Future Imperfect
Stardate: 44286.5
Original Airdate: 12 Nov, 1990

Captain's Log, Stardate 44286.5. The Enterprise is conducting a security survey of the Onias Sector near the Neutral Zone. Despite our proximity to Romulan territory, the mission has been quiet and uneventful.

[Ten Forward]

(Riker is trying to play Misty for his friends, and getting it wrong)
LAFORGE: All right, Commander. You've got till your next birthday to get that right.
TROI: Some things improve with age. Maybe your trombone playing will be one of them.
CRUSHER: It's candle time, birthday boy.
(there are six candles on the blue frosted cake)
TROI: So, what did you wish for, Will?
RIKER: Music lessons.

[Bridge]

PICARD: Mister Data, we must hurry or we'll miss Commander Riker's party.
DATA: Sir. I find it interesting how much importance humans place on celebrating the day of their birth. A day they cannot possibly remember.
CREWMAN: Captain, I am detecting some unusual fluctuations in subspace frequencies.
PICARD: You'd better take a look at it, Mister Data.
DATA: It appears we are being probed, sir.
PICARD: Source?
DATA: The third planet of the Alpha Onias system. Our reports list it as presently uninhabited. Perhaps reports were incorrect, sir.
PICARD: Maybe the rumours of a secret Romulan base in this sector are true. Picard to Commander Riker.

[Ten Forward]

PICARD [OC]: I apologise for interrupting your celebration, but I'm going to need an away team. Could you report to the Bridge, please?

[Bridge]

DATA: Although Alpha Onias three is a class M planet, our survey teams have listed it as barren and inhospitable.
RIKER: Any life signs?
DATA: No, sir, but we have traced residual energy readings to a cavern two kilometres beneath the surface.
WORF: Romulans?
DATA: It is possible.
PICARD: I suppose you'll just have to go down there and find out.
RIKER: Geordi, Worf, you're with me.
PICARD: Number One. Happy birthday.

[Cavern]

(They beam into a place of extraordinary stalagmites and a wonderfully flat floor)
LAFORGE: I'm detecting high levels of volcanic gases. Sulphur dioxide, methane, hydrogen sulphide.
RIKER: Toxic?
LAFORGE: We're okay for now, but I wouldn't want to spend my vacation here.
RIKER: What about energy readings?
WORF: Magnetic clutter is increasing. I cannot make an accurate determination.
LAFORGE: Same here, Commander. I'm getting a lot of confusing readings here,
PICARD [OC]: Commander Riker, please acknowledge.
RIKER: Riker here.

[Bridge]

RIKER [OC]: We're having trouble reading you.
PICARD: And we are having similar difficulties reading you. I am advising you and your away team

[Cavern]

PICARD [OC]: to transport up at once.
LAFORGE: That's good advice, Commander. We've got a sudden build up of gases here, especially methane.
RIKER: Transporter Room.

[Transporter room]

RIKER [OC]: Take us up.
HUBBLE: I can't get a solid lock on you, sir. Too much interference.

[Cavern]

HUBBLE [OC]: I'm trying again.

[Bridge]

PICARD: Transporter room, what's happening?

[Transporter room]

PICARD [OC]: Report.
HUBBLE: I'm trying again, sir.

[Cavern]

(The team are on their knees, coughing, as the transporter beam comes and goes. Then they finally collapse)

[Sickbay]

