(written from a Production point of view)
|ENT, Episode 2x04|
Production number: 031
First aired: 9 October 2002
|←||30th of 97 produced in ENT||→|
|←||29th of 97 released in ENT||→|
|←||657th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
|Date Unknown (2152)|
Enterprise docks with a strange, automated repair space station, which proves too good to be true.
Following an encounter with a Romulan mine, Enterprise has suffered damage which requires extensive repairs. In fact, Trip Tucker estimates that he would need three to four months to complete the repairs, assuming they could even find tritanium alloy. Moreover, the damage is so extensive that Enterprise cannot travel faster than warp 2.1, which would take Enterprise about a decade to reach the Jupiter Station, and the ship is essentially dead in space.
Given their dire situation, Captain Archer orders Hoshi Sato to send out a distress call asking for assistance with repairs. The call is answered by a Tellarite freighter, which points them to a repair station. When Enterprise arrives at the station, they find it to be completely automated and quite sophisticated: it can adapt its environment to its guests and possesses impressive technology such as a food replicator, a kind of protoplaser, and more. Even more interesting is the station's offer to completely repair the ship in less than a day and a half in exchange for a choice of several nearly trivial compensations; after discussing the loss of any irreplaceable items, they settle on an exchange of two hundred liters of warp plasma.
Following a great first impression, Archer slowly discovers that all is indeed too good to be true, and surmises that something definitely does not feel right. While the station does not seem to pose any immediate threat to the ship or crew, it turns out to be very self-protective: Tucker and Malcolm Reed are teleported back to Enterprise when they attempt to learn more about its computer core.
The situation appears to have taken a tragic turn when Ensign Mayweather is found dead in launch bay 1. The evidence suggests that he disobeyed orders to stay out of the sections under repair, leading to his death by isolytic shock. However, Archer refuses to believe that Mayweather was that foolish. The autopsy confirms the captain's doubts: the body is not Mayweather's, but that of a near-perfect replica: even if Mayweather was dead, there would still be microorganisms (from a Rigelian fever vaccine recently administered ship-wide after a crewmember was infected with the disease) living in the bloodstream, but they are also dead - since they thrive on isolytic energy, the shock that killed Mayweather would have, if anything, increased their number. Doctor Phlox suggests that replicating living organisms is beyond the abilities of the station.
The captain decides to investigate the matter in more detail and assembles a team to reach the computer core. They easily disable the protective mechanisms and are surprised by what they find: dozens of unconscious bodies, connected to the computer, still alive but with irreversible brain damage, as their cerebral cortices have been reorganized by the station's core.
When they unplug Mayweather, the station turns hostile. With everyone finally back aboard Enterprise, the station refuses to let the ship disembark. It threatens to destroy the ship, locking out the crew from all systems.
Archer still has an ace up his sleeve, however, as he had arranged to place a detonator next to the warp plasma canisters that were delivered as payment for the repairs. The detonator ignites the plasma and seemingly destroys the station, finally allowing Enterprise to escape, repaired and with its entire crew.
As Enterprise warps away, however, some parts of the repair station that had been left in wrecks slowly come together and begin repairing themselves...
- "Captain's starlog, supplemental. It's been almost four days since the incident in the Romulan minefield. Repair teams have been working around the clock. Nerves are definitely frayed."
"We've answered enough calls for help over the past year - it's time someone returned the favor."
- - Archer
"It can't be ethical to cause a patient this much pain."
"It's unethical to harm a patient; I can inflict as much pain as I like."
- - Reed and Phlox
"Your inquiry was not recognized."
- - Automated repair station
- - Tucker, after he and Reed are transported onto the bridge
"It might comfort you to know, he felt very little pain - an isolytic shock instantly impairs the...(the doctor starts to lose concentration when he looks at his PADD) the nervous...(looks up at the biobed scan) that's odd...they're dead! All of them!"
- - Phlox, comforting a distraught Sato during Mayweather's autopsy, only to realize her grief might be premature
"Did you find something?"
"As a matter of fact, I did - this is not Ensign Mayweather!"
- - Archer and Phlox, revealing the shocking truth
"It's ironic, in a way. The station can duplicate a dead Human body in all its exquisite detail, yet a living, simple one-celled organism is beyond its capability."
- - Phlox describing the station's bio-replicator
"The station's got us by the thrusters."
- - Tucker, as Enterprise is trying to get away from the repair station
"You look pretty good for a dead guy."
- - Archer, to Mayweather
"I think it's time we deliver our payment."
- - Archer, ordering Reed to ignite the warp plasma on the station
"But what about all those other people?"
"According to T'Pol's scans, most of them had been there for... years. The damage to their brains was irreversible."
- - Mayweather, concerned for the other lifeforms kidnapped by the station, and Phlox
- In the audio commentary for this episode, the writers reveal that this episode was an attempt to diverge from previous episodes of Star Trek in which a ship is critically damaged in one episode, but miraculously repaired in the next, with no mention of repair work.
- This episode also shows taken-for-granted Federation technologies, such as the food replicator and medical regenerator, before Starfleet has devised them for themselves.
- The automated repair station's medical re-generator is a modified reuse of the exocomp from TNG: "The Quality of Life".
- The prop in the middle of the diagnostic room is a re-use of the artificial intelligence from the episode VOY: "Think Tank".
- The access tunnel hatch seems to be nothing more than a white furnace filter, designed and marketed by 3M.
- Ensign Mayweather has a model of the Nomad probe, in its initial configuration, in his quarters.
- Among the many alien bodies are a Klingon, a Vulcan, a Cardassian, a Xepolite, a species that closely resembles the Vaadwaur, and a member of Kago-Darr's species. This marks the only appearance of the Cardassians in Star Trek: Enterprise, although they are later mentioned in ENT: "Observer Effect".
- Roxann Dawson not only directs this episode, but also performs as the voice of the automated station. Previously, she played the Cardassian computer in VOY: "Dreadnought" (although in that case it was specifically stated that B'Elanna Torres, also played by Dawson, had reprogrammed Dreadnought's original computer voice to her own out of frustration at the original voice).
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.
- Several costumes and props from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including a diagnosis hologram component from the automated repair station. 
- The plot of this episode continues on from "Minefield", with Enterprise seeking repairs after being damaged in that episode, as well as Reed still recuperating from the injuries suffered during the encounter. This is one of relatively few episodes outside of the Xindi arc to carry on directly from the previous episode without being a two-parter.
- Trip Tucker makes reference to scratching the hull in an inspection pod. This is reference to ENT: "Broken Bow", where he does indeed scratch the hull. "Broken Bow" took place about a year before this episode, and the time reference is correct.
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
- Adam Anello as an operations division crewman
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Roxann Dawson as the repair station computer (voice)
- Hilde Garcia as Rossi
- Scott Hill as Hutchison
- Roy Joaquin as a science division crewman
- John Jurgens as a command division crewman
- Marnie Martin as an operations division crewman
2126; access port; automated repair station; bloodworm; Britain; catfish; Chef; computer core; cytokinetic enzyme; deuterium; duranium; Earth; Fisher; gelatin; gremlin; Hayes; isolytic surge; Jupiter Station; Mayweather, Rianna; metacarpus; phalanges; plasma conduit; polarized hull plating; Regulan bloodworm; replicator; Rigelian fever; Romulan; strawberry; subspace amplifier; Tarkalean; Tellarites; Tellarite freighter; Tessik Prime; transporter; transtator; ventricular fibrillation; warp coil; warp plasma; water
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"A Night in Sickbay"