(written from a Production point of view)
The Enterprise discovers a ship that crashed on a Dyson sphere more than seventy-five years prior with a single survivor suspended in the transporter buffer: Captain Montgomery Scott.
The USS Enterprise-D picks up a distress call from the USS Jenolan, a transport vessel that has been missing for seventy-five years. As the Enterprise drops out of warp to respond to the signal, the starship is rocked violently by a massive gravitational field. Although initial scans do not find the source of the field, they trace the field to its center and discover a massive spherical structure, two hundred million kilometers in diameter (or a third greater than the Earth's mean distance from the Sun). The sphere's dimensions are consistent with those of the (until then) theoretical structure known as a Dyson sphere. The sphere's size creates massive gravimetric interference that interferes with sensors, preventing the Enterprise from locating it before the ship had dropped out of warp.
The Enterprise locates the Jenolan, having crashed on the surface of the sphere. Surprisingly, power readings are still emanating from the crashed ship and life support systems are still operating. Commander Riker, Lieutenant Commander La Forge and Lieutenant Worf beam aboard the Jenolan and find that, although some of the ship's systems are still functioning, there are no apparent signs of life. However, La Forge discovers that the transporters have been reconfigured in a strange manner – power has been drawn from the auxiliary systems (they were a regenerative power source) while the rematerialization subroutines have been intentionally disabled with the phase inducers being connected to the emitter array and that the pattern buffers have been locked in a diagnostic cycle. Furthermore, a pattern is still in the buffer and, amazingly, it has suffered almost no degradation. Riker wonders if someone could survive in the transporter buffer for seventy-five years and La Forge finds out by rematerializing the stored pattern. Captain Montgomery "Scotty" Scott materializes on the transporter pad.
After Scott thanks La Forge and Riker for rematerializing him, he runs over to the transporter console and attempts to retrieve a second pattern, that of Ensign Matt Franklin, but unfortunately, unlike the phase inducer that kept Scotty's pattern intact, the phase inducer responsible for doing the same for Franklin's pattern has failed – allowing it to degrade to less than 53% - too much for him to be rematerialized when the transporters cannot compensate. Riker offers his condolences and introduces La Forge and himself to Scott. When Riker explains that they came from the starship Enterprise, Scott reacts understandably, believing he was saved by a crew led by Jim Kirk in the USS Enterprise-A, and asks how long he was in the pattern buffers. Worf interrupts the conversation and Riker introduces the security officer to Scott. Learning that there is a Klingon serving in Starfleet, Scott realizes that he has been in the buffer for an extremely long time. When asked why he used the transporters to place himself and Franklin in such a state, Scott explains that although only he and Franklin survived the crash, there were too few supplies to survive long enough to be rescued.
After transporting back to the Enterprise, La Forge escorts Scott to sickbay while discussing some of the advances in technology over the past seventy-five years and the events leading to the Jenolan's crash. La Forge tells Scott that he is very impressed with his use of the transporter to survive, but Scott acts modestly, due to the fact that he lost his friend. In sickbay, Scott is diagnosed by Dr. Crusher with only minor injuries. Captain Picard enters and greets Scott in sickbay. He is surprised that Scott was on board the Jenolan, as the engineer wasn't listed in the crew manifest. However, Scott explains that he was traveling aboard the Jenolan as a passenger to the Norpin colony on Norpin V to enjoy his then recent retirement from Starfleet. When La Forge is ordered to study the Dyson sphere, Scott is eager to help, but Dr. Crusher advises him to rest. When Scott is escorted to his quarters by Ensign Kane, he is awe-struck at the luxury that he is entitled to, compared with starships of his time period. Scott, with much enthusiasm, reminisces to Kane about his years in Starfleet, but Kane has very little interest in Scott's nostalgia and returns to duty, leaving Scott alone, feeling much less enthusiastic and somewhat pensive about life in the 24th century.
As La Forge and his team are working on their spectrographic analysis of the sphere, Scott interrupts, insisting on offering La Forge his assistance. Lieutenant Bartel tries to inform him that engineering is restricted to authorized personnel only but La Forge allows him to stay. La Forge skeptically accepts Scott's offer for help and the team begin their duties. Meanwhile, on the bridge, Data reports to Captain Picard that the sphere was built around a G-type star and that its interior surface provides an environment much like that of an M-Class planet, but there are no apparent signs of inhabitants. Picard orders four probes to be launched to speed up the scans of the sphere. Back in engineering, Scott finds further advances and changes in technology that in his era were dangerous. La Forge is quietly becoming irritated until Scott offers advice on how to deal with Starfleet captains. When La Forge finally voices his frustration and tells Scott that he is in the way, the older officer leaves engineering in a disgruntled state.
Later, Scott arrives in Ten Forward and orders a drink of Scotch whisky. He is repulsed when he tastes the drink, realizing that it is not "real" Scotch. Data approaches and tells Scott about the use of synthehol to replace alcohol in the majority of traditional spirits. Data offers Scott a "real" alcoholic drink from Guinan's personal supply, pulling out a bottle with a neon green liquid inside. After being asked by Scott what it is, Data attempts a rudimentary examination by sight, smell and taste, but cannot describe it any more precisely than, "it is green" (an allusion to TOS: "By Any Other Name"). The engineer's reaction to this drink is much more pleasant and Data shortly pours him another glass.
