Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Their discussion is interrupted by a bright flash—the Amargosa star has exploded. A shock wave is about to destroy the Enterprise and the observatory. Riker and Worf transport to the observatory to rescue Geordi and Data, but Soren—who has ignited the star—escapes aboard a renegade Klingon vessel, taking Geordi with him.

Riker gets Data back to the Enterprise, which warps away in the nick of time. In the meantime Dr. Crusher has discovered that Soran had been rescued by the Enterprise B, along with other El Aurians—including Guinan.

Picard goes to Guinan’s quarters, where she tells him about the Nexus. She and Soran had been there—within that energy ribbon—when the Enterprise-B brought them back. Being in the Nexus, Guinan said, was like “being inside joy.” Soran’s wife had died in the Borg attack, but in the Nexus he was reunited with her, and together they would live an ideal life forever. Guinan warned Picard that if he ever got in the Nexus, nothing would matter to him but staying there, just as nothing mattered to Soran but getting back.

Eventually Picard realizes that Soran is exploding stars to alter the trajectory of the Nexus ribbon’s transit through the galaxy, so that eventually it will intersect with a planet where he will be ready to be absorbed into it again (he can’t fly into it because the ribbon destroys ships.) Picard and Data figure out where this planet is, and that Soran will have to explode its star, which will send out a shock wave that destroys all the planets in that system, including one with 200 million inhabitants.

The Enterprise goes there, Picard beams to the surface of Veridian 3—a rocky, desolate looking spot—where he confronts Soran, who safely engages him in debate from behind a force field. Picard at first tries to get him to see the connection between what he’s doing, and what the Borg did to him. He specifically mentions the killing of his wife and children. Soran seems troubled for a moment, but shakes it off. “Nice try.”

Soran reveals why he is so intent on returning to the Nexus. “There was a time I wouldn’t hurt a fly,” he says, as he works on his death-dealing equipment. “Then the Borg came and they showed me that if there is one constant in the universe, it’s death.”

He even began to accept that fact: everyone dies—it’s just a matter of how and when. “You will, too, Captain. Aren’t you beginning to feel time gaining on you? It’s like a predator—it’s stalking you. Oh, you can try to outrun it with doctors, medicines and technologies, but in the end time is going to hunt you down and make the kill.”

“It’s our mortality that defines us, Soran,” Picard says. “It’s part of the truth of our existence.”

“What if I told you I found a new truth?” Soran says, his eyes bright. “The Nexus?” “Time has no meaning there. The predator has no teeth.”

He uses terms of a basic survival instinct, a life force, that sees death as a violent predator. Even a being who lives for hundreds of years, as El Aurians apparently do, wants to deny death its dominion. In the Nexus, Soran can have his wife and children back but not as in life: he and they will essentially be immortal.

Eventually Picard finds a way through the force field, but his attempt to stop Soran by fighting him is no more successful. Soran launches his trilithium missile, the sun collapses, the Nexus ribbon takes him--- and Picard disappears as well.

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