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

When a deadly neutronic storm threatens the ship, the crew must take refuge for eight days inside the maintenance shafts of the warp nacelles.



Captain Archer prepares to lead an away team consisting of Commander Tucker and Ensign Mayweather to survey a planet that Archer describes as "teeming" with plant and animal life. Archer and Tucker talk excitedly about the mission as they board Shuttlepod 1. Tucker remarks that there is a gorge on the planet five times deeper than the Grand Canyon, and suggests "a little river rafting." He adds that there will be plenty of daylight, because there are only four days of night in an entire month due to the planet's binary suns. Archer estimates the survey will take at least a week, adding that there should be time for some R&R. T'Pol contacts from the bridge that an alien vessel has approached and is hailing Enterprise NX-01. Rellus Tagrim appears on the shuttlepod's display, introduces himself, and asks permission to come aboard as soon as possible because a neutronic storm is "almost here." Tucker checks the Enterprise sensors, which do not detect anything. Rellus says that sensors will detect the wave in a few minutes as it's traveling at high warp speed, and recommends going to warp 7 as soon as he and his crew are aboard. Archer informs Rellus that their top speed is warp 5.

Act One

T'Pol reports that the wavefront spans more than half a dozen light years, and tells of a Vulcan starship that encountered a similar class 5 storm over a century ago and was nearly destroyed. Enterprise has four hours until the arrival of the storm. Reed claims that with the proper reinforcement the ship can survive, but Doctor Phlox warns that the crew will not, as the storm is saturated with deadly radiolytic isotopes. He suggests sheltering in sickbay as it's the most heavily shielded section, but not big enough to hold the entire crew. Tucker reminds the senior staff about the catwalk in the warp nacelles, one of the most shielded areas of the ship, with the caveat that when the warp coils are on-line the temperature in the area can reach over 300 degrees. Archer orders the evacuation of all personnel to the catwalk.

Archer goes to sickbay to speak with the visitors once they're on board, and mentions that he understands they're from Takret, a distant system. Rellus says that their work often takes them far from home, and his partner says that they're a group of stellar cartographers. Archer asks if they could help to update Enterprise's star charts after the storm. Rellus readily agrees.

In all areas of the ship, the crew starts moving essential equipment to the catwalk. T'Pol goes to sickbay to see why Phlox is behind schedule. The doctor says she has allotted him fifteen cubic meters for medical supplies, meaning there's only enough space for two-thirds of his animal cages. When the sub-commander suggests that some of the creatures share the cages, he replies it's impossible as they'll eat each other. Phlox points out the creatures are vital to both his work and the crew's health, and although unaccustomed to making emotional appeals, he urges that T'Pol not ask him to choose between them. She allots him an extra five cubic meters of space, for which the doctor thanks her on behalf of his Edosian slugs.

Already in the nacelles, Tucker apologizes to Rellus' group for the accommodations not being first class. Rellus says he and his group are grateful for the hospitality. After Tucker leaves, one of Rellus' partners, Guri, tells him that he doesn't know anything about stellar cartography, and won't know how to answer if the Humans start asking questions on the subject.

Archer is packing his bags when he sees the approaching storm through the window as T'Pol enters his quarters. He tells her that he didn't expect it to be beautiful, expressing regret that there will not be time to take scans of it. She points out that as they will be in the catwalk for nearly eight days, he will have the opportunity to take as many scans as he wants. She informs himp that Lieutenant Reed has completed his modifications, prompting an admission from Archer to being a little nervous about shutting down the power grid. T'Pol replies that a single neutronic surge could overload the grid and damage critical systems. Archer tells her that after researching the Vulcan database he has learned that when the Vulcan ship T'Plana encountered a class 5 storm a century before, it resulted in the loss of its entire crew, contradicting T'Pol's account. T'Pol simply says that she must have remembered incorrectly.

Archer enters the bridge to transfer the main systems controls to the temporary command post at the nacelles. Tucker gives the green light and the captain does so. He also orders to Reed to shut off the main power. After seeing the bridge with the lights off, Archer leaves for the nacelles. Once in the temporary command post, Tucker confirms the entire crew (as well as Porthos) have been accounted for, and Archer makes a brief speech to his subordinates "All hands, this is the captain. This catwalk is going to be our home for a while. A week, maybe more. You may not be comfortable, but you'll be alive. We have the best crew in the fleet and the sturdiest ship. I promise you, we'll get through this." With the hull plating polarized, Enterprise turns around and heads directly into the wavefront, immediately encountering high turbulence. After Mayweather engages the ship's stabilizers, things get smoother and the crew expects the worst has passed, for the moment.

