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The Impossible Box

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Title :
The Impossible Box
Series :
Rating :
4
Overall Ep :
6
First Aired :
27 Feb 2020
Stardate :
Unknown
Director :
Year :
Writers :
Season Ep :
1 x 06
Main Cast :
Guest Cast :
YATI :
Once more we have a Star Trek regular YATI, a physical substance that is described as radiation. Radiation is a release of energy in the form of gamma rays, which are effectively photons. Alternatively, alpha and beta particles, which are subatomic in nature, you can't see them. Radiation certainly doesn't have a colour, at least not one that humans can see. At best what we're seeing here is a gas which is radioactive, ie one that gives off radiation.

Another issue is when Picard reaches to the side of his head for the Borg implants. He touches the right side of his face, which is the correct side for the implant, however, the image he is looking at is mirrored, making it look like the implant was on the left side. Obviously, they have done this so that they could overlay the Locutus image on Picard's head, but the fact that the photo is backwards is a YATI.
Great Moment :
Picard meeting with Hugh once again.
Body Count :
Three Romulans at the hands of Elnor, who comes to defend Picard on the Cube.
Factoid :
The Sikarian Trajector makes a return from the Voyager episode "Prime Factors". We find that the Sikarians have been assimilated and the Borg now have the Trajector technology.

This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Best of Trek" award.

Plotline

Once more for the hard of memory, we have a recap. We then open on a dark corridor and a window, rain is falling outside and thunder claps. A small child comes out of a room and calls for Daddy. From the necklace and look of the child we see that it is Dahj or Soji, walking barefoot along the corridor. At the end there is a door, which is slightly ajar, we see a shadow cross the opening. The child approaches the door and opens it. We find a large number of orchids and a man with his back to us. The girl quietly enters the room and then moves quickly across the floor. A male voice is heard to shout Soji.

Soji wakes up in her bed. Narek is in bed behind her. Narek asks, what's wrong? She says, weird dream, I keep having it. Narek says, it sounded like a nightmare. Want to tell me about it? Soji says, why? Because you care? Or because you are endlessly fascinated with the way my mind works? Narek says, do I have to choose? I want to know every... little... thing... about you. Soji says, even though you think I'm an impostor? Narek says, I never said that. I do think you are full of secrets. Soji replies, and Romulans love secrets. You think everyone's hiding something. Narek agrees, everyone is hiding something. Whether they know it or not. Soji asks, what are you hiding? Other than your job description. Your true name? Narek says, my what? Soji says, Romulans have a name for outsiders and a name for family. But your true name you save for the one you give your heart to. Narek gets up and says, you really do know a lot about us. Your dream... was it a random creation of the brain or based on actual memory? Soji says, not really sure. Narek says, hmmm...Perhaps your mother would have some insight. Don't you talk to her every night? Soji wants to know how he knows that? He says he hears things and starts to leave. Soji calls after him, Narek... Narek. Narek says, that's not my name, and leaves. Soji shakes her head and then looks over at a photograph of her mother, sister and herself.

On La Sirena, Picard, Agnes and Elnor are in the mess hall. Agnes says that the trauma Bruce sustained on Freecloud was... significant. Massive wounds to the head and chest gave way to internal bleeding. The meds were enough to keep him stable, but his... his heart just couldn't take it. A quick flashback of Maddox on the bed dying is seen. Picard says, this is hard for you. Another quick flashback of Maddox. Agnes says, harder than I could've imagined. You said... Bruce told you the other one's on the Artifact. Picard confirms. He says, he called her Soji. Elnor interjects, what Artifact? Maybe that's none of my business. I should out-butt. Picard says, oh, not at all, Elnor. The Artifact is an abandoned Borg Cube. Elnor says, Borg? Like Seven of Nine? Picard says, uh, no. Not like her at all. Agnes says, Bruce said that he created Dahj and Soji to find out the truth behind the ban. Why send her there? Elnor asks, how do you even know she's still alive? Picard replies, we don't. Which is why we have to get there as quickly as possible. Elnor says, but you're not looking forward to it. Picard replies, "Looking forward to it?", No... No... Not at all. My last visit to a Borg Cube was not voluntary. Agnes interrupts, they called you Locutus of Borg. Injected you with nanoprobes. Grafted you with synthetic parts. Assimilated your mind with theirs. Forgive me... The Borg are mandatory reading in my line of work. It must have been awful. But this Cube is cut off from the rest of the Collective. They're outcasts, stranded and under Romulan control. Maybe they've changed. Picard is not amused, changed? The Borg? They coolly assimilate entire civilisations, entire systems in a matter of hours. They don't change. They metastasize. Agnes apologises. Picard responds, no need to apologise. Excuse me. Picard leaves. Elnor says, he can't see you're also... haunted by something you'd like to forget. Was I in-butting? Agnes says, that time, yes.

