31. [ENT] Dead Stop
SCORE: (4/5 stars)
In a surprising move of continuity, the damage sustained to Enterprise in the previous episode hasn’t been magically patched up by now, because Enterprise is 100 light years from the closest repair depot. I think self-repair varies inversely to how close you are to a repair station, because Voyager never had a scratch on her. Assuming they can scrounge up enough tritanium to repair the hull damage, Trip estimates 4 months of repair work, during which they wouldn’t be able to do any better than warp 2, and they wouldn’t be able to polarize the hull plating in the event of a firefight. They can’t even call Earth to let them know what’s up, because the long-range transceiver is out. Grim as it seems, Archer performs something no other series’ captain has done to my knowledge: send a distress call. (Don’t hold me to this if I’m wrong!) They get a tip from a passing Tellarite freighter about a repair station a few days’ journey, and set a course.
Upon arrival, they discover a fully automated station that customizes itself to their every need: it expands to allow a ship of their size, it changes the atmosphere to a breathable nitrogen/oxygen, it shows all displays in English, and it even uses the Universal Standard Docking Port size. Even more impressively, it has already isolated every single bit of damage or disrepair aboard the ship, and even has Malcolm Reed’s medical file on display (who’s been in physical therapy for his injured leg). It’s even nice enough to come up with trade options for bartering its services, and offers recreational areas for the visitors.
While Trip and T’Pol enjoy the luxuries of the station’s replimat, the station makes repairs at lightning speed, creating entire bulkheads at a whim, and using magic lasers to heal Reed’s leg. Everyone is marvelling at the speed and thoroughness of the work done, but Archer has his reservations. The station did download their entire database, and is doing an amazing amount of work for only 200 liters of drive plasma. He suspects something else is up. Trip likewise has his questions, as the station’s computer must be centuries beyond what Enterprise is capable of yet the only place it could be is the size of a small room, vs Enterprise’s 3-deck computer core. He and Reed hatch a plan to crawl through space ventilation ducts to look for it, but trip an alarm and are beamed back to Enterprise.