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The Neutral Zone
Series: The Next Generation
Written by: Deborah McIntyre & Mona Glee
Teleplay by: Maurice Hurley
Directed by: James L. Conway
Production information
Episode no.: 1x26
Production no.: 126
First aired: 16 May 1988
Date: 41986.0 (2364)



In 1994, several recently deceased individuals were frozen using cryonics, and sealed inside a spacecraft which was placed in Earth orbit. Among the individuals placed on the spacecraft were Ralph Offenhouse - a human male born on Earth in 1939 who made a career as a financier, Claire Raymond - a homemaker, and L.Q. "Sonny" Clemonds - an entertainer.

Over the years, the spacecraft drifted out of Earth orbit, and eventually left the solar system. Approximately 370 years after its launch, in 2364 the spacecraft was encountered by the Enterprise-D. The Enterprise was awaiting the return of Jean-Luc Picard from a high priority conference at a Starbase. Lt. Commander Data talked Commander Riker into allowing him to board the spacecraft so that he could get a first-hand look at the ancient technology. Riker allowed Data to proceed, and had Lt. Worf accompany him.

Data and Worf beamed aboard the spacecraft. They soon discovered a series of containers with frosted over transparent panels. Upon wiping the panel of one of the containers clear, they discovered a human skeleton contained within. Data soon determined that the people had been frozen after death, due to the absence of more sophisticated monitoring equipment. One of the other containers was empty, several of the other containers had human beings who had also decayed over the years. But Worf and Data soon discovered that there were three people - Offenhouse, Raymond, and Clemonds - whose bodies were still intact. When the shuttle carrying Captain Picard returned, Riker ordered Data and Worf back to the Enterprise. When Data explained the situation, they were allowed to beam the containers holding the bodies of Offenhouse, Raymond, and Clemonds back to the ship as well. The three 20th century humans were taken to sickbay, where Dr. Crusher proceeded to thaw them out.

Crusher found that all three humans had minor medical problems - which had obviously been fatal in the 20th century. Offenhouse had died of inoperable terminal cardiomyopathy, Raymond from an embolism, and Clemonds from years of alcohol abuse.

While Offenhouse and the others were being revived, the Enterprise began to travel to the Netural Zone to confront a Romulan warbird. Offenhouse found himself and the others in the middle of a tense situation, which he made worse with demands to know what was going on, and even going so far as to leave his quarters and go to the main bridge just before the Romulans revealed themselves. Before being escorted off the bridge, he was able to determine that the Romulans had no idea who was attacking their outposts near the Neutral Zone. The Romulans announced that they were returning to the galactic scene after being silent for over half a century.

Following this confrontation with the Romulans the three 20th century humans returned to Earth on board the USS Charleston. Before leaving the Enterprise, Captain Jean-Luc Picard told Offenhouse that money no longer had the meaning it once did to humans, and to use the opportunity he received to better himself.




L.Q. ClemondsBeverly CrusherDataGeordi La ForgeRalph OffenhouseJean-Luc Picard • Clare Raymond • Thomas Raymond • William T. RikerTebok • Thei • Deanna Troi • Darien Wallace • Worf, son of Mogh • Wright
Referenced only 
Donald Raymond • Edward Raymond • Tommy Raymond

Starships and vehicles

SS Birdseye (cryonics satellite) • USS Enterprise-D (Galaxy-class)


Kazis binary system • Romulan Neutral ZoneStarbase 39-Sierra
Referenced only 
Arloff IX • Tarod IX

Races and cultures


States and organizations

Romulan Star EmpireStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets



Related stories

The mysterious attacker of the Federation and Romulan outposts in this episode was revealed to be the Borg in Q Who?.
A Borg attack on one of the Romulan outposts was depicted in this one-shot comic.
Ralph Offenhouse returns to the Enterprise as a Federation Ambassdor.
  • The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 1 (TOS novel)
Depicts Ralph Offenhouse working for the Chrysalis Project as backstory to the data he gives in Debtors' Planet.
  • The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 2 (TOS novel)
Depicts L.Q. Clemonds briefly, and actually shows the death of Claire Raymond.


published order
Previous episode:
TNG episode produced Next episode:
The Child
Previous episode:
TNG episode aired Next episode:
The Child
chronological order
Previous Adventure:
Pocket Next Adventure:
Vulcan's Soul:
Chapter 1


External link

This article is a stub relating to a canon episode. You can help our database by expanding on it.

This article uses material from the "The Neutral Zone" article on the Memory-beta wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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