(written from a Production point of view)
Enterprise is attacked by an unknown alien starship, as Archer orders the crew to install experimental "phase cannons". Meanwhile, Sato is ordered to find out what Reed's favorite food is for a birthday dinner.
Enterprise NX-01 launches Echo Two, a subspace amplifier. Hoshi Sato wants to run some tests, which will take about an hour. Malcolm Reed then detects an alien ship. Their configuration is unknown, but the captain tries to hail them, sensing an opportunity for first contact. Unfortunately, he gets no reply. The vessel then warps away, leaving Captain Archer to surmise, "Was it something I said?" The only information Malcolm Reed is able to gather from their first contact is that their ship is protected by a sensor-dampening field, preventing the Enterprise from scanning the vessel.
Sato guesses that perhaps Enterprise's signal didn't make sense to the alien ship, but T'Pol thinks that they simply didn't understand their motives. Travis Mayweather thinks the aliens didn't find them interesting. As Archer tells them to calibrate the new subspace amplifier, Sato speaks to the captain in private, saying that she has tracked down Reed's parents, which currently live in Kotabaru, Malaysia.
Stuart and Mary Reed speak to Captain Archer, thinking that perhaps Malcolm is in trouble. Archer finds out that they don't even know what position Malcolm has taken aboard Enterprise. When Archer tells them he is an armory officer, Mr. Reed says that Malcolm's grandfather would be pleased – he was an ordnance officer in the Royal Navy. Mrs. Reed says that the Reeds have been Navy men for generations. Archer then says that he is going to be making a special dinner for Malcolm's birthday, and he would like to know what he likes to eat. However, they don't know if he has a favorite food, as he "always ate what was put in front of him." Ending the conversation, Archer finds Sato and asks her to find out instead. Sato thinks that maybe Chef would be a better choice, but Archer claims that as it is a "delicate assignment", it needs her "finesse." Sato says that she's busy, but Archer orders her to complete the task.
Archer is talking to Trip Tucker. Tucker missed "dinner and a show" – T'Pol's latest bout with chopsticks. Tucker has been catching up with people from home. He received a letter from "the Natalie from Pensacola", who thought that their long distance relationship wouldn't work – after all, they are 100 light years apart. Archer then talks about Reed, saying that they don't know much about him at all. Their conversation is cut short however, as the Enterprise drops out of warp and Archer is called to the bridge; the alien ship has returned.
Archer tries hailing the alien vessel again, although the results are the same as the previous attempt. Sato then picks up something, and a high-pitched squeal is heard, temporarily startling the bridge crew, who clasp their hands over their ears in pain. T'Pol says that they're being scanned, as the alien ship comes about and fires on the defenseless Enterprise, before going to warp. Nobody is hurt in the attack. Reed managed to get some scans when the vessel fired, as their shielding dropped for just a few seconds. He detects at least fifteen bio-signs, but T'Pol doesn't recognize the species. Reed doubts that their torpedoes would have made much difference anyway. Archer tells them to stay on long-range sensors, and leaves the bridge with T'Pol.
Archer, T'Pol, and Tucker assess the damage caused by the alien's attack. Archer says that Enterprise just wasn't equipped to handle some of the threats they are facing. There are phase cannon ports, but the weapons weren't installed because of their early departure from Earth. He suggests they should head back. However, Reed and Tucker are convinced they can install the phase cannons within two weeks; Archer mentions that the crew at Jupiter Station is trained for the work. Tucker assures Archer that his engineers are just as good, but Archer says that other systems need overhauls as well. Reed asks for permission to start the work, as it would mean less time in spacedock. Archer gives them the green light, and as they get to work, Archer orders Mayweather to set a course for home.
Reed and Tucker go over the specs for the phase cannons with the engineering crew. They must get their only cannon working and build two more from scratch. Tucker believes they can finish the work long before they get to Jupiter Station, saying the only thing the station's crew will be doing is giving the Enterprise a "wash and a wax." Tucker gives them the motivational speech, and they get to work.
