(written from a Production point of view)
La Forge and a Romulan are trapped on a planet ravaged by electromagnetic storms; Worf turns out to be the only viable donor to save the life of an injured Romulan aboard the Enterprise.
The USS Enterprise-D intercepts a distress call from a craft within the Neutral Zone and Captain Picard chooses to set aside Federation diplomatic policy and quietly respond. The Enterprise is just about to reach the vessel at maximum warp when the object plummets to the surface of an inhospitable, though life-supporting planet, Galorndon Core.
Powerful electromagnetic storms on the surface are obscuring all scans and Picard orders an away team to beam down to the surface to look for survivors. Riker, La Forge and Worf are dispatched, and great care is taken in maintaining a transporter lock on them. As the team disperses, it is made clear that the atmosphere is very harmful and that it causes slow health decay. As well, their combadges do not function.
Based on the markings on the remnants of the ship, Riker and Worf conclude that it was a Romulan vessel. As the group splits up to investigate the area, Worf locates a Romulan survivor, alive enough to feebly attack him. Worf incapacitates the Romulan and calls for Riker. Meanwhile, La Forge falls into a large chasm and is cut-off from the rest of the away team. As the transport window closes, Worf and Riker return to the beam-out site with the wounded Romulan, and are forced to return without La Forge to avoid being stranded on the planet.
On the planet, La Forge melts chunks of silver ore with his hand phaser, fashions them into a pair of spikes, and uses them to make a difficult climb out of the pit. He sees the neutrino beacon and thanks Wesley. Making his way towards it, La Forge is knocked out by a Romulan.
Back on the ship, the Romulan, named Patahk, is dying. Dr. Crusher determines that he needs a ribosome infusion from a compatible donor to live, one too complicated to replicate. As it turns out, only Lieutenant Worf has the compatible ribosome. Citing his parents' deaths at the hands of Romulans at Khitomer, Worf refuses to donate his blood and the Romulan states that he doesn't want "Klingon filth" in his blood anyway. At the same time, Picard engages in dialogue with the captain of a Romulan Warbird. They agree to rendezvous in the Neutral Zone, where Picard will hand over the dying Romulan found on the planet.
On the planet, the Romulan, whose name is Bochra, holds La Forge at disruptor-point. La Forge attempts conversation with Bochra, however, the Romulan is very reluctant to relinquish authority or accept help, even after he is injured by falling rocks. The electromagnetic radiation has debilitating consequences for the Romulan, as he becomes paralyzed and is unable to walk. Similarly, La Forge's nervous system is compromised by the EM radiation, rendering him unable to process the signals he receives through his VISOR, and thus blind.
Their only hope is being able to sense the neutrino stream. Bochra suggests using the tricorder in conjunction with La Forge's VISOR to do so, but La Forge cannot perform this task blindly. So, Bochra offers to be his eyes while La Forge directs him as how to connect the tricorder and VISOR. Finally, they are able to detect the location of the neutrino beam and alert the Enterprise.
Back on the ship, the Enterprise is still waiting anxiously to hear back from La Forge, when they find out that the Romulan ship has crossed the Neutral Zone and is entering Federation space. In response to the urgency of the situation, Picard asks that Worf volunteer to donate his blood to the Romulan in sickbay because they cannot afford causing an incident if the Romulan were to die on board a Federation starship. Worf respectfully refuses to do so. He, however, will do it if Picard makes it an order. Picard replies that he does not want to order him, but he asks and begs his security chief to reconsider. "I cannot", Worf says. Picard, without further pursuing this, dismisses him. While he informs Dr. Crusher as to Worf's final decision, she tells him that the Romulan has already died.
In the meanwhile, the Romulan ship approaches the Enterprise giving them one last chance to return their officer to them. When Picard informs him that he is dead, the Romulan ship powers up its disruptors. At this instant, the signal-pattern from the neutrino beacon modulates, indicating that La Forge found it and is alive. Data also detects a second lifeform in addition to La Forge. They realize, however, that they cannot transport them with the shields up. At the same time, if they lower their shields, the Romulan vessel will strike.
The EM window that allows for transport is rapidly closing, however, and they need to act quickly. Given that one of the people trapped on the planet is a Romulan, Picard hails the Romulan ship, explaining the situation and asks that they not fire on the Enterprise while it is transporting them over. Tomalak, the commanding officer on the Romulan ship, keeps ignoring Picard but he also does not fire when La Forge and Bochra are beamed right to the bridge. He warns that if the Romulan fire destroys the Enterprise, they will have broken the cease fire that the Federation and the Romulan Empire currently enjoy.
