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Fortunate Son (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

The Enterprise is sent to assist the Fortunate, an Earth freighter that has been attacked by Nausicaan pirates. But the Fortunate may not be as innocent as it seems.

Summary Edit

Aboard the cargo ship ECS Fortunate, Captain Jackson Keene and first officer Matthew Ryan play a game of low-gravity football in one of the cargo bays, while they discuss the ship's operations. Their talk is interrupted by the arrival of Nausicaan pirates, who launch an attack on the ship.

Enterprise, being the only ship in the area, is called away from its mission of dropping subspace amplifiers and ordered to help the Fortunate. As they approach the freighter, Mayweather briefs the rest of the crew on what they can expect to find, including that most freighters are slow and lightly armed, but that the crews are used to dealing with problems on their own. On arrival, T'Pol reports that the Nausicaans have left the area, and that the Fortunate has moderately heavy damage; the ship's structural integrity seems fine, but most of the major systems appear to have been disabled by targeted strikes. The Enterprise gets no response to hails, and so Mayweather flies Archer, Reed and Phlox over to the freighter.

On arrival, the Enterprise crew are greeted by Ryan and the rest of the freighter's command crew, who report that Keene was badly hurt in the attack, but that they can handle the damage and require no further assistance. Phlox insists on treating Keene, however, and then Archer insists on sending engineering crews over to help speed up repairs. Ryan eventually agrees to both of these with some trepidation, not wanting to raise suspicion, but also wary of the Enterprise crew finding that he's holding a Nausicaan prisoner.

Aboard the Enterprise Ryan initially bonds with Mayweather due to their shared background of having grown up on freighters. Mayweather discusses his early life on the ECS Horizon, while Ryan reveals that he was born on the ECS North Star, a freighter which was destroyed in a pirate attack; Ryan survived, but his parents, who were crewmembers, did not. The mood of the discussion quickly sours after that, with Ryan taking offense to Travis's suggestion that he upgrade the warp drive of the Fortunate to a faster model, and then accusing Travis of having betrayed his family by choosing to join Starfleet rather than staying on and replacing his father.

Aboard the Fortunate, T'Pol becomes suspicious when she finds that the crew have disabled the internal sensors, and decides to run a full scan of the ship when she returns to the Enterprise. A little while later, Ryan is summoned to Archer's quarters under the pretense of discussing the repairs, only for Archer to confront Ryan about the captive Nausicaan. Archer tells Ryan that taking prisoners is immoral and asks that the Nausicaan be handed over, so that he can be returned to his people. Ryan refuses to do so, on the grounds that this at best would achieve nothing and at worst would embolden the Nausicaans, and so Archer decides to force the issue by telling Tucker to remove all the newly-installed components from the Fortunate, which will leave her stranded and helpless.

Ryan seemingly caves in, but dupes Archer, T'Pol and Reed into entering an empty cargo bay, which he then blasts through the outer hull of before detaching it from the rest of the ship, and then attacking the Enterprise and disabling her sensors before warping away. Once the Fortunate is safely at warp, Ryan interrogates the captive Nausicaan and demands the shield frequency of his ship, intending to take on and destroy it.

With its faster warp drive, the Enterprise is able to effect repairs and begin chasing down the Fortunate before it leaves sensor range. During the journey, Mayweather asks Archer whether or not they should be interfering with this matter, but Archer tells Mayweather that Ryan's actions are immoral and driven solely by revenge, and gently reprimands Mayweather for questioning his orders.

When the Fortunate finally chases down the Nausicaan freighter to an asteroid field, it turns out that not only did their prisoner give fake shield frequencies, but that the asteroid field is home to a heavily armed Nausicaan base. Ryan only becomes even more determined, believing that they can destroy the entire base and deal a crippling blow to Nausicaan operations in this area of space, but the rest of his crew argue that they're out of their league. The matter is soon rendered moot, as the Fortunate is attacked and quickly loses all engine power, and the Nausicaans begin to board her.

The Enterprise arrives on the scene, and hails the Nausicaans. The base's commander is initially bullish, saying that because the Fortunate attacked them, the ship and the lives of her crew are forfeit. He orders the Enterprise to leave the area, threatening them with same fate if they do not comply. Archer, on the other hand, points out that while the Nausicaans may have the numerical advantage, Enterprise is far more heavily armed than any of their ships. The Nausicaan Commander sees sense, and consents to letting the two Earth vessels leave if the prisoner is returned unharmed.

Archer tries to get Ryan to hand over the Nausicaan, without much success, as Ryan continues to point out that unless they send some message to the Nausicaans, their attacks on Earth freighters will continue. Archer and Mayweather dismiss his argument, however, pointing out that he has surrendered the moral high ground by taking a hostage and launching a sneak attack on the Nausicaan base. Mayweather further points out that, if anything, Ryan's actions are guaranteeing that any future attacks by the Nausicaans will be even more violent, and that not only will he be responsible for the death of his own crew, he will be endangering the lives of many more freighter crews, including Mayweather's own parents. On hearing this, Ryan finally caves in and surrenders.

