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The Augments (episode)

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"The Augments"
ENT, Episode 4x06
Production number: 082
First aired: 12 November 2004
81st of 97 produced in ENT
81st of 97 released in ENT
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 97 released in ENT Remastered  
710th of 728 released in all
Malik2154
Written By
Michael Sussman

Directed By
LeVar Burton
May 27, 2154
Arc: Soong's Augments (3 of 3)  
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Dr. Soong's Augments acquire additional Augment embryos as well as biological weapons from Cold Station 12. A desperate plan is devised to use the biological weapons to foment a war between the Klingons and Earth in an attempt to flee Earth's control forever.
(Part 3 of 3)

Summary

As the episode opens Captain Jonathan Archer has just reached the primary junction in the central core of Cold Station 12. The Captain has 40 seconds to divert the power to the secondary relays in order to isolate the central lab and keep "hundreds" of lethal pathogens from reaching the lab personnel as well as the Enterprise away team inside the lab. Unfortunately the Captain can't completely stop the pathogens from being released; as the clock reaches zero he's informed by the lab manager that the ventilation grid will carry the pathogens throughout the rest of the station, including the central core. At that point he has less than a minute before he becomes contaminated.

Because Enterprise, situated nearby, is unable to obtain a transporter lock on Archer due to interference within the central core, Archer orders Commander T'Pol to fire the starship's phase cannons at exterior hatch J-9 to decompress the station's central core. As the pathogens begin to be released, Enterprise destroys the top of the shaft where Archer is located. The captain is blown out of the central core due to decompression. As he clears the top of the central core into space, Archer is quickly beamed back aboard Enterprise.

Elsewhere, Malik tells Doctor Arik Soong that their stolen Klingon Bird-of-Prey has "crossed into Klingon space." Soong asks about the Enterprise, and is informed that the ship is holding its position. Soong notes that "Archer's not foolish enough to follow us." Malik responds that Archer won't be following them, as Malik believes Archer's dead. This triggers an angry confrontation between Dr. Soong and Malik.

Dr. Soong becomes furious, shouting "No one was to be killed without my express order!" When Malik tries to excuse his actions, Soong interrupts and tells Malik that if Malik disobeys him again that he'll lock Malik in the Bird-of-Prey's targ pit where Malik "won't see the light of day for a month." Still in a state of anger and unsatisfied with the ship's lack of speed, Soong attempts to reassert authority over Malik by ordering him to engineering to repair the port inducer assembly, which Enterprise damaged at the end of the second episode. Malik balks, saying he's not an engineer. Soong tells Malik to go back anyway; "You're a bright boy, Malik, I'm sure you'll figure it out." Malik then leaves the bridge in a sulk.

Meanwhile, still in temporary command of Enterprise, T'Pol records a log entry.

"First officer's log, supplemental. We've evacuated the away team and all personnel from the station. The captain shows no sign of infection. He's recovering in sickbay."

Archer, T'Pol, Doctor Phlox, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed and Commander Charles Tucker discuss plans to stop Dr. Soong and his Augments in Enterprise's sickbay. Reed notes there are half-a-dozen Klingon patrols that will intercept Enterprise if it follows the Augments' stolen Bird-of-Prey into Klingon space. To better the odds in Enterprise's favor the Starfleet officers decide to emulate a Klingon warp signature in order to slip past the Klingon patrols. T'Pol reports that the Dr. Lucas and his team are anticipating their return to Cold Station 12 to begin decontamination of the station. Commander Tucker notes "that's quite a mess they gotta clean up." T'Pol says that Dr. Lucas estimates it will take "more than a year" to fully decontaminate the facility.

