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Headscratchers: Star Trek: Enterprise
  • About In a Mirror, Darkly. The Terran Empire. How in the hell, did a 90-year old(Counting from Cochrane shotgunning the Vulcan crew) warp-capable civilization just conquered most of the founding members of the Federation? Including Vulcan. Especially Vulcan. In prime-universe, Earth Starfleet just managed to acquired a warp-5 vessel, an astounding achievement for Earth, yet Vulcan have several Warp-7 combat cruiser. By that episode, ISS Enterprise and ISS Avenger was seen combating rebels. Assuming the level of Pre-Federation Earth and Pre-Defiant upgrade Empire have the same level of technological advancement rate, how did, Terran Empire, beat, and conquered, and enslaved, Vulcan, Andorian, and Orion, with a fleet consisted of ship capable of warp 4?
    • Assuming that the Terran Empire doesn't bicker with themselves, maybe they had Augment amongst their numbers?
    • As the crowd swarm aboard the Vulcan ship in the prologue one of them shouts something about grabbing all the technology they can. Presumably the mirror-universe humans reverse-engineered everything useful and gave themselves a technological leg-up.
      • I think what the OP is getting at here is that this is the real world equivalent of Iran managing to reverse engineer an F-22 Raptor and then proceeding to take out the entire US air force with it.
    • Perhaps they loaded loaded that Vulcan survey ship with a bunch of strategic weapons left over from World War III and used them to take technology from whichever advanced civilization they came across first, either by extortion or just using them and stealing any advanced technology they could find in the ruins. That's more or less the Klingon/Pakled/Kazon model for technological advancement.
    • It's the Humans Are Warriors trope taken Up to Eleven, although it actually makes sense because humanity had recently emerged from World War III and thus, as a species, were still in a very militant-minded place. Give them Vulcan technology and they could wreak a lot of havoc. Especially since the Vulcans are shown to be tediously slow decision makers. If humans hit Vulcan hard and fast, they could subjugate the planet before the High Command even finished their preliminary assessment of the situation. It is a lot easier to mobilize for war if you are already on a war footing, which humanity was.
    • Two possible explanations I have always liked consists entirely around two particular races: Suliban and Xindi. Why would the Mirror universe be free from the effects of the Temporal Cold War and from the manipulations of the Sphere Builders? Even if you want to argue that their superior ships could have managed to destroy the first Xindi probe its still unlikely that the highly aggressive Terran Empire wouldn't have gone to war with them for it. So who knows how much technology they managed to scavenge from naughty time travellers and invading Xindi warships? If they managed to acquire the blueprints to their planet killing weapons in the process it would also go a long way to explain how they managed to defeat the Vulcans.
      • The Empire did go at war with the Xindi, according to the opening sequence (near the end we see Imperial starships chasing and firing Xindi ships). And given that the ISS Enterprise had a Suliban cloaking device in storage, I dare say they did get some technology from at least the Sulibans.
    • My take is that they caught everyone by surprise: between reverse-engineered technology advanced enough to be a threat, closeness to Vulcan and Andoria (Vulcan is canonically stated to be at around 16 light years, and Andoria is one of the neighbouring systems) and the two powers with a military capable of slapping down the Terran upstarts being locked in cold war between each other (plus Andoria having another cold war with the Tellarites), the Terran starships managed to get into Vulcan's and Andoria's orbit and force the surrender with the threat of nuking the planets. Also, the Empire was either unable to destroy all native military equipment or preferred to impose an hegemony instead of full rule, leading to the Vulcans, the Andorians and the Tellarite keeping around enough ships to later stage a rebellion and come close to victory.

  • Something that just bugs me is the lack of alien species depicted as members of each planet's space fleet. The Vulcan fleet is composed entirely of Vulcans. The Andorians likewise. While we don't see anywhere near the full fleet of any world during the course of the show, we still are shown that T'Pol and Phlox are seen to be anomalies. But what about migration over time? Vulcan and Earth have been buddies for ninety years. You'd think that there'd be some sort of immigrant wave of humans to Vulcan, seeing what conditions were like in the mid-21st century. Or something like that. But why isn't it depicted? It can't be that Star Trek races are completely static. There must be alien immigrant enclaves scattered throughout the known universe, especially since some species have been in contact with each other for centuries, and longer.
    • This actually doesn't bother me as much. It's always struck me as highly unlikely that dissimilar species would be able to serve aboard a single vessel w/o significant issues occurring. Each species would require specific atmospheric and temperature settings,some would need higher or lower gravity levels and let's not even go down the "eating and procreation" roads,shall we? And as for moving to another planet,until warp travel (for humans,at least) became more widely available in the Star Trek universe,moving to another planet could have essentially been a decision to move there for the rest of one's life. Unable to afford to book more than one passage on a warp vessel (most people don't have money)returning home could be nigh unto impossible. So, it wouldn't just be like moving to another country. It would be like going back through time...and then having your time machine break in manner that you can't repair. Or that you CAN repair,but would take you many years and cost more money than you'll ever have.
      • The environmental issue also applies to entire worlds. For example, while humans can survive on worlds like Vulcan or Andoria, they would not be able to do so comfortably. It's rather like saying that yes, if America were devastated in a war, people could in theory relocate to places like the Sahara Desert or Antarctica, but relatively few would unless massive structures were built to provide a comfortable habitat for them. Vulcans, Andorians and others are unlikely to build special cities just so that humans could immigrate to their worlds. Your average Vulcan probably thinks that 90 degrees Fahrenheit is "air conditioning", while an Andorian thinks that 40 degrees is "heated". Both they (and humans) could live within these temperature ranges, but they wouldn't necessarily enjoy it.
