The Emissary (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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Not to be confused with Emissary (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
"The Emissary"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 20
Directed by Cliff Bole
Teleplay by
Story by Thomas H. Calder
Featured music Ron Jones
Cinematography by Edward R. Brown
Production code 146
Original air date June 26, 1989 (1989-06-26)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"The Emissary" is the 20th episode of the second season of the syndicated science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 46th episode overall, first airing on June 26, 1989.

In this episode, the Enterprise is sent a special emissary to help them deal with a three-quarter century-old Klingon sleeper-ship.


The Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, receives an urgent message from Starfleet Command ordering them to a set of coordinates without stating a reason. While en route, they are contacted by Admiral Gromek who informs them that the Enterprise is to rendezvous with a Federation emissary who will brief them on their mission. She refuses to disclose any details to Picard, only that Starfleet considers the mission a "top security matter".

Data reports that the emissary is being transported in a class 8 probe, which is only "just over" 2 meters long, traveling at warp 9. Due to there being no starships nearby which could intercept the Enterprise, and that by sending the emissary to them instead of diverting the Enterprise they will save 6.1 hours of travel time. Picard notes that Starfleet believes time is of the essence.

The ship meets with the probe and beams it aboard. On opening the probe the crew discover the emissary to be a half-Klingon half-human woman named K'Ehleyr. K'Ehleyr is introduced to the rest of the command staff, and it is immediately apparent that she and Lt. Worf know each other and that Worf is not happy to see her. She informs the command staff that two days previously Starfleet picked up a signal from a Klingon battlecruiser called the T'Ong, which was launched from the Klingon homeworld over seventy-five years ago, a time when the Klingons and the Federation were still at war (TOS era). The message states that the ship is about to reach its "awakening point", which indicates that the crew has been in suspended animation. It is feared that if the crew awaken they will immediately attack the nearest Federation outpost, of which there are several nearby. To prevent this, Starfleet Command has ordered the Enterprise to intercept them and convince them that the Federation and the Klingons are at peace. Riker asks why they have been given this assignment instead of a Klingon ship, and K'Ehleyr reports that the nearest Klingon ship won't arrive for three days. K'Ehleyr believes the plan will fail and Picard will have no choice but to destroy the T'Ong, but Picard refuses to consider that option and orders the staff to come up with alternatives.

Worf is ordered to work with K'Ehleyr, an assignment Worf immediately tries to get out of by citing personal reasons, although unsuccessfully, as Picard puts all excuses bluntly aside. During their first meeting Worf and K'Ehleyr have a heated argument, only barely managing to concentrate on the job at hand. At Troi's suggestion K'Ehleyr goes to the holodeck where she uses Worf's exercise program to vent her frustrations.

Worf finds her there and joins her in the program. They are stimulated by battle with each other and it is implied that they spend the night together and mate. As he is then required to by tradition, Worf starts the Klingon vow of marriage, by shouting "tlhIngan jIH" (Klingon for "I am a Klingon"), but K'Ehleyr, much to Worf's shock, refuses to take the vow and, clearly upset, storms out.

At a meeting of the senior staff K'Ehleyr presents two alternatives when they find the ship: the crew is still asleep, in which case they keep them that way until a Klingon ship can meet up with them in three days; or the crew is awake, in which case they will have to destroy them. Picard still feels reluctant about the idea of destroying the ship despite K'Ehleyr's insistence that the Klingon captain will not negotiate. They are interrupted by Data, who reports that they have detected a vessel which turns out to be the T'Ong. Data scans the ship and determines that while there are life signs on board, he can't tell if they are awake. He speculates from the ship's low power readings that the crew is still asleep, but suddenly the T'Ong fires on the Enterprise, causing Data to announce that he "could be in error".

K'Ehleyr urges Picard to let the Klingons die with honor, in battle. However, Worf comes up with another option. While Captain Picard and First Officer Riker conceal themselves, Worf and K'Ehleyr, clad in full traditional Klingon command uniforms, appear as captain and first officer of the Enterprise, informing Captain K'Temoc of the T'Ong that the war is over and ordering them to surrender. K'Temoc initially refuses, believing it to be a Federation trick. But when Worf, in typical Klingon manner, shows his resolve and threatens to destroy the T'Ong, K'Temoc grudgingly agrees.

Worf turns control of the ship back over to Picard. Commander Riker asks Worf for his impressions. Worf simply responds, "Comfortable chair".

K'Ehleyr transports to the T'Ong to begin the process of acclimating the Klingons to life in the 24th century and await the arrival of the Klingon escort that has been sent to meet them. Before departing, she admits to Worf that she was tempted to take the marriage vow with him, but felt it was not the right moment for it, and implies that their paths will cross again.


  • This episode is the first appearance of K'Ehleyr, who is half-Klingon, half-human. The character later returns in the fourth-season episode "Reunion".


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