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Archer spends a night in sickbay after Porthos falls ill with a deadly virus following a visit to an alien planet.



Captain Jonathan Archer, Ensign Hoshi Sato, T'Pol, and Porthos are in the decontamination chamber after a not-so-successful visit to the Kreetassans' home planet. Captain Archer is very frustrated because for the past five days Enterprise spent in orbit, they have been doing nothing but apologizing to and humiliating themselves in front of the aliens because months ago they ate lunch in front of them on their own ship. T'Pol points out that the Kreetassans manufacture plasma injectors and that Enterprise needs one. But Archer has a hard time containing his frustration because once again, after all the waiting and "groveling" as he calls it, they have been asked to leave, empty-handed, because they somehow offended the Kreetassans again. How, they do not know, again. Archer does not want to hear it anymore, saying that he is exhausted and pretty much had it with these people.

After their decontamination cycle is over Doctor Phlox lets them know that they can leave except for Porthos: apparently he picked up a pathogen on the surface and the decon-agent has not been effective. With a heavy heart, Captain Archer leaves Porthos behind in the decon chamber.

Act One[]

In main engineering, Commander Trip Tucker explains to the captain the importance of getting those plasma injectors, no matter how uncomfortable the situation is. Archer complains that these people are impossible, but Tucker insists on getting the injectors from them because their components are metallurgically sound and dependable. He tells Archer to take the "high road" as the trained diplomat that he is. Reluctantly, Archer agrees, saying that he will have T'Pol find out what they did wrong this time so they can apologize for it again accordingly.

Meanwhile, Porthos has been relocated to sickbay because the pathogen is affecting him in unexpected ways. Dr. Phlox explains that his immune system is collapsing and that even though he was successful in isolating the pathogen and breaking down its protein sequence, he still cannot explain it, as it should not be affecting Porthos like this. Dr. Phlox is, therefore, running more tests to see what is happening. Archer is worried that this might be a life-threatening situation, but Dr. Phlox says that it is still too early to tell. Archer wonders why the Kreetassans did not notice that there is a pathogen in their atmosphere that Porthos' immune system cannot handle, given that Enterprise had submitted the genomes of the away team to them to check against the environment of their planet. Dr. Phlox says that they should have noticed any incompatibilities, assuming they actually took the time to check. This angers Archer who points out that if the carelessness of the Kreetassans has hurt Porthos or ends up killing him, they will find out what being offended is all about.

After he leaves sickbay, he speaks with T'Pol and learns that the Kreetassans are offended because Porthos urinated on one of their sacred trees, which they consider cultural treasures. But Archer has no sympathy for them, exclaiming that maybe if they had bothered to read the genetic profile that was sent to them, they would have told them that the dog should have stayed on the ship, in which case he would not have had an opportunity to pee on one of their precious trees. T'Pol explains that she apologized on behalf of Archer, but Archer doesn't like that at all, saying that they are the ones who should be sorry and apologizing, not him. He says that if anything happens to Porthos, he will be the one watering their Alvera trees.

Later, Archer – unable to sleep and worried about Porthos – asks Phlox whether he could spend the night in sickbay in order to cheer up Porthos. Dr. Phlox says that Porthos is in no condition to know the difference either way, but Archer insists on being there nonetheless. He begins chatting with the doctor and asks him whether there are any dogs on his homeworld of Denobula. Phlox explains that the Denobulan lemur, which is highly sought after, is similar to a dog, with a tail, fur, and mostly one head. He also reassures the captain that he need not worry because he is qualified enough, holding six degrees in interspecies veterinary medicine, in addition to half a dozen other degrees in various other fields such as hematology and botanical pharmacology. Moreover, he has been able to eliminate the pathogen and now wants to see whether the treatment that he has devised will stabilize Porthos' autoimmune system. He tells him to go get some rest, but Archer is still concerned and unsure how to feel. What's more, continuously throughout the night he is disturbed by the doctor's various odd activities in sickbay, such as feeding the animals, chasing them when they escape their cage, clipping his toenails, and engaging in other strange grooming behavior. Realizing that he won't get much sleep like that, Archer decides to go and work out.

Act Two[]

In the gym, he runs into T'Pol who tells him that he should not have brought his dog on a diplomatic mission, especially after they had offended the Kreetassans previously. She goes on to say that once again he was ignoring the consequences of his actions, because apparently he places more importance on the quality of the air his pet breathes than on the quality of the plasma running his ship. She is questioning his priorities. Archer takes issue with this and while they are arguing, Hoshi Sato tells them that the Kreetassans have finally submitted their reconciliation demands and that the captain is not going to believe it. Archer glances somewhat dismissively at their undoubtedly ridiculous demands, and returns back to sickbay to get some sleep before the doctor's results are back.