In a slightly drunken state, with the bottle of green spirits and a glass in his hands, Scott arrives outside one of the holodecks and requests a simulation of the bridge of his ship. The computer states that his request is insufficient, so Scott angrily says he wants to see the bridge of the Enterprise. The computer then tells Scott that there have been five Federation starships with that name and asks Scott to specify by registry number. Scott then states in annoyance, "NCC one seven O one. No bloody A, B, C, or D." The computer accepts his instructions and creates an authentic replica of the bridge of the ship he served on for the longest duration. In an instant, Scott feels like he's come home. The sound of old-style duotronic instruments fills the air as Scott fondly remembers his time aboard his former ship. As he muses around, he notes the Enterprise in orbit of the planet Gideon on the viewscreen, as if no time has passed and raises a toast to his absent comrades. He sits down at his old engineering station and gives a deep, dejected sigh just as Captain Picard walks in after coming off duty and excuses himself for interrupting. Scott perks up and welcomes him into the simulation, offering Picard a drink, which he happily accepts. Just as Scott is about to warn Picard that it's not synthohol, Picard downs a glassful, which he instantly recognizes as Aldebaran whiskey and explains that he was the one who gave it to Guinan. Picard recognizes the bridge as that of a Constitution-class starship and explains that there's one in the fleet museum. Picard then recognizes the bridge as that of Scott's Enterprise. Scott then says he served on two, but this is the first one and the first ship he ever served on as chief engineer. Scott mentions that he served on eleven ships of varying class, but that Enterprise is the only one he misses or thinks about. Picard then recalls his first command on the USS Stargazer while taking a seat at Pavel Chekov's old navigation console. Picard describes the Stargazer as overworked, underpowered and always on the verge of flying apart at the seams. Picard says that while his Enterprise is far superior, there are days when he'd give almost anything to command the Stargazer again. Scott compares their feelings as to the first time a man falls in love and that he never loves a woman quite the same way. They then share a toast to the original Enterprise and to the Stargazer, Scott calling them "old girlfriends we'll never meet again." Picard then asks Scott what he thinks of the Enterprise-D. Scotty calls her a beauty, but laments that when he was on his Enterprise he could tell the speed of the ship by the feel of the deck plates. He then begins to feel gloomy and opines that he is in the way and obsolete in the 24th century. When Picard offers to let Scott peruse the updated technical manuals, Scotty refuses with a chuckle, saying that he can't start out again like a raw cadet. He says there is a time when a man knows it's time to quit and time to stop living in the past. He then shuts off the bridge simulation and leaves the holodeck feeling dejected but determined to start acting his age. Picard can only look on sadly as the legendary engineer exits, clearly feeling for the man.
The following day, Picard asks La Forge about recovering the logs of the Jenolan, but the engineer says that all efforts so far have yielded very little as the ship's computer core was heavily damaged when it crashed. Picard suggests having Scott assist in trying to recover the ship's logs; La Forge agrees that Scott would be of great help as he knows the Jenolan's systems better than anybody on the Enterprise and says that he'll send Lt. Bartel with Scott over to the Jenolan. At this point, the captain requests that La Forge personally accompany Scott back to the Jenolan to recover the ship's logs, hoping to make Scott feel useful again. While Picard makes it clear that this is a request, not an order, La Forge understands the captain's motive and gladly accepts.
In the morning, La Forge waits in the transporter room for Scott, who is late. He finally arrives and apologizes as they immediately enter the transporter, mentioning that he has a bit of a hangover from drinking the Aldebaran whiskey heavily the night before. As La Forge and Scott transport over to the Jenolan, Data discovers a communications array in close proximity to the Enterprise's current location, and the crew set a course for it. As the Enterprise arrives at the array, the crew discovers a large hatch in the Dyson sphere, which they presume is a front door. As they open hailing frequencies, the hatch opens and a series of powerful tractor beams pull the Enterprise inside the sphere, easily overpowering it.
Due to the fact that the resonance frequency of the tractor beams used to pull the Enterprise inside is incompatible with the starship's power systems, the relays for the warp and impulse drive overload and are rendered inoperable. The Enterprise has now lost primary and auxiliary systems and the ship is soon released from the tractor beams. However, because the Enterprise is still moving under the inertia of being towed in, it is heading directly for the star at the center of the sphere.
Back on board the Jenolan, Scott is having trouble with recovering the ship's log, calling the vessel "garbage." La Forge realizes that Scott is referring to both himself and the ship and tries to console him by saying that the basics of technology haven't changed a great deal in seventy-five years, the transporters of the Jenolan are still virtually identical to those of the Enterprise, subspace radio and sensors work on the same basic principles and that impulse engine design has changed very little in two centuries – long before Scott's time. La Forge adds that the Jenolan would probably still be in service had the vessel's structural damage not been so extensive. Scott is dismissive and retorts that nobody would want something as old as the Jenolan (and again hints at himself as well) but La Forge disagrees, saying that if the ship were in service, it could still "run circles around the Enterprise at impulse speeds – just because something's old, doesn't mean you throw it away." Scott feels much more welcome and a bond begins to form between him and La Forge. However, the moment breaks as Scott moves back to the console he was working on. He asks La Forge to retrieve a dynamic mode converter from the Enterprise, a tool which may help to recover the Jenolan's log entries. La Forge suggests using something similar but his call from his combadge to the Enterprise goes unanswered.
Back on board the Enterprise, the ship is three minutes from being destroyed by the star. However, Commander Riker has managed to restore thirty percent power to the maneuvering thrusters, although they will still not be enough to save the ship from destruction. It is not until power is diverted from the auxiliary relay systems to the thrusters that Ensign Rager manages to achieve a stable orbit in the photosphere of the star. Picard demands to know how and why the Enterprise was towed in and orders a scan of the sphere's interior for lifeforms. When La Forge and Scotty fail to locate the Enterprise, they realize that the starship must be inside the sphere. Although it seems impossible to repair the Jenolan's flight capability, the two engineers still try restoring power to the ship's engines.
On board the Enterprise, Data reports to Picard that the sphere is abandoned and the star is highly unstable, expelling matter and severe bursts of radiation. This explains why the inhabitants of the sphere must have abandoned it. The android postulates that the Enterprise may have unintentionally triggered an automated series of piloting beams which would guide a starship inside the sphere – this would explain why the Enterprise was pulled inside without anyone occupying the sphere. When the star emits a solar flare, the Enterprise raises her shields accordingly but the vessel's shields are only operating at 23%. To worsen matters, the solar flares are becoming larger and within three hours, the Enterprise's shields will no longer be enough to protect the starship from harm.
