Picard is abducted from his quarters with an energy beam and replaced immediately with a double. While the real Picard finds himself imprisoned with three others - Bolian Starfleet cadet Haro, Mizarian pacifist Tholl and aggressive Chalnoth Esoqq, the fake Picard orders the ship to abandon its mission and follow a new heading. The crew becomes concerned when the captain plays poker with the senior officers and buys a round of drinks for the crewmembers in Ten-Forward, singing drinking songs. He also makes a pass at Beverly Crusher, though when she performs a medical exam on him, she finds that his readings match those of his last physical. A suspicious Riker orders an investigation and learns that alien technology has been used in the captain's quarters. When the captain orders the ship into an area with dangerously high levels of radiation, Riker overrides his command and the crew refuses to follow the strangely detached Picard's orders. Meanwhile, the real Picard tries to get his fellow captives to work together, but they all suspect one another of collaborating. Though Haro defends Picard when Esoqq and Tholl challenge him, Picard realizes that she knows far too much for a cadet and accuses her of being behind their imprisonment. Haro vanishes and is replaced by three telepathic aliens who explain that they were conducting an experiment to study leadership qualities. They return Picard to the Enterprise, but when the false Picard turns into an alien before their eyes, the crew traps him in a force field along with one of his fellow aliens and Picard makes them understand why such experiments are wrong.
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