old face

Face of the Enemy (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

"Face of the Enemy", is a 6th Season Episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Deanna Troi is recruited against her will to assist in the defection of a high-ranking member of the Romulan government.


Troi wakes in a darkened room suffering from the effects of some sort of drug. She asks the computer for the lights without any effect. She stumbles to the wall control and the lights come up but staring back at her is a strange person. She's become a Romulan!

The ship's first officer, Subcommander N'Vek, soon walks into the room. He does not tell Troi much about what is happening, but merely says that she is on the Imperial Romulan Warbird Khazara and is to masquerade as Major Rakal of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret police force. N'Vek also adds that her assistance is needed, and that her only chance of survival is to listen to N'Vek and follow his advice. Troi agrees for the time being and is escorted by N'vek to meet the ship's captain, Commander Toreth.

Toreth has an extreme dislike for the Tal Shiar and feels no better about Troi. Toreth is unhappy about the clandestine nature of their mission and demands more information about what they are doing. While Troi is initially taken aback by Toreth's constant questioning, she soon settles in and plays her role as Rakal quite well. Troi is smart enough to threaten Toreth with interrogation unless she follows orders. Troi then informs Toreth that she is to take the Khazara into the Kaleb sector once they have finished loading their cargo, all of which N'Vek told her must be done.

Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Ensign DeSeve transports on board. DeSeve defected over to Romulus as a young man, but decided to return to the Federation. While the Federation plans on arresting DeSeve for treason, Picard decides to listen to him when he says that he is delivering a message from Ambassador Spock. A Corvallen cargo ship will be arriving shortly in the Kaleb sector with a cargo which is very important to the Federation. He requests that the Enterprise should be there to meet it.

Picard is reluctant to take this advice at first, and wants to ask DeSeve some questions before doing anything. When he asks DeSeve why he defected to Romulus and why he decided to return, DeSeve says that the Romulans have very strict ideas of right and wrong, but often the wrong ideas, and while it took him a long time to figure all of that out, DeSeve finally did and gave his allegiance back to the Federation. Picard is satisfied with DeSeve's explanation, and issues orders for the Enterprise to proceed to the Kaleb sector.

On the Khazara, Troi goes with N'Vek to the cargo bay and discovers that the cargo is actually unconscious passengers. Vice Proconsul M'ret and two of his top aides plan on defecting to the Federation as a protest against the ruthless policies of their government. N'Vek, also a part of this plan, is providing an underground railroad for the three of them to defect. Troi deduces that he is working for Ambassador Spock but she wonders if a Romulan officer might be better suited for the plan. N'Vek however insists that should this part of the scheme fail, a Starfleet officer will be necessary.

Troi and N'Vek go to dinner with the rest of the Khazara's officers, where Troi has another unpleasant encounter with Toreth. Toreth starts digging for information about Troi's background and education, and stating that she strongly agrees with what one professor at the Romulan war academy said about the military and the Tal Shiar constantly butting heads, with the military being about trust and the Tal Shiar being about deception. Troi argues back which results in Toreth revealing that her father was executed by the Tal Shiar over mere idealism. Troi ends the argument by saying, "I don't need your devotion, commander-just your obedience," to which Toreth responds, "That's all you have."

The ship meets the Corvallen freighter in the Kaleb sector but Troi, having previously pointed out to N'Vek that the Corvallens are mercenaries, senses that they have no intention of actually keeping their promise and delivering the cargo. As soon as Troi tells this to N'Vek, he immediately fires on the freighter, destroying it. When Toreth demands to know why he fired, N'Vek responds that he was obeying Major Rakal's orders. In response Troi informs Toreth that she identified the freighter captain as a known Federation spy. Toreth informs her that she deplores the loss of the freighter and plans to make an official record of the incident in her log. Troi then orders Toreth to cloak the ship and hold position, and storms off the bridge.

The Enterprise, not knowing that N'Vek's initial plan has failed, arrives in the Kaleb sector but does not find the freighter it was supposed to meet, nor a trace that it was ever there. Picard asks DeSeve what happened but DeSeve says that he does not know. He does say that his message did not come directly from Spock, but from another man whom DeSeve trusts completely. It is also determined that the freighter has minimal speed, and cannot be more than fifteen light years away. Picard orders for the freighter to be searched for.

