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Summary

Enterprise is investigating a comet, and Sub-Commander T'Pol learns that the comet contains eisilium, a rare mineral which Vulcan chemists have not previously studied in detail. An away team consisting of Lieutenant Reed and Ensign Mayweather is sent to collect samples. Meanwhile, a Vulcan starship, Ti'Mur, under Captain Vanik suddenly appears and, after Captain Archer suggests parties from each ship study the comet, Captain Vanik stated his members would just prefer to "observe." Captain Archer is not happy about Vulcans looking over his shoulders but, in the interest of cooperation, he agrees.

The Vulcans then send an encrypted message to T'Pol, which Commander Tucker intercepts, and Archer orders Ensign Sato to decrypt. It turns out that it was not a message about Enterprise, but more personal regarding her arranged marriage. Tucker apologizes to T'Pol for having read her message. She asks him to keep the contents of the letter confidential. Later, she confesses to Doctor Phlox that she has been having trouble sleeping, and he suggests that it might help if she confide in someone. She decides to consult Tucker, who does not share her views on Vulcan culture and customs, or that she must leave. Eventually, she decides to forego her Vulcan traditions and fulfill her duties aboard Enterprise.

Archer decides to "break the ice" between their races and invites Captain Vanik for dinner aboard Enterprise. It is not successful, however, as the Vulcan is unresponsive and dismissive regarding human behavior. Archer concludes the meal by accusing the Vulcan of spying on Enterprise and then asks him to leave. Afterwards, Archer notes that an explosion on the surface of the comet has altered the comet's rotational axis. When the sun rises, Mayweather and Reed begin to have difficulties as the ice begins to crack. They attempt to use the shuttlepod to leave, but it falls into a chasm. Archer eventually swallows his pride and negative feelings toward Vulcans by allowing Vanik to help rescue the shuttlepod.

Errors and Explanations

Ex Astris Scientia

Nitpicking

  1. We finally learn how the protein resequencer (for food) and the biomatter resequencer (for waste) work, and it sounds a lot like the replicator in {{TNG}}, which also works on a molecular basis. At least the device on Enterprise doesn't seem to be able to handle inorganic materials. It may have been an experimental system, which was partially replace by slots delivering real food in The Original Series.

Daystrom Institute Technical Library

Yet Another Trek Inconsistency

  1. It's virtually impossible for a comet to have an Earth-like gravity, as the one in this episode does. It would have to be at least a hundred times denser than iron to have such a high gravity field, and if it was so dense then it would naturally form a sphere rather than the irregular shape we see. The core of the comet may be composed of a very dense alien substance.