    • Considering how sneeringly disdainful the Vulcans were of humans prior to that three-parter in early Season 4, I find it hard to imagine that Vulcan would accept human immigrants at all, and harder still to imagine that they'd let them do something as important as serve on High Command ships of the line. Remember, they had decided it was in the best interest of all parties involved to limit Earth's access to advanced technology, so letting humans onto state-of-the-art ships would be the last thing they'd want to do. And don't say "But these would be humans who are naturalized Vulcan citizens," if such a thing is possible at all; the level of assholishness among Vulcans in those days was easily enough to ensure they'd look at humans with suspicion.
    • This did eventually come up. Forrest was pushing for joint missions right before he died. The Vulcans were stonewalling him. Stands to reason that's been the precedent for the entire time they've been allies.
    • I actually find this natural: most of the powers of the era are mono-ethnic, and the two we know aren't (Klingon and Xindi) have reasons to not embark aliens on their ships (the Klingon are conquerors and not particularly nice ones, it would be incredibly stupid of them to embark their subjects. As for the Xindi, the various Xindi species simply don't trust each other that much). Remember, the Federation is still an idealistic dream, and would probably have stayed so for decades had the Earth-Romulan War not provided a reason to unite faster.

  • While it is generally accepted that "Terra Nova" had an Idiot Plot, it is still irksome. The original group of colonists was only 200 people! For real world comparison, Bermuda, a small island, has a population of nearly 65,000! Was the S.S. Conestoga packed to the rafters with nuclear weapons? How the heck would 200 people hold an entire planet against subsequent waves of colonists, especially if they landed thousands of miles away from the Conestoga colony site? They clearly did not have any tracking equipment, seeing as how they apparently never saw the incoming meteor that impacted the planet (of if they did, they were unable to do anything to destroy it). Why would Earth even take the first wave settlers' sovereignty claim and threats of violent defense seriously? Given that this was before Earth had developed really fast starships, and Terra Nova was an extremely rare Class M planet within reasonable (9 years) travel time from Earth, it seems incredibly bizarre that they would just abandon the idea of sending follow-up expeditions so readily, and leave the planet unvisited for so long.

  • In Catwalk, Archer watches water polo on his tablet, in portrait format, and T'Pol is bothered by the sound. Does the future not have earphones, or iPads that can be turned sideways? And why couldn't T'Pol turn off the beeping on her tablet?

  • In Kirk's time the Romulans were sneaky, but honorable. In Picard's time they will use any means to achieve their ends. The Roumulans in archers time are acting like those from Picard's.
    • It's called Flanderization
    • True for the Klingons as well, though to their credit they did a halfway decent job of explaining that away as best they could. Actually, there's a lot that makes the 22nd century look much closer to the 24th than the 23rd.
    • I see no way to call it anything other than careless writing. There are stray examples in our history of one generation going back to an idea that had been popular in an earlier generation but was discredited in an intervening generation. I don't think those are going to help us here, though.
    • It's best not to think too hard about integrating TOS with the rest of canon. Roddenberry's stance on continuity when he was alive was that what was released last was right.
    • It would have been really good to see Klingons acting differently, they really missed an opportunity there to make Klingon society seem dynamic by having the chronologically earlier Klingons be something new and different, which is a bit odd because they at least made an effort to do that with the Vulcans
    • Begging your pardon, but there are a fair few honourable Romulans in Picard's time. Commander Toreth in Face of the Enemy for example.
    • Chalk it up to social change. The social values of humanity/the Federation also bounce around quite a bit throughout the various series. Nowhere is this more evident than with the endlessly controversial Prime Directive, which often ranges from being utterly sacrosanct to being something that can be disregarded as needed, sometimes even within a single episode! Likewise, other races may change character, especially depending on their political situation. It was considered a major issue of what the Klingon Empire's stance towards the Federation would be if Duras became Chancellor rather than Gowron, and in turn Gowron himself would later become problematic leading to yet another shift under Martok.

  • In "The Expanse" Vulcan refuses to support Earth's plans for an expedition into the Expanse because they don't buy Archer's cock-and-bull story about a time traveler (this was before time travel became a fact of life in Star Trek) having told him that he needs to go into the most dangerous part of the known universe in search of some species no one's ever heard of. Fair enough. But throughout the series, Archer is able to produce more and more evidence that the threat is real, and some of it finds its way back to Earth in the form of reports. Now I guess it's possible that Forrest has decided not to share these reports with Soval (though he did tell Soval about the ship full of Vulcan zombies, which was the only thing Soval wanted to talk about when Archer got back). Still, I just can't believe that the Vulcans had no idea something was up. By the end of the season they really should have offered some support to the humans. Look at the consequences of not doing so:
    1. Both humans and Vulcans are forever referring to one another as "allies," which means they've got some sort of mutual defense arrangement. So Vulcan is breaking its treaty obligations—which makes their other allies, real and potential, inclined to distrust them.
    2. Humans had already been pursuing an increasingly independent foreign policy, but when the Xindi arc started they had depended on Vulcan military support, meaning that the Vulcans could use that to snap us back into line if we ever got too cute. But by refusing to provide that support when it was needed, they left a void . . . which was filled by their cold war archnemeses, the Andorians! How did no one think "Uh oh, if we break our treaty obligations and the Andorians send in The Cavalry, the humans might start siding with the Andorians against us."?
