(written from a Production point of view)
Enterprise finds a derelict Xindi-Insectoid ship carrying a cache of unhatched eggs and Archer takes an increasingly obsessive interest in preserving them.
Enterprise is orbiting an uninhabited planet en route to Azati Prime. They discover a derelict Xindi-Insectoid ship on the surface. Interested in finding out more about their technology, Captain Archer sends down an away team in a shuttlepod.
On the Xindi ship, they discover that all the crew are already dead, and that there is no atmosphere. In EV suits, the Enterprise crew members explore the ship. They find no discernible bridge, only access terminals scattered around the ship. This corresponds with what they've already discovered about the decentralized nature of the Insectoid government and hierarchy.
Investigating further, they discover an intact Xindi-Insectoid shuttlecraft, which they take back to Enterprise. The away team then finds an active power source, and move it to a pressurized room with breathable air. Inside, they find a room filled with eggs – a hatchery.
Captain Archer inspects one of the eggs, and one of the tendrils attached to it squirts him with some substance. He is taken back to the ship. Dr. Phlox looks the captain over, and finds that it was only a mild neurotoxin, and that there was no permanent damage. Back on the Xindi ship, the crew discover that the life support systems have only a few days of power left. If they fail, the eggs will all die.
On Enterprise, Archer calls Commander Tucker and Sub-Commander T'Pol to his ready room, and tells them to prepare to help power up the derelict ship so the eggs don't die. Tucker objects strongly, claiming that the longer they stay near the planet, the more likely that they'll be discovered by another Xindi ship. However, Archer is adamant that they should try to preserve the lives of the baby Xindi.
The Enterprise crew have spent the past two days on the derelict ship, trying to power it up, but nothing is working. Archer is getting more and more annoyed by each failure by his crew. Then he has an idea. On Enterprise, he orders that enough antimatter be sent down to the planet to re-start the Xindi ship's engines. He then goes back down to the planet. T'Pol is against the idea, and tells Trip to hold back the supplying of the antimatter until she has had a word with the captain.
On the derelict ship, T'Pol confronts Archer about their low antimatter reserves, and how much of a strain giving a third of their antimatter to the damaged ship would put on Enterprise. Archer absorbs this information, but still insists that the antimatter is transferred. T'Pol bluntly refuses, at which point Archer relieves her of her post, and orders Major Hayes to escort her back to Enterprise and confine her to her quarters.
Hayes and Lieutenant Reed discuss Xindi ship tactics, and Hayes discovers a weak spot in the Xindi ship's shields where two torpedoes could knock out their engines. Reed, initially skeptical as to Hayes' investigation methods, is impressed.
Learning of T'Pol's insubordination, Tucker visits her in her quarters, after having convinced Corporal Chang (stationed outside T'Pol's quarters) into letting him in to see her, claiming he was only there for his regular Vulcan neural pressure session. T'Pol convinces Tucker that the captain is acting irrationally and is jeopardizing the mission. Tucker is wary about directly confronting the captain over the matter because he could also be relieved of his duties and sent to his quarters as well.
On the bridge, Lieutenant Reed is in command when a Xindi-Insectoid scout ship arrives, fires on Enterprise, and attempts to escape. Reed decides to put Hayes' plan into action, and fires at the vulnerable section of the ship. The Xindi ship is destroyed. Archer arrives on the bridge, and is angered because Reed destroyed the ship. He relieves him of his post, and confines him to his quarters too.
Captain Archer puts Major Hayes in command of Enterprise and posts MACOs all over the ship. He then orders Ensign Sato to send out a distress call, as soon she completes her translation. Then, Archer goes to the shuttlebay and starts loading the antimatter into one of the shuttlepods. Tucker and Dr. Phlox (who has been informed of the Captain's increasingly obsessive behavior) enter and gently suggest that the captain go to sickbay for an examination. Phlox reminds Archer of the ship's doctor's medical authority to relieve the Captain of command if Archer will not submit to be examined, citing, "Starfleet Order 104 Section C" as his authority. Archer still refuses, and forces them to leave under the threat of a MACO. Unbeknownst to Archer, however, Phlox had used his medical scanner secretly to discover if anything was wrong with the captain. In sickbay, Phlox and Tucker find out that there is nothing visibly wrong with the captain, much to Tucker's shock. However, Tucker is not convinced, and begins to plan to take over the ship. Back at the derelict ship, the captain and other co-workers witness the eggs growing bigger.
