*** (3 stars out of 5)
11,000 dead of a nuclear holocaust on Federation colony Delta Rana IV.
It's kind of a downer, but then I look at Troi in her blue-green dress and all is right with the universe once more. Sigh.
No bodies of water left, no vegetation, just a gingerbread house and a kindly old couple.
Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge are octogenarian botanists from the aquatic city New Martim Vaz in the Atlantic Ocean.
Troi didn't go on the away team, but the song played by Mrs. Uxbridge's music box starts playing non-stop in her head. Thanks to the appallingly repetitive "easy-listening" satellite radio station that plays at my work, I know exactly how she feels when she wails and wails for the music to just die already.
Despite Worf's thoroughness, a ship five times the mass of Enterprise pops out from behind one of the moons, puts up a token fight, then warps off again. It almost mocks them by staying exactly ahead of them no matter how fast they get.
Small talk for Mr. Worf is small indeed. "Good tea." he barks to the Uxbridges. "Nice house."
Picard continues to pry into the mystery. He uncovers the difference between Kevin and the dead: Kevin was a conscientious objector who refused to fight the invaders. He brandishes a phaser, but it doesn't work. Well, he IS in his eighties.
The invaders, however, use Death Star brand superlasers and Borg-powerful shields to drive the Starfleeters away once more, but Picard is dogged and determined. Kevin declares that he would not fight or kill even to save the life of his wife.
Picard takes a passive stance himself when the invaders return, watching while they destroy the Uxbridge house, then Worf takes the baddies out with a single torpedo. The Captain has them withdraw and observe, and soon the house manifests once more.
Picard's assumptions are proven correct: Rishon is a re-creation. Only Kevin survived. He tells them he is an immortal and powerful Douwd. He's lived in this galaxy for many thousands of years and never told anyone his true identity. He's been in human form for over 53 years just to be with Rishon. Their colony was destroyed by a hideously intelligent and destructive species called the Husnock. Kevin tried to trick them, but because he would not kill he could not stop the massacre. Even Rishon eventually joined the desperate fight.
In grief for her death, Kevin killed every Husnock EVERYWHERE. 50 billion of them. Picard does not feel qualified to judge him, only urging that he should be left alone.
"The Survivors" stands out with good effects and genuine old fashioned sunshine. I can't resolve the moral dilemma of what to do with Kevin, either, but I imagine it's out of their jurisdiction.
It'd be nice to have someone on your side with the power to alter entire aggressive species (ahem, Borg), so in Picard's place I might have encouraged the guy to get some therapy, but I don't imagine Troi would feel like giving any.