Meanwhile, Sato is talking to Madeline Reed, Malcolm's sister. Unfortunately, she also has no idea what her brother likes to eat, but says that he went for a week without eating. She says that Malcolm isn't the easiest person to get to know, something that Sato is discovering. Sato then speaks to Mark Latrelle, Malcolm's best friend. He thinks it is fish, because he went to a restaurant on the Embarcadero with Malcolm, but the latter only went there because of Maureen, a waitress. Latrelle then says that Malcolm hates fish, to Sato's frustration. Mayweather walks in as Sato cuts the communication, and asks her how the secret mission is going. She has spoken to Malcolm's sister, his best friend, his uncle Archie, and his two spinster aunts, but all they know is that Malcolm "occasionally eats". T'Pol interrupts, and suggests that if Sato wants to know something about Malcolm, perhaps she should ask him.
Sato sits with Reed in the mess hall. He is looking over the phase cannon schematics, and Sato attempts to make conversation. She asks him how his meal is, attempting to coerce the answer she wants out of him without him realizing. She says that maybe one night she should cook something herself, but Reed isn't paying attention. She goes directly to the point, asking him what his favorite food is, but he refuses her previous offer of cooking, without answering the question. Sato says that eating in the mess hall lacks a personal touch, and that she has a hot plate in her quarters. Unfortunately, Reed takes this the wrong way, thinking that Sato is flirting with him. As she realizes this, she takes her meal somewhere else, leaving an embarrassed Reed behind in the mess hall.
Enterprise detects the alien ship behind them, and they attack again. Reed, still in the mess hall, tries to contact the bridge and armory, to no avail. He orders the crewmen there to report to their stations. The alien ship activates a dampening field, as the lights go out. They then launch a shuttle. As all main systems go off-line, T'Pol reports that the doors in launch bay 2 are opening. Archer heads there with a security team. Two crewmen are examining a relay, and they see two strange looking aliens walking past. Suddenly, they are knocked to the floor, unconscious. Archer and his team find them being probed by the two aliens, who are very tall and thin bipeds, with faces that looks slightly humanoid. Archer fires his phase-pistol at one of them, but there is no effect. The two aliens walk off, and Archer sends his team after them. He calls Phlox to the two injured crewmen. The alien shuttle leaves and docks with its mothership, which promptly fires at the port nacelle, damaging it. They then go back to warp.
Phlox tells Archer that the two injured crewmen were subjected to some rather invasive scans, but they'll recover. Tucker calls and tells them that it'll be a few days before they can go to warp, but the impulse engines will be up and running within a few minutes.
On the bridge, Mayweather suggests that they contact the Vulcan High Command, who could "give them a hand". Archer swallows his pride and agrees. Sato can't make contact with Echo Two, and T'Pol finds out that it has been destroyed – along with Echo One. They can't contact Vulcan.
Reed and Tucker are busy installing the phase cannons. While Tucker is calm and just getting on with the work, Reed is annoyed that they are falling behind. He gets even more agitated when his hand receives a rather nasty shock while touching the relays. They talk about power distribution with the phase cannons, but Reed wants to cut a few corners with what he describes as "acceptable risks". Tucker tells him that he's the one who should decide what is an acceptable risk. Reed reluctantly agrees.
Archer asks Tucker for a progress report in engineering. Tucker says the engines should be back by the "end of day tomorrow." Archer tells him about his failed attempt to contact the Vulcans, who would "oh-so-politely" offer to help them. He also says that Enterprise won't leave Earth before they're really ready. Tucker asks him if his ears are "a little more pointier than usual". Archer says that he rushed out of spacedock because he had something to prove. Tucker however says that if he asked the crew whether their journey has been worth the risk so far, he'd get the same answer from them all.
Tucker and Reed continue working on the phase cannons. Reed disconnects them from the impulse engines, and asks Tucker to give him a hand.
