Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Enterprise strays into a Romulan minefield and is disabled by a cloaked mine. While deactivating another mine, Reed gets pinned to the ship's hull.



Damage caused by a Romulan mine

Captain Archer invites Lieutenant Reed to breakfast, hoping to become better acquainted with his armory officer. Reed, however, seems nervous and reluctant to discuss anything other than work. He brings up the World Cup, but Reed isn't a fan of soccer or any other sport. Just as Archer is getting frustrated, T'Pol alerts him that an uncharted system has been detected and one of the planets is Minshara class.

As Enterprise enters the planet's orbit, it is rocked by massive explosions, rocking the bridge and damaging sections of the ship and injuring several crewmembers.

Act One

A mad dash for information occurs. Reed reports a thermokinetic explosion in the front of the ship, breaching C and D deck , but can't tell if anyone died. Hoshi Sato is unconscious, but alive and 17 other injuries are reported. Sickbay is flooded and Doctor Phlox gets to work. Soon, Travis Mayweather reports that the ship has been hit by something that has attached itself to the hull. With no life signs and tricobalt, Reed identifies it as an alien orbital mine, probably the same thing that earlier hit them. Since the mine has the power to disable Enterprise, Reed suits up and heads out to defuse it. As he does so, Archer orders the quantum beacons deployed. T'Pol eventually confirms there are several more mines cloaked around them.

As Reed approaches the mine and reports as he examines it, Trip Tucker enters the bridge to confirm no crew was lost, and that he's examined the breached sections. Uncertain that Reed will succeed in his task, Archer suggests an alternate plan to Tucker: detach the section of the hull plating surrounding the mine, allowing it to drift away. Tucker notes that this will take a few hours and will expose a good portion of the impulse manifold, but Archer tells him to get started on it anyway – the captain will consider the plan a last resort.

Then, Reed and the Enterprise suddenly become aware of a strange alien starship decloaking nearby.

Act Two

The ship hails Enterprise, but the universal translator can't quite get a lock on the strange language, and Sato is out of commission in sickbay. The aliens begin to fire warning shots at Enterprise, so Archer orders Travis Mayweather to move them out of harm's way – slowly, so as not to injure Reed, who is still hard at work on the hull. Mayweather must also be careful not to collide with any of the other mines in the field. The unknown alien ship cloaks immediately after the Enterprise starts to move away from the planet. But Archer still thinks they're still out there.

Malcolm Reed is impaled by a Romulan mine

Reed begins to make some headway in his efforts to disarm the mine, but just as he's making progress, the motion from Enterprise jostles the mine. Another landing spike thrusts out of the mine and through Reed's leg, pinning him to the ship's hull. Hoping to disarm the mine and save his officer, Archer heads out to the hull. With Reed unable to reach the mine, Archer must depend on him for instructions to disable it. Reed thinks it is too dangerous, but Archer insists that he's a quick study.

Meanwhile, Sato is translating the mysterious alien language from sickbay. The aliens have ordered Enterprise to leave immediately or be destroyed – they have annexed the planet in the name of the Romulan Star Empire. Tucker and Sato don't know who they are, but T'Pol corrects Sato's pronunciation, revealing she does.

Act Three

T'Pol explains what she knows of the Romulans to the crew, that they are an aggressive, territorial race that the Vulcan High Command has not ever made direct contact with. Archer mentions that he saw a mention of them when he was with Daniels, but only the name. Sato is preparing to be able to compose a response within the hour explaining the crew's desperate circumstances.

Out on the hull, Archer works painstakingly to deactivate the mine under Reed's instruction. During, he also tries to engage Reed in casual conversation to calm himself down, but it doesn't seem to calm the armory officer's nerves. Rattled, Reed reveals that he doesn't believe socializing with superior officers has any place on a starship. Archer, however, points out that the crewmembers all have to depend on one another, and that Enterprise's mission is not a typical one. Reed relents and starts to talk about his family history, his attempt to join the Royal Navy and decision to apply for Starfleet. As they continue to talk, it becomes apparent that Reed is prepared to sacrifice himself for the ship, even saying so after telling the story of the HMS Clement. Archer, however, is determined to save both his officer and the Enterprise.

Just then, Reed and Archer both turn to see two Romulan vessels decloaking behind the Enterprise. They hail T'Pol and, now that they can translate the language, hear the Romulan commander. He insists that Enterprise leave immediately, demanding that the ship jettison the section of hull plating. He knows that Reed is trapped outside, but his view is that the loss of a single crewman is insignificant. The Romulan ships then re-cloak. Archer tells T'Pol he's almost done but, complicating things even further, the mine re-arms just as Archer believes he's defused it – he is forced to quickly reset it again. Reed ascertains that they will now have to dismantle the entire mine, but there's no time. Reed once again volunteers to sacrifice himself.