In the holo chateau, Picard is still upset, but slowly regains his composure. He calls for the computer, search for the following keywords: the Artifact... treaty... the Borg. The computer starts showing results. He starts looking through pictures. He comes across one he recognises and says, Hugh. He sees a new picture of him, which he looks at for some time. He then flicks through some more pictures, eventually finding a picture of Locutus. The camera pans around and we see the picture overlaid on that of Picard. Seeing the picture Picard reaches to the side of his head for the implant.

On the main deck of La Sirena, we find Rios playing football barefoot. By football I mean British style football not handegg, played in the states :) Agnes comes in and Rios asks if he woke her. Clearly, it's the middle of the night. Agnes says she couldn't sleep. Agnes asks, why does he like it out there? Rios says, in space? Agnes says, it's cold and empty... and it wants to kill you. Rios asks if she wants a drink, offering her his flask. Agnes takes it and has a swig. Rios says, you and Maddox were pretty close, huh? You know, if you want to talk about it or tell me anything, I'm here. Agnes starts kissing him. She says, I've never slept with the captain of anything before. Rios says he recommends it. Agnes is still upset about Maddox, Rios asks her what's wrong. She says that she has a superpower. She can sense mistakes while she's making them. Rios says, that's not much of a superpower. She agrees, no. It's useless. Sorry. Rios says, it's ok. Tell me what you're feeling. Agnes says, hollow... lonely... afraid. She moves in again kissing him. Rios asks, is that gonna help at all? Agnes says, maybe for a few hours anyway. She holds his hand and leads him to her room.

Narissa is in Narek's room in The Artifact. She is playing with what looks like an odd version of a Rubik's Cube. Narek enters and says, that's mine. Give it back. You'll break it. Narissa says, she has never understood his fascination with this toy. He says, it's not a toy. It's a tool. Helps me think. She says, the only thing it ever made me think of was smashing it open with a hammer to get the prize inside. He pours himself a glass of Romulan Ale and says he's making progress. She says, are you? It's admirably well-concealed. He says, she dreams. A recurring dream. Narissa says, "She dreams.", that's your progress? Narek is not put off he continues, why did he program her to dream? What function does it serve? Narissa interrupts, and what does she dream of? The two of you growing old together, making freakish little android babies? Do you dream of her too? He pushes her away and she says, you are in love with her... With it... A program... A machine... Enough, Narek. I'm taking control of this operation as of now. Narek is working his Rubik's box. Narek says, every piece of synthetic design serves a purpose. Why give her dreams? Why give her nightmares? Narissa says, it's a malfunction. A bug. Narek disagrees, it's exactly the opposite. Narissa says she listening. Narek says, her neural pathways are auto-heuristic, always seeking and forming more efficient connections. Every day, that capability must bump against clear evidence that she is not, as she believes, a human being. That cognitive dissonance must go somewhere. Narissa mocks, you're saying the robot girl has an unconscious? Narek says, yes. And when she dreams, she's reconciling the two views of herself, human and synthetic. Bits of truth are trying to find their way to the surface. It's not a malfunction. It's a vulnerability. If I can get her to tell me about her dreams, I can access her underlying engrams without triggering her self-defence subroutines. The information is all in there. She knows far more than she thinks she knows. Narissa says, including the location of their home world. So now, keep sharing her bed... endlessly fidgeting with her until she pops open like that stupid box. Narek says, the key to opening the tan zhekran is taking the time to understand what's keeping it closed. Listen. Feel. Move each piece ever so slightly, and then... once you're sure... He holds it up and nothing happens, Narissa says, am I supposed to be impressed? Narek says, hmm. Patience, sister. A quality you never had. The box starts opening unfolding and a small figure rises from the centre. He pushes past her and walks out.