Nit Central

  1. Corey Hines on Tuesday, November 06, 2001 - 11:41 pm: How did they get the drawings the children drew. They received a transmission, not got a mail delivery. And the pictures didn't look like printouts, they looked like they were drawn on the paper. Trike on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 11:29 am: Like others here, I wondered how the schoolchildren’s transmission could have included drawings. But it’s possible parts of the transmission had specifications for the drawings, which were then replicated. Kind of like a futuristic fax. Not only is a duplicate of the document sent, so is the type of paper it was produced on and the medium (crayon) in which it was made.ltdodd on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 4:31 pm: I don't think it is out of the realm of possibility for Enterprise to have met up in a region not so far out with a cargo/transport vessel that carried supplies and the drawings. Things had ocurred in the intervening weeks we don't know about.
  2. Rene on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 12:54 pm:I think Trip or maybe the Captain mentions they have replicators. Didn't Harry in the Sulu Voyager episode state there were no replicators in the 23rd Century (and thus in the 22nd Century as well).LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: He said they have "protein resequencers" with which they can "replicate" certain foods. Anonymous on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 2:38 pm: but we see replicators in TOS! They had to use these weird card thingys and the door opened up and the food popped out. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: The explanation was that the food slots were a food delivery or processing system, according to the Encyclopedia.
  3. Melvin Munz on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 6:08 pm: I had to wonder about Tripp's description of the recycling process. It sounded very much like what I read in my Enterprise-D tech manual. It seems very advanced, but then again, not outside the realm of reality. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: We already have the means to recycle urine into drinkable water, and the Mars astronauts will be using this process when they go to Mars. I’m not certain about our current ability with solid wastes though. What’s actually interesting about the Tech Manual is that it says that both solid and liquid wastes are recycled into raw material for the food replicators! Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "shiteating grin", doesn’t it?
  4. PaulG on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 7:55 pm: Is pecan pie really "mostly sugar"? I don't know much about cooking so maybe someone can analyze these recipes. And since T'Pol doesn't seem to like human food, how would she know? TomM on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 11:18 pm: I don't know much about cooking so maybe someone can analyze these recipes. And since T'Pol doesn't seem to like human food, how would she know? TJFleming on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 7:39 am: The filling is a handful of pecan halves (or less desirably chopped pecans) suspended in a "sauce" which is mostly sugar and corn syrup -- more sugar. I'd say that that qualifies as "mostly sugar." If it weren't for the pie-crust I would even consider it a candy, much as the similar peanut brickle or peanut brittle are, or pralines.
  5. SMT on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 7:26 pm: Physics on that comet takes a lot of departures from reality. The residual warmth of the pod resting on the surface, never mind the suited explorers, should cause sublimation of the ice, but it doesn't. Reed and Mayweather walk(and fall) normally, on a body where gravity should be well under 1% of Earth's. The geology lesson we get-that the deeper you drill on a comet, the farther back into its history you reach-is inaccurate. Earth's surface works that way, because of erosion and deposition of materials, but comets form in much different ways. I also wonder why, if Enterprise has laser/phaser-like beam weapons, it didn't do the initial drilling rather than have Reed blast. Oh well. At least they eventually mentioned a star creating the tail, which is accurate, and I suspect being unable to beam through 20 meters of ice matches earlier assertions as well. They were also quite correct that Reed's blast would have shifted the rotation significantly. Such eruptions do happen on comets, and do make their motions hard to predict exactly. Anonymous on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 10:46 pm:Not only would that be less likely to shift the rotational momentum of the comet, but if it did, they could wait until things settled down and they could land safely. In fact they may not have needed to land at all, if the "Laser/Phaser" drilling resulted in an ore deposit lying closer to the surface - close enough to transport. That was the reason they needed a landing party to drill.
  6. Butch Brookshier on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 7:29 pm: I am confused why landing on the comet poles would be so important. I suppose the poles could get a minimum of sunlight making it a more stable area but that would require a particular rotation, I think. TomM on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 11:18 pm: Although T'pol didn't specify, the context makes it fairly clear that she was talking of the points where the axis of rotation meets the surface of the comet rather than the magnetic poles. And you would choose the pole because any other point would be in the sunlight half the time during each rotation. The pole, of course, would only be safer if the angle of the axis to the orbital plane did not happen to be too close to 90 degrees, or slanted "parallel" to the star (as Earth's axis is on the Vernal and Autumnal equinoxes), neither of which was apparently the case. However T'pol was wrong (or rather imprecise -- an even greater mistake for a Vulcan science officer) when she said that they should land on "one of the poles." The pole experiencing "summer" would be constantly exposed to the sun, and would be even less stable than a random spot. Only the pole experiencing "winter" would be in constant shadow, and therefore stabler.
  7. Mike Ram on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 10:20 pm: Didn't Rom work in "waste extraction" on DS9? Even if the extraction process was rudimentary under Cardassian rule (which doesn't sound likely given how meticulous Cardassians are), wouldn't Starfleet change it to the recycling process? LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: Different episodes of DS9, like Melora, indicated that some Starfleet technology was not compatible with the Cardassian technology on the station. I also don’t see meticulousness and sophistication of technology to be the same thing. Besides, Mike, who’s to say the waste on DS9 isn’t recycled? Just because it’s "extracted" first doesn’t mean it’s not recycled.
