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Rating: **** 1/2
Edited Length: 45:26
U.S. Airdate: October 25, 1992
Nielsen Rating/Rank: [13.9/1]
Lanei Chapman: [Ensign Rager]
Erick Weiss: [Ensign Kane]
And Special Guest Star
James Doohan: "Scotty"
Co-Producer: Ronald D. Moore
Line Producer: Merri D. Howard
Producer: Peter Lauritson
Supervising Producer: David Livingston
Supervising Producer: Frank Abatemarco
Co-Executive Producer: Jeri Taylor
Executive Producer: Michael Piller
Written By: Ronald D. Moore
Directed By: Alexander Singer
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Co-Producer: Wendy Neuss
Story Editor: Brannon Braga
Story Editor: René Echevarria
Stacie Foster: [Engineer] Bartel
Ernie Mirich: Waiter
Majel Barrett: Computer Voice
Currently, this feature is disabled... Sorry.
The Enterprise picks up a long-running distress call from the USS Jenolan, a ship that disappeared 75 years ago. They drop out of warp to help, and are immediately shaken by an enormous gravitational field. Although the source is not immediately visible, they trace the field to its center, and find a large metallic shell, 200 million kilometers in diameter, completely surrounding a star. In other words, they've discovered the first known Dyson sphere, used to harness the entire radiant energy output of a star for inhabitants of the sphere's huge inner surface. The Jenolan is located on the surface of the sphere a short distance away, and they head for it.
Once they arrive, they find the Jenolan crashed on the surface; miraculously, however, power and minimal life signs are still there. Riker, Geordi and Worf beam down to it and discover no signs of life. However, Geordi finds that something very strange has been done with the transporter: the rematerialization circuits have been disabled, the power is being drawn from the auxiliary pods, and the pattern buffer is locked into a diagnostic mode. What's more, there is still a pattern inside the buffer, with virtually no degradation. "Could someone survive inside a transporter for 75 years?" "I know a way to find out." Geordi re-engages the transporter, and the occupant re-forms: Captain Montgomery Scott.
Scotty immediately runs to the console and tries to save the other person in the buffer, one "Franklin". Unfortunately, the equipment cannot stand up to the renewed strain, and Franklin is lost. Riker introduces himself and Geordi, and Scotty reacts understandably to the name of their ship. "The Enterprise? I should've known! I bet you Jim Kirk himself brought the old gal out of mothballs..." Scotty's question about how long he's been missing is interrupted by Worf's appearance, which in itself tells him it's been longer than he thought. They return to the Enterprise.
Once there, Scotty and Geordi talk in the transporter room and en route to sickbay. Discussion of the changes in engineering technique over the last 75 years alternates with Scotty's tale of how the Jenolan ended up there. Apparently, it was en route to the Norpan colony when warp failed. They then stumbled on the Dyson sphere and began exploring it. Unfortunately, as they finished their first scan, their aft warp coil exploded and sent them hurtling into the sphere, killing all but Scotty and Franklin. When Geordi calls Scotty's decision to use the transporter to survive "brilliant", however, Scotty bristles: "I think it was only fifty percent brilliant. Franklin...deserves better."
Once they reach sickbay, Scotty's told that his wounds should heal in a few days, and he is then greeted by a newly arrived Picard. Scotty answers Picard's unspoken question by saying that actually, he never was a member of the Jenolan's crew; he was a passenger en route to retirement on Norpan Five. Picard tells Scotty that he'd love to hear about Scotty's insights into the time, then hastily puts Geordi to work on studying the sphere and leaves. Scotty tries to accompany Geordi to engineering, but is still too weak, and is instead taken to quarters. He marvels at the quarters' luxury compared to his era, and attempts to reminisce about the time to his escort. However, the ensign quickly demurs and returns to duty, leaving a somewhat pensive Scotty to settle in to this new time.
Some time later, Scotty arrives in engineering (over the protests of ensigns who insist it's a restricted area), only to be told that it's a bad time for a tour. "I'm not here for a tour, laddie - I'm here to help!" Geordi initially is skeptical, but Scotty insists he's still useful and gets to work. As he settles in, Data tells Picard that the interior of the sphere shows a proper environment for humanoid lifeforms, but no sign of inhabitants as of yet. Picard orders that probes be sent.
Scotty quickly proves to be more of a nuisance than a help to Geordi, however; the last several decades of changes have made safe conditions Scotty considered threatening, and Scotty also distracts Geordi constantly with talk of his past achievements. Geordi begins to bristle, but holds his tongue initially. In the end, however, Scotty begins to give Geordi advice on how to handle Picard and to be seen as a "miracle worker," and Geordi explodes, saying that he has a lot of work to do, "...and quite frankly - you're in the way!" Scotty leaves in a huff.
He arrives in Ten-Forward and orders a Scotch. Unfortunately, due to his unfamiliarity with synthehol, he even finds the "Scotch" unpleasant. Data steps in to help (prompting a remark from Scotty: "Synthetic Scotch...synthetic commanders..."), and eventually locates some of Guinan's actual alcohol in storage. He serves Scotty a drink of unknown origin ("it is...it is...it is green."), and Scotty takes much more kindly to it.