On the bridge of La Sirena, Rios, Picard and Elnor are there. Rios is saying, in a few hours, we'll be crossing out of the old neutral zone and into Romulan space, which puts us in breach of galactic treaty. But I'm fine with that because I know that you have a plan for how to access a restricted Romulan research facility on a Borg Cube, crawling with Tal Shiar, without authorisation. Agnes walks in. Also, without dying. Picard says, I have been giving it some thought, and I believe that... Agnes interrupts and says, I was thinking we could pose as scientists, given my qualifications. Picard says, it won't work. If the Romulans don't recognise me the moment that I set foot off this ship, the Borg will. The Collective do not forget one of their own. The only safe way to access the Cube is the Qowat Milat way, by being perfectly open. Elnor, happy to be on firm ground again says, that is the Qowat Milat way. Rios and Agnes exchange glances. Elnor continues, the obvious tension between you makes me uneasy. Now they look even more uneasy. Picard says, there is an organisation on the Artifact called the Borg Reclamation Project. It maintains its independence by treaty. If I can get Federation diplomatic credentials as an envoy to the project, then the Romulans will be forced to let me meet with the director, or risk an incident with the Federation. Agnes asks, what if the director doesn't want to meet with you? Picard says, I know him, and I think he will. Rios asks, remind me why the Federation would do this for you. Picard smiles and says, they are not doing it for me.

Still on the bridge. Raffi is there and holding a mostly empty bottle of booze and is clearly half drunk, half hungover. She says, okay, okay, all right, just back off. Back off. Everybody just give me some space. If you want me to sweet-talk the Federation, then... Rios interrupts and says, this is a bad idea. Raffi continues, ...stand back and keep your mouths shut. She has her vape pipe and takes a drag. Continuing she says, all right. Computer, requesting subspace relay through Comnet 4 using my cryp... cryptonym, to the following. She enters something into the computer. A face appears on the view screen, a Starfleet officer with a rank of Captain. We find that this is Captain Emily Bosch, known as Emmy. Emmy says, Commander Raffaela Musicker. Raffi responds, Emmy. Emmy replies, I knew I should have screened that call. Raffi says, oh, come on. You can't get rid of me. I know where all your bodies are buried. Emmy says, ancient history. What do you need? Raffi says, ow. What? So, I only call you when I need something? Emmy says, or when you're lit, feeling sentimental. Raffi says, well, listen, babe, I need some diplomatic credentials. Not for me, for Jean-Luc Picard. Emmy responds, Picard? You working with him again? Raffi confirms, mm-hmm. Emmy says, where's he going? Raffi says, to the Artifact. Emmy says, ha, ha. Seriously, where is he going? Raffi continues, no, they have this Borg Reclamation Project going. I guess JL needs to meet with the director. It's kind of a little personal mission he's on. Emmy says, I wish I could help, Raffi, but this is one that I just can't do. Access is for scientific research only. The whole Romulan angle makes it a very dicey proposition. The Romulans are in a 250-year bad mood. Raffi says, but it would mean a lot to the admiral. Emmy says, like I said, I wish I could help. Raffi says, uh-huh. Emmy says, no, no, I... Raffi cuts in, hey, I understand. It's just it might be a little awkward when we show up there in about three hours from now. Emmy says, what? Raffi says, sending my location. She presses a few buttons on the console. Emmy says, wait, Raffi. Who authorised you to even be out there? Raffi says, I mean, you know Picard. Every part of that guy that's not ego is rampaging id. Emmy says, okay, you listen to me very carefully. You turn around immediately. Do not proceed. Raffi says, it's too late. Emmy says, if you go out there without permission, it's technically an act of war. Raffi says, I know. I know. And even if you guys deny involvement, the Romulans are never gonna buy it, right? I mean, Picard's so Federation, his face is still probably on the damn brochures, which is why I'm giving you this heads-up. Look, we do this proper. Diplomatic mission. Official letter of credence. I don't want to end up on the wrong side of a disruptor cannon, Emmy. Hey, I mean, I'm still planning on drinking myself to death. Emmy has a long pause and then says, twenty-four hours. In and out. And, Raffi, I'm saying this as an old friend. Never call me again. Emmy ends the call. Elnor smirks. Picard starts clapping. Raffi stands up, grabs her bottle and starts on her way back to her room. She staggers as she does. Rios goes to her assistance. She is swigging from the bottle as she goes. Picard sits down and takes a deep breath.

