In 1893 a time-traveling Jean-Luc Picard encountered a long-lived alien named Guinan, who was posing as a human to learn Earth's customs. During this "first encounter," Picard saved Guinan's life, a favor she would never forget.
Five centuries later, Captain Picard, now commander of the Starship Enterprise , brought Guinan aboard as the ship's "bartender." The hope was that her wisdom and inner peace would provide a moral grounding for Picard's crew as they experienced the dangers of space.
Because he hadn't yet made his trip through time, Picard had no knowledge of his nineteenth-century meeting with Guinan.
But he did remember a different first encounter with the mysterious El-Aurian -- a tumultuous adventure in which Picard and Guinan would risk their lives in a maze of interplanetary intrigue, with the future of the known universe at stake.
This is the story of that fateful meeting, and of a Guinan very different from the woman we think we know -- a person wracked by pain and longing, shaken to the roots of her soul.
A Guinan who yearns for oblivion.