OGAWA: Doctor Crusher, he's awake.
RIKER: Beverly?
CRUSHER: Will. You remember me. That's good. What else do you remember, Captain?
RIKER: Captain?
(He catches sight of his reflection. There's a little grey in the beard)
(After the opening titles)
CRUSHER: Water, three Celsius. How do you feel?
RIKER: Confused.
CRUSHER: That's understandable, considering what's happened.
RIKER: What has happened? What happened to Sickbay? To you? To me?
CRUSHER: Sit down, Captain.
RIKER: Captain? I am Commander William T Riker. What is going on here?
CRUSHER: Sit. Please. What is the last thing that you remember clearly?
RIKER: Alpha Onias three. The Enterprise had been probed. Geordi, Worf, and I transported down to track the source.
CRUSHER: But all you found there was toxic gas. They barely had time to get the three of you out. Will, that happened sixteen years ago.
RIKER: That's not possible.
CRUSHER: With an Altarian virus, anything is possible. In fact, we've been expecting this.
RIKER: Could you be more specific?
CRUSHER: That day on Onias three, you were infected with a strain of Altarian encephalitis, a retrovirus that incorporates its DNA directly into the cells of its host. It can lie dormant for many years and then suddenly become active again, as it did in your case ten days ago. You have been in a coma, delirious. Your fever finally broke this morning.
(really? So why is he in uniform and not sickbay gown?)
RIKER: But what happened to my memory?
CRUSHER: Let me show you a scan of your brain tissue. When the encephalitis became active it caused widespread synapse degradation, interrupting the consolidation of your memory patterns.
RIKER: Doctor.
CRUSHER: Will, this virus inevitably causes memory loss back to the moment of the original infection. In your case, all the way back to Alpha Onias three.
RIKER: I don't believe this. Is this a dream?
CRUSHER: Feel my hand. It is flesh and bone. This is not a dream and you are, in fact, Captain William T. Riker in command of the Enterprise.
RIKER: The Enterprise. For how long?
CRUSHER: Nine years.
RIKER: If I have lost my memory, how do I get it back?
CRUSHER: Memories are formed by association. Smells, sounds, and images from the present could possibly trigger them.
RIKER: Like a song reminds you of an old friend.
CRUSHER: Exactly. In associational therapy, we expose the patient to familiar surroundings. This could stimulate the brain's neural synapses into regenerating.
RIKER: Then let's get started. There's nothing more familiar than the Enterprise. Maybe that'll bring back some
CRUSHER: Will, I said your memory could return. In many of these cases the damage is permanent.

[Corridor]

RIKER: What about Geordi and Worf? Were they infected too?
CRUSHER: Thankfully, no. Geordi appears to have been immune and the Klingons don't seem to be affected by the virus.
RIKER: Speaking of Klingons
CRUSHER: There've been quite a few changes on the Enterprise in the last sixteen years.

[Turbolift]

CRUSHER: Deck eight.
RIKER: Belay that order.
CRUSHER: We should begin the associational therapy in your quarters. Personal recollections are always the most vivid.
RIKER: My life was on the main Bridge. Always has been. If anything's going to jog my memory. Main Bridge.
COMPUTER: Repeat command.
RIKER: I said main Bridge.
CRUSHER: Computer's been slow all morning. A processing accelerator's down. Commander La Forge has running a level one diagnostic to isolate the problem.

[Bridge]

RIKER: Geordi.
(He has normal eyes)
LAFORGE: Oh, it's good to see you up and about again, sir.
RIKER: Your eyes. What happened to your visor?
LAFORGE: My visor? I'm sorry, sir. Doctor Crusher told us that you might not remember. I haven't need a visor since I got these cloned implants, Captain.
(Worf is at Ops, and a Ferengi at helm)
WORF: Captain.
(Data is in a red uniform)
DATA: Welcome back, Captain. We were not expecting to see you on the Bridge so soon.
RIKER: Commander Data. You're my First Officer?
DATA: Do you remember, sir?
RIKER: Data, I haven't remembered a day for the last sixteen years.
WORF: Captain, warbird uncloaking.
DATA: On screen.
RIKER: Shields up. Red alert.
DATA: Captain, we were expecting the Decius. There is no cause for alarm.
RIKER: Cancel red alert. Clearly I need to be briefed.
WORF: Captain, the Decius is hailing us. The Admiral wishes to speak to you.
RIKER: On screen.
(A bearded Picard, and a uniformed Troi by his side)
PICARD [on viewscreen]: Will.
RIKER: Admiral Picard. Deanna.
TROI [on viewscreen]: How are you feeling?
RIKER: I've felt better.
PICARD [on viewscreen]: Not surprising. Altarian viruses can be a nasty business.
RIKER: That's an understatement. I can't even
PICARD [on viewscreen]: We'll discuss this after we've transport over. Picard out.

[Turbolift]

RIKER: Transporter room six.
CRUSHER: How are you holding up?
RIKER: I could get used to the idea of a Ferengi ensign, but Admiral Picard on a Romulan warbird? What is that all about?
CRUSHER: I think I should leave all the explanations to the Admiral.

[Transporter room]

RIKER: Whenever you're ready, Chief.
(Picard and Troi are beamed aboard)
PICARD: Captain Riker. it's good to see you have recovered.
RIKER: I'm not exactly sure you can call it a recovery, sir.
TROI: Then there has been some memory loss.
PICARD: How much?
CRUSHER: Everything since Alpha Onias three.

