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Relics (episode)

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TNG, Episode 6x04
Production number: 40276-230
First aired: 12 October 1992
129th of 176 produced in TNG
129th of 176 released in TNG
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 176 released in TNG Remastered  
237th of 728 released in all
Montgomery Scott, 2369
Written By
Ronald D. Moore

Directed By
Alexander Singer
46125.3 (2369)
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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 two-thirds of the Earth's orbit around 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.

USS Jenolan crash-landed

The USS Jenolan, crashed on the surface of the Dyson sphere

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.

Act One

After Scott thanks La Forge for rematerializing him, he runs over to the transporter console and attempts to retrieve a second pattern, that of Ensign Matt Franklin, but unfortunately, one of the phase inducers has failed and the transporters cannot compensate – Franklin's pattern has degraded too much for him to be rematerialized. 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, 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 with only minor injuries. Captain Picard greets Scott in sickbay and is surprised that he 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 retirement. 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 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.

Act Two

Dyson sphere exterior

The Enterprise in orbit around the sphere

Aldebaran whiskey, 2369

Data offers Scott a bottle of Aldebaran whiskey

As La Forge and his team are working on their spectrographic analysis of the sphere, Scott interrupts, insisting on offering La Forge his assistance. La Forge skeptically accepts Scott's offer 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 for 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" (a reference to TOS: "By Any Other Name"). The engineer's reaction to this drink is much more pleasant.

Act Three

Scottys memories

Scotty remembers the good times on board "his" Enterprise

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. Scott fondly remembers his time aboard his former ship, even drinking 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 of the drinks' strength, Picard downs a glassful, which he instantly recognizes as Aldebaran whiskey and tells Scott 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. 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, 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 asks 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. 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.

Act Four

Dyson sphere interior

The Enterprise-D is pulled into the sphere

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 it "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 virtually identical to those of the Enterprise, subspace radio and sensors work on the same basic principles and that impulse engine design has changed 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 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 the starship manages to achieve a stable orbit in the photosphere of the star. Picard demands to know 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 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 protect the starship.

Act Five

USS Jenolan in dyson sphere hatch

The Jenolan is wedged between the enormous doors of one of the Dyson sphere's hatches

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. Eventually, La Forge makes the decision to go ahead with Scott's plan.

Scottys farewell

The senior staff bids Scott farewell

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 Jenolan. 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 Enterprise's shuttlebay, 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. Scott reveals his approval of the Enterprise-D and the starship's engineer. After shaking La Forge's hand, he departs the ship in his new shuttlecraft.

Memorable quotes

"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?"
"An hour!"
"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

"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
This was nearly the same line as Scotty's description of a similar beverage to the Kelvan Tomar in "By Any Other Name"

"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?"
"Thank you!"
"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

Story and production

  • 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" (ironically, a term already applied to similar documents used for The Original Series), 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" [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 the 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 he show it was like, "My god, we had yo 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 own 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)
LeVar Burton and James Doohan

Burton and Doohan between filming

  • Director Alexander Singer initially had some trepidations about actor's James Doohan ability to pull off the episode, "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 cane 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 that 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. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed. pp. 219-220)
  • "Relics" was filmed in early August 1992. 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.
Greg Jein with Dyson sphere model

Dyson sphere interior maquette with builder Jein

  • 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 himself, 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 [1]). For the Star Trek episode, both an exterior as well as an interior maquette was built at Gregory Jein, Inc., while the initial full-sized exterior view was executed as a matte painting by Eric Chauvin (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 220), even though the episode's visual effects supervisor David Stipes had originally a CGI sequence in mind, though that never came to fruition (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)
  • The studio model of the USS Jenolen was originally built by Bill George 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")
  • 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 bowls 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." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 274) The accompanying sound effect, the original transporter whine, was located by Co-Producer Wendy Neuss, in the studio's own archive. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed. p. 219)
  • 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.
  • It was Moore, who suggested recreating the bridge as a set, having already done so a year earlier for the USS Bozeman in "Cause and Effect", but like on that occasion, the idea was initially nixed for budgetary reasons. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed. p. 219) Piller recalled, "We had Scotty and the Ron came up with this wonderful idea of recreating the old starship. It was an interesting dilemma because it was a very expensive proposition. It was actually cut out after the first meeting with Rick and the production people." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 23) Yet, this time around, Moore was not ready to let go of the idea, and continued to look into the possibilities. Ultimately, after Piller suggested renting fan-built replicas or maquettes, it was Production Designer Richard James who came up with a cost effective suggestion, of building only a wedged-shaped part of the bridge and have it composited with a blue screen matte using suitable film elements from the old series as background, if such footage could be found. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed. p. 219) "My initial reaction was what we wound up doing," James elaborated, "I said if they could find a clip of the original bridge of the Enterprise, then we could take that film clip and do blue screen and I could just build a piece of the original ro shoot the actors against. When Scotty walks in and sees an empty bridge, what he sees is a blue screen. Then I explained that we could take the actor across the blue screen and puick him up walking into the frame again and he'd be against the real set at that point." Supervising Producer David Livingston, who originally vetoed the construction of the set, was elated at James' suggestion, "I said we couldn't build the bridge. I'm sure I did. If I didn't, I should have. But that's when Richard brought up looking at the original show and seeing if we can get "stock footage" off of it. That was like manna from heaven." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 25)
  • That suitable Original Series footage was the footage of the empty bridge seen in the background, when Scotty entered the holodeck. It, again, was Curry who remembered the empty bridge scene of the original Enterprise from The Original Series episode, "This Side of Paradise". (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 274) The scene, color corrected and enhanced, was looped into the longer footage as eventually featured in the episode. Due to the "looping" of the scene, and blue screening it behind Doohan, the small, wedge-shaped part of the set, though somewhat cramped, served exceptionally well, as it could be used to represent different parts of the bridge by slightly redressing it and using different camera angles. Ironically, Doohan did not appear in the episode from which the footage was taken. The shot of the original viewscreen (with no one sitting at the helm/navigation console) was recycled from "The Mark of Gideon". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 219)
  • When Scotty first enters the holodeck, there is another red alert light visible behind him that was not present on the original bridge set. In terms of filming, the set designers removed the dedication plaque from the turbolift foyer to create the illusion of a different part of the bridge, thereby saving money on building more of the set.
TOS bridge in Relics

