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zealousgirl’s SPECIAL EDITION
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS! (if you don’t have the chance to see this until later)
OK. . . I am a bit distracted as I have watched the preview for ‘Harbinger’ about 20 times so far. I will try not to check out what my fellow Tuckerites say about that episode before posting next week’s special edition (and I’m guessing that I’ll be up late that night typing as well ‘cause there should be lots of juicy Trip scenes). Less than a week to go, folks!
Director: Mike Vejar
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Star Trek or Paramount. I do this for amusement and not for profit. Be forewarned that this will be seen through the biased eyes of a proud Tuckerite!!! (and, a Trip/T’poler!) Although I do go into the details of the episode, I do try to spend more time on the Trip scenes.
About ‘STRATAGEM’: Cool, cool, cool! Excellent episode! I wish we didn’t know about the ‘stratagem’ before hand – it would have been even more effective. Archer is front and center again, but at least we see the rest of the crew working well together. One of my fav’s for this season.
Synopsis (from StarTrek.com):
Having located the prototype of the Xindi superweapon, Archer and the crew manage to capture the weapon's creator, Degra, and launch into an elaborate scheme to dupe their prisoner into revealing the location of the final weapon under construction. With time running out before the Xindi discover Degra's disappearance, the entire crew play key roles in the massive charade which combines Archer's acting skills, Trip's faux alien shuttlecraft, Hoshi's decrypted data and Dr. Phlox's memory tampering, in order to trick the Xindi scientist into believing he and Archer are now allies and on the run after escaping a Xindi-Insectoid prison.
Degra (Xindi-humanoid) wakes up on the floor of a shuttle. He is disheveled, and looks a few years older. The ship is being violently shaked by vessels that are firing on it. Archer (longish gray hair, also disheveled) is sitting at the helm, trying to get away from the attacking vessels. He orders Degra to help, but Degra is confused, and then upset to learn that Archer is a human. Eventually, Archer is able to disable the attacking ships. Archer explains that they have been cellmates for the last 3years (they have matching forearm tattoos) and that they just escaped from the prison they were being held in. He tells Degra that the conflict between the humans and Xindi is over – both lost. They were being held by the Xindi-insectoids (that’s who’s after them). Archer tells Degra that he is confused because he had been interrogated by their captors; memory loss is a side-effect. He then sets off at warp to a nearby planet.
Degra is having difficulty remembering; Archer tells him it’s because of the bloodworms, which are used as a sort of truth serum during questioning and sometimes cause memory loss. Archer said it happened to him, but that the memories do eventually return. Degra remains suspicious. Eventually the conversation comes around to discussing the weapon; Archer tells him about Gralik’s sabotage of the kemocite being the cause of the malfunction with the weapon they were testing (last memory that Degra has). Degra makes a comment about how Gralik with be executed for that; Archer tells him he already has.
Archer tells him that their efforts failed, and that Earth was destroyed. Degra seems proud that the Xindi were successful. Archer informs him that after that, the old Xindi rivalry resurfaced at that the Insectoids started to attack the other Xindi species. Apparently, while Degra was building the weapon, the Insectoids were secretly building ships; for them the destruction of Earth was merely a diversion for their real plans to get rid of all other Xindi species.
Degra is distracted by pain in his arm; he looks down and sees something squirming under the skin. Archer tells him it is a bloodworm, and that it will work its way out. Degra wants it out now, so Archer cuts the skin on his arms and pulls the worm out (kinda gross, by the way).
Later, Degra is sitting quietly, seemingly trying to get a grasp on what’s going on. Archer offers him some ale, but Degra refuses. Degra remains suspicious of Archer, and asks how they were able to put aside their differences so quickly. Archer chuckles, and says it was that quick. Apparently the Insectoids thought it would be amusing to put Degra and Archer in the same cell; they were betting on who would be killed first.
They did fight each for several weeks, but eventually Archer realized that there was no point to it. Both their worlds were gone. Archer said that he proposed that they work together to get out of that prison. Unfortunately it took longer than either one had anticipated.
You can see that Degra is starting to believe him. He asks about the ship they are in. It is Malosian cargo ship; they are traders that used to bring supplies to the prison. It lacks weapons but it is sturdy.
