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Archer is charged by a Klingon tribunal for helping rebels try to escape the Empire.



On Narendra III, a Klingon court magistrate commands that the prisoner be brought in. That prisoner is Captain Jonathan Archer. He is informed that he stands accused of conspiring against the Klingon Empire. Responding that he is not guilty, he is informed that the following day he will be given a chance to prove his innocence, and that if he cannot, there is only one punishment.

Act One

In his cell, the captain contemplates his prison ration of targ flesh when Dr. Phlox is shown into his cell for five minutes by the guard. The doctor proceeds to check the captain for xenopolycythemia, commenting both on how contagious the disease is and how surprised he is that Archer has not been placed in isolation. Once the guard has retreated to a safe distance, Dr. Phlox quietly informs Archer that it has taken T'Pol two days to convince the Klingons to allow the visit due to his "condition". Phlox further informs him that both Starfleet and the Vulcan High Command are doing everything possible to get him released. Archer then informs Phlox that when the case is over, he is relying on T'Pol and Tucker to get Enterprise NX-01 out of Klingon territory.

A Klingon then arrives, and, once informed that the "patient" is not contagious, tells the doctor to return to his ship. He introduces himself as Kolos, his advocate and that the tribunal is about to begin. Archer protests that they have not discussed the case, but Kolos assures him that he is familiar with the charges and will speak on his behalf. Archer says he doesn't know what happened, but Kolos insists that he does.

They enter the chamber, and Archer learns that the entire crowd is chanting "enemy" at him. The Klingon magistrate enters and calls on the prosecutor, Orak to start. Orak calls Duras, son of Toral, the former captain of the battle cruiser IKS Bortas. Duras explains to the court that Enterprise was holding Klingon fugitives, and was fired upon when he requested that Archer surrender them. He's lying about Archer's behavior, but Kolos won't object, saying it isn't important. Orak then colorfully makes the case that Archer is a conspirator and therefore an enemy of the Klingon Empire. The magistrate asks for a response, and, to Archer's surprise, Kolos says he has none. The magistrate starts to take a break to consider the verdict, but then Archer yells out, exclaiming Duras is lying. The magistrate won't tolerate the outburst, and orders him silent by pain sticks and taken out.

Act Two

In his cell, the captain contemplates his prison ration of targ flesh once again, trying some and spitting it out immediately. Soon, Kolos arrives, having met the magistrate to make a deal to save Archer's life if he revealed the location of the fugitives. Archer refuses, noting that they'll just end up in a "court" like this one. He asks that he be allowed to defend himself. When Kolos displays reluctance at the idea, having been an advocate for many years, Archer gets angry and confronts him. Kolos tells Archer that there once was a time when everyone was tried fairly, but there was now no honor in a justice system that favored the warrior class. Archer encourages him to challenge this state, but he's reluctant.

Archer stands before the magistrate

Back in the tribunal, the magistrate asks if there's a response to the offer. Kolos convinces the magistrate to allow Archer to recount events from his point of view; by stating that the Judicial Charter of Koloth states that an advocate has the right to challenge the charges at any point during the tribunal, and since the time of Kahless that their courts have always stood for honor. Orak objects, but the magistrate relents and says he can proceed. Archer then explains that they found a small starship adrift in space. When the aliens were brought aboard, they found that the refugees aboard were from a colony which had been annexed by the Klingon Empire only to be abandoned when they were of no further use.

Then Duras arrived with the Bortas, and Archer ordered to go to tactical alert. Orak then interrupts to establish again that Archer knew they were subjects of the Empire and that the Bortas was retrieving them, but Kolos notes any Klingon commander would have gone to alert and Archer notes they were abandoned. Regardless, Orak declares Archer committed an act of war.

Act Three

Archer refused to hand over the refugees and heads for a place to hide from the Bortas's sensors. Orak interrupts again, and is silenced, but not before declaring Archer's version of events was "entertaining." Archer insists the ship came out of warp with weapons charged. Duras contacts them, calling the aliens fugitives and demanding Archer hand them over. Duras is adamant and doesn't discuss it. He grew angry and fired upon the Enterprise, which drew it into an asteroid field and set a trap, disabling the ship. Kolos notes Archer tried to come to an agreement and didn't fire first. He also notes Archer simply defended his ship, and didn't destroy Duras' ship since they're not his enemy.

