Star Trek: Insurrection : Synopsis
As war rages across the Alpha Quadrant, on the peaceful world inhabited by the Ba’ku, war knows no sanctuary. An idyllic planet, the Ba’ku live simple lives, choosing to reject the advanced technological gains of the various interstellar empires. However, their peaceful disposition makes them an easy target for those who want which they do not have.
After nearly two years at war with the Dominion, the Federation has begun to present the public image of decay; having been challenged, and in many cases, defeated by their adversaries. The planet the Ba’ku inhabit, not only features a simple paradise, but also, a fountain of youth; metagenic radiation present in the planet’s rings continually regenerate a humanoid’s cellular structure; virtual immortality. The Son’a, a space-faring race that absorbed the Tarlac and the Ellora fifty years earlier, present the Federation with a proposal; allow the Son’a to collect the radiation in the planet’s rings and split the profits. The Federation Council, feeling the pressure war brings, agree to plan and establish a duck blind on the planet’s surface to observe the Ba’ku.
Manned by both Starfleet and Son’a personnel in cloaked isolation suits, the mission proceeds without incident as the crew walk among the Ba’ku, unseen by the natives until an alert breaks out in area 12. Lieutenant Commander Data begins to, apparently, malfunction. All attempts from the duck blind to communicate with Data fail and he attacks the Starfleet and Son’a crew. His adversaries easily overcome by his enormous android strength, Data removes his isolation suit, making his body visible to the Ba’ku. As they wonder what is going on, Data fires his weapon at the cloaked duck blind observatory, destabilizing the invisibility screen and making the outpost visible as well. Data flees into the mission scoutship and leaves orbit.
Aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, negotiations with the alien Evora race are cut short when Admiral Matthew Dougherty hails the starship from the Son’a flagship, commanded by Ru’afo, and informs Captain Jean-Luc Picard that Data has apparently gone rogue and is holding the conjoined Starfleet and Son’a crew hostage on the planet’s surface. After Data inflicts significant damage to Ru’afo’s ship, the Son’a commander calls for his destruction. Diverting their mission to the Goron system, Picard takes the Enterprise to the Ba’ku planet, located within an unstable region of space known as the “Briar Patch” and informs Dougherty that he intends to either capture Data or destroy him.
Aboard a shuttlecraft with Lieutenant Commander Worf, visiting the Enterprise from the Manzar Colony on a mission from Deep Space Nine, Picard and the Klingon officer are able to distract Data by bellowing out Gilbert and Sullivan’s “A British Tar” from the H.M.S. Pinafore, allowing the Enterprise officers to incapacitate the android and take him into custody.
Leading a security detail down to the planet, Picard finds that the Starfleet and Son’a crew are not being held by the Ba’ku, rather, Data had refused to allow them to leave, telling the Ba’ku that they are their enemies. As Picard attempts to explain Data’s mechanical nature to the apparently technically inept Ba’ku, he learns that they are as advanced as the Federation is, but have simply chosen not to employ it in their daily lives. The Enterprise captain apologizes for their intrusion and takes the hostage crew back up to the ship.
Meanwhile, the “environmental concerns” that Admiral Dougherty had previously mentioned to Picard begin to take their affect on the Enterprise crew as the wrinkles in Captain Picard’s skin begin to vanish, Worf finds he cannot help oversleeping, and Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi rekindle their long-lost love affair like two teenagers.
In Main Engineering, Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge, complaining of aches in his ocular implants which allow him to see, is able to repair Data after discovering that his malfunction was the result on a Son’a weapon blast; his actions during his malfunctioning period having been dictated solely by his ethical and moral subroutines, raising the question to the Enterprise crew as to why he would claim that the Federation would be a threat to the Ba’ku.