Degra asks about Enterprise. It was destroyed, along with the entire crew, when the Insectoids boarded and took Archer hostage.
Degra is disgusted with the Insectoids, since they have destroyed everything that the Council had worked for. Archer says: “The Council?”. Degra tells him that it was created to find a new home world for all the Xindi when theirs was destroyed. They did locate a few suitable locations, but their plan of reunification was put on hold when they discovered the threat from Earth. He was ordered to design the weapon. It took him years and he sacrificed so much for it, so did his wife. He asks about his family; Archer tells him that Degra once mentioned that he heard from his wife just before going to prison and that she and the children were safe. Degra looks relieved.
Archer tells him that they could look for them. Degra tells him that they were on a colony near a red giant. Archer asks for coordinates, but Degra refuses since he doubts they are still there. All of a sudden, a hissing sound is heard; we see a crack in the ship’s hull which is glowing green and emitting smoke. Archer says that the reactor coolant conduit that must have ruptured during the attack. He frantically looks for masks to allow them to breath, while Degra coughs. He finds only one and gives it to Degra because he’s the one with a family. Degra uses an instrument to seal the leak, while Archer coughs and eventually passes out. Once the repair is complete, Degra checks on Archer and gives him the mask so that he can breath some clean air. Archer wakes up.
Later, both are sleeping on their bunks. Archer gets up quietly, sneaks to hidden console, pulls out a hypospray, and gives Degra a shot in the neck. He then stares into a camera and says “T’pol”.
The door of the ship opens and Archer steps out into Enterprises Cargo bay, where Trip, Phlox and Travis are waiting for him. We see the outside of the vessel is surrounded with buttresses, obviously to allow for the simulation of turbulence within the vessel. Phlox says that Degra should be unconscious for a couple of hours.
Trip (to Archer): “Son of a bitch designed the weapon.”
Archer tells Travis to keep an eye on Degra, and asks Trip to come along with him.
In the command centre, Archer and Trip meet up with Hoshi and T’pol. T’pol has found seven red giants, spread out over several light years; all are too far to scan at this time.
Trip: “This red giant might be a red herring. . . He only told you his family was living near one of these stars, you don’t know that the weapon’s there.”
Archer believes that given Degra’s seniority, that he would likely want his family nearby, while he is designing the weapon. Hoshi says that she thought Degra was going to give up the coordinates.
Trip: “Too bad he didn’t go for the Andorian ale. . . that would loosen him up.”
T’pol suggests a more direct approach, to actually ask where the weapon is being constructed. Archer feels that is too risky. Archer is confident that Degra will tell him, but that he will need just a little more time.
~3 days earlier~
Enterprise returns to the debris field left by the Xindi testing of the weapon (‘Proving Ground’) to do more scans. They detect a Xindi vessel approaching, which matches the signature of one of the vessels that took part in the test. The Xindi have not detected them.
On the Xindi bridge, we see Degra and 2 other Xindi. There is a violent shake, and they note that they are being fired on, by the Earth vessel. They try to send a transmission to the council, but can’t as Enterprise disabled their subspace signal. Enterprise is then able to disable their engines. Archer hails the Xindi and tells them to be prepared to be boarded.
T’pol and Hoshi are on the Xindi vessel trying to recover the computer data, that Degra and co. attempted to delete before Enterprise was able to board them. Archer is there as well. Hoshi does find the remnants of a personal letter, from Degra. It mentions a planet called Azati Prime, but nothing about the weapon. Archer tells Hoshi to keep him abreast of anything she finds.
Archer then finds Trip, who is fiddling around with the Xindi engines.
Trip: “I’d love to spend an afternoon taking this engine apart.”
Archer: “Not your typical nacelle configuration.”
Trip: “Uh-uh. . . look how everything’s tied into their main deflector.”
Archer: “Learn everything you can.”
Archer gets back to questioning Degra, and threatens to question one of Degra’s men. Degra remains calm and says that a search party will soon be there looking for them.
In Sickbay, Phlox and Archer have their heads together, trying to come up with a way for Degra and Co. to tell them what they need to know. Phlox is unable to make a ‘truth serum’ quickly enough. He recommends erasing Degra’s most recent memory anagrams, so that he does not recall being boarded.
