(written from a Production point of view)
Picard and Riker try to find out what the pirates want while the Enterprise pursues them.
The USS Enterprise-D is hit on the port nacelle with a barrage of fire from the mercenary vessel where Riker is being held prisoner. To Worf's surprise the damage was minimal. The same is true when the starboard nacelle is hit. Troi believes Riker has done something to their weapons, which Data, as acting captain, believes it to be true and they must play along. The Enterprise simulates serious damage and fires back with only minimal phaser power. Picard pretends that phaser hit damaged the vessel's three plasma arrays on their disruptors. This, along with the antimatter containment units buckling forces Baran to order the mercenary ship to withdraw. Data orders the crew to let the ship go, assuming that this is what Riker wants.
Data is intent on holding still and investigating, rather than send ships to the other two likely planets to be attacked. La Forge and Troi attempts to find out more hidden signals in Riker's transmission, and La Forge does find a pattern in a sub-harmonic analysis of the transmission.
On the mercenary ship, Riker and Picard stage a heated argument. Their acrimonious relationship arouses Tallera's suspicions, and she later interrogates Picard. Her questions stop when Picard's tests reveal that they have found one of the artifacts they are looking for. They immediately notify Baran, who is being fooled by Riker's portrayal of a less-than-ideal Starfleet officer. Baran says he might like to continue to work with Riker, and tells Riker that he wants him kill Picard.
On the Enterprise, Data determines that the message is a flight plan, indicating the mercenary ship is headed to the Hyralan sector. Worf believes that it would take them at least fifteen hours to be there since their maximum warp factor is 8.5, while La Forge says the Enterprise could be there in five. Data decides to beat them there, to which Worf responds in an irritated tone, which catches both La Forge and Data off guard.
Data brings Worf to the ready room and berates him over his performance as first officer, most notably, questioning his decisions in front of the crew. Worf states that he has always felt free to voice his opinions that would differ from Picard or Riker. Data accepts that but in those instances, he was acting as security chief. Data explains the role of the second-in-command is to carry out the orders of the commanding officer. In this case, the latter is Data. Should Worf object to those orders, he should discuss it with him in private, and further states that he doesn't recall Riker ever showing irritation as he did. Data states that if Worf is not capable of carrying out this role, he will return him to tactical and assign La Forge as first officer instead. Worf elects to remain as first officer, and Data accepts it on the condition he conforms to the guidelines. He also apologizes if this berating has ended their friendship. Worf takes responsibility for it and asks that this incident be overlooked to continue their friendship. Data accepts it and Worf leaves. Once alone, Data simply straightens his uniform.
Alone with Picard in his quarters, Riker fills him in on Baran's plan, including the fact that he is supposed to kill Picard after the authenticity of the final artifact is confirmed. Riker reveals that they are headed to the Hyralan sector to pick up the artifact, which will be Romulan in origin, from a Klingon transport ship. Picard, however, states that the artifacts are actually all Vulcan in origin.
Picard discusses mutiny with Narik and is repulsed since he assumes Picard would want to be captain. He is favorable to Tallera, though. Then, Tallera bursts in and pulls a phaser on Picard, demanding to be told his true identity.
Tallera reveals that she is a Vulcan intelligence officer named T'Paal on a mission of her own. The artifacts being sought are fragments of the mythical Stone of Gol, a powerful weapon she believes is being sought by a Vulcan isolationist group. She explains that the stone is a psionic resonator, a device that focuses and amplifies telepathic energy. If the stone were reassembled and used by a trained telepath, the weapon could eliminate the entire Vulcan council with a single thought.
Meanwhile, in the Hyralan sector, the Enterprise is surprised to encounter a Klingon ship, Toron-class. Suspicious, they seek options on how to bring the craft over since the treaty with the Klingons gives its pilot, Koral free movement in Federation space. Worf suggests the treaty does stipulate taking the ship in for health and safety reasons. Data takes Worf's suggestion and commands the right to inspect the vessel for that reason, noting that if Koral wishes to protest, he can file such a protest with the office of the Judge Advocate General.
