In an attempt to preserve a race of people on a planet being bombarded by storms that would kill them, Worf's foster brother violates the Prime Directive, leaving the Enterprise crew in a difficult position.



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Episode cast overview:
Dobara (as Penny Johnson)
Edward Penn ...
Susan T. Collins ...
Tarrana (as Susan Christy)


The Enterprise answers a distress call from Worf's foster brother Dr. Nikolai Rozhenko (cultural observer on Boraal II), about sudden atmospheric dissipation which may render the Enterprise inhabitable in hours. In Picard's failed attempt to stop the apocalyptic phenomenon and save the primitive culture, he broke the Federation's prime directive of non-intervention in natural development. Worf is furious to discover that Nikolai has secretly transported a village to their simulation of caves inside the holodeck, but Picard grudgingly accepts his plan to transport them to a comparable M-class planet as their new home. However, Geordi has a hard time keeping the holodeck running because of plasmodic interference-caused damage, so Worf joins Nikolai as a seer with supernatural powers, and discovers Nikolai has another connection with a Boraalan. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

15 January 1994 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The second time Michael Dorn appears in a Star Trek production without his Klingon makeup. See also Star Trek: The Next Generation: Captain's Holiday (1990) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Far Beyond the Stars (1998). See more »


Captain Jean-Luc Picard: This is one of those times when we must face the ramifications of the Prime Directive and honor those lives which we cannot save.
Dr. Nikolai Rozhenko: I find no honor in this whatsoever, Captain. You will forgive me if I don't stay.
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References Star Trek: The Next Generation: Pen Pals (1989) See more »


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

Prime Directive Doesn't Apply Here
14 September 2015 | by See all my reviews

The problem with this episode is that Picard clearly misinterprets what the Prime Directive is all about. The Prime Directive is about non-interference with a planetary society's culture. However, it says nothing about allowing an entire species to become extinct because of forces outside of that society's control (such as the natural disaster threatening to extinguish life from the surface of the planet in this episode). Essentially, his view would be that if a culture hasn't developed space flight capability on its own and a planetary disaster falls upon them, they should be allowed to die off.

Clearly, that view flies in the face of the Original Series episode "All Our Yesterdays" where the Enterprise tried to save some of the people of the planet Sarpeidon when its sun was going supernova. Star Fleet had ordered Kirk to rescue at least some of the people there, people who had not developed space flight capability.

So with the precedent already established in the Original Series, Picard's strained view simply doesn't hold any water especially since Worf's brother came up with a fairly ingenious way to transport the people without impacting their culture.

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