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In 2370, Powell was the team leader for one of the rescue parties sent to search for Data, who was under the influence of Lore. The Enterprise-D, under the command of Doctor Beverly Crusher, was forced to leave 47 of the crew, including Powell's team, on the surface to escape a Borg attack. Powell reported his team's status to Commander William T. Riker. (TNG: "Descent, Part II")
Later that year, Powell began dating Nurse Alyssa Ogawa, and their relationship became serious. Powell joined Ogawa's friends, including Sam Lavelle, in a poker game on at least one occasion. Sam later said, jokingly, that Powell was probably the worst poker player he had ever seen. Ogawa worried that they were drifting apart after Powell canceled a date and began putting in double shifts on a research proposal. Dr. Beverly Crusher also saw Powell talking with another woman in Ten Forward. When Crusher asked Ogawa about the status of their romance out of concern, Ogawa revealed that Powell had proposed to her and that they planned to announce the engagement after the promotions were announced. (TNG: "Lower Decks")
Ogawa became pregnant with their first child soon following their engagement. Powell was initially shocked, and Lieutenant Commander Data offered to share his insights on parenthood, gained from experiences with Spot. (TNG: "Genesis")