With Data reactivated, he and Picard return to the surface to find out why the Son’a would attack him. Detecting strong neutrino emissions coming from the lake near the Ba’ku village, Data ventures underwater to discover a cloaked Federation ship submerged beneath the surface. As he, Picard, and Anij, a Ba’ku woman row a small boat out to the cloaked ship to enter, they are shocked to find that it is an enormous “holodeck ship”, programmed with a facsimile of the Ba’ku village. Picard begins to put all the pieces together. “You go to sleep one night in the village, wake up the next morning in this flying holodeck; transported en masse. Within a few days, you’re relocated to similar planet without ever realizing it.” However, Picard cannot explain why the Federation or the Son’a, for that matter, would wish to move the Ba’ku. But, their musings are interrupted by an attack from a Son’a officer. As Picard shoves Anij out the airlock into the lake below for her safety, he and Data incapacitate the Son’a, end the village simulation, and de-cloak the holoship, making it visible. However, shoving her out the airlock into the lake below may have been foolhardy as she begins drowning. Picard and Data dive into the lake and rescue her before tragedy ensues.
Picard orders the Son’a officers not to be released until he has spoken with Ru’afo. Returning to his quarters aboard the Enterprise to change out of his wet uniform, he feels the overwhelming urge to dance to a mambo and orders the computer to play one. As he grooves his way around the room, he notes in a mirror the missing wrinkles from his face. Returning to the surface, he knocks on Anij’s door and inquires “How old are you?”
Sojef, leader of the Ba’ku village, explains to Picard the history of the village; coming to this world 309 years earlier from a civilization that was threatened with destruction at the hands of technology, a small group of Ba’ku aimed to preserve life, not destroy it, which led to their shunning of technology. However, when they landed on the planet, they had no idea that the metaphasic radiation in the planet’s rings had a rejuvenating effect on their cell structure. Picard laments that what the Ba’ku have is more valuable than gold-pressed latinum and vows not to allow anyone to take their world from them.
After taking a walk through the village with Anij where she enlightens Captain Picard to the wonders of living a non-technologically based life, the captain notices a man alone watching the sunrise. As he approaches the figure, he discovers it to be Geordi. Having consulted Dr. Beverly Crusher about the aches in his eyes, she removed the ocular implants and found that his naturally blind eyes had begun to regenerate as well as a result of the metaphasic radiation. As Picard wrestles with the moral implications of the good of the many, he cannot ignore the needs of the few.
Returning to the Enterprise, he informs Admiral Dougherty that he has discovered the holoship and of his plan to forcibly take the Ba’ku from their world and refuses to allow his plan to succeed. Doughtery counters by saying the inconveniencing of 600 people is worth saving the lives of the Son’a crew, who have begun to rapidly degenerate to the point of requiring skin grafts and other medical procedures, as well as the billions of others in the Federation with incurable diseases and ailments. “How many people does it take before it becomes wrong? A thousand? Fifty-thousand? A million? How many people does it take, Admiral?!” Picard demands. Hearing no more from him, Dougherty orders the Enterprise to the Goron system and of the release of the Son’a officers. He advises Picard to file any protest he wants to, but reminds him that by the time he does, his plan will have already been carried out.
Taking matters into his own hands, Picard removes his rank pips and renounces his status as a Starfleet captain. Dressed in civilian clothes, he enters the hangar bay to the captain’s yacht, the Cousteau. Loading his personal ship with cases of phaser weapons, explosives, force-fields, and other armaments, Riker, Geordi, Beverly, Worf, Data, and Troi enter the ship and make clear that they intend to stand with their captain. Data reminds everyone that the environment of the region may be influencing their judgment. “Okay, Data,” Beverly says. “What do you think we should do?
“Saddle up,” Data intones. “Lock and load!”
With Riker and Geordi taking the Enterprise to communication range with the Federation Council, Picard, Data, Beverly, Worf, and Troi take the Cousteau down to the planet and begin preparing the Ba’ku for an evacuation. The villagers assemble some food and clothing as the Enterprise crew set-up transporter inhibitors around the village to prevent the Son’a from beaming them away. As they prepare to depart, the Son’a launch an all-out assault on the village. Finding that their transporters will not function, Gallatin, leader of the Son’a attack and Ru’afo’s best friend, orders the attack group to target the transport inhibitors. The ships open fire and take out three devices, creating a gap in the field which allows the Son’a to beam up some of the Ba’ku, including Sojef, leaving his son, Artim, all alone. Data quickly pulls the child along with the rest of the running villagers as they try to escape the weapons fire.
