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First Flight

Zealousgirl’s EARLY EDITION

First Flight

Production 050
First Air Date: May 13, 2003 in Canada (May 14, 2003 in US on UPN)
Mission Date: unknown

Director: LeVar Burton
Written By: John Shiban & Chris Black

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!) I will try to focus on what is happening with Trip in these spoilers. I will only briefly talk about non-Trip scenes, so if you want more details check out Li’s Trekpulse review.

About ‘First Flight’: An OK episode. You get to see the first moments of the Archer/Trip friendship. We meet Ruby and find out why his nickname is ‘Trip’ (my guess was right!). My other observation is that Trip often asks to go on away missions but Archer always seems to find an excuse to leave him behind

Synopsis (from StarTrek.com):

While Enterprise is investigating what appears to be a dark matter nebula, Archer receives news that A.G. Robinson, his old rival in the early days of the NX test program, has died. During a shuttlepod mission into the dark matter phenomenon, Archer reminisces to T'Pol about the time he and Robinson were pilots competing for the honor of being the first to break the Warp 2 barrier.

“Trip-centric” Enterprise SPOILERS

(Missed the first few seconds of the show. . . oops)

T’pol, Archer and Trip are on the bridge looking at something on one of the science monitors. Archer seems excited about a dark matter nebula, but T’pol is less than impressed and pessimistic about the existence of such an astronomical phenomenon.

Archer asked Trip if he can set up some charges so that they can detect the nebula better.

Trip(cheerfully): “If I can, it should put on one hell of a show.”

Hoshi interrupts to tell Archer that Admiral Forrest has hailed. Archer is excited to tell him about the nebula, but Forrest tells him that he is not calling with good news. A. G. Robinson has been in an accident on Mt McKinley, and he died. Archer is obviously upset.



Trip is explaining to Archer about the spatial charges (looking at Archer with concern). As Archer prepares to enter a shuttlepod, Trip asks him if he’s sure he doesn’t want any company. Archer says “not this time Trip” (haven’t we heard him say this before?)

Trip presses his lips together and nods. “I still can’t believe it.”

Archer: “All those close calls he had flying warp trials, and he gets himself killed climbing Mt McKinley.”

Trip closes the pod door from the outside, after Archer has boarded. He pauses for a moment to look at him through the window, again showing that he is quite concerned about his captain.

Inside the pod, Archer starts to prepare. T’pol arrives with sensor enhancers, and then enters the pod. Archer seems a bit peeved that she has decided to tag along, uninvited. She reminds him that not only is this a scientific mission and she is the science officer, but that Starfleet regulations dictate that the captain never leave the ship unaccompanied. (she actually comments that she is surprised that Commander Tucker failed to remind him of this) Archer opts not to argue with her, so they take off.

~Pod in space~

It will be a while before they get to the nebula so T’pol suggests that she could meditate, or if he wants to, they could talk. Archer tells her to meditate (not taking the bait immediately). T’pol asks him to join her, as he seems a bit unsettled since his call from Admiral Forrest. Archer tells her that he is fine.

T’pol: “Commander Tucker was reluctant to discuss it as well, although he did mention. . . a colleague had died.”

Archer tells her that it was a starfleet captain named A G Robinson, and that he wouldn’t be out her (ie in space) if it weren’t for him.

T’pol is not familiar with this person (you can tell that she is trying to get him to open up)

Archer explains that they were in the NX-Test program, trying to break the warp 2 barrier – he starts to reflect on this.

~San Francisco, a few years earlier~

An eager, sweaty Commander Archer enters Commodore Forrest’s office to give an update on the project. They chat about the technical stuff for a minute. Archer suspects that the reason he is in Forrest’s office is for something different and approaches Forrest on this. Commodore Forrest tells him that A G Robinson has been chosen to be the test pilot for the first warp 2 test. Archer is gracious, trying to cover up his disappointment. He volunteers to help A G prepare, as he has been in the simulator more than anyone.

Forrest interrupts to tell him that he understands how important this has been to him, since it is his father’s engine. Archer replies that what is most important is that they succeed.

~SF, bar~

Archer is getting drunk, and being served by Ruby (yup. . . Malcolm and Trip’s Ruby). She guesses that he didn’t’ get the job of piloting the warp 2 test ship. He joins other pilots including AG, and congratulates him. They are quite cordial, with some mild ribbing. AG tells him that Archer tried to hard to get the job – he burned the midnight oil, followed the rules too closely, and put everyone else in his life on hold. There is no doubt that Archer is a great pilot, but that doesn’t mean he would be a good captain.


T’pol is confused that Archer considered AG one of his best friends, as they seemed quite adversarial. Archer replies that it was just healthy competition. T’pol concedes that AG did have a point about being a good captain, adding that it is obvious that Archer has since developed the necessary skills. Archer is pleased, and jokingly asks if that was a compliment. T’pol’s response was “An observation”. Archer continues to tell her about AG.

