Devil's Due
Stardate: 44474.5
Original Airdate: 4 Feb, 1991

[Ebenezer Scrooge's bedchamber]

(It's Dickens time on the holodeck, and Data is playing Scrooge)
MARLEY: You don't believe in me.
DATA: I don't.
MARLEY: What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?
DATA: I don't know.
MARLEY: Why do you doubt your senses?
DATA: Because a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. Why, there's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are. Humbug, I tell you. Humbug.
(the ghost roars, and Scrooge cowers)
PICARD: Freeze programme. Very well done, Data. Your performance skills really are improving.
DATA: Your courtesy is appreciated, sir. But I am aware that I do not effectively convey the fear called for in this scene.
PICARD: Well, you've never known fear, Data. But as an acute observer of behaviour, you should be able to approximate it.
DATA: Sir, that is not an appropriate basis for an effective performance. Not by the standards set by my mentors.
PICARD: Your mentors?
DATA: Yes, sir. I have studied the philosophies of virtually every known acting master. I find myself attracted to Stanislavsky, Adler, Garnav. Proponents of an acting technique known as the Method.

[Corridor]

(Patrick Stewart is a Method actor, by the way)
PICARD: Method acting? I'm vaguely familiar with it, but why would you choose such an old-fashioned approach?
DATA: Perhaps because the technique requires an actor to seek his own emotional awareness to understand the character he plays.
PICARD: But surely that's an impossible task for you, Data.
DATA: Sir, I have modified the Method for my own uses. Since I have no emotional awareness to create a performance, I am attempting to use performance to create emotional awareness. I believe if I can learn to duplicate the fear of Ebenezer Scrooge, I will be one step closer to truly understanding humanity.
RIKER [OC]: Captain Picard, please report to the Bridge.
PICARD: On my way, Number One. Data, the moment you decided to stop imitating other actors and create your own interpretation, you were already one step closer to understanding humanity.

[Bridge]

RIKER: We've received an emergency transmission from the science station on Ventax Two, sir.
PICARD: What's the nature of the emergency?
RIKER: Uncertain. The signal was interrupted.
WORF: Contact reestablished with Ventax Two, sir.
RIKER: On screen.
(a very static-laden image)
CLARK [on viewscreen]: I am Doctor Howard Clark, director of the science station here on Ventax Two. Thank you for responding.
PICARD: Worf, can you improve our reception?
WORF: The trouble is at the transmission source, sir.
PICARD: Doctor Clark, we are barely able maintain communication with you. Can you boost the level of your power source?
CLARK [on viewscreen]: I'm afraid not, Captain. It's under attack.
PICARD: Under attack?
CLARK [on viewscreen]: There's a mob outside the door, trying to break into the station. The planet is in chaos. Lootings, fires, mass hysteria. These people are all convinced their world is coming to an end. Tomorrow. Please, we must have your immediate

Captain's log, stardate 44474.5. We have reached Ventax Two and are attempting to contact the Federation science station, which at last report was under siege by an angry mob.

[Bridge]

WORF: They are transmitting again.
PICARD: On screen, before we lose contact.
CLARK [on viewscreen]: Enterprise, Enterprise! Do you read me? Emergency! We need help!
PICARD: Doctor Clark, this is Captain Picard. We are ready to beam you and your staff on board the
CLARK [on viewscreen]: They're in!
PICARD: Transporter room three. Lock onto the science team and beam them aboard.
CHIEF [OC]: I've locked onto Doctor Clark. I can't pick out the others. It's a mess down there.
PICARD: Then beam Doctor Clark aboard by himself.
CHIEF [OC]: Yes, Captain.
PICARD: Mister Worf, will you escort him to my ready room.
WORF: Aye, sir.
PICARD: Number One, try to make some sense out of this mess.

