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"On the Scent of Trouble" is the second of four TNG short stories released in Amazing Stories magazine, this one in Issue 593 in summer 1998. Pocket Books collected John Gregory Betancourt's story in August 2002's The Amazing Stories omnibus.


When the Enterprise encounters a new civilization, both sides are eager to communicate. But are Captain Picard and his crew prepared to receive what the Pelavians are sending?


Captain's log, supplemental.
As the Enterprise nears the Pelavos star cluster, long-range sensors are detecting signs of an advanced civilization — six planets and ten moons have been terraformed and colonized. Clearly the beings who live here are spacefaring and highly intelligent. Starfleet has directed us to postpone our star-charting assignment in order to make contact with the Pelavians.

Upon entering the system, the Enterprise is approached by a spherical starship without viewports. The USS Enterprise makes first contact with the Pelavians, but Counselor Deanna Troi is momentarily overwhelmed by their strong form of telepathy. She assures Picard that they are enthusiastically interested in meeting, and a small spherical shuttle lands in Shuttle Bay Two.

Picard welcomes two ambassadors aboard. They communicate through telepathy and also by means of airborne scented chemicals detected through gills, and they manage to convey their thoughts clearly enough for the captain to understand them. Having no ears or eyes, they sense by echolocation. Picard conducts them on a tour of the Enterprise, but soon he starts exhibiting signs of paranoia. He sends away Troi and William T. Riker, calls for security guards, then starts acting as if the Borg were boarding the ship. Riker beams the two ambassadors back to their ship for their own safety.

Captain's log, supplemental.
Dr. Crusher's tests proved conclusively that the chemicals that the Pelavians exhale cause hallucinations in humans. They break down fairly quickly in open air, but when they are inhaled, they enter the bloodstream. Prolonged exposure leads to hallucinations and paranoid delusions. Fortunately, Dr. Crusher has already begun work on a solution....

Picard meets the Pelavians again, this time while wearing a respirator to filter out the harmful chemicals. He invites them to continue the tour, and he thinks this will be a successful first contact.



Beverly CrusherDataDeCandidoGeordi La ForgeOrdoverParkerJean-Luc PicardWilliam T. RikerDeanna TroiWorfunnamed Pelavians
Referenced only
Lwaxana Troi

Starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise-DPelavian starshipPelavian shuttle


Pelavosthe galaxy
Referenced only
EarthRomulan Neutral ZoneVulcan

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations


Science and classification

artificial gravityastrogationBorg implantcombadgecomputerengineforce fieldhydroponicsimpulselaboratorylinguisticsmedical tricordermedscannernose filterphasersafety webbingsensorstar chartterraformingtransmissiontransportertransporter cellturboliftuniversal translatorviewportviewscreenwarp coreweapon

Ranks and titles

ambassadoranesthezineassassincaptainchief engineerchief medical officercommandercounselordoctorengineerensignnavigatornumber onesecond-in-commandsecurity officer

Materials and substances


Other references

alert status (red alert) • alienArcturan honeycombbatbeambeardbridgecaptain's log, USS Enterprise-D, 2369colonycommunicationscorridorcreeperdecadedress uniformduty shiftecholocationelephantengineeringfirst contactflowergillhailhallucinationheadachekilometerlanguagelifeformmedicalmeterminutemountainparanoiapeaceplanetquartersracesatellitesecondsecurityshuttle baysickbayspacespeciesstar clusterStarfleet uniform (early 2270s)telepathyuniversevacuum


Related media


  • Long before he wrote his Star Trek stories, author John Gregory Betancourt once worked as an assistant editor at Amazing Stories and also published a novel under the Amazing Stories brand.



