The Next Generation episode "Schisms" begins with Riker being tired. Over the course of the episode, mysterious signs start to amass, with crew members missing time and showing traces of surgery. It is discovered that aliens

are abducting crew members to experiment on them and delete their memory of the events.

Geordi realizes the cause:

the signals from the modifications I made to the sensor array, some of them dig pretty deep into subspace. Maybe they caught somebody's attention.

So, sensor modifications attracted the aliens in the first place. The sensor modifications that Geordi is talking about were introduced in the beginning of the episode:

I think we've found a way to speed that up a bit. We've been testing a way of channelling warp energy directly to the main deflector grid. It should enhance the long range sensors.

So, at this point in the episode, the sensor modification has not yet been conducted.

But, wait, Riker was unusually tired even before that. How does this go together?

In theory, it's possible that "we've been testing" was already enough to attract the aliens. Still, the rest of the dialogue definitely makes it sound as if the actual sensor modification was not yet in place: Geordi's initial estimation of how long the mapping will take —

It's going to take three days just to map out one tenth of it.

— implies he is not yet certain about the effectiveness of the modification (which he probably would have tested somehow, had there been a real test of any kind already). Furthermore, Data and Geordi state:

The modification would increase our sensor efficiency and imaging resolution by twenty five percent or more.

We'd channel it through the EPS mains on deck four, near Cargo bay four.

Both say would, as if it's something that is yet to happen.

(Quotations from the transcript.)

  • 3
    He is First Officer. It’s a tough job. Maybe he was just tired. Aug 25, 2016 at 22:58
  • @PaulD.Waite: Well .. that could be said about all of his colleagues, too. I'm pretty sure the episode tries to make a point about him being unusually tired (which is also what he states himself). Aug 25, 2016 at 23:00
  • Sure. The tests, in that case, probably did involve some actual — if temporary — channeling of warp energy directly into the main deflector grid. Aug 25, 2016 at 23:01
  • 1
    Why's he so tired? Because he's not just first officer, he's also the custodian of the galaxy's sexiest beard, and that comes with a set of responsibilities all its own. i.imgur.com/eTMFy55.jpg Aug 25, 2016 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


There's no indication from the show-script that his tiredness is caused by anything other than alien abduction.

First up, it's by no means certain how long the Enterprise has been in the region, but based on the ship's disposition (sublight speeds, going nowhere special), they've probably been there for a while, toodling along on impulse power.


at impulse in a vast and starry region.

PICARD (V.O.): Captain's Log, Stardate 46154.2. The Enterprise has entered the Amargosa Diaspora, an unusually dense globular cluster. We are faced with the daunting task of charting this vast region.

For the past few days, Geordi has evidently been testing ways of punching holes in subspace in an attempt to speed things along. This, presumably is what attracted the aliens in the first place and Riker is simply one of the first to get abducted.

GEORDI: I think we've found a way to speed this up. We've been testing a method of channeling warp energy to the main deflector grid. It enhances the long-range sensors...

  • 4
    Of course he's one of the first! Why shouldn't the aliens start with number one?
    – kratenko
    Aug 25, 2016 at 23:51
  • 3
    @kratenko - If I was going to abduct anyone and perform unspeakable experiments on them, I'd pick Wesley.
    – Valorum
    Aug 25, 2016 at 23:52

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