[Ready room]

CLARK: The people in Ventax Two live in an agrarian society. At least, they do now.
PICARD: What do you mean, now?
CLARK: It's an interesting anthropological question. One we were studying before the trouble began. In the distant past, the Ventaxian culture had achieved an extremely advanced scientific level, but a millennium ago they turned their backs on technology.
PICARD: They reverted to a simpler existence?
CLARK: And remained that way for centuries. First contact was made by a Klingon expedition seventy years ago. Since then, the new technology has been available to the Ventaxians. They simply are not interested in it. Virtually no social problems to be found on this planet, In fact, I would have described their society as idyllic until
PICARD: Until what, Doctor?
CLARK: It's hard to believe. Several years ago, Acost Jared, the Ventaxian head of state, began to grow increasingly obsessed with the legend of Ardra. With each passing day, he grew more anxious, and he talked about little else. Ardra is coming back. Ardra will be here soon. We must all leave before Ardra returns.
PICARD: And who is this Ardra?
CLARK: For all intents and purposes, the devil. Captain, these people actually believe they've sold their souls to the devil.
RIKER [OC]: Riker to Captain Picard.
PICARD: Have you located the science team, Number One?
RIKER [OC]: Evidently they're being held hostage.
CLARK: Hostage?
RIKER [OC]: There's a Ventaxian leader on the viewscreen, name of Acost Jared.
PICARD: Doctor.

[Bridge]

CLARK: Jared, you must secure the release of my people. I can't believe you would allow this.
JARED [on viewscreen]: Howard, my friend, you know how I abhor all acts of violence, but events are out of my control.
PICARD: I'm Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Is there nothing you can do?
JARED [on viewscreen]: As the hour of Ardra's return approaches, fear has overwhelmed my people. It has been a thousand years. The prophecies have come true.
PICARD: Prophecies?
CLARK: Ardra's arrival was supposed to be heralded by the shaking of the cities. Now there has been a series of geological tremors on the planet. Minor quakes, nothing extraordinary.
PICARD: Poorly timed.
JARED [on viewscreen]: There is more. For several nights there have been visions of Ardra. Again, just as the contract said would occur before her return.
PICARD: Visions? Do you mean dreams?
JARED [on viewscreen]: No. She has appeared. I myself have seen her.
PICARD: Jared, tell your people, if the hostages are released, I am prepared to offer Federation assistance should this, this Ardra return.
JARED: I am afraid it will not matter. They know your weapons are useless against her, Captain. I will make inquiries concerning the hostages. The innocent should not suffer from our sins. But I can make no promises.

[Observation lounge]

TROI: This situation is deteriorating, Captain. The people are approaching levels of anxiety that could lead to suicide.
PICARD: Mister Data, what do we know about this Ardra?
DATA: She is a cornerstone of Ventaxian theology. It seems that Ardra came to Ventax Two and promised one thousand years of peace and prosperity, for a price. Upon her return, she would enslave the entire population. In Ventaxian culture, it is considered bad luck to speak her name out loud. CLARK: There are ancient scrolls concerning Ardra that are stored in the Athenaeum vaults. Scholars study them. They have been of little public interest until recently
PICARD: I think I should meet with this Acost Jared. He's still our best hope for the release of the hostages.
RIKER: I'll arrange to have him transported on board.
PICARD: No. I'm going down to the planet myself.
WORF: Sir, you run the risk of being taken as an additional hostage
PICARD: Mister Worf, you and Mister Data will accompany me. Mister O'Brien can keep a lock on our communicators. He can pull us out if necessary.
WORF: Yes, sir.
PICARD: Counsellor, I want you to come too.