  8. Mike Ram on Wednesday, November 07, 2001 - 10:23 pm: Shouldn't the shuttle have thrusters on the bottom of it's hull for a quick vertical liftoff? LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: I assumed they used antigrav.
  9. Archer pilots the ship using a joystick (like Riker in Insurrection)? Wouldn't computer control be more precise? inblackestnight on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 10:33 am: I think it's the other way around, which is why Paris had the Delta Flyer made with a joystick.
  10. Keith Alan Morgan (Kmorgan) on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 4:04 am: When Enterprise was trying to pull the pod out of the hole, why not start the pod thrusters? LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: Because it would’ve melted the ice beneath it, causing it to fall even farther. Stephen on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 2:56 pm: No, it shouldn't fall further because the thrusters would be pushing the shuttle up, up and awaaaaaaaaaaay. :) And the ice shouldn't be cohesive enough to form much of an obstacle.Stephen on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 2:56 pm:Another nit: In A Piece of the Action the Enterprise fires phasers on stun. So here, they could have fired phasers to melt the ice above and around the shuttle a little so the shuttle could get free. LUIGI NOVI on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 11:59 pm: Might that have upset the ice even further? Besides, Broken Bow showed that they can’t seem to hit the broadside of a galaxy with their phasers.
  11. Brian Lombard on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 5:23 am: Look closely at the child's drawing Trip examines in the opening scene, and you'll notice that the young artist has drawn a TNG-era commbadge on the Vulcan. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: It’s not a comm badge, Brian. All it is is a circle with what I think is a triangle overlapping it. I believe the kid was simply drawing the Vulcan IDIC symbol. Brian Lombard on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 5:27 am: It is not an IDIC symbol. Review the TOS episode Is There in Truth No Beauty? to see what an IDIC symbol looks like. What is seen in the child's drawing is the Federation Chevron against an oval background - in other words, a TNG-era commbadge. LUIGI NOVI on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 11:52 pm: I must respectfully disagree. First, I know what the IDIC looks like. I’ve seen Is There in Truth No Beauty? (TOS), and it’s in the Encyclopedia. I’m looking at the paused tape right now, and there is no oval, and no chevron. It’s a circle, with the apex of a solid triangle placed at the center, and the bottom of the triangle hanging far below the circumference of the circle. That’s an IDIC. On the SF insignia, the Chevron on is placed evenly over the oval, and has two points on the bottom, like an arrowhead That little design has none of those things :) Stephen on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 2:56 pm:Keep in mind a kid's drawing isn't always totally accurate. :)
  12. Hans Thielman on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 12:23 pm: What's the rush in T'Pol getting married? Is her intended husband about to go through Pon Farr? Mylan on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:02 pm: Hans, there was no rush. The parents of the groom arranged this marriage and set the date long ago. When T'Pol asks for an extension, the parents are offended that she would choose to serve on a human ship rather than conform to her Vulcan traditions. They threaten to cancel the wedding if she does not go back immediately.
  13. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: In the beginning of Act 2, Archer apologizes to the schoolchildren back home, saying they can’t answer all their questions, because then they’d never get any exploring done. C’mon, Captain. You’re telling me those long periods in between stars and planets are TOTALLY filled with exploring? Dustin Westfall on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:06 pm:I took that to be a matter of him controlling what questions to answer, in order to avoid hurting anyone's feelings if their questions wasn't answered. Plus, given Archer's reaction at the end of the recording, I think he wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible.
  14. It appears that Archer is only making audio recording of his answers to the kids in Ms. Malvin’s class back home. Why not make visual recordings as well? There doesn’t seem to be any indication that they are, that anyone is operating a camera, or directing who to record. Dustin Westfall on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:06 pm: I was under the impression that they were recording visually, using the viewscreen as the recorder. Archer seemed to be controlling his expressions carefully in order to maintain his smile, Dr Phlox stood to address the students and Tucker turned to face the viewscreen (If memory serves) when he spoke. While all of that could be done during an audio recording, in order to project properly and maintain a certain tone, I find it more likely that they were being recorded visually, and the viewscreen, as it usually does, just happened to know where to look.
  15. Why in the world does Travis waste so much time making a snowman? Shouldn’t he be helping Reed? Dustin Westfall on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:06 pm: He may not have been qualified to do much. Unless he is trained in handling explosives, I would think it best for him to stay out of Reed's way while he works. Of course, I would think staying in the shuttle would be the best way to do that.
  16. At the end of Act 2, Archer tells Reed, "Inform the Vulcans we’re about to make a very loud noise." I don’t think comets have atmospheres, or that therefore, there’d be any sound of the explosion Reed sets off, but even if they do, any sound wouldn’t reach the Vulcan ship.Dustin Westfall on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:06 pm:I don’t think comets have atmospheres, or that therefore, there’d be any sound of the explosion Reed sets off, but even if they do, any sound wouldn’t reach the Vulcan ship. . Josh M on Sunday, February 18, 2007 - 2:44 pm:I don’t think Archer’s being completely serious when he says this.