[Observation lounge]

PICARD: To lose sixteen years. It's almost beyond belief.
RIKER: I have trouble believing it myself.
TROI: It's overwhelming to have so much of your life missing.
PICARD: And it couldn't have happened at a worse time. A few more days of relatively simple negotiations, and the treaty will be signed.
RIKER: What negotiations? What treaty?
PICARD: Sorry. I'll start at the beginning, which is four years ago. A Romulan battle cruiser strayed into Federation space. Its warp coils had collapsed, life support was failing.
TROI: You saved them, Will, you and the Enterprise.
PICARD: The Romulans were impressed, to say the least. After years of distrust and conflict, they started to talk. You were our key spokesman in securing the alliance with the Romulans.
RIKER: How far have these negotiations progressed?
PICARD: The preliminaries are over. All we need do now is escort the Romulan Ambassador to the final session.
TROI: Where you will complete the negotiations and sign the treaty.
RIKER: Captain. Admiral. I am in no condition to negotiate with the Romulans or with anyone else.
PICARD: Will, you're sound of mind and body. If you are properly briefed, you will still be able to fulfill your duty.
RIKER: With a sixteen year gap in my head?
PICARD: We do need you.
RIKER: Sir, I'm not fit to resume command.
PICARD: I appreciate your candour, but despite your condition there is no one better equipped to deal with these Romulans than you.
RIKER: When do we leave?
PICARD: As soon as the Ambassador transports over from the Decius. We will get through this, as we have many times before.
(Picard leaves)
RIKER: I hope so.
TROI: Let me take you to your quarters.
RIKER: Good idea. I've had enough surprises for one day.

[Riker's quarters]

TROI: Anything familiar?
(a young boy is trying to play 'Three Blind Mice' on the trombone) 
JEAN-LUC: Hi, Dad.
(a little later, the lad is looking for something)
JEAN-LUC: and then Mister Greenburg asked about the Fornax Disaster, and I knew the Enterprise saved all the colonists. But I didn't know. (spots the PADD) Here it is. But I didn't know the exact stardate their sun went nova, so of you tell me, I'll write it down and that way I won't forget. You don't remember me, do you?
RIKER: I'm sorry.
TROI: I need to talk to your father, Jean-Luc. Would you mind leaving us alone for a moment?
(Jean-Luc goes into his bedroom)
RIKER: Why didn't you warn me?
TROI: Beverly hoped that meeting him like this might make an impact. Help you remember.
RIKER: Well, it made an impact alright.
TROI: Give it time.
RIKER: Jean-Luc.
TROI: Yes. The Admiral was very pleased when you chose that name. He is a wonderful boy.
RIKER: Deanna, who's his mother?
TROI: She died two years ago. A shuttle accident. I'm sorry, Will.
RIKER: I have no recollection of her at all. What was she like?
TROI: Min was beautiful, of course, strong, intelligent, patient.
RIKER: Well, if she was married to me, she had to be patient. TROI: She was an excellent Captain's wife, and a very good ship's counsellor. She took over after I left.
RIKER: I can't imagine you leaving the Enterprise.
TROI: Admiral Picard offered me a position at Starfleet Command. It was a tremendous opportunity. I couldn't refuse. But, what's important right now, today, is that you have a son who needs you. Spend time with him. You may find part of what you've lost.
(Troi leaves)

[Jean-Luc's room]

(He's at the trombone again)
JEAN-LUC: Pretty bad, huh?
RIKER: I've heard better.
JEAN-LUC: I've been practicing but I still can't get a good tone.
RIKER: You're putting too much pressure on the mouthpiece. Relax the embouchure. Don't use any muscles you don't need.
JEAN LUC: Show me again.
RIKER: Left hand. Right hand.
(does a quick scale, then goes into Misty, and gets the 'helpless' note wrong again)
RIKER: Sixteen years, you'd think I'd be able to hit that note.
JEAN LUC: Come on, Dad, you always make that mistake.

