Commander William Riker has been on an acculturation mission under an alias for months on the Arkonian planet, surgically altered to appear like a local, but he gets badly wounded, beyond ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Mirasta Yale
Steven Anderson ...
Dr. Tava


Commander William Riker has been on an acculturation mission under an alias for months on the Arkonian planet, surgically altered to appear like a local, but he gets badly wounded, beyond their medical skills because his internal organs are unknown to them. Captain Jean-Luc Picard decides to speed up his official diplomatic approach, formally the First Contact, and intercede on Riker's behalf, but they are told by a fascinated open-minded Atkonian scientist that her planet's culture is particularly xenophobic so they reject any alien being as being unequal to them. The Arkonian government keeps the matter secret but is internally divided: while the chancellor Durken is in favor of Riker's release without the people finding out and establishing friendly relations with the Federation, his powerful security minister Krola is prepared to go to any length to preserve their traditional way of life, so he finds Riker and fakes his own murder.... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

16 February 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The script went through a number of drafts before the story was finalized. One version was proposed as a season ending cliffhanger. With Wil Wheaton's scheduled departure from the series, another draft was a proposed vehicle for Wesley's departure as he would have stayed behind on Malcoria as a cultural observer. See more »


On the bridge, when Capt. Picard introduces the chancellor and Mirasta Yale to Data, he introduces the latter as "Marista Yale." Moments later, when Minister Yale excuses herself to return to the planet, the chancellor warns her, "Not a word of this to anyone, Mirasta." See more »


Captain Jean-Luc Picard: I regret that I won't have the opportunity of knowing your people better.
Chancellor Durken: We're a good people, Captain, society with much potential. Once we cross the threshold of space, we shall have to give up this self-importance, this conceit that we are the center of the universe. But this is not the time for that. For now, we will have to enjoy that sweet innocence.
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Referenced in Star Trek: Enterprise: Broken Bow: Part 1 (2001) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

We come in peace...
19 November 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Commander Riker is observing the Arkonians. However, to do so and remain unobserved, he's had cosmetic surgeries, as the society does not yet realize that there are any other beings out there in space. But, this society soon will have warp drives and will be able to learn for themselves about the Federation and other worlds. So, in anticipation of this, Riker is observing. Unfortunately, he's badly injured...and the Arkonian doctors are astonished to see that he's not one of them! This forces the Federation to speed up first contact, and so Picard lands and meets with one of their top scientists and then their leader. But, amazingly, the leader is NOT that excited about first contact. It seems that his society is very ego-centric and the notion that anyone else could exist in the universe is something many will not accept. So, he is torn--between publicly acknowledging that aliens indeed do exist or remaining willingly ignorant of the outside worlds.

So much of this episode has parallels to Earth since the late 1940s when stories of UFOs first began circulating. This, and the odd reaction to aliens of the people make this one well worth seeing.

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