Picard tells Tomalak that he can transport his man back to his own ship. Bochra assures Tomalak that he has not given Starfleet any information and that in fact La Forge saved his life. Tomalak, who until the very end still refuses to acknowledge any wrong-doing on his side, is pleased. La Forge and Worf escort Bochra back to the transporter room so that the Enterprise can escort the Romulan ship out of Federation space.
"Thank you, Wesley!"
- - La Forge, when he sees the probe
"The Romulan craft is a total loss. There's nothing there to salvage, unless you wanna use tweezers."
- - Riker
"You're my prisoner!"
"Right... congratulations. Surely a strategic triumph for the Romulan Empire. "
- - Bochra and La Forge, when first meeting
"I never lie when I've got sand in my shoes, commodore."
- - Bochra and La Forge
"Welcome to Galorndon Core. Where no good deed goes unpunished."
- - Geordi La Forge, when Bochra pulls a weapon on him after La Forge helped him
- - Geordi La Forge
"Worf, you are the only one who can save his life."
"Then he will die."
- - Dr. Crusher, speaking to Worf about the Romulan
"We do have a right to detain him, captain."
"Without clear evidence of intent, it would not be a simple matter."
"This was obviously not pilot's error, captain... it requires a response from us."
"We must measure the response carefully, Number One. Or history may remember Galorndon Core alongside Pearl Harbor and Station Salem-One... as the stage for a bloody preamble to war."
- - Riker and Picard, debating their response to the Romulan incursion on Galorndon Core
"How did this happen?"
"I was born that way."
"And your parents let you live?"
"What kind of question is that? Of course they let me live!"
"No wonder your race is weak. You waste time and resources on defective children."
- - Bochra and La Forge, discussing the latter's blindness
"For what it's worth, I understand your bitterness."
"With respect, sir, you cannot. I am asked to give up the very lifeblood of my mother and my father to those who murdered them."
"Must you blame all Romulans for that?"
"Forever? What if some day the Federation made peace with the Romulans?"
"That's what your people said several years ago about Humans. Think how many died on both sides in that war. Would you and I be here now like this if we hadn't been able to let go of the anger and the blame? Where does it end, Worf? If that Romulan dies, does his family carry the bitterness on another generation?"
- - Riker, attempting to convince Worf to save Patahk's life
"Lieutenant, sometimes the moral obligations of command are less than clear. I have to weigh the good of the many against the needs of the individual and try to balance them as realistically as possible. God knows I don't always succeed."
"I have not a cause to complain, captain."
"Oh, lieutenant, you wouldn't complain even if you had cause!"
- - Picard, attempting to convince Worf to save Patahk's life
"I have no more wish to die than you do."
"Bochra, there are times when it is necessary to die for one's ideals... do you believe that this is one of those times?"
- - Bochra and La Forge, before the former finally lowers his disruptor
"(laughing)We did it! The first Federation-Romulan co-venture!"
- - Bochra and La Forge, having cooperated to find the beacon
"You see - they have no way of knowing how accurate our sensors are... Put on your best poker face, Number One!"
- - Picard, to Riker
"This is your final chance, Picard. Return my officer."
"Commander, you have entered the Neutral Zone, despite my warning!"
"You forced the situation! I will not leave without him!"
"...Then he is but the first to fall, Picard."
- - Tomalak and Picard
"Commander Tomalak. It would appear our away team has rescued a second man from your one-man ship."
- - Picard hails Tomalak
"Commander, both our ships are ready to fight. We have two extremely powerful and destructive arsenals at our command. Our next actions will have serious repercussions. We have reason to mistrust one another but even better reason to set those differences aside. Of course, the question is, who will take the initiative? Who will make the first gesture of trust? The answer is, I will. I must lower our shields to beam those men up from the planet's surface. Once the shields are down, you will of course have the opportunity to fire on us. If you do, you will destroy not only the Enterprise and its crew, but the cease fire that the Romulans and the Federation now enjoy."
- - Picard, to Tomalak
"Too close, Number One. Brinkmanship is a dangerous game."
- - Riker and Picard, after narrowly avoiding war with the Romulans
"(to Picard) If he has been in any way mistreated..."