[Athenaeum]

(outside. buildings burn and people run)
JARED: Captain Picard, you shouldn't have come. Your life is in danger here.
PICARD: You must calm your people. There is no reason for panic.
JARED: No reason?
PICARD: If the tremors have frightened people, leading to this hysteria over Ardra, let us reassure them.
DATA: We have scanned the tectonic stress patterns of your planet's crust. There is no evidence that the quakes pose any kind of threat.
JARED: No, no, no, the threat is from Ardra. You cannot understand.
PICARD: If you can at least help us locate our people.
(the building shakes)
JARED: She is here.
PICARD: Nonsense. It is only
(Then a woman appears)
ARDRA: Time's up. I'm disappointed. I expected my tenants to take better care of my property.
JARED: Ardra, most powerful one, I am Jared, Leader of Ventax Two. I take responsibility for all that displeases you. Please, do not punish my people.
ARDRA: Punish? Who said anything about punishing? I merely expect your end of our contract to be upheld.
JARED: Thank you, Ardra.
ARDRA: And don't talk like some ancient prophet around me, with thees and thous and most powerful ones. It was appealing for a few centuries, but I bore easily. And stop cowering. When I want you on your knees, I'll let you know. (to Picard) Much better. a fine example for the others. Who would you be?
PICARD: I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise.
ARDRA: Keep up the good work. Now, the first thing we'll need is an accounting of all you've been accumulating for me. (a scroll appears in her hand) This form will provide guidelines for a full census of the population, with emphasis on productivity and economic forecasts.
PICARD: Who are you?
ARDRA: My, you are forceful, aren't you? Good. I like my men to be forceful. At least at the start.
PICARD: If your intent is to intimidate, you are not succeeding.
ARDRA: That's all right. I like a challenge.
TROI: An entire planet has been terrorised because of the suggestion that you're going to enslave the population.
ARDRA: Well, it's true. Of course, I wouldn't put it so melodramatically. It's just a standard contract with an unusually long term.
DATA: So you do purport to be the mythic figure Ardra?
ARDRA: I have many names, my pale friend. I'm Mendora in the Berussian Cluster. Torak to the Drellians. The Klingons call me Fek'lhr.
WORF: You are not Fek'lhr.
(she transforms into a drooling monster)
FEK'LHR: Ah, but I am I am the Guardian of Gre'thor. Where the dishonoured go when they die.
(then back to a woman)
ARDRA: But here on Ventax Two, I am called Ardra. The same Ardra who negotiated a contract with these people ten centuries ago today. Oh, you doubt me. A non-believer. Really, Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise, no doubt you have travelled the galaxy, encountered a diverse universe of creatures. Is there no room for the likes of me?
PICARD: I have encountered many who more credibly could be called the devil than you.
ARDRA: The devil! Now there's one I haven't heard in a long time.
PICARD: You claim you visited this planet a thousand years ago and negotiated a contract?
ARDRA: That's correct.
PICARD: I would like to see that contract.

[Vault]

(lots of dust and dribbly candles)
JARED: The scrolls of Ardra, Captain.
ARDRA: A long-winded description of a very simple business arrangement. I did away with their wars, famine and economic ruin, and provided them a thousand years of paradise. My terms were clearly stated. They went into this with their eyes open. I'm sure you'll find everything is in order.
PICARD: You won't mind if I don't take your word for it? Jared, with your permission, I'd like Mister Data will review these scrolls thoroughly.
JARED: It is no longer my decision, Captain.
ARDRA: I have intrigued you, haven't I, Picard?
PICARD: I am only here to secure the release of the Federation hostages.
ARDRA: Hostages? Is this true?
JARED: Yes, Ardra. Panic gripped the people as the time of your return grew closer.
ARDRA: Yes, I do have that effect on people. See that the hostages are released. Now.
JARED: Immediately.
ARDRA: Let us not cloud this with bit players, Picard. You will not leave because you find me irresistible.
(she vanishes)
PICARD: Enterprise, advise Doctor Clark that the hostages are being released.
CLARK [OC]: This is Clark. You did it, Captain. Thank goodness.
PICARD: Goodness had nothing to do with it. Three to beam up. Mister Data will remain on the surface. Data, I want a complete report on the contents of these documents. I refuse to abandon this planet to that woman. Energise.

