Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: February 15, 1988
Written by: Hannah Louise Shearer
Directed by: Kim Manners
The citizens of a legendary planet steal the Enterprise's children because they've apparently been snipped.
Long ago, there was a planet called Aldea. The Progenitors protected the Aldeans by giving them advanced technology that provided for their every need, allowing them to focus on artistic endeavors. This technology, called The Custodian, also hid their planet from view and defended it so that no one could bother them. For thousands of years the Aldeans lived in peace and legend. And then, on stardate 41509.1, they revealed themselves to the Enterprise. After a brief greeting over hailing frequencies, the Aldeans simply beamed themselves onto the bridge without undergoing decontamination procedures or anything. They said hi, invited Picard down, and left as quickly as they came. Clearly, Picard must investigate.
Riker, Troi and Dr. Crusher beam down to greet the Aldeans properly. It's all very cordial and friendly at first, but then they reveal that they have some specific intentions for the Enterprise. They want their children. You see, they're unable to procreate which they assume is some kind of genetic defect they've developed over the years. Well, clearly, the away team is not going to allow this kidnapping, so as soon as they beam back up to the ship the Aldeans use their advanced transporting technology to kidnap seven of the Enterprise's children.
|Including Wesley. They can have him.|
When Crusher beams down, she conspires with Wesley to covertly get some scans of one of the Aldeans. She then beams back up and studies the results. Apparently, their inability to procreate isn't a genetic defect at all. It's a result of radiation seeping into their system because their precious defense system took out their ozone layer. If the children stay there, they won't be able to procreate after a while, either. Meanwhile, back on the planet, the kids, under the leadership of Wesley start a hunger strike to protest being there and communicate that they really want to go back home. The Aldeans are more confused by this than irritated.
|"You do realize if you don't eat you'll die, right?"|
Well, this is a travesty for the Aldeans. Their protection, their Custodian, is dead and they're going to die along with it. Picard disagrees, though. You see, since the Custodian has been caring for them, they've lost track of all the important science and maintenance that goes along with progressing. In other words, they're far worse than starving artists, their dependence on The Custodian has made them impotent artists. Picard, Riker, Data and Wesley take the Aldeans into the back room where The Custodian's brain is and say that they can help them relearn everything about The Custodian, but they have to learn not to become dependent on it.
|"You're just going to glare at my naked power source?|
What would your children think? Oh, that's right... You don't have any."
One of the children complained in the beginning that he doesn't want to do his calculus homework. When he was down on the planet, he loved sculpting and he almost didn't want to go home. When he eventually got back home, he asked his dad if he could be a sculptor and not do calculus, but his dad said he can be anything he wants to be, but he still has to do calculus. And that's the moral of this story. We can do whatever creative endeavors we wanna do, but we still have to learn to take care of the important stuff first. A great Roddenberrian story if I've ever seen one. Thumbs up to this one!