Some time later, Archer meets with Captain Keene, who has finally regained consciousness. Archer offers to take Ryan into custody and take him back to Earth to stand trial for his actions, but Keene asks that Ryan not be charged with anything. He intends on punishing Ryan himself, by demoting him to the lowest-ranking crewmember on the Fortunate. Both captains regret that things got to this point and that Ryan could not look past his need for revenge, but agree that it is the right course of action, and Keene says that next time the Fortunate makes port, he will install the warp drive upgrade that Ryan had earlier scorned. The two captains shake hands, before the Enterprise departs.

Log entries Edit

  • "Captain's starlog, supplemental. We've picked up a faint warp trail that could be the Fortunate, but we won't know for sure until our long-range sensors are back on-line."

Memorable quotes Edit

MayweatherMakesAFunny

Mayweather explains a side benefit of traveling in a ship with a top speed of Warp 1.8

"The Earth Cargo Ship Fortunate. Y-class freighter. Maximum Speed: Warp 1.8. Crew complement: 23."
"Not counting newborn babies."
"Ensign?"
"I grew up on a J-class. A little smaller, but the same basic design. And one thing I can tell you is that at warp 1.8, you've got a lot of time on your hands between ports... That's how my parents wound up with me."
"Do you have any helpful information on this vessel beyond its... recreational activities?"

- T'Pol and Mayweather, as T'Pol gives a dry briefing on the Fortunate
Nadine

Nadine playing hide and seek


"Ready or not, here I come! Have you seen Nadine?"
"I'm sorry. I don't know which child is named 'Nadine'."
"Thanks!"
"I just told him the truth."

- Boy, T'Pol, and Nadine during a game of hide and seek as Nadine hides


"I want those codes!"

- Matthew Ryan to his Nausicaan prisoner


"They say that for a split second, you can actually feel yourself in both places at once."
"Why do you think I wanna try it?"

- Ryan and Mayweather on Enterprise's transporter


"Warp 1.8 works just fine for us. Any faster and there'd be no time to enjoy the trip."

- Ryan, after Tucker tells him things are going to change when faster engines get installed in freighters


"You ever think about doing something else?"
"You mean join Starfleet?"
"The food's not bad."

- Mayweather and Ryan


"Get down!"
"Under the circumstance, I defer to your experience."

- Reed and Phlox, in the middle of a firefight


"Ryan, you're making a big mistake!"

- Archer, when Ryan and Fortunate personnel fire at him and the away team


"The Nausicaans. Ryan's after revenge, sir."
"A very primitive emotion but it would explain his irrational behavior."
"It's rational to him."

- Mayweather and T'Pol, trying to determine Ryan's motive


"Just because someone wasn't born on Earth doesn't make them any less Human."

- Archer, explaining to Mayweather why the crew of the Fortunate can't kill Nausicaans as a matter of revenge


"Any other orders of mine you'd like to question?"
"Not today, sir."

- Archer and Mayweather

Background information Edit

Script, cast, and production Edit

Continuity Edit

  • Mayweather mentions to Ryan that Starfleet has plans to build three more NX-class ships in the near future (Enterprise itself, the lead ship of the class, having launched only four months previously). The next NX-class ship, Columbia NX-02, was seen when it was introduced later in the series: first while still under construction in the season two finale "The Expanse", as well as when it was ultimately launched, in the season four episode "Affliction".
  • This episode features the first on-screen appearance of the Nausicaans in Enterprise. The outing also depicts the first official contact between Starfleet and the Nausicaans.
  • Admiral Forrest references the scans Enterprise took of the comet in "Breaking the Ice" as being "incredible."
  • The end-of-transmission screen from Admiral Forrest references the signal as relayed from Relay: Echo 1/Transponder 4. A Relay that hadn't been deployed yet.

Reception Edit

Video and DVD releases Edit

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Guest stars Edit

Co-stars Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stand-insEdit

References Edit

47; able crewman; Archer's Comet; away team; batter; bioscan; Chef; Columbia NX-02; debris; dilithium; dilithium ore; distress call; Draylax; Draylaxian whiskey; Earth; football; Fortunate, ECS; Fortunate, ECS personnel; freighter; hide and seek; Horizon, ECS; hydroponics; ice cream; inorganic; J-class; Jupiter Station; kiloton; Mayweather, Rianna; meatloaf; Milky Way Galaxy; "mystery meals"; Nausicaa; Nausicaans; Nausicaan pirate ship; North Star, ECS; NX-class; NX-03; NX-04; nutri-pak; pet skunk; pirates; plasma cannon; polarized hull plating; quartermaster; "boomer"; Starfleet Command; steak; subspace amplifier; Teneebian skunk; transporter; Vega colony; warp three engine; Y-class


Previous episode:
"Civilization"
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 1
Next episode:
"Cold Front"

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