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Future Tense

“Trip-centric” Enterprise SPOILERS
by zealousgirl

Future Tense Production 042
First Air Date: 2/18/2003 in Canada (2/19/2003 in US on UPN)
Mission Date: unknown

Director: James Whitmore, Jr.
Written By: Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong

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!!! I will try to focus on what is happening with Trip in these spoilers. I will only briefly (not so briefly this episode) talk about non-Trip scenes, so if you want more details check out Li’s Trekpulse review.

About ‘Future Tense’: Very Trekky episode. I found it quite exciting. Tons of action (so that's why this is a bit long). Lots of Archer, T’pol, Malcolm and Trip; with a decent amount of Travis, Hoshi, and Phlox.

Synopsis (from StarTrek.com):

Far beyond where any Earth vessel has ventured before, the Enterprise crew is shocked to find a small craft adrift in space that contains what appears to be a human corpse. Trip Tucker and Malcolm Reed discover the craft holds some strange secrets, and the mystery deepens when the Suliban arrive making claim to the salvage. On top of that, Captain Archer is confronted by the Tholians, who also aggressively try to procure the enigmatic vessel.


Enterprise approaches a cylindrical space pod that appears to be adrift - no biosigns, no weapons signatures (that was Malcolm’s observation). It’s brought into the launchbay. Malcolm, Archer and T’pol examine the pod, all three look puzzled. They think they find a hatch but it looks fused shut. Malcolm uses a phaser to cut through (big shock at his choice of tool). They open the hatch and fumes seep out, making Archer cough. He enters it. Inside, he finds a decomposed corpse.

T’pol (outside the pod, scanner in hand): “He’s human.”


~In Sickbay~

With Archer is pacing around the biobed, Phlox is doing an autopsy. He confirms that the corpse is indeed human. “Apparently you are not the first humans out this far.” Archer and Phlox talk about trying to identify the body.

T’pol enters.

Archer wonders if this is Zephran Cochrane, who was rumored to have been testing a new form of warp ship when he went missing all those years ago.

~LB (launchbay)~

Malcolm, Trip and Travis are examining the vessel. They make guesses as to where it came from. They ask Travis if this could come from one of the cargo vessels, but he says it is unlikely since they are far off of any trade routes.

Malcolm: “Maybe he got a ride from someone.”

Trip (slight roll of eyes): “That’s gotta be a world record for hitchhiking.”

The ship has no engine, so they can’t figure out how it got this far out. They stand around the pod, eyes on PADDs and scanners, bewildered expressions on their faces.

~In Captain’s Room~

Archer is communicating with Admiral Forrest. Both can’t figure out where the pod came from. Archer has requested DNA samples from the Cochrane family.

Forrest: “100 light years from Earth. . . you may have solved the biggest missing person mystery of the century.”

Archer doesn’t seem convinced. “Maybe we’ve discovered an even bigger mystery.”

~in the pod~

Malcolm and Trip are still investigating. They open a hatch in the floor and find something that is made of bio-matter circuitry. Both are surprised and excited. They pull off another hatch, and find a ladder and a deep passage way that goes way down. Both are surprised given the small size of the pod. They wonder if they are hallucinating.

Trip: “How can a ship be bigger on the inside than on the outside?”

Malcolm: “Could be a hologram.”

Trip takes a tool and throws it down. We hear a thud a little while later – indicating that the vertical tunnel goes down a little ways. Trip decides to investigate, despite Malcolm’s request to contact the bridge. Malcolm follows Trip down the ladder (I love it when Trip convinces the straight-laced Malcolm to not follow protocol ! )

{Eerie music plays}

They reach the bottom and are in a round room. Both are looking around using flashlights. Malcolm says something about this changes the meaning of space exploration.

Trip: “I’ve read a few papers on spatial geometry, but I never heard a theory that would explain this. . . The captain will never believe us, he will have to see this one for himself.” Trip thinks he finds a warp reactor. Malcolm detects a faint energy signature.