[Riker's quarters]

RIKER: Computer. Summarise service record. Riker, William T, Captain. Begin with the Fornax disaster.
COMPUTER: Please restate question.
RIKER: Service record, Riker, William T.
(nothing)
RIKER: Damn it.
JEAN-LUC: Dad?
RIKER: Computer lag. I can't believe Geordi's still running his diagnostic.
(finally something comes up on the desk monitor)
JEAN-LUC: Is that what you wanted?
PICARD [OC]: Picard to Captain Riker. The Romulan Ambassador is ready to transport over from the Decius.
RIKER: On my way. I'd better go.
JEAN-LUC: Sure. Dad. Everything's going to be fine.

[Corridor]

PICARD: Troi tells me you met Jean-Luc. How's my namesake holding up to all this?
RIKER: Better than I am.
TROI: We did our best to prepare him.
RIKER: I'm trying to catch up with all this. I've still got a long way to go. A long way.
PICARD: Just follow my lead with the Ambassador. You'll be fine.

[Transporter room]

CHIEF: The Decius reports the Ambassador is waiting to transport.
RIKER: Beam him aboard.
(Every one say hi! to Andreas Katsoulis, our favourite Romulan)
TOMALAK: Admiral Picard, Captain Riker. It's good to see you again.
PICARD: Ambassador Tomalak. Welcome aboard the Enterprise.
TOMALAK: Thank you, Admiral. It is an honour to be the first Romulan to freely walk about a Federation Starship.
(Tomalak and Picard leave)
RIKER: Ambassador Tomalak? At Nelvana three, he threatened to take the hull of the Enterprise home as a war trophy.
TROI: That was a long time ago. Many things have changed, including Tomalak.

[Corridor]

TOMALAK: As soon as we arrive at your Outpost twenty three, the final negotiations should go quickly.
PICARD: I agree, Ambassador. All of the difficult issues have been resolved.
TOMALAK: After much debate. Your Captain Riker is the kind of negotiator even the Ferengi should avoid.
PICARD: But we have come to an agreement both sides are happy with, largely thanks to Captain Riker.
TOMALAK: And we are grateful, Captain. The new alliance will greatly benefit my people.
RIKER: As I hope it will benefit mine.
TOMALAK: It will, Captain. It will.

[Turbolift]

RIKER: Main Bridge.
TOMALAK: The virus you contracted, Captain. Have you fully recovered?
PICARD: I assure you Captain Riker is quite well. He's looking forward to attending the final negotiations as planned.
TOMALAK: Excellent. The signing of this treaty is an historic occasion. You, of all people, deserve to be there.
RIKER: Thank you, Ambassador.

[Bridge]

TOMALAK: So this is the Bridge of the Enterprise. And this, I assume, is your Tactical position. Impressive.
RIKER: Excuse me. Admiral, Deanna, I need a moment with you. Commander Data, if you would accompany the Ambassador on his tour.
DATA: Certainly, sir.
RIKER: Excuse us, Ambassador.
DATA: Ambassador, you may find this of interest. These newly refined sensors are capable of pinpointing the power emissions of a cloaked warbird even at warp.

[Ready room]

RIKER: Are you saying you trust Tomalak?
PICARD: I trust the process we have built with the Romulans over the past four years. They have nothing to gain by betrayal.
RIKER: Are you sure? You've always said it's a chess game with the Romulans. Move, counter move, guile and deceit.
TROI: I sense no such dishonesty in Tomalak. His desire for peace is sincere. He wants this alliance. There is no cause for concern.
RIKER: No cause for concern? We're talking about revealing the location of Outpost twenty three, the key to all of our defences in the Neutral Zone.
PICARD: I'm sorry, Will, your information is out of date. The strategic importance of Outpost twenty three is minimal. Has been for years.
CRUSHER [OC]: Doctor Crusher to Riker. Are you there, Captain?
RIKER: What is it, Doctor?
CRUSHER [OC]: Your son has been injured. He's been taken to Sickbay. You'd better come down here right away.