[Observation lounge]

RIKER: Could she be another refugee from the Q continuum?
CRUSHER: For that matter, could she be Q?
PICARD: Q would never bother with contracts.
TROI: Or economic forecasts.
PICARD: I noticed that too, Counsellor. I had the distinct impression of in the presence of a flim-flam artist.
WORF: But her powers?
PICARD: Her powers are, at the best, unclear. Think about it, Mister Worf. Transporter technology can make things appear and disappear. The illusion that she can transform herself into a Klingon creature could be created by holographic projection.
CLARK: And creating a minor tremor could be the result of a low frequency tractor beam projected against the tectonic plates.
PICARD: We are capable of recreating all of these events. It's just that she dresses them up and she delivers them with more dramatic flair.
CRUSHER: Like a magician.
PICARD: Exactly.
TROI: She has an incredibly focused mind. It was virtually impossible to sense any deception. Or anything else, for that matter.
LAFORGE: The best magicians will never let you see what's up their sleeve, Counsellor.
RIKER: She must be tapping into some sort of power source to produce these effects. She's not hiding that up her sleeve.
PICARD: Number One, I want you and Mister Worf to run high resolution scans of this star system. Look for a ship, a base of operations, anything large enough to generate that power. Mister La Forge, accompany Doctor Clark back to the science station. See if you can trace the origin of these tremors.

[Bridge]

ARDRA: Your chair offers a lovely view of my planet, Picard. Come, sit with me.
PICARD: Either leave my Bridge or I will remove you by force.
ARDRA: By force? You disappoint me. You didn't strike me as that sort, Picard, But by all means, try.
PICARD: Mister Worf.
(Worf is knocked back by a force field. Ardra gets up and strokes Picard's hand)
ARDRA: I was really hoping you'd try it yourself.
PICARD: Transporter room three, lock on to the intruder and transport her to the planet surface.
CREWMAN [OC]: Aye, sir.
(Ardra is beamed away)
PICARD: Ensign, put up the shields until further notice.
ARDRA: (in uniform) Yes, sir, Captain. Whatever you say.
RIKER: We are not impressed by your magic tricks.
ARDRA: I pity you. We live in a universe of magic, which evidently you cannot see. Ah, my pale friend has returned. Have you finished examining the contract?
DATA: I have, sir.
PICARD: Report, Mister Data.
DATA: The contract agrees to deliver the people of Ventax Two into the personal servitude of Ardra after one thousand years of peace. I have compared the terms to the body of laws which govern the planet. The language of the agreement is correct in every detail, sir.
ARDRA: Such speed and accuracy. You're much too talented to be human.
DATA: I am an android.
ARDRA: Android. Of course. How wonderful. An unexpected bonus.
RIKER: Bonus?
ARDRA: Yes. When the contract came to term, I gained clear title to the planet, anything on the surface, in the air or in orbit. So you see, the Enterprise belongs to me now as well.
DATA: I'm afraid the contract could be interpreted in that way, sir.
(The bemused helmsman returns)

Captain's log, supplemental. Although I consider this woman's claim upon my ship to be an empty threat, it has further inspired my determination to expose her for the fraud she is.

[Ready room]

PICARD: Come.
DATA: You wished to see me, sir?
PICARD: Yes, Mister Data. A wise man once said, there is a sucker born every minute.
DATA: Barnum, sir. PT.
PICARD: I've been examining the dynamics of what used to be called the con game. Quite fascinating. Worthy of your study, Data.
DATA: Sir, do you believe Ardra is, to use the vernacular, a con artist?
PICARD: Yes, I do, Data. And I believe it is our job to out-con the con artist.
DATA: Sir, I must point out that the Ventaxians did have one thousand years of peace and tranquility as promised by Ardra.
PICARD: We can only speculate what occurred on that planet a thousand years ago. Maybe a Ventaxian leader saw the destruction of his society at hand and he conceived this Contract of Ardra to motivate change. Or maybe there was an Ardra of some sort who is the basis of this mythology. Who knows? The point is that somehow a fundamental theology was created which transformed this society, but in the process of change, created this latent fear which has been passed down through generations. Data, from your own experience of performing Ebenezer Scrooge, you're aware how fear can be a very powerful motivator.
DATA: Indeed, sir. In the story, the spirits used fear to motivate Scrooge to reform his character.
PICARD: And in the hands of a con artist, fear can be used to motivate obedience, capitulation, the exploitation of innocent people. And that is what I believe has happened here. I intend to prove that. I need to find a loophole, some way of challenging the validity of this contract.
DATA: Sir, the language of the contract seems carefully chosen to avoid any loopholes.
PICARD: Check it again, Mister Data, and check every Ventaxian legal precedent for the last one thousand years. We'll talk again in the morning.
DATA: Aye, sir,