In the command centre, all the senior officers are on hand (that doesn’t happen very often, but I was happy to see it). They come up with the plan. Basically, Trip designs the simulator; Phlox selectively wipes Degra’s memory; Archer wears a transdermal transceiver so that they can communicate with him while he’s in the simulator; T’pol is to come up with the details of what has happened over the previous ‘years’ so that Archer doesn’t have to come up with someone right on the spot should Degra ask him.
Back in Sickbay, an unconscious Degra is now dressed in plum colored jumpsuit. Phlox is applying the tattoo (sort of like the concentration camp serial numbers but in Xindi) to Degra’s forearm. Phlox has also stimulated the hair follicles and grayed Degra’s hair. Archer questions him about that, and Phlox says that although it is supposed to be only 3 years from now, that the stress of imprisonment could have prematurely aged them.
Phlox then gleefully pulls out a Regulan blood worm. Again, Archer is unsure about this but Phlox reassures him that they are safe and the only side-effect will be a clean lymphatic system. He does ask Archer to be careful with the bloodworm as they are not easily replaceable. He then inserts the bloodworm (the camera pans to Archer who looks disgusted, but it is inferred that the worm enters by the nasal passages – eugh!)
Degra is awaken by the shaking of the ship. Archer is at the helm, navigating through a field of spatial anomalies. He tells Degra to hold on.
Outside, Travis and Trip are getting instructions from T’pol on when to apply and how much force. At one point, T’pol tells them to be prepared to initiate a sharp jolt to starboard.
Trip: “How sharp to you want it?”
T’pol (hesitates): “Sharp.”
Trip (raises eyebrows and glances at Travis to his left): “You heard the lady.”
Hoshi notifies Archer, via the transdermal receiver, that the next jolt is going to be a rough one.
Inside the shuttle, Degra gets thrown to the floor. Archer has to take them out of warp, as they are losing structural integrity. Degra seems worried, and wonders if they can go around it. Archer says that they don’t have enough fuel and that they should send out a distress call. Archer suggests that they should try for one of Degra’s ships, even if the Insectoids pick it up as they have no other choice. Degra remembers that high ranking primate officials use a com that the Insectoids don’t know about. Archer asks for the frequency, but Degra is still paranoid, and wants to enter it himself. Archer moves aside to allow him to do so.
Meanwhile, Hoshi in the command centre has received the frequency and is about to respond when Malcolm calls in to say that another Xindi vessel is approaching, but is still 6 hours away. T’pol tells him to return to the debris field to hide, despite the risks.
In the shuttle, Archer and Degra are sharing the Andorian ale and chatting about this and that (obviously Archer is trying to gain Degra’s trust, as well as get him drunk). We get to see a bit about why Degra is so keen on getting rid of Earth; he would do anything to protect his children, and to him Earth was a threat. He rambles on about how he stopped his thesis work to design the weapon, about how he watched the Xindi prototype kill 7 Million humans, and about how he had thought about how many children were likely killed. Archer is having difficulty to keep a cool head during this.
The conversation is interrupted by a hail. The transmission is from Thalen, one of Degra’s colleagues, but the signal is weak and scratchy. Degra talks to Thalen (actually Hoshi is the command centre speaking but the voice is changed to Thalen’s). Degra asks about his wife and kids; Thalen tells him that they are ‘here’ on Azati Prime. They lose the signal.
Degra is surprised that Azati Prime was not destroyed by the Insectoids. Archer asks for the coordinated of Azati Prime so that they can go and meet up with Degra’s family. Degra is reluctant to give up this info – for him, the memory of their rivalry is still too fresh. Archer agrees to let Degra entire the coordinates himself and steps away from the console.
Of course, Hoshi gets the encrypted coordinates that Degra enters. And T’pol locates the red giant.
They tell Archer that they have the proper coordinates. Archer asks Degra (but actually he is asking T’pol) just how long it will take them to get to Azati Prime. Degra says not long; T’pol says 3 weeks, and that is a considerable detour should the weapon not be there.
Archer continues to pretend that nothing has changed, and they chat some more. Suddenly, the ship starts to shake again, but this time it’s the power fluctuations caused by the radiation of the debris field and not Trip and Travis manning the simulation. They can’t shut it down.