At the Artifact Narek and Soji are talking. Soji says, I had the dream again last night. I meant to ask my Mom about it, but... Narek says, yes? Soji says, I fell asleep while I was talking to her. Narek asks, does that happen often? You fall asleep when you're talking to her. Soji says, no. Maybe, I don't know.... What's wrong? Narek says, nothing. Soji says, Narek, what is it? Narek replies, on any Romulan facility, all incoming and outgoing transmissions are routinely monitored. Now, obviously the concern here is to keep the Borg technology secure, but any kind of anomaly is automatically flagged. Soji says, anomaly? What do you mean? Narek says, I'm told that each call to your mother lasts for 70 seconds. Every call. Every day. Seventy seconds exactly. Soji says, that's impossible. Narek says, I can show you the logs.

Back on La Sirena, Rios helps Raffi into her cabin. He takes the bottle off her and lays her down on the bed, sitting next to her. Raffi asks, how long have you known me, Chris? Rios replies, a while now. Raffi says, I have a son. Did you know that? Know a person for years and never meet their kid. What does that say? He's grown. Married. About to have a kid of his own. A little girl. Nobody I'll ever know. She falls asleep, Rios covers her and says to himself, no one gets all of it right, Raff. Rios picks up the bottle and leaves.

Back at The Artifact in Soji's quarters. She is alone and starts a call to her mother. She says, hi Mom? Mom replies, honey, are you okay? What time is it there? Shouldn't you be at work? Soji says, Mom, I never got to talk to you about that dream that I had last night. Is Dad there? Mom says, he's in his lab, but he asked not to be disturbed. Soji says, Mom... Mom, I think there's something wrong with me. Mom replies, there is. You're working too hard. If you don't need to be at work right away, why not lie down? Soji says, Mom... and starts to fall asleep. Soji reaches for a pen and stabs herself in the hand. Soji jumps awake. Mom repeats, why not lie down? The camera moves in on Soji and a few Images flicker on the screen for a moment, several scenes of a man all too blurry to see, then the young Soji from the dream, looking through the door. Soji says, Mom? Mom is still on the video screen, repeating, if you don't need to be at work right away, why not lie down? Soji falls asleep. Mom smiles and flickers.

Exterior scene of La Sirena Rios is reading, "Per your urgent request, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard is hereby granted temporary credentials as the Federation's special envoy to the Borg Reclamation Project. For the purpose consisting of and limited to meeting with the project's executive director. The credentials are valid for Admiral Picard only... and shall not be renewed." During the message La Sirena arrives at The Artifact and the camera moves inside to the bridge. Picard is standing there, Rios is in his chair. Agnes in her usual seat. Close up on Picard a few Images flash in front of him, All of them him as a Borg, being this close to a Borg Cube is having an effect on him. Agnes says, we have to stay on the ship. Picard says, I assume so. Rios says, you look disappointed. Agnes replies, no, relieved. Rios says, hmm.... We haven't been cleared to land. The Romulans have restricted you to specific beam-in coordinates. Elnor says, of course, I'll come with you. Picard says, you heard. Me only. Elnor says, the pledge I made to you is stronger than some diplomatic credential. Picard says, you think I relish going alone? It's either alone or not at all. Elnor says, I already hate this place. Picard says, Rios, I will keep communications open. Picard turns to Elnor and says, and, no matter what, you do not leave this ship. Is that clear? Picard takes Dahj's necklace from his pocket and looks at it. He then looks back at the Cube.

