Destruction Of An Entire Species With A Thought

I just finished watching one of my favourite Star Trek: TNG stories. In the season 3 episode The Survivors, the Enterprise responds to the distress hail of the Federation colony of Delta Rana IV. Apparently they were under attack from an alien species that hadn’t yet had any contact with the Federation. As the crew reaches the planet, they find a planet totally destroyed and a devastated landscape – with the exception of a few acres and a house that still stands. Lt. Worf scans the surface and finds two humans, elderly botonists in their 80s, Kevin and Rishan Oxbridge.

While Rishan is welcoming, her husband is aloof and seems suspicious of the Starfleet officers who make up the away team. They accept the offer of a replicator but refuse to take refuge on the Enterprise much to the surprise of the crew. Meanwhile a piece of repetitive music plays in the mind of Counselor Troi, blocking her telepathic abilities and stressing her to point of a breakdown. An alien warship appears and attacks the Enterprise twice; the first time it’s weapons seem well below the capabilities of the Enterprise and the second time it is more deadly. This surprises the crew an Captain Picard urges the Oxbridges to return to a starbase along with his ship. Rishan & Kevin stand by their decision to stay back. They say that the aliens, known as the Husnock, attacked the colony and they alone did not fight back while the rest of the colonists did. Perhaps that is the reason for them being left alone.

Picard is not convinced and says that the Enterprise will remain in orbit as long as the elderly couple are alive. Moments later the alien vessel attacks the planet and destroys the Oxbridge’s house and the Enterprise senses no life signs. However, as Picard had expected, within an hour or so, with the Enterprise pretending to leave orbit, the house mysteriously appears back in the same pristine condition as before. The couple have also appeared  back, alive and well. Picard has the two of them beamed onto the bridge and demands the truth.

Kevin Uxbridge makes a startling confession – he is in fact a Douwd, an immortal being with vast powers. He met his Human wife many years before and decided to live as a Human with her. She joined the colonists in fighting the alien Husnock raiders and was killed. Though a devout pacifist, in a moment of anger towards the invaders for taking his wife’s life, he annihilated the entire Husnock race. Stunned at his “sin”, Kevin recreated Rishon and their house, and sentenced himself to exile on the ruined Delta Rana IV. He used the fake warship as a ruse to try and keep the Enterprise from finding out the truth. The music in Troi’s mind is also his creation; her empathic powers were also threatening to reveal the truth.

Picard confesses that the Federation is not qualified to be his judge in the matter, and allows him to return to the planet. He states that there is no punishment that can fit his crime. As the Enterprise departs, Picard indicates that the Douwd should be “left alone”.

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