DATA: Commander, away team reporting in. Lieutenant
Worf standing by.
RIKER: This is Riker. Go ahead, Lieutenant.
WORF [OC]: The archeologists have identified the markings in these
caverns. This planet was apparently once home to a race known as the
PICARD: What do we know about them, Data?
DATA: The Koinonians were an intelligent culture which became embroiled
in a war that lasted for several generations. Our best evidence
indicates they destroyed themselves.
WORF [OC]: We have completed our survey of the third tunnel and will
proceed into the ceremonial chamber.
RIKER: Affirmative. Enterprise out.
PICARD: Destroyed themselves, Data?
DATA: According to historical records. This will be the first
opportunity for a Federation team
TROI: Captain! Beam them up quickly!
WORF [OC]: Captain. Emergency beam up! Enterprise, emergency! Severe
PICARD: Transporter Room!
O'BRIEN [OC]: I've got them, Captain.
PICARD: Beam them straight to Sickbay. Doctor Crusher, incoming
(The party have dirty faces and uniforms)
CRUSHER: Away Team is aboard, Captain.
CRUSHER [OC]: One dead on arrival.
Captain's Log, stardate 43198.7. The Enterprise
remains in standard orbit while we investigate the tragedy which has
struck the away team. Lieutenant Marla Aster, ship's archaeologist, has
been killed in what should have been a routine mission. Whatever the
explanation, it will not bring back a valued and trusted officer.
WORF: We had completed our investigation of the third tunnel. Our scans
had indicated no weapons or traps of any kind. Lieutenant Aster was
three metres behind me. An explosive device went off. There was no
warning. Lieutenant Aster bore the full brunt of the detonation.
TROI: Lieutenant Aster is survived by a son, Jeremy. Twelve years old.
He's aboard the Enterprise, sir.
PICARD: And his father?
TROI: He's also deceased. His only living relatives are an aunt and
uncle residing on Earth.
PICARD: Where is he now?
TROI: In class. I've alerted the teacher to expect us.
WORF: Captain. I must accompany you. I commanded the away team.
PICARD: I appreciate your offer, Lieutenant, but this is my
PICARD: Picard to Bridge.
RIKER [OC]: Yes, Captain.
PICARD: Assign Commander La Forge to lead another away team to the dig
site. I want to know why this happened.
RIKER [OC]: Yes, Captain.
PICARD: I will be with Counsellor Troi
PICARD [OC]: And young Jeremy Aster.
RIKER: I understand. Riker out.
WESLEY: He had to do the same thing for me.
RIKER: Do you know Jeremy well?
WESLEY: But I know this is going to be like for him.
RIKER: That's part of life in Starfleet, Wesley.
WESLEY: I know. They're very careful to prepare us for anything, but
RIKER: I know.
WESLEY: How do you get used to it? Telling them?
RIKER: You hope you never do.
(Worf extinguishes a candle with a dagger blade)
TROI: I sense the weight of this duty on you,
PICARD: I really wonder. Halt. I've always believed that carrying
children on a starship is a very questionable policy.
Serving on a starship means accepting certain risks, certain dangers.
Did Jeremy Aster make that choice?
TROI: Death and loss are an integral part of life everywhere. Leaving
him on Earth would not have protected him.
PICARD: No, but Earth isn't likely to be ordered to the Neutral Zone,
or to repel a Romulan attack, It was my command which sent his mother
to her death. She understood her mission and my duty. Will he?
TROI: In time, and with help. Wesley Crusher does. He does. And so will
PICARD: Jeremy, I have some bad news. There has
been an accident. Your mother has died.
JEREMY: How, sir?
PICARD: An explosive device at the mission site. She died instantly.
JEREMY: I understand.
TROI: Jeremy, I know your mother loved you very much.
PICARD: I'm told that your father is also dead.
JEREMY: Yes, sir. He died five years ago from a Rushton infection. I'm
all alone now, sir.
PICARD: Jeremy, on the starship Enterprise, no one is alone. No one.
