(written from a Production point of view)
Archer confronts the Xindi Council.
The Sphere-Builders convene and discuss the timelines. The female Sphere-Builder is confident that the Xindi weapon will be deployed soon, but the others see a diminished number of timelines which favor that. They decide to take more effort.
The Enterprise and Degra's ship are still on their way to the Xindi Council planet. Sub-Commander T'Pol visits Doctor Phlox for another check-up on the trellium. Phlox doesn't find a trace, though T'Pol still is having trouble and meditation isn't helping. Commander Charles Tucker interrupts them with a physical ailment, having worked especially hard in engineering. T'Pol feigns a headache and slips out, not wanting to attract attention.
Degra views the data on the Delphic Expanse spheres with T'Pol and Captain Jonathan Archer in the command center. T'Pol finds there is a network of artificial intelligence controlling the spheres, and believes they can access the redundant memory core to acquire some data on the Sphere-Builders. Degra notes that would be helpful with the Council. They plan to download the data, and ask Degra's help with information on the outer shell of the spheres.
While an away team of T'Pol, Lieutenant Malcolm Reed, Ensign Travis Mayweather, and Corporal F. Hawkins prepare, Degra goes to gather his information when the Woman Sphere-Builder appears to him, pleading to stop what he's doing. She appeals to Degra's legacy in history, but Degra says he knows what he's doing, and history will judge him, not her. She leaves, and Degra then finds Archer. Degra briefs Archer on what they're facing: the Builders are practically worshiped, including by Degra's own children, having helped them when their homeworld was destroyed. He's worried the evidence may not be enough, but it could be. He promises to be on Archer's side the whole time, and, as Archer gets word that the other Xindi have arrived, briefs him on the various members of the Xindi Council he will soon meet.
While a shuttlepod containing the Enterprise away team heads off to investigate the sphere, a fleet of Primate and Arboreal vessels escorts Enterprise into the security zone surrounding the Council planet. When they meet Commander Dolim's flagship, Dolim hails them and refuses to let Enterprise into a security zone, but Degra orders him to power down his weapons, firing warning shots at him to make it clear. Due to being outnumbered, Dolim relents.
Archer brings Ensign Hoshi Sato to translate. On the way, Degra notes more about the Council members, like the fact that the Aquatics respect boldness and the Insectoids view loudness as hostile. Soon, Archer and Sato see the location of the Council chamber, a hidden mountain which was the former dwelling of the extinct Xindi-Avian race. When they get to the Council chamber, Dolim speaks first, threatening the Humans.
The introductory session does not go well. Archer starts off by acknowledging that the Earth attack was done under a certain belief, which is a lie. The Insectoid immediately objects, saying that they've never lied to them. Archer states that the Sphere Builders are actually preparing the Expanse for colonization for themselves. Dolim attempts to end it immediately, claiming Archer's just desperate, the data is manufactured, and that Degra's judgement is clouded. Kiaphet Amman'sor calls to end the irrelevant bickering. Archer admits he's trying to save his world, and further states that they are in danger, too. Archer promises an attack against the Sphere-Builders, and they know this, giving them the motivation for manipulating the Xindi. Dolim objects again, and states that the Council isn't necessary if it won't defend themselves. Degra tries to prevent him from leaving, but is struck by Dolim. This prompts Archer to defend him, receiving a blow by the Insectoid councilor.
Meanwhile, the away team finds an opening into the Sphere through T'Pol's identification of a holographic camouflaged exhaust port. They make their way through several corridors and eventually reach the center of the sphere.
Degra's colleague sees failure immediately, as the Reptilians will never be convinced, but Degra expected a tough beginning. They must convince the Aquatics, who notoriously weigh every argument with excruciating detail. Degra explains they were reluctant to believe the Guardians as well at first, when visual evidence was shown of Humans destroying their civilization in the future. He then gets an idea, and heads to sickbay where Phlox shows him the data on the test subject they encountered a few weeks ago. He says that the Aquatics respond to visual stimuli very strongly. Tucker is called to sickbay, and is forced to help Degra again modify the pod the test subject was in. Sensing Tucker's anger again, Degra stops him on the way and directly says he can't change what happened, but he is now risking his life to prevent further tragedies. Tucker doesn't respond.
Mayweather monitors the environment as the team walks to the memory core in environmental suits. Reed leads the way and, without any trouble, find the core, "practically gift-wrapped." However, Mayweather detects a subtle movement as a gigantic claw emerges from the walls of the sphere. He can't pinpoint the location, so Reed orders them to move fast.
