In a corridor, Riker comments, "Reed's shorter than I thought he'd be." Troi suggests the program is off. "Naw," Riker says, "I'm sure it's fine, it's just that you expect larger-than-life people to be larger-than-life." Reed? "Larger-than-life"? Not bloody likely. Not by any stretch of the i. At Troi's question, Riker says that "the Andorian" hasn't hailed the ship yet. "You might want to leap ahead to that point -- it's where things really start happening," Troi advises. "That's what we've been saying FOR YEARS!" Gytha shouts. Troi tells Riker to think about taking over the galley. Supposedly, back in the day before they had annoying ship's counselors in place to say stuff like, "I feel that you have a problem," everyone on Enterprise confided in the Chef. Sure. Fine. Why not. They make plans to have supper later, and Riker gets back to his holodeck program.
ENT bridge. Quantum is saying something about something being impossible because Shran has been dead for three years. Hoshi doesn't answer, but pops something up on the screen. Quantum almost smiles as he says, "This is quite a surprise." Shran apologizes, explaining that he needed certain people to believe he was dead. "Including me?" Quantum questions. Shran ignores this and reminds Quantum that he still owes him a favor. What with the Coalition FINALLY happening and him heading to Earth to sign some stuff and make a big important speech that may or may not include animals seen on safaris, Quantum doesn't really have the time for payback. Shran finally gets Quantum's attention by shouting that his and Voldenar's kid has been kidnapped by his "former associates." Quantum agrees to meet with Shran. Riker freezes the program and advances an hour and switches to "objective mode." In objective mode, Riker's back in his TNG uniform and he can walk around and through walls without anyone seeing him. Just go with it, you'll feel much better. And if you don't, try a vat of wine. It seems to help.
Quantum's Ready Room. Shran left the Imperial Guard because he had a family to protect and keep out of harm's way. "I was a fool," he laments in front of Quantum's WOTWW (aw, bye-bye, glass partition of Quantum's Weltschmerz!). Shran faked his own death to get away from some poorly chosen friends. These poorly chosen friends think he took something from him, so Shran made himself disappear. Unfortunately, these poorly chosen friends found him and took his daughter in the middle of the night while he slept in the next room. He must've taken Excedrin PM. "It's been a week," Shran continues, "they say if I don't return what's theirs, they'll kill her." "Then give them what they want," Quantum urges. Oh, give them what they want! Gee, I'm sure he never thought of that! Thank you, Quantum -- it was certainly worth Shran coming all this way and out of hiding to receive such precious counsel as that from you! Wow, you are a god. Now go be a silent deity. Shran says he doesn't have what they want and he never did. Now he's spent all his resources to find her: "They're on a trading outpost -- Rigel X." Quantum says he's familiar with the place that has The Heavy Link Chains of Ill Portent and The Trash-Can Fires of Dodginess. Shran needs the help of seven good men and true. Quantum furrows. Oh, furrows, I think I'll miss you most of all! NOOOOOT! Riker's been sitting in a chair in a corner this whole time, observing the scene.