[the Enterprise is set to auto destruct and time is running out]
Enterprise Computer: Ten seconds to auto-destruct.
Commander William T. Riker: [tense] Captain...
Capt. Picard: Abort auto-destruct sequence.
Enterprise Computer: Riker, William T., do you concur?
Commander William T. Riker: Yes, absolutely, I do indeed concur wholeheartedly!
Enterprise Computer: Auto-destruct canceled.
[everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief]
Capt. Picard: A simple 'yes' would have sufficed, Number One.
Commander William T. Riker: I didn't want there to be any chance of misunderstanding.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: [of the "hole" in space] Sir, our sensors are showing this to be the absence of everything. It is a void without matter or energy of any kind.
Commander William T. Riker: Yet this hole has a form, Data; it has height, width...
Lt. Cmdr. Data: Perhaps. Perhaps not, sir.
Capt. Picard: That's hardly a scientific observation, Commander.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: Captain, the most elementary and valuable statement in science, the beginning of wisdom, is, "I do not know". I do not know what that is, sir.
Lieutenant Geordi La Forge: Like the rat said: "Keep the cheese; I just want out of the trap."
[on the viewscreen appears a distorted face]
Nagilum: Why're you so alarmed when I've gone to such trouble to look just like you?
Lt. Cmdr. Data: Captain, sensors show nothing out there - absolutely nothing.
Lieutenant Geordi La Forge: Sure is a damned ugly nothing.
Commander William T. Riker: Remember the course in ancient history at Starfleet Academy? About the time when men still believed the Earth was flat?
Capt. Picard: Mmm. And that the sun revolved around it.
Commander William T. Riker: And that if a ship sailed too far out into the ocean, it would fall off the edge of the world.
Capt. Picard: "Beyond this place, there be dragons." It's even said that crews threatened to hang their captain from the yardarm if he refused to turn back.
Commander William T. Riker: I'm sure no one here has that in mind, sir.
Capt. Picard: How comforting, Number One.
Nagilum: [evaluating the Humans] You seem to find no tranquility in anything. You struggle against the inevitable. You thrive on conflict. You're selfish, yet you value loyalty. You're rash, quick to judge, slow to change. It's amazing you've survived. Be that as it may, as species, we have no common ground. You're too aggressive, too hostile, too militant.
Capt. Picard: During this period, you, too, have been evaluated. It would seem that we have at least one thing in common.
Capt. Picard: Curiosity.
Nagilum: Your point is well-taken, Captain. Perhaps that *is* a trait we share.
Capt. Picard: Then perhaps we shall meet again. But next time, it will be out here, among the stars.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: I have a question, sir.
Capt. Picard: Yes, Data, what is it?
Lt. Cmdr. Data: What... is death?
Capt. Picard: Oh, is that all? Well, Data, you're asking probably the most difficult of all questions. Some see it as a changing into an indestructible form, forever unchanging; they believe that the purpose of the entire universe is to then maintain that form in an earth-like garden, which will give delight and pleasure through all eternity. On the other hand, there are those who hold to the idea of our blinking into nothingness - with all of our experiences and hopes and dreams merely a delusion.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: Which do you believe, sir?
Capt. Picard: Considering the marvelous complexity of the universe, its... clockwork perfection, its balances of this against that, matter, energy, gravitation, time, dimension - I believe that our existence must be more than either of these philosophies. That what we are goes beyond Euclidean or other practical measuring systems, and that our existence is part of a reality beyond what we understand now as reality.
[Nagilum is wondering about the different physical "construction" of Dr. Pulaski, compared to her fellow crew members']
Dr. Kate Pulaski: Yes, well, uh, there are minor differences. I am what we call a female.
Nagilum: I understand - the masculine and the feminine.
Capt. Picard: It is the way in which we propagate our species.
Nagilum: Please, demonstrate how this is accomplished.
Dr. Kate Pulaski: Not likely.
Nagilum: To understand death, I must amass information on every aspect of it. Every kind of dying. The experiments shouldn't take more than a third of your crew, maybe half.
Dr. Kate Pulaski: Why do I get the feeling that this was not the time to join this ship?
Counselor Deanna Troi: You're worried.
Capt. Picard: With reason.
Counselor Deanna Troi: About Worf or Commander Riker?
Capt. Picard: Both. I think it is perhaps best to be ignorant of certain elements of Klingon psyche.
[Riker and Worf have run one of Worf's rigorous calisthenics programs on the holodeck]
Commander William T. Riker: You do this every day?
Lieutenant Worf: No, Commander. Usually, my calisthenics are more... intense. But those sessions are too personal to be shared.
Commander William T. Riker: I'll bet they are.
[Worf is faced with a duplicated bridge and Riker on the "USS Yamato"]
Lieutenant Worf: What's going on? A ship has one bridge. One bridge! One Riker, one bridge!
Dr. Kate Pulaski: [of Data] It does know how to do these things, doesn't it?
Capt. Picard: Commander Data knows precisely what he's doing.
Dr. Kate Pulaski: Forgive me, Mr. Data. I am not accustomed to working with non-living devices that...
Dr. Kate Pulaski: [composes herself] Forgive me again. Your service record says that you *are* alive. I must accept that.
Lieutenant Worf: [to himself] At ease, Lieutenant, at ease.
Capt. Picard: Ensign, put us back on course, warp 3.
Wesley Crusher: Aye, sir, warp 3.
Commander William T. Riker: And Ensign, if you encounter any holes... steer clear.
Capt. Picard: Under the circumstances, I think there is only one decision. I will not stand by while half my crew is slaughtered.
Lt. Cmdr. Data: Sir, I do not believe there is anything you can do to prevent it.
Capt. Picard: Yes, there is.
Dr. Kate Pulaski: What?
Capt. Picard: Destroy the Enterprise.
Dr. Kate Pulaski: Isn't that a little like curing the disease by killing the patient?
Commander William T. Riker: [Worf loses control during a training exercise] The exercise is over!
[Worf doesn't hear him, and attacks]
Commander William T. Riker: AT EASE, LIEUTENANT!
Capt. Picard: Captain's log, supplemental. We remain like a fly in amber trapped in the void. We have encountered a vessel which appears to be the USS Yamato. All its systems are shown as functioning, yet it seems devoid of life. Commander Riker is leading an away team - hopefully the answer lies over there.