"I have given them no information, Commander. But I have not been mistreated. In fact, this human...saved my life."
- - Tomalak and Bochra, after Bochra and Geordi return to the Enterprise
Background information Edit
Story and production Edit
- In early drafts of the script, Troi was also trapped on Galorndon Core. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 107)
- Marina Sirtis saw this an example of her character remaining underutilized and underdeveloped. She recalled, "In the original draft which I happened to read which we're not allowed to see so we don't make conversations like this, it was Troi and Geordi stranded on the planet and because Geordi was blinded by the electromagnetics preventing his visor from working when we came across the Romulan it was actually Troi who incapacitated him. I felt very excited about this. I finally got to do something interesting and different and, of course, when the final script came not only was I not on the planet, but I had one line at the end of the show – and that was actually cut. That's the kind of thing that happens and I wish it wouldn't." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 202)
- The plot point of Worf letting Patahk die by refusing blood met great resistance among some of the writing staff and Michael Dorn when it was suggested by Michael Piller. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 107)
- Dorn commented, "I called the producers and said I didn't agree. I thought [giving blood] was the honorable thing to do. I thought people would look at [Worf] as a murderer. The producers felt that Worf was getting to be too human...just a guy with a big head. When the opportunity came for them to show that Worf was not human, that he is not bound by the same morals as we are, they felt it was a wonderful opportunity." In hindsight, however, Dorn saw the wisdom of the decision, remarking how it revealed the different sides of Worf. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 188)
- Piller noted, "Rick Berman knew instantly it was the right thing to do. Once he was behind me, it was a race to the finish line. And it was absolutely the right thing to do. You knew the audience was waiting for Worf to come around, because they always do that in television. But the character wouldn't do that and I think we made a really good decision. At first though, it was quite a shock and a controversial decision. But you end up talking about survival and survival among enemies. I think it was just a natural character development." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 188)
- According to LeVar Burton, this episode was Star Trek's homage to the 1958 film The Defiant Ones with Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier. ("Memorable Missions - "The Enemy"", TNG Season 3 DVD special feature)
- First UK airdate: 27th November 1991
- The launch of the class 3 probe is stock footage from the episode "Where Silence Has Lease".
- This episode marks the first of four appearances of Romulan Commander Tomalak.
- This is also the first Star Trek episode directed by David Carson. Carson would go on to direct several more episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as the feature film Star Trek Generations.
- John Snyder (Bochra) later goes on to play the genetically engineered leader Aaron Conor in the fifth season Next Generation episode "The Masterpiece Society".
- Ironically, Steve Rankin, whose character Patahk preferred to die rather than accept a transfusion from a Klingon, would himself play a Klingon, the mercenary Yeto in the episode "Invasive Procedures". He would also play an unnamed Cardassian officer in "Emissary" and Colonel Green in "Demons".
- For the first time since the first season, Beverly Crusher is seen wearing her hair long; she is seen with short hair again in the next episode.
- At the end of the episode, Picard tells Tomalak that the Enterprise will escort his ship to the Neutral Zone. However, the final shot shows the Enterprise and the Romulan Warbird departing in opposite directions.
- A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 11, pp. 39-42.
- Even though Brannon Braga had tried to watch early Star Trek: The Next Generation but had been disappointed by the show, this episode hooked him into the Star Trek universe. Recalling his reaction when he viewed the installment, Braga related, "I'm like, 'This is good stuff!' This was not like the Next Gen I first watched." 
Video and DVD releases Edit
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 28, November 1991
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 3.3, 1 May 2000
- As part of the TNG Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the TNG Season 3 Blu-ray collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
Guest stars Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Karen Baxter as operations division ensign
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- John Rice as science division officer
- Natalie Wood as Bailey
- Unknown performers as
Stunt doubles Edit
- James G. Becker - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dexter Clay - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman - stand-in for Wil Wheaton
anti-grav lift; centurion; class-3 probe; D'deridex-class; cranial trauma; distress signal; Federation; fever; Galorndon Core; geiger counter; gesture; La Forge, Edward M.; La Forge, Silva; meter; Mogh; mother ship; neutrino; number one; Pearl Harbor; Pi; polarity; positron; ribosome infusion; Romulan; Romulan Neutral Zone; Romulan scout ship; security team; Station Salem-One; Tomalak's Warbird; tricorder; ultritium; VISOR; Vulcan
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