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Birthright, Part I (episode)

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"Birthright, Part I"
TNG, Episode 6x16
Production number: 40276-242
First aired: 22 February 1993
141st of 176 produced in TNG
141st of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
257th of 728 released in all
Galaxy class docked at DS9
Written By
Brannon Braga

Directed By
Winrich Kolbe
46578.4 (2369)
  Arc: Birthright (1 of 2)
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  Arc: {{{wsArc2Desc}}} ({{{nArc2PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc2PartCount}}})  
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  Arc: {{{wsArc4Desc}}} ({{{nArc4PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc4PartCount}}})  

At Deep Space 9, Worf investigates reports that his father is still alive; an engineering accident causes Data to experience a vision of Dr. Soong.




Data and Julian Bashir

"Captain's Log, Stardate 46578.4. The Enterprise has arrived at Station Deep Space 9, to assist in the reconstruction of the Bajoran aqueduct systems damaged during the Cardassian Occupation."

As Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher walk down Deep Space 9's Promenade, Beverly tells him that she is eager to visit Quark's holosuites, especially a relaxation program from Alture VII. Picard has no time for relaxation, since he is due to meet ten Bajoran bureaucrats to discuss the repair of the Bajoran aqueducts. Meanwhile, Worf and Geordi are in the Replimat, eating pasta al fiorella. La Forge wants to visit the station's Ktarian antique shop, as he hears they have a 21st century plasma coil. As they eat, a Yridian is watching Worf from across the Promenade.

Act One

On the Enterprise bridge, Data detects a power drain in the starboard EPS conduits in sickbay. Someone has made an unauthorized access into the computer's bio-imaging systems. In the sickbay, Dr. Julian Bashir is studying a strange device. When Data arrives to assess the situation, Bashir explains that the device was discovered in the Gamma Quadrant, that he believes it to be some sort of medical imaging scanner, and that the Enterprise's sickbay systems can analyze it far better and faster than his limited resources on Deep Space 9 can. Data suggests that they take the device to Engineering, and have La Forge help them with the analysis.

The Yridian approaches Worf, and introduces himself as Jaglom Shrek, a broker of information. He tells Worf that his father, Mogh, is still alive and is being held prisoner in a Romulan prison camp. Enraged, Worf brands Shrek a liar, unwilling to believe that Mogh could have allowed himself to be captured. He returns to the Enterprise.

Worf finds that he cannot stop thinking about what Shrek told him. He retires to his quarters, and begins some martial arts training, breaking a glass table in a fit of rage. Counselor Troi tries to talk to him about his problem, and Worf explains that if Mogh had been captured, it would dishonor his whole family line for three generations.

Act Two

In Engineering, Bashir finds his curiosity piqued by the android, asking him questions about how Data's miscellaneous functions allow him to seem more Human – such as how he can control the rate of his hair growth, and his circulatory and respiratory systems. Powering up the Gamma Quadrant device, Bashir detects an overload in its power systems, and Data is struck by an energy discharge.

Data finds himself walking down a corridor on board the Enterprise, drawn to the far-off sound of metal on metal. Exploring further, he finds a blacksmith, hammering a piece of metal. The blacksmith turns to Data and smiles – it is Dr. Noonian Soong, Data's creator and "father". Data awakens from his "vision", and cannot understand what he has just experienced.

Data struggles to find meaning in his vision, asking Worf – who had had a similar experience as a boy – for advice. Worf tells him that nothing is more important than receiving a vision of his father, and that no matter what he has done, he must find him. Through talking to Data, Worf realizes what he must do.

Act Three

Worf finds Shrek and "persuades" him to take him to the prison camp. Meanwhile, Data talks to Captain Picard about his vision; Picard suggests that rather than analyzing it from the point of view of another culture, Data should try interpreting what it means to him as an individual. Data goes to his quarters and starts to paint pictures of his vision.

Worf arrives on the planet where the prison camp is. He stalks through the jungle, and encounters a Klingon girl bathing in a small pool. The girl is frightened by his intrusion, but Worf asks her not to reveal him to the Romulan guards.

Act Four

Data's paintings are as incomprehensible as the vision, but certain paintings – those of a bird, and a bird's wing – were not present in the vision. Unable to understand how he could be painting something he has never seen, Data decides to replicate the experiment with the Gamma Quadrant device. Monitored by La Forge and Bashir, Data is again struck by an energy beam and experiences another vision.

