While observing a solar flare, the Enterprise happens to pick up distress calls from a breaking-down freighter. Two of the six people aboard get killed as there's no time left to beam ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Kimberley Farr ...
Langor (as Kimberly Farr)
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While observing a solar flare, the Enterprise happens to pick up distress calls from a breaking-down freighter. Two of the six people aboard get killed as there's no time left to beam aboard properly because the cargo was sent first, yet the other two crew members seem to care only for the freight. Their passengers, from their neighbor planet, contest ownership because their agreed payment aboard the freighter was lost. It's their only produce, vital for the other planet since it was struck by a general plague. Yet Dr. Crusher soon realizes it's not really medicine as they have no plague symptoms, yet suffer immensely without it. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

16 April 1988 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Near the end of this episode when Captain Picard and Doctor Crusher walk out of the Cargo Bay, look in the background and you'll see Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) waving bye to the camera. This was the last episode she filmed before leaving the series (as a regular cast member). See more »


The Enterprise was originally sent to this system to study its sun. After the rescue mission they should have gone back to complete their mission yet Picard just decided to leave without considering their next mission. The ship does not belong to its captain and the captain would not be allowed to fly around at random. He would have a list of missions to complete which would have been set up, perhaps years in advance, by Federation Command. See more »


Lieutenant Tasha Yar: Behave yourselves, gentlemen.
[after separating the fighting Sobi and T'Jon with a phaser]
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Edited into Star Trek: The Next Generation: Shades of Gray (1989) See more »


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

A Classic Case of Situation Ethics
31 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A distress call come from a freighter as the Enterprise begins to explore an interesting star.. On board, seeking help, are a couple of people who are in a state of reverie. Picard wants to help, but these people can't seem to help themselves. They don't seem to be able to do the most rudimentary things to control a starship. Soon the ship reaches a critical point and is about to explode. When asked to beam on board, instead of people, a pack of strange containers appears. It takes a second effort but only four of the six persons on board are able to be rescued. When the four arrive, they are arguing and sparring over the cargo and seem to have no concern for their dead comrades. What we find out is that the four represent two planets, on that profits from selling "medicine" to the other. The ones receiving the medicine are grateful for being able to pay for this stuff. What follows is a kind of negotiation between two forces that together manage to maintain a kind of balance. What happens is a moral dilemma where the prime directive does not allow PIcard to interfere, even though one force aggressively subverts the other. What ultimately happens makes for some interesting discussion.

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