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Preemptive Strike (episode)

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"Preemptive Strike"
TNG, Episode 7x24
Production number: 40277-276
First aired: 16 May 1994
175th of 176 produced in TNG
175th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
325th of 728 released in all
Maquis attack the Vetar
Teleplay By
René Echevarria

Story By
Naren Shankar

Directed By
Patrick Stewart
47941.7 (2370)
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For the military maneuver, please see Preemptive strike.

Lieutenant Ro is sent undercover to root out a Maquis cell.



"Captain's Log, stardate 47941.7. The Enterprise is en route to a briefing on the situation in the demilitarized zone along the Cardassian border. Meanwhile, we're celebrating the return of an old friend."

Lieutenant Ro Laren is on board the USS Enterprise-D in Ten Forward being congratulated by some of the crew for completing Advanced Tactical Training at Starfleet Tactical. Captain Picard calls her to the bridge, but surprises her when she finds him standing outside Ten Forward. Ro thanks Picard for recommending her for the training and for having faith in her as an officer.

Commander Riker, who reports that a Cardassian ship is being attacked and needs help, calls Picard to the bridge. Upon their arrival, The Enterprise crew learns that the small ships attacking the Cardassian ship are Federation ships – the Maquis. A photon torpedo spread between the attacking ships and the Cardassian ship prompts the Maquis to withdraw.

Act One

The Enterprise beams Cardassian survivors aboard and treats their wounded. Gul Evek and Picard exchange words in sickbay, each accusing the other of not doing enough to suppress the skirmishes in the Demilitarized Zone.

Admiral Alynna Nechayev comes aboard the Enterprise and shares tea with Picard. They discuss sending a Starfleet operative undercover to infiltrate the Maquis and gather intelligence. Nechayev recommends Lieutenant Ro for the assignment.

Ro and Picard discuss the mission and Ro agrees to accept the assignment, if only to prove the trust that Picard has shown for her.

Act Two

Ro, disguised as a civilian, walks into a bar in the Juhraya colony followed closely by Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Worf. They announce that they are seeking a Bajoran woman with dark hair who killed a Cardassian soldier. Ro grabs an unsuspecting man and kisses him, hiding her face from Data and Worf. Another bar patron, Santos, tells them that she was in the bar but had just left.

Ro approaches the bar and thanks Santos. She mentions that she would like to meet other people who oppose the Cardassians. Santos stuns her with a phaser and she is rendered unconscious. She awakens in the presence of an older man (Macias), a woman (Kalita), and Santos. They question her and she tells them some of the truth and a few lies; she also admits to killing a Cardassian soldier. She then goes for a walk with Macias while the other two check out her story.

Macias expresses his outrage with the Cardassians and admits to Ro that many of the settlers living in compound they are touring are Maquis. He orders hasperat from the food dispenser. Ro is surprised that he likes it and tells him that she knows a recipe for a very spicy hasperat that her father used to make on Bajor. It is clear that Ro regards Macias as a father figure, having lost her own father during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor when she was just a child.

Ro is brought to a meeting with several Maquis. They have received word that the Cardassians are planning to use biogenic weapons against them. They decide that a preemptive strike is needed to keep the Cardassians from poisoning them. Macias says they cannot strike because they are so low on medical supplies. Ro volunteers to steal medical kits from the Enterprise. Kalita says that she will go along. Ro welcomes her both as a helper and a witness.

Act Three

Maquis fighter, 2370

Ro's Maquis fighter

The Enterprise receives a distress signal from a ship in the Topin system. The Topin star renders communication and sensors nearly useless, and the Enterprise does not detect Ro and Kalita's ship, which is hidden near a planet. Ro piggybacks a message on the distress signal to alert Picard to her presence on the ship. Worf decodes the message just as Ro and Kalita are about to penetrate the Enterprise's aft deflectors. Picard lets the ship through and Ro beams the medical kits onto the ship. As they leave, Picard orders Worf to fire phasers on their previous position to make it look like they are trying to stop them.

After Ro and Kalita return to the Maquis compound, Kalita praises Ro for her bravery and Macias remarks that he could tell from the start that in her heart, Ro was one of them.