Two days after their last encounter with the alien vessel, and there has been no sign of them. It has taken just 48 hours to get the phase cannons working, and Archer congratulates the engineering team in his log. They are ready to test the new weapons, and find a moon with no signs of life. Archer asks for a couple of meters off the top of a mountain on the surface. The phase cannons do more however, completely obliterating the mountain and causing a power surge on Enterprise. The blast was ten times what was expected, and there was an overload. T'Pol detects an anomalous reading from Launch Bay 2. Archer, T'Pol, Tucker, and Reed head there, and find a small device attached to the top corner of the wall. It caused the power surge in the phase cannons. Archer activates a visual sensor, and leaves a message for the aliens. After telling them he'll defend Enterprise, he destroys the device.
Sato enters sickbay, and sees that Phlox has released his patients. Asking him about Reed's favorite food, he notes that he likes eggs, cooked any way, pancakes, sausages, and bacon. Sato asks if there is one food in particular, but once again her plan is foiled as Phlox doesn't know either. Just as she is leaving, Phlox shouts out "bromelain!", realizing that maybe he can help, after all. It would mean going into Reed's medical files, but Sato says she is under orders from the captain. Phlox notes that Reed suffers from a number of allergies, including dust mites, oak pollen, tropical grasses, and various plant enzymes, including bromelain. He has been taking regular injections so his body can tolerate bromelain, which is found mainly in pineapple. Relieved, Sato thanks the doctor and leaves.
The alien ship returns, but this time, Enterprise is ready for them. This time, they want to talk, but the only communication that Enterprise receives is a reworking of Archer's speech to them earlier, albeit with the word order changed:
- "You are defenseless. Prepare to surrender your vessel."
Archer cuts the transmission, and orders Reed to fire. The phase cannons have little effect though, only causing a slight fluctuation in the alien ship's shields. Archer wonders if they can overload the cannons again, but Reed is worried about the damage it would cause to Enterprise. Tucker comes up with a solution to feed the extra energy through structural integrity, and Archer tells him to do it. Enterprise fires again, and this time the alien ship's shields are penetrated, causing damage. Reed then fires two torpedoes, which disable the alien ship's warp engines. The bridge crew watches as the aliens flee at impulse, one of their engines leaking plasma.
Archer then decides that there's little point in returning to Earth. Sato says that maybe it's a good thing they have come back so far – they can launch another subspace amplifier. Archer tells Mayweather to resume their previous course.
It's September 2nd. Archer, Tucker, and Reed are sharing a beer in the armory, and they toast to their "mysterious friends". Tucker says that a way to thank them for the job they did was to let them sleep in the next morning, which Archer agrees to. Sato enters, with the "component" that Archer asked for. He opens the case, and reveals a birthday cake to Reed, who cuts open the cake. He is surprised to see that it has pineapple inside, and he reveals it to be his favorite, to smiles all round. Asking how on Earth they knew, Sato replies that they "have their sources". Smiling, Reed dishes out some cake to them.
- "Captain's starlog, September 1, 2151. It's been two days now with no sign of the alien vessel. My crew has managed to do in 48 hours what would've taken the armory team at Jupiter Station at least a week. To say that I'm proud of them would be an understatement. We're preparing our first test. Everybody has their fingers crossed, including me."
"Maybe they checked us out and decided we weren't very interesting."
"Us? Not interesting?"
- - Mayweather and Reed
"The Reeds have been navy men for generations."
"Until Malcolm decided to join Starfleet. I suppose the ocean wasn't big enough for him."
- - Mary and Stuart Reed
"We're talking about a delicate assignment, Hoshi. It needs your finesse."
- - Archer to Sato
"You know, they say long distance relationships never work. Well... this is about as long distance as you can get."
- - Tucker telling Archer his girlfriend Natalie back on Earth broke up with him
"You missed T'Pol's latest bout with chopsticks."
"Damn! Dinner and a show."
- - Archer and Tucker
"If I asked your parents what you like to eat, would they be able to tell me?"
"Are you kidding? My mom would give you her recipe for pan-fried catfish and wouldn't let you go till you promised not to screw it up."
- - Archer and Tucker
"By the time we reach Jupiter Station, I don't want their engineers to have a thing to do but give us a wash and a wax."