Nearing a region of kelbonite deposits, the Son’a transporters, again, will not function. Ru’afo demands that Dougherty let him send down an assault team and take the Ba’ku by force, but Dougherty quickly shots him down, claiming that injuries to any of the Ba’ku will weaken their support within the Federation. Gallatin suggests that isolinear tags would allow the transporters to lock onto the people. Hesitant at first, Ru’afo points out that tagging every Ba’ku would take too much time, especially with the Enterprise nearing communications range with the Federation. Ru’afo, with Dougherty’s blessing, orders two of his ships to intercept the Enterprise before that can happen.
As the Enterprise plods along through the Briar Patch, the Son’a ships, having been better fitted to travel through the Briar Patch, quickly catch up to the Federation vessel and open fire. Riker, not being one to run from a fight, orders the ship to go to red alert and the crew to battle stations.
Meanwhile, on the planet, Picard leads the remaining Ba’ku through the valleys towards a series of caves near the mountains. Stopping to take a rest, he and Anij continue to build their relationship. As they hold hands, Anij begins to slow the passage of time, observed by Picard, as well. As he wonders how she’s accomplishing this, she tells him not to ask questions, as she picks a flower from the ground and blows on the petals, which slowly drift through the air. As she had told him earlier, Picard begins to realize that a single moment in time can become a universe in itself.
As the crew break out some field rations, the Son’a attack groups return and launch a series of fighter drones which begin to fire the isolinear tags at the villagers. Data, Beverly, Worf, Troi, and Picard fight them off as best they can with hand phasers and rifles as they quickly rush the villagers into the caves.
Meanwhile, in space, the Son’a ships fire an isolytic burst at the Enterprise, creating a tear in subspace which becomes attracted to the Starfleet ship’s warp core. At a loss for options, Geordi suggests ejecting the warp core and detonating it in the hopes that it will seal the tear. Riker agrees and the core is ejected. The detonation seals the teat, but sends the Enterprise hurtling through space, its systems heavily damaged and it’s crew injured. But, the celebration may be premature as Geordi reminds everyone that there’s nothing to stop the Son’a from firing another burst, and they have no more warp drive. But, Will Riker refuses to flee; “We’re through running from these bastards!” he announces.
After forty-three more Ba’ku are beamed away, the Enterprise crew finally manages to get the remaining villagers into the cave and are able to set up a force-field to keep out the drones. However, the Son’a open fire on the caves from above in an attempt to drive them out. In an attempt to find better shelter, Picard notices their proximity to the mountains and orders everyone to run for them and to set up force-fields in the caves inside.
Aboard the Enterprise, Riker notices large pockets of metrion gas within the Briar Patch cloud, a highly volatile substance. Ordering Geordi to collect as much of it as he can with the ramscoop, Riker engages manual helm control. Blowing out the ramscoop, Riker streaks the Enterprise across the path of the Son’a ships, leaving a trail of gas in front of them. As the Son’a ships open fire, their weapons ignite the gas in a fiery explosion which destroys one ship and seriously cripples the other.
As the villagers continue to hurry to better shelter inside the mountains, Worf, Beverly, and Data fight off some Son’a officers on foot. As Beverly scans one, she becomes intrigued by the results. “How can that be possible?” Picard wonders outloud at the readings off Beverly’s tricorder. “Maybe we should ask them…” Beverly replies.
Everyone eventually escapes the collapsing cave, except for Artim, who frantically searches for his lost “palm pet” which had crawled out of his pocket. As Anij runs back to find him, the ceiling begins to collapse. Data and Picard dash back to try and help, saving Artim just in time, but trapping Picard and Anij under four metric tons of rock from the cave-in. Troi tries to blast her way through with her phaser, but Worf advises against it, concerned about another cave-in. As Data and Worf use their mega-strength to clear away the rubble, Picard regains consciousness. He searches around to find Anij badly injured and dying on the ground. Trying to summon the same power as before, he begs her “don’t let go of this moment” in an attempt to slow the passage of time again. The plan works and Picard’s friends are able to rescue them in time for Beverly to stabilize Anij’s condition. Relieved that she will survive, Picard gently kisses her on the forehead.