~Starfleet HQ/NX-test ship~

AG is in the test ship, while Archer is on a headset in the control room. Two Vulcans are there to obsever, as is Forrest and a few other Starfleet personnel. They chat a bit, then AG is given the go-ahead to try to go to warp 2.

As the ship gets closer to warp 2, it gets quite bumpy. After warp 2, the ship is violently shaking and AG is told to abort. He ignores this despite much urging, and gets it to 2.25 before the ship comes apart.



They suspect that they are in the dark matter nebula based on sensor readings. Archer sets off 2 charges without success. They decide to cover further into the nebula. T’pol asks what happened. Archer, assuming that she is asking about the charges, starts to explain, but she clarifies that she was inquiring about Captain Robinson. (she is quite curious for a Vulcan)

Archer: “He made the record books for being the first to deploy an escape pod at warp.” But he lost one of two NX prototypes and nearly derailed the entire program.

~Starfleet hanger~

AG gets quizzed about what happened. Archer is not happy about his ignoring the order to abort. One of the Vulcans comments that the engine design must be flawed.

A voice yells out in a familiar drawl. “There’s nothing wrong with that engine!” We then see Trip coming down the stairs of one of the ships, determined to speak his mind.

Forrest: “You have something to add, Lieutenant. . .”

Trip: “Tucker, sir. I’m on Captain Jefferies engineering team.” (he looks a bit more boyish than usual – I think his hair is different) He then goes on to explain something about the anti-matter mixture.

The Vulcan seems to think that Trip’s argument confirms their opinion that things are moving too quickly.

Trip shows us his usual impatience. “Just because it took you 100 years to crack warp 2 doesn’t mean that it will take us that long.”

Forrest: “Lieutenant!”

Trip: “Sorry, sir.”

Archer, seems impressed with Trip, tells the Vulcan that he is right. AG and he debate with the Vulcans.


Archer and Trip are sitting at a table, as Ruby comes up to serve them their beer.

Trip (to Ruby): “Cyrus?”

Archer: “Who’s Cyrus?”

Trip: “It was my great grandfather’s name.”

Ruby: “Keep trying Tucker.”

Trip: “How about Rosalie, if it’s a girl?”

Ruby laughs and walks away.

Trip: “Come on. Give me a hint.” (He is so adorable)

Archer looks at him, puzzled.

Trip: “She’s had names picked out for her kids since she was 10. Says she’ll marry the first man who’ll guess them.”

Archer: “What’s your name, Lieutenant?”

Trip: “Charles Tucker, sir. But, everybody calls me Trip.”

Archer: “Trip?”

Trip: “My dad’s Charles Tucker, so was his dad. That makes me the third, so triple - - Trip.”

Archer: “Thanks for your help today with our Vulcan friends, Trip. (they clink their glasses together) My father would have appreciated it.”

Trip: “I don’t get it. . . it’s like they want us to fail.”

Commodore Forrest arrives and interrupts by saying that he has long given up trying to figure out the Vulcans. Archer and Trip quickly get up and stand at attention. Forrest says ‘at ease’ and invites himself to join them.

Trip looks uncomfortable having Forrest there, but offers to buy him a drink.

Forrest: “It’s the least you can do after that outburst today.”

Trip nervously apologizes, “I’m sorry sir, I-I didn’t mean to. . .”

Forrest shakes his head. “I’ll have a beer Mr. Tucker.”

Trip signals to Ruby.

Forrest small talks a bit, but then informs Archer that the NX project is being put on hold indefinitely, and that they want to develop a new engine from scratch. Archer is irritated, and tells him that they have an engine that works now. At this rate it will be decades before they enter deep space. Forrest tells him that that is Starfleet’s final decision.

Trip (staring straight ahead): “Permission to speak freely sir?”

Forrest nods.

Trip: “It’s your father’s engine. His life’s work. You can’t let them do this.”

Archer does not respond. The shot then pans outside the bar, so that we are looking in at them talking at their table. It is raining outside.

Back inside, AG arrives and gets a drink. He takes a seat with Trip and Archer (Forrest has left). Archer asks him where he’s been all day. AG says that he has been at a debriefing and that he told them that it was the engine that was the problem.

Trip: “Aren’t you forgetting something. . . the possibility of pilot error.”

AG: “I’m not interested in YOUR opinion, LIEUTENANT.”

Archer interjects, “You should be.” He rants about how AG has told the Vulcans exactly what they wanted to hear.

AG and Archer start to argue about the ship, and how Archer is biased because it’s his dad’s design. With this insult, they start to fight with Archer throwing the first punch (while Trip rescues the beer from their table). They duke it out for a while, and finally Ruby asks Trip to do something so he jumps in and grabs a hold of Archer while another Starfleet person gets AG.

