Picard is called away from Data's violin performance because the Sheliak, who never make contact with humans, have sent a message. It turns out to be a warning that if the previously undiscovered human settlement on the fifth planet of Tau Sigma V are not removed immediately, they will be eradicated by the xenophobic Sheliak, who wish to colonize the planet. Picard immediately takes the Enterprise to the Class H world, which Crusher is surprised could support human life. Data goes down because he is impervious to the radiation on the planet and discovers a group of humans who have built a thriving civilization after their ancestors' colony ship was stranded en route to another world. Data warns them that they must prepare to evacuate, but the settlers - particularly their leader, Gosheven - have no interest in giving up the city they worked so hard to terraform. Meanwhile Picard goes to ask the Sheliak for more time to evacuate the large number of humans, since Starfleet cannot send a sufficiently large transport for several weeks, but the Sheliak insist that they will attack and eradicate the colony if it is not dismantled at once. While Picard negotiates and ultimately uses the Sheliak's insistence on following their treaty with the Federation to the letter against them, Data realizes that talk will not be enough to convince Gosheven and his followers to leave. Instead he modifies his phaser to stun several guards and blasts the aqueduct to give the inhabitants a small taste of the destruction that will follow if they do not evacuate. Things can be replaced elsewhere, he tells them, but people cannot. The settlers agree to prepare to leave when the transport arrives, and the Sheliak agree to wait for it to remove the humans before colonizing their planet.
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