Oddly, Kolos then declares Archer guilty. However, he turns the court's attention to how Archer had assisted the Empire in the past, such as exposing the Suliban plot and rescuing a Klingon ship, the IKS Somraw. He declares the current case fits a pattern of "meddling" and really just a "nuisance" instead of an enemy. He suggests finding him guilty of that crime instead.

Kolos and Archer await the decision of the magistrate. Kolos offers Archer bloodwine to make the wait more pleasurable. They discuss Kolos' career and history, and the way the warrior class has risen to dominance in Klingon affairs. The magistrate agrees to spare Archer's life on the grounds of his deeds, and instead of death, he sentences him instead to life imprisonment in the dilithium mines on Rura Penthe.

Act Four

Orak objects to the ruling, as he wanted the death sentence. Kolos, though, states Archer has been given that, since the average life span there is 6 months or a year. He then exclaims that Archer has not been treated with honor, despite the magistrate's claim, since the magistrate has already admitted that Archer didn't do anything wrong. He continues, saying that it's been many years since anyone actually saw justice in his chamber. The magistrate responds angrily by sentencing Kolos to one year at Rura Penthe for speaking out of turn.

Aboard Enterprise, T'Pol informs the bridge crew that they must now leave Klingon territory, and that the Vulcan High Command will continue to lobby for Archer. The crew start to ponder a rescue attempt, but T'Pol knows where they are headed and states that is not an option. However, she also reveals that she has dealt with several Klingon bureaucrats in the past and that they can be "persuaded."

On Rura Penthe, Archer and Kolos work at the mine. Kolos is obviously not physically able to work as fast as others and gets hit with a pain stick for it. Archer defends him, attacking the guard only to be hit by another nearby guard. Kolos inquires if all Humans are so "stupid," but Archer responds with an old Earth axiom, "never kick a man when he's down." New arrivals appear and, surprisingly, Malcolm Reed is one of them, there to rescue the captain. Lieutenant Reed explains that T'Pol had found a few Klingon officials to bribe. Archer offers Kolos a chance to come with him, but he refuses, explaining that he wanted to restore honor to his people but that he could not do so as a fugitive. While the captain points out the statement made at the trial, that most prisoners at Rura Penthe don't survive a year there, Kolos smiles and responds that those people, for the most part, don't have anything to live for, and that's not the case with him. Archer bids him well, and leaves the mine with Reed.

Memorable quotes

"When this tribunal convenes tomorrow, you will be given a chance to prove your innocence. If you cannot, there is only one punishment."

- Klingon magistrate, to Archer

"I wasn't sure if I'd find you alive."
"They promised me a trial before the execution."

- Phlox visits Archer in his cell on Narendra III

"I hope they're not the jury."
"There is no jury."

- Archer to Kolos on the Klingons chanting in the courtroom

"Who's that?"
"Prosecutor Orak. His success is well known."
"What about you? What's your success rate?"
"I've performed my duty."

- Archer and Kolos

"Be silent or you will be removed!"

- Kolos, to Archer after he speaks out during the trial

"Identify yourself!"
"Captain Archer of the battle cruiser Enterprise."

- Klingon Captain Duras and Archer, according to Duras' recollection of events

Kolos shares blood wine with Archer

"What is it?"
"Blood wine. It should help make the wait more pleasant."
Archer considers the flask, drinks from it, then tries to control his negative reaction.
"What's it the blood of?"
Kolos chuckles.
"Don't feel badly if you can't stomach it."
"I didn't say that!"

- Archer and his Klingon advocate, Kolos, awaiting the return of the verdict

"You didn't believe all Klingons were soldiers?"
"I guess I did."
"My father was a teacher. My mother, a biologist at the university. They encouraged me to take up the law. Now, all young people want to do is to take up weapons as soon as they can hold them. They're told there is honor in victory – any victory. What honor is there in a victory over a weaker opponent? Had Duras destroyed that ship, he would have been lauded as a hero of the Empire for murdering helpless refugees. We were a great society, not so long ago. When honor was earned through integrity and acts of true courage, not senseless bloodshed."
"For thousands of years, my people had similar problems. We fought three world wars that almost destroyed us. Whole generations were nearly wiped out."
"What changed?"
"A few courageous people began to realize… they could make a difference."