Act Two

The class-5 neurotronic wavefront reaching Enterprise

Archer passes through the catwalk to check how his crew is dealing with the situation. First he helps a female crewmember with her crossword puzzle – the question is "who was the first Vulcan ambassador on Earth," and he guesses that the answer is Solkar. He then talks to Ensign Sato, and opines that this experience should cure anyone of claustrophobia. He finally reaches their alien guests, who are heavily clothed and positioned beside Commander Tucker. Archer asks him how the visitors are doing. Tucker says he doesn't know; one of them came out a few hours before to complain about the Enterprise crew making too much noise. The captain suggests giving them a little time to adjust to the situation.

Reed hesitantly approaches Phlox, and asks him if he can depend on doctor-patient confidentiality. Phlox asks if this has anything to do with gastrointestinal distress, as he saw an annotation about an unfortunate incident during zero g training in Reed's file. Reed tells him that was the EV simulator at Lunaport, also known as "the Vomitorium." The doctor assures him there is nothing to be embarrassed about, as he has already treated a number of crewmen for motion sickness, and applies a hypospray that should last about twelve hours. Reed thanks him and leaves the "sickbay," as the captain arrives. Archer offers to relocate some of the equipment in Phlox's area, but the doctor says there's no need since he finds close quarters rather comforting. It reminds him of conditions on Denobula, where twelve billion people share a single continent.

On the temporary bridge, Mayweather informs Archer a cluster of plasma eddies are ahead, but is confident he'll be able to avoid them. Archer lies down on a mattress, with T'Pol opposite him. He starts to watch a water polo game but stops when this disturbs her and tries to sleep. T'Pol continues to use a PADD, which in turn is a little distracting to Archer, and she stops too. Archer tells her that the situation has a bright side, as it'll bring the crew closer together, almost like a camping trip, and asks if she has ever gone camping. She tells him about the kahs-wan ritual when she was taken to the desert and left to survive for ten days. He comments that she hasn't left the command area all day and suggests that she might want to get to know the crew, beyond simply knowing their names. He considers it would be good for her to fraternize a little. T'Pol asks if that's an order; she is not skilled in fraternizing. Archer thinks she now has a chance to learn.

Mayweather, Sato, Reed, and Tucker play cards, however the close quarters are causing everyone to begin bickering over trivial things like the need of a shower which, in Reed's view, was neglected by Tucker, and who gets to choose which movie will be shown on movie night. Meanwhile Mayweather smells something burning, and Tucker angrily finds Rellus and his fellows cooking on top of a plasma manifold. Rellus apologizes and tells him they've had trouble digesting Human food. Tucker says that he'll see if Chef can cook their own food for them. Archer requests Tucker's presence at the temporary bridge.

Once there, Archer notifies him of a potential problem in engineering. The antimatter injectors have come online, but Tucker thinks it may be a glitch. While checking the systems, he complains to the captain about Rellus and his partners' behavior, but Archer points out that Enterprise owes them for the warning about the storm. Tucker realizes that the matter and antimatter injectors are online, which removes the possibility of a glitch, and the only way to shut them down is by going to engineering.

Tucker puts on an EV suit, and is reminded by Phlox that it will protect him for only 22 minutes. Once in engineering, he turns on a status monitor, then notices a piece of equipment on the floor. He checks the injectors and sees they have been tampered with. Then he hears someone else moving around and turns off his lights, along with the monitor screen he had activated. He hides and watches two figures moving around. The intruders go to the injectors and do something, so Trip sets off an alarm to distract them while he makes his escape. Out in a corridor, three more aliens march past. Trip manages to get to T'Pol's quarters and looks out through the docking port , where a ship is docked with Enterprise. Tucker accesses the camera on the bridge, where there are aliens making a mess. There are aliens there too, who are from same species as Rellus but are not wearing space suits.

