Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Dr. Crusher violates Starfleet regulations and medical ethics when she investigates the death of a Ferengi scientist.



Guinan visits Dr. Crusher in her quarters, complaining of tennis elbow. Crusher tells her she had better see Dr. Selar instead and then breaks the news that she is no longer a doctor on the ship and will be facing a court martial soon.

Act One

Crusher expresses her frustration at the next few weeks as she will face Admiral Brooks. She clearly disagrees with the circumstances of the impending end of her career. In her usual style, Guinan insists on her elbow getting treated to calm Crusher down and asks about what happened. A Ferengi scientist, Dr. Reyga, has created a metaphasic shielding technique and had presented it at the Altine Conference, but his unorthodox methods have left most scientists in the field ignoring his work. Dr. Crusher decided to play "scientific diplomat" and invite other scientists in the field to come to the USS Enterprise-D and view a demonstration of the doctor's prototype.

Dr. T'Pan and Dr. Christopher

Only a few scientists were willing to come: a Takaran scientist Jo'Bril, a married couple Christopher and T'Pan, and a Klingon, Kurak. Crusher expected disbelief from the group, but the fact that they came made her hopeful. She gathered the group in the science lab and began by stating the vision that the group had for the potential benefits. Furthermore, Reyga was willing to share rights with whoever helped him. Reyga plans to perform a test using an Enterprise-D shuttle, the Justman. It is to be fitted with Dr. Reyga's experimental shield and flown into a nearby star, Veytan, a lofty goal as it is a particularly superdense corona, but Reyga is confident. As they are all skeptical, they decide that someone other than the Ferengi should pilot the shuttle. Jo'Bril volunteers and Reyga thanks him.

At the test flight, they all watch from the bridge as Jo'Bril enters the Veytan's corona. Everything seems to be going as planned until suddenly Jo'Bril becomes short of breath. There are increased levels of baryon particles. He barely pilots the shuttle out of the star and is beamed on the Enterprise before dying in sickbay.

Act Two

Guinan says Crusher shouldn't take it too hard since she wasn't in control. Reminded of what Captain Picard said to her during the autopsy she performed on Jo'Bril, she recalled the frustration she felt at the unexplained nature of his death. His anatomy was very different from other humanoids. In fact, she cannot understand his physiology at all, especially why his cells seem to be decaying at such a slow rate. He also has no discrete organs and they are all distributed equally throughout his body, which should make him incredibly resistant to injury.

Meanwhile, Data and La Forge analyze the Justman. The plasma flow regulators, the field emitter coils, and radial force compensators were all functioning normally. La Forge found the damage to the hull, confirming the shield was breached by the radiation. Reyga is livid and cannot accept that the shield was at fault.

Gathering the scientists in the science lab, Crusher explains she has no choice but to end the visit. Reyga pleads with the other scientists to allow him a second test, but meets intense opposition, including Crusher, who refuses to put anyone at further risk. He seems determined to prove himself and leaves. A few hours later, he is found dead from a plasma discharge.

Act Three

Worf judges the death was a suicide, but Beverly is incredulous as he had tightly clutched his hand on the plasma infuser instead of dropping it, the normal response. She plans on performing an autopsy on him, but, after speaking to Picard about how unusual the death was, she learns the family won't permit it and arrangements have already been made to have his body returned home so they can perform the Ferengi death ritual.

Frustrated, Dr. Crusher explains the situation to Ogawa and decides to perform an investigation of her own. She confronts Christopher and T'Pan in their quarters, and Christopher becomes incensed. Eventually, he mentions that Kurak and Reyga had a fiery argument shortly before his death. Dr. Crusher then confronts Kurak, much to her own peril, as the Klingon scientist throws her violently against the wall. As she determines Kurak also did not murder Reyga, she finds herself stumped.

Finally, knowing she will be disobeying a direct order, she performs an autopsy on Reyga, believing that it will answer her questions… and can find nothing. She informs Picard, who is extremely disappointed. Picard has no choice but to relieve her from duty and report her conduct to Starfleet Medical.

Guinan encourages Dr. Crusher to continue her investigation, as she has nothing left to lose.

Act Four

Crusher finds Data in the Justman making sure it wasn't permanently damaged by the radiation. She asks his help to determine a possible sabotage scenario. Data deduces that, if it happened, it must have been done during Jo'Bril's test flight, and it's unlikely he did it himself and put himself in danger. Another scenario is that a phased ionic pulse beamed directly into the projection matrix would result in a temporary system malfunction by forming a tetryon field. Realizing she could confirm the tetryon field from Jo'Bril's tissue, she heads for sickbay. On the way, Riker cautions her from doing more damage to herself, but she tells him she knows what she's doing.

Ogawa finds Crusher attempting to access the computer, but her access has been revoked. When Crusher tries to leave without involving her, Ogawa decides to help anyway, activating the computer for Crusher. They perform an additional examination of Jo'Bril's body and confirm the tetryon particles. It's not conclusive evidence, Ogawa reminds her, but it does indicate there may have been sabotage of the metaphasic shield.

Crusher decides to take the Justman with Dr. Reyga's modifications into the star herself, and leaves the Enterprise while the bridge crew watches from afar.

Act Five

Picard urges her to come back, but she is determined. She's already isolated the navigational system and is too close to the star for Worf to attempt to stop the shuttle. Picard tries to reason with her to no avail even as the temperature rises. After a few minutes, it appears that the shield is working. Crusher is delighted and tells Picard that one of the three remaining scientists must be the murderer. She asks that he confine them to quarters, but just then the communication drops.

