Geordi La Forge and Ensign Ro are believed dead after a transporter malfunction. However, they soon discover that their state may not actually be "death".



A damaged Romulan science vessel

The USS Enterprise-D is called to render assistance to a crippled Romulan vessel. When they arrive, the vessel is adrift and has taken heavy damage. Commander Riker, Geordi La Forge, Ensign Ro, and Lieutenant Worf beam over. When La Forge surveys the damage, he determines that the graviton generator needs to be replaced, and beams himself and Ro back to the ship along with the damaged part.

However, during transport, something happens to their patterns. The transporter chief cannot get them to rematerialize, so she aborts. However, they do not rematerialize at the original coordinates as the safety protocols indicated. Riker and the engineer conclude they are gone.

Act One

The Romulans are still looking at a core breach. Data and two more engineers go to the ship in a shuttle. When the pressure in the core jumps up, Riker, Worf, and the Romulans are forced to eject it, and do so just in time.

Ensign Ro wakes up near sickbay, finds that she cannot use the communications system, nor does anyone notice her. She enters sickbay, only to hear in third person from Doctor Crusher and Captain Picard that she and La Forge are dead. She cannot get their attention, and when she blocks his path, Picard walks right through her.

Act Two

The Enterprise begins to transfer power to the Romulan ship, as Data examines the transporters for anything that could cause the safety systems to fail. He now finds an energy fluctuation and begins investigating it. He also requests that he may arrange the memorial service, and Captain Picard grants his request.

La Forge also soon finds that he has the same problems as Ro. When she finds him, they start speculating about what happened. La Forge and Ro take two different approaches to their apparent death. Ro tries to accept her death and be at peace with herself. La Forge is determined to figure out what happened, convinced they are still alive.

Act Three

While the chief engineer begins to follow Data's investigation, Ro wanders around the ship, and finds herself in the captain's ready room when Commander Riker tells him that he wants to say a few words about her. This surprises and upsets her, given that she doesn't think he knows her that well. She also begins to speak her mind to the captain and others who can't hear her, telling Picard that she was glad he trusted her. After that, La Forge enters and talks her into going over to the Romulan vessel, where Data believes the problem originated. They take his shuttle, and overhear Data talking to Worf about the memorial service (to which Ro responds with a groan, "Please, not the death chant.")

Using his ability to look through the casing, he discovers that a central device in the Romulan engine room is a phase inverter, which can transform normal matter so it will pass through other matter and energy. He realizes this explains chroniton fields, and their abilities; they are alive, just "out of phase" with normal matter and energy.

After Data is called away, the two of them then hear a Romulan plot to destroy Enterprise so they don't find out about the technology, and when they return to the ship, a phased Romulan follows them.

Act Four

When Data and the transporter chief scan for chroniton fields, La Forge realizes that he and Ro leaving chroniton particles behind them. La Forge tries to get Data to recognize the pattern of his movements, and turn up the anyon intensity so he will be brought back, but to no avail. Data gives up.

Unfortunately, when Ro is following the transporter chief, the Romulan confronts her with a "phased" disrupter. He forces Ro to take him to La Forge, but on the other side of a wall, she jumps him, and knocks him down. A chase ensues, and Ro gets shot in the leg with the disruptor. A fist fight ensues, and La Forge enters (following Data to a very large field) and knocks the Romulan through the ship's hull, and out into space; an action that saves Ro's life.

Act Five

Afterwards, the power transfer beam is disconnected, Picard is thanked, and they are about to engage at warp, when the transporter chief reminds him the decontamination is still going on, and they shouldn't use any major system until it has been completed. La Forge figures that for them to be returned to normal, they will have to be hit with a very large field, and since it will only work for a millisecond, someone will need to be looking right at them. When the memorial service in Ten Forward is announced, they go there.

They start shooting everything with the disruptor. Soon, the chief finds the very large field forming in Ten Forward. However, their attempts to get attention when the field strength is increased fail, and the Enterprise will need to get to Garadius IV soon. So, they make the disruptor overload, and sure enough, a much larger decontamination is attempted. This time, they are seen by Data and the Captain. As Picard wonders what they have just seen, only now does Data put their appearances together with all of the chroniton phenomena - they had been "cloaked" in some manner, and the anyons "de-cloak" them. When the anyon field is put on its highest setting, all of the particles are purged, and the attendees look on is shock as the two of them reappear at their own funeral. Right away, La Forge gives the order to take the warp engines off line - when the ensign in charge at engineering, wondering who could be so callous as to imitate his dead superior, contacts Picard, the captain assures him that he heard right, and the order was valid - and the muon wave is removed before they get underway.

