STAR TREK REWIND: “Minefield,” “Dead Stop”

“Your inquiry was not recognized.”

Enterprise is on its way to a nice-looking Minshara-Class planet when the hull is suddenly struck by something that rips the plating and several chunks out of the saucer section of the ship. There didn’t seem to be a laser blast or torpedo in flight before the attack. T’Pol rigs beacons used to detected cloaked Suliban ships, but what she discovers looks more like mines than ships or conventional weapons.

The mines are scattered everywhere in front and behind the ship. They find a mine attached like a tick to another portion of the ship’s hull. Reed volunteers to go out and defuse it, since he has extensive experience with mines. Archer agrees. Reed dons a spacesuit and walks across the saucer section. Just as he starts scanning the mine, a ship uncloaks.

The design is familiar to us but not to the crew. As Hoshi was injured during the initial attack and unable to assist, T’Pol can’t lock on to the enemy ship’s language. Again we see just how important a friggin’ communications officer should be on a starship. A metallic leg shoots out of the mine Reed is scanning and impales him through his leg. Archer comes out to assist Reed.

He’ll need Reed to talk him through the process of disarming this beast, but not before he tries to engage Reed in a little small talk. We get more of that pessimist Reed rhetoric that depressed the hell out of Trip when he was stuck in a shuttlecraft with him that other time. He comes from a long line of Royal Navy men. His great uncle died in a submarine accident after, somewhat appropriately, striking an old mine.

Phlox won’t let Hoshi leave sickbay, but he allows T’Pol to send her some recordings to translate. Their enemies call themselves THE ROMULAN STAR EMPIRE! T’Pol knows the name, but not any specifics, except that they are … generally unpleasant. They demand that Enterprise withdraw from their space. Reed talks Archer through the laborious process of disarming the mine, but with the time constraints placed on them by the Romulans, and the fact that the mine keeps re-arming itself, he decides to release the hull plating with the mine on it, sever the connection between Reed’s leg and the mine and use a couple of hatches to block them from the resulting blast.

It’s a terrifically exciting scene and well staged. Enterprise escapes before the Romulans can follow through on their promise to attack. Unfortunately the damage to the ship is so extensive Archer is forced to send out a general distress call. A Tellarite ship responds just at the edge of their very weak signal to give them coordinates to a “repair station.” It’s three days at warp two, so Archer has no choice but to set course.

When they make it to the station, nobody seems to be home until the ship is subjected to intrusive scans. The station comes alive and the ship docks in an expandable berth. Archer, T’Pol, and Trip enter the station and are treated to the voice of B’Elanna Torres! Actually it’s the episode’s director, Roxanne Dawson, who informs them full repairs can be finished in 30-plus hours provided the station receives a payment of 200 liters of warp plasma. T’Pol deduces that this must be an automated space station.

Trip tells Archer it would take months to make all the repairs in dry-dock. Archer agrees to the transaction, but he retains his suspicion. Trip and T’Pol play around with the replication technology on display in the “recreation center.” T’Pol has a glass of cold water, and Trip orders up a pan-fried catfish. The repair station not only puts the ship back together, it pays a visit to Reed and heals his leg wounds from the minefield. In a few seconds, his leg will be good as new. This is too good to be true.

Travis receives a mysterious call from Archer, telling him to come down to the launch bay. A short time later, his dead body is discovered. This upsets Archer, and the crew, particularly Hoshi who comes to sickbay to see Travis and tell Phlox a funny/sad story about a practical joke he perpetrated. Phlox doesn’t understand why micro-organisms from an antigen he administered to Travis (and the rest of the crew) after an outbreak of Rigellian fever are all dead when they should have thrived from the isolytic shock Travis suffered that led to his death.

He comes to the conclusion the body is a facsimile of Travis, thus he’s still alive and probably somewhere deep inside the repair station. In a rare bit of body horror, the repair station powers itself by feeding off the cerebral cortices of the various members of different races (including Travis) that are abducted. T’Pol and Archer make their way to a central core where they see dozens of bodies suspended with umbilical wiring.

Damn, but this got creepy! As every starship captain knows, the best way to get out of a deal is to cheat, so Trip sabotages the warp plasma and blows up the repair station from the inside. The station blows up real good, but even as Enterprise flies away, it begins to repair itself. Oooh!

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