Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a production point of view)

Enterprise is sent to assist the Fortunate, an Earth freighter that has been attacked by Nausicaan pirates. But the Fortunate may not be as innocent as it seems.



ECS Fortunate under attack

The Fortunate under attack

Aboard the cargo ship ECS Fortunate, Captain Keene and first officer Matthew Ryan play a game of low-gravity football in one of the cargo modules, while they discuss the ship's operations. Their talk is interrupted by the arrival of Nausicaan pirates, who launch an attack on the ship.

Act One[]

Archer talking to forrest

Archer talking to Admiral Forrest

Enterprise NX-01 is on a mission to drop subspace amplifiers when Admiral Maxwell Forrest calls Captain Jonathan Archer to help the Fortunate, being the fastest ship in the area to reach the distressed freighter. As they approach the Fortunate, T'Pol and Travis Mayweather brief the rest of the crew on what they can expect to find, including that most freighters are slow and lightly armed, but that the crews are used to dealing with problems on their own. On arrival, Malcolm Reed confirms hull damage on the Fortunate with down systems and T'Pol reports that the Nausicaans have left the area. They don't respond to their hail but T'Pol does read life signs. Archer orders an away team and Mayweather flies Archer, Reed and Phlox over to the freighter.

On arrival, the Enterprise crew are greeted by Ryan and the rest of the freighter's command crew, who report that Keene was badly hurt in the attack, but that they can handle the damage and require no further assistance. Phlox insists on treating Keene, however, and then Archer insists on sending repair teams over to help speed up repairs. Ryan reluctantly agrees to both of these with some trepidation. As he walks away with his team to another area of the ship, it appears the group does not want to raise suspicion, as they're holding a Nausicaan prisoner for information.

Act Two[]

Mayweather and Ryan

Mayweather and Ryan having lunch

Aboard Enterprise, Ryan is touring the ship with Mayweather, visiting the transporter alcove and engineering. He initially bonds with Mayweather due to their shared background of having grown up on freighters. Mayweather discusses his early life on the ECS Horizon and leaving to join Starfleet, while Ryan reveals that he was born on the ECS North Star, a freighter which was destroyed in a pirate attack; Ryan survived, but his parents, who were crewmembers, did not. In engineering, it's suggested that the Fortunate's warp drive can be upgraded to shorten their journeys, but Ryan dismisses it, in a polite but direct way. During lunch, however, Ryan starts to challenge Mayweather's choice to leave the Horizon. The mood of the discussion quickly sours, with Ryan accusing Travis of having betrayed his family by choosing to join Starfleet rather than staying on and replacing his father.

T'Pol aboard fortunate

T'Pol talking to Nadine aboard the Fortunate

Meanwhile, aboard the Fortunate, T'Pol becomes suspicious when she finds that the crew have disabled the internal sensors, and decides to run a full scan of the ship when she returns to Enterprise. She notifies Archer who, a little while later, summons Ryan to his ready room under the pretense of discussing the repairs, only for Archer to confront Ryan about the captive Nausicaan. Archer tells Ryan that taking prisoners is immoral and asks that the Nausicaan be handed over, so that he can be returned to his people. Ryan refuses to do so, as Starfleet does not have jurisdiction on his ship. Archer acknowledges that, but also decides to force the issue by telling Tucker to remove all the newly-installed components from the Fortunate, which will leave her stranded and helpless.

Cargo module eight jettisoned

The jettisoned cargo module including the away team from Enterprise

Ryan seemingly then caves in and allows Archer to see the prisoner, however, he dupes Archer, T'Pol and Reed into entering a cargo module. Another of the crew is also present with a weapon, and they soon find themselves in a firefight. Ryan and his accomplice manage to make it back to the entrance, blast a hole in the wall, and detach the module from the rest of the ship.

Act Three[]

The Fortunate attacks Enterprise and disables her sensors before going to warp. Tucker is unable to stop them, and forced to spend time retrieving the crew. Archer intends to go after them, and Mayweather states finding the Nausicaans is the key.

