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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.