Inside the shuttle, there is more shaking. Archer continues his charade, however Degra notices that there is a glitch in the stars that are flying by the window of the shuttle. He’s figured out the ruse.
Enterprise clears the debris field, and everything goes back to normal.
Inside the vessel, Degra is sitting quietly (you can tell he is trying to figure out how to get out of this). He approaches Archer, and asks him to tell him the names of his 2 children. Hoshi gives these to Archer, so he is correct. Meanwhile, Degra has a knife behind his back, which is seen by those in the Command Centre and they tell Archer. But when Degra asks which is older, Archer can’t answer. Degra lunches at Archer with the knife. They fight a bit, but Archer is able to subdue him just as Trip and some other crew arrive.
Degra shouts that they will never find the weapon. Archer orders Degra to be sent to the Brig.
A cleaned up Archer visits the Xindi in the brig. Degra is not very happy with Archer. Degra then pretends that he actually figured out the trick when his “colleague” contacted him from Azati Prime (i.e. that when he entered the coordinates into the computer that he was aware of the ruse). Archer calls his bluff, saying that he believes that the coordinates are real.
In the command centre, Hoshi, T’pol, Archer, and Trip are debating about the reliability of Degra’s coordinates. Hoshi and Trip think they are real; T’pol is sitting on the fence. They don’t want to waste 3 weeks chasing it down if the weapon is not there.
Archer asks Trip about the subspace vortices that the Xindi use for travel. Trip explains how it works, and that they can travel several light years within a few minutes using these vortices. Archer wants to see all the data that Trip has collected on these.
Archer calls up to the bridge, from Engineering, to tell them that they are ready. T’pol, sitting in the Captain’s chair, orders a tactical alert and then tells Travis to ‘engage’.
The Xindi in the brig are awoken by the violent shaking of the ship.
Meanwhile in Engineering, Trip and Archer are frantically running around, pushing buttons on various consoles.
Travis and a few from his security team enter the brig, and take the 3 Xindi with them at gunpoint. (By the way, they don’t tell them why)
The ship is still shaking when they all arrive in Engineering. The atmosphere is chaotic. Archer asks the Xindi engineer to help; apparently, Trip has figured out how to use the subspace vortices and they are flying in one right now. Degra orders the engineer to do nothing, even though Malcolm has a gun pointed at his head. The ship is still shaking, sparks are flying from consoles, people are falling to the ground. T’pol reports that they are losing hull integrity. Then, everything goes back to normal.
Trip runs over to one of the console, to check what happened. When Archer says, “Trip?”. He responds, with a perplexed look on his face, “It wasn’t me Cap’n. . . I’ll be damned! Travis inverted the warp field. It dropped us back into normal space.”
T’pol calls from the bridge and asks for Archer to come. They bring Degra along with them.
Now, on the bridge, T’pol reports that they have reached the coordinates. On the viewscreen is a red giant. Malcolm informs Archer that there are numerous Xindi vessels in the area, as well as some kemocite. Archer asks how Enterprise has faired; Malcolm states that there is little damage. Archer asks for weapons to be armed, and to proceed at full impulse. Archer tells security to remove Degra from the bridge. Degra yells out that they will never get near the weapon as the defense perimeter will destroy Enterprise before it even gets close.
Archer turns to look at Degra, grins, and then nods in T’pol’s direction. She pushes a few buttons. Then Archer says, “Show him.” The scene of the viewscreen changes from the red giant to the debris field. Archer thanks a stunned Degra for his help. He orders Degra to Sickbay.
After Degra leaves, Archer looks around proudly. He then tells Travis that he overdid it a bit with the turbulence. Travis promises that he’ll try to do better next time.
Archer and the gang are back on the Xindi bridge putting the 3 unconscious Xindi back in their proper positions. T’pol has made it look like there was an accident that rendered them unconscious; Phlox is injecting them with plasma residue so as to be consistent with the accident. Their memories have been wiped. T’pol is unable to set up an explanation for why their ship’s data was deleted. Archer says that it is OK to leave them with a mystery.
Captain’s log: “Hopefully the journey to Azati Prime will be the final leg in our search for the Xindi weapon.”
Return to Miscellany
Half a dozen of you have made comments
ZG - Thank you. Great!!!
it was a great episode. not much Trip and T'Pol, bt i think next week will make up
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