Act Four

Reed is completely convinced he must be sacrificed, saying it will take days to get inside the mine and that the Romulan ships will eventually attack the Enterprise. He even goes so far as to disconnect his air supply hose. Archer, however, won't have it, and quickly attaches the auxiliary air hose from his own suit to Reed's. He then asks how long the mine was armed before he completed the sequence, and how big the mine's yield was.

Desperate, Archer comes up with one last-ditch plan, and orders two shuttlepod hatches and a plasma torch from Tucker. With that equipment, Archer and Reed braces themselves as Tucker detaches the hull plating. Then Travis Mayweather witnesses two Romulan vessels decloak and Trip warns T'Pol that the Romulans are charging weapons. As they drift away, Archer uses the torch to free Reed from the hull. As the mine begins to arm itself, Archer and Reed grab their shuttlepod hatches and launch themselves out of harm's way. The mine explodes. As the Romulans descend on Enterprise, Archer and Reed make it back to the ship just in time for T'Pol to order the ship to warp speed. Enterprise makes a safe getaway as the Romulans do not pursue, and Archer and Reed discuss how long it took the mine to explode, with Archer playfully ordering Reed to accept it was twenty seconds.

Memorable quotes

"This isn't a visit to the principal's office, Malcolm."

- Archer, trying to calm Reed at the captain's breakfast time

"They missed our starboard nacelle by less than twenty meters."
"Not a very subtle warning shot!"

- Mayweather and Archer, when the Romulan vessel begins firing at Enterprise

"If you plan to go to warp, sir, you'll let me know?"
"I'll try to remember."

- Reed to Archer, while in space on Enterprise's hull

"You'll have to wait in line for my osmotic eel to cauterize your wound. He's getting quite a workout today!"

- Phlox, to an injured Enterprise crewman

"Thought you might need a hand."
"Actually, I'd prefer a leg."

- Archer, tending to Reed after his leg was impaled by magnetic spikes on the mine

"Please sir, may I have some more?"

- Reed, mimicking Oliver Twist after having been injected with an analgesic

"So you were saying at breakfast that you didn't follow any particular sports?"
"Well I haven't started following any since breakfast, sir."

- Archer and Reed, disarming the mine

"Frankly, sir from my point of view that kind of socializing has no place on a starship."
"I had a C.O. once, felt the same way. 'They're your crew, not your friends.' I thought about that a lot… when I took this command but then I realized this is not a typical mission. We could be out here for years. All we have to depend on… is each other."

- Reed and Archer

"They say they've annexed this planet in the name of something called the… 'Romalan Star Empire'?."
"Romulan. It's pronounced 'Romulan'."

- Sato and T'Pol

"Detach the hull section and leave this system immediately. We will not tolerate espionage!"

- Romulan captain

"Polarize the hull plating."
"I'll do what I can but keep in mind we're missing some of it."

- T'Pol and Tucker

"So how long was it?"
"I counted 10 seconds."
"10?! It was more like 20."
"Respectfully, sir, it was 10."
"I'm not going to argue with you, Malcolm… It was 20… That's an order."

- Archer and Reed

Deleted scenes

Scene 21

In the sickbay full of injured crewmen, Ensign Sato tries to stand up, but Dr. Phlox stops her. He tells her that her injuries don't appear to be serious, and that the present circumstances should not keep them from continuing their Denobulan lessons. He retakes the class about anatomy, asking how to say "thyroid gland", "hypothalamus", and "xiphoid process". Sato gets the first two right, but makes a mistake on the last one, saying a word that could be misinterpreted as "big toe". Phlox corrects her and resumes the lesson with pericardium.

