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As alien dignitaries visit the ship, Picard's shuttle crashes on a desolate planet where he meets a woman who has been stranded there for seven years.



In his quarters, Worf is looking at himself in a mirror. He is in his Starfleet dress uniform trying to get his Klingon baldric placed just right when the door chime sounds off and he asks whoever is standing outside to enter. Commander Riker walks in, wearing his dress uniform as well and hurriedly telling Worf that a group of visiting dignitaries are due to come aboard at any minute. Riker says that if he did not know any better, he would say Worf is procrastinating. Worf states that Klingons do not procrastinate; this issue is merely a tactical delay. Riker straightens out his baldric and Worf mentions that he does not enjoy wearing dress uniforms, finding them to be too much like dresses. Riker finds Worf's comment to be an example of an "incredibly outmoded and sexist attitude," and that he is surprised by him. "Besides, you look good in a dress," Riker jokingly tells Worf, as they walk out of his quarters.

The crew of the USS Enterprise-D is welcoming aboard two Iyaaran ambassadors, Loquel and Byleth, who are visiting the ship as part of a cultural exchange that will also send Captain Jean-Luc Picard to their homeworld, Iyar. Before Picard departs, he assigns Counselor Deanna Troi to act as Loquel's liaison and asks Commander Riker to do the same for Byleth. However, Byleth immediately demands that Lieutenant Worf serve as his shipboard guide. Worf reluctantly accepts, and Picard wishes Riker luck with the ambassadors as he departs for Iyar with Voval, the Iyaaran shuttle pilot.

Act One[]

In Ten Forward, a reception with buffet is held. Loquel and Troi get along while she introduces him to desserts, while Byleth continues to be rude to Worf, and demands he bring him more food despite Doctor Crusher's explanation of the protocol. Worf continues to play along and goes to get him food, running into Data, who asks him how his diplomatic assignment is progressing. While angrily cutting into a roast, Worf tells him it is merely fine. Data responds that he has found in times of diplomatic tension that it is helpful to find elements of commonality. Worf explains that Ambassador Byleth is demanding, temperamental, and rude. Data notes that Worf shares all of those qualities in abundance and suggests that he focus on he and Byleth's similarities before giving him a pat on the back and leaving.

Soon afterward, aboard the Iyaaran shuttle, Picard finds Voval gruff and uncommunicative. Their awkward silence is disrupted by a sudden malfunction. Crashing on an unidentified class M planet, Voval receives a concussion. Picard is unhurt and decides to seek help outside the shuttle when he detects a structure and some energy readings outside. While Picard walks around the surface, he is struck by one of the planet's stormy electrical discharges and falls to the ground. As he lies unconscious, someone silently drags him away.

Act Two[]

On the Enterprise, Troi and Worf continue to deal with their guests' quirks. Worf shows Byleth to engineering, and, in the middle of explanations, Byleth rudely asks Worf a question that only an engineer would be able to answer. He sees Geordi La Forge and asks if he is smarter than Worf, and then demands to see the Bussard collectors. Worf keeps his composure and leads him away. Meanwhile, Loquel has become fascinated by the existence of desserts, as his people only eat for sustenance. He is equally intrigued by children, as Iyaarans are born fully grown after emerging from a natal pod, particularly after seeing a young boy on the Enterprise named Eric. He and Troi partake in many desserts, much to Troi's eventual dismay.

Picard awakens in the small, dimly-lit cabin of a crashed Terellian cargo freighter. A device is attached to his waist area which he tries to remove but cannot, receiving a slight shock in the process and he finds it hurts to sit up. He is approached by a solemn, attractive Human woman who informs him that Voval did not survive the crash.

Act Three[]

Picard learns that the woman's name is Anna and that she is the sole survivor of the freighter's crash that occurred seven years before. Anna tells Picard that he has three broken ribs, which the device is restraining. He sends her to retrieve the shuttlecraft's comm panel in order to send a distress signal.

Meanwhile, Worf is struggling to maintain his composure due to the abrasive, demanding personality of Byleth. Riker says Worf can't transfer responsibility to someone else. Loquel has been pleasant, but Troi admits he is testing her limits as well, as he is continually becoming obsessed with desserts. Riker decides that the tension might be eased by a "friendly" game of poker.

