengi, Sovak. I was spared the make-up fortunately. When I saw what everyone else had to go through, I was thrilled. Thank God, I was Human." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 195)
  • A mission report for this episode by Patrick Daniel O'Neill was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 13, p. 59–61.


  • Miles O'Brien mentions this incident in the novel Inferno after the universe is destroyed in 2400 as a result of the Bajoran wormhole meeting and consuming a red wormhole created by the Pah-wraiths, citing Picard's encounter with time travellers from the 27th century as a means of proving to his current 'crew' – consisting of Quark, Rom, Odo and Garak – that it is possible for them to change history so that timelines where the universe didn't end in 2400 come into existence.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]



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External links[]

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