The Pegasus (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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"The Pegasus"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
ST-TNG The Pegasus.jpg
The remains of the Pegasus are discovered.
Episode no.Season 7
Episode 12
Directed byLeVar Burton
Written byRonald D. Moore
Featured musicJohn Debney
Cinematography byJonathan West
Production code264
Original air dateJanuary 10, 1994 (1994-01-10)
Guest appearances
  • Terry O'Quinn - Adm. Erik Pressman
  • Nancy Vawter - Adm. Margaret Blackwell
  • Michael Mack - Sirol
Episode chronology
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"The Pegasus" is the 164th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 12th episode of the seventh season. It was written by Ronald D. Moore and directed by series cast member LeVar Burton (Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge).

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-D. In this episode, the Enterprise attempts to recover the Pegasus, a Federation starship that contained experimental technology of vital strategic importance and was also the first starship posting of Enterprise first officer Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) when he left Starfleet Academy.


Terry O'Quinn was cast as Riker's former Captain

The visual effects shot of the "USS Pegasus" spacecraft was a re-dress of the Oberth class model.[1] The VFX model auctioned off in 2006 by Christie's.[1] The Oberth-class was designed by David Carson, and built at Industrial Light & Magic.[2] The model was made for the 1984 theatrical film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, where it depicted a ship called the "USS Grissom".[2]

This episode was directed by LeVar Burton, he had previously directed "Second Chances"; he went on to direct 28 television episodes in the Star Trek franchise.[3][4]

Terry O'Quinn was cast as Admiral Erik Pressman, who would be introduced as Riker's former commanding officer in this episode.[5]


The Enterprise is ordered on a priority mission to collect a member of Starfleet Intelligence: Admiral Erik Pressman (Terry O'Quinn), former Captain of the USS Pegasus, where Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) first served after graduating from Starfleet Academy. Pressman informs Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Riker that intelligence has located the Pegasus in the Devolin system near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Though it is presumed destroyed, Pressman orders the Enterprise to either recover the ship's remains or destroy them to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Romulans. In private, Riker attempts to discuss the events aboard the Pegasus's last mission and questions Pressman's intentions, but Pressman instructs Riker to remain silent until the mission is completed.

In the Devolin system, the Enterprise encounters a Romulan Warbird, clearly searching for the Pegasus as well. Picard and Sirol (Michael Mack), the Romulan commander, acknowledge each other's presence, creating a tense situation. Though the Enterprise sensors locate the Pegasus buried in a large fissure in an asteroid, Picard orders them to move on to lure the Romulans away.

Picard asks Riker privately about the Pegasus. Prior to the assumed destruction of the vessel, there was a mutiny. Riker says that when the Pegasus' warp core overloaded, several officers took up arms against Pressman, fearful that the Captain was out of control. Riker pulled his weapon in the Captain's defense, but they were overwhelmed and barely got to the emergency lifeboats. Shortly after they ejected from the crippled ship, the explosion occurred. Picard reads a portion of the Judge Advocate General's report suggesting that the surviving officers and crew are involved in a cover-up and further investigation is warranted. Picard informs Riker that the aforementioned investigation never happened and that the report was buried by Starfleet Intelligence. Riker tells Picard that he is under Pressman's orders not to discuss the matter. Picard acknowledges that since, as a captain, he cannot order Riker to disobey an admiral's orders, he will have to trust Riker to not let Pressman put the Enterprise at unnecessary risk. Picard then tells Riker, "If I find that that trust has been misplaced, then I will have to reevaluate the command structure of this ship."

With the Romulans distracted, the Enterprise returns to the asteroid. Pressman orders the Enterprise to enter a fissure in the asteroid, over Picard's objections. Once inside, they discover that the Pegasus is partially fused with the asteroid, having seemingly decloaked while inside the asteroid. Picard and Riker speculate as to whether there are any crew members trapped in the blocked part of the ship. Pressman and Riker transport to the Pegasus and recover an experimental device with which the ship was equipped. Pressman is elated to find it, but Riker is less than enthusiastic. He informs Pressman that he won't allow him to restart the experiments that led to the mutiny and the current state of the Pegasus. They return to the Enterprise when they learn the Romulans have closed the fissure, trapping the Enterprise inside.

Sirol diplomatically apologizes for "accidentally" closing the fissure and gives Picard and his crew the option of taking asylum aboard the Warbird, which would allow both the Enterprise and the Pegasus to be captured by the Romulans. Riker proposes using the device they took from the Pegasus—a prototype for a Federation cloaking device. The device is phase-shifting and as such it would allow the Enterprise to travel through the solid matter of the asteroid and escape. Pressman is furious at the breaking of Riker's silence, but Picard rebukes Pressman, pointing out that the development of a cloaking device by the Federation is a violation of the Treaty of Algeron. Pressman attempts to take command of the Enterprise, but the crew refuses to obey his orders. Picard directs the cloaking device to be installed on the Enterprise and used to escape the asteroid. The cloak is then dropped in full view of the Romulan ship against Pressman's protestations, and Picard informs Sirol that the Federation will be contacting the Romulan government about the incident.

Picard orders Pressman to be arrested for violating the Treaty of Algeron. Riker insists that he be arrested as well, and Picard reluctantly agrees.

Visiting Riker in the brig, Picard informs Riker that Pressman and four other high-ranking officers in Starfleet Intelligence have been arrested pending a court-martial. He notes that Riker's record will be affected by this incident but coming clean will support his case. Picard tells Riker that while he did conceal the truth of Pressman's illegal activities, he eventually stood up and told the truth, and as long as Riker still has the integrity to do so, he will still be proud to have him as a First Officer. He then gestures that Riker leaves the brig with him and they exit together.


Gizmodo ranked "The Pegasus" as the 55th out of 100 of the best of all Star Trek television episodes in 2014.[6] The Hollywood Reporter ranked "The Pegasus" as the 20th best episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, noting the performance of guest star Terry O'Quinn (playing Starfleet Admiral Pressman) and the moral complexity of the situations faced by Commander Riker.[7] O'Quinn gained larger notability and won an Emmy for his role in the television series Lost.[8][9]

In 2020, Vulture recommended this as one of the best Star Treks to watch along with Star Trek: Picard, noting how Riker struggles as he has an encounter with one of his previous captains.[10] They point out that this is the episode that features "Captain Picard Day", which is referenced in later Star Trek series.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "U.S.S. PEGASUS MODEL". Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise; Mirek, Debbie (May 17, 2011). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-4688-7.
  3. ^ "Star Trek: Every Actor Who Also Directed Episodes Or Movies". ScreenRant. April 9, 2021. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  4. ^ DeCandido, Keith R. A. (December 11, 2012). "Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: "Second Chances"". Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  5. ^ Clarendon, Dan. "Terry O'Quinn Is the Guest Star King: 10 Roles You May Have Forgotten". TV Insider. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  6. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane. "The Top 100 Star Trek Episodes Of All Time!". io9.
  7. ^ ""Conspiracy" - 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' — The 25 Greatest Episodes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "28 Surprising Star Trek Guest Stars : Terry O'Quinn, Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Pegasus" | TV Guide". Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "20 Actors Who Were on Star Trek Before Becoming Famous". CBR. December 9, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Phipps, Keith (January 27, 2020). "The 14 Best Star Trek Entries to Accompany Picard". Vulture. Retrieved January 28, 2020.

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