Definitions

shoots ahead

Where No One Has Gone Before

"Where No One Has Gone Before" is a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is episode #6, production #106, first broadcast October 26, 1987. It was directed by Rob Bowman (filmmaker).

Diane Duane and Michael Reaves took writing credit on the episode, which is similar to Duane's Star Trek novel The Wounded Sky. Producer Maurice Hurley rewrote the script.

Overview: An alien visitor takes the Enterprise on a wild trip outside of the galaxy.

Plot

On stardate 41263.1, the USS Enterprise meets with the USS Fearless to bring aboard Mr. Kosinski, a Starfleet propulsion expert, who will run various tests on the warp drive engines in hopes of making them more efficient. Kosinski arrives accompanied by an alien from Tau Alpha C who says its name is unpronounceable by humans when Commander Riker asks its name. Kosinski quickly shows an arrogant disposition, waving off formalities and insisting he get to work immediately. Proceeding to engineering, Kosinski explains his almost nonsensical processes to the others while Wesley assists the alien. Wes discusses "patching holes" in Kosinski's warp field matrix where the alien shows admiration in the boy's problem solving abilities.

The experiment begins as Captain Picard orders the ship to enter warp at which point Kosinski initializes the new mixture formula. Wesley sees the alien assistant suddenly phase out of existence for a moment, but the others have eyes locked on the console readouts and miss what is happening. Suddenly, the Enterprise shoots ahead with an incredible burst of speed. On the bridge, La Forge reports the ship has passed warp 10, (which in later warp drive canon is deemed impossible).

After traveling for several minutes, Picard orders a full stop and asks for a position report where Data indicates they have left the Milky Way galaxy, passed through another, and are now on the far side of the M33 Galaxy — a distance of 2,700,000 light years. At maximum warp, it will take over 300 years to get home. A message is sent to Starfleet which Data says will arrive in a little over 51 years.

Kosinski is called to the bridge where Picard demands an explanation for what has happened. Kosinski believes he made an "incredible mistake" and ponders about the advancements it will bring to space exploration. Picard however, is more interested in returning home than celebrating the event. Kosinski simply explains that he will simply repeat what he did again, and everything should be fine. Back in engineering, Wesley knows Kosinski had nothing to do with the burst of speed and confronts the alien, but he is too fatigued to explain himself and only states he means no harm.

Wesley tries to inform Riker of the situation, but the commander brushes him off as Kosinski runs the experiment again. As the Enterprise heads back into warp on a course to known space, Kosinski becomes nervous as speed increases and nothing seems to happen. The alien forces himself to concentrate — this time however, Riker notices the alien's phasing as the Enterprise jaunts forward at incredible speed. A moment later, Picard orders a full stop and position report. This time however, there is no way of knowing where they have ended up. Even the space around them is bizarre — filled with unknown shapes and colors of energy. Data guesses they are literally "where none have gone before."

As Picard heads to engineering, Lt. Worf hears a peculiar grunting next to him and sees a Klingon targ — a boar-like animal with spines along its back. Yar sees the animal as well which Worf says was a pet he had when he was a boy. Suddenly the beast vanishes as strangely as it appeared. Meanwhile, Picard's turbolift arrives at the engineering level, but when the doors open he catches himself before falling into an empty void of nothingness and he reels back in terror. The doors open again, this time a normal corridor appears. Throughout the ship, more strange hallucinations are reported — Yar sees a cat, terrified crewmen run from an unseen horror, an Ensign is spotted dancing alone in a cargo bay. Rounding a corridor, Picard encounters his long dead mother sitting at a table having tea. Through the brief conversation he has with her, he come to believe the Enterprise has arrived in the theoretical Outer Rim; the oldest parts of creation at the very edges of the universe. When she vanishes he realizes his random thoughts are manifesting somehow and orders Red Alert hoping the klaxon will snap the crew out of their fantasies.

Riker intercepts Picard and leads him to sickbay where Kosinski's assistant lies unconscious on a table. Riker points out that Kosinski had nothing to do with the warp effect. In fact, his formulas are nonsense and it was his assistant's ability the whole time. With a damaged ego, Kosinski expresses that he truly believed his formulas worked. Dr. Crusher informs them that the alien is dying and his physiology is too complex to figure out. Picard stresses that the alien is their only hope of getting home and she must revive him.

When the alien comes to, Picard feverishly questions him. The alien identifies himself as "a Traveler", explaining that he journeys the universe out of curiosity. He says he sought passage aboard Starfleet vessels acting as Kosinski's assistant and allowed him to take all the credit. He further explains that he has the ability to focus pure thought like a lens that can alter reality. This explains what is happening to the crew because in this part of the universe, their untrained minds can modify reality on their own. The alien apologizes for the predicament in which he placed them saying he made a mistake in thinking Humans were ready for the experience.

The alien asks to talk with Picard alone at which point he explains that encountering Wesley, and others like him, is really why he travels. He explains that Wesley is a prodigy, likening him to Mozart, and that he is fated to craft his destiny with the tools of science and the instruments of physics. The alien requests Picard encourage the boy to fulfill his destiny, but never inform him of it. Picard remains unsure of what the Traveler is attempting to explain, but agrees to help Wesley any way he can.

The ship prepares for transit where Picard orders the crew to concentrate on supporting the Traveler. The alien appears strengthened by this and takes his place at engineering with Wesley at his side. As the Enterprise enters warp, there is another explosion of speed. The Traveler phases out to near transparency and eventually he completely disappears. When the ship exits warp it is now back where it started in Federation space. To the dismay of all, especially Wesley, the Traveler has vanished.

Afterward, Picard calls Wesley to the bridge where Picard commends him on a job well done. To Wesley's surprise, Picard grants him the rank of acting ensign, thus allowing him unrestricted access to the bridge and a role as a member of the bridge crew.

Also see

Similar motifs are found in:

  • Solaris (novel) by Stanisław Lem (1961)
  • : The Solaris ocean experiments with protagonists' minds by confronting them with their most painful and repressed thoughts and memories through the materialization of complex human constructs, including a living imitation of the main protagonist's deceased girlfriend.
  • Infinite Improbability Drive from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series (1978)
  • : An improbability drive at its extreme setting passes through every conceivable point in every conceivable universe almost simultaneously. A traveler can never be sure where he'll end up or even what physical form he'll be in when he gets there. Anything imaginable can happen whilst the improbability drive is working.
  • Film Altered States (1980)

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