    • Maybe the Vulcans didn't know about/believe in the sphere builders and the threat they posed to the entire Alpha Quadrant. But even if they didn't, they had to know that the Xindi existed. They had to know that the Xindi built superweapons the likes of which the Vulcans had never seen. They had to know that the Xindi attacked other species without issuing declarations of war or opening any diplomatic channels whatsoever; they just show up out of nowhere and fire off their Death Star. And now they want to operate in space—space in which they don't even pretend to have any territorial claims—that's well within the Vulcan sphere of influence. Who the hell would allow such people to operate with impunity in his own backyard?
    • The Vulcans knew about the Xindi? To them, the Delphic Expanse was like the Bermuda Triangle. I don't think the Vulcans would waste ships and crews trying to explore it after he explicitly said "Vulcan ships have entered it, but few have returned."
      • At the start of the season, yes. But Archer confirmed that the Xindi weapon existed early on in his mission and shared that info with Forrest. Why wouldn't Forrest let the Vulcans know about it? Since they weren't offering assistance it makes sense that he wouldn't share anything very sensitive with them, but not even confirming the Xindis' existense? What, was he afraid that saying "Told you so!" would hurt the feelings Sovol doesn't have?
    • And yet the Vulcans never helped the humans, and never suffered any of the above consequences. Soval's conversation with Archer in "Home" made it clear that none of these things had ever even occurred to him or his superiors, and after Archer vented a bit he, and every other human, shrugged his shoulders and said "Eh, it's all right, we're cool."
      • I think the problem is that the only time the Vulcans were in a position to help was at the start of the mission. After that, Enterprise had such a head start on any Vulcan ship that might try to enter the expanse, and things were moving so quickly to a head, that there's not much they could have contributed. It'd be like Portugal changing its mind about Christopher Columbus after he's halfway across the ocean. The best thing the Vulcans could have done at that point would be to help bolster Earth's defenses in case Archer fails to stop the sphere. That doesn't seem to have happened either, in that there didn't seem to be any defenses in place whatsoever when the Xindi sphere showed up, so Earth and Vulcan seemed to have equally dropped the ball on that one (maybe they had a joint fleet hanging around somewhere and for some reason we just didn't see it onscreen).
      • As the Andorians proved, if any actual superpower wanted to catch the Enterprise, it would have been unbelievably simple. Vulcan ships are a lot faster than the Enterprise is. What took them X amount of months a Vulcan ship could manage in half the time.
    • Part of this sits on the fact that the Vulcans are characterized here as being flatly unwilling to cut humans the slightest amount of slack when it comes to technological advancement. They'll show up to prove they're superior, but they won't lift a damn finger if is in any way beneficial to humanity as a whole. They were probably also busy with their war with the Andorians and didn't want to spare the ships.

  • Why would the Xindi test a prototype Planet Buster on the planet they want destroyed? If they are so deathly afraid of humans, then don't let them know that you're coming. Had they tested the weapon on a moon in their space, like they did with the second test model, and only attacked with the final product when they were ready then Earth never would've had a chance. The Xindi tipped their enemy off to their plans and gave them enough time to defeat them.
    • As I recall, Degra or another Xindi mentioned that the Council insisted upon a "live demonstration", so to speak. They didn't want a mere test, they wanted to see it used on living beings.
      • So why wouldn't they then go test it on that Western planet that not only had humans, and was much closer, but no way of retaliating or warning Earth about what was going on?
    • What bothers me most about the prototype Xindi weapon is that, while everybody acts like its some kind of super-weapon, it's actually quite weak. A few nukes would have done about the same amount of damage (7 million killed, hundreds of square miles uninhabitable) and been much, much smaller to move around. Why didn't the Xindi just send a couple dozen nukes at Earth instead? (A possible explanation is that Earth had some technology to intercept and/or defuse nukes which didn't work on the Xindi beam, but that's never mentioned in the series. The writers are just pretending nukes don't exist, when TOS clearly shows they do, and were used, around this period in history in the first war against the Romulans.)
    • This troper believes it would have made a lot more sense if the first attack was supposed to be the planet-destroying one but the machine failed for some reason and exploded/self-destructed. So the Xindi had to build a better one while now dealing with a pissed-off human race.

  • If the verteron array is capable of firing a FTL beam from Mars to Earth with enough accuracy to hit a specific building, why didn't they build one of those on Earth or the Moon after the Xindi attack? It would make short work of any hostile ship before they even got close to the planet.
    • It takes two minutes to charge, so unless you have dozens scattered around the planet, it would only be good for a single shot. Starfleet also maintains a planetary fleet (at least in this time) to deal with close threats.
      • 2 minutes is a pretty good response time considering they don't know what direction the Xindi weapon will be coming from or how close it will appear to Earth. And a hell of a lot faster than the response time the defensive fleet had (or didn't have). They were nowhere to be found when the weapon got to Earth, but over a dozen ships showed up immediately when Enterprise was back to its own time period, so it's not like there weren't any ships.
    • Because an hostile ship can see the attack arrive and move away. Also, since when it was faster than light?

  • What really gets me is "Zero Hour". Enterprise has been searching for the Xindi weapon for nearly a year. And when the weapon finally arrives...we see no operational defense platforms, no additional starships (Starfleet or Vulcan), NO indication that humanity was preparing itself for another attack. Did they pin all their hopes on the Enterprise and not establish any contingency plans? And remember, the Reptilians destroyed a space station! Shran showed up! The attack DID happen in the 22nd Century!