Soji wakes up still in her room. We don't know how much time has passed. She looks around and starts looking in cupboards, searching for something. She gathers personal items and pictures onto her desk. She starts scanning them with a device. She scans one, presses a few buttons and the device gives a readout, probable age 37 months. Soji says, no, no, no. She tries books of children's drawings. probable age, 37 months. All sorts of other items, the result is always probable age, 37 months. She grabs the cuddly toy she had in the dream, the same result. Probable age, 37 months. More and more items are tried, all the same. She starts ripping up pictures. Soji sits back and closes her eyes, holding the necklace. After a little she takes the necklace off and scans it. Probable age, 37 months. She throws the scanner at the wall, crying.

Elsewhere in The Artifact Picard beams in. He is alone in a large space. He looks around. He calls out, hello? He starts walking, climbing some steps. Flashes of memory, this time of other Borg. He trips on a step, nearly falling. He walks out onto a short bridge with no handrails. More flashes of memory. He turns and falls to the floor. Picard stumbles and two Borg grab him. He shouts, let go! Let go of me! No! Another voice says, they don't want you to fall. He comes around and sees that he is near the edge of the bridge. The drop is large and the two Borg that had grabbed him now appear to have had most of their implants removed. They don't say anything but they release him and move away. Looking back to the source of the voice he sees Hugh and walks towards him. Hugh smiling says, I didn't believe it... until now. Welcome to the Borg Reclamation Project. I don't know what you're doing here, but I'll help you, any way I can. Picard says, oh, I'll take a friendly face. They hug.

Picard and Hugh are now walking around the Cube. Picard is not enjoying being there. Hugh says, coming back is hard, I know. This is the last place any of us would ever want to see again. Picard asks, how can you stand it? Why would you choose to live here? Hugh says, the project needed a director. At least, as a citizen of the Federation, I can leave at any time, unlike all the other xBs on this Cube. Picard questions, xBs? Hugh explains, former Borg. That's what we call ourselves. Picard says, ah. Hugh continues, a new name can be the first step to a new identity. I learned that on the Enterprise all those years ago. This is not a Borg Cube anymore. It's the Artifact. And you are Jean-Luc Picard, not Locutus. All that is long behind you. Picard says, thank you, Hugh. You're right. It was a very long time ago. Hugh asks, tell me how I can help. Picard replies, uh, I'm looking for someone. Um. Appearance, human, from Earth. She may be engaged in some research here. Her name is Soji... Hugh says, Doctor Soji Asha. Picard says, yes. Hugh says, I take it she's in serious danger. Picard says, what. Why would you ask that? Hugh says, a hunch. Something about her. Something about you coming this far to this place. And something about the dashing, young Romulan spy who showed up two weeks ago pretending not to be asking questions about her. Picard says, can you take me to her now?

Narek is now in Soji's room looking at the photos she was looking at. Soji says, everything I own, Narek. Nothing is older than three years. None of it. Photos, journal entries. Narek asks, how do you explain this? Soji says, I can't. Somehow everything in my life has just been fabricated. I mean, my calls home. My... my mother, Narek. How can my... How can my mother not be... Narek says, have you considered the possibility that someone may have implanted false memories in you? It's not unheard of. I know it sounds mad, but say someone hoped to use you to obtain or find something for them here on the Cube? Altered your memories to conceal their purpose, even from you. Soji says, to find something? Narek, I'm scared. Soji says, I know. I know. I know. I know. And we are going to get to the bottom of this. Together. I may know a way to help you understand what is happening. It's a traditional Romulan practice, a form of... meditation. Soji says, the Zhal Makh. I've read about it. I thought it was taboo to non-Romulans. Narek says, it is. That's all the more reason we should try it. Come on.

Picard and Hugh are walking through the reclamation project work area. All around ex-Borg are being worked on. Picard asks, what is this place? Hugh explains, it's where our patients come to recover after the trauma of the reclamation procedure. Picard says, I would never have believed that assimilation could be undone on this scale. And by Romulans, no less. They stop to watch an ex-Borg being healed, he looks grateful. Hugh says, the outcomes are far from ideal. Picard says, what you're doing is good, Hugh. There's no need for it to be perfect. After all these years, you're showing what the Borg are underneath. They're victims... not monsters. Hugh says, still, we remain the most hated people in the galaxy, just as helpless and enslaved as before. Only now, our queen is a Romulan. Picard says, thank you for showing me this. Hugh says, no one could understand it better than you. And a Picard who might advocate for free Borg... now that would be quite a thing, wouldn't it? And you did come all this way. It seems Soji called in today. Let's see if we can go find her for you.