Act Four

Having gained the trust of the Maquis cell, Ro is given a ship and is allowed to leave the colony alone. She reports to Picard everything she has learned, including the Cardassian plan to use biogenic weapons against them. Picard suggests that they could use this to their advantage by making the Maquis believe that the Cardassians are close to finishing their biogenic weapon. He says that a convoy near the demilitarized zone would be the bait for the trap. The Maquis would be forced to attack the convoy carrying the components and the Federation would be waiting in the nearby Hugora nebula to arrest the Maquis in the trap. Ro seems to be uncomfortable betraying her new friends, but she tells Picard that she will do her duty.

She then returns to the Juhraya colony and tells the Maquis that she intercepted a Federation transmission about a Yridian convoy of freighters coming from Deep Space 9. This convoy supposedly carries the last components the Cardassians need to complete their biogenic weapon having already taken possession of others from Ferengi and Pakled transports. Macias decides to tell the other cell leaders and get their help to attack the convoy.

Later, as Macias and Ro are walking through the courtyard of the compound, three hooded figures climb the central steps and open fire on the settlers with phasers. They are Cardassians and succeed in killing Macias before being killed themselves by the Maquis.

Macias tells Ro, just before he dies, that when an old fighter dies, another steps up to take his place.

Act Five

Picard is sitting in the settlement bar having a drink. Ro walks in and they take a table in the back. They act like they are talking intimately and Ro is constantly touching Picard's head, arms and hands. Picard calls her Laren. She tells him that she doesn't know where her loyalty lies, but that she will do her duty. They lean toward each other and touch foreheads like lovers as Picard threatens Ro with a court martial if she fails to follow her orders. Picard tells her that Commander Riker will be joining her just to be certain that the plan goes through.

Picard, betrayed

Picard, betrayed by Ro

The strike on the convoy is imminent and Riker and Ro are aboard a Maquis ship preparing to attack the convoy. The Enterprise is hidden in the Hugora nebula, out of sight of the incoming ships. Just as the Maquis are about to cross into Federation space, Ro fires a low intensity particle beam toward the nebula allowing the Maquis ships to see the trap. They break formation stopping just short of Federation space and Federation jurisdiction. Riker confronts Ro, who pulls a phaser and announces that she can't go through with the plan. Ro transports to Kalita's ship and leaves Riker to take the Maquis ship to the Enterprise.


The episode concludes in Picard's ready room. Riker says that Ro felt she was doing the right thing and that she seemed more concerned that she was letting down Picard than anything else. Riker offers a stolid Picard his report, then places it on his desk and leaves. The scene closes on Picard's face, stony and grim at Ro's betrayal or failing his mission.

Memorable Quotes

"It was really nice meeting you."

- Ro, to an unsuspecting man at the bar after having made out with him to disguise herself from Starfleet

"You have to hang on."
"When an old fighter like me dies... someone always steps forward to take his place."

- Ro and Macias

"When she comes aboard, take her into custody."

- Picard, to Worf about Ro after she betrays Starfleet

"You can take this ship back to the Enterprise."
"You're going with them?!"
"It's been a long time since I really felt like I belonged somewhere. Could you tell Captain Picard something for me?"
"Of course. What is it?"
"Tell him I'm sorry."
"So long, Ro. Take care of yourself."
"Goodbye, Will. Energize."

- Ro and Riker

"She seemed very sure that she was doing the right thing. I think her only regret was that she let you down. Here's my report."

- Riker, to Picard about Ro Laren

Background information

Story and production


Sets and props

Cast and characters

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars

Uncredited co-stars



Alpha Nine; Alpha Seven; Bajor; Bajoran; Bajoran interceptor; Belaklavion; bio-mimetic gel; bird; Board of inquiry; Bularian canapé; Cardassia; Cardassian; Cardassian border; court martial; Deep Space 9; Demilitarized Zone; eye; Federation; Federation attack fighter; Ferengi; Ferengi transport; foraiga; Galaxy-class; Gorkon, USS; hasperat; Hugora nebula; isomiotic hypospray; Juhraya; Juhryan freighter; Klingon; Kurlan naiskos; Maquis; Maquis fighter; medkit; monk; Occupation of Bajor; painting; Pakled; particle beam; plasma flare; protostar; red alert; refugee camp; Ro Gale; Ronara Prime; sculpture; sensor buoy; sickbay; spy; Squad Leader; tongue; Topin system; type 8 phaser; Vetar; Vulcan; Yridian

Previous episode:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 7
Next episode:
"All Good Things..."

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