A betazed, Tam, who is a specialist in first contact is brought onboard to deal with a life form like none the Federation has seen before. Also, unfortunately, the Romulans are eyeing it, and hell no Romulans aren’t getting that shiz. Also also unfortunately, the life form is orbiting a star that’s about to go Nova, so it’s literally going to die.
Eventually we learn that the life form was actually a ship, well, an organic ship, that was in a symbiotic relationship with its crew. Then, one fateful event killed all those crew members, and the sentient ship, labelled the “Tin Man” by the Federation, became listless and infinitely depressed. So. Much. Sadness.
Meanwhile, Tam, is a telepathic genius because he literally grew up with the ability to read other people’s minds, a power that all Betazeds have, but that most develop in their adolescence. So Tam has pretty much been skirting severe mental illness for his entire life. He finds a friend in the Tin Man, and the emptiness that surrounds it.
TAM: “It calls itself Gomtuu. It’s old, captain. It’s roamed the universe for many thousands of years.”
PICARD: “Where did it come from? How many—”
TAM: Far away. Maybe beyond the galaxy. Once there were millions of them.
TAM: It hasn’t seen another of its kind for millennia. It’s alone. It may be the last of its species.
PICARD: Perhaps we can help it in some way. Can you ask it to return with us to Federation space? At least persuade it to leave the vicinity before the star explodes?
TAM: Captain Gomtuu knows the star will go nova soon. That’s why it’s here. It wants to die. There was an explosion in space. Radiation penetrating the outer layers. The crew… The crew died. Such loss. Empty pain. Hollowness. Tin man hurts and wants to die.”
"It is humanity he is fleeing." - Data, talking about Tam
It is episodes like this that remind me that human depression, in relation to depression possible in space, is quite pathetic. It’s like that movie, “The Fountain.*”
*walks away, cries