Back on the ship, Rios is back in Raffi's room, he has replicated her a cup of coffee. Rios wakes Raffi. He says, here I got you a coffee. Also, you owe me two strips of latinum. The twin's still alive. Raffi says, bullshit. Rios says, fact. Picard checked in. Raffi says, I thought that was a safe bet. Why? Rios says, because you're a terminal pessimist. Raffi says, no. Why keep her alive? The Tal Shiar killed Dahj. They went after Maddox on Freecloud. They know what she looks like. They had to be onto her. I mean, why keep her alive? Raffi says, well, they must need her for something. What does the Tal Shiar need from a synth?

Narek is fidgeting with his box again. He and Soji are walking through the Romulan zone on The Artifact. Others are watching them but not saying anything. They approach a door and a guard steps forward. Narek says, is this room free? The guard says, not for her. Narek says, she's with me. The guard scoffs, Zhal Makh is not for round-ears. Narek says in Romulan, and a sub-commander's bars are not for idiots. You risk losing them. The guard reluctantly steps aside and they enter the room. The doors close behind them. The room is built with a wooden floor with an intricate path laid out on it, there are lanterns arranged around the room. The lighting is low. Narek says, sorry about that. First things first, remove your boots. Soji does so and places them on a small table next to the door. Soji says, it's beautiful. Narek says, you asked the other day if I cared about you. It's not that I didn't want to answer. It's just out there feels too dangerous to show you. Here, I'm safe. To show you my true self. To be... Soji says, vulnerable? Narek says, Hrai Yan. Soji says, what?... Narek says, my true name... is Hrai Yan. Soji looks down and says, do I start here? Narek looks and says, yes. The Yut Makh. Soji says, that means "closing," not "opening." Narek explains, because a journey along the path of the Zhal Makh is understood as a journey that always begins with the closing of the eyes. A journey into the centre of the mind's most intimate space where deepest truths are hidden. Your dreams. Soji closes her eyes and the dream sequence from before starts once more. Her young self appears in the corridor. She says, I'm back where it always starts. I hear the rain hit the window. In the dream young Soji says, Daddy? Narek asks, why do you call out for your father? Soji says, because I was scared. Narek asks, of what? Soji says, the thunder. Narek asks, were you afraid of thunder as a child? Soji says, I don't know. She is walking around the room on the path laid out. She looks up at Narek for the first time and he says, eyes on the path. Narek continues, how does it make you feel when your father doesn't respond? Narissa is watching the pair on a view screen. Soji says, lonely. Abandoned. Narek says, good. You're turning into Lu Shiar, Lifting the Eyes. There's a window, yes? What's outside? Soji replies, I don't know. I've never looked that way before. Narek says, try. There are few flickering Images and Soji says, I can't. Narek says, it's ok. Try grounding yourself in details. Tell me what you can feel. Soji says, Squoodgy's fur against my fingers. My hair is cold. I'm sweating. Narek says, good. Now, the key to the Zhal Makh is realising that you're in control. Your mind, your dreams. You must feel free to explore in any way that you please. Do you feel like you're in control? Soji nods and Narek clicks his fingers. In the dream young Soji turns and looks out of the window. Soji says, I don't see much. Darkness. Maybe trees. Narek says, trees? Soji continues, but, but I'm not sure. Narek says, no, you're doing really well. You're turning another corner. Glam Wath, the Unfolding. Soji says, I'm at the door to my father's workshop. I can... I can see him inside, but I can't see what he's working on. Narek asks, why not? Soji continues, the orchids. I can never see past the orchids. He's moving away now. And I want to go inside, but when I try... A voice inside the dream shouts, Soji! and young Soji spins around to look. Soji is breathing fast now. Soji says, I'm sorry, I... Narek says, no, it's okay. Why do you wake up? Soji says, because I'm scared. Narek presses, of what? Soji replies, I don't know. Of, of getting in trouble. I'm not supposed to be in there. Narek says, Soji, you are getting so close. Narek says, beyond that door is exactly what you're searching for. Vri Glam, the Centre. Your unconscious is trying to tell you the truth, but you have to walk through it. You have to believe that you can. Can you do that... for me? Soji calms down and says, I can try. She starts walking the path again. Narek says, you're entering into Rok Han.