[Picard's quarters]

(Picard has fallen asleep with a book. He is woken by a strong breeze and sees Ardra standing there in a negligee. He's not wearing much more himself.)
PICARD: Picard to Bridge. Intruder alert. Picard to Bridge.
ARDRA: Oh, I've arranged for a bit of privacy.
(Picard gets up and walks to the door, but it doesn't open)
ARDRA: Just the two of us.
PICARD: This is becoming very tiresome.
ARDRA: Oh, come now, Picard. You know you find me tantalising. Give in to your desires.
PICARD: You know, there's nothing about you I find tantalising. On the contrary, I find you obvious and vulgar.
ARDRA: Easily fixed. (Victorian clothing) I can be your ideal woman, Picard. Prim and proper. And chaste, until I succumb to your charms. Or would your fantasies turn more toward a professional woman, one perhaps who wears a Starfleet uniform? Perhaps I could even be
TROI: Someone close at hand and yet unattainable. I can do anything for you, Captain. Anything you could ever imagine.
ARDRA: I could give you a night that would light fire in your dreams until you die and you would reject me?
PICARD: Oh, yes.
ARDRA: You shall regret that.
PICARD: I think not.
ARDRA: Oh, but you will.
(and Picard vanishes)

[Science station]

LAFORGE: Captain Picard? Captain, I wasn't expecting you here.
PICARD: Neither was I.
LAFORGE: La Forge to Enterprise.
WORF [OC]: Go ahead.
LAFORGE: Worf, Captain Picard is here.

[Bridge]

LAFORGE [OC]: You'd better transport him back on board.
WORF: The Captain? But I have no
PICARD [OC]: It's all right, Mister Worf.

[Science station]

PICARD: Ardra somehow transported me here. Will you beam me directly to my quarters.
WORF [OC]: Aye, sir. We're locked on to you.

[Bridge]

WORF: Transporter is malfunctioning, Captain.

[Science station]

WORF [OC]: Some sort of interference. Checking.
PICARD: Just have Mister Data fetch me in a shuttle. And have him bring along a uniform.

[Bridge]

WORF: Did you say uniform?
PICARD [OC]: Yes, I did.
WORF: Aye, sir.

[Shuttlecraft]

PICARD: Mister La Forge and Doctor Clark have made no headway. Commander Riker and Lieutenant Worf have picked nothing up anything on their scans.
DATA: Sir, I believe I have found an obscure precedent in Ventaxian law which may be of interest.
PICARD: Yes?
DATA: The case involves a contract dispute over services rendered by a Klingon craftsman on the construction of a Ventaxian home. Because the dispute involved an alien culture, the parties decided that arbitration rather than the courts, should resolve the issue. Both sides agreed to choose an arbiter. It is the only known case involving an alien claimant.
PICARD: That's exactly what I needed. Well done, Data.
DATA: Shuttlecraft One to Enterprise. Prepare for docking sequence
RIKER [OC]: Proceed, Shuttle One.
(and then the Enterprise vanishes)
PICARD: Enterprise. Enterprise, do you read me? Enterprise, come in.

