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An elderly Starfleet admiral hides a deadly secret as he leads the Enterprise-D in a hostage rescue mission.



The USS Enterprise-D has been sent to Persephone V to confer with Admiral Mark Jameson. Starfleet received a subspace transmission from Karnas, the governor of Mordan IV two days previously. In it, he says that terrorists have taken the Federation Ambassador Hawkins and his staff hostage. They want to talk to a Federation negotiator, and in his opinion there is only one man qualified – Admiral Jameson. Captain Picard transmits the message to Jameson and asks that he come with them. Mordan is at peace after forty years of civil war and Picard wonders why Karnas would be unable to deal with this threat, having settled the civil war five years ago. Jameson was the man who negotiated the release of hostages from Mordan 45 years previously.

Jameson beams aboard in a wheelchair with his wife, Anne. In the transporter room, Jameson warns Picard that Starfleet has designated him senior mission officer, and as such he will be in charge of the away team and the mission itself. However, Picard will still be in command of the Enterprise. Picard is slightly taken aback but agrees to this.

Act One[]

Support chair

Jameson as an old man

They go to the bridge, where Karnas contacts them again. He informs Jameson of the situation on Mordan and says that the terrorists demand that the discussions are held on Mordan, and that they speak only with the Federation negotiator. Jameson accepts the conditions, and the transmission ends. Deanna Troi says that, judging by Karnas' body language and tone, she senses that he is being honest, but that he is also holding something back. Jameson suggests that maybe he doesn't want to admit his failure to deal with the situation.

Doctor Beverly Crusher contacts Picard and says she's ready to perform the standard medical exam on Jameson, who looks nervous at this, which Troi notices. They go first to the ready room, where Riker asks how Karnas knew Jameson was still alive. He says he briefed Hawkins before he took over his post on Mordan. Data wonders what the terrorists want, but no one is able to offer an answer.

Later in Jameson's quarters, he gets out of his wheelchair and staggers to a chair. His wife says he seems better, but then he gets a sharp pain in his chest. She wants to call sickbay but he won't let her. He says it has happened before, but it will go away.

In the ready room, Dr. Crusher is talking to Picard. She says that the medical records Jameson gave her were two months old and not two days old as he claimed. She wonders why he lied to her about this. Picard reminds Crusher that he's 85 years old, but Crusher says he suffers from Iverson's Disease, which affects the body but not the mind. Picard decides he wants her on the bridge for the duration of the mission so she'll be on hand should anything come up with Jameson.

As the Enterprise approaches the Idini Star Cluster, Picard asks Jameson if he would like to take the conn as they make transit. He amazes everyone by standing up and walking slowly to the conn, which Geordi La Forge relinquishes to the admiral. He says he has begun some new therapy that is working well for him.

Act Two[]

In the ready room, Crusher says there's no known cure for Iverson's and it has never been known to go into remission. Jameson has been confined to the wheelchair for the last four years due to the effects of the disease. Picard orders Crusher to look into this, thoroughly.

In his quarters, Jameson is watching the recording of Karnas' initial message again, when his wife comes in. He stands up and walks over to her. She's delighted at first but then gets suspicious after looking at his face. She brings him over to a mirror and sees that he looks twenty years younger. Suddenly, he gets the chest pain again and she calls sickbay, telling them there is a medical emergency. After examining him, Crusher tells Picard that she has detected some unknown chemicals in his bloodstream, and that there is no trace of Iverson's Disease, but she doesn't know how this is possible.

Jameson scares his wife

"We can be together again!"

Picard goes to Jameson's quarters, where he now looks about fifty. He demands answers, so Jameson tells him how he obtained a drug from Cerberus II that rejuvenates the body. He negotiated a treaty there and the inhabitants gave him the medicine, as they felt obligated to honor his request. It is a combination of drugs to be slowly administered over two years. He got enough for himself and his wife but took both doses himself when this mission came up. After Picard leaves without getting answers to his questions, Anne gets upset, saying he didn't think of her and why did he not tell her what he was doing. She goes to the next room, and Jameson leaves his quarters.

Jameson goes to the observation lounge and opens a secure communications frequency to Mordan. He talks to Karnas and asks him who's behind the kidnapping. He claims it is political opponents. He says that now that Jameson is returning, it is as if the last 45 years never happened. Jameson comments that Karnas never forgave him. Then he realizes that Karnas has the hostages and there are no terrorists. Karnas says he's going to ask a very high price for their release.

Jameson goes to the bridge and tells Picard to increase the Enterprise's speed to warp 8 to put Karnas off balance. He tells Picard that Karnas has the hostages and that negotiations are no longer the answer. He intends to lead an away team on an armed rescue mission.