DATA: Excuse me, sir. Am I intruding?
RIKER: No, sit down.
DATA: How well did you know Lieutenant Aster?
RIKER: We spent some time together. Not very well. How well did you
DATA: Why do you ask?
RIKER: Well, you just asked me.
DATA: But why do you ask the question? Since her death, I have been
asked several times to define how well I knew Lieutenant Aster. And I
heard you ask Wesley on the Bridge how well he knew Jeremy. Does the
question of familiarity have some bearing on death?
RIKER: Do you remember how we all felt when Tasha died?
DATA: I do not sense the same feelings of absence that I associate with
Lieutenant Yar, although I cannot say precisely why.
RIKER: Just human nature, Data.
DATA: Human nature, sir?
RIKER: We feel a loss more intensely when it's a friend.
DATA: But should not the feelings run as deep regardless of who has
RIKER: Maybe they should, Data. Maybe if we felt the loss of any life
as keenly as we felt the death of those close to us, human history
would be a lot less bloody.
LAFORGE [OC]: La Forge to Riker
RIKER: You're back, Geordi
LAFORGE [OC]: Yes, sir, and we've brought back a souvenir.
LAFORGE: There are five more just like them. All
identical to the one that killed Lieutenant Aster.
DATA: They employ a subspace proximity detonator. A normal tricorder
would never detect it.
PICARD: How long would you say they've been there, Data?
DATA: It comes from the time of the Koinonian Wars, sir.
RIKER: Did you find them all, Geordi?
LAFORGE: Yeah, but, well, it seemed like they were left there to be
PICARD: Left by whom? There are no indications of life on this planet.
LAFORGE: I don't know, Captain, but it was pretty obvious that they'd
been recently pulled out of the ground and defused.
WORF: I have made my report to the Captain.
TROI: I'm more interested in how you feel about what happened. I sense
WORF: I cannot seek revenge against an enemy who's turned to dust
centuries ago. Her death was senseless. The last
victim of a forgotten war.
TROI: Go on.
WORF: There's nothing more to be said.
TROI: A person died under your command. It may happen again. If you
can't learn to release the anger and the guilt, to talk about it
WORF: A leader must stand alone. As Captain Picard does.
TROI: Captain Picard talks to me.
WORF: Then may I seek your counsel about my plan to make the R'uustai
with the boy.
TROI: The Bonding.
WORF: It is my right.
TROI: It's very generous, Worf, but he's not a Klingon child. He has
WORF: He is an orphan. I am an orphan. He will understand.
TROI: Right now, there isn't much he can understand. He's holding all
his feelings inside. Children often feel they must be true to the
memory of a lost parent. If you offer affection to them too soon they
can feel guilty returning that affection. As if they're betraying the
love of the parent.
WORF: I only wish to honour his mother.
TROI: I know. And I understand this means a great deal to you. But you
must be prepared. He's very angry too, but his anger is deep inside
him. When he touches it, it will strike out in many directions,
including yours. Be with him. Talk to him. But don't rush this. When
he's ready, we'll know.
(Jeremy is watching family movies on a personal
JEREMY [OC]: Captain Patches, an alien ship on the surface. What's it
made of, Captain. Oh, no, we've been hit, Captain. We're going down.
DAD [OC]: That was great. Now, let's get a shot of mom.
MARLA [on monitor]: What are you doing? I'll turn your lens into
(something) shards. Go away! Go away! Go away! Over there. Over there.
(And the camera swings round to young Jeremy holding a kitten)
JEREMY [on monitor]: Patches. Captain Patches is coming in for a
landing on the sofa!
(The doorbell chimes)
JEREMY [OC]: Oh, no, he's going to crash.
WORF: Jeremy Aster? I'm Lieutenant Worf. May I enter?
JEREMY: You were in command of the away team.
WORF: Yes. I was with Lieutenant Aster, your mother, when she died.
JEREMY: You're a Klingon, aren't you.
JEREMY: We studied about Klingons in school.
