Captain's log, Stardate 43173.5. We are en route to Mintaka Three,
where a three man Federation anthropological field team has been
studying the inhabitants. Our mission is to resupply the outpost and
repair their malfunctioning reactor.
PICARD: Mister La Forge, report.
LAFORGE: We've finished replicating the parts they'll need, but what I
don't understand is why a three man station would need a reactor
capable of producing four point two gigawatts.
RIKER: Enough to power a small phaser bank, a subspace relay station,
LAFORGE: A hologram generator. Oh, a duck blind. Right. They're
PICARD: Who are studying an extended family of Mintakans at close range
from a camouflaged observation post.
TROI: According to Doctor Barron's preliminary reports, the Mintakans
are proto-Vulcan humanoids at the Bronze Age level. Quite peaceful and
PICARD: Which is not surprising, considering how closely their
evolution parallels Vulcan.
WORF: Captain, incoming transmission from Mintaka Three.
PICARD: Thank you, Lieutenant. On screen.
(a dodgy image with lots of interference lines)
BARRON [on viewscreen]: Barron to Enterprise. Our temporary repairs
have failed. The reactor is now inoperative.
PICARD: Do you have battery backup?
BARRON [on viewscreen]: Three hours at best.
DATA: Captain, if we increase to warp seven we can be there in twenty
PICARD: Make it so. We're on our way.
(They see a big explosion on the screen. One man escapes through the
now-exposed observation window on to the planet surface proper)
WORF: We've lost contact, sir.
PICARD: Increase to warp nine.
(Riker, Geordi, Data, Crusher and a medic beam in,
Electricity is still zapping around the metalwork)
LAFORGE: The framework's still charged, so watch it.
(Bronze age proto-vulcan apparently means slanted
eyebrows, pointed ears and nineteenth century farm worker clothing)
LIKO: (a man) Why did we have to come so early?
OJI: (a young woman) When the sun reaches its zenith, I have to be
ready to take the measurements.
LIKO: You'll be ready. You've read the sundial hundreds of times.
OJI: Yes, father, but never as the appointed record keeper.
(At the sun dial in front of the assembly hall - a lovely carved wooden
LIKO: You're taking your duties quite seriously. Your mother would have
been proud of you.
OJI: What is that? Up there, father. What is it?
(A glint of light from the duck blind)
LIKO: I don't know.
(Crusher revives Barron) BARRON: Keep work. Palmer.
CRUSHER: It's all right. It's all right.
DATA: The hologram generator is now functioning, sir.
RIKER: All we need now is power.
LAFORGE: Almost there.
(Liko and Oji have climbed up to investigate the
flashes, and can see the duckblind quite clearly now)
LIKO: You wait here, Oji.
(Liko climbs right up to the window and looks inside)
CRUSHER: Enterprise, beam Martinez and his patient
directly to Sickbay.
(Liko touches the metal frame and gets a shock. He falls from the cliff
RIKER: Doctor, be careful.
CRUSHER: I've got to get down there.
(Oji hides and watches as Crusher runs down to Liko, scans him then
makes her decision)
CRUSHER: Crusher to Enterprise. Medical emergency. Two to beam directly
OGAWA [OC]: Aye, Doctor.
(Oji sees the strange woman and her father vanish)
LAFORGE: That should do it.
(It does. Oji sees the window disappear and be replaced by the cliff
face. Curious, she investigates)
CRUSHER: (to nurse) You increased the levels of
tricordrazine? (re Barron) Let me see his chart, please.
(dialogue too faint to make out, and Picard enters)
PICARD: Doctor Crusher.
CRUSHER: Before you start quoting me the Prime Directive, he'd already
seen us. The damage was done. It was either bring him aboard or let him
PICARD: Then why didn't you let him die?
CRUSHER: Because we were responsible for his injuries.
PICARD: I'm not sure that I concur with that reasoning, Doctor. But now
that he's here, you must remove all memory of his encounter with the
CRUSHER: By erasing short term recall?
PICARD: It has been accomplished before.