    • And in "Home" we see a whole bunch of Starfleet ships come out to greet Enterprise. Why didn't they fly against the Xindi weapon? There were more of them than there were of the three little runabouts that flew against the Borg in "Best of Both Worlds Part 2," and the weapon was smaller than the cube.
    • Think about it. Long range sensors picks up the Xindi weapon escorted by two Xindi ships and no Enterprise in sight. There's no way for these sensors to tell that the smaller Xindi ship has gone over to the good guys and is carrying a commando team that's ready to beam over and attempt to destroy the weapon from inside. Even if they did know this, AND knew that Shran was about to fly in out of nowhere and take out the larger ship, what's to gain by keeping the Starfleet ships grounded? It's not like Shran's ship plus the late Degra's shuttle have such an overpowering advantage over Dollim's ship plus the Baby Death Star that we can feel confident of the result to the point that we'd just be getting in the way if we tried to contribute.
    • Oh, and let's not forget that at one point, Archer sent back details on the weapon they had obtained. Maybe communications aren't as fast as they are in TNG, but you'd think they'd say in the penultimate episode "HEY!!! The weapon will be there in ten hours! Have all possible ships ready!"

  • How does the plotline of "Breaking the Ice" even work? A key plot element of that episode is that part of the crew is stranded on a comet, putting them in danger of burning up when their side turns to face a star in a few hours. Problem is: Unless I missed something, no nearby star is ever shown.
    • That is a good question. An even better question is why they think a shuttle would burn up from the sunlight on a comet when the shuttles are designed to handle atmospheric entry on a regular basis.
      • The plot also relies a comet—the diameter of which is about the length of Enterprise—having having Earth-like gravity.
    • They're bad with comets that way. In both "Death Wish" and, less debatable, "Destiny," comets are shown with those magnificent tails... in deep space, where they don't have tails.

  • Rigel is a blue supergiant star. Blue supergiants are up to a million times as bright as the Sun and have a lifespan of only a few million years. I'm all for creativity and fictional speculation, but to say that the existence of fully-evolved, intelligent life on a planet around Rigel is impractical would be a vast understatement.
    • Why scratch your head about it here? Reference to Rigel as an inhabited system go back to the original series... and this is indeed mentioned on the Star Trek Headscratchers board.
    • And to make it even more baffling, there are several different sentient species from several different planets in the Rigel system.
    • This is really baggage from TOS, which was far more prone to using the names of real stars and other stellar bodies, often in ways contradictory to actual astronomy.

  • Why does the Royal Navy apparently still exist? I can see why they might maintain a small fleet for traditional and cultural purposes, but the story implies that it's still a full-scale military organisation. Not only does a single starship outclass even the most powerful navy hands down, but Earth has a unified world government by that point - what would it even be for?
    • Probably that traditional and cultural role you mentioned. Also, pirates.
    • Or it's been reduced to a coast guard, as even a world at peace would still need rescue services and anti-smuggling patrols.
    • Also, keep in mind that while Earth has a unified world government, it is a rather young unified world government (depending on how you interpret one statement, the last holdout didn't join until 2150, not more than a year before Enterprise began, and it can at least be said that the UE wasn't fully in place by 2120). The Royal Navy may simply not have completed the gear-down from full-scale military organisation to a cultural-traditional/coast guard role in the 'modern day' of the show.
      • Or, it could be similar to how the National Guard is organized in the United States. This is a bit of an oversimplification for the sake of clarity, but National Guard units serve individual state governments as that state's militia, but in times of war and emergency, units from those states can quickly folded into the US Army's command structure. Functionally, they become part of the US Army, while still keeping their identity as, say, the Nevada, Arkansas, or Oregon National Guard.
    • Bafflingly, Tom Paris mentions in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Thirty Days, that after he graduated high school, he had wanted to join something called the Federation Naval Patrol. His stated motivation had been his love of the ocean and his fondness for Captains Coragious, Moby-Dick, and ''Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea," so whatever the Naval Patrol was, it seems that it was a seafaring organization, rather than being one that operates in space. It would seem that for there are still navies inexplicably operating as late as the mid 24th century.
      • It's not hard to imagine that come the 24th century, the Federation Naval Patrol provides water-based resources on a variety of worlds, not just Earth. After all, just because you can fly in space, that doesn't mean you still won't need ground troops, terrestrial air units or aquatic ones.
      • There is always the possibility that the Naval Patrol isn't a military organization at all but some form of Coast Guard there to rescue any stricken citizens - there is no reason to believe there wouldn't still be a large amount of commercial shipping still on Earth such as Cruise Liners or the odd Shuttlecraft crashing at sea. There is also something called the Atlantis Project mentioned in the Next Generation episode Family where Picard's friend Louis is attempting to create a new continent; which logically would also have required a reasonable amount of boats to accommodate. There will always be at least one person that doesn't want to fly or beam there as well as the obvious fact that transporters and shuttles have a habit of unexpectedly breaking in the Trekverse.
      • It's also possible that it is a law enforcement agency.
    • Britain probably still has the same views concerning Earth affairs in the Star Trek universe as it does in our universe's present day.
    • Just to make things even more confusing, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it viewscreen shot from the Next Generation implies that some Federation starships still bear the prefix HMS. Good luck working out what that means.