Afterward, with the pair eating after the party has concluded, Ro notes that she gained a new appreciation for her culture's religious beliefs that she once dismissed through the experience. At this confession, La Forge playfully suggests they should develop their own interphase device since if it can teach her humility, then it is surely capable of anything.

Memorable quotes

"But my uniform - my VISOR - are you saying I'm some blind ghost with clothes!?"
"I don't have all the answers! I've never been dead before!"

- La Forge and Ro

"I might like to say a few words..."
"You did know LaForge longer than any of us."
"Actually, I was thinking more about Ensign Ro."

- Riker and Picard

"Me?!?!...Wait a minute, what're you gonna say about me?!"

- Ro, overhearing Riker

"I just...wanted to say thank you...for trusting in me when no one else would."

- Ro, believing she's dead, saying "goodbye" to Picard

"Why can't you just accept the fact..."
"Look - if you're right, then we're dead, and this doesn't make any difference. But if I'm right, then we're still alive."

- Ro and LaForge

"I never knew what a friend was, until I met Geordi. He spoke to me as though I were Human. He treated me no differently from anyone else. He accepted me for what I am. And that - I have learned - is friendship."

- Data to Worf, about La Forge - who heard the whole thing

"Data, that's a nice sentiment - but a little premature."

- LaForge, in response to Data's speech

"I'm dead!"

- Ro

"I've been thinking about the first time I met Geordi LaForge. He was a young officer, assigned to pilot me on an inspection tour, and...I made some off-hand remark about the...the shuttle's engine efficiency not being what it should, and the next morning I found that...he'd stayed up all night, re-fitting the fusion initiators. Well, I knew then that I wanted to have him with me on my next command."

- Picard, practicing a eulogy he wouldn't have to give

"Have you decided what you're going to say about Ensign Ro?"
"Yes I have...it wasn't easy..."

- Picard and Riker, arriving at Ten Forward

"What...What wasn't easy?!...WHAT?!?!?!"

- Ro, once again hearing not quite enough from Riker

"Now I s'pose I'll never know what you were gonna say about me!"

- Ro, to Riker who can't hear her before "shooting" him in the head with a phased disruptor

"C'mon, Data - put it all together!!"

- LaForge, once Data and Picard have seen Ro and him

"These were not ghosts - what did we see?"
"I believe I may know what has happened, sir..."
"Oh, Data, PLEASE be right!"
"...it would explain the mysterious chroniton fields...if they were cloaked in some way!"
"You're saying that they're still alive?!"
"If I am right, sir, they are - and in this room. Their brief appearance coincided with the anyon sweep - perhaps the anyons neutralize the cloaking effect."

- Picard, and Data (with a little encouragement from LaForge), figuring out what happened

"Data, do you see us?"
"Of course."

- LaForge, back in phase, and Data

"Take the warp engines off-line until further notice...there's a muon wave building up in the dilithium chamber."
"Captain... who gave that order?"
"That was Commander Geordi LaForge, Ensign - please follow his instructions."

- LaForge (knowing the engines were sabotaged), Engineering Ensign (suspicious of an order from his "dead" superior), and Picard (assuring him that it was in fact Geordi)

"Looks like a great party - mind if we join you?"

- La Forge, having re-appeared at his own funeral

"Thanks, Data. I've never been to a better funeral."

- La Forge

"We should develop our own interphase device. If it can teach Ro Laren humility, it can do anything."

- La Forge

Background Information

  • The second Jazz piece played during the funeral service is "When the Saints Go Marching In".


  • This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Sound Mixing for a Drama Series.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also Starring

Guest Stars


Uncredited Co-Stars

Stunt doubles


anyon emitter; arboretum; auto-eject system; Bajoran death chant; Bajoran Liaison Office; Borhyas; central computer; chroniton; cloaking device; computer core; containment chamber; death certificate; dilithium chamber; disruptor; "Down by the Riverside"; emergency bulkhead; energizing coil; engine core; Garadius IV; Garadius system; Garon IV; ghost; graviton field generator (graviton generator); imaging scanner; interphase generator; jazz; kolem; lateral sensor array; level 1 diagnostic; level 3 diagnostic; main power; melakol; memorial service; molecular phase inverter; muon; power transfer beam; prototype; replicator; resonator coil; science officer; Ro Gale; Ro Talia; sensor return signal; subspace resonator; trombone; trumpet; tuba; warp core breach

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Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 5
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