- - Tucker
"Tactical systems are down."
"Why don't you save time and tell me what isn't down?!"
- - T'Pol and Archer
"You looking forward to seeing Earth?"
"Sure. I just didn't think I'd be seeing it so soon!"
"This time, we won't be leaving before we're ready."
"Are your ears a little pointier than usual?"
- - Archer and Tucker
"I... I never said we didn't belong out here, I just wish we had launched with all our systems online... especially weapons!"
"If we hadn't launched when we did, they would have sent Klaang back to Qo'noS in a box."
"I keep reminding myself of that, but I rushed us out of spacedock because I had something to prove."
- - Archer and Tucker
"In the old days astronauts rode rockets with millions of liters of hydrogen burning under their seats. Do you think they said 'Gee, I'd like to go to the moon today, but it seems a little risky'? I think that if you asked any one on board whether this mission was worth the risk, you'd get the same answer from every one of them."
- - Tucker, echoing the greatest exploits of NASA
"You're sure there's nothing down there?"
"Not even a microbe? I don't want to blow up something that could evolve into a sentient species in a couple of billion years."
- - Archer and T'Pol
"I just asked for a little off the top!"
- - Archer, after the phase cannons destroy a large mountain
"I assume you planted that device because you wanted to learn more about us. I'll be happy to give you a quick lesson. We're not here to make enemies. But just because we're not looking for a fight, doesn't mean we'll run away from one. You may think you've left us defenseless, but let me tell you something about humans. We don't give up easily. We'll protect Enterprise... any way we can."
- - Archer sends a message to their "mysterious friends"
"I don't suppose scanning his taste buds would help?"
"Medically speaking, there's no accounting for taste."
- - Hoshi and Phlox
"You are defenseless. Prepare to surrender your vessel."
- - The aliens' reinterpretation of Archer's original message
"To our mysterious friends. I wish I could have seen the looks on their faces."
- - Tucker makes a toast
"Don't get too used to drinking on duty. But you did your jobs pretty damn well yesterday. I'd say that deserves a little celebration."
- - Archer, to Reed and Tucker
"Pineapple? But that's my fav–"
(Sato suppresses a smile as Reed looks at her)
"How on Earth did you know?"
"We have our sources."
- - Reed and Sato
Background information Edit
- The choice to never reveal the motives of the aliens who attack Enterprise herein was, in André Bormanis' words, "a bit of a risk." Bormanis, however, felt that the episode's unexplained depiction of extraterrestrial life was realistic, later commenting, "I think our earliest encounters with alien life forms will leave us utterly baffled." 
- The final draft of this episode's script was submitted on 12 October 2001.
- Reed actor Dominic Keating approved of how this outing ponders the specifics of his character's personality. "It's a terrific set-up, really," he commented. "Rather than an episode that puts it all on the table and says, 'OK, here's Malcolm,' this one asks, 'So just who is Malcolm?'" (TV Zone, issue #147, p. 30) The way in which the episode leaves this an unanswered question was also a highlight for Keating. "It's quite subtle because you get to see more of me, but you still don't know much about me," he observed. "We learn that we don't know much about Reed. It's sort of a nice way to begin the Reed experience." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 59) Additionally, Keating described the mess hall sequence in which Ensign Sato tries to determine Reed's favorite food as "a lovely scene." (TV Zone, issue #147, p. 30)
- This is the only episode of the series to have been directed by regular Star Trek director Winrich Kolbe and was the final Star Trek episode directed by him.
- The aliens, referred to by several members of the art department as "Shroomies," were designed by Dan Curry and represented with CGI models built by John Teska. (X)
- Originally, this episode was to be titled "Call To Arms", (X) but was changed before airing when someone realized that there was a Deep Space Nine episode with the same name.
- This episode takes place one week before the previous episode, "Cold Front".
- The ship that attacks Enterprise herein is of the same configuration as numerous Kovaalan ships that attack Enterprise in a subspace corridor in the third season outing "E²".