  • A Night in Sickbay. Why was Porthos (a dog please remember) ever brought down to the planet, especially for delicate negotiations for a vital piece of equipment? Did it never occur to Archer that a dog might react in an unexpected manner that would dash these negotiations? He's lucky that all Porthos did was piss on a sacred tree.
    • This spotlights an absurdity rampant through much of Star Trek. These ships are off to meet other civilizations, so shouldn't protocol be a huge deal? To the point that there should be people on board devoted to nothing else?
    • In later series they do acknowledge the need and are occasionally shown being briefed on protocol. On Voyager, Janeway promotes Neelix into the role of ambassador due to his talent with such things and he's almost always shown as being good at it.
      • A big part of Counselor Troy's job seemed to be preparing Picard for diplomatic missions. She actually could be seen doing it in several TNG episodes (whenever she wasn't crashing the ship or encouraging androids to go on murder-sprees).
    • Likely as a way of emphasizing that the humans on board Enterprise really don't know what they are doing. They talk a big game, but they demonstrate lots of times that they have no clue what they are doing in space. Hoshi brings aboard a pet slug-thing that starts dying because she took it out of its natural environment. Archer's dog pisses on a sacred tree. Trip embarrasses our species every time he opens his mouth. If not for T'Pol, the ship wouldn't even have survived its first mission. Its the show's way of saying that No, we aren't ready for that big step into space, but we'll go anyway, so that we can learn from our mistakes (except for Trip.)
      • The episode mentions that Archer's supposed to be a trained diplomat. I'd say it's more the writers not having any idea what a good diplomat and officer is supposed to donote .
      • I would point out, however, that for all his virtues, Kirk was a pretty lousy diplomat, himself. Most of his attempts at diplomacy ended in a fistfight, the aliens of the week throwing him and Spock in prison, and another fistfight. Gunboat Diplomacy was his forte, but he wasn't above just sleeping with someone to get his way. And that's not even touching on how he conducted himself with Gorkon and his party in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. If Kirk's skills are typical for Starfleet captains of the era, it seems that Starfleet isn't going to figure out the whole 'diplomacy' thing until about the mid-24th century.
      • Actually, it makes Archer seem like a pretty bad dog owner (we already know he's an idiot)! Think about it: alien planets = alien diseases. They already have to put effort into making sure that the human (Vulcan, Deobulan...) crew doesn't pick up The Plague and bring it back to the ship since they don't have nifty transporter bio-filters literally scrubbing them from the inside-out yet. This also fails to take into account both alien domestic animals and wildlife. On Earth, a coyote or some large raptors would happily kill and eat a small Beagle (as would some other dogs)! Did Archer check to make sure that the native wildlife was not a possible hazard for a small pet?
  • Twilight. So a top fan favourite, but the whole solution doesn't seem to really hang together. T'Pol and Flox get rid of some of the parasite, this apparently erases the infection not just now, but also in the past. Flox can't see the parasite on the old scans anymore. This being so, how the crap does he know the parasites were there? If the computer scans can't "remember" the parasite why can everyone else remember them? Shouldn't the first application of the technology have removed everything by a process of incremental timeline updates? The device removes a chunk, so timeline resets so that chunk never existed and so they target the device, when used for the first time, on a different chunk. Which then never existed and so, etc. etc.
    • Either they didn't think of that or thought viewers would get confused. Also, it would have effectively killed the drama. The first use would have been an immediate success thanks to causality.
    • Also, if Phlox had eradicated the parasite, which erased it from history, then he wouldn't remember it, and so would have targeted another parasite (otherwise he'd be aiming at healthy brain tissue), and erased that, then wouldn't remember it, so would have aimed at another parasite, and so on and so on until logically all the parasites would have been erased after a single treatment. Of course, if there were no parasites in the first place, Phlox wouldn't bother developing a treatment and so all the parasites would re-materialize...
  • Storm Front. So the Xindi Aquatics deliver Enterprise back to Earth in one of their huge ships, but it turns out that the Enterprise actually arrives during WWII instead of the 22nd century. But at no point during the episode is the Aquatic ship mentioned again— did it also travel in the past? Couldn't Enterprise just have radioed them up and said, "uh, hey guys, this isn't right..."? Did the Aquatic ship simply disappear (from Enterprise's sensors) after Enterprise left its cargo hold, and if so why didn't anybody on Enterprise mention it? Did the writers simply forget that Enterprise was travelling with another ship?
    • Enterprise didn't go back in time until the Xindi weapon exploded, some time after she exited the Aquatic ship.
  • The infamous Decontamination Gel. I realize the real world reason why the stuff exists but I honestly don't understand how it is meant to work. It is meant to be rubbed all over the body but they not only completely avoid the breasts and genitals but actually wear their underwear throughout. Isn't that a massive health hazard to both the person in question and to the rest of the crew to leave untreated parts of the body that could house all kinds of harmful bacteria or viruses? In order for it to work as presented you would need to be completely naked and realistically all it would have taken from a production point of view is creative aiming with the camera (plenty of other family rated shows have been able to successfully replicate implied nudity). Secondly the individual crew members have no means of applying the gel to their backs requiring someone else to rub it on for them. Doesn't that therefore mean you are completely stuffed if you are the only one that needs decontaminating? A Decontamination Shower would have solved every single problem above and would arguably have been more erotic given how that was the general intention the producers were going for.
