Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Original Airdate:1992-10-12
Production Number:230
Story by:Ronald D. Moore
Directed by:Alexander Singer
A Dyson Sphere as viewed from the Enterprise bridge.

The Enterprise discovers a ship crashed on a Dyson Sphere for more than 75 years with a single survivor suspended in the transporter beam: Captain Montgomery Scott.



The Enterprise-D picks up a distress call from the USS Jenolan, a transport vessel that has been missing for 75 years. As the Enterprise drops out of warp to respond to the signal, the starship is rocked violently by a massive gravitational field. Although initial scans do not find the source of the field, they trace the field to its centre and discover a massive spherical structure, 200 million kilometres in diameter (or two-thirds of the Earth's orbit around the Sun). The sphere's dimensions are consistent with those of the (until then) theoretical structure known as a Dyson Sphere. The sphere's size creates massive gravimetric interference that interferes with sensors, preventing the Enterprise from locating it before the ship had dropped out of warp.

The Enterprise locates the Jenolan, having crashed on the surface of the sphere. Surprisingly, power readings are still emanating from the crashed ship and life support systems are still operating. Commander Riker, Lt. Cmdr. La Forge and Lt. Worf beam aboard the Jenolan and find that, although some of the ship's systems are still functioning, there are no apparent signs of life. However, Cmdr. La Forge discovers that the transporters have been reconfigured in a strange manner - power has been drawn from the auxilliary systems (they were a regenerative power source) while the rematerialization subroutines have been intentionally disabled with the phase inducers being connected to the emitter array and that the pattern buffers have been locked in a diagnostic cycle. Furthermore, a pattern is still in the buffer and, amazingly, it has suffered almost no degradation. Riker wonders if someone could survive being held in stasis in the transporters for 75 years and La Forge finds out by rematerializing the stored pattern. Captain Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott materializes on the transporter pad.

Act One

Scotty thanks Geordi for rematerializing him, runs over to the transporter console and attempts to retrieve a second pattern, that of Ensign Matt Franklin but unfortunately, one of the phase inducers has failed and the transporters cannot compensate - Franklin's pattern degrades too much for him to be rematerialized. Riker offers his condolences and introduces Geordi and himself to Scotty. When Riker explains that they came from the starship Enterprise, Scotty reacts understandably and asks how long he was in the pattern buffers for. Worf interrupts the conversation and Riker introduces the security officer to Scotty. Realising that there is a Klingon serving in Starfleet, Scotty learns that he has been in the buffer for an extremely long time. When asked why he used the transporters to place himself and Franklin in stasis, Scotty explains that although only he and Franklin survived the crash, there were too few supplies to survive long enough to be rescued.

After transporting back to the Enterprise, Geordi escorts Scotty to sickbay while discussing some of the advances in technology over the past 75 years and the events leading to the Jenolan's crash. Geordi tells Scotty that he is very impressed with his use of the transporter to survive but Scotty acts modestly, due to the fact that he lost his friend. In sickbay, Scotty is diagnosed with only minor injuries. Captain Picard greets Scotty in sickbay and is surprised that he was on board the Jenolan, as the engineer wasn't listed in the crew manifest. However, Scotty explains that he was traveling aboard the Jenolan as a passenger to the Norpin colony on Norpin V. When Geordi is ordered to study the Dyson Sphere, Scotty is eager to help but Dr. Crusher advises him to rest. When Scotty is escorted to his quarters by Ensign Kane, he is awe-struck at the luxury that he is entitled to, compared with starships of his time period. Scotty, with much enthusiasm, reminisces to Kane about his years in Starfleet but Kane has little interest in Scotty's nostalgia and returns to duty, leaving Scotty alone, feeling much less enthusiastic and somewhat pensive about life in the 24th century.

Act Two

The Enterprise in orbit around the sphere.

