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(written from a Production point of view)
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 that requires extensive repairs. Trip Tucker estimates that he needs three to four months to complete the repairs, assuming they can even find tritanium alloy. Moreover, the damage is so extensive that Enterprise cannot travel faster than warp 2.1, leaving Enterprise about a decade away from Jupiter Station. Meanwhile, Malcolm Reed is in the middle of rehabilitation following the serious leg injury he sustained while trying to disarm the mine. He is frustrated to learn it will be another week or two before he can return to duty.
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. It shows Archer, T'Pol, and Tucker a scan of Enterprise that displays even the most minor damage, such as Reed's injured leg and where Tucker scratched the ship with an inspection pod just before the ship launched. Even more interesting is the station's offer to completely repair the ship in less than a day and a half (work that would take Jupiter Station three months) 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. The station warns that crew members must not enter any area undergoing repair, and then sets to work.
The station's work is rapid and impressive, fixing systems in minutes that it would take days for the crew to repair. It also manages to completely heal Reed's leg, leaving no sign that he was ever injured. Despite all this, Archer is troubled that the station's builders are nowhere to be found, nor did they leave any kind of message. He also can't shake the bad feeling that such extensive repairs are being conducted for a relatively insignificant payment. T'Pol tries to alleviate his concerns, suggesting that the station's builders may have wanted to simply help other ships and wish to remain anonymous. Nevertheless, Archer is wary enough to decide he prefers Chef's cooking over the station's replicators.
In the station's mess hall, Tucker shares with Reed the fact that he is mystified that the station's computer core, despite being far more advanced than the one used by Enterprise, appears to be much smaller than they would have expected. The two decide to try and access the restricted compartment to have a look, but they are detected before they get too far and are transported back to Enterprise's bridge in front of T'Pol.
Archer gives the two a dressing down for acting without authorization and setting a bad example for the rest of the crew, but this is interrupted when he is informed that Ensign Mayweather has been 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, using Tucker and Reed's previous infiltration as an advantage. While Tucker keeps the computer occupied with banter, they easily disable the protective mechanisms and are surprised by what they find: dozens of unconscious bodies, connected to the computer. They are still alive, but (with the exception of Mayweather) their cerebral cortices have been reorganized by the station's core, causing irreversible brain damage.
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 Tucker 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 ruins slowly come together and begin repairing themselves...
Log entries Edit
- "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."
Memorable quotes Edit
"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
"These repairs are one hell of a bargain at only two hundred litres of warp plasma, don't you think?"
- - Archer, to T'Pol
"We're explorers. Where's your spirit of adventure?"
"I left it in a Romulan minefield."
- - Tucker asks a reluctant Reed to join him in getting a look at the automated repair station's computer
"Computer, begin recording. Subject's name: Ensign Travis Mayweather, Human male. Weight: 72 kilograms. Age: 26 Earth years. Far too young to be on this table."
- - Phlox beginning a post mortem on Mayweather's "corpse"
- - Sato asks Phlox if she can see Mayweather's "body"
"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
Background information Edit
Story and scriptEdit
- 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.
- As evidenced by its script, this episode had the working title "Slip Two". The final draft of the installment's script was issued on 8 October 2002.
- The automated repair station's medical re-generator was clearly a modified reuse of the exocomp from TNG: "The Quality of Life".
- The prop in the middle of the diagnostic room was evidently 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.
- Roxann Dawson not only directed this episode, but also performed as the voice of the automated station.
Reception and aftermathEdit
- 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 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 "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.
- This episode shows taken-for-granted Federation technologies, such as the food replicator and medical regenerator, before Starfleet has devised them for themselves.
- This was the second time Roxann Dawson voiced a spacecraft. 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 with the original voice).
- Ensign Mayweather has a model of the Nomad probe, in its initial configuration, in his quarters. The probe originally appeared in TOS: "The Changeling".
- According to Phlox's autopsy report, Mayweather weighed 72 kilograms, which equals 158.73 pounds. This seems rather light for a well-muscled man of 5'10".
- 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".
Video and DVD releasesEdit
Links and references Edit
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander 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
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- 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 science division crewman
- Mark Major as Vulcan
- Marnie Martin as an operations division crewman
2126; access port; alien medical device; automated repair station; bloodworm; bolt-coupling; Britain; catfish; cerebral cortex; Chef; computer core; confined to quarters; cytokinetic enzyme; deuterium; duranium; Earth; EPS grid; ethics; Fisher; gelatin; gremlin; Hayes; inoculation; isolytic surge; Jupiter Station; Mayweather, Rianna; meter; metacarpus; necrosis; phalanges; plasma conduit; polarized hull plating; practical joke; Regulan bloodworm; replicator; Rigelian fever; Romulan; strawberry; subspace amplifier; Tarkalean; Tellarites; Tellarite freighter; Tessik Prime; thermal fracture; transporter; transtator; Travis Mayweather (replica); ventricular fibrillation; vital organs; warp coil; warp plasma; water
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"A Night in Sickbay"