“The Battle” is the ninth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and was originally aired on 16 November 1987, in broadcast syndication.
The episode was written by Herbert Wright, based on a story by Larry Forrester, and directed by Rob Bowman.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is given his former vessel, the Stargazer, as a gift by the Ferengi DaiMon Bok (Frank Corsentino) who intends to use it to take revenge upon the Enterprise captain.
The Stargazer was to originally be represented by the movie-era Enterprise model, but producers were convinced to use a design which had appeared on a model in Picard’s ready room in the series pilot. Several camera and compositing techniques were used by Bowman in filming the scenes aboard the bridge of the Stargazer, which was also a re-dressed movie-era Enterprise bridge set (which had also been re-dressed to serve as the Enterprise-D “battle bridge” in the pilot episode).
The Enterprise encounters a Ferengi vessel whose captain, DaiMon Bok, requests a meeting with Captain Picard. Picard is suffering from persistent headaches, whose cause Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) is unable to determine. Meanwhile a second vessel approaches and is identified as a Federation Constellation-class starship.
Bok transports to the bridge of the Enterprise, and announces that the newly arrived ship is a gift for “the hero of Maxia.” Data (Brent Spiner) reminds Picard that nine years earlier at Maxia he was attacked by an unidentified aggressor which he destroyed. Bok reveals that the ship in question was Ferengi. Bok’s gift is identified as the Stargazer, Picard’s former command, which Bok found as a derelict. Picard explains that at Maxia, the crew was forced to abandon ship, despite winning the battle by an action that would come to be known as the “Picard Manoeuvre”, a short warp jump that caused the enemy vessel’s light-speed limited sensors to detect the Stargazer in two places at once.
Picard and an away team board the Stargazer, and he orders a chest of his belongings sent to the Enterprise. Hidden in the chest is an orb, apparently under Bok’s control, that subjects Picard to a wave of pain. Dr. Crusher orders him back to the Enterprise. Data finds an entry in the Stargazer’s logs stating that the Ferengi were attacked under a flag of truce, but he and La Forge determine that this entry was faked. Wesley detects unusual signals from the Ferengi ship, and Enterprise computer informs William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) that Picard has returned to the Stargazer.
Picard finds Bok waiting for him with another orb. Bok explains that his son was in command of the Ferengi vessel at Maxia, and that Bok is taking revenge. He sets the orb down and leaves Picard on the Stargazer bridge. The orb lights up, and Picard suddenly believes he is once again at the Battle of Maxia, and that the Enterprise is the attacker. On the Enterprise, Lieutenant Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) and Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn) discover the orb brought over from the Stargazer in Picard’s chest. They take it to Riker as the Stargazer powers up its weapon systems. Riker hails the Ferengi vessel and speaks to Kazago, who reveals that the orb is a banned device, and promises to investigate.
Riker subsequently hails the Stargazer, but Picard continues to believe he is being attacked by the Enterprise. Riker asks Data to devise a countermeasure to the Picard Maneuver. When Picard takes the Stargazer to warp, Data uses the Enterprise’s tractor beam to seize the Stargazer and limit its field of fire. Riker tells Picard about the orb; Picard seems to understand and destroys it with his phaser. After a few moments, Picard hails the Enterprise and requests a transport. Kazago hails Riker to inform him that Bok has been relieved of command “for engaging in this unprofitable venture”.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Rob Bowman.
- Writer(s): Larry Forrester.
- Release Date: 16 November 1987.
- Running Time: 50 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.