8/7/11

Star Trek: Asterisk "Dead Stop"

Vital Information
Series: Enterprise
Episode: S02E04
Air Date: October 9, 2002
Written by: Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Directed by: Roxanne Dawson

Premise
After being messed up by a Romulan mine, the Enterprise makes a stop at a crazy automated repair station.

Review
Because of extensive damage from a Romulan mine, Trip estimates it would take about 3 months to finish repairs, and that's assuming they can find tritanium. Not only that, it'll take about a decade to get back to Jupiter Station because the damage won't allow them to go any faster than warp 2.1. In such a dire situation, Archer decides it's about time someone else answered their own distress call.

Someone answers, but the transmission is garbled. They can, however, make out the position of a nearby repair station. When they get there, the station scans them and reconfigures itself to fit the ship and the crew. They dock comfortably and enter the station to find that there's no one there but a single-minded computerized program. It scans every nook and cranny, every damaged wall, every bit of scratched paint, every squeak even every officer with a wound. It claims to be able to repair every single thing to make the ship and its crew better than new and it'll only take a day and a half. The only thing it asks for in exchange is 200 liters of warp plasma. Archer, however, doesn't trust the station. He knows something's up.
This is the Star Trek version of looking a gift horse in the mouth.
They find that the station has replicators that can serve up any recipe that the Enterprise has in its memory banks, and also automated medical devices. The medical device heals up Reed's leg while many of the crew take a bit of R&R in the station where they're treated to their favorite meals and small games. The station seems to be taking very good care of the crew and they are having an awesome time. The station even does them all a favor and kills of Travis Mayweather.
The station recognizes every error in the ship's systems.
Before that, however, Trip and Reed decide they want to go find the computer core. They decide it couldn't be any bigger than a small room that Trip found on a quick scan. So they climb into a ventilation shaft, find a door to the small room and promptly get transported out of the shaft onto the bridge of the Enterprise. Because of this, Archer confines them to their quarters, but not before asking if they found anything interesting.

Well, Phlox examines Mayweather's body and finds out that it's not actually Travis. And that makes Archer interested in finding out what's really going on. So he takes Reed and T'Pol and goes to investigate the ventilation shaft again. Once Reed shows him where the transporter is, Archer fires a phaser at the transporter and makes it through to the other side. Once inside the station's computer core, they find Mayweather, along with several other life forms, being used for their brains as processors.

Meanwhile, Trip, while delivering the warp plasma, tries to stall the computer by making a few complaints. Little does the computer know, that warp plasma is set to detonate. Sensing something off, what with people in its processor room and payment refusing to be made, the station grabs on to the Enterprise. Reed, who has been transported back to the bridge, fires torpedoes at the grabbing arm while Archer, T'Pol and Mayweather blast their way out of the processing room. Trip runs out of the computer interface room, leaving the plasma, meet Archer, T'Pol and Mayweather back on the Enterprise, and, while the ship flies away, Reed activates the explosives on the plasma. It all ends with the repair station exploding in huge firestorm.

Travis wakes up in the medical bay. Archer welcomes him back for some reason. No one else really cares.

The very last shot of the episode: the station putting itself back together.
"Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the
mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was 'Oh no, not again.'"
Overall Thoughts
I like to think this is the origin story of the Borg. Though, how they got all the way over to the Delta Quadrant, I have no idea. There's really no good reason to believe this. It's my head cannon. The episode itself is really just kind of a footnote in Enterprise's journey. They were broken, they got fixed, they destroyed the station, it fixed itself. Not much to it. It's not good, it's not bad, it just... exists.