Planet: Aldea. An ancient humanoid culture considered a myth by outsiders, thanks to a planet-wide shield and cloaking device operated by the age-old computer Custodian, until discovered by the Galaxy-class Enterprise on stardate 41509. Over the last 30 years or so (as of 2364), the long-term shield interfered with the planet's ozone layer, causing radiation to leak through the layer and subsequently sterilizing the natives. The chore-saving Custodian freed Aldeans to reject materialism, turning to a code of square dealing to pursue arts and other interests — including data on galactic areas yet unknown to the Federation. However, over-dependence on the Custodian led Aldeans to an atrophying of science and engineering skills. Not only have the natives lost touch with areas such as calculus and energy generation, but doctors and scientists have been mystified by the health problem. After rescuing young hostages taken by the Aldeans to repopulate their world, Captain Picard pledges Federation aid to restore the culture to health as the people vow to change their ways.