Koral is greeted by Dr. Crusher and Worf to conduct the "inspection". Koral scoffs at the notion, but Crusher carries out the inspection, nervously trying to avoid any attempt at their real objective.
When the mercenaries learn what has happened, Baran reluctantly prepares a team to board the Enterprise. Picard balks at the notion and asks how many security officers would serve on such as ship as that. Dismissing him, Baran orders Riker to lead the team to invade the Enterprise and retrieve the artifact. Acting out his role, Picard shows serious doubt in Riker's loyalty, which Baran allays by assigning him to Riker, then secretly pulls the commander aside and tells him that he expects him to kill Picard after the raid.
Koral is in the observation lounge with Troi and Data, who are overly-friendly with him, much to Koral's annoyance, who just sits with them in silence. Data offers him some Klingon bloodwine that Worf replicated to his liking. Instead he simply looks at the beverage and pours it on the floor.
Worf and Crusher are running out of time and excuses for the inspection, and have found nothing substantial. Before they can continue, the mercenary ship beams Riker and his team in the shuttle bay, with Riker stunning an operations crewman who was just entering. He explains to Crusher that he decided to make a career change.
Picard demands Worf reveal the location of the artifact, but Riker believes Koral has it and demands his location. Crusher reveals his location, and Worf says security won't let them get there but by using the shuttlecraft Justman, they can simply beam in without encountering them. Riker apologizes and stuns both Worf and Crusher; the latter seems to startle Picard a bit.
While Data and Troi continue to fail at their attempts at conversation with Koral, the mercenary team beams in, which surprises all three of them. Picard retrieves the artifact from Koral and prepares to leave. Data warns Riker that his actions would bring charges of theft, assault, piracy and treason on him. Riker shrugs it off and decides to add one more to the list: murder. He fires at Picard who rolls out of the way, and returns fire, sending Riker to the ground. Troi and Data rush to his aid and tells Picard that Riker is dead, which Picard takes pleasure of. They then return to the mercenary ship, as Riker comes to as he was stunned, which Data feels a similar sensation. Dazed, Riker explains it will take time to explain everything.
Back on the mercenary ship, Picard delivers two items to Baran: the artifact, and a vicious punch to the face. Narik explains that Riker turned on the team, which they believe was acting on Baran's orders. This forces Picard to incite a mutiny on the ship, which he succeeds as the crew turns their back on Baran and follows Picard. Baran reaches for his device stating that while he has it, he's still in command and will use it to kill Picard.
When Baran attempts to activate Picard's patch, he kills himself instead. Picard then explains that he switched the transponder codes. He destroys the control device and takes command. Next he orders the crew to deliver the artifacts as planned.
On the Enterprise, Riker notifies Vulcan security minister Satok that their operative is on her way, and learns from the minister that the Vulcans have no one stationed on any mercenary ship. Meanwhile, Picard talks with Tallera about the two pieces, taking note of the symbol of War and Death and notices that the there seems to be an important glyph missing from between them. Tallera then says when they arrive that she will take the pieces and go to collect the payment. She says she must go alone, since she is Vulcan, to avoid suspicion. Picard then reveals that he asked Riker to contact Vulcan security, which unnerves Tallera.
When they arrive at Vulcan, Picard stops her as she prepares to go, ordering her to leave one piece behind. Tallera then reveals to the rest of the crew his true identity as a Starfleet officer. They start to turn on him but he then reveals that Tallera is going to use the pieces to make a volatile weapon, there's no money waiting for them at all, and she is going to double cross them to escape. Vekor aims her weapon at both of them and says she is only interested in the money, and she and Narik will go with them to the surface and all they want is their reward and after they are paid she doesn't care where Tellara goes.
