In "Ethics," a huge container falls onto Worf's back, paralyzing him. Worf is devastated by this and even considers committing ritual suicide, but instead decides to try a risky surgical procedure.

The surgery is a success (kind of). Worf survives, and at the end of the episode he's shown struggling to walk, with Alexander supporting him.

In the next episode ("The Outcast"), Worf accompanies Riker onto a planet and has no difficulty whatsoever walking.

Either much time passed between episodes, or Mr. Worf learned to walk a lot faster than the end of "Ethics" seems to suggest that he would.

Is there a canonical answer for the time between these episodes? Or an in-universe explanation for Worf's seamless walking?

1 Answer 1


27 "days"

We can establish this from Picard's logs; Worf's injury occurs on stardate 45587.3:

Picard: Captain's log, stardate 45587.3. Lieutenant Worf has been removed from active duty following a severe injury. Although a neuro-specialist has arrived, Doctor Crusher believes his paralysis may be permanent.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 Episode 16:"Ethics"

And "The Outcast" opens on 45614.6:

Picard: Captain's log, stardate 45614.6. We have been contacted by an androgynous race called the J'naii to investigate the mysterious disappearance of one of their shuttlecraft.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 5 Episode 17:"The Outcast"

According to a guide on translating stardates, by 1992 (season 5), they followed a specific format:

A Stardate is a five-digit number followed by a decimal point and one more digit. Example: "46254.7". The first two digits of the Stardate are "46." The 4 stands for the 24th Century, the 6 indicates sixth season. The following three digits will progress consecutively during the course of the season from 000 to 999. The digit following the decimal point counts tenths of a day. Stardate 45254.4, therefore, represents the noon hour on the 254th "day" of the fifth season.

So there are 27 "days" between the two episodes. Considering the speed with which he recovers following Dr. Russell's surgery, coupled with Worf's Klingon stubbornness, this doesn't seem an unreasonable recovery period.

If we assume that one season comprises 365 calendar days (an admittedly dubious assumption), then there are about 10 calendar days between the two episodes. This is perhaps straining credulity a bit, but then Worf's alien physiology must count for something.

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    If we are to believe this format, it would imply that the third digit of the stardate should never be larger than 3. That doesn't seem likely. Sep 19, 2016 at 14:41
  • @ThePopMachine Why would you assume that? Unless you're assuming that a stardate "day" exactly maps to an Earth day (which is a false equivalency), I don't see where you're drawing that conclusion Sep 19, 2016 at 15:08
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    The concept of noon, and it being represented by X.5 implies that effectively X.0 is midnight the previous night and (X+1).0 is midnight the next night. This means that one unit of stardate is roughly a day, for some value of "roughly". That means that only around 365 of the available days in 1000 stardates could be days. We have a discrepancy between there being around 365 integer stardates one way, and 1000 the other. That's why the whole thing falls apart. Sep 19, 2016 at 16:27
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    I'm not assuming anything at all, except that the concept of noon implies that they operating on something like a diurnal cycle. And it's not much of an assumption because there are in-universe indications, like when Jellico wanted to switch from three to four duty shift, and the relative curiousness of the 26-hour cycle on DS9/Bajor. And never any indication that a 'day' on Enterprise is radically different from one on Earth.... Sep 19, 2016 at 17:27
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    ... The only thing gleaned here is that defining X.5 as noon is the premise that ties integer units of stardates to (roughly) 24-hour periods, separate from the other premise, that ties 1000 units of stardate to years. Sep 19, 2016 at 17:27

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