WORF: What did they teach you about us?
JEREMY: You used to be our enemies.
WORF: Did they also teach you that every Klingon hopes to die in the
line of duty as your mother did? In my tradition, we do not grieve the
loss of the body. We celebrate the releasing of the spirit.
JEREMY: I understand death. They teach us all about it.
WORF: Jeremy Aster, we may both understand it, but we must bring
meaning to your mother's death. Perhaps we can do it together.
PICARD: Come. Counsellor, how's the boy?
TROI: He's being very brave.
TROI: No, he has to get past brave. He's very angry and he has to learn
how to express that anger before he can really say goodbye to his
PICARD: How can we help?
TROI: Well, I've asked Beverly if we might get Wesley to talk to Jeremy
about his father's death. The one unusual element is Worf.
TROI: In many ways he's suffering as badly as the boy. He wishes to
involve Jeremy in a Klingon ceremony called R'uustai, the Bonding
PICARD: I know of that. Perhaps it will be helpful to both of them.
TROI: I don't think Jeremy's ready to accept Worf right now. Perhaps
later, but it will have to be handled most delicately.
PICARD: As you always do. I break the unpleasant news and there my
responsibility ends, but you, you have to stay with them through the
entire grieving process.
TROI: We deal with our pain in many different ways, but over the years
I've discovered it is in our joy that the uniqueness of each individual
is revealed. If I can help a person back to a state of joy, well, my
role has its rewards.
RIKER [OC]: Captain, we're picking up an energy field on the planet
RIKER: Two kilometres north of the away team's beam-down point.
PICARD: Indeed? Full scan.
DATA: Inconclusive, Captain.
TROI: Sir, I', sensing a presence on the planet. Very vague.
PICARD: Life form?
TROI: I can't be sure. The emotions of the crew are particularly strong
right now. It's difficult to filter them out.
PICARD: Data, scan analysis on main viewer.
(Something looks as if it is streaming off the planet)
CRUSHER: Hi. Troi stopped by a little while ago. She was wondering if
you might be willing to talk to Jeremy Aster at some point.
WESLEY: Me? What for?
CRUSHER: About your Dad.
WESLEY: What am I going to tell him?
CRUSHER: It would help him to talk with someone who's been through
this. We had each other, Wes. He doesn't have anyone to lean on right
now. And he might be more comfortable talking to someone who's not much
older than he is.
WESLEY: Okay, I'll think about it.
WESLEY: Do you ever think about him, Mom?
CRUSHER: Your father? Sure I do.
WESLEY: Sometimes I can't even remember what his face looks like. It
CRUSHER: It happens to all of us, Wes. Sometimes I can't get his face
out of my mind.
WESLEY: Today, today it's like I can see it all as clearly as if it
were yesterday. I can remember the way Dad looked when he hugged me
goodbye. Captain Picard's eyes when he came to tell us
(Beverly reaches for her son. They're both close to tears)
RIKER: Data, run comparison of known phenomena.
DATA: The pattern has no exact match in Federation records, sir.
PICARD: Is it alive?
DATA: A possibility.
LAFORGE [OC]: Captain, I'm getting an unusual magnetic flux reading
from the anti-matter containment pods.
TROI: My God.
(Jeremy is back to his happy memory movies)
JEREMY [OC]: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Okay, you've got ten seconds
more, Mom. No peeking. Come on, Patches, in here. Shh. Okay, Mom, we're
MARLA [on monitor]: Jeremy? I'm getting closer. Jeremy, I'm going to
find you. You must be in here somewhere.
LAFORGE: All systems are functioning normally.
Still, there's this fluctuation in the containment field. I can't
account for it.
RIKER: Data, is this possibly related to the energy fields on the
DATA: There is a beam of highly charged particles emanating from the
planet, sir, but I cannot pinpoint the location yet.
TROI: Captain, there's a presence on the Enterprise.
PICARD: An alien presence?
DATA: No intruder noted by the sensors, sir.
TROI: There is a presence.