La Forge and Scott work on repairing the Jenolan's engines by jury-rigging the ship's supply of deuterium – La Forge initially insists that Scott's suggestion to send it through the auxiliary tank can't be done, but when he cites impulse engine specifications, Scott laughs, claims authorship of the regulation in question, and assures him that, while he knew the tank could handle the pressure, on paper a good engineer should be more cautious than in the field. Eventually, they are successful as power is restored. When Scott offers La Forge the command chair, La Forge is surprised as Scott is the senior officer. However, Scott tells La Forge that, while he holds the rank of captain, all he ever wanted to be was an engineer, and insists that La Forge take command of the Jenolan. La Forge finally accepts and Scott moves to the engineering console. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is heavily damaged by the star's solar flares, but Riker reports that partial impulse power has been restored. Picard asks Worf if the ship's phasers could be used to cut a hole through the shell of the sphere, allowing the Enterprise to escape, but the sphere is composed of carbon-neutronium and phasers (or any other of the ship's weapons) would be completely ineffective.
As the Jenolan slowly orbits the sphere, La Forge and Scott trace the impulse ion trail from the Enterprise to the hatch that the starship was pulled into. The ion trail's momentum distribution around the hatch suggests that the Enterprise's impulse engines were at full reverse and that the starship was dragged into the sphere unwillingly. La Forge and Scott realize that the hatches are access terminals (and not communications arrays), which are triggered by certain subspace frequencies, such as hailing frequencies. When the Jenolan opened hailing frequencies seventy-five years ago, the tractor beams locked on to the ship, severely damaging it and causing the vessel to crash on the surface of the sphere. Scott suggests positioning the Jenolan 500,000 kilometers, far enough away from the hatch, then opening hailing frequencies so that the hatch will open but the tractor beams will miss the ship. As the hatch would begin to close, the Jenolan would enter a gap between the doors and use the vessel's shields to hold the doors open for the Enterprise to exit the sphere. La Forge dismisses the idea as suicidal, but Scott pleads to him that the theory will work, as he has spent his entire life figuring out crazy ways to do things. Eventually, La Forge makes the decision to go ahead with Scott's plan.
The engineers wedge the Jenolan between the doors, the shields hold and La Forge manages to open a communications channel to the Enterprise. The starship receives the hail and sets a course for the hatch. The Jenolan suffers heavy damage while the craft is wedged in the hatch and La Forge tells Picard that the Enterprise will have to destroy the ship to escape. When the Enterprise is in transporter range of the Jenolan, Picard gives the order to beam La Forge and Scott back on board (with the Jenolan's shields still raised) and fire photon torpedoes, destroying the old vessel. The doors continue to close, but the Enterprise manages to exit the sphere. As La Forge and Scott walk off the transporter pad, Scott is cheerfully relieved to be returned to safety.
- "Captain's log, stardate 46125.3. Starfleet has dispatched two science vessels to study the Dyson sphere while we proceed to Starbase 55."
Later, La Forge tells Scott about the Enterprise's encounter with a newborn lifeform on stardate 44614.6. (TNG: "Galaxy's Child") It is obvious that a strong bond has formed between the two engineers. Scott was expecting La Forge to take him for a drink, but La Forge had different intentions. As they walk through the doors to one of the Enterprise's shuttlebays, the senior staff is revealed, standing in front of a shuttlecraft, the Goddard. Picard offers Scott the craft on "an extended loan" basis in thanks for sacrificing the Jenolan to save the Enterprise. Scott says that he won't be going to the Norpin colony as he had first planned. The senior staff bids Scott farewell: all shake hands, save Worf. Scott reveals his approval of the Enterprise-D, the crew and the starship's engineer. After shaking La Forge's hand, he begins to depart the Enterprise in his new shuttlecraft. "You take care of yourself out there," La Forge tells Scott. "Aye", Scott says before disembarking.
"Well, thank you lads."
- - Scotty to La Forge and Riker after being released from a transporter buffer after 75 years
"The Enterprise?! I shoulda known – I'll bet Jim Kirk himself hauled the old gal outta mothballs to come lookin' for me!"
- - Scotty, after his rescuers identify themselves
"You know, I think you're going to enjoy the 24th century, Mr. Scott. We've made some pretty incredible advances these last eighty years."
- - La Forge, to Scotty
"How are you feeling?"
"I don't know. How am I feeling?"
"Other than a few bumps and bruises, I'd say you feel fine for a man of 147."
"And I don't feel a day over a hundred and twenty."
- - Picard, Scotty, and Dr. Crusher
"Well, I'll say this about your Enterprise... the doctors are a fair sight prettier."
- - Scotty, referring to Dr. Crusher
"Good lord man, where have you put me?"
"These are standard guest quarters sir, I can try and find something bigger if you want."
"Bigger? In my day, even an admiral would notta had such quarters aboard a starship!"
- - Scotty marveling at the size of his quarters with Ensign Kane misinterpreting his exclamation
"Starship captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. The secret is to give them what they need, not what they want."
- - Scotty, offering La Forge advice on handling Starfleet captains
"I told the Captain I would have this diagnostic done in an hour."
"And how long will it really take you?"
"Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would really take, did you?"
"Of course I did."
"Oh, laddie, you have a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker."
- - La Forge and Scotty, revealing the secret to his reputation
"I was drivin' starships while your GREAT-GRANDFATHER was still in diapers! I think you'd be a little grateful for some help! I'll leave ya to work, Mr. La Forge."
- - Scotty, to La Forge, after being told that he is in the way
"Laddie, I was drinking scotch a hundred years before you were born. And I can tell you that whatever this is, it is definitely not scotch."
