The scientist Dr. Paul Stubbs has spent 20 years of research to observe a stellar phenomenon in the Kavis Alpha system that occurs only once in 196 years. His mission is endangered when the ship is plagued by computer malfunctions. Wesley discovers that the reason is his experiment to improve the performance of nanites that got out of control when the microscopic robots escaped and developed a consciousness and the ability to reproduce themselves. The nanites now occupy the ship's computer.

Wesley reluctantly confesses his error to his mother Beverly, who has recently returned from Starfleet Medical. Stubbs, who is afraid that his experiment could fail, begins to destroy the nanites, whereupon the nanites attack him and sabotage life support on the ship. Data establishes a communication link with the nanites. Picard then urges Stubbs to apologize, upon which the nanites help to repair the computer. They are transferred to a planet in the Kavis Alpha system to continue their evolution.

Errors and Explanations

Internet Movie Database

Revealing mistakes

  1. In the opening shot Enterprise is in a geosynchronous orbit around a giant red star and faces a smaller neutron star. Later, Riker tells Shuttle Bay 2 to prepare to launch Dr. Stubbs' probe. As the shuttle bay doors open, the scene shows the giant red star and the smaller star in the distance. But Shuttle bay 2 is on the back side of the ship. To see this view, Enterprise would have to turn 180 degrees from the previous shot. The position of Enterprise was probably adjusted during final preparations for the experiment.

The Nitpicker's Guide
Next Generation Trekkers
Volume 2

Plot Oversights

  1. The surviving nanites helping Stubbs with his experiment, despite him earlier killing thousands of nanites earlier. This could have been part of the relocation agreement insigated at the end of the episode.
  2. Enterprise using reverse impulse engines to halt it's progress towards the matter stream between the stars, even though this would push the ship closer, due to it facing away at the time. Maybe the reverse thrust would be intended to turn the ship around.

Nit Central

  1. Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Tuesday, July 10, 2001 - 1:53 am: Stubbs calls the Neutron star the interstellar counterpart to Old Faithful. The problem is that Old Faithful has been getting less and less faithful. I believe an earthquake affected it's old schedule and the last I heard it was becoming less faithful. Federation science may have corrected the problem.
  2. Data says, that "There has not been a system wide technological failure on a starship for 79 years." What about the Iconian computer virus in Contagion, the year before? (Or did the alien program erase the events of that episode from Data's mind?) That was not truly system wide, as some equipment on the three ships affected - such as life support and the transporters - still operated normally.

The Next Generation Season 3
Evolution I The Ensigns of Command I The Survivors I Who Watches the Watchers I The Bonding I Booby Trap I The Enemy I The Price I The Vengeance Factor I The Defector I The Hunted I The High Ground I Déjà Q I A Matter of Perspective I Yesterday's Enterprise I The Offspring I Sins of the Father I Allegiance I Captain's Holiday I Tin Man I Hollow Pursuits I The Most Toys I Sarek I Ménage à Troi I Transfigurations I The Best of Both Worlds Part 1
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