I know that Aquiel is considered one of the weakest TNG episodes. But after looking researching a bit, I'm still confused about what happened.

It seems the coalescant life form took over Rocha before he ever arrived at the station. What I don't understand is what happened next. It seems like Aquiel shot Rocha at a high phaser setting, fusing the residue into the floor plating. She escapes somehow, and I guess the dog, Maura, gets replaced by the being. So was the being only partly melted into the floor? It doesn't make sense since Geordi's phaser had no effect at the lower setting, then completely disintegrated the being on the higher setting.

Am I missing something, it is this just another example of a flaw in this episode?


This is dealt with in the episode screenplay. The Rocha creature attacked Lt. Aquiel. After it had begun absorbing her memories but before being able to replace her, she was able to fight it off and grab a phaser. After unsuccessfully using it at the default setting, it was then reset to level 10 where it was used on the shape-shifter. The phaser was then fired for a sustained amount of time before she was satisfied that she'd killed the creature. Unbeknownst to her, the creature was not dead and was able to shift into

The dog

RIKER: The phaser was set to level ten. (beat) Standard procedure requires that all phasers are set to level one when they're in storage.

TNG: Aquiel - Original Screenplay


RIKER: Doctor Crusher tells me that in order to inflict the kind of molecular damage found in Rocha's remains... it would take a sustained phaser discharge of at least thirty to forty seconds.

When he's attacked Geordi goes through the same process, initially firing his phaser on stun, but then, using his knowledge of the creatures strength, he moves his phaser up to nearly its highest setting, level 14.

Although this is a more risky move (the shot could potentially blast straight through the ship's hull or hit a vital piece of machinery), he knows that the creature has a natural immunity to phaser effects.

The creature makes a final LUNGE. Geordi jumps toward a nearby desk -- opens a drawer and grabs out a phaser. He aims at the creature and FIRES --

The creature is JOLTED back -- but quickly recovers and moves to attack again, roaring, furious.


as Geordi rapidly taps the phaser, adjusting the force setting to level fourteen.

The phaser rapidly kills the beast without needing the same sustained blast.

  • If it has a natural immunity to phasers, how would any power level kill it? – DCOPTimDowd Sep 5 '17 at 17:58
  • @DCOPTimDowd - Immune to level ten doesn't mean immune to level 14 – Valorum Sep 5 '17 at 18:19
  • What's the difference other than output? – DCOPTimDowd Sep 5 '17 at 18:48
  • @DCOPTimDowd - According to the TNG Technical Manual, Level fourteen outputs nearly four times as much energy and exhibits explosive effects. – Valorum Sep 5 '17 at 19:02
  • 1
    @DCOPTimDowd - It doesn't other than the fact that it shrugs off a level 1 shot and survives being sprayed at level ten for almost a full minute – Valorum Sep 5 '17 at 19:37

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