CRUSHER: I am familiar with Doctor Pulaski's technique. I can't
guarantee it will be effective on Mintakan brain chemistry. Their
lie-zone levels are much lower.
BARRON: Wait. No! No! We must evacuate.
CRUSHER: Doctor Barron, you're on the Enterprise. You're safe.
BARRON: The others?
PICARD: Doctor Warren is here. We're doing all we can.
(Liko wakes up and listens)
BARRON: And Palmer? Where is Palmer?
PICARD: Still on Mintaka Three.
BARRON: Picard, you have to find him.
PICARD: We will.
BARRON: He may be hurt.
PICARD: Rest assured we shall not leave until he is located.
BARRON: Thank you, Picard.
PICARD: Picard to bridge. Report.
WORF [OC]: Scans of the planet detect no humans, Captain.
PICARD: Very well. Put us into a close orbit.
WORF [OC]: Sir, a close orbit will increase sensor efficiency by only
PICARD: I want that four percent, Lieutenant.
WORF [OC]: Aye, sir.
PICARD: Picard out.
PICARD: Well, Doctor. Your next task is clear.
(Liko is beamed down alone. He wakes up)
LIKO: Oji? Oji?
(She hears him)
LIKO: Here. Oji.
OJI: Father! I thought I'd never see you again. When you and the woman
vanished, I was sure you were dead.
LIKO: I think I was, but I was brought back to life. Oji, I awoke in an
incredible place and my wounds were gone. I had been healed.
OJI: How is that possible?
LIKO: Long ago, our people believed in beings with great powers. These
beings made the rains come, told the sun when to rise, they caused all
life to be born, to grow, to die.
OJI: But those are just tales, father. Old superstitions.
LIKO: But perhaps the beliefs of our ancestors are true. Nothing else
can explain what's happened. Everything is changed now, Oji. We must
tell the others.
CRUSHER: Barron is stable, but Warren is still
RIKER: Palmer is missing. A scan of the planet shows Mintakan life
forms only, no humans. However
DATA: The area around the duck blind exhibits Karst topography.
Sinkholes, underground rivers, and caverns. And the rock strata contain
a high concentration of thallium compounds which may be obstructing our
PICARD: So if Palmer, in his delirium, fled into a cave, we may be
unable to detect his life signs?
DATA: Correct, sir.
CRUSHER: Captain, if he is still alive, he needs medical attention. We
must send an away team to locate him.
TROI: But our presence must not interfere with the cultural development
of the Mintakans.
PICARD: Agreed. Further contamination must be prevented.
RIKER: I have a suggestion.
First officer's log, Stardate 43174.2. Counsellor
Troi and I are beaming down to Mintaka Three to locate Doctor Palmer
and to determine the extent of the cultural contamination. Doctor
Crusher has temporarily altered our features and skin
colour. She's also implanted subcutaneous communicators so that any
transmissions we receive will be inaudible to the Mintakans.
RIKER: Riker to Enterprise. Do you hear me?
DATA [OC]: Perfectly, Commander. I will be monitoring you continuously.
TROI: Mintakan emotions are quite interesting. Like the Vulcans, they
have highly ordered minds. A very sensible people. For example,
Mintakan women precede their mates. It's a signal to other women.
RIKER: This man's taken, get your own?
TROI: Not precisely. More like, if you want his services, I'm the one
you have to negotiate with.
RIKER: What kind of services?
TROI: All kinds.
RIKER: They are a sensible race.
(Troi and Riker enter as Liko is telling his
experience to a grey-haired man)
LIKO: I understand your skepticism. Had it not happened to me, I would
find it difficult to accept as well.
OJI: But it did happen, just as we've said.
LIKO: Fento, you know the legends better than anyone. Do they not speak
of beings like the kind I've seen?
OJI: Who could vanish like smoke?
FENTO: There are the stories of the Overseer who could appear and
disappear at will.
LIKO: And couldn't this Overseer heal the dead?
FENTO: He had supreme power, or so our ancestors believed.
