Riker, Troi, Worf and Crusher are searching for the missing Captain Picard on Desica II to no avail. A Yridian claims he witnessed Picard's death in a seedy bar after an argument with a group of aliens, and offers to give Riker some clues in exchange for safe passage off the planet. Once aboard the Enterprise, the Yridian leads Riker to a planet in the Barada system, where an away team led by Riker beams down to hunt for possible leads in the investigation. A well-armed group of aliens under the command of a Romulan ambushes the away team, and Riker is captured and beamed away with the attackers. Data takes command of the Enterprise and pursues the alien ship. Riker finds himself in the hands of a band of mercenaries commanded by Baran, a vicious-tempered leader who maintains the loyalty of his crew - and Riker - by using pain-generating implants which he controls. Riker is astounded to find that the newest member of the rogue crew on their mysterious mission to raid ancient Romulan artifacts is a knowledgeable rogue named 'Galen' - better known to Riker as Captain Picard.