While investigating an alien derelict, Geordi La Forge and Data are sent to a solar system several light-years away by a transporter with interstellar range, to a similar derelict orbiting an Earth-like planet. Once there, they are mistaken for "the Builders", those who the planet's native populace, a culture similar to late-20th-century Earth, believe are the creators of the derelict, which they call the "Repository of the Gifts". One of the natives, Shar-Lon, discovered the Repository some years before and used its "Gifts" (advanced technology) to end planetary wars that were leading to a possible nuclear holocaust. However, Shar-Lon's use of the Gifts since that time has led to a worldwide perception of himself and his supporters, the Peacekeepers, as a suppressive force that has limited the social and technological advancement of their people. Assuming the role of "Builders" in order to assess their situation, La Forge and Data are drawn into the social politics of the Peacekeepers and their world, and must extract themselves from the situation and find a way back to the Enterprise without further harming the natives' culture and violating the Prime Directive.