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Future Tense

Universe : Prime Timeline
Location of Event : Beta Quadrant
Year : 2152 [1]
Nature of Event : Past incursion [1]

In 2152 the NX-01 encountered a small object adrift in interstellar space. Thinking that it may be an escape pod of some sort the ship brought it aboard. There was no sign of any propulsion system on the exterior; on opening the craft the crew were shocked to find a badly burned Human corpse inside. By all rights, this should have been virtually impossible - the NX-01 was operating beyond all previous boundaries of Human exploration. Archer wondered if the man could be Zefram Cochrane - the famed inventor of warp drive had vanished into space over thirty years before, and some rumours indicated that he had been testing some sort of advanced warp drive at the time. [1]

The mysteries piled up - the ship was covered in some sort of stealth coating which would have rendered it invisible to the sensors on the NX-01 if it had not been damaged. There was no sign of any power system inside, nor control systems. Commander Tucker did discover some form of device which contained bio-matter, and speculated that it might be an organic computer. Most bizarrely, he discovered a shaft in the floor of the craft which extended down to another level - making the inside of the craft clearly too large to be accommodated within the exterior shell. [1]

A Suliban vessel arrived and claimed the ship as their property, since it had supposedly been located by a Suliban Cell Ship several days previously. The Suliban was willing to take the NX-01 on to retrieve the ship, and during a fire fight he beamed a pair of Suliban soldiers onto Enterprise, where they attacked Commander Trip and Lieutenant Reed in an attempt to reach the ship. The attempt was unsuccessful; the soldiers beamed back to their ship and it retreated. [1]

Examining the device recovered from the ship, Trip and Reed wondered if it may be some form of flight recorder. Meanwhile Dr. Phlox discovered that , although Human, the corpse had non-Human ancestors including a Terrelian and a Vulcan ancestor at least as far back as a great-great-grandparent. Since Humanity had only been in contact with the Vulcans for a ninety years, this was clearly impossible unless some form of time travel was involved. [1]

Archer and T'Pol visited Daniels' quarters, hoping that his database might have relevant information. They found a schematic for the ship dated almost 900 years into the future. It claimed that the vessel was powered by a temporal displacement drive, some form of future technology. Fearing that acquisition of this technology could allow the Suliban to change the balance of power in the Temporal Cold War, Archer resolved to prevent them from taking it. [1]

Unfortunately the Suliban were not the only species interested in the ship. A Tholian vessel arrived, claiming that it had been sent to retrieve the ship because it was emitting temporal radiation which would be dangerous to the Enterprise crew. Archer declined to hand it over, prompting the Tholians to lock a tractor beam onto Enterprise. When Archer threatened to destroy the time ship the Tholians retreated. [1]

Meanwhile Reed and Trip continued to work on the "flight recorder" device. They found themselves in a time loop, repeating the same few minutes of time over and over again - prompting Archer to wonder if this could be a result of the temporal radiation the Tholians referred to. He had the launch bay sealed off and decided to hand the ship to the Tal'Kir, a nearby Vulcan ship which could take it to Earth. With Suliban forces chasing the NX-01 to the rendezvous Trip finally determined that the "flight recorder" was in fact a micro-transmitter, possibly an emergency beacon of some form. Enterprise just made it to the Tal'Kir - to find the ship badly damaged by Tholian vessels. The Tholian and Suliban ships engaged one another, leaving Enterprise caught in the crossfire. [1]

Archer ordered Trip to activate the beacon, hoping that the true owners of the ship might be able to help. Meanwhile Archer and Reed decided to arm one of Enterprise's torpedo warheads and place it in the ship so that it could be destroyed if captured. Unfortunately they found themselves caught in another time loop in which they had to arm the warhead over and over.  [1]

With the Tholians victorious they ordered Enterprise to surrender the ship. They neutralised the warhead and prepared to take the vessel back with them... at which point both the beacon and the ship simply vanished. With their prize gone, the Tholians retreated. [1]

The incident raised far more questions than answers. The origin of the future ship remained unknown, as did the exact nature of the pilot. Which faction of the Temporal Cold War the ship may have belonged to remained unclear - both the Suliban and Tholians could have been attempting to retrieve the ship because it belonged to a faction they were working with, or because they wanted to gain control of a vessel which belonged to an enemy. Possibly the ship belonged to Daniels' faction, or some other unknown group. The fact that the pilot was Human might be taken to indicate that the ship was a 31st century Federation time ship - if indeed there is any such thing as the Federation by the 31st century. It seems likely that few if any of these questions will ever be answered. [1]

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 ENT 2 Future Tense
Series : ENT Season 2
Episode : Future Tense

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 31,847 Last updated : 10 Apr 2005