Picard and Hugh are outside Soji's room. The door opens and Hugh calls, Doctor Asha? A voice in the background announces Sectors 5-8 through 5-21 and all open form sectors are temporarily closed due to detected protometric activity. If you have entered any of the afflicted... Hugh enters Soji's room, he sees all of her things scattered about the room. He asks, what's all this? Picard looks around the room and picks up a torn photo from her desk, he says, I believe she's close to discovering who she really is. Hugh is confused he asks, what do you mean? Who is she? Picard says, there's no time. You must find her. Hugh, please. Hugh calls up a system and starts searching. The search fails, Hugh says, it says she's not on the Cube. That's not possible. Picard says, unless... someone has concealed her.

Back in the room, Soji says, I'm pushing the door now, and I'm stepping inside. I can see the orchids. They're beautiful. They're lit by a skylight. My father loves them like they're his children. Narek says, your father is going to shout at you, but this time, don't let him stop you. Whatever happens, keep moving. In the dream the voice shouts Soji! again. Soji says, I see my father. Narek asks, what does he look like? Soji says, oh, God, his face. I can't see it. Narek says, look behind the orchids. Now. Soji continues, okay... Okay, I'm looking behind the orchids. Narek asks, what do you see? In the dream young Soji drops her fluffy toy, She looks and sees a disassembled wooden doll with her face, lying on a table. Soji says, it's me. It's me, but I'm in pieces. I'm... I'm a doll. Narek says, look up through the skylight now. What do you see? Soji replies, I see two red moons, dark as blood. And lightning. So much lightning. Narissa, still watching, says, "well done, little brother", to herself. Soji says, Narek, what does it mean? He starts walking towards her. Narissa in her room opens a comm and says, I need to identify a planet with two red moons and constant electrical storms. Soji says, what does it mean? Narek says, it means... you found home. Look. She looks at the floor and she is in the centre of the path. Soji says, but I don't understand. Why was I on the workbench? Narek says, don't worry. You don't have to worry anymore. Soji continues, no. B... But why was he working on me? Narek kisses her and says, because you're not real. You never were. Soji says, Narek? Narek says, goodbye, Soji. He turns to leave and she calls after him, Narek? Narek? Narek? As he leaves he turns the puzzle box and places it on the table near the door, the doors close behind him. He stops just outside. Soji tries to leave but the door won't open. Soji is calling, Narek! Narek! Narek! Narek! Narek. Soji notices the puzzle box, which starts moving... opening. As it finishes a device rises from inside, red gas starts coming out of the box. As the gas reaches her she reacts. She backs off rapidly. The gas follows her, expanding and slowly filling the room. Soji stops and starts hammering her fists against the floor. The floor starts to give way. She punches and punches and it breaks. Faster and faster the hole is getting larger. The guard outside notices and calls Narek. He returns to the door and looks. The guard starts to open the door and Narek says, no, no, the radiation. The box stops delivering gas, but the room is still full of it. Soji is ripping the floor apart. She stands and jumps down through the hole she has made.

Hugh and Picard are still in her room searching the computer for her. Hugh says, she's back online. Picard asks, where is she? Hugh says, it looks like she's between two levels. It's wrong. It's showing her moving way too fast. Picard says, she's been activated. Hugh, you must take me to her. Now!

Narek is moving through the corridors saying, employee badge 74983 stroke 2. A voice asks, hostile? Narek says, yes, extremely dangerous.

Hugh and Picard are moving quickly, Hugh says, straight ahead. As they pass an ex-Borg says, Locutus? Hugh says, out of our way, please. Soji falls through the ceiling right in front of them. Picard stops, he says, Soji? Soji asks, do you know me? Picard replies, my name is Jean-Luc Picard. I'm a friend of a friend of your father's, and your sister came to see me wanting my help, but I couldn't help her. Please, Soji, let me help you. He shows Soji Dahj's necklace. Soji asks, do you know what's happening to me? Picard says, I do. Let me explain. Hugh says, Romulans. Lots of them. Picard says, Hugh, can you get us out of here? Hugh says, this way. He leads them off. Picard says, come. Come. Please, trust me. Please. Soji's not sure but she follows him.