LIKO: I believe I have seen the Overseer. He is called the Picard.
RIKER: Uh oh.
TROI: His memory's intact.
RIKER: The procedure didn't work.
NURIA: (a woman) Liko, all this talk of supernatural beings. No one has
believed that for countless generations. Just as we no longer
believe the stars control our fates, or the spirits of the dead haunt
LIKO: Nuria, I'm not saying all the old beliefs are true. But I did see
the Picard, and I was restored back to life.
TROI: We are visitors. We've come to trade our cloth. May we speak?
NURIA: Please do. We welcome outsiders. I am Nuria.
TROI: I am Troi and this is Riker. You've had a very interesting dream.
LIKO: Dream? It was real!
OJI: My father and I both witnessed these beings.
TROI: If you are father and daughter, you may well have shared the same
LIKO: That is not reasonable.
RIKER: Is that any less reasonable than being magically transformed to
another place by the Picard?
(Two men carry in a human)
LIKO: It has to be Palmer! The one the Picard wished to find.
NURIA: Remarkable. You were speaking the truth.
LIKO: The Picard will be pleased.
(The villagers rush off and leave them)
RIKER: Riker to Picard.
PICARD [OC]: Go ahead, Number One.
RIKER: We have a problem.
PICARD: With the contamination?
RIKER [OC]: It's worse than we suspected.
RIKER: The Mintakans are beginning to believe in a
RIKER [OC]: And the one they've chosen is you.
BARRON: Picard, you must beam Palmer aboard immediately. Without
PICARD: It's not as simple as that. He is surrounded by Mintakans. If
he dematerialises before their eyes, the impact
BARRON: It will slightly increase the cultural contamination which
already exists. A small price for saving Palmer's life.
PICARD: Number One?
PICARD [OC]: Is there any chance of your freeing
Palmer and transporting up unseen?
RIKER: We can try.
PICARD [OC]: Try hard.
PICARD: Picard out.
BARRON: Picard, I must protest. You're endangering Palmer with this
PICARD: I am aware of that. But each of us, including Doctor Palmer
took an oath that we would uphold the Prime Directive, if necessary,
with our lives.
(A woman is tending Palmer's head injury)
HALI: Riga and I were hunting on the third ridge. We followed a
hornbuck into a cave. The stranger was there, asleep.
NURIA: This Palmer is one of the Overseer's servants?
LIKO: Yes. The Picard has many servants. Isn't that true, Fento?
FENTO: According to legend. But if this Palmer is a servant of the
Overseer, what was he doing in the cave?
OJI: Perhaps he ran away.
HALI: Or he failed the Picard somehow and was hiding from him.
LIKO: We should bind him in case he wakes and tries to escape.
RIKER: It's senseless for this stranger to be held captive. All this
talk of the Overseer, it's old superstitions.
NURIA: I disagree. All the evidence indicates that the Overseer exists.
LIKO: And I heard the Picard say he wanted to find Palmer.
OJI: Then by keeping Palmer safe, we will please the Picard.
LIKO: And he'll grant us favours in return.
FENTO: It is said that the Overseer is all powerful. He can provide
gentle winters, plentiful hunting, fertile crops, anything.
LIKO: He could even bring back those who have died.
NURIA: It's agreed. We will save Palmer for the Picard.
TROI: I've seen another one, like Palmer.
LIKO: Another servant of the Picard?
TROI: He's headed toward the caves.
NURIA: Fento, stay and bind Palmer.
(The active villagers leave, following Troi)
[Outside the hall]
TROI: Over there.
RIKER: That knot won't hold. If I may?
FENTO: Please do.
RIKER: You need a knot that'll tighten under pressure. Let me show you.
OJI: Father, the sun's reaching its zenith. If I
don't go to measure
(Riker is gagging the bound Fento)
RIKER: Forgive me, friend, but the stranger must be set free.
[Outside the hall]
RIKER: Riker to Enterprise. Lock on and prepare to beam us directly to
Sickbay, but hang on for my signal.
DATA [OC]: Acknowledged, Commander.
