(written from a Production point of view)
La Forge finds out that a scientist is hardly what he imagined her to be. Meanwhile, they must work together to save the child of a space-borne alien the Enterprise has accidentally killed.
- "Captain's log, stardate 44614.6. We are approaching Starbase 313, where we will pick up a shipment of scientific equipment for transport to a Federation outpost in the Guernica system. During the journey, we will be hosting a special guest."
The USS Enterprise-D is en route to Starbase 313 in order to pick up some equipment to transport to the Guernica system. At the starbase, Dr. Leah Brahms, comes on board to study the engine modifications Geordi La Forge has made. Dr. Brahms was responsible for most of the engine design on the Enterprise when the ship was built at Utopia Planitia. La Forge, however, previously met Dr. Brahms in a holodeck simulation, in order to get the ship out of trouble, and has also had some romantic experience with the computer-simulated engineer.
When Captain Picard informs La Forge of Dr. Brahms' arrival and asks him to greet the Doctor on the Enterprise's behalf, La Forge is more than happy, hoping that he and the "real" Brahms might become romantically involved. Later, in talking to Guinan, he insists that he is not expecting anything more than friendship.
La Forge takes Dr. Brahms through engineering as she proceeds to remark on his extensive engine modifications including the matter/antimatter ratio, magnetic plasma transfer, and a completely new swap-out schedule for replacement of main components. She calls them "not per regulations" but La Forge explains that they were necessary from experience, the classic tug-of-war between theory and application.
On the bridge, Data informs Riker that the sensors are picking up some strange readings in the nearby Alpha Omicron system, which was then still unexplored by Starfleet. Riker decides that they should investigate, since "we're way ahead of schedule."
Back down in engineering, La Forge tries to get along with Dr. Brahms, reminding her that "There is no reason for us to argue, we're on the same side here." To reach a better understanding, he proposes "Why don't I take you on a little tour, show you the adjustments I made, why I think they work and we can begin pulling together on this?" La Forge then shuts down the warp core in order to show the dilithium chamber to Brahms. She immediately notices the dilithium crystal's orientation different than designed. La Forge accidentally reminds her why, but that was her hologram a year ago, and goes into the full explanation. He doesn't claim the full credit for the idea, but doesn't go further than that. La Forge then suggests that the two meet later in order to "plan out our agenda for the next day or two." Brahms agrees to meet with La Forge in his quarters at 1900 hours, maybe to have a bite to eat – he claims that he can make a great fungilli. Brahms tells that she loves fungilli and smiles for the first time since she has arrived on the ship.
The ship then arrives at the Alpha Omicron System and the crew are starting to investigate the source of the strange energy readings the ship's sensors previously picked up. They learn that a lifeform is orbiting the seventh planet of the system. A lifeform, that is, as Picard tells Troi, "just to live between the stars, and have the entire galaxy as a home." While the ship analyzes the lifeform, it probes the ship, suddenly starts to attack it, and captures it in "an energy damping field." All of the crew's attempts to free themselves fail, and then the computer announces: "Radiation levels at three hundred millirads per minute and rising. Lethal exposure in one minute." Forced to act quickly, Picard orders phasers be fired at the creature, at minimum power. But even at minimum power, the phaser fire is strong enough to kill the creature, and ruin Picard's efforts to initiate peaceful relations with a new species.
Picard is stunned beyond belief at what they just done in the previous act. Troi tries to reassure the captain that his actions were consistent with established Starfleet procedures regarding first contact, but Picard wants to retreat to his ready room, as Data starts picking up some energy reading from the lifeform – a reading which may suggest that the creature is still alive.
Meanwhile, La Forge goes into great efforts to prepare himself and his quarters for Brahms' arrival – he struggles to teach the computer what a "cozy" light intensity is, tries to choose a good ambient music and gets into casual wear, since "uniforms are so formal." Brahms arrives on time, and they start to talk. She admits, that she is often very possessive about her engine designs – "… it's like … they are your children." She tells that she doesn't want to be that way but sometimes she simply feels better with engine schematics than with people. La Forge understands, and Brahms also sympathizes with him. When La Forge tries to continue and get dinner, she cuts him off and tells him that she doesn't think it would be appropriate if she stayed – and abruptly leaves.