    • Great point. Bacteria love to hang out on clothing (health organizations now recommend that physicians not wear ties or lab coats for this reason) and unless the uniforms and underwear are receiving some sort of off-screen treatment wearing their underwear defeats the purpose of de-con. Showers would be easier, faster, more sanitary, and far more dignified and private. How many lawsuits do you think Starfleet had to go through before they realized that last part?
    • Well, they did have UV lights on while they were smearing each other, so that probably decontaminated the clothing. The only thing I can think of for why they didn't use a shower or other similar device is that the Enterprise left Earth 3 weeks early. Maybe that equipment hadn't been installed yet?
    • Fanservice, pure and simple. Having crew members slather lube onto each other's bodies was supposed to add some sex appeal to the notoriously chaste later Trek series. After all, the gel itself is pointless. The crew is just as likely to have picked up a contagion via an airborne vector and by the time they return to Enterprise it is circulating around inside their bodies! Plus, as already noted, all clothing should be removed and decontaminated, not just outer garments. As we see in "Observer Effect", Trip and Hoshi were already riddled with an incurable (by any means Phlox knew of) virus before their shuttle had even returned to the ship after their dumpster-diving expedition to the planet below.
  • In "Carpenter Street", this exchange takes place:
    Daniels: Yes, they are [happening], but the outcome hasn't reached us yet. It takes a while for changes to ripple through the time line.
    Archer: You said I'm supposed to play some crucial part in history. Does this have something to do with it?
    Daniels: I wish I could say that it does, but I don't know. I told you, none of this was supposed to happen.
Now aside from this being a particularly ridiculous and unjustified Delayed Ripple Effect (if 900 years isn't enough time for it to ripple, then what is?), why didn't Daniels just wait till they *did* ripple to his time in order to come back to Archer's time and explain things to him. He'd have a lot more information then.
  • Ignoring the obvious flaws with that exchange and focusing on the question alone.. perhaps he wasn't willing to risk the ripple reaching and removing them, thus making it impossible to go back?
  • Not so much about the show as much as people who hate it. If so many people really think Enterprise broke so badly from canon, why aren't there any just bugs me questions for Enterprise?
    • Check under Star Trek.
      • I did. It's just a list of episodes people don't like, not actual complaints about how it fits into canon.
      • Crazyrabbits: To explain just how several episodes violate the previous continuity of the franchise would take an amount of space that no one is willing to give here. It's best to just note the biggest canon screw-ups and move on.
      • Triassicranger: I will attempt some. In one episode the Ferengi show up, 200 years before they're meant to. Alright Capt. Picard encountered them on the Stargazer a few decades before Star Trek: The Next Generation, but centuries? And unless I'm mistaken, the episode "The Last Outpost" had the Enterprise-D crew show much unfamiliarity with them. (This one you can argue is a violation of Fanon rather than Canon, though; a lot of Enterprise complaints fall into this.) Another episode features the Borg, in which among things Dr. Phlox nearly gets assimilated. So why in later seasons is Starfleet not prepared for the Borg, given that they have encountered them up close and personal? Why do the transporters seem to work as fast as the TNG era? Why does the NX-01 look more advanced than Kirk's (better VFX)? This website lists a number of them as well, and even scrutinises over fandom explanations.
      • Typical of most complaints about alleged "disregard" of Enterprise for established canon, these examples misstate the canon in question and/or totally ignore fridge logic. The Federation had limited knowledge of the Feringi since well before "Last Outpost". I believe they were first referenced in "Encounter At Farpoint", and rumors about them proceeded official first contact by the Enterprise; clearly, there had been contact between humans and Federation members and the Feringi preceding "official" first contact in the Last Outpost. That a lone raiding party of a half dozen Feringi could have made contacted with a Human vessel two centuries prior is hardly canon-busting. The identity of the raiders the Enterprise NX encountered was probably never confirmed until the Enterprise D made contact. Likewise, the Enterprise NX encounter with the Borg does nothing to disrupt continuity. The incident would have obviously been highly classified by Star Fleet, and not common knowledge in the 24th Century. Due to secrecy and two centuries of obscurity, there may not have even been a record in the Enterprise D's computer, and even if was, the circumstance of the encounter were so widely different that even a walking search engine like Data might not have been able to put together the pieces in time. No doubt after the Enterprise D returned from its first encounter with the Borg and filed their report with Star Fleet, some analyst at Star Fleet HQ probably started digging into every file Star Fleet had involving cybernetic lifeforms and came across a 200-year old log from Captain Johnathan Archer, but obviously we wouldn't have seen that and since it wouldn't have provided much, if any new information, it's unsurprising it was never brought up.
      • Well as for the Ferengi, Deep Space Nine had retconned that before. The Ferengi Alliance is one of the great civilizations that borders the Federation and has had contact with their allies for decades/centuries. The only thing they did "wrong" was sticking to the Deep Space Nine retcon. (And making an idiot plot episode.) The Borg ordeal was classified, and mostly forgotten about since it was 200 years later. (How much do you think remains of classified documents from 1800 today?) Plus, the Federation had fought numerous wars between ENT and TNG that were a slightly higher priority than a threat that may or may not come in 200 years (off the top, the Earth-Romulan war, the multiple Klingon wars, the Cardassian war that went on for 20 years, and there's more that aren't coming immediately to mind.) Any one of these wars enough might be enough to explain why they didn't do anthing about it, and all of them coupled with all the time that passed should more than explain it. Transporters have always been inconsistent in speed besides, Artistic License. What do you want the NX-01 to look like? It just had a better model (again Artistic License), as far as an actual ship, I'd rather be on NCC-1701. It clearly has more advanced tech. (Tractor beams, variable yeild photon torpedos, a Warp 8 engine). In fact, my girlfriend has the opposite complaint and hated the look of the NX-01 because it seemed too present day and not as futuristic as NCC-1701. Heck, in "In a Mirror Darkly" the crew of the mirror universe's Enterprise seems to think a 23rd century ship is a marvel of science.