He finds Soong once more, hammering a bird's wing on his anvil. Soong tells him that he has developed the capacity to dream; no man should understand his dreams, hence why they are incomprehensible. He then tells Data that he is the bird; Data "flies" through the corridors and out of the ship, before waking up in Engineering. Finally understanding, he tells Bashir that he intends to deactivate himself every night and dream more. Bashir wishes him "sweet dreams."

Act Five

Worf finds the Romulan prison camp and discovers a group of Klingons performing a ceremony. Taking one of them hostage, he is told that his father did indeed die at Khitomer. He quickly learns that these Klingons are not treated as prisoners, but rather are living there together as a community and now that he knows of the camp's existence, he cannot be permitted to leave...


Memorable Quotes

"Worf, I don't see how you can eat that stuff. It tastes like liquid polymer."

- La Forge and Worf, while eating pasta al fiorella, which has been spoiled in its taste by the DS9 replicators

"I must admit, commander, I didn't think you'd be so... personable."

- Julian Bashir to Data, about the android's friendly and polite ways

"Did the table do something wrong?"
"I'm glad you weren't that hard on Ensign Lopez."
"He made a mistake. The duty roster was inaccurate."
"Would you like to talk about what's bothering you, or would you like to break some more furniture?"

- Counselor Troi, about Worf's rather aggressive behavior

"A Klingon would never allow himself to be captured. A warrior fights to the death!"

- Worf after discovering his father may be alive in a Romulan prison camp

"My father is dead! That Yridian is selling lies!"

- Worf

"Well, your creator went to a lot of trouble to make you seem Human. I find that fascinating."

- Bashir to Data

"Your father is a part of you... always. Learning about him teaches you about yourself. That is why, no matter where he is or what he has done... you must find him."

- Worf giving Data (and himself) advice

"This is not an empty jungle. There are many predators."
"I am prepared."

- Jaglom Shrek tells Worf about the jungle on Carraya IV

"I am sorry to disturb you, sir."
"Oh, not at all. I'm here studying the intricacies of Bajoran aqueduct management. I would welcome a little interruption."

- Data and Picard, after Data entered Picard's ready room

"I am curious Mr. Data, why are you looking at all these other cultures?"
"The interpretation of visions and other metaphysical experiences are almost always culturally derived, and I have no culture of my own."
"Yes you do. You're a culture of one, which is no less valid than a culture of one billion."

- Data and Picard discussing Data interpreting his dream

"Explore this image, Data. Let it... excite your imagination. Focus on it, see where it leads you. Let it inspire you."

- Picard after Data's "vision" of Noonian Soong

"We are not leaving here... and neither are you."

- L'Kor, to Worf in the Romulan prison camp (last lines)

Background Information

Story and Script

  • The A-plot in this story derived from two separate premises. One, pitched by George Brozak, concerned captured Klingons too proud to go home. The other, from Daryl F. Mallett, Arthur Loy Holcomb and Barbara Wallace, concerned the news that Worf's father Mogh might still be alive after Khitomer. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • Michael Piller suggested to break the story into two parts, believing that there was too much story to tell in one episode. He commented, "Because this was season six, the season of taking risks, of not being afraid of doing things Star Trek hadn't done before, I said 'Why not do another two-parter? Why wait until the end of the season or wait for a Spock? If a story justifies being bigger than an hour, let's do it.' I had been very happy with the results of "Chain of Command" and I said to Rick we should do it and he said fine. I also felt, much mistakenly as it turned out to be, that we would be able to save money if we expanded it into two hours by using the sets twice." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • When it was decided to expand the episode into two parts, the writing staff faced the challenge of finding a suitable B-plot, focusing on the character of Data. Ronald D. Moore suggested Data having some kind of religious experience. Brannon Braga, building on this, considered the idea of Data having a near-death experience. However, as René Echevarria explained, the idea was considered too similar to "Tapestry". As such the writing staff came up with the idea of Data dreaming. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • This is the only two-part episode with a separate plot (B-plot) that ends within one part (Data's Dream Program). As noted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, many were disappointed by the lack of a follow-up in the next episode.
  • Brannon Braga coined the name "Jaglom Shrek" from Henry Jaglom, an independent film director, and the old Yiddish word for "shriek". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • First UK airdate: 25 October 1995