[Sickbay]

(Young Jean-Luc is having his arm treated)
JEAN-LUC: Dad.
RIKER: Are you alright?
JEAN-LUC: I'm fine.
RIKER: What happened?
CRUSHER: It's broken, but it's going to be all right in just a minute. Now, let's go easy on this arm for a little while, okay?
RIKER: How'd this happen?
JEAN-LUC: I was in the gym playing parrises squares.
RIKER: Parrises squares?
JEAN-LUC: I fell off the ramp.
RIKER: At your age? You could break your neck!
JEAN-LUC: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to.
CRUSHER: Continue the compression attenuator for two more minutes.
OGAWA: Yes, Doctor.
CRUSHER: Can I talk to you for a moment?
RIKER: I'll be right back.
(they walk away)
CRUSHER: Will, how old were you when you first started playing parrises squares?
RIKER: Alright, I was probably a little younger than he is. It's just that, for all practical purposes, this is my first day as a father and he almost kills himself.
CRUSHER: He didn't almost kill himself. He just broke a wrist, just like a lot of other boys his age when they fall.
RIKER: You're right. It's difficult.
CRUSHER: Difficult for you? What about for Jean-Luc? Can you imagine how he feels? You've lost sixteen years. Jean-Luc has lost a lot more than that. First his mother and now his father.
OGAWA: Good as new, Captain. You can take him home.
RIKER: Thanks. How's the arm?
JEAN LUC: It's fine. Dad, I'm really sorry. I mean, I know you've got more important things to do.
RIKER: There is nothing more important than this, son.

[Turbolift]

JEAN-LUC: Deck eight.
RIKER: Halt. I know how hard this is for you.
JEAN-LUC: It's okay, Dad.
RIKER: No, okay's not good enough. When I was your age, my own father he wasn't there for me. And I really needed him. I've often wondered what kind of father I'd be. I never felt quite ready. The idea even scared me a little.
JEAN-LUC: Scared? You?
RIKER: Yeah. But I guess I got over it. You're here. Resume. It's important to me that I don't let you down, Jean-Luc.
JEAN-LUC: You never have, Dad. You've always been there for me.
RIKER: I'll have to take your word for that because I don't remember any of it. Your first step, your first tooth, nothing. And I want to remember. I guess there's only one thing we can do. We've got to build some new memories.

[Corridor]

RIKER: I'm not sure it's still in the memory banks, but I used to have a great fishing programme on the holodeck.
JEAN-LUC: The Curtis Creek programme?
RIKER: You know it?
JEAN-LUC: Sure. We've gone to Curtis Creek lots of times.
RIKER: Would you like to go again?
JEAN-LUC: You bet.
RIKER: Well as soon as these negotiations are out of the way, you and I are going fishing.
JEAN-LUC: Great!

[Riker's quarters]

JEAN-LUC: And then Mom tried to net the fish, and she fell in the creek, too. And then you tried to pull us both out, and you fell in.
RIKER: I'm not sure I want to remember that.
JEAN-LUC: Mom really liked Curtis Creek. We went there for picnics and stuff lots of times.
RIKER: What was she like?
JEAN-LUC: She was great. I think of her a lot. I'd better go change.
RIKER: Computer. Display family record. Riker. William T. Limit to visual.
(the wall monitor shows a movie of Riker and young J-L having fun)
RIKER: Display family record. Riker, Mrs. William T.
COMPUTER: Please restate request.
RIKER: Damn.
JEAN-LUC: What's wrong, Dad?
RIKER: The computer still isn't working properly. I can't get a visual of your mother.
JEAN-LUC: But I know Mom's pictures are there. Did you give a stardate? Computer. Display family record. Riker, Mrs. William T. Home file. Stardate 58416.
(a movie of J-L's 7th birthday, and the woman is a brunette last seen in a season one episode...)
RIKER: Min! Minuet.
JEAN-LUC: Mom was beautiful, wasn't she?
RIKER: Yes.
JEAN-LUC: What's wrong, Dad?
LAFORGE [OC]: La Forge to Riker.
RIKER: Riker here.
LAFORGE [OC]: Captain, please come to the Bridge.
RIKER: On my way.

[Bridge]

