(written from a Production point of view)
|ENT, Episode 3x02|
Production number: 054
First aired: 17 September 2003
|←||53rd of 97 produced in ENT||→|
|←||53rd of 97 released in ENT||→|
|←||682nd of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Enterprise is damaged by spatial anomalies and boarded by interstellar pirates who rob the ship of critical resources.
Porthos is lying down in Captain Jonathan Archer's ready room when suddenly he begins barking. When Archer asks what's up, a book falls down from the shelf. Confused, Archer looks around. In engineering, Trip Tucker and his staff are also confused. In sickbay, Doctor Phlox's animals are more overactive than usual. Phlox looks worried. In the mess hall, a strange sound is heard as everyone's plates, cutlery and cups are lifted onto the ceiling, where they stick, leaving everyone covered in their food. In a corridor, a distortion is followed as it bumps into two crewmen, knocking them flat on their backs. Back in the ready room, a distortion passes through Archer's desk, knocking the cup into the air, and leaving the contents hanging there as well, as if there were no gravity. T'Pol calls him to the bridge. There, she reports that there are anomalies all over the ship. The warp field is fluctuating, and purple sparks are seen flying from the warp reactor. Tucker is forced to shut down the reactor, as main power gives out.
Malcolm Reed restores emergency power, but primary systems are off-line, including weapons, says a concerned Reed. Tucker asks Archer for time to deduce what went wrong. Travis Mayweather detects a ship, but as the transceiver is off-line as well, Archer sets a course to intercept it. Unfortunately, their best speed is one-quarter impulse power. Arriving at the vessel, T'Pol discerns there are no bio-signs and no gravity. Archer prepares to take a team aboard in EV suits. As most of them are MACOs, and have only been in simulations of weightlessness, Archer briefs them on what to expect. He also tells them to set their weapons to stun.
The shuttlepod docks with the alien vessel. When inside, they find various tools floating around. Reed detects the remains of weapons fire. One of the MACOs opens a door to find a corpse hovering in midair. Arriving on the bridge, the team finds three more bodies drifting silently. Archer asks Reed to download whatever information he can.
Back aboard Enterprise, Archer informs T'Pol that they found seventeen bodies, and that most were killed when life support ran out. The others were killed by particle weapons. The only repair that has been made is to the transceiver. Archer tells Mayweather to continue on their previous course. T'Pol thinks that Enterprise should stay and try to make more repairs, but Archer comments that the aliens have only been dead for two days, and if so – staying there might get them attacked as well. In engineering, Tucker is trying to restart the engines, but to no avail. Archer asks for a report, and Tucker tells him that the Cochrane Equation isn't constant, so they can't create a stable warp field. He says that he'd probably have to rewrite the book on warp theory – which would take a long time. Archer tells him to get weapons online.
Going back to his ready room, Archer finds his cup still hanging in midair. After ignoring it for a few seconds, he grabs hold of it and slams it onto his desk.
An alien ship approaches Enterprise. They charge weapons, as Archer orders hull plating to be brought online, but it is still inoperable. He tries the diplomatic solution, hailing them, but gets no response.
Suddenly, four aliens beam into engineering. One of the engineering crew is shot, while another one runs for safety. They begin stealing antimatter injectors. In a cargo bay, a crewman is hit on the back by another alien, who, with his accomplice, places transporter tags onto equipment, before they are beamed away. In the armory, three aliens are pinned down by a security team led by Archer. One of them is shot, leaving the remaining two cornered behind an armed warhead. Archer tells a MACO to use a stun grenade, but the intruders beam out with their injured comrade before it explodes. Reed and Archer find more intruders in the cargo bays and engineering, and split up to find them. One of the aliens tries to download the computer. Tucker, having taken refuge on top of the warp reactor, picks up a hyperspanner and attacks one of them, knocking him out cold. He then activates the reactor, pinning the rest of the aliens into one corner, as Reed bursts in. The aliens are forced to beam out, leaving one of them behind. Archer arrives at the cargo bay to find it completely stripped to the bulkheads. The alien ship then leaves.
