“Timescape” is the 151st episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the 25th episode of the sixth season.
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, Captain Picard, Counsellor Troi, Chief Engineer La Forge and Lt. Commander Data must save the Enterprise, which they find frozen in an explosion of time, taking weapons fire from an also-frozen Romulan Warbird.
This episode features a Danube-Class Runabout, which is larger than an average Starfleet shuttle but not as big as the larger starships. It also includes special effect shots of the Romulan Warbird, which made appearances throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Captain Picard, Counsellor Troi, Chief Engineer La Forge, and Lt. Commander Data are on a runabout, returning to the Enterprise from a conference. As they near the ship, they encounter pockets of temporal disruptions that have very peculiar effects and could be lethal if they pass through them. They modify their sensors to avoid these and they find the ship and a Romulan warbird frozen in time. The warbird has fired a disruptor at the Enterprise, while the Federation ship has initiated a power transfer to the warbird.
Data and La Forge modify a set of emergency transport armbands to nullify the temporal effects, and Picard, Data and Troi transport aboard the Enterprise to try to investigate the situation. They find the crew has been transporting aboard Romulans from the warbird, and one, in sickbay, has fired upon Dr. Crusher with his disruptor. The Enterprise warp engine has suffered a warp breach which, under normal circumstances, would consume the Enterprise in seconds. Picard suffers “temporal narcosis” from standing close to the core breach, forcing them to return to the runabout and for La Forge to take Picard’s place. On the warbird, they find the crew attempting to evacuate the ship with the Enterprise’s help; its main reactor, using artificial quantum singularities, is undergoing a power surge. Investigating the engine closely, they find the singularity appears odd and discoloured unlike other ones. When Data scans it with a tricorder, time briefly moves forward on the ship (causing a cataclysmic core explosion), but then reverses back to its original point (restoring ships and crews). La Forge spots a Romulan who was not in the same place as before; the Romulan suddenly touches him, shocking them both. The shock is nearly lethal to La Forge, and they disconnect the shield to freeze him in time, hoping to care for him later, while they take the Romulan back to the runabout.
There, they find the Romulan is really a creature from trans-dimensional space. He admits he and a companion had tried to recover the singularity from the Romulans, as it is carrying their young, who were accidentally incubated in the Romulan artificial quantum singularity, instead of a natural one such as a black hole. In the process of trying to remove the singularity, they had created the power surge, resulting in the Warbird sending out a distress call to the Enterprise. The creature soon fades away, returning to its own trans-dimensional space.
Picard, Troi, and Data return to the Enterprise and position themselves around the ship, with Data ready to use a remote-controlled tricorder aimed at the Romulan engine core to reverse time a few seconds to perform key actions, to prevent the pending disasters. After the warp core breach is averted in Engineering, Data is about to stop the power transfer, but is attacked by the trans-dimensional creature’s companion. He regains consciousness shortly thereafter, but must put a force field around the warp core to prevent it from breaching again.
Picard suddenly appears on the Enterprise bridge near Riker; although the crew is surprised, Picard gives the order to continue to evacuate the Romulan ship, including La Forge, and to terminate the power transfer. In sickbay, Troi successfully pushes Dr. Crusher out of the way of the Romulan disruptor blast; the Romulan states he was only firing at a trans-dimensional creature that had disguised herself as a Romulan and had not meant to harm Crusher. However, the warbird continues to go critical, and the power transfer from the Enterprise cannot be stopped. Picard remotely powers the runabout into the power transfer beam’s path, disrupting it and allowing the Enterprise to move away, after safely recovering the warbird crew. Just as the warbird’s engines go critical, the ship disappears, along with the remaining time abnormalities. As the Enterprise crew repair the ship, Picard promises to return the Romulans safely to their homeworld.
At the close, Data is trying to examine human perception of time.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Adam Nimoy.
- Writer(s): Brannon Braga.
- Release Date: 14 June 1993.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.