[Science station]

DATA: I cannot locate the Enterprise anywhere within one light year of the planet, sir.
PICARD: I don't believe Ardra is capable of transporting the Enterprise a light year away. Keep hailing them, Mister Data. Repeat on all frequencies.
LAFORGE: Hey, I think we've found something here. There's a sudden jump in Z-particle readings just about the time the Enterprise disappeared.
PICARD: Where did it originate?
CLARK: It was too brief to pinpoint.
LAFORGE: But it could suggest a hidden power source.
PICARD: Gentlemen, we need to find that source if we are to defeat this woman.
LAFORGE: Well, if you can get her to perform a few more magic tricks like that one, we just might be able to track it down.
(Ardra appears)
ARDRA: So, I trust you have a bit more respect for me now.
PICARD: What have you done with my ship?
ARDRA: I've done nothing with your ship. My ship is safely in my possession.
PICARD: I do not recognise your claim on the Enterprise. Nor on this world, for that matter. In accordance with Ventaxian legal precedent, I call for an arbitration.
ARDRA: An arbitration? There's nothing here to arbitrate.
PICARD: Oh, but there is. You're a fraud, madame, and I intend to prove that you could not have affected the changes that took place on this planet.
ARDRA: Do you not believe what you see with your own eyes? Your ship is gone, Captain.
PICARD: An illusion. Magicians have been making things of all sorts disappear for ages.
ARDRA: You underestimate me. But then, most people do, until it's too late.
PICARD: If you are who you say you are, then you have nothing to lose.
ARDRA: I also have nothing to gain. I already have possession of this planet and your ship.
PICARD: I am prepared to offer an added incentive. If you win, I'll take you to the ruins of Ligillium.
ARDRA: The Zaterl Emerald? You know where it is?
PICARD: Yes, I do.
ARDRA: Oh, you are too clever. But I have enough jewels. If you wish this foolish arbitration, I will choose my own prize.
PICARD: And what would that be?
ARDRA: You. By all rights, your body is already mine, but I want more. I want your heart, your mind, your soul, and I want you to give them to me without resistance, of your own free will. So, do you still wish to pursue this most dangerous game?
PICARD: I agree to your terms.
ARDRA: Oh, Picard, I will enjoy you morning, noon and night.
PICARD: But we must agree to an arbiter.
ARDRA: Very well. I choose Mister Data. Any objections?
PICARD: But Mister Data is a member of my crew.
ARDRA: Of my crew. And he's an android. He is incapable of deceit or bias. He has no feelings to get in the way of his judgment.
DATA: Ardra, before he responds, may I have a word in private with Captain Picard?
(she nods, and they cross the room)
DATA: Sir, I request you reject me as arbitrator.
PICARD: Why?
DATA: Ardra is right. If I am chosen, I will perform my duties without bias or sentiment. I cannot guarantee I will deliver a verdict in your favour.
PICARD: Data, where else on this planet can I find someone she cannot intimidate?
DATA: Sir, I will have to follow the rules of conduct for a Ventaxian jurist.
PICARD: I understand. You'll make a fine judge.

[Athenaeum]