- - Scotty, after drinking synthehol
"Synthetic scotch, synthetic commanders..."
- - Scotty, aloud to himself on synthehol and Data
"It is... it is... it is green."
- - Data, attempting to analyze Aldebaran whiskey
"Please enter program."
"The android at the bar said ya' could show me ma' old ship. Lemme see it."
"Insufficient data. Please specify parameters."
"The Enterprise! Show me the bridge of the Enterprise, ya' chatterin' piece of..."
"There have been five Federation ships with that name. Please specify by registry number."
"NCC-1701. No bloody A, B, C, or D."
"Program complete. Enter when ready."
- - The Computer and Scotty, about the first starship Enterprise on the holodeck
"... Here's to ya', lads..."
- - Scotty, on the holodeck recreation of the empty bridge of the Enterprise (NCC-1701), raising a toast to his long-gone crewmates
"Would you have a drink with me, Captain?"
"I don't know what it is, exactly, but I would be real careful, it's real..." (Picard downs it in one gulp before he can heed this warning)
"Aldeberan whiskey... (noting the surprise on Scotty's face)... who do you think gave it to Guinan?"
- - Scotty and Picard
"Ah, it's like the first time you fall in love. You never love a woman quite like that again. To the Enterprise and the Stargazer – old girlfriends we'll never meet again."
- - Scotty, discussing with Captain Picard the ships on which they first served as chief engineer and captain, respectively
"When I was here, I could tell ya the speed that we were travelin' by the feel of the deck plates."
- - Scotty, talking about his Enterprise (NCC-1701), compared to the Enterprise-D
"There comes a time when a man finds he can't fall in love again. He knows it's time to stop. I don't belong on your ship. I belong on this one. This was my home. This was where I had a purpose..."
- - Scotty, to Picard on the recreated NCC-1701 bridge
"Computer, shut this bloody thing off!"
- - Scotty, asking the computer to end the holodeck program
"Bunch of old, useless garbage..."
- - Scotty, referring not only to the Jenolan's systems but to himself as well
"Just 'cause something's old doesn't mean you throw it away."
- - La Forge, referring not only to the Jenolan's systems but to Scotty as well
"The tank can't handle that much pressure."
"Where'd you get that idea?"
"What do you mean, where did I get that idea? It's in the impulse engine specifications."
"Regulations 42/15: 'Pressure Variances in IRC Tank Storage'?"
"Forget it. I wrote it...A good engineer is always a wee bit conservative, at least on paper."
- - La Forge and Scotty
"Take the bridge, commander."
"Oh no... you're the senior officer here."
"Oh, I may be captain by rank... but I never wanted to be anything else but an engineer."
- - Scotty and La Forge
"I have spent my whole life trying to figure out crazy ways of doing things."
- - Scotty to La Forge
"See now that wasn't so bad, was it?"
- - Scotty to La Forge
"A good crew... and a fine ship – a credit to her name. But I've always found that a ship is... only as good as the engineer who takes care of her – and from what I can see, the Enterprise is in good hands."
- - Scotty's parting words to La Forge
Background information Edit
- The transporter loop premise of the episode originated from a story pitch that freelance writer Michael Rupert had submitted earlier, and which already suggested a character from eighty years before suspended in a transporter loop. The story was rejected, but as episode writer Ronald D. Moore recalled, when it was realized that the "transporter loop" concept might be useful, "The story didn't work and we didn't really like it, but the notion of someone staying alive in the transporter was a neat gimmick so we bought the premise from him." It was colleague Michael Piller who came up with the suggestion of using the "gimmick' in conjuncture with a Star Trek: The Original Series character. "Michael said, "That's a neat gag. I wonder if we could use this to bring back an original series character?" Everybody started to prick their ears and we started going through who it could be.", Moore continued. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 22)
- The writers considered other characters from The Original Series, including Kirk, before selecting Montgomery Scott for this episode. As writer Moore claimed in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed. p. 219), "McCoy is old, Spock's playing James Bond on Romulus – and we couldn't do Kirk; it would raise too many other things. Nothing against the other characters, but Scotty seemed like the one with the most fun quotient." In regard to the other Original Series characters, Moore has added, "It seemed like Scotty was the best choice. We'd seen Spock and then you look around and realize Scotty was the character that you could have the most fun with because you knew a lot about him. Sulu, Chekov and Uhura are fine characters, but they don't have a lot of the qualities Scotty did: the obsession with engines, the drinking. We knew we could do a relationship between him and Geordi. He was sort of ready-made to do this kind of a show." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 22)
- This episode marked the definitive break, following hard on the heels of the previous season two-part episode "Unification", featuring Spock, of the hitherto policy of the producers of shying away from any allusions to the illustrious predecessor of The Next Generation. As Moore explained, "I think in the earlier seasons we felt this show had to go and prove itself. We made the decision very early on that we weren't going to pick up any old plot lines and we weren't going to talk about those guys and we weren't going to have their sons and daughters on the show. This was going to stand on its own. And that philosophy drove the show for quite a while." This was emphasized in the internal studio document, Star Trek: The Next Generation Writer'/Directors' Guide, otherwise known as the "Writer's Bible", where it was specifically stated that "We are not buying stories about the original STAR TREK characters: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Chekov, Scotty and Sulu. Or their descendants; As much as we love our original cast (they are our children, after all), we want our audience's attention centered now on our new characters." (3rd ed. August 1989, p. 34) Moore continued, ""Sarek" [note: in which Sarek whispering "Spock" once, was as far as the writers dared to go] was the first time we felt comfortable enough to sort of start to acknowledge it history a little bit more and then after "Unification", I think they sort of felt "Well okay, that wasn't so bad, we can do this without really destroying who we are and we can do shows that make references to the old series without destroying our own." So when "Relics" came around to do, here wasn't a big cry and debate about it." How sensitive this matter still was at the time, was evidenced by Co-Producer Michael Piller, who added, "One of the great things about "Relics" is that it wasn't a Scotty show. It was a concept about an engineer or a captain being caught in a transporter beam that we came upon. I thought we were going to have problems with Mr. Berman who generally doesn't like to do that gag but oddly enough he was in a good mood that day. Rick has opened up his mind in a lot of ways. When I came onboard you could not mention the old STAR TREK in an episode. You couldn't make a reference to a character without making major problems. When we brought Sarek onto the show it was like, "My god, we had to march across the street and pay homage." But now because we are firmly established I think everybody feels a lot more comfortable that we have proven ourselves. We don't owe anything to the old STAR TREK, except like the guys who went to the moon, the Mercury guys had to go up there first. And we respect them for that, but we're not depending on them anymore, so we don't have to bend over backwards not to mention them." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 22)