Act Three[]

Mark Jameson, teenager

Jameson as a young man

Jameson notes that the maze of tunnels under the city were simply built over without changing. He reckons that Karnas is holding the hostages there, the same as he did 45 years ago; La Forge points out that could be a trap, but Jameson responds that Karnas is just using the same tactics because he is dogmatic; what tactics worked for him in the past he still uses. He claims again that an armed raid is the only option. Picard tells him that the Federation might feel differently now that the situation has changed, but Jameson still claims command of the mission.

Meanwhile, Troi, Crusher and Anne are talking in the doctor's office. Anne is distraught, asking why he did what he did. Then Crusher breaks the news that Jameson is not stabilizing, and that his life is now in danger.

Jameson and Enterprise away team

"Riker, you're in command of the Enterprise. Energize!"

Picard goes to the observation lounge, where Jameson is sitting in the shadows, initially keeping his face turned away from the captain. He slowly turns to face Picard in his chair and reveals himself to be now in his thirties. Picard asks why the mission is so important to him and what he is hiding. Jameson tells how Karnas took the passengers of a starliner hostage 45 years ago and demanded weapons from Starfleet. After two other negotiators were killed, Jameson went in and brought the hostages out safely, as the official version goes. What really happened was that it wasn't Jameson's golden oratory that saved the hostages; he gave Karnas the weapons he wanted in order to avenge his father's death at the hands of his enemies; and then Jameson gave the exact same weapons to his rivals. Picard is appalled, but Jameson defends his actions, stating that this was his way of bending the Prime Directive without technically breaking it; allowing both sides to solve their problems on an equal basis. However, this plunged Mordan into forty years of civil war, instead of the brief skirmish that Jameson thought would happen. Picard points out that not just Jameson brought about the civil war, Karnas could have worked for peace instead of continuing the fighting. But Jameson said he started it, and now he wants a chance to vindicate himself. He came to negotiate, but all Karnas wants is revenge, which is why he demanded Jameson when he knew that he was still alive. But Jameson is not going to give in to his demands. He's going to do what he should have done the first time and take the hostages out by force, if necessary.

When the away team prepares to beam down, Picard decides to go with them, leaving Riker in charge of the Enterprise.

Act Four[]

Data, Yar, and Picard on Mordan IV

"Captain, the admiral is definitely incorrect."

Jameson beams down to Mordan along with Picard, Data, Worf, La Forge, and Tasha Yar. They move through the tunnels under the city following Jameson's memory of the tunnel layout, even though Data scans reveal that things changed since Jameson was last there 45 years earlier. They eventually find their way to the area where Jameson believes that the hostages are being held but there is a recently built steelplast wall blocking the path. The landing party blasts their way through the wall, but in doing so alert Karnas's troopers to their location. A phaser fight ensues, and as they take cover, Jameson suddenly clutches his chest and collapses into Data's arms. Initially, Picard assumes that he was hit by a phaser blast, but there is no sign of a visible injury. With the group outnumbered and Jameson unable to continue, they all beam back up to the Enterprise.

Phaser fight

Met with force

Back aboard the Enterprise, Picard reports to Riker that Jameson's condition is deteriorating sharply. An infuriated Karnas then hails them, saying that he knows full well that Jameson beamed down and tried to extract the hostages by force, and demanding that the admiral be turned over to him. Picard tells him he's critically ill, but Karnas doesn't care. He gives them ten minutes to beam Jameson down. Picard goes to sickbay, where Jameson is very sick. However, he still wants to beam down so he can save the hostages, but Picard tells him that even if the hostages are still in the same place, he is in no condition to attempt another rescue mission. Riker then contacts Picard, informing him that Karnas has sent another message; if Jameson is not turned over within the next five minutes, one of the hostages will be the victim of a "most painful" execution, after which Karnas will continue to execute the hostages at a rate of once every fifteen minutes. Picard realizes that he is now out of options and has no alternative but to allow Jameson to beam down, even though this will mean almost certain death at Karnas' hands.

They beam down along with Dr. Crusher. Karnas doesn't recognize Jameson, and Picard insists the man with him is in fact Jameson.

Act Five[]

Karnas doesn't believe Picard and demands that the real Jameson beam down. Jameson talks to him and calls him by his old title to try to convince him. But Karnas still doesn't believe him, saying he's been coached. Jameson collapses, and Picard tells Karnas about the age reversing, but Karnas won't be moved. He blames Jameson for the war, death and destruction that have taken place on Mordan. Picard tells Anne Jameson to beam down and shows Karnas a visual record put together by Dr. Crusher of Jameson's transformation in an effort to convince him.