Back on the bridge, Data, Riker, and Picard analyze the new energy reading from the body of the creature, and conclude that it is a second lifeform – a child. Picard states that it was no wonder that the parent lifeform attacked the ship because "it was about to give birth."
Worf, Crusher, Counselor Troi, Riker, and Picard meet in the observation lounge to discuss what to do. Dr. Crusher suggests, that the child may not be able to free itself from the body of the parent being. Riker then proposes using the ship's phasers as a scalpel to perform a Caesarean section. Worf advises against this, claiming that the child may be a threat to the ship, just as was the parent. Picard agrees, but reminds him that they have accidentally killed the parent, and so they are now responsible for the survival of the child.
The next morning in engineering, Brahms and La Forge go through a list of discrepancies which Brahms has found in the engine modifications. They crawl into some Jefferies tubes in order to inspect the power transfer conduits. Brahms quickly notices that the sound of the engines is not correct, and La Forge shows her the cause: he has added a so-called mid-range phase adjuster. Brahms is quite overwhelmed by this technical refinement and tells La Forge that he should write a scientific paper on it, as she feels that this improvement should be shared. La Forge refuses and claims that he isn't good at writing. Instead, he proposes, that "we could collaborate. Writing is one of your strong points." When Brahms hears that, it's the last straw in a series of familiar comments he has made. She directly asks him how he knows her so well. He lies, and claims that he admired her work and so he studied her for years and is a great fan of her – and wanted to meet her a long time ago. Brahms realizes that La Forge is seriously interested in her, and tells him that he should know that she is married – one fact about her of which La Forge had not been aware.
Later, in Ten Forward, a depressed La Forge plays a game of chess with Guinan, and speaks his mind. He says that he is quite disappointed in the 'real' Leah Brahms, as the holographic simulation of her was so very different, saying to Guinan that the real Brahms is as friendly as a Circassian plague cat. Guinan points out that the computer may have been able to give the holo-Brahms personality from her Starfleet records, but when it came to the relationship, "you filled in the blanks. And you had a perfectly wonderful, marvelous little fantasy." She advises him that he should take a good look at her, and see for who she really is, and not for what he may want her to be.
On the bridge, the crew performs the procedure, and place an incision in the dead body of the parent, clearing the way for the child creature. This creature then makes its way out of the body, and the captain is very relieved. The crew make sure that the child being is okay, and then set to resume their course to Starbase 313. Riker suggests, that "it might be wise to put some distance between us before we go to warp." Picard agrees and orders the ship to be moved away from the newborn at a gentle velocity. The newborn, however, starts to follow the ship. Troi reveals that it now thinks that the Enterprise is its mother. Ensign Rager increases the ship's speed, but the creature just won't let go. Ultimately, it attaches itself to the primary hull of the Enterprise and starts draining the ship's power directly from the fusion reactors. Again, Troi has the answer: "It's feeding off the energy from the Enterprise as it would from its mother." Picard decides that they should not try and remove the child from the hull by force.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. Since the newborn has attached itself to the hull, it has been making greater and greater demands on the ship's energy. But we have been able to stabilize our power systems temporarily."
In the observation lounge, the crew discuss what action to take. Data states that he may be able to determine the destination of the parent being – Dr. Crusher claims that "perhaps it was on its way to provide a safe and supportive environment to its newborn." The captain decides to head for this destination, and to leave the child alone there. Dr. Brahms, who is part of the discussion, suggests that Junior could be removed from the hull by opening the door to shuttle bay two. The pressure from inside the bay might push the child away from the hull, as it is nearly completely covering the bay door. The captain agrees to this plan.