Ruby: “Do you think that this is going to get either of you closer to warp 5?” (she seems to know a lot about the goings on at Starfleet.)



Archer and T’pol are silent. Then T’pol says “I guess we’ll never know. . . who would have won.” (referring to the fight) The pod lights flicker and something beeps. Archer says that Trip stated that the dark matter may affect systems – “He’ll be happy to know that he was right.” T’pol remains pessimistic about the possibility of a dark matter nebula so questions his theory – he tells her to have a little faith. She urges him to turn the pod around as another surge may disable life support.

Archer says that there was one thing that he learned from AG, and that was that you’ll never get anywhere without taking a few risks.

T’pol is confused about how he can admire someone that not only was responsible for derailing the project, but also cracked his molar. Archer says that AG was also responsible for getting the project back on course, with a bit of help from him and Trip.

~Starfleet hanger~

AG is cleaning out his locker, but Archer refuses to do this just yet. They talk about the project some more. Archer thinks that he has figured out what happened, but AG says what’s the point since things are on hold indefinitely. Archer wants to show his findings to Starfleet Command. AG plays devil’s advocate and tells him that the Vulcans will want them to computer simulate for a decade before they will be convinced. They debate some more (I’m tired of writing!).

AG suggests that they steal the 2nd prototype to prove Archer’s findings, and tries to convince him.


T’pol notes that she has never read about 2 Starfleet pilots stealing a ship. Archer says that that is something that Starfleet would not want to advertise – “Don’t you believe me?”

T’pol: “I have no doubt it happened, although I have difficulty to believe that you had to be convinced to participate.”

Archer: “Well. . . you didn’t know me then. . . I was a little more by the book.”

They shoot off another pair of charges, without success.

T’pol urges to continue his story.


Trip is explaining his modifications to Archer, who is suited in a pale orange flight suit. Trip hints that he should go as well, since Archer will have his hands full, but Archer says that he is needed on the ground, and not to worry that he will be out there someday. (nothing new) “If I had my own ship, I’d sign you up in a second.”

Trip: “I’m gonna hold you to that.”

Archer boards to ship, while Trip goes off to a corner to a monitor, and puts on a headset. Trip is working on the sensors so that they will not be detected.

Inside the ship, Archer and AG prepare to leave.

The ship takes off. A few moments later, Forrest is informed that New Berlin has detected the NX prototype (I think it’s a space station).

On the ship, AG and Archer switch seats so that Archer can pilot this one. Forrest contacts them to find out what’s going on, and they ‘hang up’ on him.

They are increasing their speed, and the ship starts to rattle. Trip, on Earth, notes that the warp field is destabilizing.


AG works on fixing the problem. On Earth, security personnel arrive in the hanger to take Trip into custody, but he shrugs them off to contact the ship. Just then Archer contacts Forrest to say that they are now stable at warp 2.5. Forrest is pleased, but tells them to get the hell back.


In front of Starfleet command and the Vulcans, they are reprimanded and punished with a 3 month suspension. Forrest rambles on for a while. Archer admits to being reckless but it was worth it to keep the project going.


Archer quickly gives T’pol the rest of the story: how they were grounded for 3 months, how they had to run simulations for 1 year before the Vulcans would agree that the engine was safe, how Duvall broke warp 3 soon after, and how the warp 5 project was laid 5 years later.

Then, Archer makes one last attempt to unmask the nebula; setting off the final 2 charges, resulting is a beautiful reddish cloud all around them. He is in awe and urges T’pol to enjoy the view, but she would rather review the scans. He almost orders her to.

Archer finishes his story, but explaining how he got the job as Enterprise’s first captain, although it was close between he and AG.

~Back on Enterprise~

T’pol and Archer are met by Trip at the top of the launchbay stairs. T’pol tells Trip that his charges were effective.

Trip: “Was it a good show?”

Archer: “You should’ve been there.”

Trip: “I’ll remember to ask you next time.” (sarcastically)

T’pol and Archer walk towards the exit. T’pol states that it is a human custom to name newly discovered things. Archer jokes that it should be called the ‘T’pol-Archer nebula’. She replies that it may be more fitting to call it the ‘Robinson nebula’.

Archer is surprised.


Return to Miscellany

One person has made comments

The T'Pol-Archer nebula?! God, why didn't he just come out and say 'We should so be a couple'? If he had any sense, he'd detect the subtext between his two highest ranking officers, and name it the Trip-T'Pol nebula. Or maybe just the Trip nebula, by way of an apology for leaving our favourite engineer behind so many times.

Great review, though - thanks! (Sorry for the above ramble; I tend to go on and on until all the words in the dictionary have been used up...)