Finally Picard decides to get up and walk around. He is surprised to find the door locked from outside. Anna then returns with a non-functional panel, which she accidentally destroyed when removing it with a phaser. She seems distraught that she did that, and explains that she had to give up hope in order to not be crazy, but Picard insists they will be rescued.

Act Four[]

Picard finds a power cell while Anna is out collecting food. She brings back coltayin roots she intends to cook, and again tells Picard to rest when she finds him up. He tells her he plans to use the remaining charge to power the shuttle's systems. She again tells him she loves him, but he frankly tells her this is only because she hasn't seen anyone in seven years. She is disappointed, but Picard encourages her that they will be rescued.

Riker restrains Worf from attacking Byleth

"Thank you, Lieutenant Worf. I think I understand now. That was a very effective demonstration."

On the Enterprise, the poker game is anything but "friendly" when Worf realizes that Byleth is stealing his chips. Upon the accusation, Byleth verbally and physically provokes Worf, who eventually loses control and, despite Riker's demand to calm down, attacks his guest. But instead of getting angry, Byleth is pleased. He expresses admiration for Worf's display of anger and politely excuses himself to go and document the experience, leaving everyone confused (except Loquel, who is still gleefully enjoying his dessert and offering some to Troi).

Back on the planet, Picard removes the "medical device" and realizes that it was causing the pain; his ribs are not really broken. While begging for his love, Anna has actually been holding him captive. He angrily alerts Anna to his discovery, at which point she becomes distraught over failing to gain his affection. Picard is then shocked when Anna pins him down, forcibly kisses him, tells him she loves him, and demands that the Captain love her back. Picard frees himself from her advance and rejects her a final time, and Anna rushes out the door, breaking off her necklace and locking him inside the freighter. Picard finds a crowbar to try to force open the door when he hears someone on the other side, who turns out to be the very much alive Voval.

Act Five[]

Voval explains that he only appeared to be dead because, when Iyaarans are injured, their metabolic rates slow down in order to promote healing. He and Picard set off in search of Anna, eventually separating. Picard finds Anna standing at the edge of a cliff, threatening to commit suicide if he does not tell her he loves her. When he notices that Anna is again wearing her necklace and that Voval has again disappeared, Picard senses that something strange is going on and tells Anna to go ahead and jump. Picard begins to note the many coincidences that have happened since the Iyaaran shuttle crashed on the planet, such as her wearing the necklace at that moment, Anna disappearing and Voval appearing right after her, and Voval's insistence that they find her before she jumps.

At that moment, Anna transforms into Voval, who explains that he is not really a pilot, but an Iyaaran ambassador. He tells Picard that the Iyaarans discovered the freighter years before, along with logs indicating how a Human woman was marooned on the planet, and seven years later fell in love with a man who had also crashed. Voval brought Picard to the same planet in order to study the emotion of love by reenacting the scenario with Picard as a subject. Similarly, Loquel and Byleth were sent to experience pleasure and antagonism, as described in the woman's logs, concepts unknown to the Iyaarans. Picard comments that Humans would not have taken such a direct approach in their research, and he informs the ambassador that he has technically committed a crime. Voval is confused at that, but Picard is more interested in escape than prosecution and, after Voval confirms his assumption that the shuttle is actually operational, they return to the Enterprise.

Upon their arrival, Byleth along with a sore Worf, recount to Riker their experience of eleven consecutive hours of Worf's antagonistic holodeck program, while Loquel offers Troi a sample of bio-enzymatic supplements that the Iyaarans eat for food, apologizing that it has less flavor than chocolate, but which Troi reassures him will come as a welcome relief after the constant barrage of desserts they have been eating over the past few days. Voval and Picard part on friendly terms with Picard acknowledging the desire to obtain knowledge, and commenting that it's refreshing to encounter a people who are prepared to take an experience to its furthest extreme. He and Voval then say their goodbyes.

Memorable quotes[]

"Besides, you look good in a dress."

- Riker, on Worf's dislike for dress-like uniforms

"Good luck."

- Picard, to Riker after observing the Iyaaran ambassadors

"Klingons do not procrastinate."

- Worf

"I want this one."

- Ambassador Byleth, asking to be escorted by Worf

"Are you smarter than this one?"

- Ambassador Byleth, to Geordi La Forge concerning Worf

"I am going to kill him with my bare hands! I will take him by the throat and rip out his esophagus!"