On their way to engineering, La Forge and Dr. Brahms discuss how they could fit the engines for continually rising demands of power of the child lifeform. Dr. Brahms asks La Forge whether there is a complete list of the modifications he has made. Captain Picard then summons La Forge to the bridge. La Forge asks Dr. Brahms to proceed to engineering alone, and tells her that Ensign Pavlik can show her the computer file which contains the list with the engine modifications. There she discovers the holographic simulation in which La Forge met her for the first time.
When La Forge returns to engineering and Pavlik tells him that Dr. Brahms has gone to the holodeck, he immediately runs away to intercept her. He arrives too late, and Dr. Brahms has already seen most of the program. She is outraged by what she has seen and shouts angrily at La Forge. He claims that nothing intimate happened and insists that it was just a professional collaboration. Ultimately, he lets loose and tells Dr. Brahms what he really thinks about her: "Alright, look – ever since you came on board you've been badgering me – and I've taken it! I've shown you courtesy, respect, and a hell of a lot of patience." He says angrily that he regrets having offered her his friendship, and leaves the puzzled Dr. Brahms alone in the holodeck.
Meanwhile on the bridge, Data has managed to determine the destination of the parent being, an asteroid belt. Picard immediately orders Rager to take them there. Upon their arrival, Data suggests that some chemical compounds in the asteroid field may provide sustenance for this lifeform and that the child would have a good supply of food there. Now in shuttle bay two, La Forge opens the external door and deactivates the atmospheric force field – but the child does not let go of the hull. Instead, it increases its power drain and starts emitting radio transmissions, possibly an attempt at communicating. Riker orders main power to be shut down to compensate for the increasing power drain of the child, and an emergency level 7. Three other creatures in the asteroid belt immediately head for the Enterprise – leaving some ten minutes until intercept.
Down in engineering, the crew is desperate to find a way to get the child creature to detach itself off of the ship's hull. Dr. Brahms shows up, and tells La Forge that she has an idea. She suggests that they need to look for a way to "sour the milk." However, since the ship is already running on auxiliary power only, this plan seems impossible to accomplish at first. But then La Forge has an idea and suggests adding "vinegar" to the baby's milk. Since all matter in space vibrates in a 21 centimeter radiation band, he suggests that they could try and "alter the power frequency so that it's completely foreign to the baby's natural vibrations." Dr. Brahms agrees and La Forge informs the bridge that he and Dr. Brahms together have a plan.
They make the necessary preparations and implement the plan. Dr. Brahms lowers the wavelength down to 2 cm, but the lifeform's power drain is unaffected. After taking the wavelength down to 0.2 cm, the creature begins to drain more and more power, and notifies the other creatures, which immediately accelerate their approach and prepare to attack the Enterprise. However, when Dr. Brahms lowers the wavelength even further to 0.02 cm, the child disengages and is welcomed by the other creatures, which cease their plans to attack the ship. Riker orders main power to be restored and the ship piloted away. Picard then compliments La Forge and Brahms for having "weaned the baby." Down in engineering, the two look at each other and congratulate each other for their cooperation.
Having struck up an authentic friendship, Brahms and La Forge share a drink in Ten Forward, laugh and speak their minds, La Forge noting that "the computer is notorious for not volunteering information!" She apologizes for being so impolite, saying, "I wouldn't change a thing. Except for the way I behaved." He apologizes for having lied to her and admits that he's glad "to know you. The real you." They agree to remain friends. A message from her husband then summons Dr. Brahms and she walks out of Ten Forward while La Forge sits alone, looking out into space.
"I'm Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge, chief engineer."
"La Forge… so you're the one who's fouled up my engine designs."
- - Geordi La Forge and Dr. Leah Brahms
"Computer, subdued light."
(the lights go completely out)
(laughs) "No, that's too much. I don't want it dark, I want it cozy."
"Please state your request in precise candlepower."
"See, it's not a matter of precision, Computer, it's a matter of mood. Brighter than this."
- - La Forge and the Computer
"We're out here to explore, to make contact with other lifeforms, to establish peaceful relations but not to interfere… and absolutely not to destroy. And yet, look at what we have just done."
