LaForge is having a problem with Lieutenant Barclay, who is often late for work and seems nervous and uninspired when he arrives. Barclay can't even manage to repair a simple malfunction in an anti-gravity platform, causing it to collapse and overturn a canister of alien tissue samples. While Picard advises LaForge to find a way to connect with the troubled officer, Barclay goes to hide on the holodeck, where he has made recreations of many of the ship's senior crewmembers so that he can put LaForge and Riker in their place and "relax" with Counselor Troi. LaForge later finds him there in a simulation where Barclay is the master of a fantasy estate with the crew as his subordinates. Having fallen in love with Leah Brahms on the holodeck, LaForge is sympathetic and agrees not to tell anyone Barclay's secret. But when Riker can't find Barclay to investigate another in a series of malfunctions plaguing the ship, he goes to the holodeck with Troi, where the two discover simulated versions of themselves that irritate them. Before they have time to discuss discipline, however, the ship suffers from a series of system failures that will lead to its destruction if not resolved. Barclay hypothesizes that the malfunctions stem from something in one of the canisters of alien samples, and LaForge proves him correct. Having saved the ship, Barclay decides to delete his holographic fantasy world.
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