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When Riker's first commanding officer comes aboard to aid in the search for the vessel they served on, he is forced to rethink the actions he took at that time.



Captain Picard Day

Captain Picard Day

In the observation lounge aboard the USS Enterprise-D, a brightly-colored banner hanging by the room's viewports proclaims it to be "Captain Picard Day". Picard, somewhat unhappy with the idea, surveys the numerous entries made for the event by the crew's children with Deanna Troi, as Commander Riker looks on, amused. Riker playfully uses one of the dolls and imitates Picard's voice, much to the captain's annoyance. A priority one message from Vice Admiral Blackwell is received, forcing him to excuse himself from the judging momentarily. After the admiral inquires as to the Enterprise's current status – conducting surveys of the Mekoria Quasar – she orders Picard to immediately rendezvous with the USS Crazy Horse in Sector 1607 and pick up an operative from Starfleet Intelligence. She tells Picard the operative will brief him on his orders when he arrives. She also adds that Picard is authorized to exceed warp speed limitations for the duration of the mission. Noticing the banner behind Picard, she also inquires about "Captain Picard Day," which embarrasses Picard. Laughing nervously, he tells the admiral that he is a role model for the children aboard the Enterprise. She tells Picard that she is sure he is and ends the transmission.

Erik Pressman greets William T

"It's good to see you, sir."
"Yeah, sure it is. You look like you're about to faint."

Later, Picard walks to the transporter room with Riker. Picard mentions that he has set up a "Commander Riker Day" for next month and Riker sarcastically says that he thinks it's great. Entering the transporter room, Picard orders that the individual be beamed aboard. The operative turns out to be Erik Pressman, a former commanding officer of Riker's, and now a rear admiral. Picard recalls that Pressman was the captain of the USS Pegasus, Riker's first assignment. Pressman states that the Pegasus is the reason for his arrival – at Riker's shocked visage, he reveals that the ship is still out there "…and the Romulans have found her."

Act One[]

Back in the observation lounge, Pressman briefs the Enterprise's senior staff on the Pegasus – a prototype vessel, the Pegasus was lost in the region twelve years earlier after what was reported to be a warp core breach. Riker, Pressman and seven others survived the ship's destruction by evacuating in escape pods. Although she was declared destroyed, three days earlier, a Starfleet Intelligence operative within Romulan High Command reported that a piece of debris from the Pegasus has been discovered in the Devolin system, and a warbird is currently searching for the rest of the ship. Since the Pegasus was carrying experimental technologies, Starfleet cannot risk the ship falling into Romulan hands. The Enterprise must find the ship first and either salvage it or destroy it if necessary. Picard orders a course laid in for the system.

Upon arriving in the system, the warbird Terix decloaks in front of the Enterprise. After a tense standoff with weapons armed, its captain, Sirol, hails the Enterprise and inquires as to the nature of their mission. When Picard returns the inquiry, Sirol answers that the warbird is investigating gaseous anomalies in the area – a mission Picard notes that they are also engaged in and suggests that they pool their resources towards a common goal. After Sirol declines and the warbird moves off, Picard orders the search underway.

Later, in Ten Forward, Pressman and Riker share a drink – Pressman asking about when Riker grew his beard – but conversation quickly turns to the Pegasus and the "experiment" she carries. Riker wonders whether they did the right thing, but Pressman notes that what they were doing was "for the good of the Federation" and that the others simply couldn't see that. Riker is shocked when Pressman reveals that if they succeed in recovering the Pegasus, he plans on restarting the experiment, with the support of many admirals within Starfleet, including Admiral Raner, the chief of Starfleet Security. Raner has issued orders that prohibit Riker from discussing the true nature of their mission with anyone, including Picard. Pressman notes that this time, there will be no one to stop them.

Act Two[]

With the search continuing, Picard entertains Pressman in his quarters, where the two discuss Riker, and how Picard originally chose him to become first officer – based on the fact that Riker placed more importance on the safety of his ship and crew than on his own career or the chain of command by refusing to let Captain DeSoto beam down to Altair III. Pressman disagrees with Picard, believing that the chain of command is sacrosanct, although he apologizes for his outburst, stating that the mission is bringing up old ghosts for him. Picard then turns the conversation to those old ghosts, noting that the reports of the destruction of the Pegasus are oddly vague, and asks if Pressman could add any more to what he already knows. Pressman declines, but notes that Riker was crucial in their escape, because he was willing to trust his judgment without question.