The Enterprise bridge set pieces built for "Relics"

  • The replicas of the captain's chair and helm, and navigational console were built by Steve Horch for convention purposes and slated to appear in the 1993 Star Trek Earth Tour traveling exhibition. [2] Discovered by Michael Okuda shortly before the start of the tour, they were rented for the recreation of the original bridge, and from a budgetary standpoint were instrumental in pulling off the recreation (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd. ed., p. 219), Okuda having flat-out stated, "If not for Steve Horch, we would not have that scene.". (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 274) Returned to Horch after use, the now bona-fide screen-used set pieces, together with the by the studio built wedge-shaped bridge panel, continued their existence as tour displays. They (or copies thereof) were again rented from Horch six years later, for use in the above mentioned homage episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". [3] A third, more complete, Original Series bridge was constructed several years later for the Star Trek: Enterprise double episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", representing the bridge of the USS Defiant.
  • "Relics", once approved, was quickly realized by the studio to be of singular emotional importance to Original Series fans, due to the visual reconnection with that series within the Next Generation framework, despite the earlier appearances of Sarek and Spock. In order to give them what they wanted, the studio somewhat relaxed the not hiring fans as production staff proviso, allowing those who were to come "out of the closet", as the episode writer Ron Moore (who, incidentally, was one himself) has put it, he having further stated, "A lot of people put in a lot of extra effort and didn't get paid for it and put in a lot of extra hours to make that possible and just bit the bullet because they wanted to do the scene." Production staff fans of the Original Series, aside from Curry, like Okuda, Doug Drexler, and Jein (providing several screen-used Original Series captain's chair's buttons, given to him by Original Series Visual Effects Supervisor Jim Rugg, for use in the episode), poured their hearts and souls into the making of the episode's Scotty bridge scene. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 26) Realizing the scrutiny the episode would be under, Moore additionally acknowledged, "The people in the production department put in a lot of extra hours and a lot of free work because they really wanted it to look good. They really wanted to sweat the details because they knew everyone was going to be watching us–it's the kind of thing you better not screw up or you're going to be hearing about every little thing!" (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 219)
  • How powerful a visual reconnection with the Original Series the set proved to be, while the episode was in production, was evidenced by a slew of visiting Star Trek alumni, many of whom not involved with the production of the episode, but who were during the production of the Original Series. Visiting dignitaries included Robert Justman (who had left the franchise five years earlier), Walter Koenig (Chekov), Majel Barrett and Paula Block, among many others. Michael Okuda took it upon himself to make sure that the visiting (ex-)staffers had the opportunity to visit the set. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 274)
  • 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." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 273) 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • First UK airdate: 2 August 1995


  • "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 ofThe 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. attributes the conflicting line of dialog 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. [4] 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 novelization of Generations, 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 crew discover and rescue a 23rd century Starfleet 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".

Cast and characters

  • 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.


Home media format releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest stars


Special guest star


Uncredited co-stars



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; 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; holodeck; 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; pattern buffer; phase inducer; phase lock; phase 7 survey; phaser; photosphere; plasma intercooler; Psi 2000; resonator array; rematerialization subroutine; Scotch whisky; short range scan; sickbay; solar flare; spectrographic analysis; Stargazer, USS; subspace radio; Sydney-class; synthehol; technical schematics; tractor beam; transport ship; transporter; warp field

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