Jameson dies

Jameson dies of young age

Picard tells Karnas that some of the blame lies on his head as well, and that Jameson wanted to atone for what he did. Jameson, although sick and sweating, manages to convince Karnas by showing him the scar of the blood cut on his wrist they made to seal the bargain. Karnas takes a phaser, intending to shoot Jameson, ironically with one of the weapons he provided to Karnas, but then he stops, saying he would get better revenge in seeing him suffer. Anne talks to Jameson and says she'll always love him as he dies in her arms. Satisfied with Jameson's death, Karnas tells Picard the hostages will be freed immediately, and is prepared to cooperate. Jameson is buried on Mordan at the request of his widow and the consent of Karnas. The Enterprise leaves the planet, heading for Isis III.

Log entry[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Come here."
"I hope you're heading for the bedroom!"

- Anne and Mark Jameson

"Make it so."

- Mark Jameson

"I'm strong, I'm alert, I'm fit! I'm fitter than you are, Picard. And I'm getting younger!"

- Mark Jameson

"What I don't understand sir, is how Karnas knew you were still… available."
"Still alive, you mean."

- Riker and Jameson

"So… Jameson, I see time has not been too kind."
"It seldom is, Karnas."

- Jameson and Karnas

"There's no substitute, Lieutenant, for a little personal reconnoiter."

- Jameson, to Yar

"They're phasers, sir. Set on kill."
"Thank you, Mr. Data. I have heard the sound before!"

- Data and Picard

"If it's you, show me the scar."
"There! The blood cut you gave me to seal our bargain!"

- Karnas asks Jameson to give proof of his identity

"It is you. Somehow… it is you!"

- Karnas, realizing Jameson has de-aged

"Sir, look out!"

- Worf, to Jameson

"The admiral?"
"Sickbay. 'Not good' is a galactic understatement."

- Riker and Picard

"Annie… with the golden hair."
"Flatterer. It's gray now."
"I see only the gold…"

- Mark Jameson and Anne Jameson, as Mark Jameson dies in his wife's arms

"Rest, Jameson. Your long night… and mine, are over."

- Karnas, after Admiral Jameson dies

"The quest for youth, Number One. So futile."

- Picard, to Riker

Background information[]

Production history[]

Too Short A Season shooting schedule

The first page of the shooting schedule

Story and script[]

  • In Michael Michaelian's original script, Jameson's name was Paul Jameson (though he was mentioned as having a son named Mark), and he was in his 60s and in decent physical shape. In this story, Jameson demoted himself to the rank of commander, and moved Riker away from the Enterprise-D to command his own ship, the USS Falcon. His de-ageing treatment was only meant to make him younger by two decades, but an unforeseen complication from Jameson receiving a transfusion of alien blood served to make it far more effective than it should have been. Other elements of this early script included the planet Mordan IV being under threat from a Ferengi invasion, and the planet having strategic importance due to being the only source of a powerful anti-viral drug (which was likely removed due to a similar plot detail having appeared earlier that season in "Code of Honor"). [2]
  • At the end of Michaelian's script, Jameson did not die, but reverted to the age of fourteen. The accelerated de-ageing also had the side effect of erasing all of his memories past any given age, eventually including those of his wife. He helped Governor Zepec and his rival, a high priest, in their negotiations, after they take Jameson's de-ageing as the fulfilment of an ancient prophecy whereby a warrior will return from the stars and be reborn as a young man. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 1st ed., p. 43) At the end, the fourteen-year-old Jameson received a tour of the Enterprise-D by Wesley Crusher. (Creating the Next Generation, p. 54)
  • In common with Co-Producer Herbert J. Wright's final draft script for "The Last Outpost", Associate Producer D.C. Fontana's script for this episode was tampered with by Gene Roddenberry's meddling attorney, Leonard Maizlish. As a result of his tweaks, the script suddenly included handwritten changes as well as a pair of new scenes, including one with Wesley Crusher, that Maizlish claimed had been written by Roddenberry. Aware that Roddenberry had been out of town and therefore could not have written the scenes, Supervising Producer Rick Berman asked Maizlish, who had been strongly in favor of Wesley being included in all scripts, if he had actually written them, to which Maizlish admitted that he had. "Berman said he told Maizlish he could in no way present these scenes to me for inclusion in the script," Fontana recalled. "The next morning, Berman and [fellow Supervising Producer] Robert H. Justman had come in early to make sure [that day's scenes] were ready to go to the stage, and they had found a Maizlish-written scene inserted in the revised pages. In addition, there were Maizlish-originated line and word changes incorporated into the revised pages. Berman and Justman were outraged. Berman called Roddenberry at home and informed him of the incident and also told him that I had every right to go straight to the WGA and begin a suit against Maizlish, Roddenberry, and Paramount, and that Berman would back me one hundred percent if I did so. [And] Justman called Maizlish personally and ripped him up one side and down the other for having the gall to insert his own material in a script." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, pp. 75-76)