Meanwhile, Riker enters sickbay, having sustained a broken rib during bat'leth training with Worf. While Dr. Crusher works to repair the injury, Riker berates himself at having been so stupid, but is obviously distracted with something else. With the injury healed, Crusher said he just made a mistake, and he will do better next time. Riker simply replies with "yeah… maybe…".

Discovering the Pegasus

Discovering the Pegasus

The search has entered Grid 158 and, with the Romulans a good distance away, La Forge detects a subspace resonance signature coming from a nearby asteroidGamma-601 – that could be from a Federation warp core. Riker orders the ship closer, as Picard and Pressman join them. Pressman recognizes some of the signature's variance patterns as being from the Pegasus. Sensors reveal that the signature is coming from within the asteroid itself – which contains deep chasms large enough for a starship to enter. Data speculates that the vessel could have been caught in the asteroid's gravitational field and pulled inside. However, before the crew can investigate further, the Terix is detected heading for them, and it would take more time than they have to locate the Pegasus. Riker immediately suggests that the asteroid be destroyed, taking the Pegasus with it, which Pressman objects to. Picard asks Data if saturating the asteroid with verterons would prevent the Romulans from detecting the Pegasus. The android replies that the strategy would work, but since verterons are artificial, that would quickly reveal the deception to the Romulans. La Forge suggests blanketing the asteroid with ionizing radiation instead – since there are high levels already present in the system, it wouldn't look out of place. The Enterprise moves away, as the warbird swoops in.

Act Three[]

The plan works, and the Romulans fail to detect the Pegasus, moving back onto their original search pattern. Picard requests that the search be continued, in order to further convince the Romulans that the asteroid is empty, before heading off-watch. Pressman then asks that Riker join him in the captain's ready room, where he lays into the commander for suggesting that they destroy the Pegasus. When Riker hits back, Pressman remarks that he has changed, and that he likes that Riker now states his opinion and sticks by it – but hopes that he hasn't lost his sense of duty, and that Pressman can count on him again.

Riker later brings an analysis of the scans on the Pegasus to Picard in his quarters while having dinner. Once there, Picard questions him about a report from the Judge Advocate General concerning a mutiny that took place aboard the Pegasus prior to its apparent destruction – a report that Captain Picard obtained by as he puts it "calling in a lot of favors" from his own friends and contacts in Starfleet, as it had been classified. Picard is surprised that Riker never mentioned it and presses him to reveal what happened. Riker recalls that during a test on the engines, an explosion in main engineering caused the first officer, chief engineer, and most of the bridge staff to mutiny against Pressman, believing that he was endangering the ship. Riker, "…seven months out of the Academy, [his] head still ringing with words like 'duty' and 'honor'", armed himself with a phaser and defended his captain. When it became clear that most of the crew were against Pressman, the nine officers remaining engaged in a running firefight all the way to the escape pods, where they fled the ship which then appeared to explode. Despite this, Picard continues quoting from the report – the Judge Advocate believed that the survivors were covering up what really happened, and had advised further investigation, but that investigation never took place. The report was classified and then quietly buried. Picard lays into his first officer for possibly conspiring to cover up the truth of what really happened on the Pegasus and demands to know what is going on. After Riker reveals he has been ordered by Pressman not to discuss anything further, Picard reluctantly drops it as he cannot force Riker to disobey an admiral's orders. However, Picard makes it clear he is very angry at being left in the dark and warns Riker that if Pressman puts the ship at risk, he will be forced to reevaluate Riker's position aboard the Enterprise.

Asteroid Gamma 601

The Enterprise-D enters the asteroid.

Still seeking answers, Picard contacts Admiral Blackwell once again, to request a delay in the mission, which is denied. She is unwilling to provide any more details, and terminates the communication, telling Picard he had better carry out the mission. The Enterprise is now approaching the asteroid, and the Romulans are well beyond sensor range – allowing the starship to proceed undetected. Data has been monitoring the Pegasus' sensor readings and concludes that the majority of the warp core is still intact. The problem is getting to the ship – transporting through the depths of solid rock involved would be very unsafe, and a shuttlecraft would be susceptible to any fluctuations in magnetic, gravimetric or gravitational fields. Pressman thus concludes that the best way to proceed is to take the Enterprise itself in through one of the larger fissures. Picard strongly objects, but Pressman overrules him, ordering him to proceed. Picard asks Data to note his objection in the ship's log, and orders Ensign Gates to pilot the Enterprise into the fissure on maneuvering thrusters.

