1. Snared Ship
The Enterprise detected an ancient Promellian ship within an asteroid field, but when it went to investigate it became trapped by Menthar booby traps that drained the energy from the ship.
  2. Brief thrust
To break free of the trap, the Enterprise used a brief burst from its thrusters to start it moving, but the gravity from the asteroids caused the ship to lose the necessary momentum to clear the debris field.
3. Using gravity
Captain Picard took control of the Enterprise and used the asteroid gravity fields to help the ship slingshot around them, and in the process generated enough impetus to break free
  4. Destroy ship
Picard had no desire to see another ship meet the tragic fate of the Promellian battle cruiser, so one the Enterprise had cleared the field it was ordered to turn and destroy the Promellian ship.




In 2366, the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D was on a mission to Orelious IX, to cart the battle that the Menthars and Promellians had fought to their mutual extinction 1,000 years ago. On arrival, the Enterprise encountered another ship, the Promellian battle cruiser Cleponji, and became enmeshed in the same booby trap that stranded the ancient vessel.

The Enterprise found itself surrounded by a field of hundreds of thousands of aceton assimilators that were concealed within the asteroids. These were primitive generators designed for the purpose of draining power from a remote source, such as an invading ship, and then converting the energy into lethal radiation.

Captain Picard and his crew were unable to pull the Enterprise free as the aceton assimilators drained the ship's propulsion power, and used it to generate increasingly dangerous amounts of radiation which the deteriorating Enterprise's shields were struggling to compensate against.

A thorough examination of the final logs of Galek Sar, the Promellian captain, offered little clue as to how the extricate themselves from the predicament.

Manual override

Eventually a plan was devised whereby the Enterprise's phasers were fired at suspected weak areas of the field, but this only served to drain the ship's power further, and increased the radiation bombardment.

The next plan was to use the impulse engines for a quick blast to beat the ship's inertia, then shut everything down except minimal life support and use the thrusters to maneuver out of the asteroid field.

Geordi LaForge initially suggested turning over navigational control of the ship to the computer because it could make adjustments faster than a human, but after running computer simulations he realized that it wasn't fast enough to compensate for all the variables involved. He therefore decided that their chances of success should be better if the operated everything manually.

The more experienced Picard took the helm controls from Ensign Wesley Crusher, and the crew were warned to brace for any sudden movement as the inertial dampeners were on manual. Picard then fired the impulse engines enough to move the Enterprise forward.

Thruster power

Picard selected his course carefully through the asteroid field using the ship's thrusters, but the gravitational attraction of the various asteroids reduced the speed of the Enterprise's velocity by eight percent; Data calculated that the Enterprise no longer possessed sufficient momentum to clear the debris field, so Picard fired the port thruster, taking a heading at the largest asteroid.


The gravity of this asteroid drew the Enterprise closer and closer, and in so doing increased the velocity of the ship. In order to prevent the Enterprise from colliding with the asteroid Picard fired the starboard thruster, which caused the ship to whip around it. He then sent the Enterprise on a new heading to a location situated outside the debris field.

Once safely clear, Picard ordered the destruction of the Promellian vessel. Riker called for a full spread of photon torpedoes to be fired and destroyed the entire asteroid field. It was thanks to Picard's experience as a captain, and his ability to exert good judgment in a crisis, that the crew of the Enterprise was saved from a life threatening situation.