As La Forge and his team are working on their spectrographic analysis of the sphere, Scotty interrupts, insisting on offering Geordi his assistance. Geordi skeptically accepts Scotty's offer and the team begin their duties. Meanwhile, on the bridge, Data reports to Captain Picard that the sphere was built around a G-Type star and that its interior surface provides an environment much like that of an M-Class planet but there are no apparent signs of inhabitants. Picard orders for probes to be launched to speed up the scans of the sphere. Back in engineering, Scotty finds further advances and changes in technology that in his era were dangerous. Geordi is quietly becoming irritated until Scotty offers advice on how to deal with Starfleet captains. When Geordi finally voices his frustration and tells Scotty that he is in the way, the older officer leaves engineering in a disgruntled state.

Later, Scotty arrives in Ten Forward and orders a drink of Scotch whisky. He is repulsed when he tastes the drink, realising that it is not "real" Scotch. Data approaches and tells Scotty about the use of synthehol instead of real alcohol and offers a "real" alcoholic drink which Scotty cannot describe any better than being "green". The engineer's reaction to this drink is much more pleasant.

Act Three


Scotty remembers the good times on board 'his' Enterprise

In a slightly drunk state, Scotty arrives outside one of the holodecks and requests a simulation of the bridge on board the Constitution-class starship Enterprise, the ship he served on for the longest duration. Scotty fondly remembers his time aboard his former ship as Captain Picard walks in, after coming off duty. Scotty offers Picard a drink and the starship captain accepts. Just as Scotty is about to warn Picard of the drink's strength, the starship captain downs a glassful, which he instantly recognizes as Aldebaran whiskey - Picard gave it to Guinan. The two captains talk about their previous service in Starfleet and Scotty reminisces about his duty aboard the Enterprise - the first ship which he served on board as chief engineer - while Picard recalls his first command on the USS Stargazer. Scotty begins to feel gloomy and opines that he is in the way and obsolete in the 24th century. He then leaves the holodeck feeling dejected.

The following day, Picard asks Geordi to personally accompany Scotty back to the Jenolan to recover the ship's logs, hoping to make Scotty feel useful again. Geordi understands the captain's motive and gladly accepts Picard's request. As Geordi and Scotty transport over to the Jenolan, Data discovers a communications array in close proximity to the Enterprise's current location and the crew set a course for it. As the Enterprise arrives at the array, the crew discover a large hatch in the Dyson Sphere, which they presume is a front door. As they open hailing frequencies, the hatch opens and a series of powerful tractor beams pull the Enterprise inside the sphere, easily overpowering it.

Act Four

The Enterprise-D is pulled into the sphere.

Due to the fact that the resonance frequency of the tractor beams used to pull the Enterprise inside is incompatible with the starship's power systems, the relays for the warp and impulse drive overload and are rendered inoperable. The Enterprise has now lost primary and auxilliary systems and the ship is soon released from the tractor beams. However, because the Enterprise is still moving under the inertia of being towed in, it is heading directly for the star at the center of the sphere.

File:The Jenolan.jpg

The USS Jenolan, crashed on the surface of the Dyson Sphere.

Back on board the Jenolan, Scotty is having trouble with recovering the ship's log, calling it "garbage". Geordi realises that Scotty is referring to both himself and the ship and tries to console him by saying that the basics of technology haven't changed a great deal in 75 years, the transporters of the Jenolan are virtually identical to those of the Enterprise, subspace radio and sensors work on the same basic principles and that impulse engine design has changed little in two centuries - long before Scotty's time. Geordi adds that the Jenolan would probably still be in service had the vessel's structural damage not been so extensive. Scotty is dismissive and retorts that nobody would want something as old as the Jenolan (and again hints at himself as well) but Geordi disagrees, saying that age doesn't indicate the usefulness of something (and hints also at someone). Scotty feels much more welcome and a bond begins to form between him and Geordi. However, the moment breaks as Scotty moves back to the console he was working on. He asks Geordi to retrieve a dynamic mode converter from the Enterprise, a tool which may help to recover the Jenolan's log entries. Geordi suggests using something similar but his call to the Enterprise goes unanswered.

Back on board the Enterprise, the ship is three minutes from being destroyed by the star. However, Commander Riker has managed to restore 30% power to the maneuvering thrusters, although they will still not be enough to save the ship from destruction. It is not until power is diverted from the auxilliary relay systems to the thrusters that the starship manages to achieve a stable orbit in the photosphere of the star. Picard demands to know why the Enterprise was towed in and orders a scan of the sphere's interior for lifeforms. When Geordi and Scotty fail to locate the Enterprise, they realise that the starship must be inside the sphere. Although it seems impossible to repair the Jenolan's flight capability, the two engineers still try restoring power to the ship's engines.

