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Command Center (NX-01)

The command center in 2153

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The command center was a specialized section aboard the starship Enterprise NX-01, in which dedicated data analysis and mission operations were performed. Installed among other system upgrades in 2153, the command center was located in a converted storage bay that once held conduit housings. Starfleet went to a lot of trouble to retrofit the room, turning it into the command center and outfitting it with state-of-the-art equipment. This work was carried out to help Enterprise locate and investigate the Xindi, due to the extreme jeopardy that group represented to Earth during the Xindi incident. (ENT: "The Expanse", "The Xindi")

Roughly the size of standard crew quarters, the command center was distinguished by a large display screen and computer terminal, flanked by a number of smaller screens mounted on the bulkheads. The room also contained a large, T-shaped table and workstation, and a free-standing computer console. These computer terminals could be utilized for a number of functions, including displaying star charts, ship's status and sensor data, but were more often used in the analysis of the acquired Xindi database. The command center's computers were also linked to internal sensors and could provide video and audio from linked sections within Enterprise. (ENT: "The Xindi", "Exile", "The Shipment", "Chosen Realm", "Stratagem")

The command center was among many sections aboard Enterprise that were damaged in the battle with the Xindi near Azati Prime in early 2154, suffering power failures. Still remaining functional, it was fully repaired by the conclusion of the Xindi mission. (ENT: "Damage", "The Forgotten", "Zero Hour")

Background

The script of "The Xindi" describes the command center as "a dark chamber filled with numerous monitors," and goes on to say, "A large central wall display dominates the room."

The command center was created especially for the third season of Star Trek: Enterprise and appeared only in that season – first in "The Xindi" and last in "Zero Hour", the first and last episodes of the season respectively. Once built, the set remained standing throughout the season. ("The Xindi" text commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD) Recalling the set's placement, Production Designer Herman Zimmerman stated, "It was added to a corridor near the bridge set that we did have a little space for." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 151, p. 58) In fact, not only was the set for the command center located beside the NX-class bridge set, it was also so near to the series' video control room that linking the computers therein to the monitors on the command center set was relatively easy. ("Countdown" text commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD) The set included a free-standing console that had previously been used in the infirmary on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (citation needededit)

The central monitor referred to in the script for "The Xindi" was represented, on the set, by a monitor that computer graphics were rear-projected onto. This monitor was custom-built for the series. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 151, p. 58) The area behind the screen had to be draped off so that stray light would not wash out the image on the monitor. ("Countdown" text commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD) The monitor was initially created for the observation lounge aboard the USS Enterprise-E in Star Trek Nemesis. (text commentary, Star Trek Nemesis (Special Edition) DVD)

In accordance with the script, many other monitors had to be obtained for the addition of the set. "That added a huge opportunity for a colorful wall that we hadn't done before," said Herman Zimmerman. The room's smaller monitors were represented with fourteen LCD flatscreens. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 151, p. 58) Behind these, Director of Photography Marvin V. Rush hid tiny fluorescent lamps. This use of lighting created small patches of illumination on the wall, which served to visually separate the monitors from their backgrounds.

The wall to the left of the central monitor included a series of lit gizmos that were originally on the set for Enterprise's sickbay; they had been removed from that set when it had undergone a revamp at the end of the first season. The same left-hand wall was a "wild" wall, meaning it was specifically designed to be easily removed when required to allow camera and equipment access. Using this access, Marvin Rush often mounted his camera on a small crane to achieve complex camera moves in the otherwise closed-in set. ("Countdown" text commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD)

In the fourth season of Enterprise, parts of the command center were used in the creation of the medical observation room for the episode "Observer Effect". The set was additionally used in the episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", for the interrogation room containing the agony booth aboard the ISS Enterprise. ("Impulse" text commentary, ENT Season 3 DVD)

Apocrypha

In the novelization of "The Expanse" and "The Xindi" (entitled The Expanse), the displays that fill the command center are described as "monitor stacked upon monitor" and mostly unused, their screens "a dull opaque gray." However, in the same scene from the actual episode, there are slightly less monitors arranged vertically than those that are arranged horizontally. Also, all the monitors are shown as being on, with lit screens.

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