Degra comes to Archer in his ready room to report completion of the modifications. He compliments Tucker on working efficiently despite the discomfort of working with him. When he goes to leave, Archer tells him he knows there are Humans and Xindi working together on the future ship; they're destined to work together.
Back in the Council, Archer is allowed to present more evidence. He restates that the being they found was in a pod of the same material as the Spheres. However, now Archer wants to prove the pilot was a Guardian. An apparatus is transported to the chamber, showing what looks to be a Guardian. Despite the real one being disintegrated, using Degra's technology they built a biometric hologram, a training tool for Xindi surgeons, of the being from the medical data they collected. To the Insectoid's objection that the data is falsified, Degra insists the Humans don't have the technology to do so. Jannar cannot deny the physical resemblance, and Kiaphet Amman'sor believes it is a Guardian. Amazingly, even though the Insectoid demands Archer be expelled, Dolim agrees to hear more.
In the Sphere, T'Pol starts working on the memory core while Hawkins and Reed stay sharp, but they don't see anything. Mayweather soon is able to pinpoint the movement when it makes a rapid beeline for the team, and at 15 meters Hawkins spots it approaching first, a large mechanical arm with a grasping claw on the end. He takes a higher position and fires at the claw, but his particle rifle is largely ineffective, and Reed's plasma rifle only marginally more so. To Reed's alarm, the armature painfully grabs Hawkins, his rifle falling from his grasp. Reed repeatedly fires at the arm section in hopes of freeing the struggling MACO but it doesn't even react and, with another protrusion, uses an electrical-like attack to vaporize the soldier. Reed and T'Pol dart back toward the shuttle, making their way on the catwalk with Reed covering, only keeping the armature back by firing at the center of the claw. The armature comes around another way, but Mayweather pilots the shuttle over and blows off the claw after several hits from the more powerful plasma cannons. With five more armatures quickly bearing down on them, they have to move fast.
In engineering, Tucker is disappointed to inform Archer they are far from 100% as it's difficult to pinpoint a certain energy drain. They're interrupted by Degra and the Primate councilor, who are excited to inform him that Dolim has joined the majority in postponing the launch of the Xindi weapon. It's a significant step toward the future Archer described. Tucker then asks for Degra's help with their power cells, and Degra agrees. Before they get to it, Tucker admits he knows Degra went out on a limb. Degra responds he would feel the same way in Tucker's position.
Dolim visits Degra, who is surprised to see him. He starts by expressing his dislike for the Council chambers, as he prefers to be near the ground and dislikes the failure to survive that the Avians represent. His real purpose for being there is revealed when he says he found a sensor with proof that Degra destroyed the Reptilian ship. Degra exclaims they gave him no choice, but Dolim quickly stabs him, accusing him of being a traitor and promising to kill all the Humans and his own family.
Tucker goes to get Phlox for a snack in the mess hall. He admits he's held onto his anger for a long time, and finds it odd to let it go. Phlox says he has friends to help. He also notices Phlox has lost weight, which Phlox is happy to hear. His secret – a Danaxian tapeworm.
Archer gets a communication from the Primate councilor. He learns Degra was killed, and that the Reptilians have called an emergency session. The councilor warns Archer his ship is in danger. After the call, Archer orders a tactical alert.
Meanwhile, the away team has trouble and needs to slow down to make repairs. During, Reed expresses frustration at losing yet another crewmember, tired of feeling "all right" continually while people die. T'Pol offers the Vulcan saying: "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few," but it's a cold comfort to him.
Dolim freely admits killing Degra for his betrayal, but the Council is furious at him for acting alone. Dolim and the Insectoids reveal they have secured the weapon and intend to use it. The others can either join or be against them, despite the unification the Council represented for decades. The Primate councilor states they only have two of the necessary three codes to arm it, but Dolim says he knows that, and isn't concerned.
The Enterprise detects the launch of the weapon with five Insectoid ships surrounding it. A firefight ensues as Enterprise, the Arboreals, and the Primates try to stop the weapon, but they are not fast enough; it and its escorts enter a subspace vortex. Just before the Reptilians leave, they transport Sato onto their ship.
"You've brought Humans into this chamber, Degra. Explain yourself, if you expect them to leave here alive."
- - Commander Dolim, to Degra, as Captain Archer and Hoshi Sato are brought before the Xindi Council
"Do me a favor. Don't try to get on my good side."