- - Picard, after the Enterprise accidentally kills the spaceborne lifeform
"Sometimes, I feel more comfortable with engine schematics than people."
"Well, maybe you just haven't met the right… people."
- - Brahms and La Forge
"No wonder it attacked us… it was about to give birth."
- - Picard
"The acoustic signature doesn't sound right."
"You're probably the only other person in the galaxy who could pick that up."
- - Dr. Leah Brahms and Geordi La Forge
"Commander La Forge, ever since I came on board … there seems to be something a little … peculiar about your attitude. You seem to know things about me … even though we've never met."
- - Dr. Leah Brahms
"Come on. You can do it!"
- - Troi as "Junior" is being born in space
"Captain, I'd like to announce the birth of a large baby … something."
- - Dr. Crusher, to Picard
"She's probably done the most horrific thing one person can do to another: not live up to your expectations."
- - Guinan, to La Forge
"Take a hard look through your VISOR, La Forge… see her for who she really is… not what you want her to be."
- - Guinan, to La Forge
"It thinks the Enterprise is its mother."
- - Troi
"Sir. Is the appellation 'Junior' to be the lifeform's official name?"
"No, it is not!"
- - Data and Picard
"Mr. La Forge, Dr. Brahms, congratulations. You've weaned the baby."
- - Picard, shortly after "Junior" detaches itself from the Enterprise's secondary hull
"Captain, the creatures are accelerating their approach. They are changing color!"
- - Worf
- Revised final draft script: 10 December 1990 
- Filmed: 13 December 1990 – 21 December 1990
- Storyboards by Dan Curry: 11 January 1991
- More storyboards by Curry: 21 January 1991
- Premiere airdate: 11 March 1991
- First UK airdate: 5 October 1994
Story and script
- Michael Piller commented, "I always felt that the idea of having reality versus fantasy was an interesting theme to explore and the Leah Brahms character allowed us to do that in this episode. This to me was one of the best concepts we had all year." He added, "I just thought the idea of an alien creature adopting the Enterprise as its mother is something you can't do on any other show." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 217)
- Maurice Hurley's teleplay received an uncredited polish from Jeri Taylor (on the La Forge-Brahms plot) and Ronald D. Moore (regarding "Junior"). (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 157)
- The episode's title has a double meaning: The USS Enterprise-D is a Galaxy-class ship and the creature thinks the Enterprise is its mother after being born when its real mother dies, so the creature is "Galaxy's child".
- "Galaxy's Child" was filmed between Thursday 13 December 1990 and Friday 21 December 1990 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16. It was the last episode filmed in 1990 and the final call sheet features the note "Have a Happy & Safe Holiday!!! Company to resume filming Monday, 7 January 1991 7:00 a.m. Stage 9."
- A deleted scene features Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Worf reciting a nursery rhyme. 
- The spaceborne species seen in this episode was represented by a fiberglass model built by Tony Meininger and a CG model created by Rhythm & Hues. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 193)
- Parts of Drafting Room 5 as first seen in "Booby Trap" were recreated for this episode. The set is a modification of the bridge of the USS Enterprise as it appeared in the first three movies. The set is not an exact replica however, as several viewscreens and LCARS monitors appear at different places or are missing.
- Dr. Leah Brahms (and La Forge's infatuation with her) reappear from the episode "Booby Trap".
- La Forge mentions that writing isn't his strong suit. However, in an alternate reality, he becomes quite the proficient novelist, as mentioned in "All Good Things...".
- Jana Marie Hupp (Pavlik) later played another Enterprise-D officer, the ill-fated Lieutenant Monroe, in the fifth season episode "Disaster".
- La Forge tells Montgomery Scott the story of this episode as an anecdote in the season 6 episode "Relics".
- Before finding the holodeck program, Leah Brahms reviews an engineering log of modifications made to the ship by La Forge. The last entry on the list which is only seen very briefly is "Tonight on HBO". This engineering log is unlike any other LCARS screen seen in the different series. It is green and features a completely different font.