RIKER: Security, all decks yellow alert. Possible intruder.
(Jeremy recoils from Marla's attempt to stroke his
JEREMY: They said you were dead.
MARLA: There was a mistake. It's okay.
JEREMY: But there was an explosion. You were hurt.
MARLA: I'm fine. You mustn't think any more about this. The important
thing is I'm never going to leave you again. I think somebody needs a
(He's reluctant at first, but lets her hold him)
MARLA: We have to go now.
MARLA: To the planet. That's where we're going to live now.
JEREMY: We're not going to stay on the Enterprise any more?
MARLA: No. We're going to live in a home just like we used to on Earth.
You'll see. I promise.
(The doorbell chimes, and Jeremy answers it)
JEREMY: Lieutenant Worf! Did they tell you? It was a mistake. She
didn't die. She's alive.
WORF: Jeremy, come here.
MARLA: Lieutenant Worf. It's all right. I'm here for the boy.
WORF: Lieutenant Worf to Captain Picard.
PICARD: Go ahead.
WORF [OC]: Lieutenant Aster is in her quarters.
RIKER: Repeat, Worf?
WORF: Lieutenant Aster is here. In her quarters
with the boy.
PICARD [OC]: Do not provoke her
PICARD: Or interfere in any way until I arrive.
Picard out. Number One, have Security moving that way but tell them to
keep their distance. You have the Bridge. Counsellor.
MARLA: There is nothing to worry about. I'm going
to take care of Jeremy and make him happy. It's time to go.
WORF: Where are you taking the child?
JEREMY: To the planet.
MARLA: Come, Jeremy.
(Jeremy has to open the door for her)
WORF: Worf to Picard, they're leaving their quarters.
WORF [OC]: Captain, I believe we're headed for
transporter room three.
PICARD: We're on our way.
MARLA: Chief O'Brien, Jeremy and I are going down
to the surface.
(She and Jeremy get on the pads as Picard and Troi arrive)
PICARD: Who are you?
MARLA: I'm Marla Aster.
JEREMY: It's my mother, Captain. She's alive.
PICARD: What do you want?
MARLA: To take my child down to the planet.
PICARD: I cannot permit that. The boy is my responsibility.
MARLA: I'm here to care for him. He needs me. Why do you resist?
PICARD: Because I don't know who or what you are.
JEREMY: Can't you see who it is, Captain?
PICARD: Jeremy, she appears to be your mother, but she is not.
JEREMY: What do you mean?
MARLA: You're confusing the boy.
(Worf grabs Jeremy and takes him off the transporter pad)
JEREMY: Hey! Wait! Stop! No! No! Wait! Stop!
JEREMY: Mom! Mom?
JEREMY: Wait a minute. Let go of me. She was right there!
JEREMY: What did you do to her?
TROI: Jeremy, I don't know what that was, but it was not your mother.
JEREMY: You saw her. She was here.
TROI: Your mother's dead.
JEREMY: But I touched her. She was real.
TROI: Why would your real mother want you to go down to the planet?
There's nothing there but dust and rocks.
(Jeremy's quarters have been transformed)
JEREMY: It's my house. It's my house on Earth.
MARLA: Exactly the way it was. Remember, Jeremy?
JEREMY: How did you do it?
MARLA: Does it matter?
TROI: Yes, it matters.
MARLA: I am trying to understand your resistance. You spoke of rocks
and dust on the planet. I decided to show you what awaits us there.
TROI: Why would you create this fantasy?
MARLA: It's his home. And it makes you happy, doesn't it?
TROI: But it's not real.
MARLA: Isn't it? Jeremy, isn't that really Patches?
(suddenly there is a kitten on the blanket, washing itself)
JEREMY: He knows me. It's him. It's real. It's all real.
TROI: No, it's not. Could your real mother just make all this appear?
You must not stay here. Come with me.
JEREMY: I can't.
PICARD: Is the boy in any danger?
TROI [OC]: I don't think so. She seems to want to help him.
PICARD: Help him?