They find the third resonator piece in a cave in the T'Karath Sanctuary on the Vulcan homeworld. Vekor finds that that the bounty money is "less than half of what we were promised", and she and Narik demand payment in full. Tallera completes the device and proceeds to kill Narik and Vekor. She turns on Picard just as Riker, Worf, and two security guards materialize in the cave. Picard orders them to drop their weapons and to clear their minds of aggressive thoughts. He tells them that he now recognizes the missing glyph, which is Peace, and can defeat the effects of the weapon. Tallera tries to use it on Riker, but he clears his mind and the weapon fails. Picard says that when the Vulcans realized that peace could defeat war and death, the weapon was dismantled. Tallera, angry, tries the weapon on Worf, but also fails. After a last failed attempt on Picard, who has knelt in front of her, he gently takes it from her. She is taken into custody, and the resonator is given to the Vulcans, and they assure Captain Picard that they will destroy all three fragments.
Once back on board the Enterprise, Picard is ready to move on and orders Riker to leave orbit. Data is dismayed that the Stone of Gol will be destroyed, as it is from a "remarkable period of history". Riker smiles and reminds Picard that he been officially declared 'dead' and therefore cannot give him orders. Data then reminds them that technically Riker has been declared a renegade, charged with twelve court martial offenses and cannot give orders either. Picard decides to stay 'dead' a little longer and goes to take a nap in his quarters and jokingly suggests that Data ought to put Riker in the brig. As Picard enters his quarters and closes the door, Riker laughs too, until Data starts dragging him away without getting the joke.
"What's wrong, commander? You having second thoughts about betraying your comrades? 'Cause that's what you've done: betrayed them. Betrayed them in order to save yourself. You used to be just a second-rate officer. Now you're a traitor and a coward. How does that feel?"
[Riker decks Picard]
"I don't know. How did that feel?"
- - Picard (as Galen) and Riker play their roles
"If we had not let them escape, this would not be necessary."
"That is correct but I believe Commander Riker wanted us to let them escape."
- - Worf and Data, while trying to track the movements of the mercenary ship
"May I inquire as to your destination?"
"May I ask the purpose of your journey?"
- - Data, getting nowhere with Koral
"Mr. Worf, I am sorry if I have ended our friendship."
"Sir, it is I who has jeopardized our friendship, not you. If you will overlook this incident, I would like to continue to consider you my friend."
"I would like that as well."
"Thank you, sir."
- - Data and Worf, after Data reprimands Worf in the captain's ready room
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave."
- - Picard, to Riker
"Will, you always seem to be after my job."
- - Picard, to Riker
"He's alright, he's only stunned."
"I must admit, I am experiencing a similar sensation."
"This is going to take a little time to explain."
- - Troi, Data, and Riker after the latter was "killed" by Picard
"It would take them at least 14 hours to reach that position."
"We could be there in five."
"Make it so."
- - Worf, La Forge, and Data, with Worf chafing under Data's command
"I am not certain that using this clause as an excuse to conduct a search would be consistent with the spirit of the Treaty."
"However, if Koral wishes to contest our actions, he can file a protest with the Judge Advocate General's Office. Bring the shuttle aboard."
- - Data, deciding to use a "health and safety inspection" in the search for the Stone of Gol
"You were right, Tallera. The resonator cannot be stopped by phasers and shields… but it can be defeated by peace."
- - Picard
"Number one, will you set a course for Starbase 227? I'll join you on the bridge shortly."
"Wait a minute. You've been declared dead. You can't give orders around here."
"If we are to adhere to the exact letter of Starfleet regulations, then technically sir, you have been declared a renegade. In fact I believe you are facing twelve counts of court martial offenses. You cannot give orders either, sir."
"That's quite right. And as I am supposed to be dead, I'll go and get some sleep, and Mr. Data, I suggest that you escort Commander Riker to the brig."
"Aye, sir…" (Data grabs Riker to lead him towards the brig) "this way, sir."
"Data, he was joking. You know that, right? … Data?"