On the Khazara, Troi confronts N'Vek for what he did, saying that as a Starfleet officer, she cannot reconcile the death of the freighter's crew in her mind very easily. N'Vek insists that he did what he had to do, and also predicts that those Corvallens will not be the last to die before this mission is completed. Troi and N'Vek agree to put that argument aside and continue with their plot. N'Vek says that they must go to the Starbase on Draken Four, in Federation space. N'Vek also explains why he needed a Starfleet officer: only they can provide the necessary access codes to get past the "listening posts" and sensor nets on the border between Romulan and Federation space.

On their return to the bridge, Troi informs Toreth about the new plan to bring the Khazara into Federation space. Toreth is dead set against the plan, knowing that there are gravitic sensors and possibly tachyon nets that pose a real danger to the ship. However she reluctantly agrees after being called a coward by Troi. The crew sets course a for Draken Four but before they can get underway they detect an approaching ship. It's the Enterprise.

Toreth admits that the presence of the Enterprise vindicates Troi's earlier action and that they are obviously here to look for their missing spies. She initially decides to leave right away but N'Vek cautions that the fallout from the destroyed freighter could make them detectable to the Enterprise if they engage their warp engines. Toreth orders the ship to be moved clear of the debris field before going to warp.

On the Enterprise, meanwhile, the crew discovers the remains of the Corvallen ship. In scanning the debris, Data concludes that the ship was destroyed by Romulan disruptor fire. Wary that the Romulans may be still be in the area Picard orders the crew to battle stations. Back on the Khazara, Troi confronts N'Vek and tells him they should find a way to get a message to the Enterprise. N'Vek initially refuses believing it to be far to dangerous. Their cloak is monitored continuously and any signal would be detected. Troi persists and N'Vek finally concedes that the chief engineer is a sympathiser to their cause. He may be willing to make a small imbalance in the engines that would make the ship detectable. Troi orders him to do so, reminding him that she has authority over him, and will expose him as a traitor if he does not cooperate. N'Vek reluctantly agrees.

The Enterprise picks up the distortion, and with the help of DeSeve, discover that it is coming from a Romulan ship. Picard orders for them to follow the disturbance. On the Khazara, N'Vek reports to Toreth that Enterprise is getting underway. But when she asks what direction they are heading in he reports that they are heading straight for them. Toreth demands that the cloak be checked but N'Vek reports it is working correctly. Furious at the notion of her ship being tracked, Toreth decides she has no option but to attack the Enterprise.

On the Enterprise DeSeve warns Picard that the Romulan commander may turn and attack them if it becomes clear they can't escape undetected. Toreth orders the ship to move toward the Enterprise, reasoning that if the Federation ship can indeed detect them, they will move to avoid a collision at which point Toreth will decloak and destroy the Enterprise.

The Enterprise notices the distortion and backs away. Toreth, on the verge of ordering the crew to attack, is overruled - by Troi, who relieves her of duty. Troi then orders the crew to decloak the ship and open a channel to the Enterprise.

The Enterprise detects the Romulan ship decloaking and responds to the hail. Enterprise's bridge crew is shocked when Troi appears on the screen but Picard gives nothing away. Troi, or "Rakal" apologises for the incident with the Corvallen ship and offers to beam aboard to sort everything out. Picard acknowledges Troi's offer, and asks Worf to put a transporter lock on Troi and prepare to beam her aboard.

On the Khazara, the crew reports that the Enterprise is lowering her shields. Troi orders N'Vek to fire on the Enterprise. The ship takes a direct hit but suffers no damage. Instead three Romulans appears on the bridge, who DeSeve identifies as M'ret and his aides. The crew on the Khazara report that the disruptors were using minimal power and were used to disguise transport of three life forms to the Enterprise. Toreth sees what has happened and says to Troi and N'Vek, "I see two traitors in our midst." Toreth attempts to reach for her weapon, not remembering that N'Vek had confiscated it earlier on Troi's orders. N'Vek reaches for a weapon of his own but is killed by the ship's helmsman. Toreth orders the crew to cloak the ship and set a course for home. She vows to interrogate Troi and possibly execute her but before she can take action, the Enterprise beams Troi away.

Back on the Enterprise Troi gets her "old face" back and is reassured by Picard that whatever happens after this, N'Vek's sacrifice will not be in vain.

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