The U.S.S. Enterprise
locates the U.S.S. Brattain, a science vessel which has
been adrift for several days, only to discover that the
entire crew, with the exception of the ship's Betazoid
counselor, is dead. Troi tries to communicate with the
survivor, but can deduce no information that unsheathes
the mystery that took place onboard the frigate. After
performing autopsies on the crew members, Dr. Crusher
concludes that the 34 men and women killed each other.
As Troi is being tormented by strange nightmares, Geordi
finds that while there is nothing wrong with the
Brattain's engines, he is unable to activate them.
While Geordi tries to rig the Brattain to the U.S.S.
Enterprise to be towed, members of the crew begin
exhibiting signs of increased irritability and paranoia.
Troi and Beverly approach Picard to warn him that
whatever happened aboard the Brattain may be starting
aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, and recommend leaving the
area as soon as possible. Picard agrees, but when they
try to leave, the engines shut down — just as they had
on the Brattain.
An unaffected Data
surmises that the U.S.S. Enterprise has become trapped
in a Tyken's Rift, a massive rupture in space that is
draining the ship's energy. Data points out that the
ship can create an explosion to escape the rift as
Captain Tyken did years before. But Picard, Riker and
the rest of the crew are beginning to lose their grip on
reality. A shaky Beverly approaches Picard with results
of her experiments on the Brattain victims and tells him
they went insane due to dream deprivation. She then
points out that all the starship crew members but Troi
are not dreaming, and will go insane if they do not
depart the rift soon.
Data works with an
increasingly incapacitated Geordi to create the
explosion necessary to free the U.S.S. Enterprise from
the rift. The plan fails, however, and Data informs
Picard that they cannot try again. Soon afterward, Troi
follows a distraught Worf to his quarters just in time
to stop the Klingon from committing suicide.
Working with her
catatonic patient, Troi discovers that he is
experiencing the same images that she sees in her
nightmares. This convinces her that they are actually in
an attempt at communication. Data confirms that another
ship could be trapped on the other side of the rift, and
that if they could somehow be told to release a gas into
space, the U.S.S. Enterprise could create an explosion
to free them both. Troi attempts to reach them in a
dream, while the crew releases hydrogen to combine with
the other gas and create an explosion. As the last of
the hydrogen is expelled, they fear they may be stuck
for good, but Troi's efforts to reach the ship on the
other side of the rift prove successful when at the last
second, a massive explosion frees the U.S.S. Enterprise.