Aquiel

The U.S.S. Enterprise arrives at a remote subspace relay station near the Klingon border, and Riker, Geordi, and Beverly encounter a stray dog and evidence of what appears to be the remains of Aquiel Uhnari, a Starfleet lieutenant. The staff attempts to discover precisely what happened by surveying the deserted shuttlecraft docked into the station. While surveying the shuttlecraft's destroyed deckplate, Beverly and Riker suspect that Aquiel and the missing Lieutenant Rocha may have been the victims of a Klingon attack. Then, Geordi comes across a moving, speaking screen image of Aquiel in her quarters, relaying a message to her sister Shianna about her fear of a Klingon named Morag. Geordi continues to watch these personal logs, and learns that Aquiel had a tenuous relationship with Lieutenant Rocha. Riker then joins him in her quarters and is informed by Picard that the Klingon Governor Torak has arrived at the Enterprise.

The senior staff meets with Torak, and much to their surprise, he produces Aquiel — alive! She explains that Rocha attacked her and she escaped into Klingon space via shuttlecraft. Thus, the remains found near the bulkhead were probably Rocha's, but she doesn't remember precisely what happened. To help clarify what really occurred, Picard requests to speak with Commander Morag, a Klingon who supposedly harassed Aquiel. Attracted to this familiar stranger, Geordi befriends Aquiel, and takes her to Ten-Forward. He reveals to her that he surveyed her logs and personal correspondence in an investigation of her quarters. He then asks her about Rocha, and she tells him that she didn't like Rocha but she didn't wish him dead. She realizes, however, that the senior staff of the Enterprise suspects her of murder.

Meanwhile, Beverly continues to examine the cellular residue found on the deckplate, while Riker and Worf come across a phaser in the shuttlecraft set to kill. Given this new development, Riker and Worf question Aquiel, however she still insists that she would not kill him. Geordi sits in on this interrogation, and it is obvious he is sympathetic towards his new friend.

Commander Morag then arrives aboard the Enterprise and meets with the senior staff. He admits that he was present when Rocha was killed, and that he took priority Starfleet messages. Geordi then confronts Aquiel about taking messages from Rocha's log, and she explains that she did so because Rocha was declaring her insubordinate and belligerent to Starfleet. Scared that this new evidence will condemn her as Rocha's killer, she only agrees to stay aboard the Enterprise because Geordi has faith in her. He and Aquiel use an ancient method of her people to bond and share their thoughts.

While Beverly examines the DNA found on the deckplate yet again, the material jumps up and forms a perfect replica of her hand. Due to this, she suspects that the real Rocha may have been killed by this strange coalescent organism, and a replica of him may have attacked Aquiel in search of a new body. Suddenly, Aquiel's dog transforms into a creature right in front of Geordi — the dog is really a coalescent creature. Fortunately, Geordi manages to defend himself against the bizarre being, which apparently coalesced from Rocha to Aquiel to her dog. She and Geordi then bid each other a fond farewell, both of them hoping they'll see each other again in the future.

 

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