Moving to rejoin the others, Worf, Data, Beverly, Troi, and Picard are confronted by the fighter drones again. Brandishing their phasers, they all take defensive positions and open fire. Four of the drones are destroyed, but one is able to tag both Anij and Picard, who are summarily beamed up to the Son’a ship.
Held captive with the rest of the Ba’ku, Admiral Dougherty advises Picard to order his officers to surrender in order to avoid a court martial, but Picard stands firm, claiming that “if a court martial is the only way to let the people of the Federation know what is happening here, I welcome I.” Ru’afo soon storms in claiming that the Enterprise has destroyed one of his ships and severely damaged the other. Picard surmises that the Enterprise would only fire to defend itself and that the Son’a ships wouldn’t have gone after them unless Admiral Dougherty authorized it. Broken and embarrassed, Dougherty claims that there is no further gain in the mission. Ru’afo agrees and orders the launch of the injector collector, the device the Son’a designed to collect the radiation from the rings, a process which will surely destroy all life on the planet. “In six hours, every living thing in this system will be dead or dying” he claims. Picard presses the issue though, revealing what Beverly’s tricorder had found; the Ba’ku and the Son’a are the same race.
Sojef steps forward, beginning to recognize Ru’afo as Rotin, one of the young people whom, a century earlier, embraced the technologic ways of the “offlander” and attempted to seize control of the Ba’ku colony and were summarily dismissed. As Gallatin stands watching, Anij recognizes him as Gal’na, whose mother still speaks of her son. Picard surmises that the Son’a have returned to expel their elders, just as they were once expelled, only now, Ru’afo’s need for revenge has escalated into parricide, and that Admiral Dougherty has brought the Federation into the middle of a blood feud. Not wanting to hear anymore, Ru’afo storms off and Dougherty laments that his efforts were “all for the Federation.”
In the skin grafting room, Dougherty asserts his authority, ordering Ru’afo’s ship to leave the system. Fed-up with his would-be partner, Ru’afo backhands Dougherty and viciously assaults the Admiral. As he’s locked into a facelifting device, Dougherty warns Ru’afo that if he launches the injector while the planet is still populated, the Federation will never stop pursuing him, but Ru’afo cackles “The Federation will never know what happened today.” Hitting a control on a panel, he watches as the device stretches Admiral Dougherty’s face skin, suffocating him.
Returning to the bridge, Ru’afo orders the deployment of the collector, but Gallatin hesitates. Ru’afo reminds him of what the Ba’ku had done to them all those years before, but, Gallatin remains uncertain. The collector is deployed as Ru’afo orders the Starfleet crew from the duck blind mission and Picard to be secured in the cargo bay. Gallatin reminds him that the shields in that section will not be adequately protected from the thermolytic reaction of the collector, but Ru’afo is fully aware of his intentions.
Heading down to the holding area, Gallatin collects Picard and escorts him to the cargo bay. Picard, perceiving Gallatin’s uncertainty, begins to play on his better emotions, pointing out what hatred has done for the Son’a; turned Ru’afo into a madman and Gallatin into a coward. Gallatin accuses Picard of pleading for his life, but Picard claims “I’m not pleading for my life…I’m pleading for yours. You can still go home…Gal’na.”
Convinced, Gallatin deactivates his weapon and begins to formulate a plan to stop Ru’afo with Picard. After unsuccessfully coming up with a strategy, Picard’s eyes widen and asks to be patched through to Data on the surface.
The countdown on the collector begins when Data approaches Ru’afo’s ship from the planet’s surface at the helm of the Cousteau. However, Data’s strategy is unconventional as he fires only tachyon bursts at the shields of Ru’afo’s ship. As the shields begin to go out of phase from Data’s attack, Ru’afo orders the harmonics to be reset and for the Cousteau to be destroyed. Ru’afo’s ship opens fire and Data’s engines are severely damaged, forcing him to return to the surface.
