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While in a shuttlepod performing tests, Tucker is attacked by a hostile alien and forced to crash-land on a desolate moon.



Trip Tucker is in a shuttlepod orbiting a gas giant with dozens of moons. The location is perfect to test the new autopilot upgrades, but he is suddenly attacked by an unknown ship and pushed into the atmosphere of one of the moons, where the engines of both ships go offline, forcing Tucker's shuttlepod and the alien ship into emergency landings.

Act One[]

At the time of the incident, Enterprise NX-01 is too far away to see where Tucker crashed. Enterprise's search efforts are further hampered by the selenium isotope content of many of the moons' atmospheres. They begin the search. On the moon, meanwhile, where it is nighttime, Tucker records a log and tries to repair his transceiver when Zho'Kaan, the Arkonian pilot, attacks him and steals it.

The Enterprise soon encounters an Arkonian ship, which initially appears hostile. The captain, Khata'n Zshaar, orders him to leave the area, but also says he is missing a scout ship as well. Interestingly, he is suspicious of T'Pol, as the Arkonians have had a rather unfavorable relationship with the Vulcans. Captain Archer manages to make a tentative arrangement by suggesting that they join forces to find their missing crew members; in return, he promises to leave their system as soon as their crew members have been recovered.

Tucker discretely observes the alien's camp, set with laser alert wires. He sees that the alien is as worse off as he is, and watches him work with the transceiver. He hatches a plan by his own shuttle, and returns to the alien camp with a recording device of his own voice. This draws out the alien, allowing him to gather the transceiver, but the alien figures it out too quickly, coming back before Tucker can leave. The alien trips his own laser alert, and Tucker hides. He jumps the alien, taking his weapon, but then the alien spins and knocks Tucker down, grabs the weapon and shoots him.

Act Two[]

Zho'Kaan and Charles Tucker III

"I don't understand a word you're saying!"

Tucker is taken prisoner. The alien continues to try working with the transceiver, though he's not having any luck and wakes Tucker up. Even though the absence of a universal translator prevents the two from understanding each other, they are able to exchange simple words. Zho'Kaan agrees to let Tucker try some repairs, under gun.

Meanwhile, T'Pol reports no progress on their five moons, nor with the Arkonians. Acher asks what the "bad blood" is between them and the Vulcans and she recounts their history, advising him to be cautious of them, since they are unpredictable.

Tucker and the alien exchange names and Tucker asks for water. What is actually in the bottle, though, is decidedly not. Then, Tucker cuts himself. Interestingly, the alien spits on the wound and it heals quickly. He gestures to get back to work. However, the poor communications prevents Tucker from doing a efficient job and he falls back on having to use force to make progress. Knowing that necessary components are back at his shuttlepod (as well as a supply of edible rations and water), Tucker tricks and subdues Zho'Kaan.

Act Three[]

On board the Enterprise, Archer laments the delay in finding Tucker. T'Pol advises him that many of the moons have an approximate overnight temperature of −10 degrees and, more importantly, a daytime high of 170 degrees. Archer states that he hopes Tucker landed on the nighttime side, but acknowledges that time is limited.

Back at Tucker's shuttlepod, Zho'Kaan is tied up and Tucker gets his water and food. However, the horizon is beginning to glow with the approaching sunrise. With their roles reversed, Tucker is able to fix the transceiver, but it is useless because of the interference from the content of the surrounding volcanic rocks. He tries to explain to Zho'Kaan that he will need his help to bring it to a nearby mountain, but as soon as Tucker unties him, the Arkonian assaults him. They are exhausted by the ensuing fight and the Arkonian finally understands that it is best to cooperate.

The two climb the mountain and Tucker is finally able to get a message out. The Enterprise gets it, but it's hard to make out. Tucker and Zho'Kaan wait for a response as the sun continues to climb.

Act Four[]

Soon, Zho'Kaan has begun to succumb to dehydration; the sun has begun to rise and the temperature is rising rapidly. Since no shuttlepod can get them back, Archer suggests using the transporter, but Doctor Phlox advises against it, as it will probably be fatal to the dehydrated Arkonian's fragile endocrine system. Tucker refuses to let his new "friend" die on the moon and suggests the Arkonians make modifications to one of their shuttles to be able to get them. Archer agrees, but won't let him stay there much longer.

Soon, the relays in the communication device fuse and Tucker can't communicate. While they wait, Tucker recounts all the interesting things he's seen in his time on the Enterprise. Just as everything seems to be lost, they are finally rescued.

Back on Enterprise, the Arkonian captain tells Archer that if Zho'Kaan fired on Tucker unprovoked, he would be disciplined. He also reminds Archer of his agreement to leave the system as soon as the missing crew members were found. T'Pol congratulates Archer, as he was able to establish better relations with the Arkonians in one day than the Vulcans in a hundred years. In sickbay, Tucker and Zho'Kaan recover, and through the universal translator Zho'Kaan thanks Tucker for his help.

Log entries[]

  • "Chief Engineer's Log, supplemental. This turned out to be the perfect spot to test the autopilot upgrades. The gas giant has dozens of moons. It's like a... gravitational jigsaw puzzle. Watch out, Travis. These modifications are working so well, pretty soon we won't need pilots anymore."
  • "Chief Engineer's Log, supplemental. For the record... I was attacked by a small craft. I don't know what I did to provoke them. Then something in this moon's atmosphere neutralized my engines and I was forced to make an emergency landing. Looks like I took some damage on impact. Main power's still off-line. I don't think I'll be flying out of here. First things first. I'll try and get the transceiver working... contact Enterprise."
  • "Chief Engineer's Log, supplemental. It's been two hours since we started signaling Enterprise. No response yet. The sun's not even up yet and it's already hotter than hell. My sparring partner doesn't look too good. I can't be sure, but I don't think his species can sweat. For the record, I have learned one thing about him – his name's Zoh'Kaan. Anything you want to say to the folks back home?" "Nohkto." "Yeah. That means "bad. You would be proud of me, Hoshi. I've picked up about a dozen words in his language. A couple of them are real tongue-twisters."