Filming Birthright

Filming the episode

  • Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) was to appear in this episode, but she was busy filming the Deep Space Nine episode "Move Along Home". Siddig El Fadil (Julian Bashir) appeared instead. Farrell commented "I cried. I thought I should have fallen off the rock so I could have gone over there instead of Sid disappearing, because when we were filming "Move Along Home" his character disappeared, and I was acting throughout the rest of it with Nana and Avery, and we got caught up together". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 48)
  • The part of Jaglom Shrek had to be trimmed when actor James Cromwell broke his leg in the break between filming the two parts of the episode. A sympathetic scene in which Shrek confesses he was once a prison inmate himself was lost, as was a scene in which he would have been assassinated by one of the Klingons' grown sons who was determined not to hear the truth about his father. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • Director Winrich Kolbe was challenged by the task of providing appropriately surreal imagery for the scenes of Data's visions. "I wanted to go all the way. I saw nothing but shades of 2001. But it was decided by the powers that be, that we would not overexpose or underexpose. If we do anything, I was told we underexpose, but this is not what I had in mind. I wanted to actually flare it out to give it that different look, but some people felt that it had been done too often and would not look good. So then I decided I'm not going to talk about my creative input anymore, I'm just going to do what I want to do." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • According to composer Jay Chattaway, the dream sequence of Data was the first time an Electronic Wind Instrument was used during the production. ("Select Historical Data Year Six - Musical Directions", TNG Season 6 DVD special feature)


  • Rick Berman stated, "It was one of my favorite shows. I loved every element of it and so did my son, Tommy...The B story and the A story were of equal importance to me, and it all clicked." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • René Echevarria commented, "It was an unusual episode in that the two stories were very unconnected, but thematically they were...The scene where Worf tells Data about finding out the truth about the vision of his father is very powerful. It was one of the finest scenes in the history of Star Trek. I thought it was lovely when Worf realized he was talking about himself and it tied the two stories together and sent Worf on his journey." He concludes, "It was a very wonderful episode all the way around. Very well directed, the dream was spectacular. I'm only afraid "Birthright, Part II" was a disappointment." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • Brannon Braga noted, "The bird [in Data's vision] gave a great performance. It's one of our best guest stars ever. Kolbe executed the dream sequences with finesse. I was very happy that everything came together for me on that episode. The two stories resonated thematically with one another and I don't have a single complaint." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)



Illusory woman in corridor

June Abston Haymore sitting in a corridor

  • Among the costumes and props from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, was the costume of Jennifer Gatti. [2]
  • During Data's second vision, after he turns into a bird and flies past Noonian Soong, makeup artist June Abston Haymore can be briefly seen sitting in the side corridor behind Dr. Soong. This is the third time of four where a production staff member was accidentally filmed. The first was boom operator Bill Gocke in the episode "Unification II", the second an unnamed production staff member in "Time's Arrow", and the fourth an unknown sound guy in the episode "Journey's End".
  • This is the first of only three occurrences of one series' credit style appearing over the sets of another, specifically the blue TNG style over DS9. The second and third are in the ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" and "These Are the Voyages...". The USS Enterprise appears during the credit sequence of DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", without a credit overlay.
  • During Data's second dream sequence, and later on in the episode, a short "lobby" or lounge area can be seen in one of the cross corridors. It appears to be a redressed section of the Engineering cross-through corridor.

Video and DVD Releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars


Uncredited co-stars

Stunt doubles



21st century; anvil; arboreal needle snake; Alture VII; bat'leth; Bajor; blacksmith; bureaucrat; Carraya sector; David; Deep Space 9; Ferengi; Gamma Quadrant; hair follicle; holosuites; Kahless; Khitomer; Khitomer Massacre; Ktarian; Caves of No'Mat; liquid polymer; megajoule; Merrimack, USS; metaphysics; Michelangelo; Nagor; O'Brien, Miles; painting; pasta al fiorella; plasma coil; promenade; raven; Rite of MajQa; replicator; replimat; Rozhenko, Alexander; Rozhenko, Helena; Rozhenko, Sergey; Rudman; Soong, Noonian; Spot; Starfleet Cybernetics Journal; Symnay's Tomb; Taqua Tribe; tricorder; vision; YLT-3609; Yridian; Yridian shuttle

External link

Previous episode:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6
Next episode:
"Birthright, Part II"

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