TNG decided to remake an episode of classic Star Trek, but make it the crappy version. Data and Yar do it.
,star trek: the next generation
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Two things to consider. 1) McCoy developed a serum to cure the same thing. 2) the transporters filter out known infectious agents and can detect things that are unknown to it. Everything should have been avoided the moment they beamed back to the Enterprise.
Concerning Riker’s memory: McCoy is still alive and has been on the Enterprise. Maybe that time they gave him a lift to his retirement colony could have served as an opportunity to reminisce about his Enterprise and this was one of the stories that stood out. Seems like a missed opportunity to tie things together.
Concerning Data: I think it’s mentioned that Data has the memories of the colonists that dies from the Crystalline Entity attack on Omicron Theta. It’s possible he knows how several families got started.
All this did was make me more excited to binge classic Star Trek in the distant future.