Clues (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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"Clues"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 14
Directed by Les Landau
Teleplay by Bruce D. Arthurs
Joe Menosky
Story by Bruce D. Arthurs
Featured music Dennis McCarthy
Production code 188
Original air date February 11, 1991 (1991-02-11)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Devil's Due"
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"First Contact"
List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"Clues" is the 88th episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 14th episode of the fourth season. While en route to investigate a mysterious planet, the entire crew- with the exception of Lt. Commander Data- is rendered unconscious by a wormhole that appears out of nowhere. After they revive, Data explains that they were unconscious for only thirty seconds- but a variety of clues discovered around the ship seem to indicate that he's lying. The android's subsequent attempts to prevent them from investigating that the mysterious planet raise further suspicions. When Picard confronts him, Data finally admits that he was ordered to keep them from the planet and to lie... by Captain Picard himself.

Plot[edit]

The Enterprise investigates a T Tauri class star system with a single Class M planet that was picked up on a long-range sensor scan near the Ngame Nebula. As they approach the planet, the ship encounters a wormhole and everyone except Lt. Commander Data briefly loses consciousness. When the crew regains consciousness, the ship's sensors suggest it has been nearly a day since the wormhole encounter, but Data states they were only out for moments and the ship's instruments were affected by the wormhole. Captain Picard opts to send a probe into the system to avoid further harm to the ship per Data's suggestion. The probe reports only the presence of a frozen gas giant instead of the Class M planet from before; again, Data attributes this to the effects of the wormhole.

As the ship moves away from the system, the crew begin to find evidence that does not support Data's claims that they were only unconscious for a few moments; Chief Medical Officer Dr. Crusher has found moss samples have grown fully in that time, and that she has found that Worf, complaining of a sore wrist, actually had his wrist broken and reset by a medical professional. Picard begins to suspect Data's claims, and believes the rest of the crew is suffering from missing time syndrome. Picard confronts Data on the issue, but Data cannot provide a rational answer. Further studies of the crew by Dr. Crusher show that Data's explanations are impossible; they have lost a day from the wormhole encounter, and there is evidence that Data tampered the probe's readings to mask the Class M planet. Picard recognizes that Data's actions may be for the protection of the Enterprise, but orders the ship to return to the system.

When they near the Class M planet, Ship's Counselor Troi is taken over by a mysterious energy pulse from the system, and starts to speak to the crew with a different voice. The entity that has taken over Troi informs Picard that his plan has failed, and that their people will prepare to destroy the Enterprise. Picard learns from Data and the entity that they are in the space of the Paxans, a highly-advanced but very xenophobic race who have kept themselves hidden by firing a stun beam at any ship that nears their system and then moving it away; crews of such ships normally associate it with the effects of a wormhole. However, in the case of the Enterprise, the stun beam did not affect Data; Data had revived the crew as the Paxans were attempting to move the ship, and forcing a physical encounter that led to Worf's wrist being broken. Picard was able to offer the Paxans a deal as to attempt to conceal their previous meeting, using memory-wiping technology from the Paxans to forget their encounters with them, and ordered Data to behave as he did to protect the ship.

Picard is able to implore to the Paxan in control of Troi that the previous plan failed because they left too many clues on the Enterprise that piqued human curiosity to solve the mystery and that if the Enterprise vanishes, it will cause others to come investigate. The crew of the Enterprise, with the help of the Paxans, work together to completely eradicate any possible clues; once completed, the crew is stunned again, and the ship moves away from Paxan space. When the crew revives this time, they accept Data's explanations without question and continue on their mission. There is a(possibly unintentional) post modern irony in this action as the viewer remains aware of their existence.

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