TROI: By easing his pain. She's very confused by
our resistance, Captain.
PICARD: Troi, would it be wise to remove Jeremy
from his cabin?
TROI: He doesn't want to leave. I would not recommend taking him
TROI [OC]: By force.
RIKER: She offers him everything. All we offer is the cold reality of
his mother's death.
CRUSHER: What would you choose? If somebody came along and offered to
give you back your mother, father or husband, would any of us say no so
PICARD: Counsellor, stay with them in Jeremy's quarters.
PICARD [OC]: We'll try and put an end to this from
PICARD: Data, can you determine for certain that
the energy source from the planet is powering this creation?
DATA: The beam from the planet is clearly tapping into the ship's
LAFORGE: I'd say they're running the manifestation off our own energy.
PICARD: So there are limits to her power.
RIKER: She needs the transporter to get the boy back.
PICARD: So how do we cut the puppet's strings?
LAFORGE: Increasing the shield harmonics to match our own antimatter
containment fields will probably sever the beam.
RIKER: Deanna, stand by.
TROI [OC]: Standing by.
TROI: Jeremy, it's time for this to end. It's not
real and it's over now.
MARLA: Jeremy, I'm not going to leave you ever again.
TROI: I won't trick you or lie to you.
MARLA: We'll be happy together, Jeremy, as soon as
(Marla and the house vanish)
LAFORGE: Anti-matter containment pods reading
DATA: The shield has severed the beam, sir. Captain, the energy field.
(a big green spike is rushing off the planet)
PICARD: Mister Crusher, take us out of here.
(But the Enterprise is penetrated by the energy field and klaxons
O'BRIEN: Alien intruder, transporter room three.
Security alert. Alien
(He ducks out of the energy's way)
WORF: Security to transporter room three.
PICARD: Commander La Forge, Mister Worf, come with me. Number One, you
have the Bridge.
(The energy has chased O'Brien out into the
corridor. There it knocks out the two security guards)
(The room is transformed into the house again)
MARLA: Come, Jeremy. We will not let them separate us again. We're
TROI [OC]: Captain, she's back. She's trying to
take Jeremy off the ship again.
LAFORGE: Engineering, this is La Forge. Shut down power to all
transporters. I'm on my way.
CREWMAN [OC]: Aye, aye, sir.
PICARD: Lieutenant Worf, to transporter room three.
PICARD: Bridge, seal off deck eight, corridors A
DATA: Engaging force fields, Captain. Transporters
WORF: Energy force has left transporter room three.
Security alert, all decks.
RIKER: La Forge, the intruder may try to reinstate
RIKER [OC]: Transporter power.
LAFORGE: Understood, Commander.
(Marla marches Jeremy down the corridor straight
into a forcefield. They turn around and meet another one. Picard exits
PICARD: Bridge, release security forcefield eight B. Hello, Jeremy. How
are you? Are you frightened?
JEREMY: No. Well, a little, sir.
PICARD: Of course. These are frightening things that are happening. But
we won't let anyone harm you. Counsellor, why don't you take the boy to
LAFORGE: It's looking over everything, Commander,
going to school. Let's just hope it doesn't blow us to kingdom come
figuring out how to blow us to kingdom come.
(The blue energy dives into a control panel)
WORF: Power's back in transporter room three.
LAFORGE: Bypassing the manual override. Shutting it
WORF [OC]: Transporter is down again.
RIKER: Keep it down, Geordi, for as long as you can.
LAFORGE [OC]: Understood, Commander.
MARLA: It is only a matter of time, Captain, before
we can power the transporters ourselves
PICARD: We? For whom else do you speak?
MARLA: The accident on the surface was caused by a remnant of an
ancient and tragic era. Two species once shared this world. One of
energy and one of matter. The physical beings you call the Koinonians
destroyed themselves in unending, bitter wars. The surviving life forms
on this world will not tolerate any further suffering as a result of
that dishonourable past. So, they have made this possible. They have
made me possible.
