Stardate 45047.2: The Enterprise and a Tamarian ship rendezvous at El-Adrel IV and Tamarian Captain Dathon opens communications. The Tamarians speak incomprehensibly, using English words laced with names from their culture. After the contact fails, Dathon and his first officer argue over Dathon’s statement, “Darmok and Jelad at Tenagra.” Dathon vanishes, and Picard is kidnapped via transporter. Both are beamed to the planet, where Dathon attempts to communicate again. Picard deciphers the language, finding that it is based on Tamarian folklore and metaphors. “Darmok and Jelad at Tenagra” refers to two heroes who traveled separately to a distant island, defeated a mighty beast, and left together. El-Adrel is home to such a creature, and Dathon hopes that the Tamarians and the Federation can begin a friendship by likewise defeating a common enemy. When the beast attacks, Picard is immobilized by an attempt to rescue him through interference projected from the Tamarian ship, while Dathon is mortally wounded. Picard can now negotiate in the Tamarian language – if he survives the creature’s next attack.
teleplay by Joe Menosky
story by Philip Lazebnik and Joe Menosky
directed by Winrich Kolbe
music by Jay Chattaway
Guest Cast: Paul Winfield (Captain Dathon), Richard Allen (Tamarian First Officer), Colm Meaney (O’Brien), Ashley Judd (Ensign Lefler), Majel Barrett (Computer Voice)
LogBook entry by Earl Green