- Originally, it was Brannon Braga who was slated to write the episode, but he, wanting to write the upcoming episode "A Fistful of Datas", also conceded, "I knew I couldn't possibly write it. I didn't even know who Scotty was. This was a Ron [Moore] show." Moore, an avid Original Series fan, subsequently took over, "I asked to do it and they let me write the story. Rick [Berman] said he would approach Jimmy about it and see if he was interested. He gave him a call and it became a go. And then I broke the story and everyone was really happy with it and we just went ahead and did it.", to which Braga added, "Ron really brought that show to life and he was the only guy who could do it justice." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 22)
- Much of the drama in the episode stemmed from the initial friction between Scotty and Geordi, which writer Moore had purposely inserted to underscore the differences between the two characters. Moore explained, "Scotty never wanted to be anything else but an engineer. He was happiest in the engine room. The ship was a living being to him. She was a lady and there was a whole different philosophy. And with Geordi, although he loves his job and was having a good time at it, it's not the same thing. Geordi used to be on the bridge. I'm sure he wants to command his own ship some day [note: and in an alternate reality he did, as captain of the USS Challenger in Star Trek: Voyager's fifth season episode "Timeless"], like probably most engineers in the fleet do. Scotty was a little different and he had a different relationship." Science consultant for the episode and another Original Series fan, Naren Shankar chimed in, and added, "Scotty and Geordi are probably the two most different people you could ever imagine. Ron felt very strongly about that. He correctly pointed out that Geordi had not been an engineer his entire life, it's sort of like he ended up that way. He was a bridge officer first season and Ron's point, which is arguable, is that Geordi doesn't think of himself as an engineer. Geordi is the kind of guy who when he wants to relax might go to the beach or play some classical guitar music or hang out. Scotty is the kind of guy who will go into his room and read technical manuals. Scotty is an engineer through and through and he likes to break rules and do things in an unorthodox manner. He likes to tinker and Geordi is not that way, so I think it's reasonable that they clashed initially." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, pp. 24-25) Moore's and Shankar's notions were ultimately carried over onto the screen in Scotty's lines in the scene where he relinquishes command of the Jenolan to Geordi, even though he outranked him.
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- The Dyson sphere was named after scientist Freeman Dyson, who envisioned a real-world postulate in 1959, although the actual sphere that Dyson theorized was not a solid object like the one visualized in the episode. Dyson, who himself never took his idea too seriously, said in a later interview that, while the science behind it was "nonsense", as TV viewer he enjoyed the episode .
- The concept of the Dyson sphere as a B-story premise, had actually already been circulating among the writing staff for years, but until then the opportunity has never arisen to utilize the notion, "It was something that we were trying to put in for a long time and it became a standing joke", noted Moore. Once "Relics" came up the opportunity finally afforded itself and Naren Shankar went to work to beef out the concept, "I originally thought the interesting thing would be to make it a partially complete Dyson's Sphere. It ended up being a completed Dyson's Sphere that was uninhabited. When Ron had written about the Dyson's Sphere in the teaser, he wrote "tech" and I gave him the numbers for the size of it. He was shocked that it was so big. It was like the equivalent of four million earths. It's huge. If you build something the size of the sun's orbit, you're talking about a sphere with a diameter of two hundred million miles." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 27)
- For the Star Trek episode, both exterior as well as interior maquettes were built at Gregory Jein, Inc., while the initial full-sized exterior view and interior long views were executed as matte paintings by Eric Chauvin (The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 220), even though the episode's Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes had originally a CGI approach sequence in mind, that never came to fruition as CGI at that point in time was still too cost prohibitive. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 275) For further information on the maquettes, see: Dyson Sphere maquettes.
- Prior to writing this episode, Ron Moore attended the Holodiction Star Trek Convention in Sydney, Australia. He and his party were taken to a nightspot where Ron's dancing caused him to be labeled "a rager" (Aussie slang at the time for a party animal). They were later taken to the famous Jenolan Caves, which impressed Ron greatly. On returning, he wrote this episode, which contained an "Ensign Rager" (Captain Picard pronounced it "ray-guh"), and the USS Jenolen (sic), a Sydney-class transport. (Astrex newsletter)
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- The studio model of the USS Jenolan was originally designed and built by Bill George and John Goodson at ILM for use as the SD-103-type shuttle in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and was, refurbished at Gregory Jein, Inc., subsequently reused for this episode to become the downed vessel. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Special Edition), text commentary; TNG Season 6 DVD-special feature, "Departmental Briefing Year Six - Production") As it later turned out, Jein or one of his modelers had erroneously mislabeled the model as the USS Jenolin, but fortunately the misspelled name has never been clearly discernible on screen, until 2014, when the episode was remastered. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 171) For further information on the studio model, see: SD-103 model.