Bowman, Stewart, Rohner

Director Bowman with Patrick Stewart and Clayton Rohner

Sets, props, and costumes[]

Mordan IV set extension matte painting

The re-used matte painting from Spaceballs

Cast and characters[]


  • This episode marks the first appearance of a uniformed Starfleet admiral in The Next Generation, although Q wore an admiral's dress uniform in "Hide And Q".
  • In this episode, Admiral Jameson sits in the command chair while Picard is seen occupying the first officer's chair. This is one of three episodes where Picard sits in Riker's chair - the other two being TNG: "The Naked Now" and TNG: "All Good Things...".
  • The title of this episode is very similar to that of a play for television written by Gene Roddenberry, "So Short A Season," starring Albert Salmi and Rip Torn, which aired as a segment of NBC's The Kaiser Aluminum Hour on Tuesday 12 February 1957.


  • Director Rob Bowman recalls, "That was a show with a lot of dialogue. I considered it sit and tell, rather than show and tell, and I prefer to show the audience. I believe in the word, but one of your tools in making movies is visual aspects, and just as there is verbal dialogue, there is visual dialogue. One without the other can get very monotonous. But, the real treat for me was working with Clayton Rohner. He and I got together on weekends, and I think that's the most I ever spent with an actor off the clock, developing a character. We just decided to do it, and it was pretty much his episode, with all of them reacting to him. It was a solid episode, with lots of makeup challenges, special FX and a wheelchair that never worked." ("Rob Bowman - Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 10, p. 16)
  • A mission report for this episode by Carr D'Angelo was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 4, pp. 47-52.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt double[]



2279; 2314; 2319; 2359; 2360; 2362; admiral; advisor; age; agreement; alarm trigger; alien; ambassador; anniversary; answer; Ardan; assassin; assignment;away team; bargain; bedroom; "big jump"; bird; blood sample; body; body language; bottle; bridge; career; case; cell; cellular structure; Cerberus II; Cerberus II native; Cerberus system; charade; chemical substance; chess; chest; chief; civil war; commodity; communication; communication frequency; conclusion; conn station; coordinates; crime; crisis; cure; date; day; de-aging drug; deal; death; decade; deck; desk; desktop monitor; discussion; disruptor rifle; dissident (dissident group); DNA; doctor; dosage; dose; drug; Earth; effect; embassy staff; enemy; ETA; execution; executioner; executive officer; explanation; faction; failure; family quarters; family unit; farce; Federation; figure of speech; file number; fish; flattery; French language; guest quarters; golden hair; "gut feeling"; Gettysburg, USS; Gilnor; governor; governor's residence; graveyard; gray; Hawkins; Hawkins' staff; health; heart; hell; herb; honor; hostage; hostage situation; hour; Human; husband; hypospray; Idini Star Cluster; information; infrared light signal; installation; insult; Isis III; Iverson's Disease; Karnas' father; "keep an eye on her"; kiss; " the back of my own hand"; lieutenant; Livingston; long range shuttle; M4 tunnel; main tunnel; marriage; match; maze; mediator; medical checkup; medical emergency; medical file; medical file coder; medical recording device; medical test; medical tricorder; meeting; memory; message; million; mind; mirror; mission; mister; model; month; Mordan IV; Mordan IV civil war; Mordan IV principal city; Mordan IV wasted cities; Mordanite; mortality rate; murder; myth; native; necklace; negotiation; negotiator; night; number one; observation; observation lounge; "off balance"; official record; "on schedule"; "on your head"; opinion; oratory; orbit; order; organ; overdose; pain; painting; passenger; peace; Peretor; period; permission; Persephone V; pharmacopoeia; phaser; place; plan; planet; pleasure; price; Prime Directive; problem; productivity; proof; question; rank; rat; ready room; rear admiral; reason; red cell; reference; rejuvenation; remission; report; rescue mission; result; retirement; revenge; right; ring; rival; Sain; scar; schematic; sculpture; secure channel; senior mission officer; sensitivity; sentiment; services; sickbay; skill; sleep; soldier; soul; sound; space; star; Starfleet; starliner; starship; statue; steelplast; stellar cluster; story; strategist; strength; stress; stubborn; subsidiary tunnel; subspace transmission; surprise; tale; tape; terrorist; therapy; thing; thinking; three-dimensional chess; tissue sample; title; tone; trace; transporter room; treatment; treaty; tribe; trick; tricorder; truth; tunnel; turbolift; type I phaser; type II phaser; understatement; unification; unnamed plants; viewer; viewscreen (screen); VISOR; visual record; waist; war; warrior; weapon; week; wheelchair; widow; wife; wisdom; word; wound; year; youth

Script reference[]

Falcon, USS; New Yelva; Pegasus, USS; Starbase 45

External links[]

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