(written from a Production point of view)
Archer and Tucker are invited to a desert-like planet by an alien leader after they help fix his ship. After arriving, they discover he has invited them under false pretenses.
The man aboard the craft, Zobral, is very friendly and thankful even if the repairs were minor. Zobral is surprised to hear that responding to distress calls is routine for the crew of Enterprise and invites Archer and Tucker for a meal on his homeworld. Archer declines, saying he promised his crew a trip to Risa. However, Zobral says there will be a Geskana match, and that he is easily offended.
Tucker wants to stay behind, saying he has too much work, and that he doesn't like the idea of the desert. He eventually relents, however, accompanying Archer to an encampment constructed in Cygniai Expanse, a large desert. They are welcomed by Zobral and his men.
While eating, Zobral is amazed to hear that Earth is two-thirds water. When discussing Enterprise and its mission, Archer refers to a time when he felt he had to back down from an enemy and set a course back to Earth to upgrade the ship's weapons. At one point during the meal, Archer points out a tapestry hanging on the wall. Zobral offers it to him, but Archer declines, saying it is too large, so instead Zobral gives him a Suliban artifact.
Sounds are heard, indicating the start of a Geskana match. A glowing ball is passed between players with sticks, who attempt to throw the ball into a goal. Tucker and Archer then agree to play.
Archer is contacted by T'Pol, who passes on the newly-acquired information about Zobral. Archer makes an excuse and attempts to leave. Zobral informs the captain he is aware of the Torothan message, and convinces him to stay. Upon returning to Zobral's house, he informs Archer and Tucker that his people were persecuted by the Torothans. Zobral considers Archer a reasonable and just man, and wants to use Enterprise in their war. Zobral also relates the story of Archer liberating a Suliban prison camp, but states that thousands, not dozens, of people were freed. Zobral believes Archer to be a great warrior.
In the distance, explosions are heard, which turn out to be Torothan cruisers, bombing the encampment. Archer and Tucker are made to hide underground in small bunker.
Archer considers the Suliban prisoners, saying that they wouldn't be in their current situation if they hadn't helped them. Tucker says the situations are completely different and that they shouldn't be drawn into a war after Zobral deceived them. When a bomb detonates above, part of the bunker collapses and the two decide to leave. The house above them has been completely leveled.
Since Zobral advised against using the shuttlepod as it would be easily detected, they take supplies from it, but begin a long walk through the desert.
Meanwhile, on Enterprise, communications with the captain are being jammed and they are warned by the Torothan chancellor that any rescue team will be seen as a hostile act and will be treated as such.
On the surface, Archer and Tucker are walking across sand dunes. Archer directs them to an abandoned camp about thirty kilometers away. They hear a ship and bury themselves in the sand to hide from it. Tucker soon succumbs to heat exhaustion, saying he is feeling cold. Tucker refuses to take Archer's water, but Archer orders, then threatens him to. Archer says they are heading towards an abandoned camp he saw when landing the shuttle.
On Enterprise, Zobral's shuttle is detected heading towards the ship. Zobral then explains there is a gap in the Torothan detection grid that a shuttle could go through to get to the surface, but that Archer and Tucker are not his responsibility. T'Pol disagrees and convinces him to help.
Archer and Tucker find the abandoned camp, but there is no drinkable water. They sit silently, realizing the bleakness of their situation.
Archer starts a fire using his phase-pistol and boils the water to make it drinkable. Archer keeps Tucker active by talking about the warp reactor. They then discuss food, Tucker saying he wants prime rib, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy and pecan pie, among other things.
A shuttle is sent with T'Pol, Reed, and Zobral inside, to find the two on the surface, but they have to fly very low to not be detected, prolonging their search.
While Archer and Tucker are talking, a bomb suddenly explodes nearby, shaking the camp, and Archer runs to a window to see another being launched. Shortly after they leave the camp, a bomb destroys it, knocking them to the ground. Luckily, the bombs indicate to the shuttle that the Torothans have detected Archer and Tucker, and they follow the shots to their location.
Back on Enterprise, Zobral is ready to leave as Archer explains that he could never have helped him in his war. T'Pol and Archer talk, with T'Pol stating that it is up to governments, not starship captains, to make decisions regarding other species' affairs. Archer agrees with her but says he believes the cause, in this instance, may have been worth fighting for.
- "Captain's personal log, February 12, 2152. After a brief detour, we're back on course for Risa. Everyone's looking forward to some much needed shore leave. I've got my eye on a place called Suraya Bay – villas built right into the cliffs. A perfect spot to enjoy a few good books. Might even do a little diving when I…"
"The galaxy could use more people like you."
- - Zobral, to Archer
"Desert, sir? The heat, the dry air? You know how it sucks the life out of me."
- - Tucker expresses reluctance to join Archer in the desert
"It's hotter than Hell out there. 41 degrees!"
"It's a dry heat."
- - Tucker and Archer
"What are these, uh, little chunks?"
"The essence of the male. Chopped and seasoned."
- - Trip Tucker and Zobral
"I hope you're aware that most likely you'll never see your captain or engineer again."
- - Trellit, to T'Pol after being told Archer and Tucker are Zobral's guests
"Please, I wouldn't be a very good host if I allowed you to get killed!"
- - Zobral trying to usher Archer and Tucker into a basement when the Torothans begin their attack
"To cherry flavored snow cones. What I wouldn't give for one right about now."