On the Bird-of-Prey, Dr Soong talks of taking the Augments to an area flooded with radiation from supernova remnants. He refers to it by its Klingon name of "Klach D'Kel Brakt", or more colloquially as the "Briar Patch". Dr Soong knows that there are signs of at least two habitable planets and it would be difficult to find them within the clouds of radiation. Malik impatiently interrupts Dr. Soong with "This is your plan? To hide, again." Dr. Soong tries to explain the need for a safe haven for the embryos to develop. Malik tries to reason with Dr. Soong that Starfleet won't give up, that they'll send other ships to pursue them, that the "gas cloud" won't protect them. Soong asks Malik what Malik would do, but Malik is uncertain, only that running away is not the answer. Malik then asks if Dr. Soong is familiar with Botany Bay, a "pre-warp vessel launched at the end of the Great Wars." Malik goes on to recount how the vessel left with many of "their brethren", including their leader Khan Noonien Singh. Dr. Soong states that Botany Bay is "a myth" and no evidence it ever existed. Malik believes that it does, but his point is that Khan made the fatal mistake of running from his enemies rather than facing them. Malik does not want to make that same "mistake" but instead wants face Starfleet rather than constantly running and hiding. Soong ends the argument by stating that "the matter is not open to debate." He orders the ship to head to the Briar Patch.

As the Augments head towards the Briar Patch, Enterprise positioned itself on the border to Klingon space. Commander Tucker reports that the warp coils have been realigned to look like a Klingon battle cruiser, but Commander Tucker warns the Captain "this trick's not gonna work if we get within 80,000 kilometers." The Captain puts the Enterprise on tactical alert and orders a course into Klingon territory at warp 4.

Meanwhile, back on the Bird of Prey, Malik enters Dr. Soong's temporary laboratory. Dr. Soong tells Malik "you have to stop challenging my authority in front of the others." Malik responds with "Can't a son disagree with his father? I thought we were family." Soong tells Malik he's willing to overlook what he's done up to that point, but that Malik has to trust that Soong knows what is best for the group. Soong: "You used to have faith in me!" Malik: "I was a child then, I didn't know any better." Soong begins to talk about how it wasn't easy after he left, but Malik interrupts by asking about the embryos. Malik realizes Soong is manipulating the embryos DNA, to remove aggression and violent behavior. Malik: "You're changing its personality." Soong: "I'm correcting a defect in its genome." Soong goes on to tell Malik that genetic engineering was in its infancy when he was conceived, and that they weren't able to correct "all the mistakes." Malik takes exception to that analyisis. Malik: "What right do you have to tamper with their genome?" Soong: "Trust me... I know what I'm doing!" Malik "You don't know that this is a defect. Maybe this is the way our creators wanted us to be." The discussion is interrupted by a signal from the bridge: a ship is approaching at high warp.

The ship is quickly identified as the Enterprise. Soong orders an increase in speed as the Enterprise arms torpedoes and Captain Archer orders Soong to drop out of warp or face the consequences. Malik is in shock as Soong remarks Archer "sounds pretty confident for a dead man." The Augments shoot first with little effect; Enterprise returns fire causing aft damage to the Bird of Prey. Malik wants to engage Enterprise, while Soong does not, noting Enterprise out-guns them "three-to-one." In desperation Soong orders that the Denobulan pilot be placed on board the shuttle. The Bird of Prey makes a detour to a star system with a gas giant, where Soong ejects the shuttle into the gas giant's atmosphere between two "thermal layers." Enterprise, following, sees everything. Soong hails the Enterprise, telling Archer that the shuttle pilot is fine and will stay that way for "the four or five hours" it will take Archer to mount a rescue. Archer acknowledges the situation he's in, allowing Soong to escape.

While the Enterprise works to rescue the Denobulan, Soong and the Augments are working on repairs to the Bird of Prey. Malik has worked to cloak the warp trail so that Enterprise cannot easily reacquire their position. Malik quickly tells Soong of the two dozen canisters of biogenic agents he beamed aboard the ship from Cold Station 12. Soong is immediately horrified by the act. Malik tells Soong the biogenic agents can be placed aboard a torpedo, and Soong assumes Malik means to fire it at the Enterprise. Malik quickly fills Soong in on his idea to fire it at a nearby Klingon colony named Qu'Vat. Malik quickly outlines how hitting the colony with the agents would kill every living thing. Malik's reasoning is that once the Klingons learn it was humans who decimated their colony, they would declare war on Earth and keep them "busy for years." Soong immediately recognizes it as mass murder, but Malik will not be dissuaded. Soong tries to order Malik back to the bridge, but Malik no longer has any fear or respect for Soong. Malik" "What happened to you in prison? You're not the man who raised us. The man who was willing to do whatever was necessary."

