Summary: The Enterprise picks up experienced negotiator Riva and delivers him to Solais V at the request of the natives. Upon retrieving Riva, The Enterprise learns that he is deaf and that his "chorus" of three people speak for him thanks to some kind of telepathy. Riva flirts with Troi and probably would have flirted with Geordi if Geordi was female. Once they arrive on Solais V, Riva's chorus is killed in a sudden attack. Riva then wants to give up on the negotiations but Counselor Troi helps him see that he is still the best one for the job. Meanwhile, Data has learned Riva's native sign language, which helps him communicate with Troi and the rest of the crew. At Riva's request, the Enterprise leaves him on Solais V to continue the negotiations alone. Riva's plan is to teach the warring factions sign language.
I like that the galaxy's most trusted negotiator isn't the most tolerant and understanding person in the universe. In fact, he's ruling class and probably a bigot. At the very least, he believes that his personal capabilities, including the ability to negotiate, lie in his priveledged chorus. Not that he doesn't care for the people who make up his chorus, but he's a bit on the selfish side. It's all about him, or, er, all about him and the lovely Troi. She's a telepath, you see, and so she is worthy of his attention.
Good thing, I guess, because she's the one who points out to him that he is being selfish when he refuses to negotiate. Does that make Troi a good negotiator, too, since she negotiated a negotiator to continue negotiating? Ow. My head.
Lastly, I like Riva's solution at the end, but it made me feel a little sorry for Data that his ability to sign was used so little. Does he now delete that knowledge from his data banks? Can he even do that? Hmn...
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