Ryan torturing the nausicaan prisoner

Ryan torturing the Nausicaan prisoner

Once the Fortunate is safely at warp, Ryan interrogates the captive Nausicaan and demands the shield frequency of his ship, intending to take on and destroy it. When he gets them, he leaves to prepare for the attack. Shaw, however, has reservations about Ryan's methods, seeing as he almost killed the pirate. Ryan, however, insists they need to make a show of force and start inflicting damage on the Nausicaans for once.

With its faster warp drive, Enterprise is able to effect repairs and begin chasing down the Fortunate before it leaves sensor range. Tucker, trying to get the sensors back online, talks with Mayweather about the odd situation of a Starfleet vessel hunting one of its own. Mayweather understands the nature of cargo crews, and knows the problems that would arise if Starfleet started micromanaging his father's ship. Tucker replies that times are changing, and Ryan will have to change with them. Feeling conflicted, Mayweather goes to talk to Archer. He wonders whether they should be interfering with this matter, possibly letting Ryan on his own. Archer, however, tells Mayweather that Ryan's actions are immoral and driven solely by revenge, and this is against Starfleet code of behavior. Furthermore, the idea of letting a large group of Nausicaans be killed doesn't sit well with him, regardless of the fact they're alien. Mayweather understands, and Archer dismisses him by jokingly reprimanding him for questioning his orders.

ECS Fortunate chasing nausicaan ship

The Fortunate chasing a Nausicaan ship

When the Fortunate finally chases down the Nausicaan ship to an asteroid, it turns out that not only did their prisoner give fake shield frequencies, but that the asteroid is home to a heavily armed Nausicaan base. Ryan only becomes even more determined, believing that they can destroy the entire base and deal a crippling blow to Nausicaan operations in this area of space, but the rest of his crew argue that they're out of their league. The matter is soon rendered moot, as the Fortunate is attacked and quickly loses all engine power, and the Nausicaans begin to board her.

Act Four[]

Enterprise arrives on the scene, and hails the Nausicaans. The Nausicaan captain is initially bullish, saying that because the Fortunate attacked them, the ship and the lives of her crew are forfeit. He orders Enterprise to leave the area, threatening them with same fate if they do not comply. Archer, on the other hand, points out that while the Nausicaans may have the numerical advantage, Enterprise is far more heavily armed than any of their ships. The Nausicaan captain sees sense, and consents to letting the two Earth vessels leave if the prisoner is returned unharmed.

Nausicaan ship weapons

The Nausicaans attacking the Fortunate

Archer tries to get Ryan to hand over the Nausicaan, without much success, as Ryan continues to point out that unless they send some message to the Nausicaans, their attacks on Earth freighters will continue. Archer and Mayweather dismiss his argument, however, pointing out that he has surrendered the moral high ground by taking a hostage and launching a sneak attack on the Nausicaan base. Mayweather further points out that, if anything, Ryan's actions are guaranteeing that any future attacks by the Nausicaans will be even more violent, and that not only will he be responsible for the death of his own crew, he will be endangering the lives of many more freighter crews, including Mayweather's own parents. On hearing this, Ryan finally caves in and surrenders.

Archer and Keene shaking hands

Archer and Keene shaking hands

Some time later, Archer meets with Captain Keene, who has finally regained consciousness. Archer offers to take Ryan into custody and take him back to Earth to stand trial for his actions, but Keene asks that Ryan not be charged with anything. He intends on punishing Ryan himself, by demoting him to the lowest-ranking crewmember on the Fortunate, an able crewman. Both captains regret that things got to this point and that Ryan could not look past his need for revenge, but agree that it is the right course of action, and Keene says that next time the Fortunate makes port, he will install the warp drive upgrade that Ryan had earlier scorned. The two captains shake hands, before Enterprise departs.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

Mayweather smiling

Mayweather smiling after he told about life aboard a freighter

"The Earth Cargo Ship Fortunate. Y-class freighter. Maximum Speed: Warp 1.8. Crew complement: 23."
"Not counting newborn babies."
"I grew up on a J-class. A little smaller, but the same basic design. And one thing I can tell you is that at warp 1.8, you've got a lot of time on your hands between ports… That's how my parents wound up with me."
"Do you have any helpful information on this vessel beyond its… recreational activities?"