JARED: A thousand years ago our planet was dying. Overcrowded and dangerous city states warred unceasingly with each other. The air and water were polluted with industrial waste and there was a constant threat of starvation and epidemic.
ARDRA: And then what happened?
JARED: And then you came.
PICARD: Objection. There is no conclusive evidence that this woman ever visited the planet a thousand years ago.
ARDRA: I suppose you want a thousand year old witness?
PICARD: That would be acceptable.
ARDRA: Jared. In the contract, does it specify how you would know me when I return?
JARED: Yes by the date.
ARDRA: Anything else?
JARED: by the shaking of the cities, and by the visions.
ARDRA: And all of these occurred on schedule?
JARED: Yes.
ARDRA: Thank you. Your honour, I submit that I have established my identity as stated by the contract.
DATA: Captain Picard, my interpretation of Ventaxian law suggests under these circumstances, this is acceptable. Your objection is overruled.
PICARD: But, your honour!
DATA: Sir, I have ruled. Please sit down. You may proceed.
ARDRA: Thank you, your Honour. Now, when I first set foot on Ventax Two, what did I offer your people?
JARED: According to the scrolls, you offered us a thousand years of peace and prosperity, if we would promise to surrender ourselves to you at the end of the term.
ARDRA: Now why do you think they would strike such a bargain?
JARED: We had nothing to lose. There was no hope in sight.
ARDRA: Until I came along.
PICARD: Objection!
ARDRA: I withdraw the observation. No further questions.
PICARD: Your Honour, nothing in this testament proves that Ardra had the power to affect the lives of the Ventaxians. My opponent has failed to prove her case and I move that her claim be summarily dismissed.
DATA: I find no cause to invalidate the contract at this time. The arbitration will continue.
ARDRA: Your Honour, Captain Picard as a new visitor to my planet has been a consistent doubter of my abilities. I would like to ask him a few questions, if I may.
DATA: It is highly irregular to question the opposing advocate, but I see no reason to deny it. Proceed.
ARDRA: Please don't take any offence at these questions, you know how fond I am of you.
PICARD: Objection.
DATA: Sustained. The advocate will refrain from expressing personal affections for her opponent.
ARDRA: You do not believe my powers are real, do you.
PICARD: No, I don't.
ARDRA: Then, sir, may I ask you to explain this.
(the ground shakes)
DATA: You are out of order.
ARDRA: Or this?
(Picard vanishes)
DATA: The advocate will refrain from making her opponent disappear.
(Picard returns)
ARDRA: Or this?
(he's big, red, and has goat's horns)
DEVIL: Can you explain it, Picard?
DATA: Any more disruptions and I will rule you in contempt of court. Is that understood?
ARDRA: I am sorry, your Honour, but can you explain it, Picard? Yes or no.
PICARD: No.
ARDRA: I rest my case, your Honour.

[Science station]

CLARK: The decay rate of these Z-particles makes it almost impossible to trace the source.
LAFORGE: I'm correlating particle trajectories. They're beginning to align. Wait a minute. I have coordinates thirty four degrees north, sixty two degrees east, at an altitude of two hundred ten kilometres.
CLARK: That would put it in orbit above the western magnetic pole, Running visual scan. Nothing.
LAFORGE: This time, I don't buy the magic. Something's got to be there.

[Athenaeum]

