The pre-teaser consists of a simple title card reading, "GENE RODDENBERRY 1921-1991". It is set against a plain star field background and its duration is between 5â10 seconds before fading to black.
The teaser (the portion of the episode preceding the opening title sequence) consists of two scenes. The first scene is simple: it is merely a shot of the Enterprise approaching what would appear to be an M-class planet. During this shot, Picard states in his captain's log that the Enterprise has been summoned to one of the Federation's starbases for an undisclosed reason. The final scene before the title sequence is a conversation between Picard and Fleet Admiral Brackett, in Picard's ready room. In this conversation, the Admiral reveals that a high-ranking Federation person is missing, and it is possible that he has joined a group with political interests inconsistent with the Federation's. In such a case, she adds, the security risk to the Federation would be significant. Next, she shows Picard a photograph taken on Romulus; Picard is surprised to see that the person in the image is Spock.
Charged with locating Spock, Picard sets course for Planet Vulcan. The captain believes that Spock's ailing father, Ambassador Sarek, with whom Picard shared a mind-meld, may be the key to locating Spock.
Picard arranges to speak with Sarek's wife, Perrin, who, like Spock's mother, is human. Explaining to her the need to speak personally with Sarek, Perrin reiterates that while she is fiercely protective of her ailing husband, she will permit Picard a visit. "You are a part of him... and he of you..."
Meanwhile, Riker and LaForge have a bit of a mystery on their hands. They've come upon the debris of a Vulcan ship. Puzzled, they subject the material to a battery of tests.
On the planet's surface, Picard enters the dimly-lit chamber of Ambassador Sarek. Although Picard knew of the ailing man's Bendii Syndrome, he is still taken aback at the condition of his friend. In between feverish dreams, Sarek recounts a tale of Spock's willfulness and the pair's disagreements over the years. Picard learns of Spock's friendship with one Pardek, an ambitious Romulan Senator.
Picard helps Sarek as they exchange the Vulcan Salute. As the scene ends, we witness Sarek succumbing to the ravages of his illness, hopelessly lost in a lifetime of repressed emotions.
Picard's mission has finally led to the conclusion that an incursion into Romulan space will be necessary for its successful completion. To this end, the Enterprise has arrived at Qo'noS â the Klingon homeworld.
The captain's efforts are initially frustrated. It appears that Gowron, Leader of the Klingon High Council, has been busy "re-writing Klingon history," and writing Picard out of it. The Enterprise's arrival has made an uncomfortable reminder of facts. Picard couldn't care less about what Gowron wishes to call "history" â he needs a cloaked ship. Irritated, but undaunted, he orders Worf to hail anyone else who may be able to help.
At the science station, Data has made some headway with respect to Pardek. He has located a visual of the senator, and has determined the location where he spends his time when the Romulan Senate is not in session. Pardek seems to be something of a progressive senator, relative to the established conventions of the Romulan Star Empire, which also explains Spock's interest. Amazed by Data's resourcefulness, Picard assigns Data to his away team on Romulus.
Meanwhile, Worf has succeeded in raising a Klingon Official on communications channels. Picard grimaces to learn that it is neither Gowron, nor any of the other Council Members. Instead, he is onscreen with B'iJik, a lowly junior adjutant. B'iJik informs the captain that Gowron is busy, and he would be happy to take a message. "Tell Gowron, Leader of the High Council of the Klingon Empire, that his Arbiter of Succession, Jean-Luc Picard, needs a favor." The Captain is after a cloaked vessel, and for it, he is willing to offer his "gratitude." Pressing the junior adjutant, he adds, "And please add that if he is unable to provide a ship, I am sure there are others in the Klingon Empire who would be willing to help me. And then they would have our gratitude." Following this, Picard is promptly supplied with a Klingon Bird of Prey.
Captain Picard and Data report to Sick Bay to be fitted for prosthetics. Data's qualms about successfully being able to impersonate a Romulan are set to ease by Beverly Crusher. Crusher also finds time to tease Picard about his "right eye [being] point-zero-zero-four higher than the left."
Later, in the Cargo Bay, Picard joins LaForge and Riker to ponder over their findings. LaForge's team has determined that they are in possession of a damaged navigational deflector from the Vulcan ship T'Pau. The trouble is, the ship was supposedly decommissioned and sent to a Federation surplus depot at Qualor Two. Worf interrupts their thoughts, informing them by comm of a decloaking Bird of Prey â courtesy of Gowron. Picard makes sure his tactical officer relays his "gratitude" before issuing orders: Picard and Data are to board the Klingon vessel, while the Enterprise investigates the mystery of the T'Pau.
Picard and Data receive a less than enthusiastic welcome. The Klingon captain, K'Vada, does not appreciate being kept in the dark about his missions. Captain Picard makes it clear that information is kept on a "need-to-know" basis; rebuffing any goading attempted by the Klingon warrior. "Your orders are to take us to a set of coordinates near Romulus... and to bring us back. That is all I am prepared to discuss."