Short stories and roleplay modules published in magazines
TV21 Weekly TOS stories "Gateway to the Future"
Stardate Magazine TOS stories "Force of Law" • "The Killax Vendetta" • "Planetfall" • "Coronation Presumptuous" • "Boarding Party" • "Roleplaying in the Final Frontier"
TOS modules "The Serpent Factor" • "Deneva Deception" • "Safari in Violet" • "Continuing the Line" • "Operation Shadowfall" • "The Barrier of Essai" • "Orion Rising" • "The Hottest Blood of All" • "Operation Kingmaker" • "Operation Starling"
StarDrive TOS modules "Another Piece of the Action"
Amazing Stories TNG stories "Last Words" • "On the Scent of Trouble" • "Life Itself is Reason Enough" • "Bedside Matters"
VOY stories "When Push Comes to Shove" • "A Night at Sandrine's" • "The Space Vortex of Doom"
Star Trek Magazine STO stories "Unexpected Honor" • "Shakedown" • "The Gale, Part I" • "The Gale, Part II" • "Mirror Image, Part I" • "Mirror Image, Part II" • "Chief, Part I" • "Chief, Part II" • "Of Chaos and Kal-toh, Part I" • "Of Chaos and Kal-toh, Part II" • "Dove" • "There's No Place Like..." • "Locks Without Keys, Part I" • "Locks Without Keys, Part II" • "Hope Remains" • "After the Storm" • "Recruitment Drive" • "Time of the Scotsman" • "An Honorable Frontier"
Star Trek: Explorer stories "All That Most Maddens and Torments" • "Q and False" • "A Night In" • "The Offer" • "Seven v Seven" • "Quality of Life" • "Retribution" • "Broken Oaths" • "The Way to Exile" • "Kill Captain Proton!"
Star Trek: The Next Generation collected short stories, novellas and short novels
Strange New Worlds I: ("What Went Through Data's Mind 0.68 Seconds Before the Satellite Hit" • "The Naked Truth" • "The First" • "See Spot Run" • "Together Again, for the First Time" • "Civil Disobedience" • "Of Cabbages and Kings") • II: ("I Am Klingon" • "Reciprocity" • "Calculated Risk" • "Gods, Fate, and Fractals" • "I Am Become Death") • III: ("Whatever You Do, Don't Read This Story" • "A Private Victory" • "The Fourth Toast" • "One of Forty-seven" • "A Q to Swear By" • "The Change of Seasons" • "Out of the Box, Thinking") • IV: ("Flight 19" • "The Promise" • "Flash Point" • "Prodigal Son" • "Seeing Forever") • V: ("Bluff" • "The Peacemakers" • "Efflorescence" • "Kristin's Conundrum" • "The Monkey Puzzle Box" • "The Farewell Gift" • "Dementia in D Minor") • VI: ("The Soft Room" • "Protecting Data's Friends" • "The Human Factor" • "Tribble in Paradise") • VII: ("Life's Work" • "Adventures in Jazz and Time" • "Future Shock" • "Full Circle" • "Beginnings" • "Solemn Duty") • 8: ("Morning Bells Are Ringing" • "Passages of Deceit" • "Final Flight") • 9: ("Staying the Course" • "Home Soil" • "Terra Tonight" • "Solace in Bloom") • 10 ("Wired" • "A Dish Served Cold" • "The Very Model") • 2016 ("A Christmas Qarol" • "The Sunwalkers" • "The Seen and Unseen")
The Sky's the Limit "Meet with Triumph and Disaster" • "Acts of Compassion" • "Redshift" • "Among the Clouds" • "Thinking of You" • "Turncoats" • "Ordinary Days" • "'Twould Ring the Bells of Heaven" • "Friends With the Sparrows" • "Suicide Note" • "Four Lights" • "'Til Death" • "On the Spot" • "Trust Yourself When All Men Doubt You"
Misc. short stories "The Captain and the King" • "Last Words" • "Bedside Matters" • "On the Scent of Trouble" • "Life Itself is Reason Enough" • "What Dreams May Come" • "Twilight's Wrath" • "Eleven Hours Out" • "Darkness" • "The Sacred Chalice" • "For Want of a Nail" • "Q and False" • "Quality of Life" • "Broken Oaths"
Misc. novellas & short novels "The Other Side" • "The Worst of Both Worlds" • "Brave New World"


Published Order
Previous story:
Last Words
The Amazing Stories Next story:
Life Itself is Reason Enough
Previous story:
The Heart of the Warrior
Stories by:
John Gregory Betancourt
Next story:
Double Helix
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
A Fistful of Datas
Pocket Books Timeline Next adventure:
Future Shock
Strange New Worlds VII
Eighth & Ninth entries
Previous adventure:
A Fistful of Datas
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
Future Shock
Strange New Worlds VII
Eighth & Ninth entries