In which Geordi meets his heroes, helps raise a baby, but still can’t catch a break.
The Enterprise is heading to starbase to pick up a shipment to courier out to an outlying system, and Doctor Leah Brahms – the real one this time – is coming out specifically to see Geordi’s engine modifications. Geordi is, in fact, giddy. It is possible that he’s forgotten he didn’t actually work with the real one.
He’s brushing up his uniform in Ten-Forward and explaining his experience with the holographic Brahms, and trying desperately to defend his conception that the two of them will work well together. Of course, the first thing she says to him is a scathing comment about fouling up her engine designs. And thus, the everlasting war between theory and practice – science and engineering – continues.
The complication for the week will be some weird radiation readings from a nearby uncharted system. Since the Enterprise is ahead of schedule, Riker orders the course diverted. Meanwhile, Geordi shuts down the engines to show off for Brahms – both of these things happen without engineering or the Bridge communicating with each other.
The source of the readings appears, and Picard orders the ship closer to check it out. Meanwhile, Geordi shows Leah the new crystal orientation and lets slip a few hints regarding how much he knows about her due to the holodeck program. Given that Facebook Stalking hadn’t been invented yet, this plot is kind of disturbingly prescient.
Troi wanders onto the bridge as the Enterprise starts scanning what has turned out to be a space-whale. In return, it starts scanning them. Green energy is rarely a good sign – the whale changes its energy readings and starts firing lightning beams at the Enterprise which start dampening the energy. Troi, at this time, does not offer any insights into its motives, but with the radiation building, they have no choice but to fire phasers. Picard orders minimal power, but even that was too much, and the space-whale dies. Picard looks like he’s going to throw up when he realizes it. He’s about to go cry when new energy readings pop up.
Geordi has lured Leah into his quarters, and spends several minutes arguing with the computer over mood lighting and music. Not exactly under false pretenses, but their expectations were not precisely aligned. They have a good talk, but when she realizes that it’s more of a date than a business dinner, she leaves until such time as he changes out his sweater for a uniform.
It turns out that the new energy readings are the original space-whale’s prenatal child, not quite ready to be born, but possibly close enough to development that it can survive. They’re going to use the phasers to give a C-section.
LaForge and Brahms are crawling around in the maintenance ducts. When she’s slightly impressed by a Thing he came up with, they manage to get into an awkward conversation that starts with him confessing to have studied her work, and her having to tell him one thing that didn’t make it into his simulation – she’s married.
The operation seems to have been a success, and the baby space-whale comes wriggling out of the corpse of its mother. As Geordi drowns his sorrows in whatever Guinan pours for him, the Enterprise stays just long enough to make sure the baby can survive and then leaves – the baby, of course, has imprinted and is following. In fact, it latches on and starts suckling at the fusion reactors. They have about seven hours until it demands so much energy that the ship shuts down. They discuss options for delivering Junior, including blowing it off using the pressure from inside the shuttlebay – one supposes they can just replicate more breathable air.
When Leah tries to get a comprehensive changelog of all the modifications Geordi has made to the engines, he’s distracted and directs her towards the computer rather vaguely. She goes looking a little deeper and finds the holodeck simulation. We all knew this was coming. His vehement defense might ring a little sour if we remember how he left that program – and how much he expected the real Brahms to be like the simulation, but it did, at least, begin in innocence.
The ship makes it to an asteroid field full of stuff the baby appears to need, so they try to blow it off the shuttlebay, but without success. The baby just drains harder and starts crying, and a whole bunch of other space-whales come out of the asteroid field toward the ship. Brahms comes up with the idea of screwing with the power generation to make it lose interest. ‘Souring the milk’ is the analogy of the day. In the end, they have to alter the frequency by three orders of magnitude in order to make it properly unpalatable. After the adventures, Geordi and Leah grab a drink in the holodeck and laugh about the whole incident. Then she gets a call from her husband, and Geordi is left alone to stare at the stars.