(written from a Production point of view)
|ENT, Episode 2x11|
Production number: 037
First aired: 11 December 2002
|←||36th of 97 produced in ENT||→|
|←||36th of 97 released in ENT||→|
|←||664th of 728 released in all||→|
| Teleplay By|
David A. Goodman
Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
|September 12, 2152|
After Enterprise rescues a pair of aliens with a mysterious cargo, Trip finds himself in a major predicament after he accidentally opens the cargo.
The Enterprise answers a distress call from a Retellian cargo ship that is experiencing problems with its life support systems. Two crewmen come aboard Enterprise and explain that they have been hired to return a young woman back to her homeworld but a few days ago her stasis pod began to malfunction. Their ship is a small cargo vessel, however, not designed or equipped for more than two people; they still have a long journey ahead of them (at warp 2) and if she wakes up, there won't be enough food or air. They gladly accept all the assistance Captain Archer offers them and are grateful for Trip Tucker taking a look at the power cells for the pod.
When Archer offers to help them get to their destination in just a few days, they get nervous, however, politely declining the offer, insisting that they are on a schedule and that the family is not even expecting her on her home world for another five months.
However, when the passenger awakens following another malfunction, it becomes obvious that she is not there of her own will: she is kicking and screaming in the pod that she is being held in, demanding to be let out. When Tucker tries to help her, one of the Retellian cargo pilots, Goff, strikes him down and flees the Enterprise at once - leaving his brother behind. Enterprise is able to catch up easily, however when dropping out of warp, the cargo ship manages to release a dilithium hydroxyl cloud that disables Enterprise's warp drive, and it gets away.
On the cargo ship, the outraged passenger, whose name is Kaitaama, explains to Tucker that she is a prisoner and that she was attacked on her way back from a diplomatic mission. She is surprised that Tucker doesn't know her, for her family is apparently known on hundreds of worlds. She is to be the First Monarch of the Sovereign Dynasty of Krios Prime. She is sure that she has been kidnapped by the Retellians for a ransom - so she suggests just waiting until the ransom is paid and they are returned safely. Tucker, however, doesn't want to sit around and wait, so he suggests trying to escape the cargo vessel through an escape pod he saw earlier. She protests, stating that it is too dangerous, but Tucker tells her that he is not one of her subjects and that he will try to get out regardless of what she says.
Despite protests and refusal to help at first, she finally changes her mind and takes her chances with Tucker aboard the escape pod, which is entirely too small, obviously made for one person only. Crammed inside a tiny space, they irritate each other immensely and do not get along very well at first, but manage to tolerate each other until they can land on a habitable planet.
Back on the Enterprise, Archer and T'Pol tell Plinn, the alien left behind, that under Starfleet regulations, he will be held responsible for the actions of his brother and severely punished if he doesn't reveal the cargo vessel's warp frequency. Archer is playing "good cop" and offers him leniency versus T'Pol, who assumes a position of high authority. After much pressure and theatrical performance, they are finally able to get that information out of him.
In the meanwhile, the escape pod approaches a planet that supports a breathable atmosphere. They manage to land and end up in a hot, humid, swampy area that does offer a breathable atmosphere but is not very hospitable otherwise. Kaitaama and Tucker continue irritating each other again, but after some arguing, yelling and bickering they end up physically intimate. Shortly after, the escape pod beacon is traced back by Goff, who lands on the planet in pursuit of the two. They set a trap for him and manage to strike him down just as Archer, T'Pol, and Lieutenant Reed arrive on the planet to rescue the them.
- "Captain's starlog, September 12, 2152. We've rendezvoused with the Krios battle cruiser which is taking the kidnappers into custody."
Back on the Enterprise, Tucker accompanies Kaitaama to the battle cruiser that is to take her home. He jokes that he doubts that from what she told him, her family would allow her to see him if he were to ever visit Krios Prime. But she states that once she has been made First Monarch, she will have the authority to change the rules and asks him to come visit her to find out.
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- "Captain's starlog, September 12, 2152. We've rendezvoused with a Krios battle cruiser, which has taken the kidnappers into custody."
"Take him back to docking port 2. Put him in the airlock and post a security detail."
"I'm telling you the truth!"
"We'll keep the outer hatch unlocked. If you decide to leave, you know the way out."