Travis detects a vessel on an intercept course. T’pol confirms that it is Suliban. On the viewscreen, they show a geometric shape ship (can’t describe it any better, but it is not the usual cell ship). It has limited weapons. The Suliban hail them, and demand to have the pod since they had laid claim on it 3 days earlier. Archer, obviously, refuses to give it over since it is human. He tries to figure out why the Suliban want it.

The Suliban target their weapons. Archer says he doesn’t respond well to threats.


Malcolm and Trip are pulling more panels off the pod (lots of grunts, as they seem to have to work hard at this). They find a metal container in an alcove, and remove it. Then, they feel a violent shake of the pod.


The crew are in fighting mode, with the usual ship shaking action going on because of being fired on by the Suliban. Archer belts out orders for taking out the other ships weapons etc. . .


Malcolm and Trip are now out of the pod. Trip runs to the comm., but doesn’t get an answer. But above his head you suddenly see a Suliban crawling on the ceiling. He jumps down, pushes Trip so that his head hits a bulkhead, and Trip falls to the floor unconscious (Poor Baby!).

Malcolm runs for the phasers. A second Suliban appears but he is immediately shot. The first one makes his way to the lauchbay controls, and attempts to open the doors. First checking on Trip (who is still out), Malcolm then attempts to get to the controls, but ungracefully falls down the stairs after nearly getting hit by the Suliban’s phaser.


Hoshi notes that someone is opening the LB doors, and tries to lock them out. Archer asks for security to go to LB.


Malcolm is still trying to get at the control booth (apparently protected by ‘bullet-proof’ glass).


They are able to disable the Suliban ship. Then all the Suliban disappear off the ship. Trip lifts his head just as the Suliban lying next to him is transported off (Our boy is OK!) The Suliban ship also disappears.


Captain’s log – Enterprise is rendezvousing with a Vulcan ship which will bring the pod back to Earth so that it can be studied.


Trip, Malcolm, Archer and T’pol are hovering around the item that was removed from the pod. The container is now open and has some pretty blue glowing tubes in it. Trip thinks it might be the ‘black box’. He goes on about the inside of that ship and how Archer wouldn’t believe his eyes.

Phlox calls for Archer to come down to Sickbay. He and T’pol leave.


Phlox has determined that most of the DNA is human, however there are traces of other species DNA as well, such as Vulcan (Ooooh… T’pol does not look impressed). This was not based on genetic manipulation but by result of several generations of interspecies breeding.

~Daniel’s quarters~

Archer removes the lock on the door, and he and T’pol enter. He goes to the closet to retrieve the time-travel info thingy (do you really think that this is the safest place to keep such an important object?) T’pol is leary of looking at it: “I’m not certain that Daniels would approve of this.”

They peruse a bunch of holographic images, meanwhile conversing about various topics. T’pol comments about how few Vulcans have bred with other species. Archer quips about their fear of contaminating their DNA. She rationalizes that the biologic differences between the species would make it difficult to procreate and that she doubts that humans and Vulcans could ever reproduce.

Archer:” If a human and a Vulcan were to have a child, I wonder if it would have pointed ears.”

T’pol looks at him in disgust (reminds me of Soval’s comment in Cease Fire about human’s obsession with Vulcan’s ears.)

They finally find a ship of similar design to their pod – it was designed over 900 years in the future. This can’t fall into the hands of the Suliban.

T’pol (always doubting the existence of the Temporal Cold War) comments that if this is indeed from the future, why haven’t they retrieved it. They are interrupted by a call from Travis – another ship is coming.

{see a pointed ship chasing Enterprise}


T’pol says that it is Tholian – an extremely xenophobic species. It is unusual for them to be this far away from their sector. She doesn’t know much about them other than they are suspected of being a non-humanoind species.

They hail the ship. The Tholians respond with high pitched squeaks, clicks and pops, with the occasional English (sounds like Stephen Hawkings. . . I hope I didn’t offend anyone). The Tholian ship wants the pod. They warn them of the Temporal Radiation, that can be harmful. Archer refuses. The Tholians lock on a tractor beam. Archer threatens to destroy the ship in the LB. They comply and leave.



T’pol is sitting alone with a cup of tea and a PADD in hand. Phlox enters and takes a seat opposite her. He is his usual jovial self and is excited by the mystery of the corpse, having found even more DNA belonging to different species. He chats a bit, but when T’pol does not respond he asks what she is working on.