Doctor Phlox is tending to many injured patients in sickbay, who have suffered extensive disruptor burns. Archer walks over to a biobed with a curtain around it. Inside lies the body of Crewman Fuller, who has become the first casualty of the Xindi mission. Archer then walks over to another biobed, where the injured alien is lying, under sedation. Archer orders his movement to the brig, where Phlox can treat him. Phlox also says he recognizes the alien's species – the Osaarians – a species not originally from the Expanse. Tucker tells Archer what is missing - and it's not good. All the antimatter storage pods have been taken, and if they aren't retrieved within a month Enterprise will be stranded, and unable to move.
T'Pol meets with Archer to discuss the Osaarians. Unfortunately, the Vulcan High Command had only had limited contact with them. They are a race of merchants, and have never been pirates. Archer asks T'Pol to keep looking for their ship, but T'Pol is worried that the Osaarians are too well prepared for Enterprise.
Archer goes to meet the Osaarian prisoner, Orgoth. He tells the Osaarian that he's going to help look for their ship, and when the supplies have been returned, he and they will be free to go. Orgoth thinks that Archer is "far too civilized to torture him", and knows that Enterprise is new to the Expanse. He shows Archer his distorted face caused by the anomalies, and tells him that when the Osaarians first entered the Expanse they were just trade ships. When hit by distortions they tried to leave the Expanse, but couldn't get beyond the thermobaric clouds. One of their ships was destroyed. Now the area of space they operate in is a hunting ground, because ships that run aground there are easy targets. At first they didn't kill anyone, but that changed, and Orgoth reveals that they kill without remorse. Archer tells him to consider his offer – but if it ends up giving him remorse, it's something he can live with.
T'Pol tells Archer about the other alien ship they found. It appears they went looking for the Osaarians as well, but their life support ran out before they could start. T'Pol also informs Archer that hull plating is back on-line and phase cannons will be ready within an hour. Archer heads off to the armory to help Reed with the torpedoes.
Tucker is in the mess hall, attempting to rewrite the book on warp theory. There he is joined by Reed. They reminisce about Fuller, who knew a lot about the torpedo systems. Tucker doubts that Fuller won't be the last one to be killed on the mission. The Osaarian's ion trail comes to an abrupt halt, and Enterprise can't find the ship at all. T'Pol finds that the trail continues a few thousand kilometers away. They must be close by, so Archer orders weapons brought online. As Enterprise approaches the end of the first trail, the ship starts shaking. They then pass through a cloaking barrier and exit to see a huge sphere. It is nineteen kilometers in diameter and constructed of a single alloy. Archer orders them in closer.
They cannot scan the interior, however. Moving the ship into a lower orbit, T'Pol detects a portal, but it is too small for the actual Enterprise to get into. Archer, Reed, Mayweather, and three MACOs take a shuttlepod into the sphere. When inside, Mayweather notes that there is enough energy to power "a dozen cities". Reed notices a module with a breathable atmosphere, and sets a course. Breaking into it, the team looks around, finding most of their equipment. Mayweather finds a cargo manifest, but it's in Osaarian. Archer tells him to send it to Hoshi Sato. As she works on it, the crew still on board Enterprise put their equipment back in place. Tucker goes to sickbay with a wrist injury caused by a deuterium injector. He and Phlox discuss the Vulcan neuropressure treatments, but Tucker has only been to see T'Pol once for them. Phlox says he understands that it requires a certain level of intimacy, but Tucker wants to switch back to injections. Phlox gives him a third alternative: Aldebaran mud leeches. Tucker declines, saying that an hour with T'Pol "isn't so bad".