- This episode establishes that Malcolm Reed was born on September 2.
- Mark Latrelle's contention that Reed disliked fish is later disproved by a scene in "Shuttlepod One", in which Reed's first choice of emergency ration is sea bass.
- Out of all the Star Trek episodes he has written, André Bormanis named this as one of his favorites. He cited the fact that the episode does not clarify the aliens' motivations as his "favorite aspect of the story." 
- While working as an executive producer on Enterprise, Brannon Braga found this episode turned out well. In retrospect, he commented, "I thought [it] was kind of a good episode. I really felt the crew facing some unknown thing that was kind of scary." ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part III: First Flight", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features)
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 3.7 and was watched by an average of 6.11 million viewers. 
- Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide" rated this episode 3 out of 5 arrowhead insignias. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 78)
- The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 363) comments about this episode, "When you hear Archer say he doesn't really know Reed, it's almost impossible not to hear the writers sitting around a table saying the same thing. We find out a bit more about the tactical officer in this episode, which is unremarkable but watchable."
- In the 25th century timeline of Star Trek Online, the aliens return as part of the game's "Legacy of Romulus" expansion pack, and are known as the "Elachi". They act as allies of the revived Romulan Star Empire under the command of Empress Sela and the Tal Shiar. Elachi ships (similar in appearance to the design in "Silent Enemy") participate in attacks on independent Romulan colonies and the fledgling Romulan Republic. During ground-based attacks they deploy large building-sized attack walkers.
Video and DVD releases Edit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.6, 22 July 2002
- As part of the ENT Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the ENT Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references Edit
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Adam Anello as an operations division crewman
- Solomon Burke, Jr. as Billy
- Amy Kate Connolly as a science division crewman
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Evan English as Ensign Tanner
- Lindly Gardner as an operations division crewman
- Jack Guzman as a science division crewman
- Bryan Heiberg as an operations division crewman
- Amina Islam as a command division ensign
- Martin Ko as a command division ensign
- Carmen Nogales as an operations division crewman
- Bobby Pappas as an operations division crewman
- Monica Parrett as command division crewman
- Thelma Tyrell as an operations division crewman
- Cynthia Uhrich as an operations division crewman
- John Wan as an operations division crewman
- Mark Watson as an operations division crewman
- Gary Weeks as an operations division crewman
- Todd Wieland as an operations division crewman
- Prada as Porthos
allergy; apple juice; Archie; armory; armory team; astronauts; bacon; beam emitter; B-deck; beer; bread; bromelain; catfish; C-deck; Chef; chief engineer; chopstick; cook; D-deck; DNA; Denobulan; dilithium alignment; drive plasma; dust mite; Duvall; Earth; Echo One; Echo Two; E-deck; eggs; Embarcadero; enchilada; encryption code; enzyme; EPS grid; evasive maneuvers; fish; galley; gigajoule; grav-plating; halibut; helium; hot plate; hull plating; hydrogen; impulse drive; Indian food; internal sensor; joule; Jupiter Station; Klaang; Kota Bharu; launch bay; long range scan; mahi-mahi; Malaysia; Malcolm Reed's spinster aunts; Maureen; medical file; medical record; megajoule; mess hall; microbe; microns; microscope; moon; Mount McKinley; nacelle; Natalie; oak; ocean; octopus; omelette; ordnance officer; pan; pancake; peanut butter; Pensacola; phase cannon; phase cannon port; phase-modulated energy weapon; phase modulator; phase-pistol; pineapple; pizza; plant; plasma; plasma leak; plasma recoil; plasma relay; polarized hull plating; pollen; primary coil; protein concentrate; Qo'noS; ravioli; ready room; Reed family; restaurant; rocket; Royal Navy; salad; San Francisco; sausage; scallops; scope; sea bass; Shenandoah; spacedock; structural integrity; subspace amplifier; subspace transceiver array; suction cup; survival training; Suurok-class; swordfish; targeting scanner; taste bud; toast; translator; tropical grass; visual sensor; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan High Command; warp drive; water; waveguide; welder
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