On board the Enterprise, Data reports to Picard that the star is highly unstable, expelling matter and severe bursts of radiation. This explains why the inhabitants of the sphere abandoned it. The android postulates that the Enterprise may have unintentionally triggered an automated series of tractor beams which would guide a starship inside the sphere - this would explain why the Enterprise was pulled inside without anyone occupying the sphere. When the star emits a solar flare, the Enterprise raises her shields accordingly but the vessel's shields are only operating at 23%. To worsen matters, the solar flares are becoming larger and within three hours, the Enterprise's shields will no longer protect the starship.

Act Five

Geordi and Scotty work on repairing the Jenolan's engines by jury-rigging the ship's supply of deuterium. Eventually, they are successful as power is restored. When Scotty offers Geordi the command chair, Geordi is surprised as Scotty is the senior officer. However, Scotty tells Geordi that he only ever wanted to be an engineer and insists that Geordi take command of the Jenolan. Geordi finally accepts and Scotty moves to the engineering console. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is heavily damaged by the star's solar flares but Riker reports that partial impulse power has been restored. Picard asks Worf if the ship's phasers could be used to cut a hole through the shell of the sphere, allowing the Enterprise to escape, although the sphere is composed of carbon-neutronium and phasers (or any other of the ship's weapons) would be completely ineffective.

As the Jenolan slowly orbits the sphere, Geordi and Scotty trace the impulse ion trail from the Enterprise to the hatch that the starship was pulled into. The ion trail's momentum distribution around the hatch suggests that the Enterprise's impulse engines were at full reverse and that the starship was dragged into the sphere unwillingly. Geordi and Scotty realise that the hatches are access terminals (and not communications arrays), which are triggered by certain subspace frequencies e.g. hailing frequencies. When the Jenolan opened hailing frequencies 75 years ago, the tractor beams locked on to the ship, severely damaging it and causing the vessel to crash on the surface of the sphere. Scotty suggests positioning the Jenolan far enough away from the hatch, then opening hailing frequencies so that the hatch will open but the tractor beams will miss the ship. As the hatch would begin to close, the Jenolan would enter a gap between the doors and use the vessel's shields to hold the doors open for the Enterprise to exit the sphere. Geordi dismisses the idea as suicidal but Scotty pleads to him that the theory will work. Eventually, Geordi makes the decision to go ahead with Scotty's plan.


The Jenolan is wedged between the enormous doors of one of the Dyson sphere's hatches

The engineers wedge the Jenolan between the doors, the shields hold and Geordi manages to open a communications channel to the Enterprise. The starship receives the hail and sets a course for the hatch. The Jenolan suffers heavy damage while the craft is wedged in the hatch and Geordi tells Picard that the Enterprise will have to destroy the ship to escape. When the Enterprise is in transporter range of the Jenolan, Picard gives the order to beam Geordi and Scotty back on board and fire photon torpedoes, destroying the Jenolan. The doors continue to close but the Enterprise manages to exit the sphere. As Geordi and Scotty walk off the transporter pad, Scotty is cheerfully relieved to be returned to safety.


The senior staff bid Scotty farewell.

Later, Geordi tells Scotty about the Enterprise's encounter with a newborn lifeform on stardate 44614.6. ("Galaxy's Child") It is obvious that a strong bond has formed between the two engineers. Scotty was expecting Geordi to take him for a drink but Geordi had different intentions. As they walk through the doors to Enterprise's shuttlebay, the senior staff are revealed, standing in front of a shuttlecraft, the Goddard. Picard offers Scotty the craft on "an extended loan" basis in thanks for sacrificing the Jenolan to save the Enterprise. Scotty says that he won't be going to the Norpin colony as he had first planned. With the exception of Worf, the senior staff bid Scotty farewell. Scotty reveals his approval of the Enterprise-D and the starship's engineer. After shaking Geordi's hand, he departs the ship in his new shuttlecraft.