She explains that her survey of the pod’s hull has shown several unidentifiable alloys, including one in a semi-fluidic state. Phlox is just as excited by this, especially since Phlox had heard that Archer thought that the vessel had come from the future. T’pol counters that there is no evidence of this.

Phlox then talks about how the Vulcan Science Directorate never one to embrace unorthodox ideas, although they may have to reconsider with all the evidence that Enterprise is accumulating. He uses the analogy of how Denobulans used to believe that they were the only sentient being in the universe, until first contact was made by another species. And even after that, there were many who still could not believe, although eventually the evidence was undeniable.

T’pol: “ Are you saying that you believe that time-travel is possible.”

Phlox: “Surprises, subcommander. I believe in embracing surprises.”

T’pol: “I prefer to embrace logic.” After a shrug from the doctor, she excuses herself.

{{I have to say that I feel that Phlox has the best philosophy of life on this ship.}}


Trip and Malcolm are friggin’ around with the metal container. They are trying to decipher.

Malcolm goes on about how amazing it would be if the ship did come from the 31st century. He has always been fascinated with time travel, even as a child. He even contemplated making a time-ship so that he could look into his future.

Trip: “You’re probably the kind of person that jumps to the end of the book before you read it.”

Malcolm asks if Trip ever wondered about the future, how the mission would turn out.

Trip: “Wondering about the future and knowing it are 2 different things.”

Malcolm then asks if someone offered to take Trip to the future, would he take it. But Trip says no. Malcolm: “And you call yourself an explorer.”

Trip responds with where’s the fun if you know how it will turn out. After tweaking with the thingy, he continues. He asks if Malcolm went to the future and found out who his wife would be, and then goes back to the present where they meet, date, get married and live happily ever after, how would he know that he married her because he loved her or was it because he found he that he was supposed to.

Malcolm: “If we’re happily ever after, what difference does it make.” (sly grin)

Trip responds with a look of disgust. Then they go off on techno speak about the pod thingy that they are working on. They need more circuits so decide to go to the LB.


{{by the way, this is not a misprint - you'll see. . .}}

Malcolm and Trip walk into the LB.

Trip: “Now, if I had a chance to see the past, I would jump at it. I’ve always wanted to meet a stegosaurus.”

Malcolm: “He’d probably make a quick meal of you.”

Trip : "The stegosaurus was an herbivore.” He walks over to the pod with a tool and starts to pry open a panel.

Malcolm: “If I could travel back in time, I know what year I would pick. . . 1588.” He is now helping Trip remove the outer panel, both grunting and making faces as they are working really hard.

Trip: “What happened in 1588?”

Malcolm: “England defeated the Spanish Armada.”

Trip: “I’m sure someone named Reed had a lot to do with that.” With one last grunt they pull off the panel –

Malcolm and Trip walk into the LB.

Trip: “Now, if I had a chance to see the past, I would jump at it. I’ve always wanted to meet a stegosaurus.”

Malcolm: “He’d probably make a quick meal of you.”

Trip : "The stegosaurus was an herbivore.” He walks over to the pod with a tool and starts to pry open a panel.

Malcolm looks puzzled and says that it seems like they were just in there. : “If I could travel back in time, I know what year I would pick. . . .”

In unison they say “1588.” Trip looks at him and asks how he knew that he was going to say that.

Malcolm, puzzled then smiles: “I think we’re spending far too much time together.” Both laugh. And then they pull off the panel –

Malcolm and Trip walk into the LB.

Trip: “Now, if I had a chance to see the past, I would jump at it.”

This time it is Malcolm that says slowly, “I’ve always wanted to meet a stegosaurus.”

Trip, slowly: “He’d probably make a quick meal of you.” They look at each other bewildered.

Malcolm: "The stegosaurus was an herbivore. . . .”

They look around the LB, as the camera pans out.