Act Three

The Takret Militia ship docked with Enterprise

The aliens' leader is reading the Enterprise crew profiles in the captain's ready room, when Lieutenant Paltani informs him they can't find any sign of the fugitives, and that the Enterprise crew appear to have deserted the vessel. The leader believes that Archer may have taken refuge in a nearby system intending to return. He asks about the status of the warp engines, and is told there is some difficulty with the dilithium matrix. Paltani leaves to continue working on the ship's systems while his captain starts listening to more of Archer's starlogs.

In the catwalk, Phlox's examination confirms that Rellus' species are immune to radiolytic isotopes and therefore the storm was never any threat to them. Archer asks Rellus who the intruders are and what they're doing on Enterprise. Rellus tries to deny any connection between his group and them, but the situation is too full of coincidences for this to be true. Guri gives up and says that the aliens are officers of the Takret Militia, who've been pursuing them for weeks. The trio had hoped to evade them by hiding aboard Enterprise but the officers must have detected their vessel in the launch bay. Archer asks why they are in pursuit, and Renth continues the explanation. They were members of the Militia's lower ranks, but realized that their commanding officers were corrupt, seizing alien vessels without provocation, murdering the crews and taking anything of value. Rellus' group tried to resign to their commissions but the Militia wouldn't allow it, forcing them to desert. Rellus says they'd have told Archer the truth but were unsure if he would help. Guri says that if the Militia find him and his partners, they'll be executed. Rellus apologizes, but warns the captain that if the officers find them they won't leave, and have previously captured less impressive vessels than Enterprise.

Reed tells the captain that the Militia officers are trying to re-initialize the warp reactor, indicating that they've already decided to seize Enterprise. T'Pol says that the intruders aren't aware that the crew is in the catwalk, but if they find out the crew will be in danger.

In engineering, Paltani tells his captain that the dilithium matrix is active and the warp reactor is ready to initialize. The Takret captain orders him to bring the warp engines on-line, but Paltani can't manage the helm controls as the navigation relays aren't responding.

Back in the catwalk, T'Pol observes that the crew may have the Militia outnumbered, but they currently have only three EV suits. Reed recommends leading a security team to get more, but Tucker doubts he'd get far as there are several Takret in the launch bay. Suddenly the warp engines come on-line, and Tucker says it'll take no more than twenty minutes for the warp coils to charge and the nacelles to superheat.

Act Four

A suited team of T'Pol, Reed, and Archer prepares to go down, and receives a briefing from Tucker and Sato. On the bridge, the Takret captain asks about the helm controls, but his officers have not yet make any progress, and recommends leaving Enterprise and taking what they can, as their own ship could be lost in the storm. The Takret captain sternly orders him to get helm control.

The Enterprise team splits up, with the captain going to the galley where he starts to use some panels. Meanwhile T'Pol and Reed arrive in a maintenance corridor and are instructed by Tucker on how to shut off the injectors. On the bridge, the Militia is hailed by someone inside the ship: Archer. He tells the Takret captain that his crew was killed by the storm leaving him as the only survivor, and demands that the intruders leave Enterprise. The Takret captain says he's detected the three fugitives' vessel in the launch bay. Archer says he's been watching the Militia seize Enterprise, and refuses to let it happen. The Takret captain replies that Enterprise has been impounded under the authority of the Takret Militia, and once they return to their homeworld Archer will be charged with criminal conspiracy. Archer says he only recognizes the authority of Starfleet Command and has orders to stop any attempt at an enemy takeover, to which end he is prepared to destroy Enterprise. The Takret captain sneers that he doesn't believe Archer will do anything to Earth's first warp 5 starship, driven by his father's engine. Archer defiantly tells his counterpart that he'd be surprised, and closes the channel.

In the temporary bridge, Archer tells Mayweather to change course towards a plasma eddy. While heading back to the catwalk, the captain is intercepted in the galley by the aliens, who start shooting at him. He takes cover and returns fire. On the other side of the bridge, T'Pol and Reed are having trouble disarming the engines, but the nacelles' temperature continues to increase. On the real bridge, the Takret realize that Enterprise is heading for the plasma eddy with an ETA of about eight minutes. The Takret captain demands helm control, but Paltani doesn't think they can regain control in time and recommends that they leave. The Takret captain still thinks that Archer is bluffing. T'Pol finally manages to shut down the warp reactor.

Under intense turbulence, the Takret captain is forced to order his soldiers to retreat. They quickly go to the docking hatch, and leave. In the temporary bridge, the crew are still far from safe as Enterprise approaches the eddy. Archer informs his officers that the intruders have gone, and tells Mayweather to break course for calmer space.