The salvage teams on the sphere have found around 80% of the antimatter that was stolen. Archer surmises that the rest "is running through the reactor of that Osaarian ship". Warp drive will be online in thirty minutes. Archer wants the teams to speed up, so they can go after the Osaarians. T'Pol says that the sphere is nearly 1,000 years old. It is run by seven enormous fusion reactors, of which only three are still operational. T'Pol guesses that the gravimetric energy that it produces may have something to do with the spatial anomalies. Sato calls them to the situation room, where she reveals that the Osaarians attacked a Xindi vessel.
Archer confronts Orgoth, who claims not to know about the Xindi vessel. However, he gives in, saying that it was a small vessel. When they resisted, their ship was destroyed. Archer enters the brig and, holding a phase pistol to Orgoth's neck, escorts him to the airlock, startling some of the crewmembers on the way. Shoving him into the airlock, Orgoth refuses to respond, still thinking Archer is too civilized. Archer starts to decompress the airlock, saying that if he doesn't talk, he has less than forty seconds to live. Reed arrives on the scene, but Archer says that he's got everything under control. Realizing that Archer wasn't bluffing, Orgoth says he'll give Archer the information he needs. Opening the airlock, Orgoth stumbles out, panting heavily. Archer tells Reed to take Orgoth back to the brig.
Archer briefs the senior staff on Orgoth's information. Not only did the Osaarians take the fuel and supplies of a Xindi ship, they downloaded its database, which Archer now wants. Unfortunately, to do so, they would need to be within a kilometer of the ship to be able to get it. Mayweather says that the ship is probably too far off, but Archer, confident they'll return, decides that the Osaarians will come back. That is when they will attack.
Mayweather detects a ship passing through the cloaking field – it's the Osaarians. Moving into position, Enterprise opens fire on their ship. After firing a few torpedoes, Archer contacts the Osaarians, telling them to stand down. Their response is to fire back. Enterprise pursues them into the cloaking barrier, as Sato tries to tap into their computer. Mayweather struggles to keep up with them. The Osaarians open fire, just as Sato finds the Xindi database. She starts the download. Losing the forward hull plating and impulse drive, Archer orders them out of the cloaking barrier and back to the sphere. As the Osaarians are not returning, and Sato only has a third of the Xindi database, Archer tells Reed to fire at the portal on the sphere, hoping to lure them back in. It works. Emerging from the cloaking field, the Osaarian ship runs at Enterprise, all weapons firing. Sato gets 90% of the database, as Enterprise loses hull plating. Archer tells Reed to target the Osaarian's engines. He scores a direct hit, disabling them.
Archer releases Orgoth to the Osaarians, then Enterprise leaves. He then goes to the command center and looks at the Xindi database, looking for answers to unsolved questions.
"Where's Isaac Newton when you need him?"
- - Trip Tucker
"When you're forced to resort to desperate measures in order to survive you have to be clever. You need to know how to hide."
- - Orgoth
"You finished rewriting the physics books?"
"I don't think I'll be taking home the Nobel Prize anytime soon."
- - Reed and Tucker
"Every species we run into seems to be gunning for us. We might as well paint a giant bull's eye on the hull!"
"What do you suggest we do, turn around and go back to Earth?"
"All I'm saying is that this mission, whether it succeeds or not, is looking like a one-way ticket all the time."
- - Tucker and Reed
"Place one on your chest and one on your abdomen an hour before going to bed. Their secretions act as a natural sedative. Please, be careful to sleep on your back. If you roll over, you might anger them."
"Maybe an hour a night with T'Pol isn't so bad."
- - Phlox and Tucker, discussing Aldebaran mud leeches
"Your threats aren't very convincing. I told you, you're too civilized."
"We'll see about that."
- - Orgoth and Archer
- This was the last episode of the series to air before it was renamed Star Trek: Enterprise. Interestingly, the scripts for the remaining two seasons continued to refer to the series by its original name – perhaps a thumbing of the nose by the producers at the UPN network, which had insisted on the addition of the words "Star Trek" to help boost ratings.
