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Data befriends an alien girl in distress, breaking the Prime Directive, while Wesley commands his first team.


Winrich Kolbe


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Melinda M. Snodgrass (teleplay by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Commander Data
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher
Diana Muldaur ... Doctor Pulaski
Nicholas Cascone Nicholas Cascone ... Ensign Davies
Nikki Cox ... Sarjenka
Ann Gillespie ... Ensign Hildebrant (as Ann H. Gillespie)
Colm Meaney ... Chief Miles O'Brien
Whitney Rydbeck Whitney Rydbeck ... Ensign Alans


On arriving at a newly identified planetary group, the crew finds that the entire system is unstable. As the person in charge of Wesley Crusher's training and education, Commander Riker wants to put him in charge of the planetary mineral survey, the results of which should explain why the system has become so unstable. He has to command a team for the first time, all of whom are older than himself. Data meanwhile has a pen pal of sorts when he establishes radio contact with Sarjenka, a young girl from a nearby planet. They exchange information for several weeks when Data finally realizes that Sarjenka's world isn't aware of extra-terrestrial life and as a result, he has broken the Prime Directive. Written by garykmcd

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

29 April 1989 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Thousand Oaks, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first episode where Picard actually drinks Earl Grey tea. He had previously ordered a cup of Earl Grey from the replicator in TNG: "Contagion", but because of a computer malfunction he instead received a small potted plant See more »


The Federation's Prime Directive is a hard rule of noninterference with less-developed cultures. Picard is vehement about it in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Justice, but he does a 180-degree turn when he hears Sarjenka calling for help. This contradicts Picard's behavior in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint, when the Bandi city was being destroyed and the people were screaming for aid, and he calmly sat and discussed his options. Likewise in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Symbiosis when one of the Onarans begs for help, Picard refuses, citing The Prime Directive. See more »


[Wesley is having trouble with his role as a team leader]
Commander William T. Riker: One of the reasons you've been given command is so you can make a few right decisions, which will lead to a pattern of success and help build self-confidence. If you don't trust your own judgment, you don't belong in the command chair.
Wesley Crusher: But what if I'm wrong?
Commander William T. Riker: Then you're wrong. It's arrogant to think that you'll never make a mistake.
Wesley Crusher: But what if it's something really important, I mean, not just a mineral survey? What if somebody dies ...
See more »


Featured in Star Wars: The Last Plinkett Review (2018) See more »


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

Perhaps Data is the most humane of all...
14 November 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This episode shows a situation where the Prime Directive is a really annoying thing! The ship has arrived at a very unstable star system-- unstable because the planets are tearing themselves apart! The ship is there to monitor---but Data ends up changing the purpose of the mission all by himself. It seems that on the planet below which is being destroyed, Data has established voice contact with a scared little girl--and Data would like to do something to help. But, during a conference, many of the crew (including the Captain) recommend doing nothing to help, since the Prime Directive guarantees no intervention in the normal evolution of a planet and its people. So, in essence, they recommend that the Enterprise do nothing. But, Data is insistent...and the child begins calling out for help. What's next?

I liked this episode because it is a wonderful example where Data shows more humanity and compassion than most of his crewmates. It helped to establish his compassion and decency and, at times, the show touched my heart. Well done and worth seeing.

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