At around 01:32 am, he is awoken by the alarm in sickbay. Porthos has gone into anaphylactic shock because his body is rejecting the treatment. Dr. Phlox is able to temporarily stabilize him until he devises a different one. Archer is frustrated once again, complaining to Phlox that the Kreetassans won't give them the plasma injectors until he makes a fool out of himself by going through a series of ritual apologies. He also expresses his frustration with T'Pol who accused him of caring more about the dog than his ship. Doctor Phlox wonders why T'Pol's opinion concerns him so much and not Commander Tucker's, for instance, who is a friend he has known for years. But Archer sort of ignores his question and goes on and on about the Kreetassans and their unreasonable demands and audacity to expect an apology in the first place. However, Phlox does not give in, asking if Archer ever considered that his anger might encompass more than just Porthos and the Kreetassans. He even goes so far as to ask him how long it has been since he was intimate with a woman. This really catches Archer's attention, as he is becoming increasingly frustrated with Phlox and his prying. He ends the conversation and tries to get more sleep.

Meanwhile, Sato answers another hail by the Kreetassans, requesting a response but despite the mid-night time on the ship. The Kreetassan also suggests that synchronizing the ship's time to the planet would have been common courtesy. Sato politely says she'll inform the captain.

Soon, he is awoken again to Phlox trying to catch his escaped bat. It's a much busier sickbay than he thought.

Act Three[]

T'Pol and Archer kiss

Archer's dream that helps him understand he's sexually attracted to T'Pol

Archer helps Phlox catch his bat for a bit and, during, Phlox continues the conversation, asking him if he thought anymore about why T'Pol's opinion is so important to him. He points out sexual tension, stating that for the past few months he has noted increasing friction between him and T'Pol. He goes on to say that if a person believes that their own sexual attraction toward another is inappropriate, they will often exhibit unexpected behavior, such as inordinate anger towards comparisons made between their ship and their Beagle. But Archer insists that there exists no sexual attraction between them, and that he and T'Pol have been getting along just fine. Just then, Sato walks in to inform the captain of the Kreetassans' wait and suggestion, after having easily grabbing the bat out of the air.

At 02:49 am Archer wakes up again after having had strange dreams involving Porthos dying as well as kissing T'Pol in decon chamber. Phlox informs him that the second treatment for Porthos isn't doing well either. Archer looks at Porthos, who is lying unconscious, and tells Phlox about how he got him from among a litter of four male puppies – "The Four Musketeers" – and has had him since he was six weeks old. He asks if Phlox had any pets when he was a kid, but Phlox says that his people don't keep any pets. The Denobulan lemur he was talking about earlier is highly sought after because its kidneys are considered a delicacy. Somewhat appalled and shocked, Archer doesn't know what to say. When T'Pol later arrives with food, he keeps stumbling over his words (accidentally saying "breast" and "lips" while conversing with T'Pol) and is nervous.

Doctor Phlox's finds his treatment is effective but only partially: Porthos' immune system is stabilizing, but his pituitary gland was severely damaged and is almost completely disintegrated. Dr. Phlox wants to transplant the pituitary gland of a Calrissian chameleon into Porthos. In order to do that, however, he needs to submerge him to minimize the shock to his pulmonary system. Once the surgery is complete Dr. Phlox will not have any problem resuscitating him. Phlox also tells Archer that after receiving the transplanted chameleon gland, Porthos may be harder to find, blending into the background when frightened, but this turns out to be an attempt at humor. Archer is apprehensive about letting the doctor perform a procedure he has never done before, especially given his peoples' attitude and insensitivity towards pets. But Phlox states that this is the only alternative available to them. Phlox pauses, understands his point of view and leaves the decision to him.

Act Four[]

Seeing that there is no choice, Archer agrees to go on with the procedure suggested by Phlox. While operating on Porthos at nearly four am, Archer finally opens up regarding his anger towards T'Pol, which, as he admits, could have a component of sexual tension to it. He wonders what he should do about it. Dr. Phlox suggests to do nothing but simply be aware of it. Archer asks him whether his expertise on sexual tension comes solely from professional training or first hand experience. Phlox explains that he has three wives, who each have two other husbands besides himself – a total of 720 relationships, 42 of which have romantic possibilities. He says that there are 31 people in his extended family and that he has five children: two daughters and three sons. Archer apologizes to him for having accused him of being insensitive before and Dr. Phlox accepts.

Kreetassan capital city

Kreetassan capital

The night is over and Archer eventually decides to swallow his pride and proceed with the apology, which is long and ritualistic as expected. In the end, everything turns out all right; the Kreetassans are visibly pleased, his apology is accepted, and they finally give them their injector, as well as two spares.

