Series: The Next Generation
Air Date: February 22, 1988
Written by: Karl Guers, Ralph Sanchez and Robert Sabaroff
Directed by: Corey Allen
A terraforming operation goes south when the Enterprise discovers what may be a new life form.
So, here's the deal: When the Federation okays a terraforming operation, they make sure the planet is specifically suited for life, without actually having any life on it. If they find life, even the smallest bacteria, terraforming is not allowed. Velara III seemed to be just this kind of planet, but they've been falling behind schedule, so the Federation instructed the Enterprise to go check it out. When they do, the director, Kurt, takes his sweet time responding, says everything's going well, but then Dianna senses that he's hiding something and he's acting really nervous. So Picard sends an away team to investigate.
Riker, Yar, Data and La Forge beam down and are given a tour by the workers under Kurt who really seem pretty cool and excited about the work they're doing. But one of the workers seems a little nervous about letting out too much information. In fact, it seems a little suspicious when Kurt arrives and sends the guy who was talking too much to take a look at the drilling laser and then not moments later that guy is dead from a laser blast to the head.
|Alas, poor... whatshisface...|
They take a sample of the rocks up to the ship and Beverly takes a look at it. It's just a tiny blinking light inside a grain of sand. Dr. Crusher can't find any organic matter about it, but when she consults with the computer, it comes to the hypothesis that it is, indeed, life. Well, now the terraforming operation is a direct violation of the Prime Directive. Then Crusher brings everyone back to take a look at the crystal. La Forge says the electromagnetic spectrum is changing and suddenly...
|Two specs of light!|
After insulting the beings that kidnapped it, it goes on to explain that they were destroying their home. They tried to communicate, but when that failed they resorted to killing. And now they're trying to take over the ship! Data concludes that the life form is a "micro brain" that becomes stronger the more there are. So when it reproduces again and gets bigger, this is some pretty major cause for concern. It gets so big that it looks sort of like a crystalline Koosh ball and then it breaks out of its jar. The crew shuts down the medical lab and looks at it through a surveillance camera. They try to transport it out, but it's just too strong and won't let them.
|Rock candy of death!|
This episode was not bad, but it wasn't all that great, either. I find it a little hard to believe that a life form that is supposedly three centuries ahead of us in development and could hack into our computer was unable to effectively communicate with the terraformers. But I guess it worked for story purposes. What I really wish I could have seen more of in this episode was the life form's sassiness! Ugly bags of mostly water?? You can't tell me that's not a truck load of sass.