Back on the ship Raffi is monitoring she says, they are in some serious trouble, and he's not responding. Elnor looks worried.

Hugh, Picard and Soji are running down a corridor. Hugh stops and presses at the wall. Picard shouts, which way? Which way? Hugh types a few things into the computer and a wall falls away, leaving a corridor. Hugh runs forward, Picard says, come, to Soji. They enter a large room. Picard looks around and says, this is the queen cell. Picard says, did I...? Hugh says, remember, even though you've never been here before. Picard says, yes. Hugh says, same here. It's all just there. He puts his hand on a pad and a device starts folding out of the ceiling. He moves around and attaches the pad to the machine. He starts making adjustments. Hugh says, this one is from after your time. A spatial trajector. The Borg acquired the technology after assimilating Sikarians. Its use was reserved for the Queen in the event of an emergency. It has a theoretical range of... Soji interrupts, forty thousand light-years. Picard starts his communicator and calls the ship, Raffi, we found a way to get off the Cube, but we have to go now. Let's set a rendezvous.

Raffi says, rendezvous? Where are you going?

Picard says, Nepenthe. Rios, do you know it?

Rios says, sure, but how... Picard says, just meet us there. Rios looks around and says, where's the kid?

Hugh is nearly ready with the machine. Three Romulan guards appear and hold pistols on them, saying, hands in the air. One falls to the floor and Elnor is behind with his sword, moments later and all three Romulans are dead. Soji looks worried. Picard says, Elnor, I told you to stay on the ship. Elnor says, yes. I didn't listen. Picard says, thank you. Soji can hear more guards coming, lots of them. Hugh says, she's right. We're almost at full power. Go. I'll keep them from tracing you. Picard says, Elnor, come. This thing here can take us to a safer place. Elnor says, I'll stay behind to cover your escape. My blade is pledged to defend you. Picard says, then I release you of the pledge. Elnor says, I decline to be released. Picard says, what are you doing? Elnor says, preparing to fight. Soji says, they're getting closer. Picard says, Hugh. Hugh says, it's ready. Step through. Picard says, Elnor. I will not leave you behind again. Elnor says, it fills me with joy to hear you say that. Now, go. You came so far. They'll destroy her, Picard. Go. Picard looks concerned but gestures to Soji, come. She's still not sure, but goes. Picard and Soji step through the Trajector and vanish. Hugh says, it'll take a few minutes to shut everything down and hide this room again. Can you hold them off that long? Elnor says, I won't need a few minutes. Stay behind me. Romulans can be heard shouting drop your weapons... Elnor says, please my friends choose to live.

Analysis

So, we now know what this android dreams of and it's not electric sheep. Overall a busy episode. A lot of talking once again, but, we have things actually starting to come to a head. Narek continues his poking and prodding at Soji, but that story line finaly comes to a conclusion this time.

Picard's "discussion" with Agnes in the mess hall sums up his view of the Borg perfectly. Agnes is also clearly very upset at killing Maddox, which given they were lovers is only to be expected. We only find out the story behind this event in a few episodes time. As of now we are left with a pretty unplesant situation.

Raffi's manipulation of her old friend was masterful to say the least, Picard was clearly impressed. I'm not sure it's a skill that a Starfleet officer should have, but, I suppose it moves the story along.

Rios and Agnes, well, I guess killing people really makes you horny, somewhat strange.

Finally, Picard arrives at The Artifact and we have some interesting things relating to his relationship with the Borg. He never likes to be reminded of it and this is no different. He initially freaks out and is only rescused by some ex-Borg. He meets Hugh and the two get on well. Despite being upset to be back on a Cube he is impressed with the progress made by Hugh in helping the ex-Borg. It's Picard's turn to be helped by Hugh, reminding him that he is not a Borg, but an individual. Together they rescue Soji. She and Picard escape to Nepenthe using some assimilated technology. Elnor comes to the rescue at the last moment and saves the day. He stays behind on the Cube to ensure their escape. Can he fight off an entire Cube worth of Romulans... we'll have to wait and see.
© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 2,768 Last updated : 1 Jan 2022