OJI: Riker, stop!
(The adults hear her calling)
OJI [OC]: It's Riker, he's taking Palmer!
NURIA: Hali. Yuri, don't let her escape.
(Riker rounds a rock outcrop out of line of Hali's bow, and hides)
RIKER: I'm clear. Energise!
RIKER: Data, has Counsellor Troi beamed up?
DATA [OC]: Negative, Commander. Sensors show she's in the midst of a
group of Mintakans.
(Fento is untied)
NURIA: He is all right. Hali, find Riker and Palmer.
LIKO: Why did you and Riker take Palmer from us?
TROI: We did not take Palmer.
TROI [OC]: We set him free. Riker and I do not
believe in these fables about an Overseer.
LIKO [OC]: Don't you realise what you've done? You've angered the
Picard and we may all suffer for it. I know. I've seen him. He is
LIKO: Fanto, weren't there stories about the
Overseer destroying those who offended him?
FENTO: Stories, nothing more.
NURIA: Liko, we'll get Palmer back. Riker was carrying him. They can't
have gone far.
LIKO: Still, the Picard may blame us for letting Palmer escape. Perhaps
we should punish her. Let the Overseer know
LIKO [OC]: That she and Riker acted alone.
NURIA: We will keep Troi captive.
LIKO: That's not enough.
NURIA: You would have us harm her?
LIKO: If it will hold off the Picard's anger, yes. I've seen how
powerful he is.
NURIA: I am unwilling to hurt her needlessly. We will wait for Hali to
OJI: And if they don't find Palmer?
NURIA: Then we may have to do as Liko suggests.
PICARD: Doctor, you believe the Mintakans are
capable of harming Counsellor Troi?
BARRON: They are not normally a violent people but these are
extraordinary circumstances. They're trying to comprehend what they
believe to be a god.
BARRON: The Mintakans wish to please the Overseer, but they can only
guess what he wants. They need a sign.
PICARD: Are you suggesting?
BARRON: You must go down to Mintaka Three.
RIKER: Masquerading as a god?
PICARD: Absolutely out of the question. The Prime Directive
BARRON: Has already been violated. The damage is done. All we can do
now is minimise it.
PICARD: By sanctioning their false beliefs?
BARRON: By giving them guidelines. Letting them know what the Overseer
expects of them.
PICARD: Doctor Barron, I cannot, I will not, impose a set of
commandments on these people. To do so violates the very essence of the
BARRON: Like it or not, we have rekindled the Mintakans' belief in the
RIKER: And are you saying that this belief will eventually become a
BARRON: It's inevitable. And without guidance, that religion could
degenerate into inquisitions, holy wars, chaos.
PICARD: Horrifying. Doctor Barron, your report describes how rational
these people are. Millennia ago, they abandoned their belief in the
supernatural. Now you are asking me to sabotage that achievement, to
send them back into the Dark Ages of superstition and ignorance and
fear? No! We will find some way to undo the damage we've caused. Number
One, tell me about this group's leader.
RIKER: Nuria. Exceptionally clear-minded, sensible. The Mintakans trust
her judgment. If we can convince her that you are not a god
PICARD: She might be able to persuade the others.
BARRON: And how do you propose to convince her?
PICARD: She believes the Picard is a magical figure. I'm going to show
her how the magic works. I'm going to bring her aboard.
DATA [OC]: Counsellor, sensors indicate five
Mintakans in your immediate vicinity. Four are motionless. The fifth is
eight meters away, proceeding south. Is Nuria one of these five?
TROI: Mmm hmm.
DATA: Was that intended to be an affirmative?
RIKER: Yes, Data, it was.
DATA: Is Nuria the closest of the five?
TROI [OC]: Uh un.
DATA [OC]: Is Nuria the one in motion?
TROI: Mmm hmm.
RIKER: Lock sensors on Nuria.
DATA: Locked on. We can beam Nuria aboard at will.
PICARD: Data, when sensors indicate she's alone, beam her directly to
transporter room one.
DATA: Aye, sir.