PICARD: I appreciate your motives, but his mother is dead. He must
learn to live with that.
MARLA: I will be every bit his mother.
PICARD: But not his mother. Picard to Lieutenant Worf.
WORF [OC]: Go ahead, Captain.
PICARD: Will you escort Ensign Crusher to the Aster quarters?
WORF [OC]: Yes, sir.
PICARD: Picard out.
MARLA: Your philosophy is curious, Captain. What is so noble about
sorrow? I can provide him an
existence where he will feel no pain, no anguish.
PICARD: It is at the heart of our nature to feel pain and joy. It is an
essential part of what makes us what we are.
MARLA: He is alone now in your world. A child, alone. How can you know
he won't be happier with me?
PICARD: For a brief moment in time, he surely would be. Any of us in
his place would be.
TROI: What would Jeremy do for friends in your world?
MARLA: He will have any friends he needs.
TROI: And will you provide for his education, his health, his growth, a
career, a wife?
PICARD: Yes, it's quite an undertaking you're proposing, isn't it?
MARLA: It is our duty to make him happy again.
PICARD: Do you honestly believe he would be happy in this total fiction
which you wish to create? What reason would he have to live? What
you're offering him is a memory, something to cherish, not to live in.
It is part of our life cycle that we accept the death of those we love.
Jeremy must come to terms with his grief. He must not cover it or hide
away from it. You see, we are mortal. Our time in this universe is
finite. That is one of the truths that all human must learn.
WESLEY: Acting Ensign Crusher reporting as ordered, sir.
PICARD: Yes. Come in, Wesley. Please stay, Lieutenant. Jeremy, Wesley's
father died on a Starfleet mission when he was younger than you are.
TROI: Wes, your mother told me you were finding it difficult to talk to
Jeremy. Why is that?
WESLEY: I don't know. I just didn't want to think about it any more.
All this has reminded me so much of that day.
PICARD: The day I told you your father had been killed. As I recall,
Wesley, you took it very well.
WESLEY: My parents taught me about the dangers of Starfleet missions. I
knew what could happen.
PICARD: So you were prepared?
WESLEY: No, I wasn't prepared at all. How could anyone be prepared to
hear that a parent is never coming home again? I tried to be what
everybody expected of me. Brave and mature.
PICARD: Wesley, are you saying that you didn't want anybody to see what
you were really feeling? What were you really feeling?
WESLEY: Like somebody had kicked me in the head.
TROI: Go on. You've wanted to tell him for a long time.
WESLEY: I was angry at you.
PICARD: Why angry? Why were you angry at me, Wesley? Were you angry at
me because I was the one who told you your father was dead?
PICARD: Then why?
WESLEY: Because you led the mission. You came home and my father
TROI: How long were you angry with the Captain, Wes?
WESLEY: For a long time. But not any more, sir. Not even a little.
TROI: So, Jeremy, you must be very angry at Lieutenant Worf. He was in
charge of your mother's mission, just as Captain Picard was in command
when Wesley's father was killed. Isn't that right? Worf came back. Your
(Finally, Jeremy cries)
JEREMY: Why? Why weren't you the one who died? Why did it have to be
TROI: He can't answer that. None of us can.
PICARD: Lieutenant Worf also lost his parents.
WORF: They were killed in battle when I was six. When I was alone,
humans helped me. Let me help you. The Marla Aster I knew and honoured
is not in this room. Nor does she await you on the planet. Now she
lives only here And here. (in their hearts) Join me in the R'uustai,
the Bonding. You will become part of my family now and for all time. We
will be brothers.
(Marla goes up to Jeremy, then walks away. She and the house illusion
vanish. All is as it should be again)
(Worf and Jeremy are lighting seriously chunky
candles. Then Worf puts a sash across Jeremy's shoulder)
WORF: SoS jIH batlh SoH.
JEREMY: What does that mean?
WORF: It honours the memory of our mothers. We have bonded and our
families are stronger.
JEREMY: SoS jIH batlh SoH.