Force of Nature (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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"Force of Nature"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no.Season 7
Episode 9
Directed byRobert Lederman
Written byNaren Shankar
Featured musicDennis McCarthy
Production code261
Original air dateOctober 15, 1993 (1993-10-15)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Attached"
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"Inheritance"
Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 7)
List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes

"Force of Nature" (S07, E09) is the 161st episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. In this episode, a pair of sibling scientists show that warp drive propulsion is harming the very fabric of space -- an implied metaphor for global climate change (which is mentioned explicitly in the episode's final scene). A sub-plot involves Data attempting to train his pet cat, Spot.

Plot[edit]

The Federation Starship USS Enterprise is sent to the Hekaras Corridor, the only safe path through the sector, to investigate the disappearance of the medical ship U.S.S. Fleming. In the process they find a Ferengi ship, which is badly disabled. The Ferengi leader contends a Federation weapon disabled his ship.

The Enterprise crew learns that a Hekaran brother and sister, Rabal and Serova, are responsible for disabling the ships by using ship-disabling mines disguised as signal buoys. These siblings contend that sustained warp drive is destroying the fabric of space near their homeworld, and will eventually destroy their planet. Data determines that the research has merit, but requires more study. Picard requests a more thorough investigation from the Federation Science Council.

However, Serova is not willing to wait for any more studies. In order to prove her theory, she causes a warp breach in her ship, killing herself in the process. A rift is formed, and the Fleming becomes trapped in the damaged space. The Enterprise crew manages to find a way to "surf" through the rift without using warp drive within it by initiating a short warp jump at maximum speed, then beams up the Fleming crew and escapes by "riding" the disruption waves produced by the rift.

Later, the Federation Council issues a new directive limiting all Federation vessels to a speed of warp five except in extreme emergencies. In addition, they have informed every known species capable of warp travel of the newly discovered dangers of its use. Worf asserts that the Klingon Empire will agree to the limitations, but it is uncertain whether the Romulan Star Empire, Ferengi Alliance, and Cardassian Union would also follow suit.

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