- - Picard, Riker, and Data
- Final draft script: 6 August 1993 
- Filmed: 9 August 1993 – 17 August 1993
- Premiere airdate: 18 October 1993
- First UK airdate: 7 February 1996
Story and production
- "Gambit, Part II" was filmed between Monday 9 August 1993 and Tuesday 17 August 1993 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16.
- Ronald D. Moore commented, "I felt we ran out of story in 'Part II'. There were places where I was treading water. We had to find the lost ark and I didn't know what the lost ark was. Instead, we had a device from ancient Vulcan myth that had mythic properties that you explain are telepathic focusing properties. I was trying really hard to make this thing work and in the end, I just said, 'All right, maybe we should just go for it and make this a classic Gene [Roddenberry] kind of message and go for "think happy thoughts" and make it something which tied into the backstory of Vulcan and of Surak and peace.' I thought it would fit in nicely. I'm not sure if it did. It might have just fallen in on its own gooeyness." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- In early drafts of the script the psionic resonator was much more powerful, capable of killing millions of people at a time. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- NBA star James Worthy's appearance as Koral came about due to a chance meeting with Robert O'Reilly on an airplane. Worthy admitted his desire to appear on the show. At O'Reilly's urging, Worthy met with Rick Berman and Michael Piller, who in turn asked Jeri Taylor for suitable cameo roles. This timed perfectly with the need for filler elements in this episode, and thus Koral was created. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Naren Shankar based the Vulcan subplot here on Spock's admission in TOS: "Journey to Babel" that a Vulcan could kill for a logical reason. He decided to take a different tone for the Vulcans: "We went for people who very logically felt that Vulcan's problems were linked to contamination by illogical people, so in a logical sense you say 'Get rid of them'…a very logical way to arrive at racism." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Initially the Vulcan god of death was bald, until Rick Berman ordered hair to be etched on to avoid resemblance to Patrick Stewart in close-ups. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Ronald B. Moore, effects supervisor, is incorrectly credited with an initial "D" in the end credits, which confuses him with writer and producer Ronald D. Moore.
- It is revealed in this episode that Vulcan is one of the founding worlds of the Federation. It would not be revealed until ENT: "Zero Hour" (which aired a decade later) that the other three are Earth, Andoria and Tellar, though these four worlds had been mentioned as the founding planets in several non-canon publications and fan works.
- According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, several place names and objects in this episode are homages to previous episodes:
- Yadalla Prime was originally Yonada, to be the presumed destination of the people in TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky", but it was changed to meet the need for presumed Romulan origins.
- Barradas III was a homage to Beratis, one of the names for the Redjac entity in TOS: "Wolf in the Fold".
- Ron Moore named the Stone of Gol after the plateau where Spock studied in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Shankar joked that the weapon might colloquially be called the "Gol Stone".
- Draken IV was previously mentioned in TNG: "Face of the Enemy", also written by Shankar.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion comments that elements of this episode suggest the Vulcan-Romulan schism may predate Surak.
- After Data reprimands Worf in the ready room, he imitates Picard's tugging of his shirt when standing up (commonly referred to as a Picard Maneuver).
- The weapon wielded by Tallera when confronting Picard is a re-use of the Varon-T disruptor from "The Most Toys". A Varon-T disruptor prop also makes an appearance, as Kelsey's personal weapon in "Starship Mine".
- The statue seen in Arctus Baran's room can later be seen in the commander's office aboard Terok Nor in DS9: "Shattered Mirror".
- The mercenary vessel's bridge is later redressed as the bridge of the USS Pasteur in TNG: "All Good Things...". One of the central consoles was a stock set element that also appeared in "All Good Things…" when the Romulan Commander Tomalak leans over it to address Picard through the viewscreen.
- While the chain of command of bridge officers from Picard through to Data has been clear-cut, Data's first officer was Worf, a line officer, rather than Troi or Crusher, both staff officers, despite Beverly holding the rank of Commander, being bridge certified and having commanded the Enterprise in TNG: "Descent, Part II", and Deanna holding the rank of Lieutenant Commander over Worf's Lieutenant rank. Troi's rank and bridge certification would become pertinent in TNG: "Thine Own Self". La Forge is also a line officer and also outranked Worf but is needed most in Engineering and rarely takes command.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 79, 9 May 1994.