PICARD: Jared, you've described quite thoroughly the history of your people before and after Ardra's first visit. But I am a little unclear about the change itself. Did Ardra simply snap her fingers and transform the planet into this paradise?
JARED: No, the changes occurred gradually over a long period of time.
PICARD: Did she personally form the government that so peacefully ruled this planet for a millennium?
JARED: No, historical records indicate a council was convened to assess our options. They drew up a new constitution which the population later ratified.
PICARD: I see. So she advised this council?
JARED: No.
PICARD: No? Then she must have destroyed all the weapons on the planet.
JARED: No, our leaders did that. And they signed a treaty of non-aggression.
PICARD: Well then, let's move on to the environmental gains on Ventax Two. How were those accomplished
JARED: We shifted our economy from an industrial to an agrarian base. It was more ecologically sound.
PICARD: But Ardra must have purified the polluted water and air?
JARED: No, the record shows there were a series of initiatives covering everything from atmospheric contaminants to waste disposal.
PICARD: Did she not even pick up one piece of trash?
JARED: Ardra had left Ventax Two before the environmental reforms began.
PICARD: Forgive me, but it sounds as if with a great deal of hard work and courage, your ancestors changed this world all by themselves.
ARDRA: Objection. The advocate is drawing conclusions.
DATA: Sustained. I will draw my own conclusions, if you do not mind. Sir.
PICARD: No further questions.
DATA: Rebuttal?
ARDRA: Just two questions. Is there any doubt in your mind, any doubt at all, that if I had not intervened, the terrible conditions here would have continued? I remind you that you're under oath.
JARED: No doubt at all.
ARDRA: Then, as former head of state for the Ventaxian people, you are satisfied that I fulfilled my part of the bargain?
JARED: Yes, Ardra.
ARDRA: Thank you. Your Honour, what more can be said? Both sides agree the terms of the contract have been fulfilled.
DATA: Captain Picard, do you have any further evidence to present before I render judgment?
(Geordi enters)
PICARD: I believe my associate, Mister La Forge, may be bringing the answer to that question. I request a recess.
LAFORGE: Hi, Data.
DATA: Geordi. One hour recess is granted.
(Data and Jared leave. Ardra tries to eavesdrop)
PICARD: Mister La Forge, my reputation as a litigator, not to mention my immortal soul, is in serious jeopardy.
LAFORGE: Well, whatever's been going on over here gave us exactly what we needed.
PICARD: Have you identified the source of her power?
LAFORGE: A cloaked ship.
PICARD: She has a Romulan cloaking device?
LAFORGE: More likely a bad copy of one. We picked it up through a wavelength stretchout.
PICARD: The Enterprise?
LAFORGE: Exactly where it's supposed to be. Ardra extended her cloaking shields around it, set up a subspace damping field to interfere with normal operations. I've isolated the frequency spread and penetrated the field.
PICARD: Can you make contact?
LAFORGE: Already have.
PICARD: This is what I want to do, but we have less than an hour.
(An hour later)
PICARD: Jared, you're a wise and experienced leader, and I assume you trust your senses?
JARED: Yes, I would say so.
PICARD: And all your senses tell you that this woman here is the most powerful force on this planet, don't they?
JARED: Yes.
PICARD: Then what would you say if I were to tell you that she has no powers whatsoever?
JARED: But we have seen her powers here.
ARDRA: That's right, and you will again.
PICARD: Oh, yes. Ardra's magic. Jared, would you believe me if I told you that I could steal her powers and perform the same magical acts as she?
JARED: I'm sorry, Captain Picard, but you are not Ardra.
PICARD: No, that's true. I'm not Ardra. but I can create tremors just as she did.
(and the ground shakes)
ARDRA: Objection, your honour!
DATA: I think he deserves some leeway. Overruled. But that will be quite enough, Captain.
PICARD: Of course. Ardra, will you would do the honours and stop the tremors?
ARDRA: Er, of course.
PICARD: Is something the matter?
ARDRA: I like the tremors.
PICARD: Well, I don't.
(he snaps his fingers and they stop)
PICARD: You Recognise the old bag of tricks? What about this one? (Ardra vanishes) Come back, Ardra, if you can. No? Fine, allow me
(and she reappears)
ARDRA: Of all the impudence.
PICARD: Impudence?
FEK'LHR: Impudence is pretending to be Fek'lhr of Klingon.
DATA: Your leeway has run out, Captain.
PICARD: Your Honour, I appreciate your indulgence. Allow me to explain. A team from the Enterprise has taken control of this woman's ship now in orbit around Ventax Two. Thank you for your help, Number One.
RIKER [OC]: Glad to be of service, sir.
PICARD: They have been monitoring me on my communicator, executing a prearranged programme on her ship's computer, a fairly ingenious combination of force-field projection, holography and transporter effects. Ardra controls her magic literally by the blink of an eye. Centuries old technology. An implant which permits the movements of her eye to choose and activate each illusion. Ardra once told us that she is known by many names. Well, at least in that she was being honest. Her crew has admitted that she is known by twenty three aliases in this sector alone.
ARDRA: You had no right
PICARD: Deceiving innocent people with her petty schemes for years. Ventax Two must have offered her the greatest opportunity of her nefarious career. She learned of the myth of Ardra, studied it and expertly played on your fears that your people were ready to virtually surrender to her.
ARDRA: Your Honour, under the circumstances, I believe it is only fair that I release the Ventaxians from their obligation and I will let them keep the peace they have, and I will just be on my way.
(but her exit is blocked by guards Jared has just summoned)
DATA: With the advocate's withdrawal, the contract is hereby dissolved. This arbitration is adjourned.
JARED: Thank you, Captain Picard. You saved our lives.
PICARD: No, Jared. As I've tried to tell you, you saved your own lives a long time ago.
DATA: Congratulations, sir.
PICARD: Your Honour.
ARDRA: You would have had a lot more fun if you'd lost. Till we meet again, Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise.

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