- Kolos and Archer

"Perhaps I spent too much time in the law library and not enough in the battlefield."

- Kolos

"Our ships run on dilithium, not talk!"

- Rura Penthe guard, insisting that Kolos and Archer get back to work

Background information

Story and script

  • The alien species was revealed in a production report(X) to be called the Arin'Sen.
  • While writing this episode, David A. Goodman tried to include as many Star Trek: The Next Generation-era Klingon-related continuity references in this installment as he possibly could. He was very pleased that most of these remained in the episode, instead of being edited out. Having an enjoyment of linking Star Trek: Enterprise with the other Star Trek series, Goodman liked writing this episode in general. [1]
  • This episode's final draft script was submitted on 16 January 2003.
  • Dominic Keating said of the episode, "It was quite fun sneaking up on Scott Bakula, and wearing a fur pelt was quite a lark."

Cast and characters


  • This episode features several obviously intentional parallels to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: the captain of the Enterprise being tried in a Klingon court for crimes against the Empire, the appearance of the courtroom, the judge's talon-like glove and sphere-shaped gavel, a ruthless prosecutor (though Orak, at least, wasn't prosecuting someone else for his own crime, unlike Chang), an honorable defense advocate, (played by an actor better known for playing another Klingon from a later century), and the captain being convicted but having his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment on Rura Penthe (and ultimately escaping with the help of his crew). There are also many parallels to DS9's "Tribunal", with Kolos taking the place of both Conservator Kovat and Odo, the magistrate and Prosecutor Orak taking the place of Chief Archon Makbar, and Archer taking the place of Miles O'Brien.
  • The disease mentioned by Dr. Phlox, Xenopolycythemia, is what later afflicted Leonard McCoy in TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky".
  • Duras, son of Toral, is an ancestor of 24th century Klingons Ja'rod, Duras, Lursa, B'Etor, and Toral, all of whom were considered traitors to the Empire. The 22nd century Duras' pattern of forehead ridges are identical to those of his 24th century namesakes.
  • Ty'Gokor, from DS9: "Apocalypse Rising", is mentioned. J.G. Hertzler also appeared in that episode, playing a Changeling posing as Martok, and James L. Conway directed both that episode and this one.
  • Kolos mentions Archer's good deeds towards the Klingon Empire, as seen in the first season episodes "Broken Bow" and "Sleeping Dogs".
  • This is the first time in the Star Trek chronology that painstiks and bloodwine are seen.
  • Of all the episode's references to past Star Trek productions, the script notes only that the set of the Klingon tribunal chamber of this episode is "similar to the one in Star Trek VI".
  • Duras' ship, the IKS Bortas, would, like Duras himself, have a 24th century namesake. The 22nd century Duras commanding a ship of that name is something of an irony, since the 24th century Bortas would serve as flagship of the forces fighting against the House of Duras during the Klingon Civil War.
  • Though never stated in dialogue, the script states that the trial took place on Narendra III. This, too, is something of an irony, as 192 years later, another ship named Enterprise would be lost, defending the Klingon outpost (possibly, the one depicted in this episode) on the planet from an attack by the Romulan Star Empire, an act of courage which greatly improved relations between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets.
  • The term "warrior caste", used in this episode, has never been used to describe Klingons before, nor has any other caste-based system been previously attributed to them. It was used later in both "Affliction" and "Divergence", by Dr. Antaak, to describe his family. It's unclear if the term would persist into later centuries. The term was more commonly used as one section of the Minbari race on the series Babylon 5. John Vickery, who plays Orak in this episode, appeared in several episodes of that series as Neroon, a prominent member of the Minbari warrior caste.
  • Kolos expresses concerns that the warrior caste is neglecting Kahless' teachings and manufacturing bloody "victories" for the sake of personal glory. In DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", T'Kuvma believes that these are among the reasons the Klingon Empire has stagnated by 2256.
  • It is never established how Archer was captured.


  • David A. Goodman stated, "A lot of people had problems with that episode, but in general I'm very proud of it." [3]
  • Scott Bakula cited the episode as his favorite, particularly appreciating Archer's line to Kolos that, after three World Wars, a few Humans realized they could make a difference. [4]

DVD releases

Links and references


Guest Stars


Uncredited Co-Stars

Stunt double


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