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Farpoint Station was a starbase on Deneb IV and was supposedly constructed by the inhabitants there, the Bandi. They had contacted Starfleet about negotiations for making use of the base but Starfleet was wary. On the one hand it was perfectly located to provide support for expeditions into the vast reaches of uncharted space beyond Deneb IV. On the other hand Starfleet had questions about exactly how and why the Bandi built Farpoint in the first place. In 2364, the USS Enterprise-D received its first official mission: discover the mystery of Farpoint Station. They were to negotiate a friendly agreement for using Farpoint's facilities but at the same time snoop around and find out all they could about the construction of the mysterious starbase. However, before they could reach the station, they encountered Q who put humanity on trial and agreed to let the situation at Farpoint to be a test for them.
Commander William T. Riker began his investigation of the starbase as he was awaiting the arrival of the Enterprise. He had noticed several oddities that seemed to defy explanation. Meeting with the director of Farpoint, Groppler Zorn, Commander Riker politely questioned him about how the Bandi could have constructed the station so rapidly and so perfectly suited to Starfleet's needs. Zorn was evasive and instead offered Riker some fruit. The Commander declined as there were no apples, but suddenly a bowl of apples appears on the groppler's desk. Zorn nervously shrugged it off, saying they were there the whole time. Riker played along but was more suspicious than ever about the true nature of Farpoint Station.
A similar occurrence happened later as Riker was shopping with Dr. Beverly Crusher. She expressed a certain preference for some cloth and as Riker urged her to investigate with him, the bolt of cloth mysteriously changed to fulfill Dr. Crusher's desire. When the Enterprise arrived, Riker met with Captain Jean-Luc Picard to discuss the situation at Farpoint. The only thing Riker could think of that could explain the hasty construction of the Starbase was that the Bandi might have traded some of their home planet's natural geothermal energy for construction materials, some of which did not occur naturally on Deneb IV.
Captain Picard then went to meet Groppler Zorn with Commander Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi. He expressed his admiration for the Bandi's construction techniques of Farpoint Station and let Zorn know that Starfleet may be interested in having them construct similar starbases elsewhere. Riker also suggested that the Bandi might be interested in a trade: whatever they needed in exchange for architects and engineers. Groppler Zorn was more evasive than ever and let them know that the Bandi did not enjoy leaving their home and they seemed to be totally uninterested in constructing similar bases elsewhere. Troi, meanwhile, sensed nothing but terrible pain and despair, seemingly coming from some being very close. Picard then ended the interview with Zorn, unsatisfied with the lack of answers. The Groppler reacte and threatened that other powers, like the Ferengi, would be interested in Farpoint if Starfleet wasn't.
Later, Commander Riker, Lieutenant Commander Data, Lieutenant Tasha Yar, Lieutenant Geordi La Forge, and Counselor Troi continued their investigation of the starbase. Geordi analyzed the walls of some tunnels beneath the station and concluded that they were composed of a material he neither recognized nor had ever heard of. As they continued their investigation an unidentified vessel approached Deneb IV, began firing on the old Bandi city, and kidnapped Groppler Zorn.
Captain Picard authorized Riker to lead an away team to visit the ship and to rescue the groppler. As Riker, Troi, Yar and Data made their way to the hostile vessel they discovered something even more unusual. The corridors of the unusual ship were of the same design and construction as the tunnels underneath Farpoint Station. More than that, the vessel appeared to be deserted and there appeared to be no evidence of power on board. In spite of this, Troi now sensed nothing but anger and hatred. When the away team discovered Zorn, they found him being tortured by a mysterious force but managed to free him from his cell with their phasers.
Suddenly, the same mysterious force sent the away team and Zorn back to the Enterprise just as Troi realized the ship was somehow alive. Captain Picard and Commander Riker surmised that it must be conceivable for creatures to exist that could convert energy into matter and specific patterns of matter. Groppler Zorn then confessed that his people found another creature similar to the living ship and that they helped it but only fed it enough to keep it alive, forcing it to shape itself into Farpoint Station. As Tasha Yar rigged the main phaser banks to deliver a beam of energy to Farpoint Station, the unidentified vessel began to make a startling transformation into a huge jellyfish-like creature. It was two creatures Troi had been sensing: the one on Deneb IV enslaved by the Bandi to shape itself into Farpoint station, and the other the unidentified vessel full of hatred for those who had captured its mate.
Picard ordered the energy beam to be locked on Farpoint Station, notifying the Bandi to evacuate immediately, and to let it absorb as much as it could take. Farpoint Station absorbed as much energy as it could take and then began to transform into another jellyfish-like creature. Rising from the surface, the Star-jelly was joyfully greeted by its mate in orbit of Deneb IV. As the two made their departure from the system, they sent to Troi feelings of great joy and gratitude for freeing the enslaved one. (TNG episode & novelization: Encounter at Farpoint)
Years later, the events at Farpoint Station were a leading factor in Captain Riker's initial insistence on aiding the Star-Jellies in their conflict with the Pa'haquel. He explained to his first officer, Christine Vale, that the Federation was selfish. He believed that Starfleet was too thrilled to get a facility like Farpoint Station to look at the situation too closely. They didn't want to jeopardize acquiring such a fine starbase that was perfectly situated to provide support in such a remote region. Riker then wondered if that was why Q put humanity on trial, because of the exploitation of the Star-Jelly. The ironic thing, as Captain Riker then explained, was that the Bandi were never able to rebuild Farpoint and the expeditions into the areas of unexplored space around Deneb IV, the Cygnus Reach, were canceled. (TTN novel: Orion's Hounds)