The countdown nears zero and the injector assembly separates from the collector, beginning the thermolytic reaction. Ru’afo beams. He’s won. But, before he can celebrate too much, his ship’s sensors don’t show any change in radiation levels. The crew notices that all systems appear to be off-line. Ru’afo becomes furious as he begins checking the crew’s stations for answers. As he storms around the bridge, he notices a perculiar “rippling” on the wall. As he touches it, he realizes that everything around him is a holographic projection. He rips out his weapon and begins firing angrily, trying to find the exit. When he does, he steps out of the doors and realizes that they are no longer aboard their ship, but rather aboard the holoship which has been moved into orbit. He quickly activates him comlink and orders his computer to override all commands to the collector, but the computer plainly tells him that the collector has been deactivated. Enraged, Ru’afo screams in pure frustration.
Aboard Ru’afo’s ship, Picard, Worf, and Gallatin lock a tractor beam on the holoship. Ru’afo fumes as he realizes that all the systems aboard the holoship have been secured. Thinking quickly, he is able to override the lockouts on one of the holoship’s transporters and beams himself aboard the collector. As Picard orders the destruction of the collector, Worf realizes that the Son’a crew has begun rerouting bridge control of their ship from the holoship and that the countdown aboard the collector has restarted. Picard, with no choice, grabs his phaser and requests that Worf beam him to Ru’afo’s location, with the hope that Worf will be able to beam him back.
As Picard beams in, Ru’afo immediately opens fire. The two exchange weapons blasts as the Son’a crew are able to beam back aboard their vessel and force their way to the bridge. As a mssive brawl breaks out between the Son’a officers and Worf and Gallatin, the Enterprise nears their position. Back in control, Ru’afo’s ship fires on the Enterprise. Riker orders a collision course set. As the Son’a begin to panic about Riker’s suicide run, he suddenly orders the ship to veer off and fire its ventral phasers point-blank into their impulse engines and life-support systems.
Picard makes his way to the control panel on the collector with the intention of activating the self-destruct mechanism. Ru’afo corners him, but Picard out-bluffs him and fires his phaser into some venting exhaust, which knocks Ru’afo off-balance and forces him to drop his weapon. Picard activates the self-destruct and the collector begins to explode. With seconds remaining, the Enterprise swoops in and beams Picard out at the last second as Ru’afo is engulfed in flames. The Enterprise goes to full impulse, clearing the explosion of the collector.
On the bridge, Riker informs Picard that the Federation Council has ordered the Ba’ku relocation will be halted while they conduct a top-level review. Hailing from Ru’afo’s ship, Worf announces that the Son’a crew would like to negotiate a cease-fire, stemming from the fact that they have only three minutes of air left on their ship. Picard agrees and the hostilities are ended.
Back on the planet, Sojef wonders if the Son’a will ever be able to return home just as Beverly escorts Gallatin’s mother to her son. The two embrace as Anij muses that Picard arranged it. Picard nods, saying “I thought it might begin the healing process.” Anij wonders what she’ll do without Picard. Surprisingly, Picard declares he wishes he could leave Starfleet and stay with her, but, maintains that the Federation is undergoing perilous times and that he can’t abandon it while there are still those who would try to destroy everything he’s spent a lifetime protecting, but, reassures her that he intends to spend some of his three-hundred and eighteen days of upcoming shore-leave with her.
As the Enterprise crew prepares to beam back aboard, Riker wonders with all the metaphasic radiation in the air if they’ll still feel the same after they leave the planet. Worf believes they will, and that he thinks that Riker’s feelings for Troi have not changed since the first day he met them, that the Ba’ku planet just let those feelings “out for a little fresh air.” As Data pokes his head out of a haystack while playing “Hide and Seek” with Artim and his friends, Beverly calls over to him. “Data,” she says. “It’s time to go.” Sadly, Data turns to his new friend and claims “I have to go home now.” Woefully, Artim understands and simply says “Bye.” Data nods in understanding. “Bye.” he says back. As he joins the crew, Artim reminds him to have a little fun everyday, to which Riker concedes is “Good advice.” With nothing left to say, Picard silently bids good-bye to Anij, the woman whom he grew to love, taps his combadge and orders the Enterprise to beam him and his officers aboard.
Written exclusively for TrekCore by Kyle C. Haight