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Story by: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga
Teleplay by: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga
Directed by: David Livingston
On a routine shuttlepod mission to investigate an asteroid field, Trip and Reed find themselves suddenly cut off from the Enterprise and become convinced that the mothership has been destroyed. With a limited oxygen supply and almost no chance of being rescued, the opposite-minded twosome must battle their annoyance with one another while also coming to terms with their impending demise. ~ StarTrek.com
Having taken Shuttlepod One out to test the targeting scanners, Trip and Malcolm return to the asteroid field that Enterprise is mapping only to find the ship is not there. Malcolm spots some debris on one of the asteroids and he and Trip discover that it is wreckage from a crashed ship. Upon closer examination, they recognize one of the pieces as being that of the Enterprise and assume the ship has been destroyed. Having only ten days of oxygen left and a broken communication system and sensor array, they head out to Echo Three where they hope their distress beacon will be picked up.
Faced with their impending doom, Trip and Malcolm have very different ways of approaching their fate. Trip, perhaps because he is an engineer and used to solving problems, is hopeful about being rescued and goes about trying to repair the pod's systems. Malcolm, accepting the situation and assuming the worst, decides to record farewell letters to family and friends. It doesn't take long before Malcolm's defeatist attitude starts to annoy Trip and is summed up well when they confront each other. "What is your problem with having a little hope?", he asks Malcolm who replies: "What's your problem with facing the truth?".
The scenes with Tucker and Reed are excellent and are well-paced however those on the Enterprise are annoying at best. They disrupt the pace and really don't add much to the story except to explain what caused the damage to the pod and Enterprise and to establish that the ship wasn't destroyed which isn't really necessary. Still, not knowing the status of the ship would have interfered with the storyline I suppose.
We get some good character development of Reed. Seems Reed has been a ladies' man but as we find out: "...none of them worked out because I could never get very close to them". Reed's alienation from family and friends is played up here and it's a nice touch of continuity. We discover that he has become close to the crew: "I lost nearly everyone I cared about on that ship...but with the crew of the Enterprise, it was different. I was really starting to feel comfortable with them."