- - Tucker, to Degra
"I can't change what happened to your sister or any of the seven million. But I'm risking my life, I'm risking the lives of my family, I've killed members of my own species, all because I'm trying to save both our worlds."
- - Degra, to Tucker
"When I was on the future Enterprise, four hundred years from now, there were Xindi aboard. Humans and Xindi were serving together in the Federation. That's a future worth fighting for."
- - Captain Archer, to Degra
"The crew of that ship are the last Xindi you'll ever betray. When the Humans have been eliminated, when the Council has been replaced by Reptilian rule, I am going to find your wife and children and do the same to them. Your traitorous bloodline will end at the tip of my blade."
- - Dolim, to Degra
"Ever since the attack on Earth, all I've thought about is getting back at whoever was responsible."
"And now we are making peace with them."
"I've gotten used to the anger. It's going to be like, I don't know, losing an old friend."
"You have other friends."
- - Tucker and Phlox
"Maybe we're getting a bit too comfortable with losing people. 23 men and women. On any given mission, the limits of acceptable casualties is 20%. So says traditional military doctrine. Well, we've crossed that margin."
"There's a Vulcan axiom: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Corporal Hawkins understood that."
"That doesn't make his death any more acceptable."
"No, but it makes it honorable."
- - Reed and T'Pol
"The weapon cannot be launched without three of the codes. You only have two."
"Do you really believe we haven't considered that?"
- - Xindi-Primate councilor and Commander Dolim
"I can't believe I actually feel bad about Degra. 24 hours ago I would have been celebrating."
"A lot can happen in a day."
- - Tucker and Archer
- The final draft script of this episode was issued on 11 February 2004.
- This episode marks the deaths of Degra (Randy Oglesby) and Corporal F. Hawkins (Sean McGowan). Lieutenant Reed angrily notes that Corporal Hawkins is the twenty-third crew member to die in the Expanse.
- Dolim, Jannar, and Kiaphet Amman'sor's names are revealed in this episode.
- T'Pol's words echo those of Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when she tells Reed about the Vulcan saying "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series but lost out to the episode "Countdown".
Links and references
- Scott Bakula as Jonathan Archer
- John Billingsley as Phlox
- Jolene Blalock as T'Pol
- Dominic Keating as Malcolm Reed
- Anthony Montgomery as Travis Mayweather
- Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
- Connor Trinneer as Charles "Trip" Tucker III
- Randy Oglesby as Degra
- Tucker Smallwood as Xindi-Primate Councilor
- Rick Worthy as Jannar
- Scott MacDonald as Dolim
- Josette Di Carlo as Sphere-Builder Woman
- Sean McGowan as F. Hawkins
- Bruce Thomas as Xindi-Reptilian Soldier
- Andrew Borba as Xindi-Reptilian Lieutenant
- Mary Mara as Sphere-Builder Presage
- Ruth Williamson as Sphere-Builder Primary
accusation; alloy; Archer's friend; artificial intelligence; autoconfig; aux mode; avionics; avionics control; Bentley, Katy; betrayer; biometric hologram; bio-sign; calibration; coil assembly; data interpolation; decade; Degra's ship; Danaxian tapeworm; deformity; Earth; Enterprise-J, USS; EV suit; EVA; exhaust vent; extinct; faith; Federation; generation; headache; hologram; Ibix Dynasty; injection; kilometer; Klingon; Janus loop; lead ship; lower intestinal tract; medical doctor; memory core; meter; osmotic eel; party; past tense; perimeter scan; portable power cell; primary generator; principal; RCS inverter; Reptilian blade; security zone; sensor encoder; schism; shut-eye; SONAR; Sphere, unnumbered; Sphere-Builder (aka Guardian); Sphere-Builder transport pod; stench; subsystem; systems monitor; tactical alert; Temporal Cold War; test subject; traitor; trans-dimensional disturbance; transporter; Tucker, Elizabeth; ultimatum; unification; V-probe; vote; Vulcans; Xindi; Xindi-Arboreal; Xindi-Aquatic; Xindi-Avian; Xindi Empire; Xindi-Insectoid; Xindi-Insectoid language; Xindi military; Xindi mission; Xindi-Arboreal starship; Xindi-Primate starship; Xindi-Reptilian; Xindi-Reptilian warship; Xindi reunification; Xindi shuttle; Xindi weapon; Xindus
- "The Council" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Council" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Council" at Wikipedia
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