The Boraalans are a peaceful people who, for many centuries, live a simple existence on the planet of Boraal II. They have a village-based society in which the village Seer provides spiritual and social guidance. Their culture is rich and beautiful, but their level of technology is below that of the Federation; they have few electronic or mechanical gadgets, and they are unaware of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Like many such primitive cultures, their way of life, society, and development is of great interest to the United Federation of Planets, even though it will be a long time before they are ready to be formally contacted. The Federation scientists can observe the culture, but the Prime Directive forbids interference of any kind.

The Boraalans are humanoid; their main difference is the distinctive ridge on their noses. Small village communities contain individuals who reflect the skin colour of Earth`s Caucasian and African racial groups; this may be a form of diversity similar to the different hair colours of humans rather than racial variation. Different skin colours in members of the same family is nothing out of the ordinary.

People wear simple clothes in dull colours, woven from rough cloth. Women often wear long skirts, and most men wear a head covering similar to a faceless balaclava. marriages are often arranged, with fathers offering their daughters to en they believe will make suitable husbands.

History is very important to the Boraalans. In some villages, one member of the community is appointed the village `Chronicler`. He or she keeps the written history of the community, from which the children will learn who their ancestors were and where they came from. The Boraalans believe a permanent record is important; stories can change from one storyteller to another, but the chronicle will remain the same.  The chronicle is kept on a scroll-like document, written in a script similar to the hieroglyphics of Earth`s ancient Egyptian culture. The Boraalans believe that without the past, the future means nothing.

In 2370, the existence of the Boraalan race is threatened when the planet`s atmosphere unexpectedly begins to dissipate. The atmospheric breakdown causes turbulent radiation storms across the planet surface, claiming many victims. The survivors of the last village are preparing to die when a man they know only as Nikolai leads them into some nearby caves, which provide them with temporary protection.

The villagers do not realise that Nikolai is actually Nikolai Rozhenko, a cultural observer who has been studying their planet. They believe him to be from another village, little realising that he is from another world - Earth.

Secretly, Nikolai transports them to the holodeck of the USS Enterprise, which he has altered to look exactly like the cave in which they are sheltering. As he transports them while they sleep, they do not notice the change. NIkolai then takes them on a journey through the caves to what he tells them is an area of their homeworld unaffected by the storms. In reality, they leave the holodeck-created caves to enter a program resembling the surface of Vacca VI, a new planet on which they will be safe to continue their lives. From the holodeck, they are then beamed to the surface of the real Vacca VI. On Vacca VI, they will continue to live the life they have enjoyed for generations, unaware that they are now on a completely different planet, far away from the land and the stars of their birth.