      • Apparently at one point Enterprise was going to be something approximating a nuclear submarine, a lot more cramped and such - which would have been a lot cooler.
      • What, design aesthetics aren't allowed to change over the centuries? It could be that the ships from TNG were intended to look retro to in-universe observers, emulating the vessels of Archer's "Dawn of the Federation" era.
      • Regarding the Borg, the Hansens (Seven of Nine's parents) knew about them well before the Enterprise-D encountered them. (Thus, this continuity screw up has its roots in Voyager.) Perhaps they did dig up the long forgotten records of the NX-01's Borg encounter in a Starfleet archive. Or more sinister, Section 31 realized that the 200 years the message, which was sent by the Borg at the end of Regeneration, will need to reach the Delta Quadrant are over now, and used the Hansens for discretely investigating the Borg threat. And regarding the NX-01 being more advanced, remember that "In a Mirror Darkly", the Defiant was portrayed as outclassing not only the NX class, but even the best ships of the Vulcans and Andorians! Sure, those may rival 23rd and 24th century ships in size, but apparently not e.g. in hull strength or weapon power.
    • A member of the production staff (I forgot who, but it might have been Brannon Braga), once mentioned that the timeline was screwed up by the events of Star Trek: First Contact. It's a Voodoo Shark that I've always found equal parts satisfying and frustrating. It allows the show to handwave away several continuity problems, but means that the events of previous incarnations of Star Trek may or may not ever happen in-universe.
  • In "Bound" Doctor Phlox theorizes that the pheromones of Orion females attracting men and repelling other women evolved as a method to compete for mates. If that were the case, shouldn't the effect be strongest amongst the Orion women themselves? Yet they never show the slightest sign of discomfort about being in close vicinity to each other. Well, "Dear Doctor" already established that Phlox has a poor understanding of how evolution works.
    • The whole episode was an Asspull from start to finish: Why doesn't the Orion woman on the bridge of the Mirror NX-01 affect them? or the Orion woman that Pine!Kirk beds in Star Trek 2009 affect Uhura? or if it's such a problem why the Orion men haven't worked out a defence against this chemical reaction in the last tens of thousands of years? This episode deserves to be relegated to the status of Spocks Brain.
      • I wouldn't call it that bad. I appreciate the intent to flesh out the Orions, and turning the Orion slave women into sleeper agents instead of being just Ms. Fanservice is an interesting concept. The episode probably would've been better off having them sabotage the Enterprise just through plain old Magnificent Bastard machinations instead of what amounts to mind control powers. Good concept and noble intentions, poor execution, which is far too often the case with fourth season episodes here.
      • Actually the whole Orion women are secretly in charge thing is not new, there's a hint in the video game Starfleet Command 1. If you demand an Orion raider surrender they sometimes say "I would but my wife .... I mean cartel boss would kill me"
    • Producing the pheromones is probably a conscious effort, which is why Orion women are able to serve in Starfleet in the 2009 film. They just sign an agreement to never use the pheromones as long as they're a Starfleet officer and/or in Federation space. That may also explain their presence in the Mirror Universe (of course I wouldn't put it past the Mirror Universe to have "spayed" them somehow to prevent them from ever using that ability). As for why the 3 Orion women didn't feel the effects themselves, remember that while the pheromones would give a selective advantage to the individual by making her rivals listless and irritable, it would also be a selective advantage to resist those effects. Think of it as an evolutionary arms race. They probably don't even need to use a lot of pheromones to manipulate the human crew who has no immunity to it, and the low doses may not be enough to bother the 3 Orions.
      • That, or Gaila has been demusked like a ferret.
  • Does Phlox not know what patient-doctor confidentiality is? He happily lets Hoshi see Reed's medical information just to help figure out his favourite food! In "Bound" she comes in complaining headache, and he mentions by name another crewmember who was just in with the same symptoms. From a real-world point of view, the latter example would have worked just as well if Phlox had simply said there have been other similar cases without mentioning names. I can understand that on a vessel like the Enterprise he should stay watchful for any potential epidemics, but until that seems likely, give people some privacy!
    • This could be a previously unmentioned aspect of Denobulan culture. With their overcrowded society engaged in institutionalized polygamy, there would be a lot less privacy expectation amongst them. Phlox, despite his good intentions, has shown that he is more than willing to follow Denobulan practices (like keeping a zoo in Sickbay) rather the the practices of his human shipmates.
    • Military personnel do not enjoy the same doctor-patient confidentiality that civilians do. That said, showing Lieutenant Reed's records to Ensign Sato still seems pretty questionable. Also, it really isn't unreasonable to expect a foreign physician—even if he is a civilian—to understand and follow the local laws and ethics before he practices medicine; especially if he's going to be chief surgeon on your flagship.
    • An Ensign under orders from the Captain to get the information. Phlox most likely made this exception based on the circumstances and his own recognition that Reed needed a morale boost (since Reed came in for shots on a regular basis, Phlox would see quite often whenever Reed was depressed/bothered).