Background Information

  • "Relics" makes many references to The Original Series, including the episodes "Elaan of Troyius" and "The Naked Time".
  • Scotty's line about the Aldebaran whiskey - "It's green" - is a reference to TOS: "By Any Other Name", in which the engineer had a similar line.
  • The visual and sound effects of the Jenolen's transporter are directly taken from those of the Enterprise's transporter in The Original Series.
  • Scotty mentions that the first time he visited the planet Argelius II, he got into a "wee bit of trouble." In The Original Series episode "Wolf in the Fold", Scotty was accused of murdering three women there.
  • James Doohan is the third actor from The Original Series to appear on [[|Star Trek: The Next Generation|TNG]]. DeForest Kelley appeared in "Encounter at Farpoint" and Leonard Nimoy appeared in "Unification, Parts I" and "II"
  • Two major continuity errors were made between this episode and "Star Trek: Generations" and the television series Enterprise - Captain James T. Kirk was presumed dead on the Enterprise-B's maiden voyage before Scotty boarded the Jenolan to go the Norpin colony. However when Scotty was beamed back onboard the Jenolan he said "The Enterprise... I shoulda known. And I'll bet it was Jim Kirk himself who hauled the old girl out of mothballs to come looking for me," suggesting that Kirk was still alive when Scotty was en route to the Norpin colony. Additionally, when Scotty asks the enterprise computer to recreate his Enterprise on the Holodeck, the voice of Majel Barret replies by requesting that he be more specific, informing him that five ships have carried the name 'Enterprise' (NCC-1701, NCC-1701A, B, C and the current D). Given there now exists some 14 vessels which carried the name Enterprise in Star Trek Continuity, 11 of which the computer would have known of at the time period of the episode, this is not consistent. However, given that Relics was produced before Generations and Enterprise, you may be able to excuse such glaring errors.
  • The theory behind Dyson sphere is a real postulation made by Freeman Dyson in 1959.

Memorable Quotes

  • "Could someone... survive in a transporter buffer for seventy-five years?" -Riker

"I know a way to find out." -Geordi

  • "How are you feeling?" -Picard

"I don't know. How am I feeling?" -Scotty, looking at Beverly

"Other than a couple of bumps and bruises, I'd say you feel fine for a man of a hundred and forty-seven." -Beverly

"I don't feel a day over a hundred and twenty." -Scotty, joking at Picard

  • "Starship captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. The secret is to give them what they need, not what they want." -Scotty, offering Geordi advice on handling Starfleet Captains
  • "Synthetic scotch, synthetic commanders" -Scotty, aloud to himself on Data and synthehol
  • "...It is green." -Data, attempting to describe Aldebaran whiskey
  • "N-C-C-One-Seven-O-One. No bloody A, B, C, or, D." -Scotty, frustrated with the computer for not immediately understanding his request to see the bridge of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
  • "Bunch of old useless, garbage..." -Scotty, referring not only to the Jenolan's systems but to himself as well
  • "The tank can't handle that much pressure." -Geordi, to Scotty

"Where'd you get that idea?" -Scotty, to Geordi

"It's in the impulse specifications."

"Regulation forty-two slash fifteen "Pressure Variances in IRC Tank Storage"?


"Forget it. I wrote it."

Links and References

Guest Stars


Aldebaran whiskey; Argelius II; auto-containment field; Brahms, Leah; Chief Engineer; class 4 probe; class M; computer; Constitution class; deuterium; diagnostic mode; dilithium; Dohlman; duotronic enhancers; dynamic mode converter; Fleet Museum; Dyson, Freeman; Dyson Sphere; Elas; emitter array; USS Enterprise; EPS; Franklin, Matt; G-type star; Goddard; Guinan; holodeck; impulse engine; impulse engine specifications; IRC storage tank; isolinear chip; Jenolan, USS; Kirk, James T.; life support; matter stream; memory core; neutronium; Norpin colony; Norpin V; pattern buffer; phase inducer; phaser; plasma intercooler; Psi 2000; resonator array; rematerialization subroutine; scotch whisky; Sickbay; solar flare; spectrographic analysis; Stargazer, USS; subspace radio; Sydney-class; synthehol; tractor beam; transporter.

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