The two ships peel apart in space, to different destinations, but to complementary fates.
Aboard the Klingon Bird of Prey, Captain K'Vada gives Picard and Data sparse quarters with only a hard shelf for bedding. Furthermore, there is no "Federation food" served. Picard coolly dismisses this, having enough experience with Klingons to expect their accommodations to be below the usual Starfleet standard. The Klingon helmsman pages the trio, informing them that they are due to enter the Romulan Neutral Zone. K'Vada asks the Captain if he still intends to continue. Picard confirms, looking him dead in the eye.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise is en route to Qualor Two. The surplus depot is run by a smug and self-assured Zakdorn named Klim Dokachin. Riker hails the Zakdorn quartermaster, who initially rebuffs the First Officer's hails. Wondering who this Zakdorn thinks he is, Troi points out that he thinks that he is "the quartermaster of the surplus yard, Commander. With information you need." Riker re-establishes communication, initially tripping over his own tongue with regards to the Zakdorn's name. Coming up against a wall, Dokachin advises Riker to contact him when they reach orbit.
Riker isn't interested in this interstellar game of "Who's the biggest dog?", so he employs Troi to act as his liaison. "He probably figures we don't get to see a lot of handsome women out this way â and someone like you might get a little more cooperation from me," Dokachin muses. "He's probably right." Much to Dokachin's embarrassment, the T'Pau is, of course, not where it should be. The chagrined quartermaster assures the bridge staff that he has stripped the ship of all armaments, sensors, and anything else that may be of interest, and confirms that the navigational deflector was routed to a holding vessel called the Tripoli...and again they find only empty space where a ship should be. Dokachin is chagrined, as he emphatically states that there are transports scheduled to the Tripoli on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, a shipment of deuterium storage tanks would be underway within two hours. Riker orders the Enterprise be aligned to appear as dead as the other surrounding ships, cutting power levels to all systems except sensors and life support.
Back on the Bird of Prey, Data and Picard muse about their "quarters". It seems that the Klingons found humor in assigning the one-man room to the two Starfleet Officers. Data suggests that the Captain take the bed, since as an android, he does not require sleep. Picard makes do with what he has, getting as comfortable as the Klingon version of a bed will allow. A moment passes, and Picard shoots a look over at Data, who is apparently staring at nothing. In his innocent, android voice, Data replies, "I was processing the information we have accumulated on Romulan society. I am preparing for the task of impersonating a Romulan. Would you like me to discontinue?" Picard assures Data that he is quite alright, and advises him to continue. Picard turns round and settles again, only to stir after another moment. He shoots Data another look. Data seems to be staring right at him. Data assures the captain that he is continuing to organize his files, and offers to look in another direction. The captain again settles, but cannot sleep, so he arises to review the mission information with Data. The pair are interrupted by a comm message, requesting that they join K'Vada on the bridge. There they learn that Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan is dead.
From the outer edges of the ship graveyard at the surplus depot, the Enterprise detects a heavily armed ship arrive and take position at the coordinates assigned to the Tripoli. The Enterprise springs back to life. Riker hails the vessel, which answers by locking phasers. A powerful shot rocks the Galaxy-class ship, damaging its forward shields. The Enterprise responds with a warning shot of its own, but the shot causes a dangerous reaction in the extensive armaments on the hostile vessel, causing it to explode and carry any information its crew may have had into oblivion.
Picard and Data have completed their transformation into Romulans, amusing the Klingon crew to no end. For Picard however, the tone of the mission has changed â he must now inform Spock that his father has died.
On Planet Romulus, Senator Pardek is meeting with the Romulan Proconsul Neral. They are reviewing intelligence reports that Captain Picard has infiltrated the Romulan homeworld. Pardek denies any knowledge of Picard, or relations therewith. Neral nevertheless states that Picard's image will be circulated among internal security forces. The two Romulans regard each other with caution as Pardek exits.
Out on the street, Picard and Data, disguised as common Romulans, make their way to the location in the intelligence recording. Picard reminds Data not to behave as an android, to approximate the locals, and not to refer to him as "Captain". Data spots a legal intercessor's office inscribed with a family name similar to Pardek's, and it is here, he deduces, that Pardek will come after the median hour. Rather than loiter, Picard suggests they sample the local cuisine as they wait. The pair visit a food vendor, and order soup. The Romulan hostess, ever suspicious, lightly interrogates them. Picard and Data go through their cover story about who, what, where, when, and why, before she decides they are likely to be undercover security agents and gives them their soup for free.
Picard and Data notice a trio of soldiers in their periphery, and the last thing they need is Romulan security. At the same moment, Pardek enters the establishment. As the pair move towards the senator, the soldiers block their way, disruptors drawn. Picard and Data are led to an underground chamber at gunpoint. Pardek joins them moments later, welcoming them to Romulus. Seeing his chance, Picard implores, "I have come on an urgent mission from the Federation. I am looking for Ambassador Spock." ...to which the undeniable figure emerges from the shadows, replying, "Indeed, you have found him, Captain Picard."