When the Enterprise
detects a foreign object floating in space, a relatively primitive probe of some sort, the crew members are surprised when a beam of energy is able to penetrate their shields. Before they know it (and before the credits), Captain Picard is knocked down and psychically linked to the probe through the beam. In Picard's head, he is on a desert planet where everybody thinks he is Kamin, a man recovering from a fever, even his wife. He quickly ascertains that he is not in a holodeck program, that he's not a prisoner, that there is no way to find--much less contact--the Enterprise
, and that everybody thinks he is nuts for believing he is a starship captain. On the bridge, Dr. Crusher and company are trying to understand the beam's effect on Picard, while on the desert planet entire years are passing. Kamin gives up on ever finding the Enterprise
. Over the years he falls in love with his wife and starts a family. Though previous episodes have explored the fact that Picard has foregone personal relationships in favor of his career, here he is forced to live a stable family life and, in so doing, finds out that not only is he good at it, but he likes it. When the beam turns itself off 20 minutes later, Picard emerges changed, having been given the chance to live the life he never thought he wanted. Excellent acting supports a strong and thoughtful script. --Andy Spletzer
From the Back Cover
An alien probe approaches the Enterprise
and fires a mysterious particle stream which renders Picard (Patrick Stewart) unconscious. He wakes in unfamiliar surrounding and learns that he is "Kamin", a simple iron weaver living on the planet of Kataan.
Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, the crew is unable to revive Picard. Only seconds have passed, but on Kataan it has been five years and Picard is settling into his new life.
While the crew traces the probe back to Kataan, a planet that has been dead for a thousand years, Picard learns that his new home is being destroyed by drought. As time passes, he becomes a father and a grandfather, but the drought continues to worsen. Desperate to keep their memories alive, the people of Kataan launch a probe into the future - the same probe which brought Picard to their world!