Archer apologizes to T'Pol about his recent behavior, saying he wants to minimize the friction between them. They discuss their mutual sexual attraction in the vaguest ways, T'Pol saying it's hypothetical. Archer knows a relationship would be inappropriate.

He then goes to pick up Porthos, who is recovering nicely from his operation and can finally go home.

Memorable quotes[]

"T'Pol thinks we insulted them again."
"How? You didn't eat cabbage before you left…"
"I was a perfect gentleman!"

- Archer and Tucker, discussing the Kreetassans

"Well, you're a trained diplomat. Take the high road. There's gotta be some way you can kiss and make up."

- Tucker, to Archer

"I'm told I've offended these people twice. Once for eating in front of them. The second time, I don't even know what for. But if their carelessness has hurt Porthos or God forbid ends up killing him, they're going to find out what being offended is all about!"

- Archer, to Phlox when finding out Porthos has contracted a pathogen on the Kreetassan homeworld

"You hear that, boy? Hmm? We're all pulling for you."

- Archer, to Porthos

"There are some things more important than plasma injectors."
"Are you referring to your pride?"

- Archer and T'Pol

"I'll tell you one thing, sub-commander: if anything happens to Porthos, I'll be the one watering their Alvera trees!"

- Archer, after T'Pol told him what offended the Kreetassans

"Captain, please. You needn't be concerned. I hold six degrees in interspecies veterinary medicine."
"I thought you were just, you know, a people doctor?"
"As a matter of fact, I've also earned degrees in dentistry, hematology, botanical pharmacology,…"
"I'm impressed."

- Archer, inquiring about Phlox's qualifications

"This isn't so bad. I was sure there would be something in here about standing on one foot with my eyes shut reciting 'The Night Before Christmas'."

- Captain Archer, while studying a PADD with a list of requirements for issuing an apology to the Kreetassans

"Do we have a chainsaw on board?"

- Hoshi Sato, to T'Pol, looking over the PADD as Archer leaves the bridge

"I really thought you were beginning to understand Human emotions."
"Not when they apply to primitive quadrupeds who haven't evolved the ability to speak, or to use a toilet."

- Archer, seeking sympathy from T'Pol over Porthos' condition

"Sorry, I'm a little on edge. I haven't slept very much, but I'm doing the breast I… the best, I can."

- Archer, making a Pillarian slip while speaking with T'Pol, eliciting a subtle interest from Phlox

"Send me your lips… lispLIST!"

- Archer, making his second Pillarian slip in thirty seconds

"Why haven't you adjusted your time to our capital city?"
"I'm sorry, we didn't know it was a requirement."
"It isn't a requirement, it is simply a courtesy. Something your species has yet to understand!"

- A Kreetassan civil servant, berating Hoshi Sato

"What's the tank for?"
"I'll need to super-hydrate the canine in order to minimize the shock to his pulmonary system."
"You're going to drown my dog?"

- Archer and Phlox, discussing the emergency procedure to save Porthos

"If Porthos pulls through, will he need special diets or treatments, having a chameleon's pituitary gland?"
"You may have trouble finding him. He'll have the ability to blend into his background when frightened."
"You're kidding?"
"Yes I am. Ha ha."

- Archer and Phlox, in sickbay while performing the procedure on Porthos

"Whatever friction there's been between us, I'd like to try to minimize it."
"Friction is to be expected when people work in close quarters for extended periods of time."
"I guess that's always been true... especially when these people are of the opposite sex."
"Then it's good you're my superior officer. That we're not in a position to allow ourselves to be attracted to one another. Hypothetically. If we were, the friction that you speak of could be much more problematic."

- Archer and T'Pol, on their mutual sexual attraction

"Does your knowledge on sexual tension come from from professional training or first hand experience?"
"Well, I do have three wives."
"And they each have..."
"Two husbands, besides myself."
"Sounds very complicated."
"Very, why else be polygamous?"
"So, these three wives..."
"... each have three husbands, a total of 720 relationships, 42 of which have romantic possibilities. "

- Archer, seeking Phlox's advice

Deleted scenes[]

Scenes 24 – 25[]

Archer wakes up in sickbay and calls Commander Tucker – sleeping in his quarters – to come see him. Tucker crawls out of bed and, upon entering sickbay, remarks that the captain looks terrible, asking what happened. Archer says he's fine and that it's Porthos who's not doing so well. Tucker says he's sorry to hear it, asking if there is something that he can do. Archer asks Tucker how long it has been since he's been intimate with a woman. Tucker is baffled by the question. Dr. Phlox makes a noise to remind them that he is there.