Act Four[]

USS Pegasus

The Pegasus, embedded within solid stone

Deep within the asteroid, the Enterprise encounter shifts in the magnetic field, and Picard warns Pressman that if the fissure narrows any further, he will abort the mission, regardless of potential insubordination charges. However, a large resonance signature appears on sensors before that happens. An Oberth-class starship appears on the main viewer, partially embedded in a rock face: USS Pegasus. Pressman kills off the crew's speculation as to how it could have been enveloped as it has, and orders Riker to accompany him aboard, overriding Picard's request to beam a full away team aboard, citing the sensitive nature of the equipment aboard.

Federation cloaking device

The interphasic cloak

With life support restored in the Pegasus' engineering section, provided by the Enterprise using a power transfer beam on the ship, Pressman and Riker materialize aboard. Looking through the engineering section, Riker remarks on how perfectly preserved the section is after being exposed to space for twelve years. While Riker wonders how many of the crew are buried within the rock face, Pressman is more interested in retrieving a cylindrical object connected to the main console. He is surprised at Riker's lack of enthusiasm over the recovery, and angered when Riker reveals that he cannot allow Pressman to start the experiments again, which is as wrong today as it was 12 years prior, and that, if he had the chance to redo the events that took place twelve years earlier, he would have been on the side of the mutineers. Pressman points out that if he sided with the mutineers, he would be among the dead in this area, but Riker shoots back saying they were brave enough to stop him from violating a treaty that the Federation signed in good faith, and that starting these experiments again would add to the death count already. As the two continue to argue, the Pegasus is rocked by a series of blasts, and Picard orders them to beam back to the Enterprise, which they do – along with the object.

As they reach the bridge, they discover that their way out is cut off – the Romulans have sealed the entrance of the fissure with disruptor fire, trapping the Enterprise in the chasm.

Act Five[]

Sirol hails the Enterprise, remarking that the ship is in a rather precarious situation. When Picard challenges him about the destruction of the passage, Sirol is apologetic – their geological experiments on the surface may have caused it, but they were unaware of the Enterprise's presence within the asteroid. He suggests transporting them aboard the Terix and taking them back to Romulus; from there, they will be returned to the Federation. Picard thanks him for the "generous" offer, and the communication is terminated. Worf suggests that the phasers could be used to cut through, but Data advises against it – further weapons fire could collapse the remainder of the unstable passage, destroying the Enterprise. Riker makes a suggestion – use the piece of equipment Pressman brought back from the Pegasus: a prototype for a Federation cloaking device, the entire reason for the mission. Pressman warns Riker that his career is now over with his admission. Picard is surprised, but now understands clearly – the Treaty of Algeron strictly prohibits the development of cloaking technology by the Federation, and Pressman's action are a violation of that agreement. Pressman attempts to relieve Picard of command, but the senior staff stand firm, Riker noting that, unlike last time, no one is willing to come to his defense. Picard asks how the cloak can be used to escape the asteroid; Riker explains that the device was "more than just a cloak" and would phase a ship equipped with it so that it could pass through solid matter. Picard orders it to be adapted for use by the Enterprise.

"Captain's log, Stardate 47457.1. We have been trapped inside the asteroid for over eight hours. Mr. Data and Commander La Forge inform me that they are nearly ready to engage the cloak."
Enterprise interphase decloaking

The Enterprise decloaking

In engineering, Data and La Forge complete the final connections between the interphasic cloaking device and the Enterprise. La Forge notes that there is a danger of the entire plasma relay system blowing out if the intercooler levels are not closely monitored. Riker realizes that this could explain what the survivors saw happen to the Pegasus – the plasma relays blew out, and the resultant ignition of free plasma caused the explosion that Riker and the others saw. The ship drifted into the asteroid field still cloaked, the device finally failing while the ship was partially phased through solid rock. The device is brought online, and the Enterprise disappears as the cloak engages. Picard orders the ship out of the asteroid, and the device allows them to pass through the debris blocking their escape, and out into deep space. As the Enterprise clears the asteroid, the Terix is detected off the port bow, holding position outside the asteroid. Picard orders the cloak disengaged, despite Pressman's desperate objection. The starship decloaks, directly in front of the Terix. Picard orders Worf to send a message to the warbird, advising them that the Romulan government will be contacted shortly regarding the incident. He then orders, under his authority as captain of the Enterprise, that Pressman is to be placed under arrest and charged with violating the Treaty of Algeron. Riker points out that he will have to be placed under arrest as well, and Picard reluctantly agrees. Worf escorts Riker and the admiral off the bridge, Pressman angrily notes that he has a lot of friends at Starfleet Command; Picard quietly muses to himself that the admiral is going to need them.