Getting past T'Pol's guard again, this time by force with help from Reed, they release T'Pol, and begin their insurrection. First, they take over the armory and retrieve some more phase-pistols. Then, Tucker and another crewmember transport to the surface to confront the captain. Reed and T'Pol, with a few loyal crew members, attempt to get to the bridge. On the bridge, Hayes discovers that Chang has been incapacitated and that T'Pol has escaped. A second later, the mutineers burst onto the bridge, startling everyone. There's a standoff between Hayes, Reed, T'Pol, and another MACO. Travis Mayweather seizes an opportunity and grapples with Hayes on the floor. The situation is quickly resolved, and the MACOs are secured in their quarters.
On the derelict ship, Tucker confronts the captain, and discovers him covered in Xindi hatchlings. He doesn't appear worried or injured, but Trip has to shoot him to get him to come back to the ship.
Back on Enterprise, Archer is put through the main scanning chamber in sickbay, and Phlox discovers that the captain had been "reverse-imprinted" with the Xindi eggs by the substance that was squirted onto him. Subconsciously, he had been caring for the Xindi babies to the exclusion of everything else. Phlox is able to reverse the effect, and, after retrieving the antimatter, the Enterprise continues on its course to Azati Prime.
"I think it's safe to assume it's dead."
"Just being cautious. Certain insects on Earth are known to hibernate."
- - Reed, after Hayes kicks a body bag containing a Xindi-Insectoid corpse
"They may know how to build a weapons system, but these people could learn a thing or two about designing a comfortable chair."
"For an Insectoid, maybe they are comfortable."
- - Tucker and Mayweather
"I'd be the last to question the captain's orders but doesn't it seem a little odd that we're staying here to save a nest of Xindi?"
- - Reed, on Archer's strange request to repair the Insectoid hatchery
"The Xindi are trying to destroy Earth because they heard that Humans are ruthless, this is the chance to prove them wrong."
- - Archer
"I never imagined Captain Archer would put the welfare of a few Xindi before his own people!"
- - Reed
"I don't know much about Vulcan ethics but Humans don't throw morality out the window when things start getting a little rough."
- - Archer, when T'Pol suggests Enterprise abandon the hatchery
- The final draft script of this episode was issued on 10 December 2003.
- The Xindi-Insectoid shuttlecraft was later used in ENT: "Azati Prime". The interior of the shuttle was later revamped to serve as Shran's ship in the series finale of Enterprise, "These Are the Voyages..."
- The Insectoid console with the glass dome is a reuse of the stellar cartography set piece built for Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- An NX-01 baseball cap, worn briefly by T'Pol, is seen for the first time since the first season episode "Desert Crossing".
- The distressed 'goop' costume worn by Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer was auctioned off in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction. 
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Doctor Phlox
- 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
- Jorge Benevides as Private R. Azar
- Jason Collins as Corporal R. Ryan
- Kevin Derr as Corporal Kelly
- Duncan K. Fraser as Ensign Walsh
- Dorenda Moore as Private S. Money
- Justin Sundquist as a MACO
- Breezy or Windy as Porthos
Uncredited stunt double
analgesic; analysis; antimatter; Archer's great-grandfather; armory; asexual reproduction; atmosphere; Augment commander; autopsy; Azati Prime; battalion; battle simulation; burial ritual; caretaker; chain of command (aka command structure); civilian; confined to quarters; corporal; DNA; docking arm; Earth; egg; egg sac; elder; ethics; Eugenics Wars; evacuated schoolchildren; evacuation; Forrest, Maxwell; genderless; hatchery; Hatchling; icon; iconography; imprinting; impulse manifold; incubation cycle; insect; insubordination; lifespan; matrix converter; megajoule; microbe; Monday; morality; movie night; mutineer; mutiny; nest; neurochemical; neuro-pressure; neurotoxin; nitrogen; North Africa; oxygen; particle cannon; particle weapon; physical; plasma torch; port; power grid; Reed, Mary; Reed, Stuart; rules of war; sabotage; senior officer; sentient species; Starfleet; starlog; stockade; stun grenade; subspace vortex; suffocation; synaptic pathway; tactical alert; tactical analysis; targeting scanner; thermosphere; torpedo casing; torpedo launcher; Vulcan; West Point; Xindi-Insectoid; Xindi-Insectoid hatchling; Xindi-Insectoid shuttlecraft; Xindi-Insectoid scout ship; Xindi-Insectoid starship
- "Hatchery" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Hatchery" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Hatchery" at Wikipedia
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