- This is the first appearance of the Jefferies tubes as they would appear throughout the run of the series and on other starships of the 24th century. Jefferies tubes appeared before, in "The Hunted", but looked completely different.
- Footage of the Alpha Omicron asteroid belt was later reused for the Pelloris and Devolin asteroid fields.
- Rick Berman remarked, "They're two great stories. First, that of the fantasy woman Geordi thinks he's met, but didn't, and now he actually has to meet her; and the simultaneous story of the space baby latching onto the ship. They were two very nice stories that worked well together." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, pp. 216-217)
- Director Winrich Kolbe remarked, "LeVar Burton […] did good work in that, and I have to say I like that show." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 21, p. 31)
- In contrast, writer Keith R.A. DeCandido wrote a scathing review of this episode, suggesting, "They've turned La Forge into an unrepentant virtual rapist," and called the episode "morally reprehensible," believing the episode rewarded La Forge for his actions and attitude. 
- A mission report for this episode, by Patrick Daniel O'Neill, was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 16, pp. 37-40.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 45, 6 April 1992
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 4.5, 6 August 2001
- As part of the TNG Season 4 DVD collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
Special guest star
- David Keith Anderson as Armstrong
- Majel Barrett as USS Enterprise-D computer voice
- Karen Baxter as operations division ensign
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Cooper as Reel
- Gerard David as operations division ensign
- Denise Deuschle as science division officer
- Elliot Durant III as operations division ensign
- A. Flores as science division officer
- Keith Gearhart as science division officer
- Michele Gerren as science division officer
- Kim as operations division officer
- Mark Lentry as civilian
- Terry Noel as operations division officer
- Randy Pflug as Jones
- Keith Rayve as operations division officer
- Denise Lynne Roberts as Patti
- Joyce Robinson as Gates
- Richard Sarstedt as command division officer
- Georgina Shore as Van Mayter
- Noriko Suzuki as operations division ensign
- Talbot as Ten Forward waitress
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- James Washington as command division officer
- Natalie Wood as Bailey
- Harry Young as science division officer
- Unknown performers as
Stand-ins and photo doubles
- David Keith Anderson – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Brett – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Candace Crump – stand-in for Whoopi Goldberg
- Griffin – photo double for Susan Gibney
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis, Susan Gibney and Jana Marie Hupp
- Tim McCormack – stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden and Susan Gibney
- Joyce Robinson – stand-in for April Grace and Lanei Chapman
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- James Washington – stand-in for Michael Dorn
2366; "a little"; "a little bit"; "a lot"; "a matter of"; acceleration; accusation; actinide; acoustic signature; adult; aft thruster; "ahead of schedule"; "all right"; Alpha Omicron VII; Alpha Omicron asteroid belt; Alpha Omicron system; analysis; anomaly; antimatter; apology; appellation; application; asteroid; asteroid belt; atmospheric force field; attention; attitude; auto-shutdown; auxiliary generator; auxiliary power; baby (newborn); balance; "be my guest": bearing; bio-function; birth; body; booby trap; Brahms, Johannes; Bussard collector; "by accident"; Caesarean section; candlepower; carbonaceous chondrite; centimeter; children (offspring); Circassian plague cat; classical guitar; collaboration; color; "come in"; "come on in"; computer; computer glitch; conviction; course; courtesy; creature; crime; crisis situation; criticism; cubic meter; damage; dampening field; day; death; deck; defense; degauss; degree; designer; destination; dilithium; dilithium chamber; dilithium articulation frame; dinner; distance; door; dozen; Drafting Room 5; dream; efficiency; emergency level-7; emergency generator; energy; energy consumption; energy damping field; energy output; energy pattern; energy storage; energy system; engineering log; entity; étude; evasive maneuvers; "every now and then"; existence; experience; face; fact; "fall in love; Federation; field