On board the Justman, Jo'Bril emerges from his hiding place armed with a phaser, and tells Dr. Crusher that his species are able to control their metabolic function to the point where they can simulate death. Crusher realizes he heard all her plans while lying "dead" on a slab in the morgue. Jo'Brill demands that she steps away from the controls; while he inputs a set of commands to send out a transian subspace signal which would simulate a warp core breach in the shuttle according to the Enterprise's sensors. He also expresses his thanks to her and admits that the metaphasic shield is a reality, and wanted to discredit Reyga so no one would pursue his technology except him, but he now has the prototype he can just wait until the Enterprise leaves (as its sensors cannot penetrate the star's corona sphere) when they determine she is dead, and then take her and the shuttle back to his homeworld, where he will perfect the technique and turn it into a weapon.

Dr. Jo'Bril is shot but not killed by Dr. Crusher

With surprise, Crusher attacks Jo'Brill and inputs commands to take the shuttle deeper into the star's corona. Both doctors engage in a struggle for the phaser, with Crusher holding on to it. Seeing an opening, using her superior self-defense training, Crusher lands an elbow in his face, dazing him long enough to deliver a painful round-house kick, sending him down, with phaser in hand. Jo'Brill immediately gets up and Crusher fires her phaser at him, blowing a hole in his torso. To her shock, this doesn't slow him down at all, only serving to annoy him. Crusher quickly adjusts the setting and shoots him again at maximum level, killing Jo'Brill by vaporization. She immediately adjusts heading and returns to the Enterprise,

On board the Enterprise they are beginning a search for shuttle debris when the Justman emerges from the star's corona and Dr. Crusher tells them she finally has the answers about Reyga's murder. She returns to the ship, where she is reinstated to active duty. She goes to Ten Forward and gives Guinan a tennis racket she replicated, of the latest design, so that Guinan and will never get tennis elbow again – but Guinan admits she has never played tennis.

Log entries

Memorable quotes

"Well, you better go to sickbay. I think Dr. Selar's on duty."
"I don't want to see Dr. Selar, I always see you. I'm very particular about my doctors."
"Well, you better get a new one because I'm not a doctor on this ship anymore."

- Crusher to Guinan after she comes to her quarters complaining of tennis elbow

"I can hear Admiral Brooks now telling me how I've disgraced Starfleet Medical. Then, a leisurely day and a half before the formal inquiry begins and my career ends."
"Beverly… my elbow."

- Crusher on how her career is finished while Guinan asks to be looked at

"You know, I've never been to a formal inquiry."
"Well, I'll see if I can arrange one for you. All you have to do is disobey orders, violate medical ethics and cause an interstellar incident."
"Well, I guess that would do it."

- Guinan and Crusher

"I saw… the sun!"

- Dr. Jo'Bril, saying his "last" words

"I don't want you to get involved in this."
"Is that an order, doctor?"
"Too bad you're not my boss anymore."

- Beverly Crusher and Alyssa Ogawa

"Thank you, doctor. This looks like a great racket but, uh… I don't play tennis. Never have."

- Guinan, when Crusher gives her a racket guaranteed not to cause tennis elbow (last lines; also Guinan's last lines in the series)

Background information

Production history

Story and script

Cast and characters


  • The metaphasic shield technology was later used by the Enterprise-D under the command of Dr. Crusher in "Descent, Part II" to combat the Borg. James Horan also guest starred in that episode, but as Lieutenant Barnaby, an Enterprise-D crewmember.
  • In this episode, it is stated that Ferengi are to be buried after death and are very adamant that the body not be "violated" before burial. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a different Ferengi death ritual for the Grand Nagus and for Quark is shown involving vacuum-desiccated remains that are sold to the highest bidder. (DS9: "The Nagus", "Body Parts") However, since the Deep Space Nine episode refers specifically to The Grand Negus's funeral as appropriate for a Ferengi "of his stature," it may be that death ritual of vacuum-desiccated remains does not apply to the Ferengi scientist in this episode because, as a disgraced failure, there would be no (financial) interest in his remains.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars


Special guest star


Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles



accusation; Altine Conference; autonomic functions scan; autopsy files; baryon; bearing; board of inquiry; Brooks; cabin; career; Celsius; "contradiction in terms"; cortical stimulator; data; DNA; Earth; Ferengi; Ferengi death ritual; Ferengi government; Ferengi ship; field emitter coil; field test; fired; forensics; formal inquiry; humanoid species; Justman; Kelvin; Klingon; medical logs; medical personnel; medical tricorder; metaphasic shield; Midsummer Night's Dream, A; millimeter; Mintakan tapestry; medical ethics; morgue; painting; phased ionic pulse; plasma infuser; poison; polarity; Qo'noS; rad; radiation; Reyga's family; science lab; science station; scientific diplomat; security guard; Selar; sextant; sickbay; slander; Starbase 23; Starfleet Medical; subspace morphology; subspace technology; subspace theoretician; Takara; Takaran; temperature; tennis; tennis elbow; tennis racket; tetryon; tetryon radiation; tissue; transporter lock; Type 6 shuttlecraft; Vaytan; Vulcan Science Academy

Other references

External links

Previous episode:
"Frame of Mind"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6
Next episode:
"Rightful Heir"
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