- - Archer, at the end of an unfruitful interrogation of Plinn
"Is your entire species so ill-mannered?"
"No... just me."
- - Kaitaama and Charles Tucker
"Is it edible?"
"Well, depends how hungry you are."
- - Kaitaama and Charles Tucker, on the escape pod emergency rations
"Well, we started out with 83 crewmen on board. We're down to 76."
- - Archer about T'Pol's supposed strictness about unbecoming conduct for an officer
"How much do you weigh?"
"1.8 meters. Why are you asking these questions?"
"Does your culture observe any postmortem rituals?"
"This is not fair! I demand to speak with someone from my government!"
- - T'Pol pretending to be Plinn's judge and executioner
- This was the first Enterprise episode on which David A. Goodman worked. He explained, "With 'Precious Cargo' I was new to the staff, I didn't fully understand the rules and I definitely didn't – a lot of my problems with that episode were my fault, in terms of how I approached writing it. You learn as you go [....] I definitely had a lot to learn… Even up to that point I had not written for one-hour television which was definitely very different from writing for half-hour. I had a big learning curve, and I learnt a lot." 
- The idea of including references to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate" in this installment came from the producers of Star Trek: Enterprise. They proceeded to execute this concept.  Kaitaama's line to Tucker that she hoped he would visit him on Krios Prime was added to suggest that the very different versions of "Krios" seen in TNG: "The Mind's Eye" and "The Perfect Mate" were not the same planet. (citation needed • edit)
- Executive Producer Brannon Braga performed a rewrite on the episode, trying to treat it as a screwball comedy but later admitted, "I struggled through it." (ENT Season 2 Blu-ray "Destination: Unknown" special feature) Said David A. Goodman, "To be fair, I was rewritten a lot on 'Precious Cargo'." ("Judgment" podcast/audio commentary)
- Dr. Phlox (John Billingsley) does not appear in this episode.
- Leland Crooke previously played Gelnon in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes "One Little Ship" and "Honor Among Thieves".
- Scott Klace had previously played Dremk in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Juggernaut".
- The Ardanan power relay was a reuse of the chrono deflector used by the future Admiral Janeway in VOY: "Endgame". (citation needed • edit)
- David A. Goodman has repeatedly stated there were two very different forms of this episode, describing both as a "piece of crap." These were, specifically, his original scripted version of the outing and the final edit in its aired format. ("Judgment" podcast/audio commentary; )
- Even from the time of its origins, this episode provoked disappointment from the producers of Star Trek: Enterprise. "They were pretty much ready to fire me," David A. Goodman recalled about their reaction to the episode's script. ("Judgment" podcast/audio commentary) Thinking he himself did not manage to do "a very good job" of rewriting the episode, Brannon Braga even asked Rick Berman if there was a way to not have the episode broadcast. (ENT Season 2 Blu-ray "Destination: Unknown" special feature) Thanks to Braga, Goodman remained on the series, contributing to the writing of some later episodes. ("Judgment" podcast/audio commentary)
- In 2013, Brannon Braga has stated that he considers "Precious Cargo" to be one of the worst Star Trek episodes ever. (ENT Season 2 Blu-ray "Destination: Unknown" special feature) Though David A. Goodman did not take full responsibility for the end result of his initial script, he laughed, "I'm very proud of the fact that I've written one of the most hated episodes of Star Trek ever." 
- Among the items from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay were many crowbars. 
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
- Shawn Crowder as stunt double for Connor Trinneer
- Vince Deadrick, Jr. as stunt double for Scott Klace
Ardanan shuttle; automobile; bio-pod; bio-sensor; Chatkin Point; Chef; crowbar; dilithium hydroxyl; distress call; Earth; EPS conduit; escape pod; Everglades; first contact; First Monarch; Gulf of Mexico; homing beacon; humor; kilometer; Krios Prime; Kriosian; Kriosian battle cruiser; Sovereign Dynasty of Krios Prime; Sovereign Guard; Kriosian transport; life support system; logic; meter; methane; mosquitoes; nitrogen; oxygen; oxygen recycler; parking; phase cannon; pyrosulfate; Retellian; Retellian freighter; stasis pod; Sleeping Beauty; subspace threshold; universal translator; Vulcan High Command; warp frequency
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