Archer apologizes for waking Tucker, and asks about the faulty injector: What kind of stress will put on the other four if they take it off-line and try to repair it? Tucker says that it is a matter of time; the longer that they have to rely on four injectors, the greater the stress, the problem being that he has no idea how long the repair would take. If the stress gets too high, they'll end up with only three injectors, at which point Enterprise would be lucky to reach warp speed. Archer tells Tucker to get some sleep.

Before leaving, Tucker tells Archer a childhood anecdote: "I had a grade school teacher who was certain I stole a pencil off her desk. I think it was a pencil. She wasn't going to let me go on the field trip to Pensacola unless I apologized. My mother told me I should tell her I was sorry, but I said 'I didn't steal the damn pencil.' You know what she told me? 'It's okay to apologize when you shouldn't have to, just as long as you don't mean it.' "

Scenes 39 – 49[]

Archer enters the bridge at 4:26 am, remarking to T'Pol that he thought her shift didn't begin until 9:00 am. She replies that she took the liberty of temporarily synchronizing their clocks to the Kreetassans' capital city. Archer asks Ensign Sato to join him in his ready room.

Inside the ready room, Archer ask Sato to sit down, and asks if she's read "the list", referring to the Kreetassans' reconciliation demands. Sato says yes, that she and T'Pol "broke it down". Archer interrupts Sato, stating that he requires her assistance on pronouncing a phrase near the end of the document.

Background information[]

Cast and characters[]

Shooting A Night in Sickbay

Director David Straiton supervising production on this episode

Sets and props[]

Visual effects[]

  • In the first scene after the opening credits, a view of Kreetassa from space shows an exact reverse of the Great Lakes of North America.


  • During the apology ceremony, Archer wears what appears to be the bottom half only of a standard uniform jumpsuit. This indicates that either the jumpsuits are in fact two-piece garments with hidden closures or a previously (and subsequently) unseen uniform variant, or that a uniform was properly modified in order to conform to the Kreetassans' demands.


  • In Captain Archer's dream, the "Dog Cemetery" contains two headstones for dogs, one for "Duffy" (21322145) and another for "Goldie". Since Archer says he "grew up with dogs", it is probable these were his previous pet dogs.


  • In a 2004 interview, John Billingsley nominated this episode as one of his favorites. "I loved working with Scott [Bakula]. That was the most time we'd had to work together, and that was fun […] I know people were a little in two minds of that episode. I rather liked that episode." [2]
  • This episode was discussed in the ENT Season 2 DVD special "Inside A Night in Sickbay", with interviews by Scott Bakula, John Billingsley, Rick Berman, and Ronald B. Moore. Bakula described the work in the new surgical scrubs as a challenge.
  • This episode was nominated for a Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form".
  • The scene with Hoshi Sato, Jonathan Archer, T'Pol, and Porthos was used in a Virgin 1 advertisement to show how more sexualized the show had become by first showing T'Pol and Archer clothed then cutting to them practically naked. The advert then said the show had become a bit more risqué, showing T'Pol putting lotion on Sato while she rubbed it on Archer, who in turn was shown to rub it on Porthos.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Guest star[]

Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt double[]


ability; act of contrition; accusation; air duct; alvera tree; anaphylactic shock; Aramis; Archer's ex-girlfriend; Archer's ex-girlfriend's mother; artist; Athos; autosuture; beagle; biochemist; blue; botanical pharmacology; buzz-saw; cabbage; Calrissian chameleon; cc; chainsaw; chordata; comparison; couplet; D'Artagnan; decompression chamber; decon agent; Denobulan; Denobulan language; Denobulan lemur; dentistry; diet; DNA; dog; Duffy; expression; extended family; filter bracket; funeral; girlfriend; glass; Goldie; grade school; groveling; guinea pig; heart; heaven; hematology; Interspecies Veterinary Medicine; kidney; Kreetassa; Kreetassan; Kreetassan capital city; Kreetassan capital city visiting ship; Kreetassan Chancellery; Kreetassan ship; litter; lizard; logic; mammalian; metallurgy; nest; Night Before Christmas, The; onion; opinion; opposite sex; part; paw; pencil; people doctor; petting; Phlox's children; Phlox's spouses; Pillarian slip; pituitary gland; plasma injector; Porthos; Porthos' mother; potter; pronunciation guide; prophecy; pulmonary system; Pyrithian bat; Pyrithian moon hawk; quadruped; quarantine chamber; rejection; ritual sectioning; sex (aka "opposite sex"); stomach; sub-mammalian database; subservient; surgeon; synaptic inductor; tank; teacher; temperature; tetrasol; theft; toilet; treadmill; trunk; Tucker's mother; urination; yellow

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