Clearing the Devolin system, Picard comes to Riker in the Enterprise's brig. Dismissing Armstrong and disengaging the force field, he comes into the cell. He tells Riker that Fleet Admiral Shanthi has spoken to the captain to say that a full inquiry into the Pegasus incident will take place once the ship reaches Starbase 247, which would result in a general court martial of Pressman and several others at Starfleet Intelligence; Picard tells Riker that he'll have some hard questions to answer, and may lose some of the respect he has earned since his days aboard the Pegasus. But, Picard notes, Riker stepped forward and did the right thing, even knowing the cost. As long as Riker can still do that, then he will still be able to wear his uniform, and Picard will continue to be proud to have him as his first officer. Together, the two officers walk out of the brig.

Memorable quotes[]

"I don't know, I think the resemblance is rather striking. Wouldn't you agree, Number One?"
"Isn't there something you have to do?"
"I'll be on the bridge."

- Riker, imitating in both sentences Picard's voice while playing with a Picard doll, and a rather annoyed Picard


- Troi, admonishing him playfully to put the doll down (it appeared as if Will was taking it with him to the bridge).

"Captain Picard Day?"
"Oh uh…Yes it's a… it's it's for the children. I'm a… (nervous chuckle) I'm a role model."
"I'm sure you are. Starfleet out."

- Admiral Blackwell and Picard, regarding the decorations behind the latter during communications

"So, who won the contest?"
"Oh, uh Paul Menegay, a seven-year-old. He did a most interesting clay sculpture of my head."
"Was that the orange one with the lumpy skin?"
"Yes. Oh, you'll be interested to know that I've arranged for a Commander Riker Day next month. I'm even considering making an entry myself."

- Riker and Picard

"Will! I bet you never thought you'd see me again!"
"… it's good to see you, sir."
"Yeah, sure it is, you look like you're about to faint!"

- Admiral Pressman and Riker

"Will, don't worry. It won't be like it was twelve years ago… and this time no one's going to stop us."

- Pressman, to Riker

"He disobeyed a direct order, and he risked a general court martial because he thought he was right. And when I read that, I knew that I had found my Number One."

- Picard telling Pressman how he chose Riker as his first officer

"Will, don't worry about it. You made a mistake, no harm done. You'll do better next time."
"Yeah… maybe."

- Riker and Dr. Crusher talking at cross purposes

"Sir, may I suggest you take this up with Admiral Pr…"
"I'm taking this up with you, Will! The Judge Advocate thought that you were participating in a conspiracy to cover up the truth!"

- Riker is confronted by Picard over what really happened on the Pegasus twelve years earlier

"Now that doesn't sound like the same man who grabbed a phaser and defended his captain twelve years ago."
"I've had twelve years to think about it. And if I had it to do over again, I would've grabbed the phaser and pointed it at you instead of them."
"So, on reflection, you'd rather be a traitor than a hero."
"I wasn't a hero, and neither were you! What you did was wrong, and I was wrong to support you, but I was too young and too stupid to realize it! You were the captain; I was the ensign. I was just following orders."
"And if you hadn't, you'd be dead right now along with all the rest of them! Dead because you listened to a bunch of mutinous cowards who were too blinded by fear to see what I was trying to do!"
"They were brave enough to risk their lives to stop you from violating a treaty the Federation signed in good faith!"

- Admiral Pressman and Riker

"I made you, mister and I can break you just as easily!"

- Pressman, to Riker

"That's what it's about… a cloaking device. In the Treaty of Algeron, the Federation specifically agreed not to develop cloaking technology."
"And that treaty is the biggest mistake we ever made! Its kept us from exploiting a vital area of defense!"
"That treaty has kept us in peace for sixty years! And as a Starfleet officer, you're supposed to uphold it."
"Now that's enough! I'm taking command of this vessel! Mr. Worf, escort the captain to his quarters!"
(Worf folds his arms and neither moves nor speaks.)
"I don't think anyone's going to come to your defense this time."

- Picard, Admiral Pressman, and Riker, after the truth of the mission is discovered

"I have a lot of friends at Starfleet Command, Captain!"
"You're going to need them."

- Admiral Pressman, under arrest, and Picard

"I've spoken to Fleet Admiral Shanthi. There will be a full inquiry once we reach Starbase 247, and that will probably lead to a general court martial of Admiral Pressman and several others at Starfleet Intelligence. Your involvement in this affair is going to be thoroughly investigated, Will. There'll be some hard questions for you to answer."
"I understand."
"You made a mistake twelve years ago, but your service since then has earned you a great deal of respect, but this incident may cost you some of that respect."
"I can't help but feel I should have come forward a long time ago."
"But when the moment came to make a decision, you made the right one. You chose to tell the truth and face the consequences. So long as you can still do that, then you deserve to wear that uniform. And I will still be proud to have you as my first officer."