- The visual and sound effects of the USS Jenolan's transporter were directly taken from those of the Enterprise's transporter from The Original Series. It was because of the intimate knowledge the episode's Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry, also an Original Series fan, had of The Original Series, that the effect visuals were included, as he recalled, "We used the original Star Trek transporter sparkle. I used to work at Cinema Research [note: one of the Original Series visual effects companies], and I remembered that in the bowels of their stock footage storage room was an old box labeled "Star Trek Transporter Sparkle". We blew the cobwebs off, dug through, pulled out the strip of film, and discovered it was in perfect condition." (The Next Generation 365, p. 274) The accompanying sound effect, the original transporter whine, was located by Co-Producer Wendy Neuss, yet another fan, in the studio's own archive. (The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed. p. 219)
- "Relics" was filmed in early August 1992. Geordi actor LeVar Burton and James Doohan were interviewed on set and parts of this interview can be seen in "Mission Overview Year Six - A Visit from Scotty", a special feature on the TNG Season 6 DVD.
- Director Alexander Singer had some trepidations about the initial antagonistic Geordi-Scotty relationship and at first didn't agree with Moore's assessment who stated that he "(...) always had an understanding that it wasn't going to destroy Geordi's character. In a sense Geordi was right. Who is this guy to be hanging around my engine room and giving me a hard time? I knew as long as he played him straight and eventually made him sort of see Scotty's point of view and understand and be a little sympathetic, I knew it was going to work." Singer on the other hand, was afraid that Geordi's early attitude would backfire among audiences that were naturally sympathetic towards Scotty, but while working with Burton came around to Moore's thinking, "I had not worked with LeVar [Burton, who plays Geordi] so what I did was meet with him to talk to him about it. I don't think he's done that before. I figured it's a new guy and I'd talk to him but I think he was a little annoyed because in effect I wanted to be reassured that he understood that balance. LeVar's feeling was of course I understand it, if I don't understand this, I don't understand anything. It turned out that LeVar is like the cast in general, some of the best actors I've ever worked with anywhere and in the scenes it was possible to fine-tune the performance. Sometimes the guys hit the right level immediately, just instantly. Sometimes we had to work for it. The combination of hostility turning into affection was very moving to me." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 24)
- Singer also had some trepidations about Scotty actor James Doohan's ability to pull off the episode at first, "The next intangible was that I had never worked with Doohan. I felt that potentially the show was a kind of classic and I understood exactly what I had in my hands. I did not know physically what shape Doohan was in. There was a lot of dialogue and I don't think he ever did a show in the old STAR TREK where he had this much drama and this many notes to hit. I had seen the STAR TREK movies and I think that's still true. I don't think he ever was in the center, he was peripheral and in this episode he was the center. By the time we came to the scene on the old STAR TREK deck, he was not only the center but he had to support a very powerful dramatic scene. It's a scene that in reading it, I choked up [note: Singer too, was a life-long Original Series fan]. Part of me is very hardheaded and realistic and the part of me is very romantic and very sensitive and I was deeply moved by that story." Doohan, however, more than allayed Singer's reservations, especially when the two men met at a private pre-production meeting, "I wanted to meet him first so we didn't meet [for the first time] on the set. He came in graciously and we talked. His delight in doing the show and his manner reassured me enormously. I think that he wanted me to be comfortable and he wanted me to have a sense that he could indeed carry this load and he convinced me. And subsequently I think there was only one day, one scene where he had a very technical page of technobabble, and he was utterly exhausted at the end of a very long day, that we had any problems whatsoever. For the rest of it he was delight to work with, and he got all the jokes, so to speak." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 24) If there had been any lingering doubt about Doohan's capabilities, that was definitively dispelled when filming the bridge scene indeed moved both Singer and his visiting, down-to-earth wife to tears, as he has admitted. (The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed. pp. 219-220)
- As originally scripted, Scotty was to have interacted on the recreated bridge with his old shipmates, via clips from The Original Series. This was cut for budgetary reasons. (The "Relics" novelization, chapter eight, does show Scotty interacting with the rest of his shipmates in a new setting and even Picard participates for a while when he comes to visit Scotty.) The producers ultimately did get to combine Original Series footage with "present-day" action, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's homage episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", which featured both Scotty (in archive footage) and Worf.
- This is the first episode of Star Trek to be directed by Alexander Singer. For Singer, an ardent science fiction fan, this was a particularly satisfying experience, as he had already wanted to work on The Original Series in the 1960s, "I was across the lot for a few years doing Mission: Impossible [like Star Trek, a Desilu production], and I wanted to work with Star Trek. I met Gene Roddenberry and, for one reason or another, it hadn't worked out. So the aspect of the Scotty character and his resurrection had a kind of multiple resonance. Having Jimmy Doohan there, I felt I was in the middle of some kind of mythic experience myself." (The Next Generation 365, p. 273) However, he found his first Star Trek commission a daunting one, "I was very concerned about the special effects and how they would fit into a television schedule. I had never done that many special effects in a whole show riddled with these things so that was my central concern." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 23) Singer was to continue to direct a host of additional episodes for the television franchise, not only for The Next Generation, but for the spin-off productions Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager as well.
- The episode as finished was a source of immense pride and emotions for those production staffers, especially The Original Series fans, who had worked on it. Stated writer Moore, "I think it's the most enjoyment I've had in writing an episode. It's the best I've done in a personal sense. It meant the most to me out of a lot of things I've written because it resonates with my interest in STAR TREK from way back. I'm not sure if in the cold light of day it's the most brilliant thing I've ever written, but it had a lot of meaning for me." Even those production staffers who did not work on the episode, such as Story Editor Rene Echevarria, were moved, "All I can say was, as a fan, I didn't even read it, I just watched it. It was delightful, and the scene on the bridge was just wonderful. It just brought a tear to the eye and in the Ten Forward scene, "it is green" was a wonderful reference. The Dyson's Sphere I thought looked terrific, and the escape from it was a nice Millennium Falcon moment which was actually deftly done." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 27)
- First UK airdate: 2 August 1995
Bridge set Edit
Considerable effort was put in the recreating the bridge of the original Enterprise for Scotty's scenes on the holodeck by the production staff. For a detailed treatise on the recreation of the original bridge, please refer to: Constitution-class sets:"Relics"
Deleted scene Edit
- It does appear a tad incongruous that, as she never interacted with him anywhere during the final episode, Troi would kiss Scott goodbye. A scene with Troi talking to Scott in his quarters was shot, but deleted from the final episode. Troi actress Marina Sirtis recalled a bit ruefully, "That was purely a matter of how long the episode was. That happens a lot. What didn't make sense was why I was kissing at the end if she never met him. It's because the scene was cut." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 27) Moore additionally explained, "It basically has Troi coming to counsel Scotty, and at first he's very friendly to her, but then realizes she's a therapist and gets pissed that Geordi thinks he's crazy. It was this scene that sent him to Ten Forward to get a drink." (AOL chat, 1998) The scene did appear in the novelization (pp. 106-109) of the episode.