- T'Pol and Mayweather, as T'Pol gives a dry briefing on the Fortunate

"Ready or not, here I come! Have you seen Nadine?"
"I'm sorry. I don't know which child is named 'Nadine'."
"I just told him the truth."

- Boy, T'Pol, and Nadine, during a game of hide and seek as Nadine hides

"I want those codes!"

- Matthew Ryan, to his Nausicaan prisoner

"They say that for a split second, you can actually feel yourself in both places at once."
"Why do you think I wanna try it?"

- Ryan and Mayweather, on Enterprise's transporter

"Warp 1.8 works just fine for us. Any faster and there'd be no time to enjoy the trip."

- Ryan, after Tucker tells him things are going to change when faster engines get installed in freighters

"You ever think about doing something else?"
"You mean join Starfleet?"
"The food's not bad."

- Mayweather and Ryan

"Get down!"
"Under the circumstance, I defer to your experience."

- Reed and Phlox, in the middle of a firefight

"Ryan, you're making a big mistake!"

- Archer, when Ryan and Fortunate personnel fire at him and the away team

"The Nausicaans. Ryan's after revenge, sir."
"A very primitive emotion but it would explain his irrational behavior."
"It's rational to him."

- Mayweather and T'Pol, trying to determine Ryan's motive

"Just because someone wasn't born on Earth doesn't make them any less Human."

- Archer, explaining to Mayweather why the crew of the Fortunate can't kill Nausicaans as a matter of revenge

"Any other orders of mine you'd like to question?"
"Not today, sir."

- Archer and Mayweather

Background information[]

Production history[]

Story and script[]

  • The end of the episode vastly differed between this script and the final version of the installment. (citation needededit)


  • According to the call sheet, an insert re-shoot of scene 15 for the episode "Fight or Flight" in the situation room without any actor was filmed on the second day of production, Tuesday 25 September 2001.
  • Also noted on the call sheet, scene 10 of the episode "Breaking the Ice" in the mess hall, was re-filmed on the third day of production, Wednesday 26 September 2001. Connor Trinneer and Jolene Blalock only filmed this scene on that day.
  • Also on Wednesday 26 September 2001 a second unit meeting took place at 11:30 am in the Cooper Building, Room 205. On this day, Scott Bakula didn't film any scenes but was present for an interview, filmed on the bridge set on Paramount Stage 18, at 9:45 am. The call sheet for this day and for Thursday 27 September 2001 also reminds the cast and crew members to get their Paramount Photo IDs from the Pickford Building this week. It was opened every day until 6 pm. The principal actors had their photo IDs on Monday 1 October 2001 at approx. 9:30 am except Jolene Blalock who had her appointment at the end of the day. The photo ID schedule was overseen by assistant directors Jerry Fleck, Michael DeMeritt, and Michael Risner. (Call sheets)
  • The call sheet for Thursday 27 September 2001 remarks that the minors Daniel Asa Henson and Elyssa D. Vito had to attend school with their on-set teacher Richard Wicklund after they finished hair and makeup. (Call sheet)
  • On Friday 28 September 2001 none of the principal actors filmed any scenes. The cast of this day consisted of the guest actors, stunt performers, and background actors. The call sheet of this day also listed the heights of stand-ins Tarik Ergin as 6'4" and Gregg Hinton as 6'5". (Call sheet)
  • On Monday 1 October 2001, a green screen was used for the scene where Captain Archer talks to Admiral Forrest on his monitor. (Call sheet)
  • On Tuesday 2 October 2001, Entertainment Weekly had a photo shoot with the main cast in front of the bridge set on Paramount Stage 18 at 8:30 am. (Call sheet)
  • The call sheet for Tuesday 2 October 2001 also features the reminder for the 3rd Annual Costume Gala and Potluck Lunch, held on Wednesday 31 October 2001. According to the note, there were "no prizes for impersonating cast and crew members this year". (Call sheet)

