Back on board the ship, Picard and his crew are quizzed by Lt. Commander Dexter Remmick, a Federation officer who is investigating Picard's competence on the orders of the captain's old friend, Admiral Gregory Quinn. Although neither Picard nor his crew understands the reason for the inquiry, they give Remmick their full cooperation.
In the midst of the investigation a young man named Jake Kurland, distraught over not qualifying for the Academy entrance exam, steals a shuttlecraft and heads into space. When he discovers that the craft has a major malfunction, Jake panics and begins to plummet toward certain death. Fortunately, Picard keeps his cool and manages to help the teen make a safe return to the ship. Remmick, meanwhile, watches with interest.
After an exhaustive study of Picard's performance record, Remmick tells Quinn that he has failed to find any flaws in the captain's command. Quinn then informs Picard that he has proven himself worthy of the prestigious post as Commandant of the Starfleet Academy and may be promoted to the rank of admiral.
Despite Wesley Crusher's obvious intelligence and promise, he is not selected for the Academy. Although clearly disappointed, the youngster's spirits are lifted after a pep talk by Picard, who has decided to remain with the U.S.S. Enterpriserather than accept Quinn's offer.