The Hood approaches at high warp with secret orders for the Enterprise crew and a mission specialist, Tam Elbrun, a Betazoid who deals with first contacts. Riker is not happy to have to work with the man responsible for a disaster that resulted in a Starfleet captain's death. Elbrun explains that their current mission is to contact a creature called Tin Man - an organic being the size of a spaceship - which is in orbit around a star about to supernova. The star is in a region of space claimed by the Romulans, and Romulan ships are en route as well. An unhappy telepath since childhood, Elbrun confesses to Troi that he is already in contact with Tin Man. When the Romulans approach the creature with hostile intent, Elbrun sends Tin Man a warning that results in the destruction of the warbird and damage to the Enterprise. But Tin Man reveals to Elbrun that it intends to die in the solar explosion, having lost its crew and all of its own kind. To save Tin Man, Picard reluctantly agrees to let Elbrun beam over with Data to establish direct contact. When a second warbird attacks Tin Man, it breaks orbit and flings both the Romulans and the Enterprise far into space just before the star goes supernova. Upon his return, Data explains that he believes Elbrun and Tin Man have established a symbiotic relationship that has healed them both.
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