Cast and characters[]

Props, costumes, and sets[]


  • Mayweather mentions to Ryan that Starfleet has plans to build three more NX-class ships in the near future, Enterprise itself, the lead ship of the class, having launched only four months previously. The next NX-class ship, Columbia NX-02, was seen when it was introduced later in the series: first while still under construction in the season two finale "The Expanse", as well as when it was ultimately launched, in the season four episode "Affliction".
Starfleet Com Net end screen

The screen identifying Transponder 4


  • This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 3.8 and was watched by an average of 6.11 million viewers. [15]
  • The "Ultimate Guide" in Star Trek Magazine issue 164, p. 78 rated this episode 3 out of 5 arrowhead insignia.
  • The unofficial reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 362) calls this installment, "A nice episode, a rare Star Trek story where both sides in a dispute are equally wrong and equally hot-headed."

Video and DVD releases[]


The VHS cover including "Fortunate Son"

Links and references[]


Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]



47; 2126; 2150; 2151; abandon; "Abandon Ship Klaxon"; able crewman; access corridor; access port; admiral; aft; antenna; Archer's Comet; assignment patch; asteroid; attack; August; automated distress signal; auxiliary hatch; away team; aye; baby; baking; balance; ball; barrel; basic design; batter; beagle; bed; belt; bench; biohazard; bioscan; biosign; birthday; birthplace; blanket; blue; boarding; boarding party; body; book; "boomer"; born; bow; breach; bridge; broccoli; bruise; bulletin board; burn; business; button; bypass; cabinet; cake; California Clipper; captain; captain's chair; captain's starlog; cargo; cargo container; cargo freighter; cargo handler; cargo module; carrot; carrying case; casualty; catch; catwalk; cauliflower; chair; chance; channel; charging; Chef; chest; child; chocolate cake; circuit; cloud; Cochrane, Zefram; cockpit; code; code of behavior; coffee; coffee percolator; cola; Columbia NX-02; comet; command; commander; command division; communications panel; communications station; communicator; compartment ID; com system; condolence; confrontation; container; cook; corner; corridor; cortical regeneration; counting; course; crane; crew; crew complement; crewman; crewmember; cup; dad; damage; danger; day; death; debris; decompression; demotion; Denobulan; desk; dessert; dilithium ore; disruption; distance; distress call; docking arm; docking port; doctor; dog; door; dozen; drawing; drawing board; Draylax; Draylaxian whiskey; drink; drink dispenser; duty; duty personnel; earpiece; Earth; Earth Cargo Service; Earth Cargo ship; Earth sea level; eating; Echo 1; ECS; emergency beacon; emergency exit; emergency procedure; emergency seal; emotion; EM pistol; end zone; energy pistol; engine; engineer; engineering; ensign; Enterprise CVN-65, USS; Enterprise dedication plaque; Enterprise (frigate); Enterprise NX-01; Enterprise (OV-101); escape pod; evacuation; explosion; extinguisher; eye; family; F/A station; father; February; feet; female; fight; fire; fire alarm; fire control personnel; first officer; fleet; food; football; football (object); fore; fork; Fortunate, ECS; Fortunate crewman; Fortunate kid; freighter; freighter medic; freight hauler; french fries; frequency; friend; galaxy; generation; gesture; GHz; Golden Gate Bridge; gravity; gravity plating; gray; green; green bean; Guava; guilt; hail; hamburger; hand; hand hold; handrail; handshake; hauling; hell; helm station; hide and seek; high voltage; holster; home; homemade; Horizon, ECS; hostage; hot cocoa; hull damage; hull plating; hull signature; Human; husband; hydraulic pump; hydroponics; ice cream; iced tea; impulse; incoming transmission; infirmary; infliction; inorganic material; installation; intention; intercept