- Picard and Riker

Background information[]

Frakes, Stewart, Burton and O'Quinn

Frakes, Stewart, director Burton and Terry O'Quinn

Production history[]

Story and script[]

Terry O'Quinn and Jonathan Frakes

O'Quinn and Frakes relax during filming

  • Noting that once again a high-ranking Starfleet officer goes rogue, Moore quipped, "I am proud to say that I've written another insane Admiral. They must put something in the water at Federation Headquarters." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Science adviser André Bormanis provided his first original "technobabble" to the series with the "duonetic field". The name was a homage to Richard Daystrom's duotronics from TOS: "The Ultimate Computer". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 278)
  • This episode is foreshadowed, albeit unintentionally, by the events of "The Next Phase" in which the Romulans are also developing a cloaking device which can phase through matter. In that episode, La Forge recommends the Federation develop an interphase device (albeit as a joke directed at Ro Laren and never mentioning being able to cloak as well).
  • The events of the Star Trek: Enterprise series finale, "These Are the Voyages...", take place during this episode. In that episode, we find out that Riker ran a holodeck simulation of Enterprise NX-01's final voyage to help him decide whether or not to tell Captain Picard about the cloaking device.
  • In the ending of Ronald D. Moore's first draft of teleplay, Riker was punished far more severely for his actions in the Pegasus affair, being sentenced to thirty days in the brig and being given a formal reprimand on his record that would end any realistic chance of him ever being promoted to captain, with only Riker's inexperience at the time of the incident saving him from being severely demoted and removed from the crew of the Enterprise. [3]


Levar Burton and Michael Mack

LeVar Burton and Michael Mack between takes


  • When Admiral Pressman and Riker are being transported back from the USS Pegasus with the cloaking device, the tricorder used by Pressman is left behind on top of the console where the equipment was installed.
  • The dead crew of the Pegasus are wearing the newer loose uniform with shoulder pads, despite their lying there for 12 years, before the uniform change.
  • Deanna Troi only appears in the teaser for this episode but the Star Trek: Enterprise series finale, "These Are the Voyages...", which takes place during the events of this episode, shows what she was doing.
  • When Pressman asks Riker how long he's had a beard, he says "about four years". It's actually been almost five and a half at this point, as he first wore the beard in "The Child", at the start of Season 2.


  • The short story "Loose Ends" in the Star Trek: New Frontier anthology book No Limits features Mackenzie Calhoun, while working undercover for Starfleet Intelligence, sneaking aboard the Romulan ship that is transporting the cloaking device that the Pegasus was using back to Romulan space in order to destroy it.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

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Special guest star[]


Uncredited co-stars[]



2311; 2320; 2358; 2363; 2366; 2369; Altair III; Alpha 331; asteroid; bat'leth; Beta 071; Beta Quadrant; board of inquiry; Boylen; brig; busted; "Captain Picard Day"; career; Chain of command; Chief of Starfleet Intelligence (female Chief of Starfleet Intelligence); Chief of Starfleet Security; cloaking device; command structure; "Commander Riker Day"; Crazy Horse, USS; D'deridex-class; density; DeSoto, Robert; Devolin system; doll; drawings; energy output study; (aka quasar study) escape pod; fainting; Farpoint Station; Federation; fleet admiral; Galaxy-class; Gamma-601; gaseous anomaly; general court martial; helmsman; Hood, USS; honorable mention; inertial damper; ionizing radiation; Judge Advocate General; Judge Advocate General's Report; letter of recommendation; magnetic field; metallurgy; meter; Mekoria Quasar; memorial service; Menegay, Paul; Mintakan tapestry; mutineer; mutiny; number one; Pegasus, USS; Pegasus chief engineer; Pegasus first officer; phasing cloaking device; phenomenon; planetary body; polarity; Pressman's cohorts; priority one message; quadrant; Raner; red alert; resonance signature; rib; rock face; role model; Romulan; Romulan High Command; Romulus; sashimi; Sector 1607; sense of humor; sensor range; Shanthi; speed limit; Starbase 247; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Intelligence; Starfleet Security; statistics; subspace channel; tachyon scan; terakine; Terix; Tomed Incident; traitor; Treaty of Algeron; verteron; warbird, Romulan; warp core breach; warbird, Romulan; warship, Romulan; width; yellow alert

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; New Orleans-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

External links[]

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