In 2294, the transport was carrying passengers to the Norpin colony when the ship experienced an overload to one of its plasma transfer conduits. When the captain brought the ship out of warp, it hit the gravimetric interference caused by the gravitational field of a previously uncharted Dyson sphere.
The ship conducted a standard survey of the surface. Having discovered hundreds of communication arrays, the Jenolan hailed the sphere. This inadvertently activated one of the sphere's docking tractor beams. The beam attempted to lock onto the ship, but only managed to cause the ship's systems to overload and the aft power coils to explode.
Effectively disabled, the ship was caught in the gravity well and crashed onto the northern hemisphere, killing all but two of her crew. The ship itself sustained moderate structural damage, along with heavy damage to its memory core and main drive assembly. Additionally, its inducers were melted and its power couplings were wrecked.
The survivors, Ensign Matt Franklin and passenger Captain Montgomery Scott, were unable to devise a means of escaping the sphere. To maximize the probability of surviving until rescue, they placed themselves in suspended animation through an ingenious modification of the transporter pattern buffer by locking it in a continuous level 4 diagnostic, and feeding it power from auxiliary systems.
The Jenolan's distress call was not received until seventy-five years later, when the USS Enterprise-D dropped out of warp to investigate the call and discovered the sphere crash site, along with a very low power signature from the Jenolan. An away team boarded the Jenolan and discovered that life support was still barely functioning and the transporter was still online. By this time, only Scott's transporter pattern was still intact and only he was rematerialized; Franklin's pattern had degraded by 53 percent, effectively killing him.
While the Enterprise continued to investigate the sphere, Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge and Captain Scott returned to the Jenolan to retrieve the sensor data gathered during the initial scan of the sphere. Necessary repairs were made more difficult as some of the repair equipment from the Enterprise could not easily interface with the much older components of the Jenolan.
Recovery of the data became secondary to restoring the impulse engines when the Enterprise failed to answer hails. The engineers proceeded to perform a series of jury-rigged repairs to the ship's impulse engines, including the shunting of the ships deuterium from the main cryo pump to the auxiliary tank, and thanks to Scott's extensive experience were successfully able to make a week's worth of repairs in less than three hours. Following the Enterprise's ion trail, the Jenolan's short-range sensors determined the larger ship's point of entry into the sphere.
To help the Enterprise escape, La Forge and Scott brought the Jenolan to a stop within the sphere's hatch, using the ship's shields to prevent the hatch from closing. However, the strain disabled the Jenolan once more, preventing it from moving out of the way so the larger ship could pass.
The Enterprise then beamed off the engineers and destroyed the Jenolan with two photon torpedoes just before the two collided, clearing the path and allowing the Enterprise and her crew to escape unharmed before the hatch closed once again. (TNG: "Relics")
In 3189, Carl showed Philippa Georgiou a copy of The Star Dispatch while on Dannus V, which bore a front page article with the headline "Starship USS Jenolan Reported To Be Missing". (DIS: "Terra Firma, Part 1")
|USS Jenolan • USS Nash|
The Jenolan was named for the Australian tourist attraction Jenolan Caves, visited by Naren Shankar and episode writer Ronald D. Moore following a Sydney convention. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 220))
In the first draft script of "Relics", the Jenolan was cited as having the registry number "NC-567" (which persisted in the novelization of Relics) and the ship was established as having been reported missing on stardate 7895.1.
The Jenolan studio model was a reuse of the transport shuttle SD-103 from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, albeit heavily refurbished at Gregory Jein, Inc. with a bridge module and 23rd century style warp nacelles added. The original model was built by Bill George and John Goodson at ILM. (Michael Okuda, "Departmental Briefing Year Six - Production", TNG Season 6 DVD special feature) As the new spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was already in pre-production at the time of "Relics", the modified Jenolan model was also seriously considered by Production Designer Herman Zimmerman and the producers to serve as the regular runabout shuttlecraft for the namesake station. Yet, it was ultimately decided to pass over the model in favor of the Danube-class, though the model served as a starting point for its design, and made guest appearances in the new series as the USS Nash. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 10, p. 54) For further information on the studio model, see SD-103 model.
The name was Jenolan in the script and in a computer screen readout seen in the episode; however, it was mislabeled as Jenolin on the studio model, and Jenolen in the closed captioning and subsequent entries in the reference works Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 389), Star Trek Fact Files, and Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 9, p. 34.
When Scott materialized in the Jenolan's transporter chamber, the transporter effect, rather than being Next Generation standard or even that seen in the 23rd century films, was a re-creation of the transporter effect used in the original series.
The novelization of the episode establishes that Scott and Franklin were on the bridge when the crash took place – Scott having volunteered his services after discovering the sphere due to his experience- with the ship's captain and engineer, all others having evacuated to the residential quarters in the belief that the ship would be more protected there. The captain and engineer died in the accident, while the rest of the retiring officers and crew were killed when the ship's residential quarters suffered a hull breach in the crash, all of them suffocating before Scott or Franklin could regain consciousness and let them out.