While on shore leave on Risa, Riker meets a woman named Etana who gives him an electronic headset for a game controlled directly by the player's mind. Riker brings it back to the Enterprise, which is about to begin a survey mission after picking up Wesley Crusher, who is on a holiday from Starfleet Academy. Riker gives the game headset to Troi, who passes one on to Beverly Crusher, who in turn tries to get her son to play it, but Wesley has met a pretty ensign named Robin Lefler and is more interested in dating than playing games. While Wesley and Robin are getting to know one another, Crusher, Troi and Riker disable Data, then lie to Picard and LaForge about the mysterious ailment that seems to have damaged the android. Riker distracts LaForge from trying to repair Data by giving him a game headset. Wesley and Robin become concerned about how obsessed the crew seems with the game and run some tests, discovering that the game affects a user's brain chemistry like an addiction - it stimulates the pleasure centers and affects the processing of logic. Wesley warns Picard, who promises to look into the situation, then goes back to playing the game himself. Robin and Wesley then conclude that Data was deliberately disabled and suspect it must be because an android would not be affected by the game. While Picard takes the Enterprise to rendezvous with Etana, who orders him to distribute the game to more ships and a starbase, Wesley evades crewmembers trying to force him to play the game and repairs Data's positronic pathways. Just as the bridge crew corners and forces Wesley to play the game, Data appears and uses strobe lights to break the crew's addiction. Picard tells Etana that her attempt to take over Starfleet has failed, and Wesley has some free time at last to have fun with Robin before he must return to the Academy.
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