- In a first draft script, the Osaarians were initially to have been Orion pirates. Episode writer Mike Sussman had intended to show how the events in the Expanse could have led some Orions from the pre-Kirk era to turn to piracy. The name was changed during rewrites of the episode's script. The Orions and their culture were finally explored in the season four episodes "Borderland" and "Bound". (Information provided by Mike Sussman; )
- The Enterprise's brig makes its first appearance in this episode – presumably one of the upgrades installed during the ship's retrofit in "The Expanse".
- This episode was later mirrored in "Damage", in which the crew of Enterprise is forced into piracy.
- The rifles used by the pirates are repainted Starfleet phaser rifles from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- This episode refers to stem bolts, a possible homage to numerous self-sealing stem bolt references made in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- The crates full of stem bolts that Reed looks at are the same props that were called Warp injector casings in the episode "The Seventh".
- The numbers "8675309" appear as an in-joke in the sensor data shown on the viewscreen while the crew tracked the ion trail of the Osaarian merchant ship. "867-5309/Jenny", was of course a popular song, performed by Tommy Tutone, during the 1980s, and has since made several appearances in popular culture since its release.
- This is the first episode where a crewman dies on board the ship due to hostile action, underscoring for Archer – and the audience – just how dangerous the Xindi mission would be. (Information provided by Mike Sussman) Sussman had made this development a personal goal, to respond to criticisms that the series to that point had been unrealistic by having no casualties. He noted, "It was never intentional. It's just that whenever we tried to kill someone, it never quite seemed the right way to do it, so it never happened." He added, "It was really important to kill somebody, and get the ship into really dire circumstances – and show the audience that this arc this season is really going to be different." 
- This episode mirrors VOY: "The Void" and VOY: "Concerning Flight", where Captain Janeway and her crew have their supplies stolen by raiders. They retrieve them later, like Archer's crew do in this episode.
- Several props and costumes from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including Aaron Pedrin's costume. 
- Mike Sussman freely credited many of the ideas in this episode to the other writers. He noted that the concept of the Spheres was from André Bormanis, who had first thought of the idea a year or two prior. He also noted that the memorable scene with Archer in the airlock was written by Brannon Braga. 
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Subcommander T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Sean McGowan as Corporal F. Hawkins
- Kenneth A. White as an Engineering Crewman
- Ryan Honey as a Guard
- Ken Lally as a Security Guard
- Derek Bulger as an Osaarian marauder
- Jason Collins as Corporal R. Ryan
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Vince Deadrick, Jr. as an Osaarian marauder
- Duncan K. Fraser as Ensign Walsh
- Nikki Flux as a command division crewman
- Glen Hambly as an operations division ensign
- Aldric Horton as an operations division crewman
- John Jurgens as a command division crewman
- Ricky Lomax as Private W. Woods
- Marnie Martin as an operations division crewman
- Tom Morga as an Osaarian marauder
- Lin Oeding as a command division crewman
- Aaron Pedrin as an Osaarian marauder
- Webster Whinery as an Osaarian marauder
access code; Aldebaran mud leech; antimatter; antimatter storage pod; black tea; burn; cargo manifest; Chef; cloaking field; Cochrane, Zefram; Cochrane Equation; comm link; Corporal; decompression chamber; Delphic Expanse; Delphic Expanse sphere; deuterium injector (deuterium); disruptor; distortion wave; Earth; fusion reactor; grav-plating; frequency; Fuller; fusion reactor; hyperspanner; ideography; imaging chamber; inaprovaline; intermix ratio; ion trail; Jupiter Station; life support; micro-fracture; neural node; neuropressure; Newton, Isaac; Nobel Prize; Osaarians; Osaarian merchant fleet; Osaarian merchant ship; particle weapon; phase cannon; photonic torpedo; physics; pirate; plasma relay; plasma rifle; polyduranium; quantum scan; quantum variables; ration pack; regeneration therapy; situation room; spatial gradients; stellar winds; stem bolt; stun grenade; thermobaric cloud; transceiver; transporter; Vulcan; Vulcan High Command; warp field; warp theory; Xindi database; Xindi starship
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