RIKER: What's the problem?
LAFORGE: I've had to shut down the warp engines, Captain.
RIKER: Why?
LAFORGE: Antimatter containment fields are fluctuating. It's nothing to worry about though.
RIKER: We're on the edge of the Neutral Zone on impulse power, and you're not concerned?
LAFORGE: I'll have the engines back online in no time, sir.
RIKER: Like you tracked down that faulty processing accelerator?
LAFORGE: I'm running a level one diagnostic.
RIKER: For thirty hours? It would never take you more than four. You're incapable of that level of incompetence, Mister La Forge. Worf, where did you get that scar?
WORF: In combat.
RIKER: What battle? When? Which sector? Which unit? Mister Data, if we left immediately, when would we arrive at Outpost twenty three?
DATA: (thinks) At warp one, in three days, four hours.
RIKER: How about at warp seven? (pause) At warp eight? At warp nine? What's the matter, Data? What happened to those millions of calculations per second?
DATA: Pardon me, sir. I am experiencing subspace interference which limits my abilities. I can't operate as quickly as
RIKER: What did you say?
DATA: I said I cannot operate
RIKER: No! That's not what you said. You said I can't. You used a contraction, didn't you?
DATA: Sir, I can explain if you would just give me a moment.
RIKER: No you can't. Don't even try.
(Picard, Troi and Tomalak have come out of the ready room)
PICARD: Captain, perhaps it would be best if we discussed this
RIKER: Shut up!
PICARD: I beg your pardon?
RIKER: I said, shut up. As in close your mouth and stop talking.
TROI: Will, I sense how upset you are. You're angry and impatient.
RIKER: Deanna, back off. Well, would anyone else like to speak up? Or shall we end this charade?
TOMALAK: As you wish, Commander Riker.

[Romulan Holodeck]

TOMALAK: The charade is over.

[Control room]

(a technician is running a scanner over Riker, returning his uniform and appearance to normal)
RIKER: The Enterprise? my son you created it all.
TOMALAK: With the help of our neural scanners and what you would call a holodeck. Now, please tell me. How did you discover the truth? The future we constructed for you should have been convincing.
RIKER: It wasn't. There was a computer time lag, for one thing.
TOMALAK: Unavoidable. Our scanners have a limited response time, so whenever you strayed from our expectations. But surely that was not enough to
RIKER: To smash your house of cards? No. It was the visual record of my wife, Minuet. Bad move.
TOMALAK: But we chose someone from your past who is still alive. A woman you were extremely attracted to
RIKER: Your mistake, Tomalak. Minuet was nothing more than a computer generated fantasy I once experienced on another holodeck.
TOMALAK: Impossible. In your mind that woman exists, physically. Your feelings toward her remain quite passionate.
RIKER: She was part of a very special programme.
TOMALAK: So much effort, so little accomplished.
RIKER: If it was Outpost twenty three you were after, why didn't you use your neural scanners to probe my mind?
TOMALAK: Our scanners are calibrated for Romulan brain patterns. When it comes to human brains, they are less efficient. There were gaps in the information we gathered from your memory.
RIKER: Gaps? From what I saw, I find that hard to believe. You recreated the Enterprise, the crew, every nuance and smell, sound, with perfect accurate. I didn't see any gaps. I don't buy it, Tomalak.
TOMALAK: We're wasting time. Bring him.

[Tunnel]

(obviously artificial, with computer panels on the walls)
TOMALAK: When you and your colleagues transported to this planet, you were less than a kilometre from this base. Your capture was a simple matter.
RIKER: My colleagues, where are they?
TOMALAK: We allowed them to transport safely back to the Enterprise, but your signal was diverted.
RIKER: My people won't stop looking for me, Tomalak.
TOMALAK: They already have.
(He drops the forcefield on a room)
TOMALAK: Please, say hello to your son.

[Holding cell]

(Riker enters the comfortably furnished cell. Tomalak and the guard stay outside)
RIKER: Jean-Luc?
TOMALAK: That is not his name, of course, nor have you ever really met him. We merely used his image to augment your programme.
RIKER: What have you done to him?
TOMALAK: While I am gone, please give careful thought to your situation.
(the forcefield goes back up, and the Romulans leave)
RIKER: What's your name?
(the boy backs away from him)
RIKER: Whoa. If we're going to get out of here, you're going to have to trust me. Easy, I'm not going to hurt you. Who are you? How did you get here? My name is Will.
ETHAN: Ethan. They brought me here with my parents. We were at a research station on Miridian six.
RIKER: Miridian six? On the edge of the Neutral Zone? I thought that was uninhabited.
ETHAN: The station was set up last year. Then the Romulans came.
RIKER: It's odd that the Enterprise wasn't advised. Where are your parents now?
ETHAN: They took them away.
RIKER: Do you know why the Romulans are keeping you here?
ETHAN: No. I just want to get away.
RIKER: I'll get us out of here, Ethan.
ETHAN: How? Even if we do get away, they'll find us. They found me when I escaped before.
RIKER: You escaped?
ETHAN: Yes. I hid in a secret place for weeks, but they caught me when I came out to find food.
(Tomalak and a guard storm back in)
TOMALAK: I want that information, Commander. I want the location of Outpost twenty three. Very well. I have been given permission to use whatever means are necessary
(Ethan makes a run for it through the open door)
RIKER: Ethan, no!
TOMALAK: Stop him!
(Riker punches Tomalak, then gets the guard off Ethan and takes his weapon)

[Tunnel]

RIKER: That secret hiding place of yours?
(he shoots another guard)
ETHAN: This way
(they run, shooting another Romulan on the way)
ETHAN: In here.