- Cut for running time reasons, the deleted scene was originally slated to be Act two, Scene 20, of the script. For writer Moore it was hard to let the scene go, "I hated to lose all that, but the show was eight minutes long and something had to go. It would have been nice to explain why she comes up and kissed him at the end!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 29) Elaborating on the content of the scene Moore has additionally stated, "He didn't understand what she was there to do. She says. "Hi, I'm the ship's counselor." He says, "Oh yeah, what can I do for you?" She says, "Well, I want to see how you're doing." He says, "Fine, the replicator is working." He thinks she's a waiter or maid or something and then finds out she's a psychologist and freaks out because he thinks Geordi sent her there. There was also a little bit more character stuff from Scotty about feeling out of place. He used to have a function on a ship like this and now he doesn't. That was a difficult thing for someone like him." Yet, despite his personal feelings, Moore went on by admitting, "But I don't think we missed it in the final cut, the story still works without it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p.27)
- Moore also intended to use the cut scene for dealing with the earlier The Next Generation appearances of Leonard McCoy and Spock, which was ultimately circumvented in the episode as aired, thereby leaving Scotty, canonically at least, unaware that they were still alive. As Moore explained, "There was a line between Troi and Scotty that got cut. She said, "Would you like to know what happened to all your friends and family?" And he said, "No, I'm not ready to hear that." That was the closest allusion we were going to make. It would clutter it up by bringing up Bones and say Mr. Spock is now James Bond, underground on Romulus. You would have to talk about everybody else and we didn't want to say what happened to everybody because we didn't want to lock ourselves in." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, pp. 30, 35) These lines too, were incorporated in the novelization (p. 108).
- Having become somewhat of a discussion piece in Star Trek lore in the intermediate years, the scene was ultimately uncovered in 2014 from the CBS Television Studios archives for The Next Generation remastered project, while the release of the 2014 TNG Season 6 Blu-ray collection was being prepared.  While remastered footage from deleted scenes were on occasion reinserted in earlier episodes for inclusion as "Extended Versions" on earlier blu-ray releases, in this case the scene was merely included as one of the "Deleted Scenes"-special feature.
- Scotty's belief that the Enterprise was 'hauled outta mothballs' is referring to the Enterprise-A, which was decommissioned in 2293 in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, one year before his trip on the Jenolan. This is the closest any official Star Trek production has come to establishing a canon fate for the 1701-A.
- "Relics" makes many references to TOS, including the episodes "Elaan of Troyius", "Wolf in the Fold", and "The Naked Time", representing each of the three seasons of The Original Series, as well as Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (since Scotty tells Picard he served on two different Enterprises). In return, at the end of the episode, La Forge tells Scotty about the events of "Galaxy's Child", which occurred two seasons before.
- Scotty scolds Geordi for being honest with the Captain and telling him exactly what to expect instead of making him expecting less and then offering more. Indeed, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock he hints to Kirk that he might overstate some problems to make a better name of himself after he solves them.
- Data's line about the Aldebaran whiskey – "It is green" – is a reference to TOS: "By Any Other Name", in which Scotty had a similar line describing an alcoholic beverage while getting the Kelvan Tomar drunk. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)
- There is an inconsistency between this episode and scenes in Star Trek Generations which were written and filmed after it but set before it. In Generations, Captain James T. Kirk was presumed dead on the USS Enterprise-B's maiden voyage. This takes place before Scotty boarded the Jenolan to go to the Norpin colony. However when Scotty is beamed back on board the Jenolan in "Relics" he says "The Enterprise... I shoulda known. And I'll bet it was Jim Kirk himself who hauled the old girl out of mothballs to come looking for me", suggesting that Kirk was still alive when Scotty was en route to the Norpin colony. StarTrek.com attributes the conflicting line of dialogue in "Relics" to the character being momentarily disoriented after having been stuck inside the transporter system of the Jenolan for three quarters of a century.  In the unofficial continuity of William Shatner's novels involving Kirk's resurrection in the 24th century, in the novel The Return, a comment is made that Scotty, along with a few others, had held the belief that Kirk had somehow survived the events aboard the Enterprise-B.
Episode writer and Generations co-writer Ronald D. Moore has stated that he included Scotty in Generations out of affection for the character, in full knowledge of and despite the inconsistency. (AOL chat, 1997) In the Generations novelization, Guinan tells a distraught Chekov that Kirk is, in fact, alive within the Nexus ribbon.
- Note that La Forge and Scotty are beamed off of the USS Jenolan before it is destroyed, despite the fact that they did not drop the ship's shields to allow transport beforehand. The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion mentions this error and that the error wasn't discovered by the staff until after the episode aired. It has since been retcon-attributed to the shields being focused fully fore and aft to hold the doors, allowing transport as the remainder of the ship was uncovered.
- This is the second episode in which the Enterprise-D crew discover 23rd century Starfleet ship and captain, initially unaware of the passage of time. The first was Captain Morgan Bateson, along with the crew of the USS Bozeman in "Cause and Effect".