Later, in Malik's quarters, Malik tells Persis that he is ready to take command away from Soong. Persis is reluctant to go along, but Malik tells Persis that while Soong may have raised them, "he'll never be one of us." Malik is angry that Soong will not go along with Malik's play to use the biogenic agents as a weapon to launch the Klingons and the humans at each others throats, protecting the Augments from both. Malik tells Persis that Soong is altering the embryos genome, "making them weak and docile like ordinary humans." This is a change that Malik can't abide. In the end Malik convinces Persis to go along with Malik's plans of mutiny. Not long after Malik, Persis, and two other Augments take Soong prisoner in his lab and lock him in his quarters.

While confined to quarters, Persis visits Soong and explains why she went along with Malik; Malik would have killed her if she hadn't. Soong understands, then tells Persis that if Malik deploys the weapon he will confirm what Earth has always feared about the Augments, in the process destroying them all. Soong tries to plan some way to disable some key ship system, but in the end both Soong and Persis realize Soong needs to get off the Bird of Prey. Persis takes the internal systems off-line and helps Soong to leave in an escape pod. Not long after Enterprise picks up the pod's automated distress beacon, pulling the pod and Soong back aboard the Enterprise.

Soong soon finds it difficult to explain to Archer why he came back, and to try to get Archer to stop Malik and his plans. In the end Soong tells Archer about the 300 kg of biotoxins are missing from Cold Station 12's inventory, and the Malik intends to use them on the Klingon colony. Archer already knew about the loss. Soong tells Archer about Malik: "You saw what he did on the station; you know what he's capable of." Archer: "You didn't know. You had to see him murder someone in front of you." Soong tries to tell Archer that if Soong had been there for them none of that would have happened, but Archer tells Soong that in the end "none of that would have mattered. It's in their nature... Superior ability breeds superior ambition. One of their creators wrote that. He was murdered by an Augment."

Soong is soon helping Enterprise crew to track the Augments in their Bird of Prey. T'Pol is concerned that Soong is leading them into a trap, but Archer believes Soong. To get the to colony, the ship has to travel at a high warp speed that might compromise the phony warp signature.

Back on the Bird of Prey Malik confronts Persis in private, determining that Soong escaped with Persis' help. In the end Malik and Peris fight, and Malik kills Persis.

Because of the Enterprise's high warp, a Klingon D-5 class battle cruiser picks up Enterprise's warp signature and recognizes them as an "Earth vessel." The D-5 attempts to board Enterprise, but Archer, using the ship's grappler, manages to damage the D-5's port nacelle, leaving the D-5 disabled while Enterprise escapes.

Malik's scans of the colony reveal three population centers, two in the southern hemisphere and one in the northern. Malik plans to detonate over the southern in order to maximize the number of casualties. Problems with the torpedoes guidance systems and the appearance of Enterprise on their long range sensors complicated Malik's plans. As is typical of Star Trek stories, there's problems with Enterprise's engines making an intercept with the Bird of Prey over the target colony problematic. In the end Malik launches the bioweapon, but Enterprise manages to fire a trio of torpedoes, one of which manages to destroy the bioweapon.

In a fire-fight with the Bird of Prey, Soong tells Archer where the Bird of Prey is most vulnerable. Archer fires a torpedo at the most vulnerable part of the Bird of Prey, disabling the ship. Malik prefers to die rather than be captured and proceeds to overload the dilithium matrix, causing the Bird-of-Prey to explode. Malik however manages to transport himself onto the Enterprise unnoticed and attacks Archer and a guard in an attempt to kill Soong for betraying the Augments, but Archer manages to kill Malik.

Back on Earth Soong is taken back to his very clean cell. Soong remarks "You'd at least let me finish my work before you take it away and destroy it." Archer replies that none of his prior work during his time in prison has been destroyed and is stored in a secure location for potential future use. Soong doubts that will ever happen.

Soong, now believing that humanity cannot be perfected, instead turns his attention to building an artificial lifeform

Memorable Quotes

"Come on. It's not like we would have made an ideal couple. A Vulcan and a Human? Romeo and Juliet probably stood a better chance."