Memorable quotes[]

"I'm no good until I've had my coffee."

- Tucker

"I don't understand a word you're saying!"

- Tucker, when Zho'Kaan yells at him in Arkonian

"Kushka to you too!"

- Zho'Kaan and Tucker

"I try anything, I'm a dead man. I get the message."

- Tucker, when Zho'Kaan has his pistol shoved into his neck

"Damn it!"
"Damn it."
"Well, looks like we've made some headway in our first contact between Humans and, um... whatever you are. Unfortunately, your first word is something you wouldn't wanna use in polite company."

- Tucker curses while trying to repair the Arkonian transceiver while Zho'Kaan repeats what he said

"That was quite a trick."

- Tucker, when Zho'Kaan spits on his arm to heal his wound

"I wouldn't trade my time on Enterprise. Not for anything. I've seen things I could never imagine back home. I saw the great plume of Agosoria, and I saw the ringed moons of Matalas Prime. And I stood on an asteroid crater twice as high as Everest. And I went diving in the ice caves of Etheenia. Rode in a Suliban cell ship. I spent the night with a princess. Oh, and I even got pregnant once. Now, there’s story. I’m sure you got stories too. That’s why we choose this life, right? See things we’ve never seen before. Hell of a ride, though. Hell of a ride."

- Tucker, as he watches the dawn appear, expecting to die

"That's why we chose this life, right? See things we've never seen before."

- Tucker

"It was a misunderstanding. I hope we can avoid them in the future."

- Archer

"I guess we won't be adding the Arkonians to our list of friends."
"The encounter was less volatile than I expected." (Archer laughs) "You managed to establish better relations in a single day than the Vulcans have in a century."
"Let's hope it stays that way!"

- Archer and T'Pol, after their encounter with Captain Khata'n Zshaar on board Enterprise

"Trip, when I fired at your vessel... I'm grateful I didn't destroy it."
"That makes two of us!"

- Zho'Kaan and Tucker, in sick bay after their rescue

Background information[]

Shooting Dawn

Roxann Dawson and Connor Trinneer discuss a scene from this episode, during its shooting

Cast and characters[]


  • This episode establishes that transporting a patient with "acute cellular breakdown" may be fatal.
  • Trip Tucker recalls seeing the Great Plume of Agosoria to Zho'Kaan ("Cold Front"), as well as spending a night with a princess ("Precious Cargo"), getting pregnant ("Unexpected") and riding in a Suliban cell ship ("Broken Bow" and "The Communicator"). In the final draft script, he also remembered encountering "Andorians, Klingons, Hudaks, Arkonians" (the penultimate name subsequently being reused as the name of an individual in later second season installment "The Breach") and admitted some things he personally wished. His speech is reminiscent of the "Tears in rain" monologue in Blade Runner. (citation needededit)
  • This episode is similar to the TNG episodes "Darmok" and "The Enemy". In "Darmok" Captain Picard is trapped on a planet with an alien that he cannot communicate with and they must work together to survive. In "The Enemy", La Forge is trapped on a hostile planet and with a Romulan whom he must work with to survive. This episode also bears similarities to VOY: "Gravity" in which Tuvok and Paris are trapped on a planet and must befriend an alien to survive.
  • Other genre productions that share the same "stranded-foe-turned-friend-under-duress" theme include the 1980 Galactica 1980 episode "The Return of Starbuck ", but it was the small and unnoticed, yet acclaimed 1985 science fiction film Enemy Mine that "Dawn" resembled the most, down to not only the plot, but also to the near identical reptilian adversary – arguably to the point of near plagiarism. The "stranded-foe-turned-friend-under-duress" theme, incidentally, traces it origins back to the 1968 World War II film Hell in the Pacific, which featured Toshiro Mifune (once considered for a major Klingon part in Star Trek: Planet of the Titans) as one of the two protagonists.
  • Tucker's monologue as he watches the sun rise, and anticipates his death, is very similar in theme and language to Roy Batty's "Tears in the rain" speech in Blade Runner. Both recount wondrous experiences which gave meaning to the speaker's life.

Links and references[]


Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]


acute cellular breakdown; Arkonians; Arkonian language; Arkonian military vessel; Arkonian moons; Arkonian patrol ship; Arkonian planet; asteroid; autopilot; bearing; brown; carrier wave; Chef; chicken marsala; coffee; cultural exchange; dehydration; diamagnetic mineral; diplomatic exchange; dozen; endocrine system; first contact; fleece; frequency; gas giant; gesture; Great Plume of Agosoria; Ice Caves of Etheenia (Etheenia); hour; igneous rock; induction coil; intake manifold; isotope; jam; jigsaw puzzle; Kaitaama; kilometer; lamb; logic; marmalade; "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (Mary); M'talas Prime; moon; Mount Everest; orange juice; physiology; pilot; Porthos; princess; pulse-weapon; ringed moons of M'talas Prime; selenium; shuttlepod; Shuttlepod 1; snow; sparring partner; spitting; steward; Suliban cell ship; surface temperature; tarrat-aash; thermo-kinetic analysis; temperature; tongue-twister; transceiver; transporter; universal translator; volcano; vomiting; Vulcans; Vulcan High Command; warp drive; white

External links[]

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Star Trek: Enterprise
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