[Crawlspace]

(Ethan fastens the grill back in place. Another Romulans tests it and tries to look in, then leaves)
RIKER: Their sensors should have picked us up.
ETHAN: No, they can't. I heard them. There's something in these rocks.
RIKER: Heavy metals?
ETHAN: Right.
(they go through a hole in a wall into -)

[Store room]

ETHAN: The Romulans forgot all about this storeroom when they rebuilt their tunnels. Here, use these. Help me.
(they build a barricade of boxes in front of the hole, then switch on the light. It's quite a big room)
ETHAN: After I got away last time, I mapped out all their tunnels. Supply depot, communications, living quarters and shuttlebay.
RIKER: How many guards in the shuttlebay?
ETHAN: Only two or three.
RIKER: If we stole a shuttlecraft, that would get us nowhere. The Romulans could follow their own ship to easily. But if we broke into their communications system, we could send a message to the Enterprise.
ETHAN: We can't do that. The transmitter is on a voice-activated security system.
RIKER: Do you know whose voice activates it?
ETHAN: Only Ambassador Tomalak.
RIKER: Who?
ETHAN: Tomalak.
RIKER: Ambassador Tomalak? Tomalak is a Romulan Captain. The only time he was ever called Ambassador was in a holodeck fantasy. How do you know about that?
ETHAN: You, er, you told me about him.
RIKER: Who are you? What is your part in all this?
(noises off)
ETHAN: They've found us!
RIKER: But you said their sensors didn't work in this tunnel.
ETHAN: They must have fixed them. We've got to go!
RIKER: Where are we going to go, Ethan?
ETHAN: The shuttlebay. There's still time.
RIKER: I've had enough.
(the barricade is knocked down)
TOMALAK: Commander, surrender your weapon.
RIKER: No more games. No more fantasies. I'm not going to play anymore.
(and the Romulans and the store room vanish)

[Cavern]

RIKER: It was never the Romulans. It was you all along, wasn't it?

[Bridge]

DATA: There is no question about it, sir. It is his signal.
PICARD: Picard to Commander Riker. Do you read me?
RIKER [OC]: Riker to Picard. I'm here.
PICARD: Are you all right?
RIKER [OC]: Yes, sir, I'm all right. What about

[Cavern]

RIKER: Geordi and Worf?
PICARD [OC]: We beamed them up an hour ago. They're fine.

[Bridge]

PICARD: But we lost you in mid-transport. Where've you been? What is going on down there?
RIKER [OC]: I'm not sure yet, sir.

[Cavern]

RIKER: But I think I'm about to find out. Stand by. What shall I call you? Ethan? Jean-Luc?
ETHAN: It doesn't matter.
RIKER: This room, it's more than a holodeck, isn't it?
ETHAN: Much more. The neural scanners read my mind, give me everything I want. Just like they tried to give you everything you wanted.
RIKER: Everything I wanted? You probed the Enterprise. You lured us here so you could play games with me. I didn't want that, you did. Why?
ETHAN: My world was invaded. My people killed. My mother brought me here so our enemies would never find me.
RIKER: They found her, didn't they?
ETHAN: She knew that they would never stop looking for her, so she made sure I would be safe.
(the stalagmites light up with machinery)
ETHAN: She left the scanners to protect me, to give me anything I wanted.
RIKER: Anything? Then why did you kidnap me?
ETHAN: I wanted you to stay. It's been so long. I just want somebody real. I thought that you'd be happy. I'm sorry.
RIKER: I have to return to my ship. Come with me. You don't have to stay here anymore. You don't have to be alone anymore.
(the boy transforms into a grey alien with big eyes and very long fingers)
ETHAN: My name is Barash.
RIKER: To me, you'll always be Jean-Luc. Two to transport.

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