Some time later, a rather plastered Scotty sloshes his way to the holodeck, where he calls up the bridge of the Enterprise: the original Enterprise. ("No bloody A, B, C or D.") He enters and is caught up by the sight of it. He loses himself in the memory for a bit ("here's to ye, lads!"), then takes notice when Picard comes to talk. Both talk of their first "real" ships: Scotty's Enterprise and Picard's Stargazer. They toast them as "old girlfriends we'll never meet again." Scotty then gets a bit more morose, feeling that he's just in the way on this ship and in this era. He even dismisses Picard's suggestion that he study up current technical journals and start over, saying that he's too old for it. His place, he says, is on the ship whose bridge he currently sits in: "But it's not real. It's just a computer- generated fantasy. And I'm just an old man who's trying to hide in it. Computer - shut this bloody thing off. It's time I acted my age."
The next day, Picard instructs Geordi to have Scotty work on recovering the Jenolan's logs, and asks Geordi to go along personally with Scotty to help him feel useful, a requests Geordi quickly agrees to. As they leave and get started, Data detects an antenna array not far off, and they head for it. Upon arriving at the array (which surrounds a portal, possibly the "front door" into the sphere), they open a channel to it. As soon as they do, however, the portal opens, and a host of strong tractor beams pull the Enterprise in, crippling both main and auxiliary power in the process. This prevents them from actually stopping even once the beams let go; and what's worse, they're heading directly for the center of the clearly unstable G-star at the center of the sphere...
Scotty, meanwhile, rails at his lack of success in recovering the Jenolan's data, calling the ship "just a piece of junk" now. Geordi, realizing Scotty refers to more than simply the ship, points out that things haven't really changed all that much in the past 75 years, and that were it not for the structural damage, the Jenolan could be flying even today. Scotty is skeptical, saying that no one would want it today, but Geordi insists that some might: "Just because something's old doesn't mean you throw it away." Scotty grins at this and offers a new suggestion about the logs. Geordi agrees, but then finds he cannot communicate with the Enterprise.
With three minutes until the Enterprise enters the sun's photosphere, the crew uses the maneuvering thrusters to put them into orbit around the star (but only just; the distance is a scant 150,000 kilometers from the star). As repairs continue, Data then begins scanning the interior for life.
Geordi and Scotty, meanwhile, cannot locate the Enterprise at all, but due to the lack of radiation conclude that it hasn't crashed. Scotty suggests that it might have somehow gotten inside the sphere, and Geordi realizes the only way to track them is to somehow get the Jenolan's engines working. Scotty thinks he's nuts, saying that even figuring out where to start would take a week - "but we don't have a week, so let's not stand around cryin' about it. Come on..."
As they begin work, Data finds that the sphere has been abandoned by its builders due to the star's instability, and that they were drawn in by an automatic piloting system. Solar flares then begin to increase, and it's theorized that the Enterprise's shields will no longer be effective in approximately three hours.
Geordi and Scotty continue their repairs, with Scotty pushing Geordi to take more risks than the engine specifications (which he wrote) will allow. For whatever reason, their jury-rigs work, and the Jenolan starts up, with Geordi at the bridge and Scotty controlling the engines. With the Enterprise in still more trouble (the flares are increasing, they can't shoot a hole in the sphere, and it would take too long to find an open portal), the Jenolan tracks the Enterprise to the other side of the portal. Geordi and Scotty quickly conclude that the Enterprise was pulled in, and Geordi realizes that it's likely the antenna array is not a communications grid, but an access port that is triggered by the same frequencies as Federation hails.
Scotty suggests that they hang back enough to stop the tractor beams from locking on to them, then speed in as the door closes and use the Jenolan's shields as a "foot in the door", holding the portal open long enough for the Enterprise to escape. Geordi is convinced it's crazy, but agrees. The shields hold, but only just - and Geordi quickly tells Picard of the situation.
As the Enterprise heads for the portal, however, the Jenolan's engines fail to the point that Geordi and Scotty can't move the ship. Picard, understanding this, beams them off the ship just as they're within transporter range, then fires on the Jenolan, destroying it. The Enterprise banks, and exits through the portal just as it closes.
Some time later, the Enterprise is en route to starbase. Geordi and Scotty trade stories, and Scotty tells Geordi to enjoy the days of being chief engineer of a starship, since they won't return again. "Now, lad, I thought you were gonna buy me a drink in Ten-Forward." "Actually, I had a better idea."
Scotty comes to a shuttle bay, and finds the bridge crew waiting with the shuttle Goddard, to be his on "extended loan". It's slow, but it'll get him where he's going. When asked if he's going to the Norpan colony, he observes that it's a place where men go to retire. "Maybe someday I'll end up there...but not yet."
As the bridge crew bids him farewell, Scotty reassures Geordi that the Enterprise is a fine ship, "and from what I can see, the Enterprise is in good hands."
"You take care of yourself out there."
Technical design, graphic design, interactive features, HTML & CGI programming by Andrew Tong. || All materials Copyright © 1987-1995 by their respective authors. || Document created: January 28, 1995 || Last Modified: July 12, 1999