Stardate 45571.2: Investigating a 200-year-old Starfleet distress signal emanating from a planet which happens to be the last known location of the starship Essex, the Enterprise sends a shuttle through the planet’s stormy atmosphere. The shuttle, with Riker, Troi and Data on board, crash lands, resulting in Riker breaking an arm. Chief O’Brien beams down with a device to boost the transporter signal so the away team can be rescued, but all four are struck by a lightning-like discharge and all but Riker are knocked out. Riker operates the transporter booster and returns them to the Enterprise, where Troi, O’Brien and Data take over the ship under the influence of aliens from the planet. They enter Ten Forward and take hostages, announcing that they are actually the spirits of the Essex crew. Demanding that their physical remains be recovered from the planet and returned to Earth, Troi – apparently taken over by the dead captain of the Essex – threatens to kill the hostages (including Keiko and her baby), and Picard’s attempts to negotiate accomplish nothing, aside from convincing him that the terrorists are not who they claim to be.
teleplay by Rene Balcer and Herbert J. Wright & Brannon Braga
story by Paul Ruben and Maurice Hurley
directed by David Livingston
music by Jay Chattaway
Guest Cast: Rosalind Chao (Keiko), Colm Meaney (O’Brien), Michelle Forbes (Ensign Ro), Ryan Reid (Transporter Technician), Majel Barrett (Computer Voice)
LogBook entry by Earl Green