      • Good point, I forgot that she was working for the captain.
  • This is an incredibly trivial question, but why does Ensign Sato wear a science division blue uniform? Uhura, who held the same position as Sato, always wore Security/Operations red (Except for an early episode in which she wore command gold).
    • Nothing, as far as I know, is explicitly said, but Enterprise takes place while the universal translator is much less developed and the linguist role of the comm officer is much more important, so it may be that the position of comm officer in the 2150s were classified as part of Science (putting more emphasis on linguistics), while by the 2260s it had been switched to Operations (putting more emphasis on the technical parts of handling communications) due to the slightly changed role of the position.
  • What happened to the Starfleet night vision goggles seen in Rogue Planet? at least all of the five hundred or so revolutionary alien technologies that the Federation has forgotten about over the years have the excuse that maybe they couldn't adapt or reproduce it for example; but this is their own equipment carried on board their own ship. Seriously why even consider using a flashlight ever again?
    • Well by the time TNG rolls around they are doing stuff as much for the experience as they are actual science. If there is a problem then they expect their nigh-on-godlike tech to allow them to asspull something. Like today people will go mountaineering in jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers because they know cellphones and mountain rescue helicopters will pick them up if there is any problem, so they end up taking risks that would seem insane to explorers and mountaineers even fifty years ago. Just like those fools halfway up a mountain in t-shirt and mini-skirt, sometimes this goes phenomenally wrong and the cellphone/tricorder doesn't work and people die. It still doesn't stop people taking that risk for the "fun" of doing it.
  • In Fight or Flight, Enterprise is live-firing torpedos to calibrate their targeting systems. One of the torpedos grazes its target, and veers off course back toward Enterprise, threatening to damage or destroy the ship. Is there any reason that they would need to be using armed warheads for target practice? Wouldn't inert payloads serve their purposes just as well and eliminate most of the risk?
  • Xindi subspace portals. They were able to travel from Azati Prime to Earth in just a few hours. It took Enterprise seven weeks to get from Earth to just the outer edge of the Delphic Expanse at their maximum speed of warp 5. The Xindi are said to have joined the Federation at some point. Unless this point was after all of the events of all of the Star Trek series through Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager (and given that the Federation was founded during Archer's lifetime, it seems odd that it would take several hundred more years before the Xindi would join, since they were on fairly good terms by the time the superweapon was destroyed), then why does the Federation not have access to this technology? Even if, for some reason, the Xindi didn't willingly share it with them, Starfleet still knew of its existence and had scans of it in use, so why wouldn't they have been able to replicate it somehow? While this isn't as egregiously bad as the new Star Trek movies introducing transporters that can beam directly from Earth to Qo'noS in the blink of an eye, it's still pretty bad.
    • Maybe that technology has something to do with the Spheres, so when they were destroyed the tech stopped working?
      • That theory doesn't hold up because right after destroying the Spheres, Enterprise hitched a ride with a Xindi-Aquatic ship and got back to Earth in less than a day.
    • I have two possible reasons for the loss of that technology. The first is that the Xindi went at war with each other (they don't have a common goal anymore, plus the Reptilians have caused a political mess and their great allies have just been discredited. I can see the Reptilians launch an attack on the others while the other Xindi races are embroiled in a civil war between those who have seen the Sphere Builders for what they are and those who don't believe it), and the subspace portal technology was one of the casualties. The other is that they intervened in the Earth-Romulan War, resulting in the Romulans shifting priorities from Earth, Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar to the guys known to have built a planet killer, resulting in the Xindi getting bombed back into stone age by the Romulans while Earth and their allies rebuilt their fleets and managed to defeat the now weakened enemy.
  • Daniels explains that "Future Guy" can only project his image through time while Daniels can move through time physically because he is from further ahead in the future and thus has more advanced time travel technology. How does this make any sense when even Kirk & company managed to travel through time physically several times without the use of outside technology, not to mention many other sources of time travel which predate the Federation?
    • Probably because it's the difference between doing so in a way that is obvious and a way that is stealthy. Remember, at the end of that arc, it was a big deal that the Big Bad had a time travel device that allowed him to physically travel back in time without being caught in the act. Pulling a sun slingshot or some other deal would work, but they'd know and stop him pretty much on the spot.
  • Why were the Sphere Builders even a threat to the galaxy at all? Over the course of the various Trek series we have seen that the Milky Way is packed to the rafters with Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, some of whom possess absolutely insane powers. In order for the Sphere Builders to become a purely Federation problem, all of these godlike beings would need to step back and play the All-Powerful Bystander trope. Except that so many of them have been depicted as being willing to meddle in the affairs of lesser races when the mood strikes them, that it seems unlikely that none of them would step up to smack the Sphere Builders back into their own dimension rather than have them redecorate the entire galaxy without the consent of the godlike species.
    • How far had the Sphere Builders expanded by then? Sure, they were a threat, but if they were also contained to a specific area then all those god-like races might have thought the Federation had it in hand.
    • A fair number of SAA's live in or near Federation space (e.g. Metrons, Organians). In keeping with the principle that Starfleet personnel are the only beings worth toying with, they all seem to have kept their collective heads (those that have heads) well down when the Sphere Builders started to become a problem. Q (or worse, his son) would have probably thought the spheres made the galaxy into a lovely pool table and would have knocked them around at will. But presumably they were off meddling in somebody else's timeline.
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