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Booby Trap (episode)

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"Booby Trap"
TNG, Episode 3x06
Production number: 40273-154
First aired: 30 October 1989
53rd of 176 produced in TNG
53rd of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
160th of 728 released in all
Enterprise in Orelious IX asteroid field
Teleplay By
Ron Roman and Michael Piller & Richard Danus

Story By
Michael Wagner & Ron Roman

Directed By
Gabrielle Beaumont
43205.6 (2366)
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While investigating a 1,000-year-old derelict ship, the Enterprise gets caught in the same booby trap that doomed the vessel a millennium ago.



Geordi La Forge enjoys a holodeck date with Christy, but he gets rejected by her. Meanwhile, Data and Wesley Crusher play chess in Ten-Forward. Wesley sees La Forge comes in and realizes that his date didn't go so well since it ended earlier than expected.

The USS Enterprise-D is investigating the remains at Orelious IX. They discover a Promellian battle cruiser. Data says there are no life signs aboard the ship and Picard says there shouldn't be. It's a ship which belongs in a museum. He also comments that they are 'a little late' and that the signal for help from the cruiser was probably sent over a thousand years ago.

Act One

Ships in bottles

"Good Lord, didn't anybody here build ships in bottles?"

Picard and Riker argue about the risks of sending an away team to the old cruiser. Picard likens the ship in space to an airship in a bottle. Picard, Worf, and Data beam over to the ship and discovers that the crew of the cruiser died at their posts and their bodies have been preserved. Picard comments on how simple the ship's design is, and yet functional and designed to be used for generations.

La Forge sits in Ten Forward asking Guinan for romantic advice. He asks what does she look at in a man and she says, "his head." La Forge mistakes this for one's mind but she really means someone's head. She tells Geordi that she was once taken care of by a bald man and therefore looks for that. Geordi says that's what he wants too, to take care of someone.

La Forge fights booby trap

"We should be going like a bat out of hell!"

Data finds a memory coil on the Promellian cruiser and plays it. Galek Sar, the Captain, takes responsibility for what happened to his ship and its crew. The feedback ends, and the away team returns. The Enterprise tries to leave, but a Menthar booby trap begins to drain the power reserves of the Enterprise, which is unable to move, and creates a deadly radiation. The ship loses power and while Ensign Crusher tries to reverse course and leave at warp, the ship is still stuck. La Forge says that everything is running as it should, but he suggests that the ship slow down in case they burn out the reaction chamber.

Act Two

Brahms hologram and La Forge

"We're all smiles down here."

The Enterprise has 3 hours until energy reserves run out. Riker suggests sending another away team to the ship to check their records. Lieutenant Commander La Forge checks with the computer on how to get out of the literal rut they've gotten themselves into. La Forge finds Dr. Leah Brahms, the engineer who built the warp engines of the Enterprise, in the database and recreates the conditions in which he can work with her in order to find more energy for the ship. He tries to come up with a solution using the help of a holodeck recreation and accidentally ends up having the computer recreate a holodeck image of Dr. Brahms.

When Geordi realizes he is not interacting with a true facsimile of Brahms, he searches for her personality profile from the collective databases and has the computer add that personality to the recreated facsimile. The result is a tough-as-nails, highly intelligent but argumentative personality which La Forge finds progressively more attractive; she "comes to life" when he asks her to show him which chambers to use for supplementing energy to the life support and ship's systems.

Act Three

In the meantime, Dr. Crusher wants to set up emergency life support in case the ship does lose all power and is exposed to the radiation. Data and Riker find more coils on the old cruiser and brings it back to the Enterprise. They try to use the information gathered from the memory coils to come up with a way to combat the problem. They discover that the asteroids have been booby-trapped with aceton assimilators, and that it is impossible to destroy the asteroids while they absorb the energy of the fired phasers.

Enterprise fires on asteroids

"Energy reserves are dropping rapidly, sir."

Lieutenant La Forge and Dr. Brahms, now on a first-name basis, argue on how to make sure they can maintain the ship's life support and not lose additional power. Picard summons La Forge, who is so caught up with his discussion with Brahms that he says to her, "Don't go away," before coming to his senses and has the computer save the program.

