The world inhabited by the Kes and the Prit is divided; the Prit are xenophobic to the point of hostility, but the Kes have applied for membership in the Federation, which is surprising since they are paranoid to the point of operating like a police state. Beaming down to meet with Kes representatives, Picard and Beverly are kidnapped by the Prit, who believe the potential Kes affiliation with the Federation to be a military pact. Fitted with neural implants to allow their captors to retrieve information without an interrogation, Picard and Beverly manage to escape with the aid of an undercover Kes agent onto the surface, where they are to head to the Kes border. An unusual side-effect of their implants allows them to hear each other's thoughts en route. In the meantime, Riker is trying to glean information about his captain's whereabouts from a Kes representative who is deliberately being less than helpful.