Background information

A moment from this episode's production

Story and script

  • The final draft of this script was submitted on 18 July 2002.
  • First-time Star Trek writer John Shiban had originally planned for the antagonists to be unknown aliens. During a writing staff meeting to beat out the episode's structure, Brannon Braga suggested "This could be the Romulans..." which "instantly excited and intrigued" Shiban. [1]
  • Shiban had watched every episode of Enterprise to prepare for his first script, choosing to explore the Reed-Archer dynamic which clearly wasn't the friendship that Archer and Tucker had. Shiban further noted "We don't know a lot about Reed, which makes him a very interesting character. We know what his favorite food is, and we know a little bit about his relationship with his parents... We've got a situation [where Reed and Archer are] forced together, so what do they learn about each other, and how do they work well together, how don't they?" [2]


  • The Romulan mine prop was later reused as the reactor of the Xindi weapon in ENT: "Countdown".
  • Parts of Enterprise's hull had to be specially built for this episode but were discarded hereafter. "We had to throw the pieces away," reflected Production Designer Herman Zimmerman, "we just didn't have any room to store them, they were so large!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 151, p. 59)


  • During breakfast, Archer mentions that England has made it to the final round of the World Cup, revealing that the World Cup (unlike the World Series) has survived into the mid-22nd century.
  • Consistent with the differing customs of their respective homelands, the World Cup's sport is referred to as "soccer" by the American Archer and "football" by the British Reed.
  • This episode represents the first appearance of a Romulan ship on the series, and the first chronological contact in all the series.
  • This episode takes place two episodes after Captain Archer learns the name of the Romulan Star Empire ("Shockwave, Part II"); he apparently did not tell his crew about it, as Ensign Sato mispronounces the word "Romalan."
  • In keeping with continuity established in Star Trek: The Original Series, the Romulans in this episode are only heard and not seen. Romulans are seen visually for the first time by Humans (and Vulcans) in TOS: "Balance of Terror".
  • Although new, lighter-blue-colored Starfleet jumpsuits were produced for the second season, they were not seen until this episode. At first worn by only the regular cast members, the new uniform color eventually became more widely used as the season continued.
  • This episode features Romulan cloaking technology, while "Balance of Terror" depicts cloaking as a fairly new technology that the Romulans are experimenting with. An explanation is given for this inconsistency in the non-canon novel The Good That Men Do. The novel explains that the ships seen cloaking in this episode were two prototype Birds-of-Prey which were being tested at the time. The Romulans had previously experimented with cloaking technology, but had only been able to apply it to their mines and not to their ships due to the huge amount of power needed. These ships were an attempt to deal with this problem. According to the novel, the prototype Birds-of-Prey were ultimately unsuccessful, as the power needed put too much strain on the ships, and one of them was destroyed in an antimatter containment failure caused by its stealth systems. It would then be decades before the Romulans would successfully solve the problem.
  • EV suits aboard Enterprise NX-01 are shown to be self-sealing in the event of a leak. Curiously, the suits aboard the USS Enterprise-E, more than two centuries later, in Star Trek: First Contact apparently did not have this feature.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references



Uncredited Co-Stars


access panel; alloy; amputation; annexation; aquaphobia; Archer's former CO; arming mechanism; armory; armory officer; asteroid; backup plan; bearing; bicycle; boat; bolt-coupling; boridium; breakfast; career; casualty report; cauterization; centimeter; Chef; circuit probe; Clement, HMS; Clement crewmembers; cloaking device; cloaking system; command style; concussion; counterclockwise; crewman; cylinder; degree (angle); detonation circuit; duratanium; duty roster; eggs Benedict; emergency bulkhead; England; EPS conduit; EPS grid; family line; fraternization; friend; gamma spectrum; geographical features; grappler arm; great uncle; hemisphere; homework; hull plating; hyperspanner; ice shelf; imaging chamber; impulse manifold; impulse reactor; kiloton; launch bay door; locker room; magnet; Malcolm Reed's great-uncle; maneuvering thrusters; meter; micrometeorite; millimeter; mine; minefield; Minshara class; naval battle; ordnance training; past tense; phase variance; plasma fire; pockmark; polarized hull plating; principal; proximity sensor; quantum beacon; Reed family; roast; Reed, Stuart; Romulan Bird-of-Prey (Birds-of-Prey); Romulan language; Romulan mine; Romulan planet; Royal Navy; rumor; secondary plasma vent; sensor log; shuttlepod; soccer/football; spit and polish; standard orbit; Suliban; Tanner; thermokinetic explosion; timing relay; torpedo launcher; torque; translator; tricobalt explosive; Triton-class; volcano; Vulcan High Command; warning shot; water; World Cup

Deleted references

anatomy; big toe (~y'sah dyhfku) Denobulan language; hypothalamus (y'sah dee'katta); pericardium; thyroid gland (y'sah mai-kaam); xiphoid process (y'sah kut'du'thaal)

External links

Previous episode:
"Carbon Creek"
Star Trek: Enterprise
Season 2
Next episode:
"Dead Stop"