PICARD: Ensign Hoy?
DATA [OC]: Captain, Nuria is alone.
PICARD: I'll handle this.
(Hoy leaves, and Picard beams Nuria aboard)
PICARD: Nuria, don't be afraid. No one is going to harm you.
PICARD: I am Jean Luc Picard.
(Nuria falls to her knees, face down)
PICARD: Please, get up. Get up. You must not kneel to me.
NURIA: You do not wish it?
PICARD: I do not deserve it. Look at me. Look at me. Feel the warmth of
my hand, the rhythm of my pulse. I'm not a supreme being. I'm flesh and
blood, like you.
NURIA: Not like me.
PICARD: Like you. Different in appearance, yes. But we are both living
beings. We are born, we grow, we live and we die. In all the ways that
matter, we are alike.
NURIA: But you are the Picard!
PICARD: There is something I want you to see.
(The doors open and she jumps back)
NURIA: What a wondrous place. Even the walls obey your command.
PICARD: Wondrous, yes, but not miraculous. The doors merely work
differently from the ones you know.
NURIA: That is my home?
PICARD: Seen from far, far above.
NURIA: Yet we do not fall. I never imagined I would see the clouds from
the other side. Your powers are truly boundless.
PICARD: Nuria, your people live in huts. Was it always so?
NURIA: No. We have found remnants of tools in caves. Our ancestors must
have lived there.
PICARD: So why do you now live in huts?
NURIA: Huts are better. Caves are dark and wet.
PICARD: If huts are better, why did you once live in caves?
NURIA: The most reasonable explanation would be that at one time we
didn't know how to make huts.
PICARD: Just as at one time you did not know how to weave cloth, how to
make a bow.
NURIA: That would be reasonable.
PICARD: Someone invented a hut. Someone invented a bow, who taught
others, who taught their children, who built a stronger hut, built a
better bow, who taught their children. Now, Nuria, suppose one of your
cave dwelling ancestors could see you as you are today. What would she
NURIA: I don't know.
PICARD: Put yourself in her place. You see, she cannot kill a hornbuck
at a great distance. You can. You have a power she lacks.
NURIA: Only because I have a bow.
PICARD: She's never seen a bow. It doesn't exist in her world. To you,
it's a simple tool. To her, it's magic.
NURIA: I suppose she might think so.
PICARD: Now, how would she react to you?
NURIA: I think she would fear me.
PICARD: Just as you fear me.
NURIA: I do not fear you any longer.
PICARD: Good. That's good. You see, my people once lived in caves. And
then we learned to build huts and, in time, to build ships like this
NURIA: Perhaps one day, my people will travel above the skies.
PICARD: Of that, I have absolutely no doubt.
(A storm is making itself heard)
LIKO: It's not the season for lightning. It must be a warning.
FENTO: We've had storms like this before.
OJI: Not like this one.
LIKO: It must mean something. The Picard is angry with us. He blames us
for letting Palmer escape.
FENTO: Liko, we don't know that the Overseer is responsible for this
LIKO: Will he also send floods? My wife died in last year's floods.
Will we all die now? We must find Nuria.
NURIA: Picard, you have shown me wonders I could
never have imagined, and I am grateful beyond words. Might I request
something for my people?
PICARD: You are indeed a leader.
NURIA: You have shown me such generosity. I wish my people could share
in it. Six Mintakans died in a flood last winter. Four of them
children. Would you bring them back to life?
PICARD: That is not in my power.
NURIA: Why? You restored Liko's life. Did the six who died offend you
in some way? Did I offended you? Should I have ordered the death of
Troi? Please, you must tell me if there's anything I can do to change
PICARD: I've failed to get through to you, haven't I? Despite all my
OJI: Nuria can't be found. No one knows where she's
LIKO: Hali, any sign of Palmer or Riker?
HALI: They have escaped us. We searched everywhere.
OJI: What do we do now, father?
LIKO: We must do as the Picard wishes. Punish those responsible.
FENTO: Nuria would not allow us to
LIKO: Nuria isn't here. We can't wait.