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS release Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Full Length TV Movies: Volume 9, catalogue number VHR 4109, 8 May 1995.
- As part of the US video collection Star Trek - The Greatest Battles: 3 April 1997.
- As part of the UK video collection Star Trek - Greatest Battles: 16 November 1998.
- As part of the TNG Season 7 DVD collection.
- In feature-length form, as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Complete TV Movies 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
- Richard Lynch as Arctus Baran
- Robin Curtis as Tallera/T'Paal
- Caitlin Brown as Vekor
- Cameron Thor as Narik
- James Worthy as Koral
- Sabrina LeBeauf as Giusti
- Majel Barrett as Narrator
- Steve Blalock as operations division officer
- Eugenie Bondurant as alien mercenary
- Steven Boz as operations division ensign
- Cullen Chambers as command division officer
- Kevin Indio Copeland as alien mercenary
- Goldie Ann Gareza as command division officer
- Paul Genick as Human mercenary
- Kerry Hoyt as operations division ensign
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- Keith Rayve as command division ensign
- M. Smith as Human mercenary
- Noriko Suzuki as operations division ensign
- Mary Thompson as operations division officer
- Unknown performers as
- Maria R. Kelly as stunt double for Caitlin Brown
- Dennis Madalone as stunt double for Richard Lynch
- Joe Murphy as stunt double for Cameron Thor
- John Nowak as stunt double for Patrick Stewart
- Mark Riccardi as stunt double for Jonathan Frakes
- David Keith Anderson – stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Carl David Burks – stand-in for Brent Spiner and Richard Lynch
- Michael Echols – stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nora Leonhardt – stand-in for Marina Sirtis and Robin Curtis
- Lorine Mendell – stand-in for Gates McFadden and Caitlin Brown
- Richard Sarstedt – stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy – stand-in for Patrick Stewart
alphabet; assassin; Baran's mercenary vessel; bearing; bloodwine; brig; Cardassian; carrier wave; clause; contamination; coordinates; court martial; Draken IV; emotional need; extremist; Federation; Ferengi; flight plan; glyph; God of War; head of security; health hazard; health and safety inspection; Hyralan sector; inertial damper; inflection; irritation; Judge Advocate General; Justman; Klingon; labor camp; Milky Way Galaxy; magic; mythology; number one; pictogram; psionic resonator; radiation leak; renegade; Romulan; Romulan language; security officer; Seven other planets; ShiKahr District; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; Stone of Gol; supernatural; symbology; T'Karath Sanctuary; Taugan system; Toron-class; traitor; treason; Treaty of Alliance; V'Shar; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan Isolationist Movement; Vulcan language; Vulcan security forces; weapons control; Yadalla Prime
Library computer references
Starship mission status: Ajax, USS; Alderaan; Alpha Laputa IV; Ambassador-class; Apollo-class; Aries, USS; Beta Cygni system; Bradbury, USS; Bradbury-class; Charleston, USS; Constellation-class; Excelsior-class; Fearless, USS; Goddard, USS; Hood, USS; Korolev-class; Merced-class; Merrimac, USS; Monitor, USS; Nebula-class; pulsar; Renaissance-class; Repulse, USS; Romulan Neutral Zone; sector; Sector 21396; Sector 21538; Sector 22358; Sector 22846; Sector 22853; Sector 23079; Starbase 134; Starbase 434; Thomas Paine, USS; Trieste, USS; Victory, USS; Vulcan Science Academy; warp drive; Zhukov, USS
- "Gambit" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Gambit" at Wikipedia
- "Gambit, Part II" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Gambit" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
| Previous episode:|
"Gambit, Part I"
| Star Trek: The Next Generation|
| Next episode:|