30. [ENT] Minefield

SCORE:  (3/5 stars)

Archer invites Reed to have breakfast in the captain’s mess. Archer uses the time to attempt to get to know him, who is visibly uncomfortable and unable (or unwilling) to relax. When asked about interests or hobbies, Reed confesses that he doesn’t really seem to have any (which is a total lie, we know he was an Eagle Scout with two dozen merit badges and you don’t get that far without either intense parental pressure, or love of the outdoors). T’Pol calls Archer to the bridge, which ends yet another scene in the captain’s mess where nobody eats any food. What do they do with all that wasted food? I have a feeling it’s more than cheese that’s been giving Porthos gastrointestinal distress.

Enterprise approaches a Minshara class planet when an explosion takes a big chunk out of their hull. Half the crew is taken to sickbay, but luckily nobody dies. While they’re trying to figure out what caused the explosion, they find a foreign object attached to the hull of the ship. It’s a mine. Modifying their Suliban cloaking sensor, they find that they’re surrounded by hundreds of them.

Reed dons an EV suit to make a spacewalk and disarm the mine, while Trip works on a last resort plan to jettison the section of hull plating. Meanwhile, an alien vessel of unknown origin decloaks and hails Enterprise. The universal translator can’t lock on, and Hoshi is stuck in sickbay with a major concussion. After the aliens fire a warning shot, the message is clear enough that they’re being told to leave.

As Mayweather begins to navigate out of the minefield, a magnetic spike shoots out from the mine and impales Reed in the leg. Archer quickly dons an EV suit of his own to rescue his crewmember, who isn’t having any of it. The spike has an arming wire running through it, so cutting Reed free will detonate the mine. Archer has no experience disarming mines and Reed doesn’t think he’ll be up to the task. The logical course of action would be to let the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, and Reed is prepared to sacrifice himself by allowing Enterprise to jettison the hull plating with him attached, but Archer holds to a higher calling: the needs of the all. He’s not ready to accept a no-win scenario, and he orders Reed to talk him through the disarming.

Hoshi gets the transmission data sent down to sickbay, where she manages to get the translation. The ship belongs to the Romulan Star Empire, and they have annexed this planet and demand Enterprise leave at once. T’Pol is familiar enough with the Romulans to know that they need to get out of dodge ASAP. With the language now in the translation matrix, they are contacted again and the Romulans order them to leave at once. They explain they’re working as fast as they can to disarm the mine and save Reed, but the Romulans aren’t having it. Taking apart the mine is espionage. They demand that the hull plating be jettisoned and the ship leave at once, or they will destroy the ship.

Archer almost has the mine disarmed, but right as he finishes Reed’s instructions it begins to re-arm and commence the detonation sequence, so Archer has to quickly reset it. The only way to disarm it now would be to dismantle it piece by piece, but they have no time. Archer is still unwilling to call Reed a casualty, so Reed forces the issue by unhooking his own air supply. Archer quickly attaches his auxiliary supply and berates him for it.

He comes up with a last-ditch solution. Taking some shuttlepod hatches to use as blast shields, they detach the hull, sever the magnetic arming spike, and jump off the hull piece, using the hatches to shield themselves from the blast. Enterprise catches them in the shuttle bay and goes to warp with seconds to spare as the Romulans bare down upon them. Archer successfully postponed his Kobayashi Maru test for another day.

NITPICKS

  • So the EV suits of Enterprise’s era have self-sealing foam, but not the ones in the TNG era? When Worf’s suit was cut open by a Borg in First Contact, he had to fashion a tourniquet to seal the oxygen leak. Did they have budget cuts or something?
  • The Romulans of this era should not have cloaking devices. When Kirk’s Enterprise first encountered a cloaked Romulan ship in “Balance of Terror,” this was a huge shift in power between the two factions. This will be the first of many incidences with the Romulans where they are more advanced here than they are in TOS or TNG eras. I’m willing to say that perhaps some of that was due to knowledge lost in the Earth-Romulan War (as many records of that era were destroyed, according to TOS), but the idea of a cloaked ship should have been something not easily forgotten.

FAVORITE QUOTES

  • Archer: So you were saying at breakfast that you didn’t follow any particular sports?
    Reed
    : Well I haven’t started following any since breakfast, sir.
  • Archer: So how long was it?
    Reed
    : I counted 10 seconds.
    Archer
    : 10? It was more like 20.
    Reed
    : Respectfully, sir, it was 10.
    Archer:
    I’m not going to argue with you, Malcolm. It was 20. That’s an order.
  1. chronotrek posted this
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