- Tucker to T'Pol, a reference to Spock, who was a Vulcan-Human hybrid


"Is there something we can do to keep from showing up on their sensors?"
"I could paint a bird of prey on the hull."

- Archer and Tucker


"How long can we sustain warp five?"
"As long as the captain wants it. Or until we blow up, whichever comes first."

- Soong and Tucker


"Target the bridge."

- Archer


"Botany Bay is a myth! There's no evidence it ever existed."

- Arik Soong


"You could at least let me finish my work before you take it away and destroy it..."
"No one's destroyed anything. It's being stored in a secure location - maybe someday, we'll figure out how to use it to benefit humanity."
"I wouldn't count on it."

- Soong and Archer


"I've been thinking - perfecting humanity...may not be possible. Cybernetics...artificial lifeforms...I doubt I'll finish the work myself...might take a generation or two..."

- Soong, back in his cell, thinking towards the future

Background Information

QuVat colony display
The Qu'Vat colony
  • This episode concludes the "Augment" story arc.
  • The scene of a gravely-injured Malik crawling through the ruined bridge is slightly familiar and possibly a homage to a very similar scene with Khan in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
  • The Briar Patch from Star Trek: Insurrection is mentioned here by Arik Soong as a place of refuge for his Augment children. Both Brent Spiner (Soong) and director LeVar Burton had starred in Star Trek: Insurrection. Soong also claims that the Klingon name for the Briar Patch is Klach D'Kel Brakt, which was mentioned by Kor in DS9: "Blood Oath" as the site of a great victory by the Klingons over the Romulans.
  • LeVar Burton had not directed an episode of Star Trek featuring Brent Spiner since TNG: "The Pegasus".
  • This three-part story arc established that in the 22nd century, genetic engineering was completely banned on Earth after the Eugenics Wars, even for genetic research which could be used to cure critical illnesses. At the end of the story, Archer expresses his hope to Dr. Soong that research into genetic engineering that could cure life-threatening diseases would actually be resumed. According to Dr. Bashir in DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume", by the 24th century genetic engineering was indeed used by that time to treat serious medical conditions, though trying to genetically engineer Humans with "superior" abilities was still banned.
  • At the end of this episode, Arik Soong claims "I've been thinking, perfecting Humanity may not be possible. Cybernetics. Artificial lifeforms. I doubt I'll finish the work myself; might take a generation or two." This is a direct link to the Soong family's work in upcoming centuries, which see the creation of the androids B-4, Lore, Data and Juliana Tainer by his great-grandson Noonian Soong.
  • This episode was heavily edited by Channel 4 when they broadcast it in the UK, removing the whole of the fight between Malik and Persis and its conclusion. As a result, Persis simply disappears from the episode without explanation.
  • John Billingsley called the episodes making up the Augments arc some of the best work of the season. [1]
  • The talk about the Botany Bay and Khan foreshadows the events of TOS: "Space Seed".
  • This episode's ending on a positive note suggests that Soong may eventually be released from prison. At this point, it wasn't clear if he had fathered any children yet as no existing family was mentioned.

Links and references

Starring

Guest Stars

Special Guest Star

Co-Stars

Uncredited Co-Stars

References

Australia; biogenic agent; Botany Bay; Botany Bay, SS; Briar Patch; coil assembly; Cold Station 12; cybernetics; D5 class; Denobulan; Denobulan shuttle; dilithium matrix; dispersive armor; engineer; escape pod; Eugenics Wars; garbage scow; Great Wars; Klach D'kel Brakt; Klag (Governor); Klingon; Klingon battle cruiser; Klingon Bird-of-Prey (22nd century); Klingon chancellor; Klingon High Council; Klingonese; Qo'noS; M'Rek; megahertz; lovers' quarrel; Mississippi; Orion slave girl; Orion; Panama City; penal colony; phase cannons; Qu'Vat colony; Romeo and Juliet; Singh, Khan Noonien; tactical alert; targ pit; transponder; Tucker, Charles II; universal translator; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); warp coil; warp signature; Xindi incident

External link


Previous episode:
"Cold Station 12"
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 4
Next episode:
"The Forge"
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