- - Tucker, while stranded in the desert
"The warp reactor. Break it down for me."
"What are the eight major components?"
"You got to be kidding me!"
"Name them… that's an order!"
"Well… there's the drumsticks… thighs… wings… you got anything to eat around here?"
- - Archer and a heat-stroked Tucker
"What you told him was correct. Decisions to get involved in the conflicts of other worlds should be left to governments not starship captains."
"I know. The irony is I have the feeling his cause is worth fighting for."
- - T'Pol and Archer, after Zobral leaves Enterprise (last lines)
- This episode's production period included 7 March 2002, which was the date on which the sailors from the Navy vessel Enterprise visited the set. During a break from filming on that day, the three visitors presented a plaque to Executive Producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga, to thank them for their support and for having invited the officers from the ship to act as extras. The trio of guests also posed for photographs with regular cast members Scott Bakula and Connor Trinneer. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 84)
- This episode contains an extensive continuous take, one of the longest - perhaps even the longest - in all of Star Trek; at the beginning of Act Four, as Archer tries to keep Trip awake and they converse about dinner on the Enterprise, this shot lasts for 3 minutes 41 seconds without a single cut.
Cast and characters
- John Billingsley (Phlox) does not appear in this episode. This is the first episode in which he does not appear.
- Charles Dennis (Trellit) previously played Sunad, a Zalkonian, in TNG: "Transfigurations".
- Three visiting sailors from the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) (namely, Robert S. Pickering, Sara Elizabeth Pizzo, and Timothy J. Whittington) made cameos in this episode, as engineering officers aboard the starship Enterprise. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 138, p. 84)
- Hoshi Sato and T'Pol have a conversation that foreshadows the Prime Directive.
- Although Tucker claims that Xanadu is not a real place while playing Geography, on Titan (a moon of Saturn), an Australia-sized area – notable for being highly reflective – is actually named Xanadu. This site may have been renamed by the 22nd century. It is also possible that Trip was not aware of its existence. There is also a historical site in China that has two names, one Shangdu, the other Xanadu.
- This episode makes references to Star Trek: First Contact as well as to the earlier season one Enterprise outings "Silent Enemy" and "Detained".
- The dialogue in the scene wherein Archer and Tucker play Geography was transferred, almost verbatim, from a deleted scene that had initially intended to be included in "Fight or Flight". In the earlier version of the scene, Archer and Mayweather play the game using many of the same locations cited here and arguing over the validity of Xanadu, just as Tucker and Archer do in this episode.
- The chair that Trellit sits in was reused from the briefing room of Star Trek: Voyager's resident Intrepid-class starship, the USS Voyager.
Reception and aftermath
- In the lead-up to the premiere airing of this episode, Rick Berman called it "undoubtedly one of the best episodes we've done." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 11)
- The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 369) comments about this installment, "An interesting episode, because unlike a lot of Star Trek, it doesn't judge Zobral – at the end of the episode, he may be a terrorist, he may not be."
- Several props and costumes from this episode were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including a clan members costume,  an alien rifle,  a prop handgun,  and a prop fragmentation grenade.   The items that were sold at the auction also included a script from this episode. 
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.12, 21 October 2002
- As part of the ENT Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the ENT Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- Jolene Blalock as Sub-Commander T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Lieutenant Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Ensign Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Ensign Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker III
Special guest star
- Mark Correy as Alex
- Tarik Ergin as a Geskana player
- Stacy Fouche as an operations division crewman
- Hilde Garcia as Rossi
- Lindly Gardner as an operations division crewman
- Cheri Isabella as an operations division crewman
- Martin Ko as a command division ensign
- Jerriel Lawrence as Zobral's clan member
- Monica Parrett as command division crewman
- Robert S. Pickering as an operations division crewman
- Sara Elizabeth Pizzo as an operations division crewman
- Prada as Porthos
- Thelma Tyrell as an operations division crewman
- Max Valentine as Zobral's clan member
- Timothy J. Whittington as an operations division crewman
- Unknown actors as Zobral clan members
Amazon River; arsenal; Australia; beach; bearing; blood soup; Bozeman; broccoli; cactus; caste system; centimeter; chancellor; Chef; cherry; coma; Cygniai Expanse; desert; distress call; Draylax; drumstick; Earth; Eastern Basin; essence of the male; explorer; fever; first contact; fragmentation grenade; Geography; geskana; gravity plating; heart; heatstroke; hull; impulse manifold; kilo; lake; logic; magnetism; mashed potatoes; microfracture; Milky Way Galaxy; Montana; mortar; motorcycle; mushroom gravy; mutiny; northern foothills; pecan pie; plasma residue; prime rib; prison guard; protest; pulse cannon; red carpet; roast teracaq; Rhode Island; Risa; sea; science officer; shore leave; snow cone; stick; strafing; stun setting; Suliban; Suliban transport; Suraya Bay; survival training; teracaq; thigh; Torothans; Torothan cruiser; Torothan goat; Torothan homeworld; United States of America; villa; Vulcans; Vulcan High Command; walk; warp injector; warp reactor; warrior; wing; Xanadu; Yalasat; yrott; Zobral's clan; Zobral's ship; Zobral's species
- "Desert Crossing" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Desert Crossing" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Desert Crossing" at Wikipedia
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"Two Days and Two Nights"