(Liko gestures to Hali for his bow)
CRUSHER: Crusher to Picard. I think we're going to
PICARD [OC]: On my way.
BARRON: I'm here, Mary.
(Picard and Nuria enter)
CRUSHER: Prepare two cc's of norep.
(but Mary Warren gives up the struggle to breathe)
CRUSHER: I'm sorry.
(Crusher and Barron leave, and Nuria approaches the death bed)
NURIA: Picard, you could not save her?
NURIA: You do have limits. You are not masters of life and death.
PICARD: No, we are not. We can cure many diseases and we can repair
injuries, we can even extend life. But for all our knowledge, all our
advances, we are just as mortal as you are. We're just as powerless to
prevent the inevitable.
NURIA: You are a remarkable people, but you are not superior beings. My
people must be made to understand that.
TROI: Liko, you don't want to kill me.
LIKO: I have no choice. I must do as the Picard wishes.
TROI: Are you sure you know what he wants? That's the problem with
believing in a supernatural being. Trying to determine what he wants.
LIKO: We must do something.
OJI: But what if we do the wrong thing, father?
LIKO: Picard, we need your guidance. Is it your wish that this woman
should die? Answer us. Speak.
(Picard and Nuria enter)
LIKO: The Picard. The Overseer has come.
PICARD: No. Liko. Liko, I am a man. I am not the Overseer. I am a
traveller from a faraway land. Nothing more.
LIKO: But you have restored my life. I am your servant.
PICARD: You are no one's servant, Liko. I neither desire your obedience
nor your worship.
NURIA: Picard speaks the truth. I have visited his people. I have seen
how they live and how they die. When death takes one of their loved
ones, they are as helpless as we are.
LIKO: Then how was I brought back to life?
NURIA: Liko, you were not dead. Picard's people have a knowledge that
we lack. They are able to heal wounds that we cannot.
LIKO: No. No. He can bring back the dead. Show them, Picard. You can
bring my wife back to me.
PICARD: I cannot.
LIKO: Why? Why won't you do this for me? Have I failed you in some way?
Are you angry with me?
PICARD: I am not angry with you.
LIKO: Then I beg you, bring her back to me. I will give you my life in
exchange. Please, take back what you gave me. Give it to her. Let her
PICARD: It is beyond my power.
LIKO: Nothing is beyond your power! You are the Overseer. I will prove
(He aims the arrow at Picard)
PICARD: If you believe I am all-powerful, then you cannot hurt me. If,
however, I am telling the truth and I am mortal, you will kill me. But
if the only proof you will believe is my death, then shoot.
NURIA: Liko, don't do it!
OJI: Father, no!
(Oji jolts Liko's arm enough to deflect the arrow into Picard's
shoulder. Nuria holds up her blood-stained hand to
Liko and he bursts into tears)
Captain's log, supplemental. Doctor Crusher has
repaired my injury with her usual skill. Mister La Forge will supervise
the dismantling of the observation post after I make one last visit to
(Picard's arm is in a sling)
PICARD: Now, Mister La Forge.
LAFORGE [OC]: Aye, sir.
(The holographic camouflage comes down)
NURIA: What is that?
PICARD: A place where we can watch your people.
FENTO: But why?
PICARD: To study you. To understand your ways. Discontinue, Mister La
(The window vanishes again)
NURIA: Picard, why should a people so advanced want to learn about us?
PICARD: We were once as you are now. To study you is to understand
FENTO: But why did you have to hide yourself from us?
LIKO: Because their presence would affect us, just as it affected me.
PICARD: It is our highest law that we shall not interfere with other
OJI: Then revealing yourselves was an accident.
PICARD: Oh, yes, and now we must leave you.
OJI: Why? There's so much you can teach us.
PICARD: But that, too, would be interference. You must progress in your
NURIA: So we will. You have taught us there is nothing beyond our
PICARD: Not even the stars.
(A little boy gives Picard a woven belt or some such memento)
NURIA: I wish you good journeys, Picard. Remember my people.