Later, still in the catwalk, the crew is watching a western. Tucker is puzzled why one of the characters shoots one of his own men, but T'Pol explains that the dead man was secretly working for Sheriff Boggs, which she considered obvious. Archer's voice comes over the com stating that Mayweather's piloting has gotten Enterprise out of the storm sooner than expected, earning a cheer from the crew, who immediately prepare to leave. Tucker invites T'Pol to join the next movie night. While everyone is getting out of the nacelles, Rellus apologizes to the captain for the trouble and tells him that he and his fellows intend to go to the Gyrannan system, where they should be safe. Archer wishes them good luck, and after his crew has left the catwalk, he and T'Pol make their way back as well.

Log entries

  • "Captain's Starlog, September 18th, 2152. We have entered orbit of an uninhabited planet. Our scans show it's teeming with all sorts of plant and animal life. I will be leading a survey team to the surface."
  • "Captain's Starlog, supplemental. We seem to have passed through the worst part of the storm. But it will still be a while before we can leave the catwalk. The crew is in relatively good spirits considering they haven't had a change of uniform in eight days."

Memorable quotes

"New planet, new aliens. Banner day."

- Tucker

"The neutronic wavefront. It's almost here."
"Nothing on sensors."
"You should detect the storm in a few minutes. It's traveling at high warp. Once we're aboard, I suggest that you go to warp seven immediately."
"Our top speed is warp five."

- Rellus Tagrim warns Tucker and Archer of an approaching neutronic wavefront

"Sickbay is the most heavily shielded section. It's possible that some of the crew could survive there."
"We can't fit 83 people into sickbay – and I'm not about to draw lots!"

- Phlox and Archer discuss where to relocate the crew

"You're proposing we take refuge in a crawlspace?"

- T'Pol, to Tucker on his idea of stowing the crew in the catwalks in Enterprise's nacelles

"Would you like to try out the captain's chair?"
(Camera cuts to a cargo container)
"Maybe later."

- Trip and Archer

"You're the captain. Can't you order the storm to calm down a little?"
"I'll see what I can do."

- Hoshi Sato and Archer

"I didn't realize space was at a premium on Denobula."
"Twelve billion people sharing one continent."

- Archer and Phlox

"I understand we're explorers and we're supposed to keep an open mind about different cultures, but these guys are driving me crazy."

- Trip Tucker

"What I wouldn't give for a shower right about now. When this hand's over, maybe you can look into building one."
"Would you like a sauna while I'm at it?"
"You knew we'd be stuck in here for over a week. You might have given a little thought to making it tolerable."
"I only had four hours, Malcolm. You're lucky we've got a toilet!"
"Well I obviously underestimated your people's abilities when it comes to indoor plumbing."
"You want to take a shower? Build one yourself."

- Reed irritably complaining to a sarcastic Tucker

"Did that guy shoot one of his own men?"
"It's hard to tell them apart in those ridiculous hats."
"The dead man was secretly working for Sheriff Boggs."
"How do you know that?"
"Isn't it obvious?"

- Charles Tucker, Malcolm Reed, and T'Pol, watching an episode of Kung Fu on a movie night

Background information

Production history


  • The concept for the episode originated from a magazine article read by writer Mike Sussman, about the radiation dangers faced by astronauts on any future Mars mission. Sussman noted that: "[it] seemed to me that the crew of Enterprise [...] would be vulnerable to something like an ion storm, and there might be some kind of radiation-proof chamber they could evacuate to". (Star Trek Monthly issue 108)


Cast and characters

Props, sets, and costumes

The water polo bag with the Nike, Inc. logo


  • T'Pol mentions to Archer that she participated in the kahs-wan ritual in which she was taken to the desert and left to survive for ten days, a reference to TAS: "Yesteryear".
  • This is the only episode that Chef is really seen, albeit with just his legs and his hands.
  • The first playback of Archer's log is taken from "Fallen Hero" while the second playback could not be pointed to a specific episode.
  • The incident in this episode was later referenced in the second season episode "Horizon".
  • A neutronic storm was previously encountered in VOY: "Fair Haven" and referenced in VOY: "Live Fast and Prosper".

Links and references


Guest Stars


Uncredited Co-Stars



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External links

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Star Trek: Enterprise
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