course; internal sensor; interrogation; irrational; J-class; jar; jettison; Jon; Jupiter Station; Jupiter Station cargo handlers; jurisdiction; Keene family; kicking; kid; kill; kilometer; kiloton; knife; ladder; lamp; laser micrometer; launch bay; leak; leather; lesson; lieutenant; life; lifeboat station; light year; load; long-range sensor; low-yield; luck; lunch; machine shop; magic; main hatch; male; manual; maximum; maximum speed; maximum warp; Mayweather; Mayweather, Rianna; Mayweather's brother-in-law; Mayweather's sister; meatloaf; medal; medical supply cabinet; mess hall; meteor; meter; micron; microscope; milk; mind; minute; mission; mister; monitor; month; morning; mother; "mystery meal"; name; napkin; Nausicaa; Nausicaan; Nausicaan cargo station; Nausicaan ship; Nausicaan energy weapon; necktie; neural pathway; newborn; next generation; North Star, ECS; North Star survivors; nowhere; nutri-pak; NX; NX-03; NX-04; NX-class; offer; office; offline; online; operations division; opinion; opportunity; order; PADD; panic; parent; pay; pepper; permission; "permission to speak freely"; pet; pet skunk; phase-pistol; photograph; physician; pillow; pirate; planet; plasma burn; plasma cannon; plasma discharge; plasma rifle; plate; pleasure; point of origin; polarized hull plating; "pop-gun"; port; port (location); potato; power; Presidio; pressure; pressure loss; pressure suit; price; primary system; primitive; prisoner; privacy; problem; programming; progress; proposal; protocol; pullover; pulse; purge; quartermaster; quarters; question; range; rank; rank pip; rate; rational; reading; ready room; reception; recreational activity; recruiting pitch; red; region; relation; relay; remodulation; repairs; repair team; report; rerouted; rescue operation; resequenced; respiration; "revenge; run-in"; Ryan's father; Ryan's mother; salad; salt; sandwich; San Francisco; San Francisco Bay; scan; scanner; schematic; sciences division; science station; scope; second; sector; sector attacked by Nausicaans; sensor; serving case; shaker; shame; shelf; shield frequency; shield modulation; shields; ship; shipmate; shirt; shoe; shooting; short-range tactical scan; shuttlepod; Shuttlepod 1; signage; signal loss; sir; sister; situation room; skill; sky; sleep; smile; sneaking; socks; space; space boomer; spare part; spoon; star; starboard; Starfleet; Starfleet captains; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Com Net; Starfleet Medical; Starfleet officer; Starfleet uniform; Starfleet vessel; starship; statue; steak; stealing; stowaway; stubborn; stupidity; sub-commander; subspace amplifier; subspace band; survivor; synthesizing; table; tactical station; tail; target; taste; tea; teaching; Teneebian skunk; thermos; Theta 309; time; tomato juice; torpedo; torture; touchdown; tour; tracking; transmission; Transponder 4; transporter; tray; trigger; trip; Trip; trust; truth; tube; turbolift; unconscious; unnamed asteroid; unnamed Humans; unnamed Nausicaan ships; unnamed Starfleet vessel; unnamed warp engine component; upgrade; utilities trunk; valve assembly; valve seal; Vega colony; vessel; vibration; vice admiral; viewer; viewscreen; Vulcan; Vulcan scanner; Vulcan uniform; wagging; warp; warp 1.8; warp 3; warp core; warp drive; warp five engine; warp reactor; warp three engine; warp trail; water; weapon; weapon discharge; weapons fire; weapons lock; weapons systems; week; window; Y-class; year; Zefram Cochrane's statue; zipper

Unreferenced materials[]

ancestor; armory; charge; complaint; country; Cross, Ryan; Earth standard; escorts; explorer; Gallant; gas; government; joke; night; patrol; policeman; postcard; ramp rats; Ship Toss; soldier; spacedock; stem; stern; stores; technical briefs; trial; Voltaire; Vulcan High Command; Vulcan ship

External links[]

Previous episode:
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 1
Next episode:
"Cold Front"