Picard informs LaForge that the designer of the Enterprise's propulsion unit, Dr. Leah Brahms, will be visiting the ship to meet with him. LaForge - who once created a hologram of Brahms that helped him through a difficult situation - is delighted, though Guinan warns him of the dangers of falling in love with a fantasy. Sure enough, the real Brahms is aloof, obsessed with her work, and irritated about some of the changes LaForge has made to her designs. While LaForge tries to come to terms not only with her offputting personality, but with the discovery that she is married, Picard and the crew encounter a large creature that shoots energy discharge at the Enterprise when it approaches. Picard orders Worf to fire phasers to protect the crew from rising radiation levels, then is horrified when the weapons kill the alien. Data detects an energy reading within the lifeless creature and concludes that there is a fetal alien within the body of the larger creature. Crusher and Worf perform surgery with the ship's phasers to help the infant emerge, though they fail to anticipate that the young alien will imprint on the Enterprise in the mistaken belief that the ship is its mother. When it latches itself to the hull and drains energy from the engines, LaForge and Brahms are forced to work together to boost the ship's energy, but Brahms inadvertently discovers LaForge's holographic version of her and is furious. When three adult creatures approach from a nearby asteroid belt, Brahms suggests that contaminating the energy might cause the baby to detach from the ship. The plan works, the creature heads off with its own kind, and Brahms forgives LaForge for his self-indulgent use of her image in his holodeck simulation.
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