  17. A bit of politically correct retroconning: Phil Farrand pointed out a couple of subtle hints from the original series that married women weren’t able to serve in Starfleet. He pointed out that in Balance of Terror (TOS), Lieutenant Tomlinson, who was engaged to Ensign Martine, made a cryptic comment about still being her commanding officer, at least "temporarily," and that in Who Mourns for Adonais? (TOS), Kirk is speaking with the other command crew about the lovely Lieutenant Palamas, saying that one day she will find the right man and will have to leave Starfleet. In Act 3 of this episode, however, Trip, in T’Pol’s quarters, mentions that the female Ensign Kimball is married. Dustin Westfall on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:06 pm:I never quite understood that nit. As I understand it, it is standard policy for married couples to not be in direct command of each other because it can unduly influnce the decisions of the superior officer (of course, that has always, to my understanding, applied to all romantic relationships, so he shouldn't have been her superior officer when they were engaged). Seniram 11:41, September 28, 2018 (UTC) They may be required to serve on different ships – assuming both are in Starfleet.
  18. Richie Vest on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:39 am: The thing about the doors is this: I understand you might want to have a button to open it to have privacy but why to leave as Trip does when he leaves T'Pol's quarters. Also, people do it as they leave sick bay. It looks like the doors are not automatic, which is my point, as they were in the 23rd and 24th century Jason on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 9:36 am: To explain the un-automatic doors, would you really want the doors to pop open every time someone walks into the sensor? With sickbay, you might be helping someone in or out, and pressing a button to open the door would be just another step. LUIGI NOVI on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 1:47 pm: For privacy reasons. You can’t just waltz into someone’s quarters or the Captain’s dining room without ringing the chime.
  19. Dustin Westfall on Friday, November 09, 2001 - 6:06 pm: Does anyone have any info on Dr Phlox's assertion that some germs can live in space? I was under the impression that, at least to our knowledge, nothing could survive the vacuum of space. inblackestnight on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 10:33 am:If this is the case, as far as Trek is concerned, how could we have beings like in Tin Man (TNG), Chimera (DS9), or The Cloud (VGR)? There are definitely more examples but you get the point. Stephen on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 2:56 pm:There are theories that microorganisms might have been propelled into space via meteor strikes or volcanic eruptions. Archer mentioned them being dormant for a time. They'd survive in the upper atmosphere, eventually escape into space, be captured by the gravity of a nearby planet, such as Mars, eventually wind up on the surface. Or, they'd be captured by a passing comet which crashes into a planet of another solar system. Maybe then its descendants wind up in the upper atmosphere of that planet and the process continues. It's all very slow and indirect, but it is a serious theory. One term for it is panspermia. A 2001 issue of The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society has an article on it. That magazine has a lot of far-out scientific speculations which are loads of fun for science fiction fans like us. :) LUIGI NOVI on Saturday, November 10, 2001 - 11:59 pm: Another term is transpermia, right? Or is that something else?
  20. constanze on Tuesday, May 13, 2003 - 5:00 am: Trip’s history knowledge is really bad (or one-sided). He tells T'pol that arranged marriages haven't been made since the time of serfdom in the middle ages. I take this as a comparison that arranged marriages are for him like a form of serfdom. inblackestnight on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 10:33 am:I don't recall Trip saying that. I do remember him saying that arranged marriages disappeared about the time slavery did though. I'm surprised nobody touched on this but in cultures where arranged marriages are customary, like Hindu and some tribal, I doubt they will vanish with slavery, or even be considered equal. This is true only for the western humans, which believe in the concept of love, and therefore want to marry for love. In eastern cultures, the concept of love is very different, it mainly refers to loyalty, and most marriages are arranged by the elder people, because it is believed young people are subject to passion and therefore not able to make an important decision like this, and that people will grow to like each other over the years. Marriages arranged for financial purposes or to gain power are common in both western and eastern cultures, before and after the serfdom of the middle ages, both for the peasants (who tried to increase their land by marrying their children to the proper people) and the nobility (who tried to increase land, cement alliances and keep the blood pure). None of this stopped after the middle ages. (How many WASPs in the Boston area will marry only among select families today?) Besides, end of serfdom didn't mean end of slavery; still today slavery in various forms is going on in the world.
  21. GCapp on Sunday, May 01, 2005 - 11:11 pm:Now that we know that the Romulans are behind the snooty Vulcan attitude, perhaps the tractor beam won't be "classified" any more. Especially since the Romulans probably have the technology now, thanks to their influence on Vulcan. Josh M on Monday, May 02, 2005 - 10:49 am: I don't think they're behind all of the Vulcans' attitude. I'm sure some still believe that humans aren't quite ready for everything. But who knows? Maybe the Enterprise will have a tractor beam when we see it in These Are the Voyages....
  22. John A. Lang on Thursday, May 12, 2005 - 7:51 pm: Why are the Vulcans "hogging" all the "good technology"? They consider warp 6 naecelles & Tractor Beams to be classified. Is this the sort of thing an ally would deny to their allies? LUIGI NOVI on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 12:26 pm: John, the Federation in the TOS-TNG eras often denied sharing technology with less technologically-advanced peoples because they feared it would contiminate their natural development. The Vulcans' refusal to share their technology is no different. John A. Lang on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 12:40 pm: AHHHHH! I get it. From that statement, I can only assume that the Vulcans were the ones who came up with "The Prime Directive" LUIGI NOVI on Friday, May 13, 2005 - 1:45 pm: T'Pol alludes to this Vulcan rule in Civilization, and opines that Starfleet should adopt it.


Enterprise Season 1
Broken Bow I Fight or Flight I Strange New World I Unexpected I Terra Nova I The Andorian Incident I Breaking the Ice I Civilization I Fortunate Son I Cold Front I Silent Enemy I Dear Doctor I Sleeping Dogs I Shadows of P'Jem I Shuttlepod One I Fusion I Rogue Planet I Acquisition I Oasis I Detained I Vox Sola I Fallen Hero I Desert Crossing I Two Days and Two Nights I Shockwave
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