density; file; "filled in the blanks"; "first thing"; "fly by the seat of our pants"; force field; friend; friendship; fungilli; fusion reactors; Galaxy-class; gamma particle; generator console; "go ahead"; "good morning"; "good night"; Guernica system; Guernica system outpost; guest; guilty; hair; "have a seat"; heading; "hell of a lot of"; holodeck three; hologram; holo-program; home; hour; hull; humor; hundred; idea; image; imprinting; impulse engine; "in fact"; "in the first place"; "in the second place"; incision; inertial distortion; information; interlink; ionizing radiation; Jefferies tube; journey; Junior; Junior's mother; Junior's species; Junior's species adults; "keep your eye on"; kefnium; kilometer; "kind of"; kph; level 5 probe; lifeform; life support; light year; lighting; list; magnetic containment field; magnetic plasma transfer; margin of error; marriage; Mars; mass; matter; matter-antimatter ratio; meklinite; Menthars; mid-range phase adjuster; Midsummer Night's Dream, A; milk; Milky Way Galaxy; minute; million; millirads per minute; minute; mood; MTBF unit; music; name; number one; nursing; object; objection; observation; "of course"; "of course not"; office; offline; "on board"; "on our behalf"; "on record"; "on the drawing board"; online; opportunity; orbit; outpost; parent (mother); patience; percent; personality; personality trait; personnel file (Starfleet file; Starfleet record); personnel review; phase coil; phaser; phaser power; phenomenon; piano etude; plan; plasma; plasma energy; plasma flow; plasma inducer; plasma injection throttle; port; power drain; power level; power system; power tap; power transfer conduit; prematurity; pressure; problem; protocol; prototype; quantity; question; radiation; radiation band; radiation level; radiation pattern; radiation protocol; radiation signal; radio transmission; range; rate; rate of energy consumption; record; red alert; refinement; regulation; relative distance; relationship; research; respect; reverse course; rhetoric; scalpel; scanner; schematic; science station; scientific equipment; scientific paper; second; Senior Design Engineer; sensor data; sentence; shell; shipment; Shuttlebay 2; silicate; soft jazz; solar radiation; solution; "some kind of"; "sort of"; space (interstellar space); spaceborne species; spacesuit; spec; speed; "stand by"; standard observation posture; standard procedure; "stands to reason"; star; Starbase 313; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Headquarters; Starfleet uniform; stasis; subspace message; subspace transmission; sustenance; swap-out schedule; "thank you"; Theoretical Propulsion Group; theory; thought; thousand; threat; three-dimensional chess; tissue regeneration; tour; trace; tritium; truth; understanding; Utopia Planitia; Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards; Variations on a Theme of Paganini; velocity; "very well"; vibration; vinegar; visit; VISOR; volume; "wait a minute"; warp drive; warp field; warp field generator; "wash our hands of"; "watch yourself"; wavelength; weaning; week; "welcome aboard"; "well done"; writing; year; "you bet"
- USS Enterprise Engineering Logs, Page 1: Adams; antimatter injector module; Argyle; avitable alignment; calibration; Carriker; Cervantes calibration; Coffin; DeLong; deuterium flow; duty engineer; duty shift; Grant; harmonic; Harris; "in any case"; "in progress"; Lynch, Leland T.; MacDougal, Sarah; millicochrane; moralls pressure; operating temperature; overpressure; parameter; Pastore pulse; phase variation; phase shift; plasma erosion; power output; preburner; Ross; safety limit; servicing; Stepan; subspace harmonic; subspace phase coil; supervision; test instrumentation; thermal conductivity; watt
- USS Enterprise Engineering Logs, Page 2: antimatter containment; antimatter injection system; antimatter purge vent; Bussard collector; configuration control log; degaussing; dilithium articulation frame; magnetic containment field; matter-antimatter reaction assembly; optical nanoprocessor; plasma injection throttle subsystem; propulsion system; prototype warp drive development logs; Starfleet Safety Protocols; subspace warp field; tritium; volume; warp field geometry sensor
Unused production references
- "Galaxy's Child" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Galaxy's Child" at Wikipedia
- "Galaxy's Child" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Galaxy's Child" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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