~Situation room~

Phlox is scanning Trip and Malcolm as they explain about how it felt like they were doing the same thing over and over again. Phlox does not find anything wrong with them. T’pol interjects with the finding of a radiation being released by the ship. Phlox says that the effects would not be longlasting at those levels. T’pol suggests that their brains may have been affected such that their perception of time was altered. Archer counters with the thought that maybe they had actually relived the same moment. Archer dismissed Trip to continue to work on the ‘black box’.

T’pol asks to speak to Archer, and they step into the ready room. She is concerned that the radiation will spread and advises to get rid of the pod. Archer tries to reassure her, but she says that it is likely that the Tholians and Suliban are still looking for them. Archer rants about being tired of allowing these people to continue to alter the time line. He wants to get answers and get more involved in stopping these people. Despite her protestations, he continues with the plan.


Trip is explaining to Archer and Malcolm that he thinks that the black box is actually a homing devise. He is on the verge of activating it. T’pol calls from the bridge, as several Suliban vessels are approaching.

{see multiple cell-ships and the geometric ship chasing them}


They try to outrun them. They are less than 3 minutes from the Vulcan ship. The Suliban hail and demand to give them the pod. Archer threatens that the Vulcans will soon be there but the Suliban say that the Vulcans will not aid an Earth vessel.

{Lots of dramatic, exciting music}

The scene is frenzied as they are shot at and they are shaken violently. They break out of warp to find the Vulcan ship disabled but the crew are alive. Then a bunch of Tholian ships appear.


A fierce space battle rages between the Tholian and Suliban ships, with the Vulcan ship and Enterprise caught in the middle. Archer contacts Trip in Engineering who says that it will be hours before the warp engines or weapons will be ready. Archer tells him to work on the beacon so that those who will be looking for the pod may be able to help.

Archer decides to remove a torpedo warhead and put it in the pod. Malcolm follows him to the LB. T’pol is left in charge on the bridge, as the fighting continues.


Malcolm and Archer carefully remove the warhead from a torpedo. (very tense moment) Meanwhile, Trip works on the beacon.

T’pol calls to make them rush (like they didn’t know this).

Malcolm and Archer continue to remove the warhead, then flashes back to when they first started to remove the warhead. Malcolm realizes that they are reliving a moment.

Travis notes that all the Suliban ships have been destroyed. The Tholians hail them and demand the pod, which T’pol pretends to agree to but stalls by saying that the LB doors are stuck. The Tholians send ships which attach to Enterprise and they try to get in.

Back to Archer and Malcolm, where Archer puts the warhead into the pod, then flash back to the beginning of the scene again. They realize immediately that they are reliving and try to work faster eventually getting the warhead into the pod and then release the pod into space.

Trip then finally gets the beacon working.

The pod is picked up by the Tholian ship. Malcolm tries to detonate the warhead but the Tholians had neutralized it.

Then, the beacon suddenly disappears in front of Trip’s eyes. He looks stunned.

The corpse disappears from Sickbay. And the pod being pulled by the Tholian ship also disappears. The Tholians leave. Archer is surprised that the Tholians did not fire on them. He suggests that they try to give the Vulcans a hand now.

~Captain’s Table~

Trip, T’pol and Archer are sharing a meal. Trip is going on about how he wishes that he had more time to investigate the pod. “It looks like they sent the whole kit and caboodle back to the 31st century.” T’pol responds that they is no evidence to support that. Trip replies that there is none to refute it either.

Trip continues to do most of the talking. He questions how ‘whoever’ was able to detect the beacon and retrieve the pod/corpse within less than a minute of it being activated. Archer explains that time is irrelevant, since those in the future would have plenty of time to determine the right time and place to find what they are looking for.

Trip, with scrunched brow, says “Well unfortunately time is not irrelevant to my engine room. I’ve got repairs to finish.” He excuses himself and leaves.

Archer says that he want to contact High command to apologize for the problems Enterprise had caused and to thank them.

T’pol agrees that the gesture would be appreciated and gets up to leave as well. She hesitates before asking if she could send a report to High Command, because they had requested it of her. Archer agrees.

Archer: “I wonder if they will believe that humans and Vulcans will be. . . swapping chromosomes one day?”

T’pol, with raised eyebrow: “They are more likely to believe in time travel.”


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