- Worf, referring to Byleth

"He has an obsession with food, especially chocolate."
"Then you must be in heaven."
"To be honest, he's testing even my limits."

- Troi and Riker, referring to Loquel

"You see? You see? They are insane!"

- Worf, referring to the ambassadors

"You are an insulting, pompous fool! And if you were not an ambassador, I would disembowel you right here!"

- Worf, to Byleth

"Very good. Thank you, Lieutenant Worf. I think I understand now. That was a very effective demonstration."

- Byleth, after Worf attacks him

"Tell me about your love… or I'll jump!"
"Go ahead. Why don't you do it? It's a… long way down. Must be two hundred meters, you'd die instantly if that's what you want but I don't think that it really is."

- Anna, threatening to jump to her death while Picard begins to put the pieces together

"Voval, what is going on?!"

- Picard, when Anna transforms into Voval

"I have heard that in moments of diplomatic tension, it is often helpful to find elements of commonality."
"Ambassador Byleth is demanding, temperamental, and rude!"
"You share all of those qualities in abundance. Perhaps you should try to build on your similarities."

- Data and Worf

Background information[]

Production history[]

Story and script[]


Madalone and Borden, Liaisons

Stunt Coordinator Dennis Madalone and stunt double Chuck Borden training stunt moves


  • Jeri Taylor enjoyed Brannon Braga's subplot on the Enterprise. "I thought he did an absolutely marvelous job of drawing some very droll, delightful characters who were experiencing our way of life for the first time."
  • Braga was ambivalent about the instalment. He commented, "Was I happy with the script? Yeah. Was I happy with the episode? I don't know. I had a lot of fun writing it, and a lot of it was cut for time, mostly the more fun moments. Whether or not they actually ended up being funny is another story. It's a matter of opinion. At the end, I give Picard a speech about people who take things to extremes to experience them, and that's what these people do. I thought that was very interesting. In order to understand the culture, you must immerse yourself in that culture. It's still a little scattered, though. In the end, even though it seems redolent of Misery and Fatal Attraction, the Star Trek twist was, it wasn't at all." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 290)
  • Director Cliff Bole was disappointed with the episode, citing the constant rewrites as the cause. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 262)


  • This is the first episode in which Worf, Troi, and Beverly Crusher are seen in their dress uniforms.
  • This is one of only three TNG episodes to not feature the Enterprise-D bridge, the others being "Family" and "Dark Page".
  • This is one of only five TNG episodes that doesn't have a stardate although Picard does confirm it is seven years from the stardate Anna tells him that denotes the date of her crash. The others are "Symbiosis", "First Contact", "Tapestry", and "Sub Rosa".

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

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Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]



2363; accusation; ambassador; Anna; Anna's logs; Anna's lover; antagonism; antimatter replenishment rate; antimatter storage facility; astrophysics lab; atmosphere; battle exercise; BCD; BCD-31775; Betazed; bio-enzymatic supplement; biological research; boiling; broth; buffet; Bussard collector; cell casing; cheating; class M; coltayin root; concussion; containment pod; corrosion; crime; crystal; dessert; diplomat; disembowel; dress; Earth; energy disruption field; energy relay; enzyme; esophagus; ETA; Federation; fracture; Galaxy class decks; head of security; holodeck; holographic projection device (aka Anna's necklace); Human intimacy; inertial damper; insanity; instrument array; itinerary; Iyar; Iyar sector; Iyaaran; Iyaaran shuttle; kiss; Klingon; Klingon Empire; knitting (medicine); Ktarian chocolate puff; liaison officer; life support; love; mass flow rate; metabolic rate; meter; microfusion flare; natal pod; necklace; obsession; operational center; papalla juice; peach cobbler; phaser; plasma storm; pleasure; poker; post-cellular compounding; precipice; premier; procrastination; protein; protocol; reception; recreation; residential deck; restrictor device; restriction field; rib; sexist; small talk; Starfleet; stealing; stellar cartography; suicide; Tarvokian powder cake; Terellian; Terellian cargo freighter (aka Terellian freighter); Terellian freighter-crash planet; Terellian freighter-crash planet sun; Terellian freighter-crash planet system; Terellian spice; title; throat; transmitter module; tricorder; whipped cream

Other references[]

External links[]

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