Dr. Crusher is having a discreet affair with Trill ambassador Odan, who is aboard the Enterprise to negotiate a truce between the peoples of two moons in the Peliar system. The Trill are secretive, and Odan insists without explaining why he must take a shuttlecraft rather than use the transporter. As Riker is piloting the shuttle, a ship from one of the warring moons fires on it, injuring Odan. Crusher believes the wounds are being exacerbated by a parasite, but Odan explains that his personality and knowledge reside in the symbiont inside his body; it is the host who is dying. The Enterprise alerts the Trill of the need for a new host body for Odan. In the meantime, since the diplomatic situation is so dire, Riker volunteers to serve as a host for Odan to try to work out a peace treaty. The surgery is successful, but Riker's health suffers from the symbiotic bond. Odan is more successful convincing the people of the moons of Peliar that he is still the man they knew than he is in maintaining a relationship with Crusher now that her lover is inside the body of her friend. Troi convinces her that real love transcends the physical, and Crusher resumes her affair with Odan in Riker's body, but the host's health is failing quickly. Though the ambassador is able to prevent a war, he demands that Crusher remove the symbiont to save Riker's life. The Enterprise rushes to rendezvous with the Trill ship, which is escorting a young woman to serve as host to Odan. Crusher performs the surgery to join her lover's personality to this new body, but once it is completed, she tells Odan that while her love has not diminished, she finds it too confusing to keep adjusting to new physical manifestations, and breaks off the romance.
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