Riker wants to fire on the asteroids, but La Forge says that the shields might not hold. Picard sends La Forge back to engineering and has Worf fire phasers at the asteroids anyway. As soon as that happens, the radiation increases, the energy reserves are being lost, and the programs running unnecessary energy are terminated, including the holodeck program Geordi is running, just as he is about to make progress with how to run the ship out of the trap.

Act Four

Picard and the rest of the senior officers discuss how they can get out of the trap and how long they have until fatal exposure, which Dr. Crusher estimates to be about 26 minutes. La Forge has Picard reinstate the holodeck energy so he can run simulations in order to find the solution. He gives him one hour to run the program.

Picard describes Geordi's plan

"Now the machines are flying us."

An hour later, Picard comes to the holodeck and finds Brahms and La Forge, to which he is confused. Geordi explains that in order to understand the ship's power, he needed to understand what the ship was made for when it was built. Picard asks for a solution and La Forge states that control would need to be turned over to the ship itself since the key to get moving lies in the time-differential between action and reaction. Human beings, and even androids such as Data, would be no match for making the calculations needed to navigate the asteroids.

Picard discusses with Riker the suggestion that La Forge has given. Riker says it's not a good idea because computer can take orders, but not create them. La Forge continues to run simulations of the computer taking control through the mine field of radiation. He gets one successful run but the rest of the runs are failures shows that the ship is unable to successfully escape the radiation field. At that moment, the deflector shields fail and counts down from 26 minutes until fatal exposure.

Act Five

Picard pilots Enterprise

Picard pilots personally

Brahms still says that they must give control over to the ship and La Forge pleads for 2 more minutes with the captain to figure out a solution.

It turns out the Human brain will bring the final solution. Instead of trying to overpower the trap, a minimal energy boost and minimal thrusters can be used to drift the ship clear from the booby-trapped field, while shutting down all non-essential systems. Captain Picard relieves Wesley of the conn and manuevers the ship himself.

La Forge kisses Brahms hologram

"We made a good team."

He and Data work together, and by using the asteroid's gravitational field and the Enterprise's thrusters, he is successful in catapulting the Enterprise clear of the mine-field. Picard then orders the destruction of the ancient ship to prevent it from luring any more victims.

Back in the holodeck, Geordi says to Leah that he thinks technology improves people's lives, including his, and even his eyesight, but sometimes, technology needs to be turned off. As he says his goodbyes to Leah, she reminds him that the ship is her and that she would never be far from him.

They kiss, and Geordi ends the holodeck program.

Log Entries

Memorable Quotes

"Uh oh..."
"I beg your pardon Wesley."
"Geordi had that big date with Christy tonight. He spent days putting together the perfect program. Looked like it ended kind of early."
(brief glance at La Forge's depressed mood)
"Uh oh..."

- Wesley and Data assessing La Forge's date that evening

"Oh, knock it off!"

- Geordi La Forge, to the holographic violin player at his date with Christy Henshaw

"It is exactly as they left it Number One, in the bottle."
(dumbfounded looks from Data and Worf)
"The ship in the bot– Oh, good Lord. Didn't anybody here build ships in bottles when they were boys?!"
"I did not play with toys."
"I was never a boy."
(Picard sighs)
"I did, sir."
"(brief pause) Thank you, Mister O'Brien. Proceed."
(Riker gives O'Brien "the look" after the transport.)
"I did. I really did. Ships in bottles, great fun."

- Picard, Worf, Data and O'Brien

"There were ghosts on board that old ship. One of them actually spoke to us."
"A friendly one, I hope."

- Picard, after listening to Galek Sar's message and Riker

"I'm attracted to bald men."

- Guinan

"Is it possible... that we've fallen into the same snare that killed them? A 1,000 year old booby-trap?"

- Picard

"I'm not used to people questioning my judgment."
"And I'm not used to dying!"

- Leah Brahms and La Forge

"If we resist, we die. If we don't resist, we die."

- Riker

"You have used the asteroid's gravitational pull as a slingshot. Excellent!"