- This episode shows Troi wearing a new hairstyle. This style is a low pony tail, with curls framing her face. This style is kept for several episodes before the style changes again in "The Quality of Life".
- Writer Ron Moore was allowed to indulge his fondness of the Original Series even further, when he was given the chore of co-writing the script for the later Deep Space Nine cross-over episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", which events largely took place during those of the original episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". He wrote the script together with fellow fan Rene Echevarria, who now, having missed out on "Relics", was given the opportunity to work on Original Series characters and events.
Cast and characters Edit
- James Doohan is the fourth and final actor from The Original Series to reprise his role in Star Trek: The Next Generation. DeForest Kelley appeared in "Encounter at Farpoint", Mark Lenard appeared in "Sarek" and "Unification I", and Leonard Nimoy appeared in "Unification I" and "Unification II". During the first season of The Next Generation, Doohan had strong words about the series, believing it to be rehashing a number of episodes the classic series had done. It was not until his family made him sit down and watch The Next Generation did he finally appreciate the new series. While a bit too crass in regard to season one, he was not entirety wrong in his assessment, as there were some episodes that were essentially rehashes of original crew episodes, such as "The Naked Now" (from "The Naked Time") and, due to a writers' strike, the second season episodes "The Child" (originally a likewise titled episode written for the abandoned Star Trek: Phase II television series) and "Unnatural Selection" (from "The Deadly Years").
- A novelization of the episode by Michael Jan Friedman was published by Pocket Books.
- This episode was featured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Viewers Choice Marathon, where it was ranked the fifth favorite episode based on voting from fans.
- The book Star Trek 101, by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, lists this episode as one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
The "Relics" storyline has been followed up in three separate comic book stories:
- "Out of Time", in which Scott helps Morgan Bateson cope with being lost and out of time,
- "Old Debts", in which Scott encounters Koloth before the events of "Blood Oath", and
- "The Wake", in which Scott (and Spock) visit with McCoy on his deathbed.
Home media format releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episodes tape, CIC Video): Volume 65, 26 April 1993
- UK VHS release (two-episodes tape, CIC Video): Star Trek - Crossovers Set, catalog number VHR 4223, 6 November 1995
- US VHS release (two-episodes tape, Columbia House): Volume 64 of Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Collector's Edition, catalog number 13036, 1995
- US VHS release (single episode tape, Paramount Home Video): Volume 130, catalog number 40270-230, 3 March 1998
- Japan LaserDisc release (two-episodes disc): Star Trek: The Next Generation - Log 11 collection, Part 1, catalog number PILF-2435(02), 21 December 1997
- US LaserDisc release (two-episodes disc): Volume 64, catalog number LV40270-227, 31 March 1998
- US/UK DVD release (four-episodes disc): TNG Season 6 DVD collection, 2 December 2002
- US DVD release (four-episodes disc): The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Volume 2 collection 17 November 2009
- US/UK Bluray release (five-episodes disc): TNG Season 6 Blu-ray collection, 24 June 2014
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
- Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
Guest stars Edit
Special guest star Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Joe Bauman as Garvey
- Michael Braveheart as Martinez
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Cullen Chambers as civilian
- Tracee Lee Cocco as Jae
- John Copage as civilian
- Tony Cruz as Lopez
- Debra Dilley as operations division ensign
- Hal Donahue as command division lieutenant
- Gunnel Eriksson as science division officer
- Grace Harrell as operations division officer
- Hawthorne as civilian
- Christie Haydon as command division ensign
- Mark Lentry as science division lieutenant
- Debbie Marsh as civilian
- Michael Moorehead as science division ensign
- Keith Rayve as civilian
- S. Reed as Burton
- Victor Sein as command division officer
- Noriko Suzuki as operations division ensign
- Talbot as Ten Forward waitress
- John Tampoya as operations division ensign
- Curt Truman as command division officer
- Mikki Val as operations division officer
- Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
- Christina Wegler Miles as command division ensign
- Unknown performers as
- David Keith Anderson - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Carl David Burks - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Michael Echols - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Joyce Robinson - stand-in for Lanei Chapman
- Richard Sarstedt - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Dennis Tracy - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
47; Aldebaran whiskey; Argelius II; articulation frame; Brahms, Leah; chief engineer; class 4 probe; class M; Code 1-Alpha-Zero; computer; conduit interface; Constitution-class; deck plate; deuterium; diagnostic mode; diaper; dilithium; Dohlman; duotronic enhancers; dynamic mode converter; Earth; Federation; Federation science vessel; Fleet Museum; Dyson, Freeman; Dyson sphere; Elaan; Elas; emitter array; Enterprise, USS; EPS; Franklin, Matt; frequency; G-type star; gigawatt; Goddard; gravity well; Guinan; hairline fracture; holodeck; hotel; humerus; impulse engine; impulse engine specifications; IRC storage tank; isolinear chip; Jenolan, USS; Kirk, James T.; level 4 diagnostic; life support; matter stream; memory core; A Midsummer Night's Dream; multiphase autocontainment field; neutronium; Norpin colony; Norpin V; number one; pattern buffer; phase inducer; phase lock; phase 7 survey; phaser; photosphere; plasma intercooler; Psi 2000; resonator array; rematerialization subroutine; Scotch whisky; shock; short range scan; sickbay; sling; solar flare; spectrographic analysis; Stargazer, USS; subspace radio; Sydney-class; synchronous orbit; synthehol; technical schematics; toast; tractor beam; transport ship; transporter; warp field
Further reading Edit
- "The Making of "Relics"", Mark A. Altman, Cinefantastique, Vol 24 #3/4, 1993, pp. 22-27
- Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, 1994, pp. 144-145
- "Relics", Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., 2003, p. 218-220
- "Relics", Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, 2010, pp. 273-275
- "Relics" script at Star Trek Minutiae
- "Relics" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
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