- Data to Picard

"I'm with you every day, Geordi. Every time you look at this engine, you're looking at me. Every time you touch it, it's me."

- Leah Brahms (Holographic)

Background Information

Story and production

  • Initially Picard was to have been involved with the simulated Leah Brahms. Michael Piller recalled, "It just said to me, 'Picard should be on the bridge, not chatting with some woman.' I said to myself, 'It should be Geordi, because Geordi is in love with the ship and this is a story about a guy in love with his '57 Chevy.' That played into Geordi's character, who's always been a fumbling guy around women, but if he could just marry his car, he'd live happily ever after. He gets to create the personification of the woman who created the engine he loves. It's sort of a relationship between he and his Pontiac." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 188)
  • In an early draft of the episode, Brahms was named Navid Daystrom and was intended to be a descendant of Doctor Richard Daystrom from TOS: "The Ultimate Computer". Unfortunately, the casting department did not realize that this would require a black actress to play the part until after Susan Gibney had been hired. At the suggestion of script coordinator Eric Stillwell, the character was renamed, but the Daystrom tie-in was kept by adding a line that she had graduated from the Daystrom Institute. (Star Trek Encyclopedia 1st ed., p. 35)
  • Originally the holodeck set was to have been a mockup of a warp engine, but time constraints forced the more limited set shown. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 2nd ed., p. 106)
  • The piece of music performed in La Forge's holodeck program is Johannes Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5.


  • This is the first episode directed by Gabrielle Beaumont and the first Star Trek episode directed by a woman.
  • In this episode, Guinan tells Geordi La Forge that she's always been attracted to bald men, because a bald man was once very kind to her. In "Time's Arrow, Part II", Captain Picard (on an away mission to the past), meets Guinan and takes care of her when she gets hurt.
  • Some of the graphics seen in Drafting Room 5 include a topographic map of Mintaka III from "Who Watches The Watchers" and a graphic from Doctor Paul Manheim's lab on Vandor IV in "We'll Always Have Paris".
  • Dr. Brahms appears, in the flesh, in the fourth season episode "Galaxy's Child".
  • In series finale of The Next Generation, "All Good Things...", Picard makes reference to O'Brien's hobby of building model starship engines (though "Booby Trap" refers to "ships in bottles", not "model starship engines" per se). Without revealing he was from the future, Picard says he read the notation in O'Brien's Starfleet file.
  • Also, in "All Good Things...", Picard asks Geordi, "How's Leah?" To which Geordi replies, "Busy as ever. She's just been made director of the Daystrom Institute" showing that, at least in another timeline, Geordi and the real Dr. Brahms marry.
  • Drafting room 5 features both a model of a Constitution-class and a Galaxy-class starship, both made from AMT/Ertl model kits. It also features a third, yet to be identified model ship.
  • According to a later episode "New Ground", Alexander Rozhenko (Worf's son) gives his birthdate as "Stardate 43205", which is around the time that this episode takes place.


Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars


Special guest star


Uncredited co-stars



14th century; aceton assimilators; asteroid; Astral V Annex; battle cruiser; beach; Bonaparte, Napoleon; booby trap; Chaya VII; Cleponji; Coco-no-no; crossbow; Daystrom Institute; dilithium crystal chamber; Drafting Room 5; Earth; Federation; Ferengi cargo ship; fungilli; fusion reactor; Galaxy-class; Galaxy Class Starship Development Project; gypsy; holodeck; Hungarian Rhapsody; hyronalin; image processor; inertial dampener; intermix ratio; Kavis Teke elusive maneuver; Lang cycle fusion engines; fusion reactor; Mars Station; Mars; mechanical clock; memory coil; Menthars; meter; Milky Way Galaxy; outpost; Orelious IX; Orelious system; Passive Lure stratagem; personal log; power pack; power transfer tunnel; Promellians; Promellian battle cruiser; radiation poisoning; Outpost Seran T-1; starbase; Theoretical Propulsion Group; Theoritical Propulsion log; three